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Death Sworn 

What did I like about it? It doesn’t have a heroine who becomes either too perfect or too stupid by the end of the book. She is somewhere in between, and she is extremely relatable. She is someone that basically lost all that mattered to her, yet I don’t read about her moaning about her loss of power. 

She instead just chooses the best routes, the best choices for herself. She makes the decision herself. And I like the way even after being bullied, she doesn’t give up. She doesn’t make excuses for herself. 

Even though the scope of this book is small, we are restricted to a cave. Nowhere else. A cave. Filled with assassins who are male. I get the feeling that many of you would be thinking that this would be a reverse harem. Nope, none of them are interested in her. 

The one guy that even has some form of feeling for her, still isn’t the usual idiot who would sacrifice all for her. He is guarded, he has his own plans. And his loyalties is to the master first. He doesn’t just magically fall in love with her. 

The way it deals with familiar tropes and the way it keeps many safely out of the way. I would say is the best part of this book. More importantly was the running theme of whether one life saving many would be worth it, such as the assassins who kill to save so much more. To create a better world. 

This are all important parts of the book. And the romance never takes over. It is more about Ileni trying to find the murderer, training. And the ending, was perfection. That was something I never saw coming, and I look forward to the next book dealing with it. That Ileni would be in the Empire, and the way it was written. It fits her so. 

She is someone that doesn’t like killing, it is explicitly shown and she never changes. She treasures life. She is realistic, she doesn’t whine when life is unfair. To me, that is a real heroine that I would admire. 

So overall, pick this book up if you are sick and tired of the usual tropes. The usual storytelling. And expect something that is quick, but isn’t too heavy or dark.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jane Steele 

Jane Steele is surprisingly good, given that Jane here despite all her faults, despite all her murders managed to be sympathetic. She managed to make me feel for her situation. And I couldn’t turn away from her story the moment I read it, where everything goes downhill for Jane very quickly. 

Jane, whose mother may be a lunatic was sent to a schoolhouse where its headmaster is even worse. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed Jane Steele. As a murderer, she doesn’t regret too much. And most of them really deserved it, the fate that they got through the abuse of their power. I really enjoyed that part where Jane murdered them, and at the same time there were consequences for them. 

Even though she murdered one to save herself, the other to save her vest friend. The third for a woman who took her in. Her motives felt real, it felt plausible. And for her who already has her hands stained from the very beginning, she didn’t too much. At best, she was getting rid of another trash for the world. And I really like that. 

And then comes in Charles Thornfield, a man who also has his fair share of secrets and vices. And the moment at the end, where Jane and Charles have a long talk and she reveals all her secrets, I loved every inch of it. There is this charm about him that makes him fascinating, and that he is someone that accepts Jane for who she is. For me, I agree that most of the people she killed had it coming for them eventually. 

The plot is rather simple, and at the same time filled with plenty of obstacles that Jane encounters. Be it from those she killed, or those that she killed for. But it begins to change the moment she becomes a governess at the household she used to work at. Where Charles is introduced, and his character becomes interesting in the way he managed to keep Jane at a distance, yet still grew fond of her. And Jane, wanting to know more or finding the house strange. 

As for the style, where sometimes it breaks the fourth wall given that Jane sometimes speaks to the reader instead. But I found it quite endearing and interesting as an element to the writing. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book for what it is. Jane being a murderess and one that felt bad and at the same time didn’t look back on her victims. Charles who took in all she was, at the end. All the while looking at the society with all their problems, from headmasters abusing their power, to husbands deciding to marry another time. I would say that this is rather interesting and paints the Victorian world a lot less glamorous and lush than it seemed. Unless of course, you were of the nobility. 

Rating: 4 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

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The Book Jumper 

What would I say about this book? That it is every readers dream to jump in books all around. I would say that it is fulfilled here, and rather well. With a system that almost all readers abide by, or the stories we love will be twisted being recognition. 

So, the story begins with Amy who love books and goes with her mother to her hometown. Since the background as to why she chooses to go back, both mother and daughter have a very good reason to do so. And their own choice to do so. 

And the plot, I would say is centered around a lost story trying to find its way again. That to me, is quite interesting to the spin it puts on books. The way that it talks about those books which were lost forever. 

All the while the plot is also around all the realistic issues, regarding finances, whether books could be jumped into at choice. Also, about the book jumpers and their clans. Those were clearly interesting to read about, and developed well enough with their own history as to why they have came together. Even though they clearly don’t like each other. 

As for Amy, what she is is really interesting. Although revealed at an earlier step, but isn’t that important as it serves as more of a boon. And I would have wanted to explore her story with Desmond, I feel as though I was left hanging regarding that. 

As for Will, a lot of unexpected things happen. And his ending is quite bittersweet, along with Amy. I could see that this was likely what happened, but somehow I feel as though I have died a little when the ending came. But, I do like that little bit of hope. But I don’t think that there might be a happy ending regarding Amy and Will. No matter how much I would like one. 

As for the biggest question: does it explore all the intricacies of the literary world. Does it have a lot of questions and possibilities that it explores? My answers to this are all yes, this is really good exploration of the possibility of this happening and the possibility of having book jumpers around and all the outcomes it may bring. 

So, for all readers I would say give this book a shot. It is a rather good exploration of it all, even regarding a person who ends up becoming a book character. Only complaint would be regarding Desmond, Alexis and Amy, that was left off too easily. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Dark Days Pact 

This entire sequel does live up to its name. It managed to make it seem even more dangerous for Helen, and that as a woman she still needs her reputation. And it really makes the world seem rather real, with the way that a lot of things are neither black or white or even the truth. 

We do begin right after the disastrous ball, with her learning to be a full reclaimer in fact. The entire world isn’t that accepting, Helen has to face quite a bit of prejudice because she’s the first. Her mother neither had the training nor taking part in the actual reclaiming. She was merely a poor vessel used to dump all the darkness into. 

As for the constant danger Helen faces, it is indeed a rather realistic presentation. Since she is a woman and during those times, they were more or less sheltered from the world. And expected to be an ornament. 

I really liked that this felt that her struggles were real. That when she needed to be trusted, it wasn’t always a given to her. At the same time, the same goes through when it comes to her training. Some believe that she should step back, some believe that a male at her side would do her good. 

As for the ship, I don’t really care whether she ends up with Carlston or Selburn. I would rather if she became independent and tried to find another love. Both of them, just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Selburn tries to protect constantly, and it does come off as belittling her rather than actually protecting her. Carlston, I just couldn’t feel their chemistry. Here is where I would want a middle ground, a middle ground between all of them to decide and I would prefer if Helen ended up with neither. 

They just don’t feel so fitted with each other. 

As for the pacing and the plot, it does quickly moves rather than at the snail’s pace of the previous books. Slowly, Helen needs to make a decision. And every decision has its consequences. And here is where we actually see a lot of the work that Helen needed to do, and actually having to dress as a man. Which is the most interesting part of the book, seeing that men’s dressing clearly needed quite a bit of help too. They clearly couldn’t dress themselves. 

As for the way the world views Helen, I would say that it is really realistic if you ask me. She is a woman and she is a reclaimer. And more often than not, they think she would put her emotions first. But in reality, she is trying to do the best she can and making the most sensible decisions as she can. 

I would say that this sequel is up to standard with the previous book. And perhaps even better too. As for the romance, I would say it again, I ship no one. But the world is fascinating and interesting given how much it seemed gothic yet completely original in terms of abilities and worldbuliding. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

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The Forbidden Wish 

I would say that it lives up as a retelling. Except that it explores the story from another perspective, and instead of getting the jinni we see in Aladdin. It is instead, about the female jinni. 

And all the while, I really enjoyed the way the world was structured and explored. The myths and folklores, some of which Zahra had a hand in it herself. All the more, it was about the forbidden wish. Exploring a possibility, what would happen when a jinni could be set free. 

The ending nicely ends everything. All the while the twists are revealed nicely, and at the right moment. Whether is it about the jinni or about the world as it stands. 

To also being able Zahra and how badly she wants to be free. I mean, it’s logical since you have been locked into a lamp for a very long time(three thousand years.) 

All the while, the princess managed to keep my attention as did Aladdin. Both wanted something, the princess would have done anything for her kingdom. That is what I call a future Queen. And she didn’t find having to marry a horrible man that terrible a price as long as it remained safe. As for Aladdin where he initially wants revenge, he initially wants to marry a princess. Then eventually, becomes in love with the jinni. It is so gradual, and so subtle. Even with very little declarations when they decide to sacrifice themselves for each other, it feels strangely logical. That Aladdin was willing to pay the price for Zahra’s freedom, and she in his stead willing to help him many times. 

And so, I would say that the characters who are introduced eventually had a larger role to play. Such as the jinni who was captured, to the vizier and Darian. All of them had a role, and eventually were rather well developed. 

This novel isn’t just made up of Aladdin and Zahra, it had other characters who shone. And everything had a consequence and a price, all of it coming back. 

So, I would recommend this to those who have longed for retelling. And at the same time, is a really good piece of work with a good balance between the characters and the plot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Wintersong 

This was one dark, painful and beautiful ride. The book itself reads like a really dark fairytale, the myths and the tales. The magic and the laws. They were all dark and filled with unknowing price tags that they would have to pay. 

Even Liesel, should she become a goblin queen would have the problem of losing what she loved. What she had. And most importantly, what had always belonged to her. 

The Goblin King too, where he had been the King because he had to be. He who loved games, and he who is an antihero. For forcing Liesel to become his queen and using Kathe to achieve that. And yet, he would make you care for him in some strange manner. His entire character, is one complex one. He is rather pitiful at times, and yet you would feel that he has his own problems too. 

As for Liesel and her siblings, their relationship was developed well and complex in their own right. The way that Liesel would never amount to anything as compared to Kathe and even Josef. One who was well liked and loved, Josef with his talent in music. 

And that she chose to sacrifice herself for her sister, even though at moments there are jealously. There are issues. There are also selfishness between them. This book isn’t driven by the plot, it is purely by the characters. The Goblin King was interested with her, and hence he did all that. Liesel also faces a lot of issues, a lot of problems. And unexpectedly at the end managed to find herself and become comfortable with herself. 

As for music, I loved its motif. Perhaps it’s the fact that I also have learned quite a bit of music in my life, but it was always suitable. Such as when Liesel composed, and she thought that every note to her needed to be revised and thought out. That is the truth for all musicians too, same even for any other writers or artists. I really liked the music overtone and showing me that Liesel was a musician rather than just telling me that. 

But the main issue is that it takes a long time, and often it is very painful and very bleak. So, for those who do not want something as dark without anything light to balance it out, avoid this book. It would make you feel and destroy you too. And that it often dragged at certain points too. 

The ending however isn’t horribly tragic or even sad, it is one where there is hope yet Liesel lost something. 

I would recommend it to those who like romance such as this, a lot of times painful and bleak. All the while having each character be developed in a poignant way. And also, if you prefer fast paced action book, this isn’t the book for you. 

Rating: 4 out of 5