The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Book Review

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Seven-year-old Jude led a normal life, until one day, unannounced, the mysterious Madoc appears at her doorstep. Her life changes in an instant, as Madoc brutally murders her parents and kidnaps Jude and her sisters to live with him amongst the High Fae in Elfhame, a magical and unfamiliar land populated by Faeries. Immortal, beautiful and incapable of lying, they see Jude and her twin, Taryn, as weak and inferior, and don’t let them forget it through unrelenting bullying and exploitation.

At age seventeen, Jude desperately wants to fit in, fight alongside them, and to be equals, but the youngest prince, Cardan, will seemingly stop at nothing to make sure that these things don’t happen. When she sees that there is more to the High Court than meets the eye, she becomes embroiled in the conspiracies, betrayal and espionage that cuts below the surface of faerie politics. Determined and incisive, Jude must make sacrifices to protect the world she has been thrust into, her family, and Elfhame.

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And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness – Book Review

Update: The recent Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death have prompted increased learning and listening for people around the globe, myself included. I cannot over-emphasise the power of literature to educate yourself on racism and white privilege, so here’s a really good list of books: https://bookshop.org/lists/antiracist-reading-recs . I’ve got a long list of books that I’d like to read, and I’m looking forward to sharing them on the blog soon in a dedicated post.

And The Ocean Was Our Sky is a retelling of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (The Whale), but with a flipped perspective: this time it’s from the point of view of a whale, Bathsheba. Her hunting pod of whales, led by the inimitable Captain Alexandra, is obsessed with getting revenge on the human hunting vessels that sail above them; the relentless war is between two species constantly seeking vengeance for the crimes committed against one another. The man the whales seek the most is Toby Wick, and they’ll go to great lengths to find him. As the hunt progresses, Bathsheba begins to question whether its worth sacrificing everything for this conflict.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

On the windswept island of Thisby, capaill uisce, or water horses, dominate life. Every year, these water horses emerge from the surf on the beaches lining the island, and are caught by islanders to race in the infamous Scorpio Races; an often fatal race of the brutal creatures in which the victor gains glory and riches.

Sean Kendrick knows the races well: he’s a seasoned racer, winning four times out of the six that he’s taken part in. His ability to calm even the most agitated or violent of the capaill uisce has earned him a reputation on the island for his abilities.

Puck Connolly has never ridden in the races, but this year she feels like she has no choice – the money from winning the prize could be life-changing for her family. The first girl to race, she’s no idea what the races really entail.

Both lost parents to the capaill uisce. Both are struggling to get by. Drawn together in a time when you can trust no one, this is more than just a race.

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Book Review

Warning: spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books in the series!

In Aveyard’s penultimate instalment of the Red Queen series, we once again join Mare, Cal and the Red Guard on her fight against the oppressive system in the Kingdom of Norta. After the events of Glass Sword, Mare is confined to Maven’s palace as a puppet, her once strong, fear-inducing powers now reduced to nothing. As the rebellion continues without her, Mare must watch from the sidelines. Cal, on the other hand, the exiled prince, will stop at little to get her back…

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Book Review

In Aveyard’s second instalment of her fantasy series Red Queen, we return to the Kingdom of Norta. After the events of Red Queen, Mare, Kilorn and Cal are on the run from the evil and wicked King Maven. As a Newblood, Mare has Red blood (the colour of common people in Norta) but also the superhuman powers of the elite Silvers. With a list of the others who share her Newblood status in hand, Mare embarks on a mission finding and recruiting these individuals to the rebel organisation, the Scarlet Guard.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Book Review

In Norta, the colour of your blood defines you – your social status, your occupation, and whether or not you have superpower-like abilities. The elite Silvers exploit the Reds, sending them to the front line in the North and using them as their servants in their lavish residences.

Mare is a Red, and every day she becomes closer to being conscripted on her seventeenth birthday. After a chance encounter, she finds herself serving the King in his summer residence. One day, however, something happens to Mare that makes her question her identity – she appears to have Silver abilities but Red blood, so the royal family decide to declare her as a long-lost princess, to prevent any questions being asked. Mare is thrust in to the Silver world, engaged to a Silver prince. She now has the chance to take down the oppressive system that has caused her family and community so much pain and suffering. This won’t be easy; she must dodge the jealousy, lies and rivalries of the royal courts to try to bring justice to her people.

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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

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After winning the competition to be crowned the King’s Champion, assassin Celaena Sardothien is tasked with the dispatching of anyone who dares to challenge the King of Adarlan’s rule. As she has already suffered at the hands of this ruthless king, she offers all of her targets the opportunity to flee, to never be seen again. However, with every death she fakes, she puts the lives of the people that matter the most to her at risk – Dorian, Chaol and Nehemia. As she learns more about the King’s court and it’s secrets, she must decide which side she is on and how much she is willing to sacrifice…

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

Throne of Glass cover

Celaena Sardothien was an unstoppable assassin, known all around for her skill and stealth. That was all before she was caught, and sent to the salt mines of Endovier, which few survive. After enduring a year, she is summoned to Rifthold to represent the Crown Prince of Adarlan in a competition to serve as the king’s champion and eventually earn her freedom. When her competitors are murdered under very suspicious circumstances, Celaena must delve into the history of her nation and the secrets it holds.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

a court of Thorns and Roses

Meet Feyre, a 19-year-old who has been the sole provider for her family ever since her father lost all of his wealth years ago. Her sisters, Elain and Nesta, are adamant that they won’t do any work to aid the family’s survival, so one day when she is out hunting, she kills a wolf to sell it’s pelt. She soon finds that the wolf she killed is more than it seems, and its people want revenge for the wolf’s death. In return for her life being spared, Feyre is sent across the border into the mysterious Prythian, a land with faeries long speculated about by the Human Lands. As her bond with Tamlin, her captor, deepens, she is forced to decide whether her loyalties lie with the mortal world or the faerie realm that is now threatening the safety of humans…

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Book Review

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Every night since his mum started treatment for cancer, Connor O’Malley has suffered from the same nightmare. One night, it’s different. At exactly 12:07, the Monster, formed from a yew tree, goes walking. In return for telling 3 tales Connor must tell him something he has told no one – the truth.

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