Tag: magic

Sunday Summary – 14th November 2021

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update! As always, I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been doing?

As for what I’ve been doing, I shared a blog tour review of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller on Wednesday this week. Having taken part in the blog tour for the first book of the series back in January 2020, I was keen to get involved and share my thoughts on this second instalment. If you haven’t yet read my review, you can find a link above. That post also links to my review of the first book of the series, so if you want to catch up from the beginning that’s the place to go. In fact, I’ll pop a handy link to that here as well.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. It’s a regular series here at Reviewsfeed that gives me the opportunity to review the books on my to be read list, whittle out anything I no longer want to read and feature those that I do! This week I featured a book that’s been on my list for a few years. My sister reminded me after I shared this post, she managed to get a copy of it as part of an O2 deal. She had asked if she could read it before she handed it to me, and I never saw it. She had a laugh with me about it after my post went live, and confided that she didn’t finish it herself. However, when she comes to visit at Christmas I’ll get my hands on it!

 

Books Read

 

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I had 15% of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller left to read. I was right on those stats even though I couldn’t cross check against my Kindle. That worked out to be about an hour‘s worth of reading time, however, my plan to read it on Sunday night didn’t work out. I ended up knitting instead…

However, I did go on to read this on Monday evening and at the same time I started my blog post draft while my thoughts were fresh. The ending was very good; it ended up being quite a complex narrative with so many interlinking parts, however it was executed very well. It was a pleasure to read and I’m glad I took part in the blog tour for it!

After this, I started to read The Warden by Jon Richter. I have a read and reviewed a book by Jon Richter previously, Auxiliary: London 2039. I enjoyed this book immensely and I signed up for the blog tour of The Warden ages ago. Well, the time has finally come for me to read this book as my blog tour post for this book is due to go live next Friday.

I have to say, the book is every bit as good as I expected. It’s an action-packed psychological thriller. The majority of the narrative takes place in 2024, with flashbacks to beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus in this fictional narrative has mutated exceptionally and humans have to take more and more drastic action in order to avoid contamination. Like sealing themselves into buildings supported predominantly by an AI. But what if something goes wrong? Without going into any detail that’s the crux of the narrative and I’m really enjoying it. Naturally, anyone uncomfortable with the theme of the pandemic being the linchpin of the narrative might not choose to read this one. However, I very rarely shy away from a topic and I think it works really well!

As of this Sunday Summary update post, I am 3/4 of the way through the book. The remaining time left to read is about an hour and so I have plenty of time to get this finished before my blog tour post on Friday. I hope you like the sound of the book based on little snippets I told you and that you can check it out in full on Friday.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I’m pleased to confirm that my TBR has not gotten any longer. Thankfully!

 

Coming Up…

I’ve decided to take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic of the post is “Books to Read If You Love ‘X’”. For this topic, I’ve decided to stick with the genre I have read most extensively, which is fantasy. If you love fantasy books as much as me then take the time to check out my list on Tuesday. In that post I will be featuring my favourite books of the genre and why I love them!

As I mentioned above, I will be sharing my thoughts in a blog tour review for The Warden by Jon Richter on Friday. That means my usual Friday feature will be taking a very short break just for this week. I can already tell that this post is going to be a good one. If you like the sound of the book based on my description above I really hope you can check out my full thoughts on Friday. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

As always, I will be rounding off the week with my next Sunday Summary update this time next week.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post and until next time, happy reading!

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Sunday Summary – 7th November 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update! Have you had a good week? I sure hope so!

Earlier this week I shared my monthly wrap-up for October. Part of me can’t believe that it’s November already, the other part of me is starting to panic that it’ll nearly be December, then Christmas, and then 2022 before I can blink! I digress. In my wrap-up post, I shared the books I picked up over the course of October and also the blog posts I shared during the month. If you haven’t had a chance to check that post out already you can find a link above.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. In last week’s Sunday Summary update I set myself the challenge of featuring a book I read before I started blogging. I had a few ideas in mind, but the book I featured in the end is the first of a series that I really enjoyed, but didn’t continue in a timely manner. So, I ended up DNF’ing the second book. However, featuring this book has reminded me of this fact and so I plan to revisit it again from the beginning!

 

Books Read

This week I have continued to make progress with Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C. R. Berry. I have a review blog post coming up on Wednesday next week and so I’ve been making solid progress with this book. I’m really enjoying it too! There is a lot of action on going and as I’m drawing towards the conclusion, I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Off the top of my head (because my kindle is charging and I can’t check) I think I’m now 85% through, and finishing the book is about an hours worth of reading time left. I plan to finish this tonight once this post goes live. That way, I have plenty of time to get my thoughts together ready for my blog tour review!

I also made great progress with The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. I only went and finished this last night! I’ve taken to listening to music or audiobooks as and when I’m working on a knitting project. I started listening to The Hanging Tree on a whim whilst working on a cardigan sleeve last night. I got really into it and before I knew it, I had listened to the last two hours of the audiobook! I’m really enjoying the series so far and The Hanging Tree lived up to expectation.

 

Books Discovered

Seeing as how I added a book to my list last week, I’ve been really good and I’ve been avoiding all bookshops known to man. Sometimes, I just have to avoid temptation…

 

Coming Up…

As I mentioned above, I have a blog tour post that is due to be posted on Wednesday for Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C. R. Berry. I really hope you can join me for that post, and if you’re interested in reading up on the first book of the series in the meantime, you can find a link to my review here.

On Friday I will be back with another regular feature and this week I will be sharing a shelf control post with you. In this mini series, I take the opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, review if they still appeal to me to read and share with you the details!

I really hope you can join me for these posts, as well as my usual Sunday Summary wrap-up up at the end of next week. Until next time, have a good one.

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Sunday Summary – 31st October 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly update in today’s Sunday Summary post! I’ve had a great week, albeit a busy one, as I’ve been off work and doing jobs around the house. There is no rest for the wicked, even when the weather doesn’t work in our favour. So, I haven’t done too much in the way of reading. However, more on that later.

At the beginning of this week, I finally shared my thoughts on Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s only my third attempt at sharing this post… On a serious note, I’m glad I finally got this done and in a position where I was happy to share it with you. It’s a fantastic book (audiobook as that’s the format I read listened to) and if I’m going to write a review I want to do it right.

On Friday I shared a discussion post in which I talked about my thoughts on being a structured reader or a mood reader. Having done both I have ample enough experience to give you the pros and cons for both. Also, I share with you my favourite method in that post. If you haven’t checked it out already please feel free to do so using the link provided.

 

Books Read

Despite not being at work I’ve managed to keep myself busy. My main job of the week was to cut down two rather large hedges in my back garden. The weather wasn’t particularly on my side however, so I’ve only managed to complete one and start the other. Even on the days when the weather wasn’t so good I had errands to run or other smaller jobs to do around the house.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t manage to do any reading because that’s not the case. One evening this week I picked up a book that I’m reviewing for a blog tour soon. It meant taking a brief break from Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, however I will have plenty time to pick up later.

I’ve managed to read about a quarter of Million Eyes II by C. R. Berry. As with the first book of the series, this is proving an easy read and the premise is as intriguing if not more. The nice, super short chapters are great and easy to follow. Since one more chapter doesn’t take very long, it’s very easy to find yourself saying that again and again and again ! I’m confident and I’ll make a lot more progress with this next week in time for the blog tour post on the 10th November. 

With being at home, I had thought that I was going to make more audiobook progress. However, that turned out not to be the case. I did still listen to some of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch, but I haven’t finished yet like I expected to. Music is a better motivator for me, depending on what kind of jobs I’m doing and that turned out to be the case this week. There’s even less to listen to now so perhaps this time next week I’ll be telling you that I’m done and dusted.

 

Books Discovered

When I shared last week’s Sunday Summary post I hinted that I might have an addition to the list this week. I wasn’t wrong, although I haven’t gone too mad either! Whilst running some errands I had the opportunity to go and have a mooch in a certain chain bookstore here on island. When I was there I picked up a completely new book to me; it wasn’t even on my TBR yet. If you know me you know I love history and I don’t really know very much about the Salem witches. This book aims to change that!

I also picked up a second book, although it’s not really a book to read per se. I have a goal that I want to learn how to knit socks and so I bought myself a copy of 52 weeks of socks… Just in case you’re interested!

 

Coming Up…

It’s back to the daily grind for me next week, although you’re not going to see any changes as a result of that. It just means I have to start getting up early in the morning again… Lucky me eh?!

It’s officially the beginning of November next week. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute. Can someone please tell me where this year is going? So, with this little factoid in mind it stands to reason that within the next few days will be the best time to share my monthly wrap up for October!

Later in the week I will return with my usual regular Friday features. This week it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. To keep it interesting I’m going to set myself a challenge for Friday‘s post – to feature the opening lines of a book I read before I started my blog.

As always I hope you’ve had a great week and maybe even discovered some great reads for yourself. If you have let me know what you’re reading in the comments and in the meantime, have a great one and I’ll see you in the next post!

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Sunday Summary – 24th October 2021

It’s time for another Sunday Summary update once again! These posts seem to roll around very quickly. No sooner have I written one than I’m preparing the next! It’s no surprise it’s nearly the end of October already!

I started this week with a top ten Tuesday post. I liked the idea of this week’s theme, which was sharing my top ten online resources for book lovers. Not only was it fun to write, but I hope it proved useful and gave you some insight into the tools I use for my hobby!

I have an apology to make. I decided last week to switch up my blog posting schedule, and I didn’t fulfil my end of the bargain. I was supposed to share my already late review of Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch yesterday. But, I’m a bit of a dozy cow. Changing up my routine is dangerous; I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I’m forgetful! I remembered that I was supposed to be sharing this post yesterday at 10:10 pm. Needless to say, I postponed this once again, and I’m sorry about that! It will be coming to you next week – I promise!

 

Books Read

Last week I started reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson and had made progress by reading a few chapters. There was a lot to take in and getting started was a little bit slow. I have persevered this week and I feel like I’m coming out the other side now. I’m eight chapters through and I have picked up what I need to know in order to carry on. It’s getting a lot easier to read, which is great news! Eight chapters is about 10% of the way through the book, in case you’re interested. Yeah, it’s a long one…

I’ve also listened to roughly a couple of hours of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. In terms of progress that’s about half again from last week, putting me at about 75% of the way through! I’m really enjoying this and since I have next week off work I expect to finish this in the next few days.

 

Books Discovered

Once again no updates to add here this week! However, as I have an errand to run next week that involves going into a certain bookstore, I make no promises for a similar update in next week’s post!

 

Coming Up…

I will publish my review of Whispers Under Ground next week. I WILL publish my review of Whispers Under Ground next week. As I said above, I’m off work for a break next week and so I have absolutely no excuse.

None.

I am still going to take a brief break from my regular Friday features next week. It’s nice to have a little bit of variety on the blog, and so I’m going to share a discussion post with you instead.

If you read my blog you may recall that I have changed my stance on how I read this year. Previously, I’d share a reading list at the beginning of the month. This year I’ve adapted to be more of a mood reader. I didn’t want to set myself goals that I couldn’t achieve and as I burned out a bit after last year, I needed the break and a more relaxed pace. In my discussion post I’m going to be talking about the pros and cons of each approach and sharing which is my favourite.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Sunday Summary – 17th October 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s update in today’s Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week! Mine has ended up being quite busy as I’ve been out a couple of nights this week socialising. I had a really good time, but consequently, this impacted my blogging schedule a little.

I was supposed to share a review of Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch this week, however, this post didn’t go live. I’ve got it prepared to a certain extent, but it was this time that the socialising events I went to ate into. I hope to be able to share this with you next week instead and I am very sorry that this didn’t go ahead as planned!

Later in the week, I was able to publish the planned Shelf Control post. In this week’s post, I featured a book that I remember talking about with my dad after I added it to my TBR. Turns out he has read this book so I’m interested to see how my thoughts compare to his!

 

Books Read

My reading has also been impacted a little by the social events I ended up going to. However, I will admit that I have lacked a little motivation as well this week. I’m starting to think that perhaps I’ve taken on a lot by jumping into a Brandon Sanderson novel. At over 1000 pages Words of Radiance isn’t a small read. As it’s been a while since I read the first book, it’s been a bit of a learning curve picking the series back up. I have, however, read a few chapters and I am starting to pick it back up.

I’ve also been listening to an audiobook this week for the first time in quite a while.

I wasn’t particularly enamoured by A Suitable Lie by Michael J. Malone so I decided to stop listening to this one. It’s okay, but I really don’t like one of the characters and as a result I’ve lost motivation with it. Perhaps inspired by my intended review, I decided to pick up The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s a series I know and love by now and consequently I’ve listened to around half of this audiobook (about 5 hours worth) this week alone. Audiobooks are a great knitting companion too, in case anyone is interested!

 

Books Discovered

I have absolutely no news on this front this week, which is always good news when your list to read is as long as mine!


Coming Up…

I like the idea of next week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. It’s a little bit different as the feature topic is sharing my top ten online resources for book lovers. I think it’s a great one because it can be useful for absolutely anyone to read. As someone who reads more than most, I probably have more experience with using some of these things, or even just knowing that they exist, and it may help you out!

I’m in the mood to change my post order a little. I’ve been following the same structure for a few weeks now and I’m thinking it’s getting a little bit stale. So, with that in mind, I’m giving my usual Friday features a brief break and instead I’m going to share a post on Saturday. Seeing as how I wasn’t able to get my review of Whispers Under Ground ready in time this week, I’ll be sharing this with you then. I hope it’s worth the wait.

However, that is all for me in today’s post. As always I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update, and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

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Shelf Control #35 – 17/09/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on Reviewsfeed and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I try to share these posts regularly so I can continue to review the books on my TBR, decide if I still want to read them, or whether my reading case has changed and it’s no longer for me. I have taken a few books off this list by doing these posts. It’s a productive exercise and gives me some bookish content to share with you. And who knows, by featuring those books I still want to read, maybe I can introduce you to something that will take your fancy as well!

This week’s featured book is a YA novel, which is unusual for me. It’s not very common for me to add these to my TBR, however I’m intrigued by the synopsis! Find out more about this week’s featured book below: –


Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City

Goodreads – Daughter of the Burning City

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.


My Thoughts…

The plot is very unusual, and that’s what caught my eye. Those who read my blog will know I am a huge fan of fantasy, and this book fits that bill. I really like the illusion aspect of the story – and the circus setting. The backdrop already planted the seed that all is not as it seems. Add to that the events in the synopsis, and things are certainly very strange!

The book has a lot of scope with the storyline. I’m interested to see where it will go, because honestly I have no idea. But I like that. Sometimes I enjoy going into a book not really expecting too much. It means that I’m almost guaranteed to be surprised and it will feel unique; like nothing I have read before. Knowing how many books I’ve read, you’ll know that’s no mean feat!

Do you like the sound of this book? Have you read it as if so, would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 13/08/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

Today’s feature is a book that I read in my teenage years. I didn’t go on to finish the series, however, the first book made a distinct impression on me! If I’m honest I think I felt I had outgrown series by the time I had gotten a few books in. It may just be that I got a little bored of it; I wouldn’t rule out picking this up again! Put it this way, I loved it so much that I frequently spent my break time “monitoring” duties (making sure the younger kids in school behaved) reading at every opportunity.

Here is today’s opening. Any ideas as to what the book might be?

 

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes.

He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here. Or was it a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, “Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes. Stop whoever is coming… or die.”

Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.

The Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail. It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip between a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armour.


Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Goodreads – Eragon

One boy…

One dragon…

A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.


My Thoughts…

Despite not finishing the series at the time, I did enjoy this book. I’ve rated it 5* on Goodreads. In particular, I think this introduction captures our attention. Who are these creatures and who are they after? Why are the stakes so high?

If you are a fan of fantasy novels then I hope this appeals to you. There are some very common fantasy tropes in these books but the nature of the genre is you can’t get away from these very easily. As I’ve grown older and read a lot more of the genre, I find that I can only stand there being two or three common ones. Any more than that just makes the story feel regurgitated and uninteresting. If you like this then it definitely won’t be an issue for you but is something to bear in mind.

If you have read them already then I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the series as a whole. Is this something I should pick up again? I think my problem was that I tried to binge read the lot all in a reasonably short time. There are elements of the story that I felt real little immature and combining that with reading them or ones, I think I just lost interest.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post!

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Book Review: The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Today’s book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is one I am excited to share! You may already be aware that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read and started a number of different series written by him and honestly, I’ve loved them all. They are all completely different, with a vague commonality in that they have their own really unique magic systems. The Mistborn series is the one I have read the most of and these books were my introduction to the author. To date, the series consists of an initial trilogy and there are a further three books published in a later timeline. I am excited as there is an expected fourth book to this later series… but I’m also sad as I’ve caught up and I now have to wait for it to be published!

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small problem – and I’m willing to wait for the next instalment as it’s a fantastic series. Before jumping into today’s review of The Bands of Mourning, please go and check out my reviews for The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. These two books precede this third book of the later series.

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My Thoughts…

The second Mistborn series continues with The Bands of Mourning and we are treated once again to an interesting and action-packed plotline, hilarious characters with a great dynamic and even a flashback to the original Mistborn series. As in the previous books, I am really enjoying the mash-up of an industrial revolution int the middle of a Western civilisation setting. That’s one combo I don’t think I have ever read to date and honestly, it really works! Don’t ask me how… I’m not sure that it should and yet it really does and I’m in love with it!

As always, the dynamic between Waxililam and Wayne makes the book. They are absolutely brilliant together despite being like chalk and cheese in personalities. So now, they work really well together and I just love them. There’s nothing more I can say other than they are probably one of my favourite character duos ever! Wax is a brilliant character for his upstanding moral nature. As characters go, he’s pretty altruistic. Not perfect, to say the least, but not for a lack of trying.

Wayne on the other hand is far more of a loose cannon. His ‘trading’ habit (stealing but leaving something in return – often dross) and ability to blend into a crowd come in very useful to the team… but he’s less than honest. He has good intentions for the most part and he is fiercely loyal to Wax, which makes him quite a loveable rogue.

It’s a good job our characters thrive on chaos, because there is plenty of it in their world! Where Wax and Wayne go with the flow, Steris thrives off trying to bring order to the chaos. I must admit I didn’t think too much of her when she was first introduced in The Alloy of Law.  But, I have warmed to her a lot. She’s a great compliment to Wax as well. I’m not big on couples and relationships in books, but they work well together!

I was excited by this second Mistborn series as it expanded on the magic system from the first; instead of being able to use magical power relating to one metal, the book introduced individuals who have the power to use two. What really sold me on this instalment of the series is that a third element was introduced. Whereas previously an individual has to consume metal in order to wield their specific powers, this book introduces the concept of powers being held externally via relics and able to be used by anyone!

I love that Brandon Sanderson isn’t afraid to explore new options in his worlds. Whilst he is very good at creating a consistent setting and building a detailed plot and magic system, I love that he is able to branch out and make a success of re-writing the rulebook, so to speak. So far in this series it has worked very well and makes the novels very interesting to read and invest into. But, it also reassures us as readers that there is a lot more that we can expect!

I really enjoyed how events of this book concluded. Without giving any spoilers, a certain character from the first series that has a presence in this book. It’s been that long since I read the first series that I had completely forgotten about this character! It made for an interesting twist to the plotline and I’m glad they were included. Suffice to say, I’m excited to see where the next book of the series takes us. Sadly, I have to wait for it to be published as I’m now caught up with the series… but at least it’s not over yet!

 

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Book Review: City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

I read City of Stairs at the beginning of the year and I am only just getting around to my review now in November. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? I think it is because I have taken part in a lot of blog tours and such this year, as these books get priority reviews. Oh well! It is what it is! I haven’t done myself any favours and made notes, so today’s review is completely from memory.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

I hadn’t picked up any books by Robert Bennett Jackson before reading City of Stairs, so he was a completely new author to me. Whilst I enjoy re-visiting favourite authors, I enjoy the variety of new ones too. My read of City of Stairs at the beginning of the year was long overdue. I added the book to my TBR way back in 2015… it was about time I got to it really!

Fantasy is my all-time favourite genre. I read a lot of it, and so I’ve got pretty firm ideas about what themes within fantasy novels I really enjoy. The first thing I always look to is the world-building and development of the setting of the story. City of Stairs certainly didn’t disappoint in this sense. Before the story even really begins, the author sets up the political divides and complex relations that are pivotal to the narrative. I personally love this sort of thing in fantasy books, but even if you don’t, it isn’t so overwhelming as to be difficult to read.

I’m also a huge fan of magical elements in fantasy novels, and there is plenty of it in City of Stairs. I think it is really cleverly woven into what is a spy thriller/mystery novel. They aren’t genres I would have thought to put together, but I really think the risk of doing it paid off because, in my opinion, it worked really well.

The main characters in this book have been written very well. I got on very well with Shara and felt for her being in the awful position of navigating treacherous ground in search of the truth. She’s complemented by a host of minor characters that come together to create a world fizzing with tension and intrigue.

At 450 pages, City of Stairs is a solid fantasy novel, although not an epic compared to plenty of other fantasy novels I know and have read. There is plenty of content and the story unfolds at a good pace. It keeps you interested in finding out what happens next but doesn’t drag on either. It suited me well at least. If you like fantasy but the idea of committing to 700-800 page novels, this book gives you all the great elements of those books… but with fewer pages.

 

 

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Book Review: Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite all-time authors, and today’s post is all about the 5th book in his Mistborn series, Shadows of Self. The Mistborn series is enough of a reason to fall in love with his writing, but I have also dabbled in a few other books of his now and they have all lived up to the excellent standard! I’ve read a total of nine of his books now (granted, six are Mistborn) and he hasn’t put a foot wrong with me yet. I also have a few more books on the TBR to try in the near future.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

My Thoughts…

Where The Alloy of Law is reasonably separate from the previous Mistborn books (events in those books are now history/legend), in Shadows of Self we see little elements tie back into the original series. I really loved this! Whilst I would have been happy for each book mini-series to go their own way, I like that the narrative is going back to its roots. It has been a long time since I read the first three books, but even so, I could keep track of what was going on and recognise some friendly old faces.

I really enjoy how Brandon Sanderson has modernised the series from the original books. The concept was a stroke of literary genius anyway, but being willing to adapt the intricately built world to allow for technological advancements and such to up the ante on the magic is just something else. Most authors would be frightened to mess with such a core element to the novel, but not Sanderson. And boy, am I glad he did! It makes an already intricately detailed world all the more plausible – and you know how much I love my world-building!

I wasn’t sure where the Steris/Wax engagement was going to go, or what I thought of it, but the pair has really grown on me in this book. The pair couldn’t be more opposite in their ways, yet strangely they complement each other in ways I didn’t expect them to. I do feel a bit sorry for Marasi though – I feel she has been cast aside a little in this book. It’s a shame because she’s brilliant, but she still manages to shine where she can regardless.

Wayne is, at this point, my favourite character in the series. He is very funny, has a skewed view of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not all and gets away with it too! He doesn’t have the best moral compass in the world (completely opposite to Wax) but regardless of what he does, his heart is in the right place. As a character, he is very easy to warm to.

If you love Brandon Sanderson’s other books or have read and enjoyed earlier books in the Mistborn series then I highly recommend reading Shadows of Self (and any other book in the series really)! I have also read and loved The Bands of Mourning, the sixth book in the series. Sharing my thoughts on that instalment is being saved for another day though.

 

 

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