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.

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Skylarks

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

Skylarks is about the life of Joni after a wealthy company buys out her family estate, slowly forcing its working-class tenants to leave so that they can make more money. Joni slowly joins the grassroots campaign to reclaim their home. While working at her part-time job at the library, she meets Annabel, a girl who comes from an upper-class conservative background. They clash a lot in the beginning until they slowly find a middle ground with each other, while Joni struggles to keep her family together. It is quite a heartwarming story that touches on poverty, class divide, grassroots projects and inequality.

However, I didn’t really enjoy this as much as I thought I would. It was quite irritating to read, there were odd moments that felt jumpy, with moments that dragged onto long, and I just felt impatient reading this. The plot’s good, just not engaging enough. Joni and Annabel were cute though, I like that they bounced off each other and learnt a lot from each other.

There is also a scene were Joni is very ableist. She’s rightly upset that her father is not receiving the benefits he needs, but she points the finger to her next door neighbour and says that they get more even though she looked well. This was quite horrible to read and it isn’t challenged in the novel. Joni also accidentally outs Annabel to her father due to a misunderstanding and while Joni acknowledges her mistake, it’s quickly brushed off because her father is already aware and then, again, quickly forgotten about.

Overall, a novel about the conflict of wealth and social class while two girls fall in love. It was quite pleasing to read, but I did find it dull in some moments.


GOODREADS | WATERSTONES | AUTHOR

Trigger/Content Warnings: Classism, ableism. If you’ve read this and feel like I missed something out, tell me!

 

Monthly Rewind: April 2018

B O O K S

monthlyrewind_april18

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (2/5) – I’ve decided not to write a write for this one since I’m trying to limit the number of negative reviews I write but I really did not enjoy this one. Which is a shame since I do usually like the books Book Twitter recommends. There’s nothing that really gripped me but it was well written and mildly entertaining at some points. But what really didn’t stick with me was the possible love interest going from almost killing Jude and allowing others to bully her into falling in love with her.

Come to the Rocks by Christin Haws (5/5) –

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook (2/5) – A novelisation of the 2018 movie that made never want to see the film.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (4/5) –  I finally managed to get around to reading Animal Farm. I’ve always known the plot and had seen the animated movie but never really got around to reading the actual book?

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: April 2018”

Book Review: Starfish

Book Review: Starfish

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

I received a copy of this via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review!

Starfish follows Kiko, a growing artist, who dreams being accepted into her dream art school and finally be free of her abusive mother.

Starfish was brutal and brilliant, all in one go. Kiko’s story was tough to read but so authentic to experience. I truly loved the sections where it shows what Kiko wanted to say versus what she actually says. It was a great way of showing Kiko’s struggle and the art description at the end of each chapter were beautiful. I loved the writing and the way Akemi wrote this story, as we read about Kiko’s journey accept herself. I found myself connecting with Kiko on so many levels, Starfish was indeed an experience to read.

I will warn you, Bowman did say she wrote this for people who need to see their experiences brought to life, and, boy, she did do exactly that. It was a struggle to read this. Her mother’s behaviour is nauseating to read but felt so real.

Although the romance isn’t a massive subplot in this book, it wasn’t the most enjoyable part of it, partly because of Jamie’s ignorance. I get that he doesn’t understand (spoiler-ish, we learn from one of the reveals, that he sort of does) but there were too many moments where Kiko’s anxiety was being framed as absurd and not usual from his lines. And him submitting Kiko’s art and showing her images to others without her knowledge and permission was teeth-grindingly annoying. We get it, he loves her, but forcing her into certain things wasn’t okay for me.

Overall, Akemi has created a beautiful and emotional story about learning to love yourself when others told you it’s impossible. Read it if you can, it’s not one to be missed.

TW: sexual abuse, racism, emotional abuse, parental abuse/neglect, suicide attempt. (If you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something else, please tell me!)


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!)

Book Review: Saints and Misfits

Book Review: Saints and Misfits
 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

 

I can’t imagine what it means to love everyone, but I’m going to start right here, by loving a bit more of myself. And maybe then the rest will follow.

Janna Yusuf is surrounded by saints and misfits. She’s just trying to make sense of her life, and her feelings for an unreachable boy. But a particular monster, masked as a saint, is making it difficult for her. She can’t ignore him but she isn’t ready to speak the truth and if she does, what will others think of her?

Saints and Misfits has one of the most appreciable Muslim representations I’ve seen in a young adult novel. Ali nicely and quickly captures the life of Muslim teen that felt real. We see Janna living an ordinary life: Janna attends mosque events, wears the hijab while also going through typical teen drama and daily school life. Islam isn’t this HUGE block that’s separated from her, it’s weaved and incorporated into the plot, in a way that felt natural.  It’s a coming of age story that felt normal. There was nothing wrong with Janna being Muslim, and that felt so good to read.

Continue reading “Book Review: Saints and Misfits”