Book Review: The Blazing Star

Book Review: The Blazing Star

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After finding themselves stranded in Ancient Egypt with no way out, Portia, alongside her sister and freshman Selene must navigate their way to safety. But the trio discover their appearance is anything but random.

It took me a while to finish this book, due to my massive book slump during the exam period. Luckily, I did finish it in the end and I’m glad my lack of desire to read didn’t affect my opinion on this book massively. To start, the book’s introduction was incredibly difficult to get through. To be honest, I found it rather dull. At first, their introduction didn’t really hook me in. The character of Selene was a big question mark until you learn what her part is in the novel. At the beginning, the only thing kept me going was the fact Portia and Alex were twins. However, it started to changed once they actually made it to Egypt. Trust me when I say staying put with this book was worth it.

Being a twin, I’m always a bit biased towards twin books and Blazing Star follows the similar pattern most YA novels do. One twin struggles with her own identity while under the shadow of their overachieving sibling. But the location makes it different and interesting, we mainly watch Portia learn to accept herself but it lacks in the twin dynamic since they’re mainly apart for most of the novel. Since it’s very character driven, Portia grabs your attention as she evolves from an insecure person to a stronger and more self-assured character.

The book’s strength lies in its location, its description of the city, its people and culture. I particularly liked how everything is introduced into every interaction, you definitely feel Portia’s exasperation as we learn everything about Egypt as Portia does. I feel like there should’ve been more of a contrast between the language. They speak a lot in slang and feel like no one questions it as much as they should. It could’ve added greater tension between the two different groups. Sometimes the girls from the present speak in ways that didn’t seem fitting or wouldn’t have been understandable to someone from Ancient Egypt however, I brushed that off quite quickly since, maybe, writing wise, it’s easier.

The main problem with this book was its pacing. It was just so slow! It takes a while for the premise to finally kick in and towards the end, it truly delivers. It’s a shame that I can tell many people will be put off by this and will fail to see a truly decent book by the end. The ending ends on such a good cliffhanger, I definitely need the sequel since I know it will be better now that we’re past the introduction. I still enjoyed it despite its flaws, but I will anticipate anything Imani Josey will do with this series and any future novels she will write.

Overall, structurally and pace-wise, THE BLAZING STAR could’ve been better but definitely look into this if you love fantasy and time-travel. It was, towards the end, a truly fun and diverse read.


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Images and graphic are attributed to MediaLoot.com. Cover source: Goodreads.com
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Book Review: Dreadnought

Book Review: Dreadnought

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

In a world where superheroes and villains are a regular occurrence, Danny finds herself being the passed the power of Dreadnought when he falls out of the sky and dies right in front of her. The side effects of this transform Danny’s body into what she thought it should be. To Danny, she now looks like the girl she knows she is even if everyone around her says otherwise. Dreadnought is her origin story which follows her first few weeks of superhero living. While trying to juggle her new life, she’s also trying to find the old Dreadnought’s murderer, who is still threatening the streets of New Port City.

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Book Review: The Inquisition

Book Review: The Inquisition

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After spending a year in prison, 16-year-old Fletcher finally receives a trial but the outcome doesn’t appear good either way. Either he’s convicted for allegedly ordering his demon to kill Didric or they have him on treason for attacking a soldier. After a quick trial and learning a shocking secret about his past, Fletcher soon joins his old friends and enemies on a covert mission into orc territory.

I really enjoyed this one. It did take me a while to remember who was who and what had happened at the end of The Novice so it did take me a while to get into the story but once I did, it was great.

Looking back, I did prefer The Novice, plot-wise, but The Inquisition has faster action and higher stakes with a close look at the enemy Orcs. I’m quite glad the courtroom drama doesn’t drag too long in the first few chapters. It’s quite neat meaning that we learn what we have to know and then it moves on to what’s really important. I’m quite divided about this book in the sense that I enjoyed the great detail of everything as they venture on in their journey but at the same time but I also preferred the more character-driven parts where we see Fletcher interacting with his friends. This conflict for me made it feel like it as partially suffering from Second Book Syndrome just the tiniest bit. But I think I’m a bit too invested in this world and characters to care. There’s also a hint of romance that I guessed would have happened but at the same time, I was still surprised because this book never really focuses on the romance.

This fantasy world is one of my favourites –  it’s so vast and filled with so many different creatures and people. The plot itself only focuses on certain parts of it but there’s potential for the story to reach even further as this world finds itself almost on the verge of war.

The only real criticism I can really say is the sudden influx of new characters. There’s a point where there’s new people and demons alike come in, with new demons comes new demonic descriptions, so that can overwhelm some readers. But I would love to see Matharu release a handbook of some sort featuring all the demons in the series.

Overall The Inquisition is a solid sequel that builds and developed well, leaving you wanting more in the end. If you enjoyed the first book, you should definitely continue reading this series. (Also, R.I.P. me, I seriously died at that cliffhanger)


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Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Rating: ★★★★☆

Every Heart A Doorway has one of the best concepts ever. We all dream we can be whisked away through a wardrobe door, fall down a hole and be transported to entirely new worlds. But Every Heart is about the kids that come back, whether they want to or not. Here come Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children where desperate parents send their children who they want back to ‘normal’. But Eleanor is someone who has also returned and commits her life to providing a safe place for them. Tragedy strikes the day Nancy enters the home, and with her new-found friends, they try to stop it before it gets them.

For a story so short, it tackles and includes so many topics: gender issues, what we perceive as wrong or right, mental health. There are so many lyrical and poetic lines in here, it was amazing.

“Because ‘boys will be boys’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Lundy. “They’re too loud, on the whole, to be easily misplaced or overlooked; when they disappear from the home, parents send search parties to dredge them out of swamps and drag them away from frog ponds. It’s not innate. It’s learned. But it protects them from the doors, keeps them safe at home. Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

McGuire knows how to write creepy.  I went into this thinking it was like Miss Peregrine’s Home, but Every Heart is much eerier and strange. But you can’t mention this book without mentioning the diversity. It makes me so happy to see authors really understanding how important it is for our fiction to be diverse. While I was excited to see such a diversity of characters, and all of them have such well-built tales and backstories, I struggled to feel for them. I think it maybe due to its length, but this concept was way too big to fit into such a small novel. I would’ve loved to have seen more worldbuilding. The High-Logic and High Nonsense confused me at first, but it interested me. There are so many concepts that are introduced but not much of it is actually explained. But I believe the third novel will continue the events in this one, so I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

Overall, I definitely recommend Every Heart A Doorway since it’s a strange yet entertaining read. 


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Book Review: Soundless

Book Review: Soundless

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Soundless takes place in a remote, closed off mountain village in ancient China, where all it’s members are deaf and receive food via a delivery in exchange for sending the metal that they’ve mined. Fei is a talented artist, who fears for her sister’s life as she slowly loses her sight. Until one day, Fei regains her hearing and joins her childhood friend on a mission down the mountain to find help.

I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed when I finished this book. I’ve only read two of Mead’s books, Vampire Academy and Frostbite, and I actually really liked them. A lot. If I can recall, it was brilliant albeit cheesy. But it had the action, drama and intensity and I was expecting all this to come in her new novel that is supposedly “steeped in Chinese folklore.” But nothing really jumps out as remotely Chinese about this story. Aside from the pixiu, you could change the names to Rose, Lissa and Dimitri and this could be set anywhere else.

I get this seems harsh, but I don’t have anything good to say about this book and that’s difficult for me, as someone tries to find redeeming qualities in even the worst books I’ve read.

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Book Review: Queen of Shadows

Book Review: Queen of Shadows

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Note: this review has big spoilers for QoS and the previous novels*

In Queen of Shadows, Celaena Sardothien embraces her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen but, in order to reclaim her throne, she must fight and confront her past.

I think I’ll start with what I did like with Queen of Shadows. First, Lysandra. She’s one of my favourite parts in this book. But Lysandra and Aelin was a great female friendship that saved the book for me. Maas could’ve easily made them be so petty towards each other but they both realise they’re much stronger together than they are against. I was overjoyed once they started working together against Arobynn Hammell. (I know it has been a couple of books now, but I’m still bitter over Nehemia and everything that could’ve been.)

Secondly, the improvement in Maas’s writing. She had developed really well throughout the series. There’s a lot I hate about this series but she can write really well. She’s grown as a writer but it’s a shame that I didn’t like this series as much as I could.

However, during the first half of this book, aside from Aelin’s scenes, it felt like a repeat of Crown of Midnight. I was bored and detached from the story. Here I was thinking maybe it was time to ditch the series all for good. But I’m so thankfully that it does pick up towards the end and the series has finally reached the point I’ve been waiting for: Aelin’s return to Terrasen. Empire of Storms better not disappoint, I’ve been waiting for her return for ages!

In my last review of the series, I said I was #TeamDorian but I’ve realised that I’m now #TeamDorianandChaolBOTHDESERVED BETTER. The romance in this series has seriously gone downhill, for me. While I found Celaena/Chaol cute, I wasn’t heavily invested in them so when Aelin/Rowan happened, I wouldn’t have cared as much if Maas hadn’t changed Chaol so much so that Aelin/Rowan could happen. Rowan is interesting but I hated that Chaol had to suffer in terms of his development to benefit Rowan and Aelin. I take back when I said Chaol needs to trust Celaena once I realised how much Maas structured it so Chaol looked bad. (using Nehemia, blaming everything on him, working for the King yet never killing him) In blaming Chaol for a lot of things that were out of this control, Celaena came across as a hypocrite. It’s also painfully obvious that Nesryn Faliq was introduced to soften the blow for Chaol fans and so Chaol doesn’t end up alone.

Overall, I would say Queen of Shadows was okay. I could’ve rated this more, but so much of it felt unnecessary and the only part I did enjoy was the ending. While I think nothing in this series will be as great as Crown of Midnight, I’m much more compelled to see this series to its end.


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