Book Review: The Monster


Seth Dickinson
rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 19th September 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

The traitor Baru Cormorant is now the cryptarch Agonist – a secret lord of the corrupt empire she’s vowed to destroy. But to gain the power to shatter this Empire of Masks, she’s had to betray everyone she loved.

She’s now hunted by a mutinous admiral and haunted by the wound which has split her mind in two. But Baru is still leading her dearest foes on an expedition, to gain the secret of immortality. It’s her best and perhaps only chance to trigger a war – one that would consume the Masquerade.

But Baru’s heart is broken, and she fears she can no longer tell justice from revenge… or her own desires from the will of the man who remade her.

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Book Review: Blood Heir


Amélie Wen Zhao
rating: ☆☆
published: 19th November 2019
spoilers? tried to keep them vague

Goodreads

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

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Book Review: The Fowl Twins


Eoin Colfer
rating: ☆☆☆☆
published: 5th November 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Criminal genius runs in the family…

Myles and Beckett are eleven-year-old twins, but the two boys are wildly different. Beckett is blonde, messy and sulks whenever he has to wear clothes. Myles is fanatically neat, he has an IQ of 170, and he wears a fresh suit every day like his older brother, Artemis Fowl.

Perhaps you have heard of the Fowl family and their adventures?

This Fowl adventure is filled with the most unusual of individuals: an immortal duke, a miniature troll, a nunterrogator and a Police Specialist that’s 42% elf. And of course, the Fowl twins – one a certified genius with a criminal leaning, and the other possessing an unusual talent that has not been fully explored… yet!

Here begins the second documented cycle of Fowl Adventures.

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Book Review: Girls of Storm and Shadow


Natasha Ngan
rating: ☆☆☆☆
published: 5th November 2019
spoilers? yes, but will note where

Goodreads

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

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Book Review: The Impossible Contract


K. A. Doore
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 12th November 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Second in K. A. Doore’s high fantasy adventure series the Chronicles of Ghadid, a determined assassin travels to the heart of the Empire in pursuit of a powerful mark, for fans of Robin Hobb, Sarah J. Maas, and S. A. Chakraborty

Thana has a huge reputation to live up to as daughter of the Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. Opportunity to prove herself arrives when Thana accepts her first contract on Heru, a dangerous foreign diplomat with the ability to bind a person’s soul under his control.

She may be in over her head, especially when Heru is targeted by a rival sorcerer who sends hordes of the undead to attack them both. When Heru flees, Thana has no choice than to pursue him across the sands to the Empire that intends to capture Ghadid inside its iron grip.

A stranger in a strange city, Thana’s only ally is Mo, a healer who may be too noble for her own good. Meanwhile, otherworldly and political dangers lurk around every corner, and even more sinister plans are uncovered which could lead to worldwide devastation. Can Thana rise to the challenge—even if it means facing off against an ancient evil?

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Book Review: The Dragon Republic


R. F. Kuang
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 8th August 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

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Book Review: Master of Restless Shadows


Ginn Hale
rating: ☆☆
published: 8th October 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs. What Narsi – and most of the larger world – cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma. After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

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Five for Friday: Non-Western Fantasy

That is (because this title would be too long), fantasy that is based on non-western cultures/outside of the western canon. Because god knows I’m tired of reading the same (Tolkein-esque) style fantasy over and over.

So this rec list is five of my favourite fantasies that are not based on that same sort of fantasy that, while it can be done well (especially when you take out the in-built misogyny, homophobia, and racism that we usually see), gets a little boring at times. A little repetitive, you might say.

As ever, I’m trying to rec some less well-known ones as well, to give some variety (though if I end up listing some more faves at the end? Don’t be surprised).

P.S. please ignore that I skipped out a post, two weeks back. I was knee-deep in a research project with a deadline the following Monday.

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Book Review: The Black Hawks


David Wragg
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 3rd October 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

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WTRIYL: The Cruel Prince

Hello! I’m back after an impromptu hiatus caused by me needing to get my research project edited and submitted by yesterday. But now I’m done with all that, Masters degree complete, and I have more time to read (finally!) and blog. At least until job applications start, but hey. Gotta take what I can get.

I figured the best way to get back into things would be to give you a rec list. This time, I’m basing the recs on The Cruel Prince. Because as good as the book is (and I do enjoy it, let me just say), it’s a little bland, if we’re honest. Very white and fairly straight. So, like last time, I’m picking 5 or so tropes from the book, and giving you some more diverse recs using those tropes.

Let’s go!

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