Violin Review

Violin Review

I’ve had Violin sitting  in my to read pile for far too long. I figured now was time to return to Anne Rice.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Violin by Anne Rice

Synopsis From The Book

While grieving the death of her husband, Triana falls prey to the demonic fiddler Stefan, a tormented ghost of a Russian aristocrat who uses his magic violin first to enchant, then to dominate and draw her into a state of madness.

But Triana understands the power of  the music perhaps even more than Stefan — and she sets out  to resist him and to fight, not only for her sanity, but for her life. The struggle draw them both into a terrifying supernatural realm where they find themselves surrounded by memories, by horrors, and by overwhelming truths. Battling desperately, they are at last propelled toward the  novel’s astonishing and unforgettable climax.


Short Synopsis By Me


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Anne Rice was one of those authors my mother said “read” growing up, but I did not listen to her. I’ve had a few books in her Vampire series for some time but it wasn’t until the end of college that I read one of her books in full: The Witching HourThe Witching Hour was long and hard to get through, for the beginning, but I absolutely loved her world building and her history (her history — must repeat twice for emphasis). I am excited for this. It’s a stand alone work and perhaps will get me into reading more of her stuff.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

I feel that I would have liked it, had I not hated the beginning. Going through this book took me weeks. Which is why I’m not really  about to write a review for this book. Unlike some other books that I vastly hated, I feel like I would have liked this one. Its just that Anne Rice takes forever in the beginning of her novels, and I just hated everything about this character from the beginning. I know I will revisit this book in the future, and I’ll mark this book down on one to re-review once I have.

What I Liked:

N/A

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

The beginning.

Time Taken To Read

2 weeks and 2hrs

Rating: 0/5

Notable Quotes:

None

Prophecy of Darkness Review

Prophecy of Darkness Review

A series on magic and the lives of royalty, is pretty commonly done. I still read the books in the genre like the fanatic I am.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Prophecy of Darkness by Michelle Bryan & M. Lynn

Synopsis From The Book

The kingdom of Dreach-Sciene is dying. Famine, Uncontrollable weather, and a war have devastated Prince Trystan’s people. It’s only a matter of time before their enemies destroy them.

Only magic can save the kingdom. But there has been no magic in Dreach-Sciene for twenty years and Trystans fears it is only a fairy-tale. Without magic, there is no hope.

If the prince wishes to harness the ancient power, he must first reunite the Tri-Gard, the legendary keepers of magic. His journey to find these magical beings will either lift him up or bring him to his knees as he sacrifices everything to save his people. With his enemies drawing ever closer, it’s a race against time… and against dark forces that could destroy them all.

If you yearn for noble princes, forbidden romances, and heart pumping quests, pick up your  sword and  reclaim  your magic for the battle to come.


Short Synopsis By Me

For as long as Prince Trystan can remember his kingdom has been at odds with the kingdom of the south: Dreach-Dhoun. As the next Toha — protector of all the Dreach-Sciene realms — he must determine the best course of action to save his people. This comes to him in the lost and forgotten form of magic and the revival of the Tri-Gard.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Okay so I actually forgot to write my initial thoughts. I said I wouldn’t do it again and I did. I know. I suck.

This was not the original book that I got when I went to M. Lynn’s table. I was originally interested in Golden Curse  but her brief pitch of the book and the cover had be doing double takes. I have still not received the next two books in the series at this time but I hope to get them soon.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Well to say I knew what was coming? I did not. It was exciting and now I’m left wanting more. Luckily, I get the next books soon! I often find myself at odds with prophecies and fights in some books, but I liked these ones.

Plot Overview:

The story follows Prince Trystan (and protector of the realm: Toha), Princess Rissa, Price Trystan’s best friend Daivon and a traitors daughter: Alixa on their journey to save their country from the evil country of Dreach-Dhoun. This means having to find the Tri-Gard to bring back the magic for their people. We start off with a preface 15 years in the past and then go to the day before our Trystan becomes the Toha. The book is split in two with half of it dealing with the castle politics and the second half being the group searching for the Tri-Gard. There is fighting. There is forbidden Love. There is an attempted assassination of the king. The ending had me wondering what is the truth. Who is Daivon in truth?

