Tag Archives: Magic

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

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Overview
Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Emerald Blaze
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Catalina Baylor Trilogy #2, Hidden Legacy #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Strong women
Dates read: 23rd – 29th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Sink some magic into it.

Synopsis

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything… except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers – powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops to use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.

Thoughts

Ilona Andrews is one of those authors that I pick up strategically… because I can never seem to put her books down. And I generally get a really bad book hangover once I’ve finished it. Emerald Blaze was no different. It was wonderful and impossible to put down. It was amazing and now I’m honestly a little bit pissed off that I have to wait until the next Catalina Baylor book to come out…

The more I find out about Catalina’s power and her own personal battles, the more I fall in love with her. Like all of Andrews’ heroines, she is intrinsically flawed. But, for Catalina, the biggest challenge she often faces is that she’s an introvert thrust into an extroverted position. The fact that she also has to battle her big, bad, evil grandmother… yeah, I can’t wait to see how that unfolds in the final book in this trilogy. She goes from strength to strength, but at what cost? It’s a beautiful question that you’re constantly wondering, even as you hope that the battle that Catalina and Alessandro face turns out… good in the end.

The ending of Sapphire Flames leaves a perfect cliff hanger in the feeling of who and what Alessandro actually is. Alessandro’s backstory, a bit like Catalina’s, is bought to life even more throughout the pages of this book. I actually wanted to reach through the pages of the book and hug him. It helped to strip back the arrogance that is so prominent in the other books, and, although you were always gunning for a happily ever after… this book makes you want it all that much more. I can’t wait until they get their sail off into the sunset ending (like Nevada and Rogan did), but as previously mentioned… now I have to wait (can you tell that I’m finding that quite disappointing?).

This is the most amazing of stories. I think I sat there staring at the wall for about 2 hours before I was capable of conversing too much or reading anything else. You know that the book is damn good when you are just… paralysed with the enjoyment of what you’ve read. When you can’t quite seem to get the adventures of the pages out of your head.

<- Sapphire FlamesRuby Fever ->

Image source: Goodreads

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Overview
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1) by Jim Butcher

Title: Furies of Calderon
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Codex Alera #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: High fantasy, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 13th July – 7th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Furystorms could be deadly to anyone caught out in the open.

Synopsis

FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, THE PEOPLES OF ALERA HAVE BEEN UNITED BY THEIR UNIQUE BOND WITH THE FURIES – ELEMENTALS OF EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER AND METAL. BUT THEIR WORLD IS CHANGING.

Deep in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. And as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – returns to the Valley, this weakness will seem more important than ever.

Amara is a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos – when rebels are with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power – and could even turn the tides of war.

Thoughts

This is one of those beautifully complex and intricate story lines that will sweep you up from the very first moment. It was also completely different in tone from Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I had no idea what to expect when I opened that first page. But, wow, was I swept away.

All throughout this story, my thoughts constantly bounced to Oh Tavi, what trouble are you in now? It didn’t seem to matter the situation, that boy just seemed to bounce from one chaotic not so good moment to another. Which, of course, kept you turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

It took me a little while to get my head around what Furies were. But, once I did, o really enjoyed the variety of powers that the different furies were able to provide to their people. I loved how it was almost a partnership of powers between element and human. One that drew on the strengths of both to enhance their natural powers.

I was so hopeful that the really horrifying bad guys would be dead at the end of this. Or at least, one of them would be. But, instead there is the beginning of a war on the horizon. Alright, I kind of knew that that was going to be the case because this is the first in a series… but I was still kind of hopeful. Yet, the brilliance of the villains is a huge part of why I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

<- More Jim ButcherAcadem’s Fury ->

Image source: Goodreads

Caught by the Tides by Diane Whiteside

Overview
Image result for beyond the dark angela knight book cover

Title: Caught by the Tides
Author: Diane Whiteside
In: Beyond the Dark (Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Emma Holly & Diane Whiteside)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Magic, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Boom!

Synopsis

Diane Whiteside does it… in an alternate universe of Regency magic where two lovers are threatened by a vicious mage and swept up in a turbulent war off the Cornish cliffs.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this novella. The historical / regency setting is one that is seriously familiar to me at the moment (I seem to be diving into a lot of regency romances at the moment). But it had that great added twist of magic throughout. Something to provide a bit of a different spin on things that I haven’t quite seen yet. And definitely an enjoyable system / storyline.

There seems to have been a few books on my shelves lately that have featured a mysterious man being washed, naked onto the shore. Alright, the lead male in this isn’t actually naked (that I remember). But there is still that sense of the ocean brining true love to someone’s unwitting door. It gave the whole story a sense of joy and mystery that swept me away (like the pun there?). The windswept Cornish coast just added to that fantastic feeling throughout.

All in all, this was a seriously fun and enjoyable story. I have read one or two novellas (or were they short stories) by Diane Whiteside and always find them to be good fun. I’m glad that this story was not different. Definitely one that I would read again.

<- Dragon DanceQueen of All She Surveys ->

Image source: Amazon

Devils and Details by Devon Monk

Overview
Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic, #2) by Devon Monk

Title: Devils and Details
Author: Devon Monk
Series: Ordinary Magic #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 26th April 20
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Odd House Press
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Thank you so much, Thor.

Synopsis

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon – just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all-god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

Thoughts

I forgot how much I enjoyed the world building in this series. I love the idea of gods on vacation and having a sheriff to try and control the insanity that will surely follow. I mean, after all, gods are known for being unpredictable, and well, frankly, nuts… so it makes sense that they need a sheriff to keep them all under control. The fact that it’s Delaney and her sisters just makes it all that much more likeable.

This story careens from insane moment to insane moment. It left me smiling and giggling all throughout. And, for most of the tale, I wasn’t really sure of where this story was going to take me… I mean, god powers being stolen, vampires being murdered, past loves trying to reconnect… there is a whole lot in this that is fun and sassy. And completely unpredictable. Which I think all stories of gods should be if I’m being honest.

I did kind of predict what Ryder’s secret and reason for breaking up with Delaney were. Even then, the actual explanation was a little more than I had hoped for (yay). I loved their dynamic throughout this. Alongside the protectiveness of Delaney’s two sisters – I mean, what are sisters if not beautifully and ridiculously protective?

This story ends with a war on the horizon, and a missing vampire. I can’t wait to see where they went / what happened and where the story is going to take us from here… bring on the next novel in this series!

<- Death and RelaxationGods and Ends ->

Image source: Goodreads

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

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Overview
Sapphire Flames :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Sapphire Flames
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Catalina Baylor Trilogy #1, Hidden Legacy #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Strong women
Dates read: 4th – 31st March 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: It wasn’t a question, but I answered it anyway.

Synopsis

From #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House – and her heart.

Thoughts

This book is just as amazing, wonderful and phenomenal as all of the other Andrews books. There is just something wonderful about the writing that makes it almost impossible to put down the book from the very beginning. Something that draws me in and leaves me grinning like a fool. Each and every time.

You got a bit of an introduction to Catalina in Diamond Fire, but it isn’t until Sapphire Flames that you really get a feel for her. I mean, what would it be like to constantly have to hide who you are so that you don’t bespell anyone? Catalina’s power seems more like a curse to me and one that made me incredibly sad. Although, I am seriously looking forward to finding out more about how it will evolve as the series continues… I mean, there are so many hidden depths in these books…

Throughout this story, my heart broke for Catalina multiple times. Not just because of her power, but because she’s trying to go against her nature constantly. That her love for Alessandro is not unrequited like she thinks but is definitely going to hurt them both in the future. Then, there are the family dynamics which also make everything difficult. I mean, seriously, how much pain can one girl go through?

Alessandro is a very intriguing lead character. A total enigma, and, like Catalina, I can’t wait to see how his powers work. Plus, he’s obviously not an assassin, and he has a mission. But I’m just not quite sure about the ins and outs of this. It makes me itch to pick up Emerald Blaze. I just need to finish a few of the books that I’m currently reading though.

Then, to top off all of the mystery in this story – there is a weird connection to Linus. I have a few guesses, but I can’t wait for yet another mystery to unfold as Catalina battles the new threat to the societies and families in Hidden Legacy.

<- Diamond FireEmerald Blaze ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Beautiful Beast by E.J. Hill

Overview
Beautiful Beast (Beautiful Queens, #1) by E.J. Hill

Title: Beautiful Beast
Author: E.J. Hill
Series: Beautiful Queens #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Magic, Retellings
Dates read: 1st – 8th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: ARC, eBook, Novel
Publisher: E.J. Hill
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear, it is nothing you have done.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

My name is Kalista. They call me the beast.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake.

Thoughts

I received this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I got this book as an ARC through Book Sirens. It’s the first of (I’m hoping) many books that I receive in this way. And boy, was it a great way to start getting books through this group. Books that will, hopefully, blow me away like this one did. Because I definitely plan on adding more E.J. Hill to my reading lists! It was brilliant and beautiful. The kind of book that most definitely swept me off my feet and left me feeling giddy, happy and just… complete. Like all good books do.

You can never really go wrong with Beauty and the Beast retellings to my mind. It is still one of my favourite fairy tales, and I have honestly loved each and every retelling that I have had the privilege of reading. Yet, this was somehow my favourite. The motif of roses is strong and repeated throughout, Hill is able to seamlessly weave different aspects of the Disney original throughout her words. And there are just generally so many parts of this retelling that are… well, impossible to step away from. It’s fantastic, wonderful, and, yup, is making me rave about this fantastic retelling.

Doing a gender swap on the Beauty and the Beast was a great and intriguing way to start off this retelling. That, and the fact that the curse placed upon the ‘beast” was brilliantly described in this story. I love that by starting with the curse and a child being cursed, you were able to feel so much more sympathy and fear for the characters in this story. I also like that Kalista is portrayed as the beast, even though she is physically unchanged. The multitude of different gender comments that this made left me smiling like a fool the whole way through reading this story.

Not only were the fairy tale aspects of this story brilliant, but I also loved the characters. Arawn and Kalista slowly fall for each other in this beautifully organic way. And although you already know some of the background for each of the characters, you only slowly get the full stories revealed. I can’t wait to see what Hill does as a follow up to this fantastic novel! I have all of my fingers and toes crossed in anticipation!

<- More E.J. HillUntitled ->

Image source: Goodreads

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Overview
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha): Children of Blood and Bone  (Legacy of Orisha): Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Africa, Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 31st August – 17th October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: MacMillan
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “Thank you,” I whisper into her fur.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

THEY KILLED MY MOTHER.
THEY TOOK OUR MAGIC.
THEY TRIED TO BURY US.
NOW WE RISE.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I keep looking at, and seriously wanting to pick up. But then, because I’m somewhat of a child… I get distracted, see something shiny and find something else. Plus, it’s a pretty big book, so I did found it somewhat of an intimidating idea to read. And now I’m regretting not reading this as soon as it came out and found a home on my shelves. Because this is freaking awesome. As in turn the final page and then just stare into space with a really bad book hangover kind of awesome…

This story is all about oppression and power. The inequality and narratives that are often told to justify marginalising and preying upon another group. Whilst this is loosely set in Africa, there were many moments throughout this that were cringe-worthy as I thought about what has been done to Australia’s First Nations Peoples. It is a story that is sadly told across the world, and I loved how this novel dealt with such an issue. How a very, very difficult conversation is had in the pages of this story that will, hopefully, help a whole new generation understand a little bit more about the past.

Zel and Amari are the most fantastic female leads I’ve come across in a while. Zel is all hard edges and aggression. She is so obviously trying to fit into a world and identity that is too small for her. But, there is also a lot of sadness and despair there. Which I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow. Because boy does she mature throughout this novel. And Amari is nothing like what I would have expected as a counterpoint. She begins as someone who seems to be all soft edges and gentleness. And then, as the story continues, you find that backbone of steel and strength. And that gentleness and understanding that Zel lacks. I really hope that these two become best of friends, because I can’t really imagine it turning out any other way…

This is an amazing novel. It introduced me to aspects of African culture, which of course I know next to nothing about. It reminded me of my White Privilege. And it manage to intertwine all of this with an amazing young adult fantasy story of magic and mayhem. Power and triumphing over evil. I really can’t wait to see where Adeyemi takes Zel and Amari next…

<- More Tomi AdeyemiChildren of Virtue and Vengeance ->

Image source: Amazon

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Overview
The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Series: The Belles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 8th – 10th October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: She touches the textured pattern of my gown.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

I am a Belle. I control Beauty.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful.

Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined.

When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.

Thoughts

I read this as part of a “underrated book” prompt for a reading challenge. It’s just one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for a little while, and I figured I’d eventually get to it. And then I did… and WOW. This was really good. And fun. And just… wow. Most DEFINITELY underrated. One of the best young adult books I feel I’ve read in a while… there was just something wonderful, intense and seriously positive about this whole experience.

One of the aspects of this book that I absolutely loved was show much it really made you stop and think about how we define beauty. And, ultimately, the emphasis that we place upon it. The risks that some people take, and the lengths that people will go to be the “most beautiful”. Every moment of horror in this story are completely recognisable and it ultimately comes down to the premium that is placed on looks. There is also the whole idea that beauty is just “skin deep”. It’s when you start drilling down to the person underneath… that, well, in this story makes you seriously shudder in revulsion to be completely frank.

I didn’t pick the villain of this story at first (which was AWESOME). In fact, it took a little while to click as to just who the villain was and what their drivers were. To be fair, I’m still not completely confident on the motivations… I’ve put it all down to “that bitch is crazy”. But she was an amazing villain. Subtle, secretive and with a lot of power. These are the kinds of villains that I find truly terrifying, because it’s hard to imagine how anyone could beat them. I suppose I’ll just have to pick up the next Belle book to find out…

There are a multitude of unexpected twists and turns throughout this novel. They are captivating, make your heart skip a beat, and just downright pluck all of your emotions. It turned this book into not only a fantastic idea with beautiful and poignant themes, but also one which I seriously couldn’t look away from and forget about. It’s going to take all of my self control (again) to finish some of my currently reading books before diving into the sequel…

<- More Dhonielle ClaytonThe Everlasting Rose ->

Image source: Goodreads