The Grisha Trilogy – A Review

★★★★★ I don’t know why I’m surprised. ★★★★★

 

The Grisha Trilogy is comprised of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising.

“The thought filled me with grief, grief for the dreams we’d shared, for the love I’d felt, for the hopeful girl I would never be again.”

 

Leigh Bardugo, man. I absolutely loved it. I found each book to be just as good as the other – I rated them all 4.5 stars, just not QUITE as good as the Six of Crows duology.

Steel is earned.

 

Having read the Six of Crows duology first, I was a little apprehensive to read the original Grisha trilogy as other bloggers have said that SoC is a better book.

I now agree with those opinions – but god damn it was still SUCH a good book (trilogy). I ship Alina with everyone, and I mean EVERYone. She’s an inspiring character and her personal growth (along with Mal’s) throughout the series is one of my favourites in a character. The Darkling as an antagonist was charming, creepy and flush-inducing all at the same time. It was hard not to like him as a character and see things from his perspective as well as wonder if his obsession with Alina is real love or just that – obsession.

This series is effortlessly quotable, this being my favourite:

 

Fine. Make me your villain.

 

Furthermore there was f/f!!! In a fantasy book!!! My dream come true!!! It may not have been between main characters but this type of representation is what we’re also fighting for – queer people simply just existing in stories. No subplot to their sexuality or “plot twist”, just simple and happy.

 

“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

 

Overall I know that this series will be one of my favourites of all time – I even managed to snag signed copies of the second and third book at YALC 2018!

Read on a little further for spoilery discussion and me just flat out rambling/being excited about these books!

(featured drawing by prom-knight on tumblr)

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Three Dark Crowns – A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

★★★★★

Oh my good lord.

I’ve been putting off reading this book because of how hyped it has been in the past, but I am SO glad that my friend Mia convinced me to read it next.

On the island of Fennbirn, every generation of queen was once a triplet – who had to kill her sisters to win the throne.

We follow Arsinoe – the naturalist; Katharine – the poisoner; and Mirabella – the elementalist as they prepare to slaughter each other for the throne.

That’s all I needed to be hooked on this book and I believe in knowing very little about plots before diving in so I can be surprised!

In terms of plot, the story seems to be very character-driven. Although you could say not much was really happening in terms of overall story arc, I really enjoyed learning about each queen and their individual relationships; usually I like really fast paced stories but I found myself forgiving TDC in this aspect.

I really like the way Kendare Blake shows us the world and reveals plot twists, as I felt I was suspicious of a few of the love interests and she did really well to keep my nose off the scent with what was going to happen.

I absolutely fell in LOVE with almost every single character in this book.

There didn’t seem to be a solidified antagonist as such, it mainly seemed to be each queen having their own personalities and opinions of each other (mainly thinking each other are evil). I would have to say my favourite queen is Katharine, then Arsinoe, then Mirabella, but they all have things I loved and disliked about them which felt like they were very well rounded.

One character I didn’t like so much was Arsinoe’s best friend – her attitude really annoyed me and she’s quite headstrong and stubborn, but her character does really develop throughout the book.

Love interests – I love them all. Katharine’s romance is my absolute favourite, just gave me chills every time they had a scene together!

I also enjoyed the mother-daughter relationships explored in the book with each queen (as obviously they’ve been adopted and brought up separately). It’s fascinating to see how their personalities individually developed from their foster mothers.

So that’s it! I gave Three Dark Crowns 5 stars, I couldn’t have asked for any more.

I’m actually writing this review quite late as I’ve already finished the sequel One Dark Throne already, it was so good looool

I’m also trying to figure out how to use emojis on the wordpress writer as I’m not conveying my emotions very well through just text…maybe I’ll just use GIFs.

Thanks for reading!

Ro x

A Darker Shade Of Magic – A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

★★★

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in the wildly popular YA fantasy trilogy by V.E Schwab.

The Premise

I was SO interested in the premise of this book as it seems like a really unique fantasy world which is what I generally go for.

It features our main character Kell, who can travel between four different parallel Londons which he coins as Grey London (without magic), Red London (with magic), White London (where magic is scarce and people fight to control it) and Black London – which was lost long ago.

One adventure at a time.”

The Characters

I can’t really pick a favourite character out of them all as I really enjoyed all of their personalities.

The other main character (who is not mentioned in the blurb) is Delilah Bard, a headstrong thief living off mere coins in Grey London. She is stubborn and awesome and I love her, she takes no prisoners and does exactly what she wants and says what she means. Hers and Kell’s paths cross in an interesting way and they end up teaming up later on in the book.

Speaking of them teaming up, I personally didn’t feel much chemistry between them – at least in a romantic sense. It really felt to me like they were becoming really good friends that have each other’s backs no matter what.

She dragged her head up and saw Kell standing in the road, the strange magical boy in his black coat, looking breathless and angry.

Personally I really love Rhy, he’s very charming and witty and I would love to see more of him in the second book! The brotherly bond between him and Kell was strengthened throughout the book and it was heartbreaking to learn Kell’s deep feelings and fears about his family.

The antagonist(s) in the story, I didn’t find too much of a threat or that scary. I feel like they could have had a little more depth and perhaps we could have seen a little more of their world before the climax and conclusion of the book.

The World and Story

Unfortunately I did actually find myself a bit bored for the first half of the book. Although I finished it in three days (it is just less than 400 pages) I had to force myself to carry on at some points. I found myself not really caring about Lila’s story before she met Kell, or the pub that she frequents. I kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, which luckily in the last half of the book it did.

The world building was shown quite well, where Schwab shows rather than tells us how different the Londons are (other than Kell’s own descriptions).

Rhy broke into his perfect smile.

“I like this one,” he said to Kell. “Can I borrow her?”

“You can try,” said Lila, raising a brow. “But you’ll be a prince without his fingers.”

Overall I did enjoy the characters and premise of the book, but I felt that this truly was a set-up book for the rest of the series. I have heard the second one is even better so I’ll be getting onto that soon!

Thanks for reading – Ro xo

Queen of the Tearling – A REVIEW

**This review contains mild spoilers**

The Queen of the Tearling is a medieval fantasy written by Erika Johansen about a girl who, at 19 years of age, is thrust into queendom.

Kelsea must learn to navigate assassination attempts, politics and war with the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesne.

I listened to this on audiobook and honestly, if it wasn’t for the fabulous narrator then I’m pretty sure I would have DNF’d this book.

It is the most confusing, long and boring book I have ever read.

I was promised magic, adventure, mystery and romance. Magic? Barely any. Adventure? Hardly.Mystery? Someone please tell me what is mysterious in this book other than who Kelsea’s father is. Romance?! Don’t even get me started.

Nothing interesting whatsoever happens in this book.

The setting:

Medieval fantasy. Wait no, now it’s dystopian? What?

Something called “The Crossing” is alluded to, but I have no idea what it is. This book doesn’t show OR tell you the background of the world. We’re given scraps of info about 60% of the way into the book via characters referring to “rediscovering” things like gunpowder, medicine etc, but why did this happen? Why is there a New London, and why does no one seem to know anything at all?!

The characters:

Another thing I had a problem with was the way we are constantly given every thought in Kelsea’s head, about her appearance, how plain she is, how fat she is. I honestly couldn’t care less about these things. Also nipples are mentioned far more than was necessary.

The guards are useless, they’re being followed in the first part of the book by the most notorious assassin group in the land yet they stop to camp and decide to drink and sing loudly into the night???? What???

The Red Queen/The Mort Queen – We don’t learn anything about her and her motivations other than she hates Kelsea, has sex with a lot of slaves and is somehow enslaved to some sort of demon? I honestly don’t know.

The Fetch – The most interesting character to me and yet we learned nothing other than Kelsea basically falls for him immediately. However there is no romance whatsoever – he shows no interest in her, calls her ugly, meets her 3< times and there is no spark at all, let alone any tension. Kelsea’s interest in him felt more like a schoolgirl crush on a teacher.

The other points of view from Javel and Father Tyler were…unneeded.

Finally:

Some things I did enjoy were the interactions between Lazarus and Kelsea as he basically took none of her shit, and how good the narrator was.

I have heard that the sequel gets better but honestly I’ve got such a large TBR pile that this series will definitely not be my priority, and it’s baffled me that some of my favourite booktubers have loved it – but that’s just me.

If you enjoy “generic” political fantasy then go for it, the characters are good but it seems to me that all the action will be in the second book and the first is all just setup for a world and story that to me, makes no sense.

Please let me know your own thoughts!

– Ro xo

My April TBR!

It’s currently the Easter holidays here in the UK and I’ve had three weeks off university so I should be getting some reading done!

First up is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

I’m currently listening to the audio book of this and I’m really enjoying it!

Next up we have Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while as my partner bought it for me for Christmas and it’s been sat waiting for me! So hopefully I should get to it this month.

Lastly we have Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

I’ve heard such good things about this book from one of my favourite booktubers, Thoughts on Tomes .

So…

Well, this is new.

In all honesty I had hoped to start a YouTube channel but I procrastinate far too much for that kind of commitment.

So instead I’m starting a book blog, to post all of my thoughts, reviews, wrap ups, hauls etc. Anything bookish you can think of!

So grab your mug of something hot and settle in to my reading corner. All are welcome!

– Ro x