Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Fox’s Quest

Last year, I reviewed YA LGBT book The Fox’s Mask, the first in the Kitsune Trilogy, by Anna Frost. I really enjoyed it, and was interested in seeing how the story would progress.

I received a copy of the second book, The Fox’s Quest, and was really excited to jump in. I will do my best to talk about the book without giving away any spoilers! If you haven’t read the first book though, I recommend doing so before reading this review, because I have to talk about some things that happened there.

Okay, did you read the first book?

Did you?

Alright, I warned you!

The book picks up not far from where the first book left off. Sanae is dead, but for some reason her soul has stayed on, following around Akakiba and Yuki in her fox form, and helping them on their journey. Akakiba is very much suspicious of the spirit and doesn’t acknowledge who she claims to be, though he still follows her advice, which I find adorable in his stubborn willingness. The dragon Drac is also around, and it is immediately obvious that there is discontent because of the bond between Yuki and his dragon companion.

Nuuuu boys. /tears

Anyways, as the story goes on, we learn more about what is causing the magic to fade from the land, something that is of course detrimental to the Fox Clan and any other spiritual beings in the world. The quest to find the source leads to lots of interesting fights, new characters, and new twists in the story – it was really enjoyable because there were new layers being discovered throughout the book that showed that the plot was much deeper than “let’s kill the Fox Clan.”

What I liked:

  • You know, this time, I didn’t have any twitches to the individual voices of the characters. I thought they were all well done. Part of this might be that I am familiar with the characters now, so I am more comfortable with their voices.
  • I felt like Mamoru had more time within the story, and I like that this character had become such a major plot point.
  • Sanae torturing shinobi was pretty hilarious and amazing.
  • Akakiba did stay true to the gender he identified with – male. Anna had commented on my previous review saying that this would be the case, but I want to say that I really appreciated the dialogue between Yuki and Akakiba on the topic when it was broached. *applauds Anna*
  • Also the boys were just so cute when they finally talked things out *flails*
  • There were a lot of great fight scenes!
  • The story ends with a lot to still be discovered!

What I didn’t like:

  • This is totally my own thing, and I don’t think it’s something that Anna did wrong at all. But I really wish that the boys had resolved things sooner rather than later. BUT that leaves room for more in the third book, right? [RIGHT?!]

The book is already out, so make sure you get your hands on it! I can’t wait for the third one to come out. 🙂

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Book Review: Fire From Heaven

I’ve previously raved about Mary Renault in my review for The Persian Boy. I went back to the first book of her three novels on Alexander The Great – Fire From Heaven.

First of all, I’ve been growing increasingly more interested in Alexander the Great since reading The Persian Boy. I had started reading this book late last year, and then got distracted by eBooks since I had those with me on holiday. But then once I was back into this book, I just couldn’t stop.

Mary Renault goes into a lot of detail in this book. So if you love getting tons of descriptions within your story, then you will love her writing. There were times when it felt like it was a lot of information to take in, but it’s all part of her story building. She writes great fight scenes, and great emotional moments.

Fire From Heaven is a historical novel that covers the time from when Alexander was a child until the death of his father [shouldn’t be spoiler, that’s history yo]. It makes sure to highlight some of the major moments of his childhood from the perspective of Alexander, but also those around him. Unlike The Persian Boy, this isn’t from a first person POV – sometimes the inner monologue jumps around. Actually, more than sometimes. But it gives an interesting view of how people could have seen the events around them unfold, including his mother, father, and Aristotle.

The way Mary Renault has written her characters, in particular Alexander, is entrancing. I believed all of them – disliked the right ones, loved the right ones, I was played like a harp by her writing, falling into each character’s story. Does that make sense? Make it so. I watched on as Alexander grew up before me while reading, and his development was believable.

The most interesting part [okay, fine, for me, what, don’t judge me, I don’t have a problem] is how she writes the friendship of Alexander and Hephaiston. When I finished this book, all I wanted was for them to be together forever. She had obviously done her research, and used what information she could find to build upon the way these two historical people could have interacted with each other – and it’s believable. It still makes my heart break thinking about it. BREAK.

/wipes tears

If you are looking for an iteration on the life of Alexander the Great that has emotional depth and really brings this historical legend to life, then please read this book. I really loved it.

Book Review: Anno Dracula

Guys, I just got done reading a pretty awesome book.

At first I wasn’t sure about it, since the cover wasn’t immediately telling what the story was about, and I really didn’t look into it too much. But my best friend recommended it to me because Neil Gaiman said everyone should read it. Also, sometimes it’s fun to just jump into a book without reading the back, because it’s more surprising that way.

From the cover and title I understood that vampires were involved, and well, I do like vampires [that don’t sparkle]. And most pointedly, it starred “Prince” Dracula as “His Majesty.”

Okay, I’ll bite.

Haha, get it?

So I dropped the other books I was currently reading at the time and focused in on this one.

Needless to say, I soon wasn’t disappointed. This is, it turns out, an alternate history of the time of Jack the Ripper. I’m a bit of a sucker for historical fiction, and also have always had a weird thing about Jack the Ripper [I blame all the years I watched Unsolved Mysteries]. This was in fact a perfect combination of things relevant to my interests.

It doesn’t all happen right away, either. Things start slow, though the story certainly doesn’t feel that way. There are different points of view throughout the novel, but it never gets confusing – everyone has a very unique voice. Along with this involving vampires, there are also a lot of other fictional places that Kim Newman takes his inspiration from, and that also made reading this book really fun and exciting. If you love  Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and other cult favorites when it comes to vampire novels, yes. Check this book out.

So, without spoilers, here are some fun facts about this book:

  • Van Helsing is dead, killed by Dracula
  • Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned her into a vampire, becoming King of England
  • Vampires are rampant and accepted in Britain
  • Someone starts killing vampire prostitutes in Whitechapel
  • The Diogenes Club gets involved in the investigation

Even days after reading this book, I’m still going through the pages at the back [of my nook] to read all the notes that Newman has made, and reading up on all the connections further pointed out on the wiki page. A ton of research went into this story, and it’s really refreshing to see so much work put into a book, especially a vampire-focused one.

But more exciting was when I saw that this is actually the first book in a series of novels and short stories. The titles have me just laughing hysterically [such as Dracula Cha Cha Cha] and wanting to read them all at once. Apparently at one point these novels were all out of print though, so right now only the first two are available, and more still to come. Huzzah!

So to recap, I highly recommend this novel if you love:

  • Vampires of the non-sparkly, bad-ass variety
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Jack the Ripper [though maybe don’t admit that too loudly…]
  • Cult vampire stories
  • Victorian history
  • And more!

Okay, on to the next book! And anime! And video game! Man do I need more than 24 hours in a day.

 

Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

If you are a literary fan, there is a book series that you just might like. The Thursday Next series takes place in a world where literature is treated like the crown jewels, and there are some advances in technology that allow for dodo birds to be pets, or for people to be able to hop into books and change the course of the plot.

Ya, that’s right. It sounds crazy, but it totally works in this story.

So far I have only delved into the first book, called The Eyre Affair. Ten points if you can guess what book is involved. But I am hooked. Writer Jasper Fforde has a quirky and hilarious writing style that I really enjoyed. The way he weaves jokes and literary nods had me laughing out loud while reading. And the wit is an undertone that you could almost miss if you aren’t paying attention – which happened to me when I got too ahead of myself. I was also surprised how much I enjoyed the writing – I generally shy away from first person, for reasons I am not really able to explain. It’s just one of those things that takes some getting used to for me.

The main character of the story is Thursday Next, who works for the government in England in 1985. Thursday is pegged to help with a special case involving *the* criminal of the time, Acheron Hades, who is evil for the sake of being evil. No, really. To quote him: “True and baseless evil is as rare as the purest good.” And he plans on being one of the few truly evil.

Acheron has a master plan that involves stealing the original manuscripts of the classics, and pulling characters out to hold them ransom. Again, in their world books are revered, and so this causes an outrage and fear at the possibility of the story being changed because the characters are no longer in the story to act it out for the reader.

As the story progresses, the different protagonists and antagonists that are introduced all demonstrate how the universe differs in the Thursday Next series. There is the werewolf, the time traveler, and the inventor, to name a few. Everyone has a distinct purpose though, and I appreciated all the characters that were in the story. Even the bad guys.

It was a fun ride, and I’m definitely interested enough to check out the next one, Lost in a Good Book. Apparently, Thursday gets to jump into Great Expectations and apprentice under Miss Havisham, who I’m sure will be an absolute pleasure and delight to work with. *sarcasm sign*