Monthly Monkey Mini Review – April

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Okay, I usually like to post these on the first Friday of the month and I’ve been consistent with that for about a year now… buuut I knew there was no way I could get online yesterday, so it seemed a bad day to schedule it. Anyway, I’m sorry for still being all over the place with bloghopping, replying to comments and whatnot, I’ve just been juggling a lot lately…

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Well, not literally, I can’t actually juggle 😉 Offline stuff is still eating into my internet time, but I did get to do my first guest post in March and wanted to send a very warm thank you to the lovely Dani @Perspective of a Writer for very kindly hosting me! If you fancy a post on Unusual Classics feel free to check it out- and please check out Dani in general because her blog is *magnificent* and *stunning*!

Anyway today, I’m happy to say I only have good books to review, so this is more of a recommendations post than anything else 😀

anna dressed in blood

Anna Dressed in Blood– I’ve seen this book knocking around for years and happened to find it in the library when I was looking for One Dark Throne. Now, in case you’ve not seen my reviews, I haven’t been too enamoured by that series- HOWEVER I *loved* this. Some of the main issues I’ve had with Blake’s trilogy is an inability to connect with the characters and vague world building- that is not the case here at all! I thought the characters were very relatable and the world she created was so clear. On top of that, this was incredibly GRIPPING. The twists were INSANE as well and there were so many that I couldn’t guess all of them. Plus, any I did guess didn’t detract from the horror. This was so scary for me I *had to* put it down! Admittedly, I scare easily and don’t normally go in for this kind of book- still the fact that I desperately wanted to finish this book says a lot. It was a great story and I get why everyone’s been raving about it for years.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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The Last Magician– I read this thanks to a *wonderful* review from Trang @Bookidote– highly recommend you check it out! And I’m delighted to say I had a great time reading it! I mean, what’s not to like about magicians and time travel? I was gripped from the awesome opening and I couldn’t stop reading. The characters and relationships were amazing; the world building was detailed and unique. I did guess some of the twists, though not all of them. Overall it was an exciting and different story, aided by sleek and effective writing. I didn’t give it a full five bananas just because it was lacking that je ne sais quoi for me, but (and this is not going to be a popular opinion) I will admit I wasn’t keen on the numerous, casually sexist, throwaway lines like “fragile male ego”- it saddens me that a book would go there.  Nonetheless, that’s more a sign of the times and I still thought this book was brilliant.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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The Forbidden Wish– I was recommended this so many times by Anna @My Bookish Dream and Being a Book Nerd and it being a retelling of Aladdin, I just had to read it… and I’m really glad I did! This is a stunning YA fantasy book, with an evocative voice and dreamy tone. The writing is expertly done and has one of the best uses of second person I’ve ever seen. With this genius touch, it links the past and present. The one issue I had with this was that it could have done with more space for the characters and relationships to develop. It all felt a bit rushed considering the scope of the story. I’d easily have been happy with a longer book- it’s not like the brilliant writing style couldn’t have sustained it. But ultimately, I was really happy with this and I let out an audible aww at the end.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Anyway, this has been a veritable feast of great books, leaving me one satisfied monkey…


So have you read any of these? Did you love them or loathe them? And do you plan to read any of them now? Let me know in the comments!

Three Dark Crowns was a Little Lightweight

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Alohomora! If you think that introduction is a sign of how magical this book was… you would be wrong. I’m just in a Harry Potter mood (I’ve been binge watching The Dom’s reviews– anyone else seen those?) Sorry to disappoint, but this book is hardly in the league of JK Rowling’s originality and imagination. Yes, the blurb of this book promises something dark, interesting, seductive even- but that’s not exactly what you get. This was bang on average- nothing terrible about it, nothing too brilliant either.

The writing style was crisp and effective in many ways- buuut there was one major flaw with it- the author does all her characterisation by proxy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not one to always bring out the “show don’t tell” rule and I even like a good Dickensian characterisation, where everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in with excruciating detail… Yet if there’s one thing I find fault with its when other characters *tell* us the personality traits of other people in the book- especially when there’s no other indication they actually possess these qualities. Note to authors: all the other characters saying the protagonist is “sweet” does not make her sweet. And if you’re going to use this technique, just back it up, with at least one piece of evidence! It just feels like lazy writing otherwise.

So what of these characters then? Well I liked Mirabelle best because we actually saw her acting out her characteristic “sweetness”. Likewise, Arsinoe’s “wildness” showed up from time to time. Kat’s personality on the other hand…. Well it was as flat as a pancake. As I said, there was not one iota of evidence to suggest she was also “sweet”. (Also could the author have managed to come up with a third character trait so that it wasn’t so repetitive- is that too much to ask?)

Alright, so the characterisation wasn’t ideal, what of the romance? I guess, it was fine (really, I’m not managing to conjure up much enthusiasm for this book, am I?) I found it believable enough. I know a lot of people thought it was instalove, but I thought it was done in a similar style to everything else- ie we were told about it. So it didn’t trouble me any more than how anything else was fleshed out (as in, not very much).

slow slow quick quick slowIn terms of pacing, it was mostly slow-slow-quick-quick-slow- ok just kidding, it was slow, but it sped up at the end. Again, I didn’t have too much of a problem with this because it’s only 400 pages long, so if you’re a quick reader the slow parts won’t be too painful. There was *finally* some action at the end, but there were issues with it. The first being that I had not connected enough with the characters to be shocked… the second being that I guessed the “twist” from chapter 1. As nice as it is to be right, that’s a little too easy if you ask me.

Alright after that pretty lacklustre review, this may come as a shock, but I would quite like to continue reading this series out of sheer curiosity. In all honesty, I want to see if I can guess the rest of theplot….

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

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Also, let’s be honest, the covers are epic.

What books have been *so obvious* to you that you guessed everything from the beginning? And what book do you reckon was lazily written? Let me know in the comments!