18 May 2015

Review - Fantasy of Frost by Kelly St. Clare

Title: Fantasy of Frost (The Tainted Accords #1)

Author: Kelly St. Clare

Rating: 4/5 stars


I know many things. What I am capable of, what I will change, what I want to become. But there is one thing I will never know.

Being the Tatuma of our world, the next to rule, should have given me a privileged life. One full of friends, love and happiness. If my mother did not hate me, I probably would have had that. Instead, she has kept me veiled from birth, turning the possibility of this distant dream into a living nightmare.

Shunned by the court, abused from childhood, I am trapped within this material barrier and will never know my own face. Only two friends and a determination to become Tatum keep me sane.

I am unaware everything in my life is about to change when the peace delegate arrives from the savage world of Glacium. Hidden agendas, past secrets and my struggle to stay alive–while still becoming the person I want to be–careen wildly out of control.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

My thoughts:

If you like mysteries and secrets you’ll love Kelly St. Clare’s Fantasy of Frost

Olina has been wearing a veil ever since she was born. It is her mother’s order and she follows it obediently, because she knows well enough that those who ever take a look at her face don’t see another day. She learned to live with this and she doesn’t ask questions.

But then the delegation from Glacium – the realm of snow and ice – arrives and prince Kedrick with them. The young heirs fall for each other and eventually he asks her to do the impossible. Everything changes after that.

The whole book revolves around Olina’s – and her mother’s – secret. I guarantee you you won’t be able to stop guessing why Olina is veiled, but of course you have to wait until the very end to find out the truth. There is a hint given somewhere in the book, but I confess I missed it (not that I mind). It is a tiny tiny information and that’s why this book is so clever.

I liked the idea of the two worlds that are rotating constantly. I’m a sucker for contrasts in literature on any level, thus I was easily bought with the setting. There is one land that is hot and another that is freezing cold. I think the way Olina explained her brothers about these worlds with the help of pies in the beginning was pretty smart. 

The characters are well-developed, the writer created lovely side-characters as well. Olina is one badass heroine – she fights with the veil on, whoa – and she is very flexible; she is never afraid of new situations. My other favourite was King Jovan. He is mysterious: sometimes cold, sometimes passionate, which makes him a complex character.

I enjoyed the plot very much so far, however I’m not sure I liked the ending. It was such an abrupt change – Olina deliberately leaves all her friends and gives up the safety their company provide –, I don’t know if I like where the story is going at the moment. Seems like I have to wait and see what happens in the next book.
 Goodreads | Amazon

6 May 2015

Review - From the Ashes by Shelby K. Morrison

Title: From the Ashes (Legend of the Liberator #1)

Author: Shelby K. Morrison

Rating: 5/5 stars


For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.

When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.

Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?

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

My thoughts:

From the Ashes is the kind of book that is a pleasure to pick up after real-life issues have forced you to take a long brake from reading. What a novel! I barely finished the first book and I’m thirsty for the sequel. 

A frantic witch hunt is what I would say happened throughout the 285 pages of the book. Of course ‘witches’ are called benders here, who possess a not-always-sleeping power – a power that helps them bend the world. They do magic, if you like, but what a difference it makes if they get a different name! Benders are a new, exciting kind of magicians. 

My absolute favourite things in this piece of YA literature were the plot twists. There were a lot of them and, even though there were some I could see coming, a few of them took me by surprise and I couldn’t help but gape at my e-reader for long moments – oh my gosh, they were very effective!

The world building was also pretty nicely done. The conflict between the benders and the breakers that goes back long, long years made a perfect basic concept on which the writer built Aia’s story skilfully. From the Ashes isn’t about the main character only though; Aia’s personal life intertwines with Tharien’s (hi)story – and with the lives of its people.

I've grown to love the members of a particular bender group, I really hope we’ll see more of them in the sequel. I adored Cole as well and I was happy the love story between him and Aia – I sense there is one – wasn’t forced that much in the first book. There were a million other things to concentrate on, so I didn’t miss it at all. For now it was enough to know that Cole cares about Aia and I can’t wait to see how their relationship progresses later in the upcoming book(s).

From the Ashes dealt with some serious issues (attempted rape, mutilating) that gave a darker aspect to the story. I haven’t read many YA books that dared to be a bit more gruesome, a bit more shocking than what we are used to in the genre and I’m grateful for the author for taking this step, because – strange as it may sound – it added to the quality of the book. 

Since I started with mentioning what I liked best about From the Ashes, let me finish with the thing I liked the least: the range of places where the story took place was very limited. Characters in fantasy novels usually travel a lot and here there wasn’t a lot of moving involved (in this sense). However, having read the whole book it looks very likely that the characters will start ‘walking down the road’, so I just have to wait and see.

Overall it was a very enjoyable ride for me and I’ll surely be back for the next dose, because I can’t wait to know what happens later.