Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

I’m writing this in the aftermath of reading Crooked Kingdom, having devoured both books in only a few days. And while this review is only on SoC, I would just like to say that the sequel is just as good… maybe better (I haven’t made up my mind, I’m still in shock and in the wants to hug the book and protect the characters stage)

There are so many things I love about Six of Crows.

It’s fantasy, which is always a huge plus, its huge which is an even better plus, and though there are small (tiny) romances throughout, the romance is only a bare fraction of what the book is about- which is the best plus (don’t get me wrong, I love romance- but there are some fantasy books that don’t need it- or don’t need it at the forefront.

Leigh is an incredible writer. She weaves her stories around so well that the reader is always one step behind- we think we know what will happen, and the the opposite does. Enemies are written as friends and betrayals are written as saves, and she teaches you to expect nothing less that the impossible and the unexpected.

And the characters- Oh my god each and every one of the  main six characters are flawed and funny and broken and brilliant. I think that is what makes you care about them so much- even Kaz, who is fairly ruthless and most of the time, seemingly heartless. Each of the six has their back story explored (some of them moreso in Crooked Kingdom) which, while not justifying actions, makes you understand them.

Their friendships and relationships are amazing as well. The girls do not fight each other over anything (no, not even boys), and actually help and support each other (The fact this seems to be such a rare thing in fiction makes me sad). And the romantic relationships are built on a foundation of the friendships and trust that is already there- and each romance is something that builds over both books, and each romance is not even about the kissing and making out- its about who the characters are to each other. Their actions and words and minds.

And then the storyline- this group of six teens who set out to break into a prison that is famous for not having escapees. Things go wrong, some of them get injured, some of them (surprisingly) manage not to kill the others. It’s funny and adventurous, insane and brilliant,

It’s funny and adventurous, insane and brilliant, and having now finished both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, I can say it is one of the best series I have ever read.

five stars

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On spoilers, reactions and Empire of Storms

The internet. It can be a wonderful place for bookish related things- from reviews to fan art to merchandise. But it can also be awful- when spoilers are leaked, or authors are attacked for writing their own book.

Sarah J Maas is one of my favourite writers. It’s not exactly hard to see that- I’m always trying to get people to read her books, always counting down til her next book, or writing about her characters. But the downside, I have found, to being a fan of Maas…is a lot of her other ‘fans.’

Before Queen of Shadows came out last year, someone leaked spoilers- and the last chapter- online, leading to outrage and complaints. People vowing to never read the books, people insulting others who were still reading the books, people telling people the end while they were still reading to get a reaction.

The book came out, and it was amazing. Because guess what? Spoilers tell you an outcome (sometimes not even that) not the lead up and the understanding.

I really really hoped that the fandom would have learnt from last year, but in the weeks leading up to Empire of Storms, the exact same thing happened. Spoilers were leaked, people started insulting the books- and the author. Whenever the series was mentioned, it was always with a cloud of anger or doubt or hate.

I’m not saying you can’t hate books or series, or authors. Hell, there are plenty of books in the world I have hated, and there are a few authors who I do not agree with. But there is a difference between hating something, and bullying.

Hate a series, yes. Do not spoil it for those that like it. Do not ruin it for those that are reading it, do not insult those that read it. Hate an author- but do not send them death threats!

Authors are human beings, just like you and me. They have feelings. The only difference is that they have put their imagination, some of their heart and soul into the book you hold. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Insulting them, sending them hate, its all out of order.

I never saw any spoilers of EoS. I managed to avoid them- by staying off websites like Goodreads in the run up to the book. So while I could see the backlash to what was happening- people getting upset and worried, people getting hate over defending Maas, I was cheerfully innocent to why people were so angry. Which is why, when the book arrived a few days early, I was still excited and dived into it at once.

Oh my god, it was amazing- just as I had expected.

Maas has a wonderful way of telling a story, and with every book, she just gets better. She draws you in, makes you fall in love then destroys your heart leaving you in a sobbing mess at the end.

I can understand why some people were a bit disappointed. (slight spoilers ahead?) After all, one of my favourite characters (and the one I want to steal and protect with my life) was not in this book. Darling Chaol was absent- and people were getting worked up about it.

However Take into account what Chaol’s storyline in this would have been like, and compare it to the giant arc that did happen, and even I can understand why he is missing. His chapters would have slowed things down, would not have been as important or interesting as what was in the book….and he is getting his own Novella, so…

And (personally) for me, there were a few to many make-out style scenes- but then I have always read this series for the fantasy, and the world, and the magic- and the individual characters- not for who gets with who.

And therein, I think, we find the problem.

Many readers- and mostly younger readers- read these books for the ‘ships’ more than the story. They want ‘this character’ to end with ‘that one’, they don’t like ‘this character’ and ‘that one’ together. There has always been a problem with the shippers- I remember, back with Heir of Fire, when I said that Chaol was my favourite, I was sent hate by many people because they assumed that by me liking him, I wanted him and Celaena to be together and according to them THIS WAS WRONG.

I was told that people who liked Chaol were ‘the problem’ and ‘children’ and ‘didn’t understand what a bad character was.’ I was told that ‘chaol lovers were the ones that kicked off and sent hate out’ (huh, funny that. Almost ironic)

But…a book is more than its relationship arcs. The relationships in the ToG books have been important- because they have shown how the characters have changed and grown throughout. But they are also not the end of everything. The ToG series is about a girl trying to find her place in a world that has been ruined, trying to get past what she has done to survive. It’s about a Prince trying to become a King, and a Captain learning where his loyalties should really lie.

Yes, some people do not like this series- and that is their right. But you should not hate a series based on spoilers, without reading the book yourself. And you should not ruin that book for others.

The series is incredibly well written. And even if it wasn’t- no author deserves to be sent hate for what they write, no reader should be sent hate for what they love. Every series ever written has had problems with them- because, like people, books are not perfect. But the lack of perfection- while should be noted- should not be throw in to the faces of the people that enjoy them.

Reading. Its meant to be fun, not stressful.

(and lastly, if you have’t read this series yet, please, please go and read it.)

 

On the TBR Pile: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back–with no idea of where they’ve been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story

On the TBR Pile: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

Currently Reading: Thone of Glass

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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I have lost count of how many times I have read this book (and series), but this is the first time I’m reading from my hardback editions (You know you are addicted to an author when you have hardback and paperbacks and signed copies of all her books…)

Reason for reread? EMPIRE OF STORMS IS OUT IN LESS THAN A MONTH!

On the TBR Pile: Black Arts, by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil

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Elizabethan London: a teeming city of traders and thieves, courtiers and preachers, riff-raff and quality, cut-throats—and demons. When scrunty Jack the “Judicious Nipper” picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre, he finds himself mixed up in an altogether more dangerous London than he could have imagined—a city in which magic is real and deadly.

An outbreak of devil-worship has led to a wave of anti-witch fervor whipped up by the Elect, a mysterious group of Puritans recognizable from their red-stained right hands, led by the charismatic Nicholas Webb, a growing power at Court. Rumour has it that he wants to purge the city entirely and build a New Jerusalem. Jack has his own reason for hating him: he saw him kill his mother.

Helped by Beth Sharkwell, the Thief Princess of Lambeth, Kit Morely, the Intelligencer, and Dr Dee, the Queen’s Wizard, Jack pits himself against Webb’s Puritans. But this is no straightforward struggle. Things are not as they seem. In fact, ever since his encounter with Webb, there has been something wrong with Jack’s vision. He keeps seeing things. Demons.

On the TBR Pile: I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

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Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.