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


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


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 


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


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


Revenge And The Wild

I really enjoyed this book for what it was and actually being bold. Westie is enjoyable and has her own flaws, yet had her own traits which blends well into the plot. 

I do admit that Alistair is actually a pretty decent love interest, he is kind and supports Westie no matter what she does and is there for her and is trying live despite all he has suffered, he is mute because of his injuries and is a very nice nod to disabilities with his portayal. 

As for Westie making mistakes, it was something that I had been waiting for. So many interesting moments occurred when Nigel didn’t believe her for quite reasonable reasons, because she could very much simply escalate and Westie isn’t certainly the most clear-headed when it comes to the ones who murdered her family. And I did like how she was a good person, perhaps not enjoying her revenge but nonetheless wanting justice done. Her initial character was interesting, but what made me care for her in the end had been solely her actions. 

As for the world, it did get a little messy at times. I do feel as though that it wasn’t nearly as well explored as it should have been in this case of the werewolves, the other groups apart from vampires and the Wintu. And a very nice touch of steampunk, such as Westie’s arm. 

The plot was well made with so many good twists which I never saw coming yet would have made sense. And at the same time plays on the fact that Westie isn’t perfect in her observation, but is so when it has something to do with her. And so many constant twists which I never expected about James and even the mayor himself. I really was thinking that James was another man interested in Westie but turned out completely different. 

Overall, I really recommend this to those who want something different and quite deep in the wild west. And also, if you want to read a good portrayal of disabled characters, the two main characters are disabled and active within the book itself. 

Rating: 4 out of 5


A Shadow Bright And Burning

This was rather enjoyable in a sense. Although Henrietta to me, is one of the flattest character I have read through. It was as though she was perfect from the start. And the love interests which does seem to be increasing(there are at least three which I can really say will be important.) 

But there were some points which were enjoyable, the world, the society and also on some level the plot and its twists. I really would never guess Henrietta a magician, yet pull it off so well. And the author has a knack for inserting some instances of magic into England’s history, which was rather well done. 

But Henrietta, it’s just that she had no flaws. Most of her actions are well justified, she simply has no mistakes. Even how horrible she was when it came to magic, but it didn’t feel like a flaw. She has almost no flaws in reality, and she just sounded way too kind-hearted to be able to take anything. 

And for healthy female representation, apart from Henrietta there is no one else. Show it through their wives, show another side of Eliza then. There are so many places where even Lilly would have been helpful somewhat, and she could show a deeper connection than simply a maid. I have almost no words for the lack of female representation here, and for Queen Victoria, I do want a little more in showing her aura as a monarch. She did feel like a queen on some level, but I do want to see more to how Victoria is here. There have been series which does it quite well(aka black butler)

But some twists which I didn’t see was interesting to find out, and went in unexpected directions. But the only flaw in this is that I really didn’t like how the ending was, it clearly didn’t feel like Henrietta. But she is supposedly perfect and never wrong, and as such I can’t really grasp onto her personality except that it is impulsive and intelligent. 

As for the three men who became important in her lives, I like Magnus the most. Funny, charming, and respectful of woman, all the while not being the whiny brat that he could have been. I mean, he has a healthy respect for women although he won’t inherit a dime, but who cares, he probably has almost no expectation on her behaviour and is the one person who welcomed her wholeheartedly at first, I would say that Henrietta should really consider this guy. It’s not everyday during the Victorian era would you meet such a guy. 

But the other two, Rook is slightly more likeable than the complicated Earl of Sorrow-fell, he felt more boring than anything, and Rook didn’t really capture my attention nor had my sympathy unlike Magnus who really showed an interesting personality who also has attributes which makes a healthy relationship, he won’t objectify them, not mock them. He is an example of a good man, and thus I like him in this sense. 

But I do want more development in all of them. This book failed to really create depth for any of the characters, apart from surface personalities, they were about as flat as paper. 

Overall, I would recommend this if you are new to the genre. But not if you like books with plenty of depth or will break status quo, this doesn’t cut it at all. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5