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

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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