Flames To The Beast

Well, I just don’t really understand much about this book really.

To me, it just felt as though it didn’t have the focus of any book and hence it didn’t really move me in a particular way at all.

I didn’t really find a character whom I really liked or even enjoyed, it just was a bunch of them together doing something.

Although the ending is rather interesting about the birth of an immortal and eventually the epilogue in 2008 when it was originally in 1881. Interesting to say the least.

It just didn’t kept my interest at the front, sadly to say.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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The Fallen Kingdom

A satisfying end to the series. Really, I have to admit it. The ending was rather perfect, with plenty of hard sacrifices which Aileana have to make and eventually resolve quite nicely to give a good ending. All the while, making this world a breath of fresh air in its worldbuilding and take on fairies.

By the way, Aithinne is my favorite out of the series. The more I read her, the more she grows on me, and the more she makes me smile. Quite sad to see this end really.

And I really appreciate how Aileana has to make a difficult decision, and nothing did indeed come easy for her. And everything has its price, and really it was enjoyable to see her finally get an ending that I find was satisfying.

The ending was rather nice and fulfilling. And it did go in a way I never really expected it too, seeing as how it went back to what we knew. But in a way I never thought it will, and surprising me but at the same managing to have all the characters survive and some with unknown ending too.

But finally, the author is willing to make the difficult decisions and the characters really do suffer. Although at times I was rather bored, and at times the pacing was really fast and the pages were flying. But to me, this series is good. It is unique when compared to most, with its own folktales and beliefs. And also, it does take what we know and doesn’t go down the usual route. So, I find it rather refreshing and do recommend you to check it out. Naturally, start from the Falconer.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Vanishing Throne

An awesome sequel if you ask me, it takes the whole Fae concept and twist it in a way that you have never seen it done. And well, this is something new to the genre and something which I didn’t refreshing and highly addictive.

What happens in this book? Aileana becomes a prisoner for a short while before she is rescued only to come home to a broken world, one which has fell apart due to the Fae. One which experienced three years without her.

And despite it not being what I thought, this was awesome. I found the entire book an enticing and worthy read due to its plotting and most importantly, it doesn’t suffer from the second born syndrome unlike most other books.

And that its take on the fairies are rather unique and refreshing, the reason behind the war between the Seelie Queen and Unseelie King, and also the true Queen of the fairies. It is all exciting and well thought out, to give a much darker version than what we get. And one that makes a ton more sense if you ask me, but only if you prefer a slightly darker version.

And for me, this follow up had everything I wanted to. Although at times it didn’t really satisfy me, but the entire sequel delivered very well and wasn’t to my expectations at all. It was so nice for it to exceed my expectations again, it has been so long since I read a book that made me crave the next.

And the twists are rather different, it doesn’t give you much hope but the ending would too. And the ending, sets up the next book very well, where the final ending would come. And do I recommend the series? Yes, though check out the first book to see if it is to your taste. However, as long as you want to read something quite unlike what you have before, or a new angle on fairies then it is for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

A Poison Dark And Drowning

I gave this a full day to see how it will go, and I have zero interest in reading it further than the first half or so. And even then, it was one of the most boring things I have ever read.

Perhaps my taste has just changed too much. Henrietta is a magician, and in any young adult book book she has the eyes of many men. I think there were plenty of love interests introduced in book one. Magnus lost almost any interest in me when this book came.

But seriously, none of the characters stood out to me. Henrietta still is that naive girl, and really I don’t even know what makes her stand out. When she does nothing, and nothing really happens in the book. She doesn’t learn anything, she isn’t threatened. All she is doing is simply training, and well frankly it is boring.

There is no stakes which makes me care for her, neither is there any of them who make me even remotely interested in this book. Although there was a witch, and some new characters. But really, I don’t even want to care about any of them because they just don’t seem interesting enough to me.

And that I really think that the author have to figure out her pacing, because for half a book nothing much happens. Henrietta doesn’t grow, she doesn’t learn, and there are virtually no stakes. Take advantage of the fact that she is a magician, and she will be blackmailed. Just make something happen, but it didn’t.

And there is where you will lose me, when a book doesn’t have any reason why it should exist. And the book is mostly made up of fluff, but never anything that makes me want to care.

I received an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Champion Standing

This is an insult to my culture, the Han dynasty and history. That’s all that you need to know. And that I gave up at 11% into the book, because I cannot stand it any further. If they claimed this as alternate world, okay whatever but no, they said it was historical fiction and they basically threw it all out of the window.

Where do I start telling how wrong this entire book is? Let’s start with the names shall we?

Why is there a princess with the name Ayana in Han dynasty? Even if it can be created, I can tell you that it would end in a three syllable name at best(that only comes in in Tang Dynasty where it was much looser on the names). But it had its roots in Japan, and in 1st century Japan this name didn’t even exist.

And that princesses were never called by name, give her a title please, they were either named after counties(Princess Guantao and Princess Pingyang(although it was an adoption of her husband’s title and fiefdom.) No princess were ever referred to by name, even at best their surnames, and you don’t really see their names being recorded at all, and their titles is more than enough to distinguish them.

Names wise, if it was a little weird I could accept. Roman names here did make sense and had its roots before the first century.

There were some mentions of Wang Mang, and his eventual plot development and possible usurpation of the throne to create the Xin dynasty. However, why is the Chancellor called Gengshi. I can tell you no one called a Chancellor that, they were often referred to by their surnames and even here, it is an actual title held by an Emperor (although some histories suggest that he wasn’t, and his rule short.) But why is he called Gengshi, it makes no sense. And the era of the Warring States where this may or may not be given as a title to a Lord is long over.

But really, this is just scratching the surface of all this problems. Although the Roman Empire and China may have some interactions together and the Han saw the beginning of the silk road and that at this point in time, Han dynasty was at its lowest point but it makes no sense why they would be accepting foreign people inside or hosting tournaments. And also, how is there even a clan which goes by the name Tai Yang inside there? Even for dual surnames there is none which is Tai Yang.

But then, there are just simply so many things wrong that I can’t read it. It isn’t a respectful way of dealing with my culture not when it gets even its basics wrong, even someone who watches Chinese dramas know that no princess in any dynasty borne the name Ayana, or were called by that. And I doubt there were any prefectures or counties which were named like that too.

I would have been fine if this book was shelved in Asian inspired or alternate world, but once it took on the name historical fiction, this isn’t all that okay with me anymore. Not when it is giving a rather false impression of my culture. Just the names alone is enough to make me cringe, I don’t want to suffer through such a book since I can’t even get over my dislike of the way he named the characters which to me tells a lot about his effort to try and learn out culture he does get some things right, but if the author can’t differentiate Chinese names and Japanese names, I doubt he would really know Han dynasty culture. And I’m incredibly nitpicky with them, so yeah, I’m dropping this book within the 11% of it.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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

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