Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult novels. Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.
This blog has been closed since early 2016. To the publishers and writers: thanks for all the support over the years. To my readers and fellow bloggers: keep in touch!
10 April releases to look into
Another month, another great set of releases coming our way. Here’s my April edit: what I may not have read, but would certainly recommend giving a go!
My Pick: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
The Graphic Novels
My Pick: Superior Ion Man Volume 1!
Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #4
Published by MIRA on 2015-02-24
Genres: Fantasy YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Also in this series: Poison Study, Magic Study
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.
Once, only her own life hung in the balance… Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.
Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous…
Thoughts: Let me start off by saying that I am one of those fans. You know, the one of the fans that loved the Study series but was really disappointed by the final book, Fire Study. I mean, I still recommended the hell out of the series – but always with a caveat. So when I heard about Shadow Study I was both excited and nervous.
Well, I needn’t have worried. While not as stellar as the first book in the series, it was the perfect continuation of a series I had considered complete. For starters, it jumps between Valek and Yelena’s POVs – thus answering all those “but where is VALEK?” questions I had in the other books. Not only do we know where he is and what he is up to, we also get the chance to learn more about his childhood, his relationship with the Commander and his background as an assassin.
Actually, the best scenes in this book were Valek scenes. Watching him – the master of disguise – live as a woman for months in order to sneak up on a mark. Seeing how his priorities begin to shift – from the Commander to Yelena – and the impact of such a decision. From the little details to the big revelations… it was all Valek and glorious and wonderful and I wanted MORE.
Which is probably why I wasn’t quite as enraptured with Yelena’s mystery. I still adore the woman, of course, but I had such faith in her ability to handle things on her own that – well – I wasn’t too concerned about seeing her actually get out of trouble. “You’ll be fine,” I thought, rushing forward to Valek’s next chapter. That’s not to say that plot-line wasn’t good but, hey, I had other things on my mind. *cough* Valek. *cough*
I was also happy to see how Ms. Snyder incorporated her Glass series into the Study series without over or under explaining. I’m afraid I’ve read none of Opal’s books, but I was still able to get the gist of the characters and events. I imagine a lot of fans who skipped those novels will want to give them a go after reading Shadow Study.
Bottom line? Shadow Study was a wonderfully pleasant surprise. Rather than simple fan service, Shadow Study is a solid, plot-heavy and logical continuation to the series. There was always meant to be a fourth book, it seems, and here it is.
Note: I was tempted to take this book down half a star after reading the ending! MAJOR CLIFFHANGER, people, and I do NOT approve! (Though maybe everyone else will love it? I dunno. Either way, I was NOT PREPARED. *cries*)
Review: This Shattered World by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman
Series: Starbound #2
Published by Disney Publishing on 2014-12-23
Genres: Science Fiction, Science Fiction YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: These Broken Stars
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.
Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.
Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.
Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.
This Shattered World was a glorious read. It was one of those books I devoted an entire weekend to – not wanting to put it down, but never wanting it to end. It had everything I love in a good novel, and now I expect even more perfection from the final book in the trilogy.
In my review of These Broken Stars, I waxed on and on about how many wonderful social and political plot threads the novel wove together. This is still the case in This Shattered World, and it is still the high point of the novel. With that point out of the way, let me tell you about the characters.
You know that line about how the bravest thing you can do in war is not kill? That was the first thing I thought of when I met Flynn. He’s a pacifist in a war zone – which is the very definition of brave. I often have issues with characters being too indecisive or, well, weak – but while Flynn may not want to kill, he is by no means weak. I adored watching him struggle to keep true to his beliefs when it would have been easier to pick up a gun. Meanwhile, picking up a gun was exactly what Jubilee did best. She’s seen the chaos caused without the military and – to her – the word “revolution” means nothing but death. She may be on the “wrong” side as this book starts out, but she has all the right motivation.
Watching these two dramatically different people come together when, let’s be honest, they should have shot each other on sight? So, so, so satisfying. Spooner and Kaufman do not choose easy people to tell their tales – and that’s what makes their work so rewarding to read.
But don’t be fooled by all the guns-and-love stuff. While this is a tale of love between people from warring factions, This Shattered World is by no means a Romeo and Juliet story. Jubilee and Flynn aren’t interested in saving themselves at the expense of everyone else – rather, they want to save a whole world, risking themselves in the process.
Bottom line? This Shattered World is pure science fiction with a well-incorporated romantic plot, that just happens to be aimed at young adults. But its smart, thoughtful exploration of corporate capitalism is something fans of any age will appreciate. Highly recommended.
Monday Reading (March 16th, 2015)
In this weekly event hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books where we discuss what we’ve been reading this week (and, occasionally, what we haven’t).
As I’ve only just returned from a long international trip, my reading schedule has been in a bit of disarray. I have not kept up with my Deal me in! challenge and so have a fair amount of short story reading to catch up on. Book-wise, I’m also a bit behind (at least, according to Goodreads).
That being said, I have been reading! Here’s what I’ve recently finished:
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling – Started this collection of stories with my Deal me in! challenge, and decided to keep on reading on! Some of the tales I absolutely adored, but others I found rather… indicative of the time, shall we say.
- One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean – This was a fun book, but the premise was all kinds of unbelievable. I managed to suspend that disbelief for the first, oh, 300 pages? But it got to be a bit much by the end.
- The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick – I am only 23 pages into this, so it is still far too soon to judge! The only think I can say for certain? Patrick sure likes to describe clothing.
Deal Me In! update: Weeks 7-12
Since my last update, I’ve been drawing cards a plenty – but not always reading the books! Here’s what I’ve drawn and what I’ve read (in bold):
- Week 7: Ace ♣ – IV League by Margaret Stohl
- Week 8: Queen ♦ – Shoulders of giants by Robert J. Sawyer
- Week 9: Eight ♥ – Mowgli’s Brothers by Rudyard Kipling
- Week 10: King ♣ – Red Run by Kami Garcia
- Week 11: Nine ♠ – The Adventure of the Speckled Band by ACD
- Week 12 (this week): Four ♥ – Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
Stacking the Spring Shelves
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.
Getting books in the mail is always a joy – even when you bought them yourself, they feel a bit like getting a gift. Here’s what I’ve received recently (one of which is already on my “currently-reading” shelf!):
- Fairest by Marissa Meyer – Of course I bought this! I really liked Cinder, absolutely adored Scarlet, and loved Cress.
- The Boy with the Porcelain Blade and The Boy who Wept Blood by Den Patrick – I received these two for review and was really interested in the idea of a world where people with disfigurements or disabilities are placed in high social positions. I am not too far into the first book (Porcelain Blade) but am enjoying it so far.
If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought!