Theft of Swords: Book Review

I just finished the last book of the trilogy Riyria Revelations and I’ve got to say, these books were fun! They’re an epic fantasy centered around two thieves who get mixed into all sorts of trouble.

Meet Royce and Hadrian, two unlikely partners who outwit kings, wizards, and the occasional dwarf. As the famous guild Riyira, they perform tasks impossible for other mortals. However, when their last mission entangles them in a murder, they have to race against the clock to clear their names.

The Characters

Royce and Hadrian

I adore Royce and Hadrian. They are two completely opposite personalities who make the perfect team. I love their humor and teasing and rich history. I love that Hadrian dreams of being a hero while Royce just wants to live a life of peace and luxury.

The other cast of characters grew on me the further I delved into the books. I struggled a little to get through book one. I just wanted to stick with Royce and Hadrian the whole time, but the other characters did grow more interesting over time. By book three, it wasn’t an issue.

Favorite Book Moments

There were a lot of epic moments in these books. Any Myron moment of Myron being his awesome Myron self was wonderful, especially in book three. (Can you tell I love Myron? Lol!)

Every time Royce Melborne said he hated dwarves. (Small spoiler) That moment when Arista’s suitor gave her the gift that meant the most to her in Book Three. When freaking Thrace finally took up the mantel (in book three) and proved what a Bad-A she was. I mean, she’s already proven herself to be a Bad-A in book two, but book three was so awesome. And Gwen. Every scene with Gwen. Every. Scene. (Spoiler: Book three was so heart wrenching!! 😭)

Pretty much everything accumulates and turns awesome by book three, so I definitely recommend reading all three books. Anyways, the list could go on, but those were some of my favorite moments and characters 😄.

My Personal Review

Overall, I give the trilogy 7/10 stars. There were definitely some funny moments and epic scenes. Like Lenore taking on Guy in book 3? Beautiful. But some of the exposition did slow down the plot a little. Also, because there’s a large cast of characters, I did have a hard time keeping track of everyone from time to time.

Other than that, if you’re looking for an adventure with personable characters and fun twists, this trilogy is for you. On a side note, I’ve heard the audio is superb and really brings the story to life.

Book Blurb

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

About the Author

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan began writing as a child when he found an old typewriter and put in the words “It was a dark and stormy night.” From that moment on, he worked to become a published author. After writing 13 books and receiving over 100 rejections, he decided writing wasn’t for him. It took him over a decade to begin writing again with the rule that he wouldn’t seek out publication.

Sullivan’s story is fascinating. His main goal of writing centered around helping his daughter (who is dyslexic) to read. His wife, after reading his third book, decided his novels needed to get out into the world. She also amassed hundreds of rejections until they both decided to aim towards small presses. When that didn’t work, their co-op team decided to self-publish.

After having five books in print, they gained more traction and he and his wife were able to traditionally publish. Overtime, he’s become a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post best selling author. You can read more of his story on his website. As an aspiring author, I find their story inspiring.

Everlost Between Life and Death

On my latest quest to the library, I was on the hunt for the book Scythe by Neal Shusterman. However, seeing no copies available, I found the first book of a trilogy by the same author, Everlost (No coinage is made upon the clicking of this link 😉 ). And I’ve got to say, I enjoyed it!

The book takes place in a world called Everlost. A place between life and death where lost souls find themselves when they fail to go beyond. Upon arriving, they find a new world filled with its own set of rules and rulers.

Everlost Summary

Everlost

“IT BEGINS WITH AN ACCIDENT.
Nick and Allie don’t survive the crash, and now their souls are stuck halfway between life and death in a sort of limbo called Everlost. It’s a magical yet dangerous place, where bands of lost souls run wild and anyone who stands in the same spot too long sinks to the center of the Earth. Frightened and determined, Nick and Allie aren’t ready to rest in peace just yet. They want their lives back, and their search for a way home will take them deep into the uncharted areas of Everlost. But the longer they stay, the more they forget about their pasts. And if all memory of home is lost, they may never escape this strange, terrible world.”

Book Review

This book was a delightful surprise for me. I’ve never read any of Shusterman’s books and it made me want to explore more of his writings. I found the rules of Everlost to be intriguing. Lost children have to survive monsters and be careful not to stand in one place too long or they truly sink to the center of the earth. It creates some interesting chase scenes and scenarios that I haven’t seen done anywhere else.

I really enjoyed the dynamics of the characters. You’ll see once you read the book, but I liked how Shusterman portrayed their relationships. It was quirky, but fun!

Favorite Moment

I can’t really say that this is a spoiler, but you’re welcome to skip this section just in case.

Spoilers gif

Throughout the book, the chapter headings will have a short snippet from one of Miss Mary’s many books. Except, when you get further in, you start to find other book quotes. My absolute favorite was this one Everything Mary Says Is Wrong by Allie. When I read that line, I about died with laughter. It was a great character moment for Allie that Shusterman caught because it perfectly captured Allie’s personality as well as captured what a young girl would totally title her own book. It was just beautiful lol!

Book Rating

I give this book a 7/10. (I’m changing my rating system, because 1. rating books is hard. And 2. there are so many nuances to creating a good story. I feel like a score of 1-10 will do more justice for the reviews that I write). It is a book geared towards a younger audience since the main characters are in the range of 11-15.

Even so, I found myself really enjoying it. I liked the characters. I liked the world Everlost and the creative rules it had. It was truly unique and I definitely recommend you check it out!

Book Information

Author : Neal Shusterman
Published By : Simon & Shuster Books For Young Readers
Year Published : June 20, 2008.
Genre / Tags : Teen, Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook
# of Pages : 336 pages (Paperback)


Thanks for taking the time to read my review! Have you read Everlost? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!

Have a beautiful day!

The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch: Book Review

Haunted Forest

The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch reminded me of my childhood. A time when I’d pick up a Goosebumps or Animorphs book and get lost in the chilling adventures of aliens, ghosts, monsters, and ghouls.

The Last Apprentice Cover

While prancing through the stacks at the library, (because who really just walks through a library? I mean, honestly) my eyes fell on this gem of a book. Not only did the cover art draw me in, but the caution on the back made it impossible for me to head home without it. “WARNING: NOT TO BE READ AFTER DARK–ESPECIALLY PAGE 148.”

First thought? That’s gutsy. Second thought: I need to find out what’s on page 148. (Clever, very clever.)

I see what you did there

So, I grabbed the first and second book in the series. And I was not disappointed 😀

The Last Apprentice opens to the Spook, Mr. Gregory, investigating his new potential apprentice, Tom Ward. As the seventh son of a seventh son, Tom has a lot of potential to be the next great Spook, but he is everything except excited for his new adventures. The prospect of being the #1 most hated individual in all the land certainly doesn’t sound appealing, nor does the idea of being completely friendless.

Not only that, but the Spook seems determined to kill Tom. Taking him to Hangman’s Hill, having him sleep over in a haunted house, and dealing with real life witches? This new apprenticeship sure seems dangerous.

And when Tom makes a deal with a girl who wears pointy shoes, his new life takes a spin for the worst.

My Rating

I give this book a solid 4/5 stars. The eerie scratch board art made me anticipate every chapter and Joseph Delaney has a great way of creating a sense of dread as you dig deeper into the story.

As a middle grade/young adult book, it had quite a few creepy moments. Not nightmare inducing:

Scared

But enough to catch my breath and feel my heart rate skyrocket. All in all, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading the second book 🙂

If you’re interested in a fun adventure with a twist of the macabre thrown in, I highly recommend it!

Book Blurb

Capturing Witches

Binding Boggarts

Driving Away Ghosts

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now, his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried – some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope; the last apprentice.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook’s warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county…?

About the Author

Joseph Delaney

Joseph Delaney formerly taught media and film studies at a high school in Blackpool, England. He lives with his family in Lancashire, in the middle of boggart territory. Much of what he wrote in The Spook’s Series is influenced by Lancashire folk tales and places of local interest.

And fun fact, apparently the haunted house where the Spook takes Tom Ward is where Joseph Delaney lived until he was 11 years old.

About The Artists:

I’d also like to give a special shout out to the artist Patrick Arrasmith for the amazing artwork that he did for this book. When I picked up The Last Apprentice, the cover design blew me away and made me realize I had to take it home. You should definitely check out his website, he’s got a lot of stunning and unique pieces on there.

Also, for the U.K. editions, David Wyatt definitely deserves a mention for his stunning cover art on the originals! I tried finding a picture of him, but could only locate his artwork. So here’s a picture of the original cover art.

The Spook's Apprentice

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Resource:

Delaney, Joseph. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. Great Britain, The Bodley Head, 2004.

Queen’s Own Fool: Book Review

Queen's Own Fool

A delightful spin on the historical account of Mary, Queen of Scots and her fool.

As I was perusing the book stacks last early Saturday morning, I discovered a novel I’d never heard of before: Queen’s Own Fool. Excited by the cover and description, I added it to my stack of library books and hurried home to begin reading.

Queen's Own Fool

If you haven’t already finished this book, I highly recommend doing so, before reading this post. There will definitely be spoilers. Consider yourself warned 😉

What are my thoughts on the book? Charming. Delightful. Refreshing.

The story opens with our protagonist Nicola performing in a downpour with other members of Troupe Brufort. Unlike any sane individual, her uncle Armand insists that they stand in the cold rain and continue to act despite being the only people on the streets. Cue the inciting incident of a carriage pulling up. A man named Jacques steps out and speaks with Nicola’s uncle. To everyone’s shock, he invites them to perform before the king.

The Intelligent Jardinière

The Intelligent Fool
Photo Credit: Randy Fath

Several things become apparent at once about our heroine in this opening scene. She’s quick witted, willful, stubborn, honest, and comedic. Her sharp tongue gives her a barrage of beatings from her uncle, who orders her, whenever possible, to keep her mouth shut. But it is also her quick wit that saves their troupe from embarrassment as she is the only one able to get a real laugh from the noble audience. A fact that maddens her uncle to no end. And it is also her quick wit that entices Queen Mary to employ Nicola in her services.

I got to say, literary fools and jesters have a special place in my heart. I love the character who can step outside the games and call people out for their stupidity, pride, or ignorance. Their difficult task requires them to have courage and be bold in the face of lies and deceit. It’s their job to hold nothing back and I love how their comments make me think.

Nicola, the queen’s Jardinière, is no different. A few of her bold comebacks to the noble lords and ladies had me laughing out loud. (Seriously, my roommates probably thought I was crazy).

“‘Pardon me, my lord,’ I apologized. ‘Everything you say is very serious, so I am certain you always have a care before you say anything at all. But as I am just a poor fool, nothing I say matters in the least, so I might as well just say the very first thing that comes into my head'” (67). There were so many moments I was delightfully appalled by her tongue in cheek quips. Her words had the ability to cut through the masks of those around her and truly see into their souls.

For example, upon having her first real conversation with Queen Mary, her majesty offers the young girl a common, well known riddle about someone that walks on four legs, then two, then three. The normal answer is man, but Nicola offers a splendid rebuttal, “You are a dog who dances badly before a king” (36). Nicola’s bold response and explanation baffles and humors Queen Mary proving the woman to be honest and open minded.

A poor example comes from Queen Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley. Upon meeting the man, her witty responses disarms and infuriates him. When he’s near to lashing out, she smooths things over, turning him into a man sweet as honey. The distinct opposite responses sets off alarm bells in Nicola’s mind, especially when the noble then proceeds to flirt with her. This first poor encounter, foreshadows many ills to come.

Queen’s Own Fool: Final Thoughts

Unlike many of the YA novels I’ve read, this book does NOT revolve around a central female character debating between the two men she should spend her forever with. Hallelujah.

Instead, Queen’s Own Fool delves into deep topics of corruption, war, abuse, power, loyalty, and so many more interesting subjects. Though the ending follows along events in history(at least where Queen Mary is concerned with her beheading) I never found myself becoming depressed or overly saddened by the circumstances.

I think this had to do with the strong attitude of Nicola. The girl struggled and went through a lot, but never so deep that she fell into a catatonic state (looking at you Katniss). I smiled and laughed more while reading this book than I have in a while. The queen’s end is disappointing, but accurate. You can’t change the past, no matter how much you might want to. But bonus: I actually did a little bit of historical research on the subject since the characters intrigued me so much!

If you get the chance to pick up this book, I highly recommend it. And if you have read it, what were some of your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

resources

Yolen, Jane, and Harris, Robert J. Queen’s Own Fool. New York, Penguin Group,     2000.

A New Chapter

Starting a new chapter

Day One…

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt.

I feel like I should start singing “It’s the start of something new” from High School Musical to kick off the beginning of my brand new blog! Hello world! Thank you for checking in on my first post 😊

A little background on me: I am a reader. Lol simple as that. Stories have been a major part of my life for longer than I can remember and as soon as I learned how to read, I devoured books like there was no tomorrow. My mom soon discovered my need for a library card when I’d finish a brand new novel in a day 😅

My love for reading as only continued to grow alongside my library as I’ve discovered fantastical worlds and creatures I’d never experience in real life. Which brings me to this blog! Since reading and writing are two of my biggest passions, I thought I’d go ahead and create a book review blog.

I’m always looking for a great story to read, and I love recommending books for my friends. My goal is to join or even create a community of book lovers who enjoy getting together and talking about stories that make them laugh, cry, and learn.

Stay tuned for more updates and sign up below to stay posted on what’s in store! Also, if you have any book recommendations, please send me a message! Thanks!