Category Archives: Fantasy

Impossible, Sarah Lotz – Book Review

I don’t often read romance novels, but this latest offering from British fantasy author Sarah Lotz is something a little unique. And I adored it! Authentic, down-to-earth characters, British humour and a unique sci-fi fantasy twist which really makes this love story impossible

Bee is a fashion designer running her own business upcycling wedding dresses from her London apartment. Nick is a failed writer living in a struggling marriage with his loyal dog Rosie in Leeds. The two never would have met if it wasn’t for an email error, but when Nick accidently sends Bee an email meant for his client, sparks fly.

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The Midnight Library, Matt Haig – Book Review

I got this book for Christmas (on request) and I’ve been saving it for a while. I just knew Matt Haig wouldn’t disappoint – and I was right. This book was the heart-warming, life-affirming breath of fresh air I needed in my life right now. This is a book I think I could turn to time after time when I’m not sure where my life is going, and it’d bring some comfort and inspiration. And that’s a pretty special book.

After attempting to end her life, protagonist Nora finds herself suspended between life and death. She enters the Midnight Library, a magical place where she’s given a chance to experience how her life could have been, to undo her regrets and answer all those ‘what ifs?’

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke – Book Review

This book has been sitting on my shelf for years. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who recoils at the thought of a book over 1000 pages. What about aall the other books I could be reading? What if I invest all that time and I don’t love it?

But I finally bit the bullet with this – the book Neil Gaiman was quoted on the cover saying is “Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic in the past 70 years.” And, I think he’s onto something. This book is long, but it’s rich in detail, luscious descriptions and an enchanting, intriguing plot. And, of course, plenty of magic.

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The Betrayals, Bridget Collins – Book Review

I received The Betrayals in exchange for an honest review

There’s something about those elaborate covers and promise of magical alternative worlds that compelled me to try this author. I haven’t yet read last year’s adult debut from her The Binding, but when I got a chance to try an advanced copy of her new release I went for it.

And it did live up to my expectations – in terms of world-building and fantasy terms, at least. The story is centred around Montverre, an elite academy where the brightest young boys are trained to take part in the grand jeu – an arcane, ancient ceremony which has become the country’s national ‘game’.

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The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab – Book Review

I received The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue in exchange for an honest review

For some reason this book took me a very long time to get through, but don’t let that fool you into thinking I didn’t like it. It might be partly due to my circumstances changing – I finally started a new job after being made redundant due to the pandemic – but mainly I think it’s because this is a book I wanted to savour. No snatching the odd few pages on my commute or lunch break, this book deserves your full attention – I wanted to sit down in front of the fire with my hot chocolate, sink into the author’s writing and escape into Addie’s incredible world. It may be too soon to say, but I think this book has jumped right into my all-time favourites. I apologise in advance for the extra long review and abundance of quotes – always a sign I loved the book.

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The Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo – Review

I know I’m very behind the times with this trilogy. I don’t read as much young adult these days but sometimes you just need to dive into a whole other world – and this series was the perfect thing to plough through during lockdown. This won’t be a super detailed review, more just my thoughts and feelings on the series.

Shadow & Bone
Grisha Trilogy 1

This was a strong beginning to the series, as we meet our protagonist Alina and follow her journey from a common soldier to a powerful, magical, Sun Summoner and Grisha after her powers are revealed battling for her life on the Fold. We’re also introduced to the Darkling, an  awesome, complex villain with layers of darkness but just enough humanity, worn away by his many years. Sadly I feel like this first instalment has the most face-to-face Darkling action, and whilst he’s a powerful presence throughout the whole trilogy I still wanted more. Continue reading

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The Beautiful, Renée Ahdieh – Book Review

I received The Beautiful in exchange for an honest review

The Beautiful, Renée Ahdieh

Vampires and murders set in 1800s New Orleans?! This book promised magic, intrigue and darkness and I was very excited to get started. But it’s left me with some mixed feelings.

The story starts off strong; we follow teenagers Celine and Pippa on a journey to New Orleans. Both are fleeing their pasts in Europe for the hope of a new life in the land of opportunity, and the city doesn’t disappoint. As the girls travel through the heart of the city at the peak of carnival season, they’re swept up in the atmosphere and anticipation of what’s to come, and so was I. Continue reading

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The Ten Thousand Doors Of January, Alix E. Harrow – Book Review

The Ten Thousand Doors Of January

I received The Ten Thousand Doors Of January in exchange for an honest review

“Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.”

A beautiful cover and promise of an atmospheric epic complete with doors to other worlds? Count me in! I was very excited for this release and it didn’t disappoint. This is a gorgeous, magical story which lives up to its tantalising premise and its stunning cover. Imagine an atmospheric historical story about a young girl orphaned living in a grand manor, throw in a gripping origin story oh and a smattering of portals to other worlds and you’ve got something close to The Ten Thousand Doors Of January. Continue reading

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A Gathering Of Shadows & A Conjuring Of Light, V. E. Schwab – Mini Reviews

So, after reading ADSOM back in the 2016 I finally got around to reading the other two books in the trilogy and it was awesome and magical! I very rarely read YA these days and I when I do I like to pick my titles carefully; there’s been such a surge in YA fantasy it can be difficult to sift the average from the gems. This series is definitely an absolute gem. A stand-out read I’d recommend to readers of all ages, this series has some of the most creative and original world-building I’ve read, along with relateable characters and a strong plot which never wavers along the way.

A Gathering Of Shadows

A Gathering Of Shadows

Pirates, princes and magical tournaments are the focus of this middle novel as we rejoin Lila, now a member of The Night’s Spire sailing the seas around Red London, and Kell and Rhy as they deal with the consequences of Kell’s decision to save Rhy’s life by bonding it to his own. This book is all about character and world development as relationships are strengthened and explored and the world beyond the Londons is opened up. We follow Lila exploring the pirate world and learn more about the Maresh family’s relationship with the neighbouring countries. But, despite this perhaps being considered the filler novel of the series, there’s plenty of action too. I absolutely loved the Essen Tach – the magical tournament which saw the nation’s  strongest magicians pit their skills against each other in epic live battles. And, in a different London there’s a darker threat gathering power ready for the final instalment…

 

A Conjuring Of Light

A Conjuring Of Light

So, we come to the finale which is all out action. I don’t want to go into too much detail in case anyone hasn’t finished the series but there is an awesome villain fully worthy of the series finale; a true embodiment of the darker shades of magic. After following the character arcs through books one and two I was fully rooting for all our characters (although Lila has to be my favourite) and this book picks up immediately where AGOS left off. I read these two back to back and I really feel that way gave the best impact – I just wish I’d read them back when I read the first! This one’s fairly lengthy at over 600 pages, but it packs in so much action it really doesn’t feel that long, and now I’ve finished the series I actually miss the characters. One small negative I have would be that there’s a little more romance as the story goes on which I didn’t think was really needed, but I was happy with how all of the characters’ stories ended.

Surely now there has to be a film of this series – and anyone else want Maisie Williams to play Lila?! It may be because I was watching the final series of GOT while reading these books, but I think she’d be a perfect fit. I’ll keep hoping…

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar – Book Review

I received The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock in exchange for an honest review

I read a lot of debuts; it’s always a risk – but I love finding those hidden gems when they’re still relatively undiscovered. This book was promoted as Vintage’s debut of the year and, whilst I hadn’t heard much about it from my fellow reviewers, I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover and the promise of mermaids, and went for it.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar

I would love to fall in love with every book I read, but unfortunately this one wasn’t really for me. It had a lot of promise – combining history, romance and magical realism, this book should work for me, yet I found myself struggling through the slow, meandering plot about characters who I just couldn’t care for. Continue reading

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