Red Claw by Philip Palmer

red claw

Red Claw Blurb

Philip Palmer turns science fiction on its head in this breathtaking thrill ride through alien jungles filled with terrifying monsters and killer robots. Space marines and science heroes Gryphons and Godzillas It’s all here in this gripping tale of man versus nature.

My Review of Red Claw

Red ClawRed Claw by Philip Palmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What I liked

Robots. Killer robots. Future tech. This makes me happy.

The funny dialogue – it’s like what people are actually saying to each other when you strip away all the fluff. I had a few little laughs at it.

It’s fast paced, and it stayed interesting. Just as I started to get bored something happened and everything was thrown up in the air.

I also found it easy to read, in fact, a couple of times I lost track of time reading it on my lunch break and had to rush back to work.

No one is safe, basically, all characters are fair game for a gruesome death scene.

The cover.

What I didn’t like

The humour – more often than not it is was too immature to be funny.

The science and technology was so far-fetched that I found it distracting. I kept stopping to think “but no, that’s impossible”. I get that it’s supposed to be daft but it broke my reading flow.

Far too much marvelling going on, we had people marvelling at marvellous things every other page sometimes.

Heavy handed criticism of war, soldiers, and the way the human race destroys other life for our own gain. It’s not a subtle book, and I felt like it was banging me over the head with it.

Red Claw
Debatable Space
Philip Palmer
Sci-Fi
August 11th 2008
451

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

Strange the dreamer cover

Strange the Dreamer Blurb

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

My Review of Strange the Dreamer

Strange the DreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strange the Dreamer is a book about dreams, about the things we wish for, and about dreaming of a better life for yourself. And yet again, Laini Taylor has swept me away with her beautiful, dreamy writing. I’m so overwhelmed by this book I don’t even know where to start with my review.

Lazlo spends his life daydreaming and reading stories about the lost city known as Weep. Lazlo is a bookworm who works in a library, but he’s a bookworm with a purpose. He spends his days searching for stories and information about the lost city known as Weep, a city he has been obsessed with since he was a child.

And when one day an expedition from the lost city appear, literally on his doorstep, to recruit a team of scientist and engineers, Lazlo sees his chance to make his dreams reality and actually visit Weep.

Sarai is a blue skinned girl that is living imprisoned in her (rather large) home, surviving with four other young people who use their magical gifts to keep themselves alive. One creates fire, another can bring rain clouds, and one can cause any plant to grow from the smallest of seeds.

But Sarai’s gift is something different, Sarai can enter people’s dreams.

And that’s how Sarai and Lazlo meet, in a dream world they create together, and I can’t tell you how beautiful it all is. Their romance is sweet and slow, and more than a little awkward.

Normally I’m counting down the number of pages in a book, calculating how soon I can start the next on my TBR pile, but this one I just didn’t want to finish.

I’m in love with the characters, with the world that Laini Taylor has built, and with the dreams Lazlo and Sarai create (and normally I hate dream sequences, I’ve given up on more than one book that has them in, I can’t stand the Disney Alice in Wonderland).

It’s a massive story, and when I think about it, it’s very complicated too. It didn’t feel that way when I was reading it though, it starts out with the story of Weep hidden, and the truth being revealed slowly as the story progresses. I liked this because I wasn’t overwhelmed with it all at the start, and the mysteries and secrets made it all feel that bit more magical.

The only sour note for me is that I think I’ve fallen out with it over the ending. How can it end like that? Why do I have to wait a year for the next book? I just can’t.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review

View all my reviews

Strange the Dreamer
Strange the Dreamer
Laini Taylor
Young Adult Fantasy
March 28th 2017
432

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants Description

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

My Review of Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the ideas but I don’t think the format worked. The author seemed to be aiming for a media / report style like World War Z, but then he was trying to tell the story normally within that by having the characters explain things that have happened to them to an interviewer. Sometimes the interviewer is on the phone with a person as they are doing something.

It’s an odd in between compromise that I felt didn’t work well. We’re removed from the action so it’s hard to feel involved, but we’re not getting the exciting, dramatic media reports about it. There’s no build up of tension and no atmosphere to it.

I enjoyed the science parts and the bits where they are working with or researching the robot, deciphering the symbols and trying to activate and control it.

Those bits were interesting to read, but overall there was too much soap opera relationship drama and not enough giant robot. It was all a bit dull, and how can a book with a giant robot in it be dull!?

None of the main characters were interesting either, the interviewer is an arrogant, pedantic nitpicker who started to grate on my nerves about halfway though.

Kara starts out like she might be ok but quickly degenerates into acting like a teenager.

Dr Rose was barely in it but when she did show up she was just used as the mothering type and not a scientist in her own right.

