0

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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4

Flame In The Mist 

If you want to ask me how this fares as a Historical fantasy, then I can say it is a mess. Emperors didn’t have surnames in Japan, that was normal even till today. Although I enjoyed how it handled the geiko and maiko. But the entire country being named Wa; that is going to make me wonder, is this set in the Asuka period where Japan was still called that. I would be fine if it was some random name, and is more willing to forgive it. But Wa, for someone who spent a long time learning about Japanese history, that is just going to make me look like this:

The magic just felt inserted, and sometimes didn’t even feel there. I felt as though I was reading historical fiction, yet there were some strange subtle clues along with Okami displaying some strange abilities, and having one of the most literal names. I wanted Okami to even acknowledge that or to pass it over or hide it slightly. I’m only staring at it in skepticism and I would have preferred it to be more subtle, or to just explain it through his perspective. It would make so much more sense that way.

Mariko, is a livable main character. She is okay, overall. Had moments where she was intelligent and moments where I doubted them too. Moments where I feel as though she was being protected by them. Since the black clan, could have done so much more for them. And why did they even include her, explanations please.

But the side characters were so much more interesting. Ranmaru, Okami, they could have made a book together. Same with Kenshin and Amaya, they were an interesting and awesome pair. Yet, that ship would never sail. As for Yumi, she should have been given more page time, she should have been the main character. She could have been the one who told this tale. And I would have greatly preferred her to Mariko. She was awesome, and you know what I liked her. She was so much more complex than Mariko. I would have preferred to learn about her instead.

As for the two wives, those two could also make a whole book on their own. The Emperor is only a puppet amongst it, and the princes might just prove to be interesting. Again, if the author decided to make it about them, the book would have some very interesting political intrigue. Which would have been right up my alley. And the dynamics, would have been the one which I wanted to read about. Rather than Mariko, and even less about the Emperor.

These two women are powerful, are dangerous. And you know what, maybe Mariko should have met them first. And learn a thing or two about outsmarting and manipulation, she really needs it. Then, she would prove to be an interesting character.

As for the romance, I don’t like it. Simple as that. It should have been dragged out, they should not have slept together. Mariko would have better self control than that, since chastity was indeed prized. And most of all, she and Okami hated each other. I would have wanted them to work out their differences instead, not just all of a sudden, “hey, I just met you, and I hate you, but you’re a girl, so let’s sleep together.” And I would have thought that sleeping together wouldn’t be on his mind, or that he would hide things from her.

I would have wanted him to be more focused and her to be more wary and distrusting and you know smarter than that. Their romance just feels so insta love and needs time to develop, then I would buy it as real. Hate to love relationships, needs time to be overcome, needs time to be real. And minor attraction to Okami, fine, I can buy it. But full on romance with her sleeping with him, girl where did all that intelligence go?

The plot was okay, really okay. It didn’t really impact me that much, but the last part really made me interested. Really made me interested, in the awesome Empress who is a villain who should have been given more screen time.

Overall, I should never have bought this thing. Since anything with Japanese culture makes me go, “I need this now.” And getting sorely disappointed instead. But I still recommend this, since there are some things which the author does get right. And the side characters and villains were so much more interesting to read than bland Mariko.

Rating: 3 out of 5

0

Worlds Of Ink And Shadow 

A book about the Bronte family, in which three of the women became famous writers in a time where no woman is actually encouraged to do it. And I really was curious, as to what their personalities were like. But their entire character feel flat and even dull. 

And that it can be rather messy, sonetimes we are in their heads, in another world or in daily lives. Those aren’t the easiest way to discern what is happening amongst them, and more often than not I was confused. At least until half way where it was explained what Vendropolis was to them. 

And all of a sudden, the fantasy becomes important and is inserted. I would have liked a little more hints, a little more time to develop this. Such as Charlotte actually thinking about what it is. Although I do see why Charlotte is careful not to cross over when it is revealed. 

As for what Emily bargains at the end, I do admit that it is well thought out given the biography of them. That she and Anne died within a year of each other, and young too. 

But the characters are bland and tasteless, they barely have any other personality other than what you could read from their books. There is really no life to them, no real complexity in their characters. The fact that they dream, they write and eventually manage to get critical acclaim. I would have wanted more on their personal lives, there is a degree that the author could have taken liberties with. 

But keeping some traits associated with them would have been understandable. But other than that, nothing is really developed about them. Their relationship, I could say they could have a lot more nuances and a lot of flaws more than just what I see. They barely were characters and I barely even cared about them, least of all think them as actual people who existed in history. 

So, I just didn’t care enough about this book. Although the fantasy aspect was interesting, but the characters could have been developed better, to be more vivid and real. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

0

Blood Rose Rebellion 

The first fifty pages were good, them everything went downhill. What killed this book for me? The romances Anna and various young men that I could barely be bothered to remember in explicit detail. The middle where almost nothing happened. 

I feel as though Anna could have been an antihero, one that was done well. She was angry with them, for condemning her just because she had no magic. That honestly was what was the drawing point, the fact that she didn’t have any powers. But the way it was handled, didn’t leave it much to be desired. 

