Wednesday 24 March 2021

Tandem Reading: Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn

Hello there!

I am currently tandem reading Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas. A tandem read involves reading both books at the same time. I am using the Telle Reads guide to follow which chapters to read while switching between them. Normally I am someone that likes to stick to the publication order and any flipping around the order makes me feel uncomfortable. For example, the Shadowhunter books. The correct way in my mind will always be The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, and then The Last Hours. It's a no to the idea of the chronological read for me. 

However, I may call this a special case. The events of EOS and TOD are happening at the same time with our main characters in two different places. EOS focuses on Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Elide, etc. While TOD focuses mainly on Chaol and Nesryn in the Southern isles. I was not sure how I felt about reading a whole book just about Chaol as he was not my absolute favourite character in previous books. I also struggled a lot reading Heir of Fire then Assassin's Blade then going back to Queen of Shadows because I didn't want an "in-between" book I just wanted to keep powering through with the story. (I did end up loving TAB so much - it was just the initial struggle of getting into a prequel story, while all my heart wanted was more Rowan). THEREFORE, my solution to avoiding the feeling of annoyance to read TOD while all I will probably want to do after EOS is read KOA, is the tandem read.

My update so far (I am about 100 pages into each). I AM LOVING IT. I do feel that the story is flowing really nicely despite all of the POVs. If you enjoyed Heir of Fire, which has a lot of switching POVs between a LOT of characters in different places. Then you may really enjoy doing the tandem read. My initial worries of not enjoying TOD have gone out the window, especially after meeting the lovely character Yrene. As I read if I feel that I am more on a roll with EOS then I think I will swap switching between the books and just finish EOS before continuing TOD and stopping the tandem read. I will keep you all updated!

Have you thought about doing a tandem read? What were your thoughts on the books?

Sunday 21 March 2021

Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

 King of Scars (King of Scars #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Face your demons... or feed them.

The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country's bloody civil war--and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka's coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren't meant to stay buried--and some wounds aren't meant to heal.

King of Scars is a fantastic addition to the Grishaverse. It feels a lot more connected to the events in Shadow and Bone than Six of Crows was. One of the main reasons for this is that the narrators of this book are Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina. Nikolai and Zoya are battling to keep Ravka afloat after the events in Ruin and Rising. Even though time has passed the wounds in the lands are still present and King Nikolai is still fighting the beast inside of him that threatens to engulf his mind each night. These characters are still struggling with the trauma that the Darkling's reign left behind.

Nikolai and Zoya venture to find answers about how to rid Nikolai of the monster inhabiting him. While Nina is on a mission in Fjerda to find Grisha and bring them to Ravka. I really enjoyed that Nina was in Fjerda on her mission, especially as she works through the grief of losing Matthias. She was one of my favourites to read about as I was so invested in her goal to help those suffering. We also learn more about her altered Heartrender powers as a result of the jurda parem in Crooked Kingdom. There are little mentions of the crows in Nina'a chapters as she recounts her time with them, sadly however they don't ever appear. I hope they make an appearance in Rule of Wolves (KOS #2) that would be AMAZING. Oh how I miss all of them.

What let this book down was how it underutilised Nikolai's chapters. I felt that a heavier emphasis was put on Zoya and exploring her story, whereas I really thought Nikolai would take the center stage a bit more. I do really enjoy Zoya's character and her development in this book was great to read about. I just wanted a bit more Nikolai. I feel like he was there but we didn't get enough of him! I hope that this is something that changes in the next installment.

One aspect of this book that I love is how it develops on the background of Grisha magic. There is a pivotal character in this who blows everything we know about Grisha out the window and allows us to think of them in a completely different way. It was only touched on, but I suspect this will play an even larger role in the sequel which is very exciting.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read and loved the Grishaverse books in the past and want to expand on this world with new stories. Ideally, it would be good to have read Shadow and Bone as well as Six of Crows before reading this book as this book follows chronologically and the main characters are also from those two separate series. However, if you are like me and haven't read the Shadow and Bone series since it came out (many years ago) and you read Six of Crows recently, you should be okay without a re-read. There were times when I was a bit lost when they mentioned previous events in S&B that I could not for the life of me remember, but I could still engage with this story. Perhaps if you have time re-read Shadow and Bone beforehand just so your mind is fresh with all those details. 

I am very excited for Rule of Wolves. I am hoping that Bardugo was holding back with us in King of Scars to give us an explosive sequel. From the ending of this book, I think this next installment will be one crazy ride and I cannot wait to see what happens. 


4 Falling Books

Previous reviews:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Chain of Gold is a spin-off series I have been waiting for for years. Ever since Clockwork Princess left my heart shattered and soul in tatters, I knew that a series essentially following the children of my favourite characters would hit the spot. 

Set in the 1900s, this book gave me Bridgerton vibes. If you watched the show and loved the balls, courting, etiquette, cute walks in the park, then you will love this. It was the perfect backdrop for these characters and the plot. This book does follow the usual Cassie Clare/Shadowhunter recipe: there are demons, a larger sinister overarching plot, and amazing character relationships that you can't help but feel so invested in. 

The characters we follow include James and Lucie Herondale, Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia Carstairs, Thomas Lightwood, Christopher Lightwood, Thomas Lightwood, to name a few. So as you can see we are following the children of the characters we met in The Infernal Devices. Seeing our favourite characters as parents was so special and made me love the book before I even started. However, despite enjoying the large cast of main characters who took turns in the spotlight of this book, it did mean that we did not get the full depth of character development for all of them. This left me with the feeling that I knew I liked them, but there was still a lot I didn't know about them. There was a disconnect in some way. I hope this is an issue that solves itself in the sequel Chain of Iron. This book was chunky so it is a shame that we couldn't get to know them more in just the first book.

Speaking of CC's recipe, starting this book was so easy. It was so smooth slipping into this world, understanding the dynamics between characters, and just falling back into the Shadowhunter world. I initially thought maybe it would take me a few chapters to be hooked, but by the end of the first chapter, I knew I was going to love it. If you enjoyed the previous books, I do not see why you would fall back easily in love with this story as it is like a continuation of TID. The writing style is easy to follow and even if you may not have read the complete full series there is enough background in this book for you to read this straight away. However, I would recommend you at least read TID before as it helps you understand a lot of the backstories.

I also felt that the plot in this book is not the strongest. Things don't get going until the end, but I did not necessarily mind this as it left a lot of the story open to slowly introducing characters. If you're looking for a whirlwind of action, this may not be the book for you. But if you like the Shadowhunter world and just so happen to have enjoyed Bridgerton just as much as I have, then I think you will appreciate this series!

Overall, I would recommend this book for those who love the Shadowhunter world and especially The Infernal Devices. I can't wait to see where this series goes as the ending to this book had one of my favorite tropes. Hehe. 
4.5 Falling Books

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 16 March 2021

My Current Reads

Happy Tuesday!

I have been trying to tackle my huge TBR in this lovely month of March. This includes finally getting to some of my books that have been waiting on my shelf a long time and the sequels are now coming out. Woops.
This was my first read of the month and I loved it. After the hangover that ACOSF by Sarah J Maas left me with, this book was perfect. Lovely cast of characters and such warm family vibes! I cannot wait for Chain of Iron to arrive at my doorstep. I will be posting a full review soon.
I am 75% through this beauty and I am really enjoying it. It's refreshing to have POVs of Zoya and Nikolai. I found it slightly difficult to get into at the beginning but once the story and plotline picked up I was hooked! I will be finishing this hopefully in the next 24 hours and then the count down to Rule of Wolves begins.

What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.