I also found it hard to keep track of the timeline. It felt like everything happened in about 2 months, but I think it was more like 2 years?

It’s not that it’s a bad book, the writing is ok, the sci-fi side is interesting, and it’s not too long. It just had the potential to be a lot better.

I wouldn’t go out of my way for the sequel but I might read it if someone else passed it on to me.

Sleeping Giants
Themis Files
Sylvain Neuvel
Sci-Fi
April 26th 2016

The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat #1) by Jen Williams

The Copper Promise

The Copper Promise Blurb

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.

My Review of The Copper Promise

The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat, #1)The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Plot
Sebastion and Wydrin are sell-swords hired by Lord Frith to act as bodyguards while he investigates a ruined citadel. Rumoured to be haunted, no one with any sense will go anywhere near it.

It’s a refreshing and fun story, full of magic, adventure, fights and taverns! It has a lot going on, but it was easy to follow and didn’t get complicated enough to stop it being fun to read.

One issue I had with it though is that Sebastion and Wydrin are supposed to be renowned as two of the best sell-swords there are, but every time they got into trouble someone or something appeared out of nowhere to help them. If they’re so good at what they do shouldn’t they have been able to save themselves more?

Then at the end, everything is tied up quickly and neatly in the epilogue, and it all felt a bit forced. A lot happened to the characters and it didn’t show how they dealt with everything.

BUT there’s no cliffhanger! *happy dance*

Characters
This is where Jen Williams really shines, her characters are wonderful. Complex and diverse, and they bring the story to life with warmth and humour. Lifts the book way above standard fantasy fare.

Sebastion – more about his reaction to Gallo. A lot of things not resolved for him, lost the Knights, Gallo, and his connection to the Dragon’s daughters.

Wydrin – smart, clever and with a reputation that precedes her, she drives the story and brings a lot of humour in.

Frith – cold and focused on his goal of revenge. But he can’t help reacting to the warmth and life in Sebastion and Wydrin.

Pacing
It started out fast paced, but then it seemed to slow down in the middle. I liked this better because it meant I could get fully engrossed in the story.

The end went super fast though. You know when you have 20 pages left and you think the author can’t possibly resolve all this by the end of the book? And then they do, but it all flies past so fast that you’re not sure what just happened? I’m not entirely sure how their plan worked or what they were doing. I feel like I have to go back and re-read the ending to pick up bits I missed.

Writing
Loved Jen’s writing style. Humorous and lively, and it’s sensitive when it needs to be. Can I just say again how happy I am there is no cliff hanger?!

Overall
It’s not perfect but I enjoyed it, and it gives the fantasy genre a good kick up the bum. I will definitely be reading the sequel.

View all my reviews

The Copper Promise
The Copper Cat
Jen Williams
Fantasy
February 13th 2014
535

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu

The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star Blurb

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My Review of The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The final book in The Young Elites series starts with Adelina conquering neighbouring states and expanding the kingdom she won in the last book. She is searching for the sister she has driven away and her illusions are turning on her as she loses control of them. A pretty bleak start really!

She still has Magiano, although he appears to be wary of telling her what he really thinks. The relationship between these two is slow to develop and quite sweet, but it’s not the main story here so it doesn’t get much page time. I would have liked to have seen more of their interactions, he often seems unsure of Adelina’s actions and pushes her towards being kinder and it would have been nice to see why he has so much influence over her instead of Adelina telling us every now and again that she misses him or wants to see him. Also my opinion is always that there can never be enough romance!

It’s not just Magiano and Adelina’s relationship, a lot of things seem over simplified in this series. This book moves quickly and a lot of things seem skimmed over. Adelina very easily takes over half the world but this is never seen in detail, it happens off page. We’re told it occurs but it’s hard to take in that she’s the ruler of half the world so suddenly when we have very little information on it.

It also means that a lot of the world doesn’t really come alive because it’s never drawn in detail for us. They travel around very quickly with little inconvenience and every city feels the same. I often lost track of where they were.

She is also very suddenly working with her enemies and I feel that more could have been made of this, about the uneasy relations between them, and how they manage to compromise to work with each other.

The best thing about this series has been watching Adelina become a villain. Her descent into madness is done well, her illusions are taking over her and her nightmares are overwhelming. Her sister has left her and she feels like all her friends have betrayed her. So obviously she has to conquer the world and MAKE THEM ALL PAY!

It’s a different view to the normal fantasy magic story and I think on the whole it’s been done well. There are some brilliant and unique ideas here and it’s a very well-written and readable book. I finished this last one in just over a day.

Marie Lu excels at ending books, the first two had brilliant cliffhangers, and I just loved the ending of this one. I just wish the other characters were given a bit more attention, with less of what’s going on in Adelina’s head.

