Fireborn by Aisling Fowler – A Review #ultimateblogtour

Hi! Today’s my stop on TheWriteReads tour for Fireborn by Aisling Fowler.

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler
  • Publication date: September 30th 2021
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Genre: MG Fantasy

Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.

Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other—and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.

Ember is full of monsters.

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them—so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny—and the very fate of her world.

First of all, a big thank you to Dave at TheWriteReads, the publisher and the author for organising this tour and providing me with an earc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love middle grade fantasy. There’s just something about those stories that make the reading experience magical, cosy and fun. I also understand that when something doesn’t quite work for me in them it’s because I am not the target demographic for those books. I think that is the case with Fireborn.

There are many things I appreciated in this book. For one, I think the premise was very interesting. It’s what sold me on it in the first place. It sounded like heaps of fun and exactly what I look for in MG fantasy.

I thought the world building was fascinating, but a bit too ambitious. I feel has it been simplified, it would’ve worked better, because for the sheer amount of plot, action and back story vs. descriptions, we just didn’t get enough info about the world and why things were the way they were. Instead, we got big paragraphs describing different creatures, which felt info dumpy. I would 100% appreciate those more as an extra to an already fully developed world I loved, rather than one I’m just discovering.

Found family trope is one of my favourites, and I really love a mentor/unlikely guardian trope and both of those are in some form present in Fireborn. The problem was… I didn’t like or care about any of the characters. Twelve, our main protagonist, wasn’t likeable or relatable and very little changed about her throughout the book. The other characters in the book didn’t get enough “screen time” for me to form any actual opinions.

I am definitely in the minority here. I do believe I’m the only person who rated this lower than 4 stars. So, please don’t base your opinion on mine and if Fireborn sounds like something you feel you’d enjoy definitely give it a go. It’s fast paced and full of adventure – it was just not for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thank you for reading. Follow the Fireborn and TheWriteReads hashtags on Twitter to find all the other glowing reviews. I’ll speak to you all soon!

The Beast And The Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips – A Review #TheWriteReads

Hi!

Today is the last stop on this huge The Write Reads tour for The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, and it’s also my stop. Thank you, as always, to Dave for organising the tour and to the publisher for providing me with an e-copy.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips
  • Publication date: October 1st 2020
  • Publisher: Egmont
  • Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .

Oh boy, this was FUN! I love middle grade books, it’s no surprise to anyone, and The Beast and the Bethany is everything I love in those stories. It’s a super fast read, immensely entertaining, laugh out loud funny and overall a great time.

The Beast and the Bethany follows Ebenezer Tweezer, a 511 year old man, who lives a lavish life in a big mansion with… the Beast. Said Beast has a big appetite and requests the most unusual meals and in return supplies Mr. Tweezer with a potion which makes him young and healthy. Throughout the years the Beast has made some difficult requests, yet each and every single time Ebenezer delivered. After yet another outlandish request, Ebenezer sets out to fulfill it and comes across Bethany – a not so well behaved orphan, and the two become most unlikely friends.

I loved both Bethany and Ebenezer and the relationship the two develop throughout the story. They are quite similar in character at the start of the book, both quite selfish and horrible, but instead of causing havoc together (though that they do, too, I suppose), they help each other grow and change. The Beast was probably my favourite character, though. There was just something unsettling and yet hilarious about it, the way it spoke, behaved and treated everyone.

If not the slump in which I still very much am and other obligations, I’m sure I could’ve read it in one sitting. It’s short but it’s also an absolute page turner. I think the writing is great and witty and it appealed to me as a 27 year old, but I’m positive it would also appeal to a young audience. I got big Lemony Snickett vibes off it. I definitely think it has a potential to be a series many young readers grow up with and have a special attachment to.

I’m excited to continue with the series and see what Bethany and Ebenezer get to in the second book. If it’s anything like the first one, I know it’s going to be fantastic and heaps of fun.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you for reading! Keep an eye out for this one once it releases, it’s really worth a read.

I’ll talk to you soon!

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall – A Review

Hi! It’s time for another The Write Reads tour review. Dave has been spoiling us with great books lately and this one was no different. Let’s just get into it.

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall
  • Publication date: June 18th 2019
  • Publisher: Capital Station Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

I think the whole gang reached a consensus with this book – we all seemed to really enjoy it and it’s a rare sight. I haven’t heard of this series until Dave announced the tour and as a fantasy reader, I’m surprised why more people don’t talk about it, because it ticks all the boxes.

It took me no time to get into the story. Knightmare Arcanist doesn’t waste any time to introduce you to the world and plot – it throws you right in. Volke is hell bent on becoming an arcanist and making a name for himself. It’s not easy growing up on an island where your heritage is everything, and coming from a family of thieves and murderers. Being apprenticed by the gravedigger he’s not allowed to compete in order to bond with a phoenix, but he finds a way to bond with a mythical creature and becoming an arcanist anyway.

I really liked Volke as a main character. He was an interesting protagonist and narrator, and I really liked his determination. Actually, thinking about it, I didn’t hate any of the characters. Granted, I didn’t think all of them were fleshed out to the point I’d like them to be, but they were fun to follow, especially for the purpose of seeing different mythical creatures and the magic they could perform with them.

I think Knightmare Arcanist fits the younger end of YA and in many of those cases the author struggles to find the tone for the story, or takes heavy inspiration from other books. Stovall managed to make this one stand out in a line up. I found the story to be fast paced and engaging and the world rich and developed, without info dumpy paragraphs. It was a fresh story and it’s what made it so enjoyable for me. It’s not the shortest, yet if not this dreadful reading slump, I’d see myself reading it all in one sitting and that says something.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed thoroughly was Stovall’s writing. She managed to paint the world clearly with her words without using language that’s too flowery – seeing as the story is told from Volke’s point of view. I love a healthy balance between descriptive writing full of imagery and Tolkien’s 3 page long descriptions of grass, and I think Stovall managed it very well.

I am looking forward to continuing with the series as it pleasantly surprised me. If you like magical fantasies and mythical creatures, you should definitely give it a go.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you all for reading. Make sure to check out the hashtags and follow @ TheWriteReads on Twitter to find all the other fantastic reviewers taking part in this tour. I’ll talk to you all soon!

The Die of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen – A Review

Hi! I’m back, just like I said I would be, with a very exciting review! It’s my stop on #TheWriteReads blog tour for A Die of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen! I’ve reviewed the first book as well, and you can read my review by clicking HERE

The Die of Death by Kenneth B. Andersen
  • Publication date: August 31st 2007
  • Publisher: Host og Son
  • Genre: Middle Grade/YA Fantasy

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.

But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.

Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

*First and foremost, I have received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This series really took me by surprise. I mean it in the best way possible. As I said in my first review, I was afraid it wouldn’t be my cup of tea (for reasons unknown to me), but the first book turned out to be a great, super fun and original adventure story. I’m happy to report the second book didn’t disappoint either!

We start not too long after we left off. After his time in Hell, Philip comes back changed – he makes new friends and leaves his angel ways behind. He’s not quite the devil he’s turned into under Lucifer’s wing, but he’s definitely easier to tempt and give into some not-so-innocent fun. Just as he thinks he is back for good – the underworld needs him again! The die of Death has been stolen.

I want to start with saying it was such a pleasure returning to this world. I didn’t realise just how attached I got to it until I went back to the story. Hell is an interesting place, and we find out even more about its rules and inner workings. Just like in the first book we meet a few biblical and historical figures, and those small references interwoven in the story really add a lot of depth to the overall world building. Andersen adds so much richness to the world, expanding the underworld and showing us the outer perimeter of Hell and Mortimer’s house, as well as telling us about more sinister places I’m sure we’ll visit in the later books.

I said it before and I’ll say it again – Philip is a great protagonist to follow. He’s incredibly likeable, even when he strays, and you really root for him throughout the story. I loved seeing all the other characters, too! When Philip comes back to Lucifer’s palace, it’s like a family reunion. It’s heart warming as Philip comes from a broken family and has never met his father. I really like how consistent the characters stay in the second book – in some books, especially in sequels, the secondary characters tend to loose their personality a bit, especially if they’re taking the back burner after being one of the mains in the first book. Instead they become plot devices. That wasn’t the case in The Die of Death.

I loved the plot and pacing of this one. Philip is back in Hell to find Death’s missing die. Without it, Death can’t establish the length of the humans’ life – and that makes them immortal. While investigating the missing die, Philip discovers something about his own family and things get even more complicated. There’s never a dull moment in The Die of Death. The plot is gripping from start to finish, with more intrigue added as we go. First book talked a lot about morality and in this one we focus more on immortality and what it means to live forever. I really like that there is depth to each of those stories other than just the adventure story we see on the surface. My only qualm is the subplot with Philip’s father and the fact that it was done twice. I understand where it came from, but it made the ending seem a bit repetitive and predictable.

I can’t wait to continue with the series and I’ll be picking up the third book real soon, as this was a pleasure to read!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Please follow @ TheWriteReads on Twitter to find more reviews of this book!

I’ll talk to you very soon! Thanks for reading!