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review 2017-10-24 17:09
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

 
**********


Uprooted is a book that, despite seeming so interesting did it take me a long time to get to it, mostly because it seemed so thick and time-consuming. And, when I finally started to read it did I read it during one day. I'm actually a bit impressed by that myself since the book is 435 page long. But, then again I did start it after (or around can't really remember) midnight, slept and then read all through Saturday. A perfect day!

What I like about Uprooted is that the blurb doesn't give away the story, it only gives a hint to the beginning of the book, there are just not any spoilers to what will happen. And, that's pretty much how I'm going to do with my review. Try to spoil as little as possible because the story is so good, and the best is going in blind and just discover everything for yourself. What I can tell you is that Agnieszka starts off in this book as very clumsy, seriously, she drives the Dragon nuts. However, she will evolve through the books progress, and the person that we get to know at the beginning is, but a memory towards the end of the book. Speaking of the Dragon, I liked how Agnieszka and his relationship evolved through the book as well. They really start off on the wrong foot and it will take some time (and clumsy accidents) for them to be more of a team.

Also, the setting of the book, the worldbuilding, and the history of the land is a strong point with this book. I could easily imagine the world and its characters. One of my favorite moments is towards the end of the book when we get an explanation for what went wrong in the past, why the Wood is corrupted. It's a sad and very moving tale.

Uprooted is a great fantasy book. I liked it very much. However, I did not love it enough to give it a higher rating. It was not hard to read, but I had moments when the story felt a bit sluggish. Not that it was boring, I just didn't feel captivated all the way through the book. That said, it's still a fabulous book, and I recommend it warmly.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

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review 2017-09-01 22:39
Empire of Ivory (Temeraire #4) by Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik

Finally, Laurence & Temeraire and company have arrived home after more than a year away.  Also in tow are the feral dragons, Tharkay, the rescued Huguenots and the baby dragon, Iskierka.  The home front has markedly changed though and not for the good.  Temeraire’s fellow dragons that were left behind in England have been hit by an epidemic, some kind of dragon consumption.  The consumption has killed some and left others badly weakened, one of which is Maximus, who will not last much longer without a cure.  Also of consequence is the fact that England is desperately trying to keep Bonaparte from getting wind of the dragons’ sickness.  Laurence is also quite interested to see that his father’s political friends are beginning the parliamentary campaign to abolish slavery.  Somewhat to his consternation, Laurence also finds that his foreign adoption has been a bit embellished and he is somewhat of a celebrity. 

 

The side issues in Black Powder War have now been brought to the forefront.  Temeraire is still in a huff that the dragons in England are not treated with the same reverence as the dragons in China.  He despairs of a return to the boredom of patrolling the English Channel, especially in the company of the feral dragons that Tharkay recruited, as they have been behaving badly. They desperately need Tharkay’s help in settling the feral dragons into the Corps, but with the other dragons sick they also need him to return to Turkestan and bring more feral dragons to Her Majesty’s service.  Granby has his hands full with Iskierka, the baby dragon, who is quite a little hothead and hard to keep a handle on!  Temeraire doesn’t need to worry about boredom for very long though.  Laurence and Temeraire are sent to Capetown to seek a cure for the dragon sickness.  Once in Africa, they run afoul of a tribal king and things will only get worse from there.  They also bear up-close witness to the harrowing plight of the indigenous people as they are kidnapped by white men and forced into slavery. 

(spoiler show)

 

I still think this is a great series for kids.  They will get to explore the world through the eyes of dragons and learn some history as they read along.  Each book is an adventure.  That being said, there are spots where I feel this series needs to be revved up a notch.  I feel a little as if I’m on repeat when reviewing these books.  The author covers a lot of territory so why does it seem like such slow going when I’m reading?  The series has become very formulaic and I still find that I am not as big of fan of Novik as most fantasy readers.  This series is good but for me it’s just not great.  I must admit that for a small amount of time I had even confused Jane Roland with Catherine Harcourt, so I may have drifted off a bit somewhere along the line.  It seems that Roland has become an admiral and Harcourt has been embroiled in a romantic relationship!  Luckily, I do like both Will and Temeraire and I was charmed by the first book so I still want to see where this is going.  The saving grace in these books is the utter charm of Temeraire which is why the series is named for him I guess!  That’s good because I still have five books left to review.  I am also hearing rumors that Peter Jackson holds the film rights and I like the idea that with the publication of the 9th book this series does come to an end.  Some series just go on too long and I just don’t know if Novik can recapture that feeling of newness the premise had in the first book.  I am crossing my fingers that I can be won over more completely.

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text 2017-07-29 13:27
July Wrap-up
The Goblins of Bellwater - Molly Ringle
A Duty to the Dead - Charles Todd
Golden Age and Other Stories - Naomi Novik
Crystal Magic: Mineral Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans - Sandra Kynes
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip
Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season - Elisabet der Nederlanden
Embroidered Garden Flowers: Botanical Motifs for Needle and Thread (Make Good: Crafts + Life) - Kazuko Aoki
The Xanth Novels: Books 38–40 - Piers Anthony
Art on the Rocks: More than 35 colorful & contemporary rock-painting projects, tips, and techniques to inspire your creativity! - Marisa Redondo,F. Sehnaz Bac,Margaret A Pericak-Vance

It's close enough to the end of the month that I know I won't finish anymore by then.

 

So, 9 books finished this month. 4 of them non-fiction and 8 of them Netgalley. Ooops...

 

The good news is I'm on the last of my Netgalley books until more approvals come through and about to start another book off my A-list.

 

Speaking of which, the best book of the month was the one I read from that list, A Duty to the Dead. I really enjoyed that one.

 

More good news, my samples folder is empty! Yes, completely empty. There may be some more lurking on my desktop computer where I put back-ups for a factory reset once, but I'm up to date and can start vetting all those freebie books. They get the same treatment as the samples; grab me quick or it's the delete button. If I find one I want to read, the vetting goes on hold until I've got room to start another book. Just in case.

 

Hopefully that will get me through all my stashes of backed up books eventually. I've got a folder on the desktop for Instafreebie downloads and such too!

 

I have 55 in my Ereaderiq folder, waiting for price drops. But I have plenty to read and a wide selection so I can afford to wait.

 

New samples will come in constantly no doubt, but now I can keep on top of them!

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text 2017-07-28 12:13
What to read next...
Paradise Lost - John Leonard,John Milton
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
Unnatural Creatures - Neil Gaiman,Maria Dahvana Headley
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
The Green Mile - Stephen King
Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction - Joseph Conrad,A. Michael Matin
The Flight of the Griffin - C.M. Gray
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Once again, I've got to my last Netgalley book, until more approvals come through. Only this one is one of those silly protected PDFs that I have to read on desktop, so it only gets 10-20 pages at a sitting before my eyes go squiffy. That's ok, it's an academic work anyway and not the sort of thing you stay up all night to read.

 

I plan to push myself to finish Don Quixote at last, but apart from that and a short story collection I ought to finish up, I'm free to just choose books from my A-list and enjoy!

 

I've gone through the 4 pages of books in that collection and the above are the front runners to start next. Too many to do all at once.

 

So, which should I read? I'll probably start 2 of them over the next couple of days.

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text 2017-07-25 21:11
Which Fantasy to Pick?
The Shadow Of What Was Lost - James Islington
The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer - Jonathan L. Howard
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
The White Rabbit Chronicles: Alice in ZombielandThrough the Zombie GlassThe Queen of Zombie Hearts - Gena Showalter
The Wheel of Time: Boxed Set #1 - Robert Jordan
The Malazan Empire - Steven Erikson
The Night Watch Collection: Books 1-3 of the Night Watch Series (Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch) - Sergei Lukyanenko
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

I want to read a great fantasy series. I like it when there are lots of mythical characters/creatures. I like it where the main characters are not normal human type. I do like Tolkien, but I want something a bit grittier. I uses to read a lot of fantasy book, but lately have found myself zipping through para romance. I have recently not been enjoying them as I uses to though. 

 

I have most of those above in complete, or near complete series. I also have King's Dark Tower books, most of Brooks' Shanara books, a lot of Robin Hobb, and Sanderson. Most of what I have I have not read past the first book and do not remember much of what they we're about.

 

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I don't mind if it is something I don't have, I will get it. 

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