The Golden Compass 

Again, I just couldn’t care about any of the characters at all. Like really don’t care about any of them at all. I found Lyra interesting but I lost interest in much of the book as it was. 

Something about the characters just never clicked with me, I found it hard to understand Lyra and her motivations which were paper thin at best. Not to mention that I couldn’t care for any of them. 

And I was still more confused by the world as it was. Perhaps light epic fantasy isn’t for me at all, as I enjoy so few of them. And even then I prefer a fine touch of intrigue in them. And well, when it came to Pullman it just lacked something which will have made this enjoyable. 

Well, this just wasn’t to my taste or my expectations at all. I just cannot bring myself to care about this at all. 

Rating: 2 out of 5


Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns

This was one really thought provoking work. In a really good way. And about a Snow White retelling set in East Asia, about the Queen who will go on to rule and take the birthright from Snow White. 

It was rather interesting, seeing as how Xifeng is different from everyone else. Her entire upbringing makes her who she is, living in a man’s world makes her who she is. She knows that her beauty is all she has, and does everything to prevent it from being slightly affected. Obsessive, but who can blame her? She lives in a word where men makes the rules. 

And she wants to rule. 

And one thing I admire about her. She doesn’t let a hot guy stand in her way. Which happens to so many girls in this genre that it’s frustrating, and so refreshing to see when a girl has her head in the right place. 

Not to mention even how her Guma handled her wasn’t any better. Although I liked how it was eventually reasoned by Xifeng, how it was eventually a way that it was a good food for thought. Such as the way abuse affects them, and especially Xifenh. 

Not to mention, the world itself. Where women are objects, owned, discarded and forgotten at the whim of a man. A son was security, a daughter was just a useless burden. And some scenes made my heart wrench, and wanting to just throttle them. Even if Xifeng isn’t the most likeable, I understood why she did what she did. I understand all her frustrations, and the reason why she wants something more. 

The main deal with the novel is Xifeng. Her thoughts, her eventual alliances. Not to mention, her determination to see herself Empress. Just as the cards decided. 

If she sounds horrible, that is who she is meant to be. She is shaped by her surroundings, and a stronger woman will have fought against that in her own way without ever restoring to the things she did. But this is her story. Xifeng wants power, and she will do anything to get it. She doesn’t want to fade into obscurity, or become nameless and growing old. 

She wants to fulfill her destiny. Which is all that drives her. Not love for someone but love for power.

The retelling doesn’t have a huge part, it is simply her rise to power. But the ending suggests the ending as we all know Snow White as it was. 

The themes, was the deepest and most discussed. Such as mother’s love: should it be tender and allow the child to grow weak but sensitive, or harsh and allow them to be able to weather hardship. I like the touch with the Empress, which gave an added layer. 

As well as Lady Sun, who was a woman who played the game, and could have been Xifeng if she was just a tad brighter and wiser. Not to mention Lady Meng, whom Xifeng used to aspire to become but eventually realise that she was simply cast aside, she was a fling to the Emperor. 

All this come together to give a deep story, with complex characters that are always more than they seem. There are many many twists and reveals here, and characters aren’t whom they seem to be. But the heart of this is Xifeng, and she was the reason why I wanted to read this story. And she still is the star. So, of she isn’t the kind of heroine you want to read, don’t buy it. She is the one who carries this novel entirely. 

Buying this novel was worth the money, absolutely worth the money. And I cannot wait for the sequel. The story was a retelling but so much more than it, and I wholeheartedly reconmend it it to those who want a story that want to think about. A story far more than it seems on the surface. 

To end it off,  this quote is simply too difficult to ever forget: 

“Life is difficult when you’re normal a woman in this world,” the concubine murmured. “You’ve entered a game you can’t win. Men make the rules and we are left to be used by them or claw our way to whatever scraps they’ve left behind. Do you think that my father gave me to the Emperor because he loved me? Did he care when he tore me from my mother’s arms? He thrust me into this pit of scorpions to be stung and forgotten.”

Rating: 5 out of 5

La Belle Sauvage

This was just unique and in a way drawed me in comepletely. The beginning about a baby girl and Malcolm which drives him to instead going on a trip.

The parallel world is similar to the world as we know it but with many different aspects which are very very different.

But at times, I just found myself zoning out as I read. Sometimes it wasn’t easy, as Malcolm was relatable but didn’t really stick with me. The ones which did was mostly about the baby girl alone. And who her father was.

Also, the boat name is definitely unique.

I found this an interesting read which just didn’t warm up to me. But I will likely continue for it did intrigue me about Lyra and where Malcolm and Lyra will go.

It didn’t exactly appeal to me at first. I liked it more than enough to give the second volume a try as there were moments where I just read it with much detail and moments where I skimmed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Golemn And The Jinni

I think that this was okay overall and that the beginning was it’s strongest. The writing really came to life there, and I did enjoy it at the beginning.

However towards the end, I didn’t enjoy it as much anymore. As I did feel that the plot was a little too slow to my tastes, and that it took a long time before the two main characters even met.

Although they were characterized rather well, but they often faded into the background since the writing is in omniscient and does do a good exploration of the side characters who are rather well fleshed out, but the main characters lack a huge presence there.

The writing was one of its strongest points initially, where I found it funny and full of life. And it continued staying so for most of the book, it really amplified the style quite well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the writing style of the author and how it fleshed out most of the characters. However the rest was not really as intriguing.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Traitor To The Throne

A rather surprising sequel, after the last time I read this was maybe last year in November. But one which did surprise me in many ways.

Amani goes through quite a lot here, and well learning to be in the palace and trying to survive and escape there was much more interesting really. As she slowly navigates, tries to figure out and also gets to know the Sultan. Which to my surprise, she is still the same as ever before but with a better sense of politics. At the end of it, she certainly does seem a lot more grown than before.

As for the Sultan, again he is a very good convincing villain. He isn’t perfect but he is the one who kept the throne for who knows how many years, and is truly ruthless. Not kidding, which makes me even more interested in him. Since he is like many of history’s kings, benevolent ones were more the rarity rather than the norm, an tyrants were relatively uncommon. But the Sultan to me is pragmatic, he does know that winning his people over is an important thing. No king can rule without popular favour even when their countries are all in favour of having brothers kill each other for the throne. But again, I still like him.

As for the romance, honestly it doesn’t bring anything to table and I don’t really feel much for Jin, who is just there. Well, he doesn’t want to lead, but will still do plenty to things to save Amani. But nothing else. So, not really interested.

As for Ahmed, on some levels yes he does have some good points. On others, well his father was correct about him. He is a good leader, but not necessarily someone who can hold onto power. Well, I do hope captivity changes him quite a little bit.

As for the plot, it really focused on the right bits. Rebellions have a lot of politics in it finding allies and armies who will support you is extremely important. You are seen as a threat when you can compare to them, not when your rebels can be squashed. So, yeah I like when the book is focusing on the plot of fighting against the Sultan, which requires a fair bit of political intrigue.

As for the tales, I frankly loved them. But not much apart from that, and the whole djinns being responsible for humans creation and Dmenji being unable to tell a lie. That was all so nice, and the opening was always my favourite as of now.

So, you can say that I simply fell in love with this book. It may have been rather okay in the first book, now, I am waiting for the sequel like no other. Verdict: recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Moonlit Waltz

I guess that the whole appeal with this entire story is that it is short and sweet and doesn’t drag out unnecessary agony.

It was okay overall, not making things too complicated all the while I did enjoy how Ella was portrayed too. Add in a little touch of werewolf magic and I did find this rather okay overall.

But that is about it.

Everything else was just too light for my taste and I guess this wasn’t written for me. I like my books darker, although this gives good breathing room but it simply doesn’t make me think.

And when it doesn’t haunt me to continuously think about the story you can see why I will have to lower it. It is just going to be forgotten by me, and probably I will never remember it.

Overall, whether you do want to read it is up to you. It just wasn’t to my taste.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Deceived

If anything, I was more confused by the work at all. I just really didn’t seem to have understood much of it at all.

I just don’t feel a single connection to any of the characters at all, neither did it really make me interested in the work at all. Just some demons like Lucifer, then an archangel and some angels.

But really, I don’t feel any connection to them. And making me invested is really important in a book. It just didn’t do it.

The writing was okay, if you ask me. And the world having some interesting aspects but nothing much apart from it. I just didn’t like the work at all, since there was virtually no character who managed to catch my attention.

However the premise was interesting and definitely what I did see here. Except that I just didn’t feel a thing for the characters, which again is the book’s greatest flaw.

This is simply a case of just not my taste. And well, I guess I just can’t help it that I have picked up such a book.

Rating: 2 out of 5