(Sophie and her hats!)
Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones
rating: five stars
Sophie is the eldest of three sisters. When their father dies, their step mom has to manage the hat shop alone. She dispatches the two youngest and keeps Sophie at the shop where she has always belonged. Sophie feels like it is here duty to accepted her situation and let her self be shut off the world and more and more sheltered and lonely. One day, while selling a hat, she angered the infamous Witch of the waste who turns her into an old lady. Sophie run away to find a wat to counter the spell. Desperately she goes to Wizard Howl’s moving castle even if the rumors describe him as eating maiden’s hearts.
I recently re-read this amazing book. It brought back so many memories because this is the book which got me into fantasy. It is just so well written and the characters are addictive. No wonder the great Miyazaki made it into an anime! And for once the “movie” was as good even if it did not entirely follow the plotline.
This is an excellent start into fantasy for me because it is Jane Austen vibes meets Terry Pratchet. So yes I could go on and on about how awesome this book is but it would be even better if you go read it xD
(Skanadron and also first drawing of a gryphon since I was 5… I need more practice…)
Black Gryphon (Mage Wars series #1) by Mercedes Lackey
Rating : four stars
The story is set right in a war in the country which will be then known as Valdemar. Gryphons are roaming and attacking the bad guy known as Maar. The best of them, Skanadron is wounded during an attack and is left to heal at camp under the care of human more than a healer Amberdrake. While healing, Skanadron remarks some weird things in the gryphons’ creation and their relations to their leader Urtho.
Honestly I feel that I am not very objective rating this book. I would have given it three stars but my love for Mercedes Lackey made me put another stars. That and because I loved the gryphons in this book. I honestly thing they are better characters than the companions in the main Valdemar series. Skanadron was obviously my favorite character and I can say that I liked the gryphon part better; humans were a bit boring especially Winterheart (I HATE HER!).
The plot itself was not really present until the half of the book. There were very few descriptions and much more dialogues. I have to admit that the writing was inconsistent throughout the book, I don’t know if it’s because it was written by two people but I will see with the next books (yes I will finish this series).
From what I read I can only guess that this first book is a set up to the series and the next books will be better. Well, at least I hope so.
(This scene was one of the most epic of the whole novel!!! I was not anticipating this)
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Rating: five stars 😀
Caitirin, a young scribe from Crosswalk, fled her home. Her house and almost all her possession were taken by her evil aunt who beat her and wanted to marry her to her as evil son. She arrives in a small town where people seem to be afraid of something lurking in the nearby forest. Soon she learns that the chieftain is looking for a scribe. Caitirin has no other solution than to hide under her job but soon she discovers that the chieftain is surrounded by a dark curse.
A lot of people have been talking about Juliet Marillier’s work recently and Heart’s Blood was the story I wanted to try out first. And ho boy I am going to join the chorus to sing her praises! It was awesome! Juliet Marillier is a great storyteller because at this point I am not going to lie and call her an author, because she is much more than that, she creates an atmosphere that sucks you in and makes you read at odds hours of the night.
Her writing is flawless as is the plot. It is reminiscent of the original Beauty and the Beast story of Madame de Villeneuve (the 1st novelisation of the tale in France which dates back to 1740) much darker than the Disney version (which I also love don’t misunderstand ^^). I did want to read more Beauty and The Beast retelling this year and I started by the most fantasy esque one ;).
The atmosphere is full of ghost and Irish folklore and the world building is excellent. I absolutely adored every second of it! I cannot wait to read more Juliet Marillier’s book if you guys have any recommendation shout them in the comments. 😉
(I really imagined Taran looking like this in the first part of the story xD)
The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain book 1) by Lloyd Alexander
Rating : five stars 😀
This book is a quest of chasing a white pig. Seriously it could be summarized by that xD. Okay more seriously, Taran is a want to be hero/ assistant pig-keeper. As the horned king advance on his village, Hen Wen, the oracular pig runs away in fear. Taran goes on an adventure to find her and meets a lot of peculiar characters along the way.
It is so much different than the Disney version. To be honest I was a big fan of the movie when I was a kid (and to be honest it’s quite a scary Disney when you compare it to Frozen -_-) and now I consider it to be a complete different story than the books.
I almost have nothing to say xD I liked it so much that I have no objections for once. The world building is great as is the writing. Ho and the fact that the “main animal” is a pig is definitively a plus. I love pigs! Why are they always used as meat and not as characters in more scifi books?
(for the last review of this series I wanted to draw the coats of arm of Valdemar and a horse because I need to practice my horse drawing skills)
Magic’s Price(book 3 of The Last Herald-Mage trilogy) by Mercedes Lackey
Rating : four stars
This book takes place a few years after the previous one. Vanyel is still hard working and has no life at all. He is still the one everyone run to and the one who has to take care of every problems of Valdemar. However, a new threat falls upon the heralds, an evil villain (Who has heard of a gentle villain? xDDD) is killing the herald mage of Valdemar and Vanyel has to investigate.
At this point I was really annoyed with the fact that Vanyel was a bit like the counseler of Valdemar’s court…. Only Medren seems to care really for his uncle…. By the way I love grown up Medren you can really see an evolution in his character. In fact, in this last book the characters’ evolution is way more flagrant. Of course I have to talk of Stefen, the new love of Vanyel. Honestly I would not have paired him with him because the fact that he was always described as “delicate” disturbed me. Yeah I do agree he supports Vanyel but he can’t do anything more…. I mean Tylendel could help him out and protect him, but I loved Tylendel thus why I had a hard time with Stefen…
Same as the other books the plot really takes off a third in the book and I think it is why the series as a whole will only have four stars. Mercedes Lackey takes a lot of time to explore the characters interaction with each other’s and sometimes it delays the plot and even skip important plot line. For exemple at some point Vanyel has to go somewhere for a treaty (it’s not spoiler don’t worry) and we see nothing of that episode, in the next chapter he comes back two or three months later and everything is done and went quite well. Okaaaaaaaay and? Why mention it if you’re not going to develop that point? I feel like it was slow on the plot and jump interesting parts and I had the same problems in Arrows of the Queen but I still find this series much better.
Hello everyone so after a month of job hunting/finishing university I am back with some more reviews and with a good new!!! I now work as a librarian so guess what! More books to read and more reviews to come ! I hope you will all have nice summer reads! Until next time bye!
Hey guys! I am finally back and with a review!!! My dissertation/thesis is done,printed, graded xD I am finally good to go back to reviewing once perhaps twice a week 😉
(my version of Royce xD for the next book I will do Hadrian ;))
Theft of swords (Book 1 of the Ryiria Revelations) by Michael J. Sullivan
rating: five stars 😀
Royce and Hadrian are two thieves. Under the name of Ryiria, they are well known and used by the noble society of Essenhadon. After a difficult case of stolen letters, they are contacted by a mysterious noble. He is in a pretty pickle as one would say, since he has to face a duel against count Pickering for having looked too long at the count’s wife. The count is a well-known swordsman and has only lost one battle because he didn’t have his lucky sword. His request is as follow: Royce and Hadrian are to steel the sword of cont Pickering and make it reappear after their duel. A simple and well paid task, the thieves agreed even with the little preperation they facedd. However things get complicated once they are founded on the king’s murder scene, while seqrchong for the sword, and accused of his assassinatin.
One simple word: GREAT.
The writting is excellent. It uses every trope of a fantasy book but made them even better so you have the impression of reading something new. The world building is also amazing, just the history and myths around the main plot are very interesting. In a way it could be compared to a Game of Thrones, in the sense that history has a great role to play. The plot sounded really like your usual fantasy story, especially with thieves, but it is so much more and it gets better chapter by chapters. It twists and turns in a way you will never imagine.
But the best part of this book was the characters. I have to say I am this close to say « screw the dissertation, I need book two to read more Royce and Hadrian banter. They are hilrious together! A good team is what makes the best fantasy books. They are definitevely what moves the story and even secondary characters. Okay prince Alaric is a bastard (not in the blood/family ties way ;)) but he gets better! I do have a special love for princess Arista and Myrion the monk.
Michael J. Sullivan even uses Middle English *.* because Ezra the old magician has been in prison for thousands of years thus his speech is quite Shakesperian. Also he is an intelligent literary device to explain what happened in the past as is Myron for folklore. In a nutshell Esra is a history teacher and I can’t tell too much about him without spoilers.
I do have to warn anyone who wants to read this book, it is huge, as are the two next in the series, but you get so engrossed in the story that it passes without any efforts!