Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

truthwitch

Title: Truthwitch (#1 in the Witchlands series)

Author: Susan Dennard

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis: (Synopsis from Goodreads)

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

My Thoughts: Although the world building was a bit messy in the beginning, I thought that this book was very solid. I do wish that we had spent more time discussing the background and history of this world. All that we are told about the Witchlands is that there was a war before the story took place and that their 20 year peace treaty is about to end. I liked the magic system, but having more clarification with it would’ve been great as well. I thought that having a power and having it branch out to sub-classes was really cool. For example, an Airwitch can control air, create tornadoes, take the air out of someones lungs, etc, but a Windwitch can only manipulate the wind and air currents. My only gripe about the magic was that I lost track of a lot of them because there were so many different types. There is also this thing called “cleaving” that happens sporadically in the book. I’m still not too sure about what causes it or how it even began. I hope that that gets cleared up in the second book.

The characters were by far the best aspect of this book. But at the start of the novel, I had a hard time remembering who was who and who did what; the connections between a few of the characters flew over my head quite a few times.  There were so many uncles, emperors, and guild masters’ names thrown around I didn’t know what to do with them. As for the characters I did enjoy reading about, Safi, Iseult, Merik, and Aeduan were all stellar. Safiya and Iseult are both amazing separately as they are together. They are the perfect balance for each other; Safi is impulsive and headstrong while Iseult is calm, collected, and she thinks things through before she acts. I do prefer Iseult over her counterpart just because I feel like she is a lot more interesting with the storyline that she has. Iz has a lot more going on with her family, and her situation with the Puppeteer; I feel like she is a piece in a game bigger than anyone expects. Although I really like Safi, I found her a little bit annoying at times; I just didn’t like how they were constantly put in danger because of her being so reckless. I am in love with their friendship; they have one of the strongest bonds that I’ve read about in my books. As for Merik, I liked him for the most part. He is a guy who just wants what’s best for his country and will do everything in his power to make it that way. The one thing I didn’t like about Merik was how quickly obsessed he became with Safiya. That was just too fast for me. I can’t even describe how much I enjoy reading about Aeduan, the bloodwitch that is out to get the two girls. He is such a complex character with interesting morals. I started out thinking that he was just a typical villain (the kind that is bad for the sake of being bad) but, he is much more than that. I’ll go into more details about everyone in the spoiler section. Also without giving out too much, just know that I love Iseult and Aeduan separately and together hehehe…

As for the writing, I couldn’t get enough of it. The way that Susan Dennard writes is so addictive.The action sequences are orchestrated so well, they keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot of this book, on the other hand feels like your standard fantasy novel; the main character has a “special power” that everyone wants to have control over for about a half of the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. For me, I like how the other half of the story deviates from the standard with the other storylines involving the side characters intertwined within it. Just hearing something new while also grabbing hold onto something familiar was refreshing. I kind of wish that a few things were explored a tiny bit more. If you are in the mood to pick up a lighter high fantasy book, then this should keep you satisfied.  This fast paced story coupled with its captivating characters, and an interesting plot, is a solid read. I’m excited for Windwitch and will be getting it once it comes out. Don’t expect too much, just enjoy the journey that the story takes you. And now for the spoiler section.

 

 

**SPOILER SECTION**

 

I want to say something about each character and their relationships + other things.

Safiya: I’m really curious as so to what Safi will have to go through while being with the Iron Queen Lady. Towards the end, she really matured and had some character growth; she no longer thinks of herself as much as she did at the beginning of the novel. I am also interested with how her power works. I want to know why it doesn’t work when people believe that they’re telling the truth. She is also so strong physically and emotionally; Safi can really hold her own. She was so fun to read about. I love her relationship with Iseult so much! They would honestly do anything for each other… to a fault. I think that her relationship with Merik is very interesting. It’s like it has a little bit of instalove because of how long they’ve known each other, but I adore their banter so much. This story takes place over like a week or so.

Iseult: She is probably my favourite character in the whole series so far. I love how she is a thinker. She takes time to assess her surroundings before she acts. Iz is the one with a plan, she is the left handed purse-cutting action in comparison to Safiya as the right hand distraction. Iseult isn’t always as calm and stoic as Threadwitches are “supposed” to be, and I like that about her. She is definitely something else. Her smarts aren’t the only thing that is great about her as well. She is such an amazing warrior; she won’t ever go down without a fight. The fact that she took Aeduan on her own and destroyed him was incredible. But, what made me lover her even more was when she showed him mercy and kept him alive. Speaking of Aeduan, I LOVE HIM AND ISEULT TOGETHER! Even though they tried to kill each other, I knew that it was the beginning of a hate-to-love kind of thing. I want to know more about her backstory involving Evrane and what went down in the past between them. Although her power is very cool, I’m still confused as to how it works sometimes. In the next book, I need to know what will happen with the crazy cult leader guy who can take away powers, if she will see her mom again, her storyline with the puppeteer, and her situation with Aeduan. I LIVE FOR THE SLOWBURN.

Merik: He is a very cool guy. Merik is unlike any other prince that I have ever read about. Most of the time, the characters I read about spend most of their time talking about what they’re going to do to help their peoples’ situation, but Merik actually does something about it. He does what is best for the greater good and sacrifices so much for his crew out at sea. I loved his relationship with Kullen. It showed me an excellent example of a relationship as strong as Safiya and Iseult’s. I do wish that we got to see more from them together but that’s not going to happen because Kullen is dead. I think that his Windwitch powers are super cool and are appropriately useful because of his situation out at sea. I think the one thing I don’t like about him is how fast he became obsessed with Safiya. To me, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about their relationship. I thought it was kind of absurd after the one dance that they shared, he was hooked. And by less than a week, they kissed already. Now, I’m not saying that there should be a schedule as to when people should or shouldn’t kiss, but everything moved pretty fast between them. I do admire their back and forth retorts towards each other and I liked reading about their tension, but I just wish that they kept that tension running on just a little longer into the next few books rather than ending three quarters of the way into the book. I also respected how he put Safi in her place when she was trying to get the healer for Iseult. She put everyone in danger and that just wasn’t okay. Although he was very firm in his punishment, I feel like it helped Safi grow a little bit. I think that is all I can say about Merik. Out of the main four, he is my least favourite.

Aeduan: Oh my goodness. Aeduan is my second favourite character, so closely behind Iseult. He struggles between doing what’s right and what his father wants him to do. But above anything else, he is loyal only to money. When he has a job to do, he finishes it quickly, precisely, and without any unnecessary killing of innocent people. So yes, he is a monster, but he isn’t the worst person out there. Aeduan has an interesting moral code. He also believes in life debts and repaying them. I loved how he saved his mentor, Evrane with such urgency; he really cares for her even if he says that he is “just settling life debts”. I seriously thought she was going to die but thanks to his scary, cool powers, she lives. His powers reminded me of bloodbending in Avatar and Heartrenders in the Grisha Trilogy/ Six of Crows Duology. Bloodwitches are so scary and are very hard to kill. I adore how he repaid his “debt” to Iseult by getting her to safety during the crazy Cleaving attack. I really want to know where his story will take us. I want to know if Safi and Iz are the prophesied Cahr Awen. So far, it is pretty obvious that they are, but if it is true, then that means Aeduan has to be their protector. I am so excited. His connections to his dad in the other land will for sure come into play in later books. I just want to know more about him.

Discussion things in question

  • Connections between Iseult – Puppeteer – Aeduan’s dad – Aeduan
  • More background with side characters (Leopold, Evrane, etc)
  • What Safi is going to do with the Queen
  • Merik’s country after his trade agreements with Safiya’s uncle
  • What the hell cleaving is (seriously though, what?)

 

 

**Spoiler Section Over**

 


 

All in all, this book was an exciting read to pass the time. I hope that the issues in this book get resolved and improve in the next one. As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

Advertisements

Book Review: Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

ft

 

Title: Frozen Tides (Book #4 in the Falling Kingdoms series)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Synopsis: (since this book is the fourth in the series, this will contain spoilers to those who haven’t read the first three books yet). Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: After reading this book back in February, I FINALLY HAVE THE REVIEW UP. I keep getting surprised with this series. How is it even possible that it keeps getting better? My expectations for this instalment have been exceeded to the max. I love the amount of character growth and development that we got to experience with some of the newer characters; it kept them from becoming flat, simple, one dimensional people. My favourite thing about this series is that the characters have so much substance. I found myself so hypnotised by the writing and the story. If I didn’t need things like sleep, food, and the need to relieve myself, I could’ve finished this book in one sitting. The words were addictive, and each of the chapters were such page turners that I needed to devour it all at once. I couldn’t put the book down.

I’m so in love with the world. By following multiple characters in their point of view, we got to branch out of Mytica and explore the lands of Kraeshia. The expanded universe creates a larger playing field for betrayal, trickery, and allegiances to form. I loved seeing the difference in cultures between Kraeshia and Mytica; there was more variety that resembled the real world. Although the appearance of Kraeshia had a great introduction, I believe that there is still room to grow.

Like I said before, the characters are the best part of the story for me. Our core four constantly surprises me with their character arcs. Cleo has proven time and time again that she is cunning, resourceful, and will not go down without a fight. I want nothing more than for her to reclaim her kingdom and end happily with Magnus. There are 2 books left in the series, and by the way that this book ended, I have a feeling that there will be more obstacles interfering with their endgame. I can’t help but feel bad for Jonas. Everything he does ends up going wrong, or blows up in his face; he can’t catch a break! I loved seeing how involved he was with the other characters and I’m excited to see how his situation will improve during the rest of the series. My feelings for Lucia are still conflicted. I appreciate how powerful she is and how her POV is the one with the deepest connection to the mythology of the world, the Watchers, and magic, but her actions and behaviour towards everyone she interacts with greatly irritated me throughout 60% of the book. I did not enjoy her travel companion Kyan, either; he felt more like a child than a fire god. I feel like Magnus is really coming into his own in this novel. He finally stops comparing himself to his father and learns to be his own person. I just wish that he encountered that revelation earlier in the book. Magnus has really developed throughout the series. You can really see how much he cares for the people in his kingdom. I also want to talk about Felix and Amara, but I will discuss them in the spoiler section because I don’t want to spoil anybody. Just know that I feel very strongly for the both of them, Amara has me incredibly conflicted (in a good way) and that Felix is one of my favourite characters.

Continue reading

Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

attwn

Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

My Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis: All invited by the same person known as “U.N. Owen”, ten strangers arrive together on a mysteriously isolated island for their own personal circumstances. At dinner, a recorded message plays through the house and announces everybody’s deepest secret and by the end of the night, one of the guests end up dead. A storm leaves everyone stranded on the island while the guests begin to die one by one. Among them, one of the guests is the killer. But will anybody survive?

My Thoughts: I feel like this will be a shorter review than usual. I remember first hearing about And Then There Were None somewhere online and thought that it sounded so interesting. The synopsis right from the get go got to me. A mysterious invitation sent to ten strangers to stay on the famous Soldier Island located off the Devon Coast, all for a different purpose. Once the guests discover that they all have been lured one by one, they realize that coming to this island maybe wasn’t what they expected.

One of my favourite points of the story was how the deaths followed through with the nursery rhyme; it was one of the major plot drivers of the story. I thought that it was a great and unique way to get things going.

We had a large cast of characters in this story; ten very different individuals with their own purpose of being present on the island. Personally, I didn’t connect with any of the characters, but I thought it was for the best. It left me suspicious of everyone and wondering who the killer was.

The setting of the island added a new layer of mystery into the story. The island itself had many rumours surrounding it of who and where the owner is. Being stranded out on the island while a storm was happening made it a lot more difficult with calling for help. It was like their hope of being rescued diminished when the storm came rolling in.

For my first mystery, I would like to say that I had a great time with this and I thought that the plot was executed well. It kept me wondering who the murderer could be and who would he/she strike next.

This is all I want to say because this is a mystery novel and I want to keep as much information as possible in the dark. I do hope that you pick it up because this novel for sure is a great one.

Book Review: Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

gd

Title: Gathering Darkness (Book #3 in the Falling Kingdoms series)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

My Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: (since this book is the third in the series, this will contain spoilers to those who haven’t read the first two books yet). The quest to find the Kindred intensifies as three teams are set out to possess the magic of the crystals. King Gaius seeks the Kindred out to conquer all of Mytica; but he’s not the only one hunting down the powerful crystals. The Kraeshians, Ashur and Amara, are the royal siblings from across the Silver Sea willing to intrigue and manipulate whomever possible in order to get the Kindred for themselves. Jonas and Cleo lead the Rebels with common interests to use the power of the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms. The Watchers ally with King Gaius to use Lucia’s powers to direct them to the Kindred. Magnus is stuck in the middle not knowing who to side with; he must choose between his own family, or justice. “The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.”

