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!

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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

Street Magic (Black London #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

Street Magic black London #1 review

Street Magic Description

Pete Caldecott was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes.

Now a detective , Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tip has led police directly to the child but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack.

Strung out on heroin, Jack is a shadow of his former self.  But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.

Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago.

My Review of Street Magic

Street Magic (Black London, #1)Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The writing was a bit clunky and awkward. I found it was often difficult to follow what was going on, and why they are doing things.

There wasn’t much of an atmosphere to it, I didn’t get a feel for London itself, and Black London was brushed over. Pete and Jack dipped in and out of it but what it is and what it’s like wasn’t explained so it never came to life for me, I couldn’t picture it

The magic was hard to understand too, but it is a series so maybe it’s explained more in later books.

Main character Peter grated on me. I’m not convinced she is really an Inspector because she acts more like an impulsive child, shouting and whining and making daft threats to criminals. She never did any actual police work so it was hard to understand the professional side of her.

And some of the things she did were odd, like why didn’t she report the first tip off from Jack? Why keep it a secret?

I can’t remember that she what she looks like was described either. She was just a bit bland. Towards the end of the book she was getting a bit more badass, so again maybe she gets better later in the series!

I did like Jack, but I don’t understand why he holds such a grudge against Pete? He dragged her into something she didn’t understand then got upset when she ran scared. And he’d held on to it for 12 years then suddenly changed his mind?

I also liked attraction between Pete and Jack. It was building up towards the end of the book with some moments between them that sparked. I think it holds potential for future books.

Overall there just wasn’t enough magic and not enough of the police work I’d been hoping for. It didn’t hold my interest and I ended up speed reading the last third.

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Street Magic
Black London
Caitlin Kittredge
Urban Fantasy

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Book Description

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. In the skies of Eretz  something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theatre that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

My reviews of Other Books in the Series

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

My Review of Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last book in the series got off to a slow start. I found it a bit overly dramatic, and it took me nearly 200 pages to get back into the story. The addition of an entirely new character that became very important to the story didn’t help, I felt like it was a bit late in the story to throw a new person and a new story arc into the mix!

I did like Eliza though, she was interesting, smart and funny. When the things settled down and got going how she fit into the wider story started to make sense.

And there was a lot of story crammed into the second half of this book. The war between the Chimaera and the seraphs was the focus of the first two books but this one seemed to move away from that into a bigger story about the fate of all the worlds. There had been hints of this dropped in here and there so I knew there would be more eventually but it was all resolved in what felt like a mad rush at the end.

But I still enjoyed reading this, I liked the story and the writing has been wonderful throughout all three books.

Supposedly a young adult book it has more intelligence and emotional depth than most adult books. It has a strong anti-war message, and even though it got too dramatic sometimes (all the feelings, all at once) and too caught up in trying to hammer home that message it does well at showing that war isn’t this honour and glory thing it is often portrayed as.

In fact, I’m putting it up there as one of my favourite fantasy series. I’ve been hooked on Karou’s story since I started reading. The writing is beautiful and the world’s Laini Taylor creates are rich and vivid and I’ve loved losing myself in them.

I even liked the way it ended, which is unusual for me with this kind of book. The romance between Karou and Akiva was handled well, but I wish they had more time together in the book. I’m sure they didn’t have one proper conversation all through it!

It’s a series I’m going to keep on my shelves and I’m already looking forward to re-reading it.

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Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Laini Taylor
Young Adult Fantasy
March 26th 2015
613

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #1)

the ninth rain

Book Description

Jen Williams, acclaimed author of The Copper Cat trilogy, featuring THE COPPER PROMISE, THE IRON GHOST and THE SILVER TIDE, returns with the first in a blistering new trilogy. ‘An original new voice in heroic fantasy’ Adrian Tchaikovsky

The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall… 

My review of The Ninth Rain

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jen Williams has written a wonderful fantasy book here, with a cast of warm and lively characters.

Lady Vintage is a travelling scholar, researching the remains of what appear to be alien ships that crashed to earth in a failed invasion attempt. She has a strong and kind personality and she doesn’t let problems stop her, almost refusing to acknowledge them. Vintage is still mourning the loss of her Eboran friend (lover?) Nanathema who disappeared 20 years ago.

Tormalin is an Eboran who Lady Vintage has hired to help and protect her on her travels. Tormalin left his home in Ebora 50 years ago to escape the Crison Flux disease that is slowly killing his people.

Noon is a fell-witch, drawing on a life source she is able to summon green fire. Fell-witches are feared and hated and she has been locked in the Winnory prison since she was young. This is a horrible place that mistreats the women and houses in squalor while profiting from their witch talents.

The story and the world Jen Williams has created has some original and inventive ideas, making it stand out from the bog-standard fantasy norm. She has included some diverse characters too, and the women aren’t just damsels in distress but major players in the story.

