Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Into the Drowning Deep (Mira Grant)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”It’s beautiful,” breathed Daniel, and while there were those who would have objected to the reverence in his voice, none of them corrected his statement. It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.

This book was something else and I have no idea how I survived reading this! XD I’m really such a scaredy fox and all I knew about “Into the Drowning Deep” was that it’s about killer mermaids and an expedition to the Mariana Trench. Well, and that there is an f/f relationship in this book because otherwise it wouldn’t have landed on my #Rainboween list. 😉 So far so good, right? Well, yeah, I suppose?! Nothing of those aforementioned things prepared me for the creepy story I was going to read, though. And boy, let me tell you this was quite something!

”We forgot about them, but they never forgot about us. They always knew that somewhere out there they had competition, strange and soft and walking on two legs and defenseless in the water. Most of all, they never forgot that we were delicious.“

I think I could have lived with gory scenes and bloodthirsty sirens, but what made this a really intriguing and exceptional story was the fact that those mermaids were extremely intelligent and had no qualms to use their knowledge to their advantage. They knew what they were hunting (humans in case you wondered) and how to get to it and in contrast to the humans they just took what they craved. Namely, meat and plenty of it. If you want to say it in a drastic way you could also say that the Melusine was some sort of all-you-can-eat buffet for them and you wouldn’t be wrong, because to be entirely honest those humans were basically put on a platter with a nice bow.

”So you think they’re watching us?” Luis glanced over the rail. The water was very dark and very clear at the same time, like looking through a window into infinity. A cold hand seemed to run along his spine, sending chills all through him.
„Mr Martines, I know they’re watching us. The only question is from how far away.“ Dr Toth smiled thinly.

So we have intelligent and ruthless sirens, scientists that want a piece of the cake without either realizing or caring that they ARE actually the cake and all the makings for a journey that will turn into a bloodbath. Nice! What I really liked about this story was the fact that we didn’t just get gory and bloody but also a lot of science and philosophy. Due to all the scientist on board of the ship there are a lot of tests and experiments happening but I think it was never over the top and woven so effortlessly into the tale that it always felt very natural and didn’t disturb the flow of the story. Also the atmosphere in this book was amazing! It was creepy, eerie and oppressive! And it was so suspenseful that it sometimes quite literally had me at the edge of my seat!

”This was not where she belonged. This had never been where she belonged. Humanity had chosen the land over the sea millennia ago, and sometimes – when she was letting her mind wander, when she was romanticizing what she did and how she did it – she thought the sea still held a grudge. Breakups were never easy, and while humanity was hot and fast and had had plenty of time to get over it, the oceans were deep and slow, and for them all change had happened only yesterday. The seas did not forgive, and they did not welcome their wayward children home.”

Fun fact I’ve to mention here: I always wanted to become a marine biologist when I was a kid but my asthma and the fact that I live in a landlocked region kind of killed that dream before it even got a chance to grow. Despite all that I was always fascinated with the sea, the Mariana Trench, reefs and everything else that lives in those depths though. And I think this made me enjoy “Into the Drowning Deep” even more because there is this scientific puzzle and every single person on that ship tries to solve it in their own way. Experiencing the story alongside the scientists and watching them while they made new discoveries and tried to understand those creatures that attacked them so relentlessly was extremely intriguing for me. I was probably as fascinated by them as Dr. Toth was and I wanted answers to how they were able to survive too.

”Dr Wilson is correct: the problem with trying to define nature is that nature is bigger than we are, and nature doesn’t care whether we know how to define it. Nature does what nature wants.”

As for the characters: I really liked most of them and actually prayed that they would survive. *lol* But quite honestly not even the ones I didn’t like would have deserved to die the way some of the mermaids victims did. *shudders* I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Some deaths were really gruesome and caused me to take a deep breath in order to be able to read on. Tory – Victoria Stewart – was one of the likable characters and I really liked that she and Olivia got closer during the journey. Tory was definitely a driven character and I really liked her and the way she tried to find answers to her sister’s death. Olive… Olive was amazing and I think it was great to see an on-page character that was autistic and had social anxiety as well. Olivia’s POV and rep added so much depth to the story and I think we need more representations like that in books!

”If one of the mermaids had taken him – one of those deep horrors, with teeth like daggers and the hands designed to catch and keep – then he hadn’t drowned, because he wouldn’t have had time. He would have died before his body hit the water.”

I don’t think I can say a lot about Theo because he represented Imagine and was actually a pretty blank character. His wife Dr. Jillian Toth however, was awesome and I really loved her dry humour and that she went on the journey knowing full well that she was most certainly going to die. Yet that still didn’t stop her because she wanted to see all her life’s work about mermaids put into practice. I’m pretty certain Dr. Toth would have tried to study the sirens even if they would have chewed and feasted on her already. *lol* Yep, that woman was badass and I really liked her, because despite all her fascination for those creatures she was still compassionate and kind. The twins Holly and Heather and their sister Hallie were all pretty interesting characters too. Every single one of them had their own voice and even though they worked in completely different niches (organic chemistry, deep sea diving, linguistics) they were a family and a lively bunch.

“Do I think they found mermaids? Yes. Of course I do. And I think the mermaids ate them all.”

4

All told, I really enjoyed “Into the Drowning Deep” and the story’s slow decent into tension, havoc and madness. When the book started I wasn’t all too sure if killer sirens would be able to scare me but once the shit hit the fan and the atmosphere got more and more deadly and dire I couldn’t escape the pull of the book anymore. This was horrifying, suspenseful and thrilling and if there was one thing I didn’t like it was the rather abrupt, horror movie like ending. But I guess you can’t have everything so I’ll take it as it is and be glad I never actually met those lethal sirens. 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: All Systems Red (Martha Wells)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

”I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”

Haha! Honestly, to read this quote was extremely relatable! I mean it are Murderbot’s thoughts but I can totally understand their enjoyment of tv shows. *lol* And to be completely honest I always wondered how Muderbot would like k-dramas. I bet they’d be hooked and totally forget about their mission, but that’s beside the point so let’s stop thinking about it and get this review back on track. ;-P

I really didn’t think I’d enjoy this short story so much because if we look at it from an objective perspective this sort of plot must have been part of countless science fiction books already. I mean a group of scientists that explores a new planet and gets into trouble with the inhabitants of that new world is nothing new. We’ve had that in about a gazillion of books and movies so this was definitely familiar territory. What was new was the fact that the narration of the story was told through Murderbot’s eyes who isn’t exactly part of the science team because it’s a security android and its only order is to protect the people it accompanies.

Well, that is until Murderbot develops a mind of its own and cuts off the governor module in order to be free. So we have a self-aware SecUnit that decides to stay with its humans because it still wants to protect them and watch tv shows. *lol* For a while the mission actually goes well and nothing happens. Well, that is until there happens something and the scientists don’t only discover that someone wants to kill them but also that Murderbot isn’t attached to the governor module anymore. Fun times!

„At least Mensah and Arada had overruled the ones who wanted to talk to me about it. Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency. I’d rather climb back into Hostile One’s mouth.“

Murderbot was quite something and I really liked to listen to its thoughts. If you ask me it was more human than some of the humans it encountered and sometimes it made me smile with its observations. The characters I liked the most were definitely the captain of the crew and Ratthi because they saw Murderbot as a person and not as an android and I really liked that. I think the feeling was mutual as well because Murderbot was actually fiercely protective of its human crew and once they got attacked it did everything possible to make sure they survived. 😉

”Maybe these clients had been terrible and abusive, maybe they had deserved it. I didn’t care. Nobody was touching my humans.”

