2019, Books, reading, reviews

The Raven Tower Review

Title: The Raven Tower
Author: Ann Leckie
Published: 2019
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: When a usurper claims the title of Raven’s Lease, border skirmishes threaten the safety of Iraden and the Raven god. Mawat, the true heir, and his aide Eolo, aim to reclaim the throne and return safety to the land. However, new and old gods are at war and buried secrets threaten to emerge.

What I liked: The story was pretty interesting and I enjoyed the mythology parts. There are several perspectives, including that of an unnamed god, and a story-like portion (in 2nd person) that follows Eolo and Mawat. There are time jumps that bring past and present together to build a bigger picture of what is happening and which gods are at war, and why. It also tells the story of the Raven Tower, the Raven’s Lease and how it all works. I love stories with gods, magic, and betrayals so this definitely spoke to me on those levels.

What I didn’t like: There are no true chapters so it took a little while to catch on when there was a time jump or perspective shift. Additionally, the 2nd person narrative doesn’t work for a lot of people and I found it a little annoying. I also thought the book was a bit long for the story and had a lot of slow and boring parts that don’t necessarily enhance the overall narrative. I also thought it would be a little darker, as blood sacrifice is mentioned, but there’s not a ton of it included. I also thought the communication between the gods and priests was a little weird and not well explained, making it more confusing and unbelievable for me than I had hoped.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. It’s received good ratings and the author is well known in the sci-fi genre, which probably helped. I don’t think it was great and I will caution that it is very confusing and a little weird at times, which distracts me and annoys me. However, if that’s your thing, go for it!

2019, Books, Mid Year Check In, reading, videos, wrap ups

Mid-Year Check In

Total Books Read: 54 but only counting 44 (as 10 were textbooks)


Ratings from Not Rated (-) to 5 Star Rating System and DNFs

Years Published

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019: The Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to: Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

5. Biggest disappointment: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

6. Biggest surprise: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

7. Favorite new author: Julie Kagawa

8. Newest fictional crush; Lestat from The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

9. Newest favorite character: Yumeko and Tatsumi from Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

10. Book that made you cry: N/A

11. Book that made you happy: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

12. Most beautiful book you’ve read: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

2019, Books, booktube, readathons, reviews, videos

Reading Women Month Bingo – Second Check-in!

Hey friends! I am participating in Reading Women Month Bingo for June and here is my second check-in (June 8-14). I didn’t read much that was part of the board but this is such a fun challenge and I look forward to reading more books and making a BINGO!

Check-in #1: https://allthesewanders.com/2019/06/14/reading-women-month-bingo-first-check-in

My Progress:

Here’s the site, if you want more info:  https://www.readingwomenpodcast.com/reading-women-challenge-2019

2019, Books, Favorites, reviews

The Grisha Trilogy (aka Shadow and Bone Trilogy)

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2012
These covers were published in 2017

Synopsis: Alina’s dormant powers awaken after a near-death experience in The Fold with her best friend Mal. Alina trains with the Grisha that are led by The Darkling, however, secrets and mysteries are about to unravel and create chaos across Ravka.

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2013

Synopsis: After a battle in The Fold, Alina and Mal barely escape across the sea. Believing Alina to have died, the Apparat sets up a cult that follows Sankta Alina, the Sun Summoner. However, Alina and Mal return to try and save Ravka with the help of the Privateer Sturmhond.

Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2014

Synopsis: The Darkling is set on destroying Ravka and it is up to Alina, Mal, Nikolai and their armies to stop him. Histories and secrets are revealed that may change the tide in their favor, but at what cost?

I love this series! It’s my second time reading it and I think it was even better this time around. There are two spin-off duologies so far, a plethora of short stories, and a tv show that is currently in production!

The world is so interesting and built very well. The magic is believable and described easy enough to understand, even if one isn’t an experienced fantasy reader. The histories, mythologies and backstories are very intriguing and are one of my favorite parts about this series. It creates a rich world and this has a lot of potential as a tv series. I hope they do it well!

What I liked: There are tons of action scenes and each book moves pretty fast. I’ve often found that trilogies slow down in the second books and sometimes appear as filler, but this doesn’t do that. There is a lot happening and the characters are constantly kept on their toes. The magic is really interesting and it continues to change and improve throughout the books. Bardugo uses actual science phenomenons like light bending to make it even more realistic, which I think is cool. Additionally, the weapons are a combination of modern and historic items, giving this world the unique feel that it’s not medieval nor futuristic. Finally, the characters are funny, the banter isn’t cringey and the relationships are dynamic. Often I’ve found YA novels to include lots of silly dialogue but this was fun and I enjoyed it. The romance was a big part but it also moved the plot along, which was nice. By the way, Nikolai Lantsov is one of the best characters and I am so looking forward to his duology!

What I didn’t like: There isn’t much but most of it is based on overused character tropes. You’ve got the sickly, plain, boring, sad, little peasant girl who is The Chosen One. Her best friend is gorgeous and she doesn’t see why he likes her and keeps questioning it, which does get a little tedious and obnoxious. You’ve got the giant, strong warrior who is actually a softy; you’ve got the beautiful but super mean girl; the nerdy scientist; the shallow and beautiful slave who actually has more depth; the shallow prince; the evil king; the villain who has good intentions; etc. They just get old after a while. However, I still like each character and the way Bardugo wrote them wasn’t groan-inducing or distracting.

Final thoughts: I just love this series and I encourage everyone to read it. With Bardugo executive producing the show, I really hope it stays true to the series and brings it all to life for us. Go read it!

TV series announcement: https://deadline.com/2019/01/netflix-orders-shadow-and-bone-series-leigh-bardugo-grishaverse-fantasy-novels-1202532783/

Spin-off duologies: