Book Review: Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken

Ok I just realised that I totally forgot to write up the review for Wayfarer… here we go!


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Name: Wayfarer
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Hyperion/Quercus
Release Date: January 3 / 12, 2017

Synopsis

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected – Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realises that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognisable … and might just run out on both of them.


Book Cover Comments

Wayfarer is totally as beautiful as Passenger, and the purple is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I still know the significance of the tree but whateves lol. Its so pretty.


The Actual Review

(kill me its been too long ago as well)

Ok. Here we go again. The probably one and only problem with Alex Bracken books, and since this is the third one it pretty much is the case: its very very very very very very SLOW! Just like last book, for some reason I had to rush it before a flight, therefore I pushed myself to keep reading it no matter what, Wayfarer lives up to its name. It still kept me turning the pages, while it continues on the journey across history with even more exciting places, plot lines and new characters.

Ok the entire time Etta and Nicholas were fairy close to each other, (it was kinda as if one was catching up to the other) cus they’re separated into two teams, there were so much butterfly heartaches that I can’t even imagine. And then when everything just explodes and whenever Etta and Nicholas’ relationship get closer and closer, I just die over it.

We’re introduced to some really good characters, especially more of Etta’s relatives a.k.a. history, and that makes the plot super super super super funky and interesting. I was totally in shock to first meet these characters, how they played out, how Etta is tied in with them, and then how some secrets are here and there, oooooo.

Though I must say the ending does remind me of how Miss Peregrine… ooo. I totally forgot. In my Passenger review I mentioned how the Edelstein Trilogy was the only time travelling series I read. I guess Miss Peregrine counts as well? Like yea sure I’m happy for the ending and there really is no way to conclude the series, buuuuut maybe a bit too magical in my opinion? Also the Prologue and Epilogue just confused the hell outta me XD


Wayfarer, though slow, is a great read for fans of romance, time travelling, mysteries and relationships and so much more.

Book Review: Dark Breaks the Dawn – Sara B. Larson

3:30am in the morning lets do this

how am i ever going to go on a day without feeling sleepy, and then waking up at night like a vampire because I’m probably one

Note that I have unfortunately made this review mildly spoilerish, but its really not if you know the story of Swan Lake well, and the fact that this is a Swan Lake retelling. You’re gonna be expecting one or two elements from the story you know to appear in the book either way.


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Name: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release May 30, 2017

Synopsis

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.


Book Cover Comments

As you all know (or if not) this is a Swan Lake retelling, and we can see THE ONE AND ONLY symbol that represents the theme we have on the book cover: a swan. Surprise!

Just kidding.

After finishing the book, I see the significance of those red vines thorns whatever they are. And ooo this book IZZZ gonna thrill you.

And the stone plays an important part in the story!


The Actual Review

First impressions:

Is this book like, a heavy Sarah J. Maas influenced book? Cus all I see is:

  • conduit stone (ACOTAR check)
  • Lorcan (TOG check)
  • inner circle (ACOTAR check)
  • one or two plot points (CHECK)
  • spider silk (TOG check)

That kind of bugged me during my first reads at the book, but at the same time, this book was so attractive and so addictive, I couldn’t stop turning the pages and eventually lost track of time. And no, despite all the references that I believe are to be from SJM books, (or not?) the entire plot to Dark Breaks The Dawn was completely unique. I really loved this story. And I have to say, it was a haunting experience to read.

I’ll explain the “haunt” when I get to the end.

Evelayn, our heroine, super strong. I totally love her. She’s a really unique girl, because of how strong she can be. She fights down her tears, she puts up her stance and her status in front of her audience, and the bravery that she has is just absolutely stunning. Sara lets all of Evelayn’s emotions flow through the text, and that vulnerability that Evelayn has despite all of the chaos in her life, leading her to put up wall after wall is just what we needed to complete her.

And with Evelayn being said, we must not ignore the R-O-M-A-N-C-E in this book. Ok slightly spoilery here but you’d be expecting it anyway, is how Evelayn just kind of clicked in with Tanvir. Their mutual attraction was so strong, and Sara’s romance game was gigantic. If a reader feels the heart flutters, then that means Joanne the book reviewer will pretty much, if not, love the book. (Yes people I love romance) The build up in their relationship, opening up to each other and then in the confession is just TOO MUCH TO TAKE HAHAHAHHAHAAHAHA (i went nuts yes i did)

This world that Evelayn is in obviously has magical powers, and I believe it would be beneficial if the book explained the term that the people with the magical ability was called, since it confused me so much. 25% into the book and I finally had a grasp on what exactly it was. I would have loved a little bit more elaboration of the powers and the magic system, cus it was a little confusing, and we come across these difficult to pronounce/read terms.

Imagine if the most important mountain in this world was named Eyjafjallajökull.

Then no one except the Icelanders would be able to pronounce it right 😂

Plot. Oh yes the plot. It was well spread, everything wasn’t rushed and was just right, the build up to the semi-climax of the book, so well passed halfway, and you might have predicted, would be something to do about war. I mean, its up there in the synopsis. Though I felt like during the war part, some parts were rushed, and I’m definitely not a big fan of like, huge big blows of power, because I feel like its like

Oh. It finally happened.

or like

Wait thats it

or like

It happened in a blink of an eye

And then the part after the battle is the part that is the most important. Because the story continues to build up to the final climax at the very end of the book. And that is why reading this part was very haunting. Because I knew there was more to come, and yet the language and events in this part of this book seemed fairly chill in order to hide it (IMO). Then the climax came along at the very end of the book.

#cliffhanger

Then the Swan Lake element hits.

Look at all dem spoilers in this review.

I always wondered where was the true Swan Lake element that we all know, and there it is. And the book ends.

Me after I read past page 301:

great.

another year of longing for the next and final book of the series to come out to learn more about everything and to resolve everything.


This was definitely a great read of July. The fact that it wasn’t a blastingly lengthy book made it simple and easy to read, and the romance in the book was extremely rich and absolutely lovely. Not to mention that oh so great cliffhanger at the end :)

Book Review: Spindle Fire – Lexa Hillyer

Whew, finished the final part of the book on the plane back to Hong Kong simply because I had nothing better to do, and I slept too much throughout the day.


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Name: Spindle Fire
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release April 11, 2017

 

 

Synopsis

A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.


Book Cover Comments

Despite the sort of dull blue/green/grey, the contrast it had with the rest of the graphics, in which is in an ice blue shade was really cool. The designs for the castles and whatever symbolism it had was really nice as well. I also liked how its the opposite of book 2 (coming out in 2018)’s cover, as the background color is ice blue, and the font for the title (Winter Glass btw) is in that dull blue/green/grey. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)


The Actual Review

OK like are you serious this book just killed me.

Let’s kick off with the Sleeping Beauty retelling element. I super duper duper love how we get a mix of both old and new, from the classic Aurora tale of falling asleep, to the fact that Aurora actually wakes up in a totally different world? Also the fact that the so called fairy godmothers you know in the classic tale ain’t that fairy godmother like anymore. Lexa changes the entire concept of some of the most well known characters, well unfortunately basically all of them, and unfortunately villainising almost everyone we used to know to make a whole new Sleeping Beauty. I thought I saw elements of Disney’s live action movie, Maleficent, in the book. Maybe I do, but my speculations can’t be confirmed till I read the next book, in which I’m dying to.

Then we have the two sisters.

It is really interesting for Aurora and Isabelle to have a part(s) of them tithed to the fairies, and so that makes our characters very interesting. Whereas all the previous books that I’ve read so far has pretty much completely normal characters in terms of body criteria, Isabelle has her sight tithed while Aurora has her sense of touch and voice tithed. Imagining these characters and putting myself into their shoes was a completely different experience, and the tithes make a great role in their own personal development.

Yes, personal development.

I am so proud to see the character growth of both Aurora and Isabelle. Aurora, in her sleeping world, has learnt the worth of herself and found out the things that she can do. She broke so many boundaries that she couldn’t do as a princess and in the real life world, and in her sleeping world, she had the courage and bravery to believe in what she thought was the correct way, and went ahead. And throughout the story, she broke so many mysteries and solved so many riddles that lead to the final ending which was satisfying.

