Book reviews and assorted musings of a book lover

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So I was just wandering around on the Internet, when I stumbled upon a link to an artist’s gallery. I clicked and I instantly recognized some of his work. So I looked up his name, and I found an interview over at A Dribble of Ink, a blog run by Aidan Moher.

The artist’s name is Kekai Kotaki. He was born on Hawaii, and moved to Seattle to go to college. He worked at ArenaNet, then left and started doing freelance work.

His work is beautiful. He worked a lot on the Guild War franchise, but he’s done quite a few fantasy book covers. Here’s a few you might recognize:

The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

He’s also done the covers for Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur trilogy (starting with The Quantum Thief) and a few covers for Alexey Pehov’s books (such as Shadow Prowler and Shadow Blizzard).

I just thought his work was amazing, and I wanted to show you all. Which one is your favorite?

His website: Hope you enjoy!

Time for the obligatory “Most Anticipated” post. I originally thought this would be a smaller list, but as I looked a publishing dates, I realized it was going to be big. Very big. So I’m breaking it up into two parts: books that are going to be the first in a planned series, and sequels in ongoing series.

I am super excited, so let’s dive right in. I’ll start with the first books in new series, and these will be in no particular order. Onwards!

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Release Date: August 5

I love N.K Jemisin. I’ve read all her other books, and loved them. She’s kept this book pretty much secret, so I’ll give you all the official teaser blurb from her blog:

“The Fifth Season is set in a world which has suffered frequent, repeated Extinction Level Events for millions of years, and all life (and magic) in this world has adapted to it. Hundreds of years might pass between these events—easy, plentiful years in which great cities rise, and people have the leisure for art and science and rapid advancement—but then, again and again, the cities fall. The world is littered with the detritus of these times of plenty, and this cover hints at them: past ages of decadence, now decaying; stone that endures beneath flaking gilt.”

So you can see why I am dying to get this book. Magic and apocalyptic events, what more could you want?

The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Release Date: June 3

From the author of Prince of Thorns, comes an entirely new story. I really want to see how he develops a whole new character. I wonder if this book will be as graphic as his previous trilogy, but we shall see. This book sounds very interesting and I am definitely looking forward to it!

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Release Date:  January 14

I know this book is already out, and I’ve heard some amazing reviews. It was really hyped last year as one of the biggest publications, and so far I think it has lived up to the hype. I haven’t managed to get a copy yet, and I am absolutely dying to read it. This is one of my most anticipated of the year, and it’s only January!

The Path to Power by Karen Miller
Release Date:  July 8

So, I know very little about this books, but I’ve read her past books and liked them. I’m not so sure about the blood and dead bodies on the cover though. They’re a little disconcerting.

The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke.
Release Date:  March 18

“Saker looks like a simple priest, but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. It’s a dangerous job, and more lives than merely his own depend on his secrecy.When Saker is injured by a foreigner’s strange blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility that comes with it, Saker can only follow its lead. It will put Saker on a path that reveals terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and likely lead to his own destruction. The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.”

I really liked Larke’s other series, the Watergivers trilogy. I haven’t finished it yet, but I mean to before this book comes out. I like her style of writing and I will definitely pick this book up when it is released.

Twelve Kings of Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu
(This is not the cover art)
Release Date:  September 2

I love it when fantasy novels are set in unusual places, for example, the desert. All I know about this book is that it is about a female pit fighter who somehow rises to the top and challenges the twelve magical kings that have ruled the desert for centuries. Something like that. I am so excited for this book, I can’t wait.

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman
Release Date:  April 1

Again I know very little about this book, save that it is set in London. I absolutely loved The Half Made World as well as The Rise of Ransom City. The language and style of writing Gilman uses is amazing. I could not put either of his books down, and I hope this new story will be just as thrilling.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Release Date: July 8

I haven’t finished Abercrombie’s last trilogy, but I like that he has branched out into young adult. I think with his talents he’ll do incredibly well. I am excited to meet a whole new bunch of his characters.

The Waking Engine by David Edison
Release Date: February 11

I got a galley of this book on my Kindle from NetGalley, and I’ve started it already. So far, it’s very good. I can’t wait to finish it. Say tuned for a possible review!

The Leopard by K. V. Johansen
Release Date:  June 10

I had found this book right before I started this post and I just got very excited. I’ll give you all the blurb and let you see why I am so excited for this book:

“In the days of the first kings in the North, there were seven devils…

Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.

