Blackwing by Ed McDonald

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“I don’t like things that don’t make sense. Not until I’ve put a knife in them.”

— Ed McDonald, Blackwing

    It would be a mistake to overlook this book. Ed McDonald’s debut novel, the first book in The Raven’s Mark series, is a phenomenal piece of literature. It glows with fiery passion and an inhuman mastery of creativity. There wasn’t a single moment to take a breath as it held a tenacious grip on my attention to the point of chocking me with fast-paced action. Blackwing is a beautiful and sinister fantasy story. Its ability to create a wonderful and unique world is astonishing and bleeds with a desire to seduce you into the mind of Ed McDonald. Reading this felt like the work of a genuine mastermind who’s penmanship has went through hell and high water. Forget about soft clouds and pretty rainbows. Blackwing will show you misery and demise melded around hope, reason and humanity. This novel deserves so much praise and absolutely needs everyone’s attention. So what are you waiting for?

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Most Anticipated Releases in October

Hi everybody ! Trang’s back with another listopia posts 😀 I’ve spent a few hours reading about all the books coming out this month (so I can ask my family what books I want for my birthday *muahhha*) and I wanted to share with you my most anticipated releases ! So if you are looking to read some new books coming out this month, this post might help you 😉

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The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman : The author of Golden Compass returns for a trilogy prequel to Northern Lights series.  “La Belle Sauvage, is set 10 years before the events of His Dark Materials, and the rest of the story takes place 20 years after that: in fact, 10 years after Lyra comes home to Jordan College after her adventure in the Arctic at the end of The Amber Spyglass.” – Penguin Random House

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng: Thanks to my fellow bloggers for making me discovering this new book with an extremely original book cover (SEE PICTURE BELOW). Reviews are calling it a gothic fantasy tale.  This is one of the time where the cover completely thew me off and making me want to read the book ! Continue reading

Frostblood by Elly Blake

MY RATING : ★★/5

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

I enjoyed this story so much! I saw a lot of negative reviews on Goodreads and a lot of them were complaining about how the plot and story is a stereotypical YA Fantasy.

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I mean, aren’t they all…?! They say that the plot is very similar to Red Queen but then again, Red Queen was very similar to other books as well but we don’t mention that huh ;P At least here we don’t find some Fifty Shades of Grey vibe where the main character falls for some jerk who likes to torture her…

Anyways,  I guess this is one of the times I have to disagree with the overall opinion and give this book a good rating 😉  I actually like Ruby for who she is: smart, rebel and likes to question everything.  Yes there is some insta-romance but her relation with Arkus is pretty enjoyable to watch. Since the day he starts to train her, they actually have to struggle and deal with their differences. Doubts, trust issues that are realistic.   Continue reading

The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

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“What power would hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of heaven?”

— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes

    This definitely showcases the broadness of Neil Gaiman’s imagination. It’s boundless, colourful, enigmatic and complex. It’s simply impossible to reproduce, and infinitely beautiful. I do want to be that guy who raves and raves about this first volume of The Sandman, but then I wouldn’t be honest with myself. Preludes & Nocturnes introduces readers to Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, and transports us on an intimate journey alongside this mythical and mysterious being as he explores worlds like none other. The story is ignites when an occultist attempts an uncalled-for ceremony in the dishonest and mischievous intention of capturing Death, and then to bargain for eternal life. It is by accidentally capturing Death’s younger brother Dream that things go haywire and leaves Dream imprisoned for over 70 years. Being captured and stripped of his powers for countless decades, you can only imagine what his desire for revenge drives him to do as soon as he finds himself free of his predicament. Driven to recover his precious belongings that behold his powers, The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes brings fans to explore dream lands and hellish landscapes in all of its glory.
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The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

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“Why we march and why we die, and what life means… it’s all a lie. Death! Death! Death!”

— Anna Smith Spark, The Court of Broken Knives

    It’s always refreshing to dive into a pool of murky grimdark water after a long thriller swim. With fantasy books, the world alone transports you to unimaginable places filled with impossible people and creatures. Set in environments that take a life of its own, you’re bound to find yourself chained to the details of the land and to lurk in the shadows of its people. Anna Smith Spark brings us a new and gripping debut story that swears to have everything you’d want, from blood and betrayal to magic and dragons. The Court of Broken Knives, book one in the Empires of Dust series, offers us four different and unusually fascinating point of views to tell a story filled with back-stabbing decisions and rightful ownership. Although each character (mercenary captain, mercenary recruit, politician and high priestess) all have their own goals and slowly discover the harsh reality of the decisions they are to make, Marith, the latest recruit to the company of soldiers, remains the center of attention as his uncommon background resurfaces and takes a hold of his life.

