The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty | Mini Review

Thank you so much, Harper Collins Australia for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Pages: 528

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for… 


M I N I   R E V I E W

The City of Brass was a book I was cautious of when I was requesting it. I was a bit nervous because it is so big. 520 pages, to be exact. I find that sometimes the longer the book the more bored I get throughout. However, this wasn’t the case at all. The City of Brass is an enchanting and alluring story that grips you from the very first page. Every single character has a layer of depth, I literally mean every single one to even the side characters who are only around for a few pages.

From the very first page, you are sucked into a world of magic and Egypt. I say Egypt purely because I adored reading a book set in the environment. I think the only book I’ve read that has gone to Egpyt is the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. But, that’s off topic.

You follow one of the main characters of The City of Brass, Nahri on her journey of discovery throughout this book. Learning her origins, what her past is and what is expected of her. It was honestly pretty heartbreaking at times to read. Though, I adored reading the main character who wasn’t perfect. Nahri has done what she has to survive and it might not be the most ethical but she has done it and she’s not ashamed. She was so damn strong in her own right and learning about her culture throughout the book was so interesting.

The other perspective we get in this book is from Ali. A prince for his people but viewed as a religious fanatic. He’s basically the opposite to Nahri and it was incredibly interesting to read the dynamic between the pair. In the grand sense of it, neither character is meant to be viewed as a good character either. They have flaws that are very obvious in the text.

The writing within The City of Brass was just spectacular as well. I’m honestly speechless since this is a debut. This book reads a lot better than some authors with many books published. The imagery is done so well and not at all overdone, coming from someone who usually gets frustrated with metaphors. The language use was just spectacular. I obviously can’t speak about the muslim representation throughout this book but the author is an own voices author, so I adored learning her persptive on her culture and how it incoperated into this book. I’m so excited to read more!

It is a book full of betrayal, wishes and magic. It is complex and full of politics. At some stages, I didn’t understand what was happening but I never once cared majorly due to the absolute incredible cast of characters in this debut, own voices novel. The City of Brass is a must read. Put it on your December or January TBR’s, because I promise you won’t regret it.


Happy reading everyone!

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The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Mini Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Trigger Warnings: abuse, cheating, self harm

Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Pages: 398

Publisher: HarperTeen

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.


M I N I    R E V I E W

Fun fact about me reading Three Dark Crowns; I was staying at my best friends house and there was a pretty intense storm which led to there being no power for 28 hours and no phone signal either. This basically meant we were pretty bored. My friend took a nap but napping is actually impossible for me so I simply laid in her bed and read her copy of Three Dark Crowns. I read it completely before she woke up probably two hours later.

This isn’t to say Three Dark Crowns is a good book. It’s actually incredibly mediocre. Nothing happens for the entire novel and it is so damn slow. There are some super problematic elements and some particular scenes rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not even sure if I have a favourite sister, as it is.

It’s hard to say what happened in this book besides messy drama. I wanted murder and aggression but it was pretty tame in terms of all that, which shocked me. If you market a book as some sort of battle between triplets shouldn’t there be something in book one at least? I’ve heard One Dark Throne has all the intensity that this book missed, so I am going to continue this series just out of pure curiosity, and my friend bought two copies of book two so she gave me one.

I think one of my biggest problems with this book was that I had to keep flipping to the back to remember which character had which particular talent. Watching each girl struggle through it wasn’t exactly an enjoyable almost 400 pages either.

There isn’t much more to write because Three Dark Crowns was simply just one of the most mediocre books I have ever read. I was thankful that the writing was good or I would have put down the book in pure boredom. Let’s hope that One Dark Throne is better or I will cry of annoyance.


Happy reading everyone!

Bookstagram | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads |

If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | Mini Review

 

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape (graphic), sexual assault, misogyny

Release Date: October 10th, 2017

Pages: 416

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.


M I N I   R E V I E W

I tried to work out how to write this as a full-length review, however, I was stumped every time I went to start or tried to work out what I wanted to write; here I am doing a mini review which may become longer than anticipated.

The Nowhere Girls was a book that I was scared to read. I really didn’t know what was going to happen throughout. However, I am left in tears. I have tears rolling down my face, as I realise how many girls aren’t believed when they come forward with their cases of sexual assault or rape. In the light of the #MeToo campaign that trended on Twitter recently, I think books like this are even more important. They’re eye-opening and conversation starters. They’re vital to this changing generation as we make our selves aware of what is right and wrong.

This particular book follows a format of focusing on different people. For a large part, it focuses on Erin, Rosina, and Grace, three girls who become unlikely friends and founders of The Nowhere Girls. With Grace only new to the town and living in the home of a girl who was run out of town after (accurately) accusing three males of rape Grace is desperate to make a change. The three girls do this and they do it in a way that shakes the small town of Prescott.

The other POV’s are ‘Us’ which follows many girls, switching between and sometimes not even naming them. It may be them during sexual encounters or just their thought process. I really found these chapters to be a powerful addition to this book. The remaining chapters that aren’t ‘us’ or the three main characters are random characters throughout the story. Some girls get their own chapter and some are some painfully gut-wrenching I just wanted to reach into the pages of the book and help them.

The Nowhere Girls touches on so many important topics and includes so many important elements. There is an extremely diverse cast featured throughout well and it seems the author used own voices beta readers to make sure her representation was correct. I can’t speak on that personally, but the acknowledgements do acknowledge this.

I was so completely involved in this book from the first chapter. I was made to feel repeatedly uncomfortable by the content and the graphic nature as we dive into the horrors of sexual assault and what means no. The way other girls treat each other is also highlighted in this book, as the group The Nowhere Girls tries to eliminate girl hate. It was refreshing to read a group of empowering young girls.

Overall, this is one of the most powerful books of 2017 in my opinion and definitely an important book that touches on the rape culture of our world.


Happy reading everyone!

Bookstagram | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads |

If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.

Girls Made of Snow & Glass by Melissa Bashardoust | Mini Review

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Release Date: September 5th, 2017

Pages: 384

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads synopsis:

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


M I N I    R E V I E W

I was really expecting to like Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Unfortunately, this was not the case at all. I would be involved and captivated in sections and in others, I could feel myself itching to take a nap instead. The story just wasn’t vibrant enough to keep my attention. I’m sure this is a book someone else would love and find themselves in, but I just couldn’t care about Lynet and Mina during their separate plot lines.

Both girls have their trials and tribulations, the earlier trials that Mina goes through I actually enjoyed. I was really looking forward to some vindictiveness, but I don’t read blurbs so this may be my own fault.

The title is to be taken literally, not metaphorically. I was taking it metaphorically, so I was pretty confused when information was revealed to the audience. I was shocked. I was expecting a Snow White retelling with a twist, instead, I just got twists that left me bored. I believe the story fell apart around 50%, where the climax occurs but it’s not where the plot takes off. The plot actually comes to a standstill and the mystical sense of the story makes it difficult to really push the story further.

I’m not sure how to describe it, it just fell flat.The characters are bland as well, in my opinion. Both Lynet (Snow White) and Mina (the Evil Queen) were flat characters. They both read the exact same way, with no substance and just decision-making that ultimately never occurred. I don’t really have much to say on them, either. The romance fell flat as well. Around 50% (when I just completely gave up and skimmed the book) the romance hadn’t even formed. There were hints but there was absolutely nothing. Overall, the writing was magic, the plot was

Overall, the writing was magic, the plot was non-existent and the characters were bland and way too similar to distinguish voices among. I went in expecting a Snow White retelling where the prince was going to be a girl (aka a super amazing f/f romance) but that is not what this book is unfortunately.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence | Mini Review

I was kindly sent a review copy by Harper Collins Australia. This in no way impacts my thoughtsThank you, Harper Collins Australia. 

DNF @ 50%

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: April 12th, 2017

Pages: 496

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…


M I N I    R E V I E W

A mini review? What can this be? Well, since I was sent this book for review. I figured I have to put a review up for it. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish Red Sister so this leaves me unable to speak about the book as a whole. So, this whole review will be the ramble section of my usual reviews. Honestly, it was at no fault of the book either. Mark Lawerence has an excellent and exciting way of presenting the plot.

Mark Lawerence has an excellent and exciting way of presenting the plot. I was captured completely until I wasn’t. I think I fell into a slump with this book which sucks because our main character is the perfect mix of Arya Stark from the TV show Game of Thrones and Mia Covere from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Pretty much my perfect idea of a character. For some reason though, I could put this down and forget about it for long periods of time. Unfortunate, honestly.

It took me a month to reach 50%, something pretty much unheard of in my reading career and at that point I knew I had to put the book down. It was also incredibly graphic. At one stage a horse is murdered incredibly brutally and I felt sick to my stomach, something that doesn’t often happen during books.

I really did enjoy the parts I read and I will be picking this up again. That is why I gave it three stars instead of the two I usually choose to give books I DNF. I highly recommend this book, despite my thoughts. It lacks stereotypes, romance (completely) and features murder. It’s a tad slow of a novel, but without a doubt worth your time if you are able to commit to the story.