Blog

Review : Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Posted by on March 26, 2017 1:35 pm in 4 stars reads | 0 comments

long may she reignLong May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Pages :
 422
Genre : YA, Fantasy
Stand alone
My Rating : 4/5

About the Book  :

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

My Thoughts 

I hadn’t heard a lot about this YA fantasy novel when I picked it up, but the premise intrigued me. And I was pleasantly surprised! In fact, I read most of it in a day.

To borrow from my own review on Goodreads, here are some of my favorite aspects of Long May She Reign, with added commentary

– It’s a Standalone YA fantasy : with so many series around, it’s refreshing (and maybe even, a relief!) to have a story start and end within the same book, with no cliffhanger.
– There’s a great female friendship, from early in the book up to the end
– The romance, while it is there, is only a tiny part of the book : it doesn’t overtake the story and isn’t instalove/lust either! It’s still a bit quick, but it’s okay
– Freya is a science-minded main character who uses her brain to solve the mystery. She loves to be in her lab and do experiments. What’s not to love about this?

The story is just a lot of fun if you love a good court intrigue! It doesn’t reinvent anything, and it’s not about shocking twists either, but it has a really good pace and a good plot.

My main problem with the book was the conclusion. The last chapters just felt really underwhelming compared to the buildup! I understand that the book isn’t an action one, and loved it for it, but the ending could have used a little more punch. I also strongly disagreed with one of Freya’s last decision, and I don’t think it was completely in character for her, even though it was in line with some of her previous ones.

Overall, I’d say that Long May She Reign has a lot to offer. While it may lack a little spark to make it stand out from the crowd, it offers a lot of the things I often look for and can rarely find in YA fantasy. If you are looking for a fun court intrigue in a fantasy world very similar to ours, Long May She Reign might appeal to you!

Filling the Shelf – 245

Posted by on March 20, 2017 1:32 am in Book talk | 12 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Good Monday everyone!

Hope you all had a good week! We had a huge snowstorm and it was beautiful. So much snow! Working from home, I was able to set some time aside to watch it fall while reading The Bear and the Nightingale (loved it so much!), as well as I spent some time with the man shoveling outside. I count myself lucky though, because it’s easy to enjoy the sight of winter’s coat when you don’t have to get out. Just out of the city, about 300 people were trapped for up to 13 hours on the highway. Yes, 13 hours! What a nightmare! :(

2017snow

Our snowy streets, cars & trees hiding under a coat of snow.

And now, about books!

This week I wrote a review for Caraval. It was disappointing for me, unfortunately, though it did have a few interesting aspects.

I also added some books to my shelf! Crosstalk excepted, these are all YA fantasy. I loved Rin Chupeco’s YA horror novel The Girl from the Well (though I still have to read the sequel) so I knew I’d want to get my hands on her new YA fantasy as soon as it came out. I can’t wait to read it! As for Crosstalk, it is also speculative fiction, and with a really fun premise. It sounds a bit like a romcom taking place in a not too distant future, and I’ve been wanting to read Connie Willis for a while. Sounds like a good one to start with!

And they sort of make a nice group together!

fillingshelf245a

Crosstalk by Connie Willis – Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

fillingshelf245b

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan (audio)

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Review : Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted by on March 18, 2017 1:39 am in 2.5 stars reads | 3 comments

caravalCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Pages :
 407
Genre : YA, Fantasy
Series : Caraval, book 1
My Rating : 2.5/5

About the Book  :

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

My Thoughts 

I started Caraval with what I believe to be reasonable expectations, especially since there had been a bit of hype around it, and I still managed to be mostly disappointed.

Caraval comes with a sparkling cover and the promise of a fascinating adventure through a larger-than-life magical game. I really liked how quickly the story started and the beginning of the story. I loved the two sisters and their relationship, and their difference in personality.

But almost as soon as they left their native island, I started to lose interest. The world felt undefined and lacked depth : Caraval exists in a fantasy land rather than an alternative history (I think?) but some places and names are in Spanish, for some reason? That’s never clearly defined, like many other aspects of the book. And it’s not that I believe that every fantasy novel should have the equivalent of ASoIaF’s politics defining its world, but I really didn’t have any sense of space and context.

I also had a problem with Scarlett herself (too naive), and the insta-lust romance she gets into(predictable). But mostly, I got a bit irritated  by the author’s writing. She constantly describes Scarlett’s emotions as colors, and colors as flavors, and for a while I thought Scarlett might have some form of (possibly magical) synesthesia… but it never results in anything. I guess the author was trying for an evocative writing style, but it constantly pulled me out of the story.

I realize I’m mostly writing about the negative aspects of Caraval, but I did enjoy some of it. Ignoring her colorful metaphors, Stephanie Garber’s writing flows nicely and is really easy to get into. The story has lots of twists and surprises, and the uncertainty between what’s real and what isn’t keeps you guessing continuously.

If you ignore the very last page, Caraval can pretty much be considered a standalone. Which works for me, as I don’t plan on continuing with the series. Not everything works for everyone, right?But Caraval has a colorful world to offer and I am sure it will find its lot of readers along the way! :)

Filling the Shelf – 244

Posted by on March 13, 2017 2:45 am in Book talk | 8 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello everyone!

Another Monday, another mailbox post!

My health has been acting up again this week and I’ve been real lazy about blogging. Not answering comments, not visiting blogs, nothing. I’m hoping to do better this week. I did read a lot though while I rested (mostly I started a lot of books, but didn’t finish many), and managed to finally post a review yesterday for Six Wakes. It was such a fun sci-fi thriller, I’d happily recommend it!

I also got some new books this week, and I am so excited for them! I am completely in love with the UK covers for The Bear and the Nightingale and Homegoing. Bonus points for also being cheaper than the copies I could find here. And The Devourers had been on my wishlist since it came out, I’m glad to finally have my own copy.  Shapeshifters in India? That sounds so different, I can’t wait to read it!

fillingshelf244a

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

fillingshelf244b

The Devourers by Indra Das – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (audio) – 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

What books did you recently add to your shelves?