Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

5 Stars
Slow to start, totally worth it.

Kell is a blood magician who can travel between the four worlds, each with a different affinity for magic but sharing the anomaly of the name 'London'. When Kell finds a dangerous artefact, he must return it to the darkest form of London before it falls into the wrong hands.

I found the beginning slow with too much exposition, but intriguing nonetheless. At first I struggled to get to grips with the different worlds as they're each very different in description, history, characters - of course there needs to be a lot of world building in a book about multiple worlds, but it made Kell's narrative heavy to read. Yet, it had many redeeming quirks, like the elemental toy and the enchanted coat, which made me think the book could swing either way for me. I kept reading with an open mind.

When Kell bumps into Lila Bard, the book really gets going. Lila's a thief who yearns for adventure, and with very little to lose, she's very happy to get herself tangled up in danger as she seeks the thrills and riches of life. She bounces well off of Kell, adding in a feisty spirit and a bit of humour, taking what could have been a dry fantasy into an entertaining adventure.

Exposition aside, the book is full of adventure, mystery and magic - what's not to love? I would recommend it highly, but only read it when you're ready to properly get into a book. You have to give a little before you get anything back with this one.

Source: Bought it!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Book Review: Homecoming

HOMECOMING (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan
3 Stars
Verdict: Not much to say.
#1 - The 100
#2 - Day 21

The dropships have landed, and now the colonists are being led by the old Vice Chancellor, who I pictured as Governor Ratcliff from Pocahontas. He’s pretty thick, arrogant, with not enough to him to be redeeming. It’s a mystery to me why he’s in charge, but there you have it. Let’s start a war.

It’s quick and light read, with not much to say. The idea behind it is brilliant, but the book itself is meh. The target audience is on the younger side of young adult, and maybe the TV series set my expectations too high. The ending went to mush too, like the last book, and that sets me off on a down note.

The problem with so many characters in a short book is that none of them really get fleshed out. The author tended to tell exactly how the characters feel or who a character is, when really I wouldn’t have guessed. Whether they were happy or sad, it felt shallow.

I’m glad these books are out there, but I can’t say I enjoyed the book series too much.

Source: Bought it!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Book Review: Day 21

DAY 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan
3 Stars
Verdict: It's okay.
#1 - The 100
#3 - The Homecoming

Oops, I forgot to write a proper review for this one when I read it last December, so this might be a bit short.

In truth, I read it quickly and moved on. Nothing really stood out, good or bad, that I haven’t already said for book one.

It’s an easy read and it's written in a straightforward manner… plus with further explanations to make sure you really get the point. From that, I gather this is aimed at the younger side of the young adult spectrum, so maybe it lost me a little there.

I enjoyed the unravelling of the characters’ pasts alongside where are they now. It's not a style I usually enjoy, but Morgan does it well.

I think the ending got to me the most. It’s anticlimactic, and once after watching the TV series, I expected depth, grit, and shocking twists, and instead it was easy, simple, and – how dare it – happy. In the end, I just expected to feel more from it.

Source: Bought it.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Book Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

5 Stars
Loved it!

This story is about one momentous day. It’s Natasha last day to stop her deportation back to Jamaica, the place she was born but feels little connection to. It’s also Daniel’s day to shine in an interview for Yale that he couldn’t care less about, but his first-generation Asian immigrant parents believe it is the best thing for him. Their encounter is improbable, their relationship doomed from the start, yet they’re meant-to-be.

I fell in love with Natasha and Daniel. Natasha likes observable facts, only believing in what can be studied – not fate, or karma, and definitely not love. Daniel is more comfortable with the unknown and a hopeless romantic. Over the course of one day, he tries to prove that they’re meant to be together.

Okay, so one day is a little fast, but I like to think the quality of their interaction is what mattered – how open they were, how much they learned. Or maybe I’m willing to make excuses because I enjoyed reading it.

The gorgeous writing had me engaged from start to finish. I’ve never read so much detail in a single day – I’ve never thought such minute actions could be fascinating until now. Every second mattered, and every character had history, a story to tell, another side that you would never suspect.

I enjoyed the snippets of science, history, and culture spotted throughout. I loved the shifts in the narrator which showed us another way to perceive the story, ultimately demonstrating that perception is as flawed as we are. It’s also refreshing to read multiple points of view where they actually sound like different people.

By the end of the book, I felt like they were both dear friends that I didn’t want to part with. I will definitely read another Nicola Yoon book in the future.

Source: With thanks to the publishers via NetGalley.com

Monday, 5 December 2016

Book Review: Gambit

GAMBIT by C. L. Denault
3 Stars
An unexpected romance novel.

It started out strong, with lifelike characters and a rich, warm setting for the tale of the lost heir with genetically amazing powers. It felt a lot like Red Queen in a good way, with enough differences for it to stand out.

Our main character Willow starts out naive and rude, but full of spirit, and I hoped she’d grow throughout the story into a strong, feisty woman. However, Willow didn’t exactly grow throughout the book. Although everyone called her strong, I found her immature, rude, aggressive, and stroppy – a complete brat, and that isn’t the same thing as strong to me.

When the terribly dystopian-guard Reese was introduced as her love interest, I struggled to go with the flow. I didn’t think it made much sense (for spoiler-related reasons), and the pair had too many petty arguments for my tastes, where the same points would be rehashed with different words, circling over and over until things got ugly…

So the plot that started out strong withered away into romance, just romance, nothing surprising over here. No mystery, no twists, no intrigue. That’s where I started to lose interest, especially as I didn’t feel comfortable with the spotlight being on such an abusive relationship. When it’s a subplot, it’s one thing, but as the main attraction I just didn’t enjoy it.

In the end, I realised I really didn’t like most of it. I liked the writing style and found the plot always moving forwards, but I’d have preferred some intrigue, an overarching puzzle or goal to move the focus from rough romance to intrigue.

Source: With thanks to the publishers via NetGalley.com