Wednesday, 25 February 2015

REVIEW: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Bookish Details:
Series: Rithmatist #1
Pages: 372 Paperback
Publisher: Tor UK
Release Date: 26th February 2015 (first published in 2013)
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK - Waterstones

The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson's New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

My Review:
You have no idea how much I’ve wanted a book like this to appear in my life. I’ve been searching for something new, something exciting, something awesome, and this book gave me all that and more.

The Rithmatist follows Joel during one of his school years at Armedius, a school that teaches both average and Rithmatist students. The Rithmatists are a group of people who are trained from the age of eight to be sent to battle on the frontline of Nebrask. They have the ability to bring chalk drawings to life, and use them to fight and defend.

Quite the unique concept for a story, isn’t it?

Let me start by saying that the characters are brilliant. I adored Joel from the first chapter. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book from the POV of a male character, and it’s something I always want to read more of in YA, so I was excited to read all about Joel and his life. What I loved about him was that he wasn’t a Rithmatist. Usually, if there is an ‘elite’ group of people in a story, the protagonist is usually one of them. Whereas Joel’s story was more about being on the outside, looking in. He was a delightful character to read about.

The people he meets in the story are all as equally wonderful. I loved the relationship he had with Professor Fitch, and it was always enjoyable to read scenes between the two of them. I also thought that his friendship with Melody worked beautifully. The bond that forms between the two of them over the course of the story was perfectly developed. I was definitely attached to the characters by the time I closed the book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow throughout the series.

The plot was genius. I had no idea chalk could make for such an epic story. Rithmatics and chalklings were so unique and fascinating, and I loved learning about this new and exciting world. There are even illustrations on some of the pages to help show you more about the chalklings and Rithmatic lines. The history and details were well thought out, and explained brilliantly. I sometimes find that fantasy novels have a lot of backstory and world-building that is too intricate to follow, but this had the perfect balance.

One of the things I loved the most about this book was that it didn’t need romance. I can’t remember the last time I read a good YA story that didn’t focus heavily on a love interest. A lot of the time, the romance can take away from the actual storylines in fantasy and sci-fi. It was extremely refreshing to read an entire story without the presence of a love triangle.

There were also plenty of twists in the lead up to the final chapter. Definitely some revealing moments that I didn’t see coming! I love it when a story can keep you guessing right until the very end, and then still leave you wanting more. 

I hate comparing books to others, but I think this is a perfect story for anyone that loves Harry Potter. It has that same magical feeling to it whilst reading. I missed the characters and the school from the moment I put the book down, and I can barely wait for the next installment. 

Royal Rating:

Saturday, 14 February 2015

VIDEO: Favourite Book Relationships

Hello, book lovers!

Happy Valentine's Day! Since it's a day for appreciating love, I wanted to share five of my favourite YA relationships. I thought I'd create this as a YouTube video rather than a post, so I hope you enjoy watching it!

I now have a BookTube channel right here, and I'm a total newbie on the scene so it would be great if you could go and check it out!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

REVIEW: The Appeal of Evil by Pembroke Sinclair

Bookish Details:
Series: The Road to Salvation #1
Pages: 210 Paperback
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Release Date: January 13th 2014
Source: Received in exchange for honest review
Buy it From: Amazon - Amazon UK

Katie wants to invest her heart and soul in love, but she may lose both to Hell.

Katie, a senior in high school, is torn between loving the "good" guy, her childhood friend Wes who makes promises he doesn't keep and abandons her when she needs him the most, and the "bad" guy, the new kid at school Josh who is also a real demon from Hell. Katie wants someone who pays attention to her and puts her first, but what is she willing to give up to find him?

My Review:
This story follows Katie, a high school student with a seemingly normal life until fellow student Josh suddenly comes to her defense in an argument with her best friend, Wes. Katie then discovers that Josh and Wes aren’t all what they seem, and her world is turned upside down.

The first few chapters throw you straight into the story, but also straight into a love triangle. I felt like I knew nothing about Katie as a character, but I knew all about her past with Wes, and her sudden feelings towards Josh. Although this is a story about Demons and Hell, I felt like it was more to do with Katie’s romantic relationships than anything else.

I really enjoyed Katie’s friendship with Deb, but it happened too late on in the story. We hear mentions of Deb throughout a bunch of chapters before we actually meet her, and I feel like the story would have benefited from her presence from the very start. I liked a certain twist that her character revealed towards the end, but it felt random and too conveniently placed. Maybe if there had been more clues hinting towards it, then it would’ve felt believable.

The characters I liked the most were Randy and Wes. I wanted to know more about them and their lives. I felt like I didn’t get to see enough of Wes, and I think he and his father have huge potential to be really interesting characters. I also want to know more about Josh, because right now, I can’t see his appeal. Katie’s feelings towards him are quite confusing and it seems like she keeps changing her mind over him. He’s untrustworthy and dangerous, yet she feels safe with him. I want to know what it is about him that she trusts, because I don’t think he’s done that much to prove he’s worth choosing.

There were some funny moments in the story that I enjoyed, and definitely some realistic scenes. For example, I like that when Katie told her mother the truth about Randy and Wes, her mother thought she was suffering with rabies. A lot of the time in fantasy, I find that shocking revelations are calmly accepted by characters, when in reality, they’d completely freak out. So I liked that this story showed a few more obvious and realistic reactions. Katie’s relationship with her mother is an aspect of the story I especially liked. I wish we’d gotten to see a bit more of their home life, and learnt about the family’s past.

The disappointing side for me was the love triangle. I prefer romance being a subplot to the fantasy and action in YA stories, but with this book, it felt a little like the fantasy was a subplot to the romance. Everything in this story revolved around the two boys. Even Katie’s thoughts were dominated mostly by the guys, and which one’s side she should choose. It made it extremely difficult for me to like Katie. I wanted to know more about her, and I wanted her to be stronger and make choices that didn’t revolve around the boys.

I know this is the first book in a series, so in the second book, I’m hoping we get to see more of Hell, and get to know more about Josh. I also think that Katie needs more of a plot away from the two guys. Maybe meeting a new friend, or taking off on her own for once. I’m rooting for her to become a stronger character. I look forward to seeing what the second book has to offer, because I still think this is a story with good potential, but it simply hasn’t delivered it yet.

Royal Rating:

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

REVIEW: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Bookish Details:
Pages: 336 Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: February 5th 2015
Source: Received from publisher
Buy it From: Amazon - Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

My Review:
10AM on a Sunday morning. I decided to have a few minutes of reading time with my coffee. Just a few minutes. The next time I looked at the clock, it was 3:15 in the afternoon. How on earth did that happen?

There is nothing dull about this story. Set in the wonderfully created land of Lormere, it’s a tale of Kings and Queens, of killings and curses, and of love and betrayal. It has everything to offer, and delivers it all.

Our protagonist is Twylla; a girl blessed by the Gods, and can kill a person by mere touch. She is known and feared by everyone as the embodiment of Daunen, daughter of the Gods. Because of her ‘gift’, she is to marry the prince, because he can survive her deadly touch.

I liked Twylla pretty much straight away. I loved her narration of the story, and the descriptions of her emotions were written beautifully. I was rooting for her from start to finish. She wasn’t perfect, she made mistakes, and her judgement wasn’t always on point, but that only made her more endearing as a character. I was happy to see her develop and grow stronger as she learnt more about herself and the people around her.

The two guys in the story, Prince Merek and Lief, are both fantastic characters. I sympathised with Merek’s situation, and I desperately wanted things to work out for him. I get very easily fed up of love triangles in YA, and I usually have to fight the urge to roll my eyes whenever I inevitably read about it. But for some reason, I was totally okay with this one. It worked really well, and I liked the contrasting characters. The one small downer I had was that I thought there were a few too many kisses. I wish they’d been held back a little more, because they would have felt extra special if they were limited. But that’s probably just me.

The story telling in this book is enchanting. I’m a total history geek, so even if it’s fictional history, I want to know about it. And this book gave it. I love how in-depth the story goes into the history of Lormere. Sometimes, chunks of backstory can be quite confusing, but this was explained beautifully. And I absolutely adored the whole Sleeping Prince story. I really liked how the characters kept going back to that simple tale, and I was so excited to see if there was something more to it than just a wild fairy-tale.

I pride myself on being able to spot plot twists and figure out mysteries quite easily. I usually have those triumphant ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ moments when reading most books. But not with this one, oh no. It was more a case of ‘WAIT, WHAT???’

The final few chapters were completely unputdownable. There are some wonderful twists and turns to compel you into keeping the book open. It pulled me out of the reading slump I’d been in since Christmas, and I don’t even want to admit how much caffeine I needed after a night of binge-reading this book. One thing’s for certain, I cannot wait to read more.

If you’re looking for a new thrilling adventure, then make sure this is the book you pick up next.

Also: Shoutout to Melinda for having the most entertaining acknowledgments. 

Royal Rating:

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