Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith | It Actually IS Like Harry Potter

Author: Shaun Hume
Genre: Fantasy | Middle grade
Series: Ewan Pendle #1
Goodreads rating: 4.16
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that’s what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn’t exactly normal …

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real ‘Creatures’ which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures (Goodreads).

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith was honestly a joy to read. I’m always a bit skeptical when a book is compared to Harry Potter, but Ewan Pendle definitely had the Harry Potter vibes I loved yet isn’t too similar too Harry Potter.

While there are definitely similarities (Ewan and Harry both being orphans, not growing up in a loving home, finding out they’re actually part of a magical world, going to a school in that world and discovering a bigger mystery that they’re trying to solve), Ewan Pendle is definitely not a blatant Harry Potter rip-off. Ewan’s world and story are definitely original (and fun!)

Being a Lenitnes, Ewan doesn’t just need to know magic, he also needs to know how to handle a sword, martial arts, stealth, and a bunch of other really cool subjects. Though he doesn’t need to excel at everything: after their first year they’re sorted into ‘cliques’ based on what subject they’re best at. I thought this was really cool, because when you’re taught how to battle dangerous magical creatures being able to handle your own without magic and being stealthy are really handy.

My favourite subject to read about was probably Pyro. It reminded me a bit of potions, but the ‘potions’ are inside Pyro Eggs, which I found really cool.

The Legerdemain Concoction (Black). When broken onto stone, will create the illusion of three large and heavyset cloaked figures deserting the area the Egg Shell is broken onto.

The Verglas Concoction (White). When broken onto a wet surface, creates a hard and slippery layer of ice, spreading out to over forty square feet and lasting up to an hour.

There are also Egg Shells that need to be broken into fire or grass, and I’m sure there are many more. I really loved all the worldbuilding in this book, but the Pyro Eggs really stood out to me.

I also really loved the writing style. The descriptions were so vivid I could easily imagine everything. You know how when a book is really good you forget you’re actually reading something, and you’re not actually there? That was me with Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. The entire book just felt magical and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me a while to actually finish this, but that’s definitely not the book’s fault. I wanted to read it whenever I could.

Whispers in the night, the White Wraith will call,
Slicing through the air, they will come for us all,
Turbulent in mind, it claws at your soul,
Spirits taken away, bodies left to fall

I also of course really loved the characters. There were lots of unique characters that all stood out. I do have to admit that sometimes I wasn’t sure which teacher was who, but the important ones were easy to keep track of. But the ones that captured my heart were Ewan and his two best friends: Mathilde and Enid. I loved their little trio, how supportive of each other they were, accepted each other and their flaws, had each other backs and tried to solve the mystery together. Ewan is a little cinnamon roll who had no problem standing up to older tough-looking kids who were bullying Enid (at this point he didn’t know her yet), even though Enid didn’t need the help at all (she’s such a bad-ass I love her. She’s also a pirate!!). Mathilde is just such a joy and such a good friend and together they all balance each other out.

Also! There were multiple characters that aren’t white, including both Mathilde and Enid

This book filled me with a lot of joy and warm and fuzzy feelings. I first rated this four stars, but writing this review made me wonder why I had given it four and not five? So I changed my rating, because I absolutely loved it.

If you loved Harry Potter, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this one

Have you read Ewan White and the White Wraith yet? Do you want to? Any other books that you think are worthy of being compared to Harry Potter (without being a rip-off)? Let me know in the comments!

It’s Not You, It’s Me // Doctor Who Myths and Legends Review

Author: Richard Dinnick
Genre: Sci-fi
Goodreads rating: 3.8
My rating: ⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For thousands of years, epic stories have been passed down from Time Lord to student, generation to generation. The truth of these tales was lost millennia ago, but the myths and legends themselves are timeless.

These are the most enduring of those tales. From the princess Manussa and her giant snake Mara, to the Vardon Horse of Xeriphin, these stories shed light on the universe around us and the beings from other worlds that we meet. Myths hold up a mirror to our past, present and future, explaining our culture, our history, our hopes and fears.

A collection of epic adventures from the Time Lords’ mist-covered past, Myths and Legends is an unforgettable gallery of heroes and villains, gods and monsters (Goodreads).

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I was really excited to read Doctor Who Myths and Legends. The world of Doctor Who is very broad and there’s so much to explore. Myths and legends set in that world? Yes please. Unfortunately this book was a huge let down for me, mostly because of one reason: the writing style.

The writing style was very simple, flat and there’s a lot of telling instead of showing.

I spoke with Orfak and told him of my concerns. He was deeply shocked but admitted to having the same fugue state when it came to the events of last night following the use of the sarcophagus by the Vardon.

This led to me not feeling immersed in the stories at all, nor caring about what happened. There was a lot of they did this, they did that. There was no excitement

Persis peered through one of the tiny windows. She was staring into the throne room. She recognised it from the holovid. It was empty.

I also felt like the stories were too short and sometimes rushed. Some of them ended very abruptly and made me wonder what even the point of the story was. I would’ve preferred if the author had reduced the amount of stories and had developed the remaining ones better. Though I’d still have trouble with the writing style, I do think that that way I would’ve cared a little bit more about the characters and their stories. Maybe I would’ve given the book a higher rating if that were the case. But now? I didn’t care at all for these characters, even though they definitely had potential to be interesting.

I didn’t expect the Doctor to be in this much, but the introduction did hint at them appearing in the stories, at least now and then. They appeared in only a few stories though, and except for one they barely played a part. It was still fun to see the Doctor show up though! It’s just a shame that they only appeared in some of the stories at the beginning.

I also liked that the first story hinted at River (‘She was an archeologist – feisty and unconvential’) and there’s a story about Lucy, The Master’s Wife in season 3 of New Who which I really liked.

All the other stories unfortuntely felt really flat to me, though they did have potential to be really interesting. Since the writing style was the biggest reason for that, I think this might be a case of it’s not you (the book), it’s me.

A 1-star rating feels really harsh, but I sadly really didn’t enjoy this one, so giving it more than 1 star felt like I was lying (to both myself and others).

Have you read Doctor Who Myths and Legends? What did you think of it? Who are your favourite Doctor and Companion? Let me know in the comments!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone // More Like of Insta-Love and Bore

Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Goodreads rating: 4.04
My rating: ⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone had been on my tbr for years, and I’m not even sure why. I think because it’s a fantasy and it was really popular at the time, but I didn’t even know what it was about when I went in. I’m really grateful that iBooks offered it for free (for a limited time I think? I don’t know if it’s still up for free) because I’m saving money and I would’ve been bummed if I had wasted money on this. That sounds really harsh, I know, but this is the third book in a row that I read (while I’m writing this) that disappointed me (thankfully one of the other two was free as well) so I’m just glad it only wasted my time and not my money as well.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone started out strong and interesting. As someone who loves art, I always have a soft spot for characters who do as well, and are artists on top of that. So Karou being an artist and going to art school? Yes please. Having a great, supportive, fun friend in Zuzanna? Hell yeah. Then it turns out that the sketches in her sketch book aren’t just figments of her imagination, but real. Karou being raised by a family of ‘monsters’ was really interesting, especially when she goes around the world on errands for the father figure in her life, Brimstone. I also liked the worldbuilding: it was cool to see a fantasy story set in Prague, and the descriptions were vivid and it was easy to picture it all. 

We don’t know much about Karou’s past (nor does she) or the monsters that raised her, which really intrigued me. But then Akiva, an angel and Karou’s love interest, showed up and it already gave me a bad feeling. His POV wasn’t that interesting (throughout the entire book whenever it was his POV I just internally sighed ‘not him again’) and it gave me the feeling the book would soon focus on romance. A lot. 

And it did. Karou and Akiva’s first meeting doesn’t go so well. They’re enemies, so Akiva tries to kill her. Except he doesn’t. Why? I dunno, ’cause neither does he. Some kind of connection?? A ‘pull’?? It’s very vague. I love the enemies to lover trope, but I would’ve prefered if Karou and Akiva got to see each other’s side of the conflict that seperates them, understand that it’s not black and white, start to trust each other, bond, become friends and then fall in love. But deciding not to kill someone because of some kind of ‘pull’?? And then stalking her, watching her sleep? Might I direct you to Twilight, sir, I think you’d feel quite at home there.

