Heir Series Succeeded in Being an Absolute GOLD MINE of AWESOME

*Non-spoilery full series review*

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Now I’ll be blunt straight off the bat: Chima isn’t known for crazy complex magic systems or the most unique world building- but what she *does* do is create characters you can root for and dramatic high stakes plots. And mannn does she do that amazingly well here. This is definitely her less popular series, yet I truly believe it deserves more attention. I don’t feel like there are nearly enough companion-novel style fantasy books like this out there and ahhh it was just so good!

Okay, enough shrieking, let’s get into the whys and wherefores of the Heir series, book by book, starting with…

The Warrior Heir

warrior heirI’ll be honest, this one took me a while to get into, making it not-the-strongest start. Once it got going though I loved it! Despite the slow opening, the plot picked up; the story was direction as they travelled from Ohio to the Lake District (inadvertently fuelling my wanderlust and reminding me why I adore that country).

As it went on, I became increasingly invested in the characters, admiring them in all their shades of morally grey- with everyone from hero to villain given depth (even the side characters!)

By the end, the seemingly random prologue started to make sense. And, thankfully from a book that had offered me such a sluggish beginning, the dramatic finale and complex world that had been created made it all worth it!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Wizard Heir

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If I sounded a tad lacklustre about the first instalment, then you might want to prepare yourself, because you are in for some serious GUSH.

The obvious reason why I dug this book considerable more than the first was that I was much more invested in the characters. We love who we love- and I instantly connected to Seth. His story distinctly more intriguing and, even if it was a bit obvious in terms of the “twist”, it worked for me because it had all the *feels*. It honestly doesn’t get much better than that for me.

I also love that feeling of being transported all over the world when I read- and this did that by the bucketload- more even than Warrior Heir. In short, this book gave me MORE and was a MASSIVE hit with me.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Dragon Heir

dragon heirI liked this one marginally less than book 2 and here’s why…

Firstly, in terms of world building, I quite liked how this book did dragon-type creature and references- though it wasn’t my favourite (I’ve mentioned before, I have high standards). I did, however, like how ghosts were used.

What I had the most trouble with, however, was that being a companion series it can be hit and miss how connected you are with the characters. The issue with this one was I thought the focus would be one already-established character (Jason) and it turned out to be about another bordering-on-Mary-Sue (Madison). I’ve got to admit I was disappointed in that and consequently failed to be totally into it because of that.

I did feel like the plot motifs were very similar to the Demon King– basically “descendants” doing what you never could, having love you couldn’t, righting the wrongs of the past- which made me compare the two a lot. And while I will say Demon King pulled that off more successfully, this one had individual moments that were better. Ultimately, this did have a satisfying ending, yet it also hinted at more to come– which made it slightly different to Chima’s other series, as it meant those themes wouldn’t be the be all and end all of the story. It was therefore up to the next book to take it up a notch.  

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Enchanter Heir

enchanter heirAnd boy did it do that! Primarily, this was cos the concept for this was awesome! And when it came to the question of hit and miss characters, these ones were a complete hit– and the great thing is this focused on them for two whole books, meaning it got round the “will I/won’t I be invested”- RESULT!

Reading some tips about the series before I started, I saw that this book had a negative reception. Some claimed it was twilightesque- I couldn’t disagree more (after reading, I determined the only reason for such a comparison must have been that it was popular to compare everything to Twilight at the time of publication). In terms of romance, they actually have things in common, and there are actually reasons for the direction their romance takes. I loved the little tussles at the heart of their relationship– and all the drama managed to leave me reeling.

I also totally disagree with the people on goodreads who don’t think this is its own book- have they never read a cliffhanger before? Protip though: if you do read this, make sure you have the next one close to hand when you finish, or you’ll be going “nooooo!” like Vader in the Lucas insert in Star Wars Episode VI- and no one wants that 😉

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(Heck you might do that anyway)

Regardless of what people say, this book was inventive, different and had a great mystery behind it. Too great of a mystery to be resolved in just one book.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Sorcerer Heir

sorcerer heirI had a HUGE dilemma with this book. On the one hand I couldn’t put it down; on the other the tension was so intense and got to me so much that I *had to* put it down. That’s right, this is an unputdownable book that you must put down at points for the sake of your own sanity!

As with the last one, I was absolutely crazy for the musician element, the characters, their relationships, the raw emotion of the story and- literally- *everything*.

One thing that held the series back a little in the previous books was the villains- but here they were so many complex baddies and that led to a ridiculous amount of “WHAT THE HELL IS GONNA HAPPEN” intrigue.

And as much as I didn’t want to know and yet needed to know how it would all go down, it ended up being painful and beautiful and wonderful. It was the perfect conclusion to the series. It was just AHHH-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Words can’t even express it.

