The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang


poppy war

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

Disclaimers: This is our non spoiler review, but there is a version riddled with spoilers and you can read that here.


We’re not going to lie, the first thing we did when opened up our digital copy of The Poppy War was complain that it was a PDF and that it had so many bloody pages. The second thing we did was get absolutely hooked and sit on the edge of a chair for two hours until our stomach started rumbling and we realised we were halfway through the book.

A lot happened in The Poppy War, like A LOT. Questionable decisions, country invasions, people dying of enemy inflicted lacerations. This book doesn’t thread lightly, it hits you in the face like tonne of bricks and makes you love it all the while. It’s a novel filled with pain and magic and what bookworm doesn’t love those two things in inordinately high amounts?

Our main character’s name is Rin and she’s a smart character who’s not so smart at times. The starting point of R. F. Kuang’s debut has her in a little village where she gets little love and where if she doesn’t find a way out, she’ll be married off to a man twice her age because her guardians want that and she’s just a peasant girl so really, why is she complaining when it’s obvious that she’s not going to be offered anything better in life…

But Rin has goals. She’s going to pass the Keju and she’s going to get in to Sinegard. What the rest of the book does is examine the consequences of choices made by a young girl. It does so on a personal level with the people Rin finds in Sinegard and a much larger empiric scale.

It’s fascinating.

The Poppy War has so many characters and a lot of them exist firmly in the grey area when it comes to morals and some when it simply comes down to are they friend or are the foe and it’s easy to muse over the motives of characters in this book. Kuang has you questioning everything because she builds a world that rests on fragile foundations. You know it’s going to go boom and you’re wondering who will lie where when the dust clears. Will they be on the side of good? The side of evil? Or will they show that there is no good and evil, there just is.

Speaking of world building, we looove the details of this one. The politics, the cultures, the myriad of gods, the history and how it plays with a fantasy school with a difference.

The Poppy War has some of the tropes of every other fantasy school. There’s a multitude of isms (see classism and sexism) to prop up the I’m so much better than you trope and therefore you are my enemy, let me get you expelled or killed thanks so very much aspect. There are classes, eccentric teachers and houses of a sort, but what this book does differently is have a lot more than a year pass and have the school feature in around 55% of the book. We liked it because it broke a stereotype before it could really take hold.

To finish up this review, we’d like to say you that this book is one of the most anticipated novels of the year for a reason and if you don’t read it, there’s a vengeful Phoenix god who’s going to burn you up when you don’t.

Thanks for reading! Let us know what you think in the comments!

Arkon and Annie.

Another Place by Matthew Crow – An ARC Review

another place

A small town. A missing schoolgirl. A terrible secret. And one girl’s fight to survive.

Sixteen-year-old Claudette Flint is coming home from hospital after an escalating depression left her unable to cope. Released into the care of her dad, she faces the daunting task of piecing herself back together.

She may look unchanged; but everything’s different. The same could be said about her seaside hometown: this close-knit community seems to be unspooling in the wake of the sudden disappearance of one of her schoolmates, Sarah.

As the police investigate and the press dig around for dirt, small town secrets start to surface – and Claudette must do everything in her power to keep her head above water.

Another Place is a novel about lost girls – and the meaning of home.


Another Place is a book that requires two reviews. It requires this one, where we allude to all the greatness that is Another Place in a vague and amusing manner because the book doesn’t come out for another two weeks and even though we love talking in spoilers, WE DON’T LOVE SPOILERS BEFORE ANYONE HAS HAD A CHANCE TO READ THE DAMN BOOK.

And it require the review we have yet to type where we discuss all our deeper thoughts on a book which we can’t help, but compare to The Deviants.

We’re not comparing the two novels because they’re carbon copies of one another, but because they’re in the same vein of literature.

Another Place and The Deviants are Young Adult Contemporary novels that have honesty and tragedy twined together at their cores.

So, the first thing we noticed was the voice of our narrator Claudette. She has a quality to her voice that gives her life off the page because she’s truthful and frank and flawed in her character. She’s had years of carrying the weight of hopelessness on her shoulders before we meet her and we think she’s quite resilient.

It takes so much inner strength to piece yourself back together again and again knowing that one day sooner or later, you’re going to fall apart once more and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

We’ve seen a great uptake in the depicting of people with bipolar in the last few years. From Shameless US with Ian Gallagher to here with Claudette Flint. We’ve seen more and more characters battle with depression and we like the fact that we’re seeing this.

We like that we’re seeing disorders and mental health on the page and on screen because it’s illuminating.

By page thirty three of Another Place, we were tearing up. Our small and shrivelled heart had expanded to feel emotion for a fictional character and it was wonderful in a tear stained, puffy face kind of way.

Don’t look at us. We’re ugly when we cry.

We’re the first ones to complain about the fact that so often Young Adults are smoothed out to an extent that it’s hard to see the emotional upheaval and the roller coaster that is teenage life. There’s no cursing. No fighting. No close up and frank sexual references and it’s a little nauseating seeing such wholesome characters sometimes.

So, we were shocked that we were shocked when we got what we wanted.

Claudette curses. Claudette is brutal and direct. She and her best-friend have barely any boundaries. Claudette tells you what she wants and when she wants it.

She has a love/hate relationship with her Dad’s girlfriend that was hilarious because it was so blatantly obvious that the two of them care about each other. There were exchanges of sarcasm and wit and it was immensely refreshing.

This book is quite possibly a five star read and we’re saying that having read it weeks ago and forgotten for more than a few hours the other day what and who Another Place was about.

There’s so, so much for us to talk about when it comes to what Matthew Crow has written and we’ll talk about it all later, in three weeks, when you’ve opened up your copy and raced through the thing are dying to to talk about all the juicy little details that are practically gossip worthy and make you want to burst.



There’s an investigation going on in Claudette’s hometown because there’s a missing girl and terrible secrets hidden under picturesque beach views. There’s a missing girl and a race to find her,


There’s also a race for Claudette to find herself. Interestingly with this book being lost doesn’t just mean being physical lost or lost in life. It means both and sometimes, as you’ll discover, piecing oneself back together means forgetting the pieces that made you who you were and finding the pieces that will make you someone you probably never expected to be.

(Isn’t that just inspirational?)

To conclude, it is in our not at all humble opinion that you need to buy this book and read this book and tell others about this book because we want it to sell well and be received well and we want Kleenex to wonder why so many people are buying boxes of tissues only to discover that all those new customers are bookworms and then for everything to make sense.

Kay? Kay.

Thanks for reading our review!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

All The Many Places Where #ACOWAR Went Wrong and How We Would Have Changed It – A Book Review by Us.


A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


You can just tell by that long title that you’re in for something good *winks*

Does anyone remember the days when they used to have faith in SJM’s writing? No? We don’t either. Well, we do…we’re just loathe to admit it.

A Court of Wings and Ruin was one of our most anticipated reads of the year. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on it after finish ACOMAF because we were speechless when we finished that last line of that book. Our jaw was open and we just couldn’t comprehend the complete and utter brilliance of that ending.

So, we pre-ordered ACOWAR and waited impatiently for it to be delivered to our door. IT TOOK WEEKS FOR US TO GET IT. WEEKS!

And then we opened in and poof. We were catapulted into the highest levels of happiness for all of ten pages a la Team Rocket from the Pokemon cartoon. Life was great. We were great and then we thought how the hell did Feyre learn to manipulate Tamlin the Tool and what’s her name so quickly? They’re centuries older. This isn’t believable.

It’s all bloody lies!

This book is riddled with lies.

(Not the cute little white lies, oh no)

We started questioning everything like why does this book exist? Did Sarah hit her head while writing it? Did her editor hilariously drunk and say ‘Hey Bloomsbury, this is so good. Print it. Print it now before I take some aspirin.” We had a whole bunch of questions, but mostly we had wants.

  • We wanted Nesta to be some badass Queen who had more power than all the High Lords and then we wanted her to rule. Give her a court and a crown and watch her win.
  • We wanted Elain to have powers to. We wanted those powers to be deeply tied to the nightmare that was her experience in the Cauldron, but we wanted her to stay the gentle and and caring woman that she was…mostly.
  • We wanted Amren to turn into some crazy dangerous dragon creature and eat Hybern’s head.
  • We wanted Tamlin the Tool to die.
  • We wanted Lucien to die.
  • We wanted Cassian to have his wings still in tatters, too far gone to heal, but for him to find some way around this.
  • We wanted Mor and Azriel to get together because hollah, someone give us a fan.
  • We wanted the sixth mortal Queen to be wicked and wonderful and *sigh*

We didn’t get any of that. WE DIDN’T EVEN GET A DECENT WAR. WHAT!?


This is what we got:

  • We got Nesta continuing to be standoffish and “powerful”, but her power turned out to be basically nothing. All the did was make some big explosion type thing and she didn’t even manage to kill Hybern with it. She almost had an emotional moment with Feyre, but that was cut short.
  • Rude.
  • She could track the Cauldron and that was so very boring.
  • Elain became a Seer. Wooh. A walking fortune cookie.
  • No one believed a thing she said and she went around talking to herself about this and that and ravens and stuff. She stopped eating and lost a scary amount of weight, but no one in the Night Court had a big freak out it.
  • It’s only when Feyre becomes starved and suffers from malnutrition that anyone gives a damn.
  • *Gasps*
  • Amren became a chastised grandmother. How dare she speak so bluntly?
  • She also got a boyfriend in the midst of ‘war’ and it was swoon worthy sickening. It was sickening.
  • She didn’t even turn into a head eating dragon creature. We don’t know what she turned into? DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT AMREN TURNED INTO?
  • Cassian’s wings were just fined by the time Feyre arrived home. Dandy.
  • Mor and Azriel didn’t get together. Instead Mor came out to Feyre and told her that she was bisexual. That she’d been hiding in for five hundred years because she was afraid (of what we don’t know) Prythian doesn’t seem to care who you’re sleeping with. It doesn’t care who you’re married to).
  • But Mor would give Azriel hints every now and then to keep him interested.
  • For five hundred years.
  • She encouraged feelings that she didn’t return for five hundred years.
  • She used him.
  • It felt fake.
  • You’d think after everything he’d been through as a child that she wouldn’t have used him in such a way, but no.
  • The sixth mortal Queen turned out to be a phoenix thing?
  • Her name is Fawkes. She’s gonna burn so bright for Dumbledore.
  • The ‘war’ had no proper casualties.
  • And all the main characters’ friends turned up at just the right time.

Also, we summed up Feyre and Rhyand’s entire relationship.

Feyre: “I just suffered untold tragedies and I had to kill people. Do me”

Rhysand: “I just manipulated my way into emotional hell. Do me”

Feyre: “I haven’t seen my sisters in over a month. Thanks so much for letting me see them before you do me.”

Rhysand: “You’re so welcome. Do me”

You can tell how completely and utterly irritated and disappointed we were because we had expected Nesta to truly take something from the Cauldron. We wanted her to take power so much that we even made up our own little scene.

Soldiers were screaming all around her. They were screaming and they were dying and she just didn’t care. They were only people. They had hearts and minds and the pain in their eyes as swords ran them through or as horses trampled over them didn’t bother her because she coud feel it.

Her power rising to the surface. It wanted out. 

She walked so slowly above the blood and the bodies, her hair blowing back until she was at the edge of the battlefield. Coming closer and closer was more of Hybern’s army. They were magnificent in their number and the power rolling off them…it was so pitiful to her.

“You will all…” said Nesta, her eyes bleeding black like the surface of the Cauldron “…fall.” 

*insert applause here*


That’s the kind of Nesta were expecting and now having read ACOWAR, there are things that we genuinely think would have made everything better.

  • The word mate to have never been used.
  • Elain to have the power to remove shadows. So, like the opposite of a Shadowsinger, but it’d be more instinctual because she’d be scared of the darkness.
  • Then she would bond with Azriel and learn to love the shadows/darkness and control her power until if she wanted, there would be no night.
  • Azriel and Elain would obviously get together then.
  • Obviously.
  • Mor to get with absolutely no one.
  • Nesta to get with no one.
  • Cassian to find himself a man.
  • Or two.
  • Rhys and Feyre to fade into the distance…one of them to die.
  • Amren to turn into a vicious dragon creature made of light and might and then Amren to have the ability to switch forms because we love her.
  • Nesta to get whichever court they had the meeting at.
  • She seemed to like it there.
  • More of Nuala and Cerridwen.
  • They were neglected.
  • Other stuff.

Thanks for reading!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Skulduggery Pleasant Resurrection by Derek Landy


The skeleton detective is coming back to life… again! It’s the tenth, triumphant novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, and it will rearrange your world.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are back in the tenth instalment in the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series – an incredible and unexpected treat for the legions of fans around the world.

We can’t say much but we can say this: Skulduggery and Valkyrie are going to team up with beloved characters from the first 9 books as well as an all-new cast, including new teen co-star Omen Darkly, for an adventure that takes the story to truly global proportions… while answering questions that go right back to the beginning.

And Derek says this: “I was halfway through Last Stand of Dead Men, I think, when I realised that I had more stories to tell. I told myself that if Skulduggery and Valkyrie survived the series, I would leave the option open of returning to their world. There were still secrets I need to reveal, after all, and there were still horrors they had to face. They survived the first series. But they’re really going to wish they hadn’t.”


Disclaimer: There be spoilers…

Okay, so Skulduggery Pleasant Resurrection isn’t our favourite skeleton detective novel and we’re kind of okay with that?

To begin with we were a little disappointed when we finished the book because we’d hyped it up so much in our head and our expectations had become astronomical. We were thinking of magic and action and a damn good mystery. Derek delivered all of it, but there was just something off about the entire thing.

