A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 7, 2016

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…

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / September 9, 2015

Harry Potter with a twist continues in The Copper Gauntlet, the second book in The Magisterium series from Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. As I mentioned in my review of book one, The Iron Trial, it is impossible to read The Magisterium and not think of Harry Potter.  In this case, imagine that Harry has learned about his Horcrux situation right at the beginning of his academic studies and that Neville has been acclaimed as the Chosen One, able to defeat Voldemort.  This gives Call a far more nuanced outlook than Harry, especially at an equivalent age (Chamber of Secrets era.)  which makes him, to me, a more interesting character.  Don’t get me wrong; I love Harry.  However, in the early books at least, he sees things very much as black or white, good or evil. Not so Call.   The connections are too numerous to be accidental.  This time around they are more subtle, but still present.  We have an antagonist whose main objective is to conquer Death itself.  His nickname is “The Enemy of Death.”  Voldemort, anyone?  Fair enough, it is a fairly common trope, but combine it with magic school and you have Harry Potter. Another theme common…

Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb – Spoilers, Review and Speculation
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / August 14, 2015

One of the books I was most anticipating this year was Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest, which was released on August 11th and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  I found it impossible to review this book without mentioning some minor spoilers, so I will hide the spoiler part of the review. To summarise though I loved this book.  Fitz and the Fool are one of my favourite literary partnerships and I loved reading the continuation of the story.  This is the second in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, following on from Fool’s Assassin.  The first book was a slow burner, if still very enjoyable, focussing more on character development than action.  This followup is more action oriented and is a wonderful read. I gave Fool’s Quest five stars out of five and would thoroughly recommend it to any Hobbs fan.  For those new to Hobbs, start with Assassin’s Apprentice (but be aware it’s a slow starter but well worth it) The rest of the review may contain spoilers and my speculation for book three, so click through only if you have read the book and/or want to be spoiled.

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / January 28, 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second in his YA contemporary fantasy trilogy Reckoners about ordinary humans turned megalomanic villains when they received superpowers.  It continues the story – begun in Steelheart – of David and the Reckoners who aim to bring down the despotic Epics.  If you enjoyed Steelheart, you’ll likely have fun with Firefight – it’s more of the same.  It continues on the theme of power corrupting and strength of spirit perhaps overcoming this. What I liked Expanded world and character set.  In this instalment David and the Reckoners leave Newcago, the location of the first book, to go take on a new Epic, Regalia, in Babylar, in other words, New York.  It’s always fun when an author takes you new places, and Sanderson’s world building is excellent.  His take on New York is unique and adds to the whole scope of the novel.  As well as new locations we also meet new characters.  They are a lot of fun and and are reasonably fleshed out. New layers in the whole origin of the Epics plot.  In this book, David learns more about the cause of the Epics’ superpowers and their weaknesses.  I imagine we’ll learn even…

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / July 2, 2014

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau is the third and final book in The Testing trilogy.  It continues the story of Cia Vale, survivor of the brutal University entrance exam known as TheTesting, University student and rebel as she attempts to end The Testing.  i have enjoyed both previous books and enjoyed reading the ending of the story. What I liked The protagonist.  I really liked Cia as a YA protagonist.  She has her head on her shoulders and gives great consideration to the consequences of her actions.  She’s very much of the watch and wait mould.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t take action, but she doesn’t act without thinking.  These character traits are what lead to her central position in the drama.  The story would have played very differently with a Katniss Everdeen or a Tris Prior as the protagonist. The themes.  The theme of Testing is continued throughout the series.  This is continued in Graduation Day when Cia must test the loyalty of those she wishes to have as allies, and she herself continues to be tested in more ways that one as she seeks to end the horrific University entrance exam.  Trust is also a major theme in…

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 11, 2014

I actually found this review of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass quite difficult to write.  It tells the story of assassin turned prisoner Celaena and her participation in the competition to become the King’s Champion.  I LOVED the book and got caught up in the story and characters.  However this made it rather tricky to analyse why I liked it so much and what made it work.  Nevertheless I’ll give it a go. What I liked The characters.  I found our protagonist Celaena Sardothien very engaging and fun to follow.  She is strong-willed, smart, resourceful – and very funny.  It’s clear her experiences in the prison of Endovier have left their mark on her, both physically and emotionally.  Maas did however add in a few quirks to keep her real.  I liked that she wasn’t immediately up to full physical strength after her imprisonment and had to balance physical weakness with smarts.  The fact that she was terrified to stand on the glass in the glass castle was interesting. The setting.  Now, I am a person who has a stronger affinity with words than with pictures, but I loved the mental picture that Maas conjured of the glass castle…

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / May 28, 2014

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly is the first in the Waterfire Saga and tells the story of mermaid princess Serafina, who, along with several of her friends, is called to fulfil an ancient prophecy and prevent an untold evil from rising.   What i liked The worldbuilding.  There are not that many mermaid books around that I’m aware of – Anna Banks’ Syrena Legacy series excepted – so I found this a fresh change.  I loved the world Donnelly created, complete with languages and histories and mythologies.  The little fishy reference such as merlfriend instead of girlfriend were rather amusing.   The pacing.  Donnelly keeps the plot moving along briskly with something always happening and a new danger to escape. What I didn’t like Bland characters.  While the characters were OK, and their mermaidness added some interest, other than that they were cookie-cutter YA heroines with little depth to them. Generic plot.  The plot is your generic teens have to bind together to track down the McGuffin to prevent the Big Bad from doing what he or she wants to do.  So far there were no interesting twists to this. The narration.  I started listening to the audiobook, but within…

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 21, 2014

Ironskin by Tina Connelly is a retelling of Jane Eyre with a fantasy twist.  Unlike similar classic/fantasy blends such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Jane Slayre, Ironskin avoids the humorous side of such a juxtaposition and plays it relatively straight.  It tells the story of Jane Eliot, a young woman who must wear an iron mask to contain the effects of a injury sustained in the war against the fae.  Although the war is long over, she is still very much an outcast and takes employment with one Mr. Rochart looking after his young daughter, Dorie.  Dorie, it seems, has also been affected by the fae. What I liked The adaptation.  This version, while not following the exact plotline of Jane Eyre, does an excellent job of maintaining the characterisations and emotional beats of the original story.  Like Jane Eyre, our Jane Eliot lives at the fringes of her society, and this has a large influence on her character.  Edward too, is very similar to the Edward Rochester of the book – his guilt for his past is a block in his admitting his feelings for Jane.  Ironskin focusses mainly on the Jane/Edward relationship and hits most of…

The One by Kiera Cass – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 12, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass is the final book in the Selection trilogy which tells the story of America Singer and her participation in the Bachelor type contest to win the heart and hand of Prince Maxon.  I absolutely ADORED this book and would have happily read it had it been three times as long.  Cass continued to develop the things I loved about the earlier books and my minor gripes about the series were all resolved. Before I start I would like to reecho the comment I made in an earlier post about the Selection Collection – the ebook compendium that includes all three novels plus the two novellas, The Guard and The Prince.  I honestly don’t know what the editor who put it together was thinking: they have the two novellas following on after The One which makes zero sense.  The Prince is set before The Selection and The Guard is set between The Elite and The One.  If you read them in the order presented in the compendium you’re going to end up frustrated because all of the great character development of the later books is reset.   What I liked The blend.  In The One, Cass…