Review: Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Goldenhand by Garth Nix (UK edition)

Goldenhand by Garth Nix (UK edition)

Title: Goldenhand (The Old Kingdom Series, 5)
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books (4th October 2016)
Blurb:

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind.

When Lirael saves Nicholas Sayre after he is left unconscious by an attack from a hideous Free Magic creature, she finds he is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Lirael must seek help for him at the Clayr’s Glacier, her childhood home.

But even as she returns to the Clayr, a messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother, Arielle, about the Witch With No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and must be forestalled not only in the living world, but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

Goldenhand is the long-awaited fifth instalment of Garth Nix’s New York Times bestselling Old Kingdom series.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

GOLDENHAND is the fifth book in Garth Nix’s sprawling young adult fantasy Old Kingdom series. This book continues the story from ABHORSEN, so there will be some spoilers from previous books in this review. When the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Lirael, gets called to deal with a Free Magic creature that is the Wall she discovers Nicholas Sayre unconscious and deeply tainted with Free Magic. Unsure what is going on, or how to help him Lirael decides to seek help at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier. Meanwhile, a messenger is searching for Lirael with a warning from her mother about the Witch With No Face.

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (UK edition)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (UK edition)

Title: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes 1)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (11th February 2016)
Blurb:

UNDER THE MARTIAL EMPIRE, DEFIANCE IS MET WITH DEATH

When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother is arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.

But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk . . . Laia’s very life is at stake.

There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is the debut novel of Sabaa Tahir, and the first book in an intriguing young adult fantasy series with lots of potential. The book is set in a traditional style fantasy world. It tells the story of Laia, a young Scholar, and Elias, who is just about to graduate as a Mask. Their paths cross after Laia loses her family and desperation sends her to the rebels, who demand that she acts as a spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff the Empire’s military academy, the place Elias is receiving his training, and it’s not long before their paths cross.

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (UK edition)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (UK edition)

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha: Book 1)
Authors: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher:  Indigo (6th June 2013)
Blurb:

‘I’ve been waiting for you
a long time, Alina,’ he said.
‘You and I are going to change the world.’

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in her magical The Grisha trilogy. This book begins the story of the lonely orphan Alina, and introduces us to the world of the Grisha – the kingdom’s magical elite. Alina thinks herself ordinary – not special in any way – but then she discovers that she has a unique magical power and is thrust into a strange, heady, new world full of opulence and danger. SHADOW AND BONE presents the mysterious Darkling, the leader of the Grisha: a charming and powerful man. It also introduces us to Mal, Aliana’s childhood best friend.

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Authors: Katherine Arden
Genre: Historical Novel, Fantasy
Source: The publisher via NetGalley
Publisher:  Del Rey (12th January 2017)
Blurb:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

(Blurb taken from Goodreads)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden is a beautiful book. It has a gorgeous front cover, and the story inside is delightfully magical. This debut novel tells the story of a young girl, Vasilisa Petrovna – Vasya to her family: the youngest child of Pytor Vladimirovich and Marina Ivanovna. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE follows Vasya, as she grows up, the daughter of a lord in a small Russian village. Vasya isn’t quite like the other girls, not even her elder sister. Her life changes with the arrival of her father’s second wife, Anna Ivanovna, and Father Konstantin Nikonovich.

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Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition)

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, 5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury (6th September 2016)
Blurb:

BLOOD WILL RUN.
DREAMS WILL SHATTER.
AN ARMY MUST RISE.

The assassin-queen has sworn not to turn her back on her kingdom again. Especially when she might be the only one who can raise an army to keep the Dark King from unleashing his beasts upon them all.

But Erawan will wield Aelin’s past, her allies, and her enemies against her.

With a powerful court trusting Aelin to lead them, and her heart devoted to the warrior-prince at her side, what – or who – is she willing to sacrifice to spar her world from being torn apart?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

EMPIRE OF STORMS is the fifth book in Sarah J. Maas’s brilliant Throne of Glass saga. Maas continues the story of the assassin-queen Aelin Ashryver Galathynius as she seeks to reclaim her kingdom and defeat her enemies. Regaining her kingdom is not an easy feat when she has to raise an army to keep the Dark King from unleashing his beasts upon the world. Aelin does have some aces up her sleeve though, in the form of her powerful court. But gaining an army isn’t an easy feat, not with Erawan hunting her and her companions, and old enemies lurking in the shadows.

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Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

Title: The Bronze Key (Magisterium, 3)
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Books (1st September 2016)
Blurb:

MAGIC CAN SAVE YOU
MAGIC CAN KILL YOU

It should be a time of celebration. The Enemy of Death is dead; a severed head proof of his downfall – Callum, Tamara and Aaron, all students of the Magisterium, are heroes.

But when a fellow pupil is brutally murdered, Call’s worst fears are confirmed: there is a spy in his magical school.

No one is safe.

Now, using the powerful magic they’ve been taught, the trio must risk their lives to track down the killer. But magic is dangerous – in the wrong hands it could bring terrible destruction. And reveal the deadliest secret of all . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE BRONZE KEY is the third book in Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s brilliant middle grade fantasy series Magisterium. This book continues the story of Callum Hunt – or Call to his friends – as he attends magic school. The Enemy of Death has been defeated, and Call is about to start his third year at the Magisterium. Call had a good summer with his father and best friend Aaron away from the world of magic; he hopes his third year will be less eventful than the previous two. Unfortunately that isn’t to be, as not long after his return a pupil is murdered.

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (UK edition)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (UK edition)

Title: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles, 1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (11th August 2016)
Blurb:

From bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes a dangerous new world and a heroine born in darkness.

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars, and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

NEVERNIGHT is the first book in a delightfully dark fantasy trilogy by Jay Kristoff. In this book we are introduced to Mia Corvere who was ten years old when she was given her first lesson in death. She is sixteen when the book starts, and is ready to take the first steps on the path to keeping the promise she made on the day she got her first lesson in death. This book introduces Mia and her world, and shows us the beginning of her story – when she attends the Red Church, which is no ordinary school.

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Review: Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends, 3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Atom (5th April 2016)
Blurb:

THE WORLD IS IN CHAOS. TWIN SISTERS MORIA AND ASHYN HAVE BEEN TORN APART, FORCED ON THEIR OWN SECRET MISSIONS.

Moria – strong-willed and brave – must confront sorcerer Alvar Kitsune, father of her once-friend Gavril. Meanwhile soulful, compassionate Ashyn faces an even more terrifying task. She must bring to life a dragon.

The sisters have been forced down separate paths. But the time is coming when they must face the greatest battle of their lives – together.

The third volume in the Age of Legends trilogy, Forest of Ruin brings this epic tale of romance, magic and power to its thrilling conclusion.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

FOREST OF RUIN by Kelley Armstrong is the final book in the Age of Legends trilogy. This book concludes the story of twins Moria and Ashyn, Seeker and Keeper. At this point in the story the twins have been split up. Moria looks set to confront Alvar Kitsune the sorcerer who set events into motion, whilst Ashyn faces the prospect of bringing a dragon back to life. Yet even as the twins’ world balances on a precipice, there are those who believe that the twins can complete their tasks. Armstrong brings the trilogy to its dramatic conclusion in this final book.

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Review: Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Ivory (Temeraire 4)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Alternative History, Fantasy, War Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager (3rd March 2008)
Blurb:

Soar on the wings of adventure

After a year of adventuring from China to the Ottoman Empire and across Europe, Laurence and Temeraire finally land upon the familiar shores of Britain.

But instead of enjoying a jubilant homecoming, they are hushed and herded to a camp far from their usual covert. Laurence soon discovers that during their time in the east, a virulent epidemic swept through the Aerial Corps, and the British have lost many of their dragons. Entire formations have succumbed to the disease, and now only the appearance of an aerial defence keeps Bonaparte from invading.

Laurence and Temeraire are ordered to prepare for another long journey; this time to save the lives of their friends and British autonomy, but to do so they must venture into the most mysterious of places: Africa.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

EMPIRE OF IVORY by Naomi Novik is the fourth book in her brilliant Temeraire series. The novel continues the story of Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Termeraire after the events of the previous book, BLACK POWDER WAR, and continues their story as they land in Britain to discover what has been happening back home. It is not good news; a virulent epidemic has swept through the Aerial Corps, and Laurence and Temeraire find themselves ordered to Africa in search of a possible cure.

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Review: Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat

King’s Rising

Title: Kings Rising (Captive Prince Trilogy, 3)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (2nd February 2016)
Blurb:

THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON CONTINUES – FROM THE BOLDLY ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF CAPTIVE PRINCE AND PRINCE’S GAMBIT.

Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master, Prince Laurent, as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hands in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobiliding for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance, the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity – can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

KINGS RISING by C. S. Pacat is the final book in her brilliant Captive Prince Trilogy. This book brings to a conclusion the stories of Prince Laurent and Damen, his slave. Damen’s real identity, that of Damianos of Akielos, has been revealed and now he has to deal with the consequences of that. Akielos and Vere stand on the brink of war, and the only chance to avoid that is for Damen and Laurent to forge an alliance. But can they trust one another? And the Regent still has some cards left up his sleeve.

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