Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

falling kngdoms

Title: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publisher: Razorbill

Date: 11th December 2012

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I just have one question…Where has this book been for my whole life? It was incredible. The first thing I did after finishing Falling Kingdoms was to go to Amazon and order the second and third book. I had heard a lot about this series, but it completely blew me away. I finished it in less than 48 hours, that’s how good it is. I loved everything about this book; the characters, the action, the politics, the myths and so much more.

The land of Mytica is made up of three kingdoms, Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros. All have lived peacefully, until now. Auranos is a prosperous land and home to the beloved Princess Cleo, who travelled to Paelsia to retrieve wine with a group of friends. While there the unthinkable happens and she witnesses a murder that begins to threaten the place she calls home. The brother of the man killed, Jonas, has set his mind on revenge and has sworn to destroy Auranos at whatever cost. In the cold and freezing kingdom of Limeros, Prince Magnus yearns to earn his fathers trust, and his sister, Lucia, discovers a secret that will change her life forever. Each ruler wants power and some will stop at nothing to get it.

It isn’t often that I read a book where I feel as if I am one of the characters. The way it was written was so vivid and captivating, I just couldn’t get enough. The world building was incredible and as each chapter changed with the multiple perspectives, I could clearly see where our characters were. I especially loved the scenes where they were on their travels, as well as when all the action was taking place. I was hooked and so invested in the story, always wanting to know what would happen next.

I really enjoyed learning about the myth and lore of magic in Mytica, how some Kingdoms had outlawed it and in others witches were still said to roam. Religion has fallen by the wayside in Auranos, while Limeros has it still integrated into their lives, causing a rift. We learn early on the story of the two Goddesses and what happened to the magic, why it disappeared. Let me tell you, it is very intriguing and mystical.

Third person perspective is one of my favourite ways to read now, mainly because we get to see so much more than first person would, and with four different perspectives, we see a lot. Everything flowed nicely and it didn’t feel disjointed at all. I could easily keep up with the story and follow what was happening, even if I hadn’t read a scene from one of the characters in a few chapters. Each character had a different voice and style that made them easy to differentiate and it was one of my favourite things about this book.

The characters are full of life and so unique. Cleo goes through a tough time in this book, but she tries her best to rise above it all, even as her heart is breaking. When it comes to rebels, Jonas plays the role perfectly and I loved his scenes, especially with Cleo and their arguing. Magnus…he’s a confusing one for me because he’s so conflicted. I want to root for him and for him to be good, despite how awful his father is. I feel like I know more about the other characters than Lucia, but I have an inkling that she is going to feature more in the following books.

As soon as you start reading Falling Kingdoms you are thrown into the action and there is no stopping from there. I honestly feel that this is going to become one of my favourite series and I’m only just getting started! Everything about this book was perfect. At just over 400 pages it was the perfect length (in fact, I ended up wanting more) and the end left me wanting more. This is easily a five star read and I just know that it is only going to get better.

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_T

Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

nevernight

Title: Nevernight

Author: Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date: 29th June 2017

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

It isn’t very often that I read a book that is written by a male author, or even an adult fantasy for that matter. I’m not sure why, maybe I relate more to female authors or I just prefer the kind of stories they write. I hadn’t read a good novel by a male author…until I read Nevernight. I had heard people speak of Jay Kristoff’s writing, mainly Illuminae, but that is a sci-fi book (and I don’t like sci-fi) so I thought it best to give his fantasy series ago. I am so glad I did. This book sucked me in and although I had to stop reading about a third of the way through (had two ARCs to read) I found it so easy to pick back up again.

Death has followed Mia Corvere around since she was ten years old, when she saw her father die and her family be taken away from her. She made a promise to avenge them and destroy the lives of the men who killed her family. Everything she has done in her life has been to work towards a goal. To train among the best assassins in the Red Church of Itreya. There she will learn how to survive, to battle and outwit her classmates, and earn a place among the chosen ones. But she finds that it isn’t as easy as she had hoped and along the way she yearns to know more about her own dark powers.

Nevernight is a truly unique book, with a world that is unlike any other. It is dark, dangerous, full of intrigue and I keep wanting to know more. Kristoff writes very well, although I know it may not be for everyone (if you don’t like metaphors and similes, stay away) but I for one really enjoyed his style of flowery writing. Just because I say flowery, it doesn’t mean this book is like that. It is brutal, with lots of killing and blood, but what else can you expect from a book about bad ass assassins?

