Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Hero at the Fall
Alwyn Hamilton
Series Name: Rebel of the Sands
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Feb 1st, 2018
Pages: 506 (Paperback)
Publishers: Faber & Faber
5 star

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Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

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You can find my spoiler free review of Rebel of the Sands HERE! Don’t judge it too hard, it was my first ever review. You can also find the review for Traitor to the Throne HERE!

Warning there may be spoilers for Rebel of the Sands & Traitor to the Throne but there will be no spoilers for Hero at the Fall!

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I adore these books! They are absolutely gorgeous, especially the physical copies. The photos just don’t do it justice! I also love the image in the middle of the cover. They always show something within the story which I love!

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I absolutely love the writing in these books! They are action packed, unpredictable & amazing! I also really enjoyed the additions of the short stories/tales in this one. That just added a little extra to the book that was really well done. I also really enjoy the POV in this book. It is all told by Amani, however, some of the book was told in the first person POV and other parts were third person POV, this was mostly when the tales were being told, but also right out at the end when it was tale and reality coming together.

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As I said the book was action packed! Which made for a plot with tonnes of twists and turns. It kept me on the edge the entire time and I absolutely loved it! As this is the end of the trilogy there were no cliffhangers like in the other books that left me needing to read the next book straight away! Even though the end of the book was heartbreaking to some degree I absolutely wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a very satisfying ending for the most part.

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Amani is one of my favourite female characters ever! She is a badass sharpshooter with awesome powers. She is quick thinking and determined. She is also loving and caring and would do anything for the people that she considered family. She was real though too. She struggled with what was right and wrong. Always trying to do right but still being tempted by what her heart wanted rather than what she knew she had to do.
Jin was another awesome character! He was strong, but didn’t want power or to be in the middle of everything. He just wanted to help however he can.
Shazad is another favourite! Her friendship with Amani is amazing! She is also just a badass character alone too. She is strong, an amazing fighter and extremely tactical! She always has a plan and can think up a plan on the spot when needed!
Izz & Maz are sarcastic an awesome characters. I love that we finally got to see some more of them in this book! They were always there when the other characters needed them.
I also liked Sam a lot more in this book than I did in Traitor to the Throne. He is funny and sarcastic which was a good break from all the seriousness. He was also strong and even though he was technically from the enemy side, he still helped the people he cared for the most.

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I love everything about this series! The writing is amazing and I loved the new tales in this one! The plot was so well done. The characters are also amazing. I loved basically all of them. Even the bad guys are done so well! I still hate them but I can appreciate how well they were written! This is one of my favourite series I have ever read! I can’t wait to see what Alwyn Hamilton does next! We already have an ‘Untitled YA Fantasy’ planned according to Goodreads and I can’t wait!

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Obsidio
Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series Name: The Illuminae Files
YA Sci-Fi
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Pages: 615 (Paperback)
Publishers: Knopf Books for Young Readers
5 star

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Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.


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I love the covers of these books. Especially the hardcovers! I finally saw the hardcovers in person too! I had seen them on youtube and in photos, but never in person. I purchased the hardcover of Obsidio & also got a signed copy of the paperback, so I now have both. So now I have to go buy Illuminae & Gemina in Hardcover too. But I love how different the hardcovers are! I have never seen a hardcover with a plastic dust jacket before! It’s awesome.

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Absolutely amazing! This review will mostly be me gushing about this book as it was AMAZING! But, I do love the style of this book and the writing is fabulous. Obviously, this is an extremely unique book and when I first picked up Illuminae around 2 years ago I was worried it would be boring just reading documents & message conversations but these books are in no way shape or form boring! The format is executed brilliantly! It is easy to follow, you are never confused and this book is extremely gripping! I did not want to put it down once I started.

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The plot is action PACKED! There is always something going on and there are tonnes of twists and turns! Basically, none of which were expected! I think the plot twists are even more unexpected because of the format of the book. You don’t see them coming and then next thing boom you read video footage of it, or characters are IMing while it is happening and freaking out. It’s just so well done!

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The fucking characters are all perfection!! Now, if you haven’t read Illuminae & Gemina I would suggest not reading which characters I talk about as their presences will spoil events from Illuminae & Gemina as there are plenty of suspected deaths or near deaths in those first books.

Each book kinda has one main male & one main female, all of which are either ex’s or possible love interests. It didn’t take away from the story at all though and I actually enjoyed most of the romances, which is unusual as I am not a romance type person.

