De Manenwolf – Joke De Meyer

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ARC – HEBBAN?

Zoals sommige volgers zullen weten ben ik bij Hebban deel van het recensente team voor Engelstalige boeken. Ik las De Manenwolf voor Hebban. Mijn review werd eerder (in iets andere samenstelling) daar gepubliceerd. Breng de site zeker een bezoekje!

De Manenwolf by Joke De Meyer
Series: Legende van Esper #2
on 19/03/2019
Genres: Young Adult, Middlegrade, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Goodreads

 

WAT VOND IK VAN DE MANENWOLF?

 

Vorig jaar verscheen De Zilvervos geschreven en gepubliceerd door Joke De Meyer op de markt. Een jaar later verscheen het langverwachte tweede deel in de ‘Legende van Esper’ De Manenwolf.

Het vorige boek eindigde op een serieuze plottwist. De spanning is dus best te snijden, wanneer je het eerste hoofdstuk van De Manenwolf induikt. Gelukkig sluiten de twee boeken naadloos op elkaar aan en nemen we de draad onmiddellijk weer op. Veder en Leyna zijn samen met hun vrienden onderweg naar Manenburcht. Verder zal daar zijn lotsbestemming vervullen en zijn wettelijke plaats als koning van Esper innemen. Leyna hoopt antwoorden te vinden over haar moeder. Niets is echter wat het lijkt en al gauw blijkt dat het speel op een veel hoger niveau gespeeld zal worden dan Veder en Leyna ooit gedacht hadden.

In De Manenwolf verschuift de focus van Veder naar Leyna. Zij speelt echt de hoofdrol in dit verhaal en we volgen het grootste stuk van de gebeurtenissen door haar ogen. Leyna is een stoere, krachtige dame die durft te vechten voor haar idealen en een uitdaging niet uit de weg gaat. Daarnaast is haar grote hart een van haar sterkste punten en haar betrokkenheid bij Esper en zijn bevolking staat centraal in het verhaal. Waar we in het eerste boek vooral focuste op het ridderleven en hoofse waarden, krijgen we nu een andere insteek. Leyna heeft door haar achtergrond een andere kijk op de gebeurtenissen in Esper.

Door Leyna’s ogen zien we Veders personage ook een ontzettende groei doormaken. En niet alleen Verders personage krijgt meer diepgang. Alle personages worden verder uitgewerkt en je ziet ze echt groeien doorheen het verhaal. Een van de krachtigste punten van deze reeks is zonder twijfel de belangrijke rol van de nevenpersonages en de aandacht die ook aan hun verhaallijn besteed wordt. De lat voor het derde deel in de trilogie ligt zonder twijfel hoog, want er zijn heel wat verhaallijnen die tot een goed einde gebracht dienen te worden.

In De Manenwolf blijf je als lezer wel iets langer op je honger zitten wat betreft actie en spannende plotwendingen. Hierdoor duurt het misschien iets langer voor je helemaal ondergedompeld wordt in het verhaal. Maar eens alles op gang komt is het een boek om in een ruk uit te lezen. Het wordt alvast uitkijken naar de conclusie van deze reeks in 2020.

Een absolute aanrader!

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To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandera Christo

 

 

Wat vond ik van To Kill a Kingdom?

To Kill a Kingdom wordt vaak aangeprezen als een hervertelling van de kleine zeemeermin. Ik ben echter van mening dat je de kleine zeemeermin ver achter je moet laten en je volledig moet openstellen voor een heel nieuw avontuur, waarin zeemeerminnen en sirenen ook de hoofdrol spelen. To Kill a Kingdom is echt een heel nieuw verhaal dat geen enkele vergelijking nodig heeft! Het is sterk en uniek genoeg om zijn mannetje te staan.

“Lies aren’t answers.”
“But they sound so much better than the truth.”  

Het verhaal van To Kill a Kingdom is best duister. Aan de ene kant volgen we Lira, de dochter van de zee-koningin en beter gekend onder de naam The Princes’ Bane. Een bijnaam die ze zeker verdient, want elk jaar slaagt ze erin een prins in haar val te laten lopen en zijn kloppende hart uit zijn lichaam te rukken. Wanneer Lira echter tegen haar moeders wensen ingaat vervloekt de zee-koningin haar. Lira moet als mens op jacht naar het volgende hart. En dat hart behoort niet zomaar aan de eerste de beste prins toe. Neen, de drager van het hart is prins Elian. De kroonprins van het machtige, gouden koninkrijk Midas, hoewel hij zijn dagen liever doorbrengt op zijn piratenschip terwijl hij jaagt op sirenen.

“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”  

Ik ben mij ervan bewust dat dit klinkt als de ultieme set up voor een zoetsappige romantisch verhaal, maar dan zit je op het verkeerde spoor. Romantiek speelt een kleine rol in het verhaal, met de nadruk op kleine rol. Sowieso is de romantische relatie die zich ontwikkeld binnen het verhaal erg traag en geloofwaardig, maar ze is ook ondergeschikt aan het plot. Hiervoor ben ik de schrijfster zo dankbaar. Want in hedendaagse YA boeken krijgt de romantiek al snel de bovenhand en verdwijnt het eigenlijke plot naar de achtergrond. Niets van dit alles bij To Kill a Kingdom.

“Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.”  

Wat je wel krijgt is een boeiende, avontuurlijke tocht ter land en ter zee. De twee hoofdpersonages zijn allebei dubieuze personages met bloed aan hun handen en wat sporen op hun ziel. Vooral Lira is een anti-hero met zeer donkere kantjes en toch is ze een van mijn favoriete vrouwelijke hoofdpersonage. Weg lieflijke zeemeermin die niets liever wil dan benen krijgen en een prins aan haar arm. Hallo koelbloedige moordenaar die snakt naar macht. En ook Elian is niet de standaard prins charming uit de sprookjes. Eerlijkheidshalve moet ik wel toegeven dat hij de prins is uit mijn dromen. Een ruw kantje, heerlijke sarcastische humor en een onweerstaanbare aantrekkingskracht naar de zee.

Een degelijk zeemeerminnenverhaal liet al enkele jaren op zich wachten. Maar met To Kill a Kingdom heb ik het eindelijk te pakken! Een combinatie van anti-helden, een flinke dosis sarcasme, een sterke vriendengroep en dat alles overgoten met een echt sprookjesgevoel. Heerlijk boek, echt waar!

The Hazelwood – Melissa Albert

Wat vond ik van The Hazelwood?

Maanden voor de effectieve publicatiedatum zat ik reeds op hete kolen om The Hazelwood te lezen. De korte inhoud beloofd een donker, mysterieus sprookje. Helemaal mijn ding. De cover van het boek is ook prachtig en spreekt echt tot de verbeelding. En toch…. bleek The Hazelwood een grote teleurstelling voor mij.

Grotendeels ligt het probleem waarschijnlijk bij mezelf. The Hazelwood richt zich op een specifiek type lezer, diegene die van dromerige, metaforische verhalen houden. Denk maar aan Alice through the looking glass(waar het trouwens bizar veel van weg heeft tot mijn grote ergernis.), maar ook de boeken van Angela Carter. Mijn ding is het in elke geval niet echt.

“Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey’s left undone, fear the rising of the sun.”

Ik hoopte in The Hazelwood echt een sprookje te vinden, maar om eerlijk te zijn komen er bizar weinig sprookjes aanbod in het verhaal. Pas de laatste 30% begint echt rond de sprookjes te draaien, waar ik zo naar verlangde. En voor mij is dat een gemiste kans. Want de sprookjes zijn echt duister, donker en soms behoorlijk bloederig. Perfect dus, maar je krijgt er als lezer veel te weinig van te zien. Ik bleef echt op mijn sprookjeshonger zitten. Ik heb ondertussen vernomen dat Melissa Albert een effectief boek gaat schrijven over de sprookjes. Een echte versie van Tales from the Hinterland, maar eigenlijk had ik gehoopt deze sprookjes in The Hazelwood terug te vinden.

Weinig sprookjes dus… wel heel veel mysterieus gedoe waar kop nog staart aan te krijgen is. Maar he, dat is toch niet erg? Dat hoort namelijk zo in sprookjes. Een veel gehoord excuus in dit boek. Telkens de personages een onbegrijpelijke keuze krijgen of ‘het lot’ hen stuurt vanuit het niets, wordt het argument ‘oh maar dat hoort zo in sprookjes bovengehaald.’

“And while they’re being told, stories create the energy that makes this world go. They keep our stars in place. They make our grass grow.”

De eerste 70% van het boek was voor mij echt een worsteling om doorheen te komen. De personages voelde allemaal heel erg aan als kartonnen figuren, waar ik als lezer totaal geen band mee kon krijgen en die op zijn zachts gezegd wandelende clichés waren.  Ellery Finch is de filosofische, beetje vreemde, geeky jongen met zwaar beladen quotes. (In dit geval zelf getatoeëerd op zijn arm. Alice is het meisje dat de weg kwijt is en haar lot als een echt zwaard van damocles boven haar hoofd voelt hangen.  Alles draait rond de reis naar The Hazelwood en alle mysteries daarrond, maar deze konden me amper blijven boeien.

Voor mij sloeg The Hazelwood de bal compleet mis…. maar ik denk dat dit boek een klassiek geval van You love it or you hate it is. Er is zeker een publiek voor dit soort boeken te vinden. Maar ik blijft toch liever bij mensen die het donkere sprookje voor mij meer tot leven brengen, zoals Naomi Novik of Katherine Arden.

 

 

 

 

The Queens of Innis Lear – Tessa Graton

Review The Queens of Innis Lear:

When I requested the arc of The Queens of Innis Lear  I almost knew next to nothing about this book. I knew it was a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear with a very strong female cast and to be honest that is all I needed to know. I love Shakespeare and as followers of my blog might know all-ready,, I have weak spot for powerful woman. You don’t need to be a huge Shakespeare fan to enjoy this book, but I would highly recommend you look up the synopsis of King Lear before diving into this story.

I myself absolutely loved it. It is my first 5 star read of 2018 and it just blew me away. I loved how the story kept largely true to the original story, but how Tessa Graton added several more layers and depth to the story. Even small parts of the original story were in-bedded in this retelling but got a whole new meaning in this fantasy context. And of course that is the main difference with the original the fantasy setting.

Marvelously executed! I absolutely loved the detailed world-building.Lots of time is spend describing places and settings, but it never gets boring. Quite the opposite really, it brings this mystical world to live. I hope the printed edition will have a map because that would have made my reading experience even better. I kept feeling the need to look at the map so I could visualize even more.

Apart from that The Queens of Innis Lear has a very intriguing, mysterious dark magic and believe system. In this first installment not everything is explained and revealed. But that what you do experience makes you long for more. I want to know all about how the tree magic works and how the stars are read. The magic system in itself goes wonderfully with the dark and mysterious world that is created. Its complicated with a serious amount of depth.

And the writing, lets talk about the writing for a moment. It was so hard not to fall head over heels in love with the lyrical and poetic writing style. You really could feel Shakespeare in the story, but more accessible. It is not as heavy and confusing as an original Shakespearean play might ready. Its a big book, but you fly through the pages, just wanting to know what is going to happen next. And for me that proofs how good this book really is, because I know what was coming next and still I kept craving more and more.

And then there are of course the ladies in this story. The Queens of Innis Lear…. The story is told from multiple POV’s and apart from one they are all female; Tessa Graton did a wonderfull job giving each of the Lear Daughters their own voice. The characters are well developed and have their own background story; And yes, each in their own way are strong, independent woman who fight for what they believe in.

I can hardly wait to continue on with the series! I wouldn’t be surprised of The Queens of Innis Lear  would end up in my top 10 favorite books of 2018!

 

The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

 

 

Review The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale is a book I have very conflicted feelings about. Before I even began to write a review I let some time pass because to be quite honest I wanted it to sink in and wrap my mind around it. The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting story that combines historical events with a fairytale setting. I was drawn to it because I kept hearing it was ideal for people who loved Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I can see why… There is the Russian feel to the story. The magical forest. But there the comparison ended for me.

“He is full of desire. Desire and fear. He does not know what he desires, and he does not admit his fear. But he feels both, strong enough to strangle.” 

I went into this booking thinking I was absolutly going to love it. And for the first half of the book I was quite enchanted with the whole setting and the fairytalesque writing style. The Bear and the Nightingale is a very atmospheric story. It draws its strenght from the lively descriptions of the weather, the town and the forest. I absolutly loved that. It is slow paced, but that makes it even more magical.

“Vasya felt cold despite the steam. “Why would I choose to die?” “It is easy to die,” replied the bannik. “Harder to live.” 

For me it was also completly new. I know very little about Russian folklore and fairytales. So I didn’t just feel like another retelling, allthough of course it is. For me it felt like something new, waiting to explored. I also love to learn little tidbits while reading and learning I did. (About baked milk, that even in present day is a special milk sold in Russian supermarkts. About winters spend in darkness and cold.) And of course I loved meeting all the magical creatures from Russian Folklore. So very much like our western creatures and so different. The little girl in me wanted to adopt a Domovoi right there on the spot!

And it is dark, so dark… While reading this story I actually felt afraid together with the characters. Followers might know I am not a very brave person give me creepy sounds in the night and I am going to be very frightend. So yes, I was scared at times. Cause allthough a fairytale, dark and evil things lurk in the shadows.

“Sleep is cousin to death, Vasya. And both are mine.” 

So why not give it 4 stars or even 5? Well, it is kind of hard to explain. But for me the story didn’t feel as a whole. In the second part of the book I kind of felt a little bit lost. I didn’t think everything was explained as well as it should. Maybe it was because of all the Russian words, but I kind of lost track of the actual storyline. I felt like Vasya, left in the middle of the dark wood and not knowing where home was anymore. Maybe that was the meaning of the story. To be as lost as Vasya was, but for me that just didn’t work.

I absolutly loved the feel to this book and the writing style. And I am intending to continue the series, because I want to see how this will play out. But for now the overall story didn’t seem to have a real purpose. It was a story, an enchanting one, but I just couldn’t see where it was taking us.

 

Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas

Review Tower of Dawn

Everybody knows how much I love Sarah J Maas writing. I devour her books, but that doesn’t mean I am blind to the sometimes problematic situations that present itself in her stories. I see them, I acknowledge them and I just enjoy the ride. Because a Sarah J Maas book is really quite a ride!

Tower of Dawn has been on my shelves since the release date in 2017. For some reason I kept putting it off. Not because I didn’t like Chaol. I know a lot of readers had quite a big aversion against him after some of the things that went down in previous books. I am not one of them… I never loved Chaol and I never hated him. He was just a bland character to me. Part of me was really excited to see if a whole book about him would chance my view on Chaol.

“I will cherish it always.
No matter what may befall the world.
No matter the oceans, or mountains, or forests in the way.” 

Well…. Let me tell you it didn’t. After 672 pages I still don’t have strong feeling regarding Chaol. I liked the idea of Tower of Dawn but I think it should have been a novella like Maas intended in the first place. For me the pacing of Tower of Dawn was completely off.

The last 172 pages of Tower of Dawn are filled with action, heartbreaking moments and breath catching revelations. The plot twists are thrown at you at roller coast speed. And made me realize why I love Maas her writing so much. But the rest of the book just lacks action or real emotions. It isn’t really engaging.

“The heart he’d offered and had been left to drop on the wooden planks of the river docks. An assassin who had sailed away and a queen who had returned.”

It certainly isn’t all bad. I absolutely loved the Arabian feel to this new part of the Throne of Glass world. It is completely different from anything we have ever encountered in this universe. On the other hand I really disliked the royal family. I understand what they needed to represent, but they just seemed like a bunch of 9 year olds fighting over a cookie. Except Shartaq, he and is non blood family really stole my heart. I can hardly wait to see more of him in the last installment in the series.

“No lady, beautiful or plain, young or old, deserved to be gawked at.” 

