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Long May She Reign 

This was a pretty surprising book, one where focused on a lot of politics, a lot of mystery. But zero on fantasy. So, if you want action and fantasy, avoid this. But if you like reading about schemes, then this is the book for you. 

And it is the book for me. Watching Freya becoming a queen, all the while facing plenty of revolts, people who do not believe her a queen. Having to win support from the people, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so very much. The romance only takes a small portion of the book, and Freya isn’t too stupid to believe that Fitzroy is completely innocent. And I do like how she even thought of her own father. 

Although the court isn’t as cutthroat as I expected, isn’t making her make the hard decisions as I expected. But it wasn’t anywhere safer. Motives could be as simple as wanting a better future. As simple as hoping for a better kingdom.

What I did like was showing Freya finding herself as a queen and having to assert herself. But I would have still preferred she was dealing with a lot more of hard decisions. Decisions which is very hard to make, both sides are pretty horrible but she has to pick the best of the lot. 

Another downside is the lack of worldbuliding, the fact that there is nothing on it. I would think that this should have been marketed as historical fiction, where it would have been believed way better given the lack of magic and use of science as explanation. 

As for the schemes here, the way the poisoning was done was rather intelligent. Using the king himself, and his own personality traits against him. All the while throwing suspicion off herself. I really like the murderer because it was such a sound plan, and that she has a much better mind. 

One thing that I do like about this book is the way it treats female friendships as important. The world is also not sexist. The court has many female characters. Madeleine gets a special mention, since she clearly is intelligent and although she won’t be able to support Freya in the end. Well, I like her for her intellect in thinking and her ability to scheme which makes me think that she should have been queen. Since she still has her conscience but with enough intelligence to get rid of all sorts of threats. But Freya is a rather nice choice too. 

Overall, I would say that this is a book filled with court intrigue. If you want fantasy, don’t read this. If you enjoy reading about a queen learning to rule, a queen having to find her own identity as a queen, her own way to rule. Also at the same time, how can someone go from nobody to becoming a queen, and one that indeed does know how to rule all the while keeping her conscience and not having her hands completely stained with blood by the end. Also, with only a touch of romance. Check this out this book as it is for you. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Strange The Dreamer 

What do I think about this book after everything? I enjoyed the way it explored dreams, about them coming true, about them being fulfilled only to have a cruel twist waiting at the end. And this story clearly does that, even though before it is plenty of wish fulfillment for Lazlo. A girl who understands and even looks forward to him, one who doesn’t dismiss his dreams as nothing. All the more the characters here are all developed and fleshed out. 

The entire dream revealed at the end was clearly good. The way that it seemed unreal and that he and Sairai met a few times before loving. Yet, it never came off as strange to me that they would eventually love each other. Now that takes skill to make me not think that it is instalove. 

As for her writing, I have finally gotten used to the way it is written. Rather simple, yet has a very unique touch. I guess I didn’t enjoy her previous book because of it. Here, I feel as though, it should have been written like this. Sometimes short, sonetimes quick. Sometimes playful, sonetimes dark. 

Besides you would be utterly fascinated with Lazlo and where his dreams might bring him. Whether it is about gods, the godslayer or any other thing. Lazlo’s fascination is what draws him to Sairai and the ending clearly shows why he would have been obsessed. 

There are many unexpected twists here, really the way that so many characters have a part to play. Some which you think may have an important part but reveals himself to only have a small part. Also, I really like is the characters who managed to gain a personality, many were memorable and unique. 

And a lot is on the romance, although you don’t have to root for the main couple. And the twist at the ending will be really change how this book is. But a lot of emotions, a lot of passion and the ability to dream. I mean, Lazlo is a guy who spends seven years just writing his own works, without anyone even seeing it at the end. And that he is always dreaming. 

But the weakness lies between the fact that it could have been faster, to me at least. And that it does feel disjointed at the end, from what I was reading at the beginning(it turns quite late in fact to the gods). About godspawn and the gods and how it was revealed. Even though I would say that the world is build really well, and that to me it feels like one unique world. The way that Lazlo often keeps his head in the clouds and the mystery of Weep. 

