• Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

    2020 is gearing up to be a wonderful year for queer books about revolution! There’s this one, then I’ve already reviewed The Electric Heir , We Unleash the Merciless Storm, the sequel to last years grandiose We Set the Dark on Fire, is coming out in February. Then we have two wonderful UK debuts coming as well, Court of Miracles by Kester Grant in June (which I’m very lucky to have an eARC of, so you’ll get treated to a review as soon as I get around to reading it!) and Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn in May.

    As I’ve absolutely loved all of the ones I’ve read so far, I have very high hopes for the ones I have not yet gotten my greedy little fingers on and I can’t wait to read them all! Expect much queerness and revolution to feature in my monthly hype posts.

    As usual, all opinions expressed are entirely my own, so don’t go blaming anyone else for my ramblings. Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an eARC to feed them!

    RELEASE DATE: 01/02/2019

    STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS:

    Emilie de Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

    Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

    Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

    But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.

    OPINIONS:

    Without spoilers, there is bi-romantic ace and trans representation in this book, a f/f relationship and racial and economic diversity. Viewpoints are challenged, heads are butted, and characters grow. Characters are presented in a human and honest way, most of them chafing against the boundaries of their assigned roles and trying to figure out a way to be authentically themselves in a rigid society.

    Emilie, born into an incredibly privileged family, ends up confronted with realities that she had not been aware of before. While she tries her best, she commits blunders and mistakes due to her naiveté, but to her credit, she learns from her mistakes and grows immensely as a person. Similarly, Annette has a lot of her own growth to do. The side characters, such as Madeline, Coline, Laurence and Estrel, or Charles are no less nuanced. They all have to let go of preconceived notions in order to realize what is happening on around them and truly band together.

    The nation is in shambles, and a mysterious figure calling themselves Laurel is causing uproar. Over the course of the story, it becomes clear that there is more to the war happening than the people are aware of, and that their king is privy to insidious goings-on. So who or what is Laurel, and what is the change they are promising?

    Belle Révolte is extremely well written, gripping and will not let you go. It is a book that hit all my soft spots and made me fall in love with it. I urge you to add this one on Goodreads and pre-order it as fast as you can. Book Depository link is here, and it should be available from all reputable book-dealers.

  • The Sisters Grimm – Menna Van Praag

    If we’re being honest, I have an essay I need to be writing rather than blog posts, but oh, are they so much more fun to think about! I finished this twisted mash-up of fairy-tales and urban fantasy this morning and couldn’t resist writing about it immediately. Another one from NetGalley, with thanks to Transworld for the advance copy, and a disclaimer that all opinions are my own.

    RELEASE DATE: 06/02/2019

    STAR RATING: 3.5/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS:

    There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of sisters Grimm on Earth.
    You may well be one of them, though you might never know it.

    This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire.

    They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again.

    In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do. Then they must fight to save their lives and the lives of the ones they love. Three will live, one will die.

    You’ll have to read on to find out who and why . . .

    OPINIONS:

    This book had an incredibly unique concept and gave new life to the fairy-tales of the Brothers Grimm. Sadly, it was at times lacking in execution, and lost its momentum in tangents, posing more questions than it answered and leaving many strands unraveled. It is the story of four girls told in fragments, and two timelines – I read this as an eARC, so I’m not sure quite how fast the viewpoints change on paper, but I would estimate once every couple of pages on average. Therefore, it will likely confuse many readers, and take quite a bit of time to get into for most people. This is not something I mind too much, but in this case, it led to a loss of urgency.

    Every time it felt like one of the girls was heading towards growth or confrontation, the PoV switched, and by the time it returned, the situation had changed. This also meant that it was hard to empathize with them, and choices that were made/things that were revealed towards the end had me scratching my head, as it felt rather clichéd.

    Nevertheless, it was a very well-paced read that kept one glued to the page and provided a great and unique concept. It is worth picking up and making up your mind about yourself.

    Add it on Goodreads, and pre-order it from Book Depository or your retailer of choice!

  • The God Game – Danny Tobey

    I am very excited to be part of the big Gollancz Blog Tour for The God Game by Danny Tobey! Many thanks to Stevie Finegan and Gollancz for inviting me to participate and sending me an early copy for review. Please also check out my fellow bloggers’ posts for their thoughts about this fantastic book!

    A Sci-Fi thriller you can not put down, addressing social issues, theology, video games, relationships and morality through the lens of high school seniors struggling to find their way, this is a must-read of early 2020. I loved reading this book, and could not stop thinking about it – it was quite upsetting to be reading this while finishing up an essay for University, which meant I couldn’t just read the whole book in one go.

    RELEASE DATE: 09/01/2019

    STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS: Win and All Your Dreams Come True™!
    Charlie and his friends have entered the God Game.
    Tasks are delivered through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them. Charlie’s money problems could be over. Vanhi can erase the one bad grade on her college application. It’s all harmless fun at first.
    Then the threatening messages start.
    Worship me. Obey me.
    Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them.
    Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
    As Charlie looks for a way out, he finds God is always watching – only He will say when the game is done.
    And if you die in the game, you die for real.

    OPINIONS: Once you get sucked into The God Game, it does not let you go. This is true for both the book, and the fictional game inside the story. Danny Tobey has done really well crafting a gripping narrative that keeps you invested throughout. Stakes and tension are high, and pacing is excellent. You almost expect to receive a text message yourself, asking you to join the game.

    Through the clever inclusion of theology, and specifically biblical imagery, a vengeful, old Testament God is evoked, playing with their victims and demanding absolute devotion. This can be taken as an allegory for the many things our society has taken to believing in, such as popularity, technology, and, yes, still, the various kinds of religion and hate still propagated today. This system gives you points for following the system, which rewards you with tangible rewards, and so-called Blaxx for resisting, which, when accumulating lead to real-life consequences… It is a very scary perspective on society, and all too possible in many parts of this world, making The God Game an incredibly timely novel. While most of the central characters are teens, I would not classify this as YA (Gollancz is also an Adult SFF imprint).

    There are no good people in this book. All the characters are morally gray and struggling, although as the story progresses, some will show themselves to be rather more villainous than others. They are well crafted and human, something which is very important to me as a reader, and which I’ve been lucky enough to encounter in many of the books I’ve read recently. Through the story’s structure, their aims and goals are very clear, and there is a strong focus on the question what they are ready to sacrifice in order to achieve these.

    In any case, I strongly recommend you check out this thrilling, intriguing book, add it on Goodreads, and (pre-)order it from Book Depository or your retailer of choice!

  • The Electric Heir – Victoria Lee

    After I had reviewed the Fever King last year, it kind of stuck around in my head, and I thought of it quite a lot. I’m not obsessing about books, ever, nope, totally healthy human being here, yuuup. It was definitely in the top five of 2019 for me, impact wise. So I was very excited to get approval for the Electric Heir on Netgalley, and oh, was I in for a treat! While the Fever King was good, I couldn’t put its sequel down, nor get my head out of the story…

    RELEASE DATE: 17/03/2020

    STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS: Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

    Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

    Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

    OPINIONS: First of all, these books are AMAZING, and everyone needs to read this duology. It’s a crime that they haven’t been published in the UK yet, and I keep pushing them at everyone asking me for SFF with LGBTQIA+ rep – they address so many issues on different layers of the story and do it incredibly well. These books are like an onion of representation to pick apart and enjoy while making you think and consider the individual issues both by themselves and in combination. I can’t remember if the same thing was the case with The Fever King, but I really appreciate how content warnings were handled in The Electric Heir – there is a note at the front saying that the book contains potentially triggering content, and that more information could be found in the back. This makes it obvious, and clear where to find detailed information for those who need it and invalidates any ‘spoiler’ arguments that people seem to keep having against trigger warnings.

    The Electric Heir picks up six months after the end of The Fever King. Everyone’s situation has changed, and traumatizing, atrocious things have happened to both Noam and Dara. They are still teenagers, still growing up and figuring out who they are in the middle of everything going on, and both struggle heavily with admitting that events have affected them and that they might need help. Victoria Lee manages to write their trauma extremely well, making them lose none of their humanity or letting anything seem overdone. They, and their supporting cast, are well-nuanced, growing characters with tangible moral compasses, struggling to figure out how to navigate a broken world and difficult situations, while fighting someone who might be one of the creepiest villains I have ever encountered: Calix Lehrer and his powers of mind control.

    In short, add this book on Goodreads now, and pre-order it from your retailer of choice ASAP – Book Depository link as usual is here!

  • The Night Country – Melissa Albert

    I’ve been in love with meta-storytelling at the latest since Shakespeare’s prologue to Henry V. So when Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood was published, I couldn’t have been more excited! I enjoyed her take on stories breaking free of their pre-determined paths, and taking over the ‘real world’ as it were, but I didn’t fall in love as much as I was expecting to. Still, I jumped at the chance to review book two for Penguin UK, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for the opportunity!

    The Night Country (The Hazel Wood)

    RELEASE DATE: 09/01/2019

    STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS: Alice has fought hard for a normal life. Having escaped the Hinterland – the strange, pitch-dark world she was born into – she has washed up in New York City, determined to build a new future for herself.

    But when her fellow survivors start being brutally murdered, Alice must face the fact that the Hinterland cannot be so easily escaped. And that, from the shadows of her past something – or someone – is coming for her…

    OPINIONS: While the characters in book one seemed to fall a bit flat, Alice in the Night Country developed more depth and humanity – which made a lot of sense with the story development. The more time the story characters from the Hinterland spent in the ‘real’ world, the more especially Alice assimilated and grew, even if not all of them fit in very well. The relationships are depicted poignantly, using very few words, showing rather than telling. The growth in craft between Melissa Albert’s first and second books is clear and admirable!

    I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story, which was extremely well crafted, with reveals that made sense in the context of the story, but were not immediately obvious to the reader from the get-go. I do have one caveat, my pet peeve, where characters were being secretive to protect others they care about, and as soon as they opened up, things became a lot clearer as information was shared.

    Also the Night Country is way too creepy. I don’t mean the book, I mean the concept. Trust me. Read the book and tell me I’m wrong. Add it on Goodreads, and pre-order it from Book Depository or your retailer of choice!

  • January Release Hype Post!

    For 2020, I want to introduce a new monthly feature on this blog, highlighting some of the books released in this particular calendar month that I am particularly excited about. These can be ones I’ve already reviewed, ones I still need to review, or have pre-ordered, or simply books that I really want to read because they have an interesting premise.

    My number one for January 2020 is, as anyone who knows me might have guessed, Anna-Marie McLemore’s Dark and Deepest Red. They write the most wonderful, magical queer stories, and I have loved every single one of their books, and this one is based on the late medieval dancing plague in Strasbourg. So, basically catnip for me. I’ve been craving this book since I first saw it being announced and then even more once the cover was out. I’m still slightly upset that I didn’t manage to get an ARC, as it is a US only release, but I do have two pre-orders coming (don’t ask) and am planning on reading this in one sitting the day I get my greedy little fingers on it. It’ll also be very relevant for my dissertation, so I can even claim it as research. WIN! Pre-order it yourself on BookDepository or from your retailer of choice.

    A second book I’m very intrigued by is Blood Countess by Lana Popović. Another story inspired by late medieval/early modern history, this novel is based on the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, who allegedly bathed in the blood of maidens to keep herself looking young and fresh. I’ve always been fascinated by the Countess Bathory, especially given that none of the allegations against her have ever been proven and she has become such a figure of mystery and legend over the centuries. I fell in love with Lana’s writing in her fairy-tale inspired first duology set in Montenegro (starting with Wicked like a Wildfire, I highly recommend you check it out), so I’m very curious to see what she did with the story. The book apparently also features a queer storyline, which is always a plus and might also be relevant for my dissertation, so I’ll definitely be getting myself a copy and checking it out! If you are intrigued as well, BookDepository link is here, and otherwise you know your favourite way to pre-order!

    The third book I’d like to hype for January is The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. This is the third in her Truly Devious trilogy of YA contemporary mysteries, so a bit off the beaten track from what I usually talk about on this blog. I received the first in the series, Truly Devious in a book box back when it first came out a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it. It is great YA, and back when I myself was in the target range for YA, I think this series would have topped any favourite books list for me. I was in love with mystery novels and clever girls (looking back it’s a wonder it took me so long to figure out my sexuality!) and reading these books makes me lose myself in nostalgia for the time I first moved out from home to study forensic science and spent my late summer afternoons down at the lake reading crime novels. Anyway, I completely recommend you pick up these wonderful novels, especially now that the trilogy is complete – pre-order The Hand on the Wall from BookDepository or your local indie!

    What do you think of this new feature? Does it help you pick your way through the jungle of new releases? Do you have any books you think should have been included or any suggestions for the February issue of the Libri Draconis Hype Post?

  • Starsight – Brandon Sanderson

    For years, friends have been raving at me about how great Brandon Sanderson’s books are, and I’ve been resisting for far too long. I’ve always had too many books on my TBR to get into another author who writes epic fantasy, and to be honest, when I read Skyward last year, I liked it, but not as much as I was expecting to, given how beloved an author he seemed to be in my network. As it seemed to be a fairly new genre for him, I was still very keen to continue the series with Starsight. So I jumped at the chance to review this wonderful book for Gollancz – any opinions are entirely my own, and I am very grateful to Gollancz and Stevie Finegan especially for providing me with a review copy!

    RELEASE DATE: 26/11/2019

    STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS: All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumours of his cowardice are true – he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

    Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars – and it was terrifying. What she learned turned her world upside down. Everything Spensa’s been taught is a lie.

    But Spensa also learned a few things about herself