10 MASSIVE Books

As a reader with a short attention span long books are a bit of a chore. And, contrary to what my parents believe, I don’t spend my whole life reading. I actually often avoid bigger books because slumps and possibly book commitment issues (come on if your book is more than 500 pages it’ll require some serious dedication). But there are the odd exceptions and there are books that I just wish would never end, so at times a meaty read is worth it.

This Top Ten Tuesday is all about massive books we’ve read, so here’s my list.

1. The Book Thief (584 pages)

I saw this on a few lists and was honestly so surprised to see how long it was! I raced through this novel and it never felt like it dragged or could have been shorter.

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (766 pages)

I remember this Harry Potter book being massive, with the paranoid ministry mucking around in Hogwarts and Fred and George causing even more havoc, this weighed down my school bag for a good two weeks.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic (400 pages)

Although this book isn’t as many pages as the others on this list it was a pretty dense book and takes up quite a bit of room on my shelf. The plot itself takes place over only a handful of days but I remember the pacing being really good so who knows how the author managed that one!

4. Jane Eyre (500 pages)

When I read this novel for school, before I’d discovered the joys of YA, I remember thinking it was really longggg. And that books suck. Who even was I?!

5. The Bone Season (480 pages)

I guess in the midst of my dissertation this novel felt longer than it was, but at 480 pages it’s still a pretty hefty tome. Also when I googled it’s page number it took me ages to find it since the protagonist is called Paige and Google decided to be phonetic about this.

6. Septimus Heap Fyre (528 pages)

I don’t remember any of these books being particularly long when I devoured them as a kid! But apparently Fyre was huge!!

7. Children of Blood and Bone (525 pages)

This book felt all the fatter when I pointlessly lugged it to YALC to just miss out on meeting author. Cry.

8. Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light (624 pages)

The book that got so freaky I had to finish the last few pages on the kitchen floor (since the other rooms in dad’s flat are dingy). I remember it being a brick when I lugged it home, the hardback element not helping.

9. Birdsong (407 pages)

This book felt quite a lot slower than it was, dragging out the war and aftermath. Although I did enjoy it and it was well written I found it could have been a bit more punchy.

10. Great Expectations (544 pages)

I had to read this for school and I remember my class didn’t even finish it since it was so dense. Although I was so cool at school that chose to read it after class… Yep I was that kid.

Lets Compare Notes

What’s the biggest book you’ve ever read? Have you read any of the books on this list? Got a list of your own to share? Would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Fooley

Ace of Shades follows the finishing school to-be-graduate, etiquetly trained, ballerina poised Enne as she visits the back streets, gang headquarters and sleazy casinos of New Reynes, aka The City of Sin. What could go wrong?

And if you think those are a juxtaposition, then you’re not alone.

After the revolution New Reynes, once home to the royal family, fell into poverty. A few years on and it’s overrun by gangs, drug abusers, gamblers and casinos, making money the only way it knows how: sleaze. Desperate to find her adopted mother, Enne travels to The City of Sin and teams up with her opposite: street gang leader and card shark Levi. Together they brave some of New Reynes’ most rotten bolt holes (and that’s really saying something) in a hopeless search for a woman who is most likely dead. Oh and to make things worse? Levi owes the most powerful man in the city £10k, due in ten days.

Ace of Shades offers a rare addition to fantasy YA: it’s post revolution. I’ve read countless YA that depict the fall of a once horrible tyrant, we’ve followed teens with bows, staffs and magic as they all attempt to overthrow whatever horrible government rules them. But I’ve never seen before Ace of Shades the other side. The aftermath. The struggle of a new government getting on it’s feet and what sort of government you’re putting in power if they rise through violence.

These questions are presented to the reader as the sense of a foreboding second revolution shrouds the novel. The current PM plays a deadly card game called “The Shadow Game” where there are no winners, just survivors. Betting your life instead of chips, this intimidating game is the technique the new government use to swiftly execute their rivals and we reluctantly watch our protagonist teeter on the edge of playing.

“The worst hurt in the world was the kind you grew to accept.” – Enne, Ace of Shades

Enne made for an interesting protagonist. She has seemingly very few initial survival skills and doesn’t have the strong resolve I’ve come to expect from a YA lead. She cries when things go wrong, is lead around more than makes her own choices and runs rather than fights. But that isn’t to say she’s soft. There’s a constant hint she’s something more, and the further she goes into New Reynes underbelly the more she comes into her own. Her character developments are fast and resolute as she becomes more adapted to a city she shouldn’t be in at all. With the world constantly stacking against her and her life unravelling as a lie throughout the novel the changes make sense, although they do scare both the reader and her fellow characters.

Levi’s stays more consistent than Enne’s. He starts the novel as a hopeful card dealer, determined to make it big in a city that is unforgiving. Even with an impossible debt to pay he believes he’ll still be able to become something great, and his optimism never really fades. Despite having seen all the streets have to offer and surviving the worst, Levi, unlike Enne, still fails to grasp that there are no winners in New Reynes.

“He’d bet everything he had in the game, and he’d lost. But the city wouldn’t greive for him. The city would find a new con man, some new boy who called himself a lord, and the city would play again.”

My main issue with this novel was the plot falls. In an attempt to keep this review spoiler free I won’t go into all of those here, but too many times did subtle details not make sense. Why important government officials made it their business to personally execute teenagers or why seeing auras conflicts with a glass blowing career were just two key plot points that made no sense to me. I wasn’t sure if the author had glossed over facts that were necessary for the plot of if she’d had to cut detail due to lack of space, but a lot of points didn’t make obvious sense to me. The book had some clever twists and turns that did seem to make sense but it felt unrefined on many plot points.

The writing style is easy to read and simple, with small snippets of details that helped keep the reader captivated. The plot was dotted with romance which wasn’t very subtle but didn’t detract too much from the story. This romance felt a bit forced on the characters, with little more substance than finding the other one attractive. The characters didn’t obviously pair well together and had seemingly little in common that would make them work as a couple. Although this was a minor key in the story telling and didn’t take away from the book.

“How did you put it earlier?” He grinned. “Oh, right, ‘You’re one of the villains, now.'”

Overall, I enjoyed Ace of Shades. The pacing was good, the story was fun and the setting was unique. I felt the plot needed refining but the unusual characters and exciting backdrop helped mitigate this.

⭐   /5

10 Books by Authors I Love

I am very guilty of buying books by Authors I love. It doesn’t always work *cough*The Casual Vacancy*cough* and you do have to check out the blurb before diving in, but here’s a list of ten books I can’t wait to read by tried and tested authors!

Also please ignore the weird bold thing my phone was doing, it’s a little slow in the morning.

1. Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan

After the second Trials of Apollo I’m sort of going off Rick Riordans books a little bit, I know tragic. But I did enjoy the first Magnus Chase so I might say goodbye to a world I’ve loved for years with this series.

2. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

I don’t know what’s got me wanting to read another series by Cassandra Clare all of a sudden, possibly all the Shadowhunters drama on Twitter recently, but I’m thinking of giving her London series a go. See if it’s as funny as The Mortal Instruments was. Also my phone just corrected that to the mortal insurance and I find that too amusing.

3. Midnight by Derek Landy

Demon Road looked scary and the end Skulduggery was a little stomach churning so it is with great trepidation that I accept the challenge of reading Skulduggerys latest adventure.

4. Children of Blood and Bone 2 by Tomi Adeyemi

As far as I know (but feel free to correct me) it has no name, no release date but is definitely a thing. A thing I really want to read.

5. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Because the more I mention that I will read this the more chance I have of actually picking it up? Maybe? Yep that totally makes sense.

6. Legendary by Stefanie Gaber

I just finished Caravel and my days it was amazzzzing. Can’t wait to read the sequel, which is already out!

7. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I really loved The Hate U Give and can’t wait to see what she writes next!

8. Priory of an Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Might be because the cover is so pretty and has a DRAGON on it (I very much like dragons) that’s making me want to read this novel. However it is a brick so let’s not take this one too seriously…

9. Vicious by VE Schwab

I’ve been really enjoying her Shades of Magic series and since everyone keeps talking about it on Twitter I really want to give it a read.

10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I loved The Kite Runner and And The Mountains Echoed so feel like I’d enjoy another of his books. They’re so powerful, emotive and well written, definitely need tissues if I’m going to attempt this one…

Lets Compare Notes

Would love to hear your opinion on my list! Have you ever read any of these gems? Have any suggestions? Who’s your favourite author? Did you do this ttt? Feel free to drop a link or a comment!

Reading Hyped Books: Pros and Cons

What’s this? A discussion post? Do I have opinions behind all the tags and lists I post? Possibly not but let’s give it a go anyway.

I started my blog earlier this year and since then have tentatively started talking to other bloggers (urg why is socialising so hard). I’ve found myself reading more fantasy YA, more hyped and sought after novels than ever and adding suggestions to my tbr more than before. So here’s my question:

Is it a good thing to read mostly hyped novels?

This blog is, shamelessly, a YA book blog. And most of what I read is YA, but not everything. I occasionally dip into classics (I know grim) like Pride and Prejudice or read historical fiction like Birdsong. I’m currently reading a non fiction book about a man who was a prisoner of war in Japan and loving it.

These rare detours I take from YA fantasy give me new prospectives, new stories and, if nothing else, a small break from a genre of books which, let’s face it, are all eerily similar. But I find myself wanting to read away a lot less now I’m a blogger.

I always seem to be following the hype to the latest big release and missing the small gems in the middle

The way I used to pick up books has changed. I used to walk into my local library and skim my fingers over glossy covers, flick through front pages and skim read blurbs until I’ve chosen a book. I didn’t trawl through endless Goodreads reviews, scroll through blogs or take recommendations. It was all very random. If you see strange and unheard of books featuring on my Top Ten Tuesday lists then this is why.

I’ve found hidden gems that never made it big, sat in lonely fandoms and met characters that are mostly unknown to many but a few. Not all bad really since I read more diversely.

There’s something relaxing about reading a book with no hype, having no spoilers and no expectations.

You can blog about an unknown novel and feel you’re really helping that author, if you enjoyed their book. You won’t join a batch of fifty other bloggers reviewing the book that week, your opinions feel a tad more fresh and more unique.

And if you manage to find a rare individual who has also read that novel it’s amazing. You can compare notes and swap opinions in a way that is more personal way than the short bursts of ‘ah I loved that book’ I seem to send when the novel is hyped up.

But I was finding myself more often in a slump. I remember reading a book called Hunting Lila that wasn’t awful but was very meh. At least with a hyped book you know what your getting.

Books don’t always live up to their hype but if they’re well known they will rarely leave you in a slump

At least that’s what I’ve found. Even if the books awful I’ll usually push on to finish it just so I can add my two pence to the excited conversations on twitter about the novel. So I could conspire about the sequels and understand the jokes or quotes being tossed around. Fickle I know but I like to feel involved.

And then there’s the small snag of my blog. I can rave, review and mention (sorry couldn’t think of another r word there) about all the niche novels in the world and not get the same interaction on my tweets, Instagram or blog that I would when chatting about one big release. And I didn’t start a blog to sit the corner and be lonely.

Whether you love or hate a hyped up book you can always chat to someone about it.

I don’t want to just read what everyone else is reading but at the same I time I sort of… do? It drives traffic and interaction to my blog like those niche little reads.

So, overall, you’ve read this entire post and come in true Hannah style to no conclusion. Is reading loads of hyped books a problem? I guess I’d conclude that it’s all about balance and reading what you feel like without stressing too much about missing those big new releases, because sometimes the smaller releases are just as good.

Lets Compare Notes

Would love to hear your opinion on the topic! Am I mad, do you agree? Is this post on rather a null point (I’ll try not take offense 😝)? Feel free to leave a comment!

Fall TBR

In England fall basically means rain. Forget your romantic notions of crispy orange leaves and woolly hats, think more soggy shoes and damp, frizzy hair. It’s a horrendously wet season that holds a few very key events: my birthday, bonfire night and the date the John Lewis Christmas Add is released.

And with those key dates in your diary here’s the books I’ll be reading this fall, snuggled under a blanket, in my thickets socks, listening to the patter of rain on the windows.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

How have you not read this??? I hear you cry and yes, I have no idea how I’ve managed not to read one of the biggest fantasy YA series for so long, please don’t unfollow this blog out of principle. I plan to soon fix the situation. Honest.

2. The Railway Man by Eric Lomaz

What’s this? A non-YA book on my blog? And a non-fiction no less. Wow if you weren’t hovering over the unfollow button earlier then you definitely are now. This novel follow the author and protagonist through his experience of the second world war where he’s a prisoner and forced to work on one of the most deadly railway projects ever endeavoured. And yeah, it’s pretty good.

3. The Raven King by Maggie Steivfater

Time to see if everyone’s favourite private school boys find that Welsh King, and who’s getting that wish.

4. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

Because of this novels brick like tendencies I’ve been putting it off (I know, I know, that is in no way a valid reason for avoiding a book). But I hope to make amends this fall and actually read part two! Maybe. I don’t know, that things pretty hefty.

5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

It might just be all the pretty pictures I’ve seen of this book, surrounded by model ships, compasses, maps, sea shells and other assortments of sea related treasures, on bookstagram but I’m really excited to read it! And yes, I am fickle enough to just want the book because Instagram.

ttt-falltbr.png

6. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Because a little Riordan humour always brightens up those frosty fall mornings.

7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamiliton

If you at all follow this blog (you wonderful wonderful bookworms) then you will know that I love Alwyn Hamiliton’s books and will shoe horn her work into any and most Top Ten Tuesday. So, of course, I am so excited to finish her trilogy this fall.

8. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Recently discovered this is a seven book series which, I’m not going to lie, is a little daunting. But if it’s seven books I really need to get cracking on book two.

9. Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Have I mentioned before that I’M GOING TO SEE HAMILITON IN FEBUARY???! Yes? Oh. Well, of course to further the hype I must read the book.

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I really enjoyed Code Named Verity and it’s been far too long since I’ve read one of Wein’s female pilot based escapades.

Let’s Compare Notes

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall? Have you read any of the books above? Are you looking forward to the John Lewis Christmas add? (Don’t lie, you are 😉 ) If you have or haven’t done this topic then it would be great to hear from you! Let’s compare TBRs!!

Books to Read in Pairs

Like Frappuccino’s and books, everything comes better in twos. Tom and Jerry, Ben and Jerry (lot’s of Jerrys in these iconic duos), Sherlock and Watson, Watson and Crick (there’s a Watson theme now…) garlic bread and pizza, ice cream and flakes (I’m just hungry now) I could go on. So why not books? I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Beth at Reading Every Night to do this quite funny tag all about books that go together **cue Greece Music**

The Hate U Give and To Kill a Mockingbird

Similar themes, both with an important message and narrated in a YA coming of age style. Also they both centre around a court case so yeah a pretty good pairing in my humble opinion. Almost as good as butter and icing sugar…

Caravel and The Night Circus

Do you like mystical games? Do you enjoy scary circus’s and cryptic characters and never really knowing what’s going on? With a dramatic ending to top it all off, accompanied by a sinister back drop? These two would make great shelf buddies.

The Hunger Games and Divergent

Because if you’re a fan of strong female characters, tyrannical governments and rebellions that teeter on the edge of failure then give these both a read. A combo as good as chocolate and raspberry.

Children of Blood and Bone and Skulduggery Pleasant

Both full of funny, confident characters, mystical powers and a girl who has no idea how powerful she is. Lot’s of laughs and quips ensured if you read this duo, as great Nutella and cheese. And yes, that is a thing.

Children of Blood and Bone and Rebel of the Sands

On a similar vein to The Hunger Games, these are stuffed with rebellious teenagers, tyrannical dictatorships, powers no-one quite understands and a writing style that’ll knock your socks off. A great combo in my opinion, almost as good as chips and mayo!

I Tag

Nut Free Nerd (Who loves pairing books in her posts!)

Shealea

Melting Pages (Who recently posted about dynamic duos!)

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Sorry if any of you have done this post before!

Let’s Compare Notes

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my picks? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

10 Hidden Book Gems

You may find this hard to believe but this post is not actually about jewellery. Or gold rushes. Or burried treasure. No, I have something far better to offer than diamonds and rubies: books.

Please refrain from being too disappointed, this is a book blog after all, what were you really expecting??

Anyway, as this is a Top Ten Tuesday, here are ten hidden gems and I’m secretly hoping some of you will have heard of these niche tomes yourself.

1. Crusade

This story, my days I loved it. All about one boy going on the crusade from his small farming village, coming face to face with a merchants son and realising the crusades were maybe not as noble as he was led to believe? Just perfect.

2. Code Named Verity

I’m never sure how niche this little gem is? Either way, you should give it a go because I absolutely adored it and there are PLANES and SPIES so what more could you want?!

3. Child X

Narrated by a girl who becomes the centre of a media scandal when her father finds out she isn’t his daughter…

4. Time Riders

Anyone remember reading about three teenagers and a genetic mutant named Bob holding up in a New York side street and travelling through time to fix messes caused by rogue time time travellers? No? Didn’t think so.

5. Heist Society

We’ve all read Gallagher girls but have you met it’s slightly less legal shelf buddy? Want to read about teenagers robbing art galleries and admire some impressive heists? Step right up.

6. Mirror Dreams

I had to include it. No one’s ever heard of it but I loved reading about Kite, his world of dreams and crazy dream magic.

7. Septimus Heap

No one’s ever read it, the plots are slightly silly and the names are very uncreative (the chief wizard is the Extraordinary Wizard, they live in The Castle, I could go on…) But this gem is just great.

8. Hood

A prince becomes a rebel in his own land when the Normans lay claim to Wales. A twist to the Robin Hood story we all know and love. Expect many bows and arrows.

9. Warrior Cats

Because how can you not want to read a series about cats living in clans and fighting each other for territory as a kid?!

10. Blackbird

When her sister is murdered, our protagonist is trapped between moving on and catching the killer, but when her investigations prove more fruitful than expected she finds herself faced with the same peril as her sybling…

Lets Compare Notes

Better than diamonds and rubies or a poor show? Have you read any of these? Have Top Ten Tuesday of your own to share? Would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Top Ten Female Book Characters in STEM

Hello hello! Sorry I haven’t posted much this week- it’s been rather hectic! Since getting my new house (I now have a move in date!!) I’ve been packing, picking out furniture, meeting landlords and all sorts of other fun things 😀

Anyway, today’s Top Ten Tuesday was a freebie to do with school or learning so I decided to do a topic on inspiring female characters in YA fiction who are engineers! This is a topic very close to my heart as I’m a female computer scientist and appear to be a bit of a minority in my field. I always get a little over-excited when I read a book and there’s a girl interested in machines, or computers or maths or anything because yay for girls in STEM!

1. Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Violet had to be top of the list because she was one of my favourite characters growing up. I remember trying to tie my bob-shaped hair up with a piece of ribbon once (to no avail- it didn’t help I couldn’t even tie shoelaces at the time) like she does every time she’s required to invent or fix something for her constantly in peril brothers. I didn’t even realise being a girl interested in computers was unique when I was a kid thanks to characters like Violet!

2. Leyla from Traitor to the Throne

I don’t want to write any massive spoilers in this post but lets just say Leyla doesn’t exactly use her machines to help Amani’s rebellion. Which is a shame because when we first met this character- a girl in the Harem who liked to fix mechanic toys for the littler kids– I was super excited, even if she was perceived as weird.

3. Hermione from Harry Potter

Hermione isn’t a female engineer, and I’m not sure whether charms or potion making count as STEM subjects or not, but one of the reasons she really inspired me as a kid was because she was hard working. Whereas Harry was clearly a natural Hermione puts the effort in, reading the text books before the term starts and studying really hard, even when fighting Voldemort she’s done her research! As a kid who wasn’t a natural in class, I have been known to bring text books on holiday many times, it was really inspiring to read about Hermione putting the effort in.

4. Maddy from Code Named Verity

I read this novel last year and absolutely treasured Maddy. A girl who loves engines and machines, who learns to fly planes and won’t take any stick from anyone for being a female in a man’s world. Yes. Totally perfect. This also led me to research the ATA and I read a few of their stories and the genuine Maddy’s out there were very cool.

5. Liz from Ghallagher Girls

Liz, in Cammie’s little group of three at school, is the computer genius. She can hack into anything, loves prime numbers and is constantly discussing technology. She a little shoved behind a screen while Cammie and Becks do the spying but at least she’s in the novels!

ttt-femalestem

6. Nyssa from Heroes of Olympus

What are the odds you recognise this daughter of Hephaestus? She shows Leo around camp when he first arrives and works at the forge as an Engineer. I vaguely remember her being somewhat responsible for the three-legged race that is a little deadly as it’s through the Labyrinth, but we’ll gloss over that.

7. Liesel from The Book Thief

Like Hermione, Liesel isn’t an engineer but for want of tenth addition to my list I thought I’d include her. She might not have been interested in machines but she has a healthy appreciation of words and learning so is still pretty inspiring.

8. Laura from HIVE

Laura is a computer genius from Scotland, admitted to HIVE for using her hacking talents to way-lay FBI satellites and spy on some girls gossiping about her at school. She’s my favourite character from these novels, and one of the few female engineer protagonists on this list that doesn’t just sit behind a computer screen and miss out on all the action!

9. Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi

Ok slight confession, I’ve never read the book and have no idea if Dimple actually can code. But I’ve read the Goodreads synopsis and had heard this novel was about a computer scientist? I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here (come on authors, write more female engineers!) so correct me if I’m wrong.

10. Opal Kaboi from Artemis Fowl

Opal is sadly the bad guy (or I should say girl) in these novels, having some strange vengeance against Artemis’s engineering centaur friend who beat her in a science contest at school, but she is crucially still an engineer owning her own tech company. It’s just a shame she comes across so bitter on the page while the boys in the novel interested in tech (crucially Artemis) are the heroes.

comparenotes

So there you have it! Ten fictional girls in STEM! Admittedly that list was quite hard to make but one of my favourite Top Ten Tuesdays to write yet. If you know of any characters I’ve missed or haven’t read then please comment! I will almost definitely enjoy a book with a female engineer in 😛 And if you did this topic I’d love to hear your take on the topic or read your post if you link it 😀

10 Books to Bring you out of a Slump

It’s a universal truth that reading slumps suck. However, yesterday me and my book blogging friend sat at a bus stop and discussed this Top Ten Tuesday topic and came to the conclusion that we have the cure to all your reading slumps. A list of ten books so un-put-downable that you’ll never slump again, only crave more bookey goodness.

1. A Darker Shade of Magic

Despite being long (I find longer books aren’t always great for slumps) this novel is exciting, fun and very pacy. It trapped me in during my exams after a slump of “I’m reading too much for revision and don’t want to read in my free time”.

2. Rebel of the Sands

I know, I know I bang on about this series way too much but it genuinely did pull me out of a slump. The first one is also short, fun with an easy to follow story-line, won’t bog you down at all!

3. The Exact Opposite of Okay

Short, funny and very easy to read. If you’re feeling bogged down this will definitely cheer you up.

4. Maximum Ride

Ok, admittedly I read these when I was quite a bit younger but they are so funny it barely feels like reading. From Max’s witty narration to great descriptions of flying the first three of these kept me thoroughly entertained on a one ill-thought through night during my GCSEs.

5. Caravel

Again, a short novel but very easy to read. It’s got action from the get-go and just recently pulled me out of an albeit small slump!

ttt-readingslump.png

6. Children of Blood and Bone

This novel is rammed with action, exciting characters and twists and turns galore to always keep you at the edge of your seat. It’s so well written you’ll soon finish all 500 pages.

7. Heroes of Olympus

Because sometimes you need something light-hearted to lift the mood. Any of Rick Riordan’s books will do, Heroes of Olympus just helped me out in several stressful exams seasons where all I needed was a handful of scrapy demigods and some silly jokes.

8. Harry Potter

Because how can you give up on the magic of books while reading about Harry’s adventures in Hogwarts?

9. The Hunger Games

I remember being absolutely gripped by The Hunger Games, I was rarely seen without the book when I first read it. It’s got a quick and exciting plot, isn’t too long and is written in a way that will never let you put it down.

10. City of Bones

Light hearted, funny and full of action. I raced through the first three of these they were so good!

comparenotes

So there we have it! Ten books that will drag you out of that slump and breathe new excitement into your bookish past times. Did you do a Top Ten Tuesday? Read any of these novels? Do you agree? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

Children of Blood and Bone Review

I really thought I couldn’t possibly love another novel where a small group of plucky, determined subjects rebel against their tyrannical ruler in an attempt to save their citizens, and yet here we are. What can I say, I’m weak when magical rebellions are involved.

A little slow at the start (but hey this is YA fantasy and I’m not going to begrudge the author for a little bit of world building, given how complex the characters and situations were) the action in this book was just perfect. We had calmer moments of our three amigos trying to work out magical scrolls, plot dangerous routes and create stiff banter and just as I start to think oh this is nice, what a fun little trip to the jungle they fend off whole armies, collapse bridges and somehow manage to have a sea battle in the dessert. Oh, and the sea battle? One of my favourite parts.

What really made this novel were the characters because their intentions and quirks were so cleverly interwoven throughout the novel. I wasn’t a massive fan of Zelie’s the king killed my mother and I hold every non-diviner personally responsible thing, especially when it meant relentlessly belittling the girl who gave up her noble life to save the diviners. But hey, at least it made for some great character development. Because I was all for Zelie and Amari’s loyalty and friendship by the end of this novel. And since everyone and their dog was hooking up couldn’t Zelie and Amari be a thing? They’re both so cute together!

Then there’s Amari, the sweet and brave princess who gains the confidence she needs to fight her father. My absolute favourite character, watching her become strong enough to fight beside her friends was one of the real highlights this novel presents.

“Perhaps I made a mistake.

Maybe a lionaire lives in me after all.” – Amari

Her brother, Inan, was another kettle of fish altogether. I really understood him in the beginning of the novel. Bent on doing his father’s will, terrified of failing and thinking he’s a monster- his complexities made total sense. But his character development was too quick, he fell from his rage fuelled perch too quickly and I honestly had no idea where his loyalties were by the end, despite having narrated a third of the book. Although unbelievable this wasn’t necessarily bad. His twists and turns, although I didn’t fully understand them, did give the novel the pace it needed

The final protagonist in this novel is Tzain, Zelie’s brother. He’s caring, sweet and horrendously responsible. I don’t really understand how he and Zelie had lived such similar lives and faced similar hardships when she is this rage fuelled ball of unpredictability and he was her opposite, but again this only embellished the plot. His story was about learning to fight the status quo, but of all the characters in this novel he changed the least. I wasn’t too fussed by this lack of progression given he wasn’t a narrator and, honestly, I couldn’t deal with all four of the main characters changing- I’d struggle to keep up.

Lastly, I will doff my hat to the writing style Tomi Adeymi presents us with. Her world of sticky jungle heat, dry, parched desserts and raw, hopeful characters was just enchanting. She included just the lightest touch of description to embellish the novel and each characters narration and personality shone through each section.

“My insides lurch as a cannonball rips through the deck of another boat. Injured cries hit my ears like shattered glass. The stench of blood stains the air, bringing Zelie’s old words to mind. The day we came to Ibeji, she tasted death.”

I mean how is that writing not amazing??? Then there was the complexities she explored that most YA authors gloss over– the hesitation Amari and Zelie have about killing people, even enemy soldiers and sailors, the fact that bad people do exist even on your own side and the way one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. There a clear grey area in this novel when it comes to right and wrong: even the tyrannical king’s motivations were explored- you can’t get much more balanced than that.

This novel presents us with four daring protagonists, a seriously scary ruler and moral complexities that will leave you reeling. My advice? Flick on the footie in the background, grab a cup of tea and settle in for a long read because these five hundred pages will have you from the get go.

My rating: ⭐ ⭐