Book Review: Furyborn

34323570Rating Three Star

Title: Furyborn

Author: Claire Legrand

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Series? Yes, 1 of 3

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NewSouth Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Furyborn is an ambitious fantasy following a prophecy about preordained queens and mythic reckoning over the course of thousands of years. On the one hand, we have Rielle, who must conquer deadly trials to prove she is the predestined Sun Queen. On the other, we have Eliana, a cynical assassin who only knows Rielle as a bloody and half-forgotten legend.

Sadly to say, the execution fell a little bit flat for me, I was only invested in one half of the narrative voices. As the book has dual point of views that are separated by millenia, it can at time feel disjointed. I had high expectations for this novel, especially given the explosive prologue. However, the rest of the book never quite manages to regain the exhilaration of its first chapter.

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I did really enjoy Rielle’s point of view, and I felt connected to all of the characters around her. There is also the compelling dramatic irony running throughout, as we know from the first chapter that her story ends in tragedy. Learning the steps which led Rielle into becoming the reviled Blood Queen of prophecy is like putting together an intricate puzzle you don’t quite have the heart to complete.

Rielle’s character development throughout the novel was credible and engrossing, especially when the voice of Corien is thrown into the mix. The constant battle between her moral integrity and her darker impulses are even more exciting than her elemental trials.

Audric is also one of the sweetest love interest I’ve read about in YA, and remembering his eventual fate every time I see him on page causes me deep pain. One can easily see the groundwork for future disputes between him and Rielle, it almost feels inevitable – but you can’t help but wishing that maybe through reading, the ending may transform into something different.

The world building within this book is variable in quality. Once, there was a great battle between angels and saints, the saints who emerged victorious eventually went on to find all of the great nations within this world. Each saint commands a specific elements, and there are several humans who can do the same. However, the fated Blood Queen and Sun Queen of the legend, can control all the elements (*cue Avatar opening music*). Beyond the names of a few angels and saints, and seeing people handling the various elements, we don’t get an in-depth look at the fabric of this world – it seems to crumble upon further scrutiny.

I also had a hard time with Eliana’s chapters, I felt very detached from her – perhaps because she also kept an emotional distance between herself and other characters. The readers are constantly told about how she feels, rather than seeing it in action. The characters supporting her story were also less vivid than the ones in Rielle’s scenes. Overall, the only thoughts I ever had while reading her chapters were ones wishing they would end soon so that the limelight can be given back to Rielle.

While I had mixed feelings about Furyborn, I love Rielle and Audric more than enough to want the sequel. It’s going to be a long wait until next year!


Have you read Furyborn? Did you think it was worthy of the hype?

Guest Review: Lips Touch

3star

Title: Lips Touch: Three Times

Author: Laini Taylor

Rating: 3/5 stars

Series? No. Anthology.

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NOTE: This is a prescheduled post. I am on holiday, so I will reply to all your comments when I get back mid-December! Take care ūüėÄ

This review is brought to you by the fantabulous Jeann of Happy Indulgence. I was crying to Jeann about I am falling way behind on my blogging schedule as I was going on holiday, so she kindly offered to write a review to help me out. THANK YOU JEANN!

LipsTouch

Lips Touch: Three Times shares three dark stories with us, of varying degrees of intricacy.

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I can see why Goblin Fruit was the first one in the book, it slowly eases us into the highly imaginative brain of Laini Taylor. Kizzy is a girl who was plain and just wanted to be loved, so when a goblin posed as a handsome boy at her class, she couldn’t say no even when it was too late. It very much felt like a typical paranormal, but one with a dark and sad twist to it. It definitely felt very Grim, with the message of “be careful what you wish for”.

How then, had her knife come to be on Kizzy’s pillow, and her swan’s wing, torn feather from feather, in Kizzy’s room?

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This was my favourite story of the lot, inspired by Hindi’s version of heaven and hell. There’s black magic here, curses, karma, and Indian mythology which was really fascinating. Ana is a wonderful character who was so sweet and careful, as speaking or singing will result in the immediate death of everyone within earshot. She was probably one of the most relatable characters in the book and I really liked her.

There are other ways of showing someone you love them, such as fetching them out of Hell.

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The longest and most convoluted story of the lot, Hatchling explores the perspective of several characters, including a druj (demon) queen, another druj, a mother, and her daughter. I liked the story behind it, but having multiple point of views and a lot happening was too ambitious for the short story format. There’s a lot of flash backs and multiple perspectives which made it difficult to wrap my head around, especially with all these Eastern terms and mythology I just did not understand.

She was a girl and she was a queen and back in the mists she was a woman who had seized the moon from the sky and drunk its light so that she would never die. And she never had.


Laini Taylor has a whimsical imagination which successfully delivers some wonderful, twisted dark fairy tales all revolving around a kiss. I wish I prepared myself for the dark themes inside though, there’s rape, gore, cussing, kidnapping, death and more. While I’m usually tolerant of these themes, I was quite disturbed when out of the blue I stumbled upon “butterfly rape” and “swollen lips that wanted to eat humans”. Teaches me to think Disney before I read fairy tales….

With the exquisite, rich exploration and even combination of darker themes and different mythologies, this book kind of lost me at several places. Most would find this exciting and intriguing, but I was just confused half the time

Lips Touch: Three Times reflects my difficulty to connect to short stories, but it’s another example of Laini Taylor’s lush, beautiful and exquisite writing. Unfortunately I found it erred on the side of weird rather than whimsical at times, and it’s definitely more of a mature YA read rather than childhood fairy tales. The three fairy tales are incredibly unique and dark, based on mythology, folklore and Laini Taylor’s imagination which is an imaginative artform in itself.


Thank you Jeann for your review! I have to say, I am intrigued by the dark stories in this anthology, I’ll have to check it out.

Loved this review? Find Jeann at:  HAPPY INDULGENCE  //  INSTAGRAM  //  TWITTER  //  GOODREADS  //  YOUTUBE

Book Review: Night Owls

3star
Title: Night Owls (US Title: The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart)

Author: Jenn Bennet

Series? No

Rating: 3/5

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I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Australia in exchange for an honest review.

My opinion of this book changed several times during the read. I alternated between thinking it was adorable and wanting to shake some sense into the characters. Ultimately, the ending of Night Owls placed firm importance on family and love, which means I parted with the book on a happy note.

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I prefer the UK cover, but I like the US title better. I AM TORN.

NightOwlsLikedThe focus on arts!

You’re no HB. You’re like ten Prismacolours all at once.

Jenn Bennett mentioned in the author’s note that she wanted to celebrate artists: not just the ones in museums and galleries ‚Äď but every day people and their attempts at self expressions. Both our protagonists are very much defined by their passion for art ‚Äď with Bex exploring human anatomy, while Jack practices beautiful yet illegal street art. I enjoyed that they both had an identity outside their mutual attraction, and that they found a kindred spirit in one another.
Continue reading “Book Review: Night Owls”

Book Review: Ice Like Fire

IceLikeFire

3star

Title: Ice Like Fire

Author: Sara Raasch

Series? Yes. 2 of 3.

Rating: 3/5

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I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Contains spoilers for Snow Like Ashes!

This was one of my most anticipated release for the latter half of 2015, as I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes. Unfortunately, Ice Like Fire suffers from a fierce case of Middle Book Slump, it has little of the spark that initially ignited my love for Meira and the Winterians. Today, I’ll look at why middle books often do not work for me, and how Ice Like Fire fell trap to all these factors.IceLikeFire-Review

The Worldbuilding Lacks Depth

One of the reasons that keeps me reading a fantasy series is the world, and the expansion of the world with every instalment. For example, Harry Potter, I could stay on board every step of the way as there was always new corners of the wizarding world to explore. Whether it be the hidden Room of Requirement or an international Quidditch tournament.

Cordell, with its green and gold and fields of lavender; Yakim, with its brown and brass and gears; Ventralli, with its eclectic styles and colourful buildings..

With Ice Like Fire, we did get to explore numerous new kingdoms: Summer, Yakim and Ventralli. Unfortunately, while we got to see multiple new places, none of the new location had any depth to them. The kingdoms are differentiated by very superficial factors. Summer ruled by an indulgent king, only interested in parties and debauchery. There’s the strict and bookish world of Yakim, seemingly modelled after England during the Industrialisation period. Finally, there’s the dramatic, treasonous Ventralli, whose intentions are hidden behind elegant masks. These separate kingdoms are walking stereotypes, and Meira never gets to learn more about the culture of these places. My understanding of Primoria did not expand, despite the numerous pages we spent extolling on the qualities of Summer’s wine and Yakim’s knowledge. Continue reading “Book Review: Ice Like Fire”

Book Review: Maybe Someday

Maybe Someday Colleen Hoover

3star

Title: Maybe Someday

Author: Colleen Hoover

Rating: 3/5 stars

Series? No

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I was in the mood for a quick romance, and having heard so many great things about Colleen Hoover, I decided to check this out. While I did enjoy it for the most part, the plot revolves around a lot of cheating which is a big NO in my book. I am so conflicted about this!

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1. A Connection Deeper Than Words

‚ÄúThere isn’t a doubt in my mind that we could be perfect for each other’s life, Sydney. It’s our lives that aren’t perfect for us.‚ÄĚ

Barring the whole uncomfortable cheating thing aside, I did think the relationship between Sydney and Ridge were well written. I could feel their physical attraction, and even their deeper bond. I enjoyed seeing their mutual passion for his music. Ridge is also deaf, and it was interesting to see how he coped with it, along with glimpsing at how Sydney made him yearn for more. They did have very good chemistry, if it weren’t for the tiny little fact that Rhys had a completely awesome girlfriend in Maggie, I think I would have enjoyed this pairing. ¬†However, my knee jerk reaction to his infidelity meant I could never fully immerse in this story. Continue reading “Book Review: Maybe Someday”

Book Review: The Heart Goes Last

3star

Title: The Heart Goes Last

Author:  Margaret Atwood

Rating: 3/5 stars

Series? No

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Note: I received this book from Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been a really long time since my last Margaret Atwood book (The Handmaid’s Tale) – this one is completely different from my previous experience. In fact, the book is so wacky, high on both sex and depraved characters, my poor gray brain could barely compute it. But here goes my attempt at a review.

The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood

That didn’t last though. The happiness. The safeness. The now.

The book follows Charmaine and Stan, who inhabits a near-future where social order has collapsed due to some sort of economic crisis. Like many others, Stan is left jobless – while Charmaine’s gig as a waitress is barely covering their coffee¬†bills, let alone rent. When we meet them, the married couple has been living in their cars for months, in constant fear of vandals and rapists and thugs and worse. Needless to say, when they are recruited by Consilience to become test subjects for an outlandish social experiment, the two jump at the chance to sleep in a real bed once more. All they have to do in exchange for their new life is to live in prison every alternate month. Continue reading “Book Review: The Heart Goes Last”

Book Review: A Thousand Nights

A Thousand Nights, E. K. Johnston3star

Title: A Thousand Nights

Author:  E. K. Johnston

Series? No.

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ok, so A Thousand Nights was not nearly as amazing as its perfectly stunning cover.  However, aside from its slow, meandering plot, the books had several merits and I would not hesitate to recommend it if your TBR is looking empty.

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Every time, the story began the same way. Lo-Melkhiin picked one girl and took her back to his qasr to be his wife. Some in his keeping lasted one night, some as many as thirty, but in the end all were food for sand-crows.

