Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

I am a huge fan of Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic trilogy, so when I saw that she had delved into the realm of YA Fiction, there was no way I was willing to miss out on Court of Fives. As with Elliott’s other books, the plot is riddled with twists and turns, and the end result is nothing like what I was expecting on page 1, or even 10 pages earlier, to be honest. I absolutely love the depth and complexity with which Court of Fives was written, and I was surprisingly pleased by the relationship portrayed in the book as well.

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family she can be whoever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between two Fives competitors–one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy–causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’ family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Court of Fives

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MINI REVIEW: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

“Maybe it’s time the dreamers started calling the shots” – Echo (Melissa Grey, The Girl at Midnight)

I had heard good things about this book, so I was excited to finally get to reading it when I picked it up from the library. And let me tell you, I’m glad I picked it up from the library instead of buying it. While this book had a lot of promise, and a wealth of detailed world building, it suffered from a long, dull beginning, a predictable plot and a series of cringe-worthy romances.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from all but one human: Echo, a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market. The Avicen are the only family Echo has ever known, so when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act. Legend has it that to end the conflict once and for all, Echo must find the firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

TheGirlAtMidnight

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August 2016 TBR

Shockingly, I actually read almost everything on my July Reading List, despite working full-time and being enrolled in a couple courses! Despite this, I’ll be keeping my August TBR short, as I will be going to Europe (eek!) for half the month, and likely won’t have a ton of time to read while adventuring!

Court of Fives

The books at the top of my To Be Read list this month are: 

  1. Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine
  2. Paper and Fire: The Great Library by Rachel Caine
  3. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  4. Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
  5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rolwing
  6. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

And let’s not forget that The Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir will finally be released (in Canada) on August 30th! I doubt I’ll be able to finish it in one day though, so I suppose I’ll save that one (officially) for my September TBR!

If you’re looking for more reading inspiration, please check out my other recent Book Lists, which all feature both new releases and some of my all-time (although maybe not as recent) favourite reads!

Happy Reading Bookworms! 

A Torch Against the Night

MINI REVIEW: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

“There is strong danger in a person who can create such powerful deceit they can no longer distinguish their own lies from the truth.” – Julie Eshbaugh, Ivory and Bone

What intrigued me about this book, above all else, was its role as a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the Neolithic era (the later part of the Stone Age, or around 10,200-4,500 BC) with genders reversed. My Grade 12 English teacher absolutely loved Pride and Prejudice – needless to say, we spent many classes reading and analyzing the book and watching various adaptations of the novel. Throughout that process, I too developed a, well not love, but healthy respect, let’s say, for the timelessness and power of the novel. I was excited to read this book, to see how Eshbaugh interpreted the tale.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives. As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

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Morningstar by Pierce Brown

“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war. My name is Darrow of Lykos. You know my story. It is but an echo of your own.” – Darrow (Pierce Brown, in Morningstar, page 180)

After reading the first two books in this series in a matter of days, I could hardly wait to finally read Morningstar. Thus far, Brown had done an exemplary job when it came to word building, character development and story telling – Morningstar is no exception to this. From beginning to end, I was enthralled by Darrow’s journey to at last overthrow the Golds in an all-out rebellion, following the shocking conclusion to Golden Son.

If you’ve not read Red Rising or Golden Son, I would recommend doing so prior to reading this review, as it may contain some unintentional spoilers!

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

Morningstar

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Hi there Bookworms! I apologize for the lateness, and inevitable brevity, of this post. June has, unfortunately, turned out to be a shockingly busy time in my life, and as such, I’m finding less and less time to write. However, don’t let the brevity of this post fool you – these books are perhaps still my favourites, and are most certainly the reason I got into reading fantasy in the first place. It definitely helps when the main character has the same name as you! 

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Eon by Alison Goodman

I’ll be honest here, I judged this book by its cover. Which is stunning, by the way. Eon is also such a simply name, between that and the stunning artwork on the cover, I was intrigued. And I am certainly glad I was, because the story between covers is every bit as intriguing and exciting as the covers themselves.

Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he’ll become apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye, the human link to an energy dragon’s power. It is forbidden for females to practise the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. But after a brilliant sword ceremony, Eon is catapulted into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where his desperate lie comes to light …

Eon

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Age of Legends Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

In this review, I will be providing a brief summary of each book in the Age of Legends Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, in addition to what I did, and didn’t, like in each book. If you haven’t read all the books, I recommend waiting to read the reviews of the later books until you’ve read their prequel, as the reviews may contain some accidental spoilers here and there.

Sea of Shadows

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

What I liked:

  • I’m a big fantasy fan, and this book certainly delivered. Armstrong created a well fleshed out, intense setting for this series, spending a lot of time setting up and describing the world throughout the book. There’s magic, mythical beasts and mysterious powers at work; and more than enough intrigue to draw most readers in.
  • Moira, Ashyn, Gavriel and Ronan felt thoroughly fleshed out- Armstrong certainly delivered on the character development front. Each of the four major characters are strongly delineated as individuals, and the reader certainly feels drawn to and connected to them as the story progresses.

What I didn’t like:

  • Despite a fantastical setting and a well-developed cast of main characters, this book just fell short in terms of action, romance and, well, excitement. The pacing of the story was totally off, with far too much down time and far too much build-up, leading to action scenes that were quite lack-luster.
  • The lack of romance was particularly disappointing, since it seemed like Armstrong was setting up for some romantic interludes right from the beginning, by pairing off each sister with a man, then leaving them alone in the vast, dangerous wilderness. One would expect.. something. Instead, the reader gets nothing, except for maybe some wayward thoughts here and there.
  • The actual goal of the plot. The journey was somewhat enthralling, riddling with mystical beings and the like, but really, what was the point of travelling all the way to the Imperial City to tell everyone that they failed in their roles as Keeper and Seeker, and oh hey, everyone is dead. Like the pacing, the romance (or lack thereof) and all the build up (which just led to a disappointing drop), the motivation behind the characters actions seemed to be somewhat dry.

Overall, This book did not meet my expectations. While all the elements of a great story were there – a fascinating world, interesting characters, and danger galore – Armstrong still came up short because she couldn’t bring them all together into a coherent, enthralling tale.

Sea of Shadows

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.” – E. Lockhart

If you haven’t read this book in the two years since it was published, I highly recommend doing so. Despite it not being my usual “type” of book, I picked this little read up based on reviews and hype alone. I was not disappointed. From the beginning, the reader is drawn into a complex, twisted tale they just know is hiding more below the surface. Lockhart dangles the punch-line just out of reach, tantalizing the reader to keep reading, more and more and more, until the book wraps up with a twist reminiscent of Life of Pi.

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends – the Liars – whse friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel that keeps the reader hooked from the first page to the last, begging to know what exactly the Liars did in Summer Fifteen that damaged Cadence’s mind and forever changed the Sinclair family. Between crippling headaches and her confusion, Cadence tries to remember. The Liars won’t tell her. The other Sinclair’s won’t tell her. And Cadence seems unable to unlock the secrets trapped within her own mind; the horrifying truth that once remembered, could potentially shatter her mind, or free her.

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