My Rating: 5 Stars
An incredible book that was worth the time it took to read it. This is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year and also one of the biggest.
In 19th century England magic is remembered as part of a glorious past but no longer used in the present. Even so, there are those that question if magic will return and if it’s possible t bring it back. The reclusive Mr Norrell starts his journey by moving from the quietness of his home and the company of his books to London where he brings a young woman back from the dead and summons an army of ghost ships to give England an advantage on the war with France. The road to fame and glory seemed imminent until a young, handsome, charming, untrained magician makes an appearance. Jonathan Strange is the opposite of Mr Norrell and in time a battle of wits, beliefs and magic puts in motion a series of events that will change the fabric of history and unleash consequences that will remain the in memory of England forever.
A compelling story and an enchanting novel that isn’t meant to be rushed but to take time to savour.
Being a little over 1,000 pages this novel proves that Susanna Clarke not only wrote a story but she also created a unique and mesmerising world. The accurate interpretation and use of historical facts and the typical language of this period bring this novel to a league of its own, bringing characters to life and pulling in the reader until the very last page. There is a perfect balance between fantasy and historical fiction and the deep knowledge of the magic spells and myths which allows the reader to fully understand the story without getting lost in the process. In some parts of the book I thought it grew a bit tedious but then something changes in the storyline and I couldn’t put it down again.
The style of writing is beautiful, subtle and very compelling. I admire the author for the brilliant use of the typical 19th century English with all its smooth phrases and rich vocabulary and how she manages to capture the readers' attention, to engage their imagination but at the same time not losing any of the strings that build the story in a steady pace. The amount of detail is just enough to allow the reader to vividly imagine the setting, the characters and the interactions between characters. Susanna Clarke is a true word magician: she was able to create a solid plot, with no loose ends while bringing together magic, history, warfare, politics, social and domestic life. A genius of literature.
The characters are extraordinary and there is no difference between the amount of characterisation of the main and secondary characters. The depth and solidity they have are incredible, each one with its own story, beliefs, opinions, qualities and flaws. Furthermore, all the characters contribute to the story in one was or the other and it was thrilling to see how their actions, both direct and indirect, are pieces that make the puzzle come together in the end. Jonathan Strange is my favourite character. He has his flaws, like being impulsive and arrogant, but at the same time his passion, his thirst for knowledge, his passion for books and his almost obsessive need to understand the past in order to build something new are some of the features that I highly enjoyed. The relationship between Strange and Norrell was one of my favourite to read and explore throughout the novel. Going between friends and rivals, their confrontations and verbal disputes creates such a chemistry that makes the reader anxious for more direct encounters.
A great book that I recommend for the fans of stead-paced story build-up and a unique tale that will leave a long-lasting impression.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another amazingly written short-story crossover between the Egyptian and the Greek mythologies and this time around with the ladies! The perfect continuation for the Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles Crossover collection!
In this adventure, Annabeth's life is about to take a huge turn and she doesn't realise how much when she follows a two-headed monster on the subway. She ends up coming face to face with a young blond-girl that reminds her of herself. Confronted with a different world so different from their own, Annabeth teams up with Sadie Kane to take on an ancient foe that was raised into the Mortal world by someone Sadie is, unfortunately, very familiar with.
The most exciting thing about this story is, of course, the two blondes with an attitude taking on a common enemy. On the contrary of Percy and Carter in the first story, Annabeth and Sadie are immediately taken by one another and a friendship blooms in the midst of battle. I could feel from the beginning that they would become great friends based on their temperaments and snarky sense of humour.
What I found hilarious was the whole situation and the correspondent reactions of these two compared to their boyfriend and brother. Whoever said girls were more suspicious than boys? Complete nonsense. Furthermore, the ladies adventure was, in my opinion, a lot more complex and a lot more life-threatening. This story is full of action and it was great to read how Annabeth and Sadie work together and how they complement their abilities so nicely.
The second instalment of the Greek - Egyptian crossover that I highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 Stars
I suffered from the syndrome of "Rick Riordan fan" when I read this crossover! I loved every minute of it and I will re-read several times over I'm sure.
A mysterious creature is terrorising the locals in Local Island. When Carter Kane sets on to investigate it he not only meets the monster but also a strange boy called Percy Jackson that doesn't seem to be Egyptian or a magician for that matter. Who the hell is this guy and how the hell can he see this monster?
A brilliant short story that brings together two very different characters: Percy Jackson and Carter Kane, the one that narrates the story. Two worlds collide as the two boys, a demi-god and a godling/magician apprentice, start out on the wrong foot... I mean fist.
I really enjoyed reading their interactions with each other and how they manage to solve a very big problem before it gets too out of hand. Percy is an amazing character, that didn't change and his sense of humour and witty comments made me want to read the Olympians series all over again.
