Book Related Topics, Fantasy, Fiction

4 Kick Arse Female Fantasy Books!

I loveee fantasy. It’s my favorite genre and gives me so much escape from reality especially in these very, very strange times we live in. This is a very male dominated genre and the types of characters I enjoy in fantasy don’t help matters. I adore ruthless characters in fantasy. I want them to be single minded about their goals and to cut their way through their enemies.

The problem is that I read a lot of male heroes because there isn’t that many female characters written that way. I do not enjoy romance in my fantasy. I can stomach a little bit of it, but I do not want it to be the main plot. I just want a lot of world building and violence (Yikes!). Yes, there may be something wrong with me.

I decided to make a list of 4 fantasy books that I think have my version of a kick arse female character in fantasy.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang:

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“Nothing is written. You humans always think you’re destined for things, for tragedy or for greatness. Destiny is a myth. Destiny is the only myth. The gods choose nothing. You chose. At every critical juncture you were given an option; you were given a way out. Yet you picked precisely the roads that led you here. You are at this temple, kneeling before me, only because you wanted to be.”

Rin aces the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—and finds herself at Sineguard, the most prestigious military school in Nikan. Being a dark-skinned peasant girl, she is targeted immediately by her classmates and bullied by teachers who don’t believe she should be there. Rin with the help of a seemingly insane teacher realises that she possesses a lethal power everyone else at Sineguard believes is a myth. War breaks out in Nikan and her set graduates into a political mayhem and an all out war.

Why I love this character – Rin is absolutely ruthless and very focused on her goals. She is very single minded when she decides on a destination. She doesn’t get into any romantic entanglement even though I feel like there were some makings of one. She is a complex and complicated character who absolutely smashes all expectations. She is involved in some absolutely terrible deeds, but you rarely ever see women written like that so I was absolutely pulled in from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence:

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Your death has not been waiting for your arrival at the appointed hour: it has, for all the years of your life, been racing towards you with the fierce velocity of time’s arrow. It cannot be evaded, it cannot be bargained with, deflected or placated. All that is given to you is the choice: meet it with open eyes and peace in your heart, go gentle to your reward. Or burn bright, take up arms, and fight the bitch.”

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. Nona Grey is rescued from being hanged by one of the convent’s sisters after being accused of murder (and being guilty of much worse). She is just 8 but has made powerful enemies by the time she enters the convent. We see the young girls get trained in every art of killing imaginable. It takes about 10 years to be considered a sister.

Why I love this character – This is a convent so there are basically no men around. You get to have a book that is based solely on female characters interacting with each other for the most part. I love training schools a la Harry Potter, but this time for assassins. I love seeing how our characters develop from this absolute clueless person, to the end of the book where they are powerful and strong. This is a trilogy and I’ve read the first two books.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden:

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“I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me”

Vasilisa is growing up in the Russian wilderness totally inhibited. She spends her days exploring her environment, listening to her old nanny tell her stories of the various gods and spirits with her older siblings and honoring the spirits. After an incident, Vasilisa’s father decides that she needs a mother figure and marries a new wife who is a deeply devout christian and bans them from honoring the Russian gods and spirits with devastating consequences.

Why I love this character – Vasilisa is independent and strong and everything you hope your girl child will be but she is severely punished for it and called a witch. She never lets anything stop her from her goal of liberating her village even if it meant honoring the spirits with her own blood. She rejects the fear and holds on to bravery. She was just a kick arse character and you will enjoy rooting for her.

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie:

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“You were a hero round these parts. That’s what they call you when you kill so many people the word murderer falls short.”

Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, is the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ. Her victories have made her popular but too popular for her employer’s taste so he betrays her, throws her off a mountain and leaves her for dead. This is a simple revenge story. After she is nursed back to health and is now half the woman she was, she vows to kill the 7 men present when she was betrayed at whatever cost. Even though this is the 4th book in an already established world, this is still a standalone that I think you can read whether you read the first three or not. So, yes, you can just jump into this book and it’ll still be an amazing read.

Why I like this character – I think my description says it all for me. She’s a woman with a one track mind bent on revenge – think Kill Bill on acid. There’s a bit of a romantic partner here but it’s barely there and doesn’t really affect the plot too much.

