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Shadow Of The Raven

For once, I really like this work for the tale it tells. Although far from complete and it would take a lot more than that, but I really like the research the author puts into this. As well as the way that it was written, understandable and really enjoyable in the way it was written. The style basically can be summed up in one word: timeless.

I barely have any idea about the Vikings, and I really like how this was immersed into us, and well the transition smooth and easy for me to get into despite having very little idea about the time period.

As for the main character, Eardwulf(old English Names just aren’t my thing) is a really relatable character. As he slowly moved through the entire ordeal of being a thrall(a slave basically) and seeing more tragedies unfold before him, and eventually managing to find his way out.

And well, I really like this work for how it made it bite sized and to me it was one which I went deep and connected with Ulf(his eventual name but it’s just way easier to spell than above which I’m not too sure what the spelling is.)

Although there is some romance in this book during Ulf’s time as a thrall, and eventually it resolved by the end. Which I did like given that Freyis is kind and gentle, although not as interesting as a character however I did like it when she did try to pursue something and when her dreams were crushed she simply didn’t just accept it.

As for Morwenna, she is by far the best woman here. The other princess of Wessex doesn’t really stand out. But I do like Morwenna for when she became a concubine she just stayed there until she found her eldest son and even had another. I do really like her character and her strength, which translates to her decisions and actions.

As for the ending, well it will lead you somewhere and it will suggest something a bit more. I definitely look forward to where it heads and most definitely where it will go.

In my opinion should you consider reading this: yes.

I voluntarily requested a copy of this book on Netgalley.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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My Lady Jane

This was the right sort of hilarious, it made me laugh within fifty pages of the book and the rest of the time giggling to myself(like a bit of a lunatic, can’t help myself since I also talk a lot to myself). I guess a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously is right up my alley (now where can I reserve a copy of The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue).

Well, instead of the religious divide we have in Tudor England during the region of Edward the Sixth, what we have instead is a divide between people who can turn into animals, and people who cannot. And that the cast is full of animal, we have a kestrel, a fox, a cat, a ferret and of course a horse(now I can’t stop laughing at the mention of one.)

This was just so enjoyable, and you know making me laugh. I read this with rarely any skimming, because I really didn’t want to miss a joke, since it made me laugh out loud for the first time with a book(which had never happened in the year and a half that I continuously read books). Let me just say, when these three authors come together to write a comedy, count me in and I’ll forever be a willing supporter of their humor.

And I enjoyed the fact that for the first half history was there, for the second half it was thrown out the window quite literally. But for a book like this, who cares, you’re in for a silly fun ride regardless of whether it follows history or not. Trust me, just go with the flow, I suppressed my skepticism and gave myself up(though it was easy to do since it made me laugh out loud to resist all disbelief.)

As for the ending, it follows history. There won’t be any great changes to history, with some exceptions of course. And well, everyone does get a happy ending. And for an animal reference, a cat and mouse exists in here, which would prove to be the dynamic of the two characters in history(it’s easy to guess who, since they were cousins and one had the other’s head chopped off).

And not to mention the cast being as diverse as it was, and making a great joke out of Henry the Eighth in the first 10%.

I guess I have said too much, any longer and I’ll have to change this to a recap of the book, which isn’t what intend. So, I’ll end here. The rest is up to you dear reader of this review whether you want to read it or not(but I highly recommend you to like really recommend you to, this book it worth it.)

Rating: 5 our of 5

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The Cure For Dreaming

I loved this book, whether it went to talking about women’s rights, to Olivia as a character. Also, for once, a guy who isn’t sexist when the clocks are turned back. What more could I ask for?

The way the setting managed to be so feminist when the time was of such sexism. Women should remain in the homes, and I like how Olivia rebukes it. It is fantastic, brilliant even. The way she said that running a household is doing the exact same thing as running a country. That is really true, except that a household is a smaller scale when compared to the country. But she couldn’t have been more right.

I was attracted to Henry, he may not be rich, but his beliefs are the sole reason why I like him. And why I think despite the open ending, I would still want to see them together. They are meant for each other, clearly as Henry respects her and that is the basic of relationships.

Despite it all, there are some women by Olivia’s side. Frannie, although not playing such a large role but proved her friendship for her. And Genevieve, whom I like has cancer. I really them to be fully fleshed out characters rather than the men by the side who were all sexist.

Also, I really couldn’t feel anything more than just pity for her father. And that he pushed his own daughter and wife away, I certainly saw that. And I think it brings a closure to him, as he still believes that she should stay at home and raise children. But I could see why her mother eventually left him, and why Olivia managed to become a strong independent woman. Even if she barely has a role and is only mentioned, her entire character is what I consider instrumental to her beliefs.

As for the ending plot twist, now that is how I pull it off. Remind them what they do not have, except in the most literal form and see how they like it. I love the way she did it, as a form of saying, “are you sure you don’t want freedom? Or are you sure that you want to keep all thoughts to yourself and lock yourself at home all the time?” Now that was brilliant, and a wake up call to the ones who really got a taste of their own medicine or what it was actually like.

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Queen Of Trial And Sorrow

I never felt more addicted to a real historical character. Although not as controversial as some people but her life made for one heck of a story. And it is true, from the moment she becomes Queen, she was unlikely. Yet, she managed to hang on.

I really got sucked into the work, immersed in its world and complicated legacies. Most importantly, I became an avid fan of this period of history from the moment I read this book. I preciously only knew about the Tudors, not much other than that.

But I loved this, as Elizabeth had a great deal of story. From becoming queen when she was widowed, and at the same time went back to her own house. To when she lost her sons, whose death till these days remains a mystery. And her emotions with all of it, touched me particularly. The author was insanely skilled in making a likeable character, she may have made some horrible mistakes with horrible repercussions. Also, the way she dealt with some strange things. She was a Queen in an age where she probably would be the last suitable contender for it. And the way she had to deal with her sons death, which is still something of great speculation till this day.

And I think her story was well narrated, crafted even. As she gets herself involved in political intrigue, and dealing with it. To maintain her standing, also to advance her own family. As well as protecting her own children. What she does clearly is interesting, and she does have faith even if the bleakest of times.

Well she may not have had a lot of influence, nor did she have a large hand in politics. But she was sound, and some level I found her sensible. The way she handled her husband’s affair, knowing full well that it was best not to do anything. Since she could survive, she had so many children to depend on.

The way I think the story introduced and immersed me in a world which I barely knew, and made it readable relatable. Her narration goes until the death of her own sons and eventually a little bit when her life did get a bit better when her daughter chose to marry Henry Tudor.

And I think that the story ended well, middle ground, she lived out the rest of her days peacefully, but so filled with sorrow. She lost most of her sons, but had her daughters for company went from a widow to a Queen and eventually a mistress. At the end of the day, she got back what she had, but lost a lot as well. The title is incredibly fitting, and I have to say, I was absorbed in this story.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Now I Rise 

This was worth every cent that I spent on it. I bought this book, becoming way too anxious to try and reserve it instead. And this was totally worth it, worth all the money. And like the first book, except that everything gets darker, murkier and even more brutal. 

While the first book was Lada’s story, even though here she still has a lot of story to go. But it goes to Radu, Radu who went through hell, Radu who was caught so in between two worlds. Radu who was beginning to doubt his own alliances. And this was why it is his. The slow development, his sympathy, his emotions and slowly his disillusionment; it was all well portrayed.  

The way that he began to doubt, began to wonder. The way that he eventually saw the things he needed to pay, it was all so painful for Radu. All so painful for me to read. He was the one who always fought for the truth, he isn’t without his own loyalties, his own moralities but it all comes to be a balance here. And this quote was perfect to describe it: 

How many ways could a man turn traitor in his lifetime? 

Lada’s slow evolution to becoming the Impaler, was exactly what I expected to see. Eventually, it was going down this route. She begans to fight less and less from her own inner demons, and begins to give in. She is cruel, but at the same time, I could say almost anyone would admire her for what she did. The means justifies the end, she killed all of them to have a stronger Wallachia. And she never wavered from it. 

Even if she is cruel, for me, I always liked it. I always understood her, I still continued to sympathise with her. Even though she is in a downward spiral, she will become the monster that Vlad the Impaler was, and this book showed it. The steps she took, all for a noble goal, but she is allowed to be nasty and at the same time, she is doing what she can. 

And most importantly, she is doing it on her terms. Even when she is a woman, even when she is basically nothing. And her obsession and devotion to Wallachia, it was something that I feel was real. She wanted to rebuild it, and this book will justify the monster she becomes just for her own country. 

