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. 

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay (Review)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Blurb

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous — or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Review

I love the Harry Potter books and I have read them many times over but what I have always wanted to own and read is the illustrated editions by Jim Kay and finally I own the first one after my best friend bought it me for my birthday. I saved it for my December reading as I always associate the Philosopher’s Stone with Christmas for some reason.

It has been a few years since I read the first books in the series but I will be honest that it was wonderful to be back in the wizarding world again with some of my favourite literary characters that I have grown up with. It was so good to meet Dumbledore again as he is by far superior in the book to the films and he is such a funny and eccentric character in the book.

So, as you can tell I love the book and I bet most people are familiar with the Harry Potter books so I will just say reading it with the illustrations is fantastic and the only way I want to read the Harry Potter books from now on. The illustrations are stunning in this book and so well-chosen for the story, they really add to the story. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and highly recommend it to all Potter fans.

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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

Joanne Rowling born 31 July 1965, is a British writer and philanthropist. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter series. Rowling also writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Review)

Circe by Madeline Miller

Blurb

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Review

After reading The Song of Achilles I was really excited to read this book by Miller but I must admit I was slightly disappointed because it just didn’t seem to have the same polish to it like The Song of Achilles. 

Circe is an interesting character from the myths of ancient Greece and Miller has taken an interesting view of Circe’s story. Circe is the daughter of a Titan and the Oceanid nymph Perse, but Circe and her three siblings are not the normal offspring of a Titan and a nymph, they have abilities that Zeus fears greatly. Circe sadly is ignored by her family because she does not look or sound like a being that possesses divinity so she turns to mortals for friendship.

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Circe in this book as she never seems to get a break and when things do start to go well something always happens for that to change. However, I do think Miller has used her literary license here to make Circe’s story rather depressing at times. As someone who is studying Classics I will be honest I was bit annoyed how Miller treated certain things like Glaucus but I will forgive her. I did like how Miller included the Golden Fleece and the Minotaur in the story and was pleased to see them included.

Circe only really acts like she does because she lacked guidance from her elders and had to make her own way in the world. As her life went on she makes decisions based on the way she has been treated and some of those are good and some are bad and some she regrets dearly. Everything she does helps her decide where she belongs in the world. 

Circe is quite often depicted as a loose woman who preys on men but Miller hasn’t gone down that route thankfully and been kinder to Circe. However, I am not too keen on some of the aspects Miller has chosen to either avoid or rewrite about Circe and that for me was a real shame. I did really enjoy the book though and give it 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

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(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)

About the author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.