The Moon In The Palace

This was just pointless on so many levels. I expected a more deeper novel, and this is about Wu Zetian. And well, nothing happened in the first hundred pages or so.

I did want to know what the author thought of her. And although her portrayal was plausible, since the novel starts when she was a girl. Not a woman condemned to the nunnery, not a woman who has seized power. But it is also its greatest flaw.

Because nothing happened, and I don’t see how this girl can be Wu Zetian. She lacked the ambition, the aggressiveness that was well known during her time. A reason why she was passed over for Lady Xu. And I expected someone more bold, since she readily took her place in court. Her life was rather miserable after her father’s death, and the only thing it served to was to make her rather angry and wanting to take revenge. And that she had no hopes for ever marrying well. That did happen in this case.

Also, I highly doubt her sister married a merchant. I really doubted it. Tang Dynasty merchants will have problems finding a wife since they are regarded as the most lowly of them all, even poor girls like her sister will be better off married to a poor farmer. It was that bad for merchants. They could not enter imperial examinations, and their girls could never expect to serve in court. There were all sorts of discrimination against them. So, I highly doubt so.

But this is about Emperor Wu Zetian. I could accept it for any other Empress but not her. Even when going she exhibited some character that she will bring to adulthood.

I just find it pointless that it had to focus so much on the relationship between them rather than exploring her character. Her thoughts in a deeper level.

And this is where it just failed. Of you want to read one which is really doing Wu Zetian justice, checked out Empress by Shan Sa.

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A Crown Of Wishes

This was better than the previous book. Although I neither liked Gauri or Vikram particularly but at least there wasn’t the case in the first book. That was unique in a way that it could not be more hilarious in the wrong way.

And this was different in its own way, and well the motivations are paper thin. I’m more confused by the ending than anything else and how things turned out.

The Serpent King barely had an impact or even appeared, even then I do not think he is some great evil. An extra to be seen really.

Well Aasha did have some interesting moments as did Vikram having a very interesting past. I mean, what kind of guy dresses as a courtesan. Those are a rarity in fiction. But Gauri failed to ellicit any emotion from me.

Overall, a much better work in comparison to The Star Touched Queen but there is still much to be desired.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Land Of The Lost Tribe

Now this was a tale worth reading. About Eldad as he slowly travels the world and gains a lot of knowledge. But Eldad was easily understood and even relatable.

Most importantly, this was a journey. A journey to him as he goes through endless struggles, never reaching his destination but somehow gaining a lot on the way. Although I will have wanted more attention paid to Hadassah, she wasn’t explored enough. I will have wanted a little more time to develop their romance as simply more than just a friendship.

But otherwise, Eldad’s journey is a deep tale. As he discovers more and more about the Jews scattered across Europe. Not just that but also, the people he meets. But I found him to be just too good, he didn’t seem to have much of any moral weaknesses. And he wasn’t too entertaining. It was more entertaining to read about the side characters who appear here in fact. Especially Judith.

I liked the part with Eudoxia the most. She was strangely the most interesting character here even more than Eldad. And that I do think that this may be a series given the way the epilogue was written, and that there just was some things which weren’t tied up.

I do enjoy the part reading Judith, she does show plenty of intelligence to be Queen. And even when she became Queen, she was very very sensible in her choices. Such as how the epilogue showed that, it was glorious. I will say that if it is about her and conquering the Akusm kingdom you can count me in.

Overall this served as a very well thought out and well written book if you ask me. But Eldad isn’t always the best main character, he has a lot that doesn’t compel me to read him. But the side characters completely made up for it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Sleeping Prince

I really enjoyed this, in the way that it takes the most common tropes and I expect it to go in a predictable manner. Yet, it doesn’t, it goes down in a way that I never expected it to, but darkly so. What I get is twisted folklores, hidden secrets and plenty of intrigue to spice things up. Which is what I wanted and craved for so long.

Errin is a really understandable character, she may be demanding she may be willing to do anything for her mother. But I don’t hate her, she is making the best of her circumstances and I felt that she was the most consistent. She never went away, and even till the end she is someone who puts her family first and even if it means putting others into jeopardy.

As for the sleeping prince, I understand his entire being. That he does all he wants, and he has lost much of his own life and woke up to a comepletely different and even new world. And there is a good reason why he does want Twylla, and even Errin not to mention taking advantage of everything that he has. And when he lost his inheritance, what does he do? Burn two kingdoms to the ground to rebuild his own. Indeed a great a villain that I will love to hate, and with an interesting depth.

As for all the side characters, I will always like Silas. Cannot help doing so. Twylla makes a return and well, what it revealed about her shocks me and all the while bringing a whole new meaning to why she was poisonous. And Lief, playing the two sides, him as usual.

Overall, this is something unique and different. I will recommend this if you like a mix of mythology and intrigue, with the fact that both main characters are flawed and with this a good villain that I feel isn’t just there. He has some legimate reason why he does what he does, but all the while a lot of the blame is still on him.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Shimmer And Burn

This is simply one of the few cases which I do like the book more than enough. Although it does have its flaws but for me it just worked out in a strange way.

Faris is a thief, and well she spends a lot of time threatening people and also killing someone. Although not all of them are gone through, but I found her relatable enough and human enough. A flaw was that I didn’t have the chance to see her interact with Cadence, a chapter or two before the great thing happens to her will have been appreciated otherwise the motivations are paper thin.

However the magic system just works, although it is confusing at times but eventually I manage to get it and even understand it. All the while getting that magic corrupts, or at least too much of it does. And strangely, I did find everything revealed at the right moment and when it had simply told me some of the aspects of the magic system, it was strangely easy for me to accept. And well it is one that did intrigue me since it was rather brutal and definitely held some stakes for the main character.

The one which I do like is Bryn, yes she said plenty of things that aren’t so nice. Not to mention that she really does make some sacrifices to get what she wants, play deals, make alliances. The intrigue just clicked with me, when it came to her ruthlessness was what I liked and even enjoyed of her. She was strangely admirable as she simply identified what needed to be done and dealt with.

Finally to end it all, I do think that this just clicked with me. Although there were moments of instalove but there is some deeper moments into it, and that the ending did come as a surprise to me. Faris will still lose something, she will still have to fight for something. And I enjoyed the political intrigue which was inserted in here, which worked to its advantage since I always like it.

Overall, I recommend it if you want something different. It is rather different from what I have read recently.

Rating: 4 out of 5

A Conspiracy Of Kings

I did find this better, or perhaps I should start this from book one. But nonetheless I find that the intrigue is pretty interesting to keep my attention.

This is about the prince of the Sounis, and I find this rather interesting and even fascinating at the same time. Although I do also like this very much, since the prince is a relatable character whom I can easily relate to and understand where he is coming from. Not to mention, where is he heading at times.

Despite being a prince who got out, I do think that he seems rather aimless. I don’t think he did any specific steps to take back what was his, or perhaps to assert himself. And at times, I don’t know what are his goals are. He seems a little drifting.

But the Queen of Eddis does prove interesting as much as I am interested in the Queen of Attolia as well as the king.

Overall, I find this a nice addition and began to really like the world which does on some level prove to have some well thought out intrigue. But sadly, the main character was a little too aimless for my taste.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Macedonian

I will say that this proved surprising to me. Although most ancient books tends to be a miss with me, this isn’t. It really makes me feel something for it.

It is about Phillip, who is the father of Alexander and a king in his own right. He does deserve respect and his portrayal was definitely one that will keep you on sympathetic.

The most good thing was that Philip remains the centre of all this, which is important given that I have read a lot of books with many characters but simply weren’t interesting at all.

As for the background was excellent and well fleshed out, given that this is Ancient Greece, and everything is more or less up to speculations since there is little that we know about them. The author filled in the gaps well enough and I enjoyed this story very much.

I did like some of the more complicated relationships, such as that of Phillip and his mother. It certainly felt real to me, all the while having some side characters who really won by sympathy. As well as a fair bit of villains.

Overall, this was really enjoyable for me. Interesting and definitely full of flavour.

Rating: 4 out of 5