Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb | Blabber

Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son, #3)Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb
Book 3 of the Soldier Son trilogy
691 pages
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber of this book
Spoilers for books 1 and 2
Blabber for book 1
Blabber for book 2

I have complicated feelings about this one.

This is the third and final book in Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy and… unfortunately my least favorite of the three. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book. I just didn’t love it like I was really hoping to.

This is the last novel that Robin Hobb has published that I had yet to read, so I was hoping to go out with a bang. I’m not sure if my desire for this affected my enjoyment of the book or not, honestly.

As per usual, I read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we both ended up having similar ‘ehhhh’ feelings throughout.

So this book picks up directly after the second one ends. Nevare has now used magic to the extent that he’s essentially lost himself to it. Soldier’s Boy has taken over control of his body and for the majority of this book, Nevare is trapped inside, helplessly witnessing the actions that this alter-ego is taking while using it. Because Nevare can’t actually do anything and because the book is solely from his point of view, the narration becomes very, very passive. Large parts of it are him watching his body move around and lamenting in his horror and frustration at not being able to do anything about it. 

And I gotta tell ya, it got irritating after a while. I mean, the situation was realistic, at least in the world of the story. What else did Nevare have to do aside from lament? He was trapped! But like… the narration decision I wasn’t a huge fan of. There was all this stuff going on – machinations of Soldier’s Boy and the Specks, things with Epiny and Spink, all sorts of stuff – but the narration didn’t touch nearly enough on that because Nevare was the only POV and had limited visibility of it all. Usually I like single POV stories but I feel like it was a flaw in this novel. I get why it was done, mind you, but it really created an irksome and boring chunk of the book, at least for me.

Luckily though I still liked Nevare as a character, even though he was being annoying. I’m not sure Zezee did as much, which I think meant I enjoyed the story a tad more (though if I’m wrong, correct me friend :p) Nevare really grew on me as a character, because his development from book one to three was awesome. In the beginning, he was essentially a stick in the mud, and expected everything to be given to him as his birth right. By the end, he had become a worldly, compassionate human, able to see things from others points of view to the point where he realized his peoples’ way of life might not be the “right” way or the “only” way. Aside from his unfortunate situation and lamenting of it in book three, his character arc was pretty great.

Another thing I liked about this book was how it handled “good” and “bad”. The two nations in the book, the Gernians and the Specks, are at odds with each other. The Gernians want to build a road to the sea, straight through the Speck’s territory. The Specks don’t want this because building the road would mean chopping down their ancestor trees – huge, sentient things where the spirits of their dead reside. The conflict comes because the Gernians don’t understand the spiritual importance of these trees, and the Specks don’t understand the Gernian’s need for new trade. So neither side is “bad”, really. They both have good goals – save their nations – but they cannot understand the other, therefore each thinks the other is the antagonist. Nevare is smack in the middle by book three. Especially with Soldier’s Boy spending more and more time in Speck territory, Nevare is able to pick up these nuances and contemplate each side’s point of view. I think this was handled really, really well and when Nevare was lamenting about this particular topic, it made for some interesting reading.

We also got some of the side characters back, though not nearly as many as I had hoped. Spink and Epiny in particular played a large part in this novel, which I think was great. I said it last time too but their relationship is just wonderful. They’re so open and trusting with each other, and they understand each other without really having to explain themselves. Their situation during this book was affected a lot by Soldier Boy’s doings, and it caused a bit of conflict between them and Nevare. I really liked that communication was big in this though: there was no ‘but let me explain’ and then walking away. Epiny basically always demanded a thorough explanation every time something happened that caused a conflict, and it held her, Spink and Nevare together like glue, and I really loved her for it.

Some side characters though we didn’t get to see again. Namely I was hoping to see Gord, a character from book 1. In book 1, he was Nevare’s classmate and was bullied mercilessly for his weight. Initially Nevare thought poorly of him for his size but grew to respect him for his character. Gord got a good bit of development too when he was present in the narrative, and then the plot took a turn and he basically disappeared. In retrospect, I see that Gord as a character was set up to be a parallel: he was fat and Nevare respected him less for it, and then the magic took over Nevare and he got fat and people also lost respect for him. Gord was essentially a plot device and it left me feeling salty. I get that the message was ‘people are more than their bodies and should be treated as such’ but still, I wanted Gord to come back. I wanted comradery between Gord and Nevare. I wanted it!

I want a full book about Gord, dammit.

As for the ending, I think it was pretty satisfying. No spoilers, mind you, but I do believe that aside from the characters from book one that are basically never mentioned again, the story wraps up well and most of the plot lines are brought to a close. It was a good ending and left me feeling complete. Because of that, my enjoyment of the book bumped up a bit. The book itself definitely dragged at times, but the way it finished off made up for it (a bit).  I’m not gonna say anything else on it other than ‘I definitely liked it’.

So yeah, this was my final Robin Hobb book, at least until she publishes something else (please?!?!?!) Despite me not loving this book, she’s definitely my favorite author, basically ever. And now that I’ve completed her books I feel a void in my heart, and I need to reread everything lickity split. I wonder if I would reread this book in a few years if I would enjoy it more? It’ll be interesting to see.

Rating: 3.75 stars

 

 

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb | Blabber

Forest Mage (Soldier Son, #2)Forest Mage by Robin Hobb
Book 2 of the Soldier Son trilogy
718 pages
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber for this book
Spoilers for book 1

This book was such a roller coaster.

Two months ago, I wrote a blabber about Shaman’s Crossing, which is the first book in this series. That book, I gave a full five stars to after some retrospection. My impulse was a 4.25, but when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I bumped it to a 5. It’s still there and I’m happy with that rating. My thoughts of that book honestly are… pretty simple compared to this one. This book made me feel so much more.

So first of all, as per usual, I buddy-read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we both ended up having some pretty complex emotions about this thing.

This book picks up pretty quickly after the first book ends. From my perception, there might have been a few days or maybe a week or so between them, but the scene is more or less the same as it was at the end of the first book: The academy has just gotten through a wave of the Speck plague and is in recovery. One of my favorite things about book one was the academy aspect. I really liked the dialogue on how political alliance among the old and new nobles infiltrated into how the students at the academy treated each other. So at the beginning of this book, with the plague having wiped out many people on both sides, those alliances have kind of crumbled, and a ‘we must stick together’ mindset has set in, especially among those at the academy, if not those holding political positions.

What I wasn’t expecting though, was the plot to veer away from that setting so quickly, away from the academy and in a totally different direction. First thing, is Nevare is affected by the plague in a different way than everyone else. Instead of wasting away to a skeleton of himself, he gains weight. A lot of it. This happens pretty early on and is also hinted at towards the end of the first book. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but it becomes a central plot point and acts as a catalyst for a lot of the things that happen to Nevare further along in the book.

And I gotta tell ya, people in this book are mean to him. Like, horrendously so. He’s ridiculed by friends and family both, and society as a whole comes to see him as less. During this emotional torture, some additional things happen to Nevare that honestly border on torture porn. And at the time of reading it, it seems senseless, because he’s so passive in reacting to it. At this point in the book, both me and Zezee honestly weren’t having a great time. It was difficult to read, because Nevare, who honestly was a bit of a jerk in book one, really gets the short end of the stick, and I came to really feel for the guy. His jerky habits definitely lessen, though occasionally you can see little hints that he’s still working through his personal issues regarding them. I really liked that about this book: as passive as Nevare was, his characterization is really consistent. He grows and develops as a character, but he does so believably.

As the book progressed, we got a broader picture as to why everything was happening, and it made all the depressing things that happened make more sense, at least to the point where it no longer felt like the author was torturing the characters for no reason.

Speaking of the progression, I really liked the pacing in this. At no point did the book drag, and the speed at which we received information about the new location Nevare was in and all the unseen forces at play made for a compelling read. I really like how the magic evolved and how Nevare became more and more entwined with it.

I think my one complaint about the book that was sustained throughout the thing was the abrupt change in cast. All of the characters introduced and developed during the academy part of the book basically disappeared once Nevare ended up elsewhere. I mean, all new characters were introduced and developed but man I liked the ones we had, wah. I’m hoping they come back in book three! The few characters that did stick around, I really liked. Spink and Epiny – I love their relationship and their utter trust and honesty with each other. They’re so wholesome, communicative and healthy and it’s just such a breath of fresh air. Meaning…. I’m very worried about them come book three, as Robin Hobb tends not to let anyone have a completely happy ending. Auugh.

So overall plot-wise, while this book was definitely depressing to read, it advanced in a way that made sense for the lore set up in the world, and I overall enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the character development, particularly in Nevare, and I really liked the pacing.

With the way that book two ended, I feel like book three could take another 180 in regard to the plot, just like this book did compared to the first. I honestly can’t even guess as to where it’s gonna go or how it’s gonna end, but man I am ready for it.

4.25 stars

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb | Blabber

 

Shaman's Crossing (Soldier Son, #1)Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb
Book 1 of the Solider Son trilogy
577 pages
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber

After finishing Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world I was left pining for it. For the characters, the world, the plot, the sheer depth of it all. After letting it sit for a bit, I picked this up, hoping it would fill the void. And I gotta say, I think it has.

Shaman’s Crossing is not an Elderlings book, first off, and it doesn’t pretend to be one. It starts from the ground up, crafting an all new world, characters, magic systems, and political strife. Shaman’s Crossing is a wholly different book, but to me, I could still see the Robin Hobb-y-ness of it all, and I quickly became smitten with the thing.

This book follows Nevare, a second son of a second son, destined to  a soldier, as he grows and learns that the world around him is not what he had anticipated. The story begins with Nevare as a child, where he lives with his father, a soldier-turned-lord, on the frontier of quote unquote “civilized” society and the unclaimed lands, populated with magical people known as the Plainsmen. Nevare as a child is innocent to the existing prejudices and political pressure existing in his world. He gets hints of it here and there but being a child, he’s not fully comprehending what he’s seeing. As the reader, you can fully grasp what’s going on while Nevare cannot, and it creates a sense of unease.

As the book continues, Nevare grows older, and social roles are cemented into his head. The social system in this book is very patriarchal, and Nevare just flows along with it. At first, once he was grown, I found him frustrating with how ingrained this patriarchy was in his head. Robin Hobb being Robin Hobb though obviously wasn’t gonna let that lie: she’s the queen of character development after all.

Nevare finds himself placed in a military academy and immediately his mental schemas of how the world works and who fills what roles are challenged. He finds himself constantly realizing that yes, he’s a bit of a dick, and no, people don’t fit into these stereotypical boxes like he thought they did. With every chapter, Nevare’s expectations of the world crack just a bit more, and it was really great seeing him mentally process all of the new interactions and people he met that didn’t quite fit in his interpretation of his country.

The magic system(s?) too, are really cool. Shamanic in origin, they deal with spirits, spirit worlds and how they can entwine the physical realm, influence it, and even force it to change. Robin Hobb blended the metaphysical with the physical in a way that was enthralling, and tied it in with the social norms of the world so well.

It plays on one’s reluctance to admit to anything supernatural, it plays with established religion versus spiritualism, it plays with feelings of religious doubt, it plays with seeing proof before one’s very eyes and still not wanting to admit that one is wrong.

It plays with people’s reaction to the inevitable, when they see it happening and choose to ignore or disbelieve it. Funny how fiction imitates life.

For a first book in a brand new series, it touches on a lot: prejudice and racism, sexism, patriarchy, fatphobia, colonialism, occultism, spiritualism, bullying, classism, and a lot more.

The story as well is compelling. It was as rich as a Robin Hobb book normally is, and was just as inviting. Even though I mentioned I had frustrations with the main character, I also cared about him too. As the plot played out, I found myself worrying for him, even when I wasn’t actively reading the book. The side characters were well put together, and each brought something new and unique into Nevare’s world.

Originally I rated this books a 4.25. And honestly I’ve been sitting on this rating for a while, thinking about whether or not it was the right call. I buddy read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and she gave it a full 5 I believe. I finished this book probably last month or so, and having sat with it and thought on it, and having found myself being brought back to it over and over again across the past few weeks, I think I agree with her, actually. This book was definitely a five stars. The initial experience was great, but the after-effects, the way it stuck in my mind, made it even better.

I’m starting the second one here imminently, and wanted to get my thoughts out before they melded together with this next book’s. So here we are, and once again, Robin Hobb has swept me off my feet.

5 stars

Mango Book Tag!

Book Tag

This tag was created by Nandini @NovelsandNebulas

Well hi. I’m doing a tag today! I was pseudo-tagged by Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, who said mango lovers are tagged. I mean it was peer pressure at the most extreme, I felt like I would be crushed into nothing if I refused.

Also I gotta tell ya: I had never heard of many of these mango things going into this tag. I looked them all up and learned about them a bit. This is a neato tag.

Anyways here some mango stuff about books:

Raw Mango: Your most anticipated release

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #3)

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – This is the third book in the Masquerade series, and I’ve been pining for it for a year. It comes out on August 11th and while I plan on picking it up release day or very shortly after I do need to reread the second book so my memory is fresh. I’m gonna pick it up right after my current read.

Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

Banganapalli: Longest book on your TBR

Jerusalem

According to Goodreads, it’s Jerusalem by Alan Moore, coming in at 1266 pages. This is the guy who wrote V For Vendetta and The Watchmen, and from what I heard this is apparently his Magnum Opus. It’s a novel too, as opposed to the graphic novels he’s famous for. Eventually I’ll pick it up. Honestly it’ll probably have to be as a buddy read, I’m rather intimidated.

Goodreads synopsis: Fierce in its imagining and stupefying in its scope, Jerusalem is the tale of everything, told from a vanished gutter.

In the epic novel Jerusalem, Alan Moore channels both the ecstatic visions of William Blake and the theoretical physics of Albert Einstein through the hardscrabble streets and alleys of his hometown of Northampton, UK. In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England’s Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district’s narrative among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol-colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them.

Employing, a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles that ranges from brutal social realism to extravagant children’s fantasy, from the modern stage drama to the extremes of science fiction, Jerusalem’s dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor.

In these pages lurk demons from the second-century Book of Tobit and angels with golden blood who reduce fate to a snooker tournament. Vagrants, prostitutes, and ghosts rub shoulders with Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce’s tragic daughter Lucia, and Buffalo Bill, among many others. There is a conversation in the thunderstruck dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, childbirth on the cobblestones of Lambeth Walk, an estranged couple sitting all night on the cold steps of a Gothic church front, and an infant choking on a cough drop for eleven chapters. An art exhibition is in preparation, and above the world a naked old man and a beautiful dead baby race along the Attics of the Breath toward the heat death of the universe.

An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth, poverty, and our threadbare millennium. They discuss English as a visionary language from John Bunyan to James Joyce, hold forth on the illusion of mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon the meanest slum as Blake’s eternal holy city.

Alphonso: A hyped book you love

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – It’s specifically this one I love. The first and third in the series are nowhere near as good. Fight me. :p

Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Totapuri: A book with a green or yellow cover

Shaman's Crossing (Soldier Son, #1)

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb – A recent read that I really enjoyed! I buddy read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and man, we both really liked it. We’ll be picking up the second one next week and this first one just won’t leave my head. I think of it multiple times a day!

Goodreads synopsis: Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son, destined from birth to carry a sword. The wealthy young noble will follow his father—newly made a lord by the King of Gernia—into the cavalry, training in the military arts at the elite King’s Cavella Academy in the capital city of Old Thares. Bright and well-educated, an excellent horseman with an advantageous engagement, Nevare’s future appears golden.

But as his Academy instruction progresses, Nevare begins to realize that the road before him is far from straight. The old aristocracy looks down on him as the son of a “new noble” and, unprepared for the political and social maneuvering of the deeply competitive school and city, the young man finds himself entangled in a web of injustice, discrimination, and foul play. In addition, he is disquieted by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny—who challenges his heretofore unwavering world view—and by the bizarre dreams that haunt his nights.

For twenty years the King’s cavalry has pushed across the grasslands, subduing and settling its nomads and claiming the territory in Gernia’s name. Now they have driven as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the Speck people, a quiet, forest-dwelling folk who retain the last vestiges of magic in a world that is rapidly becoming modernized. From childhood Nevare has been taught that the Specks are a primitive people to be pitied for their backward ways—and feared for their indigenous diseases, including the deadly Speck plague, which has ravaged the frontier towns and military outposts.

The Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares, and with it an unknown magic, and the first Specks Nevare has ever seen

Neelam: A rainy day book recommendation

Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb – Another Hobb book! I still haven’t quite decided my ultimate favorites list in all the Elderlings books but this series is probably up there. And the best part is it’s really long, which is perfect for a rainy day book.

Goodreads synopsis: Not far from the Six Duchies lies Bingtown, hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships–rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness.  Bingtown’s Old Traders, their wealth eroded by northern wars and the rapacity of southern pirates, now face an influx of upstart merchants who bring change to a complex society.

The Vestrit family’s only hope of renewed prosperity is the Vivacia, a liveship they have nurtured for three generations.  Now, as old Captain Vestrit lies dying in Bingtown, the Vivacia cuts homeward through the waves, about to quicken into a living being.  The ship carries Vestrit’s daughter Althea and the conniving son-in-law he has named as the Vivacia‘s next captain.

But lovely, wild-spirited Althea, sailing the Vivacia with her father since childhood and sharing its half-awakened memories and ocean secrets, has bonded with the ship in her deepest soul.  Joined by Brashen–her father’s first mate, now demoted by the Vivacia‘s new commander–she will stop at nothing in a bitter quest to claim its captaincy.

Meanwhile, in the rocky cays known as the Pirate Isles, a ruthless man lusts after his own kind of power.  The pirate captain Kennit, in his scheme to be king of this outlaw realm, has vowed that he will wrest a liveship from its owners and turn it to his own use.  His twisted ambition will bring him into a strange partnership with a boy-priest turned seaman–and into violent conflict with the wizardwood magic of Althea and Brashen.

Mango Pickle: A book that makes you feel nostalgic

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I read this book for a college class back in 2011 or so. It makes me nostalgic just for being in college, particularly back when I was getting my first degree. The atmosphere was just different, and when I went back to the same place for my second degree it just wasn’t the same man. I’ll forever pine for those two years, and this book makes me think of them.

Goodreads synopsis: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

Mango Kulfi: A feel-good book recommendation

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan – This is another recent read from April or so. This book is just so wholesome and wonderful and adventurous and I was very happy reading it.

Goodreads synopsis: You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

~~~

And that’s it! If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged. Embrace the mango, peer pressure.

July book haul! | #42

Book Haul Base Banner

I got some books this month! Just a few, which is smaller than my hauls have been lately, so this’ll be short and sweet.

This is what I got:

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos – This one’s been on my list for a while, but I’ve never actually seen it in stores before. So when I did happen to spy it last time I was in BN, I picked it up.

Goodreads synopsis: Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb – This is the 25th Anniversary Illustrated edition, and it’s signed! I also got some awesome character art to go along with it, check it out!

Goodreads synopsis of book 1, Assassin’s Apprentice: In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb – I picked this book up shortly before finishing the first one, which I buddy read with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks. I ended up really, really liking it and knew the second one would be a given for me to get. So here it is!

Goodreads synopsis of book 1, Shaman’s Crossing: Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King’s Cavalla Academy–and survive the hatred, cruelty, and derision of his aristocratic classmates–before joining the King of Gernia’s brutal campaign of territorial expansion. The life chosen for him will be fraught with hardship, for he must ultimately face a forest-dwelling folk who will not submit easily to a king’s tyranny. And they possess an ancient magic their would-be conquerors have long discounted–a powerful sorcery that threatens to claim Nevare Burvelle’s soul and devastate his world once the Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares.

~~~

And that’s it! Next month, I guarantee my haul’s gonna be sizeable. I turn 30 on the 7th and was originally planning on throwing me and my friend (also turning 30 five days after me) a birthday bash. But due to the plague, that’s been cancelled. So the hundreds I was gonna sink into the party prep will now being going towards books. Yay for me.

Happy reading!

 

March Currently Reading! | ’20

Currently Reading

Happy March! This is what I’m currently reading!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing #1)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – This is my work book – the one I keep in my work bag and read on my lunch breaks. So far, it’s pretty interesting. I don’t think I’m 100% hooked yet, but that could easily still happen. This got a lot of hype last year or so and while I was interested I wanted to let the focus die down a bit so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I’m glad I did, as I said, I’m not 100% hooked yet and if I would have started reading it at the epitome of its online hype I probably would have been disappointed. But for now I’m just waiting and hoping I’ll get into the story. Which like I said, could still totally happen.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – This is my current audio book! So far it’s pretty good and I like the characters. The narrator is doing a decent job at distinguishing their voices so it’s pretty easy to follow, which I appreciate. This book will count for Fantasy Bingo if I can get it done this month. I’m already super aware I won’t be completely filling out the card this year, but I’m hoping I can at least get a bingo or two. Maybe next year will be better!

Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires, #1)

Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes – I actually just started this book this morning! I read the first chapter, decided ‘yes I’m reading this now’ and then put it down to write this. After, I’ll be picking this book right back up. I honestly don’t know too much about this aside from what the first chapter has told me: That it follows Sal the Cacophony as she tells her tale to her jailers before she’s executed. I tend to like this kind of storytelling in general, so I’m hoping I also like the main character too!

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb – Technically I haven’t started this book yet, but it’s a buddy read I’ll be reading this week with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks! It’ll likely be started today as well, if not tomorrow. This is a novella set in Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings universe and man I am so ready. I miss this world so much, and I hope I don’t get all emotional (but let’s be honest, Hobb’s gonna make me).


And that’s it! There are also a few manga I plan on picking up soon but I figure those read so fast, they’re not worth mentioning now and will just be mentioned in my wrap up instead.

Happy reading!

September Currently Reading! | ’19

Currently Reading

Happy September! This month I’m participating in Space Opera September, but I’m also doing a buddy read and also also reading manga here and there. So lots of books planned. These are the books I’m reading as of right now!

Caliban's War (The Expanse, #2)

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey – Book two in the Expanse series, I picked this up to fulfill prompt four in Space Opera September: Read a space opera over 500 pages long. This chonker comes in at 595, so it’s perfect. I’m really liking it so far, which doesn’t surprise me, considering I consider the first one an all-time favorite. Speaking of, me reading this and gooing about it inspired my husband to pick up the first one. I about peed.

Anyways, goodreads synopsis of book 1, in case you’re interested:

Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

~~~

Assassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3)

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb – Man, I am not ready for this. I’m buddy reading this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we’ve been slowly making our way through this world for the past three years. Sixteen books of Fitz, the Fool, The Wit, The Skill, Dragons, Wolves, and a hell of a lot of emotional turmoil. This is the last book, and I know it’s going to absolutely shatter my heart. I’m not ready I’M NOT READY.

With that, I’m really liking it so far. ;~;

If you are interested, here is the goodreads synopsis for book 1, allll the way back when Fitz was a wittle ting:

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

~~~

Back burner books

The back burners are back. Basically they’re books I’m ‘reading’ but haven’t touched in a while due to a readathon taking precedence, getting distracted by other books, etc. I’ll get to these in October!

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons, #1)Weird title aside, this book is actually pretty good. The love interest is sweet and wholesome, which is lovely. I feel the main character is more or less developed as well, but let’s be honest: the character development was not these authors’ main goal. I don’t have much left in this, maybe 150 pages, so I should be able to finish it shortly into October.

 

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)Despite the fact that I know this book is gonna get a 4 or even a 5 stars from me, it keeps ending up on the back burner. Unfortunately it’s hard to incorporate into readathons. But with book five coming out next month, it’ll be my top priority as soon as I finish all the space opera books. October will be a readathon-less month for me, solely so I can focus on this. 😀

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And that’s it! I’ve also read 11 or 12 manga so far this month, but as none of them are ‘currently’ being read, I’ll just mention them in my wrap up if they don’t get their own reviews. Some of them definitely will.

What are you reading this month? Lemme know! Happy reading!

July Currently Reading | ’19

Currently Reading

Hello! These are the books I’m currently reading!

Windwitch (The Witchlands, #2)

Windwitch by Susan Dennard – This is my current audiobook and I’m rather digging it. It’s the second book in the Truthwitch series, and continues immediately where the first book left off. I mentioned finishing the first one yesterday, and so far I’m liking this one just as much as the previous. The character introductions and developments so far in it are pretty neat. As of right now, I’m roughly 20% of the way through it.

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks – I restarted this book last month, after having it sit on page 270 for over a year. The fifth books comes out this fall and I wanna finish it before then. Rereading it though, at least the first couple hundred pages, was definitely a good idea. I forgot so much! I’m very much enjoying this – currently on page 54.

Fool's Quest  (The Fitz and The Fool, #2)

Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb – This is my current buddyread with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks! This is the fifteenth book in Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world and the second book in the final trilogy, Fitz and the Fool. So far I’m rather digging it, specifically within the last hundred pages I’ve read or so. The pace has really picked up and I’m hoping the two of us can finish this book this month. Currently on page 304.


And that’s it! I’m itching to pick up so many books right now but I’m really trying to keep books off the backburner. I’ll pick up a new one when I finish the Weeks book. :”D Until then, happy reading!

June Currently Reading

Currently Reading

Hello, this is what I’m currently reading!

Fool's Quest  (The Fitz and The Fool, #2)

Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb – This is the second-to-last book in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world, and the second in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. I just started this this morning so I’m only a page into it, but I’m already feeling the nosalgia, and I’m already feeling kinda sad that the series is almost over ;~; I wanna read these books forever, wah. As usual, this is a buddy read with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks! 😀

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks – This is finally off the back burner list! Every The Burning WhiteCurrently Reading post, I tend to have a book or two on the backburner – books that I’ve picked up and am ‘currently reading’ but might not have actually touched in months or weeks because I got distracted by other books. But! I’ve finally returned to this book after what… eight months? And I’ve also started it over again because I totally forgot what was happening. I’m going to y’know, actually finish it this time, especially with The Burning White coming out this fall.

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Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – This is my current audiobook! I’m about a quarter of the way through it so far, and I’m rather liking it. The magic system is really neat, and I like the friendship dynamic between the two main characters. I’m hoping this book lives up to the hype!


And that’s it! I’m trying to limit how many books I’m reading at a time to avoid books ending up on the back burner list again. It’s currently empty and I wanna keep it that way.

Happy reading!

January Book Haul #26

Book Haul Base Banner

https://i.imgur.com/XS0XVS1.gifHappy Hump Day! Today I figured I’d do a haul. Now, at the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to keep my book buying to 4-5 books per year. I’ve since then added a bit of detail onto it.

I’ve decided that if I buy a manga or graphic novel (not a regular book) with the intention of reading it as soon as I get home, and then actually read it when I get home, it doesn’t count towards the five. I decided on this for two reasons: 1 – the whole point of my limit is to keep my TBR from growing, and if I read it right away, the TBR doesn’t grow, and 2 – manga takes like thirty minutes to read. I feel like if I counted them towards my five, I’d never actually buy them because of how fast I get through them, even though I’m actively following many series at the moment. I’d fall behind. 😛 So manga don’t count… if I read them right away. If I buy them and don’t get to them immediately, then they count.

Does that makes sense? I have no idea. Basically I’m just giving way to my impulses I suppose. What else is new.

Anyways. The books!

I got a lot of YA, and all fantasy. I dig it, though.

Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas – Haven’t gotten to these yet. I rather liked the world expansion in books three and four, so hoping I like these too.

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb – The fourth and last book in the Rain Wild Chronicles, this series has really grown on me. I’m buddy reading it with Zezee and we’re both digging it so far!

Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – I buzzed through the Six of Crows duology earlier this month after getting Crooked Kingdom, and am currently in the middle of King of Scars. I wrote a full blabber on Crooked Kingdom, and intend to for King of Scars as well as soon as I finish it.


I also got one graphic novel this month that falls into the category above – I bought it and read it immediately (so yay, doesn’t increased TBR) That is Fence volume 2 by C. S. Pacat.


And that’s it! I think I’ll keep separating out the five books and the ‘immediate read’ manga/graphic novels. Until next month, happy reading!