book reviews

Queen of Air and Darkness

40696414Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Rating: XXXX

Published December 4th 2018 Simon & Schuster Ltd

“Every choice has a long afterlife of consequences. No one can know the eventual outcome of any decision. All you can do is make the best choice you can make in the moment.” 

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

So let me get started by saying I love the Shadowhunters books, it took me longer to come around to reading them than I would have liked but once I did I was hooked, Jace is my ultimate book boyfriend and I love so many of the characters with a fierce passion. I fell in love with The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices broke my heart and now I’ve finally finished the concluding book in the third series of shadowhunter books, The Dark Artifices and…I don’t really know how that makes me feel.

I have to say, actually, that, among other things, I do feel a little relieved, I started reading Queen of Air and Darkness on the day it released in December and I only finished it maybe a week ago. Six months. This book took me six months to read. Don’t get me wrong it’s an absolute tome so I didn’t expect it to be a quick read but this third book in the series just really didn’t grab me like any of the others across the whole of the range of shadowhunter books have, it was easy to put down and forget about. Because of its size, I also found it incredibly uncomfortable to read so decided to purchase the audiobook petty early on which I did for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows as well. James Masters is a brilliant narrator for it and definitely made it a lot easier to get through, I’m sure it would have taken much longer without.

Despite it taking me six months to read I’ve still given Queen of Air and Darkness an XXXX rating because although it certainly had problems, especially with pacing etc there were just so many parts I liked about it as well I think there was just too much crammed in for one book and that maybe some cuts should have been made or the book split into two, I feel like this could have been done fairly easy as it did feel like two halves of a story put together and I do wonder if maybe the Dark Artifices was meant to be another longer shadow hunter series like The Mortal Instruments but trilogies are popular and it was decided everything needed to be shoved into this last book?

There are a lot of moments in QoAaD that feel a little like fan service but I suppose when you have so many characters all existing in one world and close timelines it makes sense that they interact with each other but it did make this instalment feel like another book in the Mortal Instruments series as much as it’s own trilogy. I can’t deny that some of these moments, however, were some of my favourite parts, partially for the nostalgia and in part because some of the older characters feel almost like dear friends after eleven or so books.

A large part of QoAaD is the romance, mainly the relationship and swirl of emotions between Jules and Emma but honestly I still couldn’t summon up much of any kind of emotion past mild irritation for their relationship which felt like a shame as I love Emma but Julian has just really gotten on my nerves for all three books. I did like the other relationships throughout this book and this trilogy in general, especially the polyamorous relationship between Kieran, Mark and Christina which was a huge highlight for me, it felt like it was done exceptionally well and it was lovely to see a lovely, healthy polyam relationship in YA. We, of course, had Alec and Magnus too and I honestly fell back in love with the two of them in this book which is perfectly timed for me as The Red Scrolls of Magic is likely to be my next Shadowhunter read.

Even with the horrid pacing, I do have to say that balancing SO many characters is no mean feat especially with so many of them having pretty good arcs, I actually liked Alec’s entire arc in the Dark Artifices more than I did throughout most of TMI. We have at least eight main characters and over thirty other characters that I would say are still relatively important and I feel like we get some pretty good content for all of them. Overall I loved the story we got but as I’ve said I would have much preferred it had perhaps been spread over two smaller and better-paced books.

img_7364

I want to talk a lot more about this book but there are just many spoilers that I would need to go into so I’m considering making a spoiler-filled book talk video like I’ve done in the past for Lord of Shadows.

Have you read any of the Shadowhunter books? If so do you have a favourite? I’m not sure I could pick one!!

Advertisements
#SixforSunday

S4S – Couples who need a sequel

Another week has gone by, another Sunday has arrived and it’s been somehow both a long week and a short one. It’s flown by but it’s been a hard one and I’m glad to see the back of it! I’m hoping things will calm down with any luck although amongst other things I’m off to Lego Land with my little family next week so we shall see. For now, at least it’s Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt is “Couples that deserve a sequel” which considering the past couple of weeks have been similar it was starting to get very difficult to pick some new and fresh ones but here we are and  I hope you enjoy them!

