The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

— Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

    Hold on to your hats, my friends, The Night Circus is coming to town and it has brought its magic along with it. I started this book without the slightest clue of what I was dipping my toe into. It didn’t take me long to realize that my whole mind was submerged in a star-filled mystical world where anything is possible if you hold your arms wide open and let the enchantment embrace your mind and body. Erin Morgenstern’s novel is a visual experience that will haunt your imagination like none other books have done so yet. Its intricate attention to details stimulates your senses into believing you’re a rêveur who’s been up all night until the arrival of Le Cirque des Rêves. It holds onto your gaze like a star-filled night and bestows upon you the desire to smile, to discover, to vow your life to a circus that took form through written words. The Night Circus is the story of Celia and Marco. These two individuals who have been bound to a challenge forced upon them by their masters since a very young age, will soon go face to face as the circus serve as their venue, their battlefield. It is their ignorance of how the victor is decided that the tale shifts from a competition to a collaboration, one that will lead them into an unexpected love story set in a magical ambience.
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Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

MY RATING: ★

It started out great. The world building seemed good, the characters seemed lovable and not getting on my nerves. But then it suddenly shifted to something else entirely. I decided to finish the book because I had hope it would get better but it didn’t and I’m pretty disappointed.

Throughout the story you expect to understand the plot holes. But nope. You don’t get to. We never really understand why Denna was bethroned first, the wars between kingdoms how did it start? I think these information and so many other can contribute to a greater world building. Continue reading

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

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“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

— Stephen King, The Gunslinger

    This is my first experience of Stephen King’s work. I am myself surprised that it isn’t one of his pure horror stories, but I also had a feeling I was going to end up exploring the Dark Tower universe before anything else. With an adaptation in the work, starring both Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba—two formidable actors, might I add—I vowed I’d get my hands on this series before indulging the movie. The first book in this series, The Gunslinger, introduces us to two mysterious figures. While their motives and their personalities remain ambiguous right from the beginning, you quickly get a grasp of who you’re dealing with as you tag along in their cruel and enchanted adventure. One thing ultimately drives this story forward and it all lies in the gunslinger pursuing the man in black through a desolate universe. Poetic and enigmatic, the first book in the Dark Tower series is a character-driven story that lays out a world that has yet to be fully understood.
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Uprooted by Naomi Navik

MY RATING : ★✩✩✩✩

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through.

untitled-1Ouhh a dragon who kidnaps the girls in the village! :O BUT NO. WAIT. A dragon? No no. It’s not even a frkn dragon, it’s a guy and apparently he takes a girl in the village every now and then (but no one knows why.AND OF COURSEEE as expected,  the girls don’t get tortured or whatever. They leave peacefully and has everything they want WHILE being taught magic. Dramatic. 

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The Anmorian Legends by D.N. Pillay

MY RATING: ★★★

Initially consumed by anger and doubts, plagued by the memories of his parents’ murder and a desire for vengeance, Rezaaran suppresses these demons in the pursuit of a purer purpose to restore peace as he becomes the last War-Mage of the fabled Vokarii.

On a quest spanning the galaxy Rezaaran begins to unravel the secrets of the four realms of Anmor and his destiny in an ancient battle.Yet his greatest challenge will be within. Will he find the strength to walk the path of a hero?

The world building is one of a kind. I have never seen anything like this before.  A great blend of fantasy and science-fiction. Pillar delivers his descriptions very carefully. It has sword combats and spaceships altogether.

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”

— Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora

    This is my 2016 coup de coeurOnly a very few books are able to suck me into a place so magnificently beautiful that I forget where I’m laying down, what’s around me and what time it is. This gift of literature is an unsettling and staggering creation. It bestowed upon me so much joy, shock and thrill, that, more often than not, I felt like I was living in a world that actually exists. Camorr was presented in such a stunning fashion that I just couldn’t stop imagining it as a real universe, something that someone would call a parallel world. Something that would reverberate as the underground, shady and dark burrows of Earth. The ingredients in this exquisite recipe are varied in so many ways, it’s just vertiginous. The Lies of Locke Lamora is hilarious, savage, witty, complex and engrossing. It doesn’t ever fail in creating a bona fide story filled with charming, yet treacherous characters. Although it is only the beginning of the adventures of some of the greatest characters ever, this novel is a dragon that I will have trouble chasing after. This is the tale of Locke Lamora and the Gentlemen Bastards.  Continue reading

The Muiread by Luke Taylor

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“Let me walk to that day without fear, fair Ivy. Let me walk where the dawn and dusk collide, and there, standing tall against Eternity’s foe, fight the fight of my life.”

— Luke Taylor, The Muiread

     Have you ever read a novel that said more about the author than his biography could? It’s quite the insight, I tell you. I’ve known Luke Taylor since the first day he contacted Bookidote for a review of his novel The Quiet Kill. Since then, he has built a bond with us like no other author has attempted to do so. Through Goodreads, I’ve seen his passion for novels unfold and I’ve learned about classics that I should quick get my hands on thanks to his vast and profound knowledge of the existing literature. It is only much later that I’ve gotten the chance to read The Muiread and see for myself what style he fancies as an author. I jumped into this book with my eyes closed and had close to no expectations on what was about to unravel. It is now with absolute certainty that I can see that Luke Taylor is a man with a deep-seated love for literature. This novel screams that its creator can take upon himself countless styles and reinvigorate even the most lost arts that literature has ever known. Continue reading

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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     Where do I begin? There’s a fine line between humans and monsters. The definition of evil and its manifestations—undeniably—helps us gauge the nature of a person. It’s highly unlikely for the world to not encounter evil in its many forms, at least once in a lifetime. The cruelty that men are capable of gives others something to look upon and learn from. Not to repeat, but to avoid. If evil is something you tag upon an action, a saying, a thing or a person, does that mean that some of these very things cannot be tagged good? Ever? It’s when we start questioning these things that we start believing that even the evilest of things can also be good.

    This Savage Song explores monsters like no other novel. This is a story built in a world where a major event created a massive separation between two big families, the Flynns and the Harkers. As they’re on the brink of war against one another, monsters roam the streets and safety is perceived as a luxury. Unique in their nature, three types of creatures live among the humans and only fear and survival drives society. Victoria Schwab brings young readers the story of Kate Harker and August Flynn. One that seeks to be ruthless, while the other wants to be human. This Savage song will bring together two individuals that are nothing short of opposite only to see that they were made to cross paths. Continue reading

Last Light Falling (Book 1) : The Covenant by J. E. Plemons

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“I guess the only freedom we have left is whether or not we blindly accept it.”

— J. E. Plemons, Last Light Falling (Book 1) : The Covenant

     Set in the future, 2053 to be precise, a disastrous event is about to unfold. America will never be normal again. People will meet Death and succumb to his demands. Nothing is promised and there’s only one person that change everything. Arena Power. This 15 year old girl finds out that the faith of humanity is within the palms of her little hands and is confronted with one ultimate decision: To follow her destiny as the Chosen One and save the world or steer away from a future filled with a burden to unleash God’s wrath on the Evil that walks among them. Surrounded by her twin brother, her uncle—also trainer of various arts—family and friends, Arena Power is put upon a path that is blurred with death, blood and destruction. Thankfully, she holds more skills and intellect than most of humanity to help her rid the world of the nightmare that embellishes it. Continue reading

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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“No mourners. No funerals.”

— Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

         -We opened a shop! Stay tuned at the end of the post for more info ;)-

       Where do I begin? Leigh Bardugo has concocted one of the most amazing caper story of all time. From the moment I read the blurb, I knew I had to give this a try. A bunch of teenage anti-heros who plan on carrying out an impossible mission? Sold.

      Now lets scour through a world of darkness and acquaint you with an instant masterpiece. Set in Ketterdam, one of the many places that the author Leigh Bardugo has masterfully constructed for her Grishaverse, only the darkest, the most mysterious and the truly conflicted individuals roam the streets. A macabre underbelly where hope and greed are the sole strings that run the society, Kaz Brekker, criminal prodigy and master of deception, is offered a handsome sum of money upon the completion of the most hopeless and suicidal heist. Greed might be his servant and his lever, but even the blindest man knows that this is not a one man job. Continue reading

Cinder by Marissa Meyer aka why you should read it

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MY RATING: ★★

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder

A Cinderella story retelling in a Big Hero 6 city and the same fun and enterntaiment as Harry Potter. Oh and instead of a princess, it’s a cyborg. Yes, that’s what Cinder is about and IT’S AMAZING! Set in the near future in New Beijing, Cinder is a cyborg with a complicated and twisted past who has to help one of her sister avoiding the deadly plague that reigns over the nation. In the meantime, the Lunar is taking opportunities of the plague and the weak citizens to plan and take over the planet. Seriously, doesn’t this sound fun to you? LOL

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Against The Reign by Dove Winters

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My Rating: ★★☆(4,5)

“It’s certainly no place for children, or anyone respectable, definitely not a princess. But here I am.”

-DOVE WINTERS

Laughing out loud. Check. Kick-ass princess. Check. Funny best friend. Check. Teasing and charismatic prince. Check. WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT POPULAR ALREADY? Hahah okay let’s take a moment to describe why I think this book is so awesome. It starts off with Ginny, the princess who doesn’t want to fit in the palace life. She enjoys runaway life, dancing in bars, fighting and most of all, she is enjoying not being the Queen, taking the heir. Yes, she hates it. She wants to do everything to avoid having to rule her kingdom. She even planned secretly to wait until her little brother can get married and just pass it on the crown to him. Unfortunately, one event is going to change her decisions forever. She will not have a choice but to accept the crown.
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Spell Fade by J. Daniel Layfield

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“The subconscious is the root, the beginning of all wishes and desires, and it plays a strong role in a wizard’s power.”

— J. Daniel Layfield, Spell Fade

        It’s easy to get lost in a fantasy novel. All it takes is an author able to reconstruct a believable but implausible universe. An author setting up an intricate yet simple plot capable of sweeping you off your feet and capturing every moment, as tiny as it may be. An author that helps you blindly wander through countless adventures, accompanied by various characters with particular personas. It’s by identifying yourselves through the characters that readers are blown away and feel nonfictional emotions towards fictional characters. Wait a second. That didn’t sound easy. Spell Fade was definitely a fantasy novel that excelled on several—not all—fields and managed to deliver a linear and entertaining fantasy adventure tale. Set in Pavlora, a moribund Great Wizard needs to quickly find a ruler for the kingdom before it also follows him to death. However, Dartan, a boy raised in a farm, doesn’t realize that the future lies in his hands and his hands holds more power than one could every imagine. Continue reading

Sevara (Volume 1) – Dawn of Hope by Damian Wampler

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iladis manus tu, iladim manus ti,
“What does it mean?
“You will be remembered, for I will remember
you.”

— Damian Wampler, Sevara (Volume 1) – Dawn of Hope

          The premises behind the world of Sevara is bound to send chills down any free man. Girls are unwanted at birth. They’re sent to orphanages, only to be bought one day or the other by men to mold them into hard-working slaves. Society is controlled by the rich and the poor suffer in the perimeter. Corruption flirts with politics like never before and Evil has never had an uglier face. Sevara tells the story of a young girl who reaches the age of 15 and is sent away from her orphanage to roam the streets of Plexus, blindly and without resources. However, she only has a token to guide her journey in finding her roots. Her adventures brings her to set forth a revolution to bring peace, equality and freedom for all the girls, the poor and the unwanted. As she takes upon the future of Plexus, she also crosses paths with a couple guardians who will soon set Sevara on a road to a life she would never have imagined. Continue reading

The Masks of Monsters by Narayan Liu

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RATING : ★★★★☆

“The stars were a blur of white and blue and the air grew ever colder, it was only the fast pounding of Darius heart that kept him warm.”

– Narayan Liu, The Masks of monsters

If you are in need of a little scary and fun story on this day of Halloween, this book is for you! Only 100 pages long, this beautifully written novel is about Darius, a young man who commits murder and comes face-to-face with Aeron, who is one of the most terrifying creatures on earth: a vampire.  He will be enrolled in their world and will have to confront the lust and the temptations of the underworld. With a roller coaster of actions and suspense, I was not disappointed at all.

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Song of the Sea by Jade Varden

Song of the Sea  : ★★★★☆ (3.8) 

“It’s a liquid land filled with secrets and mysteries, and I wanted to discover them all.”

– Jade Varden, Song of the Sea

Brenna, a fifteen years old girl finds a fairly odd artifact in her attic and decided to use it for her school project. Unusual? Yes, but not useless. She will discover through that action how her world will be changed forever and that her family’s history laid beyond the surface of the Earth. Across the Atlantic Ocean, we will discover another universe with mermaids, selkies and mermen. Honestly, I didn’t know the existence of selkies before reading this. I had to google some pictures and damn, what a fascinating creature it is !

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Q&A with Eric Mrozek

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I had the chance to receive Eric Mrozek, author of Destruction for an interview. Here’s my review for his book for those fantasy fan readers ! 

simple vintage gold frame1. Welcome to Bookidote! To get to know you better, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I am a 26 year old man that currently works as a businessman and entrepreneur on the Internet in one form or another. I currently reside in Michigan.

2. Have you ever written anything before Destruction? What made you want to start writing this story? 

This isn’t the first project that I’ve written. Since I was seventeen, I have been developing worlds and refining my writing craft through a wide variety of projects, so Destruction was a natural extension of that.

3.What were your inspirations while writing Destruction? How did you build the fantasy world that Helisah and Aegras live in?

Destruction is based around a combination of my study of history and my love of the fantasy genre. When it comes to historical inspiration, the core of the novel is based around the Age of Enlightenment and the early Industrial Revolution, but I also drew from periods before and after that. I knew early on that a move forward to that era would set the novel apart because it allowed me to explore new themes like the rise of democracy, capitalism, and the clash of new and old ideologies. A huge portion of the scenes in the story are influenced by historical events or schools of thought from that time, such as classical liberalism, hedonism, and so on.

As for my love of fantasy, that played a role in the novel because I wanted to challenge myself to make a deep and rich world that can please fantasy fans, but I also wanted to make it accessible to the masses. Even with the success of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, I think that a lot of people are still put off by fantasy because of things like an enormous cast of characters, which can make it a pain (even for me) to figure out what the point of that background character or this detail was and why I should care. It can also lead to fans becoming unsatisfied with the story because it tends to lead to dropped storylines. I thought that the best way to combat that would be to scale it down and make it much more intimate, which is where the concept of a diary came from.

4. I must say that I was quite impressed by the cover illustration! Who designed it? Tell us about the cover and how you came to choose it.

The chief cover artist is Hermann Kromer, but some of the pieces on there are modified versions of my own design. I knew from the time that I approached Hermann on the Internet that the cover was going to be a scene from the book, so we developed a more collaborative process that was almost akin to writing a comic book. I would script out the scene and, more often than not, he would create characters like Helisah and Aegras for my approval and put them in there. Sometimes, he would also come up with a new surprise that I knew I had to add, such as the unnamed Telurian Officer with his clock-like face mask.

5. I believe Destruction is the first in a series. What can the readers expect in the next books?

I think that Destruction is an exploration of the minds of our heroes and what they are fighting for. Without spoiling anything, the next two books are going to focus primarily on why this war is happening and the continued sacrifices made by the characters. I am working towards a planned ending, so readers will want to look at every little detail from the time that they first open this novel.

On top of that, I am currently working on a series of shorter stories to expand the universe in different directions. The piece that I am working on is about the politics behind the beginning of a conflict over five hundred years before the events of Destruction. I intend to alternate between the two series over time to give the public a steady stream of content.

6.  We know that books are not made in one day. What was the hardest part of writing this story?

I think that the most difficult (and satisfying) part of writing this story was trying to create iconic scenes for the main characters. It’s difficult because you have to get a funny line or an awesome moment just right and base it around their personality. However, it is satisfying when it works because you can laugh with or cheer for the character in a way that you couldn’t before that.

7. Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve read books that range from Voltaire to the present day, so it’s really hard to pick a favorite among them. I would say that the biggest influences on me right now include: J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert J. Sawyer, and Harry Turtledove. They all write quite differently, but their work points out that you have to capture every detail from the wider universe (Tolkien) to the characters and their personality quirks (Sawyer/Turtledove).

8. If you could be the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I don’t want to be too arrogant here, but I would have to say… mine. If you think about it, it is exactly my style of writing.

9.  Hahha well said. And what advice would you give to your younger self?

Think of alternate ways to tell a story beyond book form and harness the power of the Internet to make your dreams happen.

10. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, develop a thick skin, and don’t publish until it’s polished to a mirror shine.

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If you want to keep track of Eric’s future projects, visit his blog here !

Thank you to the author himself for sending us the Avanced Review Copy of this book, the paperback once it was published and taking the time to answer our questions.

You can purchase a copy of Destruction by clicking here ! 

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Destruction by Eric Mrozek

Destruction :★★★★☆

“Our actions, for good or ill, will cascade through history whether we want them or not.”
– Narrator

It’s like a remix of Game of Throne and Lord of the Rings and I love every single bit of it ! The story is about Helisah, a young elf girl starting her new school year in the kingdom of Callista like any college student. Until one day, her boyfriend Khal betrayed the land and helped out Thrakoth (a Talurian lord) to flip the city upside down and kill everyone. Lost and having nowhere to go, she decides to join a troupe of assassins to begin her journey to the road of revenge.

“What Aegras failed to understand was that it is not the spells that kept him alive. Rather, it was his own mind. Training can push a person so far, but that person must have a certain brilliance to turn their survival into a certainty.”
– Narrator

I think this is the perfect book for any fan of fantasy: it has magic, sword combat, funny lines, and amazing character development. Eric Mrozek has triumphed in shaping a whole new world just with a few typical fantasy elements. Furthermore, the diary style was the ideal set for this story. Not only does it offer us a more intimate angle on what’s going on, mentioning only a few people that are really important for the story, but it also allows us to feel the maturation of Helisah, how her mind and perception of the world evolves.

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Saga (Volume 1) by Brian K. Vaughan

“Doesn’t matter if it’s personal or professional, a good partnership takes work.” 

– Narrator in Saga (Volume 1)

            Who would’ve thought that science fiction and fantasy could give birth to such a beautiful piece. I have been reading countless number of comics for a couple of months but I’ve never really dove into something more galactic. I have to say that I’m really glad that I came across this comic series and got the chance to read the first issues of this beautiful and promising story. Saga (Volume 1) by Brian K. Vaughan collects issues #1 to 6 and vows to get you hooked till the end. This trade paperback introduces us to some major characters while giving us a good idea of the setting and the overall situation. It also gives us amazing and very entertaining background stories that never cease to intrigue you. Saga familiarizes us with two soldiers, Alana and Marko, from two different planets, Landfall (the biggest planet in their universe) and Wreath (an orbit to Landfall). These two planets have been in war for years yet these two fellows fall in love after escaping a prison where she worked and he was imprisoned. Giving birth to a child in the midst of this war, this trade paperback focuses on these protagonists running away from their pursuers (people from Landfall and Wreath) who have concluded that these two soldiers have betrayed them while learning on their own backstories and personalities. Narrated by the new born, Saga unfolds several episodes of this newly founded family that seek peace in a universe condemned to violence and war.

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