Book Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Goodreads: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1)
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 09 July 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A gifted tailor in disguise.
Three legendary dresses.
The competition if a lifetime.

On the fringes if the Great Spice Road, Maia Tamarin works as a seamstress in the shop of her father, once a tailor of renown. She dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for us to marry well.

When a royal messenger summons her ailing father to court, Maia poses as his son and travels to the Summer Palace in his place. She know she her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to save her family from ruin and achieve her dream of becoming the imperial tailor. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

The competition is cutthroat, and Maia’s job is further complicated by the unwelcome attention of the court enchanter, Edan, who seems to see straight through her disguise. But nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three gowns so dangerously beautiful, it will take a quest to the ends of the earth to complete them…

Tell me, why did I take so long to read this? Spin the Dawn is pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway and with such a unique premise, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this #OwnVoices Asian inspired fantasy. I was wary when I started reading it (because I was really let down by another Asian inspired fantasy last year) but I’m so glad this one didn’t disappoint! Not to sound cheesy or anything but it was so magical! It didn’t take long for me to fall head first into the story and to find myself caring deeply about its characters. 💞

Continue reading “Book Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim”

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Queen of Nothing
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

WELL. I closed this book with a lot of new, mixed and surprising feelings for many characters that I honestly didn’t care all that much about to start with. This was a pretty good conclusion although it was really nothing mind-blowing. Honestly, if I had been more invested in the characters from book one, I might even go so far as to say that I might’ve been disappointed with this ending. But if you like clean happy endings (and I mean who doesn’t?), then I think that The Queen of Nothing will tick all your boxes and leave you feeling satisfied.

Continue reading “The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black – #BookReview”

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Bone Houses
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror
Panda Rating:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

I was expecting to be terrified reading this ‘historical fantasy horror’, especially considering the title and it’s basically about zombies, but it had just the right amount of spook that even a chicken like me could read it alone at night! What a treat of a read this was 😍 Even before picking it up, I knew I’d enjoy it but I didn’t expect to not want to leave it for even a second!

“The anticipation of the loss hurts nearly as much as the loss itself. You find yourself trying to hold on to every detail, because you’ll never have them again.”

The writing was simple, atmospheric and the story read a little bit like a fairytale. I liked how things were so simply but vividly described but mostly I loved the magic in the story. It’s woven through so naturally it was almost difficult to picture the world differently. Although this is a fantasy, I was wondering what country inspired the story, and it’s Welsh folklore/mythology! I haven’t read anything Welsh inspired before (at least not to my knowledge) so that was pretty cool. The plot was fast paced and well paced. There were some ‘quieter’ moments towards the end of the book, but it didn’t slow the story down. There wasn’t much surprising in the plot though–it was quite linear which made it easy to predict what would happen in the end, but that’s OK. There were still some unique elements to the story that made it enjoyable!

What really made the story for me were the characters. Ryn is incredibly fierce, loyal and stubborn. She has a temper that gets the best of her at times, and while she does make some stupid decisions without thinking of the consequences, you can’t help but love her anyway. She’s hanging on to the past in the hopes that one day her father will return and it broke my heart a little bit. She’s the character that makes you feel safe and like everything’s going to be okay because they’re around. We don’t learn or spend a lot of time with her siblings but I loved Ceri! She’s a bright light in a dark story and her bubbly personality and love for baking and animals had me smiling from ear-to-ear.

“She was half a wild creature that loved a graveyard, the first taste of misty night air, and the heft of a shovel. She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live.”

Then we have Ellis, the mapmaker who comes into town. Little is known about him at first, but it was pretty easy to figure out his story as we learn more about the curse. I loved Ellis’ character a lot! He had a certain innocence about him that stemmed from his questions about his past but he also had some great dry/sarcastic humor! I even liked the romance that bloomed! It’s progression felt natural and I liked the easy banter that flowed between them. Although they’re opposites in so many respects, they share a keen understanding in their loneliness, losses and grief, and as such complemented each other quite well. Opposites definitely attracted here!

Also, did I mention the amazing goat yet?! Because it definitely might have stolen the show! I loved it as much as everyone told me I would and I know that sounds weird AF but trust me, when you read this, you’ll love the goat too! I pre-ordered the book just so I could get that extra story about the goat! Overall, I’m so glad that I finally read this book. I enjoyed so much about it and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fantastical zombie fairytale-esque story that’s just a little on the spooky side!

Have you read The Wicked King or is it on your TBR?

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Wicked King
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

3.5 stars for that pre-epilogue ending! And just when I thought that things were turning around and I’d like this newly established alliance, that ending had to go and happen! I’m shook but also angry? But also, I get it too? This seems to have really messed with my feelings (of which I thought I didn’t have many of for this series) 🤣

The Cruel Prince: ★★★½ – ★★★★☆
The Wicked King: ★★★½
The Queen of Nothing: ???

Continue reading “The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview”

Friday Favorites: Magic Wielders

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favourites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: favorite magic wielders! This is oddly enough something I’ve never thought about closely despite reading many fantasies that have magical worlds, wielders and other elements. Would this also include witches? Is it cheating to include witches? this list is compiled of the first five names that came to mind when I thought of magicians/magic wielders/witches. I know that I’ve missed out on some greats (first thought was really to Harry Potter but that’s stating the obvious, right?)!

Sorry it’s gonna be a short one though coz this day/week has been long AF!

Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Lou Le Blanc from Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Nathaniel Thorn from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Farden from The Written (Emaneska #1) by Ben Galley

Kell Maresh from Shades of Magic Series by V.E. Schwab

Who are some of your favorite magic wielders?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat!