**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 350 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: May 10, 2016

Series:  The Summoner, #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository


A year has passed since the Tournament. Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt's dungeons, but now they must face trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher's downfall.
The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher's origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.
With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction . . . or die trying, in this sequel to The Novice by Taran Matharu.


All our favorite villains are back and they've banded together! However, our beloved heroes are together again too, this time having to work together to accomplish a mission that could mean the end of their world--overrun by orcs and goblins!

Since the cliffhanger at the end of The Novice where Fletcher won the tournament, earning his place at on the king's counsel, Fletcher was also immediately hauled away to await trial for supposedly killing Didric (who's still alive?). Some things get a bit murky or too far-fetched to believe here for the adult reader, but the intended audience probably won't notice. Despite this somewhat muddled beginning with trials and accusations, the real meat of the story comes more than halfway through as Fletcher is back with his team and other summoners along with newcomers and old enemies to journey as four teams to infiltrate the orc stronghold and destroy their horde of goblin eggs.

There are still a lot of underlying tensions other than our heroes/villains. The politics of the day have King Harold mostly powerless against his scheming father and the Triumvirate. There's also the rising potential of a civil war between the men, elves, and dwarves as there have been lots of violence perpetrated by supposed dwarf allies or, as accused, the dwarves themselves. With the infiltration of the orc stronghold, Fletcher's team of elf/dwarf allies carries the added weight of the political tension, especially as each team is led by a strong demon who is broadcasting their efforts to their society (i.e. The Hunger Games). Fletcher and his crew have the potential to make or break alliances for their society as a whole, and this tension plays out between their teams and their relationships within the team itself.

I was totally not prepared for the ending though I had sneaking suspicion there was going to be a pretty nasty twist in the story. (Pssst, I was right!)

Quick! I am anxious to read book 3 after another such shocking cliffhanger! (I realize these keep kids reading and are typical for younger grade books, but I find it torturous. *agonized emoji*) Alas, my library currently has a holds' list, so it'll be some time before I can find out and share a review with you all. Happy reading!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [267]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
——————
 
Enregistrer This was another week where I went just a bit (more than a bit) overboard at NetGalley and Edelweiss. The books always look so fascinating! I can never resist the temptation. There are plenty of worse addictions, aren't there?

The complete pile is over at Reading Reality, but here are just a few teasers to whet your appetite for more books:



A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev
Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold (I've already reviewed this one!)
The Shift in the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy
Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford
Virtue by Victoria Vane

Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Novice by Taran Matharu

The Novice by Taran Matharu

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 350 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: May 5, 2015

Series:  The Summoner, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository


In this New York Times-bestselling novel full of action and adventure, a blacksmith's apprentice can summon demons. But can he win a war?
Fletcher is working as a blacksmith's apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.
Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire's war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands. . . .
The Novice by Taran Matharu is book one in the Summoner trilogy, a stunning epic fantasy that started on Wattpad, and garnered over six million views on the site. The paperback edition contains an interview with the author, a special sneak peek of the sequel, The Inquisition, and more.


I've barely been able to keep this book in at my library, and recently got the chance to see why. It is perfect for a middle grade read, especially reluctant reader boys who like fantasy (finished all the John Flanagan series perhaps?), and is also great for those who like Pokemon or other gaming addicts. Young fans of Harry Potter or other 'magic school' books might also like trying this book as you can see Rowling's influence as well as influences of Tolkien in the orcs, elves, dwarves, etc. This series also follows a lot of the traditional fantasy tropes, what with having a mentor, going on a quest/journey, being a hero, fighting against a Dark Lord... However, despite having no few parallels, it still carries its own unique flavor with having summoners who possess certain levels of 'fulfilment' and can thusly control different types of demonic creatures. (Don't read demons as in demons and angels; read demons as magical creatures of the ether.) I found it, while not possessing extensive worldbuilding or levels to the fantasy (not a bad thing for younger readers), still quite enjoyable, engaging, and creative.

Fletcher is an interesting character, if somewhat of a Chosen One. What I liked best is how he befriends the dwarf and the elf, despite the society's tensions going on with dwarves and elves. Fletcher is an outsider and has been all his life, on account of being an orphan, and so he identifies with the other outsiders much easier, making him kind and empathetic to their feelings. He also stands up to bullying and other nastiness for himself and for others, making him a pretty good role model for younger readers. The addition of the dwarf and the elf also adds elements of diversity to the book, which is always great especially when treated as separate characters/identities rather than just as a race. Matharu does a good job of this, and we'll see this develop.

I also really liked the creatures and wish we could have learned more about them in general, as well as the types of magical learning. Still, we'll see more of this in book two, along with my most hated part of the book...

The cliffhanger at the end! No spoilers, but it just abruptly ends! Like this review. Book 2 review coming soon.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [266]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
——————
 
Enregistrer This was a week where my stack overflowed to the point where some of it will appear next week. But this week's Stacking the Shelves at Reading Reality is still rather tall. Actually very tall, or it would be if it was print instead of ebook.

Here are just a few teasers. To see the rest, head on over to Reading Reality!



Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt


Provenance by Ann Leckie


The Ruin of Angels (Craft Sequence #6) by Max Gladstone


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, August 03, 2017

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: March 28, 2006

Series:  Temeraire, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.


I've been recommended to read this book by a few sources as it's been on quite a few "Best of..." fantasy lists for series. I also read Uprooted by the author a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It obviously is somewhat of an older title, but I'm happy to have discovered it. I knew if this book was being compared as Jane Austen plus dragons, I had to read immediately! I am glad I did. I can't wait to read the second (and I'm just waiting for my hold to come in before starting it too).

While some readers might be expecting similarities to other novels about dragons, the closest I can see that bears resemblance is in Harry Potter as each region has a few different types of dragons that are native to the area. This is where the comparisons cease, however. Temeraire himself is a very unique dragon. Dragons are bonded to their handler at hatching, and if not harnessed by this handler, they have a risk to become feral. When Temeraire hatches, instead of allowing his handler to be chosen for him, he sort of chooses himself, walking right up to our hero Will Laurence and talking to him, thereby making it Laurence's immediate task to be his handler and harness him. Temeraire also has excellent speech and reasoning capabilities, popping out of the egg like some small professor-ish dragon, a Doogie Howser dragon. This is exceedingly rare, as most dragons known at that time either require lengthy effort to have such reasoning skills (learned with age) or simply are not capable of the quick thinking that Temeraire displays. Laurence and Temeraire's relationship is comparatively more like two gentleman smoking cigars around a fire discussing politics and mathematics and other logic games than a mentor/mentee or parent/child relationship even while the dragon is relatively young.

Another bit that bears some getting used to is the language in the book. It really does read more stiffly and with genteel decorum much like Austen's novels rather than include more contemporary language. Since it has this boundary, there are some slight crossovers in the world that have to be addressed from Austen's regency period to cover some modern ideas. For instance, Laurence has to explain about whores to Temeraire and dress down some young boys for their actions. There are also women avaitors flying dragons who wear men's clothing and for all manner of purpose are addressed as men rather than 'lady' or 'miss' so-and-so like they would have been in proper society. All in all, it's very entertaining, and I'm quite keen to read the next, Throne of Jade.