Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

18079804book info finalTitle: Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1)

Author: Sally Green

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

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sumary finalHalf Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

– Summary not mine; taken from Half Bad’s Goodreads page.

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I received Half Bad as a gift from a friend, as a very early birthday present. I was given the choice to have it early or to wait, and I chose to have it early – some time later, the book was read, but my birthday was still distant on the horizon. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book an incredible amount.

Half Bad had me gripped from the first page – the first person, present tense that is rarely used in books really surprised me, and set Half Bad apart from other books right away. I was curious to see whether the entire book was written this way, but when main character Nathan reminisces of his past life, the tense changes to fit this. This immediately caused Half Bad to strike me as a unique and very enjoyable book.
Do not be fooled by the use of the trope of white and black magic, because the world of Half Bad is still very unique. As I read on, I discovered that Half Bad was literally my perfect type of book. There was a lot of action, a fantasy world that absorbed me, and just the right amount of focus on the romance. There were also so many hints at things that made me want to read on, and the interesting characters really helped make the story come together.
I didn’t find Nathan’s father, Marcus, as menacing as he was made out to be, though. Don’t get me wrong, he was very menacing, but when he actually turns up in the book, he’s not the big raging ball of hellfire I was expecting. This may all change in the sequel though, and I may be forced to eat my own words.
One thing I really enjoyed was the family relationships in this book. Nathan is close to his grandma, but even closer to his half-brother, Arran. The bond between them is very strong and there were more than a few heart-wrenching moments between them, which only added to the pain and difficulty Nathan is forced to go through. These aren’t the only interesting characters though – Celia was also a favourite of mine, because even though she’s portrayed as a very evil, horrible person, there’s also a strange kind of bond between her and Nathan. Their relationship is incredibly complicated, but I hope something good will come of it.

When I finished this book, I just wanted to scream and through it across the room. I loved the ending, but I also really hated it because I wanted more of the story. It will be a long wait for Half Wild, though, and I might just go mad in the time it takes for a copy to reach my hands.

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Review: Fated by Benedict Jacka

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Title: Fated (Alex Verus series, Book #1)

Author: Benedict Jacka

My Rating: blog 5 leaf rating

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Join Alex Verus in his previously calm but now hectic life of running a magic shop and trying to stay under the radar of other mages. His unusual skills in magic allow him to perceive the possibilities of the future, which comes in handy when he needs to pull off stunts that have very little chance of success.

When he becomes a person of interest to both Black and White mages, he knows that something is up. Soon, he discovers that he is wanted so that an ancient relic containing a powerful magical item can be opened. But this isn’t any ordinary job, and as it becomes more dangerous, Alex Verus can see just how many life threatening futures are appearing, and how many safe and peaceful ones are escaping his clutches.

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This is one of those books that you just can’t get enough of – Alex Verus is a witty and funny protagonist who explains his mysterious world very well in his own way, and with a unique casual tone that keeps you reading.

I thought Fated was unusual because I don’t often read books with male protagonists (though I would like to read more), but the conversational tone was fun to read and it really fitted Alex as a narrator. It also became apparent that it wasn’t a book that was concerned with fitting into a specific age genre – it read like YA, even though Alex is older than most YA characters.

The side characters in the novel were just as lovable. Luna quickly became a favourite of mine (even if just for her name and how she was so relatable), and even certain adversaries became favourites. Thirteen was a particular favourite, and I was hoping that she would be a recurring adversary since she was so cool.

Fated is also a book that doesn’t really use that many tropes or clichés (apart from the obvious black/white mages but that is understandable), for example, I was expecting a lot of chemistry between Luna and Alex but it seems that by the end of the novel, their relationship is very slow-going, if going at all. I liked this because I am a solid hater of insta-love and unnecessary romance. I like action!!

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

I N F O R M A T I O N 

Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Author: Sarah J Maas

My Rating: leaf rating buttonleaf rating buttonleaf rating buttonleaf rating buttonleaf rating button

S U M M A R Y

Celaena’s story continues in her new position as the king’s assassin. But, with the amount of secrets Celaena is carrying around, her relationships with best friends and potential romances often suffer. Even so, she is still curious of the Wyrd marks and their purpose, and is only one step closer to discovering the king’s real plans. It is a dangerous game Celaena is playing, and soon she will be found out…

R E V I E W 

I LOVE THIS  SERIES. SO MUCH.

The second book in the series was just as amazing as the first, if not better, for me. Even though the abrupt beginning made me feel like I had missed something, I soon caught up and was absorbed into the story. The romance was still perfect, the characters were just as real and wonderful…

It’s amazing how much time and effort has gone into these books, and it shows just how much Sarah has worked on the series. 10 years is an extremely long time, and I know everyone can see just how much love has gone into every chapter. So very cliché, but when I’m older I want to be like Sarah J Maas!

But the pain-staking deaths have already begun and it’s only book 2.

The wonderfully rich world building and characterization pushed away the few qualms I had during the first book. I am literally aching for the next book, and I will be purchasing the prequels as soon as I can.

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

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Shadow and Bone opens with heroine Alina and her friend Mal being tested to see if they are Grisha – special humans with various magical powers. Both fail the test.

Fast forward to many years later, where Alina and Mal are travelling into the Shadow Fold –  a darkness that covers some of the nation of Ravka, filled with horrible man-eating creatures. When Mal is attacked by one of these creatures, Alina discovers that she has a brilliant power stored inside of her, one that might just be able to destroy the Shadow Fold.

But, when the Darkling takes her for Grisha training, Alina is seperated from her childhood friend and thrust into a strange new world, filled with jealous and powerful Grisha who want to be impressed.

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I had heard a lot about  Shadow and Bone before I bought it so I had high hopes, that were only made higher by the gorgeous and intriguing cover. Thankfully, I was in no way disappointed.

When people claim Leigh Bardugo’s novel is a wonderfully told fantasy story set in a Russian-esque world, they are telling no lies.

Though the beginning may seem a little abrupt, the story very quickly becomes enthralling and action packed. Alina is a wonderful female lead who does not let anything get in her way, and reading her is nothing but pleasurable. The Darkling comes across as a stereotypical heart throb, but it is all just a facade! His big reveal is surprising and I didn’t see it coming at all, which is a refreshing thing to come across in books. Like Alina, I feel drawn to the Darkling ans since he never confirmed those things Baghra said… is there still hope? I wonder.

I can’t speak for how true/untrue/accurate the Russian elements are in the novel, but since it is fantasy I do believe that the author has pretty much free reign, since fantasy is meant to be different from our own world.

I loved the world building in this novel; it was simple but very effective and I am very much excited to read the sequel.

Review: Fire Study by Maria V Snyder

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I N F O R M A T I O N

Title: Fire Study (Chronicles of Ixia, Book 3)

Author: Maria V Snyder

My Rating:

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S U M M A R Y

The third installment in Yelena’s journey is just as action filled as the previous two. Running between both Ixia and Sitia and trying to keep the peace, Yelena must also come to terms with the fact she is a Soulfinder, one of the most powerful types of magical being. While the Sitian council worry the power will corrupt her, Yelena springs into action against Ferde, a Soulstealer guilty of murdering eleven girls. He escaped prison with the help of Cahil, another of Yelena’s many formidable enemies.

R E V I E W

I still really enjoyed this part of the series, but I had a few more problems with it than I did with the first two books.

I thought the story was getting a bit repetitive and predictable, and when there was an actual interesting plot point involving the Commander, it was explained away too easily and became uninteresting. So much more could have been done with that twist; and since it was made to seem very dramatic and important, I was a bit disappointed. Although, there were a few times I got rather involved with the story and forgot things I wanted to note down and talk about in my review. It was very much a mixed-feelings book for me.

Another thing that was different was that in this installment of the series, the story had definitely taken a dark turn. There was a lot more mentions of sexual abuse and rape that were either unnecessary or could have just been hinted at rather than said outright.

However, I still love Yelena and the way she isn’t a typical, all powerful heroine – she does need her friend’s help sometimes.She still had her headstrong character, even if sometimes she let her emotions override logical sense, which happened a lot in this novel.

While this book was less enjoyable than the others, I am still interested in the rest of the series and where Maria V Snyder will take the story next.

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

Author: Richelle Mead

My Rating:blog 2 leaf rating

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Vampire Academy revolves around Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir, two girls who have run way from St Vladimir’s Academy. Rose is a half-blooded vampire, and shares a rare psychic bond with Lissa, who is a full-blooded vampire princess.

When they are dragged back to the academy and have to readjust to high school life after two years away from it, Rose is forced to take up extra training sessions to make up for those she has lost, and her tutor, Dimitri, believes that she will make a good guardian because of the psychic bond. But, once Lissa becomes depressed and learns of her own rare ability, it becomes much harder for Rose to protect her, and all of her skills are challenged.

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Vampire Academy started out fairly okay. There was nothing spectacular about it, but I read it fairly quickly so it didn’t seem to bad. At the time I was reading this, I was worried about my Goodreads Reading Challenge so I didn’t mind seeming to be able to eat up the book in a day.

But, alas, I would not enjoy reading it as much as I had hoped.

Vampire Academy sounds like a good novel – some of the plot points may have been done to death in YA, but there were enough original key elements to keep it interesting. I loved the idea of having Strigoi and Moroi.

The failing for me, was the characters, and the fact that the more I went on, the worse the book seemed. Trying to describe the plot to a friend ended up influencing my reaction, since when I explained it, I realised how flimsy and shallow everything was.

I don’t think there was one single redeeming character, since the one I thought was actually pretty okay ended up being a murderer. The slut-shaming in this book was atrocious, but so is the behaviour of the characters. Literally, Rose goes off with a boy she doesn’t even like that much just because she is need of attention. Not only does she use him for her own personal gain, she is surprised when it comes back to bite her. I, for one, was very not-surprised since it is a novel set in a high school, vampires or no.

Which brings me on to my next point: petty high school drama. Why does every single novel set in a high school include some kind of infuriatingly shallow and petty ‘enemy’ type character? The popular girl, who steals someones boyfriend, does not also need to be catty, and the main characters do not need to react in the same manner.

However, through all the misgivings, I can confess that if I had read the book two or three years ago (when I loved Twilight) then I probably would have loved this book also. I can see why others would like it too, but it contains too many tropes and little characterization for my liking.

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfield

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I N F O R M A T I O N

Title: Uglies (Uglies Trilogy #1)

Author: Scott Westerfield

My Rating: leaf rating buttonleaf rating buttonleaf rating buttonleaf rating button

S U M M A R Y

Tally is an ugly. But soon, it’s her sixteenth birthday, and she will undergo plastic surgery to make her pretty, where she can join her older bestfriend and go to the best parties with all of the pretty people.

But then she meets Shay, who wants to show Tally a man called David, who she says lives permanently ugly outside of society. Tally doesn’t believe the story, but then Shay goes missing… And Tally is given a choice: Find Shay, or stay ugly forever….

R E V I E W

I really enjoyed the unique world that Scott Westerfield created. I thought that Uglies was very tense and suspenseful, and I ate the whole book up in just a day. The novel was very plot and character driven, with Tally not being the most likable narrator, but that only reinforced how much she had been brainwashed into thinking she was ugly. I loved how clear the personality changes were in the uglies and pretties, and I loved how there was so much going on at once.

I thought that the world was very well developed and unique, and I can’t wait to get started on Pretties.