I just finished reading The Red Pyramid for the second time and this short story got me really motivated to start the second instalment of the Kane Chronicles.
A must-read for all the fans of Percy Jackson and of Mr Riordan!
My Rating: 4 Stars
This book was so wonderful I can’t even begin to describe it. A story that takes place in the present and the past with fairytale characters that the reader is very familiar with but with a few twists to the story.
Crescenzo is the son of toy maker and craver. The life in the suburb of Virginia is the only place he has ever known and where his mother and best friend disappeared without a trace. Enzo never believed that his father’s works were anything special until the man himself goes missing. Together with this childish adult of a neighbour, Pietro, whose family also went missing, they set off on an adventure to bring together the counterparts of the figurines left by Enzo’s father and hopefully bring them home, safe and sound.
It has to put this book down. I completely fell into the story and its characters even though I didn’t like the main character so much in the beginning. But I will get to that in a bit.
The story-line is well thought and developed even though I did get a bit lost at times with all the information that was provided. There are four different timelines in the novel: the recent past, the distant past of the fairy tale world also called the Old World and the present of both worlds. The present shows that is happening in both worlds simultaneously while the recent and distant past of the Old World reveal and explain the events that lead to the darkness that the fairytale world is drowning in and the disappearances of the families of Enzo and Pietro. In my opinion, I thought to the book was a bit too “crowded” at times, which made it a bit hard to keep up with. Luckily the characters made it a bit easier to follow and, in addition, Devlin didn’t leave loose ends and the plot is very much engaging. I did find similarities to the TV series Once Upon a Time but the characters are unique and the concept is very fresh.
The characters in this novel are quite a lot: from Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Mulan, Alice from Wonderland, Hansel and Gretel, Prince Charming to Captain Hook, the Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Quasimodo, the list goes on and on. However, Devlin did an amazing job in going in-depth into these characters and they all seemed very real to me.
What I really enjoyed about this novel, not counting with settings and characters, was how the author presented this magical world. Much like in the real world, the thirst for power and corruption lead the fairy tale world into dark times. At the same time, the author shows that hope can shine even in the darkest places and that everyone has the power of forgiveness. These aren’t the typical loving and happy fairytales: some of the characters decided to leave the Old World and after years of being “human” with homes and families, someone is determined to destroy that peace by kidnapping the adults and leaving their children to go through the trials that searching for their parents includes. However, the reader soon learns that friendship is a powerful bond and tool and that love for the family can overcome even the strongest of foes.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Blaze Publishing and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I can’t get enough of the Land of Stories and the adventures of Alex and Connor Bailey!
After the battle, the Masked Man is on the loose. Driven by her need to find and discover the identity and plans of the villain, Alex ends up being thrown off the Fairy Council since no one believes they’re in danger. Together, Connor and Alex discover that the Masked Man is in possession of a potion turns books into portals and that he’s recruiting an army of villains to conquer the Land of Stories. In a race beyond the kingdoms and between worlds, can the twins catch up to the Masked Man and stop him before his plans complete?
In the fourth instalment of The Land of Stories series, emotions run high. The plot is very compelling and engaging, turning and twisting which is great. It’s also very easy to follow and, together with the amazing writing style, I fell in love with new characters and their respective worlds. On the contrary of the other novels, this one starts off with a really bad beginning. Everything goes wrong: Alex is kicked out of the Fairy Council and even her own twin doesn’t believe there is a reason to fear; and the Masked Man reaches out to other classic villains like the Wicked Witch, Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts. But even so, they manage to hold on to hope and, with a little help of Mother Goose, their motivation.
The characters keep growing in this book and it’s amazing to see, especially with Alex. She goes from child to teenager trying to deal with her growing powers and her unstable emotions while trying to protect the people she cares about. Everyone has moments where they think the world is against them and Alex struggles to both fit into the magical world and still be herself. I was pleasantly surprised to see her chemistry with Arthur; He was able to show Alex that she isn’t the only one that feels the way she does and actually offers advice that comes from the heart and from experience itself. In the end, it was his help that gave Alex the push she needed. Connor is still funny but I have more problems observing his growth as a character. Mother Goose also grew in as a character; she admitted her mistakes and finally has the courage to follow her heart and not the rules of the fairies.
Another great novel by Chris Colfer!
My Rating: 5 Stars
In the sequel to Alice, the Red Queen proves to be a worthy finale for the dark story of Alice and Hatcher.
After escaping the Old City, Alice and Hatcher face the first disappointment: the awaited green fields and the smell of grass and trees are nothing but a desert of ash and dust. On a quest to find Jenny, Hatcher’s daughter, the duo faces a journey filled with obstacles and old curses. From an enchanted forest to unseen creatures, Alice will have to gather all her courage and strength to battle an old evil and save the man she loves from the hands of the Red Queen.