The novel starts just over five years after the events which led to Darquesse being sent to another world. Valkyrie is back from America with her dog Xena, but she’s not ready to be in the same place as the sister that she killed. She’s not ready to look her parents in the eye because she knows something they don’t…she knows a lot of things they don’t and those things are dark.

They’re dark and heavy.

We’ll be blunt. Valkyrie is depressed. She doesn’t want to be with Skulduggery. She doesn’t want to do the things she used to love doing and it weighed on us a little bit. Derek introduced us to a new, more cynical version of our beloved Irish heroine and we can barely cope with the fact that she doesn’t want to kick ass and save the world anymore.

She’s also, somehow, still the most magically inept person and that grates on us. Grates on us SO. VERY. MUCH.

But enough of Valkyrie Caine. A lot more happened in this book.

We got introduced to the brand new Roarhaven and Omen Darkly! One’s ruled by the magnificent China Sorrows and the other is the brother to a chosen one. Lol. Sidekick.

Roarhaven is thriving these days. China lives in a palace. She has a magical school. She has minions and wealth and money and Eliza Scorn across the road in a massive church that we bet China is just itching to destroy. Eliza bye.

Omen is a pretty cool kid and that’s something of a bone of contention bewteen Arbiter Pleasant and Arbiter Caine (Arbiter meaning independent operative/s who aren’t tied to one Sanctuary. So cool!)

Val doesn’t want another kid to be put in the danger she was put into because she doesn’t want someone having to lie and make the hard choices she did. It’s too much for someone so young even when the young person thinks it’s all just one big adventure. The reality hits them eventually.

But Omen, are little sidekick isn’t to be detained or withheld from what he wants. He likes that people notice him now and he likes not being looked at as the brother of the Chosen One when he is noticed. We can’t really blame him.

The whole plot was really fun. It had some really good twists. Scorned women rising from the dead to take revenge. Nutcases being controlled by said scorned women because what’s an major evil villain without little villains?


Controlled nutcases causing panic and death and danger and mayhem and fun!

We’re smiling just thinking about it.

But dear god, did one of those villains annoy us. Every time he opened his fictional mouth we experienced pain. Italics and dots and more italics. It’s a miracle we managed to turn out sane by the end of everything.

Other things that also grated on us were a few pages near the start of Resurrection that had way too many capitals and fancy event names. We were confused and we were annoyed and Cassandra and Finbar are dead? What.

Someone better rescue us from the misery.

The whole, there is a remnant of Darquesse floating around Valkyrie that only she can talk to was brilliant! We genuinely thought she was a little crazy for a while, but she’s not and that’s good because we really want more Val and remnant conversations in the future. We want them like we want air…or food.

And that’s pretty much it.

Thanks for reading our review guys!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.


Vicious by V.E Schwab


Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?


Disclaimer: We did a really good job of not spoiling anything. We are amazing.

Okay, so let’s be honest here. Vicious isn’t Schwab’s best book, but it’s damn good. It has a man called jailbird named Victor, a righteous killer named Eli and a dog that’s come back from the dead. So, you know. Read it.

What we loved about Vicious is the fact that it’s full of all kind of grey areas. 

Victor Vale, our villainous boy-toy of the week is a man who went to prison for a crime he definitely committed, but he’s the good guy. Honest. He just has this thing for inflicting pain and crossing ethical lines and pulling children into  a decade old feud that is basically just some twisted bromance gone wrong.


You’ll have heart eyes for him by the end of the novel.

The novels takes place on different timelines and it’s interesting because you imagine young (deranged?) Victor being all adorable and cute and intelligent and sexy and-

that’s not where we’re going with this…

As a reader, it can often be jarring to have your mind operate in two or more timelines created by an author for the purposes of a story because your brain has to segregate characters to a certain period of time and it also has to not obsess over the many events that could have taken place in the interval between the chapters which are set then and the chapters which are set now.

Vicious doesn’t have that problem. It’s very easy to know where and when you are because there’s an obvious difference in the characters.

In college, Victor wants more than anything to take the mask of his best friend Eli and see what kind of monster is lurking beneath. He wants to find a monster like him to bond with and spend time with. Student Victor wants to push science to the very brink and discover something new and wonderful and powerful.

He wants to be ExtraOrdinary.

Post prison Victor wants to end his best friend and he doesn’t care how he’s going to do that. He will hurt and maim and completely destroy those who wish to stop them because Eli is a creature made from dangerously sharp and evil components.

He’s a genius who has become full of the belief that he’s meant to kill other’s like him who are super-powered. Because they are wrong. They are magnificent and they are wrong. Their souls are gone. They are the devil given human skin…


Someone is different. Kill them. Someone is different. Kill them!

Someone. Is. Different.

Kill. Them.

We’re complaining about it, but we don’t actually mind that much. It’s so much fun seeing fanatics being taken down. So fun.

For us, Vicious lacked the depth that we found in Victoria’s Shades of Magic trilogy. We think it’s due to the fact that it’s an earlier work of hers and the fact that it is, for the moment, a standalone novel. We haven’t been gifted with another four hundred plus pages to see a world of secretly powered people be fleshed out.

We’re happy to know that we’re getting those pages though. Sometime next year if everything goes to plan.

What’s interesting about this novel is how people receive their powers. They have to come very, very close to death. And we’re talking I’ll reap your soul in just a second close. It seemed to us, to be a pretty cool system that allowed for Schwab to get imaginative with the powers she bestowed on her creations.

To finish this all up, Vicious is the kind of powered up fiction that will draw in the lovers of wicked deed and sharp, sharp characters who are so riddled with flaws that it’s a miracle they don’t break. It’s also a book that moves very fast and allows you to only make connections with just a few of those aforementioned flawed characters. You’ll either like it or hate it, love it or feel kind of meh about the whole thing, but we promise that you’ll be exploring into Victoria’s other rich worlds.

Thanks for reading our review!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Four London Book Tag

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Disclaimer: You’ll either like this or you’ll love this. There’s really no other option.

Welcome one, welcome all to the Four London Book Tag! *screams internally* We honestly can’t believe it’s finally here. So, we came up with the idea all the way back in November to do this tag, but school and procrastination and life got in the way so it didn’t happen. Then we thought we’d have it up and running for the release of A Conjuring of Light in February, but that didn’t happen.

HAPPILY, THOUGH, TODAY IS MS. SCHWAB’S BIRTHDAY (something the confirmed to us yesterday on Instagram because we didn’t believe Wikepedia. It’s not always reliable) AND WE THOUGHT WE JUST HAD TO FINISH CREATING THIS TAG ONCE AND FOR ALL IN HONOUR OF HER REACHING THE THIRD DECADE.

We’ve heard that the thirties are quite fun.

