Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (Review)

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Blurb

A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honour.

An immortal, avenging a broken promise.

An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.

An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.

A forger with a secret past.

A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.

Review

Wow! This is definitely my favourite book so far of 2021. I’ve never read a book by Aveyard before. I will definitely be reading her other books and future books now. I am so pleased that Waterstones sent me an email about this book and I preordered it when I saw it. Honestly, I struggled to put this down and it was only because of work and sleep that I did take breaks. This book reminded me so much of the work of Tolkien and you can see how the Lord of the Rings has influenced this book but it is not too similar. 

This book contains some fantastic characters and the relationship between these characters is brilliant. The relationship between Dom who is the immortal and Sorasa the assassin is rather amusing and there is definitely some chemistry there even though they would both fiercely deny it. Dom is a Prince of Iona who is hundreds of years old with super strength and speed. He is also my favourite character as he just reminds me of a grumpy bear at times. Sorasa has a past but we don’t learn the full extent of it but what we do know is that she is street smart, an excellent killer and is always prepared. 

Andry the squire has seen some horrors and shares these horrors with Dom. He is loyal and will do anything to protect Corayne and his mother. I also love his love of making tea. Andry has the belief that tea can make anything better and I fully agree. Charlie the forger we don’t know a lot about and he doesn’t feature hugely in this book but it is obvious he will in the next. The same applies to the bounty hunter Sigil. Sigil is a giant of a woman almost as big as Dom and she is an excellent warrior and rather an imposing character. Valtik the ancient sorceress is hilarious and I just loved her character. Valtik speaks in rhyme and riddles and regularly just disappears and reappears for no reason.

Finally we have Corayne, a seventeen year old girl whose has the fate of the Ward on her shoulders. Although she has never left the seaport where she grew up before her quest she knows most languages and is wise beyond her years. 

I loved Aveyard’s writing style and I love the Ward that she has created with all its different realms. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view which means you get the story from lots of different angles and this really adds to your understanding of the characters, their pasts and what they think of the quest. I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Product Link

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Victoria Aveyard (1990) is an American writer of young adult and fantasy fiction and screenplays. She is best known for her fantasy novel Red Queen. 

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker (Review)

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

Blurb

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

Review

When I saw this book I knew I had to read it, especially as I studied the women of Troy last year for an assignment. We sadly don’t know much about Briseis and we definitely don’t know for sure what happened to her once Achilles was killed. Some believe that Achilles gave her to one of his comrades in arms and this is the story line that Barker has gone with for this book.

We start the story with the sacking of Troy and the death of Priam. After the battle the story is mainly told by Briseis but is occasionally seen from Calchus the high priest and Pyrrhus’ point of view. 

Briseis is not a slave like the other women of Troy because she is now married to Alcimus, so she has more freedom around the camp. However, Briseis knows what it is to see her family killed and to be taken as a slave by the Greeks so she endeavours to help the women of Troy as much as she can. 

Briseis is a wonderful character in this book as she has troubles of her own but she really tries to help the women of Troy. However, at times I did find her rather naive and that did annoy me slightly. 

Hecuba was perfect in my opinion and as I always imagined her. Even though her kingdom has fallen and she is now a slave owned by Odysseus she still has her pride. The only thing that knocks her is her grief but she still keeps on going. Cassandra was a rather a surprise because sadly she is usually portrayed as insane but Barker was very kind about her. Pyrrhus was another mystery but really he is a lost little boy trying to fill his father’s shoes and always feeling lacking. 

I really found this take on the aftermath of the fall of Troy very refreshing and it was wonderful to have a story about one of the women of Troy that isn’t Helen. I really enjoyed this book but I was disappointed at the end because I really wanted to find out what happened with Briseis’ and Alcimus’ relationship, all it needed was a couple of extra pages. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons and I thank NetGalley and Penguin UK for giving me an ARC of this book.

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Purchase Links

(Due for publication on the 26th August 2021)

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. 

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration; The Eye in the Door, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road, winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. She’s married and lives in Durham, England.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint (Review)

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Blurb

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel

Review

I do love a Greek myth retelling especially if it is fairly faithful to the actual myth. This Greek myth was a refreshing read because it was told from the viewpoint of the women instead of the usual male heroes. 

The main voice we hear in this story is Ariadne. Ariadne is the granddaughter of Helios but the only sign of this is her beautiful blonde hair. Ariadne’s life in Crete is not easy once her brother the Minotaur is born, her life is haunted by the sound of the Minotaur living beneath her feet. However, a way out of this existence presents itself and Ariadne grabs it with both hands. 

The other voice that we hear from is Phaedra who is Ariadne’s younger sister. Phaedra is the complete opposite to her sister, she is full of spirit and is not afraid of anything and has the ability to rule. 

This retelling really highlights what is always there in the original myths but always remains in the background. Men strut around being heroes, fighting the monsters and vanquishing enemies, they draw the attention to the gods and when they upset the gods the gods make them pay by making their wives and female relatives pay. I think that is the main vein of the story that runs through this book, women are always the ones who pay the price and poor Ariadne really does pay. 

I loved this retelling and although there were a few historical inaccuracies which I only picked out because I’m a classics student, the story was beautifully written and one that I couldn’t put down. I really felt every hurt and wrong that poor Ariadne and Phaedra suffered but at the same time I loved their strength and belief in standing up for themselves. I also loved how the male characters within this story took a backseat, Theseus, Perseus and Dionysus have had far too much attention over the years. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Jennifer Saint grew up reading Greek mythology and was always drawn to the untold stories hidden within the myths. After thirteen years as a high school English teacher, she wrote ARIADNE which tells the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur from the perspective of Ariadne – the woman who made it happen. Jennifer Saint is now a full-time author, living in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark.

Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

Review 

Another fantastic book in The Expanse series. I can’t believe how they just keep getting better and better with each book in the series. This one I could not put down.

As usual each chapter is from a certain character’s perspective. The four characters are Anna, Bull, Clarissa and of course Holden. Now my favourite character has always been Amos but Anna was a brilliant character and very different from Amos.

Anna

Anna is a pastor and has been chosen to go on an Earth ship with other religious leaders and important people to look at the alien artefact. Anna lives by the code act first, ask for forgiveness later and I must admit this does get her into some dangerous situations but if she believes something is right and just she fights for it and will do anything to protect her flock and others. 

Bull

Bull is an Earther but works for Fred Johnson. Bull knows how to run a ship and knows how to get a job done. I loved how Bull gained respect from the Belters and got those who didn’t respect him to at least obey him. He might be rough around the edges but he always does the right thing.

Clarissa

I don’t want to say much about Clarissa as I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say she is a very troubled woman who desperately needs help and somebody to love her. 

This book revolves around the alien artefact and shows the human race at its best and its worst. I wish there had been more of Alex and Amos but hopefully there will be more of them in the next book. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reviews in the series so far

Leviathan Wakes

Caliban’s War

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (Review)

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Blurb

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

Review

I love a gothic mystery so I was very excited to start reading this book and I will be honest it was rather a surprise once I got into the story. 

My first impression of this book was too much description and it took me a while to get used to this. Kidd is an excellent writer but sometimes her descriptions can go on too long. For example she describes at one point all the different dreams people are having and to be honest I just lost interest as they were characters that were not important. However, that is my only problem with this story; the rest I loved.

Bridie is fantastic and the more I got to know her the more I loved her character. Bridie is clever and has the ability and intellect to be an amazing doctor but sadly she is woman and women are not allowed to be doctors. This doesn’t stop Bridie though who helps Inspector Rose with unusual cases by examining the bodies and the scene of the crime. She also solves crimes for private clients as well. Bridie is eccentric, she smokes a pipe and speaks her mind and is a force to be reckoned with and she does all of this in a dress and many petticoats, most of the time.

I will be honest Bridie is basically a female Sherlock Holmes and it is very clear that that is who Kidd based the character on. Bridie also has a house maid called Cora who is fascinating. Cora is seven foot tall and a very scary woman who the local children find very interesting. She is also a fantastic bodyguard for Bridie who will see no harm come to her.

This story combines folklore and history together perfectly and makes for a fascinating read. I will be honest at times I found it a little disturbing but it was still a fabulous read that I highly enjoyed. I give this story 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Jess Kidd was brought up in London as part of a large family from county Mayo and has been praised for her unique fictional voice. Her debut, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016. She won the Costa Short Story Award the same year. Her second novel, The Hoarder, published as Mr. Flood’s Last Resort in the U.S. and Canada was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2019. Both books were BBC Radio 2 Book Club Picks. Her latest book, the Victorian detective tale Things in Jars, has been released to critical acclaim. Jess’s work has been described as ‘Gabriel García Márquez meets The Pogues.’ 

Gods of Risk by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Gods of Risk by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

As tension between Mars and Earth mounts, and terrorism plagues the Martian city of Londres Nova, sixteen-year-old David Draper is fighting his own lonely war. A gifted chemist vying for a place at the university, David leads a secret life as a manufacturer for a ruthless drug dealer. When his friend Leelee goes missing, leaving signs of the dealer’s involvement, David takes it upon himself to save her. But first he must shake his aunt Bobbie Draper, an ex-marine who has been set adrift in her own life after a mysterious series of events nobody is talking about.

Set in the hard-scrabble solar system of Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War, Gods of Risk deepens James S. A. Corey’s acclaimed Expanse series.

Review

This story is based around a character that we have not met before in the previous books but we have met his aunt, who is Bobbie Draper. David Draper is sixteen and under a lot of pressure to get a good placement at university but he also has a secret and that secret is that he is secretly making drugs for a drug dealer. 

David is like any other gifted teenager, he is hard working and desperate for the placement of his dreams that he knows will also make his family proud of him. David is also the typical moody teenager and he particularly is not keen on having aunt Bobbie staying in the house. David also has a crush on Leelee who is always with the drug dealer and dreams of one day being her boyfriend. This crush leads to trouble for David when he decides to save her from her fate.

I must admit I can’t believe how much weight lifting she does in this short story, every time we see her she is lifting weights, I have no idea how she finds the energy. She also seems to do a lot of arguing with her brother but to be honest he seems to be the one doing the provoking and does come across as rather a know it all who thinks his job is the hardest job there is and that being a marine is nothing compared to being an engineer. 

Although the story is based around David we do get to see how Bobbie is faring after the events of Caliban’s War and as the story goes on we see how Bobbie makes her mind up about a few things and these decisions are helped along by her involvement with her nephew.

This is a great little short story that I enjoyed reading and it was fantastic to read about Bobbie again. I give this story 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Kindle

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

We are not alone.

On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggles to prevent interplanetary war from reigniting. And on Venus, an alien protomolecule has overrun the planet, wreaking massive, mysterious changes and threatening to spread out into the solar system.

In the vast wilderness of space, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been keeping the peace for the Outer Planets Alliance. When they agree to help a scientist search war-torn Ganymede for a missing child, the future of humanity rests on whether a single ship can prevent an alien invasion that may have already begun . . .

Review

Yay, Avasarala has finally arrived and she is even better than she is in the TV series. The woman is amazing!

So as you can tell already this book has really made me very happy and I just loved it and could not put it down. We also get to meet the amazing Bobbie. This book has some amazingly strong female characters and it really is a wonderful read.

Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view and the characters that are used this time are Holden, Prax, Bobbie and Avasarala. All the characters start in different places, Holden on board the Roci, Bobbie and Prax on Ganymede and Avasarala on Earth. As events unfold the characters’ storylines start to entwine and come together. The battle against the protomolecule has begun!

Holden

We find Holden aboard the Roci with Naomi, Alex and Amos trying to keep the peace for the OPA and working for Fred Johnson. However, it is clear that events from the first book have taken effect on Holden and he is not his usual self and this is affecting his relationship with Naomi and the rest of the crew. When Holden and his crew then meet Prax and start to help Prax find his missing daughter Holden starts to find his true self again.

Bobbie

Bobbie is a Martian marine who watches her platoon get slaughtered on Ganymede by some kind of monster never seen before and she wants revenge and she will do anything to get it. Eventually, Bobbie meets Avasarala and a friendship clearly develops between the Earther and the Martian. I must admit this relationship was my favourite part of the book. Bobbie is a soldier and an intimidating woman who scares most men but Avasarala sees her as an asset and someone she can trust. Avasarala swears at Bobbie and tells her off but Bobbie gives the same back and is not afraid to tell Avasarala what she thinks in return. 

Avasarala

Avasarala is a UN politician and will do anything to protect her beloved Earth but she also believes in peace and trying to stop war happening between Earth and Mars. She can see through the rubbish and knows things are not right and she has to play the ‘game’ as she calls it to work out what is going on and keep the peace and she needs Bobbie’s help and the crew of the Roci to accomplish this. I just love when she walks onto the Roci and immediately tells Holden to have a shave and starts dishing out orders. She is woman who takes no nonsense and believes anybody will follow her orders.

Prax

Prax is a botanist from Ganymede whose daughter has been kidnapped and he manages to enlist Holden and his crew to get her back. I loved Prax’s character. He will do anything for his daughter but he is very lost and is not looking after himself but thankfully Amos comes along and takes him under his wing and looks after Prax. Amos the big scary Earther who is quite happy to beat people up and kill is definitely the defender of the weak in this book and it is wonderful to see and rather amusing. Prax finds himself a family in the crew of the Roci and slowly he comes out of his shell as the story moves on.

