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The Secret Science Of Magic

I found this a rather surprising book. Given that this is the first time I’m reading contemporary teen fiction, and I find myself quite liking it. Diversity, mental disorders they are all here for us to see and read about. And well, I guess it was a main reason why I like it more.

Elsie is likely Indian, given the name of her brother. And both Sophia and Joshua on some level can be attributed to being autistic even. And well, despite it being mostly about the romance but this issues get a very good spotlight too. Just like how Sophia isn’t said to need to be fixed, Joshua accepts her. And for once I don’t find the dual narration to be annoying in many ways.

I don’t really have a lot to say since this is my first teen romance, the first time which I tried to read this. So, generally yeah I don’t really have a lot to comment apart from the fact that I liked it. And that the romance and characters face quite a bit of circumstances. About Sophia and her real life, where basically she is quite isolated.

One more thing, this is really up to date with the new pop culture. Frozen, Game Of Thrones which are all things we can relate to, and also feel that it is really happening now, and also quite realistic and relatable for me really. Since the references aren’t too removed, and I do feel as though I have read it or even seen it before.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book for its simplicity. And also for refreshing and making me think that accidentally grabbing a book off the shelf because of the cover was a pretty good thing which sometimes resulted in horrible choices of books that I hated.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Elemental Secrets 

This book would not have been so bad if it was faster paced, less obsessed with the love square that the author built. Chase, Cade, Holden, and Valerie barely even has the agency of anyone up until the later parts of the book.

You can skim read until around 70% where the main plot would kick it, and the actual interesting parts does come it. Before that, classic special snowflake and tropes of girl that doesn’t know much about her true abilities. Also, don’t forget school drama(as if we need more of that). And that’s where Valerie really shone, since she is a normal person, being incredibly naïve is believable in that sense.

As for the world, it feels so incredibly cliché. There could have been more elements, more unique things into it. But it barely succeeded at it, seeing that the only really good thing is about the polarizing beliefs of the Elementals which is rather interesting along with its history. When that kicked in, it became quite interesting. Even if I still could care less about Valerie. 

She probably is one of the most typical female main character. Except that she is more obsessed with the three boys she knows, one of which is in college which are revealed to have differing beliefs. But I would have wanted to see more than that. Charlene is forgettable at best, and I can’t even bother to remember who Loren is. Or what she is doing there. 

Generally, the characters were forgettable, and very usual. What you usually read, is what you would get in this book. And that is where it lost me. I would not want to read about love, teenage life without that little bit of magic, and even that only came in later. The front part was a complete and utter bore. 

The plot needed to move a lot faster, and having Valerie search for those answers. Also, having her start to find them herself instead of waiting for shit to happen. Or it being revealed to her. When things become strange, try the internet, try snooping. Don’t just wait for answers to fall from nowhere, and it came easily to Valerie. She didn’t have to take risks, make sacrifices or any of the sort. She simply asked and got her questions answered. Also, why the hell the Aunt didn’t tell her if they were planning to kill here or even tell her to be careful or I don’t know teach her the differences between Elementals and their abilities. They are centuries old sages, but they act like idiots. 

And this is why I barely liked this book, if I wasn’t tasked to read this, I wouldn’t have even finished it. There is a point, and although a slight pleasant surprise existed in this book. But it was too late to salvage the lasting impression it had on me. 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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The Burning Sky

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I think Fantasy and I need a long break. This is like the many books shelved in fantasy where I can’t raise it any higher than a three, and I barely remember anything from it. Again, unoriginal, bland and most importantly boring me to sleep.

I gave up by the hundredth page and began to skim read it. I can remember some stuff, but most of it is utterly useless apart from the setting in which I was right. It is Victorian England, and the Domain, Atlantis, whatever which I don’t have a clear picture about.

As for both the characters, I didn’t even bother. Iolanthe is perfect, she had that one weakness only to find out that she can control it. Also, she’s the chosen one. Titus is you know what, I don’t really care about his life. And both characters interactions flew over my head, and by the end I knew this simply wasn’t for me.

Their romance was relatively well thought out, seeing that Iolanthe doesn’t know Titus, and they really only got together at the end. But again, both characters fell on me and so, do I give a damn? No.

Simple and easy, I thought would serve the trick. But this failed in such a way that I’m considering taking a break from ya fantasy, seeing as the number of books I have read ends up either with a three or a two, and sometimes a one. And well, this just wasn’t one of them.

I have a feeling that I have grown out of the ya fantasy genre with so many books that I have either given up half way or probably cannot rate it higher than just a three.

But check it out, it may be just for you. But this isn’t for me. I guess I really should avoid anything that is too light, it just isn’t my thing.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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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

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RoseBlood

This was a surprise of a book. Once I picked this up, strangely Rune became a very interesting character to read through. Since her gift is also her crutch at the same time, the only reason why she was accepted with a deeper meaning revealed towards the end. And the explanation regarding her entire background, felt so historical and at the same time interesting. 

While this retelling plays around with a phantom hundred of years after, which I greatly liked. Since it deals with all the creepy weird things which to me worked perfectly here. And that Thorn is mysterious, twisted but mysterious. And that I liked that the romance went slow, to them slowly meeting, slowly figuring everything out about them. And all the clues. Since I wouldn’t see them meeting under normal circumstances, 

As for the actual phantom and what he did, such as having Christine for a short period. Actually liking the way it went, where everything didn’t end well for them. And it drove him into further obsession, which I liked the way it was. Even pushing him to get Thorn. 

As for the musical inclination, any book would have gotten into me with just that. It just feels so right, and when her gift both suffocates and glorifies her at the same time. I really enjoyed it, the way that there was so much of exploration of opera. Of music and of her talent. As for the reveal towards the end, I feel that it was rather fitting to have regarding her talents. 

Even more so, her doubts are completely believable. The way that she her father died, the way she nearly killed someone. That was believable in my account that she would stop playing. 

However, I do feel that the issues of this book lies on the fact that his mother feels as though she’s a sex worker just because she had a child out of wedlock. That’s just wrong, really. It feels off. While the romance was on point, and the atmosphere captured me, this just doesn’t sound good at all. Also, where Erik takes him to the whorehouse and forces him to do all that. Yeah, I feel that it’s wrong too. 

Overall, I would say this book is creepy and rather gothic. Precisely the retelling of the Phantom of the Opera I was looking for, but there are issues that cannot be ignored. I would say that the romance captivated me, and the music was the one thing that kept me reading. So, pick it up and just see it for yourself. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jane Steele 

Jane Steele is surprisingly good, given that Jane here despite all her faults, despite all her murders managed to be sympathetic. She managed to make me feel for her situation. And I couldn’t turn away from her story the moment I read it, where everything goes downhill for Jane very quickly. 

Jane, whose mother may be a lunatic was sent to a schoolhouse where its headmaster is even worse. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed Jane Steele. As a murderer, she doesn’t regret too much. And most of them really deserved it, the fate that they got through the abuse of their power. I really enjoyed that part where Jane murdered them, and at the same time there were consequences for them. 

Even though she murdered one to save herself, the other to save her vest friend. The third for a woman who took her in. Her motives felt real, it felt plausible. And for her who already has her hands stained from the very beginning, she didn’t too much. At best, she was getting rid of another trash for the world. And I really like that. 

And then comes in Charles Thornfield, a man who also has his fair share of secrets and vices. And the moment at the end, where Jane and Charles have a long talk and she reveals all her secrets, I loved every inch of it. There is this charm about him that makes him fascinating, and that he is someone that accepts Jane for who she is. For me, I agree that most of the people she killed had it coming for them eventually. 

The plot is rather simple, and at the same time filled with plenty of obstacles that Jane encounters. Be it from those she killed, or those that she killed for. But it begins to change the moment she becomes a governess at the household she used to work at. Where Charles is introduced, and his character becomes interesting in the way he managed to keep Jane at a distance, yet still grew fond of her. And Jane, wanting to know more or finding the house strange. 

As for the style, where sometimes it breaks the fourth wall given that Jane sometimes speaks to the reader instead. But I found it quite endearing and interesting as an element to the writing. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book for what it is. Jane being a murderess and one that felt bad and at the same time didn’t look back on her victims. Charles who took in all she was, at the end. All the while looking at the society with all their problems, from headmasters abusing their power, to husbands deciding to marry another time. I would say that this is rather interesting and paints the Victorian world a lot less glamorous and lush than it seemed. Unless of course, you were of the nobility. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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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