4
All told “All Systems Red” was a quick and enjoyable read and after the ending I really want to know what happens next. I can see this series becoming one of those series I pick up whenever I want to read something short and fun so I’m pretty certain I’ll read book two soon. This said: If you want to read a typical sci-fi story with a rather untypical and unique POV this one might be the right choice for you.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Kingdom of Back (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Music is the sound of God, Nannerl, he would say. If given the talent, it means God has chosen you as an ambassador for His voice. Your music will be as if God has given you eternal life.
My father, God … there was little difference between them to me. A frown from Papa might as well have been a frown from Heaven, for what it did to my mood.”

This story was unlike anything I ever read by Marie Lu and even though her tale about Mozart’s sister Nannerl had a couple of weaknesses I still enjoyed this beautiful book. As someone who comes from Mozart’s country and basically grew up with his legend ever since I started to think, Marie Lu certainly didn’t have it easy with me. I mean it’s always difficult to write about a topic if there’s an audience that knew about it before they were even out of their diapers. Mozart’s tale is such an integral part of our history and culture that little kids like my own already know about him and collect stickers for their sticker album. So yes, Marie Lu definitely didn’t have it easy with a critical audience like me, she did manage to capture my interest though.

His smile widened at that. He looked like he had heard every thought unspoken in my mind. “It’s immortality you seek, then,” he said. “You burn with the ambition to leave your voice in the world. You fear your father will forget about you if you cannot do this. All your life, you have ached to be seen.”

I think the fact that she only lent the characters and wove a unique story around them worked in her favour here. It’s historical fiction after all and with that in mind it was easier to overlook some of the historical facts being bent or not entirely accurate. I don’t know if Marie Lu ever visited Austria and actually went to see Mozart’s birth house in the Getreidegasse but she managed to write about it convincingly and to me it almost felt like I was there myself. (I actually was there myself so knew exactly what she wrote about) The only thing that was extremely jarring was the use of “Woferl” instead of “Wolferl”. If you look up Mozart on Wikipedia “Woferl” is mentioned as one of his nicknames but let me tell you this (and this says an Austrian who grew up with Mozart) no one over here would ever call him like that. If you talk about Mozart in Austria people will always say “Wolferl”. It comes from Wolfgang and “Wolferl” is the nickname everyone here would use. I guess Marie Lu might have used “Woferl” because it’s probably easier to pronounce for people that don’t speak German but for me, personally, it got kind of annoying. My brain always automatically corrected it to “Wolferl” and even when I reached the ending of the book I just couldn’t get over the use of this nickname. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because Wikipedia clearly states it as one of his many nicknames, none of us Austrians would ever call him like that in a conversation though. Just to get this out there into the world because correct representation is so important. I don’t know if Marie Lu’s editor or publisher ever asked a fellow Austrian to proof read this but I’m sure if any of them did they would have pointed this out to them. Well, at least I would have. 😉

”He made Woferl play so late into the night that my brother could not concentrate anymore, then slapped Woferl’s hands when he saw my brother’s eyes drooping at the clavier.”

Anyway! This out of the way we can go back to focusing on the story instead. I really loved how Marie Lu turned this into a magical tale and added so much depth to it. I mean for one we have a mysterious land named “The Kingdom of Back” in which a faerie princeling desperately tries to reclaim his throne. Hyacinth was such an interesting character because he represented so many different things. On the one hand there is his function as Nannerl’s patron and confidant and on the other hand he is a person Nannerl doesn’t really trust and is weary of. I just loved how Hyacinth had the role of conveying Nannerl’s deepest feelings and thoughts. Without Nannerl’s jealousy and resentment the faerie princeling wouldn’t have been more than a passing thought, but the more the young girl gives into her feelings the stronger he becomes. It shows in the way the Kingdom is growing and thriving and I really have to give kudos to Marie Lu for this amazing allegory. The more Nannerl resents her brother, the stronger Hyacinth becomes and once she realizes what he’s really up to its almost too late.

”He tells you to play, so you play. He tells you to curtsy, so you curtsy. He tells you what you are meant to do and what you are meant not to do, so you do and you do not do. He tells you not to be angry, so you smile, you turn your eyes down, you are quiet and do exactly as he says in the hopes that this is what he wants, and then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

The thing is, nothing of it was ever Wolferl’s fault and I’m sure if their father wouldn’t have been so strict she would have never even been tempted to make that Faustian bargain with Hyacinth. What Nannerl truly wants is to be recognized for her talent and to be appreciated, but because she was a girl her father didn’t even find it necessary to give her the means to develop and evolve. While her brother gets the best tutoring and tools to improve and work on his music Nannerl has to fight for every little scrap. It was so unfair to see their different treatment but unfortunately it was a pretty realistic representation of the difference between women and men at that time. While men had all the opportunities and the world was open to them, women were only seen as future wives and mothers. Their only value in how well you were able to marry them off. Nannerl is fighting against that tooth and nail and almost breaking under the pressure.

”You and I are one, Nannerl. I am your friend. Firends help each other, and dislike seeing each other in distress. I can help you become what you want to be, help you heal, or I can let you die tonight, mourned only by your father and mother and brother. But I can only be your guardian if you let me help you. Now, what is it you want?”

Torn between what she wants for herself and what is best for her brother she is forced to make a decision and it’s definitely the hardest one she ever had to make. I just love how Marie Lu turned “The Kingdom of Back” into an extension of Nannerl’s inner turmoil, how Hyacinth represented her envy, anger and jealousy and how she’s ultimately forced to confront herself. Because in the end all that matters is if you’re able to live with the decisions you make and if you got there by yourself or if other’s forced your hand. The kingdom itself is such a beautiful place, all the potential Nannerl holds showing in every character and the unique music they emit. This was something I really loved about the book. Every single person Nannerl encounters in the kingdom has their own melody and voice and the descriptions were so lovely.

”Her touch, colder than the wind of a winter night, froze me in place. I wanted to cry out. Instead I focused myself staring at her, overwhelmed by the sound of music that came from deep in her throat. The melody flowed through her body and into my hand, wrapping itself around my skin, refusing to let go. I closed my eyes, unable to tear myself away from her.”

I swear sometimes to read this felt like the combination of a fever dream and a fairy tale. The scenes in the kingdom were an integral part of the story, yet at the same time they were few and far between. The biggest part of the narration was still playing in the real world and showed the struggle of the Mozart family while they tried to make a living of their talents. Still, the moments between Nannerl and her father always had an urgency to them and even though the story was a rather slow one you could always feel the tension in the air. Honestly, the injustice of Nannerl’s situation really got to me and it was kind of sad that the further the story progressed the harder it became for her to catch a break. Whenever she went to the Kingdom it felt like a fever dream and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue to dream on or would have rather preferred to wake up instead.

”And what if something were to happen to me? I can do everything that he can!” I had started to shout my words now. I no longer cared. “I can take care of our family! There are those in the audience who love me too, and who I can please. We are the same, Papa! Why do you not take me with you?” Papa slapped me. I gasped, suddenly dizzy, and touched my cheek with my hand.