For me Tower of Dawn wasn’t about Chaol, it was about Yrene and Nesryn. I was thrilled to see Yrene return to the story and I think she is going to play a very important part in the final book. She is another very strong female character that has her own story to tell and won’t take crap from anybody. And then there was Nesryn, you really saw her grow throughout the story. Was she first was just Chaols shadow, she really became her own character.

If you want to continue with the series, you will have to read Tower of Dawn. To many things are revealed and a whole lot is set in motion for the last (hopefully epic) last installment of the series. The last 200 pages are really wonderful to experience as a reader and a fan, but the rest of the book is rather mediocre.

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

 

Synopsis The Cruel Prince:

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review The Cruel Prince:

The Cruel Prince is one of those books that gets hyped up so much that it even scares me to start reading it. Because when a book is so hyped the fear of being disappointed becomes all to real. And the first part of this book I was feeling the disappointment settling in. I kept thinking “okay, this is good, but where is the phenomenal story-line?” And then, all of a sudden the book swept me of my feet and I just drowned in it.  It swept me of my feet and by the last 80 pages I didn’t want it to finish. I had fallen, deeply in love. But it took sometime for me to find the absolute brilliance that is The Cruel Prince and for that reason alone I just can’t give it 5 stars.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

I think it took me a while to love The Cruel Prince because I needed to adjust a little bit. Holly Black writes Young adult and it means real Young Adult. (Not like Sarah J Maas or Lainey Taylor write YA.) No this is real YA and I needed to get in the right mindset for it. I tend to think everything is a bit childish and needs to be darker and ruder. What can I say, I am an adult and am not so easily swiped of my feet as a once was. So yes The Cruel Prince is real YA, but it is the Game of Thrones version of YA to be honest.

“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.” 

People who have been following my reviews know I wasn’t all to fond about The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. One of my main complaints about that book was that it wasn’t dark enough. That the characters never really reacted to all the gloom and horrible things happening around them. Well none of that in The Cruel Prince. The book is dark, with gruesome murders, suicide, bullying, betrayal,… like I said Game of Thrones on a YA level. But the characters also engage and react to all the horrible things that are happening. They are heartbroken and angry. They are out for revenge! So much better executed then The Darkest Part of the Forest.

“That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down” 

All the characters in The Cruel Prince are flawed, even Jude, the main characters. And I absolutely loved it!  I like morally grey characters and because some of their actions were so questionable I just kept turning the pages at high speed. I needed to see where this story was going. And then there of course was Cardan, the cruel prince. A bully, a horrible boy, a complete asshole…. but there is more. I want to gush about what Cardan did to me and how I feel about him, but I can’t, because I would ruin the story for people who haven’t read it. But if you have read it, please let me know cause I am dying to talk to somebody about it!

The Cruel Prince has drawn me in and really touched me. And to be honest it has been quite some time since a book has done that to me. It is dark, with a lit of twists and turns. I loved the main character Jude and the game she played. But that ending…. ow that ending. I just can’t wait for the second part in this series. 

An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson

 

Review An Enchantment of Ravens:

I had my eye on An Enchantment of Ravens for quite some time. In the first weeks leading up to its release date a lot of book tubers and bloggers were promoting it as ideal for fans of Sarah J Maas her Court of Thorns and Roses series. So you can understand why I was interested. After the release date the reviews become less enthusiastic and some criticize began to rise. So I never got around to buying my copy. But around Christmas I thought it was high time to figure this book out for myself. And if I didn’t like the story, then at least I would have a pretty book on my shelves. Because honestly the cover to this book is absolutely stunning!

I must say that even after finishing this book I am still a little confused as to the whether or not I liked this story part. So excuse me if this is going to be a very unclear review! But I will try to share all the good, the bad and the ugly with you guys!

THE GOOD

  • I absolutely loved the forest were the story took place. From past reading experiences I am aware that magical forests are a setting I tend to enjoy. And the way the forest chanced and really was its own character made me enjoy the whole story more.
  • Rook and Isobel were well developed main characters. I especially liked that Isobel wasn’t a meek “ow lets follow the beautiful stranger into the forest without any complaint” type of girl. She desired an adventure. She wanted to know what the world was outside of her daily routine. And Rook wasn’t the horrible Alfa male we tend to see in a lot of YA. He had manners, was considerate, without ever forgetting he was a Prince.
  • Their romance wasn’t instalove. I know I am disagreeing with a lot of reviewers, but for me it didn’t feel like instalove. Although I understand why people tend to experience it other ways. In this book something is completely wrong with the pacing of the story. (I will come back to this later on.) But Rook and Isobel spend a lot of time together before the develop romantic feelings for each other.
  • The Fae in this book are perfect! Full of mischief and tricks. I love that about Fae.
  • You feel that that Margaret Rogerson put a lot of effort in researching Fae mythology. She uses lots of classic images of the Fae, but gives them her own twist.

THE BAD

  • As I said before the pacing in this book is just completely off. Too much is glossed over. An Enchantment of Ravens holds the promise of a really good story, but it needed to be more. Actually it could have been two books to be completely honest. If an editor would have said to Rogerson “this is completely wonderful” but could you please expand more on those parts, it would have been a complete hit. Now it feels rushed.
  • The relationship between Rook and Isobel. I was glad it wasn’t instalove. But where was the sweep me of my feet part of this relationship? Where was the angst and the passion simmering? I just didn’t ship it. It was flat and passionless. I don’t see any love either. Yes I see attraction, but love? No there wasn’t any for me.

 

THE UGLY

  • So sad to say but the world building in this book was completely lacking. And you know why it is so sad to say? Because as I said before Rogerson really put a lot of effort in researching Fae mythology. You can feel that all through the story. So many things are touched upon but aren’t explained or are just glossed over. What is the world beyond? What is the Wild Hunt? What made Whimsy such a special place? Most of the time it felt like you were missing out on a part of the story. Like there was a previous book that you didn’t read and now you didn’t get the full story.

 

 

All in all I enjoyed An Enchantment of Ravens but it could have been so much more. But let’s not forget it is a debut book and there was clearly a lot of promise in the story. I will be looking forward to another book by Rogerson!

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan Mcguire

 

Review Beneath the Sugar Sky:

People who have been following my blog for some time now, know that I am absolutely in love with the Wayward Children series By Seanan Mcguire. I even counted the first two installments among my favorite reads of 2017. Beneath the Sugar Sky was very high on my most anticipated releases of 2018 and the moment it came out I dived straight in. Although I was a little unsure about the premise of the book, because part of the story-line is centered around Sumi’s daughter Rini and to accomplish that Mcguire would need to play with timelines.

“Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonal floods or carried off by tornadoes. Children have always traveled, and because they are young and bright and full of contradictions, they haven’t always restricted their travel to the possible.”

But she did a wonderful job and I shouldn’t have been afraid. She clearly has a talented for writing and creating engaging stories. Although this book made it clear that I am certainly not a nonsense girl and no such world could ever draw me in. Although the story kicks of in Elenor West school for Wayward children, most of the story-line is set in Confection, a nonsense world made out of sugar, sweets and candy. Going from candy-corn fields over a strawberry lemonade sea. But all-though we enter this whole new world we talk familiar faces from the previous stories with us. Because Beneath the Sugar Sky is a quest story and so we get to see how children react when they enter a world that doesn’t belong to them.

“You were a mermaid, weren’t you? That’s what Nadya said.”
“I still am,” said Cora. “I just have my scales under my skin for now.” 

But we are also introduced to a new member of the wayward family: Cora. She is a plus size character that has lived in the Land beneath the Lake as a mermaid. I was so intrigued to read about her. Because as you might know I am plus size myself and I am always happy to see more plus girls in books. Although I struggled with Cora. She is incredibly insecure and relates everything to her obesity. And I completely understand this, because when you are obese you get judged all the time. People will take behind your back. Hateful things will be said. But for some reason I started to hate the pity party Cora threw for herself all the time. On the other hand I loved how McGuire handled an overweight person in a world full of candy. This could have gone wrong very quickly, but she handled it with so much grace, I could only applaud her.

“A cake’s a cake, whether or not it’s been frosted,” said the stranger primly. “You are not a cake, you are a human being, and I can see your vagina,” snapped Nadya. The stranger shrugged. “It’s a nice one. I’m not ashamed of it.” 

Another thing I must applaud is the depth in the overall story-line and then I mean the whole series. With every installment we learn a little more about the portal world and how they relate to each-other. Sometimes it feels like science, but wonderfully, interesting, I wish it was true science. So many possibilities, so many layers, such an amazing world-building.

Beneath the Sugar Sky was my least favorite installment so far. But that still makes it pretty amazing. I can’t wait to read more about the Wayward children and was beyond joy when Seanan Mcguire announced she was writing some more books in this series. And while I wait for the next part of the series, I will keep on recommending this series to everyone I know. Go read it! Go read it now!!!!

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

 

Review:

I was a bit weary going into Nevernight. A couple of years ago I had high expectations of Illuminae, a book where Jay Kristoff is the (co) author of and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. So I didn’t quite know what to expect from another book by his hand. But hey, everybody deserves a second chance so I was willing to try again! The star rating above probably tells you that I fell madly, deeply in love with the book.

“If I were going to name my blade,” Mia said thoughtfully, “I’d call it ‘Fluffy’.”
Tric snorted with laughter. “Fluffy?”
“‘Byss, yes,” the girl nodded. “Think of the terror you’d instil. Being bested by a foe wielding a sword called Souldrinker…thatyou could live with. Imagine the shame of having the piss smacked out of you by a blade called Fluffy.”

When you surf around a bit and read different reviews, you might notice that Nevernight is a very polarizing book. The reviews are either very positive or very negative. And although I am definitely a fan, I can see why people struggle with this book and the way the story is told. Jay Kristoff has a very dense writing style. It is clear that Jay Kristoff likes to hear himself talk (or must I say likes to read his own words?). It all very poetic flowery prose. And the whole story is filled with footnotes giving you extra (sometimes completely needless) information about the world the story is set in. I absolutely loved the addition of the footnotes, but I can understand that some people found them completely annoying. They could become a bit tedious, but at the same time they have a sarcastic commentary going on. And I couldn’t count the times that I was laughing with the dark humor in them. Your enjoyment of the story will stand or fall with your love for Jay Kristoffs storytelling, it is as simple as that.

“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us.

Because when you like the writing, you are in for a complete treat! Nevernight is one action-packed story! Let’s be honest the beginning is a little bit slow, but once Mia reaches the dessert and the Red Church this story feels like a roller-coaster ride. A wild one! It is filled to the brim with violence, blood, murder, cursing, sex, but also with magic. I absolutely loved the Old Roman Empire style world the story is set in. It felt somewhat familiar for a history nerd like myself, but at the same time it was completely new and refreshing within its genre.

“Sometimes weakness is a weapon. If you’re smart enough to use it.” 

And the characters… I haven’t talked about the characters. I think Mia will be high up in my lists of kick ass female characters I completely love. Mia is dangerous, sometimes selfish, but on the other hand always there for her friends. She makes stupid mistakes. She isn’t ‘the one’ or ‘the prettiest’. Never black and white, always grey. However it doesn’t end there, because the whole cast of characters is pretty awesome. Especially the teacher at the Red Church were very interesting and gave extra depth to the story. 

“… You just thrashed a horror of the Whisperwastes with a jar of chili powder?” Mia nodded. “Shame, really. It’s good stuff. I only stole the one jar.”

And the romance… there is very little romance involved. Something I actually missed a little bit. But for people who aren’t into sappy romance stories this will be an absolute joy to read. Don’t get me wrong, there is some romance. A very slow burning romance and some quite explicit sex. But it isn’t a huge plot-line and is always in the background. 

Nevernight is a book filled with sass and sarcasm. The worldbuilding is spot on and very detailed, sometimes so detailed it gets a bit absurd. I absolutly adored it. But I will repeat myself, your enjoyment of this story will greatly depend on your love for Jay Kristoffs writing.”