A fairy tale retelling of 1001 Nights, this story follows an unnamed narrator, who volunteered as tribute when Lo-Melkhiin visits her village to save her ‘sister’. ¬†Like Scheherazade before her, she finds herself surviving the ordeal beyond the first night, and begins to work at ending the cycle of violence.

The Writing:  An Abundance In Purple Proses

I think the most memorable thing about this book is its writing, for better or for worse.¬†The writing in¬†A Thousand Nights is very descriptive, sometimes excessively so. ¬†I understand that the author was going for the whimsical feel of an old tale, but I felt the writing missed the mark on several occasions. ¬†There are times when I think the similes or writing conventions used bordered on pretentious. ¬†This is coming from someone who unabashedly love a bit of purple prose – so if you already have an aversion to these kinds of writing, I think it’s best you stay away. ¬†Here’s the most ridiculous passage in this book:

In the fire of our twelfth summer, before we were proficient enough with our needles to stitch the purple cloth, but after we had come in from the herds, my mother and my sister’s mother told us the story of our father’s father’s father, and how he had become our smallgod.

*dies a little* ¬†Aside from the antagonist, Lo-Melkhiin, barely anyone else in this book has a name. ¬†So we have crazy things like father’s father’s father and mother’s mother’s mother flying around. ¬†Again, I know the effect the book was trying to achieve, but I couldn’t helo feeling it was so contrived. ¬†I do have to admit that on occasions when the writing does pull off its ambitious and luscious proses, the effect is quite gorgeous, here are some of my favourite examples:

Where our skin touched, there was a fire of a different kind.  I thought I could see it, threads of gold and blue, desert sand and desert sky, bleeding from my body into his.

No single tale that I could draw from would save my sister from a short and cruel marriage, but I had pieces aplenty. I held them in my hands like so many grains of sand, and they slipped from me, running through my fingers, even as I tried to gather more. But I knew sand… I knew that I had only to hold it for long enough, to find the right kind of fire, and the sand would harden into glass- into something I could use.

2. The Scheherazade:  A Female Centric Tale

I had long ago resigned to a life in the shadow of my sister, my elder by ten moons and my year-twin. She was the beauty, I was the spare.

Instead of being focused on the romantic aspect of the story, like¬†The Wrath and The Dawn, this book highlight the friendship between the narrator and her sister. ¬†Even when she is taken to Lo-Melkhiin’s qsar, the narrator’s thoughts remain on her sister and how to keep her safe. ¬†I love that the stories she tells Lo-Melkhiin are ones of her sister, of how beautiful and bright she burns, and of how he shall never have her. ¬†There’s in fact no real focus on romance at all, which is refreshing to see – but fresh off the high of¬†The Wrath and The Dawn, it did make me mourn for what could have been.

I enjoyed the mythology hinted at in the novel, especially one involving the devotion of friends or family turning someone into a smallgod, capable of small miracles. ¬†Demons also make an appearance in the novel, though I felt that the supernatural element of the story was never fully fleshed out. ¬†We see the narrator hallucinate, literally weaving visions out of cloth, but we are never quite told how it happens. ¬†I wish the book wasn’t so wishy-washy about the magical aspect of the story, as it took up quite a bit of the text.

3.  The Pacing:  Slow and Directionless

Honestly, the most disappointing aspect of this novel is the turtle pacing of the plot. ¬†As soon as the narrator reaches the qasr, all kind of action stagnated. ¬†She spends her day shuffling from gardens, to weaving room, to servant’s quarter, all relatively uneventful. ¬†Aside from her seemingly random vision, nothing was driving the story forward. ¬†We were made aware there’s a menacing presence lurking within Lo-Melkhiin, however neither it nor the narrator made any real effort to challenge the other person. ¬†I was bored to tears in between the long winded descriptions and the stasis of the plot. ¬†Hence, despite the GORGEOUS cover and palatable writing, I can’t rate it higher than a 3 stars out of 5.


If you’re looking for an excellent 1001 Nights retelling, go read¬†In The Night Garden¬†by Catherynne Valente instead. ¬†If you’re looking for a romantic story in s similar setting, just go read¬†The Wrath and The Dawn. ¬†I’d save this one for a rainy day.

Book Review: Risk

3star

Title: Risk

Author: Fleur Ferris

Series? No

Rating: 3 stars

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Book World


Twitter has a way of making me read books I would normally never pick up, I just really like participating in twitter chats! ¬†When I heard that the newly established¬†#bookclubaus’s August¬†pick was Risk, I went to purchase a copy promptly. ¬†While I really appreciated the main message in the book and ultimately found it emotionally tight, I did have a couple of problems as well.

At first, Risk starts out unnervingly like a typical high school drama Рand while I love watching Mean Girls Рmy tolerance for this type of fiction is low in my old age.  Thankfully, the frenemy plot soon got left behind and Risk started to confront larger issues.  Risk mainly looks into the danger of catfishing and victims of internet dating scams.

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PLOT

Taylor and Sierra are best friends from childhood, they love one another, though Taylor can’t help feeling that Sierra’s life is too charmed, too perfect. ¬†They were both approached by a charming guy on a chatroom, though he ultimately chooses to take Sierra out on a date, leaving Taylor envious and hurt. ¬†However, the story takes a dark twist when Sierra does not return from her date.

There is nothing but overwhelming waves of grief wedged between periods of disbelief and numbness…

Continue reading “Book Review: Risk”

Review: Under The Empyrean Sky

3star

Title:  Under the Empyrean Sky

Author:  Chuck Wendig

Series? Yes, 1 of 3.

Rating: 3/5

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley + Skyscape in exchange for an honest review.

I had such a hard time writing this review, as this book fell victim to my dystopia burnout (I thought Red Rising cured me, oops). ¬†I really wanted to like this book because i) I like reading the author’s blog and ii) these covers are¬†freaking amazing (yes, judge away!). ¬†Alas, I didn’t love or hate it – I felt plain meh.

empyreansky-settings

The setting was my favourite part of this book. Set in a futuristic world where mutant corn have taken over the Earth and is the only crop the people of the Heartland can sow.  Above them lives the Empyrean in their floatilla, who has access to luxuries and rigorously control the planting of crops and the distribution of wealth.  It reminded me a bit of Interstellar, one of my favourite movies last year, where the Earth could only sustain okra and corn.

As with all dystopia, we get to see elements of the oppressor and the oppressed. Heartlanders live in poverty under the Empyrean sky (points for using the title!). ¬†Not only are they starving and malnourished, many of their kinds also suffer from an advanced form of cancer, hinted as a side effect from consumption of¬†genetically modified corn. ¬†There’s also the Blight, a creepy mutation¬†that reminds me a little of The Wood’s effect in Uprooted. Continue reading “Review: Under The Empyrean Sky”

Book Review: Armada

3star

Title: Armada

Author:  Ernest Cline

Series?  Yes

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Thank you to Netgalley & Random House UK for providing me a e-ARC of this title.  My opinions are my own.

Zack Lightman is one of the world’s top player of the online game, Armada, which revolves around the defence of Earth from alien invasion. ¬†He starts off the novel aimless in his real life, preferring to retreat to gaming or scouring his dead father’s secret stash of conspiracy theories regarding the government’s plan for the world’s top gamers. ¬†Just when Zack thinks he’s finally lost his marbles, it turns out that his father was correct – Earth is under threat and it’s up to him and his fellow players to save it.

Armada is a gamer’s fantasy come true. ¬†It’s also littered with countless pop culture references,¬†ranging from Star Wars to Atari to Stephen Hawking – no fandom was spared. ¬†I had a lot of fun identifying the references! ¬†While the book made for a very entertaining read, there was not much substance to the actual characters or plots (as expected, I guess?)

In an effort to pay homage to Armada, I shall try to shoehorn in as many appropriate gifs in this review as possible.

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Continue reading “Book Review: Armada”