Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book ReviewSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books on April 24th 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I am always up for a good and solid Viking type of story! As a part of my studies revolved around studying their culture, I always find it hard to fall in love with these type of books because so many stories don’t really do their culture justice. Lucky for me (and you!) Sky in the Deep delivered, and how!

If you are not into lots of action and (some) gore, this book might not be for you. It is fast paced and action packed from the start, as you’re immediately thrown into a battle between two rival clans. And, for the rest of the story, that fast paced and action-packed vibe doesn’t let up! (Yay!)

Eelyn, the main character in Sky in the Deep, is hard and tough, not because circumstances forced her to be, but just because she is. And guys, you wouldn’t believe how refreshing that is! She develops a lot throughout the story as the foundation of everything she’s always believed in is shaken. She has to rediscover her place in her world and accept that maybe not everything is as black and white as she previously believed to be.

The romance, guys, is a slow burner! (Que fist pump!) I love me a good slow-burner, and THIS BOOK HAS IT! It is so good, it is forbidden, and it is intense. What isn’t to like?

Another thing I really enjoyed is that Sky in the Deep dives into the subject of what makes a family. The concept of which is something Eelyn redefines as she changes throughout the story. View Spoiler » It is all about who you let into your heart. Eelyn might be a badass, but you cannot deny that she has heart!

Fast paced and action-packed until the end! If you love the former and you don’t mind (some) gore, then Sky in the Deep is for you! For all the Viking-type-of-story fans out there: I can’t recommend this book enough!

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine | Book Review

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine | Book Review

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine | Book ReviewThe Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer & Bray on February 16th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance
Pages: 387
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m all for fairytale retellings, and The Shadow Queen was all that a fairytale should be! A fantasy story with magic and dragons. You can sign me up for that anytime.

I think what I loved most about The Shadow Queen was that while it was gory and hard at times it also had that classic fairytale feeling to it. Like most fairytales, the story was brutal and choices were made that had to be made. There were plenty of plot twists and turns that I didn’t see coming (and frankly… I’m quite good at figuring out plot twists before they happen).

The protagonist, Lorelei, is calculated and kickass. I like how she’s a planner and has carefully got herself to a point of challenging the antagonist. Together with her brother Leo and Gabriel, who sort of became a father figure to them, they form a great team and have a great dynamic going. Trow a recently crowned king and his entourage into the mix and you got what I deem a recipe for a solid story. Kol is a Draconia, which means he can shapeshift into a dragon (COOL!) and he meets Lorelei early on without knowing who she is which causes plenty of problems for the both of them later on.

Although it is quite obvious early on who is going to end up with whom, I love that there was no instalove to be found. They slowly get to know each other (and themselves) and their relationship slowly blooms into something more. The fact that they’re both trying to save their respective kingdoms give them that something important in common that is the beginning of so much awesomeness.

Even more awesome is the fact that the antagonist isn’t just a villain for the sake of needing a villain in the story. Irina actually has a lot of depth and I enjoyed the chapters from her perspective as they provided an insight behind her motivations. She’s very well-written and a part of me actually felt for her as her past was filled with pain. Her narrative was confusing, but this only added to the whole vibe she had going on.

The Shadow Queen might not be the most impressive fairytale retelling, but it was a VERY enjoyable read and a solid read. In fact, I love how Lorelei and Kol’s story got resolved within this story. It was a fun book, with tons of great fantasy elements and very enjoyable characters! If you, like me, love fairytale retellings I suggest you give this one a go.

Front Lines by Michael Grant

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Front Lines by Michael GrantFront Lines by Michael Grant
Series: Soldier Girl #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 26th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical Fiction
Pages: 576
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.com
Goodreads
four-stars

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

What I thought

Front Lines is the first book by Michael Grant that I’ve read. When I read about the premise for this book I was sold. I mean, it seemed like such an original and intriguing take on World War II. After reading Front Lines I can tell you that it most certainly lived up to my expectations: what a long but incredibly compelling and captivating read!

There is so much detail that has gone into this book

Front Lines starts out quite slow, but this is one of those books that needs slow in the beginning. I don’t think I would have become as invested in the characters as I am now if I hadn’t been there alongside them at bootcamp, traveling from California to Georgia to Oklahoma to New York City and to North Africa on the Queen Mary. You need the background to become invested in these characters and I appreciate all the detail that has gone into this SO MUCH. The background stories, the journey to bootcamp, as well as all the historical details are what make this book so incredibly captivating to read.

Front Lines is such a confrontational and realistic story to read

What I loved most about Front Lines is that Michael Grant didn’t just stop at the imagined army life and conditions of women (and from the POV of three different women) during WWII. He also took in account how race would have factored in the army furing the early 1940s as well. Rio Richlin is a white girl from a small town in California, Frangie Marr is an African-American girl from Oklahoma, and Rainy Shulterman is a Jewish girl from New York City. Not only does Grant tackle gender injustice and sexism, he tackles racism as well, which is something that would be very easy to forget when writing a book like this. The fact that Grant ‘tells it like it is’ and doesn’t shy away from having his characters making racial slurs and sexist comments makes Front Lines an incredibly confrontational and realistic story to read.

Flawed characters with SO MUCH depth

I am, and always have been, a huge fan of character driven stories and Front Lines did in no way let me down in this department. The characters are realisticly portrayed: they’re flawed and have so much depth. Rio, Frangie, and Rainy all have their own distinct personalities, and have their own reasons for enlisting. The secondary characters, too, bring so much to the story.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

 

The whopping amount of 576 pages are an absolute pleasure from beginning to end. It is such a compelling read and I cannot wait for the sequel to Front Lines to hit shelves! (Somehow I didn’t realize this would be a series until I reached the end of the book, imagine the frustration when I realized I coudn’t keep on reading when I wanted to SO BADLY). Seriously people, read this!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on September 29th
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 465
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.com
Goodreads
five-stars

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

What I thoughtSix of Crows was so freaking fantastic. Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time, and a part of me thought she couldn’t really top that, but boy, were my socks knocked off my feet. This book was so incredibly good. The entire story is one crazy intense and action packed ride, where plot twists just lurk behind every corner waiting to jump on you. This is a MUST READ!

Intriguing and original setting

First things first, Six of Crows is loosely based on 17th century the Netherlands. A setting that was really different from what we encountered in the Grisha trilogy, but made for a wonderful addition to the Grishaverse! The Dutch words that were incorporated in the story and the little cultural things (*cough* hutspot *cough*) were so fun to encounter. The setting was really intriguing and a bit dark, which makes for a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It really is a bit like a fantasy version of Ocean’s Eleven, I mean, what’s not to love?

Gritty and dark and lovable characters

The characters were gritty and dark, which fit the setting perfectly, and I got sucked into their pov’s right away. They are amazing and have SO MUCH depth! Each character overflows with depth. Each character has a past, a personal story that brought them to Ketterdam, which makes them distinctive. They are complex, flawed, strong, lovable, and they all get their time to shine. I fell in love with each and every one of them while learning their background (it is inevitable really) and they became favorites in no time at all.

Action and excitement galore

If you love action-packed and fast-paced stories then Six of Crows is the story for you! Action and excitement galore! The heist itself was nerve-wrecking and Kaz’s genius will surprise you again and again. Plenty of plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat and will leave you begging for the sequel. Magic, mischief, and jailbreaking, again, what’s not to love?

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

If my review didn’t already tell you this: Six of Crows was AMAZING. Beautifully written, lovable characters with SO MUCH depth, and an action-packed and fast-paced plot. PERFECTION! All I’ve left to tell you is: go read this, it’s awesome!

New OTP on the Horizon – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

New OTP on the Horizon – Graceling by Kristin CashoreGraceling by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published by Gollancz on January 22nd 2009
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

What I thought

Graceling now holds a special place among my favorite fantasy books. What a story! Magical powers, good and interesting plot, and great characters, what more can you ask for?! I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy after finishing Graceling and want to hug the book to my chest and never EVER let go again. I need more. This story could’ve gone on infinitely and I wouldn’t have cared, I just need MORE.

I have a new OTP, Katsa and Po were absolutely PERFECT together.

I absolutely ADORE Katsa and Po together. I love how they first became friends and then slowly their bond developed into much more. They had that special something, that spark, that makes for a beautiful romance. They are, well I can’t say adorable, because they’re both badass in their own way and they fight eachother (literally… they beat the crap out of eachother). They can because their graces allow them too, and it’s just EVERYTHING I look for in a romance. Their banter was the best. I LOVED it.

Katsa develops so freaking much throughout the story, it’s a beautiful thing to read about.

Katsa is a wonderfully complex character. Yes, she’s badass, but she’s so much more than that. She is intelligent and has this soft side that starts coming out more and more. She develops enormously throughout the story. She goes from the king’s lapdog to this strong and independent person that values justice above all else. She’s nowhere near perfect, but she’s courageous and not afraid to learn from her mistakes.

Po’s character was so damn refreshing. He’s cheerful and talkative and just so lovable!

Po, gosh I am in love with sweet Po. His grace allows him to fight a somewhat fair fight with Katsa on her level, and even though he got his ass handed to him plenty of times he was perfect. Absolutely perfect. I want my own Po, desperately. He’s cheerful and talkative and just so damn lovable. You have no idea how refreshing his character was. I love me a good and sexy bad boy, or a diamond in the rough, but I think we need more Po’s in literature (and in real life… swoons).

The plot was well thought out and unfolded at a very comfortable pace, with some great twists along the way.

The plot is basically this gigantic journey. The story follows Katsa and the journey she makes. I would have thought it would have some boring moments here and then, but I was fully enchanted with the story and writing. I COULDN’T stop reading. I loved the survival part of this story, it was interesting and made it even easier for me to admire Katsa’s strength and character. The plot was well thought out and unfolded at a very comfortable pace, with some great twists along the way.

Basically, I wish there was MORE.

I was looking at the synopsis for the sequel and noticed that it’s not neccesarily about Katsa, and part of me is sad about it. I loved her story so freaking much and I wish there was MORE. But on the other hand, I’m content with the way this story ended, and intrigued by the synopsis of the sequel. Graceling BLEW me away.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

Graceling is one EPIC story. It has EVERYTHING you need in a story: an easy writing-style, engaging plot, great characters, and solid world-building. I just want more, more, and more. I sure hope we’ll see more of Katsa and Po in the future! I definitely need more Kristin Cashore as soon as possible!