The execution was rather poor too, the beginning was rather strong. She was sent to Hungary because of her scandal, and I would prefer that Anna had found a real reason why she wanted change. The many lurking reasons why she would have wanted to end this and free magic rather than allow it to continue. But it wasn’t explored at all. It never was really given enough depth at all. And it was like, she wants to break it for people. But she barely had seen some horrible things to say that kind of things. Quite reasonable reasons, but almost no justification. 

I did really like the world, be it about Luminate society, magic, or even about the fact that there was a way to restrict it. I really enjoyed this world regarding the distribution of magic, the way that many choose to abide due to their own worry that they will lose their magic. Or the fact that a rebellion happened, it was bound to occur. 

But other than that, the pacing was slow, and it was in the wrong way. Anna danced, kissed, flirted with all sorts of men. When I see that it could have been turned to the world, the true reality of her world. The way that she would find a reason as to why she should break the binding. And even making the word a little more grey, a little more fleshed out. 

But it all went to the endless romances, with some gone, some dying. Even then, I couldn’t care less about it.

So, overall I would say the world intrigued me, Anna was interesting until she became obsessed with boys and the fact that she thought of breaking the binding for them. There wasn’t really any reason why she should do so. I was expecting more stakes for her, more reason for her to do so. But I was sorely disappointed. 

Rating: 2 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 

0

These Ruthless Deeds

This has been a joy to read. The last book left Evelyn having to mourn her sister’s death, and well, there are much more twists in this book than I initially thought. 

All the while still managing to make me laugh out loud every time. Especially the interactions between the three main characters. They clearly are the funniest bunch here. 

As for the entire plot, I really didn’t seem so many things coming. Except for that last twist as for who was the head. It was a bit on the easy side, but one which gave her plenty of motives too. Since there weren’t a lot of characters from the nobility at the beginning of the story. But a lot of them, aren’t what you would expect and some come as pleasant surprises instead.  

Despite how light hearted and fun it seems on the surface, beneath it hides a lot more about the actual theme of the story. What should be done? Should someone make the decision to save just one person or a hundred? Should someone have the right to say who had the greater good? I really liked how those tragic moments within the entire story served to this theme. Even those moments have a much deeper depth when looked down. 

Since they have X-men like powers in this situation, it has a lot about how this powers should be used. Who should run them? And really who was revealed to be the head at the end, also gives her insight towards this. It really is great to see that these authors have managed to answer these questions and leave it to us. With people with extraordinary abilities, it gives a lot of questions that needs to be answered. 

As for Evelyn’s decisions here, and how it reflects in the book title. I really enjoyed that Evelyn wasn’t perfect, and well she sometimes made decisions not nearly as moral sometimes. And how she eventually realised that she isn’t all that different from them. I really enjoyed that and the ending, where it left everything as a cliffhanger yet a lot for Evelyn to reflect upon at the end. 

So overall, I really like this book for what it is, and how it balances the funny moments and really dark moments in this book. I always enjoyed a book with both comedic and dark elements, and well this does this really well. 

I recommend this to those who like young adult novels set in the Victorian Era who want to see something rather different, and one which had plenty of comedic moments and dark ones too. So, I recommend it to anyone really. And those who have enjoyed the previous book. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

0

The Crown’s Game 


You know what, I really couldn’t be bothered to read most of the book. The only part which intrigued me was towards the end where Nikolai died and potentially would be revived. If not, I was bored out of my mind with this book. 

To me, I had expected a more dangerous game. One where actual magic was used and thrown, not just reading love sick teenagers trying their best to kill each other, but really doing absolutely nothing to say they want to win the game.

The game itself had terms which made sense, and reasons why only one should exist was logical. And the ending does leave quite a lot more to be thought. But the middle was just so dreadfully boring, I completely forgot what was it about.

The magic system interested me, in many ways. Although at times, it felt a little ridiculous to be honest. Vika could do quite a lot, Nikolai, simply couldn’t be bothered. Since I had been bored out of my mind until the last few pages. Where something interesting had happened. 

The insta-love wasn’t as annoying as expected, just the complete lack of any tension of any sort about the game. It was like waiting for the glorious game you wanted only to find that it is mediocre and easy to break.  

But the tension and pacing was what killed me in this book. Even more than the cardboard characters which plagued the book. Though I liked the mother the most, and Vika nor Nikolai or even any characters had any depth of any sort. Even the love triangle to me was boring as hell, and quite unnecessary. It would have been better that Pasha did it out of other interests. 

And that the role of the imperial enchanter had been something which intrigued me quite a lot. I wanted to know more how it fitted in with this world, how it was part of the monarchy. I also wanted more intrigue with each other, seeing that the imperial enchanter was at court. 

I wanted more about the conflicting interests, and watching other people supporting Vika, nobility, the common. But nothing makes sense as there are no stakes involved, no threats to make them make a choice and even no conflict other than the two fell in love with each other the moment they met. 

As such, I really cannot rate this book highly as it was only interesting towards the end. The rest had flew over my head, or simply let me down in expectations. 

Rating: 2 out of 5