Monday, 23 April 2018

The Smoke Thieves, Sally Green

It was a little ambitious and a little insane
A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict. 

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

* * 
2 / 5 

I read and liked Green's "Half Bad", but it wasn't really my genre. The Smoke Thieves, however, seemed right up my reading alley - a fantasy novel, a princess looking to rebel, a demon hunter, some sort of intriguing political skulduggery - but unfortunately I was pretty disappointed. It felt like a was reading a novel aimed at thirteen year olds, but it had the occasional "adult" language and scenes thrown in that seemed like a cheap attempt to appeal to an older audience.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lucy and Linh, Alice Pung

That was when I learned a very important early lesson: here at Laurinda, mistakes meant annihilation
A literary Mean Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat that follows Lucy as she tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

* * * 
3 / 5 

I found Lucy and Linh a hard book to get into. It's written in an epistolary format; the whole book consists of letters from Lucy to her friend Linh as we follow her journey from ordinary public school to an elite Australian private all-girls school Laurinda. This was a difficult read for two reasons: first, I found the writing style a bit weird and unengaging, and second, it was quite emotional!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Final Draft, Riley Redgate

She bowed under the heaviness of the hours she hadn't lived yet
The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he's suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.
At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval.  Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

* * * * 
4 / 5

When I finished Final Draft my main emotion was sad. Redgate portrayed depression and grief so realistically, it made me feel a bit empty inside, which is how I know an author has hit the nail on the head. This isn't really a happy book, but it's definitely a great one. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

To Kill A Kingdom, Alexandra Christo

Heirs were easy things to make, and my mother was the Sea Queen first and nothing second
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. 

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? 
* * * *
4 / 5

To Kill A Kingdom absolutely lived up to the hype - and I'm not even fond of The Little Mermaid!  Ocean inspired fantasy novels are typically not my cup of tea at all, but with all the buzz, I couldn't help but try this one up. It was absolutely a lesson in stepping (or reading) outside of my comfort zone from time to time, because this novel is a gem!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Daughter of the Burning City, Amanda Foody

We are putting on a show, but I had always believed that was because Gomorrah is a city of performers. Turns out, we are a city of liars
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

* * * 
3 / 5 

Daughter of the Burning City was a bold attempt to break out into the competitive YA circus-themed novel genre. I have read and adored The Night Circus and enjoyed last year's breakout novel Caraval, so I was looking forward to seeing what fresh ideas Foody had brought to the circus. And it was definitely novel, full of weirdness, but I think it was a bit too weird for my tastes. Definitely lots to enjoy here for the right reader though!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Sky in the Deep, Adrienne Young

"Ond Eldr." Breathe fire. 
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

* * * * * 
5 / 5

Sky in the Deep features my favourite kind of woman - the warrior woman, the woman with a sword and an axe and a glare that could shatter empires. Eelyn is tough, bitter, discerning, and sensitive upon occasion. She is raised in the pseudo-viking Aska Clan, bitter rivals to the Riki people with whom they meet in battle every five years. Five years ago, Eelyn's brother Iri died on the battlefield, leaving her and her father alone; today she stands shield to shield with her friend when she encounters a ghost on the bloody field.

Monday, 2 April 2018

[article] March Round-Up

Happy Easter!

March Round Up, 2018

I ploughed through some really awesome books this month, from the highly anticipated conclusion to the Illuminae Files, Obsidio, to some banging ARCs like Sky in the Deep and To Kill a Kingdom. I didn't read a single book under three stars this month - truly an awesome March!