WOW–The Kingdom Of Little Wounds By Susann Cokal

The Kingdom of Little Wounds Book Cover The Kingdom of Little Wounds
Susann Cokal
Young Adult, Fantasy
Candlewick
October 8, 2013
557

On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.

Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on The Kingdom Of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal.

Why I’m Waiting

The cover is amazing and that would probably get me to pick it up. Physical appearance aside, I love stories that take place in castles and are full of intrigue.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Review: The Bone Season By Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: August 20, 2013

Source: eARC via NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Summary

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

Review

I was not sure what to expect when I picked up The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. The book is hyped to be the next big thing and I try to make it my business to read all the hyped books. The fact that Samantha is such a young (21!) author and talk of film rights, I knew I just had to get my hands on this book. The extremely unusual plot (umm clairvoyants?), really did not hurt either.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is extremely ambitious. The world Shannon creates is large, intricate, and full of wonderful detail. I loved that the beginning of the book contains a list of all the different types of clairvoyants and that the back contains a glossary of different terms. (I really thought about how much my husband would enjoy that because he is obsessed with book extras such as detailed maps and diagrams of buildings or ships.) This extra detail was very helpful because this world is enormous.

The story follows Paige Mahoney as she lives a life of crime in London. Paige has a very rare form of clairvoyance and is able to join a high level crime syndicate. This group is the first time Paige felt like she can be herself. They teach her how to use her gift and become a surrogate family. She is happy in this life until she is rounded up and taken to an undisclosed location, where her world is turned upside down.

There are so many layers to The Bone Season, I can see why a seven part series is possible. We barely scratch the surface of the questions I have and what else I need to know about this world. Plus, we end with a little light romance that I would like to see more of.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is an epic story that is non-stop excitement. Paige is a great protagonist she is complicated, brave, and a little frustrating. There is so much more here to flesh out and I will definitely be back for book two. I need to know where the story goes and learn all of the mysteries of this unique, weird little world.

I was given a of The Bone Season in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title: The Cadet Of Tildor

Author: Alex Lidell

Publication Date: January 10, 2013

Publisher: Dial

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

Summary

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Trailer

Review

Are you looking for a book that has adventure, political intrigue, and a kick-butt heroine? The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell is it. It begins with Cadet Renee de Winter, who is also a noblewoman, arguing with her father about her attendance at the elite Academy Of Tildor. Renee dreams of being a fighter and serving the Crown but her father has other plans for her. Risking everything, Renee decides to go to school and eschew the safety of her familial home.

At school, Renee proves to be a loyal friend and hard worker. As a woman in the male-dominated fighter track, she has to work twice as hard. Renee spends hours training to compensate for her smaller size and weaker muscles. This extra training catches the eye of Savoy, the commander of an elite force who is called to teach at the academy, to mentor and befriend Renee.

The Cadet Of Tildor is full of political intrigue where a new king is forced to negotiate peace while two competing criminal organizations nip at his heals. This story is not one of good and evil but one that is complex and full of interconnected relationships. Renee is forced to navigate these groups to try and fulfill her mission. Alex Lidell does a great job of writing fully formed characters that are as flawed as real people and operate in a world where our choices can reverberate in the world around us. There are no good and bad guys, but people who do all kinds of things for many different reasons.

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell will be loved by fans of fantasy and those that like their heroine smart and brave. It is a very strong debut that was impossible to put down. I need to know what happens in this world, with these characters,  and will gladly purchase book two when it comes out.

What You Will Find

    • Kick-Butt heroine who you would want to be friends with
    • Action and adventure
    • Complex political situations
    • The perfect amount of magic
    • Excellent world building

 

 

Summary and cover images from goodreads.

Waiting On Wednesday (4)

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

 

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publisher: Razorbill

Estimated Publishing Date: December 11, 2012

 

Summary

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power–brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished–and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past–and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword… The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

 

Book Trailer

 

Falling Kingdoms sounds exciting and action packed. The summary and trailer really give the sense of such a rich world. If you are like me and having a hard time waiting until December to get your hands on a copy, goodreads is doing a giveaway here.

 

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Neverwhere By Neil Gaiman A Review

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher:William Morrow Paperbacks

Publishing Date: 1996

Goodreads

Summary

Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancée. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her – and the life he knows vanishes like smoke. Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won’t stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness – to a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere. For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discovery the cause of her family’s slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door’s entourage in their determined – and possibly fatal – quest. For the dread journey ever-downward – through bizarre anachronisms and dangerous incongruities, and into dusty corners of stalled time – is Richard’s final hope, his last road back to a “real” world that is growing disturbingly less real by the minute.

I am so glad that I randomly pulled this book off the shelf of the library. Until I got home, I was unaware of this gem of a book or its starting off as a mini-series in the UK. Having read only one other Neil Gaiman book, Anansi Boys, I am familiarizing myself with his work and wondering what took me so long to do so.

The world created in Neverwhere is rich and expansive. You can nearly smell the sewers and feel the grittiness of London Below. It is such an interesting idea to have a fantastical realm and characters that are adjacent and aware of our modern world. They are us with a twist. The way in which Neil Gaiman uses the London underground stations to become something more literal and an integral part of the plot, was so much fun. As a plot device, I found it to be very inventive. 

Richard Mayhew, who is the most regular everyman, is a character that you cannot help but root for. He is a good person who tries to do the right thing but is utterly average in every regard. Until he has a fantastical adventure that leads to becoming a warrior and learning to live in a place of adventure.  

I loved nearly everything about Neverwhere. If you are looking for a well-written fantasy novel filled with interesting characters, Neverwhere should be moved to the top of your to be read pile.

Images and summary from goodreads.

The Last Dragonslayer By Jasper Fforde Review

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Summary 

In the good old days, magic was indispensable – it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians – but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam – and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as…Big Magic.

Review

Dragons, magic, and a strong female protagonist? What’s not to like.

Jennifer Strange is smart as a whip and older than her 15 years let on. She is swept up in the machinations of large corporations and an ancient prophecy while running an employment agency for magicians. 

Jasper Fforde creates a world that melds magic with the mundane. It is fun and light, very similar in tone to the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series. Like Percy Jackson, The Last Dragonslayer is a story that moves quickly while slowly building up the back story. It will keep you wanting to know more about Jennifer and the quirky world built by Fforde.

I enjoyed The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde immensely and am looking forward to reading book two, The Song Of The Quarkbeast.

 

I did win this book through goodreads but all opinions are my own.

All images and the summary are taken from goodreads.

A Discovery Of Witches By Deborah Harkness

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches

Author: Deborah Harkness

Series: All Souls Trilogy #1

Publisher: Viking Penguin

Edition: Hardcover, 585 Pages

Literary Awards: SCIBA Award For Fiction

This review does contain spoilers, please read with caution.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is a real puzzler. I enjoyed the book and plan on reading book two (Shadow Of The Night) but found the book to be frustrating.

What I did not like about A Discovery Of Witches:

Length:

This book is way too long! For being so long, it has little action. At well over 500 pages, this book seemed to drag. I did have a hard time putting it down but I am not sure if it was because I enjoyed reading it or was just waiting for something (anything) to happen.

Characters:

A Discovery Of Witches has a lot of characters which can be confusing at times. This is especially the case when so many are introduced at the end of the book. Deborah Harkeness might go into further detail about these characters in subsequent books but as of the end of this one, there are a few who seem pretty random. The two daemons introduced near the end (who also have a forbidden love and a forbidden pregnancy) are a great example. They both literally move right in but we learn very little about them

Plot:

The plot is all over the place. It starts with being about alchemy and Asmole 782, jumps to issues with forbidden relationships and all the different creatures, and ends with some kind of stand against the man. It felt like there were so many story lines (many of them interesting) with little to no resolution. I hope these issues are addressed in the subsequent books.

Love Story:

I do not read books for the titillation (not a fan of erotica or romance novels) but having a destined greatest love story ever in a book and all the main characters do is heavy petting is boring. Even with the lack of sex, the love story seems off. Mathew is so overprotective and gushy, it made me want Diana to break up with him.

Diana has such a personality change in the later parts of the book that it seems like she is bent on becoming subservient to a man she has known for a few weeks. I understand that Mathew is a vampire, old-fashioned, but Diana is a modern, educated woman whom I would hope would  have her own voice. There is a lot of talk of obeying Mathew, couched in the hew is a vampire and the head of household, which really did not make it easier for me to read or understand. It made me as ragey as New Moon where all Bella can do is moan about heartbreak. I like my fictional women strong and independent, able to function without the help of a man.

All of these issues aside, I did enjoy A Discovery Of Witches and do plan on reading the follow-up Shadow Of The Night. I have hope that tighter editing and more of a focus on moving the plot forward will lead to a better book two.

Images from goodreads.