Review: The Burning Sky

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

My trusted reviewers on Goodreads are all right, the beginning of this is terrible. It comes off flat and makes you think this is going to be a swoon fest and all about the romance. Stick with it though, about a third of the way in it gets better.

The world building is really good in this, and I thought using real places like London, India,  and the U.S. as physical settings was really interesting on top of the fantasy element. I saw a little bit of other magical books in this one, but in little details, and nothing that felt repetitive.

I enjoyed watching the  characters develop, both go through some pretty big developments and really come into their own while also growing together as a team. Iolanthe works to accept her new role in what she thinks is now her destiny, and accepts and grows with the challenges Titus gives her. Likewise, I liked the lightheartedness Iolanthe brings to Titus and his world at Eaton. The humor between the two is dry and sarcastic, my favorite kind.

The challenge facing the two is deeper than we would think, and I like how those nuances are revealed. It also stands well to prepare the series, we know there are hard challenges that cannot be achieved in one book. There is a good main villain in this book, and a second introduced. I am looking forward to seeing how he develops in the second book.

Overall, It was an entertaining read with solid characters and good world building, I look forward to continuing the series.

 

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Review: Unmentionable

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)

UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O’Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)

This book delivers on what it promises: obscure social tidbits, humor, and enough questionable hygiene to make me rethink my time-travel fantasies to only eras with indoor plumbing.

However, though funny, this was not an easy read for me. It was a little too much at times, and the humor felt a bit forced if not overdone. I also felt the sources were a bit limited, giving us one particular view on the era and the practices, though the author is very open about that and admits to her limitations in the telling of the time.

If any of you are familiar with the Horrible History books, this reads very similarly, but for adults. We get all the dirty little secrets that entertain us and make us cringe while giggling and telling all of our friends the gross new fact we just learned. This was certainly entertaining, and opened my eyes to things about the Victorian era that I never really thought about. It was the era that built up to massive social, economic, and political change; and perhaps all the personal oppression in the name of decorum had something to do with it.

Review: The Falconer

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Goodreads Summary:

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense thesìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

This was an entertaining read, but beyond that it had a lot of issues.

First, I didn’t know this was Steampunk so that surprised me a little, but I don’t think it was done very well. I kept getting surprised every time a steam carriage, or her helicopter thing appeared because it wasn’t consistent. I also expected this to be a bit more historical than it was. It’s set in mid 1800s Scotland, and I expected the politics of the era to play more into this, and it wasn’t even a factor.

There was also little to no character development, maybe Aileana learned to deal with her rage a bit more? And the romance element was very lacking. I appreciated that the love triangle isn’t really a triangle of emotion, but of necessity. There is one person she’s betrothed to, and they have a platonic caring relationship, and there’s the one she’s romantically attracted to. However, we have no idea who this guy really is, and for working together for a year she doesn’t seem to either.

The writing is’t bad though, and this is an exciting and fun read. There is basically non stop action, and the different faeries are interesting. Also the fact that there are some that are friendly and others that aren’t, and the echelons of faeries within the wider existence of them.

Overall I can’t say I will continue this series, but it was a fun enough read, if a little young for my taste.