ARC/Book Review: Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist (2017)
Series: Flame in the Mist – Book 1
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 400 pages
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Review

I’ve been looking forward to Flame in the Mist ever since I finished The Rose and the Dagger last year. Shazi and Khalid’s love story was one I happily immersed myself in, and I loved every word and enjoyed every minute of it — which is why I was supremely disappointed, to say the least, that Flame in the Mist didn’t quite manage to captivate me in the same way.

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer (2017)
Series: Strange the Dreamer – Book 1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 544 pages
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review

Strange the Dreamer must be one of this year’s most anticipated releases. The cover is beautiful, the story sounds remarkable, and it’s written by Laini Taylor, a somewhat big-name author in the YA genre. My first attempt with her ended OK — I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but didn’t love it enough to continue — and I can safely say, thankfully, that I had a better experience with this book. 🙏

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Book Review: A Conjuring of Light – V. E. Schwab

a-conjuring-of-light-book-review-shades-of-magic-ve-schwab

Title: A Conjuring of Light (2017)
Series: Shades of Magic – Book 3
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy
Extent: 624 pages
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike.

The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

Review

A Conjuring of Light, unsurprisingly, is probably my most anticipated release of the year. I have been completely enamoured by the characters and the magic ever since I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic last year, and the ending in A Gathering of Shadows just about killed me. While this series has some flaws, there’s just something about it that pulls me in and transports me into a whole new world when I’m reading it. It’s pure escapism.

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Book Review: The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

the-dream-thieves-raven-cycle-maggie-stiefvater-book-review

Title: The Dream Thieves (2013)
Series: The Raven Cycle – Book 2
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 437 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

Review

You guys… I think I’m falling madly in love with this series. I mean, I’ve always known that it’s likely my kind of thing, but I never knew just how much it is my kind of thing. This review might contain spoilers for that first book, so please proceed at your own risk.

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ARC/Book Review: Caraval – Stephanie Garber

caraval-book-review-stephanie-garber

Title: Caraval (2017)
Series: Untitled – Book #1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

Review

Well, where to begin? Caraval is on many, and I mean many, people’s most anticipated lists for 2017, and it was… well, it was good (in fact pretty damn great at some parts) but it was not as good as I wanted, and those two are very, very different things. Let’s get to it. 🙏

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