Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1), Melissa Caruso

"Figure out what you are good at and make that the game"
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. 
Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire. Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. 

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4 / 5 

The Tethered Mage is a Venetian inspired fantasy novel featuring hefty amounts of political skulduggery - one of my favourite things. It might be a little low on the action despite featuring a heavy-hitting Fire Warlock, but when the fights are there, they're good. Featuring two great female leads, The Tethered Mage is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension #1), Andrew Rowe

"It was the day of my Judgement and I was prepared in a thousand ways that didn't matter"
Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess. 
He never returned. Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

* * * * 
4 / 5

When I was a great deal younger I spent a reasonable amount of time devouring books and manga of the LitRPG genre - the most famous of which might be Sword Art Online, The Tower of God, and 1/2 Prince. Essentially, these are books based either literally around people in a game or a world that functions like an RPG; typically these feature dungeons, levelling up, magic, trading, forging weapons, and parties (the dangerous, monster fighting kind).

Saturday, 3 March 2018

No Time To Spare, Ursula K. Le Guin

"If I'm ninety and believe I'm forty-five, I'm headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub"
Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it.    

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4 / 5

I started reading No Time to Spare on the 28th of December, intending to consume it's collection of short essays leisurely. Unfortunately, partway through the title became somewhat prophetic as the author sadly passed away. As a child I loved and devoured Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet and as an adult I have read some of her more adult works such as The Word for World is Forest; she was a writer who was very dear to my heart and the thought of reading (what I believe to be) her last published book was rather upsetting, so I put it down for a while.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

[article] February Round-Up

My book-plant is the most awesome thing

February Round Up, 2018

Well, it truly has been a record-low on the review writing front for me this month! I've been a disaster this month between getting on top of my university month, prepping for summer internship interviews, competing at a national level in my sport, and training for another. I've done a fair amount of actual reading, mostly in the car or on the train or the bus, but very little writing. But March might be my month of getting back on track :)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1), Gregory Scott Katsoulis

My silence meant something. It was a protest. I owned it.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks, for every nod, for every scream and even every gesture of affection. 

But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again, sparking a movement that threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them

* * * * 
4 / 5

It's been several years since dystopia was the go to genre for the upcoming YA author and, upon seeing All Rights Reserved, I thought that enough time had passed for me to brave this book. And damn, it was good! I've read a lot of dystopias in my time but never anything quite like this. Yeah, maybe it had a few kinks in the plot that could have been smoothed out, a few hallmarks of a new author, but these are easily forgiven.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

[article] January Round-Up

Are your reading resolutions still in full swing?

January Round Up, 2018

A new year and with it, new books! The majority of January was unfortunately taken up with studying for and sitting my third year university exams, but after celebrating the end I dug into my massive stack of books. Mostly, these were Christmas presents and so a massive thank you to all my family and friends for their generous gifts :)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Blood and Sand, C. V. Wyk

She wanted to run and run until her breath was spent, until the ashes of her bones mingled with those of her people

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

* * 
2 / 5 

In answer to the age-old gladiatorial question: "are you not entertained?", the answer is "only a little bit". I have a fondness for books set in Ancient Rome - The Eagle of the Ninth, for example, or virtually anything by Simon Scarrow - and Blood and Sand promised not only the tale of a gladiator who strives for freedom, Xanthus, but also that of a warrior princess of Thrace, Attia! It sounded awesome and I eagerly began reading this book, only to discover that it is dominated by a poorly plotted romance and a lack of exciting action.