Siege & Storm

Title: Siege & Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo
Publication Year: 2013
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 3

You are right about one thing, Summoner. The Darkling is a powerul enemy. You might want to think about making some powerful friends.

I don’t. Like. Mal. Any more?

Well, I don’t like the Mal only seems to care about Alina and nothing but Alina. What happened to Mal from the first book who loved his friends and had a passion for tracking and defending Ravka? All he seems to focus on now is being jealous of anyone who even lays eyes on Alina, fighting to get over Alina and doing whatever he can to make himself look better to Alina. It irked me so much and I found him so annoying! In the first book I was seriously enjoying him and his relationship with Alina and in this one they just need to sit down and work things out. But instead all they appear to be doing is butting heads and arguing and not doing anything remotely helpful!  I can only hope that they fix it so that Mal can crawl back into my good favour in the next book because I found him seriously annoying in this one.

In fact, I might go as far as to say that I didn’t really enjoy this book? Okay, that’s a lie. At the beginning I adored the book. It had a serious Six of Crows vibe and while I adored that book, this one quickly fell from the high level that I had placed SoC on. When the Darkling was involved, everything was dangerous and exciting. Then came the vagabond Sturmhond and I adored him. I couldn’t help it! I have a thing for swaggering pirates with an abundance of charm and a smirk to boot. He caught me in seconds and I was in love with him long before I found out who he really was. My only issue was that, after that, Siege & Storm really started to seriously lack any sort of interesting plot. The novel spirals back into that of the first, leaving us in the mind-numbingly boring world of the social elites. Once again Alina’s thoughts turn to beauty and her romance rather than the real impending situation that she should be dealing with.Basically, it felt like it was dragging it’s feet for the majority of the middle of the novel before finally escalating into something interesting in the final quarter.

AND THOSE FINAL FEW CHAPTERS. AAAH.

But moving swiftly on, the one big issue for me in this was the Darkling was MIA for most of it. After the first part, he disappears only to reappear briefly now and then. I found the way that Bardugo did this incredible and I can’t wait to read the explanation for his random appearances in the final instalment! There’s so much about the Darkling’s newfound abilities that I don’t understand and I can’t wait to discover just what has happened to him! Especially considering he’s so much stronger than Alina when she’s got her amplifier. It’s so intriguing and I can’t wait to see how it all develops and if Alina will ever really be strong enough to defeat him!

Hopefully with the aid of our Steampunk!Pirate Privateer Alina will be able to do some damage to his ego! I need to read book 3 like now, to see how this all works out!

Never Forgotten

Title: Never Forgotten
Author: Kelly Risser
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Science Fantasy | Ficton | YA | Romance
Rating: 3

She looked happy. Content. I wanted to remember her that way forever.

At the start I was hooked. The plot was interesting and the writing was good enough to keep me captivated. I wanted to learn more about Meara’s family; I wanted to know why her father had ditched and if her mother would survive and all about these grandparents that she hadn’t seen in years. But then I did that. I got to the main part of the story and everything sort of fell flat.

I couldn’t get into her relationship with Evan. At all. It was too much of an insta-relationship for me with Evan picking Meara out almost instantly when he had all of these other girl flocking for his attention. Their relationship was perfect and that was probably the main problem – it was too perfect. Everything just seemed to go so well for them both, even when they barely knew anything about each other. The other thing that bugged me was how little the author focused on Maera and her mother in comparison to Maera and Evan. Towards the middle of the story, Maera and Evan seemed to take the main stage while Maera and her family took the back seat. Some of their scenes really didn’t work for me and there were times when she acted much to childishly for me.

When the story did focus on her family it was incredibly interesting! It was fun for me to try to guess what sort of ‘species’ (for lack of a better word) that Maera belonged to and the moment they moved back to the sea I was  instantly thinking mermaid. Especially considering the beautiful cover of the novel. I love mermaid novels and I was so excited for this one and then it got even better. Selkies. Selkies! I rarely ever read stories about selkies so I was overjoyed when I discovered that that was what this fantasy novel was about. However the constant I’ll tell you later, I’ll tell you later from her father bored me. It just went on and on and it felt like it dragged too much.

As interesting as I found all of the selkie facts, I really wasn’t a fan of Maera, in fact I may have enjoyed the book more if Ula was the MC. I couldn’t connect with Maera much at all. Not to mention that there were parts that I thought were unnecessary, such as the scene with Kieran, because they were never brought up again. Nor did they further the story at all. The ending was cliché and boring as well. The ending was totally predictable and I’m not sure I’d be interested in reading the next but this book was an okay read. I think if Kelly had built up Maera a little better then I might have enjoyed this more.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance, Fiction
Rating: 3.5

A life for a life–but what if the life offered as payment meant losing three others?”

When I went into this novel, I knew nothing about it. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never even heard of Sarah J. Maas, and only actually came across the novel because of all of the hype on instagram. But within the first few pages I was sensing a Beauty and the Beast feel. The large wolf was a dead giveaway, as well as the life-changing deal. However, that was where the similarities ended though, or at least for me. Belle would not have fit into this Beauty and the Beast retelling. Or at least Feyre is nothing like the innocent bookworm that Disney presented us with, instead she’d be more recognisable stood alongside Katniss Everdeen, with both of their bows raised high. Yes there was romance, but I didn’t see any household objects hopping around and the world that Disney had created, which I had been expecting, had been voided and replaced with somewhere entirely different.

The Faerie world that Maas has created is no less than beautiful. Her attention to detail is unflawed, right down to the creation of various species of Fae and monsters for their magical kingdom. Other than the idea of a wall between both worlds, depicted in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, I’ve not read anything that can compare to the intricate details that Maas poured into the creation of these lands. It truly was enchanting to read every additional layer that was added as more chapters passed by. If nothing at all, I think that the setting alone with capture any readers attention.

Then came the romance. The start of the novel was great for me. The description of Feyre’s home life was captivating. I was addicted to the novel at this point, addicted to the relationship between Feyre and her sisters and addicted to the plot that was falling into place, from the moment the big bad wolf knocked down the front door. That was when everything shifted. From the get go the romance felt forced, and I couldn’t feel the fire that was supposedly burning bright between our two lovers. I couldn’t see the passion and instead saw more banter between Feyre and Lucien than her actual love interest and maybe something with Rhysand? I don’t know, I sort of liked him! 

Despite that, I sort of enjoyed this book. I don’t think I was able to put down the book once I’d reached the final 100 pages, it was that interesting. When the twist came into play, at the turning point in the novel, I hadn’t been expecting it. Just the idea was amazing and the way that Maas had manipulated it throughout the entire novel had me enraptured. The only problem I had with the ending was that there was no cliffhanger. This could easily be read as a stand alone novel, excluding perhaps 2 paragraphs where a bit of a teaser is dropped. By the time I was turning the last pages, I’d already decided that I would be buying the next in the series and upon discovering that Maas also has another series, which is extremely popular, I’ve also considered looking into some of her other works.

Memoirs of a Geisha

 

Author: Arthur Golden
Publisher: Random House
Publication Year: 1997
Genre: romance, historical,
Rating: 3.5

“She paints her face to hide her face. Her eyes are deep water. It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret.”

I have been wanting to delve into this novel for many years, having heard countless conflicting opinions on its plot and its characters. However it was only because of my book club that I have finally turned the first few pages and, truthfully, I am undecided as to whether this was good or bad thing.
This book made me feel violated, abused, embarrassed and disgusted. There were times when I didn’t want to continue reading a scene, because I could tell just how terrible the result was going to be. All of these are signs at to how good a writer Arthur Golden is. Chiyo’s story is both as devastating as it is rewarding and Golden has not glossed over any of the details of the suffering that she went through to get to where she ended up. At points I found myself believing that this was a real story, a biography of sorts, and in fact I ended up googling the book just to ensure that it wasn’t. Golden’s words, the life that was created for Chiyo, seemed very real to me.

Admittedly the story did drag a little. There was a lot of build up and there didn’t seem to be any real conclusion, other than the obvious ending. I spent most of the novel waiting for something to happen, waiting for an extraordinary development to take place. Even when the war was brought into the plot, I felt like we (as the readers) were still waiting.

I would go as far as to say that I wasn’t happy with the ending. For me it seemed a little rushed and I was disappointed in Sayuri (Chiyo). After spending the entire novel doing what was right, I was horrified to see her acting the way she did in order to get her man. I wanted a happy ending for her, I’m a sucker for them after all, but I felt like the ending could have been worked better.

However I did enjoy this book. I enjoyed following Chiyo’s tale and seeing how she tackled her challenges. It was inspiring to see the ways she fell down and picked herself up again.