4
The story might have been slow in general but it was relentless in its urgency and eventually turned into a crescendo. I don’t know if I liked the ending but I know that despite the magical nature of the story its end actually turned out to be realistic and comprehensible. Nannerl and Wolferl got older and grew up and this was reflected in the outcome of the story. Was it a good ending? I honestly don’t know, but I suppose it was at least one I could live with. So there’s that.
All told I really enjoyed “The Kingdom of Back” and ended up liking Marie Lu’s take on Mozart’s tale. If you love music, magic and fairy tales this might actually turn out to be a good pick for you. 😉

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Tomi Adeyemi)

trigger warnings:war, violence, genocide, loss, trauma, abusive parents

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Rating: 2 Pfoten,5

”Just tell Zélie what you want,” he says. “She’ll listen.”
“No, she won’t.” I shake my head. “None of them will.”

And if that isn’t the entire mood of this book, then I really don’t know! People, buckle up because today I’m going to serve some hot tea and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I’m not here to please though so you either read my honest opinion or you don’t. It’s up to you. ;-P Okay, this out of the way let’s talk about why I didn’t enjoy “Children of Virtue and Vengeance”. To cut it down to the basics there was absolutely no “virtue” in this book and if anything the “vengeance” part was extremely pronounced! Like so extremely distinctive I just couldn’t enjoy the book anymore. Honestly after the about hundredth time these “children” (that is actually a very suitable description for the childish behaviour they showed) couldn’t decide whether to make war or not I kinda lost my patience. And I’m a very patient person…

Don’t get me wrong, the first book was great. I mean I had my issues with it but I was really looking forward to read book two because I believed that the author would learn from the mistakes of the first book. Unfortunately what I got was something totally different than I expected. There was so much potential! We had the tîtáns that suddenly appeared after the ritual and we could have had such great character arcs and a really solid and good story line but this wasn’t what we got. No.

”Marked by white streaks, the tîtáns appeared in the nobility and military after the ritual, displaying magic similar to one of the ten maji clans. But unlike us, their powers require no incantation to come forth. Like Inan, their raw abilities are quite strong.”

What we got were immature protagonists that fought amongst themselves at every opportunity. MCs that were incapable of listening to each other and that were so stubborn and stuck in their way of thinking that they didn’t even ponder the idea of peace. I mean honestly, who needs peace if you can make war and kill each other? Why save millions of lives if you can just send them to death? The maji and tîtáns don’t need peace, no, it’s way easier to annihilate each other and to destroy everything. Way to go! Totally good solution! I hope you notice my sarcasm because urgh, I just couldn’t with them. With all of them!! Every single character! It was so frustrating!! And before I go on and on I’ll just head to my characters section and vent my anger over there! Just in case you didn’t notice: I’m still salty. *lol*

2
Welcome to the land of doom aka Orïsha, where we all want to kill each other because happy endings are overrated! Who needs peace when you can have war? Oh yeah, and because we’re nice like that we’ll hand you lots of spoilers to deal with! Be prepared to be drowned in them. ;-P

Zélie:

Who is this girl and where did the real Zélie go?! It’s like her character turned around by 180 degrees and I don’t recognize her anymore. I mean she went through a lot in the first book, really A LOT but by the end of the first book she still was nothing like that! I so couldn’t with this new Zélie and I think fame got to her head. Everyone telling her what a special snowflake she is definitely didn’t do her any good and I wish she would have listened to the people that were close to her before she turned into the “Soldier of Death”. I don’t even have a single quote that would describe Zélie’s character because it was all over the place and there was nothing left of the girl we got to know in “Children of Blood and Bone”. I’m so disappointed by her character, I have no words.

Amari:

”I pick up a navy tunic, squeezing the silk to keep the tears in. What right do I have to grieve when the sins of my family have caused this kingdom so much pain?”

And here we go with the second lead character I didn’t recognize anymore. Amari changed at least as much as Zélie did and I hated to see her blame herself for everything. Where is my strong and determined queen? Where is the girl that always tried her best and never gave up? It’s like Adeyemi set her up for failure from the very first page and the ending was so convenient because by then Amari really became the person every single one of the maji expected her to be. If Adeyemi wanted to destroy Amari’s character she did really well. I’m sure no one likes her after the ending of this book which doesn’t sit right with me because up until the halfway mark Amari tried to prevent a war and then suddenly changed direction just because she felt betrayed by her brother. It was like: I was betrayed by him. I need to answer to violence with violence, it’s the only way. No talk of peace anymore. Sure I mean if I tried to prevent a war for about 1,5 books I totally would change direction from one moment to the next. Wouldn’t we all?! Sorry, I’m getting salty again. But I JUST CAN’T!!

”I don’t care what you’ve done.” Ramaya’s attacks subside, a brief reprieve as she catches her breath. “If you want to help the maji, kill your vile family. Kill yourself.“

Roën:

”Thes idiots bleed for you. They die for you. And all you want is to run away and lick your scars –“
“What right do you have?” I whip around. “You left your home!”
“Because I had nothing!” he yells at me. “I had no one. You’re going to win and you still have so many of the people you love! I don’t feel sorry for you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”

Roën was legit THE ONLY voice of reason in this book! Honestly, even Mama Agba was such a disappointment. She saw everything that went wrong and didn’t do anything against it?! WTF?! Oh gosh, I loved Roën so much for giving Zélie a piece of his mind! And he was totally right: At first she goaded everyone into war and then she suddenly didn’t want to be a part of it anymore?! I think Roën was the only reason I read this book until the end, because he was the only sane and reasonable character among a flood of stupid and stubborn warmongers. I really wish we would have gotten so much more of him because he seemed to be the only character that was worth my reading time.

Inan:

”One victor shall stand at the end of this war. One ruler shall sit on my throne. I can’t hold back anymore. I have to take out the Iyika no matter what it does to Amari and Zélie.
This war ends with me.”

Good lord give me patience! There was so much potential for Inan’s character and… it all went to waste! Instead of forming his own opinion and doing the right thing he let himself be influenced by his mother and the people around him. Inan had absolutely no – I repeat – no character growth and even though he tried to find a peaceful solution for everyone and wanted to avoid a war it felt like he never really wanted to stop it. If you want to stop a war you take the risk and go through with it no matter the cost. No wonder Inan wasn’t successful; all his attempts at peace were just half-hearted and half-assed! You do things properly or not at all. Period! His stance of “I want peace but I still want to be king” was so illogical and it was no surprise the maji didn’t trust someone who held on to his crown like that. Uff…

3
Zélie & Amari:

„Don’t compare your scars to mine, Princess. You’ll lose every time.“
“I’ll lose?” I charge forward. “I’ll lose? You had two parents who loved you till their dying breath. A brother who stands by your side. Both my parents tried to kill me with their own hands! I took the life of my own father to protect you and the maji!”

All I can say to those two is: WTF?! I mean what happened to their amazing friendship?!!! Did I miss a memo? How did we get from respect, mutual understanding and trust to the sentence above?! I have no idea what I was reading but it definitely wasn’t the kind of friendship I signed up for. I hate what became of those two and I think if Zélie would have just listened to Amari and trusted her they could have found a way to peace. But nope, Zélie decided to be a b*tch and treated Amari like shit. I mean she didn’t even defend her against Ramaya and the things Ramaya said… if someone would say something like that to my friend I’d give them hell for it! And what did Zélie do? Nothing! She let the maji treat Amari like dirt and didn’t care. You know what makes me even more angry is the fact that they all treated Amari so badly and it was so, SO WRONG! And in the end after Amari really steps out of line and does something totally extreme and horrible it’s like: Oh, we were all right and it wasn’t our fault, it was Amari’s because she was wrong from the beginning. Never mind Amari tried to prevent the war from ever happening for about 3 quarters of the book. Never mind that Zélie was a total b*tch and sent so many of her own people to death and actually wanted to abandon them near the ending. Zélie is our precious heroine and she can do nothing wrong. URGH!

