Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from her prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard with protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become to one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells within the castle – and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival – and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.

***

These books have a bit of everything: action, fantasy, mystery, romance, all accompanied by a reasonable amount of blood and gore. But then, what do you expect when the main character is an assassin?

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Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena’s fight for freedom, as it introduces us to our arrogant, sassy, strong, yet nonetheless flawed main character. Celaena travels to Rifthold to fight for her freedom, only to find herself caught up in the lives of those around her. Yes, there is a love triangle, but no, it does not become the focal point of the novel. Not at all. Instead, mystery enfolds Celaena shortly after she arrives. Just who is killing all of the competitors? What exactly does Elena want from her? And who can Celaena really trust? All this set against a brilliant fantasy backdrop!

Crown of Midnight continues Celaena’s story where the first book leaves off. Celaena is still in Rifthold and she treads a fine line between life and death, danger always surrounding her. It is in this book that we truly learn more about Celaena and her hidden past. It is in Crown of Midnight where we really witness the danger this deadly assassin poses to the country, and to those around her.

It took me some time to properly get into Throne of Glass – I liked the characters, but something about the story didn’t really grab me until I was half way through… After that, I tore through the novels. And I can honestly say that I really liked them!

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Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a_monster_callsThe monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. 

A Monster Calls is the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley, whose mother is undergoing treatment for cancer. His mother’s terminal illness provides a stark backdrop for Conor’s story, and the reason for the appearance of the ‘monster’ at his bedroom window.

This book is as beautiful as it is harrowing.

It is a story that centres around the pain of losing someone you love to terminal illness. Patrick Ness is credited as stating that A Monster Calls is a story “about loss, but also the fear of loss, and there’s not a person in the world – young or old – who hasn’t experienced that.” (Link)

This is a story about grief, about guilt, and about the importance of admitting the truth. It is about facing your monsters: the real ones at your window, and the ones of your nightmares.

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Book Review: Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

Raven-Flight-by-Juliet-MarillierNeryn thought she had lost everything and could trust no one, not even her mysterious companion, Flint.

But when she finds refuge at the rebel base of Shadowfell and discovers her canny gift as a Caller, she feels the first stirrings of hope.

Now she faces a perilous journey with the rebel Tali and the Good Folk, who shadow her steps. She must find the three Guardians who can teach her how to use her unwieldy gift – one that it is rumoured could amass a powerful army.

Can Neryn master her magical power to save Alban from King Keldec’s stranglehold?

Or will she be too late?

art-353-Shadowfell-300x0When I read Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell last year, I really enjoyed it. However, reading it again before opening Raven Flight I did find the progression of the story rather slow. This was understandable for a novel that centres around the slow development of trust between two people who have little experience of it, and a journey across a dangerous landscape. It made me a little worried about Raven Flight, though.

As an adult reader (and avid fan of Juliet Marillier!), I still enjoyed Shadowfell, but as a teacher librarian who is trying to promote the novels to students, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to convince my students to A) pick it up, and B) keep reading.

Raven Flight quickly allayed any such doubts.

This was a fantastic novel, both in its own right and as a sequel. I found myself mesmerized by a novel that was equal parts adventure, fantasy, quest and coming-of-age novel – with just the right amount of romance! Marillier is a master storyteller, and whilst Shadowfell may have gotten lost in the long journey which Neryn undertook, Raven Flight continues that journey at a pace which is captivating and entrancing. I definitely didn’t want to put it down!

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Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

It was bethe hosttter than Twilight. But that’s really not saying much.

First though: an admission! I actually did enjoy aspects of this book. I thought the idea behind it was very interesting, and it did keep me interested throughout. However, it made me very very angry. Mostly because of the types of characters Stephenie Meyer promotes and idolises. Great idea, shame it was written by her.

I would love to see the day when Stephenie Meyer realises that a love interest does not need to be an older man who physically assaults the main character. In The Host, the main character has two love interests (sound familiar?), one who tries to strangle her with his bare hands, the other who repeatedly knocks her around, causing her physical pain and injury. How romantic! I can barely contain my hope that I will one day meet a man just like Jared or Ian. And they fight over her, too! There is nothing more romantic than that!

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Book Review: Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

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The U.S. cover

For it has been many years since she left the place where her hands were crippled by a fire – years in which she has nurtured her special talent with animals.

Sevenwaters is also much changed. It is now enslaved by the fey prince Mac Dara, a force of malignant magic who is responsible for a party of travellers disappearing. When Maeve discovers the body of one of the missing men, she and her brother Finbar are lured to the Otherworld on a journey that may save Sevenwaters… or lead to catastrophe.

If Maeve is ever to dream of a future, she must confront the darkness of her past.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that I don’t love the blurb… This is truly a fantastic novel, and I just don’t think that the blurb does it justice. Personally, if I was unsure of Juliet Marillier, if I didn’t already know that I have loved every single one of her books, I might not have picked this up. As it was, I pre-ordered the American edition, just because I couldn’t didn’t want to wait the extra month for the Australian edition. And I’m glad that I didn’t wait.

Flame of Sevenwaters was everything I expected, and so much more.

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

In case you weren’t convinced by my previous ranting, the amazing Ebony at The Hundred Book Project has allowed me to reblog her wonderful review of Shadowfell and her Q&A with Juliet Marillier.

Ebony’s review expresses exactly what I love about Marillier’s writing and Shadowfell. Given my goal to make everyone read this book, I just couldn’t help but share it! 🙂

Click below to read Ebony’s fantastic review of this amazing novel! Many, many, many thanks to Ebony for allowing me to reblog this!

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(Semi)Book Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Rating: 4.5/5

As a MASSIVE Juliet Marillier fan I feel privileged to live in Australia as it means I was able to buy her newest book Shadowfell earlier in the month (apologies to US fans who have to wait until September!). And I devoured it. I would have posted about reading it earlier, but I’ve been busy recovering from the book-hangover it induced.

It is marketed as a young adult novel, but I would argue (and my mother would agree!) that Shadowfell is the kind of book everyone can enjoy, no matter their age.  I really enjoyed this novel – in particular the main character Neryn and Flint, and the Good Folk who surround them. As usual, Marillier’s novel is brilliantly crafted and entirely gripping. aplaceformorethoughts

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