And really, I like How the theme goes back to being careful of having dreams come true. At least dreams thag don’t need you to work hard or earn it. The way that the ending ends, I would say is quite fine and all. So, would I recommend this? Yes, feel free to check it out. Since I didn’t really enjoy Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but found myself devouring this. So, anyone can really read it and enjoy it. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

3

On Finishing A Novel 

I typed the last word of my first novel a few weeks ago. And I knew what came next. Editing. But I decide that it should be saved for another day. And I know it is the hardest thing to ever accomplish for a writer. 

Finishing a novel can be one of the greatest joys, I was so happy when I typed the last sentence of my first novel. After three failed tries, this was the charm. I made it to the end, after two years of struggling to finish a work. 

There isn’t a joy much like finishing your first novel, no matter how much you know needs to be revised again. Or edited again. But the joy cannot be shaked off, it’s not something everyone can do. Not something everyone can actually finish. And it takes an insane amount of determination to be writing and at the same time, not give in and try to edit the words. That can be done later.  

This is more of a personal experience, since I do count finishing a novel as a milestone. But I think that with my three failed tries and attempts before getting something, there are some tips I would give to those who are still in the midst of this. And what I feel is helpful advice. 

#1 If It Doesn’t Work, Don’t Push It 

This is the best advice I could give you, if you feel as though that work doesn’t work well together. Or you simply cannot find the inspiration to push on, forget about it. Just drop it and leave it at the side. Don’t push yourself, or the work. Chances are, you are going to stuff it down the drawer at the end. You aren’t going to flip it and look through. 

Just follow your heart when your Just tell you it’s time to stop. Trust me, you wouldn’t end up having too many wasted words and time.

#2 Take Your Time 

Take your time, don’t rush it. When you are writing your first work, you are simply testing the waters here. Don’t push yourself or you will burn out. I was writing at a slow pace for a long time, before it picked up last year and this year. My schedule was insane, and it was insane to push myself so much. But at the end of it, I found myself being able to meet it and finally finish a work. Now, I’m slowing things down for my exams and just taking a more leisure pace here. 

But just take your time, I barely survived that insane schedule I set myself too. And plan your work out, you wouldn’t want to end up forgetting an important detail or hit a wall you can never overcome. 

#3 Forget About The Past 

Don’t worry how bad your words at the beginning are. There are still a lot more things you need to cover, such as foreshadowing, plotting. All this also needs to be added in, and chances are, unless you have written it all. You probably wouldn’t know. And all those hard work with editing the sentences would once more go to naught, and starting from scratch all over again. It makes a lot more sense to focus on finishing a work, before focusing on all the smaller details. 

Overall, this are generally my input on finishing a novel. Through years of experience, failed attempts this are what I managed to gather. But if you feel differently, please tell me. 

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Blood Rose Rebellion 

The first fifty pages were good, them everything went downhill. What killed this book for me? The romances Anna and various young men that I could barely be bothered to remember in explicit detail. The middle where almost nothing happened. 

I feel as though Anna could have been an antihero, one that was done well. She was angry with them, for condemning her just because she had no magic. That honestly was what was the drawing point, the fact that she didn’t have any powers. But the way it was handled, didn’t leave it much to be desired. 

The execution was rather poor too, the beginning was rather strong. She was sent to Hungary because of her scandal, and I would prefer that Anna had found a real reason why she wanted change. The many lurking reasons why she would have wanted to end this and free magic rather than allow it to continue. But it wasn’t explored at all. It never was really given enough depth at all. And it was like, she wants to break it for people. But she barely had seen some horrible things to say that kind of things. Quite reasonable reasons, but almost no justification. 

I did really like the world, be it about Luminate society, magic, or even about the fact that there was a way to restrict it. I really enjoyed this world regarding the distribution of magic, the way that many choose to abide due to their own worry that they will lose their magic. Or the fact that a rebellion happened, it was bound to occur. 

But other than that, the pacing was slow, and it was in the wrong way. Anna danced, kissed, flirted with all sorts of men. When I see that it could have been turned to the world, the true reality of her world. The way that she would find a reason as to why she should break the binding. And even making the word a little more grey, a little more fleshed out. 

But it all went to the endless romances, with some gone, some dying. Even then, I couldn’t care less about it.

So, overall I would say the world intrigued me, Anna was interesting until she became obsessed with boys and the fact that she thought of breaking the binding for them. There wasn’t really any reason why she should do so. I was expecting more stakes for her, more reason for her to do so. But I was sorely disappointed. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

2

Kuroshitsuji 129

This chapter is what some have been waiting for years. The confirmation of the twin theory. Where Real Ciel actually shows up, while Ciel is lying. And now, I feel as though the next chapter would be hell for Ciel. Since he would be facing all his fears, all he likes coming crashing down onto him. And for one, I do care about whether he can even pick himself up from this. 

Sebastian nonetheless seems surprised at this turn. Which suggested that he may have a hand in how Real Ciel died and left. While Ciel chose to take the duty of the Watchdog. And I do admit that there would be a difficult rivalry between them, a difficult time. Chances are, they will oppose each other and showdown each other instead. 

Because Ciel might not be as innocent as he says he is. He may have a hand in killing his own brother. And his brother might be quite a jerk, since he was the one who told Lizzy when she was young that he didn’t like scary women. And that was why she began to loathe swords. All the while Ciel might have been the second son, the one who was not meant to inherit. I could see a lot do jealousy, a lot of complicated emotions that would make a happy reunion out of the question. 

Even more so when this is black butler. When have anything been so simple. And the way that Real Ciel actually treats his brother, the way he brings up all his weaknesses the moment he meets him. I’m inclined to believe that he feels Ciel is inferior. 

So, I would say a showdown between twins would be likely. As for Undertaker supporting one twin, I would say that it is highly unlikely. Since it would make no sense for him to not try to save both instead of one. So, I would say the one likely behind Real Ciel really returning would be Victoria. Since we know that she and Ciel have a strained relationship, the way he linked him to his father who died a horrible death and the way he hid Sulin from her. The way she used that murder mystery to try and frame Ciel instead. And the way she seemed to like having bizarre dolls in her army. These are all so suspicious. 

So, what about Undertaker opposing Victoria instead. Undertaker would try to break the contract between Sebastian and the Earl. All the while finding a way for Real Ciel to survive. Chances are he may be a bizarre doll. 

That would make sense why he would start his bizarre doll research once he knew this. That Ciel is being kept by Victoria who is quickly trying to remove the Earl of his position. And that Undertaker would never hurt the Earl. I know that he basically I’d an enemy of Sebastian, but an ally of Ciel. Someone who wants to save him. Not hurt him. And bringing up the twin, isn’t the best thing to go. It may cause even more trauma for him. 

And that Ciel is likened to the King, which puts us at this. Is he the king of Undertaker who is the one playing chess against the Queen? Trying to outsmart her and save Ciel. I would say, highly likely. Since he disliked Victoria, that’s important in this case. Ciel being the king would make sense, since Undertaker would use all means to protect Ciel. Be it from Sebastian or from Victoria. Because once the king is lost, it’s checkmate. Or once he knows who the culprit is, it’s also checkmate. 

But I feel the one who probably suffered the most is Lizzy. Lizzy who suffered because of the fact she has been lied to by one twin, one who she cultivated feelings for. And likely to only be used by the other. At best, wants her as a trophy wife. While the Earl respects her for who she is, for what she is. For all she represents. This makes the Earl the better choice but he lied to her for four years. 

Even at the end of it, I will still consider the Earl the better choice. I mean, just look at that incident I mentioned. He hates a strong wife, and what is Lizzy.  A strong selfless girl who is willing to make sacrifices for the person she loves. Even if they don’t know it. And his comment caused her to loathe herself for such a long time, one that his brother solved by apologizing. I would say Real Ciel is a jerk and wants to be the best in everything or control Lizzy. He doesn’t want an independent woman, I can assure you if he told that to a young girl. 

So, I would say that this entire chapter had revealed the fandom’s greatest theory. And I do believe that this being black butler, the relationship isn’t as pure as it seems. And I do think that out of them all, Lizzy suffers most even more than Ciel. Being lied to by one twin who took his brother’s identity. The other likely wanting to hurt his own brother. And she is stuck in between. No wonder girl looks so depressed the entire arc. 

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Duels And Deception

I think that this authors has improved in her writing, or perhaps I have finally gotten used to her style of historical fiction for the young adult genre. Regency romance with a tinge of comedy. Such as having a main character becoming engaged in situations which puts her reputation at risk, and having the guy in some way save her, yet giving her enough agency too. 

Lydia, here thinks that she would inherit. She would marry someone of nobility. And I liked it when she realised who it was to quickly change things. And also, realising that she does have feelings. To me, I guess that this book focuses on the real Regency. The historical fiction without fantasy in it, and in its own way it is rather interesting. Lydia resigns herself to marry someone for the sake of her family, then realising that she had someone she liked at the end, and the guy she was about to marry had been a complete jerk. 

All the while, she is also bound by society norms since she is a heiress. And really, I like it when she throws it all out the window at the end and decided to follow her heart. 

As for Robert, I would say that he is okay. A pretty good decent male character, works hard. But nothing really underneath all that. 

As for the villains here, I could see why they would eventually just decide to go after money. Since they were in desperate need of it. But it makes no sense unless they were delusional or something. They knew that she would have this much money, they knew that they would only get it after she married inside. What’s the point of going after money that belonged to Lydia in the first place. 

In fact, I would prefer if it had been a scheme and she simply found out and ruined it. Since it makes me more intent to think that they should be heading to an asylum for hallucinations and psychopathy instead of jail. Would do them a lot more good. 

Generally, I would say that this book is meant for those who want to read a Regency romance. There is no fantasy here, nothing about intrigue either. Just a fun ride with Regency. So, I would say that this is a book you should read if you feel very heavy, since it’s light, easy and doesn’t take too much of your time. Overall, I would say that I liked it, even though it does have some flaws of its own. And that the main leads are likeable characters, one who simply needs to marry for the sake of her family, the other just following his heart without any signs of the typical jerk we see so often in the young adult genre. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Gilded Cage 

This had been one book that had everything I needed. A little on romance, a lot of intrigue, and a lot on the possibility of those with magic ruling over them. All the while exploring a horrible yet not completely terrible situation for humans without any powers. 

I would say that the slaves here have terrible lives, they give up a decade of their lives. It does sound pretty horrible yet at the same time, it also sounds pretty reasonable. At least they aren’t bound for life. They are only bound for a decade. But the end removes almost any possibility of it being changed, perhaps it would be even worse. 

And you know what, there wasn’t a main character. Everyone was. There was a stake for everyone here. Such as Abigail, Luke, even the Equals. They are all rather well developed with it being neither black nor white. There are those who enjoy and view slavedays as being fair. There are times where Equals also try to change things. 

Even though this book sets everything up, and at the same time takes the conflict to a whole new level for book 2. It broke me and let me enjoy the beauty of the series at the same time. How dark and bleak it was for them. And sometimes that it wasn’t as illogical as it seemed. And a failed rebellion. 

All the while showing Equals who sympathise with them. Showing someone willing to do anything to free the Equals. I would say that Silyen does seem sympathetic to them but I would reserve my judgements or perhaps he is simply biding his time. 

There is no main romance. Just a little here, a little there. Somewhere or anywhere. Sprinkled throughout the characters. 

I would say that this surprisingly have been a really good book, and even managed to force me to finish it within two days without stopping. All the whole providing a horrible situation, only to have it worsened at the end. And having intrigue play out so well along with the main villain. 

So I would recommend this to those who like fantasy with a very bleak setting, and with little on the romance. All the while providing neither black nor white side to everything just grey. To me, this was absolutely perfect. 

Rating: 5 out of 5