Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.
The Language of Thorns is comprised of six short stories - 3 of which are old and can be read anywhere on the internet and the other 3 are completely new and never seen before. I guess I wished for more of new material? Only 3 new stories are not enough to comprise a full book, in my opinion. I've also liked the older stories better than the new ones, which was also a little disappointing. The new ones weren't bad in any way, the writing was amazing and the stories were good, they just didn't do much for me personally. I found myself largely underwhelmed.
- Ayama and the Thorn Wood: (3.75/5 stars) I've enjoyed this story a lot, despite it being incredibly heavily drawn upon fairy tales and folklore this was still a very enjoyable read. I especially enjoyed the bond and friendship between Ayama and her sister, despite all of their their differences.
- The Too-Clever Fox: (3/5 stars) I've read this one a while back and I thought that it was good, but nothing special. I know that all of those stories are inspired by folklore, but this was so 'been there done that' that I didn't feel much for the story. I've definitely read many stories just like this one when I was growing up.
- The Witch of Duva: (5 stars) I've read this one a while ago, right after I finished The Grisha trilogy and was craving more of Bardugo's writing. The Witch of Duva blew my freaking mind. All I could say after I was done, was WOW.
This must be witchcraft because holy smokes it was fantastic! In few pages I was both mesmerized and creeped out.
This felt a lot like something Brothers Grimm would write : dark, delicious and traumatizing.
And I LOVED it.
Go ahead. Read it. Give yourself a treat. A dark, very creepy treat.
- The Little Knife: (3/5 stars) I'm not quite sure how I feel about this story - it was good, beautifully written, and yet something felt off in it for me. I just don't know exactly what? I did enjoy the 'princess saves herself' moral of this story, I feel like it's a very empowering and important message to deliver.
- The Soldier Prince: (2/5 stars) My least favorite of them all. I think the story just went over my head, because to me this was just a bunch of nonsense. It started out very interestingly at first, but then it just became a big mess while trying to be too many stories at once. And the ending was just weird. I sadly did not enjoy this one at all.
- When Water Sang Fire: (4.5/5 stars) What a beautiful story to wrap up the book. It is the longest one in the book, but it's also one of the best (only second after The Witch of Duva). Ulla is such a strong and compelling character, I couldn't help but fall for her from the very first page. I loved the twist at the end, maybe because I did not see it coming at all? It was heartbreaking, and yet, beautiful. And obviously the guest appearance scored some extra points for this story *wink, wink*. This story was deliciously atmospheric and perfect for this time of year. The ending was very 'little mermaid', but I enjoyed it a lot anyway.
Final rating: 3.5/5 stars
Overall, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I was very excited for this book, and I feel like it didn't deliver to its full potential. Maybe because there were only 3 new stories? Maybe because it wasn't as dark and spooky as I hoped it would be? Maybe because in some of the stories I felt like the author was trying too hard to please the readers instead of just letting her stories flow by themselves? Or maybe I'm just turning into a book Grinch?
The full page illustrations were absolutely gorgeous - all of them. My favorite one is The Witch of Duva, but all of the others were amazing too, Kiplin did a great job!
After 12 long days of trying to get into this book I am finally DNF'ing it on page 228. I've only DNF'd 3 books this year (this is my 4rth), so it was a hard decision. But, I struggled through it from the very beginning, so I just had to leave it. Every time I put it down I just didn't care at all to pick it back up.
It's not a bad book in any sense, it just didn't do anything for me.
I read one other book by Benjamin Saenz - Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - and I really loved it. Aristotle and Dante showed me reasons why I should give ya contemporary a chance. But The inexplicable Logic reminded me all of the reasons why I hate ya contemporaries.
Aristotle and Dante was aesthetically written, and it was the most quotable book I've ever read - it was just beautiful. The Inexplicable Logic was just a big mess of repetitive writing, with some pretty quotes sprinkled throughout.
It had such a promising premise! A boy who was adopted by gay father - I thought it was incredibly different. We always see kids struggling with their sexuality, and we don't often get to see kids dealing with their parent's sexuality. It was supposed to be a coming of age story - main character navigating through grief, loss and other confusing things (like his father being gay). I was so excited to read it! But in the end - the amazing premise was just that, a premise. It never translated into the story. Yes, all of those issues and elements were there, but they all fell flat, buried under heaps of unnecessary and useless chapters. This story could have been everything, but sadly I got bored way before I could see it unfold.
Here are some reasons why this book didn't work out for me.
Repetition of things: almost every chapter ended on the same note - every new chapter felt a little bit like the previous chapter, with same thoughts and same ideas on the loop. It's like somebody forgot to switch the film and the same song kept playing. On repeat, repeat, repeat...
The writing: this didn't really feel like a book, but more like a diary, and not an interesting one at that. The writing was choppy, and abrupt and just weird at times - it just felt very messy, like maybe a child wrote it.
The characters: I couldn't identify with any of the characters in this book. They all had so much potential, but they just never reached it (I mean, maybe they did later on, but I couldn't wait anymore) - they felt flat and cliche to me. And I just couldn't stand Sam at all, main's character best friend. A girl who cusses for no good reason and teases her best friend to no end? Even though she had so much happen to her, and I knew that as a reader I was supposed to feel for her - I just couldn't.
Useless chapters: Some chapters were fully comprised of Sal (main character) and Sam texting. Some of the conversations went like this:
Sal: I have a new word
Sam: What is it?
Sam: Are you brave?
Sam: yes, you are.
(now this is not an exact conversation from the book, but you get the idea). I just couldn't take much of that anymore - if I wanted to read useless messages between teenagers I'd go on Tumblr or something.
This book is over 400 pages long, and I just don't see a reason why. I could only get through 228 and then I decided that I had enough - I was so bored. The pace is so slow, and I normally love slow-burning books, but something here just didn't click for me. Pages were filled with useless things and repetitive subjects, meanwhile the plot was going nowhere.
If you love contemporaries, you might love this book. If you haven't read anything by Saenz, I'd recommend reading Aristotle and Dante instead of this - that book had heart and soul, this book felt like it needed more work to have sustenance. For me, I am done with ya contemporaries, so in a way I'm thankful for this book, because it reminded me exactly why I stayed away from them for so long.
I had this post drafted since April. April! Apparently recommending books is no easy task - especially when nowadays there are so few standalone novels. I have books in different genres - from fantasy to historical fiction, so hopefully there's something for everybody.
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon (fantasy/romance)
This was my very first Amy Harmon book, but definitely not the last. Ever since I have discovered her I've been trying to read more books by her - because let me tell you, Amy Harmon can write!
Her words are absolute magic.
This book does have a companion, BUT it's not series and the story is totally wrapped up and done in this one.
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (fantasy)
I am a recent Brandon Sanderson fan, but I am already totally enamored with his books.
This one is a short novella, but is honestly better than most of the full sized fantasy books out there.
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.
Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.
Brimming with magic and political intrigue, this deftly woven fantasy delves into the essence of a living spirit
From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon (historical fiction)
Oh, look, another Amy Harmon book - and this is might beeves better than the previous one. I wish I could forget it so I can experience it for the first time again. So many emotions, tears and happiness in one book - I don't know how my soul didn't shatter.
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.
But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (women fiction)
A total surprise, a delight of a book. I didn't expect to love Eleanor so much, but I just couldn't help it! This book makes my top 5 all time favorites easily.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living--and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
And then there were none by Agatha Christie. (murder mystery)
An instant classic. A forever favorite . A masterpiece. Just few of the ways to describe this gem of a novel.
First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (historical fiction)
Bleak, sad and absolutely beautiful. Burial Rites tells a story of a convicted woman and prejudices she has to go against. It delivers many powerful messages - a must read.
A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (fantasy)
A magical journey for a cozy afternoon tea. It's lyrical, it's descriptive and lush - and it's deliciously slow burning.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night...
