Tag Archives: Fantasy

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Overview

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: FaeFantasy, Mystery, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2016

Thoughts

This story was absolutely nothing like what I was expecting. It was kind of dark and twisty, without all of the feel good that I’ve been reading a bit much of in some of my young adult books. Plus, this was actually and truly about misfits. There are way too many YA stories which feature a “misfit” who is actually seriously cool. These kids aren’t. For that, I love them.

I’m always diving into tales of the fae. Tales that are a little bit uncomfortable and sweep you away to some incredibly unexpected places. What I loved about this is that a whole variety of alternate lands are featured. There’s not one doorway to go through, but a whole range. A different land for a different kind of person to fit in. It was nice that each of the characters in this story found their own lands to fit into. Their own places to experience a happily ever after.

This is a great reminder that we all fear death. And fear makes people do stupid things. Nancy may have come from a land of the Dead. But that doesn’t mean she causes death, or even desires it. I love how she is immediately looked upon with suspicion amongst people who know, themselves, what it is like to be a misfit. It’s a reminder that human nature tends to ostracise others, regardless of how we may have been ostracised ourselves. Particularly in instances when there is a whole heap of fear running rampant.

I was completely not expecting the ending of this story. It had such a wonderful Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights feel. I might kind of hate Wuthering Heights, but I loved the other two, so it was a good feeling. A good feeling in a bad way…

<- More Seanan McGuireDown Among the Sticks and Bones ->

Image source: Kobo

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Overview

Title: The Silver Gryphon
Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
Series: The Mage Wars #3, Valdemar #3
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1996

Thoughts

I found this whole Valdemar trilogy a bit of a hard whack. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected with the characters like the other books. And it was even harder with this novel, because it was about the children of the main characters.

In fact, I found this book almost impossible to get through. The leads were kind of whiney and annoying. I mean, I’ve read a lot of stories which feature the children of those famous, and often they complain about the exact same things. But for some reason I found these guys SO MUCH MORE irritating.

I always find it hard to write reviews about books that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. And, like my enjoyment, they tend to be a bit shorter. Mostly because I still try to focus on what I liked. And whilst I didn’t hate this book, there’s much I can recall that I actually LIKED.

<- The White GryphonMagic’s Pawn ->

Image source: Kobo

One Boy, No Water by Lehua Parker

Overview

Title: One Boy, No Water
Author: Lehua Parker
Series: Nihui Shark Saga #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mythology, Young adult
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2012

Thoughts

I really loved the island-life feel. It had this breezy, relaxed, surfer kind of vibe, that felt kind of familiar to my surfy cousins. There was such a lovely, breezy feeling to this story and I most definitely want to revisit this world. Aside from the vibe in this story, I loved that there was a lot of cultural information and aspects to the story that made me more and more fascinated by the Hawaiian life.

Then there was the fantastic language used throughout. Not just the language and tone of the story, but also the island slang throughout. Each chapter starts with the meaning of one piece of slang. Then, there’s bits and pieces that you have to put together yourself. I love this pidgeon form of English and Hawaiian that is used throughout. It may actually be the aspect of this story that I love the most – learning new slang that I will probably never use.

I loved how although this story is very much around a mythology and fantasy and powers, at it’s heart it is a coming of age story. One where a boy discovers who he is and that, like all of us, he has his own powers. It’s been a while since I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed a coming of age story. So it was nice to read this one. And, as I previously mentioned, definitely a world and journey that I will return to.

Zader is an incredibly fun lead. He is obviously kind of awkward and a fish out of water. Which, I always connect best to these types of characters – I’ve always felt like a bit of a fish out of water myself. I enjoyed how as his story unfolds, a bit more of his background and the secrets of his past. It made it incredibly difficult to put down this fantastic book.

<- More Lehua ParkerOne Shark, No Swim ->

Image source: Booktopia

Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You

Overview

Title: Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles Companion
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fae, Fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2004

Thoughts

This was enjoyable and easy to read. A nice book to flick through as I was waiting for my daughter to truly fall asleep. It was fun, light and very, very pretty. A perfect companion to the rest of the Spiderwick books.

I love that this has a feeling of legitimacy to it. Even if it is a fantasy story. Somehow, DiTerlizzi and Black manage to make it feel realistic and like you could just reach through the veil and experience this delightful world. Toeing that line between real and fantasy can be incredibly difficult, and they’ve made it work. Seriously enjoyable.

It’s obvious that there is a lot of research which has gone into this book, and the lore of the Spiderwick Chronicles in general. After all, these are all fae creatures and beings that show up again and again in literature and entertainment. Although, some of them are pictured in ways that I never imagined. And seriously loved. Another testament to DiTerlizzi.

A wonderful read and a lovely companion to the rest of the Spiderwick Chronicles. I can’t wait to share this with my daughter one day.

<- Care and Feeding of SpritesThe Nixie’s Song ->

Image source: Dymocks

The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Overview

Title: The White Gryphon
Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
Series: Valdemar #2, The Mage Wars #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 1995

Thoughts

It’s been an age since I read The Black Gryphon. Or really, any Valdemar book. And although this definitely isn’t as fantastic to me as the other Valdemar books, I’m glad I decided to dive back into this world. I love the world building and the action. The fact that there is always a focus on misfits and plenty of emotional tangles to unsnare.

Skan is still a hit of an overwhelming cocky character. A little less painful than in the first book, but still not my favourite of characters. His development did make me like him a whole lot more though. Having a pair of gryphlets alongside definitely helped me warm to him too.

I vaguely (hey, its been a while) remember thoroughly enjoying Amberdrake and Winterheart. There is something fantastically simple about this couple that, whilst it doesn’t inspire fireworks, gives a feeling of comfort and truth. I love the acceptance that shines between them and how it carries throughout this entire story. The fact that they’re the targets of a madman who will make you cringe… well, that makes it all better.

Probably one for the reasons I don’t get as into this as the other Valdemar books is the lore and world building. I get seriously lost I all of the terminologies for the different clans and groups. Not to mention I feel like I’m constantly missing things from the history of the wars… which just inspires me to want to read this all over again.

<- The Black GryphonThe Silver Gryphon ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Care and Feeding of Sprites by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Overview

Title: Care and Feeding of Sprites
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fae, Fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2006

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this. It was fun and easy. Cute and quaint. Something that was just a fun diversion for a few moments. The pictures in and of themselves were glorious. And that’s not even taking into account the good writing.

My biggest complaint about this is that there isn’t more specific information on each of the sprites. I love the world that Black and DiTerlizzi have created. And I would have loved to read more about the particulars of the different species that appear in the pages.

This was incredibly short. But also good fun. Mostly I wish this was longer. But I still loved all of the imagery throughout.

<- A Grand Tour of the Enchanted World, Navigate by ThimbletackArthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You ->

Image source: Booktopia

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Overview
Tower of Dawn : Sarah J. Maas : 9781408887974

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Romance, Strong women
Dates read: 2nd – 17th October 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: She straightened.

Synopsis

A GLORIOUS EMPIRE
A DESPERATE QUEST
AN ANCIENT SECRET

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they ahve also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the legendary Torre Cesme for the wounds that Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help a young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need – and will honour it. But Lord Westfall carries darkness from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realise it could engulf them both.

And deep in the shadows of distant mountains, where warriors soar on might ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival – or doom them all.

Thoughts

I did struggle with this book more than I had expected to. I’ve been putting off the last 2 books of the series. Partly because I know that it will destroy my heart (seems to be a talent of Maas). But, more so, because I just don’t want this series to be over! Sure, I can reread it… but it just won’t be the same. Having said that, I didn’t fall head first into this book like I have the others.

I think that the thing that takes me a while with this story is that Chaol spends the first part just being incredibly whiney. I get that he’s been dealt a hard hand, but my lordy, he’s just a bit too bitter and painful. For those who feel the same… Read on! Once I got to the second part, I started to fall head first into the storyline as expected.

Of all the characters in this, it was Yrene that I loved the most. The fact that she has an intertwined past (like many of the other characters) just makes her all that much better. I love how much of this story involves her fight to get over her horrible past and move forwards with her life. Her story, when Chaol’s was a bit painful made this book still a 5 star I my view.

Whilst I had a few moments of discomfort and “huh” throughout this, ultimately I loved this book. After the first 200 pages, the character development is so wonderful and intense that I couldn’t put it down. And, much of the whiney that was irritating made so much more sense.

<- Empire of StormsKingdom of Ash ->

Image source: Book Depository

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone: Siege and Storm : Leigh Bardugo : 9781510105263

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2, Grishaverse #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The wound in my shoulder felt like it was on fire, but I was unhurt and my whole body was thrumming from using my power again.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner – hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice – and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Thoughts

Ever since reading Shadow and Bone, I’ve been seriously wondering what was going to be thrown in Mal and Alina’s way this time. And, you know, when the Darkling was going to reappear. He’s a great villain – I don’t really get the sexy vibes off him that others have claimed, but he is dark, mysterious and undoubtedly evil. A wonderful combination for a villain in my opinion.

Even though I think Mal is a wonderful lead love interest, he’s also kind of a knob. I mean, he’s got a woman who is obviously being thrown into a situation she’s not comfortable with. But instead of trying to communicate and support her? He runs. And just acts… well, knob-like. By the end of the book I was finding him to be a bit much and a bit frustrating in this area… im hoping Ruin and Rising will redeem him a bit more…

The build up that Bardugo creates in this story is wonderfully and seriously intense. Not only is there the clash between Alina and the Darkling, but there’s now royalty and a cult… I mean, if that set of trials and tribulations isn’t gearing up for a massive one, then what is?

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even in the moments that I wanted to cringe and look away, I just… couldn’t. The majority of this was read in one sitting. Late at night. When I should have been sleeping. Always a good recommendation for a book in my eyes…

<- Shadow and BoneRuin and Rising ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone : Leigh Bardugo : 9780805094596

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1, Grishaverse #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He didn’t say a word to me, and as the hours and days wore on, I started to worry that I’d somehow offended him.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Orphaned and expdnable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first rek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dromant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of roaylty and intrigue, as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she lvoes and the very future of a nation.

Thoughts

I can seriously understand why this series, and this story in particular is so damn popular. I knew that I’d probably love it from the fact that I have loved all of the short stories which Bardugo has written. But I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy this. I mean… wow. It is an amazing, unforgettable journey and I can’t wait to read more of this series! hopefully before the Netflix series comes out…

Alina is a lovely and soulful lead character. I honestly fell in love with her from the very beginning. There is something about her loyalty and strength that makes you love her from the first page. And the fact that she will do anything for the boy that she loves… that just makes it all so much sweeter and cuter. Particularly when you discover the depths she’s actually gone to for him…

I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series – not just he trilogy, but the whole Grishaverse. Alina and Mal may have found a way to escape the first obstacle. But there are so many more to come. And the Darkling doesn’t seem like the kind of villain that is going to be easy to escape – he is kind of terrifying if I’m being completely honest.

I love that this is most definitely a friends to lovers romance. Particularly since you can see Alina’s loyalty and love from the very beginning. Boys are stupid and tend to take a little bit longer, but that tie is there from the very beginning. I can’t wait to see how this all grows and blossoms throughout the series. Everything about writing this review and reading the story just make me want to pick up the next novel in this series!!!

All in all this is an amazing story. One that has pulled me into the Grishaverse reality completely. I can’t wait to read more of the series. And then, hopefully, when I’ve finished, dive into the Netflix show too…

<- More Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm ->

Image source: Bookdepository

The Glory Days by Isobelle Carmody

Overview
Image result for green monkey dreams isobelle carmody book cover

Title: The Glory Days
Author: Isobelle Carmody
In: Green Monkey Dreams (Isobelle Carmody)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Fantasy
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: She touched the pencil with the tip of her finger.

Synopsis

The Glory Days are long gone. But some people still remember them…

Thoughts

I always love the post-apocalyptic feeling of Isobelle Carmody’s writing. There is just something so poignant about it all. And she always points out the things that are horribly wrong with our society. And honestly, this short story was no exception.

Ultimately, I finished this short story with a hurt-heart feeling. It was just… intense. There is something about looking at our society and reflecting that can really and seriously pull on the heart strings.

The key words that jumped out at me with this story – sorrow, anguish, betrayal, pain and love…

<- Green Monkey Dreams CollectionRoaches ->

Image source: Allen & Unwin