Tag Archives: fantasy

Review: Drowned

drownedDrowned by Nichola Reilly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

A curious cover and an even more curious title; Drowned is a mysterious read from the very beginning. Even at the finish of the read, I felt like I have ten thousand more questions than at the start. I only just found out, after the read, that this is the first book of a series so I have definitely been enticed enough to look this up next year.

Despite all the mystery, this was a very slow read. Understandably, there was a lot of setting up to be done; the world, the characters, the social structure, etc. The information was doled out at a measured pace as the plot develops. It wasn’t boring as it was strange enough that kept me reading though at a similarly slow pace… definitely not a book that kept me awake at night.

The point which most fascinated me was Coe as the female protagonist. Described as ‘deformed and weak’, she’s an outcast of this doomed society. She’s not one of those capable kick-ass characters that you’d cheer along for but rather one who is aware of her shortcomings and seek only to stay alive even if that means submitting to some questionable circumstances. On the opposite spectrum, was Star, ‘the princess’, whom I found absolutely frustratingly shallow though this impression feels somewhat false… I don’t have an answer for this yet; hopefully book 2 will provide some answers

This is not a book I’d rave about even noting certain points of interests. If you’d like to read something somewhat different then I’d recommend picking this up. You will, however, require some patience. It’s a fairly quiet book dotted with some tense & some sweet moments.

Thank you, Harlequin Teen Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Teaser Tuesdays: The Immortal Prince

 

teaser

Tides, how did this happen?  he wondered as they turned and headed back across the lawn to the palace.  An hour ago, he had control of his life and the lives of those for whom he was responsible.  Suddenly, it had all slipped from his grasp.

~page 264

tide lords 1The Immortal Prince (Tide Lords #1) by Jennifer Fallon

 

He’s insisting he’s a Tide Lord and he’s begging us to try again…to kill him, that is.

When a routine hanging goes wrong, the survivor announces he is Cayal the immortal Prince, a Tide Lord. However, the only known record of the immortal beings of Amyrantha is the Tide LordTarot…and everyone knows it is only a parlour-game, an amusement.

Arkady Desean, an expert on the legends of the Crasii – a part-animal, part-human race – is sent to interrogate Cayal. But in exposing this would-be immortal, Arkady’s own web of deceit threatens to unravel.

Nothing is as it seems around the Immortal Prince. The lies seem plausible, his stories improbable…and the the truth is more than any of them bargined for.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Review: The Screaming Staircase

staircaseThe Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Until the last few years, I rarely read children’s books as I find that I’m usually a bit impatient with them. However, I’m trying to change this habit because I’d like to know what my son will be reading when he’s ready to read on his own. Not only that, I’d like to be able to recommend books to him with the gusto of a contemporary (I’ll probably be one of those really embarrassing mums!). Hence, my picking up one or two children’s books these past few years. The particular reason that this book attracted my attention was the title and the similarity of it to a favourite series I read when I was growing up.

The series was called Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators with the particular title I had in mind being The Mystery of the Screaming Clock. This was a series loved by my family, the screamingbooks were passed from brother to sister, sister to sister, aunt to nephew, etc (I’m not quite sure where they are at this point in time, overseas, but they are a family treasure). The three teen detectives are made up of the quirky chubby genius boy, the not-so-intelligent-but-athletic boy, and a smaller boy who’s very good at research. These characterisation I found to be similar to Lockwood & Co., not necessarily the same but more of a mix-match sort of similarity.

The basis of this story is not something new or totally unique. There are a lot of ghost stories out there and who doesn’t know Ghostbusters? But Jonathan Stroud has successfully created an exciting world full of old wonders and new adventures. It is a world where only the talented young are able to detect these spectres and therefore have the capabilities of banishing them.

The characters were mysterious, appealing, and (some are) quite repulsive. There were quite a few suspenseful moments thought I can’t comment on the level of scariness as I am an adult and I didn’t find it scary at all. However, know that I rarely read horror novels because I am a scaredy cat. There were a few back and forth jumps in time at the beginning of the novel which may make for a shaky start but I completely enjoyed the smooth (though spine tingling) ride later on. This is definitely not a world I would like to live in, for real, but definitely one I love to read.

Needless to say, I absolutely adored The Screaming Staircase. With a great plot, fun characters, and marvellous world building, you will not fail to love this book. I, for one, am impatient to, one day, introduce this to my son and at the same time, will watch for the next instalment of this series so I can read it for my own enjoyment. I highly recommend this book to all adventurous sorts out there (real or vicariously) 😉

Thanks to Doubleday Childrens & The Reading Room for the eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Taste of Darkness

tasteTaste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Please note this is a review of the third and last book of The Healer trilogy and there will be spoilers in respect to earlier books

One of the most anticipated book of the year for me is Taste of Darkness. The months that I’ve waited for this ‘hopefully’ glorious conclusion were totally agonising. Of course I was one of the first ones to request this title on Netgalley. Thankfully, I was left to my own devices that weekend (the boys went camping) and boy oh boy oh boy, did I gorge myself! And yes, I stayed up to finish reading 😉

Book 3 picks up exactly where book 2 left off- lucky ducks, we didn’t miss out on 1 second of Avry & Kerrick at all! If you remember, we were all left to die when our hearts just completely broke at the end of book 2… so book 3 was really like a salve to our fractured souls.

