The Falconer: Book Review

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“You know, I’ll never look at a woman in the same way again. I’ll wonder if she’s hiding weapons under the hedges.”- Elizabeth May, The Falconer

Title: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Series:  The Falconer

Publish Date: May 6th, 2014

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Steampunk

Reading Format: E-book

Summary: She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.


Review:  The Falconer was easily one of my favorite reads this year. It was so fast-paced that I finished the book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down.  Aileana is a strong female character and I love a good book that also has strong characters in it. I can’t really handle the whole damsel in distress thing that sometimes comes with some novels, so I’m currently loving the strong female character that is being written in books lately.

One thing that surprised me most about The Falconer was how funny it was. The character interaction comes with a lot of humor and I found myself laughing out loud at times. I think that whenever I read a fantasy novel I often expect it to be very serious but having the funny banter between Aileana and Catherine or Aileana and Gavin was nice to see (or I guess in this case read).

The story overall is different than others I’ve been reading mainly because of the the steampunk element to the story. While it isn’t the main feature of the story line of The Falconer it is more heavily present than I realized it would be, I suppose it serves the purpose of allowing some “modern” things appear in a historical setting. I don’t usually love the steampunk theme but it didn’t distract me too much from loving the book overall.

There is also a romantic element to the story it sort of builds itself up so it doesn’t take over the whole novel but I thought it was nicely done and I’m sure it is more heavily present in the second book. Which I’ve started already because once the first book ends you’ll definitely want to pick up the second.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

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Clockwork Princess: Book Review

 

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 “Men may be stronger, but it is women who endure.”

-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

Title: Clockwork Princess

Series: The Infernal Devices

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publish Date: September 5th, 2013

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Historic

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:  A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.


Review:  Let me first say (and this might be a spoiler) this book ended the exact way you would want it too in terms of a love triangle. At least that’s what it did for me as I was torn between loving Tessa with Jem and loving Tessa with Will. Cassandra Clare does a nice job of working that out so that the reader might feel some closer with both relationships or potential relationships. Secondly, Clockwork Princess was my favorite book in the series it was filled with action, suspense, romance, and even a little humor; what more could you ask for?

There are however a few moments of frustration while listening to this book for example Will’s sister Cecile becomes an added character to the story and I found her to be quite whinny at times. She was my least favorite character in the books and her only redeeming quality was her interaction with Gabreil Lightwood.  And speaking of Lightwood, the Lightwood brothers were a nice addition to the thrid book and Gabreil doesn’t turn out to be as annoying as he was in the first two books.

And we finally learn exactly what Tessa is. I will also say I like that she doesn’t end up being a damsel in distress type. She learns more about herself through this series and also finds a family among the Shadowhunters at the London institute which I think makes her become a stronger character throughout the books.

Lastly the audiobook for Clockwork Princess was the best one out of the three. The guy who does the narration makes an effort to give each character a voice without it sounding like it belongs to another. And with the character list of this book being so big that can be a hard accomplishment to make but it was done with this audiobook, I just wish he had narrarated all of three books.

Rating:

Five out of Five Stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

Clockwork Prince: Book Review

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“He’s very broken,” said Magnus. “Like a lovely vase that someone has smashed. Only luck and skill can put it back together the way it was before.”

-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

Title:  Clockwork Prince

Series: The Infernal Devices

Author:  Cassandra Clare

Publish Date:  December 6th, 2011

Genre:  Fantasy/YA/History

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:  In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.


Review:  Clockwork Prince was more emotional for me than the first book and I think in part that is due to fact that I learned a lot more about Tessa, Jem, and Will along with the other characters in the book.  I especially felt for Will in the second book of The Infernal Devices series, even though I had confessed in the book review for Clockwork Angel that Jem was my favorite character I felt like I got to learn about Will more and why he is the way he is in the series.

I’m also loving Magnus Bane in this series more than I did in the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series. As the reader I felt like I was getting more background on him and I really enjoyed that. Magnus also helped me to see more of Will because from Magnus’ perspective I could feel Will’s pain more. This was also illustrated through Tessa as well. Her experiences with Will in this book made me question my loyalty for Jem, so bravo Cassandra Clare you got me involved into the love triangle you created for this series.