Let me know if any of these titles catch your fancy. I hope you enjoy this post, 4 for the price of one. Have a great week!

Leggy

Chick-Lit, Fantasy, Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery, race, thriller, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

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“He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.”

Patricia Campbell is a housewife in Charleston who can’t catch a break. She gave up a career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor who’s never home. She doesn’t have any help, her kids are ungrateful and on top of that, her mother-in-law just moved in with her. The only thing Patricia looks forward to during the week is her true crime book club. They read the filthiest of murders and discuss them in great detail even though their husbands believe that their group is a church group getting together to discuss the Bible.

A mysterious and handsome stranger moves into the neighborhood and the women spend a lot of time during their meetings speculating about him. Patricia finds him very attractive at first and invites him over to her house for dinner often. Until a few children over on the black side of town go missing and the car seen around the neighborhood looks exactly like his. Patricia starts having doubts about him and starts investigating what is really going on in their town.

“A no-good man will tell you he’s going to change,” she said. “He’ll tell you whatever you want to hear, but you’re the fool if you don’t believe what you see.”

I had a very different idea of what this book would be before I went in. I thought it would be funny and heartwarming. I mean the premise is ridiculous and I thought the author was going to run with it but he didn’t. I found this book to be way more serious than it needed to be, given the subject matter – for crying out loud, middle class women fighting a vampire .

It started out that way and I personally think it took a turn for the worse. I found this book to be both gory and gross. It’s very, very gory so, if you are a sensitive reader, I don’t think this book is for you. For example, there is an entire scene with rats eating someone alive. I found that terrifying and I don’t know why I kept reading it.

I also found this book to be over written. There were so many details that the author included that didn’t need to be in the book. This book is 400 pages when it didn’t need to be more than 300 with the dumbest characters I’ve read about in so long. All the men are super sexist while all the women are housewives and demure except the black woman who is a – I’ll wait for you to guess – housekeeper!

The main character presented enough evidence proving that their new neighbor wasn’t who he claimed to be and everyone just turned a blind eye at it. Sure, if it was real life and someone told me that my new neighbor is a vampire, I’d be skeptical too, but what is the fun in a book where a couple dead kids mean nothing.

One part of this book that rang true and mirrored real life to me was the fact that the vampire started out killing and sucking on black kids. It was easier for the white characters to ignore because it wasn’t happening to their kids and Patricia told them that bluntly. As long as it wasn’t happening on their side of town, they were content to do nothing. They only acted when he started coming after them and their kids and they were appropriately called out and the subject was well addressed in the book.

This book just did way too much. It has vampires, housewives, abusive husbands, sexist men, Nazis (yes, Nazis!), racism, book clubs, raccoons, rats and the list keeps going. I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. You can read it if it checks out to you on your library app on a day you’re bored and have nothing else to read.

 

Leggy

Fantasy, Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery, thriller, Uncategorized, Young Adult

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: 4 Quick Fire Reviews

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It’s been so long since I did this. I’ve been reading so much during this pandemic and can’t wait to share some of the backlist books I’ve been reading. Anyway, here are four books that I’ve read lately that you might enjoy!

  1. Sea Wife by Amity Gaige:

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“Everyone is hard to love, if you do it for long enough.”

Michael convinces his wife, Juliet who is failing to juggle motherhood and her stalled-out dissertation, to up and go sailing for a whole year with their two kids—Sybil, age 7 and George, age 2. This book opens up with a promise of a mystery but ultimately fizzles out. On the very first chapter of this book, we are told that they’re back from their sailing trip and Michael is dead.

Told from dual perspectives – Juliet’s first person narration and Michael’s Captain’s log, that sometimes doubled as his diary. I found Michael’s Captain log narration to be a bit ridiculous towards the end because there were things he couldn’t possibly have written down that the author took liberties with. We see how strained their marriage is, how different their political opinions are and how the sailing trip affected all these things including their children.

I thought this one was okay and gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. If you like literary fiction that’s very atmospheric and well written, you should give this one a try.

 

2. Cradle Series by Will Wight:

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“When a traveler cannot find a path, sometimes he must make his own.”

I’ve been reading through the Cradle series during this pandemic. It’s an escapist read for me. There are currently 7 books in this universe and I’m currently on number 4. This series revolves around Lindon. Lindon is an unsouled which means forbidden to learn the sacred arts of his clan. He is treated like a pariah and forced to compete against people half his age bringing shame to his family until a horrible event takes place in his village and he meets an immortal who shows him the paths his life could possibly go. The story focuses on Lindon’s determination to be the best sacred arts wielder the world has ever seen. I really enjoy these books and totally recommend them. I haven’t given any of the books less than 3 stars on Goodreads.

 

3. Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K. J. Parker:

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“I like to let them talk things out, but fact isn’t a democratic process; if a thing isn’t true it isn’t true, even if everybody votes that it is.”

Orhan is an engineer who has more experience building bridges than fighting wars but he is his city’s only hope. A siege is coming. The army has left the city to fight an unknown enemy, leaving the city unguarded and open for the taking. The people have no food and very little weapon and the enemy has sworn to slaughter them all. It will take a miracle to save this city and Orhan who is a liar, cheater and enjoys history and engineering, is the perfect man for the job.

This book is the kind of fantasy I call competent porn – this is where the characters are extremely good at what they do. I really enjoyed watching Orhan come up with very interesting ways to defend a city and also stop the citizens from tearing it down from within. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

 

4. Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy:

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“There’s no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for. Serpine will have won only when there is no one left to stand against him. Until then, there is only the struggle, because tides do what tides do–they turn.”

Stephanie Edgley’s weird but rich and famous uncle just died and left her his entire estate to the chagrin of her other relatives. She’s just 12, what is she going to do with all that money and house? Due to some circumstances beyond her parents’ control, Stephanie is forced to spend the night alone in her uncle’s house. At first, she is excited to spend her first night all alone, until there is a break in and she is thrust into a world of magic and excitement and danger. She joins forces with her uncle’s friend, the weird and completely skeletal, Skulduggery Pleasant to solve the mystery of her uncle’s death.

This book is the first book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I was quite excited to read this but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I thought 12 was way too young for some of the things they got up to. There was actual danger involved in a lot of these. I also think if she was doing all these with kids her own age (like Harry Potter), I’d be more likely to overlook a lot but she’s completely running around with adults and I found it disconcerting. I gave this one 2 stars on Goodreads but I’m sure younger audiences wouldn’t have the same reservations I did.

These are some of what I have read lately and I hope you enjoyed these quick fire reviews. Let me know if you’ve read or intend to read any of these books in the comments. Have a great reading week everyone!

 

Leggy

Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

Book Review – Arc of a Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Arc of a Scythe is a young adult dystopian trilogy – Scythe, Thunderhead and The Toll. I read the final book last week and decided to review all three books on the blog this week.

Scythe:

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“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

Humanity has finally conquered death, nobody can die completely except by fire. Humans are living for hundreds of years while still having the ability to remain as young as they please. There are no governments, the entire world is controlled and catered to by an AI called The Thunderhead. To curtail the world’s population, a group of people called the Scythes are appointed. These are people who are legally mandated to permanently end life. Citra and Rowan are chosen by Scythe Faraday to apprentice under him, an opportunity neither of them wants but must learn to take life efficiently or risk losing theirs. I gave this 3 stars on good reads.

 

Thunderhead:

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)

“How ironic, then, and how poetic, that humankind may have created the Creator out of want for one. Man creates God, who then creates man. Is that not the perfect circle of life? But then, if that turns out to be the case, who is created in whose image?”

The Scythedom has finally made a decision between Rowan and Citra and one of them has gone rogue, determined to put the scythedom through a trial of fire. The old guards -who see being a scythe as a great calling, to be treated with respect and dignity and the new guards – who actually enjoy killing and see being scythes as being above the entire human population are at an impasse. The thunderhead is forced to watch as things come to a head in the scythedom while being banned from interfering with scythe business. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

 

The Toll:

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“We never know what choices will lead to defining moments in our lives. A glance to the left instead of right could define who we meet and who passes us by. Our life path can be determined by a single phone call we make, or neglect to make.”

