The Flame Never Dies

This was one book which I really didn’t expect a lot of things. And well, it was written in such a way that I fully enjoyed the series. For what it was, and how it was written.

To me, this isn’t like most books. The premise is original, and the sequel definitely surprised me in how it went. Such as where it was heading, and the ending itself was in such a way that I didn’t expect it to turn out.

And the plot was entirely enjoyable, it tied up all the loose ends although I did wish for a more satisfying conclusion than this. But I didn’t mind it for the way it was, as it was unconventional and something that I haven’t actually seen done before.

And it worked.

The idea behind souls, exorcists and demons. The ideas that blend together and the reveals that comes with the story, is something that does a pretty good job of exploring the world as it is.

The characters and their background, back stories have truly been able to explore this rather messed up world without a soul and everything. And the way Nina dealt with everything, was something that was incredibly brave and truly makes her likeable.

As for Kastor, I was expecting something more sinister. But he was interesting for the last part, and all the truth that came out of his mouth. And as a villain, he somehow works. He has really dark agendas, and it is in such a way that is personal motivation and the fact that he is a demon.

All the while concluding this work which has been rather different from most in its genre, and making it end well, although it didn’t really tie up everything. And the world is largely still unchanged by the end of it.

Overall, I liked it. It is unusual, though it might not be for everyone.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Scorpion Rules

This was something that I feel is worth the addition, as it has rather complex thoughts and completely does a different things from most dystopian novels.

The world here is as simple as this, it has been taken over by an AI, as long as each president or monarch hand over a child of theirs, they can rule. But this children grow up as hostages, and when they break the peace they die. It is brutal, but it makes sense.

Who is willing to let their own children die just so they can wage war, for a petty reason. It isn’t, since if you don’t have another child then there will be no one inheriting the position in the near future.

Although the plot was slow and at times eluded me, but I knew the fact that Greta was in a dangerous position. She could die at any day, the moment her mother changes her mind when war is worth more than the life of her only child.

And so does all the characters here who have become hostages. I was expecting a romance between Élian and Greta, but it was different. Instead, it is a romance between Da Xia and Greta, a lesbian romance. Which was believable, as I at any moment never thought that Greta was going to be in love with Élian. She wasn’t mooning over him, and I appreciate that.

While she depended on Da Xia many times, and well it was possible.

As for the ending, I was a little confused but it was indeed intriguing. How could someone become an AI, the process was detailed and clear. And the reason why Greta does it because she makes a deal with Talis.

As for Talis, I do like the guy. He seems less like a villian, by all means he is normal. Charming, super genius but perfectly normal with almost no clear villainy tendencies I often see in this genre. Surprising, since I could understand him and his intentions.

I mean, having hostage children have a long history in many countries. And makes the ties better, as both sides will hesitate as the moment they declare war these heirs die. Which makes many monarchs at the very least hesitate for a long while, as they aren’t replaceable that easily.

And so, this was a unique addition, full of twists with a truly bleak setting. I enjoyed the story, but this is only for those who are able to spend the time reading it and understanding the intricate plot and world. Far from easy, although I loved the premise due to my interest in history and society. And it didn’t disappoint.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Stars Never Rise

This was a quick read. Very very quick read. I read it in one day, and derived a lot of entertainment from this.

The most surprising part is what the story is all about. That the well of souls dried up, and eventually making that for each soul born, another soul must be lost. But there is a lot more than that to it.

Nina was really very relatable, such as how she dealt with her issues. She did the best she could to her own younger sister, Mellie and tried as much as possible to stay away from her mother. I liked her since no matter what, she was really focused on her sister. And she really really does all she can.

As well as the fact that she probably cannot give birth to a child, and she doesn’t moan about it. And all because she has flat feet and a runny nose.

As for Finn, he is mysterious. But a lot more than that, I don’t feel that he is really into Nina at all temporarily. And well, there is still a lot more that is needed to explain about him. And of course the world as it was.

As for some of the twists, well they were rather okay. I didn’t really see them coming, but given at the speed I was reading this, it is not a wonder. But was it shocking to learn at all, no. It was something that was entirely plausible. Such as how almost all the real exorcists here are fakes, and all of them are covered in lies.

However, I really liked how it was planned. Such as how people have to become so hopeless that they will do this to save their souls. That they will throw their faith in the church, because there is really no other way to defeat demons. And when someone comes along and proves himself able to do so, they simply accept.

Well, it certainly was enjoyable. But only if you like the main character and the premise. Otherwise, this will be rather boring. I quite like it, because of the premise and Nina. Who was really relatable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Diabolic

This was a strangely very science fiction yet a tale full of intrigue. Spun in such a way that I really enjoyed every page of it.

The story is set in the near future, but it is still about endless political struggles between the Emperor and in this case, the study of sciences and maths. These were all an interesting combination. As well as why it became so.

I do like the idea that something influenced them to reject advancing themselves, instead use computers or technology. Because thinking is what makes us humans, the ability to move things forward and create new things.

