REVIEW: Empire’s Daughter by Marian Thorpe

empire's daughterEmpire’s Daughter by Marian Thorpe
ISBN:
9780994068101
Published: 18th February 2015
E-book, 342 pages
Genre: YA, Adventure
Rating: 8/10
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Thanks to the author Marian Thorpe for sending me a e-copy of Empire’s Daughter in exchange for an honest review!

In Empire’s Daughter, women and men are separated due to the Partition agreement. Boys, aged 7 go off to fight for the Empire while the women learn trades and provide for the Empire’s army. When a man of the Empire arrives at Tirvan, Lena and her partner Maya’s lives change forever. While Maya chooses exile, Lena chooses to stay and defend her village from the Lestian invasion.

I loved the story, how men and women were separated and only came together during Festival. I also really liked the historical feel to the characters and landscape. Casyn’s arrival in the village is well handled and shows the maturity of Lena.

“But the world changes. In all the women’s villages of the Empire, this week or next, a soldier like myself will arrive to ask to live in the village, to take up a trade.” Casyn paused, for a breath, a heartbeat. “And to teach you and your daughters to fight.”

Lena was a nice character. She was believable and showed many good qualities. However I did feel that she got over Maya to quickly. I liked her relationships with Casyn and Dern but also with other villagers as it added some depth to her character.

I felt the first half of the book was better than the second. In the first half, there are some great descriptions of the women learning to fight. The battle was also really well written, I loved how they planned and executed the battle. However, I felt the second half of the book didn’t really live up to the expectations of the first half. I felt the search for maya was a bit pointless especially been as she knew it wouldn’t work. However I did like it when she reached the Emperor’s camp where she had her talks with Callan, Casyn and Colm.

Overall, I did feel that it was a very well written story with good ideas and characters but there were parts that I didn’t like.

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REVIEW: No Quarter by Helen Jones

No QuarterNo Quarter by Helen Jones(The Ambeth Chronicles:2)
ISBN:
9781515267829
Published: 1st September 2015
Paperback, 324 pages
Genre:  YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Magic,
Rating: 8/10
Buy on Amazon

First of all, thanks to the author, Helen Jones, for sending me a copy of No Quarter in exchange for an honest review. You can find out more about Helen Jones on her blog Journey to Ambeth.

In No Quarter, Alma and Deryck’s relationship is strained from both the Light and the Dark. Caleb struggles to come to terms with Alma’s decision to be with Deryck. With both sides wanting Alma falling in love is hard, but things are about to get much worse.

Things couldn’t be better for Alma. She’s returned the lost Sword to Ambeth and is finally with Deryck, Prince of the Dark. But what’s really going on? Deryck is struggling with his father, who wants to control Alma, while Alma is struggling with her best friend Caleb, who doesn’t trust Deryck one inch. Plus it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with her life in the human world. Falling in love shouldn’t be this difficult. But things are about to get much worse…

I really love Ambeth! The world is so mystifying. I can just imagine the great gardens, churning waves hitting the beach and grand architectural structures. No Quarter is different from Oak and Mist in the fact that this book is more about Deryck and Alma’s relationship that the search for the Regalia.

The love triangle is the main story in this novel as for most of the book it was Alma and Deryck,  Deryck and Caleb or Caleb and Alma. don’t get me wrong some of these parts were some of my favourite in the book but I think it could have been toned down slightly and there could have been a bit more of a focus on the search for the Regalia.

“He caught her hand, turning it to kiss the burnt red mark on her wrist, careful not to touch her bracelet stone.”

My favourite character this time round has to be Caleb. He’s so sweet and just wants the best for Alma. I also liked the fact that we got to learn about his family background as it added an almost sentimental touch which I really enjoyed. I really liked some of the parts where he is fighting with Deryck.

A little about the other characters. Alma, she cried way to much however, I do like how she makes decisions against who she is meant to be. I like her when she is talking with Adara or Thorion. I felt so sorry for Thorion in this book as he obviously cares greatly for Alma and Caleb. I love the descriptions of his changing eye colour depending on his feelings.

