Lord of Shadows By Cassandra Clare

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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.

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

COMMENTARY

  • 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.

ANALYSIS

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.

CONCLUSION

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!

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

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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.

Goodreads

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.

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A Conjuring of Light by V. E Schwab

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Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
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.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
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?

WHO WILL RISE?
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.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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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.

Anoshe.

 

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

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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…..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.

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews – Innkeeper Chronicles #3

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Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.

Goodreads

Discalimers: This book is the third book in an ongoing series and is likely to contain spoilers for both itself and its predecessors. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Ilona Andrews constantly impress us. 

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A Collection of Unfinished Books.

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Overall disclaimer: These reviews are shorter than what we usually write.

It’s true. There have been more than a few books that we haven’t finished lately and we were hesitant to review them because we don’t really like leaving a book unfinished and then writing up our thoughts on them without all the information. It feels like cheating, bur we’ve come up with a solution!

We’re going to put all the books we did not finish into one post and have a collection of mini reviews because that way we feel less guilty and our post doesn’t look embarrassingly short.

Our genius never fails to amaze us.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

haven

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Friesen Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: It sounded fun.

Review: The writing was really a problem for us in Haven. It was such a problem that we stopped well before fifty percent. In fact, we only managed a few chapters before we gave up and it still gets to us how wrong everything felt. We thought we might teeter of the edge of a cliff if it were to get any worse. Characters felt as if they’d simply been thrown together without any regard for the chemistry, whether platonic or romantic that should be between them. We couldn’t stand it.

Our main character, Haven, is immortal in the sense that neither injury or disease can take her life. Chop off her head and it would probably grow back. Shoot an arrow right through her chest and she’d be fine in moments. We thought, because it was written that way that Haven’s immortality was common knowledge. It felt like everyone knew about it, but then it seemed at an early point in the book as if it wasn’t?

The arrow we mentioned was shot at Haven in an assassination attempt and the reactions people had to it were over exaggerated. Protect the Queen. Protect the Queen. No one batted an eyelid when she healed up. Hello, Queen’s Guard. You’ll all die before she does. Our eyes figuratively rolled out of our head.

It all made no sense and you all know how very much we hate things not making sense.

We completely understand now why some people abstain from period novels no matter what the genre is. Up until the book dialogue written in novel not set in a modern time didn’t bother us. It never felt stilted or stupid or forced…the dialogue in Haven felt forced. Things were said and then basically said again. It was frustrating.

We feel like there’s a slight possibility that the execution of the plot could have redeemed this novel if the writing hadn’t been so annoying, but saying that is grasping at straws. This book is very similar to the many fantasy books that already exist out in the world. Better fantasy books. It’s unfortunate because we really wanted to enjoy Haven.

To conclude, Haven was just not something we could get behind and though we feel bad about writing a negative review, it is honesty that is required of us and it is honesty that we give. This book might very well be the next best thing for some people, but for us it is something we simply couldn’t get behind.

burning-bright

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.

As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Curiosity Quills Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: This cover is so pleasing in a way.

Review: There’s nothing truly awful about Burning Bright, but there are a few problems and there’s one main reason why we stopped reading before the end. We grew bored with this book because we felt like we’d read it before. Young girl defies predominantly male society. Young girl has magic (granted magic is a common enough thing in the world of Burning Bright). Young girl is the only one with the power to save the world. Young girl has trouble controlling it, but really gains control far too quickly.

HELLO SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!

The young girl is Elinor and she bored us. Her character really wasn’t very interesting and things that were exciting or anxiety inducing to her had zero affect on us. Elinor’s defiance of her father and decision to join the navy came across as…dull and we have a problem with that.

Elinor is an Extraordinary and she is the only one who has the ability to wield fire in England for over a century. We thought that the discovery of her powers would have more repercussions than it actually did. There was no real big ripple to the unveiling of her fire power and that leads us to another problem.

The magic system in this book felt hastily explained. We were introduced the elemental magics and non-elemental magics and everything, including Elinor’s own magic was subsequently glossed over. It made for not so good world-building.

One thing we hate in books is when the main character makes epic declarations about their faith and destiny when they’ve done absolutely nothing to support their pretty words. There is no backing in character development, story arcs, or anything that makes us feel what the character says is actually viable. We don’t understand why it’s done and we couldn’t understand why the author had Elinor do it.

