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Genre: Assassins

Friday, July 8, 2016

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Series: Six of Crows,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 29 Sept 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Mystery & Detective, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shadow & Bone, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: Ketterdam, Kerch // Dierholm, Fjerda

First Line(s): Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.

Narrators: Jay Snyder (Matthias), David LeDoux (Kaz), Brandon Rubin (Jesper), Lauren Fortgang (Inej), Roger Clark (Pekka), Elizabeth Evans (Nina), and Tristan Morris (Joost)

Confession time, although this won’t come as a surprise to some, but I did not like SHADOW & BONE (my review). It was such a struggle to get through and I just couldn’t be bothered with the other books in that series. So when I heard that Leigh Bardugo’s next series was also set in the Grisha universe I wasn’t sure if I would read SIX OF CROWS. But I was curious and so I kept sussing out what people thought about it and then when I was looking for a new audiobook it just up and stumbled into my basket. The SIX OF CROWS audio is a full cast recording and uses different narrators for each POV. I was intrigued by this and it wasn’t long before the story grabbed a hold of me in a way that SHADOW & BONE never did.

Curiosity

I’ll admit SIX OF CROWS did start a little slow but it wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the story. I loved how all the different narrators approached this story and the life that they gave to these characters. Each narrator really helped bring out the personality of the characters, not just the one of the POV they were acting out but all the characters that they voiced. It was interesting to see how the narrators saw the others in this motley crew and I never had any issues figuring out who was who. I also found it  very help to listen to the audio as I’m sure I’d have stumbled over many of the names and words used in this book.

Six of Crows Quote

At its heart SIX OF CROWS is a heist story and if you like a good heist story then you will like this book. There is intrigue and betrayal and a whole lot of shenanigans. But its also a story of friendship, of family, and of finding oneself despite all of the odds. Its a coming of age story and its even a love story on some levels. There really is something for everyone in SIX OF CROWS and its fast paced enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I know that I spent every free moment I could listening to this audio because once I became invested in this story I couldn’t stop listening. I just wanted to know more and when I hit the end I was bereft because it was over.

Another thing I like about SIX OF CROWS is that it has an ending. Oh there are still things that are left to be done and even a wee cliff hanger but you know were most of the players stand and you see the set up for things that will happen in CROOKED KINGDOM. But best of all, its not predictable. I have no idea where this story is going I just have my hopes and my fears on what Bardugo is going to go. SIX OF CROWS is an intricately woven story and I h ave no doubts that CROOKED KINGDOM is going to be the same. There are twists and turns around every corner and a whole lot of heartache and shenanigans ahead.

I did not expect to like SIX OF CROWS as much as I did. I wasn’t even sure that I would read it. But I am so very very glad that I did because I was so engrossed in this story. For me, its a whole different style and delivery than SHADOW & BONE. The characters have more depth and they are smart and feisty and while flawed they aren’t broken. Bardugo weaves in the history of the Grisha world and the backstorys of this crews expertly in the story that there are no slow info dump moments. SIX OF CROWS is definitely a story that can be read independently of SHADOW & BONE. So if you haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet, or if you are like me and you didn’t like it all that much I would say that you can easily pick this one up and know what is going on with the world and not be lost.

thumbs up

irishdarkblue

IR - Six of Crows

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry ThomasThe Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea
Published by Harper Audio on 13 Oct 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Royalty, Survival Stories, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea

Place(s) Traveled To: The Sahara Desert // Delamer, The Domain // Atlantis

First Line(s): Somewhere in the most immense desert on earth, a thousand miles south of the Mediterranean Sea and just as far west of the Red Sea, rose a line of sheer sandstone cliffs.

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is the third (and final) book in Sherry Thomas’s Elemental Trilogy and as such I was terrified to read it. I had an ARC of it long before it was published but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up because once I turned that last page then it was be over. I would have to leave this world and these characters and while I can always re-read the series its just not as special as that first time. Those moments that make your heart pound because you know that your favorite characters may not live to see the end of the story. But in the end, the lure of Titus and Iolanthe was was strong and my love of the audio version was too strong for me to stay away.

As always, Philip Battley does an amazing job bringing all of these characters to life. You would think that its an odd choice to have a predominately female POV story narrated by a male actor but it really works for this series. Battley becomes all of these characters and I hear his voice in my head when I pick up the print version of these books. Battley’s voice combined with Thomas’s words make for an enthralling story and I always hated when I got to my destination and had to stop listening. This is definitely one of those series where I recommend the audio over the print because the narration is just so good.

Immortal Heights Quote

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is not a perfect book there where times I rolled my eyes and wanted to shake some of the characters for the things that they did. They could be annoying and frustrating and I just wanted to wrap them up in a cocoon of protectiveness and prevent them from coming to harm. The ending was also a bit anti-climatic based on all that came before but its also one that worked for the story. I also didn’t hate the epilogue which, as regular readers know, isn’t something that happens often.

I loved this whole series and I am so sad to see it come to an end. The random head jumping and the action of some of the characters could be frustrating at times but I loved them in spite of all their flaws. I loved the prose of this book and how the words just flowed over me. Its an addicting story that made me laugh, made me cringe, and made my heart ache. Its a must read for any fantasy lover and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

Add

four-stars
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns,
Published by Harper Audio on 24 July 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amalur, Orovalle // Brisadulce, Joya D’Arena // Basajuan, Joya D’Arena // Rebel Camp, Joya D’Arena // Great Desert, Joya D’Arena // Oasis, Joya D’Arena

First Line(s): Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson first came to my attention back in 2011 when I received an ARC of it. At the time it sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure it was for me so I put it on my shelf as a maybe someday read. Time passed and I never really forgot about the book as so many people kept recommending it to me. Telling me I had to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS as it was so so good and as a lover of fantasy I needed to experience the story. So after many attempts I finally did. And I wish I hadn’t. I just had so very many issues with this book that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to capture them fully here.

First, my biggest issues with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was all the body shamming that occurred. Elisa was contantly told she was fat and as a result wasn’t pretty and would be useless if she didn’t carry the godstone. Not only were the outside comments terrible but her own internal ones were worse. She was so self-depreciating that it made me cringe. Then, she gets kidnapped and loses all her excess weight and all of a sudden is smart and beautiful and everyone flocks to her. She has value and is fierce and no….just no!!! Before she lost weight she’s considered to be naive and after she is this smart warlord who is a great leader. And I just hated how all of Elisa’s character growth came because she lost the weight not not because of who she was. And even though she does become skinny, Elisa maintains a very low self-esteem and low body image of herself and she never really grows or changes in that perspective.

Girl of Fire and Thorns Quote

The other part of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that drove me batty was all the talk about food and religion. If Elisa wasn’t thinking about food then she was either eating food or yearning for food. And if none of those were happening than she or others were talking about food. The few times when food wasn’t the main topic things moved to religion. So much religious talk. I get that religion was a big deal in this world but it was forced down a readers throat at every turn of the page. There are ways to be a religious and spiritual story with out forcing it and this would have been a grand lesson for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to learn.

The whole plot was pretty non-existant and the writing tended to make my eye twitch. I swear the word grin was horribly overused along with smile and every variation that you can think of of those words. They would be used several times on the page and even a time or two in the same sentence. For a kidnapped naive princess turn warlord general trying to stop an invasion there was an awful lot of grinning. You’d think there would be more suspense involved but there never was. But in the end there wasn’t a whole ton that happened and what did occurred mostly off the page.

And finally, I was promised a great romance. But there really was none. Elisa was married at the start of the book and then her marriage was kept secret from her husband who kept a mistress. Elisa then started to fall for one of the rebels but that didn’t progress far and ended badly. When I started to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS I had lots of people make comments to me about a character named Hector and how swoon worthy he was. But he was barely in the book at all. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is a book that I felt I wasted my time reading. It just annoyed me from start to finish and I’m going to have to think long and hard before I decide if I should continue on with this series or not.

Read my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did

Two Chicks on Books – “I really loved the characters she created Elisa is weak at first but she learns quickly and finds her inner strength. The king is likable enough and I absolutely loved his guard Hector (more of him in book 2 please Rae). The rest of the characters each have strong personalities and I can tell you some you will fall in love with and some you will detest from the moment you meet them.”

