Review Round Up: Shadow of the Sun, Naamah’s Blessings and A Court of Wings and Ruin

In January I had finals so I decided to take a break from blogging and reading until my winter break. After sleeping, catching up on a lot of shows and finally having my results I slowly started to read again and, I decided to change things up by focusing more on a genre I neglected a little the last few years: fantasy!

I will talk about it more in my next post but I think I burn myself out a bit with science fiction last year and a quick break from this genre for a couple of weeks will probably do me good.

Anyway, here are the three fantasy books I recently read and some quick thoughts about them (funny enough they all are conclusions of series and written by women and it wasn’t even on purpose).

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Adhieh

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I randomly decided to pick this book up at the beginning of January towards the end of my finals because I needed something easy to read to entertain myself. I didn’t even enjoy the first book that much but since I had the second book and about three brain cells that weren’t on the verge of imploding, I thought why not?

I like Adhieh’s writing and I haven’t read a YA fantasy in a while so it was a nice distraction. I’m glad we are slowly getting fantasy books set in Asia, it’s very refreshing. The book was, as I thought it would be, just okay. The plot was fairly predictable, same goes with the romance but it was enjoyable nonetheless and I think it was what I needed at the time.

If you like YA fantasy book and need a quick duology to read, Renée Adhieh’s books are a good option, I enjoyed The Wrath and The Dawn quite a bit more than Flame in the Mist and its sequel but the writing was pretty good, the story entertaining and overall, I don’t regret the few hours it took me to read.

3 Stars

 

Naamah’s Blessings by Jacqueline Carey

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Naamah’s Blessings is the third installment in the third trilogy set in Carey’s Kushiel world. I have been slowly reading these books (I think I started back in 2013) and it feels odd to be done with this world. I hope Carey will write other works set in it because I can’t let this universe go, the worldbuilding is superb, rich with details and the characters are fascinating.

I have to say however that the last trilogy wasn’t my favorite of the three. I really liked the main character Moirin but something about the pacing didn’t feel just right. I found myself skimming some parts mainly when they were about travels. I like how Carey describes her world and the various cultures but sometimes it felt like it was just delaying the action. Because of that, my favorite trilogy remains the first one, however, I still really enjoyed reading Naamah’s Blessings. Going back into this world felt like wearing my favorite hoodie:  it’s cozy, enjoyable and you know what you are going to get!

Even if it wasn’t my favorite book set in this world, it was still a satisfying ending and I really enjoyed the ride. If you enjoy political fantasy with romance and the just dose of magic, give Jacqueline Carey a try, you won’t be disappointed!

3.5 stars

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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I read A Court of Mist and Fury when it came out in 2016 and I really, really disliked it. I wasn’t a huge fan of A Court of Thorns and Roses either but ACOMAF really got on my nerves. However, same as with Smoke in the Sun, I had A Court of Wings and Ruin sitting in my Kindle and not a lot of free brain cells left so I decided to give the first few chapters a try for the heck of it.

To my surprise, I found myself intrigued enough to commit myself to a 700+ pages book and, even I still thought it had some of the same issues as the second book, I managed to enjoy this one way more.

My main issues with the series are mostly with the romance and the very cringy way it’s written. I found a review mentionning the fact that the word “mate” was used 202 times in the book and I’m not surprised. Same goes for the world “purr”, “mighty” and “male” to be honest.

Sarah J. Maas was one of my favorite other when I first got into YA fantasy: I thought her worlds and characters were flawless. Well, let’s just say that I changed a lot as a reader now and that I don’t find her romances swoonworthy anymore.

However, once I started skimming all the cringiest scenes (and they were many of them), I managed to enjoy the story just fine. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this series but I now feel pretty neutral towards it, it’s not great but it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read either. I don’t know if I’ll read the follow up series but it was a nice end-of-exams book.

3 stars.

 

Anyway, that’s all the books that I managed to read those last few weeks. Since I’m still not in the most for science fiction, I will probably continue my fantasy binge for the time being. I have several books on my radar such as The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, Burned by Karen Marie Moning and Trail of Lighting by Rebecca Roanhorse but I don’t know for sure which one I’ll be picking up next!

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Favorite Books of 2018

Happy New Year!

I’m a bit late to the party but I couldn’t not do my favorite end of the year post: I have to talk about my favorites books of the year!

I sadly didn’t read as many books as I wanted to last year (and I don’t think 2019 will be better on that front either…) but it doesn’t mean I didn’t get the chance to read amazing books, I certainly did!

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, none of the books on this list will surprise you. I’ve fangirled about most of them a lot already. However, since they are my faves, I want to give those gems even more love so… here we are. 😀

 

Best Conclusion

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Is this even a surprise to anyone? I feel like I mentionned this series non-stop this year and for good reasons: it’s without a doubt one of my favorite trilogy of all time! Everything about it is amazing and Yoon Ha Lee managed to end this superb trilogy perfectly. I want more stories with those characters, I’m pretty sure we’re getting a collection of short stories set in this world later this year and I truly CANNOT wait!

If you want to know more about my thoughts, I have reviews for all the books of this trilogy!

Reviews

 

Best sequel

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Am I predictable? Probably. Of course I had to put The Will to Battle, the third book in the Terra Ignota quartet, a series mindblowing in its scope and execution, on this list. How could I not? The whole premise of this series is fascinating, it’s set thousands of year in the future in a utopian society where, in theory, everyone should be happy. Humans haven’t been at war for centuries so, what could be the consequences of a conflict in a world where boundaries and countries don’t mean anything anymore?

This series is very philosophical and it has a very unique writing style, it might sound boring but it’s freakin’ amazing. I would highly recommend to everyone interested in philosophy, sience and the future of humanity.

Reviews

 

Best non speculative fiction book

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I read this one not once but twice this year. I loved it so much that I had to start again from the beginning after reading the last words. I never ended up reviewing it because I really don’t know how to express my feelings about this book.

It’s set in the aftermath of Brexit and follow the lives of several people, we get snippets from their past and we learn how they are connected. It’s a story about unconventionnal friendship and how they shape our life. It’s also about art and how everyone perceive it differently. I know I’m doing a poor job at talking about this one but, it’s truly an experience. The prose is delightful and it’s very clever yet never pretentious.

 

Best surprise of the year

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I read this one as a part of my Clarke Shortlist Reading Challenge and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It sadly didn’t end up winning the Clarke but it’s a book I would push into everyone’s hands (I actually bought copies of it as Christmas presents to make everyone around me read it).

It’s a hard one to read as it discusses the consequences of wars and how they shape people to hate other people. It’s especially hard since the main character is very young and we slowly see how she is taught to fuel this hate rather than finding ways to stop it.

Review

 

Best debut

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Since I suck at blogging, I still haven’t finished my review of this little gem, but, trust me when I say that you have to give this one a shot. It’s without a doubt the best debut I read last year and it’s sadly very underrated. It’s a hard science fiction heist story following modified humans and it’s fantastic. It manages to be complex and clever but also fun, exciting and suspenseful!

 

Best Book of the Year

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If I had to only choose one, it would be this one.

This book is a whole package: it has everything you want and more. The writing is splendid, the plot never goes where you think it’s going and the characters are flawed yet very relatable. It managed to pull me in in just a few pages and, after the first chapter, I had the feeling it would end up being one of the best books I would read this year. I wasn’t wrong.

Review

 

Well it’s always fun to fangirl about books! It’s now your turn to tell me your 2018 faves, I’m always open to recommendations (you can never have to many books, am I right? :D)