What I Liked:

Characters. In general I liked all the characters and not a single one really stood out to me all that much. I felt that they were strong for what they were.

World: I liked the concept of a grand Kingdom and the evil kingdom, as well as the suffering that had occurred between them all.

Weight of the prophecy. This is probably the most important to me. I like the fact that the prophecy may be a lie, and that its weight doesn’t change. I liked its execution within the book as well.

Magic as it is known, is a very soft magic system. I’m not often one for soft magic systems, but I am okay with this one.

The love between Daivon and Rissa was established at the beginning as forbidden, and even if they did love each other, there was a clear back story behind it backing it up.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

More on the magic. I simply want more magic and I know that will come. I suppose I would like to know more on how the magic was before it all disappeared.

More on the language. There is a second language in the book, and I need more of it more often. I would have liked it more often

Why You Should Read:

This book takes the concepts of a Prince and Princess following a prophecy and allows it to spin in its own direction. It isn’t often in books that I like the way they go about prophecies and the necessary steps to fulfill them. The characters have a lot of room to grow and advance as characters, plus an interesting country dynamics and politics.

Time Taken To Read

1 hour 6min

Rating: 4/5

Notable Quotes:

“Its the title which must bend to its bearer… not the other way around.” Rissa to Trystan

Golden Curse Review

Golden Curse Review

 

The story of Rapunzel but told in in a new and different way, Golden Curse takes the common myth and adds a bit of magic back into it.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Golden Curse by M. Lynn

Synopsis From The Book

A curse. A hidden identity. A dangerous love.

Ten-year-old Persinette Basile was forced to flee the palace of Gaule for her life.

Now at eighteen , she mist find a way to return in order to obey a curse on her family line.

The prince won’t know who she is. Not anymore. But she knows him and what he will do if he discovers her true name.

Made to fight for her life to earn her place, she vows to find a way to break the curse no matter the cost.

To. The. Death.

The words describing the tournament turn prince Alexandre Durand’s blood to ice.

The last warrior standing will win a spot at his side.

As he’s thrust onto the throne, forbidden magic, dangerous betrayals, and a complicated love could tear his reign apart.

When the secrets begin to unravel, will Alex stay true to the laws and traditions of Gaule or will he give it all up for a woman who deceived him?


Short Synopsis By Me

The country of Gaule is surrounded by a Ward, to keep the people of Gaule safe from magic. A magic user may not cross the border of the ward, while made to keep their enemies out has kept the magic users inside as well. Eight years prior to the start of the book, the King massacred many citizens with magic in an attempt to protect his people. In Gaule magic is illegal, as are many things, punishable by death.

It has come the time for Prince Alexandre to receive his protector, an ancient tradition of their family — with a meaning long forgotten. The decision will be made through a tournament, where fighters will fight to the death. Persinette, under the guise Etta, has trained her entire life to stand by his side. Her curse commands her to do so, and thus she must enter and win her spot as his protector.

When Alexandre is forced to become king, Persinette becomes his protector and the two must navigate the new world as the Wards protecting the country come down. One by one those around Alexandre are revealed to have magic and he must make the decision to trust Persinette, his greatest enemy, or the laws and traditions of his people.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Story time? When I saw this book, it was as a card on a table at Penned Con, for a discount on the book. I thought it looked interesting enough to hear about it. M. Lynn talking about it sold it for me, but I was unable to bring all the books back with me in my suitcase. The other two in the trilogy are coming soon, and I can not wait for them.