As for her own sexuality, she should be asexual, end of story. Because she is too arrogant, and too angry with men to be one. And the way that the romance had a part to play in her, the way that she chose not to ever dress up. She doesn’t like playing by anyone’s rules, and sometimes she constantly wonders whether she has too. Even when they prove to be utterly useless and dangerous to them instead. 

And she would do it all for Wallachia. Whether it means destroying it completely and building it from the rubble, or killing so many. She is afraid of losing power, and she is afraid to be at anyone’s mercy. The way that she didn’t want to be Mehmed’s Empress, the way she didn’t want to forge alliances and play by the rules. Because she doesn’t want to trust them; she believes she cannot trust them. And this is why I loved her. So many reasons, and an actual female protagonist who although hasn’t find her feminity, but is balanced out by the other female influences here. 

As for her own quote: 

She never stopped being that girl lost in a place where she could never have power 

As for the side characters, Nazira stood out, so did Daciana. The way Nazira helped Radu, was important to it in so many ways. The way that she was so much more than a wife, and she was real. She loved, she hated. And that was why I like her, she is never afraid to take opportunities, she is never afraid to move forward. As for Daciana, being a peasant, and managing to terrify Janissaries instead, and even find Lada. She was brilliant, she was strong. And she is tough. She knew who to find, and I liked her because of it.

As for the character who are simply too good for this world, is Cyprian. Despite it all, he trusted Radu. Despite it all, he believed in him. And the way he impacted Radu, was in a way that was utterly believable. And his entire character, I just hope he will survive to the end. 

And their sibling relationship, even when they separated, they didn’t stop thinking about each other. They are close, when together are balanced yet they would suffocate each other. They would utterly be unable to help each other rise. And have separated, they constantly think about each other. Constantly think about the other’s action. And I loved it. 

The romance and love triangle have tied up, in a way that I was satisfied yet completely out of my thought. It developed in a way I never thought it would, and the end, I would say is fitting. 

As for my ending paragraph. This was perfection to me, but it may not be for all readers. If you like historical fiction, if you like politics and court intrigue, then this is for you. There is no fantasy, there is no easy way out. There is only political machinations and deals, and cruelty. Above all, there are no heroes or villains here. And there is no black or white. Everything was in shades of grey. And this is all about thrones and power. 

If you like all this, pick up And I Darken. Because there is no better ya book who deals with this better, the way that politics is handled here was so well done. But if you prefer sword fights and action scenes, you are looking for the wrong book. 

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars 

This was a really a tale where it hooked me, with little trouble at all, it did all the work to make me interested in it. Jepp’s story, begins at an inn, slowly moving to the court and eventually finding out who he is. 

And what a set of twist it had, the way almost all of it slowly builds Jepp before revealing more about his life. His background and even who he was. This story slowly went with Jepp, who was a really interesting and good character from the very beginning. His fascination with his identity, which get sidelined because of him entering the court. 

Then, he starts to know more about the court. And at the end, his entire background was within the court itself. Which is a really nice thing, to come full circle and come together. 

As for the two girls that takes up Jepp’s life, Lia and Magdalene are very different. Lia wanted to be free, even if it meant she died. But if she died free, it was even better for her. As for Magdalene, she was an interesting character, with the knowledge and talents which I really like. She is someone who I really can like, and see why Jepp liked her. She isn’t afraid to admit when she’s wrong, but stands firm on the ground when it’s needed. 

I didn’t think that this was historical fiction at first, eventually I really liked it when at the end all of this characters had a part in history. All of them, had a place in history. Some had bad endings, some had better endings. But I was completely fine with the liberties taken, Magdalene deserved better and Jepp was a really good choice. Tycho, being one of the most accurate astrologers and having an artificial nose was interesting. 

And most importantly, was dealing with Jepp who barely left a name in history. The way he would end his story, is like what I would say perfect. It doesn’t botch up history, but nonetheless creates a happy ending which I enjoy. And I nonetheless prefer. 

For all that Jepp suffered through, all that Jepp been through. I enjoyed the fact that Jepp having moments of doubt and moments where he is firm. That he is a master of his one destiny, and that he is what drives it. Rather than the other way around. 

And the writing, it had to be the reason why I liked it in the first place. It managed to grip me, all the while maintaining this style. The way that it seemed to have been from a long time ago. The way it was simple to read without me ever wondering where it was heading. That takes a lot. 

So, I loved this book. The way everything was handled. Surprisingly, I really did. And if you like a book which deals with fate astrology, and uses actual history, then you should check this out. It is the perfect fit for you. 

Rating: 5 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