Book Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

16078584Title: Broken Homes

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #4

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

(Contains spoilers.)

A car crash that kills a man who seems to have just murdered a woman with a shotgun to the face. The sudden and unexpected suicide of a man who seems to being controlled by magic. A man who has bust into flames from the inside out. All connected to a stolen rare book on magic. It’s just another day in the life of Peter Grant: police officer and wizard apprentice.

Peter’s investigations lead him to a tower block of flats in Elephant and Castle called Skygarden. Built by a German man as a way to enhance magic through the human activity happening within, Nightingale believes that the Faceless Man is up to something sinister here. Soon the tower block becomes a new home for Peter and Lesley, who go under cover to meet the residents and hunt out who is working for the Faceless Man. But danger lurks around every corner, and Peter soon discovers that no-one can be trusted.

The Peter Grant series is an odd one, and though I have enjoyed all the books (this one included) I can’t help but find problems. First the positives: there are so many great ideas in these books. River Gods, wizards in the police force, a magic sensing dog, Inspector Nightingale a wizard who doesn’t age and helped fight in WWII, and the series villain known as the Faceless Man. The police investigation side is very detailed and practical – if Ben Aaronovitch has never been a policeman then he must know someone in the force, as these are probably the most realistic books about policing I’ve ever read. In Broken Homes the plot is pretty captivating, new fascinating characters are introduced, and certain events at the end are complete game changers which mean the next book is going to be very interesting.

However, there were some problems. Broken Homes is pretty slow at the beginning, with what seems like random murders and cases being investigated. It takes a while before we even see Skygarden and the Faceless Man’s name is mentioned, and feels like Peter is moving aimlessly throughout the first 100 or so pages. It does pick up about half way through, but there doesn’t seem to be a great sense of urgency, not even in the climax where the action really picks up. The biggest problem though is the character of Lesley. Throughout the book I couldn’t help wondering why she doesn’t have a bigger emotional reaction to the events around her. I don’t mean to say as a woman she should be emotional, but it feels like we are only ever told her actions, not her thoughts. Especially after all she has gone through, and the damage to her face – at one point she is chasing a suspect and accidentally leaves her mask behind, and only realises when she is caught in the middle of a crowd, complete with people videoing her. But her reaction is never shown, she just swears, leaves with Peter and the scene moves on. When she reveals that she’s sleeping with a petty thief who helps the police called Zach, we have no idea what exactly their relationship is – is it a real romance? Just a bit of fun? A way to vent her frustration at the world? The discovery that Lesley is in fact working with the Faceless Man seems  put in more for shock value more than anything else. Peter assumes that it’s to get her face back, but it could be anything since she never talks about her thoughts. Are these problems because she’s meant to be a closed off character, or is Peter just too selfish to notice the woman he’s meant to be friends with is struggling? It seems that Peter is a fairly self involved character, not just with Lesley, but with Nightingale and other characters like the River Gods.

Despite these problems, I will being reading the next book, but I know that it will be the one that makes or breaks this series. I have my hopes but, realistically, I know the only way to save it is to get inside Lesley’s head more, and have Peter realise how selfish he has been.

3.5 stars.

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Book Review: Eyes to See by Joseph Nassise

10836790Title: Eyes to See

Author: Joseph Nassise

Series: Jeremiah Hunt #1

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

I gave up my eyes in order to see more clearly…

Jeremiah Hunt is a man determined for justice when his young daughter, Elizabeth, suddenly disappears. When the police find nothing, he can’t stand idly by and wait for action. He turns to the supernatural and does something drastic… Now Jeremiah is blind, but he can see the souls of the dead. Having given up his marriage and career for this ability, Jeremiah ends up assisting the police with odd cases, in the hopes that one day this will lead him to his daughter. Despite the belief by some that he may have actually killed Elizabeth, he lives a life that isn’t happy, but is at least something – until a series of murders come to light that may or may not be connected to his family.

As an urban fantasy with a male protagonist, it was inevitable that Eyes to See was going to be compared to The Dresden Files, a great series filled with humour, police investigations,, a little romance, and a mixture of fantastical creatures. Whilst both are enjoyable for fairly different reasons, there is not in fact that much similar about these two books. Eyes to See is a much more somber book, with the pain of Elizabeth’s disappearance weighing heavily on Jeremiah, who as a character is lacking Harry Dresden’s easy humour and charm. Also, it only features ghosts – no vampires, werewolves, or faereis here. Despite all this, Eyes to See is a good book, with a great premise and a main character whose suffering is relatable and sympathetic throughout. Though it can feel a little too serious at times, this mood fits with the overall tone. The scene where Jeremiah finally discovers what happened to his daughter and visits his ex-wife was very moving, and probably the best part of the book – it brought a tear to my eyes.

