Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 5th June 2012

I feel as if I am very late to this series considering it has been out for six years now, but better late than never right? The reason I decided to read the Grishaverse trilogy a go is because I keep hearing everyone talking about Six of Crows, and then I found out there’s a series beforehand and I figured it would be best to start at the beginning. Shadow and Bone was amazing. I read it all within two days and I can honestly say that I think Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors now, especially after reading The Language of Thorns as well, which you can read about here.

Alina Starkov is from Ravka, a nation that was torn in two by the darkness of the Shadow Fold, a place where no light exists and creatures made of nightmares attack whoever enters. Alina is with her regiment crossing the Fold when they are attacked and her best friend, Mal, is injured. He would have been killed if she hadn’t somehow saved him with powers that had been dormant for all of her life. Once they have been discovered she is whisked away by the Darkling, a powerful Grisha who wishes to teach her their ways, for she could be the key to saving Ravka. She soon learns that nothing is as it seems and a dark force is looming in the distance.

When it comes to world building, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it better than Leigh Bardugo. We are thrown straight into it, with new words, places and people cropping up, but it was done in a way so that it wasn’t information overload. I loved the Russian influence on the names and the setting which made it feel very authentic and real. I became so immersed in the world that I didn’t want to stop reading. I wanted to know more and I cannot wait to see more of these incredible Kingdoms in the following books.

The magical elements of this book were so different to what I had read before and I loved how there were different types of Grisha, all specialising in certain abilities. There were Summoners, like the Darkling who conjured darkness, and there were others that could manipulate the weather. It was very interesting to see how Alina fit into the elite group after living such a mundane life beforehand, one where she was a nobody.

All of the characters in this book are wonderful in their own way and they were fleshed out so they were relatable and real. Alina was a great protagonist, with a strong voice and her character arc was great as she set out to discover who she really is. Yes, she has self-doubt and wonders whether she can be the person everyone expects her to be, but once she stops moping, she turns out to be a badass. Something else I enjoyed reading about were the other Grisha characters that feature and play a role in the story. Genya was someone who Alina grew close to and it was great to see a female friendship that was genuine.

Mal didn’t feature in the book a lot to begin with and I didn’t have much of an option of him, but it was interesting to see his relationship with Alina. The Darkling…He was the most mysterious character out of the whole book and I found myself wanting to know more. His voice was strong and intriguing, with a few twists and surprises that I didn’t expect. You can’t help but like the bad ones and he definitely has hints of that in him. And like with most good Young Adult novels there is some romance in this story and it was wonderful.

Shadow and Bone was a great story overall. While it may have started off a little slowly, the ending was amazing and made me excited to start the second book. If Siege and Storm continues on being as amazing as the first, I have a feeling it will become one of my favourites. I’m going to give this a solid four stars.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_T

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

heir-of-fire-uk

Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: 11th September 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

This series is incredible and it has gotten better with every book I have read. It’s been a while since I loved a series as much as this and I am so passionate about the characters and their world. I just can’t get enough! Heir of Fire is the best so far because it was tense, fast paced and I was hooked. As this is the third book in the series there will be some spoilers below so if you haven’t read the others, don’t read anymore.

Heir of Fire picks up with Celaena arriving in Wendlyn to carry out the task the King had set her, to steal military plans from the Kingdom. Going against his orders, she hides out until she meets the mysterious Fae Prince, Rowan Whitethorn, who takes her to see Queen Maeve, who can give her the answers that she seeks. But first, she must master her gifts with the help of Rowan. Together they travel to Mistborn, where the Demi-Fae live and they begin a gruelling training regime. All the while a darkness is growing in the mountains where the Ironteeth witches are gathering to help the King of Adarlan. Back in Rifthold Chaol is working with the rebels to come up with ways to help Dorian control his magic and how they can restore it to the land.

There is so much that goes on in this book that it’s hard to know where to start (and it isn’t exactly a small book either). I’m going to start off by saying that I loved the multiple POVs in this book and it was so easy to keep track of everyone’s story. My favourite, by far, was learning about Manon Blackbeak and the wyverns that had been created. I can’t even begin to explain how incredible it was to learn of their history (especially after being introduced to the Yellowlegs clan in Crown of Midnight) and Manon was one of the most badass characters I’ve seen in a while. There is definitely more than meets the eye with her and I’m excited to see where her story leads her (also, Abraxos is amazing and I got Toothless vibes).

The character growth, especially for Celaena, was amazing and learning about her past helped us to understand why she acted the way she did. I was almost crying at some parts because it was so emotional and I think it all comes down to the fact that Maas has created a character that we can all connect with in some way. The shock of finding out that she was Aelin, heir to the throne of Terrasen, stuck with me at the beginning of the novel and it was fascinating to read her interactions at Mistward and the struggles she faced regaining her power.

We were introduced to so many new characters in this novel and they all had their own voice that was distinct and unique. While Rowan seemed to be a bit of an arse in the beginning (he was just a little bit harsh to Celaena), we later grew to understand him and in the end I could feel him becoming one of my favourites. We also met Aedion, the General of one of the King’s armies, who was helping Chaol uncover the secrets of how the magic in Adarlan disappeared and how they could indeed get it back. He, too, was a bit of an arse, but in the end it all made sense and I was rooting for him, for them all really.