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway - a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alice Saenz (YA contemporary)
Probably the most beautifully written contemporary I've ever read. It's sad and happy, it's heart breaking and healing. It's a journey of anger, confusion, love and family - and you should read it now.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
"The Emperor's Soul" deserves all of the stars. All of the praise.
“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person's life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn't take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. ”
You know what this book's only flaw is? It's way too short.
Oh, don't worry, the story is all perfectly wrapped up and beautiful. There just needs to be more of this because "The Emperor's soul" is a masterpiece. I could easily read 500 more pages of this.
That said, this is the best thing I've read this year and it's only 175 pages. The novella is a Hugo Award Winner and I definitely see why.
175 pages to develop a page turning story with deep background and great characters.
175 pages to create one of the best female main character ever.
175 pages to have reader guessing the next turn and twist.
175 pages apparently was all Brandon Sanderson needed to blow my mind.
“She took a deep breath and let herself become someone else. An imitation of herself who was calm, even in a situation like this.”
Sanderson has an uncanny ability to write amazing female characters. I've noticed that since the very first pages Vin (Mistborn) was introduced, and once again from the very first pages of Shai in this book. First of all Shai wears glasses! Hello, I haven't ever read of a girl in a book, let alone fantasy book, who wears glasses! So, as a fellow glass wearer, I approve of this a 100 percent.
Shai is both overly confident and the most humble. She is brilliant. Yes, some of her morals might be askew, but she has a big heart and a shining soul.
What I find absolutely refreshing from Sanderson's books is that he never focuses on his character's appearances. It doesn't matter what a person looks like - what matters is how they behave themselves, how they present themselves and what their skills and talents are. I feel that this is a very important message to deliver in a world where everyone and everything is judged by looks.
“People,” Shai said, rising to fetch another seal, “by nature attempt to exercise power over what is around them. We build walls to shelter us from the wind, roofs to stop the rain. We tame the elements, bend nature to our wills. It makes us feel as if we’re in control.”
Since this is a short novella I don't want to write anything that might give something away. All I'm going to say is - do yourselves a favor - read it. If you are not into fantasy - read it. Who knows, this might be the book that will get you into it. And if you are Sanderson's fan, but haven't read this yet- you are missing out big time.
"The Emperor's Soul" is going on my all-time-favorite-books shelf and it will stay there forever and ever.
Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
No wonder this is considered to be the best book of Agatha Christie's ever - it is truly a masterpiece.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
And I am not just saying it- I truly mean it. I didn't just discovered it and am not speaking on a high rush of that fresh new read feeling - this was a re-read for me. And I don't re-read books very often - only the BEST OF BEST makes my re-reads list.
Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.
If you have read anything of Agatha Christie before and wasn't a big fan - read this. This novel is completely stand alone and it doesn't feature Miss Marple or Poirot, like all of her other books do. Despite being first published in 1939 this novel is timeless, it reads extremely easily. It's an absolute CLASSIC without that heavy classic feel.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
The book starts out with clever introductions to our 10 characters all of whom intertwine somehow on the way to the Soldier Island, to where they were all invited. And then - and then shit goes down!
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Christie plays with human psyche and emotions wonderfully in this book. She brings out guilt, paranoia and distrust. It's so tangible you can almost feel it seeping through the pages.
Five little Indian boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
I have mentioned that this ia a re-read for me. I read this for the first time about 5 years ago (at least) and because of this I couldn't really remember what happened. So, reading it again felt new and exciting! BUT, I also feel like even if I remembered the ending I'd still have enjoyed it just as much. Because then I'd have just looked for clues, for giveaways and hints on how to solve the mystery.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
This book is one of my all time favorites, and to be honest not many books can beat that. I always find something to dislike if I read books more than once (as the more I read the more critical I get).
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
I found some things that I didn't think clear answers were given to in the book, but nothing major, and nothing that could have disappointed me. For this read focuses on atmosphere, on emotions and on quick pace of events that just don't give you time to catch your breath. Or to put the book away...
Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.
And because it is so atmospherically mysterious and creepy, it's a perfect October read! Highly, highly recommend!
Bravo Agatha Christie, BRAVO!
One little Indian boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.
I should rename my blog from Book and Sword to Book and stab stab stab! Because nothing satisfies me lately, I have become the Grinch of YA books!
I will start off by saying that this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. I had so many good reasons to love it:
1. It's written by Leigh Bardugo (she is one of my all time FAVORITE AUTHORS).
2. I LOVED the WW movie when it came out earlier in the year.
3. It's written by Leigh...I've said that already.
Anyway, the most anticipated read quickly turned out to be the most disappointing read ever. I think my expectations were SKY-HIGH, so that didn't help either. Here's the deal - as a Wonder-Woman-hero-novel - this book BLOWS big time. As a greek-mythology-inspired-ya-book-with-Percy-Jackson-vibes - this book is pretty darn good.
As always, I will be honest, and as much as it pains me - I will not be rating this book by what I wished it could have been, but by what it is. Even if Leigh is my favorite author and I am still happy that I pre-ordered her book to support her - it won't change the fact that I really did not enjoy this novel. So sad, but true.
I didn't want this to be YA (to be honest this feels more like middle grade). It was just so PG! I didn't want this to have Percy Jackson vibes. I wanted a Wonder Woman book. Not a Wonder GIRL book.
“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”
To start off this was incredibly slow paced, like snooze-button slow paced. It took 200 pages for an actual battle action scene to appear. 200 pages! Before that there was just a lot of talking, doing unnecessary and boring things, talking again and just a whole lot of boring. I honestly think that the book could have been at least 100 pages shorter.
It took me forever to read it because the story wasn't holding my attention. I didn't care about any of the characters either (I started to care for them when I had about 50 pages left till the end...).
From the very beginning I didn't like how Amazons were portrayed at all. Amazons were supposed to be a supportive and understanding community. Peace and equality was supposed to be the main focus. But from my point of view they were just a bunch of women who weren't very supportive of one another at all. And the fact that the general wasn't nice to Diana kind of spoiled the whole thing (but I blame the movie for that, as the movie general was the one who believed in Diana and I really liked that).
By the way, if you thought this was a novel based on the movie - you are wrong - it's a totally different story (which I knew from the start, but I still found myself wishing that it could have been more like the movie).
I also didn't really care for the portrayal of Diana either. You see, in my head Diana was this strong, confident and selfless woman. But, in this book Diana was just a teenage girl with insecurities and weaknesses. And while I can appreciate and relate to that, it's just not what Diana as Wonder Woman should represent.
“We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.”
I liked Alia, but I also felt that as a main character she never really reached her full potential. Nim and Theo were nice additions, I actually enjoyed their squabbles. But, I think that their ending was an easy way out. I wished it was just left as it was before, it would have just been more realistic (those who already read will know what I'm talking about). Jason was an interesting character and I enjoyed the story twists that he brought in very, very much.
I really enjoyed all of the Greek Mythology brought into this, especially when gods started to show up and cause havoc in the mortal world. This parts were pretty great.
I liked how many issues were touched upon in this book - feminist issues, racial, cultural, sexual issues. But at times it also felt as if the author was just saying what she felt she needed to say (more specifically what she felt readers wanted to read) and not the actual characters speaking themselves. Well, if that wasn't confusing... In other words - it felt as if Leigh was just writing out her views on the world through her characters, instead of letting her characters talk.
I know that characters are her creations, but you know what I mean... Right?
The dialog also felt very forced. As if the characters were trying to be funny, but they just weren't. But, by the end of the book, about 300 pages in, I did laugh as the humor improved greatly by that point.
To wrap up, if this was just a mythology inspired adventure book - it would have been absolutely great. But as a Wonder Woman super hero book, it just wasn't. It didn't feel like a super hero book and Diana didn't feel like a Wonder Woman.
“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
Boy, do I have a bone to pick with this book... But, everything in order.
This could have been a very enjoyable read.
- I could have looked past the inconsistent character development.
- Could have looked past the fact that I knew who the murderer was from the very beginning (it was as obvious as a sunny day).
- I could have looked past a romance that I wished wasn't there (not that it was bad, I just want a horror book with no romance in it - you know).
But what I absolutely couldn't look past was the fact that one of the MC was so blatantly ripped off from the famous Sherlock Holmes. And I'm not talking about the movie, or the BBC tv-show ( I enjoyed both tremendously by the way). I am talking about the original Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Now, I wanted to give author the benefit of a doubt and so I read the authors note and the acknowledgement - twice. To make sure that I didn't miss the spot where she says that Thomas Creswell was 'heavily inspired' by Sherlock Holmes. But there was no such spot! No mention whatsoever. And that is precisely what plummeted this book into the ground for me.
I am just so tired of new authors ripping off ideas and characters from classics, anime's and just generally other books, and not giving credit where the credit is due!
Now, Thomas Creswell is a very loved character, and I absolutely see why - he's brilliant, he's blunt and he's quite mysterious - alas, if only he was original and authentic in his awesomeness. BUT HE IS NOT! This is actually making me so incredibly mad, and you know why? Because Sherlock Holmes is my hero. When I was a teenager all I read (literally) was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. So when I am saying that Thomas is almost an exact replica of Sherlock - I know what I am talking about. I read each and every story about Sherlock Holmes at least 8 times.
From the way Thomas carries himself to the way he calls Audrey by her last name , Wadsworth, it's all so Sherlock like. He even has a science lab in his flat - just like Sherlock does. He smokes cigars because he finds that nicotine stimulates his brain - Sherlock Holmes smoked opium and injected drugs into himself, claiming the very same thing. Thomas's brilliant deduction methods are ripped off Sherlock Holmes basically down to exact words. The instance where Thomas borrows a dog fro one of their investigations - Sherlock been there, done that. Even the little scene in the train, when Thomas claims to hate to sit idly and waste time in a train - Sherlock Holmes hated being inactive and confined too.
And mind me, this all would have been totally fine - if only there was acknowledgment that Thomas was inspired by a classic detective character. I've read some reviews stating that Thomas reminded readers of Sherlock, and Audrey reminded them of Watson - it's more than just that, as they are basically built on the other two characters. Is acknowledging that in books not a thing anymore? Am I overreacting?
The rest of the book was pretty okay- it needed a subplot very badly, something else to focus on and to bring more dimension to the story. Some parts were quite exciting and I really enjoyed them, while others were silly and quite ridiculous and cliche.
The thing that I loved was how much feminism and girl power was represented in here. In an oppressing world of men ruling over women, Audrey kept fighting her way other dreams, no matter how dark they were. There were few very nice and insightful quotes.
“Pretend I am as capable as a man? Please, sir, do not value me so little!”
I didn't find gruesome parts to be scary, or, well gruesome. And I cringe easily. But the tone went well with the story, and I do have to admit that the last gruesome scene was indeed pretty good.
I enjoyed Audrey too at times, but she was a bit too inconsistent for my liking. She would swoon over Thomas and then start being rude and disliking him for no reason - and that would go on for the whole duration of the book.
Sadly, this was a big disappointment for me, but it wasn't mainly because of the story, or the writing. It was because I felt that author should have said whom her characters were based off, for without doing so, she just claims their brilliance as her own invention - but it is not. If not for that, I'd have enjoyed the story. As Tomas Creswell is definitely a character I'd have adored and swooned for.
First of all - when I read the advanced copy of this book it did not have a cover yet. But goodness, isn't it just gorgeous? It's so minimalistic and elegant - I absolutely love it!
