Foundryside by Robert J. Bennet |Review

Bildergebnis für foundryside

Foundryside by Robert J. Bennet is a wonderful book for everybody who loves mysteries, rebels and a great new magical world to explore! I don’t want to spoiler any of you but I have to say that some of the things in this book really shocked my and I literally had goose bumps when I read about what some of the characters had to go through. It really shouldn’t be shocking though because a lot of the stuff ( except the magic of course) has been done to other people around the world. And in some instances- is still being done.
It’s always a wake up call of sorts when you realize that the horrors you’re reading in this book are happening in the real world as you read. It drives an urge in me to change the world for the better, even if it’s only the small, every-day deeds.
This is a first part of a trilogy by Robert J. Bennet and I’ll be sure to keep my eyes out for the next parts!
The writing style is magical and sucks you in right from the start. Each character really has their own way of talking and moving and it adds to the mystery and intrigue I felt when reading this book. I can’t say anything about the plot without spoilers so please go ahead and read this wonderful book for yourself!

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Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reingten |Review

Bildergebnis für nyxia unleashedNyxia unleashed is the perfect second book of the Nyxia trilogy! The first book already swept me off my feet but the second.. it was amazing and I read it withing two days!
Finally, our favorite characters have made it to the new alien planet and discover some pretty shocking stuff and try to survive in such hostile situations. It’s inspiring and amazing to follow them on their journeys. I love how friendship and companionship is emphasized in the story as the main reason for survival.
The writing improves, if that is at all possible from the first to the second book and even though the pace is rather fast, we still get a lot of insight on characters, their thoughts and feelings and also a lot of info about the new alien race, culture, the planet, plants and new animals. The wildlife was so fascinating and I really fealt like I was on a new planet myself, exploring this new culture and experiencing everything for the first time.

What is also great is that the characters are really diverse when it comes to ethnicity and sexuality. It’s not only refreshing but really important to me to include such characters as well. I especially appreciated that the two main characters are non-white, which is usually how the heroes are depicted.
I really can’t wait for the grand finale!

The Girl in the Tower – the MUST Read this year!

Bildergebnis für girl in tower ardenThe Girl in the Tower is the second installment of Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy and this trilogy has ALL the feels guys!

I loved this book from start to finish. Sometimes, I really wasn’t sure who the girl in the tower was supposed to be, but overall, the story was phenomenal. As always Arden sucks you into her medieval world with vivid imagery and ghosts and fairy tales that will make you shudder and crave for more. I had so much fun reading this one, that I can’t wait for the third part of the trilogy to be published.
I truly recommend this series to everyone who loves fairy tales, strong female characters and fantastic scenery with a historic touch.

Katherine Arden has studied Russian and it really shows how familiar she is with the time and places she writes about in her books. It is a pleasure to read fantasy that has a touch of real history in it. As I’ve studied Russian at high school, I had no problems following some of the vocabulary. But even if you don’t know any slavic languages, the extensive glossary explains more words than I even though necessary.

The writing style was vivid and moved the story forward in a really nice manner. Even though this is a plot-driven book, none of the characters come short in my opinion. Though I would have liked to read even more about them at some point as I’m usually more interested in character than plot. Either way, the characters are so relatable and well-written that I’ve already fallen in love irrevocably with some of them *cough Morozko cough*. If you should ever find yourself wanting hot chocolate, don’t waste your time and chocolate on TV. Read The Girl in the Tower and your drink will be the best you ever had.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Review

Bildergebnis für the cruel prince holly blackBowBowBowBowBow 5/5 Ribbons

Totally loved the Cruel Prince! The only thing I was worried about was that I wasn’t sure I’d get into the story, as everything is written in the present tense, which is weird to read as I’m not used to that. But as the story progressed, that was no longer an issue. The premise was extremely intriguing and the cover did it for me. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read this fascinating book!
The main character is a fierce human girl who has to find her way in the fearie world, by any means necessary. Her adventures are wicked and dangerous but her wits and strength guide her through everything.

I loved how bullying and race were part of this book as well. We don’t often get themes addressed which are important to the teens and YA of today in fantasy stories, at least not to this extent. That’s a BIG plus for this book. The historic/medievalist elements were well incorporated in the over-all story. That was really important to me as I study medieval literature and culture.
Can’t wait for the second part! ❤

*I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. This fact did in no way alter my decision in terms of rating or other.

Jade City by Fonda Lee | Review

Jade City by Fonda LeeBowBowBowBowBowBow5/5 Ribbons
Jade City is the beginning of an interesting and ambitious trilogy. The first book, Jade City, will be released in only a few days ( Nov 4th). I want to make sure all of you get your hands on this wonderful inspiring, interesting and compelling first book.
I have to be honest with you guys, I have not been reading as much as I used to, and of the books I read I rarely felt this spark of excitement, empathy, and commitment towards the characters in the book as I did here. That’s why I took the time to actually sit down and write a review. Jade City is the kind of book that presents you with charismatic characters you wish you could meet in real life, a wondrously magical setting that keeps you on your toes and interested in the story of what happened before the actual story begins. It is a complex world in which the reader quickly notices that there is so much more you don’t know, not plot-wise, but when looking at the world this story takes place.
We only get a glimpse of what is happening and so, everything was a mystery ( in a positive way) and many things have been left unanswered after the first book, but I’m anxious and impatient for the next book to be released. But let’s hear a bit from Fonda Lee herself:
“I started envisioning a society where magical jade granted special abilities to warriors with the proper training and bloodline, and the idea merged with my longstanding enthusiasm for mafia stories to become this modern gangster family saga. It’s the most intense, ambitious thing I’ve ever written, and there’s more to come.”
This story is so rich on characters, their development, cultural information and world- building that I would recommend it to anyone who likes a complex world without having to read a thousand pages. Lee makes all this possible in her newest story and I can honestly say that even though I have already read Jade City, I will definitely buy the book. The only thing that I really didn’t like about the book is that it is not available as hardcover in Europe. I mean, it is but has to be shipped here and so it is extremely expensive and not good for our environment.

The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham| Review

Bildergebnis für the simple soul of susanThe Simple soul of Susan is a book that is was a pleasant change for me since I recently only read fantasy books. Guys, I just couldn’t put down. The story is extremely sweet even though it deals with some deep issues at times. Susan lives in a small town in Texas and all she wants for her life is to settle down with the love of her life and stay in her home town. But.. her love interest is her best friend and as you might think, things start to get complicated pretty soon.

This book deals with so many issues probably most of us have experienced in some way or another: friends who have once been close drift apart, growing up, starting a career, mobbing and belonging of a community, poverty and inequality. All these themes are contained in this small book. Some of the issues are only scratched on, others are detailed and discussed in-depth.

I really loved Susan, even though I think she cries a lot, and I felt real empathy for her and her problems, as I have faced them at some point in my life. I have to admit that I did cry when I read some of the scenes. I liked some of the other charraters as well but the main focus is on her and her experiences.

And that actually gets me to my next point: you have to understand that this novel, at least in my eyes, is more of a story telling though episodes. You will find a gradually developing plot and characters, but do understand that a few weeks or even months lie between some of the events. AT the beginning, this really bugged me and it was hard to get into the book. When I got used to it though, I got fully absorbed in the story.

That being said, I still wish the book would have been longer and that we would have gotten to know the main character more. What does she do when she doesn’t interact with other characters? What were her first encounters with some of the characters ( the old ladies for example). I think there is a whole world still waiting to be explored here and I wish the book wasn’t over and I could read more about Susan and her adventures.

I am so torn when it comes to the rating of this book that I decided not to give a rating. Some stylistic and plot techniques were a bit too convenient for my taste and I didn’t like the ‘episode-like’ telling of the story, but I did enjoy the book, the characters and their development so much, I don’t want to not give 5 stars simply because the story is so emotional adn wonderful to read. The story frows extremely nicely and it’s extremely easy to read.

So go ahead and read this wonderful novel youself or if you have already, what was your imporessions? What did you rate The Simple Soul of Susan?

 

  • I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does in no way influence my opinion of their work.

About Myths, Dragons and Magic

Bildergebnis für dragonsWhether it’s a giant snake in the sea or sky, whether it is greedy or compassionate, has wings or horns, we all know and love the mythical creatures called dragons. Especially in the fantasy genre are dragons an ever-present and welcome addition to every book if you ask me. But where do Dragons come from and what about the dragons of one of the most prominent book and TV series, A Game of Thrones?

Dragons have a long and prominent history in many great cultures around the world. “Dragon’s Blood” was a popular and expensive ailment in Europe and the Middle East many centuries ago and is to this day. “Dragon Bones” are part of traditional Chinese medicine. How is it possible that almost every child what a dragon is, when nobody has ever seen on in real life? As you will see, the first dragons appeared very early…

In ancient myths, there are all kinds of dragon-look alike that I want to share with you. Bildergebnis für beowulf dragonIn Norse mythology, Sigurd, the hero of many of the Völsunga Saga, slays a man, Fafnir,  who has turned into a four-legged, wingless dragon. Later, the dragon slayer baths in the dragon’s blood to become invulnerable. So here we have some notion that dragon parts can bring luck and strength and to an extension health, as well. In the Völsunga Saga we have only evil dragons, though. And also in Beowulf, dragons are merely an obstacle which the hero can overcome. By the way, that particular dragon was a great inspiration for one of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien.

quetzalcoatyl-1If you could ask the Maya about dragons, they probably wouldn’t know what you mean. After all, their dragon looked much different to those of the period in which Sigurd lived. Their deity Quetzalcoatl, which roughly translates into “feathered serpent” was a guide and friend of humans in contrast to the evil, wingless creature Sigurd had slain.  Quetzalcoatl is the wise god of love, fertility and life, though it seems it did have a particular taste for humans: some cultures sacrificed other humans to appease the god, even though Quetzalcoatl was part god and part human.

What we can see is that either as deity, man-turned-serpent, or just your regular, winged Bildergebnis für chinese fish dragonsnake, all dragon-ish started out with a snake, which is extremely interesting. Some suspect that people found dinosaur skeletons and that’s how their serpentine shape came into focus. Only in chinese folklore, we do find dragons that have the shape of a snake, but also of turtles or fish. A speculation on my part would be that this is because the chinese dragon does not only symbolize strength as Norse dragons did, but also the power to influence the fortune of humans and even typhoons, water and the weather in general. Bildergebnis für serpent adam and eve

In our Western society and in the bible, snakes and serpents are inherently deceitful creatures who do only ever wish evil to befall humans: it is a serpent after all, that convinces Eve to eat a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This action, according to the bible, basically doomed the humans to be forever excluded from the wonderful world the Christian god created for them. Naturally, the great serpent is not a friend of the humans and must therefore be slain in almost all of our great mythology and fantasy novels of our time. Other cultures acknowledge the power of dragons, but perceive them as not completely evil and diabolic, though we mostly forget that fact in our Western world.

Bildergebnis für the hobbit smaugI love Tolkien’s works – especially The Hobbit – with a fierce passion but I find it sad how much potential for good ( or a neutral stance for that matter) a dragon seems to have in his story. That of course is no surprise. However, it is, for me personally, an even greater reason to celebrate the fresh wind a certain somebody has brough in: G.R.R. Martin is Bildergebnis für dragons of khaleesione of my favorite authors for many reasons, not lastly because his dragons are so much more than a monster that needs to be destroyed. Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion are not only born from the most dangerous and mysterious magic of all, they are Khaleesi’s companions, heaters, airplanes, military operators and teddy bears. Dragons have fought alongside and for humans in many wars, such as the Dance of Dragons, but have also brought great wonder into Westeros. Especially in the current time, where Winter is here and people despair and starve everywhere, kings fight and crops rot and burn on battlefields. It is this little piece of real magic that makes the people believe again that their own world is still magical and wonderous, even if most of them will never be in the presence of the last remaining magical creatures of their time.

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It is this wonderous, silently thrilling shred of magic that makes me love dragons, especially those of Daenerys Stormborn, so much. I hope you have enjoyed my little introduction and that you will read a few other articles of the other writers of Hallo-WE-en!

 

Klara