Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: N.K. Jemisin
  • Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction
  • Page Count: 398
  • Date Started: June 20th
  • Date Finished: July 2nd

A Brief Description

After her mother’s mysterious death, a young woman is summoned to the floating city of Sky in order to claim a royal inheritance she never knew existed in the first book in this award-winning fantasy trilogy from the NYT bestselling author of The Fifth Season.

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate – and gods and mortals – are bound inseparably together.

Goodreads || Amazon


Men who served anyone could be trusted by no one.

N.K. Jemisin

My review

I picked up this book after hearing so many good things about it on Book Twitter. This book was amazing.

It was so different than anything I’ve ever read before. It wasn’t the story that was different really, no. This is one that you’ve probably read before. Orphaned girl is thrust into the political intrigue of a world unknown to her when she is named the heir to her once estranged grandfather’s kingdom. She struggles with court life and tries to carve a place for herself, meanwhile, falling in love with a God. She struggles with finding out who she is and the dark secrets that have been kept from her, and that are just coming to light. Yeah, I’ve read this one before.

The thing that made this book so different was the way it was told. N.K. Jemisin has such a unique and innovative way of telling a story. The narrative was unusual. Not in a bad way. It was a little choppy, and had many transitions in time. This certainly added to it’s novelty. Not only that, but the book challenges what fantasy books were. It shows how power corrupts and challenges the ruling class. It threatens ordered society and threatens to turn it over.

The world of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is different and brings something new to the table. Yeine, the granddaughter of the ruler, a product of a biracial marriage. Her mother, an Amn (the rulers) married a Black man for love, and was disinherited. After being summoned to the palace, you see the struggles that Yeine faces as a half-Black woman in a world where that is not accepted. She is locked in a battle with her two cousins, who have experience in the ways of court life. Yeine gains allies in the form of the Enefadah, enslaved gods who were enslaved by the Amn after they lost the Gods War against the Lord of Light, the patron God of Sky.

Speaking of Sky, the setting was amazing! Sky is a castle in the…. well…. sky. This is where most of our story takes place. This is a treacherous palace of court rules and backstabbing royals looking to claim more power and Gods who become unstable at sunset. A world of a class structure that makes it impossible to lay claim to anything if you are not of the elite. A ruling family that is hated by it’s people. And here we have Yeine, from a far flung territory, navigating it all. I really loved her character. Her internal dialogue and the way she handles conflict was amazing. She was really easy to root for. I loved to uncover all the secrets and family drama. I also loved the romance, this book was downright steamy!

One last thing is that this ending broke me. Once I finished this book, I immediately ordered the second in the series and plan to read it very soon. All of this being said, please read this book. At first, I was a little confused as you are just thrown into the world and expected to know what is going on, but once I got the hang of thing and cultural references, I was in love. PLEASE give this book a chance. I promise you won’t regret it.

~Have a nice day, stay safe and healthy, and as always, keep reading!

~Cam

Book Review: Inkheart


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Cornelia Funke
  • Genre: Lower Young Adult/ Fantasy
  • Page Count: 576
  • Date Started: May 30th
  • Date Finished: June 4th
  • Spoilers: One slight spoiler (I’ve included a note of where and put it in italicizes)

A Brief Description

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

Goodreads || Amazon


“Books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them.”


My Review

This is a story about Meggie and her father Mo and his unique ability to read characters off of the written page. This is a re-read of a series I read when I was a young kid.

Growing up, I always dreamed of this and of entering a new and unique world. It was my dream to explore the worlds that I had read about in books. This one really explains the love I had for books when I was a kid. Meggie was someone that I related to when I was 12 years old, but not so much anymore.

This book was okay. It was definitely made for the younger end of YA, and it certainly read that way, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not a genre that I usually read, and since I’m a whole 13 years older than Meggie, I found her immature at times. Which is totally normal! She’s a kid, a 12 year old, and reacts in a way that any and every 12 year old would react given the situations that her father and her get into. I think this says a lot about her character and the author knowing the audience that she is intending to write for. Her father was also a really good dad. He cared for her and did everything he could to protect her.

Now, the villain… the big bad! Now I wish he was worse? He was supposed to be this big bad man who loved to revel in the pain of others, but… he never did? The worst thing he did was (slight spoiler) lock them away in a dungeon and PLAN to kill them. He didn’t do anything else. This could have been the limits that the author set due to the age of the readers, but it is one of the worst “tropes” for me. The ‘I’m so big and evil/ or big and strong, but I don’t do anything to show it.” In fact, one of the big villains henchmen was more evil and sinister than he was!