As for the intrigue, it surrounds a pretending to be mad prince and a ruthless Emperor, and a terrifying grandmother. End of story. It was interesting to watch the dynamics unfold and slowly they start to kill each other.

I like that Tyrus wasn’t comepletely perfection. He is someone who will place Nemesis first despite what she thinks, and that he is stubborn when it comes to her. All the while, he is unable to prevent certain things from happening which impacted the book itself.

The scheming was brilliantly done, it took Tyrus a lot to corner his own grandmother who got rid of the Emperor. Both of which really defined that they were powerful as it was, and truly difficult to outsmart. But since the story is told from Nemesis’ view, it is hard to really get at which point he starts changing his agenda.

And several times, Tyrus was set back. I find that this is much more of his story than anyone else as he is the one who starts to stand up, and differ from the mad prince he pretended to me.

Nemesis was also there, and her reason were very much understandable. If all your life you were raised to believe that you were protecting someone else, I guess you will get someone like her. And all the moments even when she faced a great deal of anguish throughout the story itself.

Overall, this is something worth reading when it comes to intrigue. It is well thought out and even executed. The political players here all look out for their self interests, and for Tyrus, to an extent looking out for Nemesis. But he is still someone who doesn’t mind killing in the last part.

I think that this just clicked with me because of how the intrigue was really handed. All else, maybe a little too hard to say. But few books actually impress me when it comes to this, so, it’s quite high in my list.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Warcross

If you were to ask me, this doesn’t sound like something I will have enjoyed if it wasn’t by Marie Lu. But as you all know, I totally fell in love with her work. And this still works even if it isn’t what I will usually read.

I flew through this book, in a way that I have rarely done before. Since as I said, this was simple but so so gripping that I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

Set in the not too distant future about alternate reality and gaming, combined into one made by a child genius. But it completely took the idea to a whole new level.

The game here is very very creative. Yes, I can truly see the appeal of the game itself. The rules are truly ones which are unique.

The plot and the characters are all fairly simple. The plot twist was something that I saw coming miles and miles away, but it nonetheless made me even more curious about where it will go in the next book. It didn’t feel cheap, I still cared enough about the characters in their own way.

Emika has the best of intentions even when she uses methods which land her in jail. But I didn’t feel as though she was particularly complex enough, or her relationship with her father was clearly a lot more mature than it seemed. But in this case, it worked to a great degree.

As for the billionaire genius who created the game, I never saw that coming. I wasn’t expecting it, although I was guessing something similar to that reveal but really I liked it. His motivations were real, I could grip it. And he being the boy who had impacted the world in such a way that allows him to believe that he could do what he always intended to do. I felt that it was all too real.

Nonetheless, I liked the diversity here. The kind of different ethnicities, sexualities which it possible and nonetheless shows the international appeal of the story.

Overall, this just clicked with me. Sometimes going back to simple works is surprising especially if the author has a strong track record with me.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Invictus

This just worked. Even when it was time travel and alternate universes all grouped together. This completely worked to create one of the most interesting books anyone laid eyes on.

I am even more blown away by the author who managed to create such a story combining everything. But such a satisfying tale as it was, alone but worked so well.

It was a masterpiece given what it juggled without ever confusing me, without ever making me feel as though I have read it before. Time travel is mostly a specific kind of genre which I avoid, I don’t really think there was much of anything new there.

But this took it to a whole new level. It was perfection if you ask me, the way it managed to do all it promised. A heist story with very very surprising twists, which I doubt anyone will ever see coming.

Every character was developed and had a role to play. Far, Eliot, Imogen and Priya. My only complaint was that the romance between Eliot and Priya just felt rather flat.

And that is where you get me as a reader who savours every line of a work. All of it just worked to have me enjoy it to no end. So, what are you waiting for? Just grab this book, it is worth it.

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Stone Sky

Now this was a very satisfying conclusion. I was in love with the first book and the same for the second happened. Here, is where it truly ends.

But it isn’t just about the moon returning, but also about Essun’s tale of motherhood and need for her children. She starts by searching for her daughter, only to be changing the world instead. Here is no different, except that she has to catch the moon.

Most importantly, the most important character was the narrator. It makes sense why it was written in second person, since there will be a final narrator. Who will sum everything up. This tale is one of completeness at the end, where all the lost ties are wind up. And delivering one of a mother finding her daughter, and eventually her past catches up with her and in the midst of a season too.

The writing was the one which drew me in, as did the worldbuilding for its uniqueness. The way that a season was created and functioned, that at the end, a new world will work and function.

The ending, was open enough that I like it. Hopeful, and working towards a better world. Essun reunited with Nassun at last, and their relationship. Nassun has taken revenge on her own father, since Essun trained her. All the while, also changing. But the ending, was how I believe that it should end, one where the world can be changed rather than seeing it become a miracle.

After a tale of loss for mostly Essun, and eventually discovering and having to deal with one obstacle after another. I really feel for her, as she goes through all this with only one intention: find her daughter. And that she had to do all that to be reunited with her own daughter.

And finally, this trilogy is not suitable for everybody. However, it is a worthwhile tale overall. And that I will be continuing with the author’s other works.

5 out of 5