“Shadow Weaver” by MarcyKate Connolly

This is the second book recommended to me by the blog Sci-Fi & Scary that I’ve read and liked. SciFi & Scary described this middle-grade novel as atmospheric and haunting, which made me curious and eager to read it since I’ve read only a few middle-grade books like that. I’m glad I gave this one a try and will also read the next book in its duology.

Goodreads summary:

Emmeline’s gift of controlling shadows has isolated her from the rest of the world, but she’s grown to be content, hidden away in her mansion with Dar, her own shadow, as her only company.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

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“The Black Tides of Heaven” by J.Y. Yang

I won’t lie, the main reason why I wanted to read this book is because it has a beautiful cover. The cover was illustrated by Yuko Shimizu and I did a post all about her design for it last year. Yea, I like it that much.

I was surprised and glad when I saw a copy of The Black Tides of Heaven chilling on the new books self at my library. I quickly grabbed it before anyone else could and ran home with it to immediately start reading. I was not disappointed.

Quick summary:

The Black Tides of Heaven is the first novella in the silkpunk fantasy series, Tensorate. It’s about a set of twins whose mother serves as Protector of their kingdom. The twins were given away to the Grand Monastery to settle a bargain the Protector had made with the Head Abbot. But when it’s discovered that one of the twins, Mokoya, has prophetic powers, the Protector takes back her child so she can use Mokoya’s powers for her own means.

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“Fool’s Errand” by Robin Hobb

It was like visiting an old friend, one I hadn’t seen in a long time. I didn’t realize how much I missed Fitz’s narration until I started Fool’s Errand. I was immediately hooked and so happy to have returned to Fitz and his companion Nighteyes.

Before I get started on this review, let me warn you that if you have not read Hobb’s Farseer trilogy or Liveship Traders trilogy, you will be spoiled for both in the summary portion below. And since it was hard to discuss this book without giving away spoilers, I didn’t bother taking them out of the “My Thoughts” section since I wanted to be specific about some things.

If you are curious about this fantasy trilogy (Fool’s Errand is the first novel in the Tawney Man trilogy), I highly recommend it to you. The trilogies I mentioned above are all part of a larger series called the Realm of the Elderlings series, so I recommend you start with the first set of books (the Farseer trilogy) and work your way through the trilogies if they interest you. I enjoyed them (of course since I’m now on third set of books) and have been buddy reading them with Emily from Embuhlee liest since 2016, I think, and we plan to continue with them through this year. But here’s what Fool’s Errand is all about.

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“The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I was so eager to read it, but for some reason, I delayed doing so until later in the year. I was also convinced I would love it. I’d read/listened to a few interviews with Arden and loved what she said about her book and the books that have inspired her over the years. It all made me excited for The Bear and the Nightingale. But maybe I was too excited and eager because when I did read the novel, I thought it underwhelming and didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Quick summary:

The Bear and the Nightingale is the first novel in a YA fantasy trilogy seeped in Russian history and folklore. It’s about a girl, Vasilia “Vasya” Petrovna, who was born with the fabled powers her grandmother possessed. Vasya can communicate with spirits, fey creatures who protect the hearth and home and help make her father’s lands prosperous.

Vasya’s father is a boyar, a royal who’s similar to a prince, but his lands lay in northern Russia, where winters can be hard and harsh. Though affluent, not many people live on his lands and I got the impression that he oversees a small village of people who help to maintain his lands. Vasya is the youngest of her siblings. Her mother died during childbirth, convinced that finally she has given birth to a child possessing the fabled powers of her maternal line.

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“Eldest” by Christopher Paolini

Goodreads summary:

Darkness falls…Despair abounds…Evil reigns…

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider.

It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall — one that puts Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I was so bored by this novel that it took me 5 months to complete it.

Eldest is the second novel in Christopher Paolini’s epic fantasy series, the Inheritance Cycle, about a farm boy named Eragon who learns that he’s a dragon rider. In this installment, we mostly watch Roran on his journey to Surda and observe Eragon as he learns to be a dragon rider, i.e., learn the ways of the elves.

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“The Way of Shadows” by Brent Weeks

Ah. Here’s another novel that’s difficult to review. I don’t even know how to start. Whenever I mention it to others, I babble and gush and hardly make sense because all I’m thinking is “DURZO BLINT! DURZO BLINT! DURZO BLINT!!!” 😆

(If you were wondering who my favorite character in this book is, well, you know now.) Durzo Blint! 😀 (I don’t think he would approve of all these emoticons.)

You’re probably wondering why I decided to read this novel; or not.

Well, the Tome Topple Readathon was held last month and I decided to participate though I doubted I’d do well. My plan was to read Nicholas Eames’s Kings of the Wyld, but since that novel isn’t exactly a 500+ page tome (It’s over 400 pages and reaches 500 because of the extra stuff in the back), I decided to read something on my e-reader — this, The Way of Shadows.

The novel was a total surprise. I didn’t expect to like it. It’s dark and its grittiness smacks you in the face as soon as you start reading. I could handle it, but I wasn’t in the mood for that sort of novel. Luckily the pace picks up after a few pages in, and I became so hooked that I sped through the book.

My thought upon completing the novel: “Fuuucckkk!! I need to read that shit again!”

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“The Apprentice Witch” by James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch is a debut middle-grade fantasy novel that was recently published on July 25. Back in June, I believe, I saw an ARC giveaway in one of the many bookish newsletters I’m subscribed to and entered not expecting that I would be granted a copy of the novel.

The eye-catching cover called to me and I began reading the book soon after receiving it. I was immediately hooked. It’s the sort of fantasy story I’ve been searching for. It’s sweet and simple and set in a quirky village that makes me long for the fantasy novels I read and enjoyed as a kid.

Goodreads summary:

A special middle grade debut of magic and courage in a world of witches, written with the charm and enchantment of Circus Mirandus and The Apothecary.

Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch — much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

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