Karou too immediately falls in love with him and I just

And why? I don’t know!! Oh wait I do, but it’s a spoiler so spoiler in white:

Because they were lovers in Karou’s past live but even then it was insta-love asjfbhdf And Karou ‘fell in love’ before she had her memories back? 

The book shifted a lot from an interesting fantasy novel with a kick-ass protagonist, a great female friendship, a mystery, the threat of a war, a family of monsters to… a lacklustre romance that felt incredibly forced and just too dramatic for my taste. 

The beginning of this book was interesting and I really thought I’d end up loving this, or at least liking it. It had a lot of potential and it’s the reason why I ended up giving this 2 stars, even though by the end I absolutely loathed it. I was bored and just

This implies that I DNF’ed this book. I did not. Because apparently I’m a masochist

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? How did you feel about it? What was your latest disappointment? Let me know in the comments!

Forgive Me Books for I Have Sinned | The Reader Confession Tag

Thank you Holly for tagging me! It’s time for me to confess some sins, but it would be a real sin if you didn’t check out Holly’s blog, so what are you waiting for?

Let’s confess some sins

Guys I was so thrilled when I found this?? This meme + a pug?? 🙏🏻

Have you ever damaged a book?

Haven’t we all? I know a lot of us like to pretend we’re saints and would NEVER hurt a book, but… guys we’re only human (well as far as I’m aware, maybe some of you guys aren’t). It can happen. Sometimes your book gets damaged in your bag, sometimes you drop a book, sometimes you spill a drink or crumbs while reading – and it’s okay. I get wanting to keep your books pretty (believe me damaging a book can ruin my day) but your book will forgive you (unless maybe if we’re talking about The Monster Book of Monsters, then maybe not)

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

No, but I did lose a library book as a kid. I kid you not someone stole it from my grandmother’s bag. I remember being really upset, even though it wasn’t my fault at all.

How long does it take you to read a book?

This depends on so many factors. Like the amount of time I have to read and the book itself (the length, whether I’m enjoying it or not etc). So… It can take me a day or it can take me months haha

Books that you haven’t finished?

Oh boy I try to finish books, I really do. But if I’m not enjoying it… I really don’t want to force myself *insert cliche life is short* It has happened that I decided that maybe I’m just not in the mood for it and I’ll try again later, but it’s been two years since I tried to read American Gods and I still haven’t picked it up again. I really enjoyed Gaiman’s other books that I read though, so I might give it another chance someday (with the emphasis on someday)

Hyped/ Popular books you didn’t like?

Welllllll I no longer like Throne of Glass or the Shadowhunters books, but I never liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children, so I’m going to go with that one. I did like the first one, but after that the series went downhill for me.

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

Nah, I’m not ashamed of  any of the books I read.

How many books do you own?

Uh I dunno? I’m sorry but I’m waaaay too lazy to count them haha

Are you a fast reader or a slow reader?

See the ‘how long does it take you to read a book’ question

Do you like to buddy read?

I haven’t really done it, but I like the concept of it!

Do you read better in your head or out loud?

Head. Honestly reading out loud sounds exhausting? I’m so lazy omg

If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be and why?

Don’t make me choose between my babies

AND THAT’S IT! Now who wants to confess next? If you want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged

Has someone ever stolen a (library) book from you? Do you have any horror stories surrounding damaged books? Let me know in the comments!

The Wizard of Oz // You Want Brains, You Want A Heart and You Courage – I GET IT

Genre: Children’s | Fantasy
Series: Oz #1
Goodreads rating: 3.98
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dorothy thinks she’s lost forever when a tornado whirls her and her dog, Toto, into a magical world. To get home, she must find the wonderful wizard in the Emerald City of Oz. On the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. But the Wicked Witch of the West has her own plans for the new arrival – will Dorothy ever see Kansas again? (Goodreads)

I’m not that familiar with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I think once upon a time I’ve seen The Muppets version and I’ve seen what Once Upon a Time with the story, but other than that all I know about Dorothy and her friends is from pop culture. This meant that a lot of this was new for me, which was really fun.

The story started out that way too. I flew through the pages, but at some point I really felt like the story started to drag. And repeat itself.

If I got a euro every time the four went ‘We’re on our way to see Oz, to get a brain, to get a heart, to get courage, to get back to Kansas’ or ‘if we don’t get to Oz I won’t get a brain, and I won’t get a heart…’ – well I don’t know how much I’d have, but I’d have some money besides my irritation. Towards the end I really rolled my eyes at it. I get that it’s a children’s story but children don’t need to be reminded of the protagonists’ goal every few pages okay?

Other than that, I just got bored once they had reached Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t that wicked and was defeated really easily.

Another problem I had throughout the novel was that Oz wasn’t as magical as I thought it would be? The land’s a bit boring to be honest.

All in all it was a fun read, but I think I’ll give some of the movies a go instead.

Have you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? What did you think of it? Which adaptation is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

One // Why Don’t You Just Rip My Heart Out Won’t Ya

one

Genre: YA // Contemporary // Poetry
Goodreads rating: 4.17
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives (Goodreads).

This book you guys. This book. I should’ve reviewed this sooner, because my memory is getting fuzzy, but I really need to review this anyway because I loved it and it deserves more attention.

One is written in poems. Going in I had no idea what to expect, but damn was this a good move. It worked really well with the story, made me feel like I knew the characters better and made it so much more emotional (which it already was). The story itself was beautiful, but I don’t know if it would’ve made the same impact if it hadn’t been written in verse.

Now, since my memory is a bit fuzzy and because I love making them, I’ll be summing up why I loved this book in a list

💛 It’s about sisters!!

💛 The rest of the family plays a huge part as well, and so do their new friends, but initially it’s still about the relationship between Grace and Tippi

💛 Though they’re still clearly individuals

💛 But the bond between them is so beautiful

💛 I didn’t know much about siamese twins before reading this book, but it really sounds like the author did a lot of research and I think a lot of people will understand (and treat) siamese twins better by reading this book

💛 The cute friendships that are formed during the book

💛 The way it was written made me feel more involved in the twins’ life

💛 Slightly predictable, but it doesn’t matter because it’s just so beautifully written and it’s so easy to get into

💛 You just can’t stop reading

💛 It’s just very beautiful and you should read it okay

I’m very sorry for that not so very helpful review, but I tried. I tried to get you all to read this beautiful book if you haven’t yet. I hope I convinced you all.

Have you read this yet? What did you think? Or do you know another book that is written in verse that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

We Awaken: Cute, Dreams, Ballet and Asexual Rep

Genre: YA // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.36
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author. This doesn’t affect my review

One word to describe We Awaken is: cute. When I finished it I was filled with warm, fuzzy feelings. I loved the relationship between Victoria and Ashlinn. They had their problems, misunderstandings and fights, but they talked it out and it was a healthy relationship. They made sure that the other was comfortable and happy. They loved each other so much. It was so frickin pure and made me so happy. And the fact that they were both asexual and that the book explored this? Yes please? I’m not an expert on asexuality, but  from what I’ve read about asexuality it felt like good representation. It also fought stereotypes head one (like the plant one)

The beginning was a bit slow, but once the pace picked up I couldn’t stop reading. I felt like the writing became better throughout the book as well (not that it was bad in the beginning or anything). I wasn’t sure where the plot was going, thus why I gave it 3.5 stars and not higher. I definitely love the book though, and I think everyone should read it.

The way Victoria dealt with her grief was also very relatable and it was definitely an emotional book at times, even though a lot of it was very fluffy and cute too.

Oh and the fact that Ashlinn was basically the sandman was really cool too, though I wish that had been explored a bit more.

Moral of this review: READ IT.

Have you read We Awaken yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Review Timekeeper: Just Go Read It Trust Me

timekeeper-tour-banner

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Steampunk
Series: Timekeeper #1
Goodreads rating: 4.21
My rating:  ★★★★summary

Two o’clock was missing. 

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

review

Omg guys where to begin? I loved this book so much – definitely one of my favourites this year. The only reason that I gave it four stars is because it felt a little bit predictable at times, but that didn’t stop me from loving it AT ALL.

First of all the worldbuilding is so cool. Victorian London steampunk-style has been done before, but the world is ‘controlled’ by clock towers. That sounds kind of creepy, but they just keep time from running normally. It is a bit confusing at first, but throughout the book it’s explained more and more and I loved the background story of how this society came to be with the Greek Titans. Not just that, these ‘myths’ were seperately told in the story and while at first I thought that would ruin the pace, it didn’t. At least not for me. It was just so unique and I loved it.

Then there’s our protagonist Danny. Not only is his father trapped in a town which means he might never see him again, he’s also been in a horrible accident himself that could have killed him, giving him PTSD. I could relate so much to Danny that I cried. It was so accurately written and I just want to give Tara Sim a hug as a thank you.

Speaking of which, in this Victorian London homosexuality isn’t a crime (though it is frowned upon by a lot of people) and women are fighting gender roles. Bless. Danny’s best friend Cassie is a mechanic (a regular one like in our world who works on cars) and his colleague (and maybe friend in the sequel? I’m digging their possible friendship) Daphne is a clock mechanic which is unheard of especially since she’s also half-Indian.

And of course the romance. Guys the romance is so beautiful. It’s so pure and emotional and cute and did I mention beautiful and healthy and oh my God I love it so much. It’s just?? I have no words?? For the book tour I’ve created a playlist so listen to that below and the cute songs on there will give you a taste of what it’s like. But seriously favourite romance of 2016.

While it took me a while to finish this, it was in no way because of the book it self. I had a concussion for two to three weeks so I couldn’t read and then I got super busy with school, but when I finally got around to reading it I couldn’t put it away. Though at times it felt a bit predictable, there were still twists and turns, lots of action, lovable characters and scenes… Gosh just read it you won’t regret it (I hope). This book deserves all the attention and love. I don’t even know how to put it into words. Just know that I need to get my hands on a physical copy.

PLAYLIST 

Listen on Spotify

“You’re everything. You’re… You’re chaos and order and everything between. Like sunshine kept back by clouds. Like the entire world’s imploded inside you, but all I see are the stars are sewn into your skin. You’re filled with soft, dark music. I hear it all the time. Your music.”

Flaws – Bastille
Fire N Gold – Bea Miller
Fix You – Coldplay
The Scientist – Coldplay
Find My Way Back – Eric Arjes
Bring Me Back To Life – Extreme Music
My Fault – Imagine Dragons
Once In A Lifetime – Landon Austin
Suspension (Acoustic) – Lights
Ordinary Human – OneRepublic
Always – Panic! At The Disco
I Get To Love You – Ruelle
War of Hearts – Ruelle
Wake Me Up – Sam Tsui
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Sleeping At Last
For Him – Troye Sivan
Youth – Troye Sivan
Shiver Shiver – Walk The Moon

And if I got you excited, enter the giveaway to win a finished copy! (U.S. and Canada only) Click here to enter

Have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

the crown's gameGenre: Ya | fantasy | historical
Series: The Crown’s Game #1
Goodreads rating: 3.79
My rating:  2.5

summary

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose (Goodreads).

review

This book was very, very hyped and I can totally see why: gorgeous cover and intriguing premise. Sadly I was a bit underwhelmed. The Game wasn’t really that exciting. In the beginning I liked that they were both anxious because they thought the other could kill them any moment, but that tension was gone pretty soon. Not to mention that going in I just didn’t expect them to make houses look pretty and create magical fountains. I expected something more intense. Not necessarily bloody, but their lives were at stake – the loser was going to die. I didn’t really feel those stakes while reading the book.

The characters were pretty flat and I didn’t feel any attachment to them at all. I did like Vika’s relationship with Ludmila (a woman she had known all her life and who moves in with her the moment the Game begins and her father is banished, so that she doesn’t have to be alone) and Nikolai and Pasha’s friendship definitely had potential. Spoiler: when their friendship fell apart, it didn’t really hurt, because I wasn’t invested in their friendship. And don’t get me started on the ‘romance’. Instalust, instalove and a love triangle. All the love-related tropes I pretty much despise (love triangles not so much if they’re done right and don’t take over the plot. Which in this case I felt it really did). 

While the writing wasn’t bad and I did like the descriptions, my biggest problem with it was, was the lack of emotions. I didn’t feel any attachment to any of the characters, I didn’t feel their emotions, I didn’t sympathise with them, I didn’t care for the villain, I just didn’t care about anything.

I also really wanted to know more about the magic system. I mean, The Game is all about their magical skill, yet I have no idea how their magic works.

So you’re probably wondering: Michelle, why did you give it three stars? It doesn’t sound like you enjoyed it. Okay so here’s why I gave it three stars (though honestly I’m still leaning towards 2,5 stars): I liked the concept and I love the world: it takes place in 19th century Russia except with magic. History + magic = yes please. And while not much happened, I wasn’t necessarily bored until the ending and hey I did finish most of it in one day, so I don’t feel like it was necessarily a 2-star read if that makes sense. Speaking of the ending though, there were like roughly ten pages left when they introduced some action. I actually thought that it was going to end on a cliffhanger right before that action took place, because how could that take only ten pages or so?  But nope, that final (more like finally) action scene was very underwhelming and anti climatic. I couldn’t care less.

So have you read this and how did you feel about it? Honestly I have such mixed feelings about it and I just hope that the sequel will be better. If I do pick it up (right now I’m leaning towards it, but from experience I know that it’s very likely that my interest in it and motivation to read it will decrease over the next few months) I’ll definitely wait for the paperback to come out. It’s such a shame because I was really excited for this book. If you haven’t read this yet, any hyped books you read lately that disappointed you? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprootedGenre: Ya (possibly adult or NA?? I thought it was YA and the protagonist is 17 but then I saw it on the adult shelf at a bookstore here and I saw someone else call it NA so I’m very confused) | fantasy
Goodreads rating: 4.16
My rating:  2.5 stars 

summary

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose (Goodreads).

review

I had completely forgotten to review this one – woops. Since my memory is a bit fuzzy, let’s do a list review! Also spoiler towards the romance (who she ends up with) though if you read the synopsis you can already guess who it is.

Whatiliked

  • Agnieszka and Kasia’s relationship. It was a beautiful friendship: they loved each other so much and they’d do anything for each other, including risking their lives. Because they didn’t want to live without each other. I loved it so much. Going in I knew who Agnieszka was going to end up with, but I still hoped that it would be Kasia (and honestly I thought that made more sense because we’re actually shown that they love each other and it would have been beautiful and HEALTHY)
  • The concept. Not the Dragon taking girls to live with him in his tower, but the Wood being the villain of the book. Though I’m not too excited about the execution of it, I found it really unique

whatididn'tlike

  • An old man (I don’t care that he looks young he’s old) chooses a young girl from one of the villages every *insert amount of years because I can’t remember* and it turns out that of course he has a good reason for that! And he never touches them! But it still incredibly disturbing! And why is everyone okay with this!
  • Said old man is not very nice. He continually looks down on Agnieszka and insults her all the time. Basically it’s abusive. This would’ve been fine if Agnieszka realises this, stands up for herself and ends up with Kasia and leaves him. But of course instead she jumps him. Literally. He treats her like trash (pretty much literally except he doesn’t throw her out), there’s nothing pointing to their ‘feelings’ before that and it really came out of the blue even though I knew they were going to end up together. And it’s not like he changes or anything. Nope. Can we please stop romanticising abusive relationships
  • The pace. I was just so bored at some point, even when things were supposed to be exciting

So great concept, beautiful relationship between the two girls, but an abusive relationship that I just can’t overlook and am SO DONE with and it was quite boring. It’s a shame because I enjoyed the beginning; I didn’t like the Dragon, but I still had hope until the ‘relationship’ started and it wasn’t that boring yet.

Have you read Uprooted? How did you feel about it? I hope you enjoyed it more than I did. Did anyone else ship Agnieszka and Kasia instead? Please tell me I’m not alone. Let me know in the comments!

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