It was going on tangents all the time and this really tests my patience. I kept telling myself just wait and it will all make sense in the end. It did but unlike books 1 & 2, I felt this book was slightly messy and that Snyder was trying to give some ‘airtime’ to other characters which I don’t really think is necessary because all we want is Avry & Kerrick. I know some would love this additional aspect but I found it a little too much to my taste.

I’ve seen some reviews who love and rave about the political / war / strategy content. Unfortunately, I’ve recently found out that I’m just not one of those (didn’t enjoy GoT as much as I thought I might’ve). In this, at least, is a bit of difference from previous Snyder works. It has a more epic fantasy feel rather than the usual YA fantasy.

Overall, I have really enjoyed reading this book though I’m slightly deflated at the ending. I’m not sure whether it’s the ending that really was a little off or I was just disappointed that the Healer trilogy has come to an end. I suspect it is the later. I cannot wait for further works from Maria V. Snyder; as always, she never disappoints.

Thanks to Harlequin Books for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Captivate

captivateCaptivate by Vanessa Garden

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Source: ARC courtesy of Harlequin TEEN

It seems that I’ve been drawn to underwater worlds lately and with such a gorgeous cover, a promising premise, plus being written by an Aussie author, Captivate was a definite pick for me. I also participated in the blog tour recently (see: blog tour post) so I really had to read this for myself.

The mysterious beginning of being kidnapped into another world was really intriguing. Miranda, to me, was quite average. I like her but I don’t love her. There were admiring traits and some really frustrating traits. Robbie, however, I loved! He was (aside from being the said kidnapper) really a considerate, kind, and loyal kind of boy whilst Marko –well, who doesn’t just fall for the broody passionate guy? This book was all about the boys for me.

The underwater kingdom was quite unbelievable. There was enough glitter to appeal but unfortunately, not quite well developed. There were parts that really stumped me and parts that I just didn’t like. An example is a particular thing Miranda had to do which I kind of relate to animal or cavemen (maybe) behaviour but really not one a modern society would adopt. The kingdom may not be as modern as our world but it’s not primitive. There appears to be a somewhat gothic feel as well which was barely touched though I have a feeling this might be something for the next instalment. If it is, I really would love to see this explored.

Miranda is, I found, a tad confusing, especially when it comes to her feelings. I thought there might be something with Robbie, then maybe a love triangle, then maybe not, then… *gah*, you know what I mean. It was just completely bewildering. With Marko, on the other hand, it was pretty obvious that she felt something for him though he was in and out too many times with ‘out’ being predominant that I feel his character wasn’t quite built up and therefore, the potential relationship was a little flat.

I’d like to see where Vanessa Garden will take the next book to. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all my wishlist (I know I most probably won’t get them all) but I think I may just read the next instalment before I shelf this series away. Totes read this book for the boys, peeps!

Thank you, Harlequin TEEN, for ARC in exchange for my honest review

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Review: A Clockwork Heart

clockwork heartA Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of Del Ray via NetGalley

Please note this is a review of second book of The Chronicles of Light and Shadow and there may be spoilers in respect to book 1: A Conspiracy of Alchemist (you can check my review on book1, here)

I mentioned in my review for book 1, A Conspiracy of Alchemist, that I think the ending was somewhat dissatisfactory due to some ‘decision’ which I thought was quite silly in consideration of the situation. It took me some time to decide that I would like to know which direction the author is taking with this series and it was truly surprising. A Clockwork Heart turns out to be a darker read that I never would have suspected.

It was a rocky beginning. I just thought Elle was being such a brat and utterly selfish that it was all I could do from strangling her myself. The saving factor was a minor character, Ducky, who basically said what I wanted to say to Elle (*kowtow* thank you, Ducky!). From then on, I could see that maybe this book is worth the read, after all. Even then, there were still a couple of Elle’s decisions that I couldn’t live it. It wasn’t until towards the end where Elle’s picked up (and I’ll have to wait and see in the next instalment!) where I might actually start liking her again.

I have to believe that Elle’s rash and somewhat asinine decisions are what make this book. A little unfortunate that without these, the plot will not go in the direction it has. You will find A Clockwork Heart to be supernatural-steampunk world where Light and Shadow have collided; with the existence of an evil villainess who wanted to rule the world, clockwork-zombies, the tricksy Shadow’s world & characters –all who wanted a piece of the Light. It is a darker sort of paranormal-fantasy filled with actions but not so much romance.

If you are hoping for more of romance (i.e. Elle and Hugh) from book 1, then you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you are open enough to appreciate the direction of the story, then there is a chance you would like it. For myself, due to the frustration I experienced with Elle, the story (along with Ducky), I only just managed to finish the read with an average sort of feeling.

Thank you, Del Ray, for copy of eARC via Netgalley

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