”You keep pretending all you want is to kill my brother, but I saw the way you two looked at each other at Chândomblé. I know there’s more in your heart than rage!” I point at her chest. “If you want to lie to yourself about how you really feel, fine. But if you damn us to this warpath, you’re putting innocent lives on the line!”

Zélie, Inan & Roën:

The pit of guilt in my stomach hardens, squashing my fantasy. But that same pit turns to a flutter when Roën slides a hand around my waist.
“Besides, what soul could be better off that far away from me?”
“You have three seconds before I cut off your arm.”
“Three whole seconds?” Roën smiles as the cart swings to a stop.

This was the most unnecessary love triangle I ever came across and I read so many books with unnecessary love triangles you have no idea. I mean seriously, what was the point of this?! We all know there’s no way Zélie and Inan will ever get together because they hate each other with a fierce passion. And that’s all the passion that will ever be between them. And after reading this book I can honestly say that Roën is way too good for Zélie. Just to think that he believes he isn’t good enough for her. Like excuse me: WHAT?! But you know: Having read so many love triangles I can already guess how this one might end: Zélie will get together with Inan despite all logic and Roën will most certainly die somehow. Because that is how you solve a love triangle like that. One person has to die. If anyone of you reads the third book please let me know with whom Zélie ends up with. I’d really love to hear about that one. *lol* Am I bitter about this love triangle, yes, yes I am.

Roën’s steps slow as he exhales, pressing his fingers to his forehead. I watch bewildered as he turns back to help her; metal drifting towards its magnet.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, tears brimming in her silver eyes. One spills out and Roën wipes it with his thumb, his unbandaged hand lingering on the side of her face.
They stare at each other, and it’s as if we all disappear. Unspoken words pass between their eyes. Roën’s shoulders slump when he rises to his feet. “Me too.”

”Your mistake wasn’t falling for a monster, Zïtsõl. It was falling for the wrong one.”
“Are you supposed to be the right one?”
Roën smiles, but it doesn’t hold any joy. “I’ve never been the right anything.”

Amari & Zane:

”Of course.” Tzain grins. “I live to serve, my queen.”
Though he jokes, his words heat my skin. He’s the only one who looks at me like I deserve that title. The one person who believes I can lead.”

I said it after reading the first book and I’ll say it again: Their love story came out of nowhere and it’s still irritating af. *lol* Amari clearly was in love with Binta and no one can persuade me otherwise. I find it weird that she would fall for Zane like that and that he’d become her safe haven in such a short time. Also their love ended as abruptly as it started, which only causes me to be even more irritated by their relationship. At first she is everything for him and the moment she does something horrible and stupid he drops her like a hot potato because that is EXACTYLY what we do with the people we love! We can turn our feelings on and off like a light switch, don’t you know?! It must have been true love! Oh jeez, my sarcasm is showing today. I just can’t with this book! I can’t!

Amari & Inan:

”I only asked for one thing when I joined this fight,” she cuts me off. “All I wanted was to end Inan.”
“He’s my blood.” I narrow my eyes. “You know I could never agree to that.”

I really liked their sibling relationship … well up until the moment Amari didn’t even give her brother a chance to explain himself and decided to go into full war mode. What happened to the benefit of the doubt? I mean of course we wouldn’t even listen to our sibling. Why should we? We want war, so we’ll throw all caution and every reasonable and sensible thought out of the window and just go for it! Despite us trying to find a peaceful solution for 3 quarters of the book! Sure. Totally logical, right?! Can you still follow me? Nope? Well, I guess that might be because I couldn’t follow that logic as well. But here we go!

”Everything that’s passed between us flashes behind my eyes as I run. I see every way we’ve been hurt. Every face that we have lost. Binta. Admiral Kaea. Father. But worst of all, each other.
the moment I place my head against his chest, I don’t know who weeps harder. Me, or him.”

4
I hate to say it but “Children of Virtue and Vengeance” so wasn’t for me and it was a real struggle to get through the book. I just couldn’t with the constant back and forth between making war or making peace and the fact that the characters themselves just couldn’t seem to be able to decide for a clear path made this impossible to enjoy. The MCs were so inconsistent in their decisions and they were nothing like the characters from the first book. Characters I may add that had a lot of potential and could have had great arcs. I’m sorry but this book really wasn’t for me. I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy it and that’s totally okay. I really wish I would have enjoyed it too, but I just didn’t and I guess that has to be okay as well.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Fever King (Victoria Lee)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 32 on My Book List 2021

”Governments didn’t have to listen to the people until the people made it hurt not to listen.”

The backlog of reviews I still have to write is no joke; I mean I finished this book in May and only managed to sit down and write my review now. Regardless of my review backlog I really wanted to write about “The Fever King” though because WOW, this book deserves a proper review! I wanted to read this book for ages and it always reappeared on my feed with people raving about it. So I was intrigued enough by the plot to put it on my TBR and when I discovered that my library actually had a copy, I couldn’t help but borrow it! And let me tell you this: I regret absolutely nothing!

This was amazing and legit one of the best books I read in 2022 so far! I didn’t expect to fall head over heels for this story and its characters but at some point I realized that all my thoughts revolved around this book and that it stayed with me even when I didn’t read it. And this even though the story line is nothing new. I mean, people with special abilities is a trope that’s been used very often in YA literature. One of the main differences in here is the fact that those abilities come with a virus that either kills the people it infects or grants them special powers if they survive. That concept alone was already very intriguing and definitely made this an interesting story to read. What really made this special were the characters though.

So many secrets, so much political intrigue, such interesting and complex characters and two very broken boys that tried their best to survive in a cruel world. I just loved everything about it. Noam and Dara were just wow! I love it when books make me think and cause me to feel conflicted about the characters and this was exactly what happened in here. I had no idea which side I was on and this was great. XD Anyway, before I accidentally spoil anything I’ll just head to my characters section and continue to rave over there. 😉

2
Welcome to Carolinia! Where manipulation thrives and political intrigues are a daily occurrence! Take care and beware not only of the virus but also of all the spoilers! They’ll get you when you least expect it! ;-P

Noam Álvaro :

”And I meant it when I said I wasn’t gay,“ Noam said.
Ames looked disbelieving, but she didn’t pull away.
Noam smirked. „Bisexual isn’t gay.“

Where to start with Noam?! I really liked his character and it was interesting to follow his POV. I felt the same confusion Noam did when it came to Dara’s and Lehrer’s relationship and I tried really hard to understand it. There are so many things Noam isn’t aware of and we get to experience everything through his eyes. I felt really sorry for him though because he tries his best to find his way in a world that hasn’t been kind to him and as a refugee and the son of undocumented immigrants his life has never been easy. Well, and then his father dies and Noam is basically an orphan with super powers he has no control over. I swear Noam is the embodiment of a lost boy and I really liked his character. Also can we appreciate that he’s openly bisexual and calls people out when they assume his sexuality?! XD I really loved that about him because despite all the things he’s been through he knows exactly who he is and where he stands and this is pretty amazing! =)

”Everything worth doing had its risks.
And sometimes you had to do the wrong thing to achieve something better.
Noam was willing to gamble with Lehrer’s persuasion if it meant securing a future for Atlantians. What kind of person would he be if he didn’t?”

Dara Shirazi:

„Dara’s eyes were black wells, pupils bleeding into iris.
„You can study all you want,“ he said softly. „It isn’t going to make a difference.“

Oh Dara, my beautiful, beautiful Dara!!! T_T My heart breaks just thinking of him and I can’t even fathom what he must have gone through all his life. His character was written so well and you know that something about him is off but you can’t exactly pinpoint it and you keep wondering until the end. And then BAM! Oh my! The more I read about his character the more I got on the right track but to actually read it and to have all my suspicions confirmed was an entirely different thing. Dara just tried to protect himself and Noam and he did it the only way he could. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and the ending had me reeling! I really need to know if he’s okay and if he survived and I’m planning to read book two very soon because I just can’t wait any longer! I’m very scared of what I’ll read in the next book though because I’m pretty certain we’ll get more details and uff… this is going to be tough. I just want to hug Dara and tell him everything is going to be okay. T_T

He hesitated for a moment, darting a quick glance at Noam from beneath his lashes. Then: “I’d like to live out on a farm somewhere. With a garden, and maybe some goats. Somewhere I can see the stars.”

”There was so much more to Dara than the cold, bitter facade he’d presented. He was that, too, but he was also Dara: the effortless genius, the political critic and poker cheat, the boy who analyzed everything he read according to poststructuralist theory and kept fresh flowers in a vase on his bedside table. Dara, who claimed he hated everything but secretly dreamed of counting the stars.”

Calix Lehrer:

”Clever?” Lehrer said. “So are you. And you’re curious, as I was. You’ve lost a great deal, as I had. And you believe, as I did, that if you are powerful enough, no one will ever be able to hurt you again.”

Lehrer…. THIS manipulative, horrible man!!! I always knew that something about him was weird and extremely off, but urgh nothing prepared me for the revelations at the ending of the book. Damn! Some part of me admires how well he crafted his net of lies and machinations and yes, I admit it, I can’t help but marvel at his manipulations as well! But boy! This man is so, so, so bad and everyone is dancing after his pipe even though they don’t know it. What a brilliant and manipulative son of a b*tch! I think Adalwolf was totally right when he said that Calix’s trauma did irreparable damage to his mind. He clearly has no regard for people’s lives anymore and he uses them like he’d use chess pieces to win a match. I hate him. I despise him. But I can’t help but be intrigued by him. ARGH!!! Thanks for making me a conflicted mess Victoria Lee! *lol* Still, I think in his twisted mind he thinks he’s actually doing the right thing and truly believes that he cares about Carolinia. The things that happened to him though… my heart broke for the little boy he was. T_T It was horrible and inhuman and those scientists created a monster…

”Adalwolf was of the belief,” Lehrer said, “that what I experienced in the hospital made me ill suited for leadership. He believed the trauma did irreparable damage to my mind.”

”Now, even though he occupied one of the most powerful positions in the world, Minister Lehrer could walk into the courtyard of the government complex utterly alone, without bodyguards, and not spare a thought for safety. He was untouchable, more myth than man. To look at Lehrer was to see a man who was everything Chancellor Sacha was not: Revolutionary. Principled. Witching.”

”I used my power on Sacha because he had to be stopped,” Lehrer said. “At any cost. I care about nothing as much as I care about this country. I was there when this nation was born, Noam, and like hell will I watch it die at the hands of a baseline.”

3
Noam & Dara:

”What did Lehrer tell you?”
“He said you were troubled and that I should stay away from you.”
Dara’s smile was bladed. He had Noam captured there as thoroughly as if he’d tied him down, because Noam couldn’t imagine moving when Dara was looking at him like that.

My two soft boys!!! T_T I really loved them together! Even though they kinda made me mad! *lol* There was so much tension between them and so many little gestures, but they both didn’t know how to be close to each other because their entire life they always tried to protect themselves from harm. To see their struggle was so heart-breaking. They wanted to be together but at the same time they couldn’t. There was so much distrust between them and they felt so conflicted about their feelings. Noam as well as Dara were hurt in so many ways… two broken boys that tried their best to get through the day and then Lehrer added even more fuel to the fire by manipulating them both. This only made it even harder for them to understand and to trust each other. From Dara’s POV it must have been so heart-wrenching because he knew exactly what Lehrer was capable of but he just couldn’t do anything against it. >_< My poor boy!! Also: I can’t believe we went from “I love you.” to “I hate you and don’t care about you.” right to “I love you.” again! Phew! Their relationship was such a rollercoaster and I really hope it will have more consistency in the next book?! Gosh, I just hope Dara survived the virus! T_T

”There was no way to look without sliding off his armrest and moving into Dara’s space. But Dara seemed to want that. His hand caught Noam’s wrist and tugged him closer, until Noam was leaning over him with his free hand braced against the windowsill, Dara’s left thigh perilously close to Noam’s groin, and, fuck.”

”I know you. And I love you.”
Two weeks ago, Noam would have been the happiest person in the world. Now those words were poison. Noam tasted venom like heat on his tongue.
“So read my mind,” Noam said, brandishing a hand toward his own temple. “I believe you, Dara. I just don’t care.”

”He was crying, Noam realized. Dara was crying.
Very carefully, Noam wrapped his arms around Dara’s body and just … held him there, while both of Dara’s hands took fistfuls of his shirt and clung on tight. He was feverish hot; Noam could feel it even through the sweater Dara wore. It was like holding on to a live coal.”

”I know,” Noam said. He tried to grin, but it felt weak. He said, “I love you too.” and he grasped Dara’s face between both hands and kissed him on his shocked mouth. Dara didn’t resist. Dara didn’t say a word, even when Noam pushed him back and into the car and slammed the door shut behind him.

Noam & Lehrer:

”I can’t be anywhere near this. You know that,” Lehrer said, hand tightening slightly on Noam’s wrist. “It has to be you.”

URGH!!! I absolutely hate how Lehrer manipulated Noam. We get to see everything through Noam’s POV and it was so … I dunno. Disgusting to read about how Lehrer found a way into his mind and nudged his thoughts in the “right direction”. I felt so violated just reading about it and I don’t even want to know how Noam feels. Lehrer’s power… it’s horrible and the worst thing is that you only realize it very slowly. A little thought here and a small seed there and before I even knew it Noam and his thoughts were completely manipulated by him. Nothing he did at the ending was of his own will and I hated this so much!! ARGH!! Lehrer is such a cruel piece of … ! The only thing that was truly Noam was when he saved Dara and organized a transport for him. The rest… well it was all Lehrer and considering how much he hurt Dara and manipulated him I don’t even want to know what he’s going to do with Noam in the next book. T_T I’m afraid I’ll be in for a world of suffering and pain. >_< Or well, Noam will be and I’ll live through it alongside him.

Dara & Lehrer:

Dara, sick with fevermadness, his hands on Noam’s face. Saying, “You have to listen to me.”
Over and over.
Lehrer, pulling Dara away like it was easy.
Dara screaming. Don’t let them and Please and Noam’s name, like someone praying the Shema.

This scene broke my heart into tiny little pieces! Noam was the only good thing that ever happened to Dara and Lehrer made sure to take him away from him as well. My poor boy! Dara was so ill and weak and he couldn’t even fight him. Did I already mention that I hate what Lehrer did to Dara?! I always got bad vibes from Lehrer and he failed my vibe check the moment I read about him. What finally settled it was that disturbing scene with the dead bird though. After that I was totally on guard when it came to Lehrer. And the abuse Dara suffered from Lehrer… It wasn’t just physically but also mentally and I have no idea how he could live like that for so long. No one ever noticed and it’s just so horrible. To think that Lehrer should have been his guardian and parent – a person he could trust and rely on – and what he did instead. And we only just discovered the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure there’s so much more to come in the next book and I really don’t think I’m ready for it.

4
I rarely say this about books but “The Fever King” was really such a well thought-out book. The characters were multi-layered and complex and the storyline kept me on my toes. All the intrigues and secrets caused me to constantly rethink and readjust my theories and thoughts and the love story between the two MCs broke my heart. I guess you can already tell that this was definitely a 5 paws read for me. Highly recommended if you’re like me and appreciate character driven books that feature political intrigues and give you a headache because you’re trying your best to figure out the MCs motives. 😉 I can’t wait to dive into book two, but I gotta admit I’m kinda scared of reading it too.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”Somewhere close by, a man is moaning; he’s been trampled or thrown or bitten. He sounds resentful or surprised. Did no one tell him that pain lives in this sand, dug in and watered with our blood?”

I really don’t know where I should start with this review because just like any of Maggie’s other books this one wasn’t only magical but also so damn atmospheric that it’s more than just hard to put my feelings into proper words. There is something in the way she writes that always captures the emotions and the essence of a certain season or time. In “Shiver” it was winter, in TRC it’s that foggy, otherworldly atmosphere of Cabeswater and in “The Scorpio Races” it was autumn and the daily life on an island.

I swear I could feel the cold autumn wind on my skin and I could smell the leaves and the sea with my nose while I read this book. It was done so perfectly that I immerged into a totally different world and just like Puck and Sean (and Craig ;-P) I couldn’t help but fall in love with the capaill uisce. Those water horses were so awesome, I can’t even! <333

”The capaill uisce plunged down the sand, skirmishing and bucking, shaking the sea foam out of their manes and the Atlantic from their hooves. They screamed back to the others still in the water, high wails that raised the hair on my arms. They were swift and deadly, savage and beautiful. The horses were giants, at once the ocean and the island, and that was when I loved them.”

I love how Maggie described them and I also love that she researched the myths and folklore of water horses. They are indeed very fascinating and if you want to delve a little deeper you just have to look them up under “cabyll-ushtey”. Anyway, back to the actual water horses of this book! They were amazing and I loved their beautiful, violent and graceful nature! It’s kind of obvious Maggie has some experience with horses because I think otherwise she would have never been able to write about them so convincingly. There’s a deep respect in her words and you can feel it whenever you read Sean’s or Pucks POV! And tell you what? I loved that aspect of the book! It made it so good and realistic that I was almost convinced those horses actually exist. *lol*

And this ultimately brings me right to the two main characters of “The Scorpio Races”. Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick! <333

”And then I see him. A dark-haired boy who is made of all corners. He is standing next in line by the counter, silent and still in his blue-black jacket, his arms folded across his chest. He looks out of place and wild in here: expression sharp, collar turned up against the back of his neck, hair still windblown from the beach.”

”My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar.”

I adored them both! XD Sean Kendrick was a mystery to everyone but himself and Puck Connolly was an open book that had its own secrets. They were two really intriguing characters and before I even knew it, I was already pulling for them. *lol* Even though they both had a rather rough life they still decided to fight for their dreams and they truly did everything possible in order to achieve their goals. They really dealt with every blow that came their way and they did it with fierce determination! ❤

”The truth is this: for eleven months of the year I make myself valuable to Malvern, and then for one month, I make myself invaluable. Would he be willing to give up that one month to keep the other eleven? Am I willing to risk it?”

”Why is it that going away is the standard? Does anyone ask you why you stay, Sean Kendrick?”
“They do.”
“And why do you?”
“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr.”


This is such a perfect quote because Sean and Puck ARE the embodiment of the island. They are deeply rooted in its sand and unlike so many of the islands other inhabitants they can’t even imagine to leave it one day. It’s their heart, their home and the place they belong to and I think Maggie conveyed that feeling more than just well. =) Still, the island is its own entity and there are people that make it hard to enjoy the wilderness of this land. First and foremost Benjamin Malvern and his demon of a son called Mutt.

”And I told you before, I’ll sell you any of the thoroughbreds.”
“I didn’t make any of those thoroughbreds. I didn’t make them what they are.”
Malvern says, “You made all of them what they are.”
I don’t look at him. “None of them made me who I am.”


”Mr Kendrick was born on a horse and he’ll die on one, and maybe that’s not something you can breed for. He’s one of those rare men who can make a horse work for him but never asks for more than they have.”

It was so obvious that Benjamin Malvern had a deep respect for Sean, yet at the same time he refused to let him go. Ever the business man he tied him to his stable making him just another one of his precious horses. I hated Benjamin Malvern so much for that and I despised him even more for being aware of Sean’s talent and keeping him under his thumb. And I don’t even want to speak about Mutt Malvern that – excuse my crude language – sadistic douche bag! Gosh, there were moments I wanted to slap some sense into him and I am a pacifist and actually never slapped anyone. (My only weapons are words! *lol*) ARGH! Just to think about Mutt makes my blood boil, such a despicable a******!!! >_<

”At the sound of them, the red stallion flinches, as if the bells are physically painful, and I find myself unexpectedly blinking away tears.
Sean Kendrick turns his face away.
There’s something so wretched in that that I can’t just leave him there by himself.”


I swear Sean and Puck had to put up with so many things before the races and I loved them so much for never giving up! Plus I also liked that Puck was the first woman to ever take part in the races! Thank you Maggie for inventing a strong female character people are able to look up to! We still need more of those! ❤ And last but not least another thing I’m very thankful for: A slow, realistic burn and a relationship that was built on mutual respect and the love for their horses and home!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!!! <333

I say, “I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.”
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, “It’s late for that, Puck.”

4
All told I really loved this book! “The Scorpio Races” was an awesome “ride” and the ending was as bittersweet as dark chocolate with a pinch of salt in it. T_T
Highly recommended and definitely once again an amazing Maggie Stiefvater book! 😉

Since this was another buddy read with my amazing Sugar Bun I want to use the chance to thank him for this cool and funny BR! I think our next one is already pending. Do you still have a copy of “Linger”? *lol* I have the feeling that you’ll need a yucky romance soon. Haha! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Titan’s Curse (Rick Riordan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

My mother pursed her lips. “I’m telling you that … you’re getting too old for me to tell you what to do. I’m telling you that I’ll support you, even if what you decide to do is dangerous.”

And this kind of settles in which direction this third book is heading. If you’re already familiar with Percy Jackson (which I’m pretty certain you are, because otherwise you wouldn’t read this review, right? *lol*) you know that the first two books were fun and had a lot of jokes in them. The third one? Not so much. Whilst it’s true that “The Titan’s Curse” was very entertaining and full of Uncle Rick’s trademark adventures I still have to point out that it was way more serious than its predecessors.

”It’s cool. No sword. See? No sword. Calm thoughts. Sea grass. Mama cows. Vegetarianism.”

Yes, we still have Percy’s funny remarks but just like the Harry Potter series this series is growing as well. The characters get older and their quests get more dangerous and grim. The stakes are higher and our characters are forced to realize that not everyone can be saved by a hero. For instance we’re barely a few chapters into the book when Annabeth disappears with the enemy. There’s no trace of her left and for all they know she even might be dead. Not that Percy would consider such an outcome! He has to save Annabeth because he just knows that she’s still alive! 😉 So what to do when you’re stranded on a cliff? Right, you call for the sun gods help to hitch a ride. XD

”Wow,” Thalia muttered. “Apollo is hot.”
“He’s the sun god,” I said.
“That’s not what I meant.”

I totally agree with Thalia btw! *lol* I loved that Apollo was a recurring part of this book and I can’t wait to read his series! He seems to be such a fun guy and I was more than just intrigued by his character. ❤ Artemis and her Hunters were a great addition to the cast as well, and the Di Angelo twins? I think we’ll read more about them in future books! 😉 I’m really looking forward to this because I already like little Nico and took him to my heart! The true star of this story is Bessie the cow serpent though and if you don’t know who that is you better read the book and find out! *lol*

”This is why I don’t use mortals,” Luke said. “They are unreliable.”
“They are weak-minded, easily bought, and violent,” the General said. “I love them.”

But of course there need to be real enemies in “The Titan’s Curse” as well and this time around they are pretty decent and smart. Next to Luke we have to face the General and this adversary is as dangerous and cunning as they come. Knowing my myths I wasn’t surprised about the story behind the man, but as a kid I probably would have been shocked. *lol*

Anyway, there was a short appearance of a character that helped Percy and I’ve to admit that I’m pretty curious about Rachel Elizabeth Dare. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll make an appearance in later books. The way she was introduced seemed to be very significant and Uncle Rick usually has a reason if he does things like that so… yeah. ;-P

”Seven hundred feet tall,” I said. “Built in the 1930s.”
“Five million cubic acres of water,” Thalia said.
Grover sighed. “Largest construction project in the United States.”
Zoe stared at us. “How do you know all that?”
“Annabeth,” I said. “She liked architecture.”
“She was nuts about monuments,” Thalia said.
“Spouted facts all the time.” Grover sniffled. “So annoying.”
“I wish she were here,” I said.

This moment was so great because it showed how much those characters love and care about each other even if they occasionally get on each other’s nerves. *lol* It made me sad that Annabeth wasn’t a big part of this story but considering the main plot it was okay that she only played a minor role. Let’s just hope she’ll play a bigger part in “The Battle of the Labyrinth” again. =) And last but not least I want to say how much I love Percy! XD

”Fight us,” I said. “And let’s see.”
“Have the gods taught you nothing? An immortal does not fight a mere mortal directly. It is beneath our dignity. I will have Luke crush you instead.”
“So you’re another coward,” I said.

Haha! Is it just me or is there actually no god he didn’t challenge already? XD No matter which goddess or god appears, Percy seems to be ready to fight them all and I love it! ;-P I think by now he’s so pissed that he just doesn’t care anymore. At this point he might even take them on for just looking at him the wrong way. *lol* I can’t help but wonder what this means for the next two books and I’m so ready to read “The Battle of the Labyrinth”!!! Next one, please! XD

Allgemein, Book Tags

Get To Know The Fantasy Reader Tag

Hey there, my lovelies! =)

It feels like it’s been ages I last did a tag on my blog so I thought it would be fun to post another one and to try to catch up to all the tags I was tagged for. I finally reached February 2021! *lol* You can say what you want about me being a snail when it comes to doing tags but I’m definitely a persistent one. ;-P This said, I want to thank Hundreds & Thousands of Books for thinking of me and tagging me for this! I’m late but I’m doing it! XD

Rules:

  • Make sure you give credit to the original creators of this tag – this tag was originally created by Bree Hill.
  • If you want to, pingback to the post you first saw this tag
  • Have fun!

The Questions:

What is your fantasy origin story? (The first fantasy you read)

3. sy475

Believe it or not but it’s actually HP. I picked up the first book when I was 11 and then read the entire series over the years. When I was 19 I read the last book . I know the author is persona non grata in the bookish world now, but I grew up with HP and it will always be a part of me no matter what the author does/says. I don’t agree with anything she said but I also can’t erase 9 years of my adolescence/youth and I think a lot of people that are also part of the LGBTQAI+ community and loved/love HP will agree with me. Okay, sorry that this got so political but I kinda feel like nowadays everyone expects you to dislike the HP books because of what the author said and I just can’t dislike the books for what the author says. I keep them both seperate.

If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

As a faerie I’d totally love to be in a Holly Black or Cassandra Clare book. XD And as for the trope I’d insist on… It are actually two: 1.) found family & 2.) enemies-to-lovers! Ohh I’d love to be in a book like that. *lol*

What is a fantasy series you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

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Uff, that one is tough because I really didn’t read all too many books this year. Not just not a lot of fantasy books but books in general. I guess I’ll just go with a fantasy series I read in 2021 here because that answer makes more sense. Melissa Marr’s „Wicked Lovely“ series is definitely a series that should be read by more people because it are cruel and cunning faeries and I just love those books. They started my love for faeries years ago and I lost count of how often I reread this series already. XD

What is your favourite fantasy subgenre? 

I’m such a sucker for high fantasy and urban fantasy and yes, occasionally even dark fantasy. Okay, I’m just a fantasy fan in general so it’s hard to choose just one subgenre and I’ll just go for those three. No apologies here! ;-P

What subgenre have you not read much from?

I definitely didn’t read a lot of grimdark fantasy and I want to pick up more books of that genre because it sounds intriguing. XD

Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?
Uff there are so many I’d auto-buy but quite honestly I ususally borrow the books from my library. I like Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss (if he’d finally release that third book!!! ARGH!!!) but also Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, etc.

How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)
A mixture of all of the above? I found so many fantasy books on goodreads and through the BookTube channels I follow and since I joined IG in December 2021 I’m getting lots of recs over there too. *lol* Seriously social media is horrible if you want to reduce your TBR. It only adds even more books to it. >_<

What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

59826154. sy475 Okay, that’s maybe stretching it because the book already got out at the beginning of May but I’m still looking forward to read it so yeah! *lol* Seriously though, I wanted to read this ever since I knew this was going to be a thing, but I couldn’t get my hands on an ARC and so I just waited until it finally got out and once I have this book I’ll read the hell out of it. XD

What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

I really don’t know if there are a lot of them and if there are I never really heard about them?! Do there exist some serious misconceptions? The only one I can think of is that everyone who reads fantasy must have read Brandon Sanderson as well. *lol* Up until now I’ve never read any of his books and I only just picked up my first Brandon Sanderson. So I guess there are still a lot of fantasy fans out there that haven’t read him yet.

If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

I guess it always depends on the age of the reader but those three instantly come to mind:

  • The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan (for young readers)
  • Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas (for people that like a little bit of romance in their fantasy books as well and lots of POVs)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (for those who love easy banter and a wild ride *lol*)

Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

Okay, this person is a BookTuber but I really love Johanna’s book recommendations! She reads a lot of fantasy and she gives amazing recs and is such a lovely and sweet person! =)

I’m tagging: 

Rankenzeile

This was a fun tag and it was nice to go for the topic of fantasy! I’m such a fantasy reader but I get a feeling I didn’t talk about a lot of fantasy books lately? So this was a refreshing change and I kinda feel like I should read more fantasy again. *lol* Thank you so much @Hundreds & Thousands of Booksfor tagging me for this.

So what about you? Do you agree with some of my answers? Which kind of books would you have chosen for the prompts? And what is your favourite fantasy book ever?

Talk to me and let me know!

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe! ❤

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Waking Gods (Sylvain Neuvel)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”If there’s one thing we should have learned by now, it’s that we’re not the greatest thing in the universe, certainly not the smartest. Seems logical there’d be a great many things in it we can’t comprehend.“

Do you remember my sceptical face when I read the blurb of “Sleeping Giants” and was confused by the “enormous, ornate metal hand”? Yeah, it’s been a long while but after almost a year I finally managed to get a copy of “Waking Gods” into my greedy hands and I was very happy to be able to continue this crazy journey. And boy, let me tell you this: It’s been another freaky ride. *lol* The story of the second book starts about 10 years after the first book ended so we have a lot of things we need to catch up to before the plot actually picks up and thickens again.

