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Genre: Mythology

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy Pon

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

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy PonSerpentine by Cindy Pon
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: ,
Published by Audible Studios on 29 December 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Asian Mythology, Death & Dying, Demons, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix, Blue Skies

Place(s) Traveled To: Kingdom of Xia

First Line(s): The mountain was still shrouded in mist.

SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015 as I adored her two other books SILVER PHOENIX (my review) and FURY OF THE PHOENIX (my review). As such I think that I fell victim to my own hype. SERPENTINE is set in the same world as the PHOENIX books but its a whole new story with a whole new cast of characters and can be read completely separate from the first books. The biggest difference between the two series is that Skybright is no Ai Ling. I adored Ai Ling so and I think part of me kept hoping that Sky would be a lot like her. This was a totally unfair comparison to make but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing so.

Perhaps part of my issues with SERPENTINE was the fact that I listened to it on audio. The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, is a very good narrator but she read slowly. Which made the book progress slowly for me. I didn’t have that burning need to stay in the car as I’ve had with some audios as there wasn’t a whole ton of action going on or urgency in the narration. Where I was so super grateful to the audiobook version of SERPENTINE was with pronunciations. There is just so much that I would have totally bungled if left to my own reading devices.

Serpentine Quote

SERPENTINE is filled with rich details and mythology and I really wanted to love it but there was just something about the story that didn’t connect with me. Despite all the detail I’m not entirely sure that I got the whole story and felt a bit lost at times with what was happening the world. Or why I should care about these various characters. This could also be a result of the slow narration where I can’t say with 100% certainty that I didn’t zone out during my listen. Zeller has such a soothing and even toned voice that I found it to be quite relaxing.

Even though I didn’t love SERPENTINE I am still curious to see where things are going. I want to learn more about Sky’s origins and what the deal with with Stone. I want her to find her HEA with Kai-Son and for Zhen Ji to find her happiness as well. SERPENTINE is an interesting read and I think there is a lot of potential to the world and the characters. I just need to make sure that I am in the right mind frame for its sequel and to loosen up my expectations because SERPENTINE is its own book and story and I need to separate it from the PHOENIX books.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Serpentine

Add The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi to Goodreads.

Add Hunter by Mercedes Lackey to Goodreads.

three-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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Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer LathamScarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 19 May 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Arabian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Las Almas Bay, Unknown

First Line(s): The kid was cute. Her bare, knobbly legs swung back and forth like pendulums between the chipped legs of my client chair.

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham was a book that I was really looking forward to reading this year as its a debut novel featuring a Muslim-American. Yay diversity!! And while I did like the story I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. Scarlet Undercover was a quick read but it wasn’t as mysterious or suspenseful as I was hoping it would be. Much of the mysterious elements came in the form of characters being cryptic and not revealing what they knew in a timely manner. This just frustrated me to no end because so much could have been avoided if the various characters didn’t keep secrets and just communicated with each other. Also, being cryptic is not the same as laying red herrings and weaving  a tapestry of misdirection and false truths until you get to the big reveal.

I did enjoy the character of Scarlett but did find elements of her character to be a bit unrealistic. The secondary characters were also interesting but none of them ever really shined all that bright. While I often enjoyed Scarlett’s voice when looking back I find both her and her friends and family to all be forgettable. There is a romance element to this story but like the overall mystery its a bit lukewarm and falls short of creating that heart achy feels that I so love in a story. Again, the romance and the mystery all suffer from lack of communication and as such the love interest and the story line could have all been easily resolved if people just talked to each other.

Scarlett Undercover Quote

The plot pacing of Scarlett Undercover could have also been better. So much happened due to convenience and it often made my eyes roll when events and people just appeared and disappeared exactly when needed. Despite all my high hopes for Scarlett Undercover I was left underwhelmed with the story. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed and then there were all the unresolved threads. As far as I know Scarlett Undercover is a standalone book but there is definitely enough left open to spawn a sequel or two. Which, if it happens, I’m on the fence on if I would read it or not because while this book was just ok I never really became invested in the story.

I did like that Scarlett was smart and sassy as well as being a diverse heroine. This book was bursting with diversity which is a good thing but sometimes felt a little forced. Just as the paranormal elements of this book felt forced because they were just randomly tossed in and not fully explained or developed. Scarlett Undercover was just an ok read for me but if you are looking for some snarky diversity then you should check it out.

irishdarkblue

IR - Scarlett Undercover

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-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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Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

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

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen TurnerA Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief,
Also in this series: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia
Published by Greenwillow Books on 23 March 2010
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythology, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 316
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia

Place(s) Traveled To: Letnos, Sounis // Elias, Sounis// Bremmis, Sounis // Attolia // Eddis

First Line(s): My father sacked another tutor.

 

Many moons ago I received an ARC of A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner and I meant to read the first books in the series right there and then. But as so often does life and other books got in the way and I didn’t think about this series again until late last year when I finally picked up The Thief (my review.) While I haven’t loved the series as much as others I know I did really enjoy The King of Attolia (my review) and was really looking forward to diving into A Conspiracy of Kings. Unfortunately, I didn’t like A Conspiracy of Kings as much as The King of Attolia but I did find it to be a quick read.

 

A Conspiracy of Kings follows Sophos, who we first meet in The Thief and his journey from when we last saw/heard about him in previous books. A lot has changed in Sophos’s life and he’s had to grow up fast and has been thrust into the political shenanigans and turmoil that Sounis has become. But Sophos remembers traveling with his friend Gen over the mountain pass in Eddis and he’s learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to deception and survival and so he’s often able to make the best of a bad situation.

 

Conspiracy of Kings Quote

 

As with the previous books, the events in A Conspiracy of Kings are pretty nonstop which makes it hard to stop turning the pages. I just didn’t connect with Sophos as much as I ended up connecting with Gen or Costis. Costis’s story in The King of Attolia really intrigued me and got under my skin and I was really hoping that A Conspiracy of Kings would be further tales of him but alas that was not to be. I think, that disappointment is partially to blame on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much.

 

Overall though, The Queen’s Thief is a well plotted and well written fantasy series. I am glad that I finally made the time to read it and am joining ranks with all the other Megan Whalen Turner fans who want more stories from her. Goodreads lists that there will be a fifth and a sixth book in The Queen’s Thief series but its been five years since A Conspiracy of Kings came out that who knows when or if these books. Though, looking at the time span between previous releases perhaps all hope isn’t lost. If you are looking for a “new” fantasy series and you haven’t picked this one up yet then you may want to give it a try.

 

irishdarkblue

 

 

Irish Recommends - Thief

 

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

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

three-stars
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

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

Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen TurnerThe King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief,
Also in this series: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings
Published by Greenwillow Books on 24 January 2006
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Mythology, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings

Place(s) Traveled To: Attolia

First Line(s): The queen waited. Sitting at the window, she watched the lights of the town glow in the last of the long twilight.

I have been late to the party with the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner but while an older series of books its definitely one that holds up over time. The third book in the series, The King of Attolia, is by far my most favorite one yet. This is a series that just keeps getting better and also a good reason why I don’t always judge a series by its first book (unless it was well and truly terrible.) Unlike the previous two book, The Thief (my review) and The Queen of Attolia (my review), this one was primarily told from the point of view of Clovis a guard in the Queen of Attolia’s army. The King of Attolia does switch POVs like the previous ones but it didn’t seem to happen as often and the transitions were smoother.

There also seemed to be a bit more dialogue and I’m becoming more and more aware that I am a dialogue girl so this made me happy. Although as the book was less choppy this could just be a bit of a perceived notion on my part as things did go a little more smoother. I did find that The King of Attolia had a bit of a slow start and part of this was because it was hard to get used to Clovis as the primary character. It was almost like starting a new series as I had to get to know a whole new character and yet the world was an old friend which made things a little jarring at first. But it wasn’t long before I was falling well into like with Clovis and welcomed him as a new old friend. I just loved seeing Gen through a new set of eyes as it gave a whole new appreciation of the character and all of his quirks.

king of attolia quote

 

In The King of Attolia, Gen is settling in to his new role as king and dealing with power mad barons who do not like a foreigner on the throne. At first his character is very un-Gen like but then you see hints and glimpses of the Gen we grew to know and love from the first two books. It also seems like Gen is training a new thief and that is something that I would like to see explored a bit further. I was a bit wary of this world and its characters when I first entered it but now I am really enjoying the time I spend here that I just want more and more stories to appear. As the internet meme says, a good book is always too short, and that is certainly true with The King of Attolia because it seems that not long after I started it that I was closing the last page.

This has been a quick read series and while it isn’t always perfect it has been a fun ride. Finishing The King of Attolia makes me excited to read the final book, A Conspiracy of KingsThe King of Attolia was a fun book and I am glad that I read it. I’m glad that I finally decided to give this one a shot and if like a good fantasy then you might want to consider checking this one out.

irishdarkblue

 

Irish Recommends - Thief
four-stars
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

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

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles,
Also in this series: The Heart of Betrayal
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 08 July 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 492
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Heart of Betrayal

Place(s) Traveled To: Civica, Morrighan // Terravin, Morrighan // Gaudrel Tribe Camp, Cam Lanteux // Sanctum, Venda

First Line(s): Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.

Dear reader,

You may have heard a lot about Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson, I know this because since even before it was released mentions of it were all over my social media. There was much love for this book and I was curious but also wary. So very wary. You know me reader, you know that for whatever reason these popular over-hyped books tend to not connect with me as they do with most everyone else in the known universe. But I was curious, even with the knowledge that Kiss of Deception contained a love triangle, I was curious.

I started this one with hope of something amazing but quickly wondered why I was reading. I was bored and Lia was annoying and I kept wondering why I should care about her and her story. I sighed and rolled my eyes and figured out who was the prince and who was the assassin pretty quickly. Lia is judgmental and naive but thinks that she is oh so very clever. There were a few times when I wanted to toss this book aside and call it a DNF. But Twitter friends urged me on and told me to keep reading that it got better so I plodded on.

 

Kiss of Deception Quote

 

And reader, let me tell you true, those friends on Twitter were right because The Kiss of Deception did get better. There was more action in the second half than in the first, the characters all showed more life, and Lia went through some much needed growth. It took awhile but I grew to like these characters and care about their story. It made my heart ache at times and I was happy when certain choices were made. This isn’t to say that I fell in love with the book because I didn’t. Lia still made my head hurt and there were times when I seriously wanted to throttle her. But I could better understand the hype and appeal of this story.

By the end I wanted to know more. I am curious about the next book in the series, The Heart of Betrayal (Goodread) and where this story will go. Second books are always a tricksy thing though and it could be better or maybe not. But I am hopeful for this series and that is saying a lot coming from me. Because if you are a regular reader of Ticket to Anywhere than you know just how picky I can be with fantasy book, especially YA fantasy. So the fact that I want to read more of The Remnant Chronicles is a good thing and if you like fantasy then you might want to check this one out.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Kiss of Deception

 

Add Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Audio Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Series: The Stormlight Archive,
Also in this series: Words of Radiance
Published by Macmillian Audio on 31 August 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Magic, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Length: 45 hours, 37 Minutes
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: Words of Radiance

Place(s) Traveled To: Karbranth, Frostlands // Shatter Plains // Valath, Jah Keved (World Name: Roshar)

First Line(s): Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in the start of an epic fantasy that is expecting to span over ten books which is a huge commitment and one that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make. Especially when you consider that at the time I listened to Way of Kings only the first two books were available and at this time the third book isn’t expected to be available until 2016. Yet, despite this, I kept finding myself drawn to the book and so I downloaded the audio from Audible and embarked on a 45 hour listening journey that swept me away to a fantasical world that was rich and amazing and filled with possibility. The narrative of Way of Kings fluctuations between several characters and incorporating some others between parts in its interludes. The main POV characters in Way of Kings are Kaladin, Dalinar Kholin, Adolin Kholin, Shallan Davar, Navani Kholin, and Szeth with the main focus being on Kaladin. Kaladin is a slave and his chapters go back and forth and time and slowly reveal his origins and how he became a slave in the kings army. Of all the POVs in this book the ones I liked best were those of Kaladin and Dalinar as they were so rich and complex and my heart just broke for the various things these characters experienced. The character I liked least was Shallan, I just found her to be selfish, naive and annoying and was more intrigued by her teacher, Jasnah and wished that she was one of the viewpoint characters.

The Way of Kings is a hard story to break down into a review of a few paragraphs as there is just so much to it. As the first in a series there is a lot of history and world building to be down and Brandon Sanderson has done an amazing job of weaving in his worlds history and rules without bogging down the story narrative. As a fantasy novel there is much that the reader does not know at the start of the story and so things can be a bit confusing at first. But once the story really gets underway the full beauty of this world really shines through. Its so complex and detailed and the more you read the more realistic it all becomes. The longer I listened to this audio the more I wanted to know and I’d look for excuses to make road trips just so that I could drive and be immersed in this amazing land of Roshar. I loved how the characters interacted and I loved Kaladin’s journey. There were times when I hated for the narrative to change as Kaladin was often left in a precarious place and my heart just broke for him. Though, I felt similar emotions when in the narrative of the other characters as well and almost always disliked when we left one character for another.

The Way of Kings is the first book that I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson but I found him to be a master of his craft. I loved how this story was formed and even though it was 45 hours long (1000 pages) it didn’t feel like that. Every time I was in my car I was sucked away to another place and I hated when reality snuck back in. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did a fantastic job in bringing all these various characters and this world to life. They seamlessly become all the characters whose voices they read including the world that this story is set in. Because Roshar is very much a character as well as the setting. If you are a fan of epic fantasy this this is a book that you want to pick up. Yes, its long and yes this is only the first book in a very long series but its the start of an amazing story and I am eager to see where Sanderson will take me as I dive into the next book.

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irishdarkblue

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Way of Kings Quote

four-stars
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone,
Also in this series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight
Published by Hachette Audio on 08 April 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Angels, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Monsters, Mythology, Paranormal, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Suspense, Young Adult
Length: 18 hours 11 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC // Unnamed, Morocco //Rome, Italy // Eretz

First Line(s): Nerve thrum and screaming blood, wild and churning and chasing and devouring and terrible and terrible and terrible —

I was so excited to receive and audio review copy of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor as it was one of my most anticipated titles of 2014. And the start of this one lived up to my every expectation that I had. Although it wasn’t long before my enjoyment started to wain and my disappointment grew as the story progressed. First there were all the new characters that were added, which isn’t always a bad thing but they had no real backstory and it took too long to get them to a meaningful point in Karou’s story that they just dragged the story down. I didn’t care about them and hated the time that they took away from Karou and Akiva.

With the addition of new characters there was also a lot of POV changes. Crazy random and no real spacer between them that there were moments where I had to rewind the audio because I though one character was the focus when somehow we’d transitioned into another. It added a small layer of confusion that I could have done without. There was also a lack of indicator to let me know that I had reached the end of a disc so there were many instances in which I listened to the early tracks again before I realized I needed a new disc. And yet there was music to indicate the end of a part in the story so I was a bit miffed that there was nothing at the end of a disc. I hated repeating part of the story as it jumbled up events a bit and it also took my focus off of driving. Which isn’t a good thing when you are dealing with traffic.

But what really bothered me was the story. Nothing happened in this book, all 18 hours and 600 and some odd pages of it. Ok, so saying that nothing happened is a bit much but there was lots of unnecessary filler contained withing the pages of Dreams of Gods & Monsters and a lot of things were repeated over and over and over again. Yes, Laini Taylor writes some beautiful prose but it was more compact and focused in the previous books and I missed that here. In this case her prose was used as smoke and mirrors to distract and deflect from the fact that the story was very slow moving and there there was a lot of build up that ended up going no where. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is filled with the promise of action and apocalyptic things but there is more angst than apocalypse. That and the climatic end scene was more of a whimper than a bang and I may have hurt my eyes from rolling them too much.

There was so much that happened because of crazy unrealistic coincidence. If Karou needed something the means were magically at her fingertips and this was without wishes. Everything just fell into place with a nice tidy bow and there were no real consequences that one would expect from two races that were at war. In all honesty, I half expected certain souls that were lost to somehow be found again in the end as everyone sang kumbaya around a fire. I wanted more action in this story and I wanted to care about how things would turn out instead of hoping and wishing that the end of the audio would come faster than I could listen to it.

In many ways it seemed as though Dreams of Gods & Monsters lost focus and it didn’t so much revolve around Karou as it did act as a set up for the stories of other characters to be told. For me, Dreams of Gods & Monsters seemed to act as a backdoor pilot for something else to come. There were lots of open threads at the end of this book that I won’t be surprised if a spin off series is announced. Of the three books in this series I think that Days of Blood & Starlight will remain my favorite. If there is a spin off I am not sure if I will read it, or listen, it will take a very compelling synopsis to get me to overcome the disappointment that I had with this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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