Rowan and Citra have disappeared for three years, the new guard is completely in charge and rules against bias killings and killing quotas have been abolished. The scythes are now legally allowed to kill as many people as they please. An old guard scythe searches the world for the plan B option to the scythedom that the original scythes made just in case their scythedom experience failed. The World is at a loss and in fear, the thunderhead races against time to save humanity from itself. I gave this 2 stars on good reads.

 

I think this series has a brilliant concept but very poor execution. I also think it was dragged out too long to be completely enjoyable. The romance between the main characters was completely forced as there was literally no atom of chemistry between them. I do appreciate that a lot of the romance was kept to a minimum so we didn’t have to suffer through a significant amount of it.

I found the world building to be very fascinating but full of holes. There are so many things the author just neglected because it wasn’t convenient for him. For example – people can still die, it’s just that people aren’t allowed to permanently die. If you’re not killed by a scythe or by fire, you are immediately rushed to a center to be revived. If this is the case why are scythes even needed? Why not just let people die?!

Also, the morality in this book is very black and white. I really would have loved to see some moral grays because I think that’s exactly what most of life is made up of. The main villain in this book Scythe Goddard is so one dimensionally evil, he’s almost a caricature. I think this book brings up some very interesting philosophical questions but then fails to explore them.

I still finished this series so obviously there was always something that kept me wanting to find out more (plus my library just kept pushing out books so I had to!). I do recommend these books if you’re looking for something more young adult and easy to get through. Overall, I give this series 3 stars!

Have you read these books? Did you enjoy them? Let us know in the comments!

 

Leggy

 

Fantasy, Fiction

Book Review: Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson

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Lillian and Madison are friends in an elite boarding school. Madison is from a rich family while Lillian is in through a financial assistance program. The unlikely pair are roommates and that’s how they become friends. They go through a scandal in which Lillian gets a raw deal and is expelled. The two don’t speak for a while but begin to exchange letters where they update each other on their lives.

Madison is now married to a wealthy man who is prominent in the political scene and Lillian is lost and still living with her not-so-great-at-parenting mom. One day she sends a letter to Lillian letting her know she needs her help. The help in question is for Lillian to move in with her family and take care of her 10 year old twin step kids. The catch is the twins burst into flames whenever they get agitated regardless of where they are. Never able to say no to Madison and with her life back home dreary, Lillian agrees to take care of the kids. The three quickly form a bond and Lillian begins to forge a new path for her life.

This might be the first book I read because of its cover. It just had this 70’s/80’s simplistic crayola look and the fire shooting out of pants made me chuckle. I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was by the book. I liked this book because of its many layers. It wasn’t just about combustible children. In fact, as you get into the story, you realize at some point that Wilson has found a way for you to forget that bursting into flames is not exactly normal but in your brain it just becomes the norm as you focus on the other aspects of the book.

Madison and Lillian’s relationship was infuriating to me even though I think the explanation for it was a lazy story line. What I enjoyed most were the twins. Wilson makes them smart kids who are aware of how everyone sees them as a burden and balance their trauma (they experienced something major). You see them childlike and realistic at the same time and trusting no one but each other. I love how the characters were so fully fleshed out that you know Bessie is the captain of the twin ship and she was very protective of her brother, Roland.

I know I am partial to books that delve into human relations and the many curve balls we have to face but this was a well written book that I would recommend.

 

Taynement

Fantasy

Book Review: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)

 

“I can’t imagine a world where the man holding a sword does not have the last say over the man without one.” 

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for 200 years with the natives of a land they tried to claim as their new country. The entire society is built and structured for war. Their castes are built around people who are stronger, faster, bigger and more gifted than others and is maintained strictly with a punishment of death if ever challenged. Born of a lower caste, Tau knows his fate in life is to be killed or used as fodder for the war but he has a plan to avoid that.

He plans to get injured, receive an honorable discharge and live out the rest of his life with the love of his life, but his plans get interrupted when his father is brutally murdered in front of him because of a perceived insult to a higher born. Tau decides to become the greatest swordsman that ever lived in an effort to avenge his father’s death. All of this is going down with a backdrop of a struggling empire, queendom and plans of treachery and coup afoot.

“He was not the strongest, the quickest, or the most talented, not by any measure. He knew this and knew he could not control this. However, he could control his effort, the work he put in, and there he would not be beaten.” 

