Wednesday 30 July 2014

Silver Shadows

5 Stars/5

Since Sydney was taken by the Alchemists, she has been kept alone in a dark room for weeks, but when she decides to play the Alchemists game she is taken to a new area of re-education. She struggles not to show what she truly thinks, as she is always being watched and has only the memories of Adrian and her loved ones to comfort her. Adrian is struggling to cope since Sydney was taken and has started drinking again, since there has been no progress on locating where the Alchemists have her. However, Adrian still clings to the hope of finding her, even with people around him at court telling him that she is a lost cause. With both Sydney and Adrian fighting to be together again, will Sydney be able to escape, before she is brainwashed to hate all Moroi and Dhampir including Adrian?

Silver Shadows is the brilliant penultimate book in the Bloodlines series, which was highly anticipated since the massive cliff-hanger at the end of The Fiery Heart. This book has action, suspense and romance, and while the second half of this book was better than the first, it was really addictive as I read it in under a day.

I feel really proud of Sydney in this book as she went through hell and she never gave in, even when everyone around her kept telling her that her beliefs are wrong. Despite the fact that Sydney was the one taken in the last book, I was really worried about how Adrian would cope, and while he struggled to manage, he did eventually pull himself together. While Jill, Eddie and Marcus and the others are in this book, along with some new characters like Duncan and Emma, we did not get much character development of them, as this book is all about Sydney and Adrian.

While this book does not have as big of a cliff-hanger as the last book, two big things happen at the end which make me look forward to see how this series ends in The Ruby Circle. I would recommend Silver Shadows to fans of the first four books in the Bloodlines series.

Monday 28 July 2014

Midnight Thief

4 Stars/5

Kyra has grown up on Forge’s streets and with her ability to scale walls and avoid the attention of guards, she is able to take what she needs to survive. When James, the leader of the Assassin’s Guild, offers her a job to help them steal from The Palace, she agrees but struggles against the guilds rules and James, who is darkly alluring. Tristam is a young knight who is on a mission to stop Demon Riders after they murdered his best friend. Fate causes Kyra and Tristam to work together but when a secret from Kyra’s past is revealed, it reshapes both of their lives forever.

Midnight Thief is a really good classic fantasy book with a story full of action and unlike most YA is not focused on romance. I could not put this book down and I liked that the good and bad guys were not clear cut.

When I started reading this I thought I would be bored with Kyra as she is very similar to a lot of fantasy heroines, as she is an orphan who has learned to live on the streets, but I really liked her as she is intelligent, protective and while not all of her decisions were the best, she made them as well as she could, based on the situation. Tristam is brave, clever, and moral, and is willing to help people know matter who they are. There are lots of secondary characters, such as James, Flick, Bella and Malikel, and they are all really well written as I feel like I understand them.

This book does not come across as a debut novel and I am looking forward to the next book. I would recommend Midnight Thief to people who enjoy really good fantasy books and those who enjoyed the prequel novella, Poison Dance.

Thursday 24 July 2014

City of Heavenly Fire

5 Stars/5

Sebastian is targeting institutes all over the world and is turning the Shadowhunters there into darker versions called the Endarkened. With Emma, Julian and the rest of the children, the only ones to survive the attack on the Los Angles institute, every Shadowhunter withdraws to Idris to develop a plan of action to stop Sebastian. There is only one weapon that can defeat Sebastian, Heaven Fire, but it is in Jace and he has no control over it. When the Nephilium are betrayed by an ally, Clary and Jace along with Isabelle, Simon and Alec must travel to the demon realms. With Sebastian wanting to get his hands on Clary and Jace, will the young Shadowhunters and vampire be able to survive the battle that is coming which decides the fate of the world?

City of Heavenly Fire is the brilliant final book of the Mortal Instruments, it is a big book but is never dull as it has action, politics and romance. This book is better than the last two books in this series and is up to the standard of the first 3 books.

Clary is stronger and has grown over the last 6 books as she knows who she is and what she wants. Jace is more open and we get to see the real Jace behind the mask and, even with the Heavenly Fire in him, his and Clary’s relationship is the most stable and happiest it has been in this series. As well as familiar characters there are some new characters, Emma and Julian, which gives us a nice glimpse into the next series

While I have really enjoyed this series, I am glad it is over as I feel that these characters stories have finished. I am looking forward to the next series The Dark Artifices and seeing how Emma and Julian have grown up. I would recommend City of Heavenly Fire to everyone who enjoyed the rest of the Mortal Instruments and this series to fans of paranormal books. 

Monday 21 July 2014

The House of the Four Winds

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Tor Books for giving me this book to review.

Clarise is the eldest of the duke and duchess of Swansgaarde’s thirteen children. With twelve daughter’s and one son, Dantan, they have realised that there will be no Duchy for Dantan, if his twelve older sisters receive a dowry. They have decided that when each of their daughters reaches their 18th birthday, they will go their own way to make their own fortune. Clarise decides to disguise herself as a boy, and become a gentleman traveller, but both romance and bad luck hit when she buys passage on the Asesino, with the attractive, charming and ethical First Mate Dominik, the friendly Dr Chapman, the repulsive and cruel Captain Sprunt, and the slimy Reverend Dobbs. However, after pushing the crew too far, a mutiny happens upon the Asesino and the victors come into possession of a magical artefact which leads them to the haven of pirates, The House of the Four Winds.

I really like The House of the Four Winds, as Mercedes Lackey has written a very well-paced book, which drags you into the story from the first chapter. This is a very action packed book, with romance, which has you rooting for Clarise and Dominik, although wondering how and when she will eventually reveal she is a girl.

Clarise is an interesting character because, whilst she has grown up as a princess to a duchy, she is surprisingly unspoilt, and remarkably self-sufficient. Dr Chapman is a complex character I really liked, because whilst he is a doctor and does not wish to do any harm, he sees that some cause more harm by existing than their removal would do.

I really hope that Mercedes Lackey continues on this series, and whether it follows each sister as they set off, or continues Clarise and Dominiks story, I hope we find out what happens to them in the future. I would recommend The House of the Four Winds to anyone who has read any of Mercedes Lackey’s other books, especially the Obsidian Trilogy.

Friday 18 July 2014

Fool's Assassin

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Edelweiss and Del Rey for giving me this book to review.

After returning from the Out Islands, former assassin and Royal bastard Fitz, believed dead by most and now called Tom Badgerlock, has settled down with his childhood sweetheart, Molly, at Withywoods, whilst their daughter Nettle is at Court as part of Dutiful’s Coterie. The years pass and Fitz is no longer heavily involved in Farseer politics and most of his time is spent managing the holding.  Molly and Fitz are content but another child would complete their happiness, though their age is against them. Fitz has not heard from the Fool for many years, until he hears rumours of his “Unexpected Son” and starts making inquiries as to whether the son exists.

Robin Hobb has returned home to the familiar and successful world of the Six Duchies and the character of Fitzchivalry Farseer, and I really enjoyed this book as feels as if it was written directly after the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. Whilst this book starts of gently, reintroducing you to Fitz and his now comfortable life, it really picks up the deeper you get into the story, along with some unexpected twists.

I really love the character of Fitz, as he seems quite a complex man, but at his core, he is intensely loyal to his loved ones, his country and his principles.  Fitz has matured into a surprisingly well balanced adult, considering what happened in the earlier series.  In the Farseer trilogy he was an arrogant and embittered youth, who became a recluse who was reluctantly dragged back into Farseer politics in the Tawny Man Trilogy.  In this book, whilst he is over-protective of his loved ones, he is now content.

I really enjoyed this book and am waiting with bated breath for the next in this series.  I would recommend Fools Assassin to those who enjoyed the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies but would strongly recommend reading them in the correct order.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Enchanters' End game

4 Stars/5

The fate of the world depends on one duel. Garion is now the King of Riva, but he knows there will be no peace as long as Torak lives. Garion along with Belgarath and Silk set out to find him. In order to keep Torak’s forces focus away from Garion, and also to keep the peace in the West, Ce’Nedra has gathered her forces and is ready to take on the Angarak’s. With Garion getting close to Torak, he knows he will have to fight him, but how can he possibly win against a God. With the two prophecies converging, which side will win?

Enchanters’ End Game is the final book in the Belgariad and it wraps up everything from the previous books. There are two storylines going on in this book and whilst I liked Ce’Nedra and Pol’s, I was more interested in Garion’s.

Garion is really depressed in this book but is also very determined, and it has been enjoyable watching him grow up. Whilst I like Ce’Nedra more than when we first met her, she doesn’t realise how dangerous and serious war can be, and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions

This is the end of a really good classic fantasy book and I would recommend Enchanters’ End Game to people who enjoyed the first 4 books and if you have enjoyed this series, I would suggest you read the sequel series, The Malloreon, and the prequel’s Belgarath the Sorcerer, and Polgara the Sorceress. 

Saturday 12 July 2014

Castle of Wizardry

4 Stars/5

The companions have retrieved the Orb and are travelling to Riva, to return it to its rightful place. On the journey back, with both Belgarath and Polgara incapacitated, the role of leadership is thrust on Garion, which is made difficult with the Orb fascinated with him. When Garion arrives in Riva, his life changes forever, but Torak is still out there and waking up. Garion discovers he is the only one who can defeat him. With war brewing between the West and the East, Ce’Nedra and Polgara must gather an army to hopefully protect Garion.

Whilst I still really like Castle of Wizardry, I did miss the quest as it was the main plot in the first 3 books, however, it makes up for it with more politics and character growth. The big twist, which I knew from the first book, is revealed, and it really changes the characters and the dynamic of the story.

Garion is more responsible in this book and has to learn how to deal with power and people with different opinions than him, and it is nice to see him change, but I do miss the farm boy a bit. I still like Silk as after everything they have been through during the quest and at Riva he has never treated Garion any differently.

Castle of Wizardry is really good book and I would recommend it to people who enjoyed the first 3 books. 

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Magician's Gambit

4 Stars/5

With the Orb now in Cthol Murgos, the group go to the Vale of Aldur so that Garion can learn more about sorcery from Belgarath and Pol and to talk to Aldur. However, the group has to still retrieve the Orb which will mean travelling into enemy territory. With people both leaving and joining the travellers, they may not all survive and if they do they will not be the same. With the prophecies starting to come true will they be able to regain the Orb?

Magician’s Gambit is the third book in the Belgariad series and I enjoyed it more than the last two books. This book has more action, was faster paced and I found it easier to get into the plot as we are getting nearer to the end of the quest.

While I like and sympathise with Garion, it is not that hard to figure out the big secret that Belgarath and Polgara are keeping from him and he should have guessed it ages ago. I liked Ce’Nedra more in this book, mostly because we got to see how she thinks.

Magician’s Gambit is really good and I would recommend it to people who enjoy classic swords and sorcery fantasy books. 

Sunday 6 July 2014

Queen of Sorcery

3 Stars/5

Belgarath and Polgara are on the trail of the Orb, hoping to retrieve it before it wakes up Torak. Garion is still tagging along with them, confused as his life has changed a lot is a small space of time, and everybody seems to be focusing on him for some unknown reason. He has never believed in sorcery but as the journey continues there is a power inside him that seems to be growing. Will Garion be able to accept and control his powers before he endangers their quest?

Queen of Sorcery is the second book in the Belgariad series and is just as good as the first book. The pace is a bit quicker and in this book we get to see many different lands and cultures.

Garion is still very likeable but is also very conflicted and confused (not helped by Belgarath and Pol) but that being said I wish he would stand up for himself a bit more and be less of a doormat. I was not a fan of new character Ce’Nedra as she is a spoiled brat and just unlikeable. I also did not like how everyone disapproved of Garion having a go at Pol, as she and everyone else have been keeping secrets, he was going through a lot of changes and he is still a teenager, if I was in his shoes I would have snapped a lot earlier.

This is an enjoyable series and I would recommend Queen of Sorcery to people who liked the first book Pawn of Prophecy. 

Thursday 3 July 2014

Pawn of Prophecy

3 Stars/5

Mr Wolf, the storyteller, says that according to the prophecy, the Evil god Torak seeks domination over the world, but the world remains safe as long as the Orb of Aldur is in Riva. However, farm-boy Garion thinks that this is only a story and has lived a good and quiet life with his Aunt Pol. But, when the orb is stolen, Garion realises that his life has been a lie, and is led on a quest to different lands that will change his life forever.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first in a traditional fantasy series which has the classic setting of a young farm boy setting out on a quest to defeat evil. I first read this series as a teen when I had just started reading, and whilst I still enjoy it I can see the flaws in it.

Garion is a brave and na├»ve young man who is very easy to empathise with as you can easily put yourself in his shoes. Also, Silk is one of my favourite characters as he seems complex but is rather easy person to understand, also he is not as wholesome as most of the others. I didn’t like Pol as she says she loves Garion but she doesn’t treat him like she cares about him only who he is meant to be, and allows Garion to find out about Pol’s secrets from others.

Pawn of Prophecy is a good start of the series and would recommend it to fans of traditional fantasy books.