Firstly I’ll start with the girls! Kady Grant, Hannah Donnely & Asha Grant. These girls are special, determined, badass bitches but in the most realistic ways. They do freak out, there are times where the breakdown and think they can’t go on. But they still face their situations and grab them by the balls. Kady will always be my favourite and I think that is because she was the original one that was there right from the start but Hannah & Asha are very close behind her in terms of favourites. Kady is a kickass hacker (only bested maybe by the Little Spider, I’ll get to her soon!).
Hannah is a badass fighter who will beat your ass if you threaten part of her family. She is also extremely tactical and can devise plans in seconds. She is strong, but again shows weakness when things get too much. But when push comes to shove she get back up their and leads like a boss!
Asha is Kady’s cousin and she lost her mother during the other books. Even though she doesn’t really have an awesome skill that is their main feature like the other two girls she is still resourceful, strong and amazing. Asha feels like more of a ‘normal person’, she is just a pharmasist that was in the right place in the right time and survived that initial attack. Her bravery was shown in the fact that she lived through that attack, kept her head down and fought in the shadows.

Now outside of the main three females, we also have Ella Malikov, Nik’s cousin. I love the rep with her. She is a badass hacker, who happens to be in a wheelchair. She also gets hurt and is on oxygen for a large part of the book, so I liked seeing the portrayal of her having to deal with that and how the people around her reacted too. Besides all that, Ella is a sarcastic and a little rude, but totally hilarious character and I loved her so much.
We also have Captain Syra Boll. She was another realistic character. She was thrown into her position because of the events in previous books and she did the best she could. She always tried to do what was best for her team, she tried to always take the opinions of people who may know more than her within fields she isn’t trained, even if they were only a 17 year old and everyone else thought she was off her rocker to be taking advice from ‘kids’. She was a strong leading female figure in this book and I really liked her.
We also had Sergeant Yukiko Oshiro who in the beginning I didn’t like but she redeemed herself a bit in the end. She had been working planetside since the initial attack. She followed her orders and put on a face of indifference when orders were given that she didn’t fully agree with. She tried to teach Rhys to do the same, to just keep his head down, follow orders and there won’t be problems. Of course I didn’t like her though, she was Bei-Tech and was part of the team that killed so many people. So you automatically don’t like her. But yes, I did think she made up for it a little in the end.
Next I just want to do a quick mention of Captain Winifred McCall who makes the best prep speech I have ever read. Seriously, I will leave a quote below!

“There is a moment just after the die is cast and before it lands upon the gaming table in which the smallest breeze may change its course-the way it rolls where it comes to rest. 
That is what we must do today. We must give our all to ensure that when the die does come to rest, it favors us. We are fighting today for all the loved ones we have lost, for all the loved ones far away we hope to see again and for those here with us, who know we are their only hope.”

Now, onto the males! Again we have our three main male characters. Ezra Mason, Nik Malikov & Rhys Lindstrom. Out of these, I think Nik & Ezra tie for favourite for me and then Rhys is just behind. Ezra is a fighter pilot who is completely underestimated by most of the people aboard because he is a ‘kid’. They all suffer this agist (like racist, but with age, is that a thing??) view for older characters but Kady & Ezra the most. Ezra is also extremely caring to all he considers family.
Nik is not really underestimated but strongly judged. He and Ella come from criminal family, so no one trusts them. Mostly Nik though. Ella got away with it more as she was always in the background, in a room somewhere out of view working on her computer, so she was less noticed I guess, so she didn’t get the judgement as much. Whereas Nik was fairly well out front and centre and no one would give him a chance except those that actually got to know him. Now, as I said he comes from a criminal background, but he doesn’t really fit the mould most of you would be thinking of when ‘criminal’ is involved. He isn’t really thuggish or brutal. He is fairly kind and caring. He does go a little far sometimes, especially if someone insults or makes comments in relation to Hannah and his relationship with her. There were noses broken at one point. He never really fights without reason, but he does fight. But like I said, he is still extremely caring and also very careful at times (parachute, if you have read, you will understand!). I also love Nik’s banter with his cousin Ella. It is hilarious and even though there was less of it in this book, it was still great.
Rhys was probably the least fleshed out character out of all. He was obviously new to the story in this book but also I just didn’t feel like we had as much background with him as the others. Yes, he was Bei-Tech & Like with Oshiro, I wanted to hate him automatically, but it was obvious pretty early that he didn’t agree with what was going on. He was an engineer and soldier who hadn’t been on the field until the events in this book and had no idea what was actually going on. When he began to find out it really showed his humanity compared to some of the other trigger happy assholes. He questioned things that he didn’t agree with even if that meant he was reprimanded. He hesitated when being ordered to do things he didn’t agree with. He even tried to stand up against things to his superiors when shit really when bad. That is why the automatic hatred didn’t last too long. He was also intelligent, resourceful and extremely caring.