Now, obviously the Four London Book Tag is based upon the Four Londons of Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. Grey, Red, White and Black. There will be questions related to each London with pretty graphics as we go along and we’re so ecstatic and oh my gods let’s get going. We can’t wait any longer!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? *insert heart eyes here*

Like Lila with the Stone’s Throw in her regular old grey London, she just can’t seem to get away from the place. No matter how many times she runs away to seek adventure and get herself a ship. So, we wondered what book/series is essentially the Stone’s Throw for us in literary form? And the answer is, The Twilight Saga.

We know. We know what you’re thinking. The Twilight Saga? Seriously? We thought you had better taste and we do. We have great taste, but seriously. No matter how many times we marvel at the shocking differences between book Bella and movie Bella and no matter how many times we cringe at the existence of Jacob Black and Edward’s my poor soul thing we sporadically open up our copy of Breaking Dawn or New Moon and read.

It just has this spark of magic that we are drawn to.

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Lila said goodbye to Grey London with a wave and a grin and never looked back. She was done. She was over it. She wanted bigger and better things.

We said goodbye to the Lorien Legacies series only a little while ago with the final book, but we’d kind of left the series long before that and we have no intention of ever reading the books again. Never, ever, ever. We will not read the Lorien Legacies books again in our celestial lifetime because there are bigger and better things for us to read.

Examples of such are:

  • Godsgrave. It’s the sequel to Nevernight and we won’t be seeing it til September. But it’s all good. No, seriously. It’s ALL GOOD. We can look at the beautiful ARC cover and final cover designed by Kerby Rosanes on Instagram whenever we like. WE’RE NOT STRESSING OVER THE FACT THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION ADVANCE COPIES OF THE STABBY BOOK. We’re not stressing. You are.
  • Renegades. Marissa Meyer is diving into the world of Superheroes and Super-villains with Renegades and it’s exciting and the cover is beautiful and we’ve read an excerpt and we know that we’ll likely love the villains more than the heroes. Who wouldn’t?
  • And finally, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. We received an ARC for it the other day on NetGalley and we’re only forty something pages in. It feels like a classic. Yes.

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We had an answer planned for this…

Hold on…

Wait *plays holding music*

Grey London is the only London that’s basically devoid of magic. It’s dead or it’s dying and very few people can access that scraps of power that are left. But ignore all that.

WE HAVE FOUND OUR ANSWER and it’s Teardrop by Lauren Kate. It had such a pretty cover and we always judge books by their covers (we’re not superficial…OK, we are, but we always have this notion that when a book cover is pretty more money has been spent on it? You understand. We know you do.)

And it had a great concept. A girl who would flood the world when she cries. Oh my gods, yes. It’s like the Sept being blown up by Cersei with Wildfire in episode 6×10 of Game of Thrones except better because Margaery doesn’t die. It failed though. Failed so hard.

Red london

There are many forms of Aven (blessed) in the Shades of Magic books. There are the priests and the Antari. Both have a different form of magic. The Antari can control all forms expertly and equally. The priests are similar in that the have access to all forms, but they’re not particularly talented at any of them.

Where there talent lies is in balancing the elements to heal and grows.

It was really tough finding the right book for this and in the end we couldn’t decide on just one, so we have two.

The Deviants by C. J. Skuse is a book that will tear your itty bitty heart out and rip it all up while making you love it. And the Original Ginny Moon is the most fabulous gem that was sent to us all the way from Canada by its publisher. The main character is a girl with autism and we love her.

We love her so much.

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Kell’s coat is the most fantastic piece of clothing that we’ve ever read about and we so want it. You can change it up whenever you like and there just might be an infinite amount of forms for it to take.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon who is a goddess is a book we’ve read…four times and we manage to have a new opinion on it every single time we finish the last line. They’re all positive opinions. They’re just all different. One of the questions we always ask our self about it is where on earth is our dearest Michael? WHERE IS HE?

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Holland and Kell to a greater extent are loved and feared simultaneously. People look at them and marvel at their power, but they also fear them because tiny, tiny mortals don’t like sentient beings to be able to do more than them. Be more than them.

Similarly, we adore the world of Harry Potter in the time of Voldemort. There is so much love and resilience and magic and (our emotions are overloading) stuff that we are unable to not smile when we think of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley and everything.

But if we were in that world when people are disappearing and Dementors are running loose and something as basic as your parentage can make you a target or a lesser being to be killed then we think we’d curl up and cry.


At the beginning of the series White London was even worse than Grey London is some respects. To take the throne, you had to kill. The hygiene of the general populace was terrible and Astrid or Athos Dane could bind you a bury you at whatever moment they saw fit.

By the end of the trilogy, after we’d developed a burning love for dear old Holland and shrivelled into a patch of nothing when he died, White London took a breath and exhaled life back into the world.

SO, WHAT BOOK/SERIES WAS MEH AT THE START? The first two Throne of Glass novels, that’s what. So many exclamation marks and mehdom (we’re trademarking that word).

AND WHAT WAS FULL OF LIFE AT THE END? The third and fourth Throne of Glass novels, that’s what. We’re ignoring Empire of Storms and the destruction it levelled on the series due to the fact that our love burns bright for Manon and Elide and Lysandra in books three and four. We just can’t let anything taint that.

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(If you turn your screen at just the right angle you can read what we’ve written here, but if you’re feeling lazy we’ll repeat our demand/question/whatever).

A book/series that you would kill for.

Harry Potter. ‘Nuff said.

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White London was dying. Holland saved it. May the potentially ungratefully denizens of the palest of London’s mourn his soul.

We’d save Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because for some reason over the last few years it has become our favourite Harry Potter book with Deathly Hallows close behind. We’d bring with us a copy of HP6 into Armageddon or Ragnorak or The End of Days or The Rapture no matter what.

We have a few reasons for this.

  1. It’s orange and we could pretend that we have that valuable resource called fire so little people would come close to us and then in their devastation upon their realisation that we do not in fact carry heat, we’d rob them of all their goods. Not their clothes though. Ew.
  2. We’d need a boy like Draco to keep us warm at night…get your minds out of the gutter.
  3. Hermione would still manage to be the only other being that we’d enjoy having a conversation with because she is an intellectual.
  4. And Luna. OBVIOUSLY LUNA.

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Osaron and his massive ego consumed the people in Black London and tried to consume all of the population of Red London (White London and Grey London just weren’t good enough. Rude) but he failed and only consumed a few. They died horrible deaths. It was exciting.

A book series that utterly consumed us was the Shades of Magic trilogy! We stayed up for a great deal of the night over in Wales reading A Conjuring of Light even though we knew we had to be up at 6:30am and we knew that we’d have a very day ahead of us, but we didn’t care. We revelled in our exhaustion and devoured half of the book.

We also reviewed it, so, here.

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Every good person in all the Londons that mater aka Red and White know that Black London is to be treated as if it is the plague. *cough* someone tell Kell *cough* and there are some books which we absolutely stay away from.


We haven’t read anything by her because the potential level of cutesy is to high. It makes us recoil.

Some of you are probably calling us heathen right now, but lol. We don’t care. We’re secure in our reading choices. We are…we know it…

someone please pass us a Rainbow Rowell book…

someone please…



Magic man Osaron is a puppet master. He says buy me a rake, you do it. He says shove that rake in your eye, you do it. He says call me you crazy magic lover boy, you do-  wait, what?

We’re getting carried away with our self *insert blush here*

J. K Rowling is the Osaron to our money. When we discovered that The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm were written by her, we persuaded our Life-Giver to buy them for us immediately. We didn’t even have to bed. And when Career of Evil came out, it was something like eighteen euro, but we got it there and then.

We fretted for about thirty seconds, but still. We bought it, read forty pages of it and somehow forgot to ever open it up again. We plan on fixing that soon!


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What character/s from the Shades of Magic trilogy would you like to see have a spinoff?

Our answer is definitely Nasi who was introduced to us in A Conjuring of Light in White London and we think she’ll become Queen and turn out to be just like the priests of Red London because she’ll be able to balance the elements, but obviously she won’t be a priest because SHE’LL BE QUEEN! And she’ll create and order of women who will do cool stuff and, and-

We hope you’re reading this Victoria!

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If you could rule one of the four Londons, which one would you rule?

White London. Definitely White London. It’s somehow managed to become our favourite London and also we couldn’t bare to take Rhy or any future Maresh children of the throne. He and Alucard would have glorious children. Never mind the fact that neither of them can carry a child.

Of course, we’d wait til Nasi was done ruling. White London would totally keep the whole strongest person rules thing, but it would do away with the you must kill the weaker person thing. We simply don’t have the energy for that much killing.

So, the demands/questions are done and there’s just a couple of things left to sort out.

One: We uploaded some of our designs on to our Society6 store because we love them. And you can get gorgeous pillows and tote bags and other things and support us because we’re poor.

Two: YOU CAN ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THE FOUR LONDON BOOK TAG. To do so all you must do is use our prompts because they’re vital. You can use our graphics as well, if you want as long as you reference us, but you don’t have to! We’re 99% sure that all of you can create your own stunning graphics.

(Do you really want to pull your hair out though? Do you want to look like a hairless cat?)

We also ask that you link back to us and/or comment you link here in the comments so we can check out your brilliants answers!


We have a whole bunch of people that we need to tag and the first one is Victoria Schwab herself (ambitious we know)! If you are indeed reading this, you wonderfully creative woman, we want to thank you for creating such an immersive world which magic and blades and secrets and wonder.

This is a birthday gift, so sorts to you, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND THANK YOU!

Next up we have the creators of all the amazing blogs that we read *adoring emoji*

Cait from Paper Fury, Anna from A Literary Potion, Stacee from Adventures of A Book Junkee, Aentee from Read at Midnight, Ashleigh from A Frolic Through Fiction AND EVERYONE ELSE!

There are so many of you with blogs, but it’s almost midnight and we’re running out of birthday hours here! Consider yourself all tagged! We promise to start commenting on your stuff again soon. Summer is here and we’re ready to pester you all *evil laughter*

THAT’S IT GUYS. THIS POST IS OFFICIALLY DONE. It’s an immense beast totally at 2,500 and something words and we couldn’t be more proud of our self. We’ll see you all again on Tuesday because we have a schedule now. Tuesdays and Fridays for all our stuff and every other day for ARC reviews and the like.

Arkon, Annie and a creator (it feels good to say that again)



Lord of Shadows By Cassandra Clare


Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.


Disclaimers: This post is riddled with spoilers for both Lord of Shadows and previous books by Cassandra Clare.


  • This cover is ugly.
  • Jules, Emma – when are you going to get it into your thick heads that Cortana can cut through anything. Including the Parabatai bond. We figured it out in Lady Midnight and you killed legendary bronze people who are almost godly and shouldn’t be able to die. Like, seriously.
  • Dru, darling, you’ve been neglected. You got far less time than the others and while we thought you’d die we’re happy you didn’t. ALSO, we thought Diana would get the chop and maybe Diego and Zara. Good god she needs to be stabbed.
  • The Centurions are a collection of entitled idiots.
  • If Mark doesn’t hurry up and decide between Christina and Kieran we will scream. Alternatively, we could maybe see the three of them working together…but maybe not.
  • Magical weakness, sick Warlocks, INTRIGUE – the naming of children after dead people isn’t necessarily a good idea. They died after all. Honestly, Magnus and Alec get with it
  • Jamie! JAMIE. Why aren’t you the evil, scheming wretch we were hoping you’d be? Why do we have emotions for you? Positive ones. Not even stab, stab, stab emotions.
  • Oh my god, Julian. Your baby Livvy is dead. We will never recover. It’s like Margaery going up in Hellfire in Game of Thrones all over again and we can’t cope and what about Ty and what about Kit. THERE WAS FRIENDSHIP BLOSSOMING. And by the Angel how will everyone be able to keep going.
  • Where’s our kiss between dearest Tiberius and Kit? It isn’t anywhere, that’s where it is.
  • Clary. Jace. You are so out of place in this book. Go home. We hate seeing you in novels that aren’t your own.
  • We need more of Mark. He’s adorable.


It’s easy to say that Lord of Shadows is a step up from Lady Midnight and that was good already. We’re proud of you Cassandra Clare.

Lord of Shadows succeeded on many levels, but the main thing that concerned us, THE ONLY THING THAT CONCERNED US was Ty and Kit. They are the future. They are what mankind should aspire to be like.

Side note: We are also what mankind should aspire to be like.

Okay, so…where do we start?

The second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy took on a global feel ala Sense8 and really explored the interconnecting worlds of Faerie and regular old Earth where human angels endeavour to drive back demons and make sure disgusting undead sea demon warlock hybrids don’t eat little children. Yes, Malcolm we’re talking about you.

We got to see the politics that influence how Institute Heads are appointed, the mechanics of Unseelie royalty where having fifty sons really means you’ll have a bag of extra bargaining chips to throw and spend at your disposal unless of course they kill each other. We got to see the ever-increasing hate that a great deal of Downworlders have for Shadowhunters be compacted into two sections. The actions of Shadowhunters and the attitude of Shadowhunters.

Let’s discuss the attitude of Shadowhunters.

Those who have drank from The Mortal Cup to be gifted by the angel Raziel are less likely to have the overwhelming arrogance of your average, I was born this was Shadowhunter. You’re regular Shadowhunter believes that they can do anything, that their way is the right way in most cases. Granted, there are exceptions, but as a whole they believe this.

Even Emma and Julian think it’s okay to threaten Downworlders for information so long as it gets them where they want to be.

It’s this attitude that has them looking down on Mundanes, being amused by Mundanes as if they are creatures in a zoo and distrusting anyone with fair folk blood. It’s this attitude that led to the Clave not bothering to try and rescue Mark and sentencing Helen to exile on a tiny, tiny island that is cold and miserable.