Something that I thought was unique was the use of footnotes from the narrator. Mia’s story is being told from the future, as we are notified at the beginning that she is dead and that this is her story (so I’m not spoiling it for you). Throughout the book there are little stars that indicate there is more to know about a certain place or person and it can be found at the bottom. While this sometimes interrupted the flow of the story in places, I enjoyed most of the information I was told, especially the witty comments.

Mia Corvere is one hell of a protagonist. You never know what she’ll do next and I love that about her. She is frank, to the point, likes to swear a lot (like…a lot…and with words my mother always said were the worst). She is so intriguing and the fact that she can control shadows and has a shadow cat as her friend is amazing. Mister Kindly (the shadow cat) is always by her side, ever since her family was taken away, and their friendship is a unique one. I often found myself smiling as I read their interactions.

Of course, there is also the other assassins at the school. Some were awful (because we always need a villain) and others were sweet and kind. But looks can be deceiving, as we often find out in this novel. Tric is a character that Mia encounters early on in the novel and someone I grew to love. They understood each other and while things weren’t always good between them, they cared for one another in their own way.

Nevernight has an amazing plot twist that I didn’t see coming, at all. When this happens it often makes a book that much better for me. I love the unexpected and this novel definitely gave me that. There is still so much more to find out about in Godsgrave, which I need to get my hands on immediately. I was thinking about Nevernight for days after I finished reading it and that is how I know when a book has stolen my heart.

Overall, I thought that Nevernight was a brilliant read and I think that Jay Kristoff is one of my favourite authors now (I may even have to check out his other books, whatever the genre may be). This book is for you if you love darkness, action, politics, killing, sex and a whole lot of swearing. While I know it may not be for everyone, this will probably become one of my favourite trilogies. A solid 4.5 stars from me.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_T

Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

sky in the deep

Title: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Date: 24th April 2018

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When I first heard of this Viking inspired standalone novel, I got really excited. I headed straight to Amazon and pre-ordered it, only for Amazon to later cancel the order and say they would no longer be stocking it. Imagine my disappointment. But then, one day, I was scrolling through NetGalley and saw that Sky in the Deep was available to request and of course I did. I waited weeks without hearing anything and with the release date less than a week away I had given up hope. Then I got the email saying that I was approved and I have never been happier. I read this book within two days, which is very quick considering I have work in the week. It was incredible and so moving, one of my favourites of the year so far.

For centuries the Aska and Riki clans have been battling every five years, fighting for their deities and honour. Eelyn is a seventeen year old Aska warrior who prides herself on her fighting skills and has a strong will to survive. As she is battling against the Riki clan once more on the battlefield, she sees something that stops her in her tracks. Before her eyes is her brother Iri, the same one that she watched die five years beforehand. A brother that is fighting with the Riki, not against them. Following him to discover the truth, she is captured by Fiske, the one who is with her brother, and is taken back to one of the Riki villages where she is surrounded by her enemies. All she wants is to understand what happened to her brother and to eventually return home, something that is easier said that done when you are stuck on a mountain in the dead of winter. But when a dangerous force attacks the village, Eelyn has no choice but to trust Fiske and the other Riki, and to help bring the clans together before their enemies destroy them once and for all.

I have so many wonderful thoughts about this book that it is hard to know where to begin. I’m going to start by saying that, at its core, this is a book about family and loyalty, as well as overcoming prejudice. It shows us that sometimes we need to look past the thoughts and feelings that have been instilled after centuries of thinking a certain way and that we should open our hearts to others. The emotions in this book are raw and you feel everything that Eelyn is going through. When she is angry you feel it burning your skin, and when she is sad and at a loss you can feel your heart breaking with her. The writing style flowed perfectly and kept me turning the pages, always wanting to find out what happened next.

I really liked the mythical lore of the clans and their Gods/Goddesses. The Aska worship Sigr, the God of Water and the sea, where their home lies, whilst the Riki worship Thora, Goddess of Fire and the mountains. The origin of the hatred that runs between these two clans is explained early on and is something that is referenced throughout. Both clans fight for honour and to earn a place in the afterlife with their family, they just have different ways of worshipping their deities.

There are some incredible action sequences throughout, with axes swinging, blood covering clothes and blades being drawn across skin. In fact, the first chapter jumps straight into the action of the battlefield and it set me up for the rest of the book. Not exactly for the faint of heart, but there are also parts that are heart warming and touching. Sky in the Deep stirred so many emotions in me and it is something that doesn’t always happen. I felt like I was right there by Eelyn’s side as she went through everything, some of which wasn’t always pleasant. I will mention that there are mentions of rape at times, so that is something to bear in mind.

Our main character, Eelyn is feisty, strong and a true warrior. She is protective of the ones she loves and won’t take any crap from anyone. So, when she is captured it really hits her hard and she has to adjust, but at the same time the survivor in her is always looking for a way out. She has great character development, shown through her emotions and actions as she begins to learn why her brother stayed with the Riki and didn’t return home to the Aska.

While at the Riki village, Eelyn sees that they aren’t so different from the Aska, and slowly but surely we get to find out more about Fiske’s family, the people who took Iri in after the accident. There are some very sweet and tender moments between them all, often reminding me of my own family. Then there is the slow burning relationship between Eelyn and Fiske, which was just incredible. I haven’t enjoyed a romance like this in a while and it was extremely refreshing for it not to be instant-love, or a love triangle.

I could probably go on and on about how much I adored this book. Everything was perfect. We have fully fleshed out characters, incredible relationships, great action, a quick pace and some of the best world building I’ve read in a while. There wasn’t too much of any one thing, and I loved it that much I may have to just buy my own copy. One of the easiest five star ratings I’ve given out this year.

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_T

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825

Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Date: 2nd January 2018

Publisher: Hot Key Books

It has been a very long time since I read a book about the Faerie world, since Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, and I am so glad that Holly Black brought my love for the folklore back to life. The Cruel Prince was incredible, dark, dangerous and I was hooked from the beginning. Black captured the world of the faeries perfectly with vivid descriptions that brought the story to life. The Cruel Prince had everything I love about this genre and I need the next book so badly.

Jude and her twin sister Taryn were seven years old when their parents were murdered and they were taken away to the High Court of Faerie to live with their half sister and her father, the Faerie General, Madoc. Since then Jude has wanted to belong to the world, to be accepted, but that isn’t what the faeries are known for. Faeries greatly despise human, some more than others such as Prince Cardan, a cruel and vindictive Faerie who has it out for Jude. She wants to prove that she has what it takes to earn her place at the Court, but it could cost her.

Instantly I was drawn into the world that Holly Clack created, intrigued by the politics, the darkness and the beauty of it all, something she captured perfectly. There are so many small details woven into this book that makes it feel so real. I kept wanting to turn the pages, eager to find out more and that feeling only intensified once I hit the half way point. You have absolutely no idea what will happen to the characters, what their intentions are and the twists were fantastic. It had me gasping out loud in shock, laughing at some of the lines the characters said and wishing that it would never end.

All of the characters toy with your emotions, one minute you like them and the next you wish nothing but pain on them (which was the case for a few). I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jude, but she was a wonderful protagonist who was strong and driven, even in the face of danger. Even when she was afraid of the faeries, she never let it show which proves just how fierce she is. I loved reading the scenes with her sister and those who she considered family, even if they weren’t by blood. There were some very interesting dynamics that changed drastically towards the end of the book and I can’t wait to see what will happen to them all.

Prince Cardan, well…he was just awful and I wanted to hate him, I really did. However, I began to understand him and why he is the way he is. I wanted to root for him. The funny thing is that I was so sure the title would refer to him, when in actual fact, it referred to many of the Princes. All of the other faeries in this book were just as vindictive and cruel, sometimes in ways that were subtle so you didn’t notice it until later.

This isn’t a romantic book by any means, even though there are hints of it, and I liked that about it because let’s face it, the faeries can’t really love the way humans do. The political turmoil that ensued throughout the book, the violence and magical elements  kept my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all. I still can’t get over the ending and how incredibly shocking it was. You have no idea what will happen and I love that fact.

Overall, The Cruel Prince was a great read that drew me in and didn’t let go. I would definitely say that the second half of this book is better than the first, with a lot of action that makes for great reading. While I don’t think this is a five star read for me, I am going to give it 4.5 stars so that’s close enough. Now for the long wait before book two comes along.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_T