Book Review: The City of Brass

Book Review: The City of Brass

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

The City of Brass refers to the ancient city of Daevabad, a magical city that is split between six djinn tribes. Nahri, a young con woman, accidentally learns of this world after summoning a daeva warrior. And suddenly her skill to magically heal and deduce other’s medical issues makes almost sense. But now she’s on the run with a daeva warrior with a past that’s as cloudy as hers. The point of view switches between Nahri and a young djinn prince named Ali, who resides in Daevabad, and is training to serve his brother and future king.

I think I’ve found a series where I’m genuinely in the middle of how I feel about it. The City of Brass is very action-packed, literally filled to the brim with storytelling and history which was quite interesting to read. I have not yet found myself to love the central trio (Nahri, Dara and Ali) however they all seem to lose their initial spark when we first encounter them in the novel. I think maybe the sequel is where I’ll consolidate how I feel for them. I often say romance can make or break a story and with how jam-packed this novel was, the romance was sort of disappointing. I believe there wasn’t enough of a build-up to understand what they felt was there or just a spur of the moment.

The world building was the best part of the novel. Even though there’s so much of it and the plot doesn’t really shine as much as the world it’s set in does. It’s just so intricate and intensely detailed that it’s a shame it overpowers the actual plot. The cultural detail from the people to their clothes and customs. I imagined it all so well the sprawling city of Daevabad.

This book is very full on and more foundational than what felt like an actual moving plot. Most of this book is us being introduced to the vast world and its people, and I can see most readers being put off by this. I genuinely believe the final quarter of the book was the best. But judging from Goodreads, it looks like everyone was thrown off its exhaustive beginning and ends up DNF’ing the book before they experience the final excitement.

Overall, The City of Brass will be a huge hit or miss for loads of people. I don’t expect anyone to hold on the way I did. I read this during a large reading block (note to self: don’t read a 500-page book during a reading block) it took a while to churn through, but it was, in the end, gratifying with a conclusion that definitely hooks you onto the next book. I have a habit of enjoying the sequels more than the original text, so I do still have high hopes for the rest of series despite being let down a little here. But I definitely recommend this story of a young healer, a djinn with a dark past, and a prince who wants to do his city justice.


GOODREADS | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | AUTHOR SITE
Trigger/Content Warnings: graphic violence, human trafficking, slavery, war, bigotry, torture and rape.

 

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Book Review: Song of Blood and Stone

Book Review: Song of Blood and Stone

 Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

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

Song of Blood & Stone is a historical fantasy that follows Jasminda, a mixed-race girl, who finds herself in the middle of a war after saving a stranger with her magic, known as Earthsong. The land it’s set in is separated into two areas: one belonging to the Lagamiri (those with magic) and Elsira (those without). Jasminda is an outcast, despite belonging to both worlds, but her dark skin in Elsira leaves her to lead a life in isolation. 

This was a fascinating read I have to say. I wasn’t expecting much, but I left more satisfied than I had expected. The story parallels to many moments in history, but more closely to our times today, and how refugees are treated and negative media bias. We see how Jasminda is affected and how Jack, the white male lead, learns to use his privilege to do better than his peers and ancestors. It also discusses abuse, erasure and systematic oppression.  

I have to say it did take some time getting into the story and understanding the general plot. The romance was overwhelming and felt a bit forced, more like we were told to like them as a couple rather than growing to love them together, which may be because of the rushed ending. There wasn’t as much world building incorporated as you would expect from a fantasy book, I hope this to be built upon in the next books since I felt a bit puzzled in the first half of the book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I’ve been in search of a new fantasy series, and I think maybe what I’m looking for. 

 

Trigger/Content Warnings: attempted rape, violence, death, sexual content and war themes. If you’ve read this and feel like I missed something out, tell me!

 

 

Book Review: Come to the Rocks

Book Review: Come to the Rocks

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

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

Linnea’s favourite spot is an area on a rocky shoreline where one misstep can catapult her straight into the sea. Despite its danger, this is where she meets and falls in love with, a mermaid called Mren. But Linnea’s ex-boyfriend threatens the only thing Linnea loves, and she must do something before it goes too far.

Haws has something special here. This short story is incredible and manages to pack an exciting yet terrifying story into a mere 66 pages.

The story moves between Linnea’s time at sea and her life outside of her spot where she is constantly harassed by Mikey. Outside of the fantasy elements, the novella highlights the importance of taking abuse victims seriously. There are multiple moments where Linnea’s reports of her boyfriend aren’t taken seriously and there is a lack of care when it came to punishing harassers.

I only have one complaint. This deserves to be a full-length novel. It has so much potential for a full-length novel, which would’ve allowed for longer and more detailed development between Linnea and Mren. (and space for Mren’s history – her past history is a story in itself)

Overall, it’s an interesting read about mermaids and revenge. Short, yet enjoyable. 


GOODREADS | AMAZON | PUBLISHER

Trigger warning: Domestic abuse, physical abuse, toxic relationships, harassment and stalking. (If you’ve read the book and felt like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!!)

Mini-review: The Unit & One of Us is Lying

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

* I received a copy of The Unit from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Set in future where the elderly become dispensable (women at 50, men at 60) and are placed into the Reserve Bank Unit where they’re expected to live the rest of their lives. They’re fed well, clothed and have access to many social activities. In return for the comfortable lifestyle, they must partake in medical trials and donate their organs when needed until the final one. The longer you contribute, the longer you live.

The Unit is quite sad since it asks the question of what makes a person indispensable? Why does someone’s life mean less because it doesn’t conform to what’s required? And the government in this book tries to cover it up by treating the people who enter the Unit well. There are a few sweet moments as Dorrit makes new friends and finds a love she never had outside and despite the circumstances, they have a place where they finally fit.

The Unit is an interesting idea but there were so many plot holes and moments of ambiguity that brought down the story a lot.


Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

If One of Us is Lying was a tv show, everyone would’ve finished the entire series in a day. (Most likely would receive similar hype as Riverdale and 13RW) Five students enter detentions, but only four come out alive and become prime suspects for the death of the fifth person. Simon, the one who died, ran a blog that exposed everyone’s dirty secrets and had a secret for each suspect. McManus did a damn good job in this. Using very stereotypical aspects of a high school, she gave the characters more depth and substance than I had expected. McManus is very good at writing suspense and making the reader question everything. It’s sort of a mash up between The Breakfast Club, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.

But that’s all the good things I have to say about the series. The first half was thrilling and fun but towards the end it became so disappointing. Using someone’s sexuality and having them be outed against their will shouldn’t have been treated as a plot twist. Their sexuality shouldn’t be something shocking. Also, villainising mental illness was an instant no-no for me. (Trina @ Between Chapters has a more thorough review. There was another I had read but I’ll link once I find it again)

Content warning: a character being outed against their will, harmful rep of mental illness.

Book Review: The Fi Experiment

Book Review: The Fi Experiment

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

A copy of the book was given to me in return for an honest review.

The Fi Experiment follows Alice, who visits her cousin, Dicky, who has previously left his job and moved into an old family home, now long abandoned. Alice hasn’t seen him in years, but when she meets him again, he’s desperate for her help to record something that will change the world. At first, Alice thinks he’s lying, but upon closer inspection, she begins to discover the secrets behind the mysterious beings that visit her cousin. Told through a written narrative, along with linked videos, The Fi Experiment is an interesting read.

The premise and the execution of this book were different and very exciting to read. I found myself kept on my toes, especially since the narrator has a lack of knowledge which continues through the novel. I thought it would be irritating, knowing there’s part of the book we’re missing out since she never experiences it herself but the way Dicky reveals it himself was intriguing. The story narrative also includes QR codes which link to videos of Dicky’s video diaries about his interaction with the aliens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this format before, so it’s what appealed to me the most about it and it lent itself well to the plot.

[Spoilers (I think)] I think my favourite overall part of it is a fact we don’t know if Dicky is ever telling the truth. The book ends with Alice believing him, but we never really see what Dicky saw, and I liked that. It’s up to the reader to decide for themselves what was the truth.

The book doesn’t explore the political landscape of discovering aliens, nor does it show much of the scientific or technological aspects in so much detail. Much of the events happen in retrospect, but their weekend meetings/filming sessions are catch up session on events after they unfold. This lead to a much of the story being more telling rather than showing, and we witness Alice’s response in real time. Although I wanted more detail on how things happened, the book does progress at a rather fast pace that kept me surprised until the very end with an ending that I didn’t expect.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leigh is only sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving nothing but the words, “I want you to remember.” And this leads her on a journey to Taiwan in search of a bird, to meet the grandparents she never knew and hopefully learn about the life her mother never spoke about.

I can tell you it’s been a while since I finished a book and immediately started sobbing after completing it. The Astonishing Color of After was a wonderful, visually and writing-wise, novel about grief and family. There’s just so much to it. It’s a mystery with Leigh uncovering secrets her mother buried years ago through memories. But it’s also a love story as Leigh struggles with her relationship with her best friend, Axel. Her mother’s passing changes everything. And both sides of the story are equally beautiful and enthralling. But the family is the heart and strength of this story, and it indeed is so astonishing.

There’s also a magical element to this novel. Leigh experiences the past in the form of burning incense and items such as photographs, and she’s able to experience her family history from the perspectives of her family members. This allowed her to understand what she never could before and to accept the daunting choices that were made. This aspect of this was so, so gorgeous and Pan’s style made this so stunning to experience.

Overall, there are so many words to describe this novel: stunning, extraordinary, beautiful, gorgeous. The lyrical prose, Leigh’s strength and struggles as she tries to connect with a past she wishes she knew and while accepting a new future. She finds what she needed, and the ending was so satisfying. A beautifully-told story, and one that I’ll definitely remember.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

tw: suicide – mentions of it through the book and also the moments just after it. Depression.(if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)