#TwilightMoment #SpoilerAlert

Isabelle’s main issue was self worth, because (SPOILER ALERT) she is basically the bastard daughter of the king, and you could technically call her Aurora’s shadow in people’s eyes. Isabelle has constant worries over her own worth when comparing herself to Aurora, and through her journey of trying to find a way to save her sister and by encountering a very special (AHEM) someone, Isabelle has learnt to be a little bit more selfish for herself, to believe in the worthiness of herself, and that she is beautiful in her own way.

Ok maybe not that last line, but she’s getting there.

I super duper love how the book works. The majority of the POVs switch between Aurora and Isabelle, so alternating chapters of these two POVs, with occasional cameo appearances of some fairy lords, fairy princess, the “fairy godmothers” whatever whatever whatever. They told a story of their own, they shared snippets from the past that helped explain the rest of the book and solve some mysteries, and during some points, I was in absolute shock.

What else is there to say?

OH RIGHT. THE FINAL THING.

ROMANCE.

DAMN YOU LEXA HILLYER YOU TOOK MY BREATH AWAY FOR ROMANCE. 100 POINTS TO YOU.

LIKE HOW MANY SHIPS TO WE HAVE GOING ON IN THIS BOOK? FIVE THOUSAND? AND LIKE, ALL THE JEALOUSY AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JEALOUSY IN THIS BOOK IS JUST JUST JUST TREMENDOUS, AND LIKE HOLY LORDS AURORA AND THE SO CALLED STRANGER SHE MET, AND AS I “SPOILED” YOU ABOVE, ISABELLE MEETS SOMEONE AS WELL, AND THEN YOU PLUG IN THIS EXTRA CHARACTER IN AURORA’S STORY, AND THEN AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHHH

#ded

Ok also the fact that many roles overlap and many roles kind of mirror each other. You’ll see what I mean when you compare our heroines to some other existing sisters in the book. And then cue the jealousy and how that brings down hell and storm and whatever whatever.

#stillDed

#StewardnessJustGaveMeCARAMELITAiceCremeYUSSSSSSS

#YesI’mTypingUpMyReviewOnThePlaneLIT

So in conclusion (The crappest way to end an essay or whatever I know) if you die for crazy romance that gives you beautiful butterfly heartaches, a great mystery, alternative worlds and mirroring roles and images, definitely pick up Spindle Fire. This was totally worth the purchase when I was at B&N Orange County back in California. It’s such a good read, and the last line is definitely to die for.

Book Review: Because You Love to Hate Me – Ameriie

This will be a super lengthy and detailed post, because I want to have a short review for every single short story.

All authors and booktubers will be listed with the corresponding short story, so the info section won’t be spammed.


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Name: Because You Love to Hate Me
Editor: Ameriie
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!


Book Cover Comments

That pink and purple gradient? And that metallic rose with the black sleek oil? Absolutely evil and vicious. I have to say though, the metal stem on the back creeps me out. Probably what its going for.


The Actual Review

I love the idea of how the authors make a new piece from the prompt given from the booktubers, and then the booktubers have a short piece of their own. It’s a very cute and innovative idea, a way to have our booktubers to shine not only from YouTube, but also from written work. Gathering all the best authors from all around the book community to produce this amazing anthology is the best thing ever.

The formatting of the following review will be separated by each collaboration, and a final thought will be at the very end of this review.

~~~~

Renée Ahdieh & Christine Riccio: An Ambitious Dark Lord

Renée’s story was absolutely captivating. The surprise plot twist at the end of this short story, and the build up to that excitement was greater than ever. The way she turned Christine’s prompt into a futuristic setting was very clever.

Christine’s writing in the form of a guideline was very Christine. Her sense of humor was weaved into this short piece, and I couldn’t help myself but make my dad read this hilarious piece. This totally un-usable guide is worth a read.

~~~~

Ameriie & Tina Burke: The Giant from “Jack & the Beanstalk”

Ameriie’s story stays true to her thoughts on how she sympathises with villains, and she gives the story a modern and special twist on the giant, as well as giving it a rich and deep character for readers to sympathise with, and to understand.

Tina’s piece was in a form of a commentary to Ameriie’s work, allowing us readers to have many thoughts, as well as many aspects that affect the giant’s character. An intriguing piece that brings out the ideas that we’d never had about villains.

~~~~

Soman Chainani & Samantha Lane: Lancelot

Soman’s innovative text message format of a behind-the-scenes to the story involving Lancelot, while confusing, was very high-school-(oops spoilers!) drama like. The question therefore is: is the villain really the villain, or a hero?

Samantha’s twitter-stagram to comment on given identities of villains, such as “bornwicked” or a character from Lancelot’s story leaves readers pondering on the blurred line between a hero and a villain.

~~~~

Susan Dennard & Sasha Alsberg: Moriarty

Susan’s rich and complicated story of Moriarty brings that one subject that I oh-so-loathe to my mind again: Theory of Knowledge. Her story makes us readers think about exactly what right and wrong is, the ethics of law and justice.

Sasha’s blog that finishes off with a shocking surprise brings the modern world to surface, how the internet takes place in events and actions that are recognised as villainy, and how Moriarty could be lurking on your web history right now.

~~~~

Sarah Enni & Sophia Lee: A Dark Sorcerer seeking Immortality

Sarah’s story shows the sorcerer’s ambition and the sorcerer’s motivation and willingness, while spinning the minds of readers while we fall deeper into the confusion of the hero and the villain.

Sophia’s commentary brings out idea that I  of the sorcerer, and goes another level deeper into the fundaments of the character, as well as the role of a hero or a villain, as they could switch roles in another person’s story.

~~~~

Marissa Meyer & Zoë Herdt: The Sea Witch

Marissa’s writing once again amazed me as a reader, delivering the story of the birth of the “villain”, when in truth, their stories began from a heart of innocence and purity, however destroyed by the betrayal and the pain.

Zoë’s commentary shows how the story of the sea witch weaves through her life, and when people linger between the choices of good and evil, as well as ending her piece with a short quiz that determines whether you’re a hero or a villain.

~~~~

Cindy Pon & Benjamin Alderson: Medusa

Cindy’s story combines Greek mythology with Chinese culture, creating a new fusion that brings out the most intriguing thoughts on the story of Medusa. The way she uses the names and the meanings behind it leaves a great impression.

Benjamin’s Q&A that discusses his thoughts on Cindy’s story highlights different key aspects of it, as well as some hidden messages that a reader might brush past. He also ties in his past experience with the story of Medusa in this short piece.

~~~~

Victoria Schwab & Jesse George: Death

Victoria’s symphony of death weaves together the story of two characters, concluding with a mysterious ending that leaves me seeking with questions and answers. Her materialisation of “death” was avant-garde.

Jesse’s letter threads through his own feelings from an experience he had with a certain someone. A letter filled with curiosity and inquiries, Jesse displays the love-hate relationship that people can have with this special someone.

~~~~

Samantha Shannon & Regan Perusse: The Erl Queen

Samantha’s story twists the original tale of the faeries and sets it in the 19th century, turning the arrow that points towards the villain in the other way. The story closes with a shocking and dark ending that highlights the concept of “folklore” itself.

Regan’s commentary highlights the reason behind her prompt, as well as the contrast in gender in the story. She also points out the display of female power in the story, the complete opposite of what 19th century England is like.

~~~~

Adam Silvera & Catriona Feeny: A Comic Book-inspired Teen Crime Lord

Adam’s tale is told from a perspective of “you”, displaying a uniqueness to the text. He designed his villain so that the villain was born due to the environment when growing up, a common concept that was looked over when judging villains.

Catriona’s analysis of using masks, a key concept in Adam’s story offers a psychological view into us as a person, what it tells about us, as well as highlighting some key points and issues in the teen crime lord’s short story.

~~~~

Andrew Smith & Raeleen Lemay: A Futuristic Psychopath

Andrew’s sense of humor in the story caught my attention. His rich description and the sophisticated design of the psychopath was hard to understand, and yet left me with many questions about the character that I want to know about.

Raeleen’s analysis ties in her own ideas of what a psychopath is, and discusses the psychopath’s character, the story’s plot line, and her own feelings and thoughts. Her piece is a perfect explanation and support to the sophisticated story.

~~~~

April Tucholke & Whitney Atkinson: The unwanted suitor from “Beauty and the Beast”

April’s brand new story puts a never-seen-before twist on Beauty and the Beast, erasing whatever we’ve known about the original story. Both saddening and a heartwarming ending, the last two lines takes your breath away.

Whitney’s piece shows the contrasts between expectation and reality, the representation of heroes and villains, and how villains are much more special in the sense that, they go through life and reality.

~~~~

Nicola Yoon & Steph Sinclair/Kat Kennedy: The God of War

Nicola’s twist on the God of War in a modern era was exciting and thrilling. Through the multiple perspectives, Nicola shows the sadness when one is born with a negative quality, therefore labelled as a villain.

Steph and Kat’s guide to villainy is the absolute best way to close the book. Introducing cliché villain characteristics, the guide also assists you on building the strongest, most powerful, fearless and uncontrollable villain,

~~~~

My final thoughts are that, no matter if it is a brand new story, or if it is a retelling, this book activated a lot of thinking on the actual role of villains, and raised many many questions on villains. I believe that no one was born evil, but what was it that gave these villains in these 13 short stories the label “villain”?

It’s true that one would hate a villain to the core, but Because You Love to Hate Me shows a different aspect on these villains: what if some of them had stories, stories where the lines of good and bad would be no longer clear?

Because You Love to Hate Me is a spectacular anthology that brings up thousands of questions on the roles of villain, the blurred lines in between, and so much more.

ARC Review: Zenith – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

Not to be confused with the 9 chapter eBook that was the backbone of this magnificent masterpiece: eBook review here!

Also, Its 2am in the morning, just finished this book and I am absolutely dead, but if I don’t write it now, I won’t be able to function properly.

Update: it’s 3am now. I finished this review at around 3am.


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Name: Zenith
Author: Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: January 16, 2018

Synopsis

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation—and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.


ARC Cover Comments

I think the difference between this cover and the old cover, is that the simplicity just makes it much much much more beautiful.

The Mirabel symbol with its shadows and depth, but at the same time simple is just absolutely gorgeous, and the background, the galaxy smokey lightning-ey like beautiful blue and purple and indigo just takes my heart away.


The Actual Review

DEO0BvQUMAA4Vfp.jpgAbsolutely dead.

I am in shock.

On the right is me after I finished Zenith around fifteen minutes ago from now.

Zenith was a true roller coaster ride, and it definitely reached Zenith at the very end of the book. The plot twist at the very end was insane, and I am listening to an apocalypse-sounding-sad song of death.

Words cannot describe how amazing this book is. You’ll know what this book means to me when I do a video review, cus thats when I can show all my emotions. #ded

There was no fear in her eyes. Only a burning anger as hot as a flame.

Starting with the basics, as I said in my video review of the overlapping chapters with the original eBook, there was so much, so much that Sasha and Lindsay and improved on, even if its just the basic sentencing and redundancy issues (yes ever since I went for ACT tutoring these just come to me naturally). And I know just how much they improved, because I annotated 90% of the differences of the eBook VS the ARC. Oh right I’ll be making a separate post on how I managed to GET MY HANDS ON THIS BEAUTY ASDFGHJKL

For the first time in a long time, he felt fully alive.

I haven’t read much Sci-Fi and have absolutely no idea of what is the definition of a good Sci-Fi book, but either way, this blew me away. I always tried to steer away from the sci-fi simply because I’ve never liked Star Wars or Star Trek cus I got haunted by that horned red black face evil dude from Star Wars as a child—with the exception of The Illuminae Files— but I really enjoyed this.

She’d fallen, not for a lover, but for the skies. For adventure.

The bond between Andi and her crew is simply unbreakable, the respect they have for each other and the care they have for each other, their acceptance, their closeness, and more of this would be repeating myself over and over and over again. Can I just say that the AI on their ship, the Marauder, has the most beautiful name on Earth?

