Sunday, 31 August 2014

Take Back the Skies

By Lucy Saxon


Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official in Anglya meaning she is privileged, however she longs to escape the confines of her life before her father can marry her off. So, Cat stows away on the ship the Stormdancer hoping to get away.


For 19 years old, Lucy Saxons first book is pretty good. She certainly has a lot of potential talent which I’m sure will improve as she writes more.


The plot of TBTS is fairly good, it has a dystopian ‘overthrow a terrible government’ feel to it but different and in a completely new world. However, at the start of the book, Cat’s objective is to escape her life, but we don’t get enough detail on it to know exactly what she’s escaping from- she dislikes her father, but doesn’t every teenager at some point and her mother still lives and she’s ill, doesn’t she mind abandoning her? I felt it needed more on her father cruel behaviour so that she felt forced to leave rather than seemingly like a stroppy runaway teen.

After Cat leaves there is too big a gap in the plot where nothing really happens. She just lives happily on the Stormdancer with nothing building in the background and you wonder what the rest of the story is going to be about. It leaves you bored just waiting for the plot to pick up.

Once things do pick up, sometimes you’re left thinking, really? The main characters have snuck in to a secret government building and to avoid being caught hide in a cupboard, where they begin talking. Surely, they couldn’t be at all surprised when they’re shortly after discovered and hauled out.


The characters I think could’ve been better developed with more stand out individual characteristics, you had the stereotypical enigmatic male with a dark past he doesn’t wish to speak of. He didn’t seem in anyway different to past heroes. The heroine was a usual stubborn girl wanting to escape her life and finds herself falling in love with the first boy she encounters.


The language used seemed unnatural and forced almost. The dialogue just didn’t flow but seemed disjointed; it needed to be more conversational.


The world building was good; Lucy has built an odd and new world with hopefully opportunity for later books set in it. It was easy to slip into the world and imagine it and want to be aboard the Stormdancer.


The end of the book I feel isn’t satisfying, you’re left hanging and angry that the end just isn’t nice. After finishing, I liked that the end was different and sort of angered me because it made it stand out but I felt saddened by it in an already quite dark book. It didn’t change and end lightly, which was surprising.


Overall, I’d give this book 2 stars out of 5.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Bone Season

By Samantha Shannon


“Nothing’s worse than a story without an end.”


On Goodreads the description of The Bone Season is:

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds.
Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.


The Bone Season is a gripping debut novel from Samantha Shannon. The pages really do turn themselves, you get swept up on page one and aren’t released until you’re finished, where you’re left reeling and eager for the next ride.


Samantha has been named the next JK Rowling by some critics, which is enough for anyone to be encouraged to pick up this book. The subject of the book is very different to that of Harry Potter, but Samantha’s talent for writing at such a young age in her first book really does shine and promise of amazing things to come. She has a beautiful style that is a joy to read. It feels great knowing that a young British woman has written this, not much older than me, she’s really leading young women into writing. The book has a very British feel to it which I love.


The world of The Bone Season is so vivid and feels real. You feel as though the world could really be like this in 50 years as she blends modern things with new future ideas. Samantha has clearly thought a great deal about the world of The Bone Season including all the many different orders of Clairvoyance, which are shown at the beginning of the book, and what I like is that the detail is there for fans to enjoy and yet isn’t totally essential for the book, you don’t have to try to learn all the names and what they mean to read the book, you can enjoy it without them. It really helps to have that part of the book separate from the story as many readers don’t like to have information dumped on them heavily at intervals during the book. The very start does info-dump as it lays down the foundations but the odd thing you may not understand isn’t crucial to the storyline.

Any questions at the content of the story can be referenced at the Glossary in the back of the book which helps with the world building especially.


The storyline really sticks in your head due to its difference from any other. It doesn’t feel like another overdone storyline but rather something fresh and brand new.


The main character Paige, is very likeable and relatable, you really get behind her the whole way hope for her happiness. As the story evolves, you see more and more of her and the layer are peeled back and past is dug up which makes you really admire her for enduring and staying so strong.


The growing love story between Warden and Paige is extremely enjoyable, it is subtle and doesn’t totally overshadow the actual storyline, and well paced. You never think it unbelievable or too rushed, but just enjoy the ride. It isn’t a big romantic story, which it may grow to be, but the very start of what could develop into an epic love.


The book series is supposed to have around seven books, at the minute I don’t know how the story will last that long, but hopefully that promises an expanding storyline that we will encounter in the second book.


I hope the second novel will bring alive the more secondary characters in the story as they’re more there to develop the story and act as expendables who help develop Paige and Warden’s characters at the minute. I’m fairly certain this will happen with characters like Jaxon and Nick on the scene who have GREAT potential to become favourite characters. The spark is there.


The end of the book leaves you with questions and an eagerness to find out what could possibly now.

I would highly recommend The Bone Season to anyone. It is a fantastic story with a promising future, the rights to a film of it have been picked up by Andy Serkis’s company Imaginarium.


4.5 out of 5 stars!


Can’t wait for the second book The Mime Order to be released!
3 Authors I Think Deserve More Attention
Cristin Terrill
Cristin is the author of All Our Yesterdays:
What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a beautifully written, flawlessly plotted novel, full of sacrifice, love...and time travel. Its such an addictive read. For Cristin's first novel, its very evident she's destined for great things!

Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)Maria is the author of many books, her first one being Poison Study:

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

Each of Maria's books is just as amazing as the last, she creates brilliant fantasy worlds filled with magic and romance. If you like authors who write a few series' set in the same world in different places (sort of like The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices). Even better, Maria's writing more books set in Ixia/Sitia which come out next year, so more magicky awesomeness!

C.J Redwine

C.J is the author of the Couriers Daughter Trilogy (the last one: Deliverance, has just been released!).
The first book is Defiance:
Defiance (Defiance #1)
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making

C.J is another great fantasy author who just draws you into her world with her gripping storyline. Defiance is filled with love, revenge... and a wormy dragon thing!

Each author has a strong female protagonist, which is just AWESOME.

Also, each of the books has REALLY PRETTY covers.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Throne of Glass

By Sarah J Maas


“Still the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back”


Celaena Sardothien has spent the past year in the slave mines of Endovier. She’s the world’s best assassin, but she was betrayed… The Crown Prince offers her a deal; Celaena represents him in a tournament to find the king a champion to use as his personal assassin and after four years, she can finally reclaim her freedom. Celaena is provoked by the Prince, protected by the Captain of the Guard and befriended by a foreign Princess… and someone has started picking off the contestants.


Maas’s world is rich in culture and history after 10 years ago the king banned magic, slaughtered many Fae and began his overthrow of royal families. Her vivid descriptions transport you to Erilea so that you’re standing with Celaena throughout her (mis)adventures. The sprawling medieval-style world allows for detailed imagery of open landscapes bordered with mysterious forests and cloud-topped mountains.     


Throne of Glass has been criticised for its protagonist being a world famous deadly assassin and yet enjoying dresses, make up, reading and food. In my opinion, it makes it even better! Celaena is still a teenage girl; these things make her more realistic and relatable. I’d love to be able to fight like a badass but it doesn’t mean I couldn’t still like to look nice once and a while. This doesn’t mean that main characters like Katsa from Graceling are bad for not being girly enough, I just like Maas’s particular and different take on fighting girls.


The main point of view is obviously Celaena but it is mixed with little instalments of Prince Dorian and Captain of the Guard Chaol which allows you to get another perspective, see how they see Celaena and get to know them better as they become more and more important to the storyline and start their own. Often in young adult novels the dreaded Love Triangle occurs driving a rift between characters and starting an endless ship/OTP war online, but Throne of Glass in my opinion doesn’t have one. The friendship is more of a Harry Potter golden trio relationship. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some hints at a possible love story…


Maas manages to flawlessly blend heartbreaking drama, which allows you to see right to the heart of the characters and connect to them, with laugh out loud humour at the easy banter between the characters as they poke fun at each other.


Throne of Glass is a breath-stealing first instalment to the series. You feel completely at home immersed in the world. Maas eases you in by setting off with a fairly simple storyline of a tournament where the protagonist aims to be Champion but has the underlying main storyline which takes off in Book 2- Crown of Midnight allowing you to ease yourself in and fall in love with the characters rather than tumble in head-first, wondering which way is up and which is down.         

I hate to give a book 5 stars as I feel a book can always be improved, but Throne of Glass will forever remain a firm favourite on my shelf as I find it appeals to everything I like, a strong female lead in a fantasy world with a deep and gripping storyline full of political intrigue and betrayal, leaving to wanting more, all with a dash of humour and romance. Can’t fault it. 5 Stars.               

The Fault In Our Stars

By John Green


“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”


Terminal cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster is forced to attend support group by her parents where she meets Augustus Waters, an amputee. TFIOS is the story of their first, last and only love.


TFIOS isn’t my usual read, I’m more of a fantasy reader, but you cannot deny the epicness of John Green’s book. Tissues are advised Public reading isn’t advised.


John Green really is a master of words, his approach to a sensitive and deeply upsetting subject, cancer, something everyone will most likely encounter at some point in their lives, is impressively done. The subject of cancer can be off-putting to readers if you want to read something happy, but Green manages to weave it in a way that has you laughing in stitches one page and in floods of tears the next. And then coming back for more.


Green captures the teenage spirit extremely well, Hazel, even with her cancer, is still a young teenage girl and therefore relatable, she likes bad TV, bed and loves reading.

Her wish is to meet the author of her favourite book. Isnt that every fangirls dream these days? Hazel is strong and confident, she doesn’t mind calling Augustus out for things; she’s insulted and angry when she suspects him of smoking, something that could acquire him more cancer. Her narration is so typically teenagerish and the happy banter and teasing she has with Gus and Isaac over each other and current films and video games makes you laugh as you’re reminded of your friendly antics with your friends.


Augustus is probably the memorable character of TFIOS, his charm and honesty immediately strikes you. He is handsome and he knows it. This is where Green writes so well as vanity can easily be seen as off-putting making the reader dislike Gus, but instead it’s the opposite, combine it with Gus’s other characteristics and you’re swooning with the book in your hands.


When selecting a book about a cancer patient, you automatically think you know the ending and then when the young teens fall in love you hope for a miracle cure for Hazel allowing them to live together happily, but TFIOS adds its own surprises and twists which leave you shocked and openly crying.


The love story in TFIOS isn’t rushed in anyway despite the characters knowing they only have a limited time to spend their time together; it grows and matures very realistically, when they fall in love they know the rest of the world still turns, their love isn’t time stopping or world bending and it doesn’t immediately become more important than family. They’re making as much of an infinity for themselves as they can.


*Spoiler* Personally, the only thing I was disappointed with TFIOS was that in Hazel’s favourite book (also about a cancer patient) the protagonist dies or gets to ill to continue narrating the book so the book stops midsentence, so I suspected TFIOS might end that way to in an ironic happy but also sad ending. I thought it would’ve given more closure for Hazel rather than leaving you with the burning question of when does her cancer catch up with her? When does she get reunited with Augustus?


4 Stars.