0

Death Sworn 

What did I like about it? It doesn’t have a heroine who becomes either too perfect or too stupid by the end of the book. She is somewhere in between, and she is extremely relatable. She is someone that basically lost all that mattered to her, yet I don’t read about her moaning about her loss of power. 

She instead just chooses the best routes, the best choices for herself. She makes the decision herself. And I like the way even after being bullied, she doesn’t give up. She doesn’t make excuses for herself. 

Even though the scope of this book is small, we are restricted to a cave. Nowhere else. A cave. Filled with assassins who are male. I get the feeling that many of you would be thinking that this would be a reverse harem. Nope, none of them are interested in her. 

The one guy that even has some form of feeling for her, still isn’t the usual idiot who would sacrifice all for her. He is guarded, he has his own plans. And his loyalties is to the master first. He doesn’t just magically fall in love with her. 

The way it deals with familiar tropes and the way it keeps many safely out of the way. I would say is the best part of this book. More importantly was the running theme of whether one life saving many would be worth it, such as the assassins who kill to save so much more. To create a better world. 

This are all important parts of the book. And the romance never takes over. It is more about Ileni trying to find the murderer, training. And the ending, was perfection. That was something I never saw coming, and I look forward to the next book dealing with it. That Ileni would be in the Empire, and the way it was written. It fits her so. 

She is someone that doesn’t like killing, it is explicitly shown and she never changes. She treasures life. She is realistic, she doesn’t whine when life is unfair. To me, that is a real heroine that I would admire. 

So overall, pick this book up if you are sick and tired of the usual tropes. The usual storytelling. And expect something that is quick, but isn’t too heavy or dark.

Rating: 4 out of 5

2

How I Do Foreshadowing?

On this topic, it has become a favourite of mine to write about. Why? Because I love to foreshadow, it seems as though certain aspects of a character being suggested from the very beginning was my favourite. Be it whether it was through a short one sentence description. But I prefer it to useless details which take up space. 

Foreshadowing can be about major plot points or developments, it also develops a character. Not every character shows their true self or feelings the first time we meet them, they always end up revealing more or hiding something. And this is why I like foreshadowing and symbolism, it makes some of the apparently useless description to becoming an important clue. 

Mannerisms, speech patterns, dressing. It tells a lot about the characters just from that one paragraph, and hence I prefer to use details to foreshadow. Or certain behaviours when they are put into an uncomfortable situation too. And it makes all those descriptions seem less like a waste of space, or the sagging middle to be nothing but filler. 

Esspecially when you are handling a mysterious main character, where I choose not to reveal some details of his life but keep it hidden. Because it isn’t relevant just yet, but will become relevant eventually. 

Foreshadowing can be used well, if it has a reason. Either a twist or a possible reveal, and the joy is that a reader can go back and say, I should have noticed it earlier. But how successful it is, it would depend on your skill or how unexpected your twist is. 

But generally, here are my tips for foreshadowing: 

#1 Be Subtle 

Can’t stress how this important this is, you do not want the reader to know am I right? Or make it too obvious? Make is subtle, hidden away but it’s there should there be any need. Just a little bit is enough, don’t hint too much or the chances of the reader figuring it out before it comes will be high.

#2 Using A Red Herring 

We all know what a red herring is, it is a seemingly important detail that isn’t important meant to throw the reader off. It can be employed when it calls for it, but at the same time hint it that it is also likely that the red herring isn’t all that important throughout and when it is revealed, it becomes possible and readers realise that from start to finish the hints of the most important clue were there but the ones which was in extremely important light was not. 

#3 Make everything relevant 

It is very important to know that all clues should serve a purpose, perhaps to push the protagonist and having them to find an even more important clue. Throwing the readers off, or even in fact being the bridge to how it would make sense. And this is important, as everything must have its place in a book and nothing should become utterly irrelevant. 

This is generally what I view foreshadowing must have. If you have anything to add, please tell me below if I haven’t covered everything.  

0

Sentinel 

I could connect with the book on a certain level, but it never went to me really caring about the characters worrying whether they are dead. Also, regarding the chosen one and Nephillim, I would want a more subtle approach to the chosen one. And the way it just felt tacked in, without having Luna deal with everything about it. 

I just couldn’t connect with the characters and couldn’t bring myself to believe them. Despite the whole idea about Nephillim being kept hidden, and even kept away from the human and angel side of things. It just didn’t feel real, it just didn’t feel right. And the way the chosen one was used as it was, without a name change, without really having any real purpose in the story. I just can’t buy it. 