In conclusion it seems we had more issues with Burning Bright that we previously believed and feel that while we may not have discussed them in an in depth manner, we have done enough to portray our feelings towards the book.

WELL THIS WAS INTERESTING. This post is probably the longest one we’ve written to date and it feels nice getting these two reviews out of the way because we think if we were to stew on them, we’d end up wondering how the books ever got published.

Thank you for reading! Did you like how we wrote this post? Have you read any of the books we’ve mentioned? Let us know 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.

 

 

 

Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

arc-heart

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Gollancz, a division of the Orion Publishing Group). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers for both the book in question and the books that came before it. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: We like us some Elena and Raphael. These books are a guilty pleasure of sorts.

Review: Opening up Archangel’s Heart was a different experience to any of the previous books in the series and there are eight of them so we have to commend Nalini Singh for making something familiar seem fresh and new.

We were greeted with a prologue that felt mysterious and wonderful and it was evident that this prologue wasn’t going to be some seemingly throwaway piece of information that wouldn’t become important until much later in the novel. Instead it was the cornerstone of the entire plot and we really loved it.

Secrets and angel wings are totally our thing.

Discovering more of Elena’s past, the past of her family was an interesting thing to explore. Pairing that up with angelic politics and the personal growth of multiple characters was great. It really made more good storytelling and while we predicted some of the twists and turns, there were some things that we expected to happen that just didn’t. We definitely appreciated that.

Let’s talk about Aodhan. Let’s talk about how much we love Aodhan and how far he’s come in the time since we were first introduced to his character. No longer is he a fragile beauty who glitters in the sky, but finally he is once again and highly capable and dangerous member of the Seven. We never saw him as a warrior or as someone other than Illium’s best friend who’d had some really awful things happen to him. And that’s because he wasn’t. He was quiet. He was reserved. He avoided most physical contact. In Archangel’s Heart he is still quiet and reserved and against most physical contact, but through Elena we got to see the humour and intelligence and kindness beneath it all.

(That was such a clever way to link back to our main character, wasn’t it?)

Another thing that was different about Archangel’s Heart was how very Elena and Raphael focused it was. In recent Guild Hunter books the story has branched out into the lives of Dmitri and Honor, Ashwini and Janvier and a whole host of others that have proved for an intriguing narrative. Occasionally chapters focused on Elena and her Archangel lover, but otherwise they became a sort of background feature.

In this story, it’s all about the original couple and they’re just excellent.

It’s important to note and this point that sex scenes really took a backseat to the mystery for our characters here and we’re okay with that because we think if there had been many, they would have forced. We like how Nalini Singh focused on the stabby, stabby and whodunit instead.

Being introduced to the Luminata raised a so many red flags in our mind that we’re surprised alarm bells didn’t suddenly go off. Having read so many books where there are secretive and powerful organisations we just knew that they weren’t going to be good.

Elena spent a great deal of the book uncovering secrets and learning what was really happening in the Luminata compound and how it and the town beside it tied into her family history. We don’t want to spoil, so we’ll just say that everything she discovered and everything we discovered through her helped to further bring all the information we have on her into a clearer light.

We constantly enjoy how secure Elena is in her relationship with Raphael, how she doesn’t complain about having a plain face or how she simply can’t believe she could be the one for him. It’s a rarity in romances featured in New Adult books and that’s a shame. Elena knows who she is and what she is and she’s comfortable with it. Plus, she’s pretty handy with a crossbow.

To conclude, Archangel’s Heart was a really great instalment in the series. It had elements of mystery and action and we were so pleased to get back inside Elena’s mind because it works in such a wonderful way. Violence is always a viable option for her and we like it so very much. Guild Hunter novels always leave us wanting for more and this one was no different in that respect. Nalini Singh should get a medal because we love her urban fantasy books and we don’t think that’s ever going to stop.

THANK YOU FOR READING OUR REVIEW! Who do you want to see more of in the next book? Would you like to visit the lands of Michaela like we do or do you want a story focused on wicked, yet neglected Venom? An Ilium and Aodhan romance?Or Illium and Aodhan finding other partners? Please 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 Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

answer

AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes toa screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

Goodreads

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The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

midnight

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Goodreads

Disclaimer: This review may contain some things you view as spoilers for both the book in question and its predecessors. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: The Young Elites was good and The Rose Society was even better.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

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Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

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Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …

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The Deviants by C. J. Skuse

deviants

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

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