View all my reviews

The Midnight Star
The Young Elites
Marie Lu
Young Adult Fantasy
October 11th 2016
Paperback
336

A Blackbird in Silver by Freda Warrington (Blackbird #1)

A Blackbird in Silver Cover

Blackbird in Silver Blurb

From Forluin, green, half-fabled land of beauty and peace, has journeyed the gentle Estarinel, bearing tragic news.

From the terrible Empire of Gorethria rides Ashurek; a lean and deadly warrior, once High Commander of its Armies, scourge of the Earth, hated and feared across continents.

The third is known only as Medrian. Coldly wrapped in her cloak of sorrow, her eyes deep-shadowed with suffering long-endured, she will explain nothing of her reasons.

Theirs is the Quest. They must slay the great Serpent before it lays waste and utterly destroys the Earth. Together they must seek its lair in the far frozen north, battling peril and nightmare until they face the ultimate, indestructible foe.

Three warriors. An epic Quest. They are the world’s last hope.

My Reviews of other Books in the Series

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird #2)

A Blackbird in Amber (Blackbird #3)

A Blackbird in Twilight (Blackbird #4)

My Review of A Blackbird in Silver

A Blackbird in Silver (Blackbird, #1)A Blackbird in Silver by Freda Warrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three mismatched companions start out on a quest to find a way to kill the great serpent M’gulfn that is trying to destroy the Earth. The serpent is slowly spreading despair and anguish, causing wars and laying countries to waste so nothing can grow or survive there.

I first read this book about 20 years ago, and it’s survived 4 house moves, my years at university and many, many book clear outs.

It’s rare that I remember much that happens in books I’ve read before, and I don’t remember how it ends or how it started, but what I do remember is the feeling I got reading this series.

That’s stopped me getting rid of the books many times over the years. I always meant to re-read it, but in a few months I’m going to a convention where Freda Warrington will be appearing so I thought I should read it again before I take it to get it signed.

The way it’s written reminds me of how Ursula Le Guin or Tanith Lee writes. It’s quite simplistic in style, almost in the way a children’s book would be, though the content is very adult and the characters find themselves in some dark situations.

The three companions that set out on the quest have rich and detailed backstories and don’t instantly bond.

Ashurek’s story is very detailed and he is a very complex character. he’s been through a lot and done some very bad things but even though he realises this, he also knows it’s M’gulfn’s influence that sent him on this path. He wants to make amends but he’s not consumed by guilt.

Medrian I remembered from the first time I read the book, the cold, pale, dark haired woman that won’t explain her reason for joining the quest, I also remembered what her secret is. That’s probably affected my re-read, I’m not getting the sense of mystery or confusion over her behaviour that I probably should be. But she is still my favourite character in the story, quiet and withdrawn and acts almost like she is in constant pain, but she still comes alive when in danger or in a fight. We see rare smiles, glimpses of what she would be like if she weren’t carrying these dark secrets.

Though the basic story elements are standard fantasy fare it’s taken in a different direction. It has strong, unique characters that carry the story and I found myself engrossed in their stories.

Things get very dark, with some almost horror elements finding their way in, demons, torture and dead soldiers raised to fight for the enemy. There’s a hopeless, desperate feel that permeates the book.

There’s also a bit of sci-fi mixed in, but I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil the plot!

These things make it stand out from the norm, it’s something a bit different if you read a lot of fantasy books.

It’s a hard one for me to rate, I would normally say 3 stars, but I still think about this book 20 years after reading it and that has to lift it to a 4.

A Blackbird in Silver
Blackbird
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
March 5th 1992
304

The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

The Rose Society

The Rose Society Blurb

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

My Review of The Rose Society

The Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)The Rose Society by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second in the series but unlike a lot of trilogies this middle book isn’t just a time filler.

There’s a lot I like about this series and I find it very readable. It’s interesting to read a story written from a villain’s point of view. Adelina is not a nice person and not overly concerned with the welfare of her friends and family. She is very selfish in all her relationships, she expects ‘friends’ and family to be there for her with nothing given in return. She does want to help the other Malfettos who are being mistreated, used as slaves, and half starved to death, but I think that’s really just incidental to her goal of revenge.

None of the characters in The Rose Society are written as black or white, good or bad people. There are no villains who are bad just for the sake of it, everyone has reasons for their actions.

Even the members of Dagger society aren’t the ‘good’ guys. They’re also trying to steal the throne and make Enzo the ruler of Kenettra but unlike Adelina they aren’t concerned with helping the other Malfettos.

The plot though, and the politics of the countries and the relationships between the characters are all very simplistic and basic. It all sort of takes a back seat to what bad thing is Adelina going to do next.

Not a bad thing really if you don’t want to read about all the politics and intrigues behind ruling a country, and it lets the books move a lot faster. But I think it would definitely benefit from slowing down, developing relationships a bit more and making things a bit more difficult, to make it more believable.

