Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Started: December 24, 2017
Finished: December 31, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars

“After Beltane is over, we will have the pleasure of watching our queen deliciously poison her sisters.”

Actual rating: 3.25/5 stars

So this book was a bit of a rollercoaster when it comes to enjoyment, but after finishing it I felt like the sequels might be a bit more interesting. Mainly because most of this book is the build-up for when the three queens – the three sisters – are allowed to start killing each other.

Because that’s what this story is about. A set of triplets vying for the throne of Fennbirn, as generations of triplets have before them. They each have their own powers and, after a set date, they will go head to head, trying to kill the others and win the throne. This generation’s winner seems to be decided before the game even starts; Mirabella – an elemental – is rumoured to be the strongest one born in generations, while Arsinoe – a naturalist – has not managed to even make a flower bloom and Katherine – a poisoner – can’t handle the deadly substances she is forced to eat without getting ill. Mirabella, however, does not want to kill her sisters. And so the people around the three Queens all start to plot and scheme to make their charge the winner – no matter the cost.

A lot in this book is about the political gamble of those around the triplets, while they are mainly left in the dark, not knowing what is going on around them. And while all three of these Queens are written well (as are the other characters), this does make for a rather slow read. However, I would advice you all to keep on going, because once the game starts…. oh boy, things happen! And even though I saw a part of that ending coming, I could not have predicted all of it.

So yes, I will continue on with this series – and I have high hopes for it!




Started: December 29, 2017
Finished: December 30, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars

There is something out there, he’d said. Something cunning.

Yeva is the youngest of three sisters, daughters of a merchant and doing what women their age should do; look for suitable husbands. Yeva is known for being beautiful – even her father calls her Beauty – but that is not what she wants her future husband to marry her for. She wants to marry someone who values her skills. Who loves her because she is a hunter like her father.

When her father loses all his money, the family is forced to move to his old hunting cabin at the edge of the great woods. Yeva’s father goes into the woods to hunt. Soon, it becomes apparent that he is obsessed with hunting something unusual. When that obsession ends in him not coming back home, Yeva makes up her mind and goes after him. And meets the Beast.

This is a very captivating retelling of Beauty and the Beast, inspired by Russian folklore. Yeva is a wonderful character and the short snippets from the Beast’s point of view are written in a way that is incredibly intriguing. You can see when he starts to go from Beast to something more human… and back again.
I could, however, not give this a full five star rating as I felt pieces of the story line could actually have been extended. The ending could have been a bit more complex – in fact that felt like the better option and, perhaps, it was the original intent. I seem to remember this at first being planned as the first installment of a series, only to then be turned into a stand-alone novel (might be recalling this wrong, though). But it’s still a really good novel and one I truly recommend people give a shot at reading.

Unbound (Magic Ex Libris #3)

Started: December 17, 2017
Finished: December 29, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 5/5 stars

Thanks to Gutenberg, I could no longer pull wands, potions, and light sabers out of books, but when it came to research, give me a well-stocked library and I was a goddamned Merlin.

Isaac Vaino has lost his magic – right when he needs it the most, because without it, how is he going to find his student, Jeneta, who was possessed by a queen hellbent on ending the world?
Oh, and save the world. That too.

In this third book of the Magic Ex Libris series, we meet a more desperate Isaac than in the previous books. He has lost a vital part of himself, been cut off from the Porters, and blames himself for Jeneta Aboderin’s disappearance and possession. And when Isaac gets desperate… well, he uses magic tools that are probably not a good idea to use. He attempts to access parts of his locked brain by use of a siren’s song, breaks into a satellite blood bank owned by vampires, drinks blood to be able to communicate with a dead Pope… honestly, all signs of a desperate man with knowledge of magic. And all possibly deadly.

At the same time, Gutenberg and the Porters try to minimize the damage wrecked by those who exposed magic to the world. A race against time, as their opponents only need to cause a bit more magical chaos to make people ignore the Porters’ attempts at assurance that magic is not real. Eventually, even Gutenberg finds himself needing help.

Specifically; he needs Isaac’s help.

This book is written in the same entertaining way as the previous ones – and a lot easier to read than book #2, which I found a tad bit confusing. It has just as many geeky references and witty comments, but also a certain darkness. Isaac has changed. The world has changed. And it will probably never go back to being the same way as before. The story is fast-paced and intriguing and fun, and it feels like it could be something that happens in the world we know today. As if it is actually happening.

Maybe libriomancy is actually real and this is one of the clues left by the Porters’ enemies, to expose them…

Talon (Talon #1)

Started: December 20, 2017
Finished: December 28, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars

“You really care for them, don’t you? I wouldn’t have expected it.”
“Well, to paraphrase a famous fictional ogre, dragons are like onions – we have layers.”

Dragons are real – hidden in plain sight, shifting into human shape to blend in with the masses. Their organization – Talon – makes sure that their existance stays a secret, with all dragons trained for one specific purpose. Those who do not follow this rule are eliminated.

Ember Hill is a hatchling, sent out into the world of humans to learn how to be one. Her and her brother – Dante – end up living in a town in California for the summer. To Ember, this is her only shot at freedom, before she becomes an official member of Talon. Thus she intends to make the most of it. She learns to surf, spends time with her new human friends, parties, hangs out in the mall, and meets a boy. Garrett.

Garrett is, however, not your ordinary human boy. He is not in town for a summer vacation. He’s there to kill a dragon.

I really liked the idea of shapeshifting dragons and an army of human hunters – the Order Of St George – operating right under the nose of regular humans. And I liked Ember as a character; reckless but with a good heart. I actually think this book would have been a 5 star book for me if not for the love-triangle… I’m honestly still trying to figure out if it was a necessary element. Might not make up my mind on that until I’ve finished the entire series. Because I do intend to continue reading this series; I want to find out what happens to all these characters, and I have a feeling this will get seriously complicated soon.

Actually might try to get through the first four books before the fifth one is published. We’ll see how much time I find myself having!

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)

Started: August 7, 2017
Finished: December 23, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars

“You two have a bad habit of acting like fools and calling it heroic.”

I am struggling with this series, honestly. I’m not connecting with the characters and I feel like everything’s moving far too slowly. Makes me jittery. I like the world and the magic – and I also do want to read the Six of Crows duology because I’ve heard so much about it and how it’s made a lot of people love the Grishaverse, while this first trilogy did not. So, in a way, that was my motivation to get through this novel.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find a character that I enjoyed reading about, who helped me get through it all. A certain prince…

Yes, Nikolai is what kept me reading and what will keep me reading the next novel. He was, in short, exactly what I needed; a clever fox-prince trying to fix a world gone mad like he would fix a broken invention. A prince, a politician, an inventor and a pirate all in one. You just can’t go wrong with that!

So that pushed my rating up a bit. Question is; will that be enough for me to enjoy the next book? Does he show up enough for me to like it?

Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)

Started: December 13, 2017
Finished: December 17, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars

Bravery is a choice that is yours to make. Don’t let fear steal your will.

A few months before the start of the book, Britta’s father – the king’s bounty hunter – was assassinated. As her parents’ marriage was not viewed as legal in the eyes of her kingdom, Britta is not eligible as heir to his home – and in order to survive she has to poach. Only, one day, she is caught by the king’s men and is given a choice; execution, or help hunt down the man suspected for killing her father. Her childhood friend and crush, Cohen.

This book follows a very common YA Fantasy structure; an odd girl is sent out on a quest and ends up fighting evil and saving her kingdom. Done well, that is still an enjoyable way to present a story. But since it is so common nowadays it needs its own twists and turns – and, sadly, I felt that this book lacked some of those. The romance felt weak, the one who turned out to be the villain was not completely unexpected, and a lot of the things that occured throughout the novel felt very predictable.

The ending, however, was not. By that I mean the slight cliffhanger that leads into the next novel – as it hinted at things that I did not expect. Due to that I will probably read the next book as well, just to find out what those things actually meant. And because there were some characters that I found really interesting that I hope will be given more time in the next novel.

Princess of the Silver Woods (Princesses of Westfalin #3)

Started: December 12, 2017
Finished: December 14, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars

I abducted Princess Petunia last week. I didn’t harm her; I delivered her to the Grand Duchess Volenskaya, but now she is in terrible danger.

Many years have passed since Petunia, youngest of Westfalin’s twelve princesses, was forced to dance every night for the King Under Stone. But now those powers are stirring again. Every night Petunia dreams that the Prince she always danced with comes to take her away. To get away, she travels to the estate belonging to the Grand Duchess Volenskaya – but on the way there she is abducted by a band of outlaws. And soon a line of suspicious events are unravelled.
In short; the King Under Stone is not coming soon to take Petunia and her sisters away. His people are already there.

This book is the perfect ending to this trilogy. Petunia is the perfect image of a youngest sister; beloved and a bit spoiled by her father, and with a tendency to ignore the wise words of those who are older than her. The story leans on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as well as the legend of Robin Hood – and, of course, the tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses. It is an exciting, fun and easy read. Which is why I cannot give it a full 5 stars; there are several things that could have been developed and made more complicated, or explored further, in order to make this an even better story. But it is still a very, very good conclusion and I’m going to miss these tales. Wouldn’t mind a spin-off at all!