Book Review · Books

The Breaking (Northern Witch #3) by K.S. Marsden [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Breaking by K.S. Marsden is the third book in the Northern Witch series. Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read my review of book one – Winter Trials.
Read my review of book two – Awaken.

Synopsis:

Mark thought being a witch would be easy, but it has ruined everything.

Now, he has to fight for his friends and the guy that he loves.

Which would be challenging enough, without school being a living nightmare; more demons than he can handle; and witches that have strayed from the light.

My Thoughts:

Continuing where the previous book left off, The Breaking followed up nicely with the story of Mark trying to save his lover. It is a very heartwarming story that also contains fantastical elements.

I enjoyed that Mark’s friends Harry and Sarah got more time in the book. Their scenes were very interesting to read, and I was really invested in their plotline as well. I loved the moments when the band was in the spotlight – the scene in London when they appear on the stage is my favorite one!

I loved the travel to London and the adventurous spirit that Mark showed, alongside with the suspense and dangers that arose from that trip. The introduction to new witches was intriguing, and I was curious through the whole book. The demons were my favourite, and I couldn’t help but care for them. I think that at some point, I cared more about them than I did about Mark, and I’m not even sorry to say this. 🙂 

To sum up, I wanted a bit more fantastical elements, aside from the demons. I wished there was more magic involved in The Breaking, and I was a slightly disappointed on the cliffhanger at the end of the book. But then I realised another book was coming out, so hoping the next book will conclude some of my predictions. I am hoping for more character development in the next book as well. But I also really enjoyed this book, and I admired the adventures that Mark went through in this book, compared to the first two. There was a bit more intensity and it felt as if there was more at stake this time, and Mark had more to lose, which I loved reading about.

If you love magic, witches and teenage gay romance, I definitely recommend this series to you. 

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Book Review · Books

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik [BOOK REVIEW]

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

I was so excited to read A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik.

A Deadly Education is the first book in the Scholomance series. It was supposed to be everything I love – magic, magical school, a bit of romance. And it left me so disappointed and just empty within. I have no words of how sad I am to be writing this review. I am crushed, but I have to be honest to myself and to the people reading my reviews.

Synopsis:

A Deadly Education is indeed a story about a deadly magical school. This school, Scholomance, is a school for students that are magically gifted. There are no teachers and students are left alone to master skills and attend lessons. They are also forbidden to walk the halls at night, because deadly monsters are lurking from every corner. And the ultimate graduation test is a deadly game of survival by fighting these monsters. 

The students’ magic works based on either mana (the good magic) or malia (the bad magic). 

El is our main character in this book, who can use malia to defeat all the monsters, but that would involve killing the other students. Survival also means working on strategies and making allies with other people.

And then we also have Orion Lake. He has many friends and admirers and he keeps saving El’s life. And she’s not impressed and hates him. 

My Thoughts:

I feel like A Deadly Education was a great idea about a magical school that has a “Hunger Games” type of graduation, but somewhere in the middle the plot got lost and we got a weak story. 

First of all, I hated El. I don’t usually hate characters, but God, I really despised her. Not only was she incredibly rude all the time, but she was very entitled, self-centered and very selfish. I hated the fact that she always thought the world revolved about her. Furthermore, she kept pushing people away, especially her so-called friends and Orion. 

Then we have Orion Lake, who is portrayed as the hero, saving so many lives. Which he is. But he also is this person that can’t speak for himself, and seems like he does whatever other people tell him to do. 

And the romance between them was very non-existent. There wasn’t any form of attraction that I felt, only El’s rudeness. I don’t know how it escalated in the end to a romance, because I didn’t see it. El was even then being rude to him. 

This is such a hard review to write, as I know this book is widely popular. But for me, it didn’t hit the mark in any way. I wish there was more to it than just the deadly monsters and strategies for a graduation that was so talked about. And I wish the romance was real. But I’m still keen to read the second book, just to find out whether it will redeem itself, at least a bit. If you’re looking for a magical school, I’d suggest Hogwarts.

This ain’t it.

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Book Review · Books

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern [BOOK REVIEW]

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I don’t even know how to start my book review for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was too magical, that I feel like everything I write will not do this book justice. To me, it felt like I was a part of one big secret. And in this book, Widget has something to say about secrets:

“Secrets have power,” Widget begins. “And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

Therefore, I feel like everything I might say will make this magical book a little less magical than it already is. I feel like this is an experience that you need to read for yourself, get acquainted with this Circus, with its characters, and feel like a part of it. 

Two people, brought up in different circumstances, have been getting ready for the challenge all their lives. They can’t avoid it, they are bonded to it. Their task is to be better than the other person, be a better magician, be a better illusionist. Their destiny is magical and dangerous, and the circus is their arena. 

“You need to understand your limitations so you can overcome them.”

The circus is a beautiful place.

It is magical. It is everything you’ve ever wanted as a kid. The lights, the music, the mystery, the performers… Everything that happens in the circus has its own story. Many characters involved and their own adventures mix, get tangled and interfere with the two competitor’s destiny. I loved the descriptions of the different tents, the ice garden, the labyrinth, the cloud maze, the tent with the bottles…

“People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”

The writing in The Night Circus is beautiful. It is slow-paced and very imaginative. Slowly, it takes you to a place where people perform illusions, read tarot and foresee the destiny, tell stories, build magical clocks. If you’ve ever been to a circus, you will feel like you are there again. If you haven’t experienced that before, this book will give you the best possible introduction. A story of magic, love, destiny and storytelling like you’ve never seen before and you’re unlikely to see soon. It’s no wonder this book receives such hype. 

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
                                                      – Oscar Wilde, 1888

The Night Circus is a favourite. The ultimate favorite. Today, tomorrow, and probably until the rest of my life. For all the characters inside it that mattered. For the happy ever afters. But most importantly, for the storytellers. For my grandma, for Widget and for Erin. And for the other storytellers like them – because without them, we wouldn’t be able to truly find magic.

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Book Review · Books

Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place #1) by Alexandra Christo [BOOK REVIEW]

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Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo was a book I was very excited to read in the first place.

There is magic and potions, there is romance and adventure. The hype around it was huge, and it is still talked about in the bookish community.

What’s not to like?

Tavia sells magic potions on the market. One day, she is ordered to sell a new magic potion. When her friend Saxoni drinks the new potion, something bad happens. The potion makes people do terrible things – and Tavia and Saxoni need to stop it, before it destroys everyone!

The storytelling in this book was amazing. I was immediately teleported to a world where going to a market to buy a love potion is normal. I could connect with all characters immediately, and wanted to know more about them. The story is told from multiple character’s points of view, which I found appropriate for this story. 

Apart from Tavia and Saxony, we also meet Wesley – who is Tavia’s underboss. He is the one that she follows orders from, and he is the one to grant her her freedom, once she earns it by working for him. 

“There are no good people, he said. Just ones who haven’t made bad choices yet.”

We also meet Karam – a feisty warrior woman, who is fighting in pits for money. Karam is a character that I instantly liked, for her bravery and her free spirit. She knows who she is, she knows how she got there, and she knows exactly what she wants. 

“She had fought her way to her position and hadn’t needed prayer or magic to do it. Just her fists and her smarts and the knowledge that she could.”

I liked Karam and she was probably my favorite character.

I think that her journey was the most adventurous compared to all the other characters, and I feel like she’s grown the most. 

“She felt at home. And she knew why. She knew then that home could be anywhere, because it wasn’t a place, but a feeling. It was made up of people, not bricks, and it was something you could create for yourself, just like family.”

The legacy that Karam and Saxony carry is very conveniently revealed. The author only revealed this when it was needed in the book, to fit a certain situation and prompt plot twists. This wasn’t something I enjoyed, and together with how the book ended, it did leave a bitter aftertaste. I think I would have liked the book more if certain reveals were handled better, and the ending was more interesting.

“Sometimes, words spoken in anger are not words spoken in truth, dila.”

To sum everything up, I still think Into the Crooked Place was amazing and enjoyable.

I enjoyed being in this magical world and I enjoyed the adventures the characters went through. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you will know I love a good versus evil battle, and this book did indeed have that. Would I change the ending? Yes. Would I change the way the reveals were handled? Yes. But was this still an amazing book? Most definitely. If you love young-adult magic and adventure books – you will enjoy this one! 

Thank you to the teams at Hot Key Books and ReadersFirst, for sending me a copy of this book. Into the Crooked Place is the first book in the series. The second book is called City of Spells, and is expected to come out in 2021. 

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Book Review · Books

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

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Diving into the Harry Potter universe is a treat to my soul every time.

There is something so familiar and comfortable to this world, especially Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that always pulls me back to where it all started. 

Read my reviews of the previous Harry Potter books: 

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Since there is a lot of drama going on with the author at the moment, I want to say just this. While I do not agree with some of the author’s statements, her work meant a lot to me throughout my years, and I have chosen to draw a line between her personal life and her work. You may have a different opinion, and that is valid too. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling is one of my favorite books from the series.

The year is filled with the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament, the fight for elves’ freedom, the beginning of the rising of evil and the terrible destiny of Cedric Diggory. 

Harry has a weird dream about Voldemort at the beginning of the book. He lets Sirius Black know in a letter. Then, he and his friends, as well as the whole Weasley family attend the Quidditch World Cup, where there is an incident with Harry’s wand – that will start this book in a very dark way.

As the new school year of Hogwarts begins, Dumbledore has an exciting announcement to make. Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard tournament this year!

“The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago, as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. A champion was selected to represent each school, and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turns to host the Tournament once every five years, and it was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities – until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the Tournament was discontinued.”

When the Goblet of Fire selects the three champions for each house, everyone is ready to move on. Viktor Krum, from Durmstrang, was selected first, followed by Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons. The Goblet selected Cedric Diggory as the Hogwarts Champion.

But then, the Goblet spits out one more name – Harry Potter!

But how is that possible, when Harry hasn’t put his name in?

“Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?” Dumbledore asked calmly. 

Careful of the fact that someone wants Harry to be in danger, he still needs to compete in the three tasks of the tournament. I loved all three tasks and how smart some wizards had to be to overcome their challenges.

I also really loved the Yule Ball, and the atmosphere it had. Everyone seemed happier and forgot their worries for the evening. Things were calming down before the real storm began. 

The part I loved the most, which wasn’t included in the movies, was Harmione’s fight for the rights of the elves. She fought that they deserved to be free and be paid for their work, not be slaves to witches and wizards. On top of all this, what I loved most was Dobby’s story in this whole situation.

Also, did you know this?

Hermione’s name is pronounced “Her-my-oh-nee”. I have somehow always known this at the back of my mind, but because it’s pronounced as “Her-my-nee” in the movies, I have been saying it like that for a very long time. 

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Still a favourite and still amazing. After all this time? Always! 

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

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