Now, for the none MC male characters. Firstly I want to talk about Isaac Grant. He is Kady’s father & Asha’s uncle and I absolutely loved him! He was an amazing father figure in this book. He was funny, loving and even in the middle of all this crap he was still trying to stick to what he believed. Even if that was simply his dislike for swearing. It was hilarious reading IMs where Kady, Ella or Hannah would swear and his instant reaction wasn’t to what they were talking about it was ‘watch your language, young lady’. He even tried it with some of the older members during group convos and it was funny watching him accept that he was being totally ignored. Then there was that one time when shit was so bad, but he was like ‘fine, …….’ and swore himself. It just made me laugh every time. Now the next little bit is spoilery to an event in Obsidio which I feel like you need to read yourself and let it break your heart through the story, so skip the next part that is in bold. Okay, so I just had to talk about this as it left me in tears and I am tearing up right now writing this! But as I said he was an amazing father figure, but it extended past his own daughter to both Hannah, Ella and I’m assuming Asha, but we didn’t actually see that part. Anyway, he was so loving and supportive to those girls and then after he found out that Ella had lost her father during all this he offered himself to her as a father figure if she needed him. He helped her when no one else had the time and then ended up adopting her in the end. Isaac Grant is an amazingly beautiful character and he is one of my favourite ever male side characters.

Now lastly, we need to address the “elephant in the room before it steps on someone”. AIDAN. I don’t really know what to say about it really. It is a psychotic and extremely creepy artificial intelligence that is learning to think like a human. He has a disturbing crush on Kady and likes to kill thousands of people. Yet I still can’t hate him really. He only kills thousands because he sees it as a sacrafice. Kill a thousand, to save three thousand. That is his logic and even though no one likes to admit it, he is kinda right, even if the execution is brutal and heat breaking. He saved them all on mulitple occasions so I can’t really hate him. Fuck, even I’m calling it a ‘him’ now. I’m just going to leave it at that for him.

Well that is it for the characters I think! I can’t think of anyone else I really want to talk about. I know that section is ridiculously long, but there are alot of amazing characters I just need to talk about!

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Overall this book is amazing, this series is amazing and I love everything about it! I already want to reread it! The writing and format are sooo well done. The plot is action-packed and intense and the characters are superb. I do think I liked this book a little more than Illuminae and Gemina honestly. It was the perfect conclusion for this series and I couldn’t be happier and sadder about that!

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The Mage Heir by Kathryn Sommerlot – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Mage Heir
Kathryn Sommerlot
Series Name: The Life Siphon
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 15th, 2018
Pages: 367 (eBook)
Publishers: Not sure as Goodreads doesn’t say and Kathryn doesn’t mention it in her email.
3 star

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Traitor: that’s what Tatsu is now. On the run from both Runon and Chayd, Tatsu and Yudai’s only hope for survival is to disappear into the wilds. However, when the siphon’s deadly curse returns, they have no choice but to travel into the desert kingdom of Joesar in search of a cure.

Battling the unforgiving elements of the sands, Tatsu starts to realize that the path towards destroying the siphon may claim Yudai’s life. Time is running out as Nota’s fury—and the siphon’s hunger—begin to spiral wildly beyond their control.

As their options slowly fall away, the only thing Tatsu and Yudai can count on is each other.


You can find my spoiler free review of The Life Siphon (Book 1) HERE!

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I really enjoy the covers of these books. They are simple but also beautiful. I love the colour scheme of both and I bet they would look awesome together on a shelf (I have no idea if there even is physical copies though). I also like how they subtly reference the book with the design on the cover.

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One of my main complaints from book 1 was that it was predictable but I don’t think that was the case with this one. I did not directly predict any of the plot twists in this one I don’t think.

My main complaint about this book is I feel like it was a bit slow and uneventful at the beginning. It has been a while since I read The Life Siphon and I did have a bit of a struggle getting into this one.  It definitely picked up in the last 30% of the book. But the rest I was kinda struggling.  I honestly felt like DNFing for a little bit there, but I stuck through and I don’t regret it as it was enjoyable in the end.

The world building is still lacking! I mentioned this in my review for The Life Siphon too. There needs to be more explanation, more description and more depth to the world.

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As I said above, it was slow in the beginning but the plot at the end of the book was alright. It felt slightly rushed and I feel like that is because everything at the start is dragged out and then in the last 20% everything is rushed through and then the book is over. The start of the book could have been condensed a bit and then the actual major parts could have been fleshed out a little more.

I do have another problem but it’s hard to describe. I kinda feel like everything worked out in the end. Which is great if you love the characters and want them to all be happy but it kinda made it predictable in the fact that when there is a twist you guess that it is going to work out well in the end because everything seems to work out well in the end. Like there is no real devastation or sadness to keep your emotions on the edge. I hope that makes sense as I have no other way to describe it.

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Firstly my favourite thing about the book is the diversity! There are gay (or maybe bisexual) characters in this book. I loved that in this world that felt completely fine. Their friends were just like cool, he is your boyfriend. There was no coming out, no questioning and no issues. It was just normal and I loved that.

Tatsu was enjoyable most of the time. He was a bit moody, but not everyone is perfect. He was caring and loyal to his friend, so that was good. Yudai was all over the place for most of this book. Sometimes he was enjoyable and other times I just didn’t care at all. I don’t know what exactly it was, but just sometimes how he acted annoyed me.

Alesh was kinda bossy but I do love how protective she is with Ral. Ral I still don’t understand. The ability type thing that she has was not explained in the slightest! Jotin was kinda meh to me. He didn’t feel fleshed out at all. I need more from him, he just kinda felt like a robot with no real emotion or life.

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I feel like this book was a little underwhelming. The world building could have been a lot better and the character development was lacking. The book was also slow for most of it which was disappointing. The first book was definitely better,  more entertaining and gripping for me.

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I was sent a copy of this book from Kathryn Sommerlot! So thanks so much to her for sending the eARC my way and giving me this opportunity!

The books are available on Kindle Unlimited but are also really cheap on Amazon! You can find The Life Siphon HERE & The Mage Heir HERE! The links will be for the Australian Amazon Site.

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Hazel Wood
Melissa Albert
Series Name: The Hazel Wood
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Feb 8th, 2018
Pages: 355 (Paperback)
Publishers: Penguin
3 and a half star

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Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD. 

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .


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I actually love this cover! It looks a lot better in person than in the image above. As they used a combination of matte & shiny coating on the cover. The shiny parts are all the creases and details in the leaves. It makes it really pretty but also still creepy as hell.

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I enjoyed the writing of this book but it wasn’t anything overly special. It was creepy but also kinda slow until the last 30%. However, it did keep me hooked! I had trouble putting it down.

This is kinda random but I strongly disliked the last couple chapters of this book. After everything happens and Alice is back in the real world she becomes so dull. I don’t like her anyway (see the characters section) but it went from a fleshed out character in most of the book to this meh character with no motivation, thoughts, cares or absolutely anything. It was like reading from the POV of a stick. I know that it says that afterwards she may not be the same, but if the whole next book is written like those last chapters, I will be DNFing it real quick. I had such a struggle getting through those last pages of this book.

This book suffered from the ‘absent parents’ trope which is seriously overdone. Alice’s mother was kidnapped, so yeah that one I didn’t mind but the only other person from the human world had parents that apparently didn’t give a damn at all. They didn’t even try and get the police to search for him when he ‘went missing/ran away’.

I really enjoyed the fairytales in this book! Even though we didn’t really get them in full they were interesting. I discovered after reading that she is going to come out with a book of fairytales (same idea as The Tales of Beedle the Bard from J.K. Rowling & Tales of the Peculiar from Ransom Riggs). I’m more excited for the ‘Tales from the Hinterland’ to come out than I am about the second book in this series honestly.

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The plot was, for the most part, interesting. However, there were some predictable parts and most of the time the things I predicted were the big plot twists. So that was a little annoying. Also, the middle of the book was a tad slow. Things happened, but they happened within one page and the rest of the chapter was just meh.

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The main character irritated the shit out of me. I don’t know if she was meant to be an ‘unlikable main character’ but holy crap I didn’t like her. She was selfish as hell and didn’t really give a damn about anything but herself and her mother (and another character later on).
She was annoyingly stubborn and would snap at Finch for basically no reason. She would also think about hurting or killing people all the time when they were doing perfectly normal things that she didn’t happen to like. Then there was the time that she ran them off the road and nearly ploughed into the trees because she was pissed at herself. There was also the times when she was extremely judgemental! It was mentioned many times that the people in The Hazel Wood and The Halfway Wood may have mental problems due to what they went through in The Hazel Wood & The Half Way Wood. So it’s not like she didn’t know but good damn was she judging those people so hard because they may not have been up to her standard! Basically, if someone didn’t act the same as she did then they weren’t good enough for her.  I know her anger played a part in the story later on but it annoyed me a tonne! Like, stop being a bitch!
It also annoyed me that she barely ever called her mother ‘Mum’… It was always ‘Ella’. I would understand if she and her mother weren’t close but Alice basically didn’t know how to survive without Ella, so there really wasn’t any reason not to call her ‘Mum’.
*My above statement does alter later in the story after a plot twist, but for the most part it is true!*

