The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2), Seth Dickinson

38117105._sy475_

This is the story of Agonist. Baru Cormorant as a cryptarch: secret lord of the Imperial Throne.

Baru Cormormant’s world was shattered by the Empire of Masks. To exact her revenge, she has clawed her way up razor-edged rungs of betrayal, sacrifice, and compromise, becoming the very thing she seeks to destroy. Now she strides in the Masquerade’s halls of power. To save the world, she must tear it asunder…and with it, all that remains of her soul.

Read my review of the first book in this series, The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

* * *
3 / 5

I adored The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Several months on, that book has still stuck with me and I’ve been recommending it all over the place. If someone asks me, “read anything good lately?”, they ain’t gonna get me to stop talking for the next fifteen minutes as I tell them about Baru Cormorant, light of my life. The Monster Baru Cormorant is still beautifully written, lyrical and immersive, but suffers from middle book syndrome so bad.

Continue reading “The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2), Seth Dickinson”

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #1), Seth Dickinson

23444482

“You are a word, Baru Cormorant, a mark, and the mark says: you, Aurdwynn, you are ours.”

“I am Baru Cormorant,” she protested, “accountant, and I earned my place by merit. I am a mark of nothing except myself.”

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.


* * * *
4 / 5

I ADORED The Traitor Baru Cormorant. First of all, what an absolute banger of a title. When I bought it on Amazon, it was just titled “The Traitor” which is nowhere near as good, because if you call your main character something like Baru Cormorant you should brag about that. What a name.

Continue reading “The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #1), Seth Dickinson”

The Undoing of Arlo Knott, Heather Child

46822913._sy475_

If waves of regret could have washed me so far backwards, they would have done so already 

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions. But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

* * * *
4 / 5

Enthralling and fascinating, unsettling and haunting, The Undoing of Arlo Knott is definitely an interesting read. The story of Arlo Knott bobs and weaves, ducks and dodges along the entire timeline of his life and what a life it is. There is something bleak and disturbing and warped about Arlo, and it makes for such an engaging read.

Continue reading “The Undoing of Arlo Knott, Heather Child”

American Royals, Katherine McGee

43744300

Beatrice wasn’t living a story. She was living history, and history went on forever.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. And their country was born of rebellion.

* *
2 / 5

McGee’s other series, The Thousandth Floor, is a guilty pleasure of mine. I loved the drama, the glitz, the glamour, the rumours, the intrigue, and the imaginative setting. Instead of being set in a futuristic tower, American Royals takes the premise “what if George Washington made himself King?” and runs with it. Well, it’s more of a shuffle. 

Continue reading “American Royals, Katherine McGee”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix Harrow

43521657

She accumulated the dust of other worlds on her skin like ten thousand perfumes, and left constellations of wistful men and impossible tales in her wake

In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map. Years later, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of Elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. 

* * * *
4 / 5

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book quite like The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It was whimsical, charming, adventurous, strange, and daring. It wasn’t what I expected it to be and I loved it for it.

Continue reading “The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix Harrow”

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2), Tracy Banghart

40517898

Asa would fall, and the women of Viridia would rise

Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. When Nomi and Malachi arrive on the island of Mount Ruin, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

* * * *
4 / 5

First off, why are we using models on YA book covers still? Pretty sure they aren’t even the same women as the other cover… That aside, Queen of Ruin is a fantastic and worthy sequel to Grace and Fury.

Continue reading “Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2), Tracy Banghart”

We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal

WHTF_JKT_2p.indd

She was going to bring her father justice, kings and witches be damned. And when she returned, magic in her grasp, she would give a calipha her throne.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter.

* *
2 / 5

When I picked up We Hunt The Flame I wasn’t aware that it was a hotly anticipated YA release. I just thought that the premise and the cover were cool. Whilst I was intrigued by the magic and adored the setting, We Hunt The Flame failed to connect with me emotionally, resulting in me half-heartedly leafing through it. Continue reading “We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal”

Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson

42201395

Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall

Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital.

* * *
3 / 5

I love books. So it stands to reason that I would enjoy a book about books, right? And I do! I loved all the aspects in Sorcery of Thorns that were to do with books: sword-wielding librarians, grimoires that turn into monsters, books that whisper secrets to you, a child raised in a library who dreams of becoming a Warden. Unfortunately, the book didn’t manage to wow me. 

Continue reading “Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson”

Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2), Josiah Bancroft

35959733

We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.

Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues. Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel. 

* * * *
4 / 5

Arm of the Sphinx is the sequel to Senlin Ascends, the second book in The Books of Babel series. It has a rather different vibe. Where I would described the first book by saying something like “it’s about a mild schoolteacher who goes to a tower full of wonders and cruelty and loses his wife. On his search up the tower to find her, he encounters numerous weird and wonderful people and things”, I would describe Arm of the Sphinx as “previously mild schoolteacher becomes pirate airship captain leading a crew he doesn’t particularly trust but still loves, into shenanigans whilst having some sort of pseudo-affair with his first mate“.

Continue reading “Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2), Josiah Bancroft”

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1), Josiah Bancroft

35271523

“It is easier to accept who you’ve become than to recollect who you were.” 

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

* * * *
4 / 5

I love books about towers where people enter the Tower with a quest to get to the top where there will be a wish-granting deity/treasure/whatever. Please see the LitRPG book Sufficiently Advanced Magic and the manhwa Tower of God for examples. I’m a real sucker for this trope, lord knows why, but for this reason I picked up Senlin Ascends.

Continue reading “Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1), Josiah Bancroft”