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Sunday 30 November 2014

+ What I have read!

Following from the post I just added about why I have been absent, here is a post actually about books.

Somehow, amongst all of this, I have actually managed to read.

The Grisha Trilogy

As you can see, these are extremely attractive books. Written by Leigh Bardugo, the story is set in a fantasy land where people are either 'normal' or 'Grisha'. The Grisha possess a variation of (often elemental) magical powers, such as control of the wind or appearance, and most are employed by the King as part of an army. This army is led by a mysterious character known as the Darkling. The story follows Alina Starkov, a teenager who is part of the Kingdoms regular army (although, as in most fantasy worlds, the idea of being a teenager doesn't seem to really exist and people seem to be either children or adults). It follows her sudden immersion in the Grisha world, and the dangers that this new world brings.

This book was purchased from amazon.co.uk after I saw it recommended by booktubers who enjoyed it, and I must admit it stuck in my head because the name of the first book (Shadow and Bone) reminded me of 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor (which I loved!).
Looking at the covers, and the main characters name, I imagined the setting to be very similar to Russia or North Eastern Europe. In my mind the buildings and fashions took on those seen historically in Russia, and this definitely helped me to picture the setting more clearly. Overall, I enjoyed this series more than I predicted I would, especially whilst waiting for book three to be delivered. I spent a couple of nights trying to predict what was going to happen. In fact, I made a prediction about a particular part of the story only halfway through the second book, which was revealed to be true at the end of book three. I felt very proud of myself.

I would award this series 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it more than expected and was keen to know the end result. I am not giving it 5 out of 5 as I did not feel fully immersed, and didn't get the sense of addiction I often get from favourite series. I would however recommend it to others as it at was exciting to read.

Exquisite Captive

This book, I think was spoken about on another booktube channel. Set on our earth, with flashbacks to 'alternate world', this book is one of the only ones I've encountered that takes on the theme of genies, or 'jinni'. The 'exquisite captive' is a girl who was once part of her worlds Royal family, but following a rebellion was sold to earth as a slave jinni. She is forced to work for her 'master', who has bought her from the 'Dark Caravan' and makes her work by granting his clients wishes. She meets a rebel jinni who needs her help in order to save their home world.

I will be honest, I will not be continuing this series (I assume there are more to come) as I did not really enjoy my read. There were some good ideas, and a lot of potential, however I felt the plot focused too heavily on a love triangle that really did not need to exist, and that the writing was not strong enough to hold my attention. That being said, I wouldn't avoid the author entirely as I do believe she has a brilliant idea in her retelling of the genie theme. Because of all of this, I'm going to give the book 2.5 out of 5 stars. It isn't good enough to be ok, but it wasn't bad enough to deserve a 2.

Gone Girl

Wow, so I finally got hold of Gone Girl. This book was intense. It was also completely different to books I have read for the last few years. It is a definite thriller/ crime ish genre book, and I am definitely a fantasy/ science fiction lover, even though I love TV shows like NCIS. 

I think we all know the vague plot? I can't give too much away, obviously. Man, who may or may not be happily married, discovers his wife has gone missing, and she may or may not be presumed dead. He is a suspect. Did he kill her? Dun dun dun!

As mentioned, an intense read. I couldn't read it fast enough. And I say this literally because...I actually gave up reading the entire thing. I'm such a failure! The first half I read so precisely, just so I could try to spot any clues and to make sure I missed nothing. In the second half, I needed to know what was going to happen. So I skim read. I skipped some pages, and it didn't really hurt the story. I read huge chunks, then skipped random parts in between so I could have it finished. It was a very good plot, very intense, with so many twists and turns...but it just wasn't my style of book. I like books where you can feel passionately about the characters, even if they confuse you and make you feel conflicted. I like to feel a part of the story. In Gone Girl I felt like I was just trying to get to the conclusion. 

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Half of these stars is purely because of the texts and phone calls I got from my mom after I gave it to her. She felt very strongly about many things, and read it in 3 days. She even had to cancel plans with her boyfriend, because like me she just had to know by the end of that evening. I almost wish I hadn't read the book, and had just seen the film (which I still haven't managed) because it is the type of story I love to watch but can't read.

Finnikin of the Rock

I am very angry as I type this because I haven't actually finished it. I lost it on the tube! I was about 3/4 of the way through! So I am not going to leave a review (yet...I am going to have to buy another copy or find an epub). I just want to express my annoyance. I was enjoying it so far though!

I forgot to mention - comment if you have any recommendations or thoughts based on the books I've read. I'd love to hear about what you thought of them, or if you disagreed completely. Also let me know if there is anything in particular you think would help my blog or my reading :)

Clair x

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