Review: Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

Title: Vicious Spirits

Author: Kat Cho

Release date: August 18th 2020

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Star rating: ★★★★

Purchase: Book Depository or Blackwell’s (Affiliate Links)

Disclaimer: I received an advanced finished copy of this book for free. This does not influence my review, which is honest and spoiler-free. Thank you to Sam at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy!

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

New romance and dangers abound in this companion to the crowd-pleasing Wicked Fox.

As Vicious Spirits begins, Miyoung and Jihoon are picking up the pieces of their broken lives following the deaths of Miyoung’s mother, Yena, and Jihoon’s grandmother. With the support of their friend Somin, and their frenemy, Junu, they might just have a shot at normalcy. But Miyoung is getting sicker and sicker by the day and her friends don’t know how to save her. With few options remaining, Junu has an idea but it might require the ultimate sacrifice and, let’s be honest, Junu isn’t known for his “generosity.” Meanwhile, the events at the end of Wicked Fox have upended the forces that govern life and death and there are supernatural entities lurking in the background that will stop at nothing to right their world.

Review

At first I was confused as to why Vicious Spirits was being marketed as a companion novel and a sequel to Wicked Fox, but it didn’t take me long to realise both why this was, and that it was something I want to see more of with series. Vicious Spirits carries on the story introduced to readers in Wicked Fox, and Miyoung and Jihoon are certainly present here, but they share page-time with two new POV characters I certainly didn’t expect to like as much as I did: Somin and Junu, whose story helps to add another layer of dimension to the world Cho writes in.

Introduced as side characters in the first book, Somin and Junu find their story – and their complicated and back-and-forth relationship – a focal point of this book. Somin is a feisty, human girl who would do anything for those she loves, and Junu is a dokkaebi with a bit too much charisma and a tragic past – the necessary ingredients, it seems, for a ‘bookish boyfriend’ in 2020. The character growth for Somin and Junu felt natural, and the eventual development of their relationship – and the personal growth that came with it – was one of my favourite aspects of the book.

Fans of Miyoung and Jihoon from the first book should not hesitate to read this book, however, as the pair are still present in the story, following the events at the end of Wicked Fox, where Miyoung continues to be haunted by her recently-deceased mother, Yena, and the disappearance of her fox bead. They certainly no longer take centre stage, and so have less page-time, but still have scenes together which many readers will enjoy.

I found the plot of Vicious Spirits resonated with me more than that of Wicked Fox, dealing with heavy themes of grief and loss, compared to the more light-hearted tone of its predecessor. Through the lens of a romantic, fun (if not dangerous, at times) adventure, Cho explores the aftermath of death, the regrets many of us are left to deal with and the often-struggle to find the ability to move on. For me, at least, this book was extremely poignant, and I can’t help but think this was a story I needed at this particular time. Steering away from its themes though, Kat Cho was sure to implement many a plot twist, both big and small, throughout the novel, and if readers cannot connect to its themes in the way that I did, then they should at least delight in the fact that Vicious Spirits offers them the fun escapism that Cho’s debut did.

TL;DR: Vicious Spirits is a worthy successor to Wicked Fox, and cements Cho as one of publishing’s more under-appreciated and under-hyped writers with her ability to delicately weave heavy themes into a story which some would likely write off as ‘just another fantasy romance book’. Rather, Cho spins a beautiful tale of love and loss against a background of Korean folklore that I would urge anyone to read.

Throne of Glass Characters as Fonts: Part 2

Hi everyone!

 

Today’s post is something a little bit different: I’ve collaborated with Lucy @ Sunstar Books to bring you Throne of Glass characters as fonts. Yes, you read that right. I can’t take any credit for the idea though – Lucy was kind and gracious enough to allow me to contribute my ideas to this, but she certainly did most of the leg work!

 

This is Part 2 of our Throne of Glass characters as blog post, and you can find Part 1 on Lucy’s blog here!

 

All character art is by morganaOanagrom and was found on the Throne of Glass wiki page.

 

Without further ado, let’s get into the fonts!

Continue reading “Throne of Glass Characters as Fonts: Part 2”

Blog Tour / Review: The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

thecrowrider

Title: The Crow Rider

Author: Kalyn Josephson

Release date: August 1st 2020

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Star rating: ★★★★★

Purchase: Amazon US / Amazon UK* / Book Depository* / Blackwell’s* / Foyles / IndigoKepler’s / Waterstones / WHSmith / Wordery (*Affiliate Links)

 

Thank you to Faye Rogers for organising and letting me be part of this tour, and to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a free eARC. This review, as with all my reviews, is honest and unbiased, and not affected by my receiving this book for free.

The Crow Rider Tour

 

Summary

The thrilling conclusion to the epic Storm Crow duology that follows a fallen princess as she tries to bring back the magical elemental crows taken from her people, perfect for readers who want fantasy books for teens.

Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.

 

Review

Is it really a surprise to anyone that I gave this book 5 stars?!

 

The Crow Rider picks up right where The Storm Crow left off, with Thia and co having escaped Illucia – with the help of Prince Ericen – to journey to the neighbouring kingdom of Trendell, where they hope to find new allies in the war against Queen Razel. It is this journey that allowed Josephson to expertly build on the world created in The Storm Crow, with Thia’s rebellion taking readers to lands both old and new, and reveal more of  the world’s lore that ultimately becomes vital to the plot. On a quick side note, there are several descriptions of food throughout the book, so readers should definitely have snacks on hand!

 

While many sequels cannot usually stand up to their predecessors, I enjoyed the plot of The Crow Rider just as much as I did The Storm Crow. Like the first instalment, mental health – more specifically, the resurgence of Thia’s depression and all that comes with it – is carefully handled, while maintaining a fast pace with battle scenes, lots of tension and several exciting plot twists. I can see how some readers might view the book as not really ‘picking up’ until the second half, but personally I was entranced the entire time, and struggled to put it down when I absolutely had to.

 

The characters are probably my favourite aspect of this duology, and The Crow Rider only increased my love for them.  Thia remains one of my all-time-favourite protagonists, and I adore how strong she continued to be in this book, compensating for her lack of political skill and discomfort public speaking with her hope for peace and the bonds she’d forged with her friends and allies. I loved the development of the relationship between Thia and Res, and Res’ training scenes would always make me laugh – he’d rather flop down on the floor and beg for scones or chicken than practice his magic! There is, also, the developing romance between Thia and Ericen. Throughout the book, Thia questions her feelings for Ericen, and while I won’t give any spoilers, I was very happy with the ending they got. That was probably a spoiler in itself, right? I hope Kalyn Josephson writes an enemies-to-lovers romance again, because I adored this one! I also felt that Caylus, who played quite a big role in the first book, was ‘put on the backburner’ a little bit here, although his journey was understandably different than Thia’s, and I was satisfied with the path he took and the ending he got – it felt right for his character. The book’s villain, Queen Razel, also sees some more development, as we learn more about her motivations and backstory. The Crow Rider is more diverse as well, as an existing character is revealed to be asexual and readers are introduced to a new, non-binary character as well.

 

Full of tension, banter, some well-choreographed battle scenes and an extra heaping of enemies-to-lovers romance, The Crow Rider is an absolutely spectacular conclusion to one of my favourite series, and I cannot wait to see what Kalyn Josephson writes next. 

Review: Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Please consider signing (and sharing) my petition, which aims to have the water and sewage tanks in my area covered to prevent further loss of animal life. My dog, Tilly, recently drowned and died as a result of falling into one of these tanks, which was 9 foot deep with a short barrier to entry. She would still be alive if those tanks were coveredSigning costs nothing but a minute of your time, and every signature counts. If you choose to sign, please ensure you are properly logged into your Change.org account, as there have been issues with people signing but their signatures not being counted. 

 

unravelthedusk

Title: Unravel the Dusk

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Release date: July 7th 2020

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Star rating: ★★★.75

Purchase: Book Depository or Blackwell’s (Affiliate Links)

 

Disclaimer: I received an advanced finished copy of this book for free. This does not influence my review, which is honest and spoiler-free. Thank you to Sam at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy!

 

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of Unravel the Dusk.

Continue reading “Review: Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim”

Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Please consider signing (and sharing) my petition, which aims to have the water and sewage tanks in my area covered to prevent further loss of animal life. My dog, Tilly, recently drowned and died as a result of falling into one of these tanks, which was 9 foot deep with a short barrier to entry. She would still be alive if those tanks were coveredSigning costs nothing but a minute of your time, and every signature counts. If you choose to sign, please ensure you are properly logged into your Change.org account, as there have been issues with people signing but their signatures not being counted. 

