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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara by Kristen CiccarelliThe Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #1
Published by Gollancz on October 5th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 304
Goodreads

A gripping YA crossover series from a spectacular new voice in the genre.

Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things.

Asha is a dragon-slayer. Reviled by the very people she's sworn to protect, she kills to atone for the wicked deed she committed as a child - one that almost destroyed her city, and left her with a terrible scar.

But protecting her father's kingdom is a lonely destiny: no matter how many dragons she kills, her people still think she's wicked.

Even worse, to unite the fractured kingdom she must marry Jarek, the cruel commandant. As the wedding day approaches, Asha longs for freedom.

Just when it seems her fate is sealed, the king offers her a way out: her freedom in exchange for the head of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard.

And the only person standing in her way is a defiant slave boy . . .

THE LAST NAMSARA is an extraordinary story about courage, loyalty and star-crossed love, set in a kingdom that trembles on the edge of war.

4 Stars

I decided not to re-read the premise prior to picking up The Last Namsara but go in completely blind, and it was the best decision I could’ve made. This debut took me by surprise in the way it drew me into its world of dragons, gods, and magic stories. I WAS SO DOWN FOR THE DRAGONS. I definitely got some How To Train Your Dragons vibes from this, guys. Move aside Eragon, The Last Namsara has come to claim your place.

At first glance, The Last Namsara seems like your generic Young Adult fantasy, and I thought I’d grown tired of those. However, something about this book pulled me in. I was intrigued by the feisty but troubled main character, the character dynamics, the forbidden romance, and the gripping plot. Objectively, I could give a slightly lower rating due to the issues I had, but The Last Namsara had me so invested, racing through it within a couple of hours, that I cannot but give it 4 stars.

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentlemen Bastards #1
Published by Gollancz on February 1st 2007
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 531
Goodreads

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling.

An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying...

4 Stars

Did you read Lord of the Thieves when you were a child and have been searching for a book with a similar feel but for an adult audience ever since? Do you have a soft spot for Robin Hood? Well, look no further, because The Lies of Locke Lamora wraps up both with a dark and gritty story in a Venice-inspired world with foul-mouthed thieves, who steal from the rich, who you cannot but fiercely adore.

Not going to lie, this book was hard to get into at first. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a hardcore fantasy, and when I say hardcore, I mean complex and densely packed writing with an overflow of descriptions. I’m also not going to lie about getting the occasional headache from the information-loaded descriptions. And if you know anything about me, you know I usually loathe page-long descriptions without a single dialogue being exchanged for the obvious reason. It seems one can get used to it, after all. Against all odds, Lynch managed to completely captivate me with an enthralling and suspense-packed fantasy with a gang of the most daring badasses of thieves I’ve ever seen.

“Chains used to claim that there’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated,” said Locke.
“Gods, yes.” Calo rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue. “If we were any freer we’d float away into the sky and fly like birds.”

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The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages by Brandon SandersonThe Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #3
Published by Gollancz on February 11th 2010
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Goodreads

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world. This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson's saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith, and responsibility.

4.5 Stars

I saw one of my friends on Goodreads compare Brandon Sanderson to Ruin because he’s a God and has ruined her life. I’d rather say, he ruins you for any other epic fantasy sagas because the Mistborn series is simply incomparable, so beware of this when you start these books. If you have already commenced the series, your emotional ruin awaits.

Of all three books – The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages – I liked this one the least. When it comes to plots, I love heists most, so it’s no wonder I adored the first instalment. The sequel differed from the first one, focusing on building a government rather than destroying one, but I loved the tension of an approaching war, political intrigue, and an increasing number of enemies. And the third one? The characters grow, questions are answered, and my heart was ripped out twice within a book, and yet it cannot quite reach the awesomeness of the previous instalments.

As always, be aware that this review contains massive spoilers for the previous books in the Mistborn series.

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The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Well of Ascension by Brandon SandersonThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #2
Published by Gollancz on December 10th 2009
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 763
Goodreads

The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler – the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years – has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

5 Stars

Lord Ruler, I love this squad!

If you haven’t read The Final Empire, do not read on. This review contains massive spoilers for the first book. If you’ve read it, whether you loved or hated it, just  sit back and relish in the awesomeness of this crew. Because though I love Sanderson’s intense plots and his detailed world-building, I would love the Mistborn series only half as much without the addition of engaging, fleshed out characters which I can root for, laugh and cry with, suffer with, and fear and hope for. So, beware: This review is going to be a swoonfest.

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The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonThe Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #1
Published by Gollancz on October 1st, 2009
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Goodreads

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage — Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

(First published by Tor Books in 2006)

5 Stars

I AM NOT OKAY.

I had initially rated The Final Empire 4 stars right after reading it. Forget about those. These beautiful characters have stuck with me ever since, and the book left an overall lasting impression. Hence, this absolute masterpiece of an epic fantasy deserves no less than 5 stars. The Final Empire was a little slow in pulling me in, but once I was caught up in this dark world of falling ashes, magic of metals, oppression, and power struggles, I was in. For any fantasy lover out there, this is a definite must-read.

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The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law by Brandon SandersonThe Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #4
Published by Gollancz on November 10th 2011
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 325
Goodreads

Centuries after the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is on the verge of modernity - railroads, electric street lights, and skyscrapers. Waxillium Ladrian can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After 20 years in the dusty Roughs, in the city of Elendel, the new head of a noble house may need to keep his guns.

3.5 Stars

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

This book was such a fun ride!

Brandon Sanderson has become a comfort writer to me. Whenever I find myself in a reading slump or am in that mood where I don’t feel like reading anything on my TBR, I can always count on Sanderson to produce something that I will greatly enjoy.

The Alloy of Law is a continuation/spin-off series of the Mistborn trilogy and takes place in the same world. Although it is set hundreds of years in the future and follows different characters, you still need to read Mistborn before diving into this one.

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