S4S – Books you want to reread

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Rereading is something I think about fairly frequently. Certain books I loved will catch my eye on my bookshelf and I’ll think about all the great moments I had reading that particular book and wish I could recapture that magic so I tell myself I’ll reread it. The reality is however that I rarely do so. I have so many books to read, my NetGalley ratio is starting to become a bit of a terrifying joke and as I blog more and become confident to inquire I’m receiving more advanced reader copies and taking part in blog tours (as you’ll see over the coming weeks) leaving a lot less time for rereads than ever before so I’ve promised myself over the next year I will reread these books! Thank you, as always to Steph from A Little But A lot for her excellent prompts.

Twilight – This is purely for the nostalgia factor I think. I’ve enjoyed reading a Discovery of Witches recently which to me feels very much like a more adult version of Twilight and I am really interested how slightly more grown-up Jemma would react to books that angsty, vampire-obsessed, teenage Jemma would react. See also Vampire Diaries.

The Illuminae Files – I’m not picking just one of these books because I want to reread all of them all of the time. Whenever I’m having a hard time reading something or if they just catch my eye sitting on my bookshelf I want to reread them. I loved them so much and they were such great, fun reads I just can’t get enough of them.

Poison Study – It’s been such a long time since I’ve read the book that kickstarted my journey into YA Fantasy, I used to reread it every time a new book in the series was due out but now it’s finished I’m at a loss and really missing these books.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – I’m thinking of trying the audiobook version of this one! I had planned to reread it for the year anniversary but things have just been so crazy! This was another book that I loved so much and is so deserving of multiple rereads, it will be interesting to see how it feels when I know the twists and turns now.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – I specified just the first one as although I do love the others the first one always has a special place in my heart and will definitely be a book I try to reread over Christmas as I always think of Hogwarts at Christmas and it’s honestly one of my favourite things.

City of Bones – I’ve never actually reread this before! I did start a while ago but too much other stuff came up and I couldn’t justify a reread. The Shadowhunter books have come so far since the first one and there are so many great lines and moments I remember loving in the first book that it’s something I feel I need to revisit.

I’m having to almost physically restrain myself from rereading The Illuminae Files immediately but with NaNoWriMo coming up I think it’s going to be a tough one! Let me know what books you would love to reread and if we have any that match up!

 

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The Netgalley Book Tag

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I saw this tag on Charlottes blog, Charlotte Somewhere and knew I had to do it! I know not everyone is keen on Netgalley but I’ve loved using it, even if I do have a bit of a request problem because I just cant help myself!

Auto-Approved: Who is one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they are about?

Lauren James and Maria V. Snyder

Request: What makes you want to request a book on NetGalley?

I’ll either go directly to a book I’ve been linked to because I’ve heard of it or it sounds good ect or I have a bad habit (which I’m getting better with) of just browsing through requesting things that catch my interest or I’ve heard good things about.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

Yes, even if I don’t finish it. I only post the review on my blog if I do though. The main reason I don’t get around to reviewing some are if they’re archived before I’ve managed to read them which has happened a couple of times.

Badges: If you could create one badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Sleep requester. I have such a bad habit of waking up in the night, being unable to get to sleep and just messing around on my phone for a bit but sometimes I end up on NetGalley and request things that I don’t remember doing the next day and then am confused/panicked when I suddenly get a load of approvals!

Wish For It: What’s one book you’re absolutely dying to read?

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, The quiet at the end of the world by Lauren james or Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder (I COULDN’T PICK ONE OKAY?!)

2018 NetGalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli You can check it out here
After reading The Last Namsara I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this!

If you haven’t already done this and you want to take part consider yourself tagged!

City Of Ghosts

40512862City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Rating: XXXX

Published September 6th by Scholastic

“People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin. But the truth is, ghosts are everywhere.”

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

I’ve heard great things about Victoria Schwab’s books. I own A Darker Shade of Magic, This Savage song, A Dark Duet and Vicious but have never managed to read them yet which is crazy because they sound like books I’d absolutely love and I’m gutted I’ve not gotten around to them yet. When I heard about City of Ghosts, I wasn’t sure about it as I don’t really read a lot of Middle Grade genre books but as time went on and I heard more about it I became intrigued. One of my local Waterstones had copies out much earlier than the cited release date in the UK of 6th September and after seeing the cover in the flesh I couldn’t resist.

I was freaked out by this book quite early on, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily inherently scary but is certainly very spooky and quite chilling in (quite a few) places. Being one of the first “Middle Grade” books I’ve read since I was part of the target audience I wasn’t sure what to expect but really enjoyed it and I will certainly be picking up the next book! Cassidy is 12 years old and I thought I would find that a little jarring to read as an almost 30-year-old but honestly she felt like she could have been almost any age to me and I hope that will make this book easier to read for older readers as well as still relatable to the younger, intended readers.

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City of Ghosts is, like many MG books, a little on the short side but to me personally it felt a good length for the story it needed to tell. Information was presented very well and felt natural without having to have a ton of flashbacks or explaining which sometimes I wish we could experience more in other genres because I feel like it left more room for the thoughts and reactions of the characters without getting too bogged down by loads of details.

The narrative and story itself were interesting, filled with intrigue and spooky goings on but also some revelations and tense moments, City of Ghosts is a very well-rounded book and although I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were a genre I read more regularly it is still a very good book and one I think younger readers, especially those who are interested in ghostly paranormal tales will highly enjoy. I’m already very much looking forward to the sequel!

 

S4S – Favourite Series

It’s a bit late in the day but I hadn’t done this post in advance this week and woke up with an awful headache so didn’t even think about blogging today and then I saw that the prompt for this weeks post was favourite series and I adore a few so didn’t want to waste the opportunity to shout about them a little bit.

1. The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman
Because obviously. These three books may be my favourite series of all time. I love them to pieces and cannot get enough of them. They’re my go to audio books and quite often I’ll just grab one-off the shelf and read some of it because I miss it. I love love love these books.

2. The Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton
For a good while I was not a big fan of series of books because I often found the third books lacking for me personally or I’ve greatly disliked the ending and ruined the whole series for myself (Sookie Stackhouse books I’m looking at you). It took me a little while to get into Rebel, I devoured Traitor and adored Hero. I loved the way these books and their characters evolved and for me the ending  was a perfect balance of all my favourite things. I loved it.

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3. Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
I don’t know what the proper name is for these two books but I can tell you they are fantastic. They’re both written so beautifully and they both really capture you and make you feel like you’re in some crazy, amazing dream world. They fit together so well almost in a before and after kind of way and although the style is very much the same between the two books and it’s the same characters, continuation of their story etc they do have different feels which is just another reason while these books make a great two-part series.

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4. The Healer Books by Maria V. Snyder
Again I don’t know what the proper title of these books are as a group but these books tell the story of Avry the healer. Avry is sassy, sarcastic, feisty and seriously loyal and caring. Her and the supporting cast of A Touch Of Power are impossible not to love.

5. The Vampire Diaries By L.J Smith
For this I only count the books that were actually written by L.J Smith and not the later ones that were ghost written because although I enjoyed them they were not the same by a long shot. The Vampire Diaries is a little outdated being set in the early 90’s which make it a little cringey to reread now after growing up in the nineties, it’s also super cheesy and has a fairly predictable story line but I’ll be damned I absolutely love it. I couldn’t get enough of it when I was younger and it really shaped my love of YA and paranormal romance etc as well as starting my long time love affair with beautiful, dangerous angsty boys. An absolute classic for me.

6. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
I imagine absolutely no one who knows me is shocked by this. I love most of the Shadowhunter books but I was nowhere near prepared for The Infernal Devices which slams together some of my favourite things, older time periods, steampunk, the supernatural, beautiful, dangerous, angsty boys (TWO OF THEM!), an impossible love triangle and swords. I was simultaneously a very happy lady and utterly heartbroken and sobbing.

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Special Shoutouts to:
The Sookie Stackhouse books – If it wasn’t for the last book these would have made the list, they managed to keep the stories pretty fresh for the whole series but the last book was so abysmal i wrote the whole thing off.

The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder – I had to choose between these and the Healer books and although I ADORE the study series the last two or three books just didn’t feel quite as strong to me so both the study and glass books had to take a back seat.

The Wacraft tie in books – Most of these books are fantastic but I felt that to class them as one series instead of loads of books based of a game felt a little unfair as they’re by differing authors and there are just so many of them!

Thank you for checking out my rather late post today, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve been enjoying reading everyone elses!

Roll for Initiative September NPC Crate Unboxing

My September NPC Crate by Nerd Poured Candles “Roll for initiative” arrived last week and I think this may be my favourite one yet! After playing as a teenager I’ve got back into Dungeons and Dragons again in the past few years and this crate inspired by the incredibly popular tabletop RPG game is spot on.

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The first candle I unwrapped was the green tea and jasmine scented Stealth Check , as a rouge in one of my games this one felt brilliantly appropriate with its super stealthy grey wax. The jasmine smells pretty prevalent to me (and reminds me of the Rhysand bath bomb which is my favourite), the green tea is a little more subtle but helps to change the scent slightly and make the whole thing a little less overpowering than jasmine alone would be in candle.

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Next up was Natural 20 scented with Blackberry and Bramley Apple. If the awesome name or brilliant purple colour is not enough to sway you then trust me the scent will, its absoloutley lovely and has a brilliant throw.

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The third candle I unwrapped was Magic Missile and WOW. I thought I love the Natural 20 candle but this one completely blew the others out of the water. Not only do we have a lovely topping of appropriate pink glitter but the scent is lemongrass and lime *.* It has a beautiful zing that reminds me of sherbet lemons. A perfect representation of the spell itself which is a hit every time.

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I LOVED the book mark with this box as well, such a cute, fun idea to make a list of the starting items in your explorers pack. I actually use mine in my D&D notebooks when I’m playing at the moment.

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As I’ve said I’ve loved every part of this crate and the pin this month was the crowning jewel! A beautiful sparkly purple D20 with wings is GORGEOUS! It’s a great size too with two actual pins to hold it in place. This is easily my favourite pin in my collection.

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Thank you so much to Nerd Poured Candles and Geeky Clean for bringing us this fantastic crate for September! The October crate which is supernatural themed will be shipping soon but you’d like to bag yourself a monthly crate containing three candles, a bookmark and enamel pin like the ones you’ve seen here the theme for November is MAGICAL BEASTS so if you’re a fan of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them you don’t want to miss this one so head over to the Geeky Clean store and use the code Fbawtft18 to get 10% off.

Muse Of Nightmares – Spoiler Free Review

38525180Muse Of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Rating: XXXXX

Published October 2nd 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton

“Once upon a time there was a silence that dreamed of becoming a song, and then I found you, and now everything is music.”

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the dreamer was one of my absolute favourite books and so I’ve been super excited since the sequel was announced, I don’t preorder an awful lot but this was preordered a good while back to make sure I got this on release day.

This is a hard book to review because the feeling of reading and experiencing it feel unique and more of a state of emotions than something that could easily be put into words but I’ll do my best.

Much like it’s predecessor Muse of Nightmares is filled with beautiful prose to charm even the hardest of hearts. The whole book has this dream like feel to it which is both appropriate and fascinating. The characters are intricate and complex while still being just the right level of grounded and each chapter has you feeling full of wonder and awe.

Not only do we get two new fresh and exciting characters we get a closer look at older characters and they things they learn and experience are immense. There is a particular chapter called “Bacon Destiny” which sounds silly but it honestly made my heart want to burst with the changes that are shown to have taken place with some characters and the brilliant aura of love and friendship shown throughout it. It felt silly and perfect and wonderful. I have goosebumps right now while I’m typing just thinking about it.

Some of the romance felt a little much for me at times, it was certainly warranted and done very very well and as usual with Laini Taylor it was written exquisitely but for me personally I found it a little intense at times and found it could be a little derailing. The relationships between characters were just executed and delved into with such skill, I felt invested in every single one and there is one particular moment that if you’ve read it I’m sure you’ll know that made me cry so hard I nearly had to stop reading because I couldn’t see. There are also a good few moments that make you hold your breath and one or two reveals that are hidden away but have a huge over reaching affect, this book is full of surprises and revelations.

This book was bound to be a good follow-up but it absolutely blew me away and destroyed any and all expectations I had. If you enjoyed Strange The Dreamer then Muse Of Nightmares is a MUST read.

S4S – Best Debut Books

Welcome to my Six For Sunday post for Sunday 7th October, today’s theme is the best debut books, well six of my favourite debut books anyway! I’m so glad to have read so many great debut books these past couple of years especially so this was a hard list for me to narrow down to just six and there are SO many other great debut books but these are the main six that come to mind right now.

The Last Namsara By Kristen Ciccarelli
This book felt like a seriously strong debut to me, Kristen has a brilliant distinct style and voice to her work which becomes even more clear in her second book but The Last Namsara is where it all started and one of my all time favourite books.

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Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
I know some people found Ash Princess very samey and similar to a lot of other stories on the YA market but personally I found Laura’s take on this slightly familiar in places story and completely made it her own. Another great and distinct style to her writing in this debut with characters I enjoy. I can’t wait for Lady Smoke

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I think we all know how much I adored this book when it came out as well. Starfish was deep and beautiful, painful and healing all at the same time. For me it was the first time having someone write what its like to feel the way I do sometimes with anxiety and need for approval etc, it contains some important, valuable lessons while still reading like a brilliant, well written story.

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A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I can ‘t really talk about this one too much as I’m officially a secret keeper but OH MY WORD THIS BOOK Y’ALL. I have never felt tension when reading a book like I have while reading A Good Girls Guide To Murder, it had me up at night and scribbling in a notebook trying to #FindAndie at 3am. I’ve only read the advance readers copy and obviously the finished version may differ but after reading Holly’s work so far I think everyone is in for a wild ride when it comes out next year!

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
A bit of an older one but another absolute favourite book and the debut (as far as I’m aware) from my favourite author. This book rekindled my love for YA, fantasy and magic (as well as prompting me to learn to fight with a bo staff) and will always hold a huge special place in my heart. This book has it all and began a series that kept me enthralled for years and a ready of Maria’s work for life.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
What a book?! I would go as far as to say this book is life changing. Laura injects such a great dose of realistic and relevant humour into a very serious, dangerous and important subject and creates a masterpiece while keeping her characters realistic and relatable.

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Dreaming of Ghibli NPC Crate Unboxing

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I think it’s been long enough since the crates shipped now that I can do an unboxing of the August NPC Crate “Dreaming of Ghibli” without spoiling it for anyone, I will do the next NPC Crate unboxing a little earlier in the future as the boxes do tend to go out pretty quick but I wasn’t feeling too great last week when I had planned to post this originally so they will probably be another unboxing for the next book really soon as well! I’m SO excited to talk about this box, it was so cute and the inspired candles made me want to watch the films again!

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“Take a wander into the wildnerness with this Autumn Leaves scented candle and search for the spirits within Totoros Forest”

First up was Totoro’s Forest with a lovely woodland scent, this candle had a nice swirly green colouring with different shades which gave it a nice unique feel.

 

 

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“Take a visit and soak up the steam at Yubabas Bath House with this Lotus Blossom and Orange scented candle”

The beautiful deep red of this Yubaba’s Bath House candle is gorgeous and reminds me of the black and red bath tokens from the Bath House. The scent is equally luxurious and is definitely a good compliment for a relaxing soak in the tub!

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“Watch out you don’t lose your heart when you go in search of Howls Castle”

The third candle Howl’s Castle looks and smells as charming and decadent as the grand wizard himself. The bright pink colour is reminiscent of his favourite coat and the Yuzu, mandarin and grapefruit scent is one of my absolute favourites!

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The Pin for this month is ADORABLE! Featuring everyone’s favorite fire demon Calcifer with a bath token as a background it fuses two of the best-loved Ghibli films together! I’m also loving the rose gold kind of metal the pin was made of this month, it gave it an extra fiery feel!

The book mark spoiler card is great quality as always and covered in adorable Soot Sprites who are in a couple of different Ghibli films and a great representation of the studio’s films as a whole as they’re cute but a little quirky.

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Thank you so much to Geeky Clean and Nerd Poured Candles for sending me August’s NPC Crate, the next unboxing will be September’s Dungeons and Dragons themed “Roll for Initiative” crate which arrived with me a few days ago and I can’t WAIT to share it with you all! As mentioned above I left this a little late so the October box which is Supernatual themed has just gone off sale BUT I can tell you that the November crate theme has just been annouced which is Magical Beasts for all things Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, you can grab them from the Geeky Clean store and if you use the code Fbawtft18 at the checkout you can get 10% off!

Vengeful – Spoiler Free Review

40139338Vengeful by V.E Schwab

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 25th 2018 by Titan Books

“How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

It feels amazing to have finally held this book in my hands that has been in the making for five years and like both Eli and Victor has been made and remade. The taster in the form of the first chapter at the end of the special edition version of Vicious that was out this year was wonderfully tantalising and it’s fantastic to have finally dug into Marcellas story and the continuation of Victor and Eli’s world.

This book is pretty huge, at almost 600 pages compared to the 360 odd of Vicious I felt a bit daunted when I sat down to read it. I needn’t have feared though as the story moves so well and so quickly the pages fly by and when you finally look up you realise it’s dark out and you’ve not moved for a good few hours. This book is an absolute work of art that feels beautifully polished and perfected, you can almost feel all the immense hard work that’s gone into it and the result it fantastic.

We get multiple points of view including that of a couple of new characters and the return of some from Vicious, including Dominic who we had only recently met previously and is, like all of the characters in Vengeful extremely intriguing and in-depth but not uncomfortably so. We delve into the lives of these characters and the goings on of the past five years between the two books and although I enjoyed the way these were presented I did have trouble keeping track on where we were in the timeline a few times and found it easier to refer to these parts as then and now instead of trying to fit them in precisely.

It was brilliant to see more from my favourite dysfunctional family although I’m a little gutted we didn’t see more done with them, especially as a group but found Sydney really coming into her own and I hope if we get a third book that perhaps this one will focus on her a lot more. Also Mitch. I love Mitch to pieces and he was kind of relegated to just the tech guy here but I still enjoyed whenever he was around and that he’s still breaking stereotypes, no chocolate milk mentioned this time though sadly. I found Eli A LOT more interesting this time around and he actually became one of the characters voices I enjoyed the most. He really developed and getting into his back story really explained and gave a new depth to him that I think we were missing before, he was absolutely perfect and as obsessed with Victor as always. Victor himself I found more interesting but he’s even more one track that Eli and although I did enjoy the journey he went on I’ll admit I was too preoccupied with Eli and everyone else to obsess over him much.

As for the new characters, wow. We meet Marcella Riggins who is an amazing character, she’s just such a powerful, badass breath of fresh air. She’s an EO who doesn’t try to run or hide herself away, who is comfortable in her power and embraces it and the authority to demands with it and her presence. Villain or not she is was an absolute joy to read and I just couldn’t help enjoying it when she took down all the men who continued to underestimate her again and again. We also meet June the shapeshifter who is still a bit of a mystery and I’m desperate to know more. She’s a prominent voice in the book who we hear from quite a bit but we still know so little about her, just the snippets she chooses to share here and there, we get enough to know what she’s up to mostly and how some things make her feel but we don’t really know anything about her past or her real goals and I need to know more!

I could honestly go on about this book for a lot longer but it’s definitely one that needs to be checked out, much like the first book which if you enjoyed obviously you need to read this but also if you enjoy x-men and the like, especially the relationship between Charles and Erik which is echoed in a new and different way in these books. The writing in incredible, the characters are alluring and the book is addictive, you need to read this.

The Caged Queen – Spoiler Free Review

40873495The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 27th by Gollancz

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished – until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax – the heir to Firgaard’s throne – was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax’s promises go unfulfilled. Roa’s people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises – an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

Having heard about The Caged Queen at the Orion blogger Brunch earlier in the year I was already pretty excited for this book and jumped at the chance to receive a review copy from the lovely people at Gollancz.

Having not long ago finished The Last Namsara which I ADORED, I was so very ready for more of the same in The Caged Queen and although I really enjoyed it, The Caged queen is quite a different type of book. This isn’t a bad thing but something I wish I had thought of before I dived straight in expecting loads of fight scenes, more dragons and more characters like Asha (I think I may actually be in love with her at this point to be honest.) I hate to compare books but it’s hard not to with them being sequels and I think it’s very important to understand that although Roa is another brilliant, strong character like Asha is and she can certainly fight she is different and this is her story which is fairly different kind of story. Whereas Asha’s story was, like her, a bit more wild and urgent Roa’s story is complex and complicated, filled with lies, deceit and pain (but also some fun sword play, more interesting characters, plots for treason and hard choices) and I like that each story really feels like a part of the characters.

The Caged Queen is a little slow to start and takes a little while to gain traction. This plot is very political and needs some setting up which takes some time but is worth the pay off for it later on. This does mean that the first half can appear a little slow at times but it’s peppered throughout with little “stories” a bit like the tales we had in The Last Namsara. We hear the tale of the skyweaver but most of the other are back story about Roa and her sister Essie, quite a few of which also feature Dax. These little flashbacks break up the sometimes less exciting or heavier chunks of the story without fluffing it out which is greatly appreciated and I think works extremely well. The second half of the book starts to pick up the pace a bit and the stakes are raised ever higher but like it’s predecessor the book really comes into his own in the last third. Secrets are revealed, everyone starts to show their hand a little more, there’s a bit more action and feeling to it and it just blew me away. The twists in the story are brilliant and I shed a few tears as well as gasping in shock a time or two.

At this point we already know a great deal of the characters but like with many sequels we really get to know them much better in this book. Roa and Dax were amazing and although on a very different level to Asha they shine in their own ways and despite the storyline still managed to have pretty amazing chemistry I feel. We had some new characters that were introduced and although we don’t get to know them as well as the ones already established they’re certainly no less interesting or memorable.

There is definitely less of a fantasy element to The Caged Queen but it is still present and I feel just the right amount for this kind of story where I think too much of it would have drowned or removed focus from the plot which I think some fantasy, especially adult high fantasy can have a tendency to do. The Iskari books feel like a much more diverse and rich version of the first few Throne of Glass books and I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on more of them. Once again Kristen has done a fantastic job, The Caged Queen is well written, intriguing and painfully pulls you in every direction, a very well worth it read!

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