Like the stars.

The so called sadistic bounty hunter Dex comes in, and unfortunately Andi and her crew has to hangout to go on some sort of business that I will not spoil you. There is this love-hate relationship between Andi and Dex that is so hard to explain, and their tangled pasts and how that plays out in their relationship? And by the end of the book, seeing these two enemies acknowledging each other is nice to see. There’s always more to this relationship, and its so hard not to spoil you, so I must try my best to seal my mouth shut.

Androma Racella wasn’t an angel.
She was death incarnate.

We get to see the view and everything from three planets: Arcadius, Adhira —home to Lira the pilot— and Xen Ptera. Each of these are unique in their own way, and the vivid description that each of these cities have, the details and the work the Lindsay and Sasha put into describing everything to its finest is what won me over. I love beautiful places and beautiful sceneries, and having such a paradise (well this is ironical) is unimaginable. It’s always hard to start a world from scratch, especially set in different planets in a more futuristic environment, but I think this book definitely nailed that part.

“There’s a million colors up there. A million shades all mixed together. When you look at the world in more than just black and white, you begin to notice them.”

In this book, the story is told from the following perspectives: Andi, Lira (NEW!), Dex, K the female (NEW!), Valen (NOT SO NEW BUT NEW!) and Nor. K the female plays an extremely special role in explaining the story, especially in the very last bits of whats gonna happen. If it wasn’t for her perspective at the very end, my mind would not have exploded into millions of pieces.

“We’ve been through darkness. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still live in the light.”

Oh and if I haven’t showed it yet, there is a huge revelation at the very end, and with the help of K, my mind blasted into 5 million pieces.

She was sound and wind and movement. The elements that made up the world were hers to command.

Androma is such a strong and beautiful character. She’s been through so, so, so much in her past, from unescaping nightmares that haunt her till today, to the binding chains and the broken relationships that she has, she is an absolutely amazing character. And her other self, the Bloody Baroness, the one that stands so strong to defend the ones that she loves, the defend what is right, to stand up once again even if she falls over again and again.

Because it was not Andi who rose, but someone else in her place.
The Bloody Baroness.

At this one planet, we get all the different people in Mirabel Galaxy, and I love how all forms of extra terrestrial beings are included, from rainbow-shifting-iridescent-skinned people to those with 500 billion horns on their head, as well as those with beautiful tattoos all over their body or something.

“Sleep, and remember to dream of the light.”

Nor, the so-called ruthless ruler from Xen Ptera, she’s pretty amazing as well. I think its that special type of light that she manages to bring out, as well as all that she’s been through, that strength inside of her to continue to survive to reach her final goal.

“You will, Nhatyla. You’ll give us all back the stars and more.”

And now that we’re talking about Nor, I’d just like to say that by the end of the book, I seriously have no idea who to put as the villain or antagonist. Some of the characters-that-seems-like-an-antagonist has a soft side to them, and this is reason #2 why your mind will explode at the very end of this book.

The light had finally begun to shine.

Unfortunately if I say more, I will actually spoil this book. Bummer.

“You will join me, Brother, and together, you and I will take back the galaxy.”

But what else do I have to say other than the fact that this book is simply out of this world? When I read the last few chapters, it was as if I was thrown into a pool of feels to drown in and never surface again. And to end this review that is over 1000 words long: (why can’t this be school essays)

Fly true.

 

Book Review: Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh

 

This review is overdue by a week!

I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn Duology by Renee Ahdieh, so I had high hopes for this book, especially for the fact that its set in Japan. How often are novels fully immersed in Japanese culture? not really.


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Name: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher(s): Putnam
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Synopsis

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


Book Cover Comments

That phoenix is beautiful. Though are those peacock feathers?

Also the most gorgeous point of the cover is definitely the throwing star and flowers, and just the way they glow.

Magnifico!

The blade fonts!


The Review

The first part of the book was a bit slow, so it didn’t wow me. Also this book really drove of the Road of Expectations and First Impressions. I’m serious.

As some of you guys might know, this story is a Mulan retelling. Well, at least the basis of it. I had such huge conflict while trying to get my head to read the first part of this book, mainly because I’m Chinese.
And how does this affect it? The problem is, I know Japanese culture really well. Not necessarily history, but I know the culture well. The second problem? I KNOW CHINESE CULTURE REALLY WELL. Due to the beef and history between China and Japan, even those who love both places will never put the two together. These two are just two separate beings.
But when we spin Mulan into Japan, it was just really conflicting for me, because the idea just wasn’t right. More research into crossing cultures should probably be done prior hand, but I mean… books published in America of course set their audience to be anywhere but China…

But Renee Ahdieh successfully rescued this book. And I totally loved it.

In general, Mariko was a really strong character. I love the motivation set in her, and the fact that she knows how to put up an act so that she doesn’t show her weakness. Her knowledge in terms of weaponry was really cool in fact, and it slightly reminds me of the Winner’s Trilogy, where Kestrel also has a lot of brain power in her mind as well. One thing interesting that I noticed is that during the second half of the book, Mariko really grew out of her “i live in a wealthy family” shell. It happens a lot to main characters, but just seeing her have that realisation is really rewarding.

I don’t know what to say about Shinji and Ranmaru, honestly. I wouldn’t say that their character throughout the book thats the one that necessarily lit me up, but a plot point near the ending that actually had me in mental tears. The friendship that goes beyond this two is actually really great and amazing, and the lengths these two would go to protect each other and care for each other, and be by each other’s side.

A little bit about the world setting as well, I love how there are actually historical references to things mentioned in the book. Oh and I really loved the usage of the Jukai forest, because Jukai forest is known for its creepiness. It’s really fun to look up terms and find them on Wikipedia (yes wikipedia i know), and then absorbing a whole lot more knowledge on it.

Also, Renee Ahdieh never disappoints me with the love element. Oh how I died when Mariko and her lover just… Gods. *face goes up in flames*

Also did I mention I love roll credits?

“She was a flame in the mist…”

ROLL CREDITS!

Book Review: The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

 

Another award wining slow as ever book that took me ages to write this review due to procrastination and forgetfulness


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Name: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher(s): Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: September 17, 2013 (Sept 30, 2014 my edition)

Synopsis

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.


Book Cover Comments

I find Ronan’s bald head, eccentric?

Still can’t get over the paintbrush technique over the heart.


The Review

 

This series surprises me.
Series’ usually go from only one person’s perspective, or even if it was from someone else, it highly surrounds the first MC. Not here though!

Right here in this book, and I thought it was Blue all along, we have Ronan playing such a huge huge huge role in this book. If I serve my memory right, over 50% of the content in the book talks about Ronan, because he has a lot of significance in terms of magical abilities, since revealed in Book 1, he is able to take things out of his dream.

What I liked during Ronan’s POV, was that we got to explore more of his fam. His fam is pretty cool honestly. And I kinda imagined his house like the Weasley’s. You’ll know why if you’ve read it or if you’re about to read it. Ronan’s parents actually really fascinate me. Stiefvater, despite having her books set in snail pace, no offence, makes up for it with all the super cool paranormal activity. And what Ronan is able to do, is connected with how the mystical place, I forgot the name, is acting.

Love fueds are born in this book, where Blue tried something that she might never be able to experience the true thing, where Blue discovers that her emotions begin to waver, and where Blue discovers that she might have always preferred someone else over her current so-called interest, and why in the world did she not think about what she saw on the night she saw the dead-people crossing back in book one. Oh Blue.

Now, I don’t think I can say much about Gansey, since this book is really Ronan and Adam based, so Adam time. Adam really shone in the last parts of the book, where he had to embrace what he has and who he is now, in order to maintain order and balance within himself (book one spoilers and secrets). Then things get real cool at the end, though I feel like things get a little bit too, non-realistic.

And a recurring problem I have is, I found myself heavily relying on book recap websites because I can’t really follow the plot sometimes. It just confuses me.

But there was that one line that was the tether to hold on to me to why I know that continuing this book is worth it:

 

In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.