Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone written by Tomi Adeyemi

25303306._SX540_

 

So I did not think that I would be able to launch into another book so quickly after Kingdom of Ash. However this book took me by surprised. It was recommended to me by a family member, not that she had read it herself, but she had heard good things. Given the other books on my to do list are currently in actual book form I was excited to have something I could read late at night on the kindle.

I have no read it in less than 48 hours. It was good. My first comments after the first night of reading, was that I had not realized how white washed fantasy fiction was. This changes that in so many little subtle ways, and it is great!

The premise of this idea is not totally original. It reads very similar to The Red Queen and even The Cruel Prince. But it definitely has an interesting take on it.

I really enjoyed three of the main characters, they were really well developed and enjoyable to watch their story unfold. The final character was one who we got chapters from his perspective and I am not sure about his character progression. I am not totally sure I believed it.

So – I would like to state here that I LOVED THIS BOOK. I know I know – I love every book! But this was good, and I will definitely be reading the second book in the series. However I do believe that I can love a book and also have some issues with it.

I struggled with the pace of the book a little bit – the whole thing I think took place over two months, however they seemed to spend SO much time travelling, and then we would pause from the travelling and get some amazing action sequences before commencing travelling a little bit. I am not really sure that the travelling added to the story, and would have liked perhaps a little more even-ness to the approach. I also struggled with their mount, which initially I equated to a horse, but it seems they had the ability to travel much faster than we could.

I was disappointed towards the end that we were in the middle of a love story, particularly one that did not really come to any kind of conclusion at all. Although I understand that you could argue that it did, in a way that each character chose something bigger than themselves.

blog3What I did really like about the book was the way that it felt real. The setting and the world and premise, obviously exist outside of our understanding of life, however the fear of persecution, and the living in fear that was felt by the characters is sadly all to real for people in our world. While I have been lucky to live outside of this fear, it was a good window into how it feels to be constantly persecuted.raf,750x1000,075,t,fafafa_ca443f4786.u7

Definitely looking forward to the next book, and the hope that perseveres that they can work together to build a new world.

Mrs K

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction

Review: Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash written by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass book 7

51FqSFnsowL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Ok. So lets start off with a little bit of honesty. This is totally unlikely to be a critical review, and far more likely to be me fan girling over perhaps the best book in the series.

So this book came out on the 23rd of October. I read it over two days, including one very late night and very little in the way of teaching or parenting in the rest of the time.

Can we just say that I LOVED IT. There was tears and laughter. It was everything that I wanted!

There are a couple of things that I really enjoy about Maas’ writing.

  1. She has absolutely nailed pace. The book, and this is not the first time I have commented on this on a book of hers is a wonderful collection of needing to absolutely devour the book and read as fast as I can, and being happy to put the book down and savour the ‘taste”.
  2. She genuinely cares about her characters. I am so happy to say that she does not have George R R Martin’s ruthlessness!
  3. She loves to use those last minute saves, where everything seems so dark and dismal you know it is not over until it is over. While this could be argued to be an annoying trait, it also means that when you are caught up in the story and it feels like there is no hope remaining there always is.
  4. This book was really well balanced between fighting and progressing story.
  5. Her characters are really well developed, and continue to see the effects of things that happened even six books ago!
  6. Her planning over the whole series is totally phenomenal. You can see how well thought out everything is, and how all those little pieces fit together.

I try to write reviews with no spoilers. So I will just say here – page 800!!!!

three red heart balloons
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

Page 800 was totally for me the icing on the cake of this book. It gave me the biggest chills.

The ending of this series was fantastic, as a person who is deeply in love with a carthartic ending this gave me it, but it did not wrap everything up into neat little bows that seemed unrealistic.

I am more than content with this being the last book, but I am not sure I am ready to leave their world yet.

As a queen I loved how different Aelin is, and how willing to embrace change she is. There are definitely some moments there where you can see this text as a window to how our political leaders should be and what they should look like.

And on that note – I guess I need to resume normal life and get some work done!!

Mrs K

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult fiction

 

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Girls Made of Snow and Glass written by Melissa Bashardoust

This book is Melissa Bashardoust’s first novel and is described as Frozen meets The32768509 Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale.

I have to say Wow! I was totally captured by this book, by the characters, their manipulations, and then the journey that ultimately Melissa took me on, which was certainly not where I had thought I was going!

There are two main characters in the book. Girls Mina and Lynet. Each chapter is told by one of them, and not always on an linear time scale. Normally this is an aspect of a book that annoys me, however in this book it worked just perfectly.

I really liked that at the heart of this book was two girls looking to define who they really were. They each were in their own way rebelling against their upbringing, controlled by men who were not really sure of who these girls were.

“Weak or strong – she didn’t know what they meant anymore. Maybe they didn’t mean the same thing for everyone.”

There are so many good quotes in this book that I just want to share them all. They are all fantastic from that viewpoint of finding yourself. Lynet in particular struggled to fit in the box that she fit into. Ultimately she had to totally escape in order to redesign the box.

“You’ll find something that’s yours alone. And when you do, don’t let anyone take it from you.”

These two characters were so different but also the same. Then there was the character of Nadia the love interest. I love that she so seemlessly fitted into the plot, although I would have liked to have seen more of the romance developing between characters.

“He knew that if he raised his daughter without love, and that if he told her often enough that she wasn’t capable of it, she would soon start to prove him right, if only because it was all she’d ever known.”

This last quote really hits home with me. Just two days ago I had a conversation with my Year 13 class about are we ever our true selves, or do we wear different masks to adjust for everyone that we meet and know. This goes double once someone has died, and we remember the version of them that we want to know rather than the truth.