Echowake is a fantasy steam punk novel. Here is the synopsis:
Flying through the clouds on the backs of giant air whales, a young man is constantly on the move to avoid a pressing darkness. His dark dreams have always kept him alone, but now he finds himself desired by opposing groups. The Cytech inventors guild wants his talent, and a group of powerful Mystics wants him outright dead.
I am always wary when it comes to reading a book that I haven't heard anything about yet. I'm always afraid that it will turn out to be another one of 'been there done that' cliche stories. With Echowake I was able to cast my fears away from the very first pages. There was nothing cliche about this story.
I was plunged deep into the world so unique and engaging I wasn't able to stop reading. There are flying whales (which are used as transport), cat-people (well, just one, but he is so worth it!), breathtaking landscapes, dark magical secrets, amazing steam-punk inspired inventions and much, much more.
The main character of the story is Trede, who I absolutely adored, because, ready for it? Trede is not very social!! How often do you get an MC who's very introverted and anti-social? Not that often to be honest, and I was so glad for it. It was so refreshing to watch him journey on, trying to warm up to people, trying to put himself out there in the world. He is not left to be lone for long though, as he soon meets his new best friend, about whom I will talk in a minute (because he's my favorite) and other interesting characters.
Trede's little group grows as they encounter villains and dark forces. I loved how all of the characters were strong headed and driven, either by curiosity or long-life goals. There are many twists and turns, and many action scenes definitely worthy of steam-punk fantasy.
If you know me at all, then you know that I'm always on a look out for amazing side characters to love and cherish. And I definitely found one in this book. Well, there were few actually that I enjoyed tremendously, but I don't want to spoil anything, so I will just talk of one.
All main characters need a great best friend sidekick, and Traz is probably the sidekick of all sidekicks! Big reason being is because Traz is one of the cat-like creatures.
Now, think me a huge nerd, but Khajiits from Skyrim, HELLO!! Maybe that's why I had such an easy time imagining Traz, for I just imagined him as a Khajiit - that didn't take away from his character one bit, I'd say it added to his awesomeness even more.
Traz was funny, brave and very intelligent. I will say that he was like a little sunshine of the whole group, but with claws. It was so easy to distinguish him from the rest of the characters - Traz had his own way of speaking, which was absolutely delightful to read.
Big thanks to John G Stevens for letting me read a very early version of this novel. I enjoyed my journey with these characters and would absolutely love to read more about them (hopefully there will be more)
I didn't get to read much leisure books in September which makes me sad. I actually only managed to read 3 books.
I was busy with my beta reads and I also got a part time job, so at least I have good excuses.
1. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
If the first book of this series was good - the second was simply phenomenal.
The Well of Ascension is full of twists and turns, new characters, surprising revelations and action. The story is so complex and interwoven that somehow I did not see the big twist coming. To be honest, I didn't see other smaller twists either. I was just as blind as the characters were. I don't know how Sanderson did it - but he wrote quite a masterpiece.
down below is a full link to my review.
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Another great read for the month of September. I buddy read this with my husband and we took so much from this book.
“As long as I'm with you, I know exactly who I am.”
The concept is pretty cool, and the pace is incredible. There were definitely a few heart thumping instances. It is also very well written - I would definitely recommend. But what surprised me the most in this novel, is how much Blake Crouch knows about family, love, sacrifice, choices and consequences. The book is full of so many amazing ad heart wrenching quotes! I teared up at least twice! So, bravo, Crouch, bravo!
I Really enjoyed it, but I did think that it felt a bit unfinished. Maybe there will be a second one?
Link to FULL review is down below
3. The witches by Roald Dahl
Some children's books are enjoyable to readers of all ages. Such as Matilda, by this author.
This is not one of those books.
It's a bit too silly, a bit too weird and it got some very repetitive dialog.
However, if I was reading this as a child I would have loved it. Or if I was reading it to a kid.
It does have some humor that adults would understand more than kids would, but it's nothing special.
Definitely recommend this to young readers (and by young I mean like 4-8 years olds)
Freelance BETA reader.