Spoiler Mini Review: Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for both Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning.

My advice to you: Don’t read this book until the series is completely published because otherwise you will end up like me having to wait YEARS with one of the most convoluted and twisted cliffhangers of all time.

This book should literally come with a warning. DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU CAN READ THE THIRD BOOK RIGHT AFTER OR YOU WILL GO INSANE.

All I can say is kudos to Amie and Jay for having the sheer audacity to end a book like that. I think the best way to describe this ending would be to imagine you are watching Avengers Infinity War and about ten minutes before the end there was a powercut.

Honestly this book had the Harry and Voldemort light beam wand showdown, the dramatic Star Wars I am your father reveal, the evil thing influencing the entire world drama of Mistborn, the obsessive and self sacrificing “mate” love of ACOTAR and all the funny banter and friendship of Six of Crows.

I absolutely raced through this book and it was a hell of a ride.

My favourite thing was the character development by far. My girl Zila sharing her trauma and I am living for her attempts at humour. The same for Fin but he’s always been funny but it’s nice to see him learn to trust people. They are hands down the best characters.

Anyone else sensing romance with Tyler and Kal’s sister? Because I’d ship that.

The only ship I really aren’t feeling is Kal and Aurora. It’s just too much and was Kal lying about who is father was THAT BIG OF A DEAL? I dunno to claim to have such an intense and eternal bond and then tell him to get lost when you find out he lied about one little thing which quite frankly is not a big deal to Aurora anyways is just meh?

Apart from that I loved any minute of this book!

Rating 5/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours) by Cassandra Clare

Whilst I enjoyed reading this book immensely I couldn’t help the feeling that I actually wished this series had nothing to do with Will and Tessa at all.

The Infernal Devices trilogy was always my favourite. I never enjoyed The Mortal Instruments with the incest sub plot and Clary’s incessant selfishness and unfortunately The Dark Artifices series was ruined for me by the third and final book. But The Infernal Devices had it’s own magical formula of historical fiction, romance and fantasy and I loved reading Will and Tessa’s story.

This is from someone who doesn’t usually enjoy love triangles.

So when I found out there would be a sequel set in the Shadowhunter world about Will and Tessa’s children I was beyond excited but unfortunately this book commits the stereotypical sin of reducing parents to ignorant background characters who don’t see what is right in front of them. Something I would never want for the Will and Tessa. They are completely clueless and devoid of personality.

Whilst I resented what was done to Will and Tessa to make a good story for their children I could still appreciate this book for what it was.

James Herondale is probably just as tragic and swoon worthy as his father, Cordelia Carstairs, Lucie Herondale and Anna Lightwood are definitely some of my favourite female characters and the twisted love story will be enough to keep you reading (even if the running around endlessly after demons and Cortana being OP as hell gets a bit dull).

This book is an excellent addition to the Shadowhunter universe.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J. Maas

DISCLAIMER: Do not read if you have not read Crescent City or you will potentially be spoiled by the following.

Unfortunately reader SJM seems to be unable to write women that aren’t sassy and sexy and will always write her men to be tragically misunderstood “villains”.

If her writing wasn’t so addictingly easy to read I would probably have given up on this book for being too repetitive. But I guess if you love all things Maas you will love this book too.

A stand out moment for me was the Danika death plot twist which I absolutely loved the until a few pages later when it was ruined by reverting back to the culprit I had guessed waaaay before. Danika and Bryce’s friendship gave this book an emotional depth it would have been completely lacking if it was left to just Bryce and Hunt’s romance (honestly if you have read any SJM you know how this romance goes down). So the mystery of her death and learning more about Danika as a character was probably my favourite part of the book.

As for this being “adult” fantasy it for me offered nothing more adult than her “YA” titles apart from possibly more complex world building? Which to be honest was too info dumpy to be that enjoyable. I would have preferred to have at least have had a world map if you are going to discuss so many different places and not just a map of the city.

This book culminated in the typical showdown SJM is known for. Main character has more power than anyone thought possible, Male looks on at impressive female and truly understands her “soul” but also that she is badass. Male character seemingly sacrifices himself for female. Main evil person monologues the entire plot I just spent hours reading. It’s hard to not get caught up in it all but after about 30 mins of reading at a rapid pace you kinda start thinking “okay and is this the end now?”

One thing I cannot forgive Maas for is presenting a mystery to be solved but making it so the MCs have access to information we never see them get. Whole chunks of the plot in this book relies on scenes and actions of characters we never get to see or even suspect happened.

This book in the end was junk food that I couldn’t help devouring.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag

Disclaimer: As the title suggests this review is full of spoilers. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a dark and vague sort of read with lots of whimsical descriptions and flowery prose. In the beginning it took me a while to get the four POVs straight but after a while you get to know each character’s own voice.

This book follows four “sisters” who were all born on the exact same day and have the ability to enter a magical place called Everwhere.

Each sister has forgotten about Everwhere and the power they have, believing Everwhere to be a childish dream they had. It’s explained in the book why but the whole plot is a countdown to the day all four sisters will be allowed back into Everwhere – the night of their 18th birthday.

I really struggled to get through this book after a while particularly because the ending was obvious. I liked reading about each characters lives and struggles but I felt the ending kind of aborted their individual storylines in the real world.

For those that like it, there is a romance in the book but it’s the sort of romance that excuses the murdering of a parent by said lover. If that’s your thing you will love it until the ending.

I dropped a few stars for the predictable ending. I guessed which sister would die and that each sister had a soldier in their life that would try to kill them at the end of the book.

This book is perfect for fans of Dark Fairytales, The Hazel Wood, Alice in Wonderland, female heroines and forbidden romance.

Rating 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

SPOILER WARNING: As the title of this blog post suggests this is a mini review and it’s full of spoilers.

Full disclosure I was gifted this arc many moons ago in exchange for an honest review.

This book is packed full of your favourite ya fantasy romance tropes. Enemies to lovers, “slow-burn” romance, insta love, fast paced action, Oh no there’s just one bed, the chosen one, and characters that look suspiciously like other major characters in the book.

This book was far too many tropes with too much forced drama for my tastes. It’s by no means a bad book it’s just got lots of things I personally don’t like reading and I especially don’t like reading them all at once.

Enemies to lovers romance has always been my thing but when Lou (street rat and secret witch) is forced to marry Reid (god fearing soldier who loves burning heathens) because he chased her beaten ass through a theatre and they fell onto the stage in front of everybody I should have known this book wasn’t for me.

The romance develops from there really quickly with the obvious issue she’s a witch and married to someone who hunts witches for his job.

There’s a lot of blood magic witchy goodness in this book and I loved the idea of paying a price for magic. For example to break a lock you have to break a bone but unfortunately this stuff was lost in the melodrama of will he love me regardless like my mother couldn’t and this old man looks suspiciously like me and loves the same food I do.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

SPOILER WARNING: As the title suggests this review is full of spoilers.

I have a like hate relationship with this book series. The ONLY reason I made it to the third book was because I love enemies to lovers relationships and I needed to know how Jude and Cardan ended.

So this mini review is going to be biased as I’m not really a fan.

But from a none fan’s perspective Cardan turning into a huge ass snake that death was the only escape from was…a very questionable choice for a finale.

I felt like the book fell into the trap of high drama but for me without properly engaging my emotions and building up to these moments it feels like I’m being flung from one dramatic moment to the next without any real meaning to them.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine so I’ll digress.

For those of you who need to know yes Cardan and Jude do end up together. He announces Jude is his wife when she falls from the ceiling after trying to save him from a suspected assassination attempt.

As far who is going to rule Faerie it looks like Jude still intends to give the throne to Oak but honestly it’s never really discussed or finalised.

Oh and the whole banishment thing was easily solved by how everyone suspected. Jude could pardon herself.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Angel Mage Book Tour: Book Review

Synopsis:

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara. 

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, a genius at making icons to summon angels, and supremely adept in forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath already knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighbouring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendents. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will become ashes, or they will turn into beastlings. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who fix her interest, for they are the key to her quest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. 

The four feel a strange, immediate kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. Only Liliath knows their secret, and she draws them in to her complex plot, just as she manipulates Queen Louisa and her musketeers; King Ferdinand and his guards; Cardinal Duplessis and her pursuivants; and the Refuser Night King Biscaray and his criminal gangs.
All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else.

And if that synopsis doesn’t have you hooked there might not be much else I can say to convince you to pick up Angel Mage.

Admittedly this book will not hold your hand. You are thrown right into a beautiful, vivid and established world with fully fleshed out characters, lands and histories that you are left scrambling slightly to catch up.

Liliath is one of the best female villains I have ever read and her chapters were definitely my favourite. We don’t often get to read books from a villains perspective and Liliath is a vicious, determined and captivating character that forced me to absorb page after page.

The other thing I loved about this book is the magic system. It’s unique and I think simple to follow whilst not being too rigid. There’s a handy little hierarchy in the beginning of the book too that helps you clarify which type of angels are more powerful compared to each other.

I highly recommend this book for people looking for a unique magic system, beautifully built fantasy world and love reading books from the villains POV.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Gollancz for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

I hate endings.

I particularly hate bad endings. Bad endings have the ability to trash an entire series for me so picking up Darkdawn made me a little nervous. Nevernight is one of my all time favourite series. It’s basically me in a book and I’ve been eagerly anticipating and kind of dreading reading Darkdawn.

I finished it today…

And…

I didn’t hate it but I’m not in love either.

I’m not disappointed (maybe I kinda am) I just think Mia’s ending never really interested me as much as her life did. Plus if you don’t like Ash then a lot of the emotional impact is lost. For example I LOVED Chapter 35 because I hate Ash, but I can imagine a lot of other people were crying. Honestly Mr Kindly being told to piss off upset me more and Eclipse’s death was the worst.

Things I loved about Darkdawn:

Mia. She’s probably my favourite female character ever. Tric because he’s just the best, Mercurio and Eclipse. I also loved the story of the sun, the night, their son and the four daughters.

Things I didn’t like about Darkdawn:

The insertion of the books within themselves just felt messy. The constant inside jokes which I laughed at a few times but there must’ve been at least six character jokes about footnotes. It felt a bit like, dare I say it, fan service? There was definitely a few things that I felt were noticeable. Particularly Adonai suddenly getting a much larger role.

Ultimately I don’t like the ending cos I don’t need Mia and Ash together in the Afterlife. I was told Mia died and yes she’s technically dead but I don’t need plot twist of dead Mia coming back to dead Ash to live happily ever after. Forever.

Honestly I feel like Mia is so much more than Ash’s obsessive love and I just didn’t need it. She should’ve dropped her for Tric as far as I’m concerned. Imagine if Ash was a man telling Mia to stay with her and not do what’s right and acting like she’s the only one who cares about Mia? That’s controlling and I’m not into it. She wanted Mia to herself but Mia is a person not a thing to have.

The book also felt a bit too bloated I found my self skimming which I never did before. The final battle was probably about 30 pages too long in my view.

OVERALL I love Mia Coreve and HER story but it came too obvious to me the book kinda played up to fans and jokes that exist outside the books which I would not have minded but they began to become excessive.

My burning love for this series has unfortunately waned.

This was supposed to be a mini review so I’ll stop now.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Synopsis:

“When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Fighting the prejudice of rival classmates, Rin discovers that she possesses a lethal, unearthly power – an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of psychoactive substances and a seemingly insane teacher, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive – and that mastering these powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most people calmly go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…”

Mini Review:

I love the history and lore in The Poppy War. I was given just enough information to feel like I knew the world without it being too encyclopaedic.

I was fascinated with all the mythology and I wasn’t expecting the dark humour which definitely made me rate this book higher.

The only issue I have is I don’t think this book did enough to get to its ending for me.

I could understand Venka, Altan and even Kitay wanting burning revenge. All Rin had to do was hear about the atrocities other people witnessed and experienced first hand.

It very much felt like a Daenerys Targaryen situation where plot took precedence over character development. The author wanted Rin to become this destructive force of nature so she did. That and the pacing made me drop a star.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I’m in love with these sarcastic sociopaths and arseholes ♥️

I just finished Aurora Rising and I HATE to say it (but I will anyway) I enjoyed this a lot more than Illuminae. If (like me) you committed the most heinous of crimes and found Illuminae a bit slow…(SORRY SORRY OKAY). Maybe you thought it only really livened up when A.I.D.A.N was introduced (Everyone loves a bad boy). I PROMISE you will have no such issues with this book.

The mystery surrounding Auri will keep you reading till the very end and if somehow you find yourself losing focus the group dynamics are sure to keep you entertained.

My thoughts on each of the characters:

Tyler: Good guy, good looking likes to do the right thing. Supposed to be all about the rules but I think he only learned them all so he could break them.

Scarlett: Sassy bad bitch twin sister of Tyler. Not so good with the killing in cold blood but can offer you a sarcastic comment and empathy when you need it.

Cat: Another bad bitch whose hopelessly in love with Tyler. The voice of reason in the group for the most part.

Finian: Poor broken boy who is just wants to be loved but makes it really hard by being a massive d**k. He’s probably my fave.

Zila: The “sociopath” of the group. Likes to calculate the odds of dying whilst being shot at. She definitely has more to her than meets the eye and I can’t wait to find out more about her back story.

Kal: The space elf. Real good at the killing, needs to work on the romance.

Auri: Pulled out of cyro with a nasty habit of killing people and not remembering it. The entire story centres around her and where she comes from.

Aurora Rising is GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY X LOTR X MISTBORN and I HIGHLY recommend reading.

Rating: 4/5 stars