Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Crown of Wishes

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

This is a sequel....well maybe a companion book, kind of, which I reviewed here: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN

While the first book was mesmerizing with some bits of confusion over character development, I absolutely LOVED the second book.

Before I get into it, an amazon summary, "From the author of The Star-Touched Queen comes a beautiful lush fantasy, Roshani Chokshi's A Crown of Wishes.
Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.
Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR The Star-Touched Queen; don't read any farther if you don't want anything spoiled.

SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT FOR The Star-Touched Queen. YE HAVE BEEN WARNED!

So, what I failed to mention in the blog review about The Star-Touched Queen, is Maya's half sister Gauri. Arguably, Maya's relationship with Gauri probably was integral to the story because it truly showcased Maya's humanity, but I significantly glossed over it because I had other priorities in that review. In summary, Maya loves Gauri, told her lots of stories as a child, while Maya was away in Akaran, a lot of time passed in the mortal realm, and Gauri grew up to be one amazing adult. So, A Crown of Wishes starts with Gauri as an adult.

...anywho.

So Gauri is Maya's sister. The story begins with her living in the dungeons of another kingdom after her unsuccessful attempt at overthrowing her brother for the throne of Bharata. 

Enter Vikram, the fox prince, aka the soon to be puppet king. Gauri is trapped in his kingdom's dungeon. He is very passionate about his country, but he is the adopted son of the king, not a blood heir. The king does not seem to have other children of any sort, adopted, birthed, or through mythical creation. ...I don't know, I just have to cover all the bases with fantasy stories. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Enter, the Lord of Wealth, who entices Vikram with the tournament of wishes. There's a few catches (which are revealed later), but the first catch is he has to find his partner.

Enter Gauri, an escape from the dungeon, and suddenly a manic adventure through the countryside, myths, and magic.

If the purpose of the first book was to only build the world for the second book, I'm suddenly mostly fine with it, because I loved the second book.

Gauri is a great heroine as she is very balanced between flaws/strengths and is very human.

Vikram is great because he's kind of got the clever, devil-may-care attitude with lots of humor sprinkled in.

There's also a THIRD narrator (did I mention the story switches between three different narrators perspectives? Because it does. SURPRISE) who is unique. I was fascinated with the third narrator, but I loved Vikram's narrations the most, even though we had the most chapters from Gauri's point of view. I also love Gauri, but there's just something special about Vikram.

It was just a great story. The only slight drawback, was when the magic and splendor of the other realm was playing out, sometimes it was a little difficult not to get lost in the details. BUT, that will not deter me from making this a recommended book. Even though the first one isn't. It knows what it did.

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This story reminded me a lot of A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston and also Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. The plot and characters have nothing to do with those books, or anything with that myth, but there's a certain cadence to those books. Something that's particularly mesmerizing about them that makes them unforgettable.

I think this book all captured that.

An amazon summary, "Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...
But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Maya lives in Bherta, where she is under constant ridicule by all of the women in the harem. Her father, the king, has a tutor come see her once a week, but for the most part, she loves to become lost in the scrolls of the library. Something I can easily relate to.

She's gotten to the age of 17 without being married off to due the horoscope of her birth. Every child in the kingdom has their horoscope foretold at birth, and hers is particularly cursed.

The kingdom is also at war. As a way to make peace, her father decides to hide her horoscope and marry her off to one of the warring forces. However, since she can only choose one, and she has 15 suitors, the war will continue with the remaining 14. Something her father cannot have.

So he asks her to sacrifice herself for the kingdom, by killing herself with poison. Not a great Father, but perhaps a wise ruler that truly puts the people of the country first? I'm still undecided.

In the moment she decides to drink the poison for the good of the country she loves, Amar appears and takes the poison away. He offers to take her to another land where she'll have the power of a thousand kings.

So begins the journey through the Night Bazaar, and ultimately to Akaran. Into a palace where there are no subjects, but plenty of magic, and whispers to drive you mad.

....that's enough of a summary.

So I kind of loved aspects of this book. I love Maya and how simultaneously wise and flawed she is. I love all of the rich descriptions of the land, the culture, and the world building. I loved how the magic of the book seemed to be it's own character, and that was wonderful in of itself. There were also a lot of elements of reincarnation, threads of fate, but ultimately, I didn't like how it kind of squashed the question of do we decide our own fates or are our fates predetermined?

I found Amar interesting at first, but also very odd. Like that one kid in the back of the class who really wants to raise their hand, but is way too shy to, and he doesn't have a teacher willing to draw him out of his shell. He seemed to be playing a constant cat and mouse game with his own personality. Instead of endearing, it was really just annoying.

I do love how the mystery of the book revealed itself, but I would have loved to see more of the mythical creatures throughout the book. They were present for certain scenes, but based on who Amar is, who Maya becomes, it just seems like we should have seen more of them. There was a lot of concentration on the humans, which kind of makes sense because Maya's love for her country and people. But, but but but, because who Amar is, I was expecting much more interaction with the otherworldly. 

It is a good story, a mesmerizing story.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Prudence

Prudence by Gail Carriger

....I'm pretty much in love with Gail Carriger's writing. No further comments.

I've previously read & blogged about these books by Carriger:
THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE
CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES
ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY

This is the first book of The Custard Protocol series, which is the spin off series of The Parasol Protectorate series.

This is a book geared towards adults, I usually read young adult books....so the heads up feels justified.

 so here's an amazon summary, "When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all..." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE 

Prudence has grown up and is ready for her own adventures. Raised in Lord Akeldama's lovely household with all of his dandies.

She's been slightly trained in art of espionage and she's bored at high society events. Prudence is ready to take on something a little more challenging...

With an assignment from Dama (Lord Akeldama), Prudence is off in a dirigible named The Spotted Custard that also looks like a giant lady bug.

This book is full of the same great humor, penchant for particular fashion, and interesting supernatural instances.

Pretty fantastic.

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fourth of July

Today's news title is brought to you by Fall Out Boy: FOURTH OF JULY. ENJOY!

Where did you go?!

...I've been around. I'm still reading, I just haven't had much patience to sit at my computer and blog.

What does that mean?!

I'll start posting short & sweet blog posts of the 11 or so books I've read but have been silent about. They're going to be back posts but new to the blog? You're news updates/feeds/whatevers might get a little crazy. Heads up - not an apology. ;)

....I guess this is good.

Yes. Yes it is good.

Are you going to leave us again?!

Maybe? Who knows!?

I enjoy blogging, especially because it helps me keep track of books I'm on the look out for sequels to....although I still derp out about that sometimes. Hmm. Meh.

I'll probably be around, but I'm probably going to stick with shorter blog posts for a bit.

If I get less exhausted by the process....I'll probably write more blog posts.....am I write?! Hehehe.

...will you stop making puns? :|

Nope. :D

Anything else?

You betcha! I'm going to updating THE COMIC BOOK CHRONICLES section because I've also been reading a ton of stellar graphic novels lately and should share.

That's it.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Steelheart

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Super powers? Villains? A world cast into crime and desperation with a weary band trying to eliminate the villains...or should I say, Epics?

Seems like it should be right up my alley....right?

:|

An amazon summary, "Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Words of Radiance, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, presents Steelheart, the first book in the Reckoners series, an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers breathless.
   Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.   Epics are no friends of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man, you must crush his will.   Now, in what was once Chicago, an astonishingly powerful Epic named Steelheart has installed himself as emperor. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said that no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, and no fire can burn him. He is invincible. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners.   A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in.   When Steelheart came to Chicago, he killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David has been studying, and planning, and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.   He has seen Steelheart bleed.   And he wants revenge." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Okay, three minute summary of the first part of the book, GO!

When David was 8, his Dad was trying to get a loan at the bank. An Epic came in when Epics were relatively unknown and started murdering a hella lot of people.

Another Epic by the name of Steelheart came in, and wrecked more havoc. David's father shot the first Epic, but managed to make Steelheart bleed in the process.

Steelheart freaked out, turned the whole place into steel, while David hid in the vault. David was later rescued but faked death before escaping once he was outside the bank. Steelheart made sure everyone remotely involved with that bank incident DIED.

Ten years later, the Epics have run rampant, ruined Earth and it's established societies, and now David is hell bent on killing Steelheart.

He's trying to become part of the Reckoners crew, humans who hunt down Epics and destroy them.

He meets Meg from the Reckoners and instantly goes ga ga over her. Helps her out to kill an Epic. Meets up with other Reckoners.

AND THEN THE BOOK BECOMES REALLY LONG AND DRAWN OUT ABOUT SPECULATING THE BEST WAY TO TAKE DOWN STEELHEART AND WHAT HIS WEAKNESS IS.

AUGH.

It was 400ish pages of David being all, "Man the Reckoners are SO COOL", "Dude, Earth is pretty screwed up...but that's the way it is! We should kill Steelheart!", "Hey guys! We should kill Steelheart! Let's figure out how!" "Oooo, cool piece of future technology!" "LOL, I can't drive! WHEEE!!! *crash*" "Man, Meg is so hot." "I wonder why Meg hates me!?" "I know completely random and slightly useful facts about most Epics!" "Epics are my life!" "I HATE EPICS" "Man, guys, we have to kill Steelheart" "Meg is totes Mcgoats hot as hell" "I bet I can figure out every other Epic's weakness besides Steelheart's."

:|

So unimpressed.

There was a lot of neat world building that was going on but the book was seriously so long. IT WAS SO LONG.

UGH.

Very unnecessarily long. WHYYYYYYYYYY.

400ish pages? Pfft, that's like an afternoon's worth of reading for me?

REALLY DRAWN OUT SCENES WHERE THE NARRATOR IS OBSESSED OVER THE PRETTY GIRL AT ALL MOMENTS?

About a week and a half for me to read. Because it's sooooo boring for most of the time.

UGH.

Also, don't forget that 'Newcago' is cased in steel because Steelheart is an Epic that NEEDS to be killed!

..... :|

Many unimpressed noises. So many.

Happy reading!

....but probably something else.