 

spinthedawn

Title: Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Release date: July 9th 2019

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Star rating: ★★★★

Purchase: Book Depository (Affiliate Link)

 

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Continue reading “Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim”

Tier Ranking Sarah J. Maas Books

Please consider signing (and sharing) my petition, which aims to have the water and sewage tanks in my area covered to prevent further loss of animal life. My dog, Tilly, recently drowned and died as a result of falling into one of these tanks, which was 9 foot deep with a short barrier to entry. She would still be alive if those tanks were coveredSigning costs nothing but a minute of your time, and every signature counts. If you choose to sign, please ensure you are properly logged into your Change.org account, as there have been issues with people signing but their signatures not being counted. 

 

It’s time to spill some SJM tea!

 

If you’ve been around for a while or we’ve spoken outside of this blog’s comments section, then the rankings of these likely won’t come as a surprise to you. For the rest of you… don’t @ me!

 

This post was inspired by Lucy @ Sun Star Reads‘ post where she ranked the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare. After our conversation on Twitter a while back, I said I’d make my own list – for Sarah J. Maas books – but life happened (see the link for my petition at the top of this post), and so this ranking is happening a lot later than I originally planned for!

Continue reading “Tier Ranking Sarah J. Maas Books”

Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Please consider signing (and sharing) my petition, which aims to have the water and sewage tanks in my area covered to prevent further loss of animal life. My dog, Tilly, recently drowned and died as a result of falling into one of these tanks, which was 9 foot deep with a short barrier to entry. She would still be alive if those tanks were coveredSigning costs nothing but a minute of your time, and every signature counts. If you choose to sign, please ensure you are properly logged into your Change.org account, as there have been issues with people signing but their signatures not being counted. 

 

ashprincess

Title: Ash Princess

Author: Laura Sebastian

Release date: April 24th 2018

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Star rating: ★★★★

Purchase: Book Depository (UK paperback, Affiliate Link)

 

 

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Continue reading “Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian”

10 Facts You Might Not Know About Author Natalie Mae [Guest Post]

Hi everyone!

 

I’m very happy (and honoured) to say that today’s post is in fact a guest post from the wonderful Natalie Mae, author of The Kinder Poison (which, if you’ve read my review, you know I adored)! When I saw on Twitter that Natalie was looking for a blogger to host her guest post – ten facts readers might not know about her – I jumped at the chance, shot my shot and crossed my fingers that I’d hear something back, that another “bigger” blogger hadn’t beaten me to the punch. As you can tell by this post, I was in luck!

 

I love getting to know more about the authors of my favourite books, whether that comes in the form of their writing process or snapshots of their day on Instagram (including the always welcome and adorable pet pictures) or, in this case, random facts you might not otherwise know! Without further ado, here are ten facts that you might not know about Natalie Mae, in her own words:

 

1) My favorite summer job ever was working at a local state park, where my duties included refilling hummingbird feeders, alerting rangers to rattlesnake sightings, and feeding the wolf spiders we kept in cages for the kids to see. (FYI this is cool until the very well-fed spiders start to get very big)

2) I look a lot younger than I am, which I used to hate, but which I now wield about me like a superpower.

3) I love to ride and jump horses! I took English riding lessons for a number of years and even owned a horse for a very short while, and it’s the thing I most miss about my pre-mom life.

4) Speaking of, I have an amazing 4 year old who was well worth trading those lessons, and I have secrets dreams that someday we will ride together and maybe she’ll become a world-class Olympic rider. Or, you know, whatever she wants to be. But I’m putting that up as an option.

5) I am THE most awkward person on the phone. If I can’t see the face of the person speaking, I tend to interrupt often and at all the wrong moments, including when I’m trying to make a hair appointment, which is a phone call that lasts about 45 seconds. I NEED FACES.

6) My favorite movie of all time is probably THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE. Close second is the original PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, which I saw 8 times in theaters.

7) I like rock, pop, and some metalcore music. My Spotify radio jumps between Halsey and The Architects without batting an eye.

8) I was in 4-H as a kid, and one year I won the Ladies’ Sheep Lead, which is a contest during which you parade around like a model, dressed like your sheep. Who is also in clothes. Actually this might explain a lot about me.

9) I have never been outside the US except to visit the Caribbean, so when you read about Zahru dreaming of seeing other kingdoms in THE KINDER POISON, this is very much straight from my heart. I desperately wish I could travel and visit all the amazing places and cultures our world has to offer. (Which, come to think of it, is probably why I love books!)

10) I have no formal creative writing training. I scored a 4 on my AP English test in high school, which tested me out of English requirements for college, so I didn’t take any college-level writing courses either, since I majored in Information Technology. Everything I learned about writing I learned from reading (and later, from my brilliant editors), and I do it much more by “feel” than by a structured outline or rules.

 

Thank you to Natalie for sharing these facts! While I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t seen The Emperor’s New Groove (I know what you’re all thinking – “how?!”), I love Pirates of the Caribbean too! I think I might be beat for the number of cinema trips for a singular film though *haha*! I think my record is three or four times… probably tied for Captain MarvelAvengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. I’m certainly glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get along with phone calls either. They’re just so… difficult!

 

If, like me, you felt you could relate to Natalie through some of her ten shared facts, or you’re in the mood for a fantastic new fantasy read, I would highly recommend you check out The Kinder Poison, the first book in a new duology, which is available from all reputable book retailers right now!

 

About The Kinder Poison

TheKinderPoison_web

Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

 

Purchase The Kinder Poison

Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Book Depository / Indie Bound / Indigo / Amazon UK / Blackwell’s / Waterstones / WHSmith

 

You can also purchase a signed/personalised copy of The Kinder Poison from BookBar, Natalie’s local independent bookstore. Simply say you want it signed (and if personalised, who to) at checkout!

 

About Natalie

Below text taken from Natalie’s website:

Natalie Mae is an ex-programmer, dessert enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and Pitch Wars mentor, and feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders. Her work has been acclaimed by People Magazine, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, USA Today, YALSA and HuffPost.

She now writes full-time at home with a bag of dark chocolates in one hand and a leopard cat on her lap. She is most definitely not checking Instagram right now.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ByNatalieMae

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bynataliemae/

Website: https://nataliemaebooks.com

 

If you haven’t yet been convinced to buy a copy of The Kinder Poison (or request it at your library, if you’re unable to purchase it), then I would hope my five-star “I wish this could just be heart-eye emojis” review might persuade you to! I love this book so much and Zahru is everything I want in a protagonist (dare I say, everything this saturated genre needs)! Trust me, you won’t regret giving The Kinder Poison a chance. I know I didn’t. ♥

 

Natalie, thank you for allowing me to host your guest post! Much love 

 

ARC Review: Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

sisters of sword and song

Title: Sisters of Sword and Song

Author: Rebecca Ross

Release date: June 23rd 2020

Publisher: HarperTeen

Star rating: ★★★★★

Purchase: Book Depository (UK paperback, Affiliate Link)

 

Disclaimer: I am a member of the official street team for this book and was gifted an eARC by the author, Rebecca Ross, so that I could read it prior to the street team missions starting. This does not affect my review in any way, which is honest, unbiased and spoiler-free. Thank you to Ms. Ross for allowing me to be part of the street team and gifting me with an eARC!*

 

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

From the author of The Queen’s Rising comes a thrilling YA stand-alone fantasy about the unbreakable bond between sisters. Perfect for fans of Ember in the Ashes, Sky in the Deep, and Court of Fives.

After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.

Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.

 

Review

Y’alllll I feel like we have waited so long for another Rebecca Ross book. Maybe that’s because I’m a bad stan and haven’t yet read The Queen’s Resistance (although by the time this review is posted, that should have changed!) but still! I’m so excited and honoured to say that I am part of the official street team for Sisters, and so I got the chance to read it early as an eARC. If you want my review in one sentence, here you go: everything about this book is *chefs kiss* (but it’s by Rebecca Ross, so are we really surprised? No.).

 

Sisters of Sword and Song is set in a world inspired by Ancient Greece, where there are nine gods (here, they are called divines) who left behind a relic for humankind – some of which are lost and have not yet been recovered. Each relic is powerful and grants its owner special and magical abilities. I knew as soon as I opened my eARC to the first page (where the divines are listed) that I would love this book, and so I think it’s only fair I share more about the divines with you too. Please note the following list is lifted from the book, and these are not my own words!

  1. Magdamother goddess of the sun: The Sunstone Ring – grants enchanted healing to its bearer*.
  2. Irix, father god of the sky: The Sky Cloak – grants power over weather and elements*.
  3. Ari, goddess of the night: The Shawl of Stars – grants protection to its bearer; is impenetrable and rebounds weapons.
  4. Nikomides, god of war: The Devouring Sword – grants dominion over enemy weapons, turning them into dust. Also cuts down enchantments.
  5. Acantha, goddess of fate and knowledge: The All-Seeing Crown – grants its bearer protection from enchantments and enables them to see the past, present or future of the one they look upon*.
  6. Euthymius, god of earth and beasts: The Golden Belt – grants animal allegiance to its bearer.
  7. Loris, goddess of water and sea: The Pearl Earrings – grants the power to breathe underwater*.
  8. Pyrrhus, god of fire (trapped beneath the earth): The Ember Stone – grants fire effortlessly when the stone is breathed upon.
  9. Kirkos, god of the wind (fallen): The Winged Necklace – grants flight to its bearer*.

*Denotes relics that are unaccounted for.

 

Doesn’t that sound amazing?! I can only imagine how much fun it was to come up with the gods, their relics and all the mythology behind Sisters and its world.

 

Sisters of Sword and Song takes you on the magical journey of sisters Evadne and Halcyon, who, despite their differences, draw on each other for strength and guidance. Halcyon is a hoplite, or foot soldier, who serves in the Bronze Legion before she is charged with murdering her friend, fellow hoplite and commander’s son, Xander, and is punished with a fifteen year sentence. She is feisty, strong-willed and will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves. Evadne, on the other hand, is a softer, more gentle yet equally fierce character, who takes on a position as a scribe in order to reduce her sister’s sentence. There are other characters, such as the main male character/love interest and several side characters, whom I cannot talk too much about for fear of spoiling this book, but know that they are all unique and wonderful in their own ways, and unlike many books nowadays, well-developed with their own personalities and clear motivations.

 

I loved reading from the perspectives of both sisters, but I preferred Evadne’s only because of the settings her scenes often took place in, where you could really feel like you were in the Greek-inspired settings too. In a rare turn of events, I would say that the worldbuilding was definitely my favourite part of this book; normally, I find myself favouring characters over anything else, but the care and the work Ross must have put into crafting this world is clear, and I’d certainly like to spend a day or two wandering around the markets in Mithra. While this particular storyline is wrapped up neatly by the end of the book, it saddens me to know that this book is a standalone and that we may not return to its world, at least anytime soon.

 

At first glance, the plot is relatively straightforward, but, as Evadne slowly begins to find out, things are a lot more complicated than they seem, and there’s more to Halcyon’s murder charge than she could have thought. I loved the way Ross played with foreshadowing in this book, sprinkling in seemingly insignificant details in the beginning that later had a much more important role to play. Sisters of Sword and Song is what I can only describe as a softer, more subtle story, and so while there aren’t any sharp, whirlwind plot twists, readers will certainly find themselves surprised and delighted by what this book has in store. As readers have come to expect, Ross’s writing is enchanting and fast-paced, and I found Sisters of Sword and Song incredibly hard to put down.

 

There is a small amount of romance in this book, in the form of a slow-burn. At first, it isn’t too noticeable – like most things with Sisters, it’s more subtle than what readers might have seen elsewhere – but it slowly becomes more apparent until the end of the book, where readers will surely be satisfied in the culmination of a key relationship in story. (No spoilers as to who, though!)

 

Regardless of if you’ve read Ross’s The Queen’s Rising duology or not (but if you haven’t, you really should!), there is something in this beautiful story for everyone, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for their next five-star read.

 

You will enjoy Sisters of Sword and Song if you like…

  • Fun sibling dynamics
  • “Found family”
  • Unique worldbuilding and mythology
  • Books inspired by Ancient Greece
  • Slow-burn romances
  • Standalone books
  • The Queen’s Rising duology by Rebecca Ross

 

Next review: TBC.

Review: The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

thekinderpoison

Title: The Kinder Poison

Author: Natalie Mae

Release date: June 16th 2020

Publisher: Razorbill

Star rating: ★★★★★

Purchase: Book Depository (Affiliate Link)

 

Disclaimer: I received an advanced finished copy of this book for free. This does not influence my review, which is honest and spoiler-free. Thank you to Sam at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy!

 

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

Continue reading “Review: The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae”