A Darker Shade Of Magic | Book Review

a darker shade of magic review

GENRE: FANTASY
PAGE COUNT: 398 PAGES

“If red was the colour of magic in balance – of harmony between power and humanity – then black was the colour of magic without balance, without order, without restraint”

Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

“Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood.”

Oft, what a journey! I have just finished A Darker Shade Of Magic and I can attest it’s every bit as good as all the hype! V.E.Schwab writes a vivid fantasy world in beautiful prose, filled with real, complex characters.

“Magic was a truly beautiful disease. But only when the hosts were strong enough. Pure enough. The people here were not”

Kell

I adored Kell’s character, he is a thrilling narrator who sees the world (or worlds) for what they are truly like. Kell is very much the wallflower, who hasn’t quite found his place in the world. Schwab has cleverly written Kell so you have enough information about who he is to relate to the character, while still maintaining a sense of mystery about his past. I’m really looking forward to what the future books have in store for him.

“Trouble is the looker, it keeps looking till it finds you, you may as well find it first”

Lila

“The shadow thief they called her”

Lila is a mix of the everyman hero and the outsider. She’s the character I believe most readers will see themselves in, minus the whole loving to stab people thing… She craves a true adventure and a life that is beyond what the people around her aspire to have. Luckily (or perhaps it’s more than just luck) she quite literally bumps into Kell and the rest is history. I truly enjoy reading the Lila driven sections of the story, she is brave, witty and just a tad on the crazy side. You’d be hard pressed not to fall in love with her character.

“Lila knew how to use a knife, knew where to cut to hurt and where to kill”

Holland

Holland was my favourite character, though we don’t get much insight into what he’s thinking. Seeing him only how others see him, I found him to be the most complex character in the story. He is definitely jaded, and completey mysterious. A great part of this of course is because his actions are not his own. Despite that I find him endearing, he’s a survivor, and I have a feeling he’s going to feature again in the next books in this series. He also has those major bad boy who needs to be saved vibes and I’m here for it.

“Our throne is not something you’re born to. Its not held by blood. Bur taken by it. Someone cuts their way to the throne and holds it as long as they can”

The idea of multiple Londons held my attention immediately, and at first I was mainly intrigued by learning about the fantasy world itself. The characters easily draw the reader in and by the middle I was rapidly turning the pages to find out what happens next. A Darker Shade Of Magic is an exciting, extremely fun read and I highly recommend it!

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still”

“A life worth having is a life worth taking”

RATING:

★★★★★

The Lightning Thief | Book Review 

The Lightning Thief
GENRE: FATASY/YA
PAGE COUNT: 375 PAGES

“My name is Percy Jackson. 

I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.

Am I a troubled kid?

Yeah. You could say that.” 

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. 

“Right,” she said, “We’re going to the Land of the Dead and I shouldn’t think negative.”

Another one bites the dust! I have just finished The Lighting Thief and I am beyond impressed. I admit I thought the book may be to young for me and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as if I had read it when I was younger. I’m glad to report I was completely wrong! Rick Riordan writes much like J.K.Rowling, with both children and adults in mind. While I was reading I didn’t once feel like I couldn’t relate to the story or characters, which was a wonderful surprise. 

“How did you die?”

“We er….drowned in a bathtub.”

“All three of you?”

“It was a big bathtub.” 

Throughout the book I laughed, got teary eyed and cheered Percy on from where I sat on my bed. Having a much less interesting adventure then Jackson. Percy is a very mature twelve year old, and while reading I had to keep reminding myself he wasn’t an adult. His moments of humour and bitting sarcasm aided in reminding me of his youth as well. Percy  is a brave, loyal, and hilarious character whose growth throughout the book was a joy to behold. I can only imagine what is in store for him in the next book! 

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” 

“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.” 

Annabeth is the wise, kickass female character I always pray is within the pages of whatever book I’m reading. She is an excellent counterpart to Percy’s character and is another character of whom clearly grows throughout the book and reveals herself to be an equally loyal friend to Percy. Though I spy a romance in the future I’m glad the first book isn’t about that, and sets the foundation of friendship. Making Annabeth more then just a love interest, but an essential support in his quest. 

“The real world is where the monsters are.” 

The Mythology is the element of the book that I can see keeping me hooked for many novels to come. I have been a fan of Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology since I was in primary school and have a large collection of books on the subject to prove it. The way Riordan weaves the myths into the story is exciting and clearly well researched. I found myself getting giddy with each reference to Nymphs, Olympus and of course the Gods themselves. 

“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.” 

The invention of Camp Half-Blood is ingenious and I adored reading each moment spent there. Being completely enthralled by the imagery Riordan so expertly creates in the readers mind. Naturally I found myself wondering which cabin I would want to stay in myself, and obsessively reading the pages for more information about all aspects of the camp.

“The real world is where the monsters are.” 

“Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out. The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades’ underwear?” 

This book flew through my fingertips as a clamoured to read each page to find out the fate of our heroes in this journey. I can honestly say it’s a journey with a brilliant finish and I cannot wait to pick up the next book. The hints of whats to come has set of an excitement that will not be quenched till I have that hot little book in my hands! Please don’t follow my lead and let the fear of this book being to young for you stop you from reading it any longer. It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read this year!

“Names have power.” 

RATING:
★★★★★

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard | Book Review

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard Book Review

GENRE: PARABLE/FABLE/CHILDREN’S
PAGE COUNT: 108 PAGES

“There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.”

Book Synopsis:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

“Pay me the proof of you pain,
Pay me the fruit of your Labour,
Pay me the treasure of your past”

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is a delightful companion novel to the Harry Potter series, and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. J.K. Rowling once again proves her writing talent with poetic prose in these children’s fairy tales.

“No man or woman alive, magical or not, has ever escaped some form of injury, whether physical, mental, or emotional. To hurt is as human as to breathe.”

This book has added charm by including  commentary from the beloved character, Albus Dumbledore. It’s both charming, funny and especially relevant when it comes to the Tale Of Three Brothers, which everyone who has read Harry Potter will understand the relevance of.

“And then he greeted death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life”

The Tale Of The Three Brothers is in my opinion the best written of the tales, though I could be biased because I’m so familiar with the tale and it’s relevance. It shines as being written so rhythmically and perfectly, setting the stage for how important the story is in the Potter-verse.

“And so death took the first brother for his own”

“The three witches and the knight set off down the hill together, arm in arm, and all four led long and happy lives, and none of them ever knew or suspected that the Fountain’s waters carried no enchantment at all.”

I also particularly enjoyed The Fountain Of Fair Fortune and believe it is as well written as The Three Brothers, and if it was mentioned in the series more perhaps would have the same impact. The story reads as a parable and I can see it being popular if it was commonly read to children.

“Clever as I am, I remain just as big a fool as anyone else.”

You could read the stories to children without the commentary from Dumbledore and have them be enjoyed. Though the book is definitely intended for those familiar with the Harry Potter books and as such, I highly recommend it for fans!

“Humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worse for them”

RATING:

★★★★★

The Little Prince By Antonie De Saint – Exupery | Book Review

the little prince book review

GENRE: PARABLE/FABLE/CHILDREN’S
PAGE COUNT: 106 PAGES

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”

Book Synopsis:

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

They say the loveliest things come in small packages, and that is especially true of this book. Antonie De Saint writes a book that has the unique magic of being able to be read by all ages, and each time it’s read have a different message taken away from within it’s pages.

“Grown-ups never understand anything about themselves and it’s rather tedious for children to have to explain thing to them time and time again”

The Little Prince is a charming story that takes the reader across the universe. Along the way meeting the inhabitants of several planets who make the reader think about their values and question what it truly means to be an adult. While meeting these characters you realise as we grow up we can loose our childlike sense of wonder.

“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”

The adventures the characters encounter throughout the book will keep young readers enthralled and older readers evaluating their principles. The book seems particularly important when thinking about what we are teaching kids in school today. I was reminded throughout the book that children are being increasingly discouraged to spend time on creative studies. Schools holding the importance of maths and the sciences in high regard, with little care of the creative studies. Not that I believe there is anything wrong with those areas of study, I simply worry kids will miss out on areas that will encourage creative thoughts and freedoms.

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty. No one could die for you.”

Personally I took away from the story the vast gap between how we think when we are younger verse how we think when we reach mature age, and how perhaps we should keep more of the naivety of the thinking of our youth.

If you have yet to pick up the Little Prince please do! And let me know what message you took away from it! Below are some quotes that had a particular impact on me…

“I admire you, but why should that mean so much to you?”

“I am who I am and I have the need to be.”

“But the conceited man did not hear him. Conceited people never hear anything but praise.”

“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, “Yes, the stars always makes me laugh!” And they will think you are crazy.”

RATING:★★★★☆

Gemina By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Book Review 

Gemina book review

GENRE: SCI FI/YA
PAGE COUNT: 659 PAGES
“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.” 

Book Synopsis

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home.

Oft! My Emotions! Kaufman and Kristoff have done it again. A sequel that is just as enthralling, poetic and gut wrenching as the first! I’m so shook after finishing this book. It’s very rare these days that a sequel can hold a candle to the first book in a series, let alone have it be just as brilliant. 

It is clear to me that both of these authors excel in creating unique and compelling characters that the reader will find impossible not to fall in love with.

“And now, born from the ashes, she’s a warrior in bloodied black.” 

Hanna Donnelly is nothing short of completely badass. She is intelligent, charming and could absolutely kick your ass. Hanna is easily just as endearing a character as her counterpart from the first book, Kady. However the authors have managed to make her, her own individual so you don’t feel like you are reading book with the same female lead. Though this one is as equally kickass as the first. 

“You might get only one shot. So shoot. You know who said that?”

The rifle clatters to the bloody floor.

“Hanna FUCKING Donnelly. That’s who.”

Gemina owes it’s brilliance to the fact that it keeps all the elements that people loved from the previous book, the witty characters, brutality of events juxtaposed with poetic prose, the rare format the story is told in (classified documents, censored emails, interviews, and others) and adds new elements which makes it stand out as it’s own story. I also particularly enjoyed finding references to the characters of the first book throughout Gemina.

“This tiny moment. In between the time you decide to pull a trigger and the time death arrives. There’s just you and it and everything you’re about to take away. It’s too big. It goes forever.”

Nik Malikov is another character you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy. He certainly hasn’t had an easy life, yet he is completely charming, cheeky and entirely resourceful. His character stands out for me as he’s very different to anyone we have seen in the series so far. The House of Knives storyline is another great part of the story. It demonstrates one of my favourite things about this series, the multiple interlocking stories and surprises that could have entire books of their own. 

“It’s not about what I say, right? It’s what I do that matters here.” 

Kaufman and Kristoff  have done a wonderful job of creating the stereotypical sweet-as-pie heartthrob character Jackson Merrick. Think Stefan Salvatore, Edward Cullen. For this reason I’m not that drawn to his character.. I’m never team the cookie cutter good guy. Maybe that says something about me. For this reason, in this particular love triangle, I’m defiantly team Malikov. 

I can’t say too much about the plot as I don’t want this review to have any spoilers, so I’ll just say If you haven’t started your journey into the Illuminae Files you need to start now. Seriously, what are you doing right now? Run to your nearest bookstore now!

 

 

“Her eyes shining with the light of it. 

Beneath, between, beyond.

Along the endless circle.

Down the ceaseless spiral.

And waiting for her on the other side? 

Just like he promised.

“A whole sky of different stars.”

RATING:

★★★★★