My Thoughts: FINALLY after what seems to be a month or so about finishing this book, I FINALLY HAVE THE REVIEW UP. Anyway, I am all about this series now it’s not even funny. I don’t even know where to begin. I still find it amazing how I started out with favouring Cleo the most. Now,  most of the characters are near and dear to me! We got to see so many relationships strengthen between what I like to call our “core four” (Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, and Lucia). Most of my favourite scenes involved a lot of Cleo and Magnus and their interactions. We were introduced to some new characters such as Princess Amara, Felix, and a few others that I shouldn’t say. I loved seeing the interactions between Nic and Prince Ashur, Cleo and Lucia, and Felix and Jonas. I really liked how we got to hear more about the Kindred, Eva, and Melenia.

This instalment was so action packed and intense I can’t possibly write down all of my thoughts. The amount of character development is so great. We finally have Magnus thinking more ambitiously about what he wants and how he is going to get it. Magnus also starts to care more about Cleo, but I’ll discuss that later in the spoiler section. I just love Magnus a whole lot more now. I have said before that Lucia isn’t my favourite out of the core four, but from this point onwards, I can see her being someone I root for. Her determination to find the Kindred is so strong; my only wish for her is to use the Kindred for herself and not for King Gaius. Lucia is seriously a force to be reckoned with. For Jonas, I feel like he isn’t doing a great job of being a rebel. If anything, he’s just getting a bunch of people killed. Nonetheless, I still believe in him; Jonas needs a nudge in the right direction (preferably by Felix). As for Cleo, my child, there were so many times where I felt nervous for her. Cleo still has her eye on the prize: to reclaim her kingdom from the terrors of King Gaius.

Continue reading

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

sybg

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Synopsis: Sloane has always been the one to make Emily’s life interesting. But right before what would’ve been the best summer ever, Sloane disappears without a trace, only leaving a to-do list behind for Emily to complete. This list had activities like apple picking at night, dancing until dawn, and even skinny dipping! Hoping that completing the list will somehow bring Sloane back, Emily has the unexpected help of Frank Porter to accompany her on this adventure through the summer. Along with the tasks of completing the list and finding Sloane, Emily will also learn how to find herself.

My Thoughts: Without a doubt, I absolutely loved this book. I completely identified with Emily during the first half of the book. She is described as being “shy since birth” and is usually the girl in the background; she is known as “Sloane’s friend”. Emily also depends on Sloane to step into situations whenever Emily gets nervous or flustered while talking to people. I totally understand where Emily is coming from because sometimes I get nervous when I talk to people I don’t know and I get my friends to do it for me instead. Sloane’s absence often leaves Emily thinking of things like “if Sloane were here, she would know what to do.” I do wish that Emily had more confidence in her self whenever she talks to people. But I do understand that everybody has their own starting point in order to grow. Thus, the list was created for this exact purpose; to pull Emily out of her shell and show her new experiences.

Initially, the list was one of the factors that got my attention into reading this particular book. Leaving behind the list with activities like sharing secrets in the dark, asking for Mona on this certain street, and sleeping under the stars truly intrigued me and made me wonder if Emily would actually be down and go through with it. Part of me wishes that I had a summer like this with my friends. There was something so satisfying about completing tasks; I felt whole and content whenever something off of the list was done. It was like everything fell into place perfectly. After each new experience, we got to witness Emily gaining confidence within herself and solidifying more and more relationships. I couldn’t help but cheer her on.

It was great to read about a person I can relate with being able to do some of these crazy things. This book made me feel like I could do some of these things as well. My favourite thing about the list is that everything is completely random but then goes with the flow. For example, Emily would start off her day focused on completing one task but ends up finishing a different task instead. Like this one time she was set about asking for Mona, but then ends up apple picking at night instead. It showed me that although some things don’t go according to plan, everything will work out alright.

Throughout the flashbacks in where we got to see Sloane, I liked seeing what kind of a person she was; I liked seeing that she and Emily had such a close relationship. We also got to know Sloane even thought she presently isn’t in the story. I also liked the new relationships that Emily formed with the people around her. Watching the slow friendship develop between her and Frank made me so happy, but I’ll get into that in the spoiler section. I thought that Emily’s relationship between her brother Beckett was super cute and nice, but I wanted to see more of their interactions especially after this one point in the book. Friendship is a huge focus in the story. I loved seeing Emily form her own friendships without being majorly attached to Sloane; she was learning to be her own person.

**Spoiler Section**

Frank and Emily becoming friends was once of my favourite parts in this novel. Frank is such a nice person who cares for everyone’s well-being. When Emily frequently kept running into Frank, I just knew that things were going to go well. I absolutely loved it whenever Emily and Frank ran together; this was their way of getting closer while listening to each others’ music. Once thing started getting serious, like sharing secrets under the stars and the slow dancing at the wedding with each other. I just knew that this friendship was something more. BUT, I had to keep reminding myself that Frank has a girlfriend and that it wouldn’t be okay if they got too close. Ultimately, I loved their ending together.