I’m so happy that the Dark got to make more of a appearance in book two of the Ambeth Chronicles. I thought it was great to get a new perspective on things in Ambeth. Deryck was my favourite Dark member however it was nice to find out a bit more about Denoris and Ellery.

Thanks again to Helen for sending me a copy of No Quarter. I’m dying to get my hands on Hills and Valleys I need to know whats going to happen!

To read my reviews of the other books in the Ambeth series, click on the relevant cover below.
oakandmist
hills and valleys

A Talk with John McNally

IMG_20151014_154502Today was one of those rare yet fascinating days where an author comes to talk to us in our school library. This time it was the turn of John McNally author of the Infinity Drake series.

John McNally used to live in Pembrokeshire and used to go to my secondary school. However, he now lives in London. As part of my school book group we had a chance to talkIMG_20151014_195052 for a while about his books and writing. Eventually we got onto the topic of favourite authors and I immediately replied with Derek Landy which, to be surprise he knew as they have the same agent. Obviously I went into fangirl mode as we talked about the Skullduggery Pleasant series and Demon Road. We also talked about Patrick Ness, who he also knew, for a while.

IMG_20151014_155311The first book in his Infinity Drake series is about a boy called Finn who lives with his family eccentric scientist Uncle Al. When a power-hungry villain releases mutant wasps millions of people are in danger. Uncle Al has a crazy but genius plan that could save the world, however it includes shrinking a military team and Finn to 9mm tall.

Diversity

I love to read. I have to admit I’m not a very diverse reader, I stick to my little corner of magic and death and supernatural creatures and maybe a bit more death. I love that corner, I live in that corner. That little corner of the book community is my place,  to walk in and out of whenever I please. I could sit there all day or I could stay for 10 minutes but it is my place, because I love it and wouldn’t want to leave it.

Yet, I know I should read more. More genres, more authors but I can’t because I like the comfort of my corner. The mystery and magic draws me in just like the characters in the story and I stay there paralysed, not from fear, but from sheer excitement. I should read more light-hearted novels where people fall in love not because of there destinies but because they want to and comedies to make me laugh. But I don’t, because I feel secure in my little corner where there is a little of what I should be getting, enough to sustain my thirst and not too little to make me go seek thirst.

It also probably doesn’t help that whenever I have picked up a romance or a comedy or an adventure, most times I have not enjoyed is as much as I could have. Of course there are the exceptions that make me realise what I am missing but all the bad books cancel them out and I retract back into that little corner of my book world.

I guess I read what I want to, when I want to. I should be more diverse but I’m not and I’m ok with that. Because if I love what I read then I should stay in that corner for just a little longer and maybe venture out again in the future.

REVIEW: Wintermore by Aron Sethlen

wintermoreWintermore by Aron Sethlen
ASIN: B014I4KOO0
Published: 25th August 2015
E-book, 324 pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure,
Rating: 7/10
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Thanks to the author Aron Sethlen for sending me a e-book copy of Wintermore in exchange for an honest review!

When a young boy dies in front of Preta’s eyes her life changes forever. Strange people are coming after her, she can connect to animals and she sees a totally new side to her brothers all in a very short space of time. To save her loved ones they must flee to Bielston and then onto Iinia, but will they all make it?

I really enjoyed this novel, I loved the magic elements and how it contrasted with the Industrial aspects. I was quite confused at the start with all the different names and places. However, once you got into the story and figured out who was who it was really enjoyable and I didn’t want to put it down!

“Hurry up, Preta,” she says to her reflection flickering off the surface of the water. “I’m late.”

When an author isn’t afraid to make a drastic decision (in this case many) that will totally change the tone of the book and bring in a new element to the world and story it makes me love the book so much more and that is exactly why I think I enjoyed Wintermore so much.

Preta was a good character, she was well-rounded and had some good traits but her brother Yaz has to be my favourite! He was so cheeky and funny and created a lighter atmosphere. I didn’t really like Deet or Agna, they gave to the story and added a serious undertone but I found them quite boring and sometimes too serious.