Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 77)

BOOK REVIEW – A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen’s Thief #4) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen’s Thief #4) by Megan Whalen TurnerA Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief #4)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the Magus and Eddis, sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever

Look, I’m not going to beat about the bush : yes, I know that the relative absence of Eugenides as an explanation for my rating is ridiculous. I objectively, honestly know that. Now, does that change in any way the fact that my heart is ridiculous by essence, because that’s what hearts do, right, falling in love, breaking, and so on, as the unruly little shits they are? Well, no.

I can stress
a) how captivating A Conspiracy of Kings is ;
b) how brilliantly Megan Whalen Turner handles the POVs ;
c) how endearing and interesting Sophos is (and his growth! Awesome stuff here, I’m telling you!)

(we could go all day, but I’ll choose not to, if that’s okay with you)

… having said all that, I can’t ignore that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did books 2 and 3, and I very much believe that it’s because Eugenides’ interactions and tricks are necessary for me to give it a full 5. Sophos is a very good character, but he lacks Gen’s spark.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

HOWEVER, let’s not make it seem as if A Conspiracy of Kings wasn’t an amazing YA Fantasy novel, alright? Because just thinking about what that genre offers us 99% of the time, there’s no forgetting that Megan Whalen Turner has by far the upper hand over Morgan Rhodes, Sarah J. Maas or even – and I do love them – Cinda Williams Chima or Julie Kagawa. By the way, I saw readers shelving these novels as middle-grade, and I wonder… Is that because there’s no sex scenes, even fade-to-black? No, I have to ask, because I genuinely do not understand what’s so childish about intricate conspiracies, complex characters, a writing very engaging, blurred lines between good and evil – there’s no such thing as a moustache-twisting villain in these books, but rather, complicated human beings who make the choices they think are best… Perhaps I am deluded about what is Middle-Grade and what it is not, but please enlighten me? Or maybe not, as I’m quite convinced that I wouldn’t agree with you. So there’s that.

“Then I walked to my bed and sat, making a show of careless bravado by crossing my legs and slumping as if I had not a worry in the world. In other words, I gave my best imitation of Eugenides.”

Anyway, as usual with series, I won’t rehash the plot because
1) You may not have read the other books, and would probably burn me at a stake if I spoiled you, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
2) I tend to repeat myself in these cases and I assure you that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of my disheveled rambling when this series is concerned. Trust me. Or no, better : ask my friends.

On a final note : Yes, every one of Eugenides’ apparitions gave me life, and I’m almost certain that would I reread A Conspiracy of Kings later, I’d probably give out a 5 stars rating.

For now, I’ll have to accept that I am not an objective reviewer.

*snorts*

As if it existed.

BOOK REVIEW – The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #3)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Eugenides drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

Hurry, hurry, and listen carefully now, because god helps me, View Spoiler » I’m feeling so elated that I’m not sure I might not burst into flames shortly. So here it is : The King of Attolia is without any doubt one of the best book I’ve ever read, View Spoiler » and Eugenides – that brilliant, clever, endearing, funny, perfect snake is currently looking down at us, perched at the top of the podium of my favorite characters. You may bring your offerings.

That is all.

NOW EXPLAIN WHY YOU ARE SLEEPING ON THIS SERIES

 

BOOK REVIEW – The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #2) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #2) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #2)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

DON'T READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BOOK ONE OKAY

Revenge
When Eugenides, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

...but
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

...at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...

4.5 stars, rounded up because…well, if you must know, because Eugenides. Hellooo, name’s Anna, I just finished The Queen of Attolia and my mind is utterly blank.

I’d say I’m speechless, but everyone knows that I always confuse talking with breathing so nope, not happening. However I am genuinely sorry but I don’t think I’ll be able – or even want to – put my thoughts into words this time. First because there are many outstanding reviews out there already, given that I’m late to the Gen-is-awesome party ; the second – and perhaps the most important – reason would be that I want to warn you, yes, YOU THERE, you who haven’t read this series yet, and who wander oblivious, unaware of the merits of this little gem, you, I strongly advise you to stay clear from any review and savor these novels blind.
(she says, after providing links to other reviews… the irony is not lost on me XD) Trust me, the experience will be better (why am I under the impression that I’m some sort of dungeon mistress here, that I do not know).

If you really need a little more incentive, trust this : The Queen of Attolia is splendidly plotted, its word is inhabited by characters you will adore and want to protect under fire (when you won’t be strangling them, but), including strong women (yes PLURAL), a poisonous snake (I KNEW HE WAS A SLYTHERIN COME HOME GEN BABY) and a minister of war who doesn’t know that he’s hilarious (to me), the writing… well do tell, what can I say about a writing so compelling that I’ve read the damn book in a few hours, barely stopping to eat? Huh?

Now if you would excuse me, I might forget to look at my watch (3:55am, dammit!) and maybe start The King of Attolia, because if you should know something about me, it’s this : my restraint is so thin, I wouldn’t see its threads if I looked at them in full light, and I’m not one bit ashamed.

PS. Am I the only one wondering how old Gen is, exactly?

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Thief (The Queen's Thief #1)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.


Huh. I really, really liked this? True enough, I’ve decided to start The Thief in order to get to the sequels – that all my friends adore – and somehow I was at peace with the probable boredom I would feel during this first novel and… My enjoyment felt so
effortless?
From the characters to the world and the writing, I’ve been enchanted. Truly.

“I hate horses. I know people who think that they are noble, graceful animals, but regardless of what a horse looks like from a distance, never forget that it is as likely to step on your foot as look at you.
“What?” I dissembled.
“Get on the horse, you idiot.”
“Me?”

So there’s a lot of walking around as I’m sure Fantasy writers are somewhat paid by hiking brands but eh! I wasn’t bored. I said that! So. We’re not confronted with Frodo and Sam level of walking, therefore I’m still here and not sleeping on my couch, drooling. That’s something! And for those of you who swear by TLOTR, that’s okay! We can be friends still! I’m not lending you my couch though. YOUR CHOICE.

Anyway, in The Thief, Gen and his *cough* companions have a mission : to steal a magical stone that will have the deplorable effect to give immense powers to the King of Sounis, a… complete asshole. Don’t be too hard on Gen, though : that’s not as if the boy had a choice, being a prisoner and all. Their journey gives us the opportunity to learn more about the world Megan Whalen Turner created, as well as the characters and the complex relationship they develop between each other – there’s more than meets the eyes, and I live for this stuff, okay?

And how I loved following these characters!

“For my part, I wanted Ambiades to understand that I considered myself a hierarchy of one.”

● Sophos, you’re too sweet for this world, let me cuddle you what stop blushing
● Ambiades, what’s your deal shut up shut up I am annoyed
● Magus, I’ve still not forgiven you for the beating
● Pol, ehhhhhhhhhhhhh
Gen! Little filthy mouth! Quick-witted and arrogant little thief! I ADORE YOU. He shows just the right amount of selfishness and cleverness to appeal to me and I can’t hide that I loved his voice. Indeed the story’s told through his POV, and having started The Queen of Attolia, which is told in 3rd person POV, I can say this : The sequel’s writing is objectively more elaborate and I really enjoy getting to know other characters and seeing Gen through other people eyes, but in my opinion the choice of the first POV for this debut is perfect, needed, even, as it makes it so much easier to connect with Gen at first and I’ve never wanted to let go. Now I’m ready to meet more characters, and the author’s choice is perfect.

Ohhhhh, and I know that some readers were annoyed by the Mythology bits but have you met me? Sure, the folklore is not so discreetly ripped straight from Greek Mythology, but as I LOVE these tales I was damn pleased. In the end, I am so, so curious about the directions Megan Whalen Turner will choose for her story, I cannot wait a day to find out. I need more.

Now, let me confess you something : The Thief tricked me… and I couldn’t be more happy. If you’re curious to know where my weird mind went, and you HAVE READ THE BOOK, please look at the spoiler below and… shake your head at me, I guess. I am shameless though, because being so far off made the experience even better.

View Spoiler »

Oh, well. In the end, I am so glad I was wrong, and I can’t recommend The Thief enough : even if this first novel is by no means astounding, it’s short, fun, and you’ll meet the most endearing thief I’ve ever read about. What more could a reader ask for, really?

PS. I’m sorry, this review is TERRIBLE, but I need to get to The Queen of Attolia so… priorities, you know.

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1)

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1)Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1)
by Rachel L. Dementer
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

* * *

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Beauty of the Beast is a slow-burn romance that features a descriptive, richly detailed, and atmospheric writing style. (l

I need to scream the word *TRIGGER* because there is extremely graphic rape. It is not glorified but it is extremely disturbing.

The writing hooked me from page one. I mean seriously guys, this might be the best prologue I’ve ever read. I was floored and TOTALLY into it. I had no doubt it was going to be a five star book.

And then things started to change. First of all, I need to commend the writing. I can’t even tell you how many lines I highlighted because of how beautifully written this book is. The rest? Perhaps its personal preference, but the story just didn’t work for me.

While the story is reminiscent of the Disney version (probably the closest I’ve read yet), it still holds up on its own as unique. No magic here folks, and it is MUCH darker. Not to mention the issues the book deals with (everything from abuse, rape, PTSD, etc.) Does it handle them well? Most of the time, yes, but I definitely had some issues with it. Especially with the rape. No, it is not glorified in the least OR made romantic in any way, but my question is… why? Why describe it in great detail? (No, it isn’t the beast who does it. It’s the ‘Gaston’ character – FYI.) I don’t know, I was just disturbed.

The other issues I had were the pacing. While I wanted to soak up the language, I was also trying to keep my eyes open for large chunks at a time.

The overall story (I.e. the romance) was okay at first, but then got cheesy, lustful, and just not my cup of tea. I think I’m just done reading Beauty and the Beast retellings. It’s more than likely personal taste, but I’m just not into the disturbed man going after the damsel in destress trope. I’m probably in the rare on that one. This book also reminded me of ‘Romancing the Duke’ – so that’s probably a good tell on whether or not you’ll like this. I see some comparing it to Phantom of the Opera and that kinda fits too (but I LOVE Phantom of the Opera soooo I don’t know.)

Additionally, I didn’t connect to the romance. The author was certainly going for the ‘healing’ aspect of romance – where both characters involved are recovering from PTSD – but I just didn’t buy it. Lust overtook the healing aspect and it just felt awkward at times.

I don’t want to say too much more, aside from that I DID appreciate little bits, for instance – Isabelle DOES stand up to Adam when he crosses a line / personal boundaries.

Anyway, I think I’m a rare one here, as I’ve seen only positive reviews for the most part. But it just wasn’t my cup of tea, unfortunately.

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