It’s this attitude that has stopped Diana, fierce and gorgeous she’s rightly named after the Roman incarnation of Artemis, from helping the Blackthorns in the way she truly wants to (by becoming the Head of the Los Angeles Institute). In Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare made it clear that Diana had secrets. AND FINALLY, WE GOT TO KNOW THEM.

Diana was born Michael. She was born in a body that wasn’t her own. Diana is transgender, but that’s not what has stopped Diana from becoming the quintessential boss of all LA based Shadowhunters. At least that’s not what we got from what was written. What’s stopped Diana from it is the manner in which she became herself.

She used Mundane methods.

She underwent operations don’t by mortal doctors, she went through the process of transitioning with Mundane professionals all around her. In a scene with Gwynn she explained that she chose to do so because of the permanence of it all. A spell can be undone by another spell and there was no way in heaven or hell that she was going to live with the chance that a wayward Warlock could turn her into something that wasn’t her.

What’s nice about Diana’s complexity as a character and in particular the manner in which her hidden truths were revealed to us as readers was that none of it came across as a cheap gimmick. Cassandra didn’t place something so emotional and profound in Lord of Shadows because people demanded it, but because Diana as a character demanded it. It was well done and felt honest unlike certain other revelations that have happened in books we’ve read recently (ACOWAR).

ONTO OTHER EMOTIONAL STUFF and back to the actions of Shadowhunters.

Annabelle Blackthorn, our recently risen Shadowhunter was someone we hailed as a hero when she savagely stabbed Malcom to death prior to the weird tentacle incident. And then someone we condemned when she killed our dear Livvy. We were okay when she almost killed Emma and Julian, they’re not Ty and Kit, they’re not the parties that make up the most epic romance. And we were definitely okay when she killed Robert. Lol, bye. #Savage

Her betrayal of the glorious Blackthorn family is because of how long dead members of the family acted towards her. How they treated her and made her dead. Her betrayal is, in some ways a pre-emptive act that one may commit in war. And it is now War because Julian will kill her. He will make her suffer and we will cheer.

The actions of Shadowhunters, the implementation of the Cold Peace by those who use fear to breed hate and anger are the foundations of what is the come in Queen of Air and Darkness (something which we recently found out we’ll have to wait two years for. Here’s hoping we’ll get an arc)

Is it too much to say that although the actions of Shadowhunters have saved countless human lives, they have also caused them all the pain they’ve ever felt? Yes? No?

We don’t think it’s much of a reach. The Circle came into existence because of Valentine’s superiority complex where Downworlders were concerned. Sebastian came into existence because the Clave didn’t do their jobs properly and wipe him off the face of the Earth. The Seelie Court aligned with Sebastian because they knew they’d never be treated as equals under the current rules. And now, with the Dark War having concluded in City of Heavenly Fire and the Cold Peace that we’ve already mentioned having been in place for five years, the Fae are demeaned and less. They are angry. They are vengeful and war is approaching because of Shadowhunter choices.


With Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare gave us so much to think about and we ended up writing a review in a different style to what we usually write because we just had to share some of our thoughts without being confusing and changing tone every few sentences. Over the space of the next two years, we’ll be reading this book multiple times and we can’t ever see us loving it any less than we do right now.

So, what did you all think of Lord of Shadows? Did it exceed your expectations? Did it rip your fragile, mortal hearts out? Let us know in the comments!

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig


For the first time in her life, Ginny Moon has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family that will love and nurture her. It’s exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. So why is this 14-year-old so desperate to get kidnapped by her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, Gloria, and return to a grim existence of hiding under the kitchen sink to avoid the authorities and her mother’s violent boyfriends?

While Ginny is pretty much your average teenager—she plays the flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and studies Robert Frost poems for English class—she is autistic. And so what’s important to Ginny includes starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, bacon-pineapple pizza and, most of all, getting back to Gloria so she can take care of her baby doll.


Disclaimers: We received this book in the form of a physical ARC courtesy of the publisher (Park Row Books) This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Continue reading “The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig”

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence


I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Disclaimers: A digital copy of this book was provided to us via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Ace, a division of the Berkley Publishing Group). This review may contain spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: We wanted viciousness.

Review: Can someone please tell us why we haven’t read a book by Mark Lawrence sooner because there is no logical answer that we can come up with. His writing is amazing! Red Sister was definitely a good book to start with because we got to meet Nona and the Sisters of Sweet Mercy. They’re nuns and they pray, but some of them might just slit your throat if they have to.

Being us, we found problems and we’ll start with how we weren’t entirely sure who the book was focusing on in the first few chapters. Was it Sister Thorn in the prologue or was it the girl mentioned in chapter one? We couldn’t tell and that confusion made keeping a decent grip on the story a little difficult for a while.

There are unexpected problems with having a wonderful prologue. A wonderful prologue lulls the reader into a feeling of literary ecstasy where they believe every single sentence will contain tension and magic and a heart thumping feeling that is just pure anticipation. When the story properly starts one can find themselves a bit disappointed. We know we did.

That disappointment can carry over to the world building too. In Epic Fantasy, there’s a lot to get right from the start. An author has to set up a cast of characters, develop their relationships and create a certain type of magic before even writing the first chapter. There was definitely a sense of avenues going unexplored for us, but then we realised something.

The way Mark chose to write this book, the way he chose to set up the timeline followed and everything else is quite similar to the direction Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took. Both contain a satisfying story with a beginning, a middle and a worthwhile conclusion, but both need further instalments for the story to be truly complete.

Thanks heavens for us discovering there’s going to be two more books. Two more books that are already written!

We definitely enjoyed things from Nona’s world though. We liked how the planet she lives on, Abeth is a planet that is suffering from a dying Sun. Ice is taking over everything and the majority of the world’s population lives on a section of land called the Corridor. We thought that was interesting.

You know who we thought was really interesting? Nona Grey. A girl who’s got Hunska in her blood and demons in her heart. Nona hasn’t had a happy life or an easy life. Everything’s been hard, she’s had to fight to survive…she’s had to do more than fight and we love her. Vicious little people are always our favourite.

It’s important to note right now that Sister Kettle and Sister Apple are the best couple in existence and that leads us right back to the Convent of Sweet Mercy.

It’s a place for many girls to train in the way of the Ancestor, to worship the Ancestor because he is there god. From what we gathered as we read Red Sister, some girls are sent to the Convent to be educated, a bit like a private academy. Some are rescued by Abbess Glass and some end up in the Convent as a last resort.

We loved reading about the lessons and the different paths to the Ancestor that the girls may take if and when the graduate. Some girls become Red Sisters, others Grey. Some will become Sisters which are Holy and the remaining graduates become Mystic Sisters. That’s all we’re going to tell you about for now because there’s something else we must mention.

Time jumps exist in Red Sister and there are two types.

The first time jump is one of two years that happens quite early on in the novel so we don’t feel like it’s too much of a spoiler. Such a jump in time is common enough in books and while we were a little shocked and sad at all the possible information we missed out on.

The second is one where an unspecified amount of time is skipped and it ties into what we said earlier about the story needing more than one book be completed. It’s completely and utterly necessary to have sequels to Red Sister for some of the events to even make sense.

Whenever we come to the end of a review, we’re always left knowing that there’s so much story and character development left to cover. We want to tell you all more. Tell you everything that happened and our thoughts on it, but we can’t because books are a solitary adventure and maybe when you’ve all read Red Sister you’ll come back to us and we’ll have a chat.

So, in conclusion Red Sister by Mark Lawrence is a book we expected to like and ended up really, really liking even if it looks like we complained a lot here. It’s full of great characters and deceptive myths. There’s intrigue and bloodshed, but most importantly there’s sisterhood and friendship because sometimes the best books are built on the bonds of its cast.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi – The Star-Touched Queen #2


Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.


Disclaimers: We received an advanced digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (St. Martin’s Griffin). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers you have been warned.

Why we chose it: Impulse.

Continue reading “A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi – The Star-Touched Queen #2”

A Conjuring of Light by V. E Schwab


Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.


Disclaimers: This review will contain major spoilers and we’re entirely unashamed of that. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: It’s the concluding book in the ADSOM trilogy.

Review: We’ve been absent from book reviewing from a while and so the thoughts surrounding us and the actual idea that we have chosen to get back into the game with this breath taking, soul destroying and in some ways lacking book are daunting.

That’s not to say that we’re not excited to be back and to rip apart our feelings for A Conjuring of Light, we are…it’s just – why did we have to choose this book to be the first one we review after hiatus?

It was obvious to us after only a few pages that Schwab had upped the stakes, upped the ante and with them upped the quality with which she writes with. The opening chapters from A Conjuring of Light come from different points of view, more so than we were accustomed to, but we have no complaints about them. The writing was beautiful. It flowed in black like the power that is Osaron and it wove deep into our mind.

We could see London clearer, see the characters clearer and it was fantastic. We wondered why Schwab didn’t infuse such vividness into A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Magic, we wondered was it because they were building blocks? Because they were…an introduction of sorts into multiples Londons and into the heads of the inhabitants of those Londons?

We wondered for a while before we grasped something. A Conjuring of Light is the only book where we truly appreciated the savagery of White London and the destruction of Black London. Where we appreciated all that is wonderful and wrong in the London that shines red and where we finally felt connected to the London that is much like the one in our own world with its lack of magic and its want for magic.

So, to truly kick off our indepth review we’re going to talk about Holland.

This book made us fall in love with the man who’d died and lived and made himself King by hosting something without conscience. We can truly say that we adore his character so very much now because we got to know him in the same way that we’d gotten to know Lila and Kell and Rhy. We got to see his past, experience his hopes and fears, his accomplishments and his failures.

His journey as a character is something we can appreciate. His actions as a man and his actions as an Antari were clearly defined in this book. To us, Holland is human first and Antari second and we were, by the end of the book not even remotely disappointed when he lost his magic after the battle. We were happy, actually to see him without the thing that had caused him the most pain throughout his life. We were happy and then we were sad to say goodbye.

We were sad to say goodbye to so many of the characters from this series. We’d made homes from them all in our heart, in a beating place inside our chest and to lose the threads of their stories after only three books was almost tear worthy in a way. Everyone and everything was embellished just that little bit more than Schwab probably intended due to our mind and knowing that we possibly won’t see where they travel and who they become over the rest of their lives is hard.

Matters of the heart certainly came to the forefront in A Conjuring of Light. There were the romantic matters and then there were the familial matters. There was Kell and Lila, Alucard and Rhy, Maxim and Emira on the romance front. Interesting how their relationships were so entirely different and then there was the relationship between Kell and Maxim/Emira, the brotherly bond of Rhy and Kell…

It was all too much and too little in some ways.

After hundreds upon hundreds of pages, we are still entirely unsure about the pairing of our dearest Lila and our self-pitying Kell. This book brought the teasing kisses and out of reach romance of the two together and we found ourselves affronted by it. Somewhere before the middle the two had this heart stopping romantic moment, or at least that’s what we think Schwab intended it to be. To us it was awkward and we could have done without it.

We’d have preferred Lila to stay single and Kell to stay…pining after her? It’s cruel, but we really would have liked it.

Alucard and Rhy on the other hand were and are sheer perfection. We enjoyed the fact that A Conjuring of Light allowed us to delve deeper into their history and see what was broken between them. Seeing Alucard out of his mind when Rhy was dying and then when Rhy was dead made it clear to us how much he cared, but not clear to the charismatic prince. Alucard’s devotion and Rhy’s acceptance came the hard way.

Maxim and Emira need only three words for their relationship. Beautiful and Heart-breaking.

Individually, the two were oh so interesting.

Maxim’s reputation as a warrior Prince and a powerful magician in his own right became really obvious as we made our way through the book. His need to protect his people at any cost and protect his family was something that was definitely shown and not told in A Conjuring of Light as we gained access to his own wonderful perspective. And what a heavy one it was.

Maxim really bore the weight of so much and in a completely different way to the way his son did. They both have responsibility being the reigning monarch and the heir to the monarchy respectively, but Maxim’s was so much more active. Although, it became increasingly evident as A Conjuring of Light progressed that Rhy was taking on more and becoming more with his glowing armour and his perception of himself.

Emira’s point of view was thought provoking to say the least, it was just as heavy as Maxim’s, but there was an elegance to her that resonated with us. She gained life and personality in this novel and she showed both her strength and her weakness whether it was with her inability to determine her relationship with Kell or her keen intellect and ability to listen to all the goings on in the castle.

We found her completely and utterly fascinating.

But we found her final moments disappointing. In our mind, she had taken on the shape of someone who would, when it counted forget her fears and show only the strength and capability that her son and husband showed. In reality or rather in this fictional reality created by Schwab she fractured.

We were not impressed.

In the months coming up to the release of ACOL Victoria Schwab was active on twitter in a manner that hyped up everything surrounding this novel, when we saw her say that it was thirty-five percent death we thought she had to be joking.

She wasn’t.

So many delicate walking and talking constructs died that we’re still having a hard time coming to terms with it all. We didn’t like anyone dying and we didn’t like the way that it was mainly people we felt we had come to know. This lady has absolutely no problems killing off her mains and her sides and the faceless beings you’re meant to perceive as people.

We must, of course mention prominent reason why most of these characters we haven’t named died.

Osaron, the magic without humanity or the possession of a soul. We got creepy Voldemort like vibes with his italic styled talk and the fact that it was eerie mind speech. How we’ve gone this long without talking about our beloved villain is beyond us.

What we like most about Osaron, is that he’s not inherently evil. He’s misguided and completely delusional, but surely if you had unmatched power and an unquenchable desire for new things and seeing potential wouldn’t you overlook the human lives you’re ending and then demand more?

No? Just us then.

Being something so powerful, we found the attempts to defeat him to be clever and enjoyable, but his actual defeat seemed to come and have passed without us realising it for more than a few pages. It wasn’t anticlimactic. It was, however, easy to miss for a moment.

There are areas in which we believe A Conjuring of Light failed to deliver and we’re going to list them for you.

  • A brand-new character, who we find intriguing called Nasi was introduced. We imagined her to be the future Queen of White London, but she was there and gone without any resolution. What’s with that Schwab? She’s definitely spinoff potential. We could totally do with a nine-year-old ascending to the throne in White London as it begins to breathe again.
  • We were teased with Kell’s hidden memories and then never got them. Granted he didn’t want them when the opportunity presented itself, but screw his wants. Ours are far more important.
  • The people with silver scars? More on them is needed.
  • The ramifications of the final battle need to be explored. Kell feels pain with his magic. Lila is Antari (we knew from book one that she was), but she doesn’t seem to posess the same level of power as the other two. We would have liked if she’d turned out to be something more unique.

So, to conclude A Conjuring of Light is a book we love dearly, but can’t help pick apart because we’re critical and analytical. It gave us so much that we enjoyed and left us wanting even more which really is a job well done. There were moments that were utterly perfect and we will never hesitate to recommend this book and the trilogy that it’s part of.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING THIS REVIEW! What did you think? Did you like or love A Conjuring of Light? Do you think Schwab is on bored with giving us readers more adventures in the four Londons or maybe just White and Red London with Nasi as the focus eh? Hint hint. Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.



The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

edge of everything

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury)

Why we chose it: Both the cover and the description grabbed us. They were enticing, they were intriguing and so we did a little research on the author. What we liked, we found.

Review: The Edge of Everything has left us conflicted. Our mind is in many factions – somewhere between like, love and minor dislike. The book wasn’t perfect, but we’ll get to that later.

The first thing that struck us is the same thing that we always notice first. Our main character. In The Edge of Everything that main character is Zoe. Her point of view is told in third person which works perfectly – it allows an intimate look at her persona without getting caught up in unnecessary detail the way a lot of books do. Let’s start with how funny she is…..

Damn that girl is hilarious. On numerous occasions at the start of and throughout the novel we laughed out loud. Thankfully there was no one around to offer us weird looks or ask questions that would distract us from reading. We can’t stress how wonderfully Jeff Giles captured an authentic sense of humour that has just enough sarcasm and elements of oddity. Zoe’s thoughts and mannerisms came across as unique to her. She’s not a used up trope or an archetype. You’ll find there are some aspects of her character that are flawed (genuinely flawed) but we won’t mention what they are just yet.

After the original sense of giddiness that overtook us we hit that point in a book where you wonder “Are we getting too much information, too soon?” It’s not necessarily the author’s fault – they’ve got a whole world with a cast of characters and a backstory to introduce us to. They’ve got to do it quickly and coherently so we don’t start asking questions later on like “When were we told the colour of Zoe’s eyes?” or “What was Zoe’s relationship with her Dad?” For a moment Jeff Giles managed to annoy us in the way he wrote it (an almost flashback scene that we usually have a thing against)

After a small break we continued on, but it wasn’t long before we hit another snag that had us truly contemplating never reading another word from this book again.

In an event (that we won’t disclose any details on besides what’s given in the description) Zoe meets a guy she’ll come to call X. Jonah, Zoe’s brother meets him too, but Jonah isn’t what’s of importance right now. What’s important is that we feel the connection between Zoe and X is almost immediately too strong despite the event with undisclosed details mentioned above. To us, as readers and reviewers it’s okay for two characters to instantly have a connection. A weak one and maybe even a moderately strong connection, just enough to build on. It felt like what was between X and Zoe had already been built on prior to their meeting which seemed very odd to us…..

We even had to re-read a few pages repeatedly to see if there’d been some sort of time jump we’d skimmed over or something that could explain it to us. We couldn’t and then as our frustration built so did a headache which caused us to stop reading, take a drink and think.

Could we overlook what’s almost like instalove, but isn’t? Could we read on knowing that from this point on a book that had started out promising despite a little flaw could turn into a full on disaster? It was surprising really that we could. We simply liked Zoe in a singular way that allowed us to.

X himself is an interesting character away from Zoe for us. His life… is an exaggeration, but we lack a better word and the type of magic depicted are borderline fascinating. We also liked the characters who came along with him as his story thread was woven in. Ripper and Banger, as well as others proved entertaining. They were more than just secondary characters there to fill a role. They added heart and emotion in a similar way that the other character of Zoe’s life such as her brother (we mentioned him briefly earlier) and her best friend Val.

In particular though, there’s something about children characters that we can’t help, but adore when done right. Jeff Giles definitely does it right in The Edge of Everything. Jonah is beyond perfect including his ADHD, he’s so wondrous and loving that if at any point during our read or in the future we discover a way to spirit him off the page and into our life then we will do so. His interactions with the world and his uniqueness made him easy to fall in love with. For everyone to fall in love with. Zoe of course being the older sibling could be at times impatient with him. On occasion she acted wrongly towards him and that made us want to act in a way that resembles violence toward her.

(We don’t condone violence towards characters in books. It’s unlikely to end well, but Jeff Giles seems to have a thing for weaving emotion)

The plot of the book itself isn’t all that unique if we’re honest and we’re always honest when it comes to books. A girl and indeed a family coming to grips with the loss of a father and a bounty hunter forbidden to reveal anything to said girl. It’s pretty generic right? Especially the fact that he breaks all the rules for this one girl. X breaks all the rules for Zoe and together the two of them discover what fate has in store and what the future may hold.

Blah, blah, blah.

What spices this book up and makes it not all about the forbidden couple is that it actually takes the time and the words to show you how the girl comes to grips with the loss of her father. How she tries to come to grips with the loss of her father. It shows how breaking the rules has consequences, but that these consequences are limited to those members central to the crime. Not the world. This isn’t a save the world book. It isn’t even a book that shoves insane Ripper and hilarious Val to the sidelines because there’s a muscly boy on the loose.

It’s a book that manages to tell a story and not the remnants of one.

As we neared the end of the book there were some twists and turns that we didn’t see coming. At all. Our theories on what was going to happen didn’t pan out….well, one did, but you don’t need to know that. When the book ended, we were satisfied with the ending. It didn’t feel rushed and it didn’t have a false happy ending to please the reading public. It was honest to the story being told and we appreciated that.

To conclude, while The Edge of Everywhere has some problems they’re not too big and can be overlooked. In terms of those factions we stated at the very start of this review, we’ve found a home for our opinions on this book. It’s a book that we almost love, but can’t truly. At least not yet. It’s possible that in the future after some re-reads we will indeed love it because the book certainly has the potential to be loved due to the writing style and as always the characters who can make or break anything.

AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR READING! Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

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