Friday, 24 April 2015

Exam period

Hey everyone, just letting you know that it's revision/exam period for me at the moment so posts will be a bit more sporadic than usual. I have something scheduled for May 1st but that's pretty much it (though I'm sure I'll procrastinate from revision somehow and post something unexpected). My exams finish at the end of May though, so provided I don't fail anything (I'm literally terrified I'm going to fail everything, company law is the bane of my existence, who in their right mind enjoys this torture), I will be free, free forever from university and exams and law! So I'll have a lot more time to dedicate to the blog. Did I tell you I'll be free from law? Because I will. No more cases, no more statutes, no more boring judgments on things that don't make sense! NO MORE JOURNAL ARTICLES. Provided I don't fail, of course (seriously though, failure seems inevitable).

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: February 27th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
(from Goodreads)

I really liked A Darker Shade of Magic. I didn't know what to expect from it, but I just loved the feel of the book - the magicy sort of atmosphere really drew me in. I've already got myself copies of Victoria's Schwab's The Archived series so I can try out some more of her writing, and I'm looking forward ADSoM's sequel!

Kell was definitely my favourite character. And also the same age as me, though he seemed a lot wiser and generally quite knowledgeable about the universe (whereas I was sat on the sofa reading about him whilst in my pyjamas). I always find it strange when characters the same age as me are out and about, accomplishing all these things. At times, Kell definitely seemed a lot older than he was (or maybe I just have the mental age of a teenager) but at other times you could definitely see his true age coming through. It was a nice mix and really added to his character, though I must admit his character was generally mysterious, because we literally found out barely anything about his true origins and I am so CURIOUS as to his real parents and why he was adopted and his Antari power and so many things! But at the same time, it wasn't like it was a gap in the story. Everything made sense without knowing this stuff, so it wasn't frustrating that we were being kept in the dark during this first book. And Kell himself was just great. He clearly cared about the people close to him - probably Rhy the most - and he was also inquisitive and not the type to take things at face value. He came into contact with a certain object during the book, which reminded me very much of the One Ring and the phrase "curiouser and curiouser" came to mind several times. He was also willing to resort to drastic measures at times which I really liked and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Lila had to grow on me a bit, but by the end, I really liked her too. I think because I took to Kell straight away, Lila at first just seemed to be getting in the way of his plans by doing reckless things and causing unnecessary problems for him - but of course, if everything went smoothly, there would be no story. And once we got to know her better, Lila definitely became another one of my favourite characters. She was the sort of character who was always hovering over the line between bravery and stupidity, but in a way that you had to admire. She was looking for adventure and would rather risk her life than stay in a boring place and do nothing. Her time with Kell opened her eyes to new worlds and I could understand why she wanted to accompany him on his travels. She also seemed to have potential for magic - or at least, potential for something. I didn't really know what Tiernan meant when he was talking about this, but I am excited to see what Lila does in book two.

The other characters were all pretty interesting too, though I really hated the twins from White London. They were horrible. Great to read about, but terrible people. Holland was also intriguing though again, I didn't like him much. He was so manipulative, but as the only other living Antari, I was curious about his power and what he was really up to. Rhy I liked. He seemed a little bit spoilt (I mean, he was the Prince so that was expected) but he was really funny and also clearly loved Kell a lot and was always happy to see him whenever he came back to Red London. He played a fairly big role despite not actually being in the book much (though I think we shall see more of him in book two) and I definitely want to find out more about him now (especially after the way things ended).

Plot-wise, I got through this book fairly quickly because I so wanted to know how it would end. I loved visiting all the different Londons and learning more about Black London especially (I was definitely most intrigued by Black London and the stone/One Ring kind of thing that came from it. Magic there was apparently on a whole different level). The way the magic worked in the other Londons was interesting - though I was wondering if magic existed beyond the Londons? We didn't really learn about many other cities in each world.

Overall, I really enjoyed ADSoM and am very much looking forward to reading the sequel.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #66

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Wrath & The Dawn (The Wrath & The Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh
Released: May 12th 2015
Find it on Goodreads

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. (from Goodreads)

Very excited for this book. I don't know much about A Thousand and One Nights so most things will be a surprise for me. Clearly there is more to Khalid than meets the eye and I really want to know what is actually happening and why all these girls are executed at sunrise (from the synopsis, I'm inclined to believe something weird is going on, but I can't think what it might be). Also intrigued to find out more about Shazi and how exactly she plans to get revenge (and whether her plan will change at some point). Generally, really looking forward to this book! I also actually really like the cover, though I know a lot of other people aren't that fond of it.

What are you waiting on this week?