Tag: Books: Young Adult

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Posted 3 July, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
By: V.E. Schwab
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Kell is one of the last Travelers: magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universesóas such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne–a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see–a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive–and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

At long last, I am reading this book. For years I’ve heard seen this book around, heard great things about it, and wanted to read it myself. I guess I stalled on it because I was worried that it was just overhyped or something. But anyway…

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Review: The Hammer of Thor

Posted 26 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

And here we are, the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy. I bought books 1 and 2 roughly around the same time, figured best not wait between books 🙂 Plus, there’s something about the colour of this book that was appealing…as well as the title of the book 😛

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Review: The Sword of Summer

Posted 25 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Okay I’ve been eyeing this series for some time now, ever since it was announced that Rick Riordan’s newest series was going to feature Norse mythology. Because I love Norse mythology and I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series (the Heroes of Olympus series too, but not as much as Percy Jackson; sadly never got around to posting my thoughts here though). So I eventually caved and picked up the first two books in the trilogy last year (and ended up reading them during NaNoWriMo because I needed something light to read) 😛

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Review: Memory of Water

Posted 18 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

Memory of Water
By: Emmi Itäranta
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town-and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

I had heard this book in passing maybe a year ago or so when I was looking up books translated to English from Finnish (or any recent Scandinavian literature, actually). The premise sounded interesting but it was only a few months ago that I got around to checking it out. It falls more on the dystopian side of literature, but still works for this month’s Sci-Fi event as it’s set in a future ravaged by climate change.

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So You Want to Read… (Neil Gaiman)

Posted 14 October, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 10 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

*cackles* It’s October again, which means Thanksgiving is coming! Err, well, that too for us Canadians (actually, our Thanksgiving was earlier this week), but Hallowe’en is also around the corner, and coupled with the autumn weather, it seems like the best time to read some speculative fiction, chilling reads, creepy horrors, etc. For this month’s So You Want to Read… it seems fitting to feature Neil Gaiman. His stories are always so fascinating and unique and eclectic, they’ll make you tear up and/or freak you out. He has quite a bibliography ranging different types of media, some of which are not as easily accessible I feel (as I came to realise with reading American Gods (review) but here’s a few titles I would recommend by him if you’ve never checked out his books and want to 🙂

  • Stardust (review) — A great entry point to his books IMO (also happened to be my first Neil Gaiman novel, lol). It seems like standard fantasy fare, but once you start reading you realise it’s so much more than that. Character types and story tropes are turned inside out and the whole adventure was just wonderful and interesting.
  • Neverwhere — This was my second Gaiman read and in deciding which of his adult titles to add to this list of recommendations, it was the easiest to recommend. It’s like an urban fantasy version of Alice in Wonderland, with our main character Richard getting drawn into Neverwhere and the politics, the magic, and the adventure involved there. I found out last year that he released his definitive edition of this book which I still have yet to read but I think it’s awesome that it’s available.
  • The Graveyard Book (review) — I got around to this book some two years after it was first released and it is fantastic. It’s classic Gaiman with the eerieness (ghosts raising a baby in a graveyard? check) and the fantastic but also has themes of growing up and parenthood and the bond between parents and children. And I admit, it had me tearing up at the end so there you go 😛
  • Coraline (review) — Only recently got around to reading this book late last year, I can see why it’s a favourite. It will appeal to both adults and children because of the adventure and the mystery surrounding Coraline’s situation–the doorway to another house with another mother and another father–but also with themes of growing up, of bravery and loneliness. Plus, it’s pretty creepy at times, which makes for a great Hallowe’en read!
  • Fortunately the Milk (review) — A short but delightful read that will entertain and amuse both kids and adults! I went into the book not knowing much about what it was about or where the adventure would take the main character so I was pleasantly surprised. Skottie Young’s illustrations also really added to the story, so it’s double the treat with this book 😀

I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Neil Gaiman’s books for the first time! What do you think? What’s your favourite novel by him? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books by her have you been meaning to check out?