Tag Archives: Fantasy

Best Books of 2013

That’s actually a bit of a lie. Quite a few of the books on this list weren’t actually published in 2013, but that’s when I read them, when they made me laugh, cry and love. As usual, there is a bit of a mix, reflective of my tendency to read a bit of everything – but I would strongly recommend any one of these fantastic novel (and some I have done in the past!). A belated Happy New Year to everyone, and Happy Reading, too!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina_book_cover_(US_addition)

The most refreshing fantasy novel that I’ve read in a while. I loved the world of Seraphina, particularly the way that Hartman created her dragons. The fact that they were able to assume a human form and yet were so obviously un-human was fascinating, as well the undertones of anti-dragon discrimination throughout the novel. Seraphina was a wonderful blend of fantasy, mystery, political intrigue, secrets and romance. The story captivated and amazed me at every turn, and I recommend it to pretty much anyone I can. Seriously, if you have ever even considered liking fantasy, read Seraphina!

Rating: 5/5

Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

9781742612249

Well, it is a novel by my favourite author, but I really loved where Raven Flight took the Shadowfell series. I really liked how Neryn’s character developed with Tali around, and the way these two very different girls worked together. This novel just worked! The characters are fantastic, and the plot is really developing into something spectacular. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out, and I can’t recommend Raven Flight or Juliet Marillier enough!

Rating: 5/5

 

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

what_happens_next

I have reviewed this novel before, but again – this was an ‘issues’ novel that I found to be really well written. The issues were approached with sensitivity, yet in a way that I found intensely realistic and utterly believable. The characters were wonderful, and I felt Sid’s pain and strength throughout it. As I’ve said before, this was a hard novel to like, but a worthy one. Strongly recommended for readers 15/16+, only because the issues discussed are very confronting, but very worthwhile reading about.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

cvr9781471119934_9781471119934_hr

This memoir of Leyson’s experiences during the Holocaust and on ‘Schindler’s List’ are exactly what you’d expect: horrifying and confronting. What I didn’t expect was how beautiful and approachable Leyson’s writing would be. While his memoir accurately depicts the horror of the Holocaust for Leyson and his family, he does not linger on the horror, but rather on the strength and bravery of those who survived (and those who didn’t). This is one of the best accounts of the Holocaust that I ever read, and I have recommended it to many students. This is definitely a memoir that is worth reading.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a_monster_calls

This is the book that instantly became one of my all-time favourites. It is so hard to put why I loved A Monster Calls so much into words, except to say that it broke my heart, made me cry, and made me think. If you’re going to read this (and you really should), read the illustrated version because the illustrations tell as much of the story as the words do. And they are beautiful words! This is almost guaranteed to break your heart, but it is a good kind of breaking and a worthwhile one. Read. This. Book!

Rating 5/5

Honourable Mentions:

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

One of the sweetest romance novels I read all year. Equal parts funny and romantic, and a novel where the fact that a lot of the characters are gay is not even an issue. A wonderful and romantic ideal! (Rating: 4/5)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A fantastic ‘issues’ novel for pre-teens and teens alike. It was fantastic getting the perspective of different people on deformity and difference. Auggie is a wonderful character, and I rooted for him from the very first page! (Rating: 4/5)

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I was late coming to this series, but I read all three books in a matter of days. I really enjoyed the dystopian world, and the twists and turns within it. Tris and Tobias were really interesting characters, and I actually loved the way it all ended! (Rating: 4/5)

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

A really good YA novel about popularity and finding out where you really belong. Both Cassidy and Ezra were great characters (as were the supporting cast), and I really enjoyed the way their relationship unfolded. A good read! (Rating: 4/5)

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

This was fantastic. Most YA novels have a certain amount of tragedy – Life in Outer Space has none. It is just a happy novel, without being toothache sweet. Really nice story about a nerd and his real life Princess Leia. I loved it, and so has everyone I’ve recommended it to.  (Rating: 4.5/5)

Capture

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Reading, YA Books

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

throne-of-glass-uk-cover

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?

17670709

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!

aplaceformorethoughts

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Books for adults, Fantasy, Reading, YA Books

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.

aplaceformorethoughts

1 Comment

Filed under Amazed, Book Review, Books, Books for adults, Books for Children, Fantasy, Ranting, Reading, YA Books

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!

aplaceformorethoughts

2 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Films, Of concern, Ranting, Reading, Social commentary

Book Review: Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

12656727

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.

aplaceformorethoughts

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Ranting, Reading, Uncategorized

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!

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Fantasy, YA Books

June Short Reviews

It’s strange to look back and realise that my entire reading list for last month was fantasy books. I read a fantastic darker fantasy novel – unlike anything I’d read before, most of a young-adult fantasy series with elements of adventure, steampunk and alternate history, and a series of fantasy books that defy their placement as young-adult novels (more on that later!).

Featured this month:

  • Century of Sand – Christopher Ruz

The Graceling Realm series – Kristin Cashore

  • Graceling
  • Fire
  • Bitterblue

The Laws of Magic series – Michael Pryor

  • Blaze of Glory
  • Heart of Gold
  • Word of Honour
  • Time of Trial

aplaceformorethoughts

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Monthly Short Reviews, Reading, YA Books