I’m a skeptical person, and I prefer heroes be normal or skilled rather than some prophesized chosen one. Also, I prefer main characters having more of a drive to do things. Luna didn’t have have that development or even a reason why she wanted to do so which I wanted to read about. It just felt as though she accepted it and did nothing. Whether to uncover her memories, which would have been interesting. 

And I greatly prefer that the entire confrontation had been dragged out, Finn telling Luna that she needed to see some memories. And her having moments where she was going to doubt herself and the angels. Otherwise, I just don’t buy it. I don’t even know why Luna decided not to seek answers when it would have been logical, and normal even. Having her memories become a pivotal point would make sense, as she’s beginning to learn about herald and it is very important that she learns. 

I just couldn’t buy the fact that Luna went around and fought, yet she never felt like a character. She’s simply the chosen one, the one who was destined for greatness. Except without the depth that would make her a good one, or the depth of why she would accept it. 

I do think that the book can be improved a lot, given that I could not connect. But the writing style was readable and enjoyable even, clearly edited very well. But I just couldn’t buy the novel as Luna was a very one dimensional character, with little reason to even begin a journey to hell. I think she needs to have more time doubting, more time thinking and more time spent exploring her options and looking through a different perspective. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

2

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

0

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

2

What is Originality?

Is originality in writing a completely new concept. Or a new view on an existing concept. I would say it is the latter. Nothing is new under the sun, every book has borrowed from somewhere. And so does your work too. 

So, where does creativity come in? In how we display the world, how we explore it. What do we think of it. That is originality, since no person would have the same viewpoint. And this is where we differ. Each writer looks at things differently, would approach certain subjects differently. Otherwise, there would be a lot of ripoffs as it is. Since almost every story has borrowed elements from here and there. 

As such, originality is all about you. Your opinion, your idea of a theme. Even for a retelling, every retelling has its differences. Every retelling examines a story differently. Just look at Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Those are retellings of the exact same fairytale but they have a lot of differences too. And this is where creativity and originality comes in. 

So, don’t worry about your story idea not being original. Present it your own way, or tackle it at an angle no one else has thought of yet. Regardless of whether it’s original or not it will shine in its own way. 

Even for works that are inspired by many things, think of it this way. You are merely inspired, not extracting plotlines and exact sentences. You can make your own twist, you can change things. Because creativity is found when you insert something of your own and make it fit. 

So, don’t worry about it being original or purely you. It is all about your opinion, the way you see the story and the world. It is basically also an interpretation of a certain work, genre or theme. 

If you have a different view on originality, please leave it down below. Originality, is a rather difficult topic to discuss and I would like to hear your views. 

0

Long May She Reign 

This was a pretty surprising book, one where focused on a lot of politics, a lot of mystery. But zero on fantasy. So, if you want action and fantasy, avoid this. But if you like reading about schemes, then this is the book for you. 

And it is the book for me. Watching Freya becoming a queen, all the while facing plenty of revolts, people who do not believe her a queen. Having to win support from the people, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so very much. The romance only takes a small portion of the book, and Freya isn’t too stupid to believe that Fitzroy is completely innocent. And I do like how she even thought of her own father. 

Although the court isn’t as cutthroat as I expected, isn’t making her make the hard decisions as I expected. But it wasn’t anywhere safer. Motives could be as simple as wanting a better future. As simple as hoping for a better kingdom.

What I did like was showing Freya finding herself as a queen and having to assert herself. But I would have still preferred she was dealing with a lot more of hard decisions. Decisions which is very hard to make, both sides are pretty horrible but she has to pick the best of the lot. 

Another downside is the lack of worldbuliding, the fact that there is nothing on it. I would think that this should have been marketed as historical fiction, where it would have been believed way better given the lack of magic and use of science as explanation. 

As for the schemes here, the way the poisoning was done was rather intelligent. Using the king himself, and his own personality traits against him. All the while throwing suspicion off herself. I really like the murderer because it was such a sound plan, and that she has a much better mind. 

One thing that I do like about this book is the way it treats female friendships as important. The world is also not sexist. The court has many female characters. Madeleine gets a special mention, since she clearly is intelligent and although she won’t be able to support Freya in the end. Well, I like her for her intellect in thinking and her ability to scheme which makes me think that she should have been queen. Since she still has her conscience but with enough intelligence to get rid of all sorts of threats. But Freya is a rather nice choice too. 

Overall, I would say that this is a book filled with court intrigue. If you want fantasy, don’t read this. If you enjoy reading about a queen learning to rule, a queen having to find her own identity as a queen, her own way to rule. Also at the same time, how can someone go from nobody to becoming a queen, and one that indeed does know how to rule all the while keeping her conscience and not having her hands completely stained with blood by the end. Also, with only a touch of romance. Check this out this book as it is for you. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5