Mistborn trilogy / Brandon Sanderson

Title / The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages
Author / Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date / 2009 and 2010
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 672, 800 and 768
Overall Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more? In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

 

This is a trilogy set in a world where the bad guy won the war and has been ruling over the Final Empire for thousand of years. I loved this concept as it’s not something I see very often in fantasy. There are two main things I love about this trilogy; the world and the magic system, specifically Allomancy. The Final Empire is a region of Scadrial, a fictional planet of the Cosmere, and it is blanketed by ash. In this world plants are brown and people rarely see the sky. Throughout the three books, Sanderson does a fantastic job at building on what we already know of world. I will say that the physical description of the world are sometimes a little lacking, but overall the world building is fantastic. Next, there are three disciplines of magic in this trilogy: Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalugy. All three are based on metals and are used to gain specific abilities. Basically allomancers have the ability to burn metal that enables them to access a range of mental or physical enhancements. For example burning tin enables an enhancement of the five senses while burning pewter enhances physical strength. There are 8 basic Allomantic metals and each has a different affect on the allomancer. A Misting is a person who can burn one metal and a Mistborn is a person who can burn all of them. I love this magic system and the author does a fantastic job at developing it through the three books. Both of these aspects are vividly realised and well written. Be aware that the world and magic systems are quite complex and intricate, so don’t go into this expecting a light, quick read. Sanderson does a great job at writing battle scenes and political intrigue.  If you enjoy unique magic systems and world then I highly recommend checking this book out. More positives include the characters and the plot. Yes, I think at times the plot is a little predictable at times but I still enjoyed seeing how it all unfolds and although some characters lack depth overall these books contain a great cast of characters. Vin is definitely one of my favourite characters. Personally I think the first book is the best, but I did also enjoy the second and third book. Each book has a good mix of character development, world building, action and politics.

 

Now to some of the issues I have. The main thing I would say is the length of these books. Each book is over 600 pages long but they didn’t need to be. The main reason for this is the repetitive nature of the writing. Although I love the world in this book the overly long descriptions and repetitive use of words can be a little frustrating at times. There are also plot points that are repeated throughout the books, for example in the first book you are told constantly that Vin doesn’t trust anyone. We get it – she’s had a hard time and doesn’t trust easily but we don’t need to be reminded every 5 seconds or so. I was definitely more aware of this use of repetition when I reread this trilogy. I think the pacing was a little uneven at times too, especially in the second and third book. One more small complaint is that I think the romance develops a little too quickly.

 

Overall I really enjoyed this trilogy, but there are definitely some issues with it. If you are a big fan of fantasy then I think this is well worth checking out. I’ve only read the first book of the sequel series and I don’t think I plan on continuing on with it. I went through a phase of trying to read everything by Sanderson but I think I’ve grown past that now. I think I got caught up in the hype surrounding this author but now I’m not the biggest fan of his writing style. Although I will definitely check out the sequel to Warbreaker whenever it gets released. Have you read this trilogy? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Wrath of Empire / Brian McClellan

Title / Wrath of Empire
Author / Brian McClellan
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of 3
Page no. / 639
Overall Rating / 
This is the second instalment of the Gods of Blood and Powder series and follows the events of the first book, Sins of Empire, with the same three perspectives. This trilogy is set in the same world as his original Powder Mage trilogy. I would categorise this book, and his other books, as an epic military flintlock fantasy. This is a review of a sequel so there may be minor spoilers ahead, but I will not be discussing the plot in detail. It is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2018.
Once again, McClellan manages to combine action, intrigue and magic to create a fantastic fantasy book. I loved the first book, so I had high hopes for this sequel and I think this book surpassed it. Firstly, I think the perspectives were more evenly distributed between the characters – it was great to see more from Taniel and Ka-poel. The use of multiple perspectives allows the reader to see more of the world and a better understanding of the events unfolding. Each perspective is distinctive and compelling. A lot of the time with multiple perspective I find one more compelling than the others but that was not the case with this book. In terms of the plot, I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. McClellan does a fantastic job at weaving all of the threads of the plot together and keeping you guessing throughout the book. There were a few moments I thought I knew where things were headed but then new things come to light and you find out it’s going in a completely different direction. There are so many twists and turns in this sequel. The plot is intricately woven, but it never felt confusing and it never dragged for me. The build-up of tension is also really well done. One aspect of the plot that I personally love is the strategy/tactics. I find it fascinating and McClellan continues to deliver it so well. There are also some fantastic action and battle scenes. The overall pacing of this book was so well done. I found with the first book that the pacing was quite slow at times because we were being introduced to this new series. In this sequel, however, it is more fast paced. There is a lot going on and that keeps the pace moving at a good speed. Even with the faster pacing, McClellan still manages to develop the complex plot and characters without sacrificing anything. The writing continues to be great. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down.
The world building and magic system are another strength of this trilogy. In this sequel we continue to learn more about this world, mainly due to the fact that the characters are now on the move, so we get to explore more of the world. The magic system is once again fantastic. To put it briefly, there are four types of magic in this world; Knacked, Privileged, Powder Mages (Marked) and Bone eyes. The first two draw power from the Else, while a Powder Mage draws power from gun powder. Little is known of Bone eye magic, but it seems to be similar to voodoo in some ways and draws on blood magic. Obviously, these are only very brief explanations of the magic system. I think these unique systems are one of the main strengths of these books and I’m excited to see how some characters powers are developed in the next book. I can’t help but feel that a few of the characters we are only scratching the surface of their power, such as Ka-poel. Speaking of the characters, I thought their development in this sequel was fantastic. There are so many wonderful characters in this book and the trilogy as a whole so far. We get to see familiar characters as well as some new ones. Each character is complex with well thought out back stories and I am so excited to see their development in the next book. I thought McClellan also did a great job at developing their relationships with each other. It was such a pleasure to see both old and new relationships develop throughout the 600 pages.
Overall, this is an excellent continuation from book 1 and I cannot wait for the third and final book, Blood of Empire, to be released. I cannot rate this trilogy so far highly enough, although I would definitely suggest reading the Powder Mage trilogy before starting this one.  If you enjoyed the first book, then I think you will love this sequel too. If you haven’t read these books yet, then I highly recommend checking them out. At this moment, the third book has no release date or cover, but I believe it is hopefully being released some time next year (2019). Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

July Wrap Up and August TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the month, which means its time for another monthly wrap up post. I lowered my Goodreads reading goal this month to 80 books as I don’t think I’ll be able to read 100 this year. It was nice to go from being behind my goal to being ahead of it. Anyway I’ve read 6 books this month, none of which is rated under 3 stars. I’m also starting to get back into the flow of blogging after my holiday :). Let’s get started.

 

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Redemption’s Blade / Adrian Tchaikovsky / ★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
What first drew me to this book is that it is set in the aftermath of the big event. So often we see the build up and the resolution right after but we never see what happens after. In this book we see the aftermath of such an event. I really liked this aspect of the book. The characters are quite well written, if a little flat, and I loved the diversity of the world. Throughout the 500 pages, we get to see a wide variety of races as well as reading about different areas of the world. Plot-wise this book is quite light and for me it lacked cohesion at times, but for the most part I found it to be an enjoyable read. Overall I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it. I would recommend checking it out though, as it is an enjoyable read with an interesting premise.

 

The Clan of the Cave Bear / book 1 of the Children’s Earth series / Jean M. Auel / ★★★
This is a historical fiction book set during the Ice Age. I really liked this setting, as I’ve never read anything like this before. One of my main issues with this book was repetition. There is a lot of it throughout the 500 pages and it gets a little frustrating. At times there was also terms used that I doubt would have been used, or even known, in that time. For example at one point Auel talks about dehydration and hypothermia, but these are clearly medical terms from the modern day and wouldn’t have been used back then. I also got a frustrated at the main villains hatred of the main character – there seemed to be very little reason behind it. One last thing that bugged me a little was Ayla (the main character) and her ability to do just about anything. It’s one of those main characters who is seemingly perfect, if that makes sense. Despite all of these things, I did still enjoy this book. The plot is good, if a little slow at times and generally the characters were well written. If you enjoy historical fiction and/or are interested in this time period, then I would recommend checking this book out.

 

Crazy Rich Asians / Kevin Kwan / ★★★.5
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll probably realise that this book isn’t the type of book I’d normally read and you’d be right. I picked this up on a bit of a whim, after seeing the trailer for the film, and I actually ended really enjoying it. It’s a little silly and over the top, but it was just the light, fun read that I needed at the time.

 

Soul of the World / book 1 of the Ascension Cycle / David Mealing / ★★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was such a good book. I had it on my radar, and then on my kindle, for quite a while before actually reading. I have a full review of this coming soon, so I’m not going into detail right now. Overall I loved this book and would recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy epic fantasy.

 

Assassin’s Fate / book 3 of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb / ★★★★
I’ve now completed the Realm of the Elderlings series. I thought this was a fantastic conclusion to this series. I mean it’s Robin Hobb, so you know it’s going to be good. My only minor issue was that it was a little repetitive at times but overall this book was fantastic. If you’ve enjoyed her other books, then you enjoy this too and if you haven’t pick up Hobb’s books yet then I highly recommend you do.

 

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The Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 of the Echoes of the Fall trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky / ★★★★
This was one of my most anticipated books of this year and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the direction of the plot and thought this was a fantastic conclusion to this trilogy. Once again the writing is great and I don’t want to put the book down once I’ve started it.  I loved being back with these characters and their development in this final book was so well done. Basically I really enjoyed this book. I’m planning on writing a full review so this is all I’ll say about this book for now.

 

 

I’m currently reading Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. I’m about 100 pages in and I’m liking it so far. In terms of my August TBR, there are a few books I’d like to get to including Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst, The Ice by Laline Paull and Lamentation by C. J. Sansom. I may get distracted by other books though :). There are few book releases in August too. What was your favourite book in July? Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Soul of the World / David Mealing

Title / Soul of the World
Author / David Mealing
Publication Date / 2017
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / book 1 of the Ascension Cycle
Page no. / 656
Star Rating / ★★★★.5

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Goodreads synopsis: A brilliant debut epic fantasy with a unique magic system and unforgettable characters.It is a time of revolution. In the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge. Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover blood lust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervour. Arak’Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves. Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands.  Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them

 

*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the first book in a epic fantasy series – I think it may be a duology but I may be wrong. I had this book on my radar for quite some time before actually picking it up. I didn’t know too much about this book going in but I ended up loving it. First off, the plot is well thought out and compelling. The pacing is quite slow, especially at the start, but it never dragged. This is the first book in a series, so of course it’s going to be a bit slow to begin with, because we need to be introduced to the world and characters. It does take some time to reach the pay off of the conclusion but I enjoyed the journey of getting there. However I think some may find that it drags a bit and may be a little too long in length. Personally I enjoyed it very much and had no issues with the slower pacing. I loved the direction of the plot and thought the pacing was well suited to the story. I loved the military aspects of the story and there were some great action scenes. Moving on to the characters. We have three character perspectives in this book and each has a distinctive voice. Although I enjoyed all of the perspectives, I definitely preferred Sarine’s and Erris’s chapters over Arak’Jur, but that’s just my personal preference. All of the characters were well written, including the secondary characters.

 

The magic system is both a strength and a weakness for this book. Basically there are three types of magic – leyline manipulation, a spirit-based system and magic possessed by a small dragon companion called kaas. All of these systems are unique and interesting, however the lack of focus on any of them meant that I didn’t have a full understanding on any of them. There is a lot of magic going on throughout the book but the reader is kind of kept in the dark about the inner details of the magic systems. Having said that, this is an introduction to this world so we may get more information about each system in the sequel. It didn’t really affect my overall reading experience but in hindsight I would have liked some more depth to the magic system. Despite this, I did really like the magic system and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it in the sequel. The world building is another strength of this book.

 

Overall I really enjoyed this debut and I will definitely be checking out the sequel, Blood of the Gods, which is set in be released August 21st. It’s a big book at over 600 pages but it’s well worth the commitment. If you read and enjoy a lot of epic fantasy, I think this is well worth checking it. I highly recommend it. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 reasons to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another 5 reasons to read style review and you can tell from the title that I’m going to be talking about The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’d been meaning to read this for years before I actually read it and it quickly became one of my favourites. Let’s get started.
  1. If you enjoy historical fiction, then you should definitely check this book out, especially if you are interested in books set during WII. I know this is quite a hyped book but it’s well worth it.
  2. This book is written from the perspective of Death and I loved this unique way of telling this story. The writing is fantastic and I was engaged from the very beginning.
  3. The characters are so well written. I love Liesal as a protagonist. Zusak also does a wonderful job at creating the relationships between the characters.
  4. I think this book was originally marketed as YA but I think it can be enjoyed by a wide of people and ages.
  5. It’s one of my all time favourite historical fiction book and I want to recommend it to everyone.

 

That’s all for today. As you can tell I loved this book. I have I am the Messenger, also by Zusak, on my TBR but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I am also excited for his new book to be released later this year. Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts. I think it can be like marmite – you either love it or hate it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Chronicles of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton

Title / The Abyss Beyond Dreams and Night Without Stars
Author / Peter F. Hamilton
Publication Date / 2014 and 2016
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / Duology
Page no. / 688 and 750
Overall Rating / ★★★★

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Goodreads synopsis of book 1: The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics—the Fallers—that are intelligent but merciless killers. Yet these same aliens may hold the key to destroying the threat of the Void forever—if Nigel can uncover their secrets. As the Fallers’ relentless attacks continue, and the fragile human society splinters into civil war, Nigel must uncover the secrets of the Fallers—before he is killed by the very people he has come to save.
This is the latest series set in the Commonwealth universe. I hadn’t read any of his previous books before reading these two, but I didn’t have too many issues in becoming immersed in this world. There may have been things I missed, but I didn’t find that this detracted from the story. I think this is great for both readers familiar with this universe and new readers. Hamilton gives enough background to allow readers who are new to the Commonwealth to easily become immersed in this world. I have to admit about being a little intimidated by the size of this books, especially because I was new to this world, but it turned out to be completely fine. I really enjoyed this universe, but as I mentioned I will have missed some of the world building because I haven’t read the other books set in this universe. It wasn’t bogged down by all the information, so I never felt that it dragged in terms of the world building. Overall I thought the world building in these two books were well done and I loved learning about it throughout the books.

 

Both books are over 600 pages each, but for the most part the plot is tightly paced and compelling. As I hadn’t read anything else by this author, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started this and I ended up really enjoying both these books. While I did enjoy the plot, there were sections that were quite slow and I hate to say a little boring. Most of the time though I couldn’t put these books down. I think, with a book this size, it’s hard to keep it compelling all the way through, while also introducing the world and characters. Hamilton does a fantastic job at tying all the threads of the plot together. There is a lot going on in this duology and the author manages to keep each thread engaging. In terms of the characters, I thought they were all well written and liked their character development through the two books. It did take me a little while to warm to the characters, but after a while I was invested in them. I will say that these books suffer a little with pacing issues and I think some will find that they drag a lot, but I didn’t have that issue. I thought the ending was great

 

Overall I really enjoyed both of these books and I plan to read more books set in this universe. It is probably best that you read the other books in this world as it will give you a wider understanding, but I still enjoyed reading these books. Have you read this duology? I’d love to know what you thought. I’m sorry this review is short, but I have to admit that I’m slowly getting back into the flow of review writing. It’s been a while and I haven’t settled back into the flow yet, so apologises if this review isn’t very good. I tried my best :).  I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Jade City / Fonda Lee

Title / Jade City
Author / Fonda Lee
Publication Date / 2017
Series or standalone / book 1 of 3
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / 

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Goodreads synopsis:Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion. Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation. When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

 

This one is actually going to be quite a hard one to review. I wanted to love it and there are things I really liked about it but overall this one just didn’t work for me. It is the first book in an adult fantasy series. Firstly I loved the concept of this book. Basically it is set in the fictional world of Kekon, where Jade is a precious stone that will enhance a warrior’s capability in 6 different ways: strength, perception, steel, lightness, deflection and channelling. The more Jade you have, the more power you can harness.  Kekon is reminiscent of Southeast Asian countries and the capital is Janloon. The capital is controlled by two warring clans; the No Peak Clan and the Mountain Clan. I think the author did a fantastic job at creating these two warring clans. I love these types of settings and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. We get to see the conflict through the eyes of a few members of the No Peak Clan. I thought the world building was one of the main strengths of this book. Lee has done a great job at creating a vivid world with an interesting magic system. I really liked the magic system but I think it could definitely have done with more explanation. Despite my issues with the plot, which I’ll mention later, overall I thought it was quite good and I think a lot of people will enjoy it.

 

So it’s was a little tricky for me to come up with the reason I didn’t love this. It’s one of those books you can’t quite put your finger on why, if that makes sense, but I’ll try to order my thoughts for you guys. Firstly I think the pacing was an issue. It felt quite uneven at times, which meant that I struggled a little to keep invested in the story. There were sections that really pulled me in, but these parts would end and I would be less invested again, if that makes sense. Due to this the plot moves at a painfully slow pace at times, which detracts from the story itself. I also felt that the plot felt quite thin at certain points throughout the book. This book is just over 500 pages long but I don’t think it needed to be. The characters had potential to be fantastic, but I personally felt that they lacked development. To me it also seemed that some decisions made by characters were done purely as a way to move on the plot, despite the fact they felt contradictory to who the character was. The last thing I wanted to mention is the lack of suspense. I don’t know whether it’s just me but I didn’t see the wider picture of the conflict. Why are the two clans fighting? What happens if one side wins? Each clan is just as bad as the other and I didn’t fully grasp why we were supposed to root for one over the other. Maybe that’s just because I skim read parts and missed something.

 

Overall this was a good book, but in the end I found it didn’t find its footing. I didn’t become fully invested in the characters or story, despite the fact there are so many great things about this book. I know I didn’t rate it very highly but I would still recommend checking this one out, because I think a lot of people will enjoy it. Have you read this book? I would love to know your thought I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

 

Pippa