The Wolf Of Oren-Yaro

This was a strangely enticing book. It isn’t about a young Queen or a king. It is a middle aged woman who had a son, and well frankly I really liked how the author portrayed her.

She wasn’t portrayed as perfect, but full of flaws and weaknesses. And she constantly ran into all sorts of obstacles because she was stubborn or didn’t know how thing worked there. I really enjoyed how her personal character is rather interesting, uncompromising but never brutal. All the while she has many personal flaws which takes her to interesting places.

The intrigue to me was the best of this all. It was how conspiracies, every country looking to her as some sort of stepping stone to ruling Oren-Yaro. Even when she already has an heir. This takes the intrigue of it to a really dark level, with plenty of villains here turn out to be fascinating people, and the machinations all well done.

It is between Rayyel, who has some reasons why he wanted to know about and is opposing Taleyian. And the Prince Yueback, who is an intriguing villain nonetheless.

I will also fall in love with Khine, who is a mix of con artist and semi good person. Again, I just cannot turn back but become enamoured by him and I completely understand why Taleyian will fall in love with him. I will too, if you ask me.

Overall, this was just enjoyable to this extent. The intrigue, the setting which I say is very Asian inspired given the names. And last but not least, the main character who is a queen, but has her own flaws, struggles to control her court. I really enjoyed reading this tale for all it gave me, and I will recommend it to those who have a love of intrigue with characters who are likely to put power first.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Thick As Thieves

I found this rather okay, the world which is heavily inspired by Ancient Greece was definitely interested, intricate and well developed.

The story is about a slave, who runs away. But after he runs away, almost all my interest had waned in him. Nothing wrong, just that I really didn’t like how the story went. It was just travelling, and more travelling. And eventually, I found myself bored.

And when that happens, it became a great chore to read it. There just wasn’t much of anything really drawing me into this story at all, apart form the way that Kamet’s thought about his slavery, not just that and also some instances of his past.

And the way that enslaved people are trusted more than those who aren’t. It makes sense, and most of it is filled with difficult political intrigue. Also, managing to characterize a person that had died. I really did like this book on some level, except that nothing much happens in this book. That is why I was bored and really I couldn’t enjoy it.

So, overall this book does have interesting worldbuilding but just a rather lackluster plot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Fierce Winds Rising

DNF @68%

I just couldn’t keep on reading, it was rather boring as the pace never seemed to pick up. And really, I really only saw things being told to me. That was going to happen but probably never will, at least at the pace it is going at.

Also, not to mention that not even a single character related to me. I really didn’t find anything interesting about the characters, the world was told to me like any other. The kind you will find in any epic fantasy. Nothing dark as of yet, or nothing horrible is happening.

And that to me, is always boring. And also, an absolute recipe for disaster. Which was what this book proved to me. Nothing really kept me reading, the writing was readable enough for me to give it many chances. But by the two thirds, nothing interesting has happened.

And this is where I say, “I’m out.”

Rating: 1 out of 5

The Queen Of Blood

This was a huge surprise. I never really thought I will enjoy this so much, but it was a pleasent surprise to be reading something so different.

The world to me was beautiful, gorgeous and rich. Where the title of Queen was always a burden, and always not really something that is given nor earned. And the world isn’t sexist, not at all.

I really Daleina due to the fact that she may not be the most talented, she is one of the worst. The last candidate. She just works hard, really hard to get where she is. And that is where I think she really won me over. Not because of her skill or even talent, where it will be the classic of the YA fantasy trope. Here, hard work trumps all. Daleina is bright, and rather brilliant. She didn’t much talent, but never let it get to her.

As for the way that Queen Fara was, it indeed was different. Rather different from what I expected. And even a complicated layer was added to her. Her character determined what kind of Queen she was. And her character having that flaw, meant a horrible tragedy was waiting to happen.

As for all the questions about how many lives should be used to save the greater good, about how much must be sacrificed for the sake of others. Whether it is lives for lives, or for glory. This makes the need to tackle all this questions. And really, it makes it a whole lot deeper than it seems.

So, as you can see this epic fantasy made me love it. Made me for once, passionate about this genre again. Daleina isn’t what anyone would expect of an Heir, she lacks talent but makes up for it in character and perseverance. Which is unlike the usual kind of fantasy I read, and a nice change for once. And the world is full of darkeness and light, spirits kill and build. It all really makes it feel rich to me.

And finally, this was a worthwhile read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Fortissima

This was rather okay, about a girl who was a princess in hiding. It does have some unique aspects, but unfortunately I found the main character to not be just bland but absolutely uninteresting, I couldn’t even be bothered to pay attention to any of the side characters.

Although it does have her being a royal which is classic, but towards the end it is a dangerous position for her to be, sadly it just took too long to move there. If it had been her taken into captivity earlier, it will prove much more interesting as her mother will and should have done something about that.

But naturally, it is mostly travelling without really much about allies or even knowing why she is the princess and how come she was born in a cave. When the answers does come, it is just too way back for me to really care too much.

However, there are rare moments where I did feel something for her, such as the talk with the king. Where she was given two choices, and eventually when she saw what happened. I do see potential, but just that it lost focus in the first book. Pity.

So, overall I may continue with this to see how it goes. As it does have promise, a little bit of intrigue. However, like I said, it just needs to work on the execution to be perfect and me liking the main character and able to connect with her better. Other than that this was pretty decent.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Impostor Queen

An absolutely surprise for me to have really enjoyed this book. I mean, really it takes the trope we all know as it was and twist it. It takes a very common type of magic we all know and completely twist it. What more can I ask for?

The entire book did begin slow, but the pacing really picked up closer to the end and eventually made me hooked to the book and it became impossible to put down.

Elli, who was a flawed person, although I do admit that she was so incredibly selfless and hard working. But I saw it as a trait that came from her upbringing, not her natural character. And she does have huge moments where she does show her insecurities and vulnerabilities. Especially after she has no magic, it was like taking the whole chosen one trope and twisting it. But I found a fondness for Elli, since she seriously goes through a lot in this book.

As for the romance, I really like Oskar. It had been so long where I have been satisfied with the romance, and this is a small enough part but touching for me to read.

As for Sig, he is so incredibly vulnerable and brutal at the same time. And well, there is a lot more complex characterization when it comes to him, and what he had been through. The same with almost all the other characters. But when it comes to rather twisted pasts, and interesting perspectives. Sig, you’re my favourite.

As for the world, where do I begin. It starts with elemental magic before it all spirals into a completely different sort of world. One which I feel was so incredibly real, and so incredibly rich. All the while hiding so much underneath, and that it isn’t all too nice too. Which is perfectly fine with me, since it really made me question things. And really found plenty of the questions believable and the world even more rich to me. The world is complex, with many contractions, traditions and of course power struggles.

As for the plot, it blew me. The pacing to my taste, was almost perfect. Apart from the beginning where it dragged, but otherwise it basically had me hooked and I just could not stop. And the twists, how much do I wish to be able to not predict the outcome. And well, this is again one of the rate books which took me for a ride. One which I doubt I will find again soon.

So, I recommend this book for defying most expectations. The world is far from perfect, and definitely hides dark secrets. The main character, Elli had struggles which felt so real to me. As she found out more and more, I really enjoyed that she wasn’t stupid to not see but not outright deny. Well, read this if you are tired of the usual tropes and stories. This will will be different, trust me.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Alistair’s Hearts

I feel that the author really handled the main character well, and that despite having no memories, as we slowly see and discover the world through his eyes. It definitely was an interesting read, with a rather unique take onto it.

Kaamil is simply a boy who lost his memories, and like many he has remembered plenty of things by the end. And the story is limited, and narrated through him which did serve the story well. The writing really flowed and worked for me.

A flaw I did notice was that the middle did take quite a long time, and then a lot of time passes without much happening. Although I do see the need for him to learn. But there was just some parts where my interest waned in Kaamil. There was just some moments when it does happen, and I don’t seem to have any fondness for any of the other characters.

However the world does seem to be part of an apocalypse with plenty of explanations and magic intertwined. The time is roughly 200 years after us, and the author clearly takes advantage of the future and also the world.

Overall, this work was well written and does explore it all well. On some level, the characters didn’t click with me apart from Kaamil, which is subjective if you ask me. The characters just wasn’t to my taste, but overall an interesting read nonetheless.

Rating: 3 out of 5