Tag Archives: magic

Beren and Lúthien by JRR Tolkien. Review. 

I’m finding this review quite hard to write and had originally decided not to even do one. You see, like most people who love reading and particularly those who love high or epic fantasy, I have an admiration for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But when a well meaning family member bought me The Simarillion I found that I just couldn’t get into it. The same for The Lost Tales etc. Basically when it comes to Tolkien I love only stories with Hobbits in them. 

Trying to read anything else about the history of Middle Earth, for me, is like forcing my way through Beowulf or Ivanhoe. It just becomes tedious, boring and I struggle to get into it. I don’t profess myself to be a reader of grand texts. I like a story I can get into it. And that’s why this review is hard. While I fully respect the work of art that is Beren and Lúthien I just didn’t really enjoy it. 

The beginning part of the novel is mostly a preface and notes from the editor; Christopher Tolkien. One thing I certainly did like was this section and the other explanations, extracts from letters etc which are spotted around in the different chapters. I also enjoyed the actual story of Beren and Lúthien because it was fairly short and easy to understand. But for the most part the book is mainly very long and boring poetry. That part I didn’t like so much. It was worth a read all in all but I can’t say I’ll be rushing to pick it back up again! 


The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood. Review 

The Crow Garden is the first novel I have read from author Alison Littlewood and it was a rare treat! I love the idea of novels about madness but it is rare that I find one so well written, most I have found dance around with innuendo and mystery and I find that quite frustrating. Not so with The Crow Garden with echoes of Shutter Island Alison Littlewood builds tension with a novel where everything is evident to the reader and not to the characters themselves! 

Nathaniel Kerner is determined to become an Alienist or ‘mad-doctor’ treating patients in an asylum to atone for his father’s suicide, for which he blames himself. Soon he finds himself in his first position at Crakethorn, an old Manor House and now asylum where he meets the beautiful yet damaged Mrs Harleston. But as tension builds between the characters the lines between madness and sanity become blurred. 

Spotted with the poetry of Browning and Byron, the story tells of a terrible love story woven with insanity, in a time when it really was unclear who was mad and who was not. A time when Doctors were allowed free will to carry out barbarous treatments and patients could be admitted purely for being epileptic. The setting on the Yorkshire Moors and the time which is perceived to be Victorian times only add to the dark and cryptic storyline. 

Alison Littlewood’s writing reminds me a lot of the writing of Daphne Du Maurier and I feel that is the biggest complement I can afford the author of The Crow Garden a fantastic novel and highly recommended! 

Unpopular Opinions Booktag 

So I’m reading two books at the moment. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard and Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra. Which means I’ll not be able to review for a while as the great Don alone is over 1,000 pages. So I’m going to be doing a couple of book tags in the meantime! 

This is one I should have done ages ago but never got round to, I found it on http://www.booklovingnut.com which has a host of fantastic book tags which you should check out! It was originally created by https://readatmidnight.com/ and it’s all about Unpopular Opinions! 

1. A popular book you didn’t like. 

Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith 

Loved the show, hated the books. Genuinely some of the worst books I have ever read. Poorly written, terrible characters and well, just poor altogether! 

2. A book series that everyone hates but you love. 

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James 

I’m not going as far as to say everyone hates this book but I’ve heard a lot of bad things about it. I really enjoyed it and I like the series. Fair enough the first book is pure smut but the second and third start to bring together a storyline which is really interesting. 

3. A love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with. 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

Although Cathy’s heart always belonged to Heathcliffe I hate that she ended up married to Edgar. He was a sweet guy, I can’t speak ill of him, but Cathy and Heathcliffe should have been the couple! 

4. A popular genre you rarely reach for. 

Horror, I’m far too much of a scaredy cat! I’ve read a few but they scar me for days so I tend to avoid them! 

5. A popular character you didn’t like. 

Katniss Everdeen, I just find her a bit annoying. Also she treats her love interests like sh*t but they still love her. 

6. A popular author you can’t seem to get into. 

Saying that, I’m reading Glass Sword at the moment but I’m just really struggling to keep an interest in these books. 

7. A popular trope you’re tired of seeing. 

Lip biting. Seriously, who can bite their lip and look sexy? I’ve tried, I look like I’m attempting self cannabalism. Also who here bites their lip when they’re nervous/angry/scared? Nope, me neither. 

8. A popular series you have no interest in reading. 

The Discworld series by Terry Pritchett has just never appealed to me at all. 

9. The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie” but what movie do you prefer to the book?

I can’t think of a film but I’m enjoying the tv mini series of Cuckoo’s Calling much more than the book. 
I hope you enjoyed my unpopular opinions. Let me know what you think in the comments and have a go yourself if you haven’t already! 

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. Review 

And so dear reader, we pick up where we left off… 

I’ll end up talking like the narrator in these books if I keep losing myself in them this way! You can read my review of Nevernight on the following link, be aware that though this review holds no spoilers for Godsgrave it will contain some for Nevernight so if you’ve not read it yet, a) go and do so as soon as possible, and b) don’t read any further until you have. https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/nevernight-by-jay-kristoff-review/

Godsgrave picks up where Nevernight finished. Mia has become a blade through a fluke, defending the ministry from the harm threatened them by Ash one of Mia’s own friends and along the way inheriting a new dark passenger; Eclipse the wolf who previously belonged to the now deceased Lord Cassius. (Is it just me or does Dark Passenger just make you think of Dexter?) 

The story is split into two parts which eventually come together. One tells the tale of Mia’s current position as a Gladitor in a collegium, essentially a slave. Meanwhile the story backtracks to show how Mia got from the point of her initiation as a blade, to being a slave. I’m guessing if you know Mia at all, there is little doubt in your mind that her motive is as always revenge. 

Godsgrave and Nevernight are equally as fast paced. Kristoff’s unusual but effective use of footnotes prevents the need for masses of worldbuilding and character building in both books which allows the story to get on with the action and suspense. Have I come out with more questions than I went in with? Thousands. Have I got answers to any of the questions I had when I finished Nevernight? Nope. But then that’s what makes the reader want to read more after all, and I am now seriously excited for the final book in this trilogy!! 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Review 

‘You’ve got the look of a girl who’s no stranger to the page. I can tell. You’ve got words in your soul’ 

Despite the brilliant reviews I have seen for this book, in the first couple of pages I was unsure if I would actually like it. The writing is so rich, so beautiful, so deliciously well written that I wasn’t sure I could manage with 462 pages of it. Turns out I could do just fine and enjoy it all the more for it. Some writers who write as well as Jay Kristoff seem to veer off the point until their beautiful words are just that: words and the story is lost. Not the case here. Kristoff combines his decadent writing style with a well woven story and irresistible characters who have more flaws than the characters from a prison drama. 

Nevernight begins with the story of a girl and the two very different events that unfold her one night. Both of them equally life changing, once complete, she is finally considered ready to travel to the Red Church to study as Acolyte in the temple of the Godess of Murder. Mia has been waiting for this day since she was ten years old and first began her training in the art of death and murder. Theirs, not hers. But Mia is something different to the other acolytes; she talks to the shadows, and the shadows talk back. 

Mia is such a great character because she genuinely is so flawed. Her whole ideal about life is based purely on revenge but at the same time she isn’t quite as ruthless as a wannabe assassin should be. Instead she has moments of passion, compassion and fierce loyalty which betray her status as not really belonging to either the ‘light’ or the ‘dark’. 

Jay Kristoff also has a really unusual technique for world building which I have never seen, I’m going to say that it’s completely unique and that I really liked it. The story is fast paced but also requires time due to the in depth world and character building required of this kind of fantasy novel. All in all I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to start Godsgrave. 

Tarnished City by Vic James. Review. 

This series is literally a rollercoaster ride. I loved Gilded Cage and you can check out my review of that here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/gilded-cage-by-vic-james-review/

Tarnished City was even better, which is quite rare for a Middle novel in a trilogy, usually I find the Middle novel a bit of a ‘filler’ with not much going on, but this was action packed to say the least. Following the events of Gilded Cage (spoilers for book 1 ahead) Tarnished City explains what happens next to the main characters. Abi is desperately trying to save her brother Luke by appealing to His old friends from the Millmoor Games and Social Club. Luke meanwhile is trapped in Crovan’s Scottish castle desperately trying to find a way out and back to his friends and family. Meanwhile Silyen is back to his old tricks and all I can say about Gavar and Jenner is that they’re about to both undergo big changes… 

Tarnished City is equally as fast paced as Gilded Cage but there is a lot more action in this one now that the author has free reign after the character and world building needed in book one. We start to see a lot more of the in depth personality traits of the characters and I was definitely correct in my original assumption that not everyone is who they seem! There’s a lot more violence in this one also as the story takes a darker turn than in the first book. 

I was really pleased with the character development overall, I feel like I’ve got a good idea of who everyone is deep down now as I’ve been able to see the darker and lighter sides of their characters. In the words of Sirius Black (ok.. JK Rowling) ‘we’ve all got both light and dark inside of us, what matters most is the part we choose to act on, that’s who we really are.’ I feel that’s a really fitting summary of the people in this book. 

I literally cannot wait for the next instalment in what has fast become one of my favourite fantasy series’. 

Gilded Cage by Vic James. Review. 

Oh my god I loved this so much! I’ve been desperate to read a good dystopia for a while now and this one really fit the bill! Although there were tropes they were done in a completely new way which was just fantastic, not that to be honest I mind tropes anyway! 

So, Gilded Cage, a dystopian novel set in Great Britain with two classes of people, Equals who have ‘skills’ which set them apart from the ‘commoners’ or ordinary people. The commoners live pretty ordinary lives except that for 10 years of their lives they have to go into slavery to the Equals. Often in smoggy factories in slavetowns like Millmoor in Manchester. 

But for Luke Hadley and his family their slave years are going to be a little different, they’re going to be working for one of the most elite Equal families the Jardines. They think they’ll have it more comfortable than the others back in Millmoor but they couldn’t be more wrong. 

This novel was so fast paced, I couldn’t put it down as I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. I found myself struggling to like some of the characters I was supposed to and really liking ones I probably shouldn’t! What I’ve decided is that there is just no black and white when it comes to the characters in this book! Everyone is a little bit mysterious and nobody seems to really be who they say they are! 

I really didn’t find that there were too many characters, although there are a few different perspectives I found it easy to remember who was who as they were all such intriguing personalities!