There’s a lot to the story, but information and clues are fed to us slowly allowing us to build our own picture of the world and make guesses at what is happening. There are no big information dumps here!

While I liked the story, the characters are what make this book so enjoyable. Their relationships and banter are funny and intelligent and they all just sprang to life in my mind.

The magic, monster fighting and witches that fly on giant bats just make it even better!

The Ninth Rain for me is the book equivalent of a warm blanket and a big cup of tea or snuggling with my partner. It left me with a warm, happy feeling after reading it.

I’m not happy about having to wait for the next book. I had to go out yesterday and buy the first one of The Copper Cat series to keep me going.

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

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The Ninth Rain
The Winnowing Flame Trilogy
Jen Williams
Fantasy
February 23rd 2017
544

Feversong by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #9)

Fever Series Playlist

Book Description

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning returns with the epic conclusion to her pulse-pounding Fever series, where a world thrown into chaos grows more treacherous at every turn. As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely.

Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the Earth. Yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: the Sinsar Dubh—a sentient book of unthinkable evil—has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the Earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie Queen who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there’s no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac’s soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.

My Review of Feversong

Feversong (Fever, #9)Feversong by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this won’t be a long review because I rushed through Feversong in just over a day. I think that says something about just how readable this series is, it’s never taken me longer than 2 days to read one.

With Feversong it felt like some of the magic from the first five books was back. The characters just seem more true to how they were originally, in some of the later books they felt a bit like they’d been changed just to fit the story.

But there was some nice character growth for Mac and for Jada / Dani. It was nice to see how Mac has evolved from the first book, and Dani has become my favourite character by far. She seems much more mature now and her point of view is interesting rather than irritating. And Mac and Barrons finally seem to have a mutually respectful relationship.

I liked the story and it ended well bringing the latest story arc to a close, no cliffhangers! I hope this isn’t the end of the series though, I would like to see more of Dani.

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Feversong
Fever
Karen Marie Moning
Urban Fantasy
January 17th 2017
512

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Book Description

Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. But she’s never seen anything like this.

He is a broken man. The ambitions which once drove him are dead. Now he has new dreams – of flesh and bone made disturbingly, beautifully real.

Detroit is the decaying corpse of the American Dream. Motor-city. Murder-city.

And home to a killer opening doors into the dark heart of humanity.

A killer who wants to make you whole again…

My Review of Broken Monsters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a few days to decide what to write about this one. I was on the fence whether to give it 3 stars or 4.

I enjoyed the serial killer / paranormal thriller storyline. It draws you in straight away with this, and the ongoing investigation held my interest. I thought it ended well without going so far into the paranormal side that the resolution is nonsense.

There are a few different viewpoints that the story keeps switching between, but because the characters are all realistic, unique and well developed I found it easy to keep up and keep them separate.

My main problem with the story was the detective’s teenage daughter Layla. She was self-obsessed and veered between acting old for her age and being very childish. All very true and normal for a teenager, but for me she got in the way of the story and became very irritating very quickly.

But Lauren Beukes’ writing and her skill in creating imperfect but likeable characters are what lifts this book above the norm. I even felt sorry for the murderer at times!

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Broken Monsters
Lauren Beukes
Thriller
August 1st 2014
528

Iron Council (New Crobuzon, #3) by China Miéville

iron Council book review

Iron Council Description

It is a time of revolts and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming metropolis to the brink. In the midst of this turmoil, a mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places.

In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope, an undying legend. In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon’s most dangerous hour, there are whispers…

It is the time of the Iron Council.

My Review of Iron Council

Iron Council (New Crobuzon, #3)Iron Council by China Miéville

Although any book of China Mieville’s is always a treat, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the previous two books in the series. I think maybe it just didn’t have the same atmosphere. The first book had New Crobuzon, The Scar was set on the floating city of Armarda and both of these were rich and vivid, full of life. A lot of Iron Council is set out in the wide world, it’s almost a wild west novel, and there is no strong sense of place that China Mieville normally does so well.

The journey across the landscape was interesting and eventful, and I loved the parts set in New Crobuzon. I also liked the descriptions of all the different races and the remade, and there’s a lot of magic in this book, which is always a good thing!

I actually really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book, but after that it gets into the heavy subjects and it gets very serious, and maybe a bit bogged down in it. The right at the end, things start happening so fast it’s hard to keep up with it all.

Iron Council is a very political novel, it’s about imperialism, corporatism, terrorism and revolution, touching on prejudice and discrimination. It’s interesting to read about and certainly made me think, but it was difficult to get through the end. I had to make myself go back to finish the last 40 pages.

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Iron Council
New Crobuzon
China Miéville
Fantasy
May 6th 2011
614