Book Review and Author Interview: Jade City

34606064Rating Five Star

Title: Jade City

Author: Fonda Lee

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Series? Yes, 1 of 3

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

Jade City

I read Jade City after a brief reading slump (thanks, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp!) and it was everything I needed to reignite my love for reading and losing myself in another world. Today I have both a book review and an author interview with Fonda Lee to share with you! You’ll find the interview at the end of the post, please check it out and give Fonda’s books some love!

Jade City Review

Jade City is a boldly ambitious and culturally distinctive urban fantasy, merging gangster drama with wuxia flair to create a complex story about family, honour, and national pride. The book sets the bar sky-high on numerous fronts, whether it’s attentive character development, sensory stimulating fight scenes, or cut-throat political trade wars. However, what I loved most about Jade City is its carefully considered and provoking theme which ties jade to birthright, to power, to duty, and to family. I found the book’s exploration of identity in a nation ruled by jade and blood immensely moving and powerful. Continue reading “Book Review and Author Interview: Jade City”

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

32768509Rating Five Star

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Series? No

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is an exquisite retelling of Snow White, reinventing a tale about jealous queens and helpless maidens into a story of female empowerment. The familiar tale is dissected with precision and carefully imbued with new layers of complexities. The final result is a gorgeously rendered story about a glass queen and a snow princess, both working to defy the roles the men in their lives have forced upon them.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

“If they love you for anything, it will be for your beauty.”

Mina first heard the phrase above when she was sixteen, in the same moment she learned she has a heart of glass – incapable of beating, and purportedly also unable to comprehend human love. Her father, Gregory, the power-obsessed magician who created the glass heart, is utterly convinced Mina is devoid of the potential for love. Instead, he persuades Mina that only her beauty can pave her way to any semblance of happiness. His words haunt Mina’s steps for several years, even as she becomes queen of the northern territories of Whitespring. As Mina ages, she can feel her youth and beauty slip from her. She becomes keenly aware of her precarious position in court as her stepdaughter, Lynet, blossom into the very image of her long-dead mother – the beloved queen Amelia. Continue reading “Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass”

Book Review: City of Brass

36475759Rating Five Star

Title: City of Brass

Author: S. A. Chakraborty

Series? Yes, 1 of 3.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review.

For me, City of Brass takes the title of Fantasy Debut of the Year. It contains an impressive and expansive world, populated by a cast of diverse and morally-complex characters. This is fantasy at its finest, imaginative and mesmerising, while also offering cutting commentary on the real world. There’s engaging action, compelling palace intrigues, slow burn romance, and everything else I could possibly love in fantasy – get this book into your hands!

City of Brass Continue reading “Book Review: City of Brass”

Book Review: The Language of Thorns

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Rating Five Star

Title: The Language of Thorns

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Series? Spin-Off of the Grishaverse

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

The Language of Thorns is an enchanting collection of folklores from Leigh Bardugo’s richly embellished Grishaverse. Aside from the pleasure of reading stories your favourite Grishaverse characters would have grown up hearing, the beguiling tales within this collection will captivate readers with their subversive narrative and beautiful composition. In these stories, you will find human truths hidden amongst dangerous beasts and courageous maidens – simply put, this is fairy tales at its finest.

Language of Thorns 01

We have all grown up reading or hearing fairy tales, we know their rhythm as intimately as our own heartbeat. The stories within The Language of Thorns retains that familiar rhythm of a well-loved and oft-told fairy tale, yet they also manage to invent delightful and transformative twists. While Leigh Bardugo never flinches from portraying the cruelty and savagery of the Grishaverse in these tales, she doesn’t shy from infusing the stories with courage and optimism either. The writing throughout this collection is consistently lyrical and gorgeous, it’s one of those book that begs to be savoured on repeat.

I feel each of the six stories within deserve their own mini-review, so here goes. Continue reading “Book Review: The Language of Thorns”

Book Review: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet

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5star

Title: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet

Author: Becky Chambers

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series? Yes, companion novel out this year!

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Be Warned: I love this book so much I don’t think I can be trusted to be coherent or impartial in this review. The flawless Kynn of Diva Booknerds recommended Small Angry Planet to me last year – as I trust her in all things bookish I purchased it, and it’s been sitting around on my Kindle for months on end. I want to go back and smack my past-self for ignoring this gem of a book for so long. Small Angry Planet is one of those rare books that has both heart and brain, capable of making you think and feel for a long time after its last pages.

smallangryplanet

I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I do love the genre for exploring contemporary issues in a different setting. Not to mention that space is boundless in its ability to inspire, and the vastness of the unknown is ceaselessly intriguing. Small Angry Planet captures all of the things I love best about the genre, and further delivered a human (or should I say, sapient) warmth to the story. Continue reading “Book Review: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet”

Book Review: A Gathering Of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows Final

5star

Title: A Gathering Of Shadows

Author: V. E. Schwab

Series? Yes, 1 of 3.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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This review contains spoilers for the first book of the series: A Darker Shade of Magic.

A Gathering of Shadows was one of my most anticipated release of 2016. Its predecessor, A Darker Shade of Magic, was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog and a top ten read from last year. Victoria Schwab is back in fine form in this sequel – once again giving us banter, heartstopping action, and Lila Bard – with more swagger than ever. Although I wish our main characters developed more depth, I can’t argue too much as the book was thoroughly entertaining.

AGOS-Review
Vector of the warriors by freevector.com used under CC License, graphics by me :D!

“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”

It’s no secret that my favourite character in this series is Lila Bard. She’s quite the polarising figure, with reviewers either loving or hating her – and to be fair, I would find her incredibly obnoxious if we met in real life. However, as a fictional character, I love her bull-headed selfishness and penchant for showmanship. Lila Bard fights with all her extensive might to be different, to buck against everyone’s expectations, to be more. With her mix of grand ambitions, coupled with the inability to keep a low profile – Lila is quite unique amongst fantasy’s offering of noble-hearted protagonist. She speaks in one liner, she weaves songs and superstition about herself, she seems to think she’s invincible, she keeps insisting she’s ‘not like most girls’ – in other words, she’s one flawed heroine. However, Lila does it all in such style, I can’t help but be smitten. Continue reading “Book Review: A Gathering Of Shadows”

Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See

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5star

Title: All The Light We Cannot See

Author: An
thony Doerr

Series? No.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Book Depository

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First off, I have to thank the wonderful Jenna for constantly recommending this book at every opportunity. I don’t think I would have picked up this historical on my own – and would have missed out on the gorgeous story that lies within. If you’re wondering whether All The Light We Cannot See is the book for you, I have a handy list to help you find out below!

AllTheLightWeCannotSee

“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”

1. You Appreciate Beautiful Imagery & Lyrical Writing

Anthony Doerr is quite the wordsmith, he turns every sentence in this book into poetry. Yet, the writing remains light and approachable, never veering into purple prose territory. Whether we’re witnessing Marie-Laure experience the natural world in the absence of sight, or glimpsing at Werner’s captivation with the mystery of technology – the writing wraps us in with vivid imageries. Continue reading “Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See”

Novella Review: Silently and Very Fast

Silentlly and Very Fast

5star

 Title:  Silently and Very Fast

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series? No. Novella.

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Note: This is a pre-scheduled post. I am currently preparing for my holiday. Apologies in any delays in commenting back!

After reading the excellent The Melancholy of Mechagirl, I wanted to finish and end my Japan Book Blog Series with tales from this collection. Catherynne Valente describes it best:

For foreigners, Japan is a Roschard painting… Everything looks like magic when you don’t understand it.

I am no exception, I look with Japan with a lot of expectations coloured by Western cultures and views. Nonetheless, I want this blog series to reflect the culture and traditions of the country as closely and respectfully as possible. As a foreigner, I will never truly understand it. I don’t want to exoticise, romanticise, or misappropriate in any way – but if I err, please, forgive me and give me a gentle nudge!

SilentlyandVeryFast Review

This following story is partly set in an alternate and futuristic Hokkaido. I’ve never been to Hokkaido, but I’ve never been to the dreamscape described in Silently and Very Fast either – both are places I wish to experience once in my lifetime (though the former is infinitely more possible than the latter).


Let’s start by setting something straight: I am going to be very biased in this review. Most voracious readers would find naming their favourite author a challenging task. Certainly, it’s no easy feat when there’s no shortage in wondrous worlds and talented writer who creates them. However, if you asked me, I would name Catherynne Valente within a heartbeat. For me, her mastery over words define lyrical and visual writing. The stories she writes pushes at the boundaries of conventional storytelling. Her proses colourful, dark, ornate – fairy tales of the modern age. She can create worlds, crumble expectations, and leave me thinking about her tales for days.

Silently and Very Fast lives up to my immense expectations of her writing. I read it as part of her The Melancholy of Mechagirl short story collection – it was the longest and most challenging of these stories, I thought it deserved a review of its own. While the story is deeply rooted in metaphysics and recurring monomyths, it was also endlessly creative and surprising. Continue reading “Novella Review: Silently and Very Fast”

Book Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

5star

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series? Yes, 1 of 2.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Depository


THE HYPE IS REAL, YOU GUYS!!

I was a little skeptical about this book, as I wasn’t too impressed with Shadow and Bone. My doubts have all been dispeled, as Six of Crows is the bestest ever and turned me into a mad Leigh Bardugo fangirl. It was so perfect I couldn’t stop talking about it in ALL CAPS, I also refused to read another book for another couple of days. It was so difficult writing my thoughts down so here, have another list!

Book-Review-Six-Of-Crows

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1. An Ensemble Cast of Badass

In my opinion, multiple POVs in short 400-pages long novels usually fall short on the character development front. I could not connect with the cast of Legacy of Kings or the characters in Zeroes. However, everyone in Six of Crows are precious darlings that holds a little piece of my heart. I love heists, I love it even more when the crew is this flawfree. Continue reading “Book Review: Six of Crows”

Mini Review: The Sleeper and The Spindle

The Sleeper and The Spindle Neil Gaiman Chris Riddell

5star

Title: The Sleeper and The Spindle

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Chris Riddell

Series? No.

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads


The Sleeper and The Spindle was everything I wanted and more. Filled with breathtaking illustrations by Chris Riddell with luxurious gold detailings – along with Neil Gaiman’s masterful and lyrical writing; it’s a definite winner.

At 66 pages, it’s a bit tough for me to review this beauty, so I’ll let you determine whether you should purchase the book based on the questions below. If any of these questions have ever crossed your mind after reading a fairy tale, you need this book!
The Sleeper and The Spindle Neil Gaiman

“A week from today, I shall be married.”

It seemed both unlikely and extremely final. She wondered how she would feel to be a married woman. It would be the end of her life, she decided, if life was a time of choices.

Ever wondered what happened to Snow White after she was woke from her slumber? Was she grateful for the prince, or did she really have no choice in the matter? The Queen that Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell illustrate is filled with misgivings about her upcoming marriage. She’s not content to be bound to a life of domestic servitude (the lady has spent long enough sweeping and cleaning after seven dwarfs, after all) – she’s going to embark on an adventure to save a damsel from distress instead. Continue reading “Mini Review: The Sleeper and The Spindle”