Book Review: Half a King

Half a King Half A King

By: Joe Abercrombie

Genres: Fantasy

Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.

But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…

~From Goodreads

High fantasy series can be very hit or miss. Most series have a similar story structure with similar conflicts and similar characters. I like the familiarity of the genre and don’t mind a little repetitiveness so long as the characters are well written and the story is engaging. After the first couple of chapters of Half a King, I thought this series was going to be a dud. Abercrombie’s writing style is a little clunky and the main character was incredibly unlikable. I decided to stick with it until at least halfway through the book and was glad that I did. By chapter 10, the story did a 180, raising the stakes and thrusting the once unlikable character into a conflict that would mold him into a stronger person.

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Book Review: Winter

Winter   Winter

By: Marissa Meyer

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

~From Goodreads

After a month of reading bits and pieces of it when I could, Winter has finally come to an end. While it wasn’t perfect, it managed to capture all the right high and low points that made it a fun roller coaster ride of emotions from start to finish.

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Book Review: The Titan’s Curse

The Titans CurseThe Titan’s Curse

By: Rick Riordan

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…”

~ From Goodreads

If you’re looking at the picture of the cover, notice the “Book Three” label at the bottom, and realize that I completely skipped my review for The.Sea of Monsters, you would be right. I’ve been struggling to get reviews out in general and I found that I didn’t have much to say about the second book that I hadn’t already said about the first book, unless I nitpicked at plot points which would inevitably lead into spoiler territory. I’m happy to say, however, that I really want to talk about The Titan’s Curse. I didn’t enjoy it as much as its two predecessors and I’m hoping that forcing myself to articulate my thoughts in a review will better help me to understand what about the story disappointed me. For die-hard fans of the series, I apologize in advance because there will be several instances throughout this review where I will probably bash your favorite character/plot point. Please don’t be offended because I do like the series as a whole so far and hope to continue enjoying it further down the road.

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Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy JacksonPercy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

By: Rick Riordan

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

~From Goodreads

Percy Jackson is one of those quintessential YA series that any good fantasy lover HAS to read. I’ve honestly had this series on my TBR list for years but kept finding excuses to hold it off. I eventually purchased this book in the hopes that having it in physical copy constantly taunting me would force me to read it faster and this ploy eventually worked. I obviously enjoyed the story: I finished it in less than a week. With my recent track record, that puts this book on Jesus levels of awesomeness. I admit the story is flawed and the characters aren’t perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading about Percy’s quest for the lost Lightning Bolt and can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series (and Riordan’s bazillion spin-offs).

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Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving CastleHowl’s Moving Castle

By: Diana Wynne Jones

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

~From Goodreads

Like many people, I discovered Howl’s Moving Castle through the Hayao Miyazaki film. While I loved the film, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the romance (it was a little rushed for my taste) so I went searching for the original source material and vowed to read it one day to satisfy my dissatisfaction. While it took me several years to get to it, I found that the book did satisfy me in ways the movie didn’t, but not in the ways I originally thought. Rather than a stronger romance, Jones gave me better characters, with 100% more hilarious bickering and character flaws. In fact, the book has less romance than the movie, surprisingly enough. Who would’ve thought?

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Book Review: Tsarina

TsarinaTsarina

By: J. Nelle Patrick (Pen name for Jackson Pearce)

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Natalya knows a secret.

A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia’s Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.

But it’s in the wrong hands.

~From Goodreads

The summary of this book should read something more along the lines of this: “Natalya knows a secret…but can she keep it?” And the answer to that would be no, Natalya can’t. Tsarina promises so much in the summary, but ultimately doesn’t deliver. I was expecting an alternate Russian Revolution with more of a positive Romanov influence and a happy ending for all involved. Instead, I got a lackluster account of Natalya’s journey to protect a secret Faberge egg that was doomed before she even started because of her own stupidity.

This Review Will Contain Spoilers

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Book Review: A Feast for Crows

A Feast for CrowsA Feast for Crows

By: George R.R. Martin

Genres: Fantasy

With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it’s not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes…and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.”

~From Goodreads

A Feast for Crows is that weird relation at family parties that no one likes to talk about. Although we know it exists and are occasionally forced to make small talk with it when it is dragged by an aunt into a conversation, for the most part we try our best to ignore it. While I liked the book for its own sake, I do have to admit that it is vastly inferior to the first three books in the series largely because the plot is severely lacking.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T THE FIRST THREE BOOKS.

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