Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: The Demon King by Cinda Chima

“History,' Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. 'Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?' 

'So hopefully we get smarter and don't make the same mistakes again.” 

- The Demon King, Cinda Chima

Fantasy is one of my favorite genres but sometimes it can be hard to find a good fantasy book. It's easy to find a book about dragons, and magic and all that but it's hard to find one with a decent plot that is well thought out. The Demon King was one of those well thought out fantasy books. It had all the wizards and royalty and magic you could want with a good plot to go with it.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her...

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Han is a quirky, funny character who is trying to take care of his family and figure out his place in life. Hes finding it difficult to get away from his past and when he takes the amulet his life just gets harder. . Raisa is fighting her mother, the queen, on everything in her life. She wants to help her kingdom but she struggles gains the expectations of the court.  I love how we get to see Han and Raisa before they meet and see their struggles. Usually the guy character walks in and the focus is on their love growing through the struggles but not with this one. Their was no love. How great is that? They both had sweethearts from childhood but they were minor parts of the book. It just made me feel like crying. 

Cutthroat, subtle, and awesome. That's how I would describe the action in this book. Clans, magical amulets, and a high wizard as adviser to the queen.The book was full of evil plots and betrayal and it was epic. Every time a problem was solved anther one would appear. At some points of the book I got frustrated because the author seemed to be throwing a little to much at the characters. Obviously the author can do whatever she wants but to me it just felt like a little over kill. 

This book is full of side characters that make he book ten times better.  Cinda Chima not only created two amazing, complex main characters but also an entire cast full of little people who really bring the book to life. The friends, the villains, the people standing in the way of our two heroes. I loved them all. It was even hard to not like our villains. And those, of course, are the best kind.

Recommending this book to all the fantasy lovers out there! I'll definitely be continuing the series:)

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Cinda Chima
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review: The Atheist by Alpha Cauwenbergh

"I think therefore I am... I think therefore I am... But I am not, and have never been. I have been thinking for years but still have yet to see evidence for my existence; I guess that is another human saying of theirs that I don't agree with. They are always in my thoughts and in my heart..." 
- The Atheist, Alpha Cauwenbergh.

 When Alpha emailed me and gave me the plot for his book I was intrigued. The idea for this story was unique. The idea of angel like creatures seeing over earth and splitting themselves, and half being punished by being sent to earth was different. Needless to say I accepted his book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julian, a mixed race boy from a broken home is 17 and in his last year of sixth form. After losing his mother in sudden and mysterious circumstances, he grew up with hate and resentment in his heart. His loving father, unable to tame him lives a life unfulfilled. Julian has long since lost faith in religious and academic institutions. God, to him, is nothing but a 3 letter word said by the delusional. 

But, he's about to be thrown in the middle of a war between two beings from a realm above the heavens. A war that transcends time and space, whose battle ground has become the very fabric of existence itself. Its warriors, like fallen Angels, live among us -- hidden within a program designed for their rehabilitation. Julian will rediscover beliefs and emotions he had long since discarded, have them brutally tested, witness things no other mortal man has -- and through these trials discover the true meaning of faith.

At the beginning of our book, Julian is a teenage boy with a bad attitude. He's been given a bad lot in life and that's caused him to be a closed off jerk to everyone around him. I loved watching Julian evolve throughout the story. The way he grew to care about the people in his life was really sweet. I loved Julians dad and how he would slip into French. The nun, Aeryn, was as un-nun-ish as you could get. She was fun and sassy and wouldn't let anyone push her around. I enjoyed seeing Aeryn and Julian interact. The way he wanted to protect her from the evil going on around them and the way she treated him as though he wasn't going to break. 

So our villain. When he came into the story I was horrified. He's despicable in every way. And he wasn't one of those evil characters you secretly loved. He was terrifying. Twisted and psychotic. Every time the story went to his point of view it gave me the creeps. 

I said earlier that the idea for this book was unique. It was in many ways not what I was expecting. I felt that the whole "angel" thing was a little confusing. As was the faith thing. In the end there wasn't a god (or is there and we just have to have faith...?) there were just these beings created from one split being living in another dimension above earth. If you just think in your mind that they're angels it makes the whole thing a little less confusing. I feel like the story could have focused a little less on Julians lack of faith in a god and more on his faith in humanity. 

Depending on your book taste I think this book would be enjoyable. If you don't mind the slow start and the slightly confusing angel thing then its definitely enjoyable. The characters are well developed and the world Alpha has created is interesting. Definitely give it a try. You can't go wrong with "sort of" fallen angels and a lone figure being earths only hope. 

My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Alpha Cauwenbergh
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.” 
- Fairest, Marissa Meyer

When I got this book I was expecting to see tragic things. Because most time, in most stories, that is how the villian is created. Fairest did not disappoint. But it wasn't the tragic I was expecting. I was expecting to feel sorry for Levana and I really tried. But seeing into her mind, what motivated her to do the things she did, killed any sympathy I felt for her. Marissa Meyer really surprised me with this one. 

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Seeing Lunar was really interesting. It was actually pretty similar to earth. Except for the fact that everyone uses a glamour and some can manipulate the feelings of others. I guess if I were born and raised there I would be like everyone else and that's how Levana is. She portrays herself as different but shes just the same as every, other cruel person. The "good" characters in this book are few and far between and they seem to be buried in the Lunar ways.

The thing with books like this is we've already seen the future Levana, so we know that she turns out to be a terrible person. It was truly interesting to see her as a young girl struggling with her identity though. Insecure and a joke with the other people of court. You can see how she got to the place shes at in the first three books  of the series. But I really don't think she can blame it on her family. Some things you could blame on them but the way Levana thinks and the little dreams, and ideas she has are just awful. And she doesn't even seem to think that. She thinks she has a right to do everything shes doing. For herself and Luna. And that makes it ten times creepier.

So you're reading all this and you're wondering why you should read it. You don't need it to read the last book so why bother with something so dark, right? Wrong. This book is dark, and chilling but it's also beautiful. Marissa Meyer blows me away with the way she weaves a story together. You can feel the anger, and distrust of the lunar court. The hatred of the two sisters is always a constant. And the evolution of Levana is shocking. Every chapter she gets a little darker, a little more twisted. And it's sad and terrible and gripping. You want to see her become better. Make the kinder choices but you know she won't.

If you love the series, then read this one. Don't skip over it because you hate Levana. You'll regret it.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Published: 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

“She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose.” 
- The Wrath and the Dawn, Renee Ahdieh

This book was a bit of a surprise. I read it over the course of three weeks and managed to keep it all together. It's so beautifully put together and the descriptions are so vivid. At times the names were hard to keep up with but that didn't keep me from enjoying the book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. zad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Shazi is a girl determined to kill. She comes to avenge the death of her best friend and she is determined to go through with it. When we begin the story its a bitter self sacrificing one. Shazi knows she will likely die but she is willingly to sacrifice herself to save future girls and families from the pain of losing a loved one. But of course as most stories go the bad guy wasn't what she was expecting. Khalid is quiet and sorrowful and as the story continues we see that he is just as determined to see the kingdom survive as Shazi is to see him dead. Or is she?

The way this story is worded is probably what I loved most. It is so beautifully pieced together and the descriptions literally make you feel as if you've been there before. The stories Shazi weaves are intriguing and oddly familiar. The tension every sunrise brings is a continual build up that keeps you reading long past your bed time. I loved every minute of this story. Until I got to the end. Then I just cried and looked up how long it would be till the sequel came out.

What threw me sometimes were the names. It was very easy to get the characters mixed up and most times the switch of perspectives was hard to keep up with. It would go to a different character and I would be lost for a few paragraphs (pages...?) before it would become clear who we were dealing with. I also got really lost at the ending. I had to reread it a few times to make sense of it all. All of this didn't keep me from loving the story though. It was just a bit faster paced then I would have liked it to be.

All in all the story was great. Shazi was spunky and Khalid was stubborn. The side characters (namely Jalal and Despina:) were awesome. The world was creative and filled with magic and mystery. If you love a good retelling then I would definitely recommend this.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Published: May 12, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Unborn by Daniel Gage

"He could see everything in his mind's eye. Every potential path an action could take long before it began, where every flicker of fire could go, and where it would be extinguished. Even color seemed to fade as Zeke's arm traveled through the air, small flames flickering from his fist."
- Unborn, Daniel Gage

When Rachel and Vanquish books offered to send me a copy of this book in exchange for a review I was intrigued. The idea for the book is very unique and I knew immediately I wanted to read it. It didn't disappoint. The world of dealers and unborns is packed full of adventure and just the right amount of suspense.

Goodreads Synopsis:

"It's nothing personal. You're just part of the transaction." 

Cameron Briggs always wondered what the strange birthmark on his shoulder meant. For his entire life, it seemed he was never meant to be anything special, that is, until the day it happened. Something dormant inside of him awoke. 

In the near future, birthright theft is on the rise, a vast network of dealers offering desperate buyers the chance to steal a more desirable next life. Their power and influence is absolute, with little standing in their way. However, unexpected anomalies in the process endow unique abilities to their victims who, once identified, are offered one chance - to save our world or destroy it, one Unborn child at a time. 

With the truth shrouded in conspiracy, Emma Jennings, a troubled but strong-minded young agent with a defiant reputation, is determined to prove these crimes exist. But in order to accomplish her goal, she'll need to find the one victim who can turn the tide of her war. 

Our main female character is the  strong,  independent woman, Emma Jennings.  Shes one of the head agents at an agency researching the second life dealers. I loved how we got to see more of Emma's life as the book moved on. Emma had a tough time growing up ad her focus is on her work. Shes strong and can take a hit. Shes also willing to protect the innocent unborns and take on foes much bigger than herself. Seeing her friendship with Cameron grow throughout the story was really sweet. I loved how Cameron and her were so uncomplicated and knew exactly how to deal with each other.

Now the dealers are just despicable. When I finally figured out how the whole second life thing worked I was disgusted. And I think that's what the author was wanting. Dealer X especially got on my nerves. Hes the all powerful leader and the way he talks and acts just gets under my skin. He was just so untouched by Emma and everything she threw at him. I have a lot of questions about him that need answered please. 

This book was so packed with action. I've read so many books with fight scenes but Daniel Gage takes the cake (is that how that expression goes...?). I found myself holding me breath during fight scenes. They were just so well written and I loved it! And all the unique abilities were fun. It added some really neat surprises to the book. 

The way Daniel Gage wrote the book was really interesting. He mainly wrote from Emma and Cameron's point of view but we also got to see from a lot of other characters. It definitely added a unique feel to the book Most times when an author does this you get confused about who the character is but the changes are all very distinct. It helped with a lot of questions I had but it created a whole new set of them. I really need book two...

I suggest this book to anyone who loves action and/or suspense. This book definitely kept me on my toes with all the crazy twists. 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Author: Daniel Gage
Genre: Action/Thriller
Published: August 15, 2015