Monday, 10 November 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

**Spoiler Free Review**

So, it had been a long time since I read a contemporary novel, what with being at university, and I didn't have high expectations for Fangirl when I first went into it. However, I was completely blown away by Rainbow Rowell's writing. This was my first Rainbow Rowell book and I was a bit worried about the hype surrounding her, as I didn't want to be disappointed and I certainly wasn't.

The book centres around Cath and Wren, twin sisters, who are starting College (or University to us English) and the difficulties that come with it. The main character, Cath, has to deal with family problems, from her father to her sister's independence, anxiety, friendships, and relationships. In between chapters however, we also get snippets of both the Simon Snow stories and of Cath's Simon Snow fanfiction. It painted a very real picture of fandoms and how important these things are to people in a way I completely related to.

The book painted a very real picture of what going to College and feeling alone is like. It also dealt with major issues many young adults go through when leaving home, in a brilliant way. I really related to the main character and I loved the notion of being able to read a story within a story. Every character in the book felt so realistic and I enjoyed the romance within the book too. It wasn't rushed or forced, like in many books, and the male character was extremely likeable.

The entire book had me smiling throughout and I flew through it in one day. It was a fantastic read that I'm sure I'll be fangirling over for a while.

 Although I absolutely loved the book, I did find the ending slightly too abrupt and I would have liked to have seen more of a conclusion (or perhaps, a sequel???). Despite this, I don't think that the ending took anything away from the rest of the story as it was brilliant.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys internet fandoms, contemporary fiction and general geekiness. It was amazing.

BOOK REVIEW: The Iron-Jawed Boy (Sky Guardian Chronicles #1) by Nikolas Lee

The Iron-Jawed Boy (Sky Guardian Chronicles #1) by Nikolas Lee

Genre: Middle-grade Fantasy/Sci-fi/Adventure

My Rating: ★★★1/2
Goodreads Summary:

Year 2300
Protea: Capitol of the Eldanarian Isle

Two hundred years have passed since the lands of the Outerworld humans were destroyed, save but a handful of rebellious cities. In their ruin, the last gods of Earth, the Illyrians, rose victorious. And ever since, it's with a cruel iron fist they've ruled over their subjects--desperate to keep their thrones.

**Spoiler Free Review**

I was happy to receive an ebook copy of The Iron-Jawed Boy from the author, Nikolas Lee, in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn't entirely sure what to think of the book when I first started it but I have to say the concept of the story drew me in straight away. The idea of Gods fighting a war with people who can use the elements, whilst simultaneously being set in the future, was definitely enticing.

The concept did remind of the Percy Jackson series but the storyline was nothing like it. I really liked the characters in the book; Solara was positively terrifying and Ion was a very likeable and believable character. I also enjoyed the back-story given the world. The setting was interesting and I hope to find out more about the world later in the series.
I do think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I had read it at a younger age as I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief at certain things. I also found a couple of the concepts (such as the sweets) quite childish; however, I'm aware this was written for a much younger audience so, putting that aside, I found the rest of the book very good.
I loved the fight scenes, they were written incredibly, and many writers can't do that as well as Nikolas Lee can. I enjoyed the book and would continue the series if given the opportunity. I would definitely recommend this to people who enjoy a good middle-grade adventure story and who wanted something fun and light to read.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Magic Trick by Levi Stack

The Magic Trick by Levi Stack

Genre: Fiction/ Historical Fiction/ Young Adult/Fantasy/Adventure/Mystery

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

Goodreads Summary:
STRANGE THINGS are happening in Aryk, almost as if history is repeating itself. New playing card graffiti sparks fear and rumors. There are whispers of a second rebellion—and of betrayers, assassins, and spies. And when a mysterious circus pitches their tents outside of town, Viktor is sure that he can’t trust its Ringmaster … or its Magician. 

**Spoiler Free Review**

After finishing and thoroughly enjoying The Silent Deal, the first book in the Card Game series, I was extremely happy to receive an ebook copy of The Magic Trick from the author, Levi Stack, in exchange for an honest review. To see my review of The Silent Deal, please click here!
I didn't think it would be possible for Stack to match the fantastic storyline and plot twists of the first book but he managed to do that and far more in the sequel to The Silent DealI absolutely loved the direction Stack took with the story. The characters developed even further and felt so realistic to me. They made the mistakes that any person makes and their assumptions often led them into more trouble.
The Russian setting is perfect for this book and the adventure and mystery is so alluring to the reader. Stack's research into this early-mid 1800's Russia is immense and creates such a vivid location for the reader. Again, Stack has a fantastic writing style and uses it to create plot twists and mysteries I could never have thought of. I loved the idea of the Trials and I found the classes an incredibly refreshing part of the story. Stack has a way of ending a novel, not on a cliffhanger like many rely on to draw readers back, but in such a way that leaves the reader wanting more. 

I have to say that the introduction of new characters was very interesting whilst the older character remained as witty and brilliant as ever. While I found part of the ending quite sad, I still really enjoyed the story. 

I am so excited for the next book and I will most certainly be getting it as soon as it comes out! I am loving this series.