That being said, it seemed like this author really could not get to the point. This book could have been at least 200 pages shorter than it was. There were parts where it dragged too much for my liking. It took me longer than normal to read this book, and that could have been due to a lot being on my mind.

I know this sounds like I’m hating on the book, but overall I enjoyed it. Meggie and Mo really love books, and this is a story for readers of all ages. It had a big of a fairy tale kind of feel, and I think that the series can only get better from here.

I remember loving the second book in the series very much, so I decided to re-read the series and buy the new covers. Like I said, the first book was okay. I recognize that this was not written for my age range, and that I can’t judge it solely on that. I still plan on reading the next two books in the trilogy, because I’ve heard it gets significantly better. I’ll probably be reading the rest of the series over the course of the summer!

I’m going to put some more links to sign petitions and places to donate for Black Lives Matter below.

PETITIONS
Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery
Petition to Stop the use of rubber bullets (Graphic Content Warning for the image associated with this petition.)
Defund the Police Petition
Life Sentence for Police Brutality
Hands Up Act
More Petitions

PLACES TO DONATE
GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project || To The Protestors || Black Owned Businesses || Organizations || To the Victims || Other Ways to Help

Thanks for reading, stay safe and healthy,


~Cam

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Book Review: Lovely War


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Julie Berry
  • Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 468
  • Date Started: May 9th
  • Date Finished: May 16th

A Brief Description

 A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates–and the hearts–of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called “a modern master of historical fiction” by Bookpage and “a celestially inspired storyteller” by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork. 

Goodreads || Amazon


If music stops, and art ceases, and beauty fades, what have we then?

Julie Berry

My Review

This is a story that is told by Aphrodite the goddess of love, who is standing trial to show that love and war go hand in hand. The telling of this story was very unique and something I had not really seen before. It takes place in World War I and World War II. It really didn’t shy away from the atrocities of war and the destruction it caused to the lives of those that were involved.

The story is about two couples. One of the couples is James, a solider, and Hazel, a pianist. The other couple is Aubrey, a black pianist, and Colette, one of the only survivors of the massacre the Nazi’s committed on her village. The characters were pretty believable, they each had their own personalities and dealt with the war in different ways. I enjoyed the way that the romances developed, although James and Hazel’s developed VERY quickly. But, under the circumstances, you see just -why- it went so quickly. Regardless, I don’t LOVE insta-love, so I had to knock some stars off. I will say, I don’t usually read love stories because of the way that the romances tend to progress, but this one was satisfying and had just the right amount of tension and stakes.

The book had the themes of love, loss, grief, racism, PTSD, and the brutality of war. It showed a real and raw depiction of what life was like in 1910s Europe and how people of color were treated. One of the things I liked was that the main characters really called out racism and it did not go unquestioned on the page. The mental health representation is something I cannot speak for due to the fact that I do not suffer from PTSD.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. I didn’t read it as quickly as I wanted to because classes have started for my semester and I’ve been far too busy to read. Overall, I gave this book 3.5 stars because while overall it was enjoyable, I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t rate it higher. This book was enjoyable, but it’s not usually the kind of book I enjoy. I would still recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, sad stories, or love stories.

What have you been reading? Have you been enjoying it? Stay safe and healthy out there folks!
~Cam

Book Review:The Deep


Rating: 3 out of 5.

  • Author: Alma Katsu
  • Genre: Historical Fiction/ Horror
  • Page Count: 320
  • Date Started: 5/4/2020
  • Date Finished: 5/9/2020
  • Spoilers?: No

A Brief Description

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . . 

Goodreads || Amazon


My Review

This book had my interest at the start. I was really interested in seeing where the author would take these characters. I mean, a story set on the Titanic with a haunting taking place? Yes, please!

Sadly, I was…. let down? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the story was nice and it was atmospheric, but, there weren’t a lot of descriptions of the environment. The way it was atmospheric was that I could look up photos of what the rooms in the Titanic looked like to get an idea of the environment. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think that I would have really had a good picture of how the setting looked.

There were some famous names as well, Benjamin Guggenheim, Madeleine and John Jacob Astor to start. These were people who were on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Madeleine was one of the survivors, and it was certainly interesting to see real life people make an appearance, and these characters were also fleshed out. The others… eh? I didn’t really get a description of one of the main characters until far into the novel, so I didn’t even know what she looked like. I couldn’t even have a good picture in my mind, so when I learned that she was auburn/blonde, it didn’t really fit with how I pictured her.

Next is the plot. So, overall, I thought the plot was interesting. This revolved around the passengers on the Titanic trying to find out what exactly was causing some pretty weird events on the ship. There were some twists and turns, some very unexpected and some that just left me asking why?

All of this being said, the book was still enjoyable. I’m still not sure how I feel about the end. I was left a little disappointed and was definitely expecting something different. That said, I still recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction novels with a twist, or are interested in the era of the 1910s, or the voyage of the Titanic.

Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam

Book Review: Rogue Princess


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: B.R. Myers
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult
  • Page Count: 298
  • Date Started: February 15th
  • Date Finished: February 21st
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

Goodreads || Amazon


There is no greater power than the power of choice.

B.R. Myers

my review

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers is a gender-bent Cinderella retelling that takes place in a far off solar system. The two main characters are Delia, the princess of Astor, and Aidan who is a chore boy in the palace that Delia resides in.

The two characters meet after Aidan sneaks on to a ship that Delia is using to attempt an escape from the palace to run away from the duty she has to marry a prince and secure an alliance with one of the nearby planets. This is the only thing she can do to save her failing planet.

Okay, so first things first, I enjoyed this book overall. I thought the characters each had their own individual voices and there were some twists and turns that left me reeling. The world building was also pretty fantastic. The world was fleshed out and had a very rich culture and you can tell that the author put a lot of work and effort into fleshing it out. I also loved the way most of the characters interacted. I loved the relationship that Delia had with her sister Shania. Shania had me laughing out loud at multiple different spots in the book. There were also some things revealed later in the book (major spoilers that I won’t go into here) that had me YELLING.

The problems that were facing Astor, which was, in short, an energy crisis, were real and pressing issues that really drove the plot. Delia had to choose to marry a prince to save her planet or choose her own happiness and she could not have both.

While all this is going on, there is also a rebel plot that is brewing and could destroy the life that Delia knows and cherishes. So, Delia has some problems. I loved how headstrong and stubborn Delia was, how she was unwilling to bend or break and how she was willing to do anything to save her planet while also not compromising her happiness.

All of this being said… I felt like the relationship between Aidan and Delia progressed far too quickly. I felt like there was no real buildup. They met maybe twice, had only talked for a little bit and were already thinking of other in terms of “I love them.” Delia didn’t even know Aidan’s name for a good bit and she was already thinking of marriage. I enjoyed their relationship more as the book progressed and after I suspended my belief on the speed of which they were “in love.”

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy/sci-fi YA. Think Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

I hope everyone has a great night and as always keep reading!

~Cam

Book Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two?


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Temi Oh
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Page Count: 532
  • Date Started: February 9th
  • Date Finished: February 15th
  • Spoilers? Yes.
  • Content Warnings: Depression, Suicide, Mental Illness, Panic/Anxiety Attacks, Moments of casual racism (but they are called out)

A Brief Description

A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.

It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

Goodreads || Amazon


There is no easy way from Earth to the stars.

Temi Oh Pg 186

My Review

Spoilers ahead!

Plot

Do You Dream of Terra Two? is a novel that follows 6 members of the crew Damocles who are headed to Terra-Two, an Earth-like planet that is a 23-year voyage from Earth. The United Kingdom Space Agency recruits teenagers at the age of 12/13 to train for six years before they begin the long voyage to “New Earth”

I had a few thoughts on this book. Overall, I thought it was okay. I felt like the book could have been significantly shorter, at just over 500 pages, it dragged at some points.

I also found it to be a little unbelievable? You’re telling me that a space agency is going to send 6 teenagers into space with such little adult supervision? I just found it a little bit unlikely all things considered. Also, they were sent into space directly after one of their crew members, someone that they lived with and that they were expecting to spend 23 years with, (spoiler ahead) committed suicide and they just moved on? They went ahead with the launch anyway, with just some minor psychological testing. I found this unlikely, especially if they were being sent on a voyage that would last 23 years.

In addition, some of the astronauts were sick, some with mental illnesses and another with cancer (!!) I just find it odd that any space agency would let someone who is dying go on a voyage of this sort, and it was explained away and shrugged off. Now mental illnesses are a different story because many can be managed with medication and therapy, but there was nothing of the sort taking place in this book until much later. Not only that, but due to the nature of the voyage I figured that some of these illnesses would have been caught in the rigorous psychological testing that would take place before the voyage. Another seems to be suffering depression that had an onset during the voyage, but it was not really addressed in a healthy manner. I go into this a little more in the character section.

Writing

There were also some misspellings and grammar issues? For example, there was a missing question marks and things that should have been caught by an editor. This is a really small thing to be nit-picky about, and it’s not a huge deal.

Otherwise, I found the writing very beautiful. It was easy to read and follow.

Characters

One of the characters, Harry, oh… Harry. Harry is the Pilot and Commander in Training for the Damocles ship. At the very beginning of the book I really, really disliked his character. He is the type of person who walks the Earth expecting the world to hand him everything. He has his hand outstretched, expecting to be handed something from everyone he meets. He’s an asshole, pure and simple. I felt nothing for him but disgust and hatred. He’s literally everything I hate in a person. That being said, his character was well written, and very easy to hate.

Poppy, is the Head of Communications and the In-Flight Correspondent. She is also a hyper-polyglot who speaks a multitude of languages. I liked her point of view. She grew up in a very tenuous and unsteady home life. She was raised in a small town where she didn’t feel like she had any aspirations. Here is the thing though, (another spoiler here) after spending a few months on the ship, it appears that she is suffering from a very serious mental health condition and I find it hard to believe that something like this was not caught before, or better, that the doctor on board didn’t catch this after Poppy had spent the first week straight in bed and didn’t try to do anything to help her. I felt for her character. As someone who has dealt with depression and has dealt with periods of time where the only thing I feel like doing is laying in bed, I truly felt for her and related to this.

Astrid, is the astrobiologist on board. She is the twin sister of Juno (see below). I liked Astrid’s character. I felt like she was rather hopeful about getting to Terra-Two. She was a dreamer, and had many dreams about landing on this far-flung world. She became entranced by the “New Creationists” who are a cult that sprang up after Tessa Dalton, the woman who first discovered Terra-Two, was martyred.

Juno, who is Astrid’s twin sister, is the trainee medical officer on board. She doesn’t really understand Poppy’s struggles and doesn’t really do anything that is productive or healthy to help her. She just assumes that Poppy is doing this out of her own desire, and uses some pretty harmful logic to try to get Poppy out of the “rut” she is in. This is also incredibly dangerous logic for the Medical Officer in training to have, as mental illness is just as real and valid as physical illness.

Eliot, is the communications specialist and the junior flight engineer on board. This is a character that we did not get a lot of information about and we very rarely saw his point of view. In addition, he was the significant other of the astronaut that committed suicide at the beginning of the book. They were basically “connected at the hip” and were incredibly close. Eliot was very shaken by Ara’s death and when he finally got into space he was hallucinating that he saw Ara’s ghost inside and on the outside of the ship. This is a valid reaction to grief, but I’m surprised that the space agency did not postpone the flight or prevent Eliot from going on the mission that was so important to the future of humanity.

Jesse, is the backup astronaut who took the place of Ara Shah, who was supposed to be the junior botanist on board. Since he was a last minute add on to the crew he feels incredibly out of place with the rest of the team. He feels left out and lonely at first, but as time passes he gets closer to some of the members. All of this being said, I liked his character. He feels like he doesn’t really belong and has some serious impostor’s syndrome, which I can certainly relate to.

Last thoughts

All of that being said, I enjoyed the book. I thought that it was interesting to see the reactions to things that happened to the crew and a lot of the things that went wrong are things that very well could likely go wrong in space. Space is hard, and getting there is half the work. I am interested to read anything else that this author writes.


Have you read this? Did you like it?

Have a wonderful day, and as always, keep reading!

~Cam

Book Review: The Way of Kings


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Genre: High Fantasy
  • Page Count: 1254
  • Date Started: January 2nd
  • Date Finished: February 9th
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

I long for the days before the Last Desolation. Before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. When there was still magic in Roshar and honor in the hearts of men.

In the end, not war but victory proved the greater test. Did our foes see that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer forge a sword; time and neglect rust it away. So we won the world, yet lost it.

Now there are four whom we watch: the surgeon, forced to forsake healing and fight in the most brutal war of our time; the assassin, who weeps as he kills; the liar, who wears her scholar’s mantle over a thief’s heart; and the prince, whose eyes open to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes.

One of them may redeem us. One of them will destroy us.

Goodreads || Amazon


A story doesn’t live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.

Brandon Sanderson pg 1005

A Brief Review

Brandon Sanderson has woven a complex high fantasy tale set in a rich and detailed world with equally morally grey and complex characters.

This story follows a myriad of characters, at least 5 or 6 main characters throughout the course of this tome, this is an epic fantasy after all. The characters start off in very separate places and story lines, but they eventually collide into one final endgame. Some of the story lines are more interesting than others but in the end, I loved each and every character.

Kaladin Stormblessed, is probably my favorite character that Brandon Sanderson has written to date, if not ever. He’s a compassionate, compelling man who has been forced to join Bridge Four as a bridgeman. This means that he and the rest of his Bridge crew carry a bridge on their backs so that the army can cross the caverns and ravines that criss-cross the Shattered Plains. Kaladin aims to become an inspiration to those around him, to lift them from their despondant depression. To shake them into rising above themselves and to becoming more, and he succeeds. I loved the camaraderie that exists in Bridge Four and how close they all get. His development and the strength of his character arc made him one of my favorite characters to read about.

Shallan, a young girl who is visiting Kharbranth, a city of knowledge and learning, to seek an object that can save her family from destitution. She is an artist, with a photographic memory. There are parts of the story that offer some of her drawings and sketches and this only added to my enjoyment of the book, as it added so much world-building and information for the reader effortlessly. She will stop at nothing to get this. She gets herself into some pretty sticky intrigue and political plots. I liked this plot, but I know it’s not as popular as the others in this book. I really liked her character and how she would stop at nothing to get her family what they needed. I will say that this particular character arc felt distant from the character arcs of those at the Shattered Plains, but it certainly offered much-needed insight.

Dalinar, a respected highprince who is a legendary general and warrior is one of the other POVs. He has a very interesting story line. He feels guilty about an earlier failure that leaves him feeling burdened with guilt and doubt. Not to mention that he gets these strange and very real visions that befall him every highstorm (more on those later). He struggles with honor duty to his nation.

Adolin, son of Dalinar… (More on his story line later)

Roshar, the world that this story takes place in is unbelievably complex and detailed. There are highstorms that sweep the land. These are these very high powered storms that are infused with Stormlight, which is a magical element in this world. Humans need to hide everytime one of these storms sweeps the land. The plants and life in Roshar has adapted to these powerful storms, and the landscape changes as well.

The magic system was not explained as much, but I can imagine that more will come to light (ha, get it?) in the sequels. As far as I can tell, there are magical things called Shards that can be used to craft shardblades and shardplate, these are magically infused weapons and suits of armor that make the wearer and user incredibly powerful. There are not as many of these suits of armor and swords around, so the highprinces and nobles are fighting for these, as they will make their armies more powerful.

As far as the plot, there were moments where it dragged, but that seems to be the same for most high fantasy stories. The last 150 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat, and the conclusion of this left me needing more.

All of that being said, I can’t wait to read Words of Radiance and continue these characters stories.

Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Genre: Fantasy/ Historical
  • Page Count: 353
  • Date Started: December 23rd
  • Date Finished: December 27th
  • Spoilers? Yes-ish?

A Brief Description

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Goodreads || Amazon


A Review

The synopsis of His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik captured me almost instantly. Historic setting! The Napoleonic War! DRAGONS! What is not to love?

A sea captain, William Laurence suddenly finds himself bonded to a dragon whose name is Temeraire. His fate has suddenly changed and he finds himself in His Majesty’s aerial corps, which is very different from the Navy. From there, he is thrust into training and tactics of aerial battles.

The two have a really sweet and engaging relationship. Temeraire is truly one of the cutest and most lovable characters I have read in the last year. I want to know him just so I can give him the biggest hug. You can tell that he loves Laurence, and vice versa.

There are some characters, some who are not even supposed to be antagonists of the story that I want to strangle *(ahem, Rankin)* and others who have gone through much hardship and struggle to get where they are.

The setting definitely did not disappoint. This is set in 1800s England, and it loosely covers the events of the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. There isn’t really much else that you can ask for here.

To boot, this book has some major character growth, not only by our main main Laurence, but by many of the side characters. Laurence starts out the novel being categorically against the idea of being in the Aerial Corps, but as he gets to know Temeraire and the other men (and women!!) that make up the Aerial Corps, he really grows into his new post. I was really happy that the author included women who fought in the ranks as well. I find that most “history” novels seem to fit the narrative that women don’t have a place in such things, but this book strays from that. I will say that there were some scenes where our main character still holds those kinds of ideals, but I feel like this changes as the novel progresses and he sees just how powerful and kickass these girls are (Harcourt is one of my favorite characters as well.)

Furthermore, as he learns more about who and where Temeraire comes from, the plot really thickens. I’m very very intrigued to read the next one. I even went hunting for the sequel in a few of the bookstores in this very small town I am staying in for the sequel. Alas, I did not find it.

The novel is slow burn, up until the end when the pace really starts to pick up, but goodness did I love every second of it. I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more. I would highly recommend that you read this if you like alt-history and dragons!

This book made me wish that dragons were in fact real so I could have one because goddammit, do I want a baby dragon.

Have you read this? What were your thoughts? What is your favorite book with a dragon in it?

~Cam

Book Review: Fortuna


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: Kristyn Merbeth
  • Genre: Science Fiction/ Space Opera
  • Page Count: 506
  • Date Started: December 15th
  • Date Finished: December 22nd
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.

Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente, Fortuna introduces a dazzling new voice in science fiction.

Goodreads || Amazon


Fear only makes us weak if we let it stop us.

Kristyn Merbeth pg 432

A Review

This book was a story about a family who are smugglers and the trouble that they get themselves into.

The story was a dual perspective, Scorpia, a rebellious, mostly drunk pilot of Fortuna, the family ship, and her brother Corvus, who went away three years ago to fight in a profitless war on his home planet of Titan. Now Corvus is back, and this puts Scorpia in jeopardy of losing her spot as owner of the family business.

Overall I enjoyed this book. The characters were rich, and the family dynamic was amazing to read about. Each character had their own distinct voice and opinions which made it especially fun to read when those opinions clashed.

The one thing I can say for certain is that Scorpia makes some pretty bad decisions. She puts her family, herself and many others at risk for very selfish reasons and she has a mean streak at times. All of that being said, I think this was all believable for her character and the story. She is a strong character who has strong held beliefs and opinions and she will not back down from them.

Another thing I liked was that this book had some pretty good LGBT-rep. There was a female/female romance and there was also a non-binary character who was referred with their correct pronouns (they/them/their) for the entirety of the time they were mentioned in the book. Albeit, they were not a main character.

All of that being said, I enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next in the series.

Have a great day!

~Cam

Book Review: The Fever King


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Victoria Lee
  • Genre: Fantasy/Scifi
  • Page Count: 369
  • Date Started: December 7th
  • Date Finished: December 15th
  • Spoilers? No.

A Brief Description

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good. 

Goodreads || Amazon


A review

Wow was this book good.

This book takes place in 2122, in the former United States. The country has been ravaged by magical nuclear war, and is split up into different countries now. The two most prominently featured are Atlantia and Carolinia. The story mainly takes place in Durham, Carolinia. (The former Durham, North Carolina). Magic is a virus that kills most of those that if infects. Atlantia has been ravaged by magic and is basically an uninhabitable wasteland. This has caused many refugees to escape to Carolinia.

Carolinia is known for it’s very anti-refugee/immigrant laws and are known to deport many back to Atlantia which is basically a death sentence.

The premise of this book is something that really called out to me. The idea is that magic is a virus that infects people. Most of the people that are infected die, but those that survive are called Witchings.

This is what happens to our main character, Noam Alvaro. He is the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family. He gains the ability of a technopath, or basically the ability to control technology. This catches the eye of the military of Carolinia and he is thrust into a world unlike the one that he was raised in.

Noam, the son of undocumented immigrants, has spent his entire life fighting for immigrant and refugee rights. Knowing that Carolinia is ruthless with it’s deportations, he sees a chance to make a change.

Immigrant and refugee rights should be a no brainer, but the story deals with this in a way that is very poignant and true to the atmosphere that exists in the United States today. Immigrants are trapped in detention centers and refugee camps that make the spread of magical disease much more deadly. In addition, they are relegated to slums and cramped housing that also help the spread of magic.

As someone who was raised by immigrant parents and was surrounded by immigrant friends, I can say that this one especially hit close to home. Like Noam, I was lucky enough to be born in this country, a country that is, mostly, (only mostly) free of crisis that cause refugees to flee their countries of birth. This was an especially poignant read.

Also, this book has an LGBT romance. Noam is bi-sexual, as is the main love interest, who is a prickly on the outside, cinnamon roll on the inside, kind of character. (I love Dara) The romance was not instant and it was built up over time. It was believable and I loved them both.

This story also covers other topics such as sexual abuse, loss and grief. The story was emotional and I really enjoyed the writing.

The plot was engaging and I found myself rooting for most of the characters and I could not stop reading it.

I gave this a 4.5 because there were certain things in the plot that just seemed a little bit too convenient, but they did not deter from my enjoyment. I would highly recommend reading this! I can’t wait for the Electric Heir, which is the sequel) that is due out in 2020!

Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam