Archive (page 1 of 2)

Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman by Leigh BardugoWonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo
Series: DC Icons #1
Published by Random House on August 29th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Sci-fi
Pages: 384
Goodreads

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

4 Stars

‘‘Sister in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.’’

Going into Wonder Woman, I was both excited and apprehensive. Leigh Bardugo is one of my all-time favourite authors but I had hitherto only read fantasy novels written by her, never an urban fantasy/sci-fi and a superheroine origin story, at that.

Though Wonder Woman doesn’t read like Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows, I’m now convinced this woman can write any genre. Her magic for writing multi-layered characters, sassy dialogue, and electrifying plot twists will never cease to amaze me! Leigh Bardugo can do no wrong. 

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The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasThe Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 16th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 414
Goodreads

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

3.5 Stars

Sequels are often compared to their predecessor(s), especially when with regard to deciding on a fitting rating, but I can tell you that this did me absolutely no good at all. Because The Perilous Sea seems so fundamentally different from The Burning Sky in many aspects.

The Perilous Sea was an exciting, gripping read and a worthy sequel for this series. The book excelled in taking the tension, the danger, and the action to the next level. Some of the plot twists in this book had me practically gaping.  But I also felt like the overall drama factor was turned up a notch as well, and I don’t know how I feel about that, especially where that puts me with the rating. 

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The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria SchwabThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 7th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 321
Goodreads

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

4 Stars

Though published prior to her bestselling Darker Shade of Magic series, I picked up The Archived a lot later. It stands in the shadow of Schwab’s more popular releases, and though it is far less hyped, The Archived has no reason to hide. The Archived is – as are all of Schwab’s novels – an imaginative, surprisingly moving urban fantasy which builds on the concept of the dead, their histories, and their memories being shelved in an archive. Schwab has quickly become one of my auto-buy authors. And save for This Savage Song, which was a little out of her familiar comfort zone, her works have never failed to impress me.

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The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 17th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 449
Goodreads

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

3.5 Stars

I was warned by my friends Nastassja and Katerina that this book was going to make me fall in love with a prince – and it did. Titus VII is my small son and must be protected at all costs. As a hopeless shipper of love-hate relationships and devoted fan of girls disguising as boys, The Burning Sky was the perfect read for me, in the sense that it offered me a light read with some of my favourites plot devices. Alas, I could not ignore the flaws this urban fantasy presented me with, which include a world-building jammed with magical elements of all kind, as though the author simply couldn’t decide whether to use spells or elemental magic or mind powers.

“This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known. Expect magic.”

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesWintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne on February 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 448
Goodreads

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

3 Stars

Wintersong is like a dark, haunting, yet sweet melody, inspired by Goethe’s German ballad Der Erlkönig. Though the characterisation entails common tropes and the romance is problematic for me, this debut excites with flawed and wicked characters, a gloomy atmosphere, and magnificent writing.

She turned around. My sister’s lips glistened — red, sticky, and sweet — her pout swollen as though she had just been thoroughly kissed.
In her hands was a half-eaten peach, its flesh dripping down her fingers like rivulets of blood.

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The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene WeckerThe Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker
Published by Blue Door on April 23rd, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 657
Goodreads

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance, they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively readable, The Golem and the Djinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

4 Stars

A newborn creature made of clay.
An ancient creature made of fire.
Meet by chance in the city that never sleeps.

Helene Wecker drew inspiration from Jewish and Middle Eastern mythology to create a beautifully written story of a cautious golem and a reckless djinni who find themselves in a foreign city in 1899 and find solace in each other’s company. The Golem and the Djinni is a tale of solitude, of capture, of finding a place to fit in, and of friendship.

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 16th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 443
Goodreads

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

2 Stars

The blurb of The Girl from Everywhere whispered sweet promises of adventure, navigation-based magic, and the flair of Victorian Hawaii. Unfortunately, only the latter was delivered properly.

The adventure was as absent as my excitement with the plot boring me to tears. The magic system of time travelling was barely explained, which is a technique I used in math tests, too: To avoid making mistakes, I didn’t solve the equation at all, see?

Well, thank God for Kashmir because this charming thief sort of “saved the day” (if 2 stars can be considered a save, that is). Although, I have to admit, if you need boys to pull up a rating, the book really missed its mark by a huge margin.

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 486
Goodreads

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

2.5 Stars

Though Passenger has a mixed-race romance and ancient, exotic settings to offer, the plot and pace were no match for the epic premise. A wonderfully imagined fantasy but its execution was rather lacking. This was only my second audiobook as I’m extremely picky with narrator voices but Saskia Maarleveld did a brilliant job at breathing life into this story and creating distinct characters.

Told from two POVs, the storyline follows Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter on their search for a lost artefact, jumping through passages of time to other centuries and faraway continents – to WWII London, ancient Angkor Wat, revolutionary Paris, and historical Damascus – on a run against time.

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
on April 17th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 613
Goodreads

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

4.5 Stars

Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the epic conclusion to one of my favourite fantasy series out there. The characters, the heartbreak, and the twists are one of a kind, and I simply have no words to express how much I adore this finale and the whole precedent series. I can see why some readers thought of Dreams of Gods and Monsters as a flat third instalment, and though this book is not without flaws, the amount of feels is beyond measure compared to a lot of other finales I’ve read recently. Within the span of three books, my heart was broken and glued back together more times than I can count.

“I love vengeance like normal people love sunsets and long walks on the beach. I eat vengeance with a spoon like it’s honey. In fact, I may not even be a real person, but just a vow of vengeance made flesh.”

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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorDays of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Published by Hodder Paperback on August 15th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 528
Goodreads

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

5 Stars

The sequel to the highly praised Daughter of Smoke and Bone is darker and more brutal as resentment breeds violence in this exciting next instalment. As the stakes are raised, tension flares to a new high in Days of Blood and Starlight, shaking of the innocent atmosphere of its predecessor. This dark, gloomy, and bloody book was much more my thing than the light-hearted first instalment.

“Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send through a hole in the sky.”

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