ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White Book Review
Publication Date: September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: “I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White Book Review Overview:
- World-building takes a while to develop but is worth the wait
- Charming characters
- One of the few standalones that I wish was either longer or was part of a series; companion novel please!!
Kiersten White’s Illusions of Fate is a great light historical fantasy – without it actually being set in the past. The time period of the novel is based on Edwardian England, but the novel takes place in the fictional nation of Albion. As a reader, I got all the best things of Edwardian England such as fancy dresses and galas and cute teacups, but I also got the great world that White created.
Jessamin leaves Melei, her island home, to pursue her studies at a boarding school in Albion. Jessamin struggles to survive in the foreign city and is subjected to discrimination because of her heritage. Jessamin juggles her schoolwork along with the chores at the hotel, where she works in exchange for room and board. But when she meets Finn, her whole life changes as she learns about the hidden magical world within Albion’s gentry.
THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott Book Review
Series: The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1
Publication Date: May 22nd 2007 by Delacorte Press
Rating: – Acceptable
Book Summary: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects – the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott Book Review Overview:
- Unrelatable and forgettable main characters
- Secondary characters like Nicholas Flamel, and his wife, Perenelle, were more interesting
- Awesome blend of different mythologies and alchemy
When I hear the name, Nicholas Flamel, I immediately think of the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter. The name has popped up in other places throughout the years, but I never really gave it much thought. I was reintroduced to Nicholas Flamel in THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott and quickly found out that Flamel was actually a real historical figure.
One of the biggest issues I had with THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott is the fact that the main characters, Sophie and Josh, were unrelatable. I found their characters to be flat and under-developed. I know that this is the first book in the series, and I imagine that Scott will use the rest of the books to develop their characters. But to me, it’s always important that I create a connection to the characters in the first book. Unrelatable or forgettable characters is probably the top reason why I end up not continuing with a series.
I ended up finding the secondary characters such as Nicholas and Perenell Flamel to be more interesting than Sophie and Josh. Because of my limited knowledge about Nicholas Flamel and his wife, I was really excited to learn that they had been actual figures in history. Scott provides readers, like me, with lots of background information. He manages to successfully weave Flamel’s history and myth into the plot. Sometimes, it does feel like the long paragraphs of information disrupts the flow of the plot. However, I enjoyed learning so much about Nicholas and Perenelle that I didn’t mind it as much as I usually would have.
Additionally, Scott seamlessly blends a combination of figures from different myths into his novel. If I had not done a little bit of research into the characters, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were from Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, and Greek mythologies. Scott adapts these mythological figures into his novel and transforms them into quite memorable characters. I quite enjoyed the combination of mythology and alchemy in THE ALCHEMYST.
Despite enjoying some aspects of THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott, my inability to relate to Sophie and Josh dissuade me from reading the rest of the series.I can’t embark on an epic quest with characters I don’t really care about.
BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore Book Review
Series: Graceling Realm, #3
Publication Date: May 1st 2012 by Dial
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.
Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Book Review Overview:
- Kristin Cashore will not disappoint fans of the Graceling Realm
- This can be read as a standalone but it’s really a lot better if you read the other two books first
- The romance is not as epic as the Fire or Graceling but it’s still pretty sweet
BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore is technically the third book in the Graceling Realm series, but the publisher insists that you can read this as a standalone. True, you probably can; it’s been a while since I’ve actually read Graceling and Fire so my memory is fuzzy on what had happened in those books. So prior knowledge really is not required to read Bitterblue. But at the same time, you probably won’t appreciate it as much. The beauty in BITTERBLUE is partially based on all three stories finally coming together cohesively. You’ll read about all your favorite characters from previous books and see them in a new light from Bitterblue’s perspective.
Like any subsequent book by any author, I was a bit worried when I started to read BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore. A big fan of the first two, I was worried that this one would not live up to the epic fantasy world. I had nothing to be worried about; Cashore continues to weave beautifully written stories set in a magical realm. She knows how to write fantasy.
There’s just a touch of romance in BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore, and I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t as epic as the romances in Graceling and Fire. Okay, let’s face it: Bitterblue has a lot of problems that she has to deal with first, so romance can’t be her top priority. Still, I enjoyed the chemistry even if I wanted a little more.
BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore will delight fans of the Graceling Realm series. And readers who discover BITTERBLUE first will definitely be convinced to pick up the other two books.
About the Author
Kristin Cashore wrote the New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire, both of which have been named ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Graceling is the winner of the 2009 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and Fire is the winner of Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. The books are world travelers, currently scheduled to be published in thirty languages.
Find the Author