Meanwhile, I decided to read the first book. I was apprehensive about reading the novel because in the original tale Rapunzel is not a princess. She is saved by a prince, but she is not a princess, and I do like my myths at least a bit true with spins. I read the first line however, “Magic was evil” and I was sold.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Well that was a book that went a completely different direction for the Rapunzel story and I am on board for it. In truth by biggest question is whether the “evil” country and queen La Dame, are evil or not. Often times in the Rapunzel fairy tale the witch is evil, but for some reason I’m getting different vibes from the way this queen is explained. I could be wrong. She could be truly evil, and I would be happy with it anyway. Most importantly, I’m interested to see if Alex accepts magic or not. What kind of king will he be?

Plot Overview:

The book begins with Alex learning from his father, the King, that there is to be a tournament to choose his “protector.” The protector is an age old custom of the Royal family and to protect the heirs. It was started, in truth, due to the Rapunzel flower and curse that La Dame, evil queen, place upon another family. The current royal family has no clue about the magic behind the position, and they have to keep to tradition. The tournament will be a fight to the death and last man standing is Alex’s protector.

Persinette, called Etta, was once friends with the prince before her mother was killed and she was forced to flee from the King hunting down magic users. For the last eight years she trained with her father in order to stand by Alex’s side as his protector — for she must, due to the curse. She ends up joining the tournament.

Etta wins. The king dies. Alex becomes King, and from there the remainder of the plot for the series can be seen. Will Gaule accept magic? What happens when the Wards come down? Is the love between Etta and Alex real or is it just the curse wanting them to be together? We shall see.

What I Liked:

Etta. I like her for who she is. She is haunted by the death of her mother, strong and fierce. The wild was trained out of her but she is still powerful. She does kill and hates it, wants to never do it again. She wants the curse to be broken. She wants magic to be accepted. She is strong enough to make sure it happens.

Alex. I’m interested to see how he grows. When contrasted with his sister, it is clear that he is kind and not cruel. He can be a better man than his father and kings before him but he must make the decision to be. He was essentially betrayed by all that he knows, since magic is evil and he was raised on that belief. I want to know the king he will be.

Other characters. I liked the other characters for what we saw of them. The one we got the most information on were Alex’s younger brother Tyson, and Alex’s best friend, who is in love with him, Edmund. Tyson and Edmund have magic. Edmund’s love for Alex is punishable by death. Alex is left without them too.

Political building of Gaule, politics: hatred of Magic, homophobia. This is essentially pretty well said in a single sentence, but these aspects help to establish Gaule as cruel, evil, and in need of changing. These beliefs and concepts Alex tries to believe, but in truth it is clear that he doesn’t completely believe any of them. We learn a lot about Gaule, and how a tournament for killing was so clearly accepted. These people are not kind. They are not good, and we will see how their grey clashes with the grey of the countries around them.

Rapunzel myth. The Rapunzel story in this book goes along similar lines of the original tale. A plant is taken from a witch to heal a dying wife. Only in this version the children are cursed to protect their greatest enemy. This curse ties the lives of the protected and protector together, in a life bond. When near each other there is great joy. When apart their is great pain. I’m interested to see how this plays out with Etta and Alex.

La Dame. For the little that we know about her, I’m interested. The biggest moment of memory of her is from Alex. Alex was a child and La Dame said she would see him again. Something about how the memory was told, is what told me that La Dame is not a bad person. I’m not sure, perhaps I’m being far too hopeful.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I’m not much of a soft magic fan. There is something about the whimsy of soft magic that throws me off. I like rules. I also like science fiction. I’m pretty sure I’m simply biased. However this magic system in this book is very whimsical, and I feel like I should know more about it than I do.

Insta love. Now this is also partially due to the curse, which I do know. I’m a fan of developed feelings of a period of time but if I attribute this to lust and the curse I’m okay with it.

Why You Should Read:

It’s an interesting take of the myth, as well as action packed and sort of dramatic. The characters are the biggest reason to read

Time Taken To Read

1 hour 10 min

Rating: 4/5

Notable Quotes:

“In shadows or in the light, they were serve day and night.” Persinette to her horse about the oath of being a protector.

“None of it could last though and she’d never been more thankful for the darkness that hid her tears.” – Description of Persinette in regards to her feelings towards Prince/King Alex

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Shattered Seas Series Review

Shattered Seas Series Review

This is my book series review for the Shattered Seas Series. I really liked this series and  would highly recommend. It isn’t  too difficult of a read, and very exciting in my opinion.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Shattered Seas by Joe Abercrombie

Reviews

Half a King

Half the World

Half a War


What I Liked:

The main characters for each book, even with Raith included. I loved each one of them and learning all about them.

I loved the supporting cast who came back.

I loved the countries and the world plus the dangerous politics that were  played.

If I had to pick a singular favorite character it is Yarvi. I mentioned in another review that he was my “sweet viper in the shadows.” He is! I love him. He is with his faults, evils, and strengths, and I need more of his story. He was probably my age by the end of the book and has the world in his hands. Yet as it stands, no one trusts him (with good reason). He’s considered one of the most dangerous people in the world and has come so far from being the “crippled son” and second son of a usurper king. In all meanings of the word, he is technically “evil”. In a world where all the characters are grey, he is a dark grey. If Yarvi was in any other world told from any other perspective, I doubt he’d be classified as a hero — I’d say he’d be a villain or evil. I love it. I love it no matter how much he tries to seem good. He did everything for vengeance, and his oath. I stand with him.

If I had to pick secondary, I would have to decide between Thorn and Skara. I loved both of their stories and their transformations. They would probably be tied for first, if I just simply didn’t love Yarvi’s evil so much. Thorn was strong, and her decisions brash. I loved her spark and character. She was strong in a physical and mental sense, perhaps one of the strongest in the world if not the (singular) strongest by the end. Skara, I grew to love her when she really started to  stand on her own and picked to be good. I wanted to protect her, but knew she could do it herself. After all, she has Grandfather Yarvi under her control now.

In terms of secondary and tertiary characters, I liked Queen Laithlin. This should come as no surprise from my songs of praise about her in the individual book previews. I knew I loved her at the beginning and I loved her at the end. In truth I thought she should have been High Queen, but I knew that probably wasn’t a possibility.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I mentioned this before but I will say it again:

Why did brother kill brother in the first book. I understand the greed play, but I do not think it was a thought out move at all. Odem was evil, but he was not Yarvi’s evil, but a more general evil. When you can write evil like Yarvi, why can’t the other deeds be a little bit more developed or explained.

I needed more Isriun (check spelling). It seemed like every time she appeared, she was pushed off immediately. I would have loved to have more of her story, and more of her in general.

More Sumael, and this is a little new, but she had so much going for her and then she was practically erased. As was the Empress Valine (check spelling), but I liked Sumael better.

New things:

As much as I loved Skara, Brand, Thorn, Koll, and (yes even) Raith, I didn’t need their stories told as perspectives. This, I am certain, is my bias towards Yarvi. I wanted more of his perspective outside the first book. Trust me, learning about him through the eyes of others was beautiful, but I also wanted things from his perspective. I would have liked a Isriun perspective to learn more of her, or a Sumael perspective for her. I also know that I could have done without them all and simply had just Yarvi. I do believe, however, that i may not have liked the books that much if it were the case. But who knows? Not I. I just wanted more Yarvi.

I want more in general. With such a rich world as it is, I would have liked to learn more about it and the people that inhabit it.

Elf weapons. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, but for all the scheming, and destroying, and power displayed earlier… I feel it’s a bit of a cop out. It was shown earlier, I do understand that, but I feel that it was the only way our cast could win. I would have loved to see them win without the weapons, or if the weapons didn’t work. I didn’t feel that there was enough weight to them, other than the fear of them.

Note:

I think I need to explain why I liked the second book better than the first or third. This really didn’t fit into the other sections, so I made a new one! Hurray.