To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.”

So that’s all for the first books in new series. Let’s move onto the sequels. Some of these are my most anticipated for the year. I can’t wait for all of them to finally be released. The wait is killing me.

Anyway, onto the books!

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
Release Date: August 26

I absolutely loved the first two books in this trilogy, The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife. The magic system is one of the most original I have ever seen. I loved the main characters and I am dying to know how their story ends. The second book left on a pretty nasty cliffhanger, and I really want to know happens.

The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
Release Date: May 6

The first book, The Promise of Blood, was one of my favorite books of last year. I managed to find a signed copy too, which was amazing. I read it in two days, I physically could not put it down. The complexity of the government and the characters, all their stories and histories, it was all deftly woven together to create a superb novel. And the magic, oh my goodness, I cannot get over how amazing the different types of magic were, the powder mages, Privileged, Marked, Magebreakers and so on. I simply loved the whole story, and I can only imagine the sequel will be just as epic.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Release Date:  September 16

I know this isn’t a fantasy book, but the first in the trilogy, The Fifth Wave, was another of my favorites for 2013. I loved the heroine, Cassie, and the world she lived in and how realistic she was. I’ve been dying to read this book for a while, and I cannot wait until September.

The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
(This is not the cover art. But it is beautiful)
Release Date:  Fall 2014

This book is only tentatively set for release this year. The first three books were all amazing and I loved all of them. Locke and Jean are one of my favorite duos in fantasy right now. I love their chemistry and how much they understand each other. I am dying to go with them on a another adventure.

The Bastards and the Knives by Scott Lynch
Release Date: March 3

Another Scott Lynch book, this one is a prequel to the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora. I am looking forward to hearing from characters that have been gone for a long time. I can’t wait to see the whole group back together and doing crime again.

The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler
Release Date: July 1

I have a soft spot for military fantasy, and I completely fell in love with this book and all the characters in it. All the details were perfect and I was engrossed in the story from page one. The sequel is shaping up to be just as amazing and I can’t wait to read it.

Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick
Release Date: May 6

I confess…I haven’t actually read the first book yet, but it is at the top of my TBR pile. I just haven’t found the time to get to it. I’ve heard amazing things about it, and I do plan on reading it in the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll wait and marathon both of them. Stay tuned.

Sword of the North by Luke Scull
Release Date: June 1

I really like the first book in this planned trilogy. I loved all the different characters and how they all interacted with each other. I am looking forward to finding out more about their story, and where the trilogy is heading.

Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan
Release Date: July 1

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year. I loved the first book. I really like coming of age books, and the book managed to take that basic premise to a whole new level. I really enjoyed read the first book, Blood Song, and I am dying to see where all the characters go. I also really like the cover. The colors are interesting. I am so excited about this book!

The final book on the list, and easily my most anticipated of the year is…

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: March 6

Oh my goodness, I can not begin to describe how excited I am for this book. Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors, and The Way of Kings is one of my favorite books of all time. I devoured the first book in a few days. This is the second in a planned ten book series, and I’m glad I’m around to see each publication. The cover art is as beautiful as the first. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. I think that will be a highlight of my year.

So, those are 20 of my most anticipated books of 2014. This year looks like it is shaping up to be pretty spectacular. Tell me what books you are excited about in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Hope you all enjoy your winter!

So here is another “haul” post, including books I received for Christmas. November and December were good to me, so I’m breaking this post up into two parts: Young Adult and Adult Fantasy. The total book count is 19. Wow…I’m just going to jump right in. Hope you enjoy!

December 2013 059

So the first books I got were The World of the End  by Ofir Gaftla and The Cusanus Game  by Wolfgang Jeschke. I won them in a giveaway of international books, from the amazing people of I haven’t started either of them, but they do look interesting.

The next book, which I received from the wonderful people over at Gollancz, was Moon’s Artifice  by Tom Lloyd. I am currently reading this, and so far it’s very good. The world and the characters are both very real and Lloyd has a real gift with descriptions.

After that, my family and I went to New York City for our annual holiday trip. We usually go to museums but this year I convinced everyone to go to Strand Bookstore. I had gone earlier this year, but unfortunately was rushed so I didn’t have a good chance to walk around, and it was overwhelming. I needed to go back and really admire all the books. So we all went and of course I bought a book, because who goes to Strand and doesn’t buy a book? Not me. I picked up a copy of The Passage  by Justin Cronin. I actually started this book over the summer, but it’s very dark and somewhat dense, so I put it down and never got back to it. I did enjoy it however, and when I saw the hardcover for $10, I decided to go for it. Now it is forming the base for my ever-growing 2014 TBR pile.

I didn’t get any Adult Fantasy books for Christmas, but I did get quite a few gift-cards to Barnes and Noble. So I trekked over to their Paramus store, the one with the amazing used book section, and I went a little nuts. Just a little. I bought a bunch of books, starting with Malice  by John Gwynne. I have been dying to read this book since I heard about its release in Great Britain. I thought it was right up my alley. Then I heard it was coming over to America, so I put it on my Christmas list. I didn’t get it, and when I saw it at B&N, I just couldn’t pass it up. I got a little distracted with other books, but it is next on my list to read.

I also bought Thieftaker  by D.B. Jackson. I’ve a lot of good things about it, but I don’t really know much about the plot. It’s supposed to be a really amazing Historical Fantasy, so I’m looking forward to that.

The other books I got had been on my list for a long time. The Chronicles of Amber  by Roger Zelzany is supposedly a classic, and I started it years ago, but never finished. Now I have all the books.

Devices and Desires  by K.J. Parker looks very interesting, I’ve started it already and so far its good. This is my first book by this author, but I’ve heard good things, so I’ll keep reading.

City of Dreams and Nightmares  by Ian Whates looks really good. I love books about interesting cities and I absolutely love it when an author create a city that is a character in its own right, and not just a backdrop. I’m hoping that Whates succeeds in doing just that.

The final book from above is Spellwright  by Blake Charlton. This book looks like it incorporates my other favorite story line, the young pupil must master a certain skill to save the kingdom, world etc. For some reason, these type of books really catch my eye. I love seeing a character develop from a bumbling idiot into a hero. Spellwright  looks like it has that sort of story, but with a few added twists.

On to the Young Adult books!

December 2013 063

Alright, the first young adult book I got was Relic  by Heather Terrell. I had contacted her for an interview, but she left on tour before she received my questions. So I was taken completely by surprise when I received a hardcover copy of Relic in the mail. I immediately dropped the other book I was reading to start this one, and I finished it pretty quick. It was good, but at the end, I just couldn’t stop laughing. If you’ve read it then you probably know what I’m talking about.

This holiday season I was involved in two Secret Santa parties. And both times I got books. The first was The Selection  by Kiera Cass. The friend who gave it to me is obsessed with the series and she decided it was time I read it. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it does look interesting.

The second Secret Santa book was The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak. I tried to read this book when I was in middle school, but I couldn’t get past the idea that it was narrated by Death. Now its been turned into a movie, which I have not seen. It looks like the kind of book I want to read before I see the movie.

I didn’t get that many fiction books for Christmas. I did, however, get one that I REALLY wanted, which was Shadow and Bone  by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and I loved it so much. I am reading the sequel as I type this post, and it is begging for me to pick it up again. The third book, Ruin and Rising, isn’t due out until the summer and it is one of my most anticipated books of the year.

The only other books I got for Christmas were Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant  in a box set. I’ve read the first two, but someone (i.e. the Internet) spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me, so now I’m hesitant to start reading. I will though, because I love Tris and Four so much. The trilogy is so beautiful on my shelf and I have a new love for box sets. They are so nice looking.

Anyway, on the same post-Christmas Barnes and Noble trip, I bought Under the Never Sky  by Veronica Rossi. I started reading this book, and I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know, but the main character just bugged me. I’ll try to start over, but I make no promises.

The final book in this too-long book haul is Masks  by E.C. Blake. This book was also on my Christmas list, and since I didn’t get it, I bought it for myself. I read it on New Year’s Eve, because I was already staying up and I really got into it. I like the idea of the masks as a way of the government to control the people. It was a little extreme, but I enjoyed it.

So that’s my November and December book haul. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrated, and I wish everyone a happy 2014! May it be great!

Originally created by The Perpetual Page Turner, and picked up by several other bloggers, this A to Z list is a funny questionaire regarding books and your book related habits. I thought it would be a nice break from reviewing. Here it goes:

A: Author you’ve read the most books from

As a kid, I read the entire Redwall series by Brian Jacques. There are 22 books in this series. I loved the talking animals and the Abbey in the forest. As of today, the author I read the most of is Brandon Sanderson. I read everything this man writes.

B: Best Sequel Ever

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Just as amazing as the first book.

C: Currently Reading

The Passage by Justin Cronin, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnson, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m a multiple-books-at-a-time kind of person.

D: Drink of Choice while reading

Chocolate Milk. If I get too absorbed in a book (which is likely to happen) it gets warm and disgusting. But while it’s cold, it reminds me of my childhood, and besides, it’s chocolate.

E: E-reader or Physical Copies?

Tough choice. I love both. I love physical books. I love finding them in a store, I love holding them, and I like the smell of their pages. But they are expensive to buy and heavy to carry. So I like my e-reader when I travel so I can have 100 choices, instead of the four books I can squeeze into my carry-on.

F: Fictional Character I would date in High School

Wow. I would have to say Jace, from City of Bones, because he is so funny and sarcastic, and he has a good heart. I’d also have to say Locke Lamora, from The Lies of Locke Lamora. He is eccentric, eloquent, and entertaining. I would love to spend time with him.

G: Glad you gave this book a chance

World War Z by Max Brooks

H: Hidden Gem Book

Isn’t this similar to the last question? I’m going to interpret it as physically hard to come by. For this would have to be, Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon. I looked all over for this book after I finished the first one, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally, I came across both it and the third book and was thrilled. I still haven’t gotten around to the third one yet.

I: Important Moment in Your reading Life

Finding The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I had pretty much abandoned fantasy when I found this book. I thought that there just wasn’t anything left in the genre. I was so wrong. Yay!

J: Just Finished

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling, The Thousand Names by Django Wexler, The Fault in our Stars by John Green and The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

K: Kind of Books you won’t Read

Erotica. It just makes me uncomfortable. I also won’t read hardcore science fiction. Most times all the computer-technical-robot stuff just goes over my head.

L: Longest Book you’ve read

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (1001 pages)

M: Major Book Hangover because of…

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I couldn’t stop thinking there were people I couldn’t see fighting demons. Every time I saw a boy with odd colored eyes I thought he was a shadowhunter.

N: Number of Bookcases you own

5 bookcases. IKEA. Is. The. Best. Four are narrow, but one is huge. I also have two shelves above my desk, full of books and my desk is home to a few piles of books.

O: One book you’ve read multiple time

Divergent. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. I love it so much.

P: Preferred place to read

My armchair. It’s comfy faux-leather and it has a soft blanket, squishy pillow and window view.

Q: Quote from a book you read that inspires you

I don’t really remember quotes from books. At the time I think they’re awesome, and I want to keep them forever but I never write them down. I’m terrible that way. The only one I can think of is one my mom read to me when I was little. She told me that you could live a good life if you could remember this quote:

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
-A.A Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

And I just thought of another one that really got me,

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
-John Green, The Fault in our Stars

R: Reading Regret

My very tiny budget

S: Series you’ve started but need to finish

Maze Runner by James Dashner

T: Three All Time Favorite Books

This is incredibly hard for anyone who has read more than three books in their entire life. I think I can get it to around five, which is like pulling teeth for me. In no particular order: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This list is constantly changing, there are so many more that I love, but all of these have really stuck with me.

U: Unapologetic Fangirl for…

The Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. I tell everyone about them. I am also a huge fangirl for books in general. I talk about them all the time. As for authors: Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Veronica Roth, and Cassandra Clare. I love to have conversations about different authors and styles of writing.

V: Very Excited for this release (more than anything else)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

W: Worst Bookish Habit

Reading when I should be socializing

X: X marks the spot. Count twenty-seven books from the top left corner of your bookcase.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Y: Your latest book purchase

Three books from Amazon- Shade’s Children by Garth Nix, Enclave by Ann Aguire, and Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Z: Zzz snatcher (book that kept you up late)

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

So those are my answers to the A to Z Bookish Survey. Feel free to comment, or do it yourself, just link me!

Wool by Hugh Howey
Publisher: Century
Published: 2012
537 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: Bought at an independent bookstore

“In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.”

“What would you do if the world outside was deadly and the air you breathed could kill? And you lived in a place where every birth required a death, and the choices you made could save lives or destroy them?

This is Jules story.

This is the world of Wool.”

I had seen this book in a few different stores, but had put it back on the shelf more than once. I regret doing that, because this book was amazing. It was thought-provoking and gripping and I loved every minute of it. I got this while I was on vacation and instead of swimming at the beach, I was completely absorbed in the story.

To start off, this is an adult dystopian novel. The setting is a massive underground silo, with over one hundred levels. The top is were the wealthy live, the middle is for the computers and middle class, and the bottom is for the Mechanics, where our main character comes from.

Juliette, Jules to everyone, is stubborn, strong willed, and creative. She works in the darkest, dirtiest place in the entire silo, and loves it there. She is the best girl for any job. I loved her take on problems that didn’t involve her and how her sense of right and wrong drove her to ask questions. I loved following her through the story and I was rooting for her the whole time.

For the record, the title has nothing to do with the book. There is no wool in the story, not even sheep. I don’t quite understand where the title came from. Perhaps he is referencing the saying, “removing the wool from someones eyes”, but it seems a bit far-fetched. It bugged me the whole book.

I found this book to be a more mature Hunger Games. An oppressive government keeping secrets from the people, a heroine fighting for the truth, and a world that is alien, but at the same time eerily similar to our own.

This story was originally five separate novellas, that have now been combined to make this great book. Each one is slightly different, whether in perspective or overall tone, but they all flow together.

This is the sort of book I would recommend to anyone. When I finished it, I begged members of my family to read it. No one has yet, but I will be suggesting this to everyone I know for a long time.

Overall opinion: I absolutely loved this book. Five stars, ten stars, the highest it can go. The title was annoying, but the book itself was spectacular. As I said, I suggest this to anyone and everyone.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

Update (9/5/13) : I just discovered that Wool is part of a trilogy. Woohoo, two more books!!! I’m so excited. The second is called Shift and the third is called Dust! I can’t believe I didn’t see them sooner. I want to read them so bad!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Published: 2013
457 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: An ARC in a contest on Goodreads

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until see meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother – or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

     I wanted to read this book since I saw the blurb. The idea of different waves of destruction really caught my attention. The aliens didn’t outright attack, but sent four waves to wreck havoc on Earth. The first killed the power, the second was a massive tsunami, the third was a deadly disease and the fourth was them picking off humans. I wanted to know how people survived these “waves”. Not to mention, it had a cool cover; just a girl walking by herself.

     I really enjoyed Cassie’s narrative. She spoke as a girl that grew up during a series of catastrophic events, and turned into a different person. She is strong and smart, and devoted to finding her brother. I liked how she carried his teddy bear to remind her of her promise. She is sarcastic and I found myself rooting for her from page one. She is afraid, but she hasn’t given up and when faced with a choice, she decides to fight. I loved her spirit, and the way she tried to not let her past decisions haunt her.

     Throughout the entire book, I felt connected to Cassie. She lost everything and is now all alone, but she feels compelled to find and rescue her brother. She is realistic about her situation and predicament and she doesn’t hide her fear of death. I understood her and could easily relate. I believe that most readers, male or female, will be able to, on some level, connect with Cassie. The author does an amazing job of creating a character that in no way feels like a piece of fiction, but rather like a friend.

     I was hesitant about the character change, when halfway through the book the point-of-view was no longer Cassie’s. I was deeply engrossed in Cassie’s story and I didn’t want to leave. However, because of the change the reader experiences the other side of humanity. The other children that are now being trained to fight and kill. I didn’t like the nicknames, “Zombie” and “Nugget” were just odd and I stumbled over them. I was horrified to see how the children were treated and manipulated in the camps.

     I am usually against relationships in books, most times it takes away from the story, in my opinion. At first, I was disappointed when I realized that there was indeed going to be a relationship between certain characters (it’s very difficult not to write any spoilers), however, the author manages to balance out the relationship(s) with action and suspense. It didn’t feel forced or rushed, and it didn’t hinder the story at all.

    The pace of this book is just right. Cassie’s flashbacks allow the reader to see who she was before the Arrival and how she has changed. Her memories, such as the Crucifix Man, haunt her. There is enough action to keep you interested and enough backstory so the characters seem real. I could not put it down, I was hooked. I am fairly certain I missed a few meals while I was reading this and I anticipate doing the same when the next book comes out (which it is scheduled to do so next spring).

Overall Opinion: I loved this book. It was fast-paced and the characters were realistic and imperfect. Cassie especially. There were plenty of unanticipated plot twists that blew my mind and I could not put the book down. This book got me in a dystopian book craze. The author does a great job of creating an unfamiliar setting, even though it takes place on Earth. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell
Published: 2006
512 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: A used book sale at my local library

  “An orphan’s life is harsh- and often short- in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentlemen Bastards, Lock is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.
     Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Lock vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game- or die trying….”

     My first reaction after finishing this book was “Wow. I haven’t read anything like that in a long time.” It draws you in and tells a story that you will not soon forget. It’s complex and layered, the characters are lovingly imperfect , and the setting is not pristine. It’s gritty and realistic, and I loved every word of it.

     Surprisingly, I had to put the book down the first time I read it. I couldn’t get past the cursing, particularly the use of the “F” word. This is my personal preference when it come to fantasy. When characters use swear words from real life, it takes away from the story, and breaks the illusion. The characters in the beginning of the book curse frequently and profusely. I expected the entire book to be like that, and I didn’t want to read it, at first.

     Once I got past the exposition, and began to discover Locke’s story, I realized that this was going to be a different kind of tale. It wasn’t going to be pretty or heroic, there weren’t any knights or princesses. Locke Lamora is an orphan, living in a graveyard, who eventually is bought by Father Chains and learns the fine art of thieving. The author uses flashbacks to show how Locke grows from street rat to criminal mastermind.  These flashbacks were usually in chronological order, and as a result, the reader sees Locke grow up and befriend Jean and the Sanza twins. The relationship he has with these young men is profound and defines Locke as a character.

     Scott Lynch is a master at manipulating his story. Not a single word of this story is a mistake, there are absolutely no accidents in his writing. Everything comes back, ever detail is important, everything is connected and convoluted. There is no black or white in Camorr. More than once I came up with a logical guess as to what would happen next, but after a few pages realized that logical thinking doesn’t help you figure out where the story is going go. I would say to myself, “Here is a perfectly understandable reason for this character to do this, but hang on… nope, I was way off. Why didn’t I think of that?” The reader is as much in the dark to Locke’s plan as his mark is. I enjoyed figuring out the scheme along with the Don and Dona Salvara.

     I loved all the characters. Locke is the charismatic, charming, smooth talker. Jean is the scholarly skull cracker. The Sanza twins, Calo and Galdo, are twin perverts, but are endearing with their banter. Bug is the apprentice, the youngest, and he looks up to all of them. Locke is like a big brother to all of his friends. He protects them and in turn, Jean protects him. Sometimes the two of them would sound like an old married couple.

     The book takes place completely in the city of Camorr. This is a rough and tumble city, where crime runs rampant in the streets. Because of the Gentlemen Bastards exclusive dealing with the wealthy citizens, the reader sees very different sides of Camorr. The Don and Dona represent the nobility. they watch pseudo-gladiatorial games, where the “gladiator” must face off against a man-eating shark that can leap from the water, and they drink rare wines and squabble amongst themselves. However, Locke and Jean don’t always rub noses with the elite, and that is when the reader experiences the darker side of Camorr. The side where you must always watch your purse and your back. The shadowy underbelly of the magnificent Camorr. Ruthlessly ruled by Capa Barsavi, there is a tenacious Secret Peace between thieves and the “police” force.

     The Gray King is a spectacular ‘Bad Guy’. I hated him. He is completely and utterly despicable. He was clever and managed to out-think Locke and Jean for a while. I wanted both he and his Bondsmagi, the Falconer, to die. I have to say, he is one of my most un-favorite characters I have ever read. But I couldn’t stop reading, I had to know what he did next.

     Mr. Lynch is not only a manipulator of plot, but of language as well. He spins sentences effortlessly and easily portrays his character based on the words they say. Locke is incredibly eloquent, both when he is in disguise and when he argues with his friends. this book is full of memorable quips. He manages to make the characters both sarcastic and wise at the same time.

Overall Opinion: I really enjoyed this book. I still can’t stop thinking about it. I will be comparing the next dozen books I read to this one. I fell in love with the characters, even if they were thieves (They, at least, were thieves with morals). For me, I didn’t like the cursing, it took away from the story, but that is my only complaint. I loved the world that Mr. Lynch created, the cultures, the histories, and most importantly, the bond he crafted between the Gentlemen Bastards.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick