Tag Archives: young adult

Flame in the Mist by Reneè Ahdieh. Review 

I want to clear something up with regards to this book. It is not a Milan retelling despite what’s been going around. For one it’s set in Japan not China and for two other than cross dressing it has no similarities at all. Disclaimer: I will be using Mulan Gifs in this review because I can 😉 

Now that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the review. 

I received Flame in the Mist in my May Fairyloot box and instantly fell in love with the cover. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover and this one is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! The premise interested me as well, I’ve not read much about Japanese folklore or myths and legends and my entire experience of any kind of Japanese literature is the novels of Haruki Murakami. So I was admittedly very interested to step out into the unknown. 

I’m really glad that I did! Mariko is travelling to the imperial city in a litter when it is attacked, all her samurai and servants are killed and Mariko, convinced it is the work of the infamous renegades, The Black Clan, sets out to find them, infiltrate them and find out why they wanted her dead. I loved the character of Mariko or at least the idea of her, not once was she described as particularly beautiful apart from in the view as a prize for the Emperors son. Instead she is smart, a scholar, a whiz with her mind and with inventions and you know what? That’s really cool and makes a nice change. Lots of books feature smart girls but often the focus is on the fact that they are beautiful and smart. It was nice to see something fresh here. 

I liked all of the characters who all had a lot of story, I’d certainly like to know more of their stories though as it feels a bit like we were fed titbits. This combined with the ending is definitely making me hope for a second novel! 

I also really liked that Mariko didn’t become some fearsome warrior because that would have just been too Mulan inspired for words. In fact she is an individual in her own right completely separate from any other fictional character I’ve read and I loved her the more for it! 

The storyline was well played if a little slow to begin with. It soon picked up the pace and we were treated to folklore, culture, division between rich and poor, man and woman, dark magic and most importantly what I viewed as the moral of the story that the lines between good and evil are not always that well drawn. 

In summary I really liked this book and feel that it is off to a promising start for a series or at least a second book, so fingers crossed there will be one! 

Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Please be aware that this review while not containing spoilers for this book, will contain spoilers for the first book Ink and Bone. 

Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone left off and it’s a great sequel! Jess and friends are still reeling from the events of Ink and Bone, their friend Thomas was killed, their other friend and sort of Jess’ girlfriend; Morgan has been imprisoned in the Iron Tower of the Obscurists and Jess no longer knows who he can trust. Especially when a routine training excercise of his company in the High Garda turns sour. 

This book is another teaser at what the library may contain, what secrets are hidden inside its walls and what the people at the helm will do to protect it. It is a story of friendship and relationships that are stronger than those of blood. In a world full of secrets it’s impossible to know who can be trusted and who would just as soon Knife you in the back. It’s down to Jess and his friends to fight the library to the bitter end. 

I love that this series is all about books, it’s such a great concept and it’s easy to see that it’s taken some inspiration for the onslaught of ebook readers on the market today. I find the premise incredibly engaging and interesting, sometimes the second book in a trilogy can read like a ‘filler’ and be a bit flat but that is not the case with this one at all. I can’t wait for Ash and Quill now. 

Wintersong by S Jae Jones. Review. 

‘She is for the Goblin King now’

I’ve recently become enthralled by novels like Wintersong which take the dark fairytales of Russia, Eastern Europe and in this case Germany and make them into their own. 

Wintersong tells the tale of Liesel, a young German woman with a passion for music. Music she is not allowed to compose or play because a woman is too inferior to do so. Instead she lives through her brother Josef who is about to audition to receive tutelage from a famous music teacher. Liesel is a young woman who is not just plain to look at but perceived as ugly, especially beside her beautiful sister Käthe. The three children have grown up beside the Goblin Grove, listening to their grandmother’s eerie tales of witches, hobgoblins and sprites. But most particularly of the Goblin King himself. Now they are getting older they don’t believe in her stories anymore. That is until Käthe is kidnapped by the King and Liesel has to go to his underground kingdom to bring her back. 

This book is deliciously dark, it tantalises and teases, it is frightening in parts but at the same time grips you with its intesity. It draws you in and seduces you. The Goblin King, dips between two personas as the thing of nightmares and the man of your dream. It is very, very cleverly done! While wanting to stay lost in the world there is a fear that should you do that, you would never escape. 

There is passion in this novel, but of the dark sort. The ones that all girls who don’t believe in themselves, who view ‘beauty on the inside’ as an ugly truth. The novel doesn’t feel very YA it reads more like an adult novel which I did really like. The border of YA and adult fantasy became blurred which is just right for the dark fairytale theme. 

Wintersong has echoes of a more serious version of the film Labyrinth and the combination of this, and the dark fairytales just makes it devilishly decadent. A true work of art of a novel! I can’t wait for the sequel! 

Roseblood by AG Howard. Review 

Thank you to the publisher Abrams and Chronicle Books Ltd for my copy of Roseblood in exchange for an honest review. 

‘When the phantom touched me, when his eyes held mine, I felt it. And I still feel it now.’

Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did! There’s always that worry when you receive an RC that you’re not going to like the book. Although Roseblood had been on my tbr I had no idea what to expect. But there was no need for me to worry. Roseblood is an addictive, gripping, fantastic, magical, horrifying tale of dark love, dark friendship and the terrible things that creep behind mirrors. 

Roseblood is a sort of retelling of The Phantom of the Opera but over a century after the events of Gaston Leroux’s novel, made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber theatre production. Rune is sent to an opera school in Paris called Roseblood after the death of her father. She has a brilliant voice but every time she sings, she gets sick, her mother hopes that schooling her voice will help her to become a great opera star. 

But she is haunted by the Phantom boy she discovers in the grounds of the school. At first she is sure that he is the Phantom from the story, sent to her to become her muse. But gradually her suspicion grows that this phantom may be someone or something else. 

This story is mesmerising, gripping from start to finish, the electric feelings between the characters draws you in deeper and deeper as the horrific secrets of the Phantom and his legacy are revealed. 

I really cannot express how much I really enjoyed this book, I had no previous experience of The Phantom of the Opera so I was going into it completely blind as what to expect, but it was everything it promised to be. Creepy on the supernatural side, romantic for the YA side and devilishly delicious throughout! 

Highly recommended to anyone who likes supernatural YA fiction. 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Review. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finished reading Lord of Shadows and screamed with frustration that I’ve got to wait another 2 years for the last book in this series? 

I’ve been dragged head first back into the world of Shadowhunters, I’ve fought beside them, strapped on gear and felt the love for each and every one of them tear me apart. I was certain that this series wouldn’t touch me in the same way as TMI and TID but it has. Oh it has. 

Before you read any further I should advise that although this review with be spoiler free, there will be spoilers from the first book Lady Midnight there has to be otherwise I can’t discuss it at all. So if you haven’t read Lady Midnight you should wait before reading this review, although you can read my review of LM here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/lady-midnight-by-cassandra-clare-review/ 

I enjoyed Lady Midnight don’t get me wrong, but it feels now that it was just Cassandra Clare wetting her lips before she truly brought back the tragedy and destruction of the Shadowhunter lives in Lord of Shadows. 

We pick up where we left off in Lady Midnight. Emma, Julian and co are getting their lives back together after Emma killed the corrupt and murdering warlock Malcolm Fade, now they’ve got a host of sea demons to contend with. Emma is still pretending to date Mark to prevent her and Jules’ love from becoming the fearsome curse of parabatai love. 

This novel is very action packed, there’s a lot of moments where you just can’t put it down because you need to know what happens. I love the relationships which are developing between some of the characters particularly Emma and Jules but there’s also some other more surprising ones. Plus we get to finally find out Diana’s secret and there’s lots of Magnus and Alec in this one which of course just adds to the amazingness. Because who doesn’t want more Malec? 

What I am beginning to think though is that at this rate Cassandra Clare is going to give George RR Martin a run for his money at killing the ones we love and destroying us in the process. I’m currently on holiday and sobbing uncontrollably on a sunbed because of a fictional character is not dignified. 

On a serious note though, I don’t think I will ever, ever, ever, get enough of the  Shadowhunters and Cassandra if you’re reading this and could write The Queen of Air and Darkness any quicker it would be much appreciated! 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Review. 

I’ve been so excited to start reading this book for ages now but with everything else on my tbr it took me so long to get round to it that I decided a couple more months wouldn’t hurt in order to wait for the sequel Lord of Shadows to come out. I guess a big part of me was also afraid about reading this novel. I loved TMI so much, loved Jace and Clary and Simon and Isabelle and Alec and Magnus. I loved the extra tastes of their story that I got in the The Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I also loved TID because it was so different, set in the past and telling the history of some of the characters from TMI as well as filling in the gaps and answering questions that TMI didn’t. For reference if you’ve never read either series then I would read them in the order TMI followed by TID. 

Anyway much as I’d love to talk more about Shadowhunters I’m going to have to get back to this series or we’ll be here all day! TDI follows the characters of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn. Best friends since forever, they have sworn to support each other in the closest way any Shadowhunter can, by becoming parabatai a connection which binds their souls together, they can feel each other’s pain, fear, emotions and most of all they must never, ever fall in love. Parabatai who fall in love are breaking the law and if discovered by The Clave (the government of sorts) they will be stripped of their marks and cast out of the community I.e not allowed to be shadowhunters anymore. But the problem is, they’re beginning to feel things for each other that they really shouldn’t be feeling. 

To top it off, something weird is happening in their area of Los Angeles. Mundanes (humans) and fairies are being murdered and the Carstairs and Blackthorns are roped into hunting down the killer and finding out what’s going on before one of them is hurt or worse. 

My fear was unfounded, it took about 100 pages and I was suddenly swept back into the Shadowhunter world as if I’d never left it. I loved the cameo appearances from Jace and Clary and I enjoyed getting to know the new characters who were children in the first series. The love story is never going to be the same as Jace and Clary’s but it is just as great in a different way, as for the ending it left me flabbergasted and also secretly glad that I waited for Lord of Shadows because now I can dive straight back in and find out what happens next! I also have to applaud Cassandra Clare’s handling of autism in this book, I thought it was well done, well explained and without prejudice. 

Now I’m off to read Lord of Shadows! Check back here for a spoiler free review of that one in the next couple of days. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Review 

I’m still reeling! I must admit I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it. It’s the first one I’ve read by Patrick Ness, and the slightly strange way of talking that the main character; Todd has made me think I might not like it. But it grew on me pretty fast and by the middle I was racing through the pages. 

The premise of The Knife of Never Letting Go is that finding what (I presume is) our current world is corrupt and evil so god fearing folk have travelled to a new world where they plan to go back to basics and live clean, good lives. But it doesn’t exactly go to plan. 

As the only ‘boy’ in his village Todd has grown up believing one thing only to find out that it isn’t in fact exactly true. 

It’s a book about self discovery, love, friendship and understanding. And let me tell you one thing it’s heartbreaking in fact no, not heartbreaking it’s goddam heart wrenching! 

Although it has pretty much destroyed me, there’s no denying that this is an amazing YA novel. It has all the ingredients to make it into a fantastic series and I can’t wait to get started on the second book.