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Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Overall, I loved this series MUCH MORE than Demon King– and that’s saying something, cos y’all know I frickin adored that series. At this point I’ll read anything Chima puts out and if you’re a YA fantasy fan, you should too 😉

Have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

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Your Bookish Identity Tag

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Hello all! I have such a fun tag to do today all about my bookish identity- woohoo!– I can’t wait to get into it! But first, thank you so much to the spectacular Sam @RivermooseReads for tagging me- her blog is so great and has so many brilliant features (like Bookish Baking- c’mon how cool is that?!) you have to check her out! Now time for the tag…

What dystopian/fantastical world would you live in?

Maybe a weird answer, but my favourite fantastical place will always be Mirkwood. It’s got everything- hallucinogenic water, dark elves, giant man-eating spiders… Wait hang on- this is sounding less appealing. Not sure why I ever thought this was a good idea…

Who would your partner be?

Rhysand from Court of Mist and Fury- he’s dark and mysterious on the surface, but secretly a scrumptious sweetheart underneath. I think his fighting skills would come in useful in Mirkwood as well. Too bad he’s destined for Feyre *sighs*. A girl can dream though 😉

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Who would be your godly mother/father? [Percy Jackson]

Hades! Especially the Hades from Percy Jackson- I think Riordan got him down to a tee.

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FYI as a classicist I not-so-secretly hate Disney’s Hercules, but the picture’s still awesome

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Would you be a downworlder or nephilim? [Shadowhunter world]

Downworlder for sure- I think if I had the choice I’d pick Warlock specifically. Basically I want to be able to do magic:

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Which house would you be in? [Harry Potter]

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Which faction would you be in? [Divergent]

I’ve done a few quizzes for this and always get Divergent, but if I had to choose, I’d pick Erudite (even if they are the baddies/maybe because they’re the baddies)

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What would be your daemon [Northern Lights]

I’m assuming this would be the same as my patronus, which I’ve gone into before, and I reckon would be an ocelot.

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I Tag:

Nel, Naty, Rebecca, Noriko, Kristin, Kat, Fran, Dani, Zezee and Siobhan

Do you identify with any of my *ahem* totally sensible choices? Who else wants to live in Mirkwood? Any takers? Let me know in the comments!

Murder on the Orient Express- Quite the Journey!

murder-on-the-orient-express-agatha-christieSo I don’t know if you guys remember my Bookish Confessions where I said “I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book and I don’t plan to”… well apparently I lied. Not intentionally, but because of a few eager comments on that post, my curiosity was sparked. And then, thanks to a *brilliant* review by my friend Lashaan over at Bookidote, I knew I had to read it!! I ended up picking it up in a bookshop, thinking “let’s see what all the fuss is about”, and, one thing led to another, I got hooked!

No word of a lie- I’m actually experiencing a bit of a slump here, so I hardly expected a murder mystery written over 80 years ago to do anything  about that- yet I couldn’t for the life of me bring myself to put this book down.

First of all, I enjoyed the intriguing, somewhat atmospheric start. I found the characters vivid and delightfully drawn. I even found some of Poirot’s line’s chuckle worthy:

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(I know in context it’s just to show how perceptive Poirot is- but c’mon, what a 21st century insult- I was instantly rooting for him after that)

I will admit, not being a big mystery reader, I was pretty clueless about what was going on in the middle and I won’t pretend I followed a lot of it. For me personally, I felt it lagged a little. Even so, plotwise, I wouldn’t criticise it for that, because in the end…

WOW what a finale!! It made everything worth it!! I can’t say anything because you *do not* want to be spoilt for it. But even I, as a mystery virgin, found myself going “ohhh” as the clues slotted into place. Little things that had me frowning early on suddenly had me smiling as it all made sense. What’s even more impressive is for a book of its age, it felt fresh and completely not what I expected. I never saw that coming.

Unbelievably (at least for me), reading this has completely changed my mind about checking out Christie’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? And- I can’t believe I’m asking this- any other Agatha Christie books you can recommend? Let me know in the comments!

My Top Ten Wintery Books

AHH IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT!!! WINTER IS HERE!!

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(alright that was a more terrifying affect than intended 😉 )

Okay- for reelz, it never normally snows in London, so I’m enjoying how pretty it is right now. And, rather appropriately, the post I had planned for today is actually about wintery books! Specifically my top ten wintery books! Let’s get to it:

snow child

Snow Child– the clue is in the title 😉 This exquisite tale, set in the fairy tale land of the Arctic winter, warmed me from the inside- I seriously recommend Snow Child for a cosy night in. And speaking of fairy tales…

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Bear and the Nightingale– as was pretty obvious from my gushy review the other day I LOVED this book. It’s a magical retelling of Russian folklore and if nothing else, you are guaranteed spectacular descriptions of snowy landscapes 😉

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The Secret Countess– Eva Ibbotson is a childhood favourite of mine and one of the reasons for that is her beautiful, mythical writing style. Her books are always enchanting, but this one in particular is romantic and heart-warming and perfect for this season (NB also known as A Countess Below Stairs)

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone– speaking of childhood books, nothing says Christmas quite like Harry Potter. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t secretly dream of Christmas at Hogwarts?

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The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe– but if we want to talk a Christmasy dream come true, we’d have to go visit Narnia! I know, I know, Narnia is technically cursed to always be winter in Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe– yet that doesn’t stop it being so beautiful!

christmas carol

Christmas Carol– yes, yes, I know I’m reeling off the classics now- it’s just this is a classic for a reason. Obviously everyone knows the story, but I finally read this over Christmas last year and can tell you now it was *perfect*.

the railway children

Railway Children– honestly, I think children’s books are great for this time of year. And since it’s already a tradition that they show the movie version on the TV every year (at least in the UK) why not pick up the book? It’s moving, it’s got beautiful themes about family and it’ll make you happy in the end.

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Little Women– romance is what I’m looking to read most winters- and I don’t think you can get much better than this classic. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, and it might even make you do both at the same time. Easily one of my all-time favourite books.

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Densovitch– okay who said anything about all the books on here having to be happy? Sometimes winter gives us the chills- so if you want something a little darker, then this is the book to go for. It’s one of those quintessential books about the Soviet Union if you’re interested. (And at the risk of sounding like a book pusher, this is the kind of book everyone needs to read at some in their lives)

 

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Murder on the Orient Express- I read this the other day (review to come soon) and the atmosphere was exactly right for a cold evening. The intrigue, the characters and the DRAMATIC twist all made for a thrilling read (kudos goes to Lashaan@Bookidote for finally convincing me to pick it up). What a great book for the winter period!

And that’s it! What do you think of my list? Agree? Disagree? And do you have any winter favourites to add? Let me know in the comments!

Bear and the Nightingale was *MAGICAL*

bear and the nightingale

I am in love. Head over heels, butterflies in the stomach kind of love. Once in a blue moon I come across a book where everything just clicks for me- and that’s it, I’m a goner. Honestly, I read this last month and tried to compose myself before writing the review- yet I’m clearly still not composed.

I don’t think I’ve read a book like this in years. To say it captured the essence of fairy tales would be an understatement. By the miraculous stroke of her pen, Arden not only transported me back in time to the historical landscape of Russia, but also to a child-like state of wonder. Reading this was more than a window into another world- while I was reading I knew what it is to hold magic in my hands.

Some books feel like they take on a life of their own. They’re so atmospheric and absorbing that it reminds you why you love reading in the first place. This was one such book. The style was both rare and a rediscovery of that charming, youthful feel I used to get when I read books by the like of Ibbotson, Funke and Zafon. It was both utterly unique and reminiscent of childhood favourites for me.

And yet this was so clearly a fairy tale for adults. Nothing is sickly sweet or over the top- in the words of Goldilocks, it was “just right”. From beginning to end, I was more than a little wrapped up in the snowy-blanket warmth of Arden’s exquisite storytelling. I was transfixed as, layer upon layer, the storm brewed on the pages, enchantment unfolding behind a glassy veneer of reality, until finally it broke in an epic conclusion. An ending which, thankfully, was both satisfying and opened the door for potential sequels (the second book is coming out this winter!)

This is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. So if this sounds good to you, then go away, read it, and thank me later 😉

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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I don’t know where I first came across this book, but I do want to thank Danielle for her spectacular review which prompted me to finally pick get a copy! And if you’re like me and already obsessed with this, I also recommend the great interview/review over on Mischenko’s site and Liis’ view on it as an Estonian.

And that’s all for now. Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Brotherhood of the World Award

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Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve done an award post, but I absolutely had to do this one, cos the questions are seriously awesome.

Thank you so much to my lovely friend Nel for this award- and if you haven’t checked her out then I don’t know what you’re still doing here, because she’s absolutely fantastic and her blog is one of my favourite’s- so go-go-go!!

Briefly explain your blogging style (where your favorite blogging spot/tools – as in, on the couch using your smartphone or something).

I basically go wherever my computer is and then I work from there- I’m afraid my blogging habits are not more exciting than that. I think one time I used my smartphone for uploading pictures… but that was only cos I couldn’t find the adaptor wire. I do schedule a lot of my posts these days- I usually know in advance if I’m going to be too busy to actually write something and try to do things in batches (aside from having a ton of unused drafts on my laptop- I’m super organised… not 😉 ) Also, another fun fact is my computer, the Mad Hatter, is very temperamental, so here’s a very realistic representation of my blogging habits…

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How do you manage your blogging time including blog reading time?

Oh gosh- BADLY. I’m going to try and not describe this in a way that sounds too chaotic… but yeah, it’s totally chaotic. I’ve already said a bit about how I actually write the posts, so I’ll move straight onto bloghopping. I usually have a ton of blogs open in tabs that I’ve been meaning to catch up on, a ton stored in my head, and a number of comments to reply to. I try and do a little every day- buuut I think a lot of you will know that doesn’t always happen. So, again, I do a lot in batches. I know- my genius is undeniable- it’s like I’m practically producing Shakespeare…monkey typewriter

Who is your most read author?

Ah well, fun question, cos I like to check how my most read authors are competing against each other from time to time (a bit like Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones, but with less death) My most read author- by quite a bit I must say- is Pratchett with 27 books. Maybe I’ll do a post about this at some point- there’s plenty of embarrassing names on that list, I can tell you 😉

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How did you come up with your blog name?

Hehe I think it’s self-explanatory if you read my last answer- but for the uninitiated: I like Pratchett, The Librarian is one of my favourite of his Discworld characters, so there you go (now I think about it, it would’ve been funnier if I’d gone with my other favourite character: Death – missed opportunity… *sigh*)

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What keeps you blogging?

Ooh great question! I’d have to say *all of you*. I started out just sort of talking to myself in a vacuum and while that was fun, I have to say the moment I fell in love with it was when that vacuum started talking back… Okay, WOW that was weird- what I mean to say (and yes I’m keeping that awful opening) is that it’s the blogging friends I’ve made, reading all the awesome bookish thoughts and getting to hear what y’all think in the comments section that keep me coming back! (that and the bananas I dish out in the ratings… what? I am a monkey 😉 )

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I nominate: Sam@RivermooseReads, Charlotte, Arwa@One’sPeculiar, Beth@ReadingEveryNightJust Being Nessa, Liis, The Awkward Blogger and Perfectly Tolerable

And for everyone else- do you have any exciting blogging habits? And- more importantly- do you think a monkey could produce the works of Shakespeare given the time? Let me know in the comments!

Caught in the Middle- Nanowrimo Wrap Up

Yes, I know we’re quite a bit away from November now, but I think it’s kinda fitting that I’m late with this, cos this is a post about FAILURE (ooh err, it looks much scarier in all caps). To be fair, it’s no fun to admit when you’ve failed a goal you set yourself. For all who remember, I set aside some writing goals in November… which I didn’t complete. Not even kinda close- my plan was to get to chapter 28- and I only made it to 23.

Now it would probably be easier to slink off and not say anything, because what use is it to talk of failure? Well I think more often than not there are lessons in failure as much as success– so here I am to talk about what happens when you don’t achieve your goals…

Well nothing. That’s the whole point. Not that there’s fanfare when you do succeed, but let’s be honest, you can’t exactly have an “I didn’t quite do it” party. You can just try and figure out what went wrong?

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For me, it was a combination of unforeseen life-always-manages-to-get-in-the-way stuff, being too ambitious with my goals and just not being prepared to deal with some more emotional sections of the story all in one go (I can also probably add end of year burnout to that list too 😉 ). I can pat myself on the back for setting aside time to write every single day, yet when I think of how little that could be some days, it’s hard to get super excited over that little victory.

The more important thing I’ve learnt- and something I think about every time I fall into a rut or get blocked- is that perseverance is key. Because, yes, I didn’t quite get as far along as I hoped. And yes, I’ve had months where I’ve got stuck on a story and just can’t. push. on. Yet, every single time I’ve fallen into a rut, or been disappointed with how a project turned out, or just can’t find the time, I’ve managed to find a way to pick myself up again and press on. Heck- book 2 was such hell for me to write that it took 6 months to write 2 or 3 chapters in the middle, followed by a massive overhaul. It happens.

So am I disappointed that I didn’t complete what I set out to do last month? Yes, of course. Is it going to affect how I go on? Only in that I’ve returned to my usual “weekly goals” mindset instead of monthly. And on the plus side, I’ve continued with the “writing every day” mentality.

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I did have a lot of fun while writing in Nano and said some very weird things like: “Zombies are harder to write than I thought” and “I can’t talk now I’ve got to write about a dead cow.” Although, now I think about it, the gloomy subject matter is the crux of the problem- I gotta keep promising myself that the next book will be cheerier. Somehow I just needs to tell my brain to switch it up a gear– because that’s where all the grim ideas are coming from…

why so serious 2.gifAnd you know, I think that’s where I’m gonna leave this post, because it’s probably best not to take myself too seriously. Otherwise I might end up like this guy…take yourself seriouslyAnd no one wants to end up like that guy- at the very least, you don’t want that hair.