Finch was also a character I didn’t love. A lot of his actions annoyed me, but even more, I was annoyed at how Alice reacts to the things that he did. Also there not even a relationship thing that they had was just weird. At the start he was made out to be this kinda creepy, won’t leave me alone type guy and the next thing she is confused about what they were and whether she thought of him as a friend. Then he is risking his life to help her and she is still being a bitch to him and on multiple occasions wants to leave him behind but ‘he is all I have’… So he stays.
He was also a very undeveloped character we know nothing about him except he is rich, black and has parents that don’t care at all.. But knowing that Alice never seemed to give a damn about actually getting to know him, so that is why the reader didn’t get to know him either.
Also another thing with Finch, apparently he is a POC. This is never stated in the many times that Alice describes him, but he is. There is only one point when this is even vaguely mentioned (that I could find) and that is when they run into a cop that Alice has a go at and he makes a comment along the lines of ‘do you think I would get away with talking to a cop like that’.. So yeah, apparently he is POC. But if you missed it in that scene you would have no idea.

Most of the other characters were just meh or didn’t have enough page time for me to really care about and form an opinion of them. Except for Janet, she was actually my favourite character! She had common sense, she was kind and tried to help out other people. Oh, and she is either bisexual or lesbian or something in the LGBTQIAP+ realm. It’s never stated but she has a girlfriend and talks about her love for another woman in her past.

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I enjoyed the writing and the plot of this book but the characters were a real let down. I only liked one character out of the many that were in this book.. The fairytales were creepy and interesting and were probably my favourite part. Other than that, I enjoyed myself reading it but I had a few issues with this one.

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #1
YA Diverse Fantasy Horror
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 189 (Hardback)
Publishers: Tor
4 star

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.


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*Exactly the same as in Every Heart a Doorway review*

I really like the cover of this book. It is simple, but catches your eye and also betrays the story well. I really enjoy how all the covers in this series just have a landscape background with a single item in the middle standing out.

I like how much darker and creepier than the first book!

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The writing is still beautiful in this book but again, a lot darker, even than Every Heart a Doorway! These books have amazing world building fitted into such small books. I liked that this book dealt with some issues in this book such as parental influence and it’s effect on children & Identity issues. I can’t speak personally but I think these issues were shown well. The initial beginning of the parently influence part felt a little excessive but it could realistic, but I have no experience, so I’m not sure.

I really enjoyed the drawings that pop up in this book too! It was an awesome addition to the story.

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As for the plot, I kinda feel like the plot was a little in the background. There was a plot, but it wasn’t really the main focus. The focus was on the characters and their development.

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Again we have some diversity! So that’s always good!

Jack is definitely my favourite character from the book. She is smart, determined to learn, brave and super funny.

Jill is naive and easily persuaded into things. She is also jealous and ridiculously cruel! What happened in Every Heart a Doorway makes so much more sense now after learning more about her.

Master is explored as much but he mainly just feels possessive.

Dr Bleak was a patient teacher/guardian but still stern! He was also really understanding. He was an enjoyable character compared to Jill & Master.

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 I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Every Heart a Doorway. This book does have better character development as it’s concentrating on two specific characters rather than a tonne! So that was good but as it was concentrating on the characters more I feel like the plot was lacking compared to Every Heart a Doorway. Those are the main reasons I gave this 4 stars compared to the 4.5 stars I gave Every Heart a Doorway.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #1
YA Diverse Fantasy
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
Pages: 173 (Hardback)
Publishers: Tor
4 and a half star

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Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

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I really like the cover of this book. It is simple, but catches your eye and also betrays the story well. I really enjoy how all the covers in this series just have a landscape background with a single item in the middle standing out.

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This book is beautifully written and to some degree, the writing is fairly lyrical, similar to Laini Taylor’s but not quite as much. But also a lot darker! Overall, the book was a lot darker than I expected. I just thought it would be a casual YA Fantasy, but it actually turned out to be a Murder Mystery as well. So even though it was unexpected, it was done well and I enjoyed the reading.

I was worried that being such a short book there might be confusion or details left out, however, everything flowed together nicely and was concluded well. The only real mystery was the worlds that these children had been to and I do find it a shame that we only get to dive into two of them with the companion novels Down Among the Sticks and Bones & Beneath the Sugar Sky. Hopefully, it will be extended later on as I would love to dive a bit further into the other worlds!

I also enjoyed the multi-POV, however, I did wish that it was specified whose POV we were reading from at the time as it did swap around randomly and sometimes to completely random characters that we hadn’t heard from before. It wasn’t really an issue but it just would have been nice.

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So the plot itself was a little typical when it comes to murder mysteries, but they all kinda are I guess, someone gets murdered and the MC tries to discover the murder. I did enjoy it, but it was a little predictable, I didn’t guess from the start of the murders, but I did guess a little further in. I still enjoyed myself while reading and it was still pretty well down, even with the predictability. The plot wasn’t my favourite part of the book though and the reason I didn’t give the book 5 stars.

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My favourite thing is the diversity in this book! The MC is Asexual, which is rare to find and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read a book with an Asexual MC. I can’t speak for the rep but I have heard all the diversity is well done! As well as the Asexual rep we also have a Trans character, characters of varying races & characters with different gender identities. So A+ for the diversity!

Overall I didn’t feel huge connections or have a full understanding of any of the characters. But with the amazing world building and the mystery going on, and only in 170 pages, you can’t expect everything I guess! For that reason, I don’t have a tonne to say about them.

Nancy was the Main Character I guess but as it was multi POV all the focus wasn’t always on her. She also didn’t get thrown into the typical female MC in Fantasy trope that we usually see! The Badass or powerful girl who even if she doesn’t think she can, she ends up saving the world type MC.

Kade was enjoyable but also kinda felt like a typical male side character.

Sumi was overactive and loud but also kinda hilarious. Some of the crap she came out with was pretty damn funny, so that was enjoyable even if the other half of her time she was saying negative stuff.

Jack and Jill were very different characters for twins, but now after reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones that makes total sense. All the forensic stuff that Jack did was a little confusing at times as it was hard to see her as a character that has had life experience and not a child. Jill was a little more absent and mysterious in this book. She played a part but didn’t have as much page time as Jack did. Also, it was so hard at the start to think of ‘Jack’ as a female with a nickname ‘Jack’.  After a while, I got used to it, but it was a bit hard at the start.

Eleanor, the women who started Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward children gave me huge Alma Peregrine vibes! And also just the name of the school reminds me of the  Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series!

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children…
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children…

This makes me slightly iffy about the book itself. I know authors take inspiration from other books but that is just a little to close for comfort.

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Overall, the world building and writing was the best part of the book. The world building was amazingly down and the writing was gorgeous but dark! The Characters could have used some more development, but as I say in 170 pages you can’t have everything. The plot was my least favourite part of the book and the reason it didn’t get 5 stars!

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Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Our Dark Duet
Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 510 (Paperback)
Publishers: Greenwillow Books

5 star

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KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.



Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

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You can find my spoiler free review of This Savage Song HERE!

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I really like the cover of this book! They are so simple but represent the books so well. I also love the colour of this one too. The font is also really cool and probably my favourite book cover font!

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Everything I said in my review for This Savage Song still stands when it comes to the writing. The writing is amazing! I love how Schwab described and built this world! Her writing grips you and you just don’t want to put the book down! The way she develops characters is really good too.

Also, very little romance in this one which I really enjoyed.

Again, I am still complaining that there is no map!! Especially because we explore another city in this book as well as Verity.

Lastly, I wish we had a bit more info on the Chaos Eater. It just kinda poped up and we never found out any info on it or what happened to it in the end.

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The plot was action packed and gripping. This book is a tad darker than This Savage Song and it was really well done.

And that ending! Did you have to do that to me?!

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This Savage Song was written in split POV between Kate & August but Our Dark duet also introduces another POV as well. I won’t say who as it is as I don’t want to spoil a rather large plot twist that happens between the end of This Savage Song and the start of Our Dark Duet. But it was really interesting seeing the world from that person’s POV and seeing what the other side is up to.

Kate is an amazing character. I liked her a lot more in this book than in This Savage Song as I felt like she became herself in this book rather than trying to impress her father all the time like in This Savage Song.
She was strong and didn’t bend to what everyone else wanted of her. She fought to get rid of the monsters while struggling the whole time with her only monsters (well not entirely her own 😉)

August I didn’t love as much in this book. In This Savage Song he fought to be what he wanted to be and Kate tried to be exactly as her father would want. But in Our Dark Duet I feel like the rolls changed. August was just doing what was expected of him and Kate was doing whatever she pleased. They just kinda swapped over. August annoyed me a little when Kate returned and I totally agree with all her complaints when they were first reunited!