I bought this book not knowing the author was Black. I stumbled upon it on Goodreads, read the many glowing reviews and bought it. Then I saw some super Nigerian character names and decided to google who exactly wrote this book and out pops a Black man! I was pleasantly surprised. This book was originally self published in September 2017 but was given new life when it was acquired by Orbitz and Winter signed on to write a 4 book series for them.

I’m a sucker for blood thirsty, vengeful protagonists so I ate this book up. I love fantasy where a sort of training school is involved and we get to watch the main character grow in skill and purpose. Tau goes to such limits to perfect his swordsmanship. He lived for his revenge and didn’t care if it led to his death or not. He was out to prove that his caste had nothing to do with his ability to be greater, faster and stronger than the higher born and went about it with such doggedness.

“The days without difficulty are the days you do not improve.” 

I enjoyed how fast paced this book was, it hit the ground running right after the prologue. We get a look at the thinking of the colonizers, the Omehi people crashed unto this land that already had occupants but believed their gods led them there and therefore, they felt entitled to it. We get a look into the caste system, privilege and a lot of other concepts that are relevant to our world today without being preachy. Tau is such a hot headed boy, he almost reminds me of Harry Potter, always rushing into dangerous situations believing that they’re in the right and then letting other people clean up their mess. I was so frustrated with some of the actions he took in this book but is revenge ever a rational, and utterly noble pursuit?

“That’s the price. Life is nothing more than moments in time. To achieve greatness, you have to give up those moments. You have to give your life to your goal.”

I really enjoyed this book. Gave it 5 stars on Goodreads! If you are at all interested in fantasy or looking to get into it. Please give this book a go!

 

Leggy

Fantasy

Book Review : Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

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“Truth is truth and nothing you can do about it even if you hide it, or kill it, or even tell it. It was truth before you open your mouth and say, that there is a true thing.” 

Tracker is highly sought after, for his skills as a hunter. He finds people with his intense sense of smell. He is called upon to find a mysterious boy who disappeared from his mother’s house three years earlier. He finds himself in a group of very odd people with very unique powers all on a quest to find this boy that none of them know much about. When they start getting attacked from all sides, Tracker wonders exactly who the boy is and where the quest is actually going to lead him to.

“Life is love and I have no love left. Love has drained itself from me, and run to a river like this one.” 

This book was a highly anticipated release, it was sold to the audience as the African Game of Thrones. Let me disabuse you of that notion now. This book is NOTHING like Game of Thrones. I have read the Game of Thrones series and again, it is nothing like it. First of all, this is only for hard core fantasy fans and even if you’re one, you’re going to suffer through this. It is less of a straightforward first person narration and more of a stream of consciousness. Tracker narrates the stories himself and it takes so long to get to the meat of the matter. He goes on so many tangents that I won’t be surprised if a lot of people don’t finish this one.

“He is my friend.” “Nobody ever gets betrayed by their enemy.” 

Also, don’t do this book on audio. The narrator has a very thick accent that’s a cross between what Hollywood thinks Africans sound like and a Jamaican accent. You get used to it after a while but this is not a book you can have in the background while doing other things. You really have to listen attentively to understand what is being said. If I had a drinking game for every time the writer said “fuck” or “cock”, I would have been drunk before I hit 10% of the book. It has a lot of sex and if you’re a prude, this is just not the book for you.

“Better to be with the ancestors than to live bonded to somebody else, who might be kind, who might be cruel, who might even make you master to many slaves of your own, but was still master over you.” 

I liked some of the world building in this book. As Tracker follows the boy’s scent from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers, the descriptions of the societies in these cities and the creatures they come across in these forests are fantastic. There were moments I got a glimpse into what this book could have been, if the writer had taken it a different route. I think the premise of this book was great but the execution, not so much.

I found this book to be a maze and you will get lost and confused a lot, I can only advise you to just plow through it if you feel compelled to get through this book. I don’t think this book is for a lot of people and personally, I wouldn’t even know how to sell it.

I think I’m still going to read the next installment in this series because I’m really curious about where the author intends to take this book to. I gave it 2 stars on Good Reads. If you really want to read this one, I think you should persevere through the first 100 pages until the adventure starts off before you decide to give up cos those pages might be just for you.

Have you heard of this book? Are you planning to give it a go? Let me know in the comments.

Leggy.

Fantasy, Fiction

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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The premise of this book is amazing. It’s 1969 and 4 siblings go see a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell people when they will die, right down to the age and exact date. With this information – Daniel, Varya, Klara and Simon- go ahead and live their lives with this information with Varya the only one who shares her age. They live their lives not knowing whether it was living out a destiny or a self-fulfilling prophecy. The book follows the life of each sibling and gives more insight into how they live.

With such a captivating cover, I feel like I saw this book everywhere and I had high hopes for this but unfortunately, this book was a let down. It had my interest in the beginning and I was curious to see how they would go ahead with life having an alleged expiration date, especially getting the info as teenagers. I feel like the first sibling story was quite interesting and captivating but as we progressively went through each sibling, it became more boring. By the time, we got to the story of the last sibling, I was bored out my skull and uninterested. There was so much focus on their work too, and while I got the connection, I just didn’t care.

Nothing about the writing stood out and it’s quite forgettable. I don’t have much to say about it to be honest. If this is on your TBR list, I honestly let you know that you won’t be missing much if you skip it.

Taynement

Fantasy

Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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“Because that’s what the story’s really about: getting out of paying your debts. That’s not how they tell it, but I knew. My father was a moneylender, you see.”

Everyone who knows me knows fantasy is my favorite genre to read especially with how shitty the world is nowadays. I like to get lost in a whole new world that is built entirely from scratch where everything is possible and you know your hero is going to come out victorious in the end. Novik has mastered the act of fairytale retellings and this book is a very loose retelling of the fairytale, “Rumpelstiltskin”. 

I say loose because it has some of the elements like a character that turns silver into gold, there is also a big thing about not giving up what your name is, and everything happens deep in the forest. But the central story and the characters are unique inventions of the author herself. The traditional story is one where Rumpelstiltskin aids a woman in spinning straw into gold and she refuses to hold up her side of the bargain. But somehow in Rumpelstiltskin, he is the villain and I have never understood that logic. This book turns that entire idea on its head.

Miryem is the daughter of the town moneylender, but she takes over her father’s business when he repeatedly fails to collect their debts. Turns out she has a talent for making people pay what they owe and she starts making money for her family, turning silver into gold and this attracts the attention of a Staryk (a creature who values gold above all else) king who wants her for her talent and forcibly makes her his queen.

This book is told from multiple people’s perspective which I wasn’t expecting because from the description it seemed to be a book firmly about Miryem but that was not the case. A lot of characters feature prominently in this book and it might get hard to keep up with the story and whose point of view is being heard next. I did this book on audio and there was no indication of whose character POV preceded each chapter, so I wonder if that was the same with the actual book.

I liked that this book is a YA fantasy novel that does not focus on a love triangle, I think I’m all loved triangled out when it comes to this genre. In fact, this book is not a love story at all. It’s about strong girls fighting hard for their beliefs, for their country and for their family. It feels so refreshing to see young women being bad asses and trying to have agency in a world that sees them as property – first as their father’s and then their husband’s.

The book tackles a lot of serious issues for a YA novel – sexual abuse, loss of a parent, rape, sexism, antisemitism, alcoholism etc so just a heads up for possible trigger warnings. I found it very interesting that Novik makes the money lending family Jewish. She uses the book to explore the stereotypes surrounding Jews and money and tries to subtly point out the antisemitism in that stereotype. I thought that was very cleverly done.

Overall, this just felt like a story that was single-handedly created for me. From the Staryks, to the Winter King, to the traveling between places, to the so very strong female cast, to the magic, to every single word on every single page. Novik creates a world that is difficult to leave once the book is done and I am definitely looking forward to what she does next. I gave this book 4 stars on good reads. As mentioned earlier,  I did this on audio and the narrator was fantastic so I definitely recommend that medium.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Do you read/ like fantasy? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!!

Leggy.

p.s: If you read this and want more fantasy recommendations, we have a post here on the blog guiding you through this genre. Do look it up and feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

We Chit Chat: Children of Blood and Bone

Image result for children of blood and bone

“gods are nothing without fools to believe in them.” 

Taynement: Whew. It’s been a month and some, I think? But I finally got through Children of Blood and Bone. The struggle was real.

Leggy: lol, why do you think you had such a hard time with it? The genre or the book itself?

Taynement: I’ve been asking myself that question. It’s easy to say the genre because it’s all mystical and YA, things i’m not necessarily a fan of but I’ve read other books in that vein that I liked. I really liked it at first but at some point, I just got to a place where I just didn’t care what happened to anyone.

Leggy: I actually agree with you that it lags somewhere in the middle. I think it starts off fast and action packed but the middle brought in the YA love ridiculousness and it just lost its grit. I think it picked up towards the end though. I really wanted to read this book really bad because the premise intrigued me.

Taynement: When I think of this book, I think there was a lot going on. It was part Harry Potter, part Hunger Games. Zellie was basically Harry – Captain “I’m so fierce and I can save everybody”.

Leggy: All the annoying qualities of Harry without the “funness” of Ron to cut through it and make it more palatable. Every time she barged into trouble and made a split second stupid decision I just couldn’t deal.

Taynement: The love part was inevitable. It’s YA.

Leggy: I was annoyed by it though. Like they knew each other all of 5 seconds and were in love.

Taynement: I have to say I like how she led up to it. I liked how the intimacy was formed from his first reaction to her to when they could feel each other’s magic.

Leggy: Blehhhh. This is someone whose father killed your mother and a whole lot of people, someone who himself has chased you through multiple kingdoms and you just decide to trust him just like that because he makes your loins stir? There was nothing I enjoyed about the romance in this book.

Taynement: Now Amari’s I wasn’t so sure about because I honestly thought there was some romantic undertones on how she felt about Binta. And it was cliche to have them fall in love with each other’s siblings

Leggy: All the romance in this book was cliche to me

Taynement: Fair enough. Were you bothered by the no translations?

Leggy: No I wasn’t at all. It didn’t affect my understanding of the book. It’s magic incantations. I don’t care what they literally mean.

Taynement: I really feel bad because I really wanted to like this book. That being said,  expect a lot of Nigerians to like it because of the traditions, the language and being able to recognize the geography.

Leggy: Actually, this is one of the reasons this book fell flat for me. I couldn’t use my imagination because these are real places and her setting descriptions didn’t make any sense with the pictures I had in my mind about the real places. Snow in Ibadan? Also, there is so much to explore in Yoruba god mythology that I think she squandered the chance. I feel like she tried hard to use Nigerian settings and culture and put it into a stereotypical American fantasy trope which is probably why Americans will enjoy it more.

Taynement: Speaking of familiarity, I was a little peeved at some names. Not a big deal but why is a guy who lives in Warri called Kwame? What is Tzain and Zellie? Also, what happened to Amari’s mom? We just never heard from her again? I even did a search to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And did we get an explanation to Inan’s secret?

Leggy: Nope, we never understood why that happened to him in the first place.

Taynement: I came in fully expecting an experience but was left empty.

Leggy: What did you like about this book?

Taynement: The acknowledgements when she said she wrote this to depict the injustices against minorities specifically black people in the US and how they are treated. I liked the metaphor and it made me understand what she was trying to achieve with this book. I really liked the message.

Leggy: I don’t think there was anything that I specifically liked. I’m really grateful to have a fantasy book with black characters, that’s something you rarely see in this genre and this is one of my favorite genres as everybody knows. I think the sequels will be better so I might check them out when they come out. Also, we have to mention that this was the author’s first book, so congratulations to her! Would you recommend this book to anyone?

Taynement: Yeah. I’m curious to see people’s different takes on it and what they liked about it. So, though it wasn’t for me personally, it’s also not a terrible book that I would tell people to stay away from. I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy: I also gave it 2 stars on Goodreads but I would still definitely recommend this book to other people. I know a lot of people who have personally enjoyed this book and like you said, even though it wasn’t for me, it might be for someone else. Also, the cover of this book is gorgeous so if you want to splurge a little, buy the physical copy.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

“As it fades, I see the truth – in plain sight, yet hidden all along. We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue. This truth holds me close, rocking me like a child in a mother’s arms. It binds me in its love as death swallows me in its grasp.” 

Leggy & Taynement