Monday, 23 January 2017

Book Review: Siege and Storm

SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo
3 Stars
Verdict: Starting to lose interest.
#1 Shadow and Bone
#2 Rise and Rising

As much as I wanted to love this series, this felt like a second book to me in every way. Battles are lost, relationships are sunk and mended, but none of the events were particularly surprising. I've read other reviews and I'm just not on the same page.

I'm at a slight loss already as I hear the main appeal of this book is the Darkling, and to me he's too vague and absent to grab my attention. Learning more about his past would have been intriguing, but in this book we mainly see how power affects Alina and Mal's relationship.

It opens fast as Alina and Mal face the Darkling once more, but after that the pace dwindles. The author has a beautiful way with words, but spends them on the wrong things. There's so much time inside Alina's head and teaching us about the world, and not enough actually happening in the now.

As the book goes on, Alina transforms into an unlikable character. She whines, makes terrible decisions, gets jealous, insecure, and power hungry. It's the classic decent of a sequel protagonist.

Mal's development isn't positive either. I got the feeling he hated himself most of the time, and by the end of the book I stopped liking him entirely.

On the other hand, Nikolai seemed like a very interesting character. He's charming, with secrets and wit, and he added more to the plot and kept me reading. I hope to see more of him in the future.

In general, I would have preferred less broken romance and more plot. I can't see book three knocking my socks off, but I'd still like to complete the series. I love the folk-tale quality to it and the concept of the amplifies, and I'd like to see how it all wraps up.

Source: Bought it myself!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Book Review: Ink and Bone

INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine
5 Stars
Verdict: For the love of books.

I found this a slow burner, but once it got going I absolutely adored it. Set in the Great Library of Alexandria, this book offers a historic fantasy feel as well as speculative fiction vibe as it asks what would have happened if the Great Library grew in power and controlled the use of books. There's even a bit of steampunk and a grande adventure - this book has a lot to offer!

I didn't initially connect with the way Caine writes, and often found the prose to linger on heavy description without building any substantial picture in my mind. Somehow, this didn't matter in the end as the plot, the magic, and the characters were so creative and intriguing that I adapted to the prose.

Every character intrigued me, each of them complicated for very different reasons. The students each have their pasts, their desires, their secrets, and strengths, as well as different cultural backgrounds. The side characters were more than just tools to move the story along - they had substance too.

I try not to throw around associations lightly, but I did find a striking resemblance to Harry Potter, if book one had been written for older teens. It's also very different, but if you love one you might love the other.

So with a mix of history and fantasy, and overall a great adventure across Europe, this was a fantastic book I'm glad I read.

Source: Bought it myself!