Thursday 29 March 2018

The Queen's Rising, Rebecca Ross

"Come on, fight me as a queen would"
Born out of wedlock, Brienna is cast off by her noble family and sent to Magnolia House - a boarding house for those looking to study the passions: art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge. As Brienna gets closer to the eve of her graduation, she also grows closer to her smart (and handsome) tutor, Cartier.  
A daring plot is brewing - to overthrow the usurper king and restore the rightful monarchy - and Brienna's memories hold the key to its success. Cartier desperately wants to help Brienna, but she must chose her friends wisely, keep her enemies close and trust no one if she is to save herself and her people. 
* * * 
3 / 5

I mostly bought The Queen's Rising because of the absolutely gorgeous cover, but I stayed because I was intrigued by the premise: Brienna is a student of knowledge, about to graduate, and she's inherited the magical memories of her ancestor which will prove vital in the winning of a war. I really loved the first half of the book, but thought that as the revolution/war plot progressed, it became a bit farfetched.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1), Megan Whalen Turner

"A thief never makes a noise by accident"
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. 

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
* * * 
3 / 5

This book has a lot of rave reviews, but to be honest it's not that great. I gave it three stars because I enjoyed how it reminded me of reading slightly bad fantasy novels in the 2000s - character who is weirdly good at something with little explanation, a band of sidekicks, bizarre worldbuilding, full of myths and legends, and totally odd/implausible plot twists. The Thief was an odd little book, definitely fun but no shining example of great fantasy literature. 

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. 

* * * * 
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.    

* * * * 
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 :)