I thoroughly loved this book and loved seeing the characters develop through the book. The ending of the book also left me very intrigued and I can’t wait to start reading the next book in the series. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons and I personally think it is even better than the first book.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Butcher of Anderson Station by James S. A. Corey (Review)

The Butcher of Anderson Station by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

A new story set in the world of The Expanse. One day, Colonel Fred Johnson will be hailed as a hero to the system. One day, he will meet a desperate man in possession of a stolen spaceship and a deadly secret and extend a hand of friendship. But long before he became the leader of the Outer Planets Alliance, Fred Johnson had a very different name. The Butcher of Anderson Station.

Review

We first meet Fred Johnson in Leviathan Wakes and we soon realise that he has a past and this short story tells us what that past is. 

I really enjoyed reading this short story as it shows what made Johnson join the OPA and become an advocate for their cause. It also introduces us to Anderson Dawes who is a member of the OPA and we get a brief introduction to his character as well which is really interesting.

I already know the story of Johnson from watching the TV series but it was really heart breaking to read the story of the slaughter of the workers and families of Anderson station. 

I read this short story in one setting and really enjoyed it as it filled in a bit of background story. The more I read of this series the more I fall in love with the writing. I give this story 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Link

Amazon

About the author 

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

My review of Leviathan Wakes.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

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.

Review

My husband and myself are massive fans of the TV series The Expanse so I thought it was high time I read the book and I am so pleased that I have started the series.

The first thing I was really surprised about was how close the TV series followed the book which is always a nice surprise as it is really annoying when the book and TV series are all different. 

The thing I loved about the book the most was how much more you get to learn about the Earth, Mars and the Belt. I loved finding out about the history of how the Belt was formed and how Belters are so physically different from people born and bred on Earth. I also love how this story is showing how the human race has advanced to live on asteroids, moons and Mars but hasn’t quite got the stars yet.

I think my favourite character in the book was easily Miller, he has had a hard life and now it has been turned upside down and he is trying to find a way to survive. He knows how to read situations and is a seasoned cop but he also knows that his way of life has had a serious effect on his humanity.

Holden and his crew are trying to piece the events that have happened to them together and in so doing they meet Miller and Holden and Miller form a friendship even if that friendship doesn’t always run smoothly. I must admit I do get annoyed with Holden at times, he is very naive at times and really does not understand the world of politics.

Amos, Alex and Naomi are Holden’s crew and they all have their individual personalities. Naomi is a Belter who can fix anything and seems to hold the crew together. Alex is a fantastic pilot who has a great affection for his fellow crew members and who also has a great sense of humour. Then there is my favourite member of the crew, Amos. Amos is an Earther but he hasn’t been on Earth for so long that he might as well be a Belter. Amos clearly has a past but we do not know what that past is yet but we do find out as the book goes on that he is a seasoned fighter and is very happy with handling firearms and hand to hand combat.

This book is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to start the next book. The comedy in the book also had me laughing out loud several times. I highly recommend this book to all sci-fi fans and give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann, illustrated by Sanna Annukka Ltd (Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann, illustrated by Sanna Annukka Ltd

Blurb

Hoffmann’s classic Christmas fairy tale, immortalised by Tchaikovsky’s ballet, is brought to life by the gorgeous contemporary artwork of Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annuka.

On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie excitedly await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvellous gifts he brings for them every year. When Marie discovers a curious nutcracker doll among the presents, she suddenly finds herself caught up in an age-old battle before being transported to a magical world of sugar-frosted castles, chocolate kings, and true love.

Sanna Annukka is familiar to many from her collaborations with Marimekko. The Nutcracker is her third book project.

This cloth-bound edition combines the charm of Hoffmann’s original nineteenth-century tale with the freshness of Sanna Annuka’s gorgeous illustrations. A beautiful gift to give and receive.

Review

As most of you know by now I love the story of The Nutcracker and I read a new edition of it every year. The story for me will always have 5 out of 5 Dragons and thankfully this edition was not abridged so I could enjoy the story in full.

Over the past few years I have read some beautifully illustrated copies of this story and last year’s was a pop up book version, which although abridged really made me smile as the detail of the book was stunning. The illustrations in this year’s edition for me was rather a shock and not what I had expected but this year due to the pandemic I had had to order my copy rather than explore an actual book shop.

The illustrations in this book are bold and only use a limited range of colours but they work so well together and you can really see how Annukka is influenced by her love of printing and Finnish design. The only issues I had was that the illustration of the mouse king sadly did not have seven heads but just the one. You could clearly see it was the mouse king because it was a mouse with a crown but I did miss the seven heads. The other issue I had was that there was an awful lot of black used that made certain illustrations appear rather gloomy.

I really enjoyed reading this edition and I am glad I chose it because in a bookshop I might have overlooked it as the illustrations are not something I would usually choose. However, I really liked how different the illustrations were and how they expertly added to the story. As usual 5 out of 5 Dragons from me.

🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

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