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Monday, 27 February 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Wow. I was expecting another supernatural story; a predictable plot after how many I have read. This novel surprised me! And that is saying something.

In this novel there are witches, vampires and daemons – the perfect combination for any supernatural lover. The main character, Diana Bishop, is a witch but tries to ignore her magic and be as human as possible. I did ask myself, if there was a possibility of having magic who wouldn’t use it? Trust me; she has a good reason not to… Until she meets a vampire called Matthew Clairmont. He is perfect, if not slightly annoying in his superiority.

The best part of this novel is the maturity. It isn’t some teenage fantasy romance of falling in love with a vampire, but a story of how love can conquer all in a semi-realistic (besides all the supernatural stuff) world. This is definitely to attract the adult readers who like this topic, yet at 17-years-old I enjoyed it as well. You will love the heroines and be happy for them, but this isn’t a novel where you will go crazy in love with Matthew.

I couldn’t put this down! What captured me was the detail. I am rubbish at history and science, yet after reading this I wanted to read all about Darwin’s Species of Origin and start studying alchemy. I also wanted to visit Oxford and go to France. If you have the money and time to do all of this, then it could be an expensive book!

The emotions created were so strong, I felt like putting on the witchwater with Diana at some points. I felt like I could connect to her, because I know that I would have her reaction to some of the situations. This connection to the main character and the fact that it was a topic I love – romance, the supernatural and all that geeky stuff – made the book really enjoyable for me. I honestly couldn’t close the book! My eyes stayed glued to the pages way beyond when they should have been in another dream world.

Although I couldn’t put it down, the book is very long and it took me a while to read. When I thought it would come to some conclusion, there was a lot left yet to read. This is refreshing after modern books where the stories are quite straightforward (although still exciting!). This book is not possible to read in one go, even if you constantly read for most of the day, and I did try! Due to this length, I did get a bit impatient at one point, feeling like it was dragging on. It was still a good read during that impatient moment, but I just wanted to flick forward a couple of pages.

Deborah made the background story run so deep through the novel, and a mystery was built in correlation to the romance and Diana finding out about her powers. Part of this mystery was uncovered in the book, but towards the end the author built up preparations for the sequel. After finishing on a cliff-hanger, it’s sad that we will have to wait until July for the second part, because I feel that all the details and pieces from this novel is going to be important in the second.

Overall, this is a brilliant read if you like the topic. Definitely give this book a try. If you hate waiting for the sequel to a book, you might want to save the read until closer to the second release date.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

True Blood series by Charlaine Harris

A quick post to recommend True Blood series by Charlaine Harris. They are brilliant novels, with romance, mystery, action, homour, everything! I got addicted to the story and the world that Charlaine created. Sookie is by far the best perspective to read from. You will find yourself laughing and crying, with your heartbeat racing to the end! Definately give these books a try, even if you were put off by the TV series. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them!

These are definately for the more mature readers, as the fight scenes aren't all pretty and there is some sexual content.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini

I think the main thing to say about this novel is this: I couldn’t put it down! For £1 on Kindle it is a bargain! If I knew the author, I would have been willing to pay more, and will definitely be keeping my eye out for future Josephine Angelini novels.

I was unsure in the beginning, thinking the characters were a bit like Twilight. Just little things like the cars; the build of the characters; the heroine living alone with her dad; all of the new family in town being super attractive. But that is as far as it really goes, and I can’t slate her for there being a few similarities, as no book can possibly lack similarities to anything else.

This is not Twilight. This book is too… There is something different about it. It’s less easy going. I don’t know how Josephine does it, but the story is told in a pace that shouldn’t work yet it does. It got my heart pounding. One minute the characters were in love and together, the next they couldn’t; one minute she was leading a semi-normal life, the next she has discovered why all the crazy stuff was going on. It gave the story an edge that you don’t get in many books. You don’t have to read through the dull boring bit until you get to the good, because she manages to make it all exciting yet still allow the audience to follow the story. Brilliant writing, especially for a first novel.

I thought that the whole story was about the two characters having to hate each other (well, wanting to kill each other!), although they were truly in love. Surprisingly, that hating part was resolved quite soon and a bigger story was developed. I know that there is a lot more to come in this trilogy, and I honestly can’t wait for the other books in the series to be published.

I think that if you like the supernatural and all things like that, then you should definitely give this book a try! It is scary at times (kind of). Not make you drop the book and run type, but just ghosts (spirits, phantom things) here and there. The storyline is brilliant and, like I said before, you can see how it can be developed over another two books. Even if you just want something to pass the time, I would say this book definitely does that and at an affordable price too – bonus.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Malorie Blackman (Noughts & Crosses series)

Noughts & Crosses
An Eye for an Eye (novella)
Knife Edge
Double Cross

Everyone in the world should read these novels! Even if you just read the first book (Noughts & Crosses), although you may not be able to stop! The main theme in the story is racism: white people are Noughts, black people are Crosses. In this world, the Crosses rule over the Noughts. This brings a brilliant perspective and view that shows how different life could be, with only a small reality being changed.

A theme affected by the racism is romance. It is seen as an abomination if a Nought and a Cross was to start a personal relationship; this doesn’t reflect the current world to the younger generation like me, yet you can imagine it causing controversy in the past. As a non-racist person myself and of the younger generation, I could view the situations in the novel with a lack of prejudice towards the characters.

These novels show how stupid racism is, and how it can cause unnecessary violence where there should only be peace. Being a romantic, I personally preferred the, well, romance, especially in the first novel and ongoing throughout the others. However, there is definitely action in these too! There is devious plans of terrorism from the Noughts, whilst Callie Rose (a mix-raced and mislead girl) struggles in life, her mother (Sephy) tries to heal her broken heart, her grandmothers (Meggie and Jasmine) try to heal the family. This struggle is down to the conflict between Noughts and Crosses, and made much worse by Jude’s meddling (Callie Rose’s uncle). Callum (the main male character) is present throughout the book, always in the background of the thoughts and actions of the characters, if not physically there.

The story is set in the first novel, and you see the outcome of this resolve throughout the other three in the series. The series is very heartfelt and touching, with many moments when you will laugh, cry, or just plain enjoy it. I loved following the whole world, and it was written so well that you feel like you lived the lives with them. A top series and a must read!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Coming soon... Malorie Blackman series

Noughts & Crosses
An Eye for an Eye (novella)
Knife Edge
Double Cross

Everyone should read these novels! They brilliantly show an alternative world, one that could have easily happened...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

I have a dilemma with this book. On one hand I loved the story and (most of) the characters, but on the other… The easiest way to explain it would be to tell you the basic plot. You follow a teenage girl named Alex, who is terminally ill and planning to take her own life. Whilst hiking through wilderness she is hit by an electromagnetic pulse, making pain shoot through her and the two people she had bumped into. Even the animals were affected and seemed to go crazy. As Alex recovers, she realises that her sense of smell (which she loss as a result of her illness) had returned, and is even sharper than before. The two people she had bumped into were Ellie – a stubborn 8-year-old girl – and her grandfather, oh and their dog! Only the dog and Ellie had survived. They soon find that the whole area had been affected by the shock, and some have lost their humanity because of it. After wondering around the wilderness, they are joined by a man named Tom, and you can sense a strong bond between him and Alex. And so their new family begins…

The story is brilliantly planned, with a scientific explanation for the shock that could (possibly, maybe, I don’t know,) happen. The link between shock and effect is clever too. The problem: from the way that stories are usually structured, you’d think that the whole story would follow these three characters, but it doesn’t. It is like the author has merged two novels together, making you kind of hate the main character because of her choices. I don’t want to give it away to you, as it is a really good read, so I will leave out the details. You follow the group of three, and as a reader you bond with them whilst they bond together. When a series of events tear them apart, causing Alex to be trapped in a surviving town, you’d think she would soon escape and find them again. This is where you begin to despise Alex’s decisions. It is like she forgets about Ellie and Tom completely; hence it is like a different novel. She meets a new, mysterious guy... she gets a job, she settles down. On the up side, it is well told and good to read, if you forget the first half of the story too.

The story is left on a cliff-hanger, preparing you for another novel, and hopefully welcoming back Ellie and Tom, who you grow to love. Overall, I did enjoy it! After the last turn of the page, I wanted to read the next one and hear more about the characters. But I will have to wait, as it is yet to be published. I would read it again… and as great as the story was, I think it would have been more effective if Ellie and Tom were found again before the end! I wanted them back in the story, and it's a shame to lose such great characters.