Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3), Mark Lawrence

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“Nona, my fierce little Nona, remember mercy. Mercy for others in victory. Mercy for yourself too. You deserve happiness, child. Never forget it.”

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep. Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

Read my reviews of Red Sister (#1) and Grey Sister (#2).

* * * * *
5 / 5

Holy Sister sent shivers all the way down my spine. We have been travelling down the path towards the encounter that has threaded its way through the first two books: Lano Tacsis and his two hundred men, coming for Sister Thorn. Sister Thorn, it has been revealed, is Arabella Jotsis and Sister Cage is none other than Nona Grey. It is epic. It is heart-wrenching. It poked at my soul and wouldn’t stop.

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Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1), Jodi Taylor

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“History is important. Far more important than most people believe. And it is under attack.”

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake…

* * * * * 
5 / 5

Hilarious, witty, banterous, serious, disturbing, and light-hearted. Just One Damned Thing After Another made me feel just one damned emotion after another: I felt intrigued and amused and in awe and afraid and disgusted and impressed. I ran the whole gamut of emotions and closed the book feeling both extremely satisfied and yet wanting more.

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Skyward, Brandon Sanderson

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Bravery isn’t about what people call you, Spensa. It’s about who you know yourself to be

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. 

* * * * *
5 / 5

I have loved everything I have ever read by Brandon Sanderson. I love some of them more than others (sorry Mistborn, but you’re at the bottom somewhere), and yet still my foolish self was reluctant to pick up Skyward because I’m not a big alien fan. I just don’t like books about aliens. Well, I was a fool. This book is a masterpiece and it didn’t have that many aliens in it anyway.

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[article] Top Ten Reads of 2019 So Far…

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It’s a dog, not a book!

 

Top Ten Reads of 2019 So Far…

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written a non-review post (sadly, I’m far too busy with getting my Master’s degree to write monthly roundups anymore), so I thought I’d do a quick overview of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Note, this isn’t just books published in 2019, it’s any book I’ve read this year.

I’ve read 66 books so far and counting, which is a reasonably big sample size. Reviews (if they’re posted yet) are linked by the titles, and I’ve given a few keyword teasers to let you know what kind of book it is. Brace yourselves for some epic literature!

Continue reading “[article] Top Ten Reads of 2019 So Far…”

The Lost Puzzler, Eyal Kless

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“Only at Tarakan valley will you feel at peace”

In the City of Towers, once the heart of the fallen Tarakan empire, a historian searches for clues to explain the disappearance of Rafik, a young boy with extraordinary abilities – a Puzzler. Marked with strange tattoos and gifted with a miraculous connection to Tarakan technology, Rafik could open doors inside the ruins, uncovering treasures and secrets.

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5 / 5

It is rare that one book contains so much of the elements and ideas that I love to read about. The Lost Puzzler read like the author had looked into my brain and written this book for me: a speculative, futuristic world featuring ancient cities, people with tattoos and special powers, an unreliable narrator, a young man gifted with a peculiar power, and a hunt for a confusing, wild truth.

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Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2), Mark Lawrence

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Nothing is as cruel as a righteous man

All that stands between Nona and her future as a Sister are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord. As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

Read my review of Red Sister.

* * * * *
5 / 5

I thoroughly praised Red Sister as an absolute masterpiece of a novel and that’s a tough act for any sequel to follow. Grey Sister is in the exact same vein: a slow-paced, riveting, bloody story focused on female friendships and learning to use swords.

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Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

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Paper is flammable. And there is a fire catching among us

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. 

* * * * *
5 / 5

Girls of Paper and Fire has already made my shortlist of best YA of 2018. This beautiful and tragic and explosive debut by Natasha Ngan takes a classic YA trope – a group of young, beautiful women serving an evil ruler rise up to rebel – and elevates it to something fresh. Using demons, Eastern Asian mythological influences, and a lesbian romance, Girls of Paper and Fire is a book not to be missed.

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Mirage, Somaiya Daud

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For a sliver of a moment I wasn’t Maram or Amani. I was a girl in a temple, filled with nothing but want and expectation

Amani is a dreamer. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

* * * * *
5 / 5

Mirage is a simply beautiful novel. Daud paints a vivid tale of a girl torn from her family to serve her conquering oppressors, but it has so much more than that; Mirage is about hope and resilience, about myth and religion and tradition, about power and duty and sacrifice. Above all else, it is the simple beauty of the writing that elevates this book to one of my favourites of the year.

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On the Shoulders of Titans (Arcane Ascension #2), Andrew Rowe

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“Is there someone just giving out legendary magical swords to children?”

Corin Cadence finally has a firm reason to believe his brother, Tristan, is still alive. 

Unfortunately, finding more information isn’t going to be easy. Tristan appears to be entangled with a clandestine organization that calls themselves Whispers. And Corin’s last brush with the Whispers didn’t exactly end well. 

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5 / 5

Sufficiently Advanced Magic is one of the best self-published novels and the most amazing example of LitRPG that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Andrew Rowe knows what his readers want: that nostalgic sense of playing an RPG video game – levelling up, discovering new characters, clearing dungeons and developing your party – combined with some fascinating and original world building, and lots of cool fights.

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The Philosopher’s Flight, Tom Miller

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“We’ve got killers enough in the family. You – you’re going to be the first man in R&E”

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Robert wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

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5 / 5 

What a surprise! This book with a totally wacky premise, that was a little bit difficult to get into, and made me a bit cautious with it’s “reverse-sexism” theme, ended up being a five star read. The Philosopher’s Flight has a strong male lead, a fantastic mostly female supporting cast, is engaging and highly original, and had me rooting for Robert the whole way through.

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