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I'm a librarian based in the UK who loves books. I'm happiest when I'm either talking about them, reading them or buying them. This blog is dedicated mainly to my addiction to YA fiction but you will also find some adult and non-fiction book reviews as well.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: The Fallen Kingdom - Elizabeth May

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May, published by Gollancz on 15th June 2017

Goodreads synopsis:
Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her.

Review:
I have been longing for this book ever since I finished the last page of  'The Vanishing Throne'.  The wait has been unbearable but was oh so definitely worth it.  What a spectacular conclusion to The Falconer trilogy.  This was without doubt my absolute favourite book in the series and I never wanted it to end.  It was a truly spectacular read and one of the best books of 2017.  I loved it so, so much!  If you are a fan of this series then you will not be disappointed. 

'The Fallen Kingdom' has everything you would want and more!  It had humour, some deftly comical moments, sadness and romance and so many exciting scenes that you will find it impossible to put it down. 

The story starts with the resurrection of Aileana who is struggling to remember who she is.  Something is different.  She has no memories of her past and doesn't recognise the people who she is closest to.  As she strives to regain her identity, she is also tasked with breaking the curse which is destined to destroy her world and the people she loves. 

I loved every single page of this book.  Aileana is one of my favourite literary characters ever and her story is one that has entranced me from the very beginning.  I couldn't wait to find out what would be the final outcome for her and her fae King Kiaran and I had my fingers crossed for them the whole way through.  As much as I love Aileana, I truly think that there is something to love and adore about nearly every character in the series, even those who seem past redemption.  One of my personal favourites is Derrick the pixie who is always given the best lines and who shows his heroic and loyal side yet again in the story.  Never was there another pixie quite like him.

I thought that the plot was fantastic.  Nail bitingly exciting and epic in scale.  There were so many brilliant moments and the twists and turns of Aileana's journey have been incredible to follow.  I bow down to Elizabeth May.  She has written one of the best YA fantasy trilogies that I've ever read.  I can't wait to see what she writes next and I will definitely be putting her on my auto-buy list. 

An incredible conclusion to a spectacular trilogy.     

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Review: Royal Bastards - Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts, published by Disney Hyperion on 8th June 2017

Goodreads synopsis:
Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries. The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . .



Review:
'Royal Bastards' has been on my radar for ages.  There's been quite a buzz around this title, so I was hugely excited to get my hands on a copy.  Described as Game of Thrones for teens, I was expecting great things of it. 

The story centres around a group of royal bastards who are brought together under terrible circumstances and end up having to undergo an epic journey in each other's company.  Tilla, the narrator, has longed for nothing else than to be by her father's side.  She has been forgotten however, in lieu of his legitimate children and so instead spends most of her time in the company of her half-brother Jax.  The two enjoy exploring the tunnels beneath the castle and generally getting into mischief. 

The opening quarter of the book was quite exciting as Tilla and Jax, along with Miles and Zell, a Zitochi warrior, witness a terrible crime.  This leads to them having to flee the kingdom to protect the life of Princess Lyriana.  I was immediately hooked on the sense of danger and adventure and couldn't wait to see where their journey was going to lead. 

Although this book falls firmly into the fantasy genre, what I did find quite strange about it was the surprisingly contemporary dialogue which didn't always feel like it fit the style of the novel.  It was an unusual mix and I'm not sure that it worked for me.  I think this is why I didn't properly connect with any of the characters, so although I liked Tilla, I didn't find her as pivotal and engaging a heroine as she should have been.  There are also touches of romance in the book but again, this didn't feel like a romance that I could believe in and root for.

For a series opener, 'Royal Bastards' was pretty good and the concept was awesome but although for the most part I enjoyed the adventure, I want more in terms of character development from the next instalment.    
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