Eyes to See also features other great ideas, like two ghost called Whisper and Scream. These ghost provide Jeremiah with “ghost-sight” and super strength to aid him in his investigations. He also has help from a bar tender with links to the supernatural, Dmitri, and a witch, Denise, who has prophetic dreams about Jeremiah. This relationship with all these people (ghost and human) is slowly built upon, which is realistic considering what Jeremiah has been through, though can become a little frustrating to read. Thought there is no romance, there is a possibility for one to develop between Jeremiah and Denise in the rest of the series. It is however very satisfying to read a book about the supernatural that doesn’t offer a easy solution out of every problem, and leaves Eyes to See nicely open for a sequel.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but only for those in the mood for a quieter, more serious urban fantasy.

3.5 stars.

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

13636400Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Series: The Bone Series #1

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

It’s 2059 and London is being run by a security force known as the Scion, whose mission is to hunt out all clairvoyants hiding in the city. Paige Mahoney, a nineteen year old Irish woman, works in the criminal underworld as a dreamwalker. As one of the rarest clairvoyants, Paige is constantly on the look out, as there would be only one sentence if she was captured: death. At least that’s what she always thought, until it actually happens.

Suddenly, Paige finds herself being shipped off to Oxford, a city that has been sealed off for nearly two-hundred years and renamed Sheol I. The city is ruled by a race of unearthly, humanoid creatures called the Rephaim, who view themselves as physically and intellectually superior to mankind. They use voyants as soldiers and servants, and are ruled by a woman called Nashira Sargas. Paige is soon claimed by the blood-consort to Nashira, Arcturus Mesarthim, known as the Warden, who will train her, care for her, and own her completely. Despite being his slave, Paige can’t help but wonder whose side Warden is actually on, but she knows no matter what she is not safe here. Now, Paige must find a way to survive and escape, before her training in fighting monsters who eat human flesh or the attention from Nashira kills her.

The Bone Season is a entertaining book, with a lot of world building and interesting characters. The world created by Samantha Shannon is very detailed, stuffed full of information, almost to the point of becoming slightly overwhelming at the beginning. It starts out with a very heavy info dumping style – the world is described almost completely in the first chapter, and not revisited at all in the rest of the book. This can lead to some confusion, so it is recommended that the begin of this book is read fairly carefully so as to not miss anything. Luckily, once Paige is captured and the action picks up, the info dumping lessens (though doesn’t disappear completely) and you get mostly caught up in the story. I say ‘mostly’, because I felt the book started to lag slightly in the last third. Whilst the story is still moving, there was just something that felt a little bit repetitive and slower that the rest of the book.

All the characters were enjoyable, and though the romance between Paige and Warden was obvious from the beginning, they were both interesting. The slow burn of the romance was the unexpected part, and I think this is part of what caused the lull in the pace, waiting for the romance to fully unfold. However having said that, this is a nice change from most book that focus heavily on romance, and seeing as this is a seven book series it gives the relationship time to develop properly. Warden was one of the most interesting characters as his motives are hidden throughout most of the book and it’s clear why Paige doesn’t trust him for a long while.

Overall, The Bone Season is entertaining and detailed book, that, despite a couple of problems, has captured my interest. I am looking forward to book two.

3.5 stars.

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

12954620Title: Fallling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Series: Falling Kingdoms #1

Rating: 1 star

Review:

(Spoilers below.)

The three kingdoms of Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia may have been at peace for many years, but tensions are rising. Paelsia struggles with poverty and exploitation from both its neighbours, and when a foolish nobleman from Auranos kills one of their people, Paelsia joins forces with the cruel and cunning king of Limeros, who sees this as an opportunity to take out his rival. The children of these lands are drawn unwillingly into this political battle. Princess Cleo, daughter of the Auranos king, must leave her life of luxury in search of a magic long forgotten. Desperate to avenge his brother, Jonas finds himself leading the Paelsian rebels. Princess Lucia of Limeros discovers that she has supernatural powers her father wants to control, whilst her brother Magnus must choose between ending up like his father or the love that could be his salvation – if it wasn’t forbidden. In these three kingdoms no-one is safe from treachery, politics, or love.

Falling Kingdoms has been praised as “George R.R. Martain for young adults”. Heed my warning, and don’t be fooled by this: A Song of Ice and Fire this book is not. What it is is a predictable and, quite frankly, boring mess that promotes a sexist idea a what a woman should be and is patronising to teen readers. At times it felt like the book was trying to live up to the ASoIaF comparison – there’s even a incestuous unrequited love from Magnus to his sister Lucia. (Only, wait! No, it’s ok, she’s actually adopted so it’s all good. Incest? Eww, don’t you know this books for kids? What’s wrong with you?) Though Magnus began as a very interesting character, grappling with the desire for Lucia he knew was wrong whilst also trying to be a good brother, and son to his evil father, but once Lucia rejects him he becomes ‘cold’ and just as two-dimensional as the rest of the cast. Also, it seems that this means that Lucia must ‘save’ Magnus in the later books from his evil father. (How? By falling in love with him, of course! It’s all women are good for, after all.)

This problem, however, was just the tip of the iceberg compared to the waste that was Princess Cleo. Spoilt, selfish, predictable, but of course beautiful, and oh-so-special, Cleo is a Mary Sue at her worst. The forbidden romance between her and her guard was obvious from the moment she compares him to a drunken lord, and this was the first chapter. Watching her ‘struggle’ with this ‘burden’ of loving someone she shouldn’t was just plain boring to read. But the absolute worst was the scene where Cleo has a moment where she realises she is just a political puppet being used by others if she continues to let them, and that everyone sees her as a spoilt little girl. Yet, instead of standing up for herself, she decides not to interfere or change because ‘she might get in Daddy’s way’. This is unbelievably sexist, yet this series is clearly meant to be the story of how Cleo becomes a strong, brave Queen.

I was not impressed with Falling Kingdoms in the slightest, and will not be reading any this series or anything from this author again.

1 star.

 

Cheap Books: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor

Not only is Laini Taylor’s amazing Daughter of Smoke and Bone still only 99p on Amazon Kindle UK, but the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight is too! This series is one of my favourites and I am going absolutely crazy patiently waiting for the third and final book Dreams of Gods and Monsters, which comes out next spring. These books are fantastic, grab this awesome offer now!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

13600168Description:

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.”

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

 

Days of Blood and Starlight

18048665Description:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Book Review: Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

12176820Title: Loss

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Series: Riders of the Apocalypse #3

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review:

Life for fifteen year old Billy Ballard is not easy. He’s the kid who everyone picks on, the one who the teachers either overlook or “make an example” of. He doesn’t even get a break at home, living with his single mother who’s always working to make ends meet, and his Alzheimer’s suffering grandfather, who can sometimes be worse than the school bullies. If it wasn’t for his friend, Marianne, he’d probably go mad – though never working up the courage to ask her out might drive him to madness anyway.

Then Death visits Billy. He wants Billy to stand in as Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as the original White Rider has gone missing. Billy agrees, thinking this could be his chance to get back at his tormentors, and takes the Bow which allows him to strike disease. But when he accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis, Billy realises he can’t handle this kind of power, and must hunt out the previous White Rider, who is hiding in the memories of his long, strange life. After years of causing death and disease, the White Rider has become insane, and plans on an outbreak more terrifying than any the earth has seen before…

Loss is another excellent book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series, which deals with teenagers struggling with different problems who then become one of the riders, and their experiences with their new powers and responsibilities. Though all part of a series, each book can be read as a stand alone, and nothing is lost by reading them out of order. This book’s protagonist, Billy, is a very sympathetic character. Watching his life of abuse and pain is moving, especially if you (like myself) have experienced bullying in the past. Even if you haven’t, the frustration, anger, and self loathing that Billy feels is written in a clear and very convincing way, and I found myself desperately hoping for a scene where Billy stands up and finally gets his own back. Though this doesn’t actually happen in Loss, the battles Billy does win, over his own self doubt and outlook on life, are much more important. This is not a book about revenge, it’s about accepting yourself no matter what others think – which can often be harder than getting your own back.

The world building in this book is fascinating and well researched, the story of King Mita tying in very well with the Riders’ biblical tale. The character Death and the other horsemen are all entertaining and it is a very good thing they all get their own books, as you cannot help but want to know more about them all. There is also a very funny and cute scene from the point of view of the White Horse, who is excited to have not one but two riders now. Death himself is an amazing character, and though he doesn’t get as much focus in this book as I would have liked, this is not his story (thankfully, Death’s story is the next and final book in this series Breath).

Billy’s story is one of struggles and triumphs, both over other people and yourself. It’s moving and very satisfying, and I can’t recommend it enough.

4.5 stars.

August Classic Challenge: 1984 by George Orwell

“Classic” – a book which people praise and don’t read. – Mark Twain

Welcome to a new monthly feature, where I challenge myself to read a ‘classic’ novel. This is because I, like so many others, haven’t actually read many of the amazing novels that are hailed by many as masterpieces or a defining work of a certain genre.

Dystopic novels have become very popular over the last few years, especially in Young Adult. I have thoroughly enjoyed books like The Hunger Games and Stormdancer, but have also read some not so great ones (Wither and Delirium, to name some). I’ve noticed that most of the time with the dystopic novels I haven’t enjoyed most of the problems stem from issues with the world building, that the society has too many holes to be believable. 1984 has always been known to feature the original dystopian society, and I decided it’s high time to give it a go.

6606279Title: 1984

Author: George Orwell

Publication Date: 1948

Rating:

Intellectual Rating: 4 stars

Emotional Rating: 2 stars

Review:

(Contains spoilers, if you wish to read this unspoilt, look away now!)

The year is 1984, and thirty-nine year old Winston Smith has just committed a thought crime. Hiding from the ever watching and listening telescreen in his home, Winston begins to write in a dairy describing the thoughts that could get him killed by the government: his hatred of Big Brother, the knowledge that news stories and facts are being altered, and that poverty exists despite everything the Party would have people believe. Soon Winston begins looking for the rebellion he desperately hopes is out there, and begins an affair with young woman called Julia, would hates the Party as much as himself and uses sex as an act of defiance. Hiding from the Thought Police, Winston and Julia both know that their days are numbered, before they are discovered and removed from all existence – no-one can hide from the Party forever…

The original dystopia novel, 1984 is a great example of a dictatorship who has taken control so fully they don’t even need to be subtle about their actions against their people. Winston is in the fairly unique position of working for the Party in the Ministry of Truth, thus being able to see how they alter news given to the public, but is not high up enough to be exempt from the hash realities of the country, like rations and living under constant surveillance.  1984 questions the nature of reality through Winston’s struggles to deal with the knowledge of the facts he changes, whilst also pretending that he never saw them and swallow everything the Party says as truth. What exactly is reality? Does your reality differ from other peoples’, especially if they believe in a different past than you? The Party’s motto “he who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future” is true, as they use their power to manipulate the public getting them to believe whatever they say, and through this ensure the public’s loyalty to the government. Struggling with questions like this and knowing you can’t think them without being hunted down by your own government, it’s easy to understand why Winston throws himself into his relationship with Julia, even knowing that it would almost certainly get him killed. The character of Julia is also an example of a common stereotype, especially in young people  – the rebel who doesn’t know exactly what they are rebelling against as they can’t be bothered to fully educate themselves. They just know that the government is evil, and believes that everything they say is “bloody rot“.

This novel is excellent in providing a terrifying example of what the world could become. With increases in CCTV cameras and surveillance through technology like GPS in smartphones, it’s easy to see why 1984 is often referenced by people when talking about how much we are being watched by the powers that be. This in itself earns the novel four stars in my eyes. However, upon finishing the novel my first thought was “well, that was depressing!”. After all that Winston goes through, discovering a man he thought was his friend was actually working for the Party, he and Julia being arrested by the Thought Police, Julia betraying him, and being tortured until he “loved Big Brother”, the only options left to Winston were to either become indoctrinated or die. Though indoctrination is the only way for George Orwell to keep his character alive, and to show the absolute power of the government, in the end this message was almost too depressing to read, and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Since this is such a difference in feelings between these two aspects in the novel, I’m cheating with my ratings here. As a comment on the power the government can have over its people and would life could be life if we’re not careful, this novel is excellent. As a novel about characters rebelling and trying to find peace, it is just plain depressing.

Intellectual Rating: 4 stars

Emotional Rating: 2 stars

August New Releases

(Sorry this a week later than normal, but again work and real life gets in the way. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue now, so (hopefully!) it’ll be regularly scheduled post as normal. Thanks for understanding.)

There is nothing more exciting than the release of an amazing sounding book. I for one love the whole process of book releases: the slow reveal of the title, the cover, the synopsis, extracts and teasers, and then, finally, the publication day. So here is my personal list of books I’m looking forward to this month with their UK release dates.

Books I can’t wait for:
The Glass Republic (The Skyscraper Throne #2) by Tom Pollock – 1st August
16045366Description:
Pen’s life is all about secrets: the secret of the city’s spirits, deities and monsters her best friend Beth discovered, living just beyond the notice of modern Londoners; the secret of how she got the intricate scars that disfigure her so cruelly – and the most closely guarded secret of all: Parva, her mirror-sister, forged from her reflections in a school bathroom mirror. Pen’s reflected twin is the only girl who really understands her.

Then Parva is abducted and Pen makes a terrible bargain for the means to track her down. In London-Under-Glass looks are currency, and Pen’s scars make her a rare and valuable commodity. But some in the reflected city will do anything to keep Pen from the secret of what happened to the sister who shared her face.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke – 15th August
12930909Description:

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block – 27th August
16059426
Description:

Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson
e063ea1a7d7e6305597d285e7ad8434cDescription:

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Books that have caught my eye:
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – 20th Aug
13636400Description:

t is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Awoken by Timothy Miller – 13th August
16064647Description:

Fourteen-year-old Michael Stevens has never been ordinary; no orphan who hears music coming from rocks considers himself a typical teenager. But life gets a lot more complicated when two-foot-tall, albino, doll-like men sneak into his room one night, transforming the harmless music into a frightening ability he cannot control.

Soon, strangers in black suits begin to ask unsettling questions while unnatural animals with mismatched eyes haunt the streets. They are hunting, and not just Michael: anyone he cares about is in danger.

With the help of a mysterious drifter, an annoying girl he’s accidentally mutated, and one of those creepy doll men, Michael finds himself in the middle of a war that could forever change the world he knows – reconstructing the very definition of humanity.

That’s my list for August, what about you? What books are you most looking forward to this month?

Early Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

17670709Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #2

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review:

(Spoilers for book one.)

After nearly dying during the King’s tournament, Celaena Sardothien has been officially crown the King’s Champion and the Royal Assassin. She is the King of Adarlan’s mutt, his attack dog, doing his dirty work by killing off those who oppose or displease him. This was supposed to gain Celaena her freedom after a few years, but it feels more like slavery than ever. What no-one realises is that Celaena has a terrible secret – she’s not actually killing those she’s sent to dispatch of. Playing a very dangerous game, Celaena lives in fear that the King will discover that the people he believes dead have in fact gone into hiding, whilst also trying to help Queen Elena and bring back magic to the world. But magic may not be gone as everyone thinks, with an unnerving fortune teller from a camp of travellers and something menacing stalking the palace dungeons. If the King doesn’t kill her, this mysterious magic might.

Crown of Midnight is one of those books that has so many twists and turns you just can’t stop reading it, and will probably spend hours emerged in this amazing story without even realising it. Sarah J. Maas exceeds her first book, which is quite a feat in itself. Stakes are higher than ever, and gone is the flirty, somewhat easy going Celaena (at least compared to her attitude in this book). She is hiding her defiance of the King all by herself, and it’s clear the pressure, and having to act like a loyal dog, is getting to her. Still, her resilience is admirable, and her struggles also show the strength of the friendships she has with Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia. The friendship with Nehemia was one of the best aspects of Crown of Midnight – it is deep and meaningful as not only does Nehemia support Clelaena, she isn’t afraid to tell her the harsh truth that Celaena needs to hear whether she wants to or not. The romance develops more and goes beyond the love triangle hinted at in the first book, with Celaena making a choice, but still staying close friends with the other man. There is still no happy ending in sight however, as issues and conflicts drive a seemingly inevitable wedge between the couple, in a heart breaking way that may not be salvageable.

The other part of this book I thoroughly enjoyed was the discovery of further magic, especially the character Baba Yellowlegs, an iron-toothed witch posing as a fortune teller. She was both truly creepy and intriguing, and the nature of witches is something I hope to see far more of in the next books. The idea of magic returning is one that can cause endless adventures for Celaena and her friends. The revelations about her nature and identity make for a shocking ending that will leave everyone dying for the next book.

I loved Crown of Midnight, it was a constant twists in politics, magic, and characters. After that cliffhanger I cannot wait for the third book.

4.5 stars

 

Kindle Daily Deal: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

You need to go to today’s Kindle Daily Deal (Amazon UK) and buy Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor for 99p (today only). It’s one of my all time favourite books, by one of my all time favourite authors. The writing is lyrical, the characters are captivating, and the world build and mythology is fascinating. Seriously, what are you still reading this for? Go buy it now!

13600168Description:

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.”

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.