The Red Queen isn’t as dark as the first instalment but it still contains a bit of horror somehow. While in the first novel, the reader is confronted with rape, murder, women trafficking and a lot of dead-body scenes, this one is more of a psychological terror of losing someone that keeps the main character sane. When Alice finds herself having to make her decisions and face cruel environments without Hatcher to protect her, she is forced to grow mentally, accepting herself and her magic. She is genuine and hopeful making her a very likeable character. The Red Queen is a worthy foe even if I have a mixed opinion of her. She is both terrified by the curses she places but also a coward. Even though she has power, she avoids leaving the walls of her castle unless it’s extremely necessary. For me, a terrifying character is the Black King. He’s like a ghost that can see and feel what his victims’ fears and hopes and just play with their minds.
The writing style is very engaging and it’s able to grab the interest and the full attention of readers together with the story-line. I thought at some point that Alice’s journey to actually enter the Red Queen’s palace was a bit too long, but the author managed to create challenges that made a difference, there weren’t just there to fill the pages. The shocking twist at the end made my heart stop, I truly wasn’t expecting that and it was brilliantly thought. I would have like to read more about the what Alice and Hatcher would do next since it ends without much to go on with.
I’m sad that it is only a duology but I’m glad I got to read Alice’s journey.
I highly recommend this collection to all the lovers of the dark Wonderland universe.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another page-turner! This collection keeps getting better and better, exciting and a bit sad.
After being separated and living in two different worlds, Connor and Alex try to adapt and learn as best as they can without each other. Connor, living in the real world, dedicates himself in writing fairytales and wins the chance to see the Brothers Grimm graves in Berlin. He ends discovering a mysterious clue left behind in one of their unpublished works: a warning about an enemy trapped in time and worlds. Together with his classmate Bree and Mother Goose, Connor will travel far to return to the Land of Stories and stop this new threat. Meanwhile, Alex is a fairy-in-training with few magical attempts turning out right. Can she deal with the pressure of being the next Fairy Godmother and lead the Fairy Council?
The setting is perfect as always and I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of Berlin, a city I had the pleasure of visiting before. What is really great is that there is always a new part of the Land of Stories that the reader will get acquainted with and secondary characters that we’ve read about in the first novel make a reappearance.
The plot was amazing, very imaginative. The idea of setting the French army from the Napoleon times as a villain and how exactly they end up in the Land of Stories is very well thought and very well executed. An outside enemy from the Otherworld is also a great way to unite the habitants of the magical world and to start a new path, a new era.
The characters continue to grow and it’s very enjoyable to see their transformation throughout the books. Red is still one of my favourite characters, she makes me laugh so much with her comments but I also felt for her when things took an unexpected turn. She is truly a queen at heart and by the end of the book, she grew a bit more. The additions to the story just added more spark and thrill. Bree is very much like Connor: the love for adventure, they both share the ability to see through the lies. Emmerich is sweet and innocent but has the heart of a warrior. He trusts Connor and Bree right from the beginning and jumped into an adventure that he didn’t fully understand. They make a grand team! Alex will always be a heroine for me; the way she takes on her defeats and how she takes control of things when everything gets out of hand is inspiring especially considering her young age.
A very good book just like all the others before it!
My Rating: 5 Stars
This collection is definitely one of my favourites so I finally decided to sit down and write the reviews for the books I’ve so far. The sequel to The Wishing Spell is just as good as the first.
A year after their first adventure in the Land of Stories, the life of Alex and Connor Bailey is as normal as it can possibly get. But peace or boredom isn’t meant to last forever and their world takes a turn for the worse when their mother is kidnapped. Knowing the twins well enough, their grandmother sets a tight security around them to protect them and to avoid their interference. Of course, that doesn’t stop Alex and Connor from finding a way into the Land of Stories and from starting a journey to put an end to the reign of terror of the evil Enchantress.
The style of writing is amazing and very engaging. I could read a certain maturity, it’s like the author grows with the twins. I appreciate the evolution and how the conversations between characters are more mature but at the same time, there is no loss of humour and wittiness.
The setting of the novel is just as colourful and captivating as before and I was glad to explore it in more detail together with the heroes and villains. I took my time to appreciate the villains, their personalities and background stories since they are an essential part of this world and how the plot develops. I’m not sure I should call them villains though because one of the lesson’s Colfer teaches the reader in this sequel is that everyone is both good and evil and no one is evil without a reason. Like in our world, good and evil are part of life and one can’t be without the other much like without fear there would be no courage. Furthermore, I admire the way the author mixes all the fairytales and ends up with the perfect cocktail of magic and storyline.
The storyline follows the same line as the first novel but, for me, it wasn’t predictable what would happen next. I think that in this instalment, the journey is more about relationships and growth than the collection of magical artefacts. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, but I think Colfer wanted to show that in the end, just magic doesn’t cut it, it’s about friendship and trust.
There is a greater character development in this novel. Colfer reimagines the characters that all fairytale lovers know and gave them a unique voice and personality. I particularly like Goldilocks, a complete badass and Red, for her hilarious personality and responses to Goldilocks. Who knew that Little Red Ride Hood could hold such a grudge? Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to like all the characters and really feel for the Enchantress.
A great sequel to a great collection that I can’t recommend highly enough for children and adults alike!
My Rating: 5 Stars
I’ve read this book a while back and finally got around to write its review. Chris Colfer, also known for his character Kurt Hummel in the TV series Glee, revealed himself to be a great writer, not only in his style of writing but also with his imagination.
Alex and Connor Bailey have a very ordinary life: they live with their mother, they go to school and have their own friends. As their birthday approaches, the twins receive a collection of fairy tales stories called “The Land of Stories” given by their grandmother. But not everything is what it seems: when Alex and Connor accidentally fall inside the book, they will come face to face with all the magical characters and kingdoms they grow up to know and love. Stuck in the Land of Stories, the twins have to gather the ingredients for the “The Wishing Spell” to be able to return home, but they aren’t the only ones looking. A famous villain escaped prison and she’s ready to take her revenge. Alex and Connor start a journey through the fairy-tale land, racing against time to return home, making new friends, enemies and discovering secrets that will change their lives forever.
Being a fan of fairy tales as I think many readers are as well, I completely fell in love with this world. This universe of the Land of Stories is full of colour and it’s exactly like I imagined it when I was younger. But like the original stories, it’s not all good. I really enjoyed the structure and the construction of this world, and the detail of the map in the beginning of the book is just perfect to help create a mental image of this magical place. The novel takes place after the “happily ever after” and it’s incredible how Colfer managed to introduce the “after”. What happened to the princes and princesses? What were the consequences of the sleeping curse from the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Absolutely brilliant! It made me wish that I was right there with Alex and Connor; I never wanted the book to end.
The style of writing is engaging, witty and sometimes comical, which works perfectly for me. The storyline is solid and very entertaining; not a single boring moment! The reader is introduced to characters that we all know very well, and they are all very well developed; they have their own personality and their own voice and together they create this amazing and unique world where magic rules. A detail that I particularly enjoyed is that the princesses aren’t at all damsels in distress: they are feminine, compassionate, but they also have a unique strength of character that makes them not just symbols of beauty but also of leadership.
The unique style of Chris Colfer also showed in the way he presented valuable lessons in the story. The messages are presented in crucial moments of the story; they are simple to understand and essential for children to learn and for adults to remember. For example: always be yourself, don’t let anyone change you into something you are not; no one is born evil, circumstances of life changed them and their vision of the world; never judge someone based on their appearance, you don’t know the trials they went through. These are just a few, there are plenty more.
A magical experience and a novel that brings back memories and emotions from childhood! I can’t recommend this book enough!
My Rating: 5 Stars
T. Rae Mitchell did it again! After the first novel ended in such a shocking way, I was glad to see the continuation of a great debut!
After barely escaping the book of fables, Fate is back in her world. Desperately wanting to return and help Finn, who is still trapped within the book, Fate will do anything to find her way back. When she is offered the position of guardian of the Keep, Fate takes on the responsibility of protecting the space station, located across the universe, that contains very powerful and dangerous mythical creatures and magical artefacts. Travelling to a new world, Fate must face her destiny, her new unbreakable oath with the Keep and discover the strength to save the people she loves. A new enemy awakens nothing will ever be the same.
The plot is nicely developed and it grabs the reader right from the beginning. There is a lot of action, mystery and drama going on, enough to keep me glued to the pages and to make my breathing stop at times. I was surprised with the sci-fi approach in this instalment, it took the adventure a bit further than I was expecting. Between the space station, spaceships, aliens, advanced-technology and guns I felt like I lost a bit of the connection with the story. I had this cosy feeling with the book of fables and with outer space I didn’t feel it at all. Still, it was an enjoyable twist to the first novel.
Mitchell did a great job creating this new magical world. The setting is amazing and definitely brings things to another level, I felt the thrill while reading. It’s easy to see her deep knowledge and passion of myths and legends and the style of writing is still as beautiful and captivating as in the first novel. The dialogues are brilliant, witty and funny, a joy to read.
The introduction of new characters was exciting and it's nice to see how they all have their roles in the story, there are no loose ends, everyone fits into the plot perfectly. I really enjoyed how the real and the fantastic both come together when the characters from both realities meet. I did miss Finn though and his interactions with Fate, I really enjoy them as a couple.
Another ending that left me hungry for more! Can’t wait to read the sequel Fate’s War and see what other adventures await Fate and her friends.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Original Mix Media Inc, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.