RSS

Tag Archives: Fantasy

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Blabber

Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Published July 10th, 2018
Read July 10th – Aug 1st
Fantasy
466 pages
Spoiler-free blabber

Reading Spinning Silver is like walking through an icy forest.

I could almost feel the chill in the air and the subtle fear in the back of everyone’s minds. The atmosphere of this book is both enchanting and unsettling at the same time.

I picked up Spinning Silver on its release date – I’m a huge, long-time fan of Naomi Novik. I first read her Temeraire series when I was in high school (and am in the middle of a reread now) and I picked up her book Uprooted on its release day a year or two ago as well. Everything I’ve read by her, I have loved, and this is no exception. I feel like at this point, she could publish her grocery list and I would read it.

Spinning Silver is a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, set in a Russia-esque village and nearby town and follows a few different perspectives, one being the daughter of a money lender who frankly is terrible at his job. The daughter, Miryem, starts collecting on her father’s debts and soon cultivates the reputation of being able to turn silver into gold.

This attracts the attention of a Staryk king, one of the creatures who live in a world right along side ours, who run through the woods at night on a silver road that appears and disappears without warning, who attack villages and are obsessed with gold. The king unfortunately takes the words of Miryem’s reputation literally.

The story goes from there, weaving fairy tale with myth with an over-arching sense of otherworldliness. I think my favorite part of the book – and this would honestly book one of my least favorites parts of any other book – is that nothing is really explained. There’s magic, but no defined magic system. The book just says ‘this is the world this book is in, and there’s magic here’ and that’s that. There’s no training, there’s no lore, it just is. And it played really, really well into the feeling of ‘unsettling fairy tale’ the book followed.

So if you’re not one who can easily detached from reality and go with the flow, then this book may not be for you. But if you can suspend your belief and grasp onto the idea that this magical realm exists just because it does, then you’ll likely love this book as I did.

The author did a wonder job of both making the Staryk creatures seem utterly foreign and oddly human at the same time. I think this branches from the fact that names in this world are a sacred thing – the Staryk king’s name is unknown, and the other Staryks who make an appearance do not give up theirs either, but end up adopting names that Miryem gives them out of frustration. It’s an odd dynamic. While the character development for the individual Staryks is a bit lacking, the development for the race of creatures as a whole is a bit more involved. I feel like it’d be hard to develop a character too much if even their name is off limits to use. Again, something I’d normally be irritated by but it kinda just worked for this story, for this setting, for this tone. Color me surprised.

The plot as well just feeds into the mythical tone – Miryem, who has the reputation she’s created for herself, is challenged by the Staryk king to do just what she claims to do, turn silver to gold. And Miryem, ever resourceful, handles the situation to the best of her abilities. I think she’s my favorite character in the story. Out of the six perspectives, I enjoyed reading from hers the most. She’s determined, kind-hearted and morally on a good track. Some of the other characters are not so black-and-white, some are rather gray, but each are still written so you can see where they’re coming from, if not the justification for their actions. Together, they interact, the reader sees their different perspectives and motivations as the story unfolds, and together they push the plot forward. It was a wonderful experience.

Overall, I loved this book. I loved its tone, I loved its plot, I loved the sense of wonder it gave me. I’m going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

5/5 stars

Advertisements
 
5 Comments

Posted by on 08/07/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

August Currently Reading | ’18

Currently Reading

Hello! Today is my first anniversary with my husband! If you’re reading this, I’m currently on a plane, bound for Chicago! This is what I’m currently reading:


The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

This is one of my two back-burner books – ones that I’m ‘reading’ but haven’t actually touched in a while. What I have read of it, I’ve very much enjoyed. I think I’m mentally delaying this book because I don’t wanna have to wait super long for the fifth one. ;~;

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)

This is the other back-burner book. I’m also enjoying this one a lot, too. I had began it on audio book and decided it wasn’t for me. Instead of DNFing it though, I picked it up as a physical copy and went from there. Oh it was so so so much better. Will likely end up adoring this one.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

This one I am buddy reading with a friend, but we haven’t touched it lately. After I finish the next book I’ll be listing, this one will be my full focus again. Hopefully both of us end up enjoying it.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

This is going to end up being one of my favorite books. it’s just so atmospheric and I adore it to pieces. This is what has distracted me from all my other books. It’s just so lovely. If you haven’t read anything by Novik yet, what are you even doing with your life.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

This is another one, that if it keeps going in the direction that it is, will end up being one of my favorite books. I’m reading it as an ebook and it’s just absolutely fantastic. It’s so full of allegory and quotable passages – I adore it.

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik

Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5)

This is the fifth book in Novik’s Temeraire series and I’ve officially reached the point in the series where it’s no longer a reread for me. I hope it continues to be just as wonderful as its predecessors!


And that’s it! Now do you see why I only finished four books last month? It’s because I’m reading everything and their moms at the same time.

I’ll be in Chicago until the 6th, so responses may be a bit delayed – sorry! Thank you for taking using your time to read my blog – I appreciate you. 😀

Happy reading!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on 08/01/2018 in Books, Currently Reading, TBR

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

July Wrap Up | ’18

Wrap Up

IT’S NOT EVERY DAY YOUR YOUNG MAN TURNS ELEVEN, NOW IS IT?!

Happy bday Harry. This is what I read this month:


Books

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku vols 1-2 by Fujita

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)This is my latest obsession. This series is fantastic. It follows two working adults, both rather nerdy, who decide to date each other, because they feel they’ll be able to understand each other’s obsessions better than people who aren’t as nerdy. It’s simple, it’s fluffy, it’s about adults instead of teenagers. I loved it.

I wrote a spoiler-free blabber on the series and I’m happily awaiting volume 3.

5/5 stars each

 

 

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland, #1)I did not like this one. At all. I thought it was poorly written, the characters were awful, the plot was… okay. It was just all around not a good time for me. I wrote a very spoilery rant-blabber on this one.

It follows a young woman from our world who pays a witch to transport her to a parallel universe, where she assumes the identity of another version of herself, a princess. And then all these borderline abusive ‘romantic’ things happen and it’s super unhealthy ‘cute’. ._.

1.5/5 stars

 

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4)Rereading this series is so much fun. This is the fourth book in Novik’s Temeraire series, and officially the point of no return: When I first read this series as a teenager, this is the last book I finished. I got part way through Victory of Eagles, but only about a hundred pages. So now that I’m listening to that one, I’m in all new content territory.

I love this series so much.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

.


Other Things

  • July lasted for ages. I feel like we’ve been in this month for six years.
  • I went to the Half Price Books Clearance Sale and got a butt-load of books. Soooo now I’m on a book buying ban, but that’ll be its own post.

Maybe that’s why July took so long – every day was full of stuff but nothing was really noteworthy, if that makes sense.


Reading Goals

  • Complete my Goodreads Challenge of 40 books: 43/40
  • Complete my 10 in 2018 list of books: 2/10
  • Keep book buying low (6-8 books/season):
    • January-March purchases: 9
    • April-June purchases: 12
    • July-September purchases: I don’t wanna talk about it
    • October-December purchases:
  • Get my physical TBR down to 270 books: Need to recount
  • Finish the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge by Mar 31, 2019

Fantasy Bingo 2018


And that’s it! Happy reading! 😀

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 07/31/2018 in Books, Wrap-up

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Books to take on the plane

Books for the plane

Hello! This coming Wednesday is my one year anniversary with my husband! So to celebrate, the two of us are going to Chicago to see Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me! recorded live! And we’ll be there just under a week, so we’ll do other stuff too like eat pizza and check out some Chicago-brewed beer.

If you’ve ever been to Chicago or live there and have some suggestions of stuff to do, lemme know!

Otherwise, I plan to read on the plane trip and maybe down time while there. These are the books I’m going to bring with me:

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

I won this book as an ebook for completing the r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge this past year. I started it about a week or so ago and am roughly 25% through it so far.

Guys, I love this book. It reads almost like a classic epic. It’s full of allegory and quotable passages… and I’m only 90 pages in! Like I feel like this will be read in classrooms in fifty years. It’s just so cool. It follows a man named Thomas Senlin, who arrives at the foot of the Tower of Babel – a giant stone construction that shoots up into the sky, so high that nobody has seen the top, nor is it knows if the top is even a finished product – with his wife. He shortly loses her in the crowd and has to ascend the tower himself to find her. Each level of the tower is something fantastically different than the one before. It’s. So. Cool.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

This book, I’m buddy reading with a friend. Both of us have gotten a tad distracted from it recently, so I’m hoping that me focusing on it again and telling her that will motivate her to read it more, too. I’m liking this one so far, but I’m not a huge fan of the main character. She’s not awful, but she reminds me a lot of the main character from The Throne of Glass series, whom I find irritating. Hopefully the plot of this one ends up making up for it.


Part of me wants to bring another physical book, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, which I’m also currently reading. Another part wants to conserve space for souvenirs… the likelihood of me completing the two above is small, especially when I tend to not read as much during down time as I plan. So, if I somehow get a good chunk of either of these done by Wednesday, I’ll bring another. If not, I won’t.

Posts for Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday of this coming week will be pre-written, and any comment replies on my end will be a bit delayed – sorry!

Happy reading!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 07/29/2018 in Books

 

Tags: , , , ,

Monthly Recommendations: Books worth a re-read

Monthly Recommendations Base(1)

Hello! This month’s monthly rec topic is books worth a reread! I think I’m going to mention ones that I’ve either reread and found very entertaining or ones that I’ve been meaning to reread for some time now.

Obligatory: Harry Potter.


Wotakoi by Fujita

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)

I’m obsessed with this one recently. I just read it last month but I want to dive into it again already. It’s such a nice, pleasant series and I absolutely adore it. The premise follows two working adults, both otaku, who decide to date each other because they feel they’ll better be able to understand the other’s obsessions than people who aren’t as nerdy. It’s simple, sweet, and I love it.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1)

This is one of my all-time favorite series, and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve reread it. I’ve enjoyed it just as much every time I have, though. It follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who are on a journey to get their original bodies back after an alchemic transmutation gone wrong leaves Ed missing an arm and leg and Al his whole body – only his soul remains, tethered to a suit of armor.

I’m serious, if you haven’t read this, pick it up. It. Is. Amazing.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1)

This was my favorite book of 2017 and with the sequel coming out in October, I definitely need to reread this one. I wrote a full length, spoiler-free blabber on it, if you’d like to know my full thoughts. It’s so fantastic. It follows a young girl whose home and family are ripped out from underneath her when a power from another land invades her own. She vows to get revenge by destroying the enemy from within. Auuuuugh I love this book so much.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

I’ve been meaning to reread this book all year – the third and final one came out recently and I wanna reread this first one before I marathon the rest of the series. This book follows a young woman, raised hidden away from her kingdom, who finds herself placed on the thrown in a country cowering from the neighboring land. The world itself takes place on a regressed earth, centuries after a content has risen from the ocean between Asia and the Americas. I remember really liking it the first time I read it, so hopefully this next time will be just as good!


And that’s it! Any of the above I recommend to you, either for a reread or for the first time. They’re all absolutely fantastic. 😀 Happy reading!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 07/28/2018 in Books

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Tawny Man Trilogy | Series Blabber

The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Fantasy
Read Sept 17 2017 – June 15, 2018
Books 7-9 in the Realm of the Elderlings world

Spoilery blabber, also spoilers for the Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies.

I finished these books almost a month ago and it’s taken me this long to collect my thoughts on them. Robin Hobb is a master at taking your emotions and twisting them into knots.

This trilogy was a culmination about everything I loved from the previous two series in the overarching one. It broke my heart and mended it and broke it and mended it so many times. Over and over, I found myself agonizing and then rejoicing just a few chapters later. Ugh, I’m not going to be over this one for a long time. This is the reason why it took me so long to be able to write something that actually sounded semi-coherent.

The first book begins with Fitz being summoned out of his secluded life to retrieve Prince Dutiful, who has been whisked away by the Piebalds. One of my favorite parts of this series occurred before that, when the Fool came to retrieve Fitz in the first place – the two stayed at Fitz’s home for a while before departing, and the care free easiness the two displayed for each other, the deepness of their bond, was wonderful to read about. I’d read an entire series of the Fool just being around Fitz. (If you can’t tell, the Fool is my favorite character. He’s my little bean.)

Once the main plot picks up, new characters are introduced, old ones are reintroduced, and a sense of nostalgia takes hold. I didn’t realize how much I missed reading about Fitz, The Fool, Kettricken and everyone else until I was able to do so again.

Out of the three, I think the first book is my least favorite. I’m not saying it was bad by any means – it still got 5 stars from me – I just loved the other two all the more. The first book was largely a set-up book in my mind. The errand that Fitz departs on to retrieve Dutiful was a bit aggravating to me, and the reasoning behind Dutiful’s disappearance in the first place had me grinding my teeth. Dutiful’s absolute obsession with the woman-cat left a bad impression about him for me. I can understand why he did it, but the teenage trope of ‘I know exactly what I’m doing, I don’t care if you’re older and wiser’ bugged me. It bugged me when Fitz was a teenager in the original trilogy and it bugged me now. The rest of the characters and the plot made up for it though, and the fact that Dutiful himself quickly learns his lesson and then is much better at squashing out that ideology in himself afterward than Fitz ever was really helped as well.

The second book is probably my favorite, and that’s because The Fool gets so much screen time. I love reading about his character, his motivations and learning about his past. Each persona he takes on as well, is a joy to read about. When Fitz discovered that one of The Fool’s personas was Amber, a woman who had basically declared her love for Fitz by carving Paragon’s face to look like him, Fitz took it as a personal insult, which… really annoyed me.

Fitz is the type of character that I love but I can easily be annoyed by at the same time. And it’s not that his character is badly or inconsistently written, it’s that he has this poor impulse control when it comes to jumping to conclusions. He gets petty in a way that irritates me because I know he can do better. It’s like he’s acting in a way that is below him, and it’s aggravating that he doesn’t take time to just stop and think ‘hey maybe this wasn’t about deceiving me at all and people are allowed to have parts of themselves they don’t tell me about’. But nope, Fitz is a bit self-centered, and that flaw in his character is both what makes him feel real and what makes him a butt head sometimes.

The Fool however, is wonderful in this one. He recognizes this flaw in Fitz and calls him out on it. It’s just so wonderful to read, The Fool sticking up for himself and his actions. It causes a bit of strife between the two, but it also allows Fitz to realize what I said above, that The Fool doesn’t owe him every aspect of himself. It’s so refreshing to see two characters in a complex disagreement come to terms with it.

And that ending, man. The ending of Golden Fool, where Fitz called The Fool ‘Beloved’, just melted me. The Fool’s reaction, covering his mouth briefly with his hand, as if he wasn’t sure if he was hiding a smile or trying to keep himself from crying… just. Sigh, The Fool is my favorite. I loved that scene. I think this scene is that one that made Golden Fool my favorite in the trilogy.

And the final book in the series, Fool’s Fate, is the one that really sent me on a roller coaster of emotion. The amount of times that this book had me near (or actually reaching) tears, and then turned around and went ‘no it’s okay, be happy’ only to rip that happiness out from under me again was insane. I feel like this is one of the most solid endings to a trilogy that I’ve read in a long time. Everything wrapped up nicely – not everything happily mind you – but nicely enough that I felt rather satisfied with the ending. It left me knowing most of the characters were in more or less a good place, but that the next trilogy concerning them (which I’m totally looking forward to) could easily take that all away from them again.

I’m even weirdly okay with Molly coming back into the picture and being with Fitz. For a long time, I wasn’t. Burrich and Fitz were going back and forth about her when they were on Icefyre’s island and I’m sitting there going ‘Nobody is asking what she wants, dammit’. And then when she finally shows up, she calls Fitz out on that – I really love Robin Hobb for this. I’ve read too many books where the love interest is just like ‘I’ll wait to see who claims me’ instead of actually forming an opinion and even getting offended over the idea of two people deciding who will get them. I like adult Molly in this series – she’s very opinionated, strong-minded and has her family’s best interest at heart. I feel like I’ll like her just as much in the next trilogy that she’s in.

Overall, this trilogy was just amazing. Any irritation I had with it turned out to be included in the plot and was at a point called out and corrected. I adored it. I cannot wait until the next series.

5/5 stars each


Side note: I learned two things reading this. 1 – I need to start using tabs while reading if I intend to review. There was so much material I feel like I’ve forgotten the details of and therefore couldn’t mention. 2 – books like this basically need a buddy reader. I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much enjoyment out of them if I couldn’t yap at Zezee about them all the time (so thanks friendo :D).

Happy reading!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 07/14/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 books of 2018 so far

Copy of Top 5 Wednesday Banner

Hello, happy Hump Day! As you’re reading this, I’m not at work (woo, 4th of July and paid holidays. I’m gonna cherish it). Today’s topic is favorite books of the year so far! I’ve actually already hit my goodreads goal of 40 books, so I have quite the selection to pick from. All of the below books were a solid five stars. Rating them 5 through 1 is a bit superfluous, so take their order with a grain of salt.

If you’d like to participate in Top 5 Wednesday, you can do so here!


5. A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape From North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness:  One Man's Escape from North KoreaGenre: Nonfiction – Memoir

This is a very recent read for me, I just finished it last week, but it’s definitely made its way into my heart. This book is a memoir written by a man who somehow escaped from the North Korean totalitarian regime. It’s written in a very matter-of-fact way – it doesn’t shy away from the suffering that Ishikawa or his family felt. It doesn’t give you an illusion of a happy ending.

This book is powerful, heart breaking, and will stick with me for a long time.

 

 

 

4. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)Genre: Fantasy

The Broken Eye is the third book in Weeks’ Lightbringer series, which is one that I’ve been raving about for a long time. The series follows a slew of characters in world of political and magical upheaval. The magic system, based on colors, is really, really cool. The users of the magic are able to visualize a color and morph it into physical matter. Most can do one or two colors, but the Prism, one of the main characters, can draft them all.

And each time a magic user drafts a color, it brings them slightly closer to their deaths.

The world that Weeks has created is so great. I love the plot development, I love the characters, I love the humor. I love it all. I’m currently reading the fourth book, The Blood Mirror and am loving that as well. I hope the fifth (and final??) book comes out soon so I’m not left in a deprived state. DON’T LEAVE ME HANGIN’ WEEKS, OKAY? OKAY.

3. Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince, #2)Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance

Really, this one and King’s Rising deserve this spot, but I’m keeping it to single books, and I’m trying to keep one series from hogging multiple spots in the list. So think of it as this book with the third book peeking over its shoulder.

Prince’s Gambit is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy, which has also become one of my favorites this year. Out of the three, this one in my opinion is by far the best. The other two are good as well, but this one is my fave.

This series, taking place is a fantasy world and dealing with politics and war, is not for the feint of heart. It contains gruesome violence, rape, and just unpleasant situations. It’s gritty. But it’s just so addicting to read. The two main characters – the prince of one land and the prince of the other, find themselves in a situation where… well, read the synopsis of the first book and it’ll be rather clear.

This series is not by any means a modern classic, but holy cow did I have fun reading it. I couldn’t put it down.

2. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku vol 1 by Fujita

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)Genre: Manga – Slice of life/Romance

Yep, a single volume of a manga gets the number two spot. I loved this so much.

It kinda came out of nowhere – a comedy youtube channel I follow did a review of the first three episodes of the accompanying anime, and it made me curious enough to go pick it up. I buzzed through the first season in two days, and then I got the ‘need more’ itch I couldn’t scratch. So, my husband bought me the first volume of the manga as a surprise, because I’d been blabbering about it non-stop. I thought that I would like the manga less, only because I had just finished watching the same plot material and figured it might be repetitive from the closeness of consuming to two.

But hoo-boy was I wrong. This manga is even better than the anime. I absolutely adored it and am a fan for life. And I’ve only read the first volume! There are two currently out, the third being released in English in October. You bet your butt I’m going to suck them into my collection.

My favorite part about this series is its simplicity. It follows two mid-20s working individuals, both nerds in their own way, who decide to date each other because they’re most likely to understand each other’s obsessions. It’s cute, it’s light, and it’s drama-free. There’s no teenage angst, there’s no miscommunication… it’s just fun and adorable and funny and I really, really enjoyed it.

1. Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Golden Fool (Tawny Man, #2)Genre: Fantasy

Again this is another ‘this book and the third one in the trilogy’. Not saying the first wasn’t just as good – it was, but technically I read it in 2017. 😛

I’ve been making my way through Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world for almost two years now. I started Assassin’s Apprentice back in 2016 I think, and by the time I got to Assassin’s Quest (Or was it Royal Assassin?!) I had begun buddy-reading everything with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks. We’ve covered all the books since then up through this series… and this one by far is both of our favorites. Golden Fool in particular was just so wonderful. So much character development! So much heart-throbbing-ness, so much suspense! AH, BELOVED. ❤

This series will be getting a blabber from me very soon – I still haven’t been able to calm down enough after the end of Fool’s Fate (book 3) to articulate my thoughts in an even semi-coherent manner. I’m reeling! I’ll get there.

But this series, this book, by far, is my favorite read of the year so far. It’s tops, and I love it. Robin Hobb has a fan for life.


And that’s it! Out of the forty books I’ve read so far this year, these ones are the top of the top, they’re the cat’s pajamas, they’re the bee’s knees!

Have you read any of the above? What were your faves? Happy reading!

 
14 Comments

Posted by on 07/04/2018 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Jenna Bookish

book reviews, recommendations, and more

Sparkonit

Science - Simplified

Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

Book blog with a speculative focus

Marnie Writes

Books, Writing, and Food

celinelingg

Book Blog

LipstickForLunch

The Musings Of A BeautyHolic

CrapPile

A blog about writing, society, and life itself

Pauls Pages Too

Extra Content from PaulsPages.com