The Poppy War – Brutal, timely and terrifyingly brilliant

 

The Poppy War

Series: The Poppy War #1

Publication date : May 1st, 2018

Publisher : Harper Voyager | Harpercollins

Genre : Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 544

Synopsis : When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good. Continue reading

Advertisements

Empress of All Seasons – Took me on a Rollercoaster of Thoughts and Feelings

 

Empress of All Seasons

Publication date : November 6th, 2018goodreads

Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 384

Synopsis : In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems. Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast. Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy. (From Goodreads)

Rating:3.5 stars

Empress of All Seasons

*I Received an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*

CW: Death, child taken away at Birth, parental abuse, self harm imagery, passing mention of rape and victim blaming, gore, slavery, mention of suicide.

(No Spoilers)

This book and I had quite the interesting journey! I started off really excited to read and even more so when I finally began reading it, then a little farther in the middle I felt hesitant about it, still enjoying it but not quite sure *how much* I was enjoying it then the last 50 or so pages blew it out of the water for me. So it’s safe to say this book was quite the emotional rollercoaster than I ended up enjoying quite a lot for multiple reasons.

The writing is solid and quite atmospheric, I felt fully immersed in the world just a few pages into Empress of All Seasons. It sounds like a fairytale from the premise and actually reads that way as well. The story is told in multiple point of views from Mari, Taro and Akira’s perspectives which was really well played since we got to see their dynamics from different angles and get to know them as more well rounded characters. Their voices were also pretty distinct and never subjected me to confusion as to whose eyes I was seeing things through. Every few chapters, we get Gods’ stories that we don’t really understand how they tie with the narrative until the very end.

Like I said, the premise sounds very fairytale like and extremely addicting but what I didn’t expect is for it to have as dark of a vibe as it did. I expected something more light but I lived for that, it fit the story better than the lightness I expected. Some of it is pretty violent and heartwrenching, especially when reading about the treatment of the yokai in the imperial city. They’re enslaved and forced to wear collars that dampen their powers. The plot is kind of slow moving but fascinating to follow with it’s fair share of action scenes, some of which I personally thought needed slightly more polishing but I enjoyed them overall.

The worldbuilding is extremely well done, everytime the narrative rose a question I found the answer soon after. I loved learning all about the Yokai as well the inner workings and machinations of this world, Empress of All Seasons also has a light politics focus which you know by now I’m a huge fan of so that was actually one of my favourite parts of the book. The concept of season rooms was what pulled me the most towards this book and although we saw plenty of them during competition I wish there were more descrptions of what the rooms actually looked like, I thought this was a missed opportunity to set a lush scenery.

Mari, one of our main characters, is Yokai and sent to the palace by her mother to become empress and steal the emperor’s wealth. Sounds easy, right? *sarcasm* She struggles with her Identity as a Yokai and the character growth that came from that was amazing to follow, we see her grow to love and fully embrace her identity as well as her people. We also see that result in her being more confident in her skills and herself in general which YES PLEASE.

Akira is a half-yokai boy but…I wasn’t the biggest fan of his. He sees himself as weak and he, as well, goes through a character growth which is great. The problem I had with him is that he’s in love with Mari and even after being rejected by her he still fixated on “winning her over” and that honest to God was so annoying. No is no, dude, move on with your life.

Taro is the soon to be emperor. He was such A SOFT BOI who’s yearning for freedom and just wanted to be left alone with his inventions which I really liked about him but was quickly annoyed when after one encounter with Mari WHILE HE’S LITERALLY TRYING TO RUN AWAY makes him go back inside the palace because he wants to see her again. *yawns* Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed by the boys. And I also didn’t care much for the romance so I loved the fact that it was very forgettable and didn’t take front and center in the book.

Empress of All Seasons is a solid fantasy that could have done with a sequel. Those last few chapters had so much information and so much potential to develop a whole new book and I was a little let down by how rushed it all was. That being said I still enjoyed this book for the standalone it was, I just wished there was more.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Empress of All Seasons? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

Mating the Huntress – Fun and steamy werewolf romance

Mating the Huntress

Publication date : October 1st, 2018

goodreads

Publisher : Nixon House

Genre : Adult |Romance

Page Count: 136

Synopsis : Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off… (From Goodreads) Continue reading

Not Even Bones – The dark book that keeps on getting darker

Not Even Bones

Series: Market of Monsters #1

Publication date : September 4th, 2018goodreads

Publisher : HMH Teen

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy – Thriller

Page Count: 368

Synopsis : Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster. (From Goodreads) Continue reading

The Navigator’s Touch – The Captain Hook companion to the Little Mermaid

The Navigator's Touch

Series: The Seafarer’s Kiss #2

Publication date : September 13th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Interlude Press

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 256

Synopsis : After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea. Continue reading

BLOG TOUR: Seafire – All-Girls crew taking over the sea one ship at a time.

Seafire

Series: Seafire #1

Publication date : August 28th, 2018goodreads

ISBN: 9780451478801

Publisher : Razorbill | Penguin Random House

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 374

Synopsis : After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for? (From Goodreads) Continue reading

Mirage – The book of my Moroccan heart

 

Mirage

Series: Mirage #1

Publication date : August 28th, 2018goodreads

Publisher : Flatiron Books | Macmillan

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy, Science Fiction

Page Count: 320

Synopsis : In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. Continue reading

Labyrinth Lost – Immersive, infused with culture and magic

Labyrinth Lost

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1

Publication date : August 1st, 2018goodreads

Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Synopsis : I was chosen by the Deos. Even gods make mistakes.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family. (From Goodreads) Continue reading

A Torch Against the Night – My soul has been CAUGHT and destroyed

 

A Torch against the Night

Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2

Publication date : August 30th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Razorbill

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 452

Synopsis : Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire. Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

A Torch against the Night

CW: Death, violence, torture, PTSD, genocide, mass murder including children, sexual assault, emotional manipulation.

(No Spoilers)

Remember when I said An Ember in the Ashes consumed me? hahahaHAHAHAHAHahahaha. Well joke’s on me, because A Torch Against the Night absolutely destroyed me. I knew it was a good idea to read it only a few weeks before A Reaper at the Gates releases because I can’t imagine agonizing like this for a year *shudders* (note that I read AEITA exactly a year before ARATG release). Anyhoo, this book has rendered me speechless and this is my attempt, a couple weeks after finishing it to gather my thoughts into semi-coherent thoughts.

I will never not be in awe of Sabaa Tahir’s writing, the prose is smooth and breathtakingly beautiful while never being overdone, every word feels chosen with care and placed just right, it also shifts ever so slightly to suit whichever POV we’re following. Speaking of perspectives, there are three this time around, in addition to Elias and Laia that we had in the first book we also have Helene *side eyes her and everything she stands for*. The descriptions are vivid, especially those of fight scenes which are very graphic and gutting. That being said, we hear a lot of the massacres happening all over but we only witness them in text a couple times, and that was enough to turn my stomach?

The story here starts right where An Ember in the Ashes left off, down to the second which means that…we don’t catch a break. A Torch Against the Night is fast paced from the start, which then slows down a bit in the middle (very much needed) just to pick up again and the plot just thickens and thickens, adding new layers to it with every page, nothing is left to chance and every little thing you read does, in fact, matter. Which brings me to the foreshadowing. SO. MUCH. FORESHADOWING. I was shook once things were revealed by how much they were hinted to and I was none the wiser.

This book does an amazing job at raising questions as to where everyone’s loyalities lay (without necessarily answering them right away), what every character’s motives are, etc… You just want to KNOW why everyone is doing what they’re doing, even the characters we don’t see much of. That’s how amazingly crafted it is. You could often hear me cursing and yelling at this book while reading which wasn’t convenient because I was up at 4am reading… There are so many twists and turns, some of which I suspected but they still hit me like a truck when they were revealed to be true. SO. MUCH. PAIN.

Laia is still my favourite. At the start of the book we see her take on a lot of responsibility all at once which pushes her to grow more into herself and gain confidence she wouldn’t have otherwise. There’s also a whole mystery surrounding her that made me very curious and eager to find out more. One thing that absolutely broke my heart is seeing how that confidence and sense of leadership she gained throughout the book was squeashed my a certain someone and all her opinions were belittled and set aside which made her doubt herself and her abilities.

ELIAS IS A MESS, SOMEONE SAVE MY BOY. Not only from everyone and everything but also from himself. He is a tortured soul that would go to any lengths for the people he loves which shows very obviously in certain turns of events in this book. He’s pure and caring but sometimes I just founds myself being the embodiment of “?????” and just wanting to yell at him to stop being such a thick headed hero and just TALK TO PEOPLE *hum* Laia *hum* and LISTEN. Speaking of Laia, the tension between these two is so palpable it near damned killed me.

Now. Helene. HELENE. H E L E N E. Ew. I still despise her, she’s the epitome of white feminist (as I said previously) and following without questionning. Her undying loyalty to the empire irks me and reading her POV made me want to hurl my phone at the wall. But that being said, getting her persepective gave place to more rounded character and was definitely interesting even if it didn’t teach me anything new about her and my assessement of her was pretty spot on. A spoiled brat who condones slavery and sees herself as a Superior HumanTM. And who also just sits and watches as genocide happens while being a high ranked military person. The one think I liked about her is how much she cared about her family.

Special notions to Afya Ara-Nur who is a fierce woman that I love to pieces. And while we’re at it, Keenan can choke, I KNEW I didn’t like him and I still don’t. A Reaper at the Gates came out last month and I’M SO STRESSED!! I hope I can get my hands on it this month!


That’s it until next time.

Did you read A Torch Against the Night? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature