The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Review)

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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About the author

Margaret Atwood born 18th November 1939 is a Canadian author, poet, essayist and literary critic. She has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, books of poetry and children’s books. She has won the Giller Prize in Canada, Premio Mondello in Italy and the 2000 Booker Prize. She was also awarded the Asturias Prize for Literature in 2008.

Blurb

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Review

This book was a welcome change from The Handmaid’s Tale that I will be honest I really did not enjoy but thankfully because I had preordered this book and forgot it until it turned up on my doorstep I read it instead of just avoiding it because of thinking it would be like The Handmaid’s Tale. I understand that people find my opinions on The Handmaid’s Tale as controversial and a lot of people will find my opinions on The Testaments as controversial but thankfully we are all different and that is what makes us all interesting.

I loved this book and would have happily read it a lot quicker but I have a lot of university reading that is taking up my reading time. The first thing that struck me was how different the writing style was from The Handmaid’s Tale. The book flowed better and to me made more sense and because there was so much more information in it about Gilead and its history I found the book a great deal more interesting.

I loved the characters in this book especially sweet Becka who was just so kind and loving even though she had such a horrid upbringing. To me she is the embodiment of goodness in the dark and dangerous world of Gilead.

The character of Aunt Lydia was what really made the book. Her contributions were fantastic and I loved how she could play all the other characters like they were on a chess board. She could orchestrate everything because she was always so many moves ahead of everyone and her main talent was reading people and knowing how people would act.

This book also keeps you on your toes because it has a great deal more action within it in comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale and this is probably another reason why I enjoyed this book more.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and due to this I have given the book the full 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack

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About the author

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Una McCormack is the author of seven previous Star Trek novels and four Doctor Who novels. She has also written numerous short stories and audio dramas. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her partner of many years and their daughter.

Blurb

Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance.

It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects the best from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries pressing her to attend one the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly desires to achieve great things-even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she is about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime- an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…

Review

This is the fourth Star Trek Discovery book I have read and another that I loved. I love how the books tie in so brilliantly with the TV series and give you such excellent back stories. I have preordered the next one and I can not wait for it to arrive on my door mat!

I found this a wonderful little story of a young girl becoming a young woman and most importantly finding out her true self and worth. Poor Tilly has spent her life trying to please her mother, father, grandmother and Quinn her grandmother’s husband. She has always tried to be her best at everything but it has not always made her happy. It was fascinating to learn how Tilly entered Starfleet and where she got her bravery and confidence.

Tilly is adorable if rather awkward and at one point dam right rude and in need of a good shake and somebody teaching her some manners but somehow I always found myself forgiving her.

I really did not like Tilly’s mother in this book and was pleased she did not feature greatly in the book, the woman was every child’s worst nightmare. I am surprised Tilly did not turn out very differently with that much pressure in her life. Tilly’s dad is quite different but really should have stuck up for Tilly better and been there more for her.

The other element I really liked was seeing Michael Burnham in a totally different light, although she did not really feature in the book the part she was in was lovely and showed her to be an amazing friend to have in your corner.

This book read very much like a YA book but that did not effect my opinion of it or my enjoyment. If it was not for the reason I needed sleep to go to work in the morning I would have not put it down. The only reason I did not give the book a full 5 Dragons and only 4 was because the ending was a little bit too perfect for my liking. This is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to any Star Trek fan.

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To Purchase

Waterstones

Book Depository

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The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen (ARC Review)

The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

About the author

Amy Kuivalainen is a Finnish-Australian writer that is obsessed with magical wardrobes, doors, auroras and burial mounds that might offer her a way into another realm. Until then, she will write about fairy tales, monsters, magic and mythology because that’s the next best thing. She is the author of The Firebird Fairytales Trilogy and The Blood Lake Chronicles series that mash up traditional tales and mythology in new and interesting ways.

Blurb

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks. 

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

Review

Thank you to NetGalley and BHC Press for granting me an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

I was so happy that my request on NetGalley was granted for this book and a couple of days ago I started the book and to be honest finished it in a matter of hours, I simply could not put it down. Even though the book has not been published yet I am desperate for the sequel to be published.

I found the story to immediately hook me in and wanted to keep reading, the idea of a forgotten language and god suddenly arising after thousands of years was fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoyed the idea of magicians existing in the world for thousands of years hidden from mankind but one human has managed to get through to them and that person is Dr Penelope Bryne.

Penelope has always loved the mystery of Atlantis and even though people make fun of her she never gives up trying to find it and prove that it exists. I loved her drive and passion in the book, she is a massively strong character but also has her weaknesses but she knows how to control this using her yoga and meditation practises. I have never had much time for yoga but reading this book has made me want to try it again.

The setting of the book was beautifully chosen, what better place to choose than Venice? I would love to visit Venice because it always strikes me as a magical place especially when Carnivale is taking place. I hope in the next books Venice will feature heavily and we get to see more of the catacombs and hidden parts of Venice.

The seven magicians were brilliant as they all have their own individual characters which comes through their magic. So each magician engages their magic differently depending on how their magic is formed and created. They all reminded me of Greek Gods and by their descriptions they look like Greek Gods as well. Although they also seem like teenagers when left unattended by a responsible person for too long. All in all it seems like a fun place to be when they are all playing around.

I loved this book so much I have actually pre-ordered the hardback of the book to read again and hopefully one day will have a hardback sequel to add to the collection. I highly recommend this book to fantasy and history lovers. I give this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons and cannot wait to read it again.

To Purchase

Waterstones

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (Review)

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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About the author

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Samantha Shannon studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. She is the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of The Bone Season series. She currently lives in London.

Blurb

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Review

I got very excited about this book and dragged my husband out to Waterstones to buy it for me (he is very good at feeding my book addiction) on the day it came out. I had the last copy in the store. Needless to say I went straight home and started reading it. However due to a heavy work load and falling asleep instead of reading it has taken longer than expected to finish.

I loved this book and at times I could not put it down. I loved the idea of good dragons and bad dragons and that the two dragons are very different from each other. The history and religion in this book are fantastic and very well thought out by Shannon, she gave a thorough background of both, where no holes were visible. I adored the world Shannon created and did not want to leave it.

Ead was such a strong powerful character who you couldn’t help but support and love. I did find Queen Sabran a little bit trying at times and to be honest that is when I had to put the book down for a while and also why the book got 4 dragons instead of 5 but I suppose all monarchs can be trying at times.

The other element I found enchanting was Tané and her relationship with her dragon. I was so worried for both of them and found myself tense with worry and anticipation. It reminded me of the love a human has with their dog or horse, as a dog or horse are fiercely loyal to their owner and will generally do anything to help and protect them. I could not get enough of dear Tané.

I desperately wanted to know more about the history of the trees and magic in this world and I really hope that Shannon does decide to do another book instead of keeping this book as a stand alone. I WANT TO KNOW MORE! Shannon in my opinion has been clever with the ending as she could easily do a sequel. I gave this book 4 out of 5 Dragons because I did love it and have recommended it to friends and family. The reason it didn’t get the full 5 Dragons was because of Queen Sabran and the fact in the middle I found it dragged slightly, but overall an amazing book.

Purchase

Waterstones

 

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Star Trek Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow

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About the author

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James Swallow is a British author who is a BAFTA nominee, a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller. He is also the only British author to work on the Star Trek television series. He has written several Star Trek books, scripted the video game Star Trek  Invasion and over four hundred articles in Star Trek magazines. He currently lives in London.

Blurb

Lieutenant Saru is a Kelpian, a member of prey species born on a world overrun by monstrous predators… and a being who very intimately understands the nature of fear. Challenged on all sides, he is determined to surpass his origins and succeed as a Starfleet officer aboard the U. S. S. Shenzhou.

But when Saru breaks protocol in order to prove himself to his crew mates, what begins as a vital rescue mission to save a vessel in distress soon escalates out of control. Forced into a command role he may not be ready for, Saru is caught between his duty and conflicting agendas of two antagonistic alien races. To survive, he will need to seek a path of peace against all odds, and risk compromising the very ideals he has sworn to uphold…

Review

I found this book a really hard read, I struggled to get into it and kept forgetting what I had read and had to re read certain parts. I am pleased I stuck with it though as towards the end I began to enjoy it and got into it. I am not sure whether it was the writing style I struggled with or just the general storyline but I just couldn’t gel with the story.

This was an interesting story focusing on Saru and it helped me understand him a bit more, as so far watching his character in the TV series and reading about him in the previous two books I have not liked his character and found him unfeeling to others and a bit of a wet blanket. This book however showed that he did have feelings towards others and that he can be brave, decisive and commanding. 

I enjoyed the character of Captain Georgiou. She is fast becoming a favourite and I would have liked her to feature a little bit more in the story. I also liked how Saru found her an inspiration and always thought of what Georgiou would do when trying to decide his next course of action. Michael Burnham also started to show her human side in the book which was nice to see.

The character I did not enjoy and was pleased that he did not feature greatly in the book was the Shenzhou’s first officer Commander ch’Theloh. I found him bad tempered, grumpy and way too hard on his underlings.

The storyline was a good storyline and I enjoyed meeting the Gorlans and Peliars and would have liked to have found out a bit more about both species and what happened to them.

Overall I found this book to be quite a let down after Drastic Measures, and I did not enjoy the book nearly as much. It was hard work to read and follow and at times rather boring. Sadly this book only got 2 out of 5 Dragons. It has not put me off the series though and I am looking forward to reading the next.

To buy this book from Waterstones click here.

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Review)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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About the author

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Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. He studied law at Edinburgh University. Stevenson was against the Presbyterianism of both Edinburgh’s professional classes and his devout parents, but the influence of Calvinism started his fascination with evil. After much travelling Stevenson eventually settled in Samoa with his wife, he passed away at the age of 44.

Blurb

Published as ‘shilling shocker’ in 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the popular idea of the split personality. Set in a hellish, fog-bound London, the story of outwardly respectable Dr Jekyll, who unleashes his deepest cruelties and most murderous instincts when he transformed into sinister Edward Hyde, is a Gothic masterpiece and a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil.

This edition also includes Stevenson’s sinister story ‘The Bottle Imp’.

Review

This is another book I am ashamed to say I have never read and just recently I bought a lovely little edition from Waterstones and it has been sat on my TBR pile ever since. I decided it would be a good book to discover Robert Louis Stevenson’s work as I have never read any of his work before.

The first and main story is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and I went into it with high hopes, however it quickly started to disappoint. Mr Utterson the lawyer and good friend of Dr Jekyll is a perfect gentleman and shows the reader that you would be blessed to consider him your friend. Mr Utterson in fact was my favourite character and he was probably the only reason I kept reading. Mr Hyde was also a good character, he was bad to the bone and showed a man with no morals to guide him or conscience, he was happy with his actions, showed no remorse and was dangerous to all around him.

Dr Jekyll is the character which I disliked greatly! He was weak and pathetic he had bad desires within him and a perverted mind that lay hidden because of his status in society and his title. We have no idea what horrors he performed in his past but they are hinted at, now due to getting older the desires are still there but he can not act upon them without losing everything or facing the gallows. Then Mr Hyde comes along, Mr Hyde is Jekyll’s answer to everything, Hyde does all the horrors and faces the gallows and Jekyll remains the good Dr. In my opinion Jekyll is evil, he just does not show it.

Jekyll tries to reform himself but this soon fails and Hyde starts to take over. Hyde was always going to take over because Jekyll is weak but also enjoys what Hyde does, if he was truly horrified and repulsed by Hyde’s actions he would have beaten Hyde and got his life back. Jekyll did not deserve the life he had or the dedicated friends like Mr Utterson in my opinion because he was as guilty as Mr Hyde.

This story annoyed me greatly because Dr Jekyll is shown in a light where the reader should feel sorry for him but I disagree with that. Dr Jekyll was weak and evil and in my opinion worse than Mr Hyde because he had the power to stop Hyde but did not. This story on its own would have only got 2 Dragons from me.

The second story in this book is The Bottle Imp and that was my favourite out of the two. This story is about a magical imp that lives in a bottle and can grant you any wishes, however it comes with conditions that could leave the owner going to hell.

The story contains many topics greed, love, hopelessness, despair, faith, courage and much more. I really enjoyed how Stevenson came up with the story and the morals behind it. Keawe is not a greedy man he does not ask for millions off the imp he asks for enough for his dream house that he can live in for the rest of his life and enjoy it. Kokua is the woman that Keawe falls in love with and risks everything for and she in turn risks everything for him. Their love is so strong they will do anything for each other. Others in this story do not show such selflessness and greed is the dominant trait in their characters. These two people are not greedy they just want to live happily together for the rest of their lives, but can they?

A real love story that was beautiful to read and not too long. I gave this one 4 out of 5 Dragons, so overall balancing the results I gave the book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

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Star Trek Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward

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About the author

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Born in 1967 Dayton Ward is primarily known as a Science fiction author who writes Star Trek novels and short stories. Before Ward became an author he served for eleven years in the United States Marine Corps. He currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri and is a software developer when not writing.

Blurb

It is 2246, ten years prior to the “Battle at the Binary Star,” and an aggressive contagion is ravaging the food supplies of the remote Federation colony Tarsus IV and the eight thousand people who call it home. Distress signals have been sent, but any meaningful assistance is weeks away. Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca and a small team assigned to a Starfleet monitoring outpost are caught up in the escalating crisis, and bear witness as the colony’s governor, Adrian Kodos, employs an unimaginable solution in order to prevent mass starvation.

While awaiting transfer to her next assignment, Commander Philippa Georgiou is tasked with leading to Tarsus IV a small, hastily assembled group of first responders. It’s hoped this advance party can help stabilise the situation until more aid arrives, but Georgiou and her team discover that they’re too late – Governor Kodos has already implemented his heinous strategy for extending the colony’s besieged food stores and safeguarding the community’s long-term survival.

In the midst of their rescue mission, Georgiou and Lorca must now hunt for the architect of this horrific tragedy and the man whom history will one day brand “Kodos the Executioner.”

Review

My reaction to this book is just wow. I’m not even sure if I should even use the word ‘wow’ to describe a book but I am going to. The more I have thought about this book since finishing it the more it has made its mark on my mind.

The storyline of this book is shocking but the way the characters deal with the situations and the horrifying circumstances is fantastic. There are so many intertwining storylines and that just adds to the story and makes it addictive. I also really enjoyed how the book gives you more background information on Lorca and Georgiou, it was really good to see a part of their lives early in their respective careers in Starfleet that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

There are so many emotions in this book and it does not hold back or sugar coat anything which is another element I enjoyed. There is anger, grief, fear, denial, cowardice, love and much more. The amount packed into this book is fantastic and was a real surprise to me. I really enjoyed the first book in the series Desperate Hours but it does not have the edge like this one, mainly due to the pace of this book, there was no dull, dragged out moments where I lost interest and it constantly had my attention hooked. I think this just shows that Dayton Ward is an experienced author of the genre and knows what the reader wants to read.

This story also contained a lot of twists and turns and so you never knew what could happen next and that really kept you on your toes. The characters we know so well from the TV series Lorca and Georgiou were brilliantly portrayed in the book and in my mind perfectly linked in with the TV series. The other character I was intrigued by and I really hope we see more of in future books is Captain Robert April, the eccentric captain who likes to wear cardigans over his uniform seems like a real character and I would love to see him featured in a story.

However, my favourite thing about this book is the very last section called Elsewhere. This section has had me thinking a lot since finishing the book and I absolutely loved the idea it is putting across but I will not say more as I do not want to spoil the surprise for you.

So as you might have guessed I love this book and so I rate it 5 Dragons out of 5 Dragons. For all you Trekkie fans out there it is a must read and even if you are not a Trekkie fan but adore a good Sci-fi set in space or on another planet I can not recommend it enough.

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