Dorian managed to meet someone, a healer named Sorscha, who made him happy and I couldn’t help but smile when I read his POV, although that ending had me gasping because I did not expect a thing! It was heart breaking and left me wanting to know what would happen to all my favourite characters. The last few chapters sent me spiralling and I just know that Queen of Shadows is going to start with a bang. Also, I really, really want the King to die because he’s so evil and it’s infuriating. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strongly about an antagonist and once again, it’s all down to Maas’ writing ability.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book is and it wouldn’t do it justice. The writing is incredible as always and the world building was fantastic. We learned so much more and I could vividly picture it all. There was action, darkness, drama, romance and heartache. This book made me feel everything and I just love it. How could I not give it 5 stars?

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_T

 

Top Ten Tuesday | Things To Do On Halloween

toptentuesday (1)

This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is Halloween Freebie – Happy Halloween! It allows us to be creative with the topic and I decided to choose the top 10 things to do on Halloween!

I am a huge fan of Halloween! While it isn’t really celebrated over here in the UK, it is in Ireland and when I was younger I would always go out trick or treating with my family when I visited.

Without further ado, here are my top 8 things to do on Halloween (I couldn’t think of any more that I would personally do!)

1. Watch my favourite Halloween movies that I loved as a kid

For me, personally, Halloween isn’t complete without watching these films in particular. I’m talking about the one and only (until they do the remake) Hocus Pocus! This is without a doubt my favourite and one that I watch every single year without fail. This year I managed to watch Casper, a film I hadn’t seen in god knows how long! Also, a film that combines my love for Halloween and Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Always perfect and starts getting me in the mood for more festivities.

3. Light a couple of candles

I have about three candles dotted around my room and I love the atmosphere it creates. Plus, if you can brave a scary movie, it makes it seem more tense watching it in the dark.

3. Get some treats in to snack on

sweets

It seems that all the sweets are on offer at this time of year, giving you the perfect excuse to buy a couple and eat throughout the day. I prefer ones that have a mixture in so there is a lot to choose from. Plus, it makes me feel like a kid again because at 21 it is unacceptable to go trick or treating.

4. Buy a pumpkin to put on display

photo-1477516561410-f0b5dd8319e4

Whether you want to carve a creepy face into one or just place a couple on display throughout the house, a pumpkin is a Halloween staple.

5. Watch a horror…if you dare

Horror is one of my favourite genres to watch and over the years I have become immune to being scared. The only movies that have recently made me feel terrified of walking past my stairs at night is the Conjuring franchise, including the Annabelle Films. These films will be making you wonder if ghosts and demons really do exist on Halloween.

6. Get a bottle of red in

cdd_2016_06_21-1

Not only does red wine look like blood, Casillero del Diablo literally means Cellar of the Devil, making it perfect to drink on Halloween.

7. Don’t like wine? Try making some spooky Cocktails

halloweencocktails

If you prefer to make something a little tastier and a lot more fun then check out some of the many cocktail recipes online. Perfect for if you’re hosting a party as well! I love the recipes that can be found on Delish.

8. Read a scary book

Is there a better time of year to read a Stephen King novel? Pick up one of his many books, cover yourself with a blanket and settle in for the night and pray that you will be able to sleep later on.

I hope you enjoyed reading my top 10! How will you be spending Halloween this year?

Review: Into The Water

into the water

Title: Into The Water (Hardback)

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Doubleday (UK)

Year: 2017

It has been I while since I wrote a book review (almost 5 years ago when I had a blog on BlogSpot) so I may be a little rusty. Before I read this book, I picked up The Girl On The Train and it was the book that got me back into my love of reading. However, that was over a year ago and when I saw that she had brought another book out I knew I had to have it. And if anything, I loved it even more than her first. I had never read a book from the thriller genre before (apart from a failed attempt of reading IT when I was 15 and getting 300 pages in before giving up) but Paula Hawkins’ writing makes me want to read more of this type.

What I love about her writing style is that it flows at such a pace that I find myself trying to turn the pages as quickly as I can to reach the ending. I needed to find out what happened to these characters in this book. There was so much mystery surrounding this book and I couldn’t put it down. I will warn you, you must pay attention when reading this book. There are a lot of characters and with each chapter being in a different person’s viewpoint, it can be tricky to remember who is who and what their part is. Personally, I love this kind of writing style because it keeps you on edge until the end of the book.

The twists and turns that this book took me on had me guessing who the real villain was until the very end. I’m normally pretty good at sussing out who did what and I was truly surprised by the reveal. Into The Water is a dark tale that is carefully fabricated to seem so real.

There are a lot of deep, dark topics that this book covers such as murder, suicide, infidelity, rape and a lot of family issues. While these things aren’t always the easiest to read, this book shares a snippet of what happens every day. The characters in this book are flawed, very flawed, but I find that interesting because let’s face it, are any of us perfect? Yes, there were a few characters that I didn’t like but you get that with every book you read.

If you love a good thriller that hooks you in until the end, then I would recommend that you pick this book up soon. Don’t be intimidated by its many characters, for me that made it all the more interesting. You won’t regret reading this book, especially if you liked The Girl On The Train.

I’m going to give this 4 out of 5 stars.