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text 2018-02-25 16:46
Reading progress update: I've read 131 out of 552 pages.
Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) - Fonda Lee

Man, I'm really struggling with this one. There's a lot of politics and arguing about trade deals, which makes me happy, but the magic system isn't that interesting, and I don't care about most of the characters except for the one female PoV (out of five PoVs so far) who is someone's little sister and has shown up once. Maybe if I keep going it'll be amazing? IDK.

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review 2018-02-25 14:38
There Are Other Worlds Than These
The Gunslinger - Stephen King

Well. The first book in "The Dark Tower" series. Are there some issues in this book? Yes. The pacing gets a bit draggy towards the end. But the world building is really good as well as the plot in this first book. It's enough to make you want to run out and read "The Drawing of the Three" or maybe that's just me.

 

"The Gunslinger" starts with someone just referred to as the Gunslinger following the man in Black. You don't know what's going on between them, but you realize that the Gunslinger has no intention of stopping until he catches up with the man in Black and they will finally have a confrontation that has been a long time coming.

 

I think King is smart to show that you may not like the Gunslinger. He shows you early that catching the man in Black is all he is focused on. Stopping in a town that appears to be on  it's last legs, he sleeps with a woman he doesn't care about one way or the other. While there he runs into someone from his past and you realize it's probably best when the Gunslinger is indifferent, because when he's angry, that's a sight to see. But we also get to see his brutality while he is there, and you start to wonder should you even be rooting for this man. 

 

Besides the Gunslinger (Roland) we also have Roland coming across a Boy (Jake) that has somehow come from another world and dropped into Roland's. Roland and Jake fit together for some reason and Roland has affection for the boy, but still has no intention of not doing or using anyone to get to his goal. You start to worry for Jake and there's a pivotal scene between the two that may have you hate Roland. Or maybe that was just me. 

 

The writing I thought was good. It may be hard to understand some dialogue since King has the character's using High Speech at times that reads as broken English (see thankee sai). The flow as I said was good until we got to the end. Then we got a big dump of information on Roland that didn't really fit the book. It helps set the stage for "The Drawing of the Three" though so I can see why King did it that way. 

 

The setting of Roland's world is similar to our world in parts, but different enough. He is a descendent of Arthur Eld (similar to our world's King Arthur). The gunslingers are similar to knights, and our Roland is off on a quest. Instead of the Holy Grail though all he wants is The Tower. I loved that the world building wasn't so explicit .You are given hints and guesses about what has occurred, but thankfully no information dumps by random people (one of my pet peeves). 

 

The ending leaves enough for you to want to continue the series. I plan on rereading this series throughout the year in memory of my dad. He was a huge King fan, and because of him I am too. The Gunslinger was the first book of King's I read and loved. Thankee sai. 

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review 2018-02-25 09:17
‘Ash Princess’ brings dark themes of abuse and violence to YA fantasy but it’s wholly absorbing; bring on the Astrean rebellion!
Ash Princess - Laura Sebastian-Coleman

This was admittedly a little slow for me to get into but it had quite a bit to do with me starting it while away on a sunny beach at Amelia Island in Florida (it was in stark contrast to the dark world in the novel, so I had competing worlds in my head).

Nevertheless, once I got into 'Ash Princess' further, I became captivated by the darkness, and contrary to some interpretations of it being a story that is there to shock its readers with the relentless abuse, and of murders of whole populations, I read this book and absorbed this in a very different way. I'll get back to all of that in a moment...
The novel is centered around a young girl, the 'Ash Princess', Theodosia, who is now known as Lady Thora, who is being held captive in the palace that her mother, the Fire Queen was murdered. The cruel and murderous Kaiser, has subsequently enslaved the Astrean people, and now the Kalovaxians rule the land, although there's a rebellion brewing.

Theo's position is complicated to say the least. She has suffered a decade of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her mother's murderer, but she knows that if she is to survive, she needs to bide by the Kaiser's wishes. Theo's closest friendship is also complex, since she is friends with the daughter of the enemy Theyn, the Kaiser's right-hand man; Crescentia is close with Theo, but looks the other way when things are hard for her friend (namely, her beatings), quite happily will give her the less flattering dress to wear, and doesn't see many things that are right under her nose (luckily).
Another complication: where would a good YA novel be without a little bit of confusion over what boy you like? It's even more complicated when one is supposed to be the enemy, the Prinz (and your best friend hopes to marry them some day), and the other is a long time friend, and orchestrating the plot to escape, amongst other things (*no further spoiling!).

Beyond the walls of the palace, there are also battles fought for more land, in the name of the Kaiser, and in terms of how this comes across to me, is that I liken this to how I see much of European history. I'm not talking about the Kaiser specifically but when I think back to what I know of centuries of history across Europe and all the battles fought, particularly for land, the pillaging of villages, the murdering of its people, these sorts of things happened. I liken what I'm reading to that sort of knowledge I have of history of the way that lands are conquered; even royalty has been imprisoned within their own castle walls. History really has been that cruel, so when I read something like this (or like many other fantasy novels), it really has been played out. What's wonderful in a book like this though, is that the people are waiting for this young woman, Theodosia, to take back the throne again.

So, ultimately I felt like this was a tale of survival in a very harsh world, where Theo has to make hard choices to not only survive, but to try and fulfil what she believes is a destiny expected of her by the Astrean people. It leads her to do some things she doesn't want to do sometimes, and through that, she actually becomes stronger as the novel progresses, but at a cost.

This is not a novel for someone who wants their books about fallen kingdoms to be light and with frequent uplifting turns; this book is pretty heavy, and high on dark content, but if you're willing to fall into a novel where kingdoms don't get taken back easily, and in which many lives are lost in the process, you will be ready for this. There are strong characters in this and I hope they're developed even further in the next book. I'm looking forward to seeing the rebellion of the Astrean people continue!
YA fantasy has ANOTHER amazing author, Laura Sebastian, to pay attention to!

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review 2018-02-24 18:46
Private Eye: A Tiger's Eye Mystery (Tige... Private Eye: A Tiger's Eye Mystery (Tiger's Eye Mysteries) (Volume 2) - Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The pb copy I have also includes the short story that marks the beginning of the series.

 

So our h's grandma she never knew about shows up. Now, to be honest, I have to wonder exactly where did she think her parents came from. I suppose her aunt and uncle just gave vague answers to the question. All that aside, she discovers she's part banshee and that her grandfather was an abusive jerk. Oh, and that banshees are being killed off. Hmmm.

 

Of course, naturally it's a local who she'd thought of as a nice fellow but who does hate banshees. He has other issues too as we come to discover. He tries v. hard to kill the h.

 

The novella was interesting. Jack is at this point, heading to Dead End. He's also without direction now that the fights over the past 10 years have come to a conclusion. At least he's back though - one of the last times he was seen in the Atlantean series, he'd lost his human side. He stops to eat, notices a pretty girl, and gets sucked into drama of figuring out who shot and kidnapped Santa. His take on the whole adventure? Avoid women wearing shoes with red soles...and possibly eat at Wendy's instead of diners the rest of the way.

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text 2018-02-24 14:17
Fool's Fate - Robin Hobb

 

I'm glad Fitz got a happy ever after, but it felt like it just trailed off anticlimactically into the sunset.

 

The Fools poem made me want to cry.

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