For example, as soon as Adelina gets off the ship in Kennetra she immediately sees a member of the Dagger Society, follows her to a meeting, and overhears the Dagger Society plotting to overthrow the Queen. She very conveniently finds out all their plans and secrets in about 5 minutes.

And I don’t understand why she has these feelings for Magiano. Because he kissed her once? Why does he like her so much? They never even have a real conversation. Though I wish they would because I like how they are together.

The writing and the dialogue are often clunky too, bordering on slightly cheesy sometimes. Adelina’s internal dialogue is fine, but when people start giving speeches it all gets a bit cringey.

Despite the flaws I am enjoying this series a lot, it’s fun and fast moving and a bit different to the normal ya fantasy series. And Marie Liu really knows how to end a book! I have to read the next one now.

The Rose Society
The Young Elites
Marie Lu
Young Adult Fantasy
October 13th 2015
432

Minion (Vampire Huntress #1) by L.A. Banks

minion

Minion Blurb

All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a spoken word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons—predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy.

When strange attacks erupt within the club drug-trafficking network and draw the attention of the police, Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met—a seductive beast who is coming for her next…

My Review of Minion

Minion (Vampire Huntress, #1)Minion by L.A. Banks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

dnf at page 148.

I had high hopes for Minion, I really wanted to like it. But the story ripped straight from Buffy, the confusing writing, too many viewpoints, and a cast of bland characters meant I got bored and gave up halfway through.

Nothing about the world or the background of the characters was explained, we are dropped straight into the middle of the action with no reference points or understanding of what’s going on.

Halfway through the book and there was still have explanation of what they’re fighting or why they’re doing.

The confusing writing doesn’t help, some sentences just didn’t make sense no matter how many times I read them.

Maybe it gets better later on, or in the next book, because this is a popular series. But for me it’s not worth the effort to even finish this one.

Minion
L.A. Banks
Urban Fantasy

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

The Young Elites Book Review

The Young Elites Blurb

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review of The Young Elites

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did like the style of writing here, but sometimes it became clunky and awkward and a lot of the dialogue is verging on cheesy. Teren Santoro keeps making speeches to the public that remind me of Prince Humperdink

Prince Humperdink

The stuff about the alignments to different aspects, fear, passion etc wasn’t very well handled. For example, when she is attracted to someone she feels her alignment to passion stir. Erm, wouldn’t everyone? Again it came across a bit cheesy and like Marie Lu felt she had to throw it in every so often because otherwise it wasn’t really explained.

The world building was minimal. There were impressions of a rich world with many different cultures, and even more exciting – flying animal / dragon creatures. We never see or experience any of it though! Possibly because Adelina has led a sheltered life and is made very self-obsessed by her problems, but even when she is venturing around a new city and visits the market place we get a very sketchy view of it. No sights or smells are brought to life for us.

I liked that it’s a different kind of story though. Adelina isn’t a perfect heroine type, she’s kinda selfish and vengeful and wants to be the one in charge with everyone doing what she tells them to. In fact, there are no good people / bad people in this book, everyone is a bit of both. I think this kept the story interesting when it could easily have been bland.

The powers of the Elites were varied and interesting. I’d have liked to have seen more of the other characters. They were glossed over in the story with only glimpses here and there of what their personalities were and what they are capable of. Their friendship with Adelina were minimal at best, even though it becomes important to the story.

I will be reading the next one, I think things could get very interesting now and I want to see what happens next. Does Adelina become a villain or an anti-hero? How far can she push her powers? Will we see more Malfettos with powers? And that epilogue!

View all my reviews on GoodReads

The Young Elites
The Young Elites
Marie Lu
Young Adult Fantasy
October 7th 2014
355

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

Book Description

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

My Review of The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bear and the Nightingale is set in Russia and is based on Russian myths and fairytales. I love fairytale’s and modern retellings of them, and this one is dark and chilling, and just beautifully written.

I liked how it starts quite slowly when Vasilisa is born. Vasilisa’s family live in a big house deep in the Russian countryside, their winters are cold and long and getting caught outside at night means death. The author spends a lot of time creating a world of long dark winters, honey cakes, woods and wildness and the magical characters that live in them. It’s easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere that’s created, I could feel the cold along with the characters!

Vasilia is wonderful, wild and raised to be independent, she has magic and power of her own that becomes more apparent as she gets older. The story gets more magical and a lot darker as Vasilia has to fight to save her family and her village from the Bear.

Very readable, and I absolutely recommend it. I didn’t want to put it down, and I stayed up far too late to finish the last few chapters.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Bear and the Nightingale
The Winternight Trilogy
Katherine Arden
Fantasy
January 10th 2017
336