Reading roundup – July 2nd 2016

Good morning.  This week I’ve been really unfocussed in my reading.  I’ve dipped into several books, but not finished that many of them.  It’s been a crazy busy week for me at work, which hasn’t helped.  OK I admit it.  Any free time I’ve had I’ve spent playing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens rather than reading.  Those games are addictive.

One book I did finish and enjoyed was His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.  This is the first in the Temeraire series in which the Napoleonic Wars are reimagined with dragons.  I loved the concept, characters and themes.  I especially enjoyed the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire, the dragon.  The ninth and final book in the series, League of Dragons, has just been published.  Much as I enjoyed the series, I’m not certain I want to invest the time to read the rest of the eight, so I cheated and read Tor.com’s Temeraire reread.  I’m hoping this will catch me up sufficiently and I will pick up League of Dragons in audiobook format – narrator is Simon Vance, how could I not go for the audiobook? – as soon as I have a spare Audible credit.  I gave His Majesty’s Dragon four stars out of five

The other book I finished, and it’s more of a novella really at 174 pages, is Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.  This is set in a residential home for young people who have returned from visiting other magical lands and who need a place to help them readjust to normal life.  I was drawn to the concept and that was very interestingly done, in particular the “mapping” of the various magical realms onto a graph with axes of Nonsense-Logic and Virtue-Wickedness.  The fact that the main protagonist, Nancy, identifies as asexual is also fascinating, and very unusual in a YA novel,  It’s incredible how the removal of any sexual tension completely changes the dynamic of a story.  What I really didn’t enjoy so much was that it turned into a kind of gruesome murder mystery.  I wasn’t expecting that and it did impact my enjoyment of the book.  I gave Every Heart a Doorway three stars out of five.

Other books I dipped into this week were The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye which I’m listening to in audiobook format.  I’m not sure why, but it just hasn’t grabbed my attention so far.  I will persevere with it, however.  I’m not very far in, and I suspect it may just  be a slow starter.

This week I also started one of the books I picked up at BEA, Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, the start of a new series retelling the story of the Snow Queen by the author of the Dorothy Must Die series.  So far I’m not finding it as easy to get into as Dorothy Must Die, but I remember that series was a slow starter too, so I will keep on with it.  At this point though Snow isn’t as engaging a protagonist for me as Amy Gumm.

It’s certainly a Danielle Paige week for me as the latest novella in her Dorothy Must Die series, The Order of the Wicked, hit my Kindle this past Tuesday.  I am enjoying it so far.  It’s great that the novellas, while not required reading for the series as a whole, do add extra depth and new perspectives to the narrative.

Winds of Winter, the Game of Thrones series 6 finale aired this week and it was a thing of beauty (a few missteps aside.)  That first 20 minute or so setup for Cersei’s trial was exquisite.  Much kudos to director Miguel Sapochnik.  The images of the protagonists preparing for their confrontation in the Sept of Baelor set to Ramin Djawadi’s breathtaking music Light of the Seven was stunning.  I’m listening to it as I write this.  This season has certainly showed some of Djawadi’s best work on the show to date.  I plan to do a full post on the season as a whole so I won’t say too much more now.

Upcoming releases in July

The first release I want to talk about is Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine, the second in the Great Library series.  Ink and Bone was one of my favourite reads of 2015, even if I see I didn’t write a review for it – oops.  The concept and the characters are so fascinating and I can’t wait to read more.  I’ve preordered it on Kindle and will likely pick up the audiobook, too.  Paper and Fire will be released on July 5th.

Also coming out in July is Before the Snow by Danielle Paige, the prequel to Stealing Snow.  Given how Paige’s novellas usually add some great context to the novellas, perhaps I should have waited to start Stealing Snow until I have read this.  Before the Snow is released on July 26th and I have preordered it in Kindle format.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  This is it, the big one.  The story we never thought we’d get.  This is the sequel to Harry Potter, penned by J.K. herself.  The twist is that it isn’t a novel, but a two-part play, currently in preview in London, and the book that will be published on Harry’s birthday, July 31st, is the rehearsal edition script.  So far everything I’m hearing about this – and I’ve managed to remain spoiler free #KeepTheSecret – is awesome.  I am really looking forward to hearing what happens to the next generation of Hogwarts witches and wizards.  Interestingly enough, at the time of writing the book is not available to preorder in Kindle format, so I’ve gone ahead and ordered it from Kobo.

Speaking of the wizarding world, did you catch the details Rowling released about Ilvermorny, the North American school for the magical community?  I really want a whole novel on Isolt Sayre’s journey!

That’s all for this week – the Force is calling to me to go play the Lego game.

Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia – Review

Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia – ReviewJulian Fellowes's Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
Series: Belgravia
Also in this series: The Summer Before the War, Julian Fellowes' Belgravia
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
Genres: Social History
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: four-stars

Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia is a new book/audiobook/app series from the creator of Downton Abbey.  It is set in the Belgravia quarter of London in 1841 with a prequel set in Brussels in 1815.  The lives of two families, the rich, titled Bellasis family and the nouveau riche Trenchards are brought together at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball and the effects are felt down the years.  It is available in ebook format, as an audiobook and as an app.  I believe a hard copy of the entire story will be released on July 5th.  As an aside, isn’t that a gorgeous cover?

What I liked

The serialisation.  Fellowes made the decision to release his story in instalments, with one chapter each week in the style of Charles Dickens or Alexandre Dumas.  Usually the chapters would end on a cliffhanger to encourage you to come back the following week.  I thought it was a really interesting idea, even if I didn’t follow it in practice.  Although one chapter hit my Audible download queue as regularly as clockwork each Thursday, I actually ended up listening to it in a couple of marathon sessions.  As with most Audible pre-orders it hit my queue at 4am – not a time I’m likely to be sitting down to listen or read.  Perhaps if each instalment were released at 8pm on a Sunday evening I’d have been more inclined to set time aside for it.  I can’t comment on when the app downloads were released.  Still it was a good idea, although perhaps not one that fits in well with today’s Netflix binging.

The narration.  Belgravia is narrated by British treasure Juliet Stevenson who does an excellent job.  She provides very appropriate voices for the gentry, the professional classes and the servants.  

The app concept.  I liked the idea of the app which contained both the text and audio formats.  The fact that the app includes background information on the events of the episode in question and should also update the map and family trees as the story progresses is excellent.  However, in practice it was rather a failure from my perspective.  If you purchased the content anywhere other than on the app, you were locked out of the additional content.  I was rather irritated that I paid $1.99 for each Audible audio only episode and each episode on the app costs the same and gives the text, audio and background information.  A Google search indicated there was no way to link the Audible purchases to the app.  I actually ordered the final episode on both Audible and the app to see if that would update the family tree – nope.  I’m not certain if it was a marketing issue or a technical issue, but in any case that was poorly thought out.

The social history. I always loved Downton Abbey, seeing how the upper classes and their servants lived in times gone by and Belgravia is more of the same.  What was new to this was the rise of the merchant/professional classes, seen through the Trenchards and Charles Pope, which wasn’t really a focus of Downton.  Of course, I am no social historian, so I can’t comment on the accuracy, but it was fascinating.

The soapy plotline.  OK, I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.  As I mentioned, each episode generally ended on a revelation or twist and it was awesome.

What I didn’t like

Issues with the app.  See above

Bland characters.  Some, not all, of the characters were so two dimensional as to be uninteresting.  As it happens one of these is the character around whom the whole drama turns.  This character is so good and… nice it’s boring.  The antagonist of the piece is also very much a caricature.  I’m surprised he wasn’t described as twirling his moustaches.  Fortunately there were enough fully developed and interesting characters to mitigate this.

Belgravia is definitely worth checking out.  The first episode is available for free, so you have nothing to lose.  I recommend picking it up directly on the app though, I gave Belgravia four stars out of five.

four-stars

Reading roundup – June 24th 2016

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  And happy St Jean to my fellow Quebecers!

Reading roundup – June 24th 2016Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #0.5
Also in this series: Blood for Blood
Format: eBook
Pages: 104 pages
Genres: Alternate History
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Evelynne's rating: five-stars

This week I read the wonderful Iron to Iron, the prequel novella to Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.  Like Wolf by Wolf, it is set in an alternate universe in which the Axis won World War II.  It tells the story of Luka Löwe and Adele Wolfe’s burgeoning romance during the 1955 Axis Tour, a relationship which causes much of the tension in Wolf by Wolf.  Within a couple of pages I was immediately back in the world created by Graudin and back following the Axis Tour.  I listened to Wolf by Wolf in audiobook and although this novella is an ebook only, I still heard it in my mind with Christa Lewis’ voice.  It’s not often that I have such a strong link with narration.  

For those of you who have not yet read Wolf by Wolf (and why not may I ask?) the Axis Tour is a motorcycle race between Berlin and Tokyo, with the winner receiving an Iron Cross and many accolades.  Iron to Iron is told from Luka’s perspective, and we learn more about him.  Both he and Adele are strongly motivated to win the Axis Tour, he to prove his worth to his father by winning a second Iron Cross, she to prove that women are equally as competent as men.  Of course, having read Wolf by Wolf we know the outcome of this race; Graudin does a wonderful job of keeping the tension high despite that knowledge and without the addition of the whole shapeshifter trying to kill Hitler plot of Wolf.

My only gripe about Iron to Iron – and it is very minor – is that fräulein is written with a lower case f.  In German all nouns are capitalised, so this really irritated me.  I gave Iron to Iron a well deserved five stars out of five.  Now when is Blood for Blood out?!?

This week I also started reading His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.  So far I’m really enjoying it.

Game of Thrones thoughts after the cut

 

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five-stars

Versatile Blogger award

Thank you for nominating me, ajoobacats at Ajoobacats blog, for The Versatile Blogger Award.

Rules:

Show the award on your blog
Thank the person that has nominated you
Share 7 different facts about yourself
Nominate 5 blogs of your choice
Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

Seven facts about me:

  1. I was born and raised in Scotland but am now married to an American and live in Quebec
  2. As well as Scotland and Canada, I have lived and worked in Germany, France, Austria, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.  New Zealand really is Middle Earth!
  3. I have read Lord of the Rings in four different languages; English, French, German and Dutch. 
  4. My favourite films are the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  5. I was in Wellington, NZ for the world premiere of Return of the King and took the day off work to go wave at the stars – are you seeing a theme here?
  6. I have lymphedema in my legs, and especially in this hot summer weather it’s a real challenge to avoid their blowing up like balloons.
  7. As a kid, my nickname was Smurfette and I collected lots of figurines.

I nominate the following

Mogsy at the Bibliosanctum

Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner

Kat at Katytastic

Christine at PolandBananasBooks

Jesse at Jesse the Reader

 

 

The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence – review

The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence – reviewThe Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen's War #3
Also in this series: Prince of Fools
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Length: 18 hrs and 58 mins
Genres: Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: four-stars

The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence is the third and final book in his Red Queen’s War trilogy.  It continues the story of Jalan Kendeth as he continues to follow the path upon which fate has set him.

The Red Queen’s War trilogy is set in the same world as, and dovetails with, Lawrence’s earlier Broken Empire trilogy.  In some ways that is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing because the world in which the trilogies are set is awesome.  It’s set in our world in the future, millennia after a nuclear war (the Day of A Thousand Suns) decimated the world and let magic in for the survivors.  Some remnants of our world survive, but the current inhabitants have no cultural knowledge or background of them.  So plastic shop dummies (I knew those things could survive nuclear attacks) confuse the heck out of them!  This leads to one of the funniest moments in Wheel of Osheim involving an “iron pineapple.”  You’ll just have to read it to find out what I’m talking about.

It is a blessing because the protagonists of both series, Jorg and Jalan, are on separate quests to discover more about the Builders (aka us) and to prevent the destruction of the world.  The knowledge they obtain on their separate journeys adds up to more than the sum of its parts and creates an ever more vivid picture of the Builders and the Day of A Thousand Suns.  I suspect I’ll have to reread Broken Empire with the new knowledge I have from Red Queen’s War.

It is also a joy to have cameos from characters from Broken Empire.  Particularly this final instalment adds so much more to their stories.

On the negative side, it is made clear that Wheel of Osheim takes place just prior to Emperor of Thorns – Jalan meets Jorg on his way to the Congression which takes place in Emperor.  Knowing how Emperor ends is a clear indication of how Wheel doesn’t wrap up.  This robs Wheel somewhat of its narrative tension as it’s pretty clear what action Jalan chooses in the end, despite the dramatic chapter break.

I will say thought, it’s not necessary to read Broken Empire to enjoy Red Queen’s War.  Indeed, Red Queen’s War is more young adult than Broken Empire which is definitely much, much darker in tone.  That is something to bear in mind if you are thinking of checking out Jorg’s story.

So onto Wheel of Osheim.

What I liked

The world.  As I mentioned above, I adore the world Lawrence has created.  I was completely fascinated by the truth behind the Wheel.  The concept that it can make whatever your imagination creates a reality and the trick of Snorri’s stories worked very very well.

The narration.  Tim Gerard Reynolds did the honours for Wheel of Time.  Jalan as a character can be rather snarky and at times indignant and this came across beautifully in the narration.  Many times I smiled or even laughed at Reynolds’ interpretation of Jalan’s indignation.  Very well done. 

What I didn’t like

The pacing.  At times I felt it was a little slow.  

I really enjoyed Wheel of Osheim and gave it four stars out of five.

four-stars

Reading roundup – June 18th 2016

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  It’s been  fairly quiet week on the reading front.  I’ve been working to finish Mark Lawrence’s The Wheel of Osheim which I finally did.  Expect a full review next week.  I have also started the audiobook of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae.  I picked up the sequel, Gemina, at BEA and want to refresh my memory.  In terms of audiobooks, Illuminae is superb. It is a full, multi-cast performance and is definitely worth listening to.  I have Gemina in hard copy ARC form, but I will certainly be picking up the audiobook if it’s anything like the first in the series.

On non book related news, Apple announced its big updates to iOS and OS X (renamed MacOS.)  There are a couple of updates in particular about which I’m really excited.  First is the integration with VoIP apps (such as Skype) so that they can be handled like normal iPhone calls.  My parents live in Scotland and aren’t very comfortable yet with the internet, so I use Skype to landline to call them most of the time.  Skype has a nice monthly rate for unlimited calls to UK landlines.  It will be so nice to have that integrated and not to have to think about how I call them.

Secondly, Siri is coming to the Mac!  Finally.  I’m not sure yet how I’ll work her into my daily workflow, but I’ll have fun trying.

Commentary and speculation for Game of Thrones below the cut:

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The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – Review

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – ReviewThe Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Will Patton
Genres: Young Adult, Supernatural
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: four-stars

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is a young adult supernatural novel entering around Blue Sargent, Gansy and their search for Welsh king Glendower.  It is a quartet made up of The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue and The Raven King.  it is told from multiple points of view.

I will say that it took me some time to get into this series – at least two attempts of starting the book, and putting it down again.  This is despite a kickass opening in which the whole conflict of the series is laid out; it is foretold that Blue will kill her one true love when she kisses him, and Gansy is fated to die within the year. That is the hook to lure you into this series – you can’t help but want to know if these foretellings come true.  My initial struggle with this book is partly because, at first glance, the main protagonists are rather unappealing.  Gansy comes across as rich, arrogant and entitled.  Ronan is snarky and belligerent.  Adam is stubborn and independent to a fault and Noah is insipid.  It’s only when you get further into the books that the deeper layers of these characters are revealed and your understanding of them deepens.  After that I was very happy to continue marathoning the series.

There is a whole arc running through the series with resolutions of plot points in the first book only coming through in the final instalment.  Each book has its own theme which feeds into the major series story arc.  It is very well tied together if not overly complex. The Raven Boys is all about the setup; introducing the main driving plot of the series, the characters and the world.  The Dream Thieves is Ronan’s story and how his ability will aid his friends in their quest.  Blue Lily, Lily Blue focusses on Blue and also on deepening the relationships amongst the group and The Raven King ties everything up.  

What I liked

The characters.  The well written, nuanced and flawed characters and their relationships are the highlight of this series.  Stiefvater has developed a wonderful set of characters and the relationships that develop among them are beautiful to read.  They truly are stronger because they know each other.  The relationships are all unique; Blue acts differently with Noah than she does with Adam, and Gansy has a different relationship to Ronan than to Noah.  Additionally, the characters we meet in The Raven Boys are not the same ones we say farewell to in The Raven King – they have been changed by their experiences and each other.  That is one thing that always attracts me to a book series. It is mainly for the characters and character development that I continued reading this series.  I loved that each member of the group has his or her own strengths and weaknesses and each has a part to play in the story.

The world.  I loved the world Stiefvater created.  The kind of supernaturalness – ley lines, tarot, spiritualists/mediums – is one that always gets under my skin.  It’s superbly well done.

What I didn’t like

Not immediately likeable protagonists.  Though I was fascinated by the characters and engaged in their stories, I didn’t love them the way that I have loved some other protagonists.  Their stories were wonderful to read, but I’m not exactly sure I’d like to meet up with any of them for coffee.  After four books, I certainly felt as if I understood Gansy, Ronan and Adam a great deal better, even if I didn’t necessarily always like them.  This weakened the ending somewhat for me.

The Raven Cycle is an excellent series and well worth reading for the well written, nuanced characters and worldbuilding.  As a whole I gave the series four stars out of five.

four-stars

Reading roundup – June 11th 2016

Good morning and first in non reading related news, this week LEGO Dimensions released the trailer for their 2016/2017 expansion packs.  it’s worth checking out that trailer if only to watch MI’s Ethan Hunt rappel down a rope simply to scratch Scooby Doo’s belly or to see Wyldstyle run over Lord Voldemort on a motorcycle.  For those of you unfamiliar with LEGO Dimensions, it’s a toys-to-life video game.  I wrote a whole blog post on it.  The joy of this game is that you can mix and match your fandoms – so, for example, I took great pleasure in having Doctor Who drive the Batmobile through the streets of Minas Tirith.  Now, given that you have to fork out hard cash for new characters in this game, it can be very expensive.  Many of the new packs announced in the trailer are completely uninteresting to me.  A few more (A-Team, Mission Impossible, E.T.) were yeah I’d play this if you gave it to me for free and only two are ones that had me reaching for my wallet.  One of these is the Harry Potter team pack containing Harry and Lord Voldemort.  I have it on good authority – Pottermore – that Harry can expecto a really adorable LEGO Patronus.  As well as the minifigs of Harry and Lord Voldemort, you get the bricks to build a mini Hogwarts Express and the Weasleys’ Ford Anglia. You also gain access to the Harry Potter Adventure World with new puzzles to solve.  I look forward to having Doctor Who check out Hogwarts and Harry explore Middle Earth.  I believe Harry is released to the public on September 27th.

The second pack I will definitely purchase is the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I understand this is a story pack which will come with a Newt Scamander minifig, a vehicle and bricks to customise the LEGO Dimensions gateway as well as six new levels of story gameplay and a Fantastic Beasts Adventure World.  I know little more about it than this, but already I’m champing at the bit.  

Game of Thrones this week was a solid, episode if a lot of setup for the chaos to come in the final three episodes of this season.  I especially enjoyed the quiet moments with Ian McShane’s character’s community.

Onto more book-related updates.  This week I did something I don’t very often do.  I marathoned a book series.  I finished the remaining two books in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King.  I will write a full blog post on the series, so I won’t say too much here.  I did very much enjoy them though, especially the wonderful characters and their relationships.

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia has been hanging around on my currently reading/TBR list for a while now.  This is perhaps not surprising in that it’s being released in serial format with one episode being released each week.  There are currently 10 of 11 episodes available. I’ve subscribed to it in audiobook format so each Thursday a new episode hits my Audible download queue.  It’s being narrated by Juliet Stevenson who is doing an awesome job. While I liked the first episode it took me another two or three to really get into the story of the Trenchards the Bellasis and their myriad connections.  It is very soapy, but enjoyable soap nonetheless.  I have currently listened to five out of the 10 available episodes.  If you enjoyed Downton Abbey, you will likely enjoy Belgravia.  Fellowes has released an app for this where you can download the episodes (they’re also available in Audible as mentioned and other eBook retailers) and it also includes additional background information such as a map of Belgravia and a family tree which is updated as the story progresses.  The only annoying thing for me is because I’m picking up the episodes on Audible, the app doesn’t update for me.  I checked the website and the information given was pretty much too bad, so sad if you want the bonus features but didn’t purchase through the app.  Pity.

The Wheel of Osheim, the final book in Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War is the other book I’m reading this week.  I’m enjoying it, but the problem is I’m listening to it in audiobook as I fall asleep in bed at night and I keep missing chunks!  Should be good, though.

That’s all for this week.  Catch you soon!

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray – Review

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray – Review1000 Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: four-half-stars

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray is a YA sci-fi mystery in which teenager Marguerite Caine must use technology developed by her parents, the Firebird, to chase her father’s murderer across multiple dimensions.  She finds out that things aren’t as they first seemed.

I picked this book up partly because of this concept and partly because I’ve enjoyed books (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray.  Thanks to Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice I picked up both the Kindle book and the audiobook, narrated by Tavia Gilbert.  Most of the time I listened to the audiobook which was amazing.

What I liked

The concept.  I found this a really intriguing premise for a novel, moving into alternate dimensions to solve a murder mystery.  Gray comes from a sci-fi background and clearly has a firm handle on it.  It was a lot of fun when Marguerite jumped into a new dimension trying to work out what situation she was in! I’m not certain that I’d agree with the Orphan Black comparison; the main – only? – similarity is that characters frequently find themselves having to impersonate other people and to think on their feet to work out what’s going on. 

The audio narration.  Tavia Gilbert did an awesome job of narrating this book.  Her accent work was impeccable.  There’s a funny scene early on where Marguerite has fun with her current doppelganger’s accent.  That came across really well in audio format.  My one frustration with this is that often the accent “spoiled” in some way the leaps into new dimensions.  From the voices it was often clear where Marguerite had landed long before it was revealed in the text.  

The worldbuilding.  The fun thing with this concept is that Gray gets to build several worlds; the multiple alternate dimensions into which Marguerite leaps.  It would be too spoilery to name them all, but each of them is beautifully developed with supporting characters, rules and challenges for our protagonist.  The fact that Gray’s travel system has limitations was particularly well done – as in fantasy, often it’s the limitations in the magic system/technology which can generate the most interesting conflicts for the characters.  I loved that the dimensions had varying degrees of technological advancement which made things interesting.

The pacing.  Gray keeps the plot moving along fast, with new information and revelations keeping our protagonists – and readers – engaged.

What I didn’t like

The characters.  I found Marguerite somewhat bland.  The way her loyalty seemed to be so easily won and lost did not sit easily with me, and the revelations of the villains was a little too obvious.  The fact that Gray reverted to the trope of “the special”, our protagonist having unique traits which make her the only person capable of foiling the evil plot is rather disappointing.

Despite these flaws, I really loved 1000 Pieces of You and gave it four and a half stars out of five.  I will certainly be picking up the sequel soon.

four-half-stars

Reading roundup – June 3rd 2016

So this last week I finished Claudia Gray’s 1000 Pieces of You which I mentioned adding to my library in my last reading roundup.  Sci-Fi is a genre into which I dip now and again, although I’m not an expert on it.  1000 Pieces of You is a well put together, fun read (well, actually, fun listen as I listened to it primarily in audiobook) – expect a full review on it soon.

I also started Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury, the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.  At first, I admit, I struggled to get into the story.  Slowly though I got sucked into the Feyre/Rhys storyline and am now really enjoying it.  Maas has a very “modern” writing style despite this being epic fantasy.  

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time this week marathoning the first season of 24 on Netflix.  Jack Bauer for the win!  Although it’s been some time since I watched the show, I remembered all the twists and turns, so it wasn’t quite as exciting for me as it was the first time I watched it.

As usual, I watched this week’s episode of Game of Thrones.  I’m going to put a cut here as below are some thoughts and speculations on A Game of Thrones

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