Book Review · Books

Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth [BOOK REVIEW]

Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth [BOOK REVIEW]

Before I dive into the lengthy review of Divergent by Veronica Roth, I have to say one thing. I truly need to stop watching the movie adaptations before I read the books. It happened with the Divergent series. Then it continued with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. It also happened with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I need a special app that won’t let me watch a movie adaptation, unless that book title is on my “Read” shelf in Goodreads.

About The Book:

Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s

Pages: 487

Format I read it in: Paperback

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★★

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit.

So she ventures out alone, determined to discover where she truly belongs. Shocked by her brutal new life Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.

The hardest choice lies ahead.

My Thoughts:

Even having watched the movie first, Divergent was such a fun experience. I loved diving into this dystopian world, getting to know Tris. I wish I read it sooner. This book just proves that Young-Adult fantasy is still a favourite genre of mine, no matter how much older I get.

The factions were really interesting to me, and I was curious to see which faction I would belong to. Funnily enough, I am pretty sure I am a Divergent. And also, I think actually, all of us are too. You can never really fit into just one faction. We all carry a little bit of every trait, one more than the other. Humans are also curious by nature. We want to explore different things, learn new things. Our choices, wishes and goals in life also change all the time. And I loved how Veronica Roth took this topic, this ideam and expanded it into its extreme. By that, giving us a dystopian world with a brave female lead.

“Working together, these five factions have lived in peace for many years, each contributing to a different sector of society. Abnegation has fulfilled our need for selfless leaders in government; Candor has provided us with trustworthy and sound leaders in law; Erudite has supplied us with intelligent teachers and researchers; Amity has given us understanding counselors and caretakers; and Dauntless provides us with protection from threats both within and without.”

I especially loved Tris’s journey with the Dauntless. Also her dilemmas, and the need for her to make a choice of what feels right and what people expect of her to do. I was also very in love with Four. He is my book crush right now, and I cannot help, but adore him.

“We believe in the ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

Everything about the book, from storylines, to world building, to character development was so well executed. Every little thing had its own meaning, nothing felt excessive or out of place. It gripped me from the very beginning and kept me hooked until the very end. I still have to buy and read the rest of the series, and I cannot wait to start the next book.

I definitely recommend you pick this up if you love dystopian fantasies. Divergent is popular for a very good reason, and definitely deserves the hype.

About The Author:

Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Divergent series (DivergentInsurgentAllegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection), the Carve the Mark duology (Carve the Markthe Fates Divide), The End and Other Beginnings collection of short fiction, Chosen Ones, and many short stories and essays. She lives in Chicago.

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Book Review · Books

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so glad that the author, Intisar Khanani, sent me an ARC e-copy of Brambles. Brambles is a prequel to Thorn, and is a part of the Dauntless Path series. I absolutely adored Thorn, and you can read my review of it HERE. When I heard there is a prequel, I was immediately sold!

About The Book:

Brambles (Dauntless Path #0.5) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 40

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof – ebook

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Synopsis:

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

My Thoughts:

In Brambles, we get to meet princess Alyrra before she is betrothed. We also meet her family and Valka as well. As short as this book was, it was filled with a lot of emotion, as well as a good moral story of doing what is right. Valka enjoyed messing up with the servants and ruining their lives, and when Alyrra stood up to her, it was at this point that everything changed.

Alyrra did what was right, but it was interesting to see her brother and her mother’s reactions. Clearly, their reputation was much more important to them than integrity. It is also in Brambles that we witness Alyrra’s brother and how cruel he can be. And most importantly, it is here we witness her first connection with the wind.

If you have already read Thorn, Brambles will be such a delight for you. It has Easter eggs hidden in it, and it also shows us a different side to the characters in more depth than we get to know them in Thorn. It is also lovely to see Alyrra’s life before she needs to move to the city, and how she behaves when nobody is watching.

But at the same time – if this is the first book you decide to pick up from this series, it is a perfect introduction to the story that’s about to follow. You’ll get to meet Alyrra and find out more about the circumstances she lives in. Intisar Khanani beautifully created a loop of content, that no matter which book you choose to read first, it will be a delight nevertheless.

I still find it amusing how the author managed to create such a compelling and intriguing prequel in only 40 pages.

Rating:

★★★★

About The Author:

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to publishing her novels, Intisar worked as a public health consultant on projects relating to infant mortality and minority health, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

Intisar is the author of the Dauntless Path books (Thorn, The Theft of Sunlight), and her indie epic fantasy series, The Sunbolt Chronicles.

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Book Review · Books

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]

I had the amazing opportunity to participate in another instagram readalong – this time reading House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland with some amazing bookstagrammers. Huge thank you to the team at Tandem as well as the publisher Hot Key Books or sending me a copy of the book to read and review!

About The Book:

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 352

Format I read it in: Paperback

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.

My Thoughts:

I loved the mystery that surrounded the Hollow sisters and their disappearance. It gave me a Stranger Things vibe and the writing was beautiful!

I loved the relationship that the sisters had with each other and I also appreciated how complicated their relationship was with Cate. Once I finished the book, I was able to fully understand the reasoning behind it, and I loved how this was represented in the book. It must be so hard for Cate to have done what she was doing all her life, and I was really amazed by her character!

You can feel the suspense from the very first chapter.

It grips you and it doesn’t let go until the very end! Reading this book as part of a readalong was so hard. Imagine only having to read 50 pages a day, when you just want to devour the whole book in one evening. I am not sure where I acquired the patience I needed to be able to resist finishing this book early.

My favourite character was Iris.

I loved how she grew as a person throughout the book. So did Tyler, even though, let’s be honest – he wasn’t a very important character in the first place. I felt like his presence was unnecessary at times, and he seemed to have existed in the book to just assist with one thing around the end. A bit convenient in my opinion.

One of the favourite parts about this book is how I started reading it and I formed certain opinions about certain characters. And as I kept reading, these opinions changed so dramatically, but in such a natural way. By the end of the book, I felt like I was a completely different person as well.

I was left slightly unsatisfied with the ending, as it doesn’t quite end. I feel like there is still some room left for perhaps another book. If so, I’ll be the first in line to read it. But if not, I liked how it leaves us to determine what might be happening in the future, with a slight guidance on what the character’s plans are.

If you’re one of those people that love searching for clues and answers, you’ll have so much fun reading this! I went on a wild paranormal adventure entangled with myths, fashion and wild flowers. House of Hollow is certainly one of my favourite titles this year.

Rating:

★★★★

About The Author:

Krystal Sutherland is an internationally published author. Her first novel, Chemical Hearts, was published in over 20 countries and was named by the American Booksellers Association as one of the best debuts of 2016. The film adaptation, produced by Amazon Studios, stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Euphoria); Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird US. In 2018, she appeared on the annual Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home. Her next novel for young adults, House of Hollow, is set for publication by Penguin in spring 2021.

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Book Review · Books

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]

It took me so long to start reading House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas and now that I’ve read it, I am so hyped for the next book. I wish I started it sooner, but I’m also glad I didn’t, because now I don’t have to wait too long for the second book in the Crescent City series.

About The Book:

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Pages: 803

Format I read it in: hardcover

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Synopsis:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, what a turbulent masterpiece this was! I didn’t expect so many plot twists. And I didn’t expect to care about so many people in this book! My emotional tank can only take so much!

I was reading House of Earth and Blood for a whole month, and I realised that I read books longer when I’m really devouring them. This book was one of those. The beginning was slow, but I enjoyed diving into this new world Sarah J. Maas created. And then we had a big plot twist and I was both heartbroken and hooked.

I loved how slowly we get to know Bryce, and at the same time, she slowly gets to know herself better too. We start to understand why she is the way she is. The way she copes with grief and is unable to trust anyone was so relatable to be, and this is also the reason why I enjoyed the slow burn romance as well. It fit so well with Bryce’s character and with her story.

The world was confusing at times, but things began to clear up near the end. I am also sure that when the next book comes, it will clear more things up as well. My favourite bits were the Drop ritual and the concept of different houses. I am looking forward to see the rivalries and perhaps even a bit of history between them. That’s something I think I will really enjoy.

Aside from Bryce, we get to know Athalar Hunt as well, and I really loved his story too. His story is so sad, especially his enslavement. I also couldn’t help but admire his loyalty to Bryce, especially in the end. And his ability to speak up and act for what he truly believes in, and what he believes is right and fair. But aside from Hunt, this book features so many characters that deserve a mention. Danika, Lehabah, Ruhn, Jesiba are just a few, and they were all so vividly alive and full of spirit, unlike many side characters from other books that often get forgotten.

There is so much I love about this book!

The fantasy that is able to touch reality so well. A world full of magic and powers, but also the core human feelings too. Friendships, love, betrayal and death hits all the same. And even though living in a fantasy world, Bryce is sometimes more real and more human than most of us. Be ready to laugh, cry, fall in love (slowly) and dive into an adventure of good versus evil in another masterpiece created by Sarah J. Maas. Cannot wait for the second book in the Crescent City series!

Rating:

★★★★★

About The Author:

The fantasy writer Sarah J. Maas (USA), January 22, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Crescent City, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the Throne of Glass series. Her books have sold more than twelve million copies and are published in thirty-seven languages. A New York native, Sarah lives in Philadelphia with her husband, son, and dog. 

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Book Review · Books

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Oh my goodness, what a book! The Gilded Ones is the first book in the Deathless series, and it’s already much talked about! Get ready to dive into a YA Fantasy that will brutally show you what happens when society believes oppression is okay. And how one girl, who is deemed different and therefore, cast away from her village, will rise up and fight for her freedom!

I am so thankful to a few teams, for letting me be part of this experience and sending me a copy of this book. Thanks to LoveReading and LoveReading Kids, Usborne YA and Tandem Collective.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka grew up and lives in Otera, a kingdom with patriarchal values. The Kingdom has the Ritual of Purity, where every girl’s worth is being determined by the colour of her blood. When a girl reaches a certain age, she needs to prove she’s “pure”. If she bleeds red, she is “pure” and is accepted as part of the village and required to wear a mask.

When the day comes for Deka to undergo the Ritual of Purity, she bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. She faces a consequence worse than death, and is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature. Deka is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. And this woman offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with the other Alakis, or be destroyed…

“Giving us impossibilities and calling them choices.”

My Thoughts:

The Gilded Ones is everything I expected it to be and more. From the very first page, I cared so much for Deka. As the chapters went on, I couldn’t peel my eyes off the book. Firstly, the world building is spectacular. Namina Forna created this fictional world, and society so cruel that it made me hurt for Deka and the other Alakis.

These people don’t really appreciate and accept the worth of a woman, even when she is considered “pure”. The women in the village are only there to bear children and be housewifes. They are also required to wear a mask to cover their faces. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a housewife and staying home. But it has to be the woman that makes that choice. And in this society, the woman has no voice, no space to make a choice, no other option. And these are the “pure” women we are talking about. What about those that are deemed “different”?

The Alaki

Deka and the others like her bleed gold, and therefore, the society thinks they are evil. The society is afraid of anything that is different to them, and therefore rejects it. These girls are subject to terrible things, And through Deka and her friends’ experiences, we find out about the most gruesome and brutal things that can happen to women, in a society led by men and voiceless women. These girls now have to fight for the Emperor, having no other choice, and stay together. However, they have some unexpected powers, especially Deka, that with time, she will learn to use. Their training and battles will teach them things that will change them forever.

“The physical body – it heals. The scars fade. But the memories are for ever. Even when you forget, they remain inside, taunting you, resurfacing when you least expect.”

Remember your scars! Embrace them! Let them remind you where you came from, what you went through. Let them remind you how much you’ve achieved! Without those scars, you would never be the person you are today.

As a YA Fantasy, The Gilded Ones exceeds everything!

There is danger, adventure and magic. There is Deka’s main storyline, that drives the story forward as we learn more about her and her role in this world. But there are also the stories of her many Alaki friends she meets, all bearing their own weight, all powerful and emotional in their own way. I especially loved that we had a romance creeping into the book, but it so subtle and never took importance in the story. I loved how independent Deka was, and how well represented it was that love can exist in your world, and you can care about someone, but it doesn’t have to define you as a person, or affect your decisions. This is not the case with most of the YA Fantasy books, and I am so glad that this book focused on it.

Namika Forna wrote a masterpiece, and this book will go a long way! It’s all about that raw brutality and pure emotions dripping into every single page. My heart was breaking for Deka, Britta, Belcalis and the other girls! The Gilded Ones is a book that shows how to live past the stereotypes, and when oppressed, to fight for freedom! It shows in a brutal way what would happen if a certain behaviour becomes supported by the general public and becomes the new norm. It also shows that you can fight through it. And considering today’s world is not too far off from this fantasy, hopefully we’ll all learn a little bit more about important topics worth talking about!

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

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