ARC Review: Legion by Julie Kagawa

Legion (Talon, #4)Legion by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phew, I made it to the end. Kagawa is truly the master of the epic, edge of your seat finale. The ending of the previous book Soldier just about broke me and I thought this one might actually finish me off. She’s definitely not one of those authors who shies away from killing off her characters, something I both love and hate.

As this is the fourth book in the series and the previous book had such a big finish it’s almost impossible to write a review without spoilers so I’ll need to keep this short. The writing is as always excellent and there is plenty of action throughout as well as some real character development. Ember is really growing up and taking control rather than letting her impulses run wild.

This time the story focuses a lot more on Dante and we learn a lot more about his background and relationship with sister Ember. He’s one of the most interesting and complex characters in the book so I really enjoyed getting to know him better and gaining a more deeper understanding of his character and why he does what he does. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their childhood so much that I kind of wish there had been more of them but there was so much going on in the story that there probably wasn’t time.

The other characters from the previous books are more or less all present and correct and there is plenty of the banter between them that makes this such an enjoyable series. Jade, the eastern Dragon has a much bigger role to play (something I loved) but unfortunately Wes was pushed a little to the sidelines (something I didn’t love).

I will admit that I didn’t quite enjoy the story as much as in the previous book (there was a certain storyline that I’m just not buying) but I get the feeling that it’s building to the fifth and final installment which I think will be truly epic. I both can’t wait and am terrified to read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC. As always all views are my own.


Blurb (from GoodReads) –

*Contains spoilers for previous books in the series*

The legions are about to be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragon slayer can stand against the coming horde. Book 4 of 5 in The Talon Saga from New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa.

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable installment in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I found it a little bit wordy in places but the character development and world building are incredible and it builds to a truly epic conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat.

I can’t wait for the fourth and final book in the series.

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for earlier books in the seriesRead More »

Quick Review: Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

Sunbolt (The Sunbolt Chronicles, #1)Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After seeing so many wonderful reviews of this, and Khanani’s other books, I couldn’t resist buying this introduction to the Sunbolt chronicles and it doesn’t disappoint.

Fast paced and full of action, with a fiery heroine it hooks you from the very first page and doesn’t let go. I loved the authors writing style and the book as a whole reminded me of a lot of my other favourite YA fantasy reads (in the best possible ways).

My one complaint is that it’s just too short. At only around 130 pages it feels rushed and a little lacking in depth and explanations. The author has created an incredible world but doesn’t give us the chance to become fully immersed in it. I just wish it was that little bit longer with a bit more detail.

It is a great start however so I will definitely be reading the next book soon.


Blurb

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

ARC Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wow.

I think the second book in Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands series may actually be better than the first. There is some incredible world building, beautiful writing and an exciting and fast paced story that I couldn’t stop reading.

I’d definitely recommend this series but be warned you’ll want the next book now.

Note: as this is a sequel there may be some spoilers for the first book.Read More »

ARC Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine  Arden
The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Based on Russian history and folklore, this is a beautifully written and atmospheric story that I liked a lot. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite wow me as much as I had hoped it would but it’s definitely one I’d recommend as it could be the beginning of a very interesting series.


Synopsis (from GoodReads)

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. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

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.


Thoughts

When I first finished this book I really couldn’t make up my mind about it and even now a few days later I’m still not sure. As a lover of fairytales, magic and tales of things that go bump in the night and lurk in the woods it should have been the perfect read for me. However, while I liked it a lot I found it to be missing that special something that would take it from good to great.

It is a beautifully written story. The author does a magnificent job of transporting you to a magical and wild land in medieval Russia. The writing is so evocative you almost feel like you are there, huddling around the fire, travelling across the cold and snowy wilderness or visiting the market and palaces of Moscow.

The characters are also very well created and believable and there is a unique and captivating story in there but for me it was missing the emotion I needed to really connect to it. When I was reading on the way home from work after a long day I found my attention wandering and had to re read certain pages more than once before I took it in.

This lack of emotion and connection to any of the characters was due, I believe, to the constantly switching point of view from one character to another. It moves from father to mother to nanny to Grand Prince to priest and on and on. I found this particularly bad in the first half of the book where I actually started to wonder who the main character was, if there was one and where it was all going. I also struggled a little with the different names used for the same character. I understand that this is accurate for the time and place and that the author had tried to make it easy for the English reader but I still found myself getting confused at times with so many different characters and so many names.

As a result of the switching focus and insight into each of the different characters the story felt quite slow in the beginning. It did give a real sense of time and place which was fascinating in some ways but I did feel like a lot of it could have been covered much faster without so many characters. I probably would have cut a whole part where the father visits Moscow as it didn’t really add much and I was close to giving up.

Thankfully however the story does turn around. There is a lot more focus on Vasilisa and the strange events that start to occur in the village where she lives. Vasilisa is a very likeable character. An outcast in the village due to some very unique abilities, she’s brave, a little wild and not cut out for the options available to her at that time (marriage or a convent). I loved almost every chapter she was in, I just wish the author had stuck with her  and the events around her throughout.

The pacing of the story was a little bit off for me, too slow in the beginning and too fast at the end but it is a good story. It is the first in a trilogy so I think there is some real potential. I will definitely be giving the next book in the series a try.

I think whether you love this book or not will come down to why you read. If you’re looking for a beautifully written and vivid world with a slow building story and a mix of Russian history and folklore I think you’ll love this book. Unfortunately for me, while I could appreciate it, I didn’t love it.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

ARC Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, just wow.

I read this a couple of weeks ago but my emotions were so all over the place on finishing that I had to leave it for a little while before writing a review. I’m still not entirely sure I’ve recovered so I will apologize in advance if this is a little all over the place.

Having read, and loved, the Lunar Chronicles it’s safe to say I had high hopes for this book but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that good. I laughed, I cried, I begged and I was jumping up in down in my seat with anxiety. I loved every moment.Read More »