Book Review: Unraveller Audiobook by Frances Hardinge

Thursday 17 November 2022

Unraveller Audiobook by Frances Hardinge

Thank you to Macmillan UK Audio and Netgalley for the audio book of Unraveller for an honest review.

In Kellen and Nettle's world anyone can create a life destroying curse but only one person has the power to unravel them. Not everyone is happy about this and suddenly the two are in a race against time to save themselves and others who have been touched by magic.

An original and creative YA fantasy from Frances Hardinge involving magic, curses and creatures of myth. I loved the idea of the story however the audio book felt overly long which made me loose interest. I think there was just too much crammed into the story. Too many cases of Kellan and Nettle going to different towns meeting new characters learning their stories and unravelling their curses.

As we met so many characters through these many sub-stories I found myself forgetting who was who a bit. Therefore I felt some  of this could have been cut down in the story.

That aside the narration on the audio book was very good and Hardinge's writing as usual was eloquent and captivating.

The story itself was a very creative and original idea and well worth a read or listen. I did enjoy it however I just felt there was a few too many characters and sub-stories added into this title which led to confusion and disinterest as it felt a tad repetitive. Which is why I have rated the title 3 stars. 

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao

4.5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the advance reader copy of this book for an honest review.

Lan spends her night as a song girl in Haak'gong a city transformed by conquerors who invaded her kingdom, killed her mother and outlawed her people's magic. She is searching for anything she can find of the past trying to understand the mark burned into her arm by her mother, her last act before she died.

The mark is mysterious and untranslatable and no one else but Lan can see it. That is until a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life one night.

Zen is a practitioner of the Last Kingdom who's magic was rumoured to be drawn from demons they communed with.

Zen can see Lan's mark and he recognises that she is a practioner with a powerful hidden ability. The mark isn't anything like he has ever seen but he knows deep in the pine forests that there is a school of practitioning masters who are planning to overthrow the Elantian regime who may have some answers.

Working together both of them have secrets that they hide and both hold great power. Fate has connected them but their destiny remains unwritten.

A fantastic start to a new fantasy series steeped in Chinese folklore. With well crafted characters and well written plot lines full of adventure and magic.

The story was fascinating and addictive until the very end. Lan and Zen are both likeable yet flawed characters both with complex backgrounds.

The aspects of Chinese mythology were woven well within the story and gave great insight into the cultures folklore.

A fantasy novel I would highly recommend reading full of many twists and turns that were not obvious and well crafted!

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston

Thursday 10 November 2022

Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston

3.5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advance reader copy of Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston for an honest review. 

Ava has been determined to avenge her mothers death ever since she was murdered by a vampire when she was a child. However no one has seen a vampire in years and she isn't sure she will ever find one until she stumbles across a hidden magic show where the illusions she sees cannot be anything but real. Maybe these magicians can lead her to the vampires that she has been searching for?

The magicians are part of a secret society who have true magic, power which Ava also has in her blood. They want her to join them and in return they will teach her to hunt vampires and help avenge her mother. However to do this and keep the power being offered she must take part in a deadly competition putting on the performance of her life. In this competition illusion and reality blur and the stakes are deadly. 

This book is described as Caraval meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I was incredibly excited to read this as Buffy is my favourite TV show and Caraval is one of my favourite book Series. 

You can 100% tell that aspects of this book were inspired by Buffy a girl discovers a power she has and needs help in training. The brooding and moody antagonistic love interest Roman gives Angel vibes. The initial love interest and friend is called Xander and the other trainee in magic who becomes her best friend is called Willow need I say more. 

Alot of the references felt very on the nose and I almost felt the book became a tad predictable because of this homage as some of the side plot lines were very similar to Buffy plots lines and this took away from the story abit for me unfortunately as it was too similar. 

This is a shame as the other aspects in the story were very unique including the whole magic system and how the magicians gain and boost their magic. As well as Ava's quest to avenge her mother and overcome her past trauma. That aside I did really enjoy the writing style and found myself being drawn into the competition and all the magical acts described and fantastical elements described. 

The main love triangle was very similar to Buffy season 1 and it was clear who Ava would end up with following that theme. The twists and reveals did keep me engaged overall and I did enjoy the writing style and the story. 

The many comparisons just made me feel like the book didn't quite hit the mark hence the 3.5 star rating. 

Overall an enjoyable YA fantasy read and a good choice if you still don't want to let go of spooky season. 

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer

City of Nightmares by Rebecca Shaeffer

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC of City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer.

The book follows Ness who has been terrified of Nightmares ever since her sister became a man eating spider and slaughtered their father and others. In Newham dreaming means waking up as your worst fear, this could be becoming an actual monster or just waking up to look like one.

Ness does not want to be a victim so she joins the Friends of the Restful Soul an organisation that may be a cult.

After a job gone wrong Ness needs to prove herself worthy to remain so she takes a job delivering the post via boat. This however blows up in her face quite literally. After the boat is targeted by an assassination attempt Ness is one of the only survivors along with a boy who is a living nightmare. They must work together to uncover the sinister truth and return back to Newham, but can Ness get over her fear of Nightmares and work together with this boy?

I really loved the premise of the book it was a refreshing idea and the story was executed very well! I enjoyed follow Ness's character arc and her bond with her best friend Priya. It was refreshing that as the main heroine in the book Ness is flawed and working through her past trauma to overcome her fear of nightmares.

Helping her to do this is Cy's character who became a vampire via nightmare because his father is one and he did not want to be his father.

This book had lots of good twists and turns. The setting was great reminiscent of Gotham and the monsters ad nightmares were pure chaos you didn't know what would be faced or appear next.

A well crafted fantasy story that I would recommend everyone read, it was a refreshingly different take on the trope of dreams affecting real life and it was highly enjoyable.

The ending leaves the book open to a sequel and I look forward to seeing what comes next in this series.

Thank you again to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the advance reader copy for an honest review.

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Friday 4 November 2022

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Thank you to Netgalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for the advance Reader copy of this book.

The story follows Cambridge professor Emily Wilde a genius and scholar intent on writing the world's first encyclopaedia of fairy lore. Her research takes herself and her dog Shadow to the village of Hrafnsvik. Despite being a scholar Emily is not good with people and does not intend to befriend the townsfolk. Unfortunately her academic rival Wendell Bambleby arrives into town, he manages to charm the townsfolk and get right in the middle of her research.

While studying the secrets of the Hidden Ones (the most elusive of all faeries) in the forest outside of town. She finds herself being drawn also to uncover the mystery of Wendell Bambleby and what he really wants.

I wasn't sure if this book was for me on reading the synopsis but reading the arc completely changed my mind I absolutely loved it.

The book itself is set out in a diary or journal format where Emily is keeping notes of her research and finds in Hrafnsvik. This format made the book itself a quick and engaging read with short chapters or diary entries.

The slow burn dynamic between Emily and Wendells characters works really well with a ton of clever dialogue. You can't help but have a complete soft spot for Wendell throughout the whole story he is definitely a loveable rouge type character. He was definitely my favourite character.

I thought I was done with my faeire fantasy fiction phase but this book just dropped me straight back into it. This story it one I would recommend for fans of The Cruel Prince or Namomi Noviks work. 

Overall this was an incredibly heartwarming and cosy read that reminded me a tad of watching a comfort show or a Studio Ghibli film. I would definitely recommend giving this a read and I will be looking out for more of Heather Fawcett's work. 

Thanks for Reading! 

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