Cassandra Clare & Holly Black are coming to Brisbane!

For all the writers festivalCassandra Clare and Holly Black fans out there, here’s some exciting news for you. Both amazing authors are co-authoring a series at the moment called Magesterium, which I will hopefully be reviewing soon. They are both coming to the Brisbane writers Festival from 2nd-6th of September. They will have conversations about the second book release of their series, and Cassandra will have a session just for the Mortal Instruments fans. “Shadowhunted – ask me anything” will be a question-answer session for all the questions you have of the Mortal Instruments series.

http://bwf.org.au/events/the-iron-trial/

So, quickly book your tickets, and I might see you there!

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Graceling – Kristen Cashore (Graceling Trilogy)

Title: Graceling

Author: Kristen CashoreGraceling

Genre: young adult, fiction, fantasy

Thoughts: This book was amazing! I had been looking for it for ages, since I saw it at Dymocks once at Christmas. If I’d known how much time it would take me to find it again, I would have bought it right there. But no, I didn’t, and so spent half the year looking in all the bookstores for this book. It actually turned out that it had been in all the Dymocks I had been to, and I had just been looking in the young adult section, instead of the fantasy. Arggh, so frustrating. But anyway, back to the story.

After all the looking for this book, I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t actually be that good. But I needn’t have worried. It definitely lived up to my expectations and more. Although the few starting chapters were a bit slow, action kicked in soon enough, and I couldn’t put it down. The characters were great, having certain characteristics I could relate to, and it was a great storyline. Seriously a great plot! I loved the whole idea of some people, Gracelings, being graced with certain abilities, for example everyday activities like swimming or running, or other things like survival, or mindreading. But instead of being honoured, these Gracelings are feared and cast away. This book is so amazing, I’d say that the author was graced with writing.

“Sit, Your High Majestic Lord Princes,” she said. She yanked a chair from the table and sat herself down.
“You’re in fine temper,” Raffin said.
“Your hair is blue,” Katsa snapped back.”
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))

With people being graced with these things, the book has a fantasy genre to it. And I love fantasy, so I knew I’d like the idea of the story at least. But, I loved the characters as well. The main two characters, Katsa and Prince Po, are both graced with different things, but you don’t find out their real grace until halfway into the book. For Katsa, she actually believes her grace is something different, and for Po, you only find out what he is graced with in the middle. But this isn’t necessarily a cliff hanger, because you actually think you know their abilities as well. It’s more of a nice surprise.

The two characters, and also another secondary one, Princess Bitterblue, face many, many struggles, some of them relatable, some of them not. For example Katsa has always been the odd one out, and friendless. This is relatable to many people, and the way other people help her with this is good. They also face the force of Nature. Especially winter. This is also very relatable, but in the book, it’s a lot worse. Also, at the end of the book, we find out the Po has been struggling with a challenge for a while now, which actually made me cry. The thing I like about this bit, is the way that Katsa helps him, kind of in thanks for him helping her become friendlier.

“What are you grinning at?” Katsa demanded for the third or fourth time. “Is the ceiling about to cave in on my head or something? You look like we’re both on the verge of an enormous joke.”
“Katsa, only you would consider the collapse of the ceiling a good joke.”
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))

I reckon there are only a couple of things wrong with the book, for one, the starting. It is a little slow, but if you are going to read it, (and you should) then push through this first part, and then enjoy the rest of the book. Second, is that sometimes I don’t like Katsa’s attitude toward things, and don’t agree with her decisions. Another thing that is annoying me, that isn’t actually about this book, is the two sequels, Fire, and Bitterblue. I have read the blurb, and then, to my surprise, found out that they may not be about the characters in Graceling, just set in the same world. I haven’t read them yet, so maybe they do feature them, but they aren’t the same characters. I liked the characters in Graceling, so we’ll see if this one is as good. I will hopefully be posting the Fire review soon.

Why should you read it: If you’re a young adult reader, and a fantasy fan, then definitely get your hands on this book. Also, if you like a strong female character book, like The Hunger Games, Poison study, or Throne of Glass, then you’ll like Katsa in this book

Book in a word: Intriguing

Rating: 7½/10

Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas (Throne of glass series)

Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J Maasheir of fire

Genre: Fae, Magic, Fantasy, Adventure, Young adult fiction

Thoughts: So, thankfully, Heir of Fire is much better than Crown of Midnight. Even though it starts pretty slowly, the action does speed up until the end. The ending… Aggghhhh! Such a cliff-hanger!! I need the next book!!

“And then I am going to rattle the stars.”

Anyway more about the book, it introduces two new main characters, Rowan and Sorscha, and a whole new group of people, well witches. This book introduces Manon, an iron teeth witch, and a whole new part of the book. It gets more and more confusing with new parts of the story being added in each new chapter, but once you get into the book more, it’s easier to understand. And these new parts make a lot of sense as well. Once you finish reading it, a lot of unknowns about books 1 and 2, become known.

I must say, I like the new characters in Heir of Fire a lot better than the ones in the other books. Especially Rowan and Sorscha. They are both complete opposites from each other, Rowan in his strong Fae body, and Sorscha in her delicate one. She is also very nervous whereas Rowan has no such problems. By the end, I loved them both, and I think Rowan had become my new favourite character. I also grow to like Manon and the new group of characters – the witches.

“Wrong kind of witch”

When I read this book, the characters that the story is about are all in different locations, and it has to keep cutting off, leaving cliff-hangers and going to the next character. And it really annoyed me at first. What I really wanted to know was how Celaena was going, but it kept cutting to Manon’s point of view, then Dorian’s then Chaol’s then Manon’s then finally back to Celaena’s. It was very annoying. Because of this, I didn’t like the witches and didn’t really pay attention to what was happening. Then something exciting did happen, and I grew to like their parts of the story. And by the end, I did grow to like Manon. The book also gets more exciting around Dorian, Sorscha and Chaol, all back at the castle, and I grew to love all parts of the book.

Anyway, Heir of Fire reveals more about the characters than you ever knew before. It reveals, mostly, Celaena’s past, and what happened to her. It also explains some of Dorians past and more about the Royal family.

Also, let’s not forget about this ending. Oh, it was a great ending, especially the last line. It brings all three books together, in one great line. And the ending leaves you biting your nails, and sitting on the edge of your seat.

“She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius—­and she would not be afraid.”

Why should you read this book: This book, along with the rest of its series, and most books I read, has a strong female character. I love books like this, especially because a lot of books have male heroes, and it’s a bit different. It also has an awesome plot and storyline, leaves you biting your nails. If you love a young adult fiction, or fantasy story, then this is the book for you!

Book in a word: overwhelming

Rating: 7 ½ /10

Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass Series)

Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J Maascrownofmidnight

Genre: Fantasy, young adult, Fae, magic, adventure

Thoughts: Now when I first got my hands on Crown of Midnight, I was super excited. I couldn’t wait to start, and I had been eyeing it off at the bookstore for quite some time. But, to tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed. The quality of the writing isn’t as good as the first. Maybe it’s because I was so impressed by Throne of Glass, and I expected this book to be amazing, but it just wasn’t as good. I didn’t get into it as much.

Saying that, it is still a great read, and when I started getting a little more into it, near the middle of the book, drama and tragedy strike. Now I was starting to get hooked. From the very start, it leaves an open end, and you’re left to assume, but it soon becomes clear. This book has more mystery, like the first book, and even made me tear up a little. Still, this book is one of my favourites, with the main character, Celaena Sardothien, meeting new friends (or are they enemies), making new enemies (or are they friends), and cheating death. She takes huge risks, and you learn more about her than you ever knew.

“Her salary as King’s Champion was considerable, and Celaena spent
every last copper of it. Shoes, hats, tunics, dresses, jewellery, weapons,
baubles for her hair, and books. Books and books and books. So many
books that Philippa had to bring up another bookcase for her room.”

– Sarah J Maas, Crown of Midnight

Sarah writes well, describing the characters perfectly in the first book. This still happens in this book, just at a lower quality. You learn more about the characters in this book than ever before, as secrets are unveiled. Also more dangerous plans of action come into play, and then the ending.

I bet you, no one will guess the ending. It’s crazy. A little whisper in someone’s ear, sets off a chain of events, which lead to the great secret being revealed.

“I’m just trying to figure out what’s so boring that you dozed off 10 minutes ago.”
She propped herself up onto her elbows. “I did not!”
His eyebrows rose. “I heard you snoring.”
“You’re a liar, Chaol Westfall.” She threw her paper at him at ploppedback on the couch. “I only closed my eyes for a minute.”
He shook his head again and went back to work.
Celaena blushed. “I didn’t really snore, did I?”
His face was utterly serious as he said, “Like a bear.”

– Sarah J Maas, Crown of Midnight

Now, another thing I love about these books are the covers. Does anyone else like the covers? They are awesome. I always find myself trying to pick the best one out of the three that I have, and it’s impossible. They’re all so good. I also have recently seen the new cover for book 4. And it’s great! I had been trying to guess what it would be like. What pose she would be in this time. I didn’t get it, but the cover of this one is amazing. I like especially how on the back, she’s in the same pose but in different clothing. Very cool…

“If they wanted Adarlan’s Assassin, they’d get her.
And Wyrd help them when she arrived.”

– Sarah J Maas, Crown of Midnight

Anyway, back to the story. I’m really not sure what could have made this book better. I just don’t like it as much. Maybe it’s just me. But I do hope that the next book is good. I have a feeling that I will not be let down.

Why should you read this book: This book is definitely for assassin fans, and for readers of the Angelfall trilogy, (in earlier reviews) the Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa, and the His Fair Assassin series. If you loved these books, then you’ll love this one.

Book in a word: nail-biting

Rating: 7/10

Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass Series)

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J Maasthrone of glass

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young adult, Fae, Magic

Thoughts: Set in a fantasy world, Throne of Glass is about a young assassin. In the salt mines, the 16 year old is serving a life sentence, until Chaol Westfall, the captain of the guard, offers her a choice. Stay and serve in the mines for the rest if her life, or fight for her life in a contest for a man she despises.

This book was awesome, awesome, awesome. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Since reading it the first time, I have re-read, re-re-read and re-re-re-read and… I think you get the picture. With the action fast-paced, you’d think there is no time for emotions, but there is. Definitely. The assassin has suffered horrible tragic things throughout her life, so she has little flashbacks in these, but there she also makes good friends, and allies.

“We all bear scars,… Mine just happen to be more visible than most.”

– Sarah J Maas, Throne of Glass

This novel talks about how it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, what your family is like, or what has happened to you, it is about who you are inside. This is displayed throughout the book, with the assassin, who has been tortured and stuck in a prison camp for a year, and still be able to laugh. Also the son of the tyrant king, who is loveable and funny.

“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

– Sarah J Maas, Throne of Glass

Another reason why I love this book so much, is that I can kind of relate to the character. In some ways, she is similar. For example, she is a total bookworm. She loves reading. When she first gets freedom in the king’s castle, the first things she asks for is a pile of books. And the first place she wants to go to is the massive library.

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

– Sarah J Maas, Throne of Glass

Also, the book ends appropriately, ready for the next book. It concludes everything quite well, I thought and yes, it’s part of a series. A six book series. Only annoying thing is, is that only up to book 3 has come out so far. You’ll have to wait until early September 2015 for book 4.

Why should you read it: The plot unfolds unexpectedly, with a change and twist every so often. Also the characters are easy to like and the dialogue between the 3 main characters sometimes made me laugh out loud. There are also some mysterious happenings around the assassin.

Book in a word: unputdownable

Rating: 9½/10

 

Murder in the Vicarage – Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

Title: Murder in the Vicaragemurder in the vicarage

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Murder-mystery, detective

Thoughts: Now as this was the first Agatha Christie novel I had read, it was a bit hard getting used to. This is for a few reasons, the most obvious being the type of language used. It’s all very formal, and there are also a lot of characters. Some books have more characters than this, but what makes this hard to read is that they are all introduced in the first chapter. I actually thought about just giving up, but I pushed through, and even though I still stayed confused by some things, the plot got better. Sometimes, when a certain character was speaking, I still had to stop reading, and actually think about who they actually were, and then continue. This deducted from the quality of the plot-line as I wasn’t fully concentrating on the story. But, as I said, you do get used to it, and I did enjoy the mystery of it after a while.

Yes, as the story progresses, the murder happens, (obviously, it is a murder mystery) and lots of different theories are cast about who the murderer is. I enjoyed the mystery of it, and tried to figure out for myself who it was. But I couldn’t. There were way too many characters, too many theories, and many people lying. I did have a guess or two, but I bet you won’t know who did it. It was who I least expected…

I think a way to improve this book, is to maybe introduce less characters in the first chapter and space them out a little. This will help with remembering them and also conveying the messages of the story a little better as well. For example, there are many quotes from the characters in this book, that are quite interesting, and ones that I like.

“Intuition is like reading a word without having to spell it out. A child can’t do that because it has had so little experience. A grown-up person knows the word because they’ve seen it often before.”
― Agatha ChristieMurder at the Vicarage

I like this explanation of intuition. It explains how grown up people, or older people can understand the message easier and quicker than younger people. It uses a simile to help convey this quote. These types of sentences all throughout the book. This was another feature that I like about the book.

Why should you read it: Well, if you like a bit of mystery, or you like to try and figure out the answer to a question before anyone else, then this book is definitely for you. As I haven’t read any other Agatha Christie books, I don’t know if they are similar, but I would presume so, as they seem to be all about murder and mystery. So, if you have read any others of her books, then you should get your hands on this one.

Book in a word: Mysterious

Rating: 6½/10

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenmiss peregrine 1: Ransom Riggs

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Photography, sci-fi

Thoughts: This book was definitely a change from my usual readings. Normally, I like a fiction book with a bit of magic, and mystery, but this book was, well, peculiar. That’s not to say I didn’t like it though. It was one of those books that once you pick it up, you can’t put down. Let me set the scene. You’re working your part time job, as you usually do and get a strange call from your grandfather. Now, your grandfather does have crazy fits sometimes, but you think it’s just from fighting in World War Two. Little did you know what you would find when you go and check up on him. Dead in the woods near his house. In his last breath he rambles on about a bird in a loop on the island. This starts a whole chain of events that eventually leads to Jacob, the main character, investigating an old orphanage.

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

When I first was recommended this book, I looked at the cover and didn’t really like it. I am one to judge a book by its cover, even though I shouldn’t. Then another friend of mine read it, and loved it, so I borrowed it out. And I should’ve done it earlier! I really liked it. The mixture of photography in the fiction made it all the more interesting. In the story, there are photographs found in Jacob’s house and in the old orphanage, and every time one is mentioned, the author puts the actual image after it. This gives you a good picture of what the characters are like and what special abilities they have. I especially look forward to images, and actually have to stop myself from looking forward in the book before I’m finished reading the description.

“Because we weren’t like other people. We were peculiar.”

“Peculiar how?”

“Oh, all sorts of ways,” he said. “There was a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, a brother and sister who could lift boulders over their heads.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Another feature I liked about this book were the characters and plot-line. The storyline of this book is quite complicated, using a type of time travel loop thing, where a person has to walk through the loop and they come back in another time. Then at the end of each day, the loop is reset, so the characters experience the same day every day. September third 1940. This comes to be an important date in the book. When I first opened the book and was introduced to the time loop, I don’t think I was concentrating on the story as well as I could have, meaning I was very confused. When I reached the next part of the book that mentioned the time loop, I had to go back and read what it was. This was one of the only things that I didn’t like about the story. I also liked most of the characters. As they were in the time loop, most of the children are over 50 years old, some over 100. And because of this, some of them use different English or grammar, and some act a little strangely. I also found this feature interesting. Really, this book was quite good, but definitely not my favourite.

“I don’t mean to be rude’ I said, ‘but what are you people?’

‘We’re peculiar,’ he replied, sounding a bit puzzled. ‘Aren’t you?;

‘I don’t know. I don’t think so’

‘That’s a shame.” ― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Why should you read it: This book is definitely unique, so if you want to read something different, this is the book for you. It mixes photography, young adult fiction, fantasy and even a bit of sci-fi. If you liked Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, you might like this. Also, there is a bit of mystery and creepiness in the story.

Book in a word: Unique (Peculiar)

Rating: 8½/10

End of Days – Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #3)

Title: End of Days

Author: Susan Eeend of days image

Genre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, drama, action

Thoughts: The final instalment of the trilogy is finally here! I was waiting and waiting and waiting for this book to come out, and here it is!! Ee’s End of Days is a great example of a book that you literally can’t put down. You read it as you get ready for the day, while brushing your teeth, before and after bed every day. It had me hooked. I read the whole book in two days, and they were school days.

End of Days has the same sarcastic humour that the last two books had. The same characters, but somehow, they were made better in this book. The plot is very different from World After and Angelfall with Raffe and Penryn falling into hell. Literally. There they find all sorts of unspeakable horrors and we all find out that Penryn is afraid of maggots. Luckily Raffe saved the day.

Again in this book, the metaphorical ‘vault’ in Penryn’s head gets fuller and fuller as she experiences more and more strong emotions. She reunites with her mother and her sister. The world seems to be getting better. Until she falls into Hell. In the Pit, Raffe’s Watchers are there, and both Penryn and Raffe do the unthinkable. It’s here we find out that Penryn is terrified of maggots.

“Maggots are freaky hideous,’ I say, getting up. I try to salvage some dignity, but I can’t help but shiver and shake my hands in the air. It’s an instinctive impulse, one I’m not up for resisting right now.
‘You’ve fought off a gang of men twice your size, killed an angel warrior, stood up to an archangel, and wielded an angel sword.’ Raffe cocks his head. ‘But you scream like a little girl when you see a maggot?’
‘It’s not just a maggot,’ I say. ‘A hand burst out of the ground and grabbed my ankle. And maggots crawled out of it and tried to burrow into me. You would scream like a little girl too if that happened to you.’
‘They didn’t try to burrow into you. They were just crawling. It’s what maggots do. They crawl.’
‘You don’t know anything.”

This ending wasn’t the best, if you ask me. It might be slightly because I didn’t actually want it to end at all, but all books must. And this one ended way too quickly. When I heard End of Days was coming out, I assumed it would be a big book, with all that’s going on. But no, most of the problems are solved in just 435 pages. And yes I say most for a reason. There is one trouble that doesn’t get solved. But I believe it needs this not-happily-ever-after ending, to match the dystopian mood of the rest of the book. Still, I believe Ee should have done an extra chapter at the end, maybe set 10 years after the book ends to see what’s happening. That would have made it much better.

Why should you read it: If you loved the post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting of ­Angelfall, and you should have, then you will absolutely adore End of Days. It will make you sad, and laugh, and sometimes, like all books, it’ll make you want to yell at the characters in the book. But that happens in all good books, which just backs up my theory that the Angelfall series is one of the best I have read.

Book in a word: Addictive

Rating: 9/10