BOOK REVIEW | The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (4 stars)

DragonKeeper-UKVerdict: Intriguing, well written and emotionally provocative. A great and enjoyable fantasy book.

I’ll be honest, it feels really strange to be writing a Robin Hobb book review and not being in a state of complete emotional trauma. I have long associated Hobb with tears, lengthy, horrified rants and exclamations that I will never again open myself up to such literary heartache (ha!). The Dragon Keeper by comparison was… pleasant. I thoroughly enjoyed my return to Bingtown and the Rain Wild; it welcomed me like an old home and it was like I’d never left. I have no real criticisms of the book at all. Although, at a stretch, I’d say that I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars because it lacked the emotional depth and investment to be able to traumatise me, and didn’t have a fantastic ‘grey area’ villain like Captain Kennit… but then, that is true of most books! Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW | Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (3.5 stars)

Howl's moving castleVerdict: Fun, easy and humorous read with an unfortunately vague ending.

Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three, which in Ingary means she’s nothing special. She’ll never go on adventures or achieve greatness but, being shy and humble to a fault, she’s resigned to her fate. Yet, when Sophie falls foul of The Witch of the Waste, her boring future is turned upside down as she’s forced to seek help from the fearsome Wizard Howl.

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BOOK REVIEW | A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (3.5 stars)

conjuring-of-lightVerdict: A neat end to a great story, definitely worth the read but lacking the magnetism of the previous two novels. 

The novel picks up where A Gathering of Shadows ended; our heroes are in a bad place and the odds are stacked high against them. Osaron, the piece of magic who would be king, the piece of magic who thinks its a god, is free, and all surviving Londons – White, Red and even Grey – could pay the ultimate price. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW | Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (3 stars)Book Review, Books, reading, fiction

SkulduggeryVerdict: Fun and well-written, but doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Stephanie Edgeley attends the funeral of her Uncle Gordon and meets a strange man called Skulduggery Pleasant. From then on, things get a bit crazy.

I know there’ll be a lynch mob waiting outside my house as soon as I post this, and I regret that I can’t give Skulduggery Pleasant more stars. I really wanted to. It was funny and well-written, Skulduggery himself was incredibly witty… I think I may have developed a crush on him at some point which, given he’s a very old, reanimated skeleton, presents a whole set of ethical and logistical problems. The plot was solid and well-thought out, too, if a little predictable.

And yet…

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BOOK REVIEW | Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (5 stars)

adulthood is a mythVerdict: Brilliant and incredibly relatable. I think Andersen is stalking me and my friends.

I don’t usually review publications like comic-strip books or graphic novels, but this book hit me so hard in the face with its perfection that I felt compelled to share it with the world.

Dubbed as ‘A Sarah’s Scribbles collection’, Adulthood is a Myth is a vivid insight into the mind and life of Sarah Andersen, who is the new spokeswoman for a generation of artistic introverts. From battling wars with her sadistic uterus and to constantly losing the fight to leave her bed on a rainy day, Andersen’s cartoon creation speaks to the little niggling voice in all of our heads, saying one thing: I get it.

And she does get it. I enjoyed this brilliantly funny collection of sketches from start to finish. I could relate to most of them personally; the few I didn’t identify with were sent to my friends, who related to them instead.

The art itself is very simplistic but appealing, with Andersen’s style expressing obvious emotion just by tweaking a few lines of ink. I’d recommend this to anyone who, although technically adult, feels as far from grown-up as can be. If you prefer books to people and can’t wait to get into your pyjamas at the end of the day; if you’re a fan of procrastination and struggle being socially acceptable on a daily basis, this book is for you.

BOOK REVIEW | Taking Up Serpents by Ian Sutherland (4 stars)

sutherland_takingupserpents_ebook-600Verdict: Intricate and well-written, with a page-turning ending, this great tech-crime novel surpasses its predecessor in ambition and delivery.

Brody and Jenny are back!

Still recovering from the dramatic events of the last book, and the subsequent loss of Leroy as a friend, Brody is seeking purpose and professional legitimacy. His growth from white hat pen-test hacker to his application for the Vorovsky Mir take-down team at GCHQ is no doubt helped by his relationship with Jenny, who requires honesty (and legal compliance) from him in order to continue their romance – despite the complications this job would bring geographically. But Brody receives another offer which sorely tempts his secretive side, and it might be too early to put his online persona Fingal to rest.

Jenny herself is facing trouble at work. Her boss is relentlessly penalising her for how the last case went; punishing her for making the final arrest and, in his view, making him look like a fool. She too is entertaining a career change, one that might place her relationship with Brody in jeopardy, but then something happens that throws both our favourite hacker and kick-arse policewoman back together, whether they want to be co-workers or not. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW | The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (3 stars)

girl-of-ink-and-starsVerdict: An enjoyable, ‘fairytale-esque’ story that is at once exotic and familiar. 

The story opens with Isa, a girl on the island of Joya who lives with her cartographer father. The island is being occupied by ‘The Governor’, who comes from Afrik, and has banned travel beyond Joya’s waters and even on other parts of the island, now named the ‘Forgotten Territories’. This latter point is a problem for Isa herself, who yearns to explore the rest of her home island. She is obsessed with its mythological history: it was once a floating island that could travel the seas by itself; it has its own heroine, Arinta, a young girl who heroically faced the fire demon Yote before he could destroy Joya entirely.

Soon, a revolt against the Governor sees Isa taking her own journey to the Forbidden Territories to rescue her best friend, echoing the mythological adventure of Arinta in ways that are both eerie and deadly.
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