Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: LGBT Fantasy
How I got this book: Bought
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
I finished this book last night and, even though I don't know how to find the words to express how utterly perfect this book is, I just had to write my review.
This book is perfect.
There's a quote on the cover saying that it's almost perfect and honestly, I'm calling BS. This book is stunning and I wouldn't change a single word.
“I'm afraid I don't have magic."
"You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”
I've been a fan of TJ Klune's work for quite a while, and I've never been disappointed by his books, but at the same time, I've never been completely and utterly blown away either (although, it's come extremely close - see The Bones Beneath My Skin) until now.
There's something so magical, warm and heartfelt about this book and its weird and wonderful cast of characters, as they battle against a reflection of our society and government.
Watching Linus grow, and his unconscious effect on the inhabitants of The House in the Cerulean Sea was so moving it had me in tears numerous times.
"I am but paper. Brittle and thin. I am held up to the sun, and it shines right through me. I get written on, and I can never be used again. These scratches are a history. They’re a story."
The writing is beautiful and the message so very poignant as it drives home the importance of equality and the need to challenge prejudices.
“Your voice is a weapon. Never forget that.”
Every single character in this book is amazing. The children are wonderful, varied and not at all what you'd expect, and I love each and every one of them. If you asked me to choose my favourite, I simply couldn't; they're all too precious and unique.
Linus is a fantastic protagonist. His flaws are on full display and his transformation throughout the book reads like a phoenix rising from the ashes. He's a brilliant character to behold as he grows in confidence and awareness, and can we just take a moment to enjoy the fat main character rep we have here?!
“Why can’t life work whatever way we want it to? What’s the point of living if you only do it how others want you to?”
My only criticism has absolutely nothing at all to do with the book itself. It lies in the narration. I began listening to this book on Audible and no matter what, I just couldn't get into it, which led me to give up for a while until I could get my hands on the hardcover, which I then fell into and never wanted to leave.
Honestly, if you're actively looking for a book that will give you the mother of all book hangovers, this is it. Prepare to fall in love.
"Don't you wish you were here?"
Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
How I got this book: Audible Purchase
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Review by Sophie.
TW: Racism, discrimination, animal abuse, institutionalisation.
OK, so here it is…The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E Harrow. One of the most highly rated and anticipated books that I’ve seen this year, and one that I was extremely hyped to read myself...
“It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”
…and I can honestly say that I did NOT enjoy it.
(And yes, I feel like I can actually hear everyone’s sharp intake of breath right now).
Alright, let's start at the beginning – it's not all bad. So, let just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the front cover is, I mean its so pretty! And truthfully, I think the front cover reflects on the writing style quite a lot, and that is something I did like about this book. The writing was flowery and intricate, and really is a work of art.
"Words and their meanings have weight in the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy."
But I can’t help but feel like the story got mixed up in all of that. The opening chapter was intriguing and filled with mystery and questions, and I’d already got such high expectations for the book, so I couldn’t wait to get started.
Unfortunately, after the first couple of chapters, I found that the introduction of new characters made the whole thing messy and confusing. I really wasn’t keen to pick it back up and carry on reading and struggled the rest of the way through.
At around the halfway mark I felt like I was starting to break through, the plot was making more sense and things seemed to be going places. For me though, this just wasn’t enough and truth be told the characters actually ruined this for me. I just couldn’t connect with any of them. The only character I cared about was the dog ‘Bad’ and was genuinely traumatised by what happened to him, which kind of left me on edge for the rest of the book.
Abuse and discrimination have a very strong role in the book, January is raised by a racist man, and the book is written in a place and time where discrimination is very real, institutional behaviour is recognised throughout, not only by January's guardian but also physiatrists, which I wish I’d known before I started reading the book.
I can understand why so many people love the story and I'm happy that they found the magic within, and I’d never want a review to tarnish or put someone off reading it just because of my opinion, so I would still urge anyone to read it, but all in all, it just wasn’t for me.
Rating: 4 Stars
Series/Standalone: Seekers #1
How I got this book: ARC from the author
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
TW: Abuse, rape, violence.
This is the first book that I've read by Josie Jaffrey, but when I saw the book advertised on Twitter as 'Vampires, murder mystery and a bi love triangle', I instantly wanted to read it.
As a side note, I'm loving that we're getting more bi-rep in Fantasy!
So, to begin with, I felt that the pace was a little slow, and it took me a while to get into what was happening. However, I think that may have been down to my reading preferences, more than the writing itself, as I rarely lean towards mystery/crime.
But, saying that, I quickly realised how great of a character Jack Valentine really is. I love how the author has created a hero who is not the typical gorgeous, glamorous, put-together person but is flawed and relatable.
Jack is a bit of a mess, she's always running late, almost always hungover, usually wearing the same unwashed clothes and she really couldn't give a shit what anyone thinks.
I love her. She's fiery, sarcastic, and she carries the story well.
"Come to think of it, being Silver is kind of like being bisexual. I came out to them when I was sixteen and they never believed that was real, either."
The pacing also picked up, for me, pretty quickly and I flew through the book.
I'm not going to lie, I think the pace really picked up and my interest piqued when we first meet Killian Drake who is just....*swoon*.
"Go on, Valentine." He pulls me in close with one hand and strokes my cheek with the other. "Pretend that you want me."
Killian is fun to read, he's dark and brooding but cocky and entertaining, and at times sweet and uncertain. Next to Jack, Killian is my favourite character, and I actually didn't feel that he was utilised enough in this book, I just wanted more.
Which brings me to my first actual issue with this book, the love triangle. I'm not an enormous fan of love triangles anyway, but I enjoyed how this triangle did a wonderful job of illustrating Jack's sexuality.
"And just because I'm bi...I mean, that's not how it works. I don't need one of each, you know? It's not like I'm missing out. That's not the way I am."
However, while I felt that Tabitha was a potentially interesting character, one that could build well overtime, I didn't sense any actual chemistry between her and Jack. There were no sparks, no sizzle, nothing. It felt like a dead relationship to me, and not one that could contribute to a believable love triangle.
So, for me, that element just didn't work, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next book and whether that dynamic improves/changes any.
In terms of the plot, I really enjoyed the mystery element, the setting and the variety of characters, and I spent a lot of time trying to work out who the 'killer' was, and I have to say that I didn't guess, it was a complete twist that I hadn't at all expected.
"We're not generally in the business of guarding the humans from themselves. We only exist to guard them from others like us.
I also felt the author handled a lot of darker themes (see TW above) woven into the story well, making the case not as straight-forward as I'd expected.
Overall, I think this was an interesting start to a new series, and I'm really looking forward to more of Drake's charm and Jack's wit in the next instalment.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Historical Fiction
How I got this book: Bought
Seventeen-year-old Aderyn ("Ryn") only cares about two things: her family, and her family's graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don't always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as "bone houses," and legend says that they're the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.
Review by Sophie.
TW: Horror. Zombies. Death.
I’ve thought about how I’d write this review for quite some time now, and truthfully I’ve kept changing my mind every five minutes, so I’m just going to jump straight in…
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK!!
The front cover gives you an idea of how utterly beautiful and atmospheric this dark fairy tale is, and I will point out that I picked this book up on a whim, as Zombies really aren’t my cup of tea. But, I can honestly say that Emily Lloyd-Jones quickly worked her magic when it came to me how much I treasured this book, which left me with tears in my eyes.
The book itself is, I think, classed as a horror, but it’s certainly not at all on the level of a Stephen King novel, and I’d say it's only mild. I love how the quirkiness of the main character eases some of the tension during the more suspenseful scenes.
“I suppose it could have been bandits or maybe one of his chickens got hold of a blade, but I don’t think so.”
This story is set in ancient Wales, and first, we meet Aderyn (Ryn). She’s protective and loyal, and I really loved her sarcastic wit and charm.
Oh, and did I mention, she is totally badass?!
“There was a young woman. She was a fearless creature – a girl who would chase death into the mountains. With only an axe for company…”
Ryn lives with her younger sister Cerri, her brother Garreth, (and their pet goat). After the loss of their mother and her father missing, presumed dead, Ryn sets out foraging in the woods, remembering her father's warnings, when she stumbles across Elis, a Mapmaker.
Elis is a strange boy surrounded by mystery, not really knowing who he is or where he came from, after being found alone when he was very young with an injury that still plagues him. I really like how the author constantly reminds you of the struggle Elis has when contending with his injury, and highlights the effects of having a disability without making the character seem weak or any less of a real person.
As the story progresses, the relationship between the two grows beautifully, and I love how it felt natural rather than rushed, and that both characters, despite being having very different personalities, were very well suited.
“She reminded him of an ocean - beautiful, with enough salt to kill a man. He suspected it would take a knight or a hero of legend to impress one such as her.”
The writing style was intricate and beautiful, and the pace of the story kept the tale intriguing, with action, mystery and an unravelling romance throughout.
I think before I’d even finished the first chapter of the book, immediately I knew I was already being absorbed by it, and how the author describes the devastating heartache of loss and family bonds is truly heartbreaking but beautiful.
Another thing I really loved about The Bone Houses was the setting of the scenes and how easily the plot flowed. I loved the Welsh folklore, and the detail surrounding the mines, caverns, village and the mysterious woods; and how the imagery was effortlessly created in my mind.
Now, I must say I did struggle to choose my favourite character, as I found quite a few of them to be loveable. So, I’ve narrowed it down to Ryn, who, as I said before, is a total badass…with an axe!
“If I come across a problem, I take my axe to it. Or bury it. I'm good at burying things.”
But I must say, my all-time favourite character was the legendary bone goat! This strange creature shows true loyalty and is plain awesome. If there’s one reason to read this book, it's definitely the goat!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Scholomance #1
How I got this book: ARC from Cornerstone, Random House UK via NetGalley
Learning has never been this deadly
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
I'm giving 5 stars to my girl El because she deserves every single one of them!
"Yes, now I was worrying I'd be turned to the dark side by too much crochet."
I've started this review several times, always with, I love this book because...and then about ten things immediately spring to mind.
So, instead, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I loved the premise. The synopsis grabbed me instantly and I couldn't wait to dig in.
But, it took me a little while to get really into the book. I knew that I liked it, but I wasn't really sure why. Then, it did a complete one-eighty on me the more I got to know El.
I'll be honest, in terms of actual plot, not a great deal does happen BUT this is the first book in the series, and it's clear that there's a lot of setup going on AND we do get fantastic world building, character building and really great monsters.
El though is my new hero. I absolutely love her, and might also be a little in love with her. It's really not often that you're introduced to a morally good character that's also incredibly powerful, witty, stubborn and 100% interesting.
"I love having existential crises at bedtime, it's so restful."
It's El who makes this book worth reading, and I love the humour she brings while at the same time bringing a lot of heart to the book, making you really care for and root for her.
The premise is fantastic - it's a school that almost tries to kill you!
"The school has to be fed somehow."
I love that the traditional "hero" trope in this book is turned on its head and I just love the dynamic between El and Orion. Think Legolas and Gimli, but a little more frank.
"Lake, I hate you more than words can possibly express."
The secondary characters are also fantastic and add a lot of unexpected humour, tension and drama to the plot.
"Mom told me that all boys are carrying a secret pet mal in their underwear, and if you get alone with them they let it out."
As the tension and danger built throughout the book, I really wondered how it was going to end but it was great, with just enough tension to keep me hanging on for the next one.
Overall, a fantastic start to a new fantasy series! I can't wait for the next instalment!
Rating: 5 STARS
How I got this book: Birthday gift
This powerful debut novel delicately blurs the line between truth and fiction as Carol unravels the fantastical stories of her mentally ill grandfather. When she and her family move to his deserted ranch in order to transfer him to a care home, Carol struggles to cope with the suffocating heat and the effects of her grandfather's dementia. Bees seem to be following her around, but the drought means this is impossible. She must be imagining things. Yet when her grandfather chooses her as the subject for his stories – tales of a magical healing tree, a lake, and the grandmother she never knew – Carol sees glimmers of something special in what her parents dismiss as Serge's madness. As she rethinks her roots and what she thought she knew about her family, Carol comes to the realization that Serge's past is quickly catching up with her present. A stunning coming-of-age story.
TW: Mental Illness (Dementia), Grief
This book was chosen as our very first Turn The Page book club read, and you can catch our chat about this book on Tuesday 14th July 2020. You can also join in our Twitter book club chat on Friday 17th July 2020 (just use #TTPBookChat)
I want to start by saying that I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did.
I purposefully didn't find anything out about this book aside from the blurb on the back cover, and so I didn't even know what genre this book was, which I'm actually really glad for because I had no idea at all what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.
I did have some issues with this book, mainly with the parents. I mean, first of all, what parent would leave a 12-year-old child alone with a grandfather she's never met who has severe dementia and a baby?
I understand that the parents were struggling with grief and pain in their own ways, but it just didn't sit well.
For the first couple of chapters, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book, it just didn't 'click' for me until Serge began to tell his story and after that, I was hooked.
I loved how, from this moment, the mystery and magic built quickly until I was fully immersed in the story. In fact, I was so lost in the story that I didn't realise how quickly I was reading it and then all of a sudden I was at the end.
And for once, I was completely and 100% happy with how a story ended! No cliffhangers, just lots of possibilities.
Overall, I was blown away by the quick-pace of this book and the magic-filled family history. I was fully invested in both Carol and Serge's characters and loved their dynamic.
Rating: 3 STARS
Series/Standalone: Folk of the Air #3
How I got this book: Bought
He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
Why are endings so often disappointing?
Maybe it's the fact that, as readers, we just don't want to say goodbye to characters that we've grown to love (or love to hate) or that we'll miss those worlds we lose ourselves in too much or that we just wanted MORE!
Sadly, none of those things is true for how I feel about the end of this trilogy.
For me, this entire book felt a little lost, pointless, and the ending was predictable and way too neat and tidy.
There were just so many moments where I felt that the whole thing was a bit stupid i.e. (no spoilers!) when Jude figures out Cardan's trick, when Nicassia DOES NOTHING and when Jude can't figure out the most obvious clue in the history of clues!
I feel a bit like the characters were done dirty by the author, they almost seemed dumbed down, their relationships rushed and everything tied up with a pretty little bow that made no sense and contradicted past behaviour and key character traits.
I was angry that Nicassia had almost no role in the book. Where was the vengeance, the drama, and the blinding jealousy we've come to expect from this series?
Why was Jude so compliant? Where's her spine, her defiance and the warrior nature that's she's built up over the past two books?
Maddox was boring, for want of a better word, and completely predictable. He had me rolling my eyes.
And Cardan was too damn tame. He completely stopped being interesting.
The big shock twist was completely predictable, and was I the only one picturing Jafar in Aladdin at this point?
Yes, this is a bit of a rant post, BUT I didn't completely hate this book.
I still enjoyed being back in the world of Elfhame. I enjoyed the politics and the scheming, even if it was more toned down than I'd have expected and I did still, in some ways, find the relationship endearing.
The pace moved quickly enough and I finished the book in just a few sittings. I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading the book, I did, but I didn't LOVE it the way I wish I had.
Overall, I can't lie that I am disappointed with the end of this series, but I am glad that I got to spend time in this world.
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: Bought
On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...
Review by Sophie
TW: Slavery, discrimination, attempted rape, animal abuse.
They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
Okay, so first things first, I TOTALLY chose this book purely on the look of the front cover. I loved the whole slightly Gothic and dark feel the design gave off, and so I jumped straight in.
Before starting, I had no idea that it was kind of a retelling of Dracula, but from his brides’ point of view. This is a story of sisterhood, female love and relationships, and the utter brutality that is life. It's about bravery and heartfelt sorrow. I love the idea, and its an intriguing back story, although I just wish this book was a little longer with a few more chapters to give it that depth that I feel it's ever so slightly missing.
First, we meet Lil, I love how she’s so harmless and sweet, living in the shadow of her twin and more than happy to let her fiery and passionate sister Kizzy make the decisions and run towards danger.
On the day that they are captured into slavery, Lillai is anticipating the outcome of her diving day to see what future awaits her and Kizzy. The girls are part of a small group of travellers who keep to themselves and appreciate what nature provides for them. I like how the writer describes and really shows the hate and discrimination towards travellers, how others perceive them as being lesser, not deserving common decency, and sadly this rings true as an issue not just in fiction.
I absolutely love the character personalities in this book. You have Kizzy and Lil who appear to be like yin and yang, the strong and fearless mixed with the shy, quiet and easy-going. Then we meet Mira, a slave who’s truly been brutalised and tortured, yet still manages to find kindness in her heart, especially towards Lil. Their relationship is cute and heartwarming, and honestly just makes you melt.
Soon we meet the cruel and heartless Boyar Valcar and hear whispers of the Dragon, known to be myth and legend. I was a bit annoyed that there wasn’t more detail surrounding these characters. I know the story is intended to focus on the girls, but I would have really liked more detail surrounding the Dragon, just to give a better idea of him and his personality.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to have a sister or best friend, you can appreciate and completely relate to the bond and relationship that Kizzy and Lil have. How they endlessly defend each other and have a mutual understanding of how the other feels.
I really liked reading The Deathless Girls, it was easy going in terms of pace, perhaps a little too easy-going maybe? I think it only took me a day to finish. It has a good flow and pace, and the ending really just leaves you wanting more.
I'll be completely honest and say that I did expect and want more than this book delivered. I felt that there was some detail missing and it wasn’t quite as dark as I had anticipated. However, the ending was brilliant, and somehow still caught me off guard.
I really hope that there’s more to come from The Deathless Girls.
Rating: 4.5 STARS!
Genre: Adult Fantasy/LGBT
Series/Standalone: The Nevernight Chronicle #2
How I got this book: Bought
Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.
When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
If you're looking for a bloody spectacle of a book with more 'boobs and blood' (Jay Kristoff's words, not mine) than its prequel, you'll love Godsgrave.
At the beginning of this book, we rejoin our heroin but not where I expected to. The first half of the book jumps between the present day and four mounts prior and leaves you doing a lot of guesswork as to what's going on and why.
Mia is still on her quest for vengeance and blood and it leads her in new directions and to new, shocking revelations.
What I love most about Mia is her 'couldn't care less' attitude and I think, in particular, the way that Jay Kristoff writes her sexuality (and her self-discovery) is really beautiful (not a word often used to describe this series) but the fact that when Mia recognises her sexuality and just accepts it, without a thought of what anyone will think, it's just perfect and personally, I want more bisexual heroines like this.
I'd waited a while since finishing Nevernight to read Godsgrave (I wanted to read it closer to the Darkdawn release - more on that later) and I was so excited to get back to the characters that I'd grown to love in book one, but what I hadn't expected was so many amazing new characters that really made this book something special.
I'm going to start with my absolute favourite new character Sidonius who is an absolute legend. I love him and his crass, no filtered mouth and personally, after reading this book I just want someone to be proud enough to call me a 'magnificent little bitch!'
The author introduces several other characters; Maggot, Bryn and Byern, Wavewalker, Bladesinger, Furian, Arkades and Dona Leona - all fantastic (and terrible) in their own ways and fantastic additions to the cast.
I loved each and every moment with these characters including the unexpected surprises they delivered at the end.
Now, I have rated Godsgrave at 4.5 stars instead of 5 and that's simply because I enjoyed Nevernight more. Nevernight blew me away, I'd never really read anything like it and it both shocked and thrilled me.
With Godsgrave there were certain parts, and please don't hate me for saying this, that felt a tad predictable and a few revelations that I'd already guessed back in book one and so, whilst the characters themselves deserve the full 5 stars, for me at least, the book itself didn't grab me quite as much as Nevernight but it was still an immersive, thrilling second book of the trilogy and I'm both excited and terrified of what's yet to come.
A Conversation with Jay Kristoff in Manchester
Last night was the Manchester stop on Jay Kristoff's Darkdawn book tour and I was lucky enough to grab two tickets for my partner (also a huge Jay Kristoff fan) and I.
Let me just say that the 1.5 hour drive to Manchester was not enjoyable in the slightest, neither is driving in central Manchester - why do pedestrians just walk in the middle of the road and where the hell are the road markings???
Anyway, after holding our breaths as we dodged pedestrians, trams and other vehicles, we finally made it to Deansgate Waterstones in time for the event.
Listening to Jay Kristoff was a slightly surreal experience. I've read a few of his books (admittedly not that many); Nevernight, Godsgrave (which I finished at 1:30am the day of the event) and Illuminae (which is incredible) and I was almost nervous to meet him if that makes sense; you know what they say about meeting your heroes.
But Jay was fantastic, he was incredibly funny, intelligent, kind and witty and hearing about his methodology (writing Godsgrave in Venice), his inspirations (Roman history/politics and Ludovico Einaudi) his funny anecdotes (like the time he almost died in Venice, and getting his wife to proofread his sex scenes) and gaining a little insight into the mind behind these incredible books was a fantastic experience and well-worth the wait, even if we sadly couldn't get any of our books signed due to the massive wait time (5 year old girls will wait for no one, even someone as talented as Jay Kristoff).
Now I'm off to try and pry Darkdawn from the hands of my partner who stole it while I wasn't looking!
Rating: 4.5 STARS!
How I got this book: ARC via NetGalley
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
I love it when you read a book that isn't tagged as LGBTQ+ but it turns out that it is! (Especially when it's representing your own identity!)
It wasn't much, just a fleeting mention, but it sort of changes the way you connect with a book and it's characters when you see part of yourself reflected back at you.
I was completely intrigued by the bio of this book (and the cover because let's be honest, it's gorgeous and looks a lot like an A Court of Thorns and Roses novel) and when I started reading I instantly fell under its spell.
The main draw for me at first was the books, which are fantastic and such a great concept - it reminded me so much of The Pagemaster (if you haven't seen this gem, just go and watch it, you won't be disappointed!) and I felt so nostalgic! I love how the books are such an integral part of this story from start to finish, how they change and the secrets they hold, it's all fantastic!
What's also amazing (and unusual) about this book is that I loved each and every one of the characters. Elisabeth is so relatable and if you love books, you're going to love her and see a lot of yourself in her. She's fierce, courageous, loyal and true. Her bravery in the face of insurmountable odds is stunning and she makes a fantastic heroine.
Nathaniel's expression grew odd. "You like this place?"
"Of course I do. It has books in it."
Then we have Nathaniel, who is just delightful and now one of my favourite male characters. He's a tortured soul (because this is a YA and he has to be dammit!) with a dark secret (see last bracketed note), but he's so sweet and just adorable. I love how his and Elisabeth's relationship grows, their chemistry is so sweet. The fact that he continually calls her 'menace' and 'terror' is too adorable and their story has a real Pride and Prejudice vibe to it (but with magic and swords!)
"Of course you can stay, you menace. It isn't as though I could stop you even if I wanted to."
Then we come to my absolute favourite character in this whole book - SILAS!
Silas is amazing, he starts the book as such a sinister, menacing character and by the end, you just want to put him in your pocket and protect him from the world. He's such an incredible character with a level of sass that's off the charts. At one point he basically bitch slaps another character and it's glorious!
He looked aggrieved. "I have hardly been absent for twenty-four hours, and already the world has descended into ruin."
Through Elisabeth, the author weaves a fantastic feminist tale, putting into sharp focus the hardships faced by women at the hands of men, and the struggles women have to stand up and be heard when opposing a man. I particularly love the juxtapositions between certain real-life events.
To think that the world could fall to ruin due to the decisions of a single small-minded man in charge - that was all it took to doom everyone-
The ending of this book almost had me in tears, and truly, I'm so glad that this book is a standalone because, whilst I would love to revisit these characters, this book is fantastic as it is because of that stunning ending.
So, if you're looking for a feminist fantasy with a Pride and Prejudice style romance, magic, demons, swords and more books than you could hope for, go read Sorcery of Thorns.
Have you already read it? Come chat to me because I have so much to rave about with this book!
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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