I love Yarvi, adore him, need more of his perspective, but his first book was a bit easy to follow for me. It was pretty standard. Boy becomes king, despite his wishes, something tragic happens, has to fight for his throne, meets a group of great people, reclaims his throne. It wasn’t boring, due to the cast of characters, but it was pretty predictable. That is except for Nothing being revealed as Uthick (check spelling). I did not see that coming. The opening for this book, was in my opinion, the best of the three. All the books start with a murder, but the descriptions in this first one was gripping.

Book three had three perspectives, and after the second book I didn’t feel like most of them lived up to Throne. That was until I started to love Skara. I liked the war in this book, but it was relatively predictable too. I knew they had to win, because it didn’t seem like they would lose. The odds were for them, even with all the turns it took. Plus elf weapons, which I didn’t hate but I would have loved an option where they didn’t get used. Or were faulty. Something.

The reason I loved book two so much when compared to three and one is because of  the journey the characters took, the emphasis on the side characters, and the changes to Yarvi from an outsiders perspective. Throw in some great girl getting strong AF, plus a bad ass teacher witch woman for her? I felt as if this book really developed the world, more so than the other two. One created a base, two developed it, and three swam in two’s development. I feel that I learned the most and was invested the most for book two. It is why it is higher ranked for me.

Why You Should Read:

It was a good political fantasy novel set in an alternate world. The main characters change, grow, and become so much more than they are at the beginning. There are some great secondary and tertiary characters. The world building is easy enough to follow and to understand. The stakes are high but not out of reach. The twists, and betrayals are beautiful.

I didn’t write this in my quotes for the other sections but always remember this: “The wise wait for their moment, but never let it pass.” If this quote doesn’t perfectly sum up the series, I know not what will.

Time Taken To Read

8 hours 50 min.

Essentially one good workday. I did read all these books in one day, not that anyone has to.

Rating: 4.75/5

This was hard for me to rate. I loved the series but my precedent for making a 5/5 is to label it for books that I would take with me if I had to down size my library. I’m not sure I could commit that to this series. It does not deserve a 4/5, however. Thus I tried to give it a rating that balanced with my individual book reviews.

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Half a War Review

Half a War Review

 

This is the final book in the Shattered Sea series. I am pleased to give you this final review and I do recommend reading the series for yourself.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

Words are weapons.

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. If she is to reclaim her birthright, she must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge.

Only half a war is fought with swords.

The deeply cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head—a man who worships only Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil.

Some—like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith—are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others—like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver—would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her irons wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

(The orange was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Skara is a princess, of a worn torn country. The night that her family is taken from her is the night that she must stand for herself. In war there is no teaching and learning only action. Skara must learn to navigate the politics of the worlds strongest and most cunning, while being able to stand for herself.

Raith is the cupbearer for Grom-gil-Gorm, Maker of Orphans and Breaker of Swords. He is highly trusted and placed by Skara’s side in an attempt to control her and watch her. Only he falls for her, and must decide the sort of man and warrior he wants to become.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

A conclusion to the series. More new characters and with my track record thus far, I feel that I will adore them. I do admit to skimming the end because I wanted to know if Yarvi lived. He does! That’s all I need to know. That’s all I truly care for. Him and his mother, and they both are alive, so I am excited. While I don’t want any of the characters dead, I will not be angry if they do die. This is a war after all. Blood spills in war.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Yup. I find it interesting, for this book. It ends also in a way that shows that there could be more. All the character stories have been completed but there could have been more. I loved so much of this series. This book in particular really did hurt me. There is a part where so much knowledge is burned and the burning of books always pains me. I was shocked by the deaths in this book and how the occurred. I suppose that makes them ever the better, especially Grom-gil-Gorm’s.

What I Liked:

Skara. Mind you at first I didn’t like our princess, but out of all the growth  from the characters hers was the greatest and the most obvious to see. She went from a feeble child to someone who could stand on equal playing ground as Yarvi, and still chose to be good. Props to her. She is cunning in her own regard and I am proud of  her.

Koll’s growth as a character. Koll was the second perspective in this book, after Skara. I really liked his internal  struggle, as well as when he called Yarvi out for essentially guilt tripping him. I liked his and Rin’s relationship. I love that he chose what is best for him as well as his talent with carving.

The fighting, the war, the politics of it all. I find the strained peace, the brutality of war, and the way that the battles progressed, to be so interesting. Also, perhaps because Yarvi is my sweet backstabbing viper in the shadows and he led them all forward. Seeing the war in this book was satisfying for me.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Perhaps less open ends, but I do know that this book is set in a world. The world continues to move outside the confines of the book end. Did I expect everything to be wrapped up in a cute little bow? No. Only it leaves me wanting more.

I suppose I would have liked more from Raith (the third perspective of the book). I under stood his motivations. I simply feel that there should have been more to him when his brother died.

Why You Should Read:

It’s a great conclusion to the series. It does tie up the lose ends from book 2, with the end of the war. It creates a stable peace in the mind, and helps bring some sort of conclusion to these characters outside the fact that their lives are not over.

Time Taken To Read

2 hours 50 min

Rating: 4.5/5

I will note why I ranked this book a little lower than Half the World and that was a matter of personal preference.

Notable Quotes:

“You can only conquer your fears by facing them. Hide from them and they conquer you.” – Skara’s grandfather

“Once panic clutches a  man it spreads faster than the plague, faster than fire.” – Part of Raith’s perspective

“It is tradition for the farmers and the butchers to divide the meat without seeking the opinions of the pigs.” and later “After all, it is tradition for the farmer and the butcher… to divide the meat without seeking the opinions… of the pigs.” – The first time this is said it is Prince Varoslaf (A prince from a another land and a tertiary character) speaking to Queen Laithlin about Koll and Isriun. The second it is Koll speaking to Isriun about Prince Varoslaf and Queen Laithlin. It is actually a pretty great burn in context, and a good quote out of context.

“Every hero is someone’s villain.” Father Yarvi to Skara

“I used to think the world had heroes in it. But the world is full of monsters…” Skara to Sister Owd.

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Half the World Review

Half the World Review

 

This book is a part of the Shattered Sea, the second in fact. The cover art for this is interesting, in my opinion. A wave of steel, with weapons of all sorts. I wonder what that means for the book especially considering the last one.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.

Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.

She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.

Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.

And weapons are made for one purpose.

Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?

(The blue was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Throne is a fighter, and she wants nothing more than to be a warrior for her country. The training masters are not so kind. After an accidental murder Throne is certain her life is over, but the cunning Father Yarvi takes her under his wing. With a mew master and a journey around the world, Thorne learns of true strength and becomes what songs are made of.

Brand is an orphan, blacksmith turned warrior. He always dreamed of greatness that could bring  he and his sister out from poverty. Life is not so kind, and a single decision to tell the truth regarding Thorne costs him everything. When he gets the chance to travel with  Father Yarvi around the world in an attempt to save their kingdom, he jumps on the chance wishing to prove himself. He discovers that great deeds are not always the ones that are known.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Same map but expanded? New main character? More world politics. I hope that the characters from the first book are developed more, if at all. I need to know more of those who survived; Sumael, Rulf, Isriun. I am excited and also filled with dread. What will these new characters bring to the table?

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Okay well. Thanks Joe Abercrombie. Making me fall in love with more characters. This boo took me an hour longer to read than Half a King, which is very interesting. I typically average about the same for books that are about the same in length. I have no clue why, but it may be due to the shifting perspectives. Either way I loved this book more than Half a King.

What I Liked:

I will start with the side characters. I love them. All of them. The crew of the South Wind, the now again Queen Laithlin, the Empress Vialine. They were far more well developed in this book I feel. Additionally we got more of Sumaela and Rulf. I adore them all.

Yarvi once again proves himself deeply cunning and absolutely horrifying. I adored it. I need more of his antics in my life. In the quotes below you will see that the people of the world view him akin to his mother. It’s surprising to think that a few short years prior he was the “crippled son” and shown so much scorn. I do not relate to him, but he is a brilliant character. His motivations are fleshed out and so grey.

Grom-gil-Gorm, who I did not mention in my first review. The reason for this is because I did not know much of him besides a few of his comments, a few scenes, and his title. Grom-gil-Gorm can not be killed by a man. He is the strongest warrior alive with the titles “Breaker of Swords” and “Maker of Orphans.” If that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is. I like him. I understand his motivations for what he does, and I appreciate that he does things as he does.

Politics, Culture, Religions. Before I go into our two leads. I will mention that this book goes further into all of these aspects. The different countries and their cultures, the world politics, the religions. The religions are perhaps the most interesting to me. I can’t wait to see how the last book goes because not all battles are fought on the battlefield and  this book proved that.

Thorn/Hild Bathu, our female main lead. I loved her from the beginning when she was introduced as the only female trying to become a warrior. Every test was thrown her way to fail, and then she ended up killing a boy. She ended up a murderer and that’s what got her in with Yarvi, and ultimately her skill she has at the end of the book. Now mind you, I like my feisty heroines, and I don’t think that the fight in her ever disappears. Instead it is refined, sharpened, aided. She becomes a time bomb into an assassin’s blade. It was the sort of transformation that is not all to different than Arya Stark. However Thorn is not an assassin. She is a warrior and she proves that by standing toe to to with Grom-gil-Gorm. I loved watching her bloom, and her own hasty judgements. I loved watching how she staid true to herself, and just became a better form of herself. She became a better person, and I adore that.

Brand, our male main lead. He is kind, the opposite of Yarvi and I can not wait to see him toe to toe against  Yarvi in the future. How I hope he will be. Yarvi offered him a position to stand in the shadows but Brand will stand in the light. He will do what is good and right. He is brilliant, strong, can carry the weight of a ship on his back, and will defend for what he believes. He is gorgeous, and the ideal of a warrior. His story really took hold when he was denied what he had dreamed of. He tried to make a name for himself, fell for Thorn, and learned that perhaps he didn’t want to be a warrior after all. I adore him as well. He better come back.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I would have liked to know exactly how much time passed between the two books. I do not think I missed the detail, but I could have.

Since, I feel that my qualms were answered from the first book, I really have nothing else to say.

Why You Should Read:

I find this book deeply fascinating because for how much fighting there is, it is more political than anything. It’s a great second book to the first one. This one does let you know there will be a third, while the first could have stood alone.

Time Taken To Read

3 hours and 30 min

Rating: 5/5

Notable Quotes:

“The best place to sheathe a blade is in your enemy’s back.” – Thorn’s father’s advice

“As if the truth  is precious. I can find a thousand truths under ever autumn leaf, Brand: everyone has their own.” – Yarvi to Brand

“A man who gives all his thought to doing  good, but no thought to the consequences… That is a dangerous man.” – Yarvi to Brand

“They say he was cunning as Father Moon, a man rarely to be trusted and never to be crossed.” – about Yarvi

“A man bent on self destruction will find his way there sooner or later.” – Safrit to Yarvi

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Half a King Review

Half a King Review

 

This book series (Shattered Sea) probably would have been my first review if it weren’t  for the massive haul of books from Penned Con and Book Fest.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis From The Book

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

(The red was necessary, because in cover it is colored. I wanted to give you all the full effect.)

Short Synopsis By Me

Yarvi is the second Prince of Gettland and a few days away from testing to become a Minister. Once a Minister, he would have no ties to the throne and the scorn cast upon him due to his disfigured hand. Only, his father and brother are killed by a distant enemy, making him King against his wishes. When he is brutally betrayed, Yarvi is made to fight for his life and fight to return home.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

There is a map inside the cover! I repeat there is a map inside the cover! A prince aiming to retrieve his crown? A trilogy? Praise by many authors that I know and adore? Yes. I’m excited (perhaps not as much as I am for MEM, but pretty close). I do love myself from political power struggles in fantasy worlds.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

It was a treat, but I often am well versed in discovering which books I will like and which I will not. This I liked. What I think I loved the most was that the plot twist I should have seen coming I did not see. That does not happen often, not to me at least. The main cast was excellent, and the supporting cast  as supporters.

