Top Lists

Series I Won’t Be Continuing

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Last week I posted my top ten series to continue reading in 2016. This week I thought I’d do the opposite and discuss series that I’ve given up on, or definitely don’t plan on giving any more chances.

Grave Sight Grave Secret

I’ve read books two and three of the Harper Connolly series by Charlaine Harris, but not book one or book four (yeah, weird order, just the ones I happened to own). After the rather… almost incestuous events of book three, I have no interest in continuing this series, thank you very much.

The 100 The 100

The television series of The 100 by Kass Morgan was great, although it took me two attempts to get into it. I am more than happy to continue with that, and am looking forward to the next season. The books however? Nah. This is a case of the adaptation being VERY different from the book – not so unusual – but also the adaptation being a much better version. Not something that seems to happen very often. The book felt lifeless compared to the show.

Evil Star Night Rise Necropolis

I bought the first three books of The Power of Five (also called The Gatekeepers) by Anthony Horowitz from a charity shop for 50p each, as it was a series I’d always wanted to read. However, I think I got to this one far too late. If I’d read it in my teens, maybe I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it is, it doesn’t work for me, and I’ll be taking those books back to the charity shop…

Those Below

I was so sad that The Empty Throne series by Daniel Polansky just did not work for me. I saw it before release, admired the cover, and then was sent a copy by Hodder. Unfortunately it was just lacking something to make it really work for me. But just look at the cover of the second book – so gorgeous!

Shadow's Edge Beyond the Shadows

The first book of the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks was a Fantasy Book of the Month for my Goodreads book group, and I’m normally pretty happy with what we choose. I even already had this one on my shelf. Unfortunately, it was not at all what I’d expected. It felt so flat, boring and disappointing. Maybe some of Brent Weeks’ other work is for me, but not this series.

Captive Queen

All I want to say here is that the first book of The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter was hands down the worst book I read in 2015. I think that pretty much sums it up.

18812716 Catacomb

I was hoping that the Asylum series by Madeleine Roux would be a Miss Peregrine style story infused with creepy photos. It turned out to be an absolutely rubbish story with the worst characters, and photos that served no real purpose.

Untamed Hunted Tempted

The very thought of the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast makes me shudder. I read the first three books a couple of years ago, as my sister owned them and I was home from university for Christmas, reading everything I could in the meanwhile. They’re the sort of books that are so bad you kind of want to keep reading, like when you drive past an accident and don’t want to look but human nature makes you. Absolute trainwrecks.

Earth Star Earth Flight

This makes me a little sad, because I really wanted to love the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards. I met Janet at Bristolcon and she was lovely, she even took part in the first Sci-Fi Month – but I cannot stand Jarra, the main character of this series. I wanted to bitch slap her so hard.

Day Shift Night Shift

Sorry Charlaine Harris. Midnight, Texas is your second series on here. I love you for writing the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but I don’t seem to have much luck with the rest of your work. The first book was just so… uneventful, I have no interest in reading any further.

Are there any series you’ve given up on? Have you read any of these series, and if so what did you think?

Review

Review: Those Above (The Empty Throne #1) by Daniel Polansky

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3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

You know the feeling of excitement when you get a brand, shiny new book – the cover is gorgeous, the plot sounds perfect, and you can’t WAIT to read it. Then you have to wait a little while to fit it into your reading schedule, but you know it will be worth the wait. And then you finally, finally get to read it.

And it breaks your heart just a little bit, because it is utterly disappointing.

Leslie Knope gif

That is what Those Above was to me. I fell in love with the cover (hello Roman inspired fantasy!) and the premise. I eyed that book up a lot, sat on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read whilst I battled with university work. And then I could finally read it, so settled down for a few hours of cosy reading – and found I couldn’t even concentrate on it for one.

Why, Those Above, why?? In the simplest terms, you just weren’t as exciting as I’d expected. By two thirds into the book, I was still waiting for something to actually happen. Yes, it’s the first in a series so there’s lots of world-building to do and lore to set out, but it’s got to draw me in if it wants me to carry on reading the series. I felt no attachment to any character, and not just because of the fact that they were pretty despicable in their own ways (here’s looking at you, cast of A Song of Ice and Fire), but because they felt rather flat. I honestly did not care what would happen to any of them.

I appreciated the Roman and Greek influences and it didn’t even bother me that they were mixed. But the world in which Those Above is set did not feel particularly original. So, you’ve got your warring nations, your shanty-towns, your aristocrats and nobility, even if that nobility is a strange alien (I think?) race. The issue with ‘Those Above’ as rulers is that they weren’t scary. There was maybe one or two scenes that demonstrated their strength, but I never completely got a clear impression of why the people of this world let themselves be enslaved, or how it happened.

In addition, I suppose this book came at a bad time. I’m getting quite bored of fantasy books where the women are second class. Is this historically accurate? No, it’s fantasy. So why are the women always down-trodden and less important in society than the men? Also due to the story pretty much taking place in one city, or certain parts of one city, I got no impression of the rest of the world and as a result it felt very small. I had no idea what sort of influence ‘Those Above’ had on people outside of this city, because I never saw them.

So regrettably, I only want to award this book three stars – a ‘you disappointed me and it makes me sad’ sort of three stars. I have another book of Daniel Polansky’s, and this won’t put me off reading that – but I’m not sure I will continue with this particular series.

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: April 2015

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Drawn by Cecilia Gray Those Above Doctor Who: Engines of War Crocodile on the Sandbank

 

Last month I read a total of six books: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer, Drawn by Cecilia Gray, Those Above by Daniel Polansky, Doctor Who: Engines of War by George Mann and Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.

I may have read more than last month somehow, but it was a month of ‘eh’ books. These all received two or three stars. The most fun was probably Crocodile on the Sandbank, purely for its portrayal of a Victorian female archaeologist, with ladies fainting left right and centre.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge and managed to defeat Kang the Conqueror! Gorilla Grodd is the villain for May, and he looks to be a tough one.
  • I have currently read twenty five books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
How was April for you?

Top Lists

Anticipated Releases 2015

Anticipated Releases 2015

It’s a new year, and with it comes new books and release dates! 2015 looks like it will be a fantastic year for new releases, and I just wanted to share a few (or maybe more than a few…) that I’m really looking forward to. I’m sure I’ll find plenty more between writing and posting this, and then even more during the course of 2015. I’d also love to hear which new books you’re looking forward to the most.

Shadow Scale The Liar's Key The Skull Throne

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman is the second book in the Seraphina series, the first of which I read last month and really, really enjoyed. Despite not liking Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence as much as I’d hoped, I gave his second series a try and found Prince of Fools much more enjoyable – so I’m looking forward to the sequel, The Liar’s Key. You may have seen me talk about a series called The Demon Cycle, written by Peter V. Brett, a lot – and the fourth book, The Skull Throne is set for release in 2015!

A Darker Shade of Magic Shutter Cannonbridge

I still haven’t managed to get my hands on a copy of Vicious yet so I’ve not sampled Victoria Schwab‘s writing, but A Darker Shade Of Magic sounds amazing nonetheless. I came across Shutter by Courtney Alameda when searching for books to fit the DC vs. Marvel Challenge. It sounds amazing, and reminds me a little of the video game Fatal Frame. I have a copy of Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes from Netgalley, and it sounds pretty unique – an infamous 19th century writer who never should have existed, but seems to have influenced the lives of just about everyone.

Those Above No Cover Reawakened

Hodder kindly sent a copy of Those Above by Daniel Polansky to my address in the UK, and I am DEFINITELY taking it back to Leiden with me. It looks like the start of another wonderful epic fantasy series. I may only have read the first book in the series, and will be reading number two soon, but I am still excited for the fifth book in the Mistborn series (which currently has no cover), Shadows Of Self by Brandon Sanderson – although there is no exact date within 2015 as of the current moment. Reawakened by Colleen Houck looks like it could either be really great or absolutely awful… but it’s about Egyptian mythology so yes, I will be reading it!

See How Small A Court of Thorns and Roses The Galaxy Game

Another one that I have from Netgalley, See How Small by Scott Blackwood sounds like it might be along the lines of something like The Lovely Bones. I really should have listed A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas first, because I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE! I am completely in love with her writing, and I’m ecstatic that she has written another series. And finally, last but not least, The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord looks to be an epic science fiction novel. It’s a standalone, but is set in the same universe as her previous work.

What releases are you looking forward to during 2015?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #15: Fantasy ‘Pick & Mix’

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to recommend fantasy novels, depending on what element you would like to read about.

I’ve chosen a selection of fantasy books, picked out some of the main themes or features of each, and then divided them accordingly. The idea is that you can pick one or more elements you’d like to read about, and pick a book from that category. Even better if a book crosses several different categories – which is where the ‘pick & mix’ comes in! When it comes to series I’ve generally only included the first book from each, unless the sequels contain elements that the previous books do not.

The categories are: Assassins, Dark, Dragons, Dwarves & Elves, Historical, Magic, Monsters, Political, Quest, Royalty and Thieves.

Assassins
Assassins
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Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas; Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore; The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers; Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Pyramids (Discworld #7) by Terry Pratchett.

Dark Theme
Dark

A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie; The Left Hand Of God (The Left Hand of God #1) by Paul Hoffman; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; Low Town (Low Town #1) by Daniel Polansky; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence.

Dragons
Dragons

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman; The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle #1) by Miles Cameron; A Natural History of Dragons (Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan; A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin; Dragonflight (Pern #1) by Anne McCaffrey; Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett.

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Dwarves & Elves

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; Men At Arms (Discworld #15) by Terry Pratchett; The Dwarves (The Dwarves #1) by Markus Heitz; Homeland (Legend of Drizzt #1) by R.A. Salvatore; Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini; Dawnthief (Chronicles of the Raven #1) by James Barclay.

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Historical

*By historical I mean the book is either based on a historical period, takes place in a historical period but has fantastical elements, or is an alternate history.

Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers; Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; In Camelot’s Shadow (The Paths to Camelot #1) by Sarah Zettel.

Magic
Magic
Magic
Magic

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling; The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss; Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor; The Magicians’ Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1) by Trudi Canavan; Elantris by Brandon Sanderson; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson; The Wind Singer (Wind on Fire #1) by William Nicholson; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan; Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo; Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Colour Of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett; Dawnthief (Chronicles of the Raven #1) by James Barclay; Low Town (Low Town #1) by Daniel Polansky.

Monsters
Monsters

*By monsters I mean a wide variety of things: zombies, centaurs, orcs, goblins, demons etc. Not necessarily all evil!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling; Fire (Graceling #2) by Kristin Cashore; Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts.

Politics
Politics

The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; The Left Hand Of God (The Left Hand of God #1) by Paul Hoffman; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder.

Quest
Quest
Quest

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; Red Country by Joe Abercrombie; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Wind Singer (Wind on Fire #1) by William Nicholson; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; The Princess Bridge by William Goldman; A Natural History of Dragons (Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts; Dragonflight (Pern #1) by Anne McCaffrey.

Royalty
Royalty
Royalty

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas; Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Desert Spear (The Demon Cycle #2) by Peter V. Brett; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; Elantris by Brandon Sanderson; The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Princess Bride by William Goldman; Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman; Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan.

Thieves
Thieves

Bitterblue (Graceling #3) by Kristin Cashore; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; The Princess Bride by William Goldman; Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan.

I hope this ‘pick and mix’ list helps you to find some new reads! 🙂