BRIEFING NOTE: Couple related spoilers are present throughout for Heartstopper, To Kill a Kingdom, The Mortal Instruments etc, Gemina/The Illuminae Files, Strange the Dreamer and Ouran High School Host club.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I know they are getting a sequel and Alice updates Tapas with chapters regularly but these two will always need more because I love them so much.

Lira and Prince Elain from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I would love for there to be a sequel with the gang all getting back together, crew and all!

Jace and Clary from City of Bones etc by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I know that they technically already have like, six books BUT I would love even just a short story about them running the institute or something. I hate to say it but I kind of miss them.

Nik and Hana from Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

I would love a story (short form or otherwise) of the two of them off on holiday or something after everything that happens. Hana just wants things to be normal so they try to go on a simple trip for a weekend, something like an exotic beach on another planet etc but then maybe there’s a hostage situation or something and things get all Die Hard? Oh my gosh. Die Hard meets Gemina yes, please.

Thyon Nero and Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So I know these two aren’t really a couple but I loved the chemistry between the two of them right at the beginning of Strange the Dreamer and I think I would love a soft little story with these two just being kind, it doesn’t have to be romantic, although I think Thyron has always had a bit of a thing for Lazlo, to be honest.

Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

So this couple is actually from a manga series I read years and years ago that ran for eighteen volumes (80-ish chapters) it was a sweet, silly series about a girl who pretends to be a boy in a male host club at a school for insanely rich kids so that she can pay back a huge debt she incurs when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase. Both Tamaki and Haruhi have trouble understanding and later confronting their feelings for each other but everything turns out okay in the end as Tamaki moves to the USA with Haruhi and unbeknownst to them until the last moment, the rest of the Host Club are their neighbours! I loved the series and it did have a really great end but I would still very much like to see another volume or maybe even a small mini-series about what the gang get up in the USA.

Let me know what your choices would be in the comments or send me a link to your Six for Sunday post for this week!

 

spoiler free, Tags

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

Oh sorry, WHAT. How is it that time already? How has it been HALF OF A YEAR already? I honestly have no idea where the time has gone, it feels crazy. I’m technically doing this about a month early as last year I posted this on July 19th instead of June 20th but here we are, I figured this was as good a time as ever.

First off I had a look at last years Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag and at the time I was 72% through my Goodreads reading challenge so I thought it would be fun to compare that as well. I’m currently at 52% I’m four books ahead at 31 out of 60 which considering the month difference as I’m doing this a little earlier makes sense as that 72% last year was 36 out of 50. I thought I was a little slower this year so that’s interesting.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

So this is a really tough question and I’ve had to come back to it after answering all the others and having a think about it for a few days and I don’t think I really have a clear answer, I like a few books the best so far for different reasons. I loved the crazy twists and immense tension and storytelling in both A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson as well as Sanctuary by Vic James, I fell in love with the ragtag crews in both Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta and Aurora Rising by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff and I had my mind absolutely shattered to pieces by The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James. Not to mention the Memento Novella (also by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff) I’ve been lucky enough to have read so many great books this year already and I refuse to choose.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

The Wicked King by Holly Black. I know these books are hit and miss for some but I personally love them to bits, especially the second. Jude and Cardan are absolute trash and I love them both.

img_8647

3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to

There are honestly so many but I’m really looking forward to reading the Ghosts of the Shadow market bindup. I’ve been watching the Shadowhunters TV show again lately and it’s got me nostalgic for some Nephilim goodness.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. I adored Skyward and I can’t wait for the sequel!!

5. Biggest disappointment

I think this probably goes to Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, I had really high hopes for this book but found it fell a little flat for me personally. I’m still excited to read her next book though, The Girl the Water Gave Back.

6. Biggest surprise 

Nexus by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings was definitely a pleasant surprise, it was really good, especially in comparison to its predecessor Zenith which although I did enjoy overall I feel had a lot of problems that were absolutely rectified in Nexus. I’m actually pretty gutted we’re not getting a third book now.

7. Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

I LOVED The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman and I definitely think Christine is one to watch, I’m beyond excited for the sequel and for the new book she just announced coming next year.

img_0546

8. Newest fictional crush

I absolutely have a platonic crush on Ed from The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie, I love him so much! As for a romantic crush, I think I may have a thing for Cole from The Near Witch by V.E Schwab.

9. Newest favourite character 

Definitely Finn from Aurora Rising, he’s the best bean, I love that he’s sassy and funny and he’s such a sweetheart too I would die for him.

10. Book that made you cry

So I’ve cried at a few books this year with the front runners being Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman, (I think I cried within the first ten pages of that book), Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta, Aurora Rising by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff and The Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart destroyed me.


11. Book that made you happy

Heartstopper volume one by Alice Oseman filled me with so much joy and love that I can’t even begin to explain. It made me so immensely happy and just reading it feels like wrapping myself up in a nice cosy blanket on a rainy day.  The Paper and Hearts Society was another great feel-good book that made me happy as well.

3727d2b0-7b82-4d15-b811-708ed74ee5ab

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

I think we all know the only answer to this is Good Omens because COME ON of course it is.

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year

I haven’t posted it yet but I’m immensely happy with my review I’ve written for Sanctuary which I’ll be probably be releasing at the beginning of July. This book was INTENSE and I was worried I would have trouble writing the review for it but honestly, it was one of the easiest reviews I’ve ever written and if I may be so bold, one of the most eloquent. You’ll just have to wait and see.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Quiet at the end of the World, beautiful both inside and out. Look at that beautiful cover, it’s absoloutley gorgeous and I love all the little reports inside about the things Shen and Lowrie find, not to mention the story itself is a work of art in it’s own right.

52703757_326794144856054_4360831564376965120_n

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Gilded Cage by Vic James, Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare and various authors and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

As usual, I’m not going to tag anyone in particular but if you wanted to have a crack at the Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag for yourselves then consider yourself tagged and have at it!

 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 19th

It feels like it’s been ages since I did my last WWW Wednesday post, it’s been a long fortnight let me tell you but now it’s time for me to give you this fortnight’s bookish report with our usual three questions!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie.

I decided to get a book read for myself between a few books from publishers lately and I decided The Paper and Hearts Society would be a good choice as I’ve heard so many people say great things about and honestly it’s already SO good. I’ve decided Ed is my soulmate even though I totally don’t deserve him. I’m already so invested in everyone and I’m so terrified of the moment you just know is coming when things start to go wrong, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to cope with it.

I’m also still reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read another chapter or so since my last WWW Wednesday so there’s not much else to report on regarding it other than the fact that I caved and watched episodes two and three of the show and MY HEART.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry.

This book scared the heck out of me repeatedly, it was so creepy in places! I love Red to pieces and think she’s now one of my all absolute favourite main characters. You can check my review out that went up yesterday by clicking here if you’d like to know more!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Wastelands: The New Apocolypse edited by John Joseph Adams

This one is an anthology including never before seen stories and reprints by critically acclaimed authors including Veronica Roth who has contributed some new Divergent content that I can’t wait to get my teeth into. These are short stories and I’ve really wanted to try some more short-form recently but I do feel I might have to try and read something else between this and The Paper Hearst society or it might be a little jarring! With the new announcement about a Hunger Games prequel, I think I might just binge the audiobooks and/or films and see if that helps? or I guess I could actually reread some of the Divergent books, I did hate the end of the trilogy however so perhaps I’ll get round to reading the short stories from Four’s point of view? Yup. Adding it.

Four by Veronica Roth.

As mentioned above this is a collection of short stories from the point of view of Four from the Divergent books, I had meant to read the after finishing the trilogy but I hated the ending of the last book I couldn’t bring myself to read them. I think it’s finally time!

Thank you for checking out this fortnight’s WWW Wednesday, let me know what you’re reading, what you’ve enjoyed reading lately and what you’re planning to read next!

book reviews

The Girl in Red

43550676.jpgThe Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Rating: XXXXX

Published June 18th by Titan Books

“She was just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that didn’t look anything like the one she’d grown up in, the one that had been perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.”

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods…

You know that author you keep putting off reading? Not in an unkind way, but in an “I WILL get around to reading one of their books” muttered every time you see them because you just know they’re going to be great and you then something comes up and you for whatever reason the thought slips your mind again and again and again. This is Christina Henry for me so when the lovely Julia from Titan Books asked if I wanted to review The Girl in Red by Henry and take part in the Instagram book tour in I jumped at the chance! I love retellings at the best of times but this sounded like a really interesting inspiring take on the Red Riding Hood Story.

I found The Girl in Red to be slightly terrifying, absolutely creepy as heck and wholly addictive. It reminds me a lot of the human element to the earlier episodes of the Walking Dead when you begin to realise it’s not the zombies, or in this case, the cough that are the things you have to watch your back for it’s the survivors, most of who have become desperate or cruel (if they weren’t already) since the crisis. It’s not a unique tale by any means and is a little repetitive and predictable in some places but forgivably so because the real star of this book for me (other than main character Red herself) was the amazing way Henry builds tension. I found I was holding my breath, clenching my teeth and I had trouble reading it in my house alone, at one point my phone rang (a rare occurrence) while I was reading and it was during such a tense moment in the book that I screamed so loudly I woke up my four year old. On the slightly negative side, I did personally find the ending very rushed and a little unsatisfying but the book, even on reflection was no less enjoyable for it.

Red has possibly become one of my favourite fictional characters. She is a fantastic mix of badassery and compassion, she will kill and make tough choices to survive but she doesn’t let herself become dehumanised for it which I found a really refreshing balance, when she has to fatally defend herself she doesn’t relish it, when she has to take supplies she takes what she needs and likes to make sure that there is enough left if someone else needs them etc. Red often overthinks things, often to a fault and often thinks herself round in circles to inaction which is a habit I am also extraordinarily guilty of, so seeing it portrayed in this fantastic character who acknowledged that her obsessive and sometimes paranoid thinking could be debilitating like that felt incredibly eye-opening and has really helped to keep my own obsessive thinking in check by being able to identify it.

Main character Red is also an amputee and obviously, I can’t speak to the accuracy of her experience or identify with it but I found it really enlightening and I hope it helped people who find themselves with prosthetics feel seen and represented as well as hopefully helping to educate others. There is a line that is said in relation to someone question how much Red is capable of due to her amputation and Red replies with “Stop treating me like half a person…I am missing my leg below the knee. My brain is still functioning. I know what I can do and what I can’t.” and this feels SO important and relatable for anyone who is judged, babied and looked down on because they’re differently abled.

The Girl in Red is out in stores and online today!

 

#SixforSunday

#S4S -Baddies who deserve their own books

Happy Sunday and DAMN it’s been a hectic one!! This weeks Six for Sunday prompt is “Baddies who deserve their own books” and I am all here for this one, I love a good “villain” but which ones deserve their own books?! This was super hard because a lot of the books I read don’t necessarily have a villain exactly so this took me a lot longer than I thought it would.

The Darkling from the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

This might be a bit of a cliche one but I would honestly really like to read a book about him essentially becoming the Darkling, I feel like there could be some really interesting material there and that final inevitability of his fate in the Grisha books would just give it a brilliant tone. Plus everyone loves him anyway so I’m sure it would do well, even just a novella.

Grindelwald from JK Rowlings Wizarding World.

This feels like a weird one for me because I enjoy Harry Potter but found my love for it has been kind of waxing and waning over the past few years but I think it would be interesting to finally get the story of Grindelwald and Dumbledore meeting, whatever happens with Ariana and then what happens from there. In fact, there’s probably fanfic of it out there somewhere I could probably check out thinking about it.

Valentine Morgenstern from the Shadowhunter books

I’m sensing a trend here but again, I would love to see where everything started. Young Valentine training as a shadowhunter, meeting and falling in love with Jocelyn, forming the circle and everything that follows. I’ve loved the little glimpses we’ve had from other circle members in some of the short story collections but I would more.

Ben Solo/ Kylo Ren from Star Wars

I know I mentioned him last week so I won’t go into huge detail but as I’ve said before (and with all of the others so far) I would love to see an origin story. I also wouldn’t mind a book set between The Last Jedi and the Rise of Skywalker seeing as some time is meant to have passed between these two. Honestly, I’ll probably just keep reading fanfiction for now but something canon would be great.

AIDAN from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Another one I’ve already mentioned over the past couple of weeks but I can’t not mention them because they’re easier one of my all-time favourite baddies. The AIDAN sections in the Illuminae Files books are easily my favourites and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get enough of them to be honest, especially after reading Memento. Give me moar.

The Volturi from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Not everyone’s favourite books I’m well aware but I adored the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner novella and I wonder if a short story or collection of short stories about the members of the Volturi from the later Twilight books would have the potential to be good as well, it would definitely be something I’d be interested in reading.

Who are your favourite baddies? Do you think any of them deserve their own book?

 

Tags

Why I am Weird Tag

So my original Thursday post I had planned for today is taking a HECK of a lot longer than I thought it would, I was just wondering what I would post instead when one of my favourite bloggers/Twitter friends tagged me in this awesome top ten Thursday tag. You can chceck out Delly’s post here.

“Why I am Weird” Tag rules

  • List ten weird things about yourself, your life or silly habits that you wouldn’t normally share.
  • Tag up to ten people so you can get to know them better.
  • Link back to the person who tagged you & the creator
  • Comment on the posts of people you tagged!

Why I am Weird

  • I LOVE to sing and if I don’t do so on a regular occasion I get super grumpy. I especially love Disney songs, being able to name a huge amount of them within a couple of bars is my special skill.
  • I taught myself to swim like a mermaid when I was little and my nan paid for me to go to swimming lessons to learn to swim properly. I adore swimming and I also don’t have to put in any effort at all to tread water, I just float.
  • There are certain lines from films, tv shows and video games that can reduce me to tears almost instantly. These include (but are not limited to) “Goodnight Raggedy Man” from Doctor Who, “Had to be me, someone else might have gotten it wrong” from Mass Effect 3 and “You were my new dream” from Tangled.
  • I don’t drink tea or coffee and I very very rarely drink hot chocolate, I also really dislike any kind of fizzy drinks. I mostly just drink squash and the occasional glass of milk.
  • I play Dungeons and Dragons. Like…A LOT of Dungeons and Dragons. I love all of my characters with their extensive backstories and have playlists for almost of all of them.
  • I can get a little obsessive with some fictional characters – not in a way I think would be considered creepy or anything but I will quite often fall into the never-ending hole of YouTube edits. My go-to videos at the moment are usually Reylo, Mon El from Supergirl, Garrus from Mass Effect, Merlin (and Arthur if I really want to hurt) almost any Shadowhunters ones and the occasional Killjoys ones. I used to listen to music and imagine what videos I’d make to the songs and I finally got around to making my own one this year which I’m super proud of (It’s a Killjoys one if you wanted to check it out here)
  • I have to have at least a rough plan of what I’m doing for the day or I get stressed out/unmotivated. I love lists and I hate cancelled plans even if I maybe didn’t want to go.

  • I have to do things a certain way or I get stressed out and anxious. For example, I have to turn the lights off in the flat a certain way or I worry they’ll explode and I always brush my teeth the exact same way for the same amount of time. I also got so upset about our airer being wonky that I cried.
  • I used to be absolutely terrified of cows.
  • I have broken every single of one of my toes and fingers at least once as well as both of my arms (almost exactly a year apart).

So there you have it, ten weird facts about me. Feel like sharing ten weird facts about yourself? Then consider yourself tagged! Link back to me and don’t foget to credit Delly for creating the tag if you do so! I can’t wait to learn more about you!