My Favourite Fantasy #2

orangutan list

I’m so excited for this post, cos it’s been *ages* since I talked about my top ten favourite fantasy, and I’ve been wanting to do a follow up for years! Now I’m finally doing it and *bonus* I’ve added in some sci fi this time round (yes, I could have done a separate post, but I don’t have such a long list for it). I feel like this will be a bit like my favourite classics and romance lists- I’ll just keep adding to it more and more 😊 Without further ado, let’s talk about some of my *new and shiny and glorious* faves:

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the Nightingale– I mean, you all knew I was going to include this, didn’t you? This sumptuous Russian fairy tale retelling stole my heart from the second I stepped into Arden’s world. Atmospheric and so-darn-beautiful, I will never cease to be amazed by how magnificent this book is.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer– well, duh, Laini Taylor had to be on this list! Her writing is exquisite, her worlds sensationally unique and her romances to die for!

circe

Circe– this is by far and away one of the most exquisite books I’ve ever read. And on top of that, it’s a perfect retelling of the Odyssey. I. am. in. awe.

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– another book I have endless admiration for. For me, what makes this so special is how it balances the gothic and fairy tale elements just so. As a lover of both genres, this book bowled me over, transporting me far away into the Hinterland.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere– bringing me closer to home, Neverwhere tells the story of a hidden London, steeping the streets in mythological imaginings. A truly magnificent work.

charmed life

Charmed Life– I know there are probably a lot of other Diana Wynne Jones’ books with more renown, however, this one for me brings me such joy. Perhaps I’m being a little sentimental, it’s just this one hits all the right emotional notes.

poison chris wooding

Poison– I had to triple and quadruple check that this wasn’t on my last list- because I ADORE THIS WONDERFULLY WEIRD BOOK. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it may make you feel like you’ve hopped down the rabbithole in terms of plot, yet it’s undeniably a unique read.

warrior heir

Heir Series– I read this fairly recently and it still manages to make me oddly nostalgic- because the characters and relationships and stories have a way of clinging to your soul. Yes, Chima Williams is another author making a repeat appearance on this list- that’s just because she’s another author who never fails to knock it out of the park.

red sister

The Book of the Ancestor Series– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the kind of series that reminds me why I got into fantasy in the first place. There’s so much to love about this- from the world to the sense of sisterhood to the romance. I just adore this series and can’t wait to read more from the author!

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– well, when I mentioned sci fi faves, I bet you all guessed this would be on here. Many of you will already know my love for this *prime* series, so I’ll be quick in saying for the millionth time: this is gorydamn good! I mean, it’s Romans in space- need I say more?!

shades children

Shade’s Children– I’m never quite sure what genre this is- but it doesn’t matter, cos I will always love this twisty standalone.

the martian

The Martian– who’d have thought that a book about a guy stranded on Mars would be so much fun? That’s because Mark Watney rocks. Funniest protagonist I’ve ever read- and he makes this race-against-time sci fi so spectacular.

And that’s all for now! I have a few more I’d like to add, but I like to give it some space after I read books before declaring them *favourites*. Are any of these your favourites? Do you have any favourite fantasy books you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

By Jove! I had fun with Iron Gold!

*Some spoilers for the first 3 books*

iron goldHe’s done it again! Pierce Brown has delivered another brilliant instalment in the Red Rising saga. After the events of Red Rising, I wasn’t certain what direction the series would take- but Brown allayed all my fears by exploring the question: what happens after the revolution? The ensuing plot enters into this discussion in a fascinating way, opening up both sides of the debate, and making me want to challenge old heroes and embrace new ones.

Thankfully, the characters were as memorable as ever. Initially I only wanted to spend time with the original cast and it did take me a little time to warm to some of the new characters- however I eventually came round to each and every one of them.