”I’m a soldier, so if they tell me to walk up behind it and kick it in the butt, I will. But if we can avoid the whole me and Vincent dying thing, you know … that’d be good.”

But first things first: Of course our book starts with a visit from “Mr. Smith” because a huge giant figure similar to Themis suddenly appears right smack in the middle of London and kind of looms over the city. No one knows where it came from or what it wants but the mere presence of the figure already seems to be quite threatening and while the governments are busy thinking about how to deal with this new challenge, there appear more and more giant figures all over the world. So the inevitable happens: After 10 years of training and sort of parading through the world with Themis Kara and Vincent are brought back into the game and are probably the only hope for humankind.

„Kara’s … engaging in diplomacy.“
[She’s what?]
„She’s giving him the finger. Very mature, Kara.“

Haha! Yeah, they probably shouldn’t have sent Kara to do the job, because this girl is as fierce and rebellious as ever but oh well; thankfully Vincent is the voice of reason and knows how to talk her down. ;-P Not that diplomacy would have helped with the things that were coming their way, but that’s a story for another day. I really enjoyed that we got to see a lot of the cast from the first book and Mr. Smith, Dr. Franklin and Eugene Govender were all a part of “Waking Gods” as well. Unfortunately the same can be said about the people we didn’t like. Yes. Mr. Mitchell and Alyssa are once again a part of this book too. >_< And I still don’t like them, especially Alyssa. Urgh, that woman!

„I may believe in God, but I’m at war with Him. I’m a scientist, I try to answer questions, one at a time, so there’s a little less room for Him as the answer. I plant my flag, and inch by inch, I take away His kingdom.“

Anyway! What I really loved was that we didn’t only get to see the huge problem of the robots and the threat they presented for humanity but that we also got to see more of the character’s personal lives. They are all human, they make mistakes and no matter how mysterious they are, they still had a past and a background story that was worth telling. Honestly, those background stories were one of the best things about this book, at least for me, because I was almost speechless when they were revealed. Not to mention all the plot twists that always caught me off-guard. This mixed with a little bit of science, theoretical discussions and the omnipresent questions of “What does humanity stand for?” and “Is it worth to be saved?” made this a really intriguing read.

”I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while. I came to peace with that.“

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All told “Waking Gods” was at least as mind-boggling and startling as its predecessor and I can’t wait to pick up the last and final book. I’m sure Sylvain Neuvel has still a lot in store for us and I’ve no doubt the plot twists in book three will throw me for a loop as well. I love that I can never anticipate what will happen next and this makes this series such an interesting read. Highly recommended for everyone who enjoys to be kept on their toes. 😉

Allgemein, F - J, G, Reviews

Review: Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 36 on My Book List 2021

„Oh, I have hurt your heart,“ she said.
Gideon kept it absolutely level. „I boohooed for hours.“
„It won’t be the last time I make you weep.“

Okay, so “Gideon the Ninth” is definitely a book I have troubles to review because 1.) It’s unlike any other book I ever read and 2.) Most of the time I was super confused and really had to make an effort to be able to follow the plotline. XD Like seriously, all those different names and the houses plus the mere fact that most of the characters went by 3 or 4 different names/nicknames made this really tough to read. I think due to this the writing style was very hard to get into at first and it took me a little while until I could connect with the story. (I mean we have 9 Houses after all) Not to mention Tamsyn Muir’s unique writing style in general. Sometimes I had to read a sentence thrice to actually understand what was happening. (Maybe it was just my tired brain though, so *lol*) Also there were a lot of scenes when you read the scene but afterwards you’re none the wiser. If that makes sense?!

„Oh, this is boring,“ Gideon had said in disappointment. „I wanted one with a skull puking another, smaller skull, and other skulls flying all around. But tasteful, you know?“

As for the premise of the book: There was barely any action happening in space, it was basically limited to two planets and not actually in space and the lesbian representation, was there but vague and not very pronounced. I mean we get a couple of Gideon’s dirty thoughts but they are almost chaste in comparison to what I usually read. I guess my mind would have been way dirtier than Gideon’s, but let’s not go down that road and focus on the book instead. ;-P What “Gideon the Ninth” definitely had a lot of was necromancy and suspense! I kinda loved the murder mystery vibe we got in here and all the interesting details about the necromantic world and how it works.

”If you want to know what I think … I think that you’re a cavalier worthy of a Lyctor. I want to see that, what you’d become. I wonder if the Reverend Daughter even knows what she has in you?”

If I got it right there are nine houses and every one of them is specialized on some area of necromancy which was very intriguing to me. Also the description of how it works and what you have to do in order to move dead corpses etc. was super interesting. You could tell Tamsyn Muir put a lot of thought and effort into her world building and even though it was sometimes very confusing I really liked that love for science and detail. Because yes, if you break it down to the basics necromancy seems to be a science and I loved how Muir made sure to convey that to her readers.

„I must no longer accept,“ she said slowly, „being a stranger to you.“
„Whoa, whoa, whoa,“ said Gideon, sudden sweat prickling the back of her neck, „yes you can, you once told me to dig myself an ice grave. Stop before this gets weird.“

Of course Gideon and Harrow are the main characters of the book and it’s told from Gideon’s POV, which made Harrow quite a mysterious character and added a lot to the atmosphere. I was such a sucker for their interactions because Harrow always seems to be annoyed by everything Gideon does and Gideon just doesn’t get her. Sometimes they were on the same page though and whenever that happened it was either a lot of fun or very serious business. It was really nice to see how they developed from enemies-to-friends and I’m using that description on purpose because this certainly wasn’t your typical enemies-to-lovers arc and I’m not even sure what they would have defined themselves as by the end of the book. *lol* We’ll just leave it at that.

”Well, all I can say is thank the Tomb that nobody knows you’re not really one of ours. If I didn’t know that, I’d be saying that you were Matthias Nonius come again or something equally saccharine.”
„Harrow,“ said Gideon, finding her tongue, „don’t say these things to me. I still have a million reasons to be mad at you. It’s hard to do that and worry that you got brain injured.“
„I’m merely saying you’re an incredible swordswoman,“ said the necromancer briskly. „You’re still a dreadful human being.“
„Okay, cool, thanks,“ said Gideon. „Damage done though.“

When it comes to the other characters in the book I’ve to say that Palamedes and Camilla (6th House) as well as Magnus and Abigail (5th House) were my favourites. Even though I’ve to admit that Palamedes and Camilla kinda won the crown for me. Camilla was such a badass cavalier and an amazing fighter and Palamedes won me over with his calm, gentle, compassionate and inquiring nature. I love that man! Period! *lol* Go find yourself a Palamedes. ;-P Anyway, back on track! The coolest duo in this book were definitely Gideon and Harrow though! When they set their minds on something those two rocked the show and I really want to see more of them?! Please, can we have more of them Tamsyn Muir?!

„I’m not running, Harrow!“
“Of course we’re not running,” said Harrowhark disdainfully. “I said a necromancer alone. I have you. We bring hell.”

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All told “Gideon the Ninth” was unlike any other book I ever read and therefore very unique. The action sequences and especially the name dropping were sometimes really confusing, but in general I enjoyed to read this and had a great time. The tension and distrust between the different necromancers and the mystery element that ran like a golden thread through the entire book added a nice touch to the atmosphere as well and some of the plot twists were actually really surprising. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to read book two! 😉