Monday, July 21, 2014

Review of The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Title/Author: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness
Publisher/Date published: Viking, July 15th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches — with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.


So I was one of those people who was not so patiently waiting for The Book of Life. I very much enjoyed the first two books in the series and was like OMG FINALLY I WILL KNOW THE SECRETS IN THE BOOK OF LIFE. I'm not very good with not knowing things.

I have to confess that I had forgotten probably a lot of details from Shadow of Night, because sometimes I felt myself wondering about things that were going that I felt that I should know. Mostly because these are big ass books. And because it has been two years. And also because sometimes I just forget things. But that didn't make me enjoy the writing any less, and I have to say that I could just slide back into this world even if I didn't have all the information I should have. Deborah Harkness just knows how to weave a story, like Diana knows how to weave a spell, and I was (to stay on topic) enchanted. It's a dreamworld and I wish I could live among these people and call them family. Even if I'm still not fully sold on Matthew and his overprotectiveness, but that's the 21st century independent woman in me speaking.

I loved seeing Diana grow throughout The Book of Life and this series as a whole. She learns a lot about herself and her powers and is truly a good person, and courageous and just plain awesome with magic. I loved seeing her go all mama bear, just as I did in Shadow of Night when she became a mom to Annie and Jack. And let me just say that her and Matthew's children are VERY interesting. VERY interesting. I wish I could study them.

But while I really like Diana, I think the characters who have stolen my heart must be Gallowglass, Jack and even Ysabeau with her fierceness. I just want to hug them and they bring comic relief and just a whole lot of love for these wonderful people. And I also found a character to truly despise: Benjamin. When you meet him, you'll understand what I'm talking about. He is awful.

I loved seeing it all come together, though at times I was kinda wondering if maybe Diana wasn't a bit too good to be true, BUT I could put that aside and just enjoy the book, so it was all good. And I do very much like the answers I got, I just wish there would have been even more and maybe there's room for a sequel? Pretty please? There are still some things left to discover in this world I think.

The Book of Life was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I'm still very glad I picked up that copy of A Discovery of Witches at the book store and these characters and this story came into my life.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Title/Author: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt & Company, July 8th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight — but she doesn’t — and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom — to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive — and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets — even as she finds herself falling in love.

So you guys, I just finished it and I LOVED IT! Seriously, I kept thinking about this story even when I wasn't reading and found myself debating whether I should just cancel some social events so I could keep reading it.

I really enjoyed Mary E. Pearson's writing style, she kept me engaged and made me want to know more. The storytelling easily sucked me into this tale of a princess who just wants someone to love her for who she is and isn't scared to work for what she wants, throw in two boys, one of them being the prince and one an assassins sent to kill her and you have one very happy Daisy. There's a lot of things I still want to know about the Remnants and what exactly of all these stories is real and what's not, but I'm counting on there being more of that in the next book.

I loved Lia. I love how she's determined to make a living for herself and how she manages to outwit the trackers sent after her. I love how she's doesn't hesitate to get her hands dirty and how protective she is of Pauline, her friend. She's also fierce and isn't sitting around waiting to be rescued, but tries do rescue herself. And she's also intelligent and compassionate, so yeah, basically, my kind of girl. I'd want her as a friend if I lived in that world.

And then there's the boys. I'm firmly rooting for one of them because he is awesome and I cannot tell you anything else about it, because it will surely spoil the book for you a bit, but let's just say that I adore him and he is amazing. And also: YES SWOONY TIMES! I loved how their relationship grew and it's just a whole lot of yes.

So this is my kind of book, The Kiss of Deception made my fantasy loving heart very happy! This book came into my life when I needed a distraction from some personal stuff going on and it provided just the thing: a story I could get lost in and a heroine to root and cheer for. Add a swoony boy and you've just made me one very happy girl and I cannot wait for the sequel! There are still more secrets left to discover and more adventures to be had with these characters!

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Title/Author: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie
Publisher/Date published: Del Rey, July 15th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: “I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

So I read The Blade Itself about 4 years ago and while I liked it, it was a bit gritty for my tastes and I still haven't continued the series. But when I heard about Joe Abercrombie's YA series I knew I had to read it, because it sounded amazing. It was also one of the Top Ten books on my summer TBR list. And guys, I totally loved it!

I loved Joe Abercrombie's writing style, I just seemed to breeze right through this book, effortless reading because of awesome storytelling! Which was a different experience than I had with The Blade Itself, cause I struggled with that one a bit. But Half a King was a book that kept nagging at me when I wasn't reading it that I should really get back to it, because things were happening and I needed to know what those things were and just YES! A whole lot of YES because I've read a fair amount of books while I was on vacation and a lot of them were kinda meh but this kept me hooked during the flight back.

I really liked Yarvi. Yarvi is awesome. He has one not fully formed hand and it's made him the perfect candidate for mockery by a lot of people. I loved how smart he was and his sense of humor and just that he knows his limits and knows what he can do as well as the things he can't. And I also loved that he doesn't let it hold him back and finds a way to make things work for him, he is a man with a mission and I respect that. He reminded me a bit of Tyrion and that is pretty much one of the highest praises I can give a character.
And I also loved Nothing with his 'steel is the answer' attitude and just general badassness and a hint of madness.

So there's plots and treachery and unlikely friendship and bloodshed and holy crap revelations and just a whole lot of awesomeness to go around. Basically I'm saying you should read this, because I can't wait to get my hand on the sequel!

My rating: 5 stars