And let’s get back to Tessa for a second and the mystery that surrounds who, or better yet, what she is.  I was so tempted to google the answer on this one because 1) I know it’s out there and 2) you don’t find out in this book either, at least not entirely.  I held off though because I didn’t want to ruin that part of the book for myself and it does keep you interested throughout the series when it comes to this unanswered question.

I did listen to this as an audiobook much like I have done with all of Cassandra Clare’s other books and also like her other books I am late to the party as these were read by most people years before. This has in no way affected how I feel about The Infernal Devices series and consider the series as a whole to be one of my favorites this year.  But as for the audiobook version I didn’t love the narration in this book as much as I liked the narrator in Clockwork Angel, having two narrators for Clockwork Prince could be a bit much for me at times.  I will say this is my only complaint about the book and it isn’t even really about the book.

Overall Clockwork Prince was a good book. It continues on from the previous story but adds a something more to the series and the Shadowhunter world, though it most certainly cannot stand on its own you would have to read the first book in order to understand this one too.

Rating:

Five out of Five Stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Title: Clockwork Angel

Series: The Infernal Devices Series

Author: Cassandra Clare

Format: Audio book

Publish date: August 31, 2010

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Historical

Publisher’s Summary:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

What I liked about Clockwork Angel:

I started to listen to Cassandra Clare’s other popular series The Mortal Instruments earlier this year. I’ve completed the first 3 or maybe 4 books, I don’t completely remember, but I enjoyed listening to them on my commute everyday to and from work. I decided to start The Infernal Devices series before completing the other series as I once read it was better to go in that order to understand the story better. So far with the first book I can say that I might like this better than The Mortal Instruments series. I find Tessa, Will, and Jem more interesting than Clary or Jace to be honest. It isn’t as though I hate the other characters in the other series its just I feel more invested in the Clockwork Angel’s characters more, especially Jem (He’s my favorite. Don’t tell the others).

I enjoyed the story line in the first book even though I figured out the twist before it was reveal, that still didn’t affect the way the story unfolded for me. And I liked the narrator too in this book, which is essential when listening to an audio book. I’ve quit listening to a few because the narration was awful or I didn’t like their voice. I do applaud the individuals that do audio books you have to be a good storyteller and voice each character in the the book. Considering the amount of characters in this one, I was impressed with how it was told.

Clockwork Angel also met my one major requirement for a book (besides grammar) which is that it was entertaining. I found myself reacting to the story and actually listening to it rather than busying myself with something else or my own thoughts that would have made me miss parts of it along the way. And trust me having my undivided attention during an audio book can be hard, though when driving I should be more focused on that (just a side note PSA).

What I didn’t like about Clockwork Angel:

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book.

Overall thoughts:

It’s a great first book to series. I hooked me in and I’ve already started the second book Clockwork Prince. I liked the overall entertainment of the book and it didn’t have anything that made me not want to continue on with it or bother me along the way. I would recommend Clockwork Angel to any reader who loves the YA Fantasy genre. I think it’s pretty apparent its one of my favorite types of books to read.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms

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Title: Falling Kingdoms

Series: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publisher: Razorbill

Publish Date: December 11th, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Reading Format: Paperback

Summary:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. (Goodreads summary)

What I liked about Falling Kingdoms:

I loved the characters in this story and the way Falling Kingdoms is told.

Falling Kingdoms is written from the third person perspective of the 4 main characters of this book. Cleo in the beginning is a spoiled princess in the wealthiest land in Mytica, Auranos. She grows the most to me character wise and was admittedly my favorite out of the characters thus far. Cleo experiences a lot in the first book , so I can’t imagine what Morgan Rhodes, the author, might have in store for her over the course of the entire series but I can’t wait to find out.

Jonas comes from Paelsia and he is from the poorest kingdom in Mytica. I didn’t love him in the beginning but by the end I was all for Jonas. He represents the change that Palesia needs in order for the people there to experience positive change. Much like Cleo watching his character development over the series is going to be great to read I’m sure. Jonas’ potential was only just starting in book 1.

Magnus is the heir to the Limeros throne. His father is known as the King of blood and trust me King Gaius lives up to that reputation. Magnus is an interesting character, he has to live in the shadow of his father and battle some demons in Falling Kingdoms. He also has an interesting relationship with his adopted sister that really plays into whether or not Magnus will inherit this King of Blood reputation like his father.

