Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, K J Parker

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I fix broken people with things, with stuff; with tricks, lies, devices. I’m resourceful and ingenious. I don’t confront, I avoid; and one of the things I do my best to avoid is justice, and another one is death.

This is the story of Orhan, son of Siyyah Doctus Felix Praeclarissimus, and his history of the Great Siege, written down so that the deeds and sufferings of great men may never be forgotten.

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4 / 5

I’ve had my eye on Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City for a little while now, and I finally took the plunge and bought it during an ill-advised shopping spree at Waterstones. Seriously. I’d just been paid and I went and picked up seven books, including two hardbacks. I’ve never done that. Anyhow, this book was great.

Continue reading “Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, K J Parker”

The Rage of Dragons, Evan Winter

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He would fight until he won or he died. There would be, he swore, no days without difficulty

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. The lucky ones are born gifted. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, and when those closest to him are brutally murdered, his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

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3 / 5

The Rage of Dragons has been getting a good rep in book reviewing circles for its epicness, African-inspired setting, and readability. I’m here to offer a slightly controversial opinion: this book was okay.

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Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper & Fire #2), Natasha Ngan

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Wren and I might not be Paper Girls anymore, but we are still capable of creating fire. And now we have a whole world to set ablaze

Slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Read my review of the first book in the series here.

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3 / 5

I adored Girls of Paper and Fire and I was delighted to receive a copy of Girls of Storm and Shadow. However, whilst the first book was a mesmerising five stars, this sequel is lacklustre in comparison. Ngan’s prose remains delightful and I still adore Lei and Wren’s difficult and morally grey relationship, but the plot was distinctly uninspired.

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The Sin Soldiers, Tracy Auerbach

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This was where all the magic happened; where ordinary people were transformed into slaves and monsters

Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.

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2 / 5

The Sin Soldiers has a cool concept and it hooked me at the start, but unlikeable characters and a confusing setting left me unsatisfied.

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The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2), R. F. Kuang

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Your bond will shatter. You will destroy one another. One will die, one will rule, and one will sleep for eternity

Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

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3 / 5

I listened to The Poppy War last year and it was fantastic. The narration was superb, the storyline was gripping, the characters complex and divisive. I loved Rin and I hated her. I wanted to keep her safe and I wanted to chuck her off a cliff. I recommended The Poppy War left right and centre. As a sequel, The Dragon Republic was disappointing.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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“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.


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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.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix Harrow

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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. 

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal

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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.

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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”