What I Liked:

Queen Laithlin: I love her. I have decided that I love her. It seems to me that I have a soft spot for powerful women and queens as of late. I love that her word is weighed more heavily than gold. She is the most trustworthy and cunning individual. The plot of the book revolves around her and her worth over everyone else. I found this fascinating, in truth.

Nothing/King Uthil: His plot twist was not one I saw coming and for his craziness I adore him. His vanity and narcissism, pride for his country, and skill with a sword? I am happy with him and the way his story in this book ended. Since I plan to review the entire series, I will say he does end up as King. He is the rightful King, and I respect that.

Yarvi, who is our main character. He goes from coward to skilled politician like his mother. He ends up where he belongs, as a Minister. Him becoming King, then a Slave, then a Prince once more was quite the transformation. I feel as if calling this a transformation, however, is wrong. Yarvi always had it in him to be this person. He was his mother’s son, and dedicated to being a Minister. What it was, was that he was provided the grounds to let that part of him bloom. It had always been there, he just had to learn how to use it better.

Mother Gundring and the Ministers. I like their shade of grey and their oaths that they must keep. I find them fascinating characters and hope to see more of them as we continue in with the plot.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

More of our villains — Odem in specifics. I feel that he was evil for evils sake. In truth I did get it, that it was Mother Gundring in the shadows that was the one who pulled the strings. What bothered me was that his own personal motivations stemmed from simply greed? I often have a hard time believing families would kill each other out of greed when it isn’t an attribute of their family to begin with. There doesn’t seem to be a history of brother killing brother in the past. Was the greed and want for the crown so much that he’d kill two of his brothers? I am not sure, for I do not feel that I was convinced of it.

Speaking of brothers killing brothers, I’m not convinced by Odem and Uthrik killing Uthil either. So he was vain, and their greed for the throne overwhelmed them? Why? Also, how were these boys raised if they turn their hands against each other so easily? It is not a good way to run a country, especially a war loving one. Had their older brother been weak, perhaps I would have understood. Their people and country live for war and shame the weak, but I am still not convinced. For Uthil was strong and brother turning against brother only adds to instability within the country. I do realize that greed was a major theme within the book, but it still does not convince me for brother against brother.

More of Isriun, her transformation was not convincing to me at all. Not really. I do not understand her motivations. She was trained to be a minister. I need to know more about her, and her father’s hold over her. I expect more of her.

The other side characters Sumael, Jaud, Ankran, and Rulf. Those who survived, I expect more of. I hope Ankran’s family is at least more developed. I feel that each of their stories had so much potential and then two died. I suppose that since this is a series there will be more. Hopefully.

Why You Should Read:

There are some interesting politics between the people of the world that are exciting, and worth exploring. I think that it isn’t often that you have such an interesting cast of strong King and Queen characters. This book does not leave many openings for future books, so as a stand alone novel it can work just fine. We will see how the remainder of the book series goes.

Time Taken To Read

2 hours 30 min

Rating: 4.5/5

Notable Quotes:

I do admit that I lost track of keeping quotes very early on. Sorry, I’ll do better with the next book! I would like to note that Mother Gundring and the Ministers’ philosophies in general are quote worthy, even if I forgot to write them down.

” ‘ I lack the wisdom.’ He meant he lacked the courage, but he lacked the courage to admit it.

‘Wisom can be learned, my prince.’ ” Yarvi to Mother Gundring.

“Always remember: strong men are many, wise men are  few.” Mother Gundring to Yarvi

“On the battlefield there are no rules.” Yarvi

“They say her word is valued higher than gold among merchants, because gold  may go down in worth but her word never does.” Isriun about Queen Laithlin.

“The wealthier a man is, the  more he craves wealth.” Mother Gundring.

 

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