Monthly Archives: April 2017

Review: Wintersong 

April 26, 2017

“Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.”

Wintersong synopsis:

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds-and the mysterious man who rules it-she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Oh how I wanted to love this book. I tried SO hard. It was a wild, heartbreaking, poignant piece of art. It really was exquisitely written – S. Jae-Jones is an incredible writer and every sentence was like poetry that flowed with rhythm and song in its heart. And obscure musical references woven into a unique retelling of Labyrinth? Yes please! I especially loved browsing S. Jae-Jones’ Pinterest boards while reading it – her aesthetic for the book is hauntingly beautiful and gave me goosebumps.

However I didn’t connect with much of the story after the first half. I was hooked at the beginning, thinking it was going to be an adventurous rescue through a twisting labyrinth with some romance mixed it, but it turns out that rescuing her sister was really the platform for a deeply emotional love story that takes over the rest of the book. Which could have been fine, had I been swept away by The Goblin King, but personally he didn’t really do anything for me. He is so dichotomous in character, never falling into a truly likeable state in my opinion. On one side there is the devilish, mischievous trickster who lures and traps Leisl. And on the other, a martyr, sad and penitent and pitiful (sorry everyone who loved him!). I just didn’t root for these two so I struggled through the romance, which was extensive and a little much for my cold cold heart.

I felt that 30% of the book was repetitive and could have been edited out. The whole middle section was slow with not a lot of plot advancement. I also wanted to see more side characters. This is purely personal but I think I would have been more immersed in the Underground if there were more quirky personalities to meet, but maybe because that’s one thing I found so endearing about the movie. But it was pretty much just Leisl and The Goblin King battling each other and their own demons over and over for two hundred pages or so.

Toward the end, Leisl is pondering the components of a sonata and it made me GET the book much more, when up until then I was a little bored. I can definitely sense the author wrote the movements of this book with these components in mind and made me appreciate her intention with the story much more.

I did altogether enjoy this book very much – even if mostly for the atmosphere and delicious prose – and it would have been 4 solid stars if it hadn’t felt so repetitive.

Have you had the chance to read Wintersong yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Title: Wintersong

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, imprint of St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Fantasy, fairytale retelling

Review: The Mime Order 

April 9, 2017

This review contains spoilers for The Bone Season. You can read my review of The Bone Season here

“London – beautiful, immortal London – has never been a ‘city’ in the simplest sense of the word. It was, and is, a living, breathing thing, a stone leviathan that harbours secrets underneath its scales. It guards them covetously, hiding them deep within its body; only the mad or the worthy can find them.”

The Mime Order confirms what I was beginning to suspect after reading and completely falling in love with Samantha Shannon’s debut, and first book in this series, The Bone Season: I will forever from here on out auto-buy anything that Shannon writes. She is proving herself to be a masterful writer and this book is nothing short of a stunning continuation in the projected seven novel series.

Picking up right where The Bone Season ended, the first chapter flares to life with an action packed escape from the underground train leading the Bone Season survivors away from the prison camp of Sheol I. When Paige and the other Seals are safely back in their den, the pacing of the story slows for a while. I didn’t mind one bit though (apart from wondering and needing to know where on earth Warden is!) because we get a detailed look at the inner workings of London clairvoyant syndicate that we didn’t see much of in the first book. Shannon has spared no detail in creating a rich fictional world where clairvoyance has become its own culture in the shadow of Scion. The Victorian atmosphere of the voyant street life contrasts with the stark coldness and uniformity of Scion, the dystopian ruling government. There is something so nostalgic here even in a novel set in a speculative future.

Paige’s character continues to develop beautifully through this book. Her clairvoyant gift of dreamwalking is growing stronger and I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like in later books. She’s already such a fierce young woman, and the more she learns about her abilities, the more powerful and wonderfully kick ass she will get I am certain. She is also becoming more mature and selfless, though still a little naive.

When the book picks up again about half way through, a gripping mystery is revealed, and yes, just a touch more of that slow burn romance between Paige and Warden that we need much more of, thank you very much. Shannon’s action-packed scenes kept me on my toes and I could not put this book down – I burned through it to the end until absurd hours of the night. Fair warning: I hope you like cliff hangers because damn, will this one make your jaw drop.

I am so very excited to see where Samantha Shannon takes us with this incredibly promising series that is possibly becoming one of my favourites!

I’d love to know, have you started this series yet? What do you think so far?

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Title: The Mime Order

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young adult, New adult