Soro I did not like that much. He was brutal and wouldn’t listen to anyone but himself unless he was given a direct order by someone higher ranking than him. He just needs to chill out!

That’s all I will talk about for the characters as the fact that a couple survided is a plot twist and I don’t want to ruin it for everyone!

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I love Schwabs writing! It is descriptive and beautiful. The world is so amazing and I loved exploring a bit more of that world in this book. The plot was really good too, even if it was heartbreaking at the end. The characters are really well done eve if August as a character kinda annoyed me for a bit there. I can’t wait to pick up something else from V.E./Victoria Schwab as this Duology was the first I picked up on hers except her short story in Because You Love To Hate Me.





2017 YA Reading Challenge Wrap Up

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So 2017 is over and it’s time to wrap up the 2017 YA Reading Challenge! I don’t know if this is happening again in 2018 as when I clicked the link to the host’s blog, the link no longer works!

1. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
2. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
5. Firstlife by Gena Showalter
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
7. Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
8. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
9. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
10. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
11. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
12. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
13. Flame in the Mist Renee Ahdieh
14. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
15. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
16. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
17. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
18. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
19. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
20. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
21. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
22. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
23. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
24. The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
25. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
27. Akarnae by Lynette Noni
28. Raelia by Lynette Noni
29. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
30. Draekora by Lynette Noni
31. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
32. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
33. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
34. The Life Siphon by Kathryn Sommerlot
35. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
36. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
37. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
38. Furthermore by Taherah Mafi
39. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
40. The Lightning Thief by Percy Jackson
41. Half Bad by Sally Green
42. The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 1 by Kieron Gillen
43. Roar by Cora Carmack
44. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
45. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
46. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
47. Song of the Curren by Sarah Tolcser
48. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
49. The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 2 by Kieron Gillen
50. The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 3 by Kieron Gillen
51. Because You Love To Hate Me
52. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
53. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
54. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
55. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
56. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
57. The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 4 by Kieron Gillen
58. The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
59. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
60. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
61. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
62. Half Wild by Sally Green
63. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
64. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
65. Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
66. Thief’s Cunning by Sarah Ahiers
67. A Monster’s Call by Patrick Ness
68. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
69. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
70. The Dead of the Night by John Marsden
71. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang
72. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 2 by Gene Luen Yang
73. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 3 by Gene Luen Yang
74. The Copper Gauntlet by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
75. Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast
76. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
77. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
78. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
79. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
80. In Time by Alexandra Bracken
81. Paper Girls: Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaugan
82. Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
83. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
84. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
85. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
86. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
87. Beastly by Alex Flinn
88. Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza
89. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
90. Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi
91. Warcross by Marie Lu
92. Gemian by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
93. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
94. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
95. Half Lost by Sally Green
96. Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler
97. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
100. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
101. Everless by Sara Holland
102. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
103. The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden
104. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
105. Dreadnought by April Daniels

Well that is all the YA books I read this year! I read a total of 152 books so it’s awesome to feel that a fair chunk of them was Middle Grade or Adult seen as I feel like I’m always reading YA!



The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Third Day, The Frost
John Marsden
Series: Tomorrow #3
YA War Fiction
Publication Date: April 26th, 2012 (first published in 1995)
Pages: 278 (Paperback)
Publishers: Quercus
4 and a half star

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Ellie and her friends have achieved more than they ever thought possible as an unarmed bunch of amateur teenage fighters. But it’s not enough. The war wages on, their families are in captivity and their country is on its knees. Hiding back in Hell, the friends face a big question: what to do next?

The gang have another success when they manage to rescue Kevin. He returns to them equipped with a new knowledge of explosives. Suddenly the question of what to do next becomes clear – launch an attack on the major enemy target of Cobblers’ Bay.

Can Ellie, Homer, Fi, Robin, Lee and Kevin really stage a major military attack on the enemy? And in their attempt to pull it off, what will they have to sacrifice? They have already lost Corrie and Chris; who else will the group have to lose in their desperation to defend their country?

The Third Day, The Frost, draws the reader deeper into the struggle of these ordinary teens attempting to survive in extraordinary times. A tense and moving read that will stay with you forever.

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Click the title to see my spoiler free review of Tomorrow When the War Began & The Dead of the Night

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I don’t really understand this cover. I just don’t get the shell or pearl. But I do prefer these editions visually than the other covers, hence why I choose these. But I don’t understand!

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I love the writing of these books! The writing is really unique! The book is written as if the main character has written it after the events of the book. So you get what happened, Ellie’s thoughts while the things happened and also her thoughts while writing the story. I love this method of writing and John Marsden does it amazingly!

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These books are action-packed and extreme in every way! Even when there isn’t much going on it still feels kinda full because we are getting Ellie’s thoughts. But also they skip over the parts that would be really dull as this is Ellie telling the story of what actually went on and all the action, so that is good. It makes for quick and gripping reads.

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I love all the characters in one way or another. Ellie feels like the most realistic character I have ever read. Even though she is appearing brave and in charge to the others, she is falling apart inside and it’s good to see that. Even though she is struggling she gets in and does what she needs to do and will always do anything to protect the group.

I felt like in this book the other characters were slightly more distant than in previous books. They do spend a majority of their time together but as they are all so broken and most of the time they just want to sit in the quiet alone, there isn’t as much connection between Ellie and the other characters. However, I didn’t mind it. I love reading from Ellie’s POV and they still got altogether when they were planning stuff and doing big things, so it didn’t feel like they were completely absent.

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Overall, I love this series. It gripped me when I read the very first book in high school for English class and it only gets more intense. It is kind of a scary book in a way as this is the most realistic dystopian type book I have ever read. It’s the closest to what could actually happen and that is terrifying and also it’s set in Aus. So it feels way too close to home for me.
Also, there is something that happened in the last couple pages of this book that killed me. I don’t remember if I have cried in either of the last 2 books, but I did in this one.





Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

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Title: Before She Ignites
Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Sept 12th, 2017
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
5 star

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Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the peace treaty named after her, an agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira never felt perfect. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit—the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles—and herself—before her very world begins to collapse.


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Before we get into this review! As some of you know I run the facebook group The YA Book Nerds and Before She Ignites is our October BOTM! So if you have read this or plan to in October and want to join in on the discussion that starts on the 29th of October then go and join the page!

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I still don’t like covers with people on them but you can’t deny that this book is gorgeous. I love the colours of the cover and how dark it feels. I also love the back cover! The forest/woods with the dragon’s tail is so simple but represents the book really well.

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This is my first Jodi Meadows book and I have heard pretty good things about her writing and I was not disappointed. For a 500 page book this was fairly quick. There were parts in the middle that was a bit slow but they were building the characters personalities and also the characters’ friendships, so they were needed and worth it.

I also really enjoyed the swap of past and future in the 2/3 or so of the book. It was good to have a break from those slower parts and it was also good to see what happened to Mira rather than just hearing it her thoughts and convos.

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So even though the basis of this plot is fairly basic, it was done really well that it didn’t feel like ‘just another …….. book’. The whole book felt like it was building to a certain event and then there was something that happened about 3/4 of the way in that threw a spanner in the works and I no longer knew what to expect. I liked that this book had those unpredictable bits, however, there were some parts that were predictable too.

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Mira was an enjoyable character. Even though she was kinda the ‘chosen one’ trope she felt a lot more realistic than most. She struggled most of the time to figure out what was wrong and right and what she should do. Also, the anxiety played a pretty big part of her life while in the pit which made her feel more real too. Even with all the struggles, she was still a strong character and I really enjoyed her.

Ilina & Hristo were also enjoyable characters. We mostly see them in the chapters that show the past. Hristo is loyal and caring & Ilina is passionate and strong. They would both do anything for what is right and their best friend.

Gerel was a pain, but the kind of enjoyable pains that you can’t help but like despite yourself. She was stubborn but smart and but also loyal to what she believes in and the promises she has made to the Fallen Isles. Aaru I still don’t know how I feel really. He is shy and quiet but also kind and interesting.

Altan is a pathetic person. He is one of those cruel characters that you aren’t meant to like. Even though he knew why Mira was in prison and knew it was a load of bull he still acting like she was no better than a murderer. It was pathetic considering he wanted the information she held.

Elbena, was also cruel. Again acting like Mira was at fault when it was actually her and her people that were doing the wrong thing. And delibertly allowing  a certain thing to happen just so she could turn the situation to fit her needs! In that moment, if I was there I would have strangled her. So much outright curelty.

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I loved this book! It is an amazing start to a new fantasy series! The writing is amazing and I loved he use of chapters from the past and future. The main character is great and so are her friends! The plot is really well done and the world is amazing! I can’t wait for book 2 to be released! The only thing this book is missing is a map! This would be the perfect book to have a map in!

And please join our discussion if you have read this book! I can’t wait to discuss this book!