Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Review – The Girl from Everywhere

The Girl from Everywhere book coverThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her sixteen years sailing with her father on his ship, The Temptation. She has been across the globe and through the centuries. Her father can sail to any time and place if he has a map from that period. But he has spent Nix’s lifetime looking for one specific map. One that will take him back to Honolulu in 1868; back to before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix has been helping her father obtain various versions of the map even though it could erase her entire existence as she knows it. The premise of The Girl from Everywhere intrigued me right from the start. This book is incredibly creative mixing the time travel with adventure, a modern sensibility with fantasy, and nineteenth-century Hawaiian politics with mythological stories. I found Heidi Heilig’s ability to blend many different themes from addiction to fate to the inevitable love triangle of a YA novel into a cohesive story to be impressive. Her character development is also top-notch. Overall, this novel was refreshing.

Book Review – Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom book coverCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to last year’s novel, Six of Crows. Again, Leigh Bardugo comes through with an engaging, character-driven action story. The story picks up right after the events of Six of Crows with Kaz Brekker and his gang having narrowly escaped their first mission. Now, double-crossed and still dealing with the effects of nearly dying, Kaz must use his mastermind skills to get his friends out of the city. Told in alternating point of view chapters from each of the six characters, Crooked Kingdom takes readers on the same roller coaster ride as its predecessor. And that’s not a bad thing. Having been absolutely taken in by the characters after Six of Crows, I found this novel to be even richer and more captivating. But, beware. Leigh Bardugo is a master of the end-of-chapter cliffhanger! This book is incredibly hard to put down after you get into the heart of the action.

Book Review – A Torch Against the Night

a-torch-against-the-nightA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

The sequel to her bestselling debut, An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night continues the story of the former slave Laia and the former elite soldier of the Empire, Elias, as they flee the wrath of the new Emperor. Laia and Elias head north to the infamous Kauf prison where Laia’s brother has been taken. Amidst a rebellion, ramblings of civil war and being hunted by Elias’ former best friend Helene, Laia and Elias must break into and out of the Empire’s most secure prison. While it was the world-building that drew me into the previous story, in this entry it was the characters, particularly Elias. Ms. Tahir has crafted a truly complex, flawed and yet absolutely sympathetic character. I found myself caring deeply for what happened to Elias and interested in his relationship with Laia. It is going to be a long wait to books three and four!

Book Review – Kings or Pawns

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Kings or PawnsKings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood

The elven city of Elvorium is rife with corruption. The young prince Hairem ascends to the throne and refuses to allow the political machinations of his council deter him from undoing their corrupt power. But Hairem’s task is difficult with an assassin loose inside the city and the traitorous warlord Saebellus threatening to overcome the elven world’s army. Kings or Pawns is a high fantasy political thriller with the essence of A Game of Thrones. While well-written, I feel that the plot of Kings or Pawns sags under the weight of unnecessarily wordy descriptions. Also, I’m very much in favor of good world-building, but the world of Sevrigel still feels slightly too foreign to be relatable. I could not find much empathy in the world nor most of the characters. This series will certainly find its place amongst the trend of stories about anti-heroes and political intrigue novels in the vein of A Game of Thrones, but it’s not my favorite genre.

*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*

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Book Review – All Souls Trilogy

All Souls Trilogy book coversAll Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy centers around witch Diana Bishop and her vampire love Matthew Clairmont. Diana and Matthew meet when a mysterious manuscript finds Diana in the Bodleian Library. Together they must uncover its secrets while fighting forces from all sides trying to keep them apart and get to the powerful manuscript first. Deborah Harkness does a very good job of weaving her story together. I read all three of these 550+ page books back to back to back. Her protagonists are thoroughly engaging and continue to grow and change throughout the story. It also has a satisfying end with enough drama ebbs and flows to hold the reader’s attention till the conclusion. It is easy for me to see why these books have been so popular in recent years.

Book Review – Forestium

Forestium book coverForestium by Christopher D. Morgan

Joshua, a young Woodsman, from the village of Morelle, goes in search of his missing father and discovers a much deeper destiny. He and his companions must find three magical orbs to open the Portallas, the gateway between worlds before the evil creature, the Goat, finds them. This self-published fantasy novel was professionally edited which is always a huge plus for me, however, the writing still seems underdeveloped. The characters and the story are lacking complexity and final polish. Also, while I appreciate a quickly moving plot, the character development felt rushed and unbelievable. The protagonist and his love interest fell deeply in love very quickly without any substantial descriptions of how their feelings evolved. I would have liked more depth in this novel given the story’s potential.

*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*

Book Review – The Divine

The Divine book coverThe Divine by Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, and Boaz Lavie

The Divine is a dark fantasy graphic novel about an American explosives expert sent to the fictional country of Quanlom, where he gets in the middle of an army of children led by two magical brothers. The story, inspired by a photograph of the real Burmese twins who led the guerrilla group God’s Army, twists myth and truth into magical realism at its best. Asaf and Tomer Hanuka’s art is starkly riveting. Their use of color brings emotion and tension to the beautiful drawings. This kind of story is not something I would normally pick up, but I’m glad that I did because I was drawn into the tale of dragons and ancient spirits.