Days of Blood and Starlight

Please note that this review may contain spoilers Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Days of Blood and Starlight was written in by Laini Taylor and first published in 2012. It is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and is preceded by Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011) and followed by Dreams of Gods and Monsters (2014) and the spin-off novella, Night of Cake and Puppets (2013). As the story picks up shortly after its prequel left off, you really need to read the books in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

When Karou broke the wishbone with Akiva, everything changed. The memories of her life as Madrigal came flooding back to her, bringing with them the shame of her treason. Learning what Akiva did to Brimstone was the final straw, sending her fleeing to Eretz to see what became of the Loramendi for herself. In its ashes, she finds Thiago – the man who once executed her – and accepts her fate as the new resurrectionist of the chimaera army.

Akiva returns to his people broken and world-weary. When his search for Karou uncovers a thurible bearing her name, he convinces himself that she must have perished. As the seraphim, under the lead of their ruthless general, Jael, begin to turn their wrath on unarmed chimaera farmers, Akiva begins to do all that he can to keep Karou’s memory alive by sabotaging their attempts by night.

However, Akiva and Madrigal’s dream of peace seems further away than ever. As the seraphim target the weak and unarmed, Thiago retaliates by tasking Karou with building more powerful bodies for his men – over-muscled and able to match the seraphim in flight. It seems as though both sides will fight until they wipe each other out, until an old friend delivers a message to Karou, offering a different way to end the conflict…  More

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The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara was first published in 2017 and is Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut novel. It is a high fantasy story which focuses on a princess who must slay an ancient dragon to earn her freedom. The story forms the first part of the Iskari series, and its sequel is expected to be released in Autumn 2018.

Asha is the Iskari – hated and feared by the people of Firgaard due to a terrible accident that half-destroyed the city and left her brutally scarred. An accident that was entirely her fault. As penance, she now hunts the dragons that infest the surrounding lands. Although people may never truly trust her, they can’t deny the fact that she is the most skilled dragon slayer in the land. However, no one knows that she lures the creatures by speaking forbidden stories.

However, Asha’s time as a dragon slayer is coming to an end. In just seven days, she is to wed Jarek – a vicious and controlling military commander. Once Jarek is her husband, Asha knows that she will be forced to obey him or face his rage. Everything seems hopeless until her father – the Dragon King – offers her a chance to break off the engagement. If Asha can kill the oldest of the dragons – Kovu – her father agrees to grant her the freedom that she craves.

However, the hunt will be the most dangerous of her life. Kovu is ancient and powerful, and nothing but the deadliest of stories will lure him. However, as political tensions within the city begin to threaten her hunt, Asha finds her fate entwined with that of one of Jarek’s slaves. Will Asha succeed in her quest, or will she meet the same tragic fate as the heroines in her stories?

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Countryside: The Book of the Wise

Countryside: The Book of the Wise was written by J.T. Cope IV and first published in 2014. It is a middle grade novel about a young boy who discovers that he has ties to a magical world. The book forms the first part of the Countryside series and is followed by Countryside: The Tears of Adina (2015). At the time of writing, no further instalments have been announced.

Luke Rayburn has lived his whole life in suburban Texas, but since he turned eleven he has started seeing odd things. He has been followed by strange, dark figures that no one else can see and he’s pretty sure that he managed to save a tree spirit from some bullies. However, things become stranger after his father leaves for a year of military service. His family is forced to move to his Grandparent’s home in the town of Countryside, and he learns the secret that his parents have been hiding from him.

Countryside is a magical holding, only accessible to those who have some aptitude in controlling the Flame, and the Rayburn family are the wealthiest people who live there. Their home is a castle and they are in charge of the guards who maintain the holding’s wards and protect against the Darkmen and Soulless that would destroy their way of life.

As Luke enrols in the local school and makes new friends, he starts to learn about an ancient prophecy. The Darkmen seem to be searching for the legendary Book of the Wise – an artefact with the power to allow someone to take over the world – and it seems as though they think it has something to do with the Rayburn family. The book has been lost for centuries, but Luke knows that he must find it before it can fall into the wrong hands. If he does not, Countryside – and the world – could be in great danger.

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Renegades

Renegades was written by Marissa Meyer and first published in 2017. It is a science fiction novel, set in a city where a faction of superheroes protect the innocent. The novel forms the first part of a planned duology, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

The Age of Anarchy almost tore society apart. Lead by the powerful Ace Anarchy, a band of super-powered “prodigies” sought to overthrow the status quo and earn freedom for their oppressed people. They were eventually defeated by the Renegades – a group of prodigies who believed in law and justice. Now, the Renegades control Gatlon City, doing their best to use their powers to fight crime and give a better quality of life to all people who live there.

Nova revered the Renegades, until they failed to save the lives of her family. Ten years later, she has taken on the mantle of Nightmare – a prodigy with the power to put anyone that she touches to sleep. When her attempt to assassinate a high-ranking Renegade fails, Nova and her fellow Anarchists realise that they need to be cunning to defeat their enemies. Giving Nova a false identity, they enrol her in the Renegade Trials in the hope that she will be accepted and become their spy on the inside.

Nova quickly gets accepted onto a team run by Adrian – otherwise known as Sketch – who has the power to make his drawings come to life. Adrian also has a secret. He has used his power to create himself a bio-mechanical suit of armour and moonlights as a vigilante called the Sentinel. Adrian has a personal vendetta against Nightmare and will stop at nothing to capture her. Will Nova be able to deceive him for long enough, or will he realise her true identity long before she can take down the Renegades?

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Hero at the Fall

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my review of these novels [here] and [here].

Hero at the Fall was written by Alwyn Hamilton and is due for release in February 2018. The book forms the final part of the Rebel of the Sands Trilogy and is preceded by Rebel of the Sands (2016) and Traitor to the Throne (2017). As this novel carries on directly where previous instalments leave off, I’d recommend reading them in sequence if you want to fully appreciate what is going on.

The rebellion is in pieces. So many of their number died during the Auranzeb celebrations and the Sultan still unknowingly holds the Rebel Prince as a prisoner. To make matters worse, he has used the slain djinn’s fire to conjure a dome around Izman, trapping the surviving rebels inside. Amani knows that they need to escape the city and find their missing friends. Every moment they remain puts them at risk of being found by the merciless Abdals.

If they can leave the city, Amani knows that they still have a chance of winning the war. Stories about the Rebel Prince and his closest allies are already beginning to spread. As the Sultan has allied himself with the magic-hating Gallan army, people who respect the magic of desert are already starting to rally against him. If Amani can only get to Iliaz, she is sure that she can still convince Prince Bilal to lend her his army, even if it means giving him the Demdji bride that he craves.

However, even with an army at their back, the biggest problem is still the Abdals. In order to defeat the clay soldiers and destroy the barrier, Amani knows that she must find a way to disable the Sultan’s machine. However, the machine is not designed to be easily turned off. If she is to destroy it, who knows what will happen to the supernatural fire that burns within. To save Miraji from the Sultan, Amani may be forced to sacrifice herself… More

Cloud Cuckoo

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Never Dawn. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Cloud Cuckoo was written by R.E. Palmer and first published in 2016. It is the second novel of The Never Dawn series and falls between The Never Dawn (2016) and The Gates of Dawn (2017). As the book carries on directly where its prequel left off, you really need to read them in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

When Noah wakes up after his night of exploration with Rebekah, he immediately knows that something is wrong. Mother must have done something to his memories as he can hardly remember what he saw. Stranger still, he seems to have missed a day in which all of his fellow workers were rewarded with a great celebration, yet all of them seem to believe that he was present for it.

When Mother immediately summons them to the square, Noah starts to feel worried. It seems that the prefects have not discovered Moses’s journal and now everyone must be punished. As Mother ushers them into the previously unseen lower levels, the Purges begin. Anyone who steps out of line – or is implicated by their fellows – is dragged away to the Trench, never to be seen again.

As Noah tries to remain inconspicuous, he realises that his days may be numbered. The stress of the Purge is pushing him close to breaking point and, even though his memories are still muddled, it’s clear that Barnabas is suspicious of him. If he does not think of something quickly, the entire rebellion could be in great danger…

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Sky

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Sea. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Sky was written by Sarah Driver and first published in 2017. The novel forms the second part of The Huntress Trilogy and is preceded by Sea (2017). At the time of writing the release date for the final book in the series – Storm – has yet to be announced. As Sky follows on exactly where the previous story left off, I would strongly advise reading the books in order if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

Mouse may have found the Sea-Opal, but now Stag has the map. If he figures out how to read it, the remaining two Storm-Opals will be his and all of Trianukka will be lost under a sea of ice. Mouse knows that is her duty to get the map back from him and continue her quest but she is starting to doubt that it can be done. Even with the help of Sparrow’s magic and Crow’s shape-shifting power, they are still just three children against Stag’s savage army.

As the group try to plan their next move, they find themselves captured by draggle-riders from one of the Sky Tribes. Mouse soon learns that the riders are fighting an endless war against their sworn rivals, the Wilderwitches. As the group flees their mountain stronghold, Mouse slowly begins to understand the importance of her quest. If she can’t unite the clans of Sea, Sky and Land once again, they will eventually destroy each other.

Fuelled by a new resolve, Mouse sets about to retrieve her map and find the next opal. However, it will be far from easy. Although she has made new allies within the Sky Tribes, Stag’s power is growing stronger by the day. Having brutally slaughtered the whales, he now turns his attention on hunting the Sea Wraiths. Will Mouse be able to stop him before he damages her home beyond repair?

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Raptors of Paradise

Raptors of Paradise was first published in 2017 and is Jay Jay Burridge’s debut novel. It is a fantasy adventure set in a world where dinosaurs have never gone extinct. The book forms the first part of The World of Supersaurs series and its sequel, The Stegomancer, is expected to be released in early 2018.

Bea Kingsley is somewhat put out when her grandmother, Bunty, decides that they should suddenly set sail for the distant island of Papua. It’s the summer holidays and she’d much rather be spending it riding on her pet allosaur. Her grandmother claims that it’s because they can’t miss out on the chance to see the rare and beautiful raptors of paradise in their natural environment, but she does not tell Bea the true reason. Bunty has just received a letter dated eleven years previously that reveals that Bea’s parents had also visited the island before their mysterious disappearance.

Under the protection of Bunty’s valet and bodyguard, Theodore Logan, the family begin their trek into the dense jungles of Papua. However, their arrival has angered Hayter – a cruel trader of raptor feathers and self-proclaimed boss of the island. The jungle is full of traps that he has set and anyone who disturbs them soon finds themselves prey for his pet dwarf tyrant, the Beast.

Hayter isn’t the only person stalking Bea and her family. It soon becomes clear that they are being watched by the stealthy and reclusive shadow raptors, as well as the mysterious entity known as the Winged Spirit that protects them. The locals believe that the woods are cursed and that those who enter them are never seen again. However, the truth behind this legend turns out to be much stranger…

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The Hanging Girl

The Hanging Girl was written by Eileen Cook and first published in 2017. It is a mystery novel which follows a teenage girl who becomes entangled in the disappearance of one of her schoolmates. The story stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Skye Thorn is in trouble. Her friend Drew has been busy planning a future which involves the two girls moving to New York to study together. Skye knows that she could never hope to afford the rent, but has been too embarrassed to bring this to Drew’s attention. Trouble is, now graduation day is looming closer and Skye knows that she has left it far too long to tell the truth.

Her desperation pushes her to take drastic measures to raise the money. Skye has always had a talent for reading people, playing this to great advantage while doing tarot readings for her schoolmates. However, she takes this a step further when she becomes involved in shady Pluto and his kidnapping scheme. The plan is simple. Pluto kidnaps Skye’s classmate, Paige, and sends the ransom demand to her wealthy father. Skye uses her insider information to fake psychic visions that lead the police to where Paige is being kept. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong.

Skye’s mother is quick to cash in on the tragedy, claiming that she has also had psychic visions that cause the police to start to doubt the validity Skye’s. As Skye struggles to retain control of the situation, things take a sudden dark turn and she realises that all of the blame for the kidnapping could be easily pinned on her. Skye needs to gain the upper hand and quickly. The true perpetrators are dangerous, and Skye must use all of her cunning if she is to keep her neck out of the noose…

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La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage was written by Phillip Pullman and first published in 2017. It forms the first part of a planned trilogy titled The Book of Dust, but at the time of writing the release date for the next instalment has not been announced. The series serves as a companion to Pullman’s massively successful His Dark Materials series, though this instalment is set ten years prior to the events of Northern Lights.

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead dreams of being a scholar, but has settled on the fact that he is likely to become an innkeeper like his father. Still, he is fairly content with his life. Not only does he help out his family in his free time, but he also uses his canoe – La Belle Sauvage – to run errands for the nuns who live on the opposite side of the river.

One day, he discovers that the nuns have been charged with caring for the baby. Lyra Belacqua was born as the result of a scandalous relationship between two esteemed figures, however Malcolm soon learns that there is another reason why the girl must be protected. The Magisterium are unnaturally interested in her and will stop at nothing to snatch her away.

It’s not long before Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, meet Hannah Relf – an alethiometrist – and through her becomes involved with a secret organisation called Oakley Street. Although Relf is reluctant to involve such a young boy, Malcolm proves to be adept at finding information about the goings on close to his home that no one else can. However, the Magisterium are dangerous and powerful. Soon, Malcolm finds that he is the only one who can protect Lyra from both the Church’s agents and a terrifying stranger with a monstrous dæmon…

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