0

Pantheon

This was rather surprisingly enjoyable. It was a simple enough tale, and short. I found myself rather immersed in the story.

Although, I do not really like Lars that much at all. He is rather okay, readable and definitely have something that goes for him which makes me like him to a certain degree but again, he doesn’t really have much other than that reliability. And it has been a long time since I have truly invested myself in a character, but given it all, he’s not all too bad.

A very important thing to note is that the world is quite well builg and for once I don’t feel as though I’m just thrown into it with absolutely no idea what is going on. That happened to me so many times that it wasn’t funny, just annoying. Here, I think the author skillfully handled throwing me into its world. Careful, subtle and enough to keep me reading.

Also, the world is rather fascinating. They have their own unique culture, and a lot of time was invested in it to make all of it.

Overall, can’t say that I hated it. Although it does suffer a bit from having forgettable characters, but it is a rather nice tale with one that is about discovery for Lars as much as it is for Lars. My Verdict: Recommended.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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2

Given To The Sea

I can’t even be bothered to remember who was in this book. None of the narrators are even the least bit interesting and so many are obsessed with getting Khosa pregnant so you know she can drown as a sacrifice. And even that doesn’t sound as depressing as it should, I don’t even know what is wrong with that world.

And that Khosa although I do think that being raised to think of this would have resulted in her being like this. But I never thought that it was too off, but what made it so incredibly off in my eyes. Was that she is bland as hell and doesn’t even bother trying to find anything out or even try to fulfill her destiny; you would think that being raised in such an environment would make her more willing to do what it takes. Not end up waiting for the one whose touch she can stand. Yeah, and all the other characters were almost just as bland but not as lacking in activeness as compared to Khosa.

There were four narrators; as for the complicated romance why do I even bother. As for the world, where the heck is it, and why the heck is it so twisted? And also, it is confusing, utterly pointless and too many things introduced in one time. To the point it overlaods me and I have nothing but a burning hatred for this book.

Vincent is the prince, or whatever. I didn’t find him interesting. Khosa is as lifeless and emotionless as she is in the book, and having zero ounce of personality. As for the three other narrators, why the hell are they there in the first place. None of them seemed to even make me wonder what this story was about and I found myself skimming most of the pages.

In other words, if you want a mermaid book or one about the sea, don’t look at this one.

Rating: 1 out of 5

0

The Clockwork Dynasty

Originally, the work came as quite difficult to really ease myself into. And it didn’t really change throughout the novel despite the excellent writing, I just didn’t feel that spark with the characters at all. Not a single one really clicked with me.

But the worldbuilding is intriguing with a lot of nods to mythological figures being altered, but I’m fine. We know so little about these figures so I’m generally a little more tolerating regarding them. Who’s to say it was different, not when they may or may not exist.

One thing I particularly liked about the novel was the way that it handled the steampunk, although it did feel a little dry at first.

Also, the plot was really intriguing and fascinating. Bringing both characters all around the world, ranging from China(however the exact city and province would have helped a little more, but since we don’t even know where Huangdi and Leizu lived, so that’s not really necessary), Seattle and Russia. In different time period as well, which was really what piqued my interest apart from the writing and worldbuilding.

The one thing I feel is lackluster is that I couldn’t really connect to the characters, especially initially when it was narrated by two characters using first person. There wasn’t much of any difference and the lack of voice to distinguish them made it really difficult to relate to them, hence making me unable to really relate and well, the characters were all more of a miss to me than a hit.

So, I guess that the characters were the point which I really found it a little hard. Although the writing, worldbuilding and plot is intriguing with enough twists and mysteries to keep you going. But, the characters just didn’t sit well with me, and that is my sole reason why I have to lower it. However, pick up this book and give it a shot, it might work better for you than it did for me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an e-ARC copy.

0

The Forbidden Wish 

I would say that it lives up as a retelling. Except that it explores the story from another perspective, and instead of getting the jinni we see in Aladdin. It is instead, about the female jinni. 

And all the while, I really enjoyed the way the world was structured and explored. The myths and folklores, some of which Zahra had a hand in it herself. All the more, it was about the forbidden wish. Exploring a possibility, what would happen when a jinni could be set free. 

The ending nicely ends everything. All the while the twists are revealed nicely, and at the right moment. Whether is it about the jinni or about the world as it stands. 

To also being able Zahra and how badly she wants to be free. I mean, it’s logical since you have been locked into a lamp for a very long time(three thousand years.) 

All the while, the princess managed to keep my attention as did Aladdin. Both wanted something, the princess would have done anything for her kingdom. That is what I call a future Queen. And she didn’t find having to marry a horrible man that terrible a price as long as it remained safe. As for Aladdin where he initially wants revenge, he initially wants to marry a princess. Then eventually, becomes in love with the jinni. It is so gradual, and so subtle. Even with very little declarations when they decide to sacrifice themselves for each other, it feels strangely logical. That Aladdin was willing to pay the price for Zahra’s freedom, and she in his stead willing to help him many times. 

And so, I would say that the characters who are introduced eventually had a larger role to play. Such as the jinni who was captured, to the vizier and Darian. All of them had a role, and eventually were rather well developed. 

This novel isn’t just made up of Aladdin and Zahra, it had other characters who shone. And everything had a consequence and a price, all of it coming back. 

So, I would recommend this to those who have longed for retelling. And at the same time, is a really good piece of work with a good balance between the characters and the plot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

0

Recreated 


I feel absolutely nothing about this book. This didn’t make me hate it like I had with tiger’s curse, but wasn’t any better either. The main issue is that almost everything comes easily to Lily, though thankfully there is a lack of food porn or Amon trying to stuff food down her throat. That’s just about it.

Then, we have Lily and three other characters together. Who then magically falls in love with three main characters, I have no words. And if that’s not awkward, they are all literally in the same body. This is completely to a new level, of creepy and becomes a sort of love sextagon. Except it’s really creepy and awkward. 

Even more so is that Lily actually gains nothing, she still cracks jokes which are not funny, insult in a completely cliché way that has no new twist. And for once, being brought to Egypt on her own I hoped that Houck would have grown better. Except that all the hard parts are handled by Tia, and all of a sudden comes in a fairy that I’m very much certain is not from Egyptian mythology. 

Then, it’s really where it gets weird and sometimes creepy. Because it takes a love sextagon to a whole new level with three consciousness in her mind, I have literally no idea what would happen, but I guess that some magical way would be able to separate them and they will be able to live happily ever after with their love interests. Really, really awkward. I mean what’s wrong with setting up other kinds of love, or even other characters who will become important. 

And the only character that I really liked had been her awesome grandmother. I was waiting for her to show up, and then she will asked what the heck is going on and learn about them. I mean, she is one damn strong woman, and runs a farm on her own. To me, I really like her. Well, she only had a small portion in this book. 

And I wanted a better representation of females here. Well, I hoped that the grandmother had played a little more role. The tension was a little higher, and the characters a little more complex, Asten was good, he was rather well developed in my mind with his back story. And another huge issue, is that almost all the guys are rather fond of Lily, even Dr Hassan. I mean it, she has Egyptian gods helping her left and right, and one who is outright lusting after her with only one meeting. 

Those are a lot of issues. But in this case, I would admit that it is better than the previous book. Most still come to Lily easily, but not as conveniently in her previous series either. And Amon, well I won’t say since he barely has any appearances here at all. So, this is an improvement from the autbor but to me still failed to move me in the least really. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

0

The Clockwork Scarab 

This was rather okay. Though, sometimes the writing put me off in some ways. Like really put me off. The plot was decent, and well the characters quite flat. But I did like the mystery, and the possibility of having time travel together and steampunk. 

But it just seems a little messy in my mind. It really does seem rather messy when I put together everything, and that the mystery didn’t feel like a mystery to me. Just a set of deaths, that really didn’t have twists which blew my mind. 

Although both Mina and Evaline are decent characters. I can rather relate to both of them, and neither seem to be obsessed with getting married or constantly trying to prove that they are different. I’m fine with them just acknowledging and doing what’s required of them. 

As for Ms Irene Adler, I was half expecting something of her intelligence to be revealed. Like she could work out who was the Ankh in actual reality, or Mina having that moment where she revealed the Ankh for who she is. But really, I didn’t really get that sort of closure. A lot still remains a mystery, such as the motives to why the Ankh chose to do so or even why she killed so many people. 

And having Mina fail at some point made their more believable that she was still learning, and despite her lineage, she isn’t faultless. I really preferred her over Evaline Stoker, who lacked some personality really. It seems that all she really cared about was proving herself and finding the murderer. But I rather like her brother Bram. 

But really, the only letdown was the failure of really giving a good closure to the mystery. And then turning it to a rather usual route, bad guy threatens, they accept and go to the designated location. Although there was some sleuthing dine, but I was expecting something a little more clever, not having Evaline and Mina going their separate ways. And only coming together in times of need, and turning the situation into one that didn’t feel like a mystery anymore. 

Overall, my main issues was with the execution of the mystery. How the murderer was really handled. The rest was pretty decent. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

15

Cracked


This was a pretty enjoyable book, and gave me quite some laughter but still with some pretty good and interesting fantasy elements. 

Such as beacons, templars, and demons. All of them come together nicely here, and give a lot of depth to each other. As well as explain all the half breeds, which Meda is, it was revealed quite early, and worked well with the plot. In fact, it was way more interesting when it was introduced that early, as it allowed a lot of moments for me to think whether it will be told to them. And added a lot of depth to Meda. 

Meda is compelling, given her narration managing to get a reaction out of me many times. And that her character is extremely active, where she pretends to be a beacon and try to get some secrets out of the templars. Where it eventually then turns into her discovering a lot about her own family, more about her mother here. 

And I just loved her, she was likeable and relatable. She was rather interesting and even unqiue. 

As for the others, they nonetheless entertained. Having Jo being a cripple but still wanted to keep on fighting, that was rather interesting and knowing how she was still dealing with her own issues, and blew up. As for Chi, quite the heroic idiot, but I just liked him because he wasn’t overly so, and no matter what put others first. 

As for Uri, his death came as quite a bit of a shocker, but then still something important and his character also contributed quite a lot. 

The dynamics between them had to be one of the best I have ever seen. I always looked forward to having them talk and meet, as they were just making the absolute best use of those pages. 

And that Meda despite being funny, and badass she still has plenty of flaws. Moments where she’s weak and even her own issues. Particularly at the end, where I think it might be more like an identity crisis and a really really difficult choice. 

But nonetheless, I still enjoyed the book till its end, with the characters being compelling and with some solid plot and worldbuilding. Which I’m going to really reconmend this to those who like Urban fantasy and is really sick and tired of the usual, since after all I also gave up on the genre after a while. 

Rating: 5 out of 5