Living room theater would be such a fun thing to experience. I wouldn’t mind having a bunch of my friends over acting out a play for fun. I can already see it now, the chaotic mess and hilarity in my house.

I’m glad that we finally got to meet Sloane in the present day. The amount of time felt so short while Emily and Sloane were catching up; it felt so rushed. But it is understandable considering that Emily had to be back at home before her family. I liked how Emily made her own list for Sloane before she left. I am so glad that they have decided to stay in touch even through the distance. My favourite item on Emily’s list for Sloane would have to be the one about “dating someone who waits until you get inside of your house and then drive away”. It was something along the lines of that and I just thought it was so cute and completely relevant.

My favourite activities on the list that were done would ha.e to be the times when Emily shared some secrets in the dark with Frank, the fake Penelope ID, sleep under the stars, and hug a Jamie. I loved seeing Frank and Emily get closer together; I couldn’t help but gush everywhere to everyone. The whole situation with the ID had me laughing so hard when that person accused Emily about being the Penelope who stole her man. When Beckett found out that he couldn’t go camping with his dad, I felt so sad for him; he was looking forward to that day for so long. Emily spending the night under the stars just talking to her brother touched my heart. The talk that they had about wanting to spend more time together touched my heart. The hug a Jamie task got us closer look into Dawn and Emily’s new friendship. Whenever Emily gained a new friend, I felt ecstatic. Ending the night with hugging James from the gas station was such a nice way to end the chapter. I couldn’t ask for a better list.

**Spoiler section over**

All in all, I for sure recommend this book to everyone. Morgan Matson has done it again. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and it totally will be on my favourites list. In a well ordered universe, everybody would pick this book up.

Thanks for reading as always!

Book Review: Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

16000044

Title: Rebel Spring (Book #2 in the Falling Kingdoms series)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis: (Since this book is a sequel, this will contain spoilers to those who haven’t read the first book yet). This story follows the aftermath of the siege erupted onto the southern kingdom of Auranos. With Auranos defeated, Cleo is dethroned and King Gaius unites the three kingdoms altogether as Mytica once again. Magic remains as the huge motivator to all of the characters in this world. For Cleo, she seeks the power of magic to reclaim her throne. With the power in the rebel leader Jonas’s hands, he could free the people of his nation from tyranny. Lucia yearns for the power to fulfil her prophecy. But with the power in Magnus’s hands, he can finally prove his worth to his ruthless savage of a father, King Gaius. The construction of the King’s road into the Forbidden Mountains sparks intrigue, and a great deal of emotions towards the people of the kingdoms, the rebels, and even the Watchers of the realm.  There are consequences around every turn, for “the road to power…is paved with blood and magic.”

My thoughts: Wow, okay, alright. I was completely blown away with this book. I went in with lowered expectations because of my slight disappointment toward the first book and I was wonderfully surprised. I found my self caring for most of the characters this time around and was truly worried for their safety in times of trouble. The writing captured my attention far more than the previous one. I seriously have nothing but great things to say about this novel. It was like a 87% in my book. I think that I had a couple of problems with the book but other than that, It was quite enjoyable.  Continue reading

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling_kingdoms_book_cover

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Book #1 in the Falling Kingdoms series)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis: This fantastical story takes place in three kingdoms of the country Mytica; Auranos the southern kingdom, Paelsia the middle kingdom, and Limeros the northern kingdom altogether make Mytica. Although the story is told in multiple points of view, the intertwining perspectives of “The Princess” Cleo, “The Rebel” Jonas, “The Sorceress” Lucia, and “The Heir” Magnus, along with some other characters, meld the story together into a fast-paced adventure that you won’t want to put down. Power hungry rulers, shocking murders, and quests to find magic all take place within these pages. With the country on the brink of war, some kingdoms will rise into victory while the others will fall.

My Thoughts: First and foremost, hooray to me because this is my first book review! Alright, so. I decided to pick this book up after witnessing the large amounts of hype surrounding it on YouTube. I figured, hey, if everyone is checking it out, then maybe I should give it a try. Anything fantasy is immediately right up my alley. This novel was also described as being a young adult version of Game of Thrones aka a series that I truly love. With these few reasons, I dove into the book with at least a few expectations.

Continue reading