Obviously, Pierce Brown’s writing is simply out of this world as well. With as drama and pathos as the previous instalments, he successfully explores the human costs of war. It’s also jam-packed with action. Though it didn’t feel as tidy in structure as I remember from the first two books, it came very close to living up to its predecessors. Time and again, the gladiatorial conquests seem to turn to the audience and ask: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

are you not entertained

Yes, yes I really am. I can happily say I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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

 

Superlatives Tag

Hello all! Phew, it feels like I’ve not been on in ages, because I’m falling so far behind with comments and bloghopping- all I can do is apologise profusely for that. I’m juggling quite a lot at the moment and at the same time I feel at this point peppering every post with excuses will drive everyone (including me) mad. So just consider me the *most sorry* monkey on the planet. And that’s a nice segue into…

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how happy I am to do the Superlatives Tag! Thank you so much Kelly @Another Book in the Wall for tagging me! Now, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say Kelly is absolutely lovely and makes such an interesting wide range of topics- I’m constantly blown away by how awesome her blog is!

#1 Most Likely To Be in the Movies: the Book That Would Make the Best Movie

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising! Can you imagine how good this would be? Roman culture *in space*- I’m imagining this in my head right now and it’s amazing.

#2 Biggest Drama Queen/King: The Most (Overly) Dramatic Book or Character

thirteen reasons why

Thirteen Reasons Why– *Very* unpopular opinion, let’s not start a row in the comments section about all the various controversial aspects of this book (I’ve made my opinion on it clear years ago and I stand by pretty much all of it) but I’ve been watching thirteen reasons why and it’s reminded me how much I hated the mc. She’s not actually nice to *anyone*- ever. Not to her parents, not to her friends, not to potential bfs. And she takes rather drastic means of revenge, which ends up hurting people who didn’t deserve it and psychologically damaging them (I mean, didn’t Jessica suffered enough?! Why torment Clay when he wasn’t a reason?) Of course, people are free to reach entirely different conclusions, I just really didn’t like her.

#3 Best Dressed: The Book With the Best Cover

hazel wood

Hazel Wood- ahhh- I read it recently (review coming soonish) and I LOVED every second! I can happily say this is gorgeous both inside and out.

#4 Most Creative: The Book With the Most Unique Plot, Characters, & Structure

eleanor oliphant is completely fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- tempted to use We Were Liars like Kelly, but I talk about that a lot anyway. This is so different to anything I’d ever read- in every area! I was thinking I was in for a fluffy contemporary, but I was wrong, in a good way! And there was no way I was expecting that ending. This book certainly kept me on my toes!

#5 Most Popular: The Book With the Most Ratings on Goodreads

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Harry Potter- erm pretty sure Harry Potter’s pretty popular and justifiably so 😉

#6 Most likely to succeed: The Book That is Going to be Appreciated For Many Years to Come

homegoing

Homegoing– I actually mentioned this in my mini review– it’s a remarkable book and I’d be surprised if it isn’t a future classic.

#7 Class Clown: The Book That Made You Laugh Out Loud

the light fantastic

The Light Fantastic– really I could have said any of Pratchett’s books, only I read this the most recently (I’m all over the place with Rincewind books) and yeah, as per usual with Discworld books, it made me laugh out loud 😉

#8 Most Improved: The Book That Started Off Slow, But Really Picked Up

magician's guild

The Magician’s Guild­- this started off so s-l-o-w. Grinding through infodumps and non-action, I really wanted to DNF it. But my friend told me to power through because it gets better. And do you know what? To my amazement, it did. In fact, I ended up loving that series. So I guess I’m grateful to my friend for the heads up (I also blame this book for me forcing myself through so many books that *do not* get better).

#9 Cutest Couple: Cutest Couple in a Book

carry on

Carry On– okay, I wanted to be all original, but really, it’s got to be Baz and Simon!

#10 Biggest Heartbreaker: The Book That Broke Your Heart

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I spent the vast majority of my time reading this in floods of tears. I need to sort out my thoughts and do a review soon, but it’s gonna be hard, cos this book is *emotional*.

And on that note, I tag: Bethan May, Jill Jemmett, Lit Crit Pop, Kat@Life & Other Disasters, Samantha@Modern Witch’s Bookshelf, Sam@Rivermoose Reads, Bookish Owlett, Journey into Books, Angelica, Howlin Books, The Sweaterist and The Readers Bay

So what do you agree or disagree with the *most*? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

5 Book Series I Gave 5/5 Bananas

So I mentioned in my last post that I very rarely give books 5 bananas. Now, since I rarely give books 5*, imagine how much rarer it is for me to give an entire series 5*- in fact I’ve had a look through my goodreads and there are only 5 complete series I’ve given this too. Often I’ll like one book in a series more than others, sometimes the series will go downhill and from time to time I’ll end up loving a series I didn’t initially enjoy. Even though there are loads of series I’ve absolutely adored, very few series have actually made it onto this list. (I’m beginning to think I’m just a tad too strict about giving out bananas- maybe it’s the covetous monkey in me- I don’t know) Shockingly there are just *5* series on this list- and here they are:

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– Okay, so this is the most recent one. You can read all about my insane love for this series here, here and here. (this is me trying- unsuccessfully- not to ram it down your throats anymore than I already have :p )

Invisible

Invisible

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– I read this wayyy back in 2014- and it is the last time I rated an entire series 5*. And boy was it deserving of that. Not only was it phenomenally well written, but it was so damn clever! I loved the world she created and all the characters in it. All those books were pure poetry and I am delighted to include it on this list- or any list!

Invisible

wind singer

Wind Singer– I feel like I’m going back in time by mentioning this series. It is so long since I read it, that I can only remember the emotions it provoked in me and just snippets of the plot. But what a riot of emotions I remember getting from this- it moved me to tears and got me reading at a pace akin to Usaine Bolt running the 100m. I recommend this to everyone- including me- note to self: this is due a reread!

Invisible

sabriel

Sabriel– I’m cheating with this one, cos I thought I did give all the books 5*, but when I checked my goodreads apparently I didn’t give the second one 5*. I don’t agree with that rating at all- this series is so legendary and I have such fond memories of the Abhorsen trilogy as a whole that I *had to* include it in this list.

Invisible

northern lights

Northern Lights– gosh- here’s another one that makes me ridiculously nostalgic. I’ve reread this series so many times- and it never ceases to amaze me. It is exquisitely written, so beautifully drawn, and the world building is beyond compare- if you haven’t read it then you *need* to check it out. I give it all the bananas!!

Invisible

all of the bananas

And that’s it for now! I’m holding out hope that more book series will join this list soon (V E Schwab- I’m counting on you!!) and I would be happy for your suggestions! What book series have you given all 5* to? Let me know in the comments!

Morning Star is a Prime Example of a Great Book

So I’m gonna do something unconventional today and just say straight off the bat:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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morning starBecause it’s kind of a foregone conclusion at this point. If you’ve been following my reviews lately, you’ll already know how much I love this series, how I worship the characters and how I am head over heels for the world building. That’s why I’m sure many of you will have seen this coming.

But in all honesty, it wasn’t actually as straightforward as that. In reality, I very rarely give books 5* ratings. Even if I enjoy them, there are lots of reasons why I might stay my hand, and why I might hesitate about giving a book that one extra banana. Heck- I’ve gushed like crazy over books and then given them 4.5 bananas on here before. Why? Because of books like this. Because books like this *prove* why I need to distinguish between the fantastic books and the books that are blow my socks off brilliant.

At this stage, I’ve probably said everything that needs to be said about this series, but I’ll say these few things one more time, just in case I haven’t drummed home the message enough.

This book is one of the best I’ve read in a *really* long time (well since the Golden Son and Red Rising). The plot is insane- even if you guess half the twists, you’ll be stunned by the other half. You will be swept up in the drama and completely *destroyed* by it. I guarantee that this book will drive you crazy- in the best possible way. Because everything in it is *perfectly* drawn. And as you gallop towards the end of this book, your life will come to a standstill and you will most definitely miss a train or two (I just missed one this time). It is such as completely soul destroying and gut-wrenchingly beautiful work of literature. YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE!!!

And now that I am done with the series, I am bereft! What am I supposed to do with my time now? How am I gonna live without Darrow and his motley crew of space warriors? I don’t even know how I’m gonna go on….

Arghhh!! That is the trouble with brilliant books- they give me the worst book hangovers ever.

What was the worst bookhanger you’ve had lately? And if you have read this series- what did you think of the last instalment? Are you- like me- praying for more??

Goryhell! Golden Son Left Me Breathless

golden sonSo if you saw my review a few days ago, you’ll know I loved Red Riding. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… this book sucker punched me in the gut!

There were so many twists and turns, I couldn’t even recount it all if I wanted to. This book kept me on my toes for the entire wild ride. Brown’s writing has proved to be so dynamic and explosive that it will literally blow your mind! Reading them is like playing “pass the bomb”- you will not be able to put them down.

And like a bomb, Darrow comes into his own as a hero. He is perfectly placed at the epicentre- ready to rock the very foundations of the society with his (and Eo’s) dream. He storms through the story as a force to be reckoned with, pulling out the rug from under the elite and creates chaos better than any explosion. The drama is escalated from the first book, as Darrow and his friends turn the real world into their playground and become embroiled in the politics of their universe.

But he is not just a one-dimensional hero. Because the theme of humanity is carried over from the first book- Darrow is human in that he finds it easy to sink to the level of one of the entitled elite and must constantly struggle with himself to be a better man. In a way, the book shows how it is easy to fall into the trap of being a Gold (the elites), while it is harder to identify with the Reds (the oppressed).

True to the form of the first book, Brown explores depths I couldn’t have fathomed in what is technically a YA book series. Because these books are technically about power- but not in the way you might expect. They are about the power of love, the power of friendship and the power of humanity. This book philosophises with the best of them- it is both ingenious and deep as it delves into a future that resembles the Roman past so perfectly.

Like the first book, the connection to the Classics is vivid and perfectly interpreted. The battles remind me simultaneously of the Homeric myths that founded this ancient civilisation and the skirmishes at the end of the Roman Empire. It is a perfect circle that encompasses both the beginning and end of this political cycle.

And while I was knee deep in those crazy Machiavellian shenanigans, that ending came out of nowhere and blew me away. That ending COMPLETELY threw me- just when I thought there were no more surprises. After that I understood why Brown has compounded words: one word just couldn’t quite do all this craziness justice. Because, bloodyhell, it is a good book.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Hope you all enjoyed that! I will see you all again shortly- but probably not too soon- because these books are literally taking over my life! Let me know in the comments the last series you read that had you completely obsessed and of course your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it!

***Read the Review of Morning Star Here***

Red Rising is bloodydamn brilliant!

Red Rising Pierce Browns***Disclaimer- be prepared for the overuse of exclamation points!!***

I confess I’ve been absent for the last few days for the best reason a book blogger could ever be- I COULDN’T STOP READING!!! And what is the cause of this sudden burst of book-lovin’? Red Rising! I am *completely* addicted to this series (I started the first one on Monday and am now 2/3 of the way through the second one!)

A lot of people have said the first part was slow because it spent a huge amount of it world-building, but I’m going to be contrary and say I liked that too. Honestly, it was built on such deep, well thought out and accurate research that not only was my inner history nerd satisfied, but I was also completely in love with it. (I’m gonna try and not be too much of a classics geek right now- but seriously- Pierce Brown knows his stuff!) It was while I was reading and enjoying the part everyone warned me about that I thought “wow, if this is good then I am really in for something special”. And I was right.

Because then it got so much better. When the whole “capture the flag” sequence came up, my first thought was “oh not this whole shebang again, now it’s about to get generic”. But it didn’t! It took me by surprise and blew me away.

It was so gripping that I *literally* got on three wrong trains because of it (and I only have to get one train home from work- so it was a real achievement) Reading it actually gave me an adrenaline rush. After I finished I didn’t even feel like a person anymore- I was just stitched together squeals of delight!

But what made this plot more than just a crazy train ride was the sheer brilliance of the characters. Each one of them is complex, exquisite and delightfully drawn. Darrow in particularly has something so few protagonists possess- intelligence. And this is proved not just by Brown saying “he is really good at stuff”, like so many writers do, but by actually *proving* it. Not only do we get to see him solving problems, but we also get to see him evolve and learn as the story goes along. That on its own is worth picking this up for.

I could easily go on for pages about the beauty and quotability of the language. Or I could go on about the genius of the intrigue. Or I could talk about the divine moment at the end when everything came together. But these are things I think you will have to read the book to discover for yourselves….

All that remains to be said for now is *GO AWAY AND READ IT*. Read it because it will make you happy- and when it doesn’t make you happy it will have you tearing your hair out and crying and making you feel all the things a good book should!

Rating 5/5 bananas

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So stop what you are doing right now and go and read this bloodydamn book! What are you waiting for? Why are you still reading this? Go and read it now!!

***Read the Review of Golden Son Here***