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Vault of Dreams by Luke Taylor

MY RATING: ★/ 5  

Emerald hills and ice blue lochs, bordered by Nørds raiders and the haughty monarchs of South Angle, each dynasty eager to seize lands weakened by a civil war in which a usurper has risen to seize the cloven throne.

why4starsCapture d_écran 2017-07-15 à 18.35.50Meet Six Of Crows and Lord of The Rings, my friends 😀  It was so mesmerizing to being able to read once again, a novel from one of my favourite author (that I’m happy to call friend !) I’ve praised Luke Taylor prose before in his novel The Quiet Kill , a psychological thriller. He came back this time with a total different genre. A prose that was elegantly displaying in a psychological but when turns into fantasy, I find a little too much.  That’s the reason why I removed a star from my rating. Some people will find this extremely beautiful to read and enjoy, but personally when there’s an excessive descriptions I just find it confusing as it takes away from the main story. Continue reading

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

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“Give to the god the one who made your mind and body sing with love.”

— Brian Staveley, Skullsworn

    Skullsworn is a stand-alone story set in the same universe as The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne written by Brian Staveley. Although having failed to get around to read the original trilogy that laid the foundation to Staveley’s popularity, I can still confidently confirm that Skullsworn remains a beautiful introduction to a great talent in the fantasy world and can easily be read without worrying about the potential references it could have to The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire or The Last Mortal Bond. This new tale features Pyrre as the main protagonist and recounts her Trial to officially arise as a priestess of Ananshael, God of Death. Presented with a song that unveils the very requirements to become a priestess, Pyrre embarks on an adventure in her hometown of Dombâng in hopes of completing the challenge under the eyes of two Witnesses, long time priestess and priest of Ananshael: Ela and Kossal. While the song instructs Pyrre to bestow death upon seven specific individuals, Skullsworn exposes us to the ramifications of love, and the deadly edge to it.
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The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood

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“A dragon handler with her head in the clouds is cursed. Those were my mother’s last words to me.”

— Todd Lockwood, The Summer Dragon

    Illustrator Todd Lockwood has decided to jump into the story-telling business with this debut novel featuring the one thing he’ll never fail to draw magnificently: dragons. Known for his artistic talent and his artwork in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, The Summer Dragon is his first venture in the fantasy world. This novel is marketed as a a high fantasy novel with dragons and deadly politics but I’d rectify that and say it felt a lot more like a young adult fantasy novel with dragons and a discourse on the foundation of religion. There’s nothing wrong with that, as even adults can find this debut novel engrossing, but a warning beforehand would definitely have been highly welcome! Todd Lockwood delivers a very fluid, straight-forward and easy-to-picture story that puts Maia, a young women who will do anything for what she believes is right for her aerie, in the center stage. The plot develops very smoothly and never falters, diving here and then in questions of belief and faith with a unique dragon lore/mythology to envelop Todd Lockwood’s world.
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Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (ARC)

MY RATING: ★ /5

Blurb from Goodreads: Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

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Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite genre these past years and the concept of the book is original and authentic. It’s built on two sisters, each of them is struggling with a lack of sensory feelings. Aurora can’t feel anything she touches nor can she speak and  her sister, Isbe, is blind.

The worldbuilding is very intriguing, as you read, you are dying to know more about the characters and their surroundings. I love how the romance is not the typical a princess falls for the prince type of clichés. Nowadays, fairytale retellings would focus more about women empowerment and other forms of love than romantic ones. The fact that the author has made her characters with disabilities amplify the struggles that they are having but also fortify their loves for each other.  Continue reading

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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“It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”

— Mark Lawrence, Red Sister

    Dear Mr. Lawrence—can I call you Mark? I’ve heard a lot about you and the books you’ve written. The Broken Empire trilogy as well as the Red Queen’s War trilogy have known nothing but praise. It’s hard for someone to look away from something that shine’s like a diamond on a sunny day, even if it’s miles away. While I’m itching to dive right into them, I also managed to get my hands on your latest masterpiece. Yes, I must say it is a masterpiece. I’m not one to boost the ego of people just because I can, but Red Sister is the beginning of something extraordinary. I might not have read everything you’ve written yet, but boy can you write. Your book has the power to steal a reader’s soul and compel it to follow a path filled with peace, patience and serenity. It brings readers to transcend time and space in order to live a whole new life through the eyes of a child. This isn’t just a story that offers you the choice to go somewhere far and beyond our imagination. This is a story that imposes you to welcome its world and all of its elegance. Walking into the worlds you write makes us glow with bliss and forget about our own stresses, problems and responsibilities. This is a story that makes you feel warm, invited and belonging to a convent. Mark, you’ve given us an epic fantasy story that will enthrall its readers to characters, settings and a lore that have never been done so meticulously, and with so much perfection. Red Sister is the next book that anyone and everyone should read.
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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