Book Smugglers – [Elisa]’s not a perfect heroine or a Mary Sue, for all that she’s God’s Chosen, but she finds a way to take on the innumerable challenges thrown in her path with a kind of calm grace and growing sense of confidence and self-respect.

Tripping Over Books – “I have to also take a minute to say that THINGS happen in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that almost never happen in YA books. I’ll tell you this: as an avid reader of ADULT fantasy, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the twists. They still hurt like burning, but in a devastatingly good way, and I give Rae Carson incredible props for going there. TWICE.”

 

IR - Girl of Fire and Thorns

Special thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books for today’s recommendation suggestions!!

Add Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s thoughts / Click here for my review)

Add Defy by Sara B. Larson to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s review)

two-stars
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Mirror King by Jodi MeadowsThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen, Book 2
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 05 April 2016
Genres: Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Glowing Knight

Place(s) Traveled to: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom // Aecor City, Aecor

First Line(s): The Prince’s blood was on my hands.

If you’ve read THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) then you know what complete and utter shit that ending was. Like seriously! I’ve read terrible endings by evil authors but THIS one…my stars…Jodi Meadows didn’t pull out any stops and if I was anything like Wilhemina then I’d have been hunting her down demanding answers, and maybe a little vengeance. But I am not Wil, so instead all I could do was sit and weep as a part of my soul had been crushed by how that story ended. No really, here is an actual photo of me after I finished reading THE ORPHAN QUEEN:

a river of tears

Therefore, you should not be in the least surprised to know that the moment I was able to get my hands on a copy of THE MIRROR KING that I did so.

Push through a crowd

For me, THE MIRROR KING was a drop everything and read title because I *HAD* to know what happened next! And fortunately Meadows doesn’t putter around and she picks up the story almost immediately after THE ORPHAN QUEEN ends. Oh how I had missed all of these characters and this world. The banter between all the characters is so amazingly good that I found myself laughing in between bouts of tears as Meadows tried her damnedest to stop on my heart some more. This author, folks, she is evil incarnate. I know that comes with the territory of her being an author but really did she need to do THAT?!?!  Is it really too hard to give a HEA at say page 1? Is that too unrealistic?

Not how it works

Mirror King Quote

So, feelings aside I really enjoyed THE MIRROR KING and I am oh so very very glad this this was a duology and not a trilogy as I couldn’t have recovered from 2 books with cliff hangers. Especially with that one in THE ORPHAN QUEEN! THE MIRROR KING is filled with lots of twists and turns and gasp out loud moments along with ones that will break your heart. Seriously, this book is an emotional roller coaster but its ending is totally worth the journey in getting there. Because while the ending of ORPHAN QUEEN made me weep and toss my book across the room the ending of THE MIRROR KING made me happy sigh and clutch my eReader to my chest.

book hug

But what utterly and completely kills me with THE MIRROR KING is THAT LETTER!!! If you’ve read PERSUASION by Jane Austen (my review) then you know the sort of feels that I mean. While the letter here is more of a list it is oh so perfect of a list and oh so perfect for this story. It “pierced my soul leaving me in half-agony and half hope” much as Captain Wentworth told Anne in those final moments. There may have been an eternity* to wait between THE ORPHAN QUEEN and THE MIRROR KING but oh how it was worth it because Meadows really delivered a wonderful story that was so perfect for this world and her characters.

Though its a bittersweet ending because this story is over and there are no more words. Its really really hard to say goodbye to a beloved story and characters. That Meadows can get me so attached in just two books is truely a remarkable thing and I can not recommend this series enough. Its fantasy at its best and if you know me then you know just how hard I am on fantasy, especially YA fantasy. So well done Jodi Meadows, well done. You’re still evil but I still love you. Thanks for writing a kick ass book! *muah*

two thumbs up

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

irishdarkblue

IR - Orphan Queen

 

Add The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi MeadowsThe Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 01 September 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, The Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): James was down there fighting. I was not. And this was what jealousy felt like.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is the second prequel novella in Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen universe. It is the continuring adventures of Tobiah and James as Tobiah becomes the Black Knife. I loved this early look at James and Tobiah and I totally ship the bromance that is between them. I also love how James and Meredith interact and I would love to see a romance between them but alas fates and kings have different plans for those two. In THE GLOWING KNIGHT we also get a little glimpse at the start of the glowmen and of Wil and her Ospreys. It was a fun look at how things were before the paths of all these characters started to cross years later.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is a fast read and includes some more preview chapters of THE MIRROR KING (Goodreads), which are totally killer! Its a great little snippet to help tide one over after the crazy ending of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) although its still not enough. It is never enough. I love this world that Meadows has created and I hate it each and every time when I have to say goodbye. This world is so rich and detailed that it almost leaps off the page. I also love these characters and I like these little glimpses into their lives. I love to see the world through Tobiah’s eyes and reading these makes me wish that the main books were dual POV stories as I’d love to know more about his thinking.

 

irishdarkblue

Glowing Knight Quote
three-half-stars
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini Review: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: The Hidden Prince by Jodi MeadowsThe Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Glowing Knight, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 02 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Family, Friendship, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Glowing Knight, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): “You’re dead again.”

If you’ve followed this blog for a bit or even kept track of me on Twitter than you know that Jodie Meadows’s THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) crushed me. It was a killer book and when it was over I knew I needed more in this world and while THE MIRROR KING (goodreads) is still a little ways off Meadows is releasing a series of novellas that feature James and Tobiah that are set two years before the events in THE ORPHAN QUEEN take place. The first novella is THE HIDDEN PRINCE and is set against the backdrop of Tobiah’s 16th birthday. At 58 pages THE HIDDEN PRINCE is a very quick read and is an interesting peak into Tobiah’s life before he started to rebel a bit.

As with, THE ORPHAN QUEEN, I loved the relationship that existed between Tobiah and James and while I did miss Wil’s POV I did enjoy this glimpse into Tobiah’s head. It was easy to get whisked back into this world and I loved seeing how Tobiah becomes who he becomes in THE ORPHAN QUEEN. Its a fast paced story that feels longer than 58 pages and yet is over too fast. Especially since there is also a bit of a cliff hanger to it which I am sure is the perfect lead in for the next novella, THE GLOWING KNIGHT (goodreads). While I liked this little glimpse into a young Tobiah there is also a part of me that wishes that the four planned novellas were all released together in one volume instead of piecemeal. The high price point for so few pages of story is a bit off putting so I was really glad that I was able to check this one out of the library. If you are a fan of THE ORPHAN QUEEN then I do encourage you to read this novella. Its fast and fun and I can’t wait to get more of Tobiah’s story.

 

irishdarkblue

 

Hidden Prince Quote
four-stars
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn,
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 12 May 2015
Genres: Adaptation, Arabian, Assassins, Death & Dying, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Khorasan – Rey // Taleqan

First Line(s): It would not be a welcome dawn.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the debut novel of Renne Ahdieh and is a retelling of the 1001 Nights fairy tale. The main character and POV of the story is Shahrzad, called Shazi by friends, which occasional head jumps in Khalid, and who ever else is convenient to get a point across. I do not mind dual or even multiple POV stories but when you jump into someones perspective only once and for a paragraph or two before jumping back into someone else just to get a quick point across? Well, that annoys me. To me that’s lazy story telling as the author couldn’t figure out to get that one little snippet out so (s)he cheats a little with a quick head jump. I know that for most this is a non-issue but its something that has always bothered me in books and makes my eye a little twitchy.

Overall, I mostly liked how THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was written although towards the end the prose and the drawn out story was getting to me. There were also times when it felt like important scenes had been cut from the plot narrative. Where important keys to the overall story arc were discussed. Then later on we’d be dropped in the middle of the woods without a way to read the map. Leaving a trail of cryptic notes on the path. But being cryptic does not make for a good mystery…it only creates a frustrated reader. And I was very very frustrated by the end of this book. The plot and the characters just really got under my skin and not in a good way.

The Wrath & The Dawn Quote

Shazi was a spoiled brat and I have no idea when two guys were in love with her. This aspect of the story was also way to love triangly for me. I get that she was mostly insta-lusting for Khalid, a man she’s supposed to hate but falls for in a blink, but she does waffle a little when her childhood love Tariq shows up on the scene. I do admire that she stays true to her but as a result this sends Tariq into a spurned lover fit that sets of a chain of events that is just…not good. All in the name of the so called love his holds for Shazi. Oh what fools these mortals be an all that. Then you have Despira, who was just crass and inconsistent in character although I did like how she’d call Shazi on her bratty ways. What I didn’t like was that while the 1001 Nights tale seemed to fairly well researched Despira got basic things about Ancient Greece and its beliefs wrong. Using the word Hades to refer to a Hell and reference a heaven. If you know anything about Greek Mythology then you know that Hades is a person, Elysium would be the equivalent to heaven, and Tartarus the equivalent of hell.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was also a pretty slow read for me as nothing happens in this book until about 70% into the story. I get that THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the first book in a series and that there is some set up involved but this was just overly drawn out. Only to lead to a quick flash in the pan climatic moment and then curtains closed with a cliff hanger. And not a very good one as the story is quickly fading from my mind. This does not bode well for me when it comes to picking up the second book in this series. Also, I just don’t care very much about these characters at all, with the exception of Khlaid, but there were times when I wanted to shake him as well. So much of this book hinges on people keeping secrets and not communication anything to anyone. This leads to miscommunications and rash decisions and a frustrated reader. The plot was a bit of muddled mess and just too much of the story was missing for it to be a cohesive story.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is just another YA Fantasy that I am the odd man out on. For despite its billing, I just don’t get much of a fantasy vibe off this one at all. Yes there is a curse but its only alluded to in cryptic ways and you really don’t learn much about it at all. I love a good fantasy but its just so hard to find that in YA today. At least it is for me as everyone seems to love this story and they fall into the hype of it. But as of writing this I think I’m done with this series and will wait until Renee Ahdieh writes something new. Perhaps I’ll like her next series better than this one as there are some strong solid lines within this book. Just not enough of them to keep me from banging my head against the wall in frustration.

See my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did:

Love is Not a Triangle – “I felt Shazi’s determination at the start of the book, and then her confusion as her heart begins to change and she is torn between two very different ideals. But even that struggle Shazi faces straight on with determination and without unnecessary angst.”

Effortlessly Reading – “The Wrath and the Dawn has this deep addictive quality to it. Right after I finished The Wrath and the Dawn, I immediately wanted to reread it again, to enjoy Renee’s writing and characters all over again, and promptly did just that.”

The Eater of Books – “The fantasy is stunning, and the world-building is so well-written. There is magic and lore and curses and swords and assassins and basically my favorite kind of fantasy.”

 

IR - Wrath and the Dawn

 

Add Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

two-stars
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2
Published by Daw Books on 01 March 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Adult, Assassins, Death & Dying, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 1107
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Four Corners of Civilization –
Commonwealth: The University // Imre // Tarbean
Vintas: Levinshir // Severen
Ademre: Haert

First Line(s): Dawn was coming. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence in three parts.

Its always hard to review a book that is the second in a trilogy and its even harder when that trilogy is an epic fantasy as is the case with Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Wise Man’s Fear is a book that has been on my shelf since publication when I purchased a hardcover copy when Rothfuss came to town for a book signing. But then because of its size and the face that I hadn’t yet read The Name of the Wind it sat on my shelf until recently when I decided it was time to buckle down and read it. What I love about Rothfuss’s writing and The Kingkiller Chronicles is that even with the time between reading book 1 and this one it was so easy to slip back into this world.

Rothfuss’s writing is so vivid that I was easily able to recall the things that came before and the things that I was vague on he so kindly explained with cleverly placed flashbacks. Wise Man’s Fear was a long read for me as I only read a set number of pages per day but it gave me something to look forward to wondering where the story would go. Although I do have to admit to being a little disappointed in how events in this story took place and there wasn’t as much ground covered as I would have liked considering how there is only one more book to come. One of my big issues with Name of the Wind was there was so much time spent in Kvothe’s early years that it was slow and it bogged down the story. I liked when he finally went to University and things started to pick up.

Wise Man's Fear Quote

With Wise Man’s Fear the majority of the book was spent at the University and it just seemed like more of the same from Name of the Wind. While I enjoyed the book and fell in love with Rothfuss’s writing all over again I just wish that more had happened. Kvothe has been on this quest of his for so long and there just seems to be so much ground to cover in the final book. Also, none of the characters seemed to grow and change very much and as a result they keep making the same mistakes. There was also this whole long and drawn out section with the fae that I wish I had skipped as it didn’t seem to serve much purpose. I’m sure that Rothfuss will connect all the various dots in a big reveal but it was just frustrating at times at the lack of answers.

Despite all my frustrations, I did enjoy this book. The pages flew by when I read them and it was often hard to stop reading in order to focus on other things. I’m drawn to this world and I am looking forward to seeing how it all ends. Rothfuss is a master at his craft and I know that I just have to be patient as the wait will be worth it, or at least I hope that is the case. The Kingkiller chronicles are daunting reads but if you are a fan of epic fantasy then you certainly want to get to them at some point.

irishdarkblue

IR - Name of the Wind

Add The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss to Goodreads.

Add The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Black Prism by Brent Weeks to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Cruel Beauty,
Also in this series: Gilded Ashes
Published by Harper Audio on 28 January 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adaptation, Assassins, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Greek, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Gilded Ashes

Place(s) Traveled To: Arcadia

First Line(s): I was raised to marry a monster.

Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairy tale and when I received an advanced copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I was intrigued but never seemed to find the time to pick it up. Recently though a few people began to recommend this book to me and I had also downloaded the audio via Audiobook Sync’s annual program of 2014. I was having trouble settling on a new audiobook recently and was looking through the titles I had received from Audiobook Sync and thought I’d listen to a small clip of each of the titles I’d downloaded last year and then choose one. Only when I started the audio of Cruel Beauty I found that I couldn’t turn it off. The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was enthralling. And while she sometimes mixed up her voices I found that I didn’t mind overmuch as I just loved the way that she told this story and brought it to life.

As I listened I also learned that Cruel Beauty wasn’t just a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There were also hints of other fairy tales mixed in Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and East of the Sun West of the Moon to name just a few. Cruel Beauty also contained not just fairy tales but Greek mythology and this mix of stories added depth and uniqueness to the story. I enjoyed this story and loved Nyx’s struggle as she dealt with her internal struggles over what she was raised to do and what she wants to do. I enjoyed Nyx’s interactions with Ignafex and was intrigued by there relationship. While her relationship with Shade and her sister just annoyed me. Oh how her sister annoyed me. For someone who was supposedly so good she harbored a lot of ill will in her heart.

Cruel Beauty Quote

 

For this one I am partial to the audiobook and I am not sure if I’d feel differently if I’d read this one in print instead. As I said above I found Elizabeth Knowelden’s narration to be enthralling and she’s the one who kept me listening and engaged in the story through that slow beginning. She’s the one who kept me listening when I got really annoyed with Nyx’s sister and with Shade. Knowelden is definitely a narrator that I am going to be looking into more because I’d love to see how she narrates other stories.

For me, Cruel Beauty had a slow start and was a little repetitive at times but repetition is something that is becoming more and more common in books these days so I think its something that I have to learn to deal with and accept. What I really liked about Cruel Beauty was how it ended. The ending wasn’t something that I was expecting and yet at the same time it was fitting for the story that Hodge was telling. Things were wrapped up nicely and I like knowing that this is a standalone book. I love me a good fantasy story and it can be so hard to find a standalone fantasy. I like that Hodge has a companion story to Cruel Beauty in her novella, Gilded Ashes (my review), but do think that it is a story that should be read before this one.

If you like Greek mythology and fairy tale retellings then you should really give Cruel Beauty a try. Its a beautifully written story and one that I enjoyed. The mystery aspect of it is a little simplistic and easy to figure out but I didn’t mind that as I enjoyed the time that I sent in this world. Its a world that I wouldn’t mind revisiting and a book that I will most likely re-read at some point. This one wasn’t quite what I expected and I enjoyed it more than I thought. Its a story that I’d recommend especially for those that listen to audiobooks.

irishdarkblue

IR - Cruel Beauty

Add Entwined by Heather Dixon to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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