“If her father had never truly recognized his daughter, then had he remembered his wife wrong as well? What is everything he’d ever told her about her mother was only how he’d seen her, not how she truly was.”

Overall I really really liked this book. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in science fiction/fantasy and has enjoyed authors such as Holly Black.  The LGBT storyline is present but a lot more subtle than expected.

Mrs K

Genre: Fantasy, Science fiction, speculative fiction, young adult, retellings, LGBTQ,

Review: The Things that Will not Stand.

The Things that will not stand written by Michael Gerard Bauer

This struck me as a very rare book. It largely is what I would call a slice of life story. 40778730Which mostly we get in short story format. However this novel takes place over just one day. The characters meet in the morning at a university orientation day and then it follows there adventures throughout the day.

I don’t quite know that I knew what to expect when I started this book but I really loved it. I did marvel at the fact that they seemed to be able to fit far more things into a day than any real person could – but this did not interfere with the story.

For a book with almost no plot I read the whole thing in a couple of hours. It was great! The characters are well developed and are written with humor which keeps you engaged. In lieu of plot we also have Frida who tells so many tales that you get to spend a great deal of time working out what is the truth and what is not.It is this element that kept me reading and wondering what happens next!

I really liked the two main boys in the book, and their belief in what is right, and the fact that they have some things that they just will not stand. Frida in the book calls them super heroes, and although they down play this massively it is so true.

My school principal this week has been talking about this – about students standing up for what is right, and if we all did this what a difference it would make! What I like is that in this story, it is almost incidental, rather than being a massive deal, but then at the end when you reflect, and re read the title you realize just how important that part of the book was.

Overall, a very different book to what I read a lot of – but definitely worth the read!

Mrs K

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Slice of Life fiction, Realistic fiction, contemporary fiction

Review: Impostors

Impostors Written by Scott Westerfeld

37825397So this is the first book of a new series that is written in the “Uglies” series. I have not ever heard of Scott Westerfeld or read the previous series, so you can definitely enter this book with no prior knowledge. A little bit of quick searching tells me that it has been ten years since the last of his Uglies books.

It was the back of the book that grabbed me here.

Frey was raised to take a bullet.

She’s the body double for her twin sister, Rafia – the precious first daughter of Shreve – and her existence is a closely guarded secret. So while Rafi was schooled to be the perfect heir, Frey was trained to be the ultimate weapon.

The romantic in me who grew up on Sweet Valley High (and Kids, and University) loves anything about twins. I always wanted to be a twin, and then secretly wanted to have twins. So the minute that I saw this book was about twins I was sold.

This book is absolutely engaging. Within the first two chapters I was absolutely enchanted. And despite it being my first week back at work and pulling 13 hour days and being utterly exhausted I still stayed up multiple nights to read this book. Which is really saying something.

I love that the characters slowly come to a realization of what is normal, and what is not normal. The technology of the dystopian world fits in so seamlessly and largely seems quite desirable. These, as in a lot of dystopian fiction are really smart kids – kids who have to take on a lot more responsibility than is the norm for kids. However here it is done well. The characters balance being teenagers with their responsibilities, and the character development is fantastic. We get to see Frey go from being a ghost to learning about herself.

My only real complaint about this book was the rather abrupt ending. It just stopped. So I guess that means I will be first in line for when the next book comes out!!

As this book started to delve into the ideas of what and who are normal, it also looked at this idea of impostors, and touched on one of my favorite themes in a book – that of identity.

“My whole life, I always thought that I was the only impostor. That everyone else was certain they were real in some way that I could never understand. But what if they’re all just faking too? Maybe none of us know who we really are.”

I love this idea that despite being in a futuristic world we are still all just faking it till we make it – and do we ever really know who we are?

One of my favorite books of the year – definitely takes a top 5 spot – so do make sure that you have a read!!

Mrs K

Genre: Science fiction, speculative fiction, adolescent fiction, Dystopia,

Review: Dumplin’

Dumplin’ written by Julie Murphy

18304322

This was a book that I grabbed off the library shelves. For no other reason than something in the very stark cover appealed to me. I in fact did not even notice the little heart symbol symbolizing a romance until I was over half way through the book.

My overall thoughts were that this was a book I really loved. The whole real message in it was about being comfortable in your own skin and owning who you are.

I was less of a fan of the whole love triangle, but did appreciate the fact that ultimately true friendship won out.

I felt like there were a lot of things that were under developed. The relationship between the mum and daughter, and the dead aunt felt like they were touched on, but that they could have been explored in so much more detail.

I also was not a massive fan of how things played out at the end.

Overall this was an easy book to read, and was great. However it is part of a genre at the moment which has a lot of books about being comfortable with who you are – whoever that may be, and as such I felt like at times it needed something more to make it stand out.

There were certainly a lot of profound and feel good moments that made us see no one is perfect.

“I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won’t zip.”

Mrs K

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Fiction

Review: And the Ocean was our Sky

And the Ocean was Our Sky Written by Patrick Ness Illustrated by Rovina Cai

36979356

This was a beautiful book. It kept good pace and I read the book in one sitting. It has around 150 pages, but quite big writing and also with pages of illustrations was easy to read.

Let’s start with the illustrations and the use of colour. WOW! The English teacher in me

was singing away absolutely in love!

I am a big Ness fan, however I am not sure I really got this book on the level that I perhaps should of. In fairness I have not read Moby Dick, I only have a vague inkling of the story, so perhaps that shifted my engagement and understanding. However in saying that I loved the concept and the deep ideas with the story. The idea about war and hunting and wastefulness was very intriguing.

I will say that the writing was beautiful and captivating and I have a new appreciation and thought for the thoughts and feelings of animals.

Overall, read it if you want, but it does not make my list of “you must read this”.

Mrs K

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling, Speculative Fiction, Fiction