Lastly, Princess Lucia is Magnus’ adopted sister. She discovers a lot about herself that essentially has been kept from her her entire life. Lucia learns that she posses something that Mytica hasn’t seen in a long time, which is magic. I will say she is probably my least favorite of the 4 but she is still interesting none the less. And the way she and what she can do is being used by her father will probably lead to even more destruction in the next books.

What I didn’t like about Falling Kingdoms:

I don’t really have any dislikes for Falling Kingdoms, it was better than I thought it was going to be.

Overall thoughts:

If you like high fantasy you should read this story. I can’t wait to start the next book, but I promised myself I’d take a break for the fantasy genre for a little bit. However I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to with this series

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: Whispers in Autumn

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Title: Whispers in Autumn (Book #1)

Series: The Last Year

Author: Trisha Leigh

Narrator: Brielle Silvestri

Publish Date: July 21st, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopia

Reading Format: Audio Book

Summary:

Althea isn’t like everyone else. Surrounded by constantly happy people and the alien race The Others who invaded earth 16 years ago she finds herself different than anyone else on planet earth. Althea’s also finds herself in a different town with different family depending on the season, and all Althea has in her position is a locket with a note from ‘Ko’ who tells her to trust no one. Now that she’s back in Connecticut with the Morgans, Althea’s just trying to get by without anyone noticing she’s different until a boy named Lucas shows up and changes everything.

What I liked about Whispers in Autumn:

I’m not a massive Science Fiction fan or someone who reads books about alien invasions but I’m someone who will choose a book based off of its cover, which is exactly why I chose Whispers in Autumn. Other than the cover the story in general was pretty good and I found myself reacting to the story as I listened to it in my car to and from work.

I really liked Althea and the changes and discoveries she makes in the first book. Her interactions with her Autumn family and the other people in town was a very interesting thing to me as everyone but her only ever seems to emote being happy while Althea is fully capable of feeling all emotions but has to hide it so that she doesn’t stand out. It was a great concept to the book as I would imagine it would be quite difficult to pretend to be happy or contempt all the time even when you aren’t.

What I didn’t like about Whispers in Autumn:

Because I listened to this book  in the audio format sometimes the narration bothered me. In this particular instance the word “won’t” kept distracting me whenever it came up in the story just because it sounded very Canadian and its told from Althea’s perspective who is American, so I felt that it didn’t match with the everything else.

Also for some reason when something was driving Althea crazy or a situation felt crazy she would use the word “Banana balls” which quite frankly would drive me banana balls. (See what I did there)

Overall thoughts:

I really enjoyed Whispers in Autumn and I plan to continue the series. It’s different than any other dystopian books I’ve read and I would easily recommend this book for anyone who likes YA dystopias or Science Fiction.

Rating:

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Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: The Paper Magician

I’ve reformatted the way I write my book reviews. I might still be making a few changes on occasion but I’m trying to find the best layout for this blog.


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Title: The Paper Magician

Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Publisher: Brilliance Audio/47North

Publish Date: September 1, 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Reading Format: Audibook

Summary:

Ceony Twill has just graduated top of her class at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, however her dreams are dashed once she learns she will be an apprentice for paper magic and not a smelter as she had always planned. Ceony holds her apprenticeship under Professor Thane who charms her into learning the world of paper magic. All is well until an excisioner, or dark magician, literally rips Professor Thane’s heart from his own chest. Ceony must take what little magic she has learned and save her teacher, which comes with a little bit of a twist as Ceony finds herself confined  within his still beating heart.

What I liked about The Paper Magician:

I though the story was charming and I really enjoyed the narration. Choosing to do this book as an audio I think made it more enjoyable to me than if I were to read it.  I found the beginning of the book to be magical and getting to learn about Ceony’s magic was interesting.

What I did not like about The Paper Magician:

The Paper Magician can be a bit boring during the middle when Ceony is trapped inside Thane’s heart (this by the way is not a spoiler it is literally written on the back of the book). Those chapters can be long and at times I couldn’t see the point to why the scenes inside the heart needed to last for so long.

Overall thoughts:

Overall, I liked The Paper Magician. I didn’t love it but I will continue on with the series. I’m interested enough to know what happens with Ceony and Thane as they move on from the events that take place in the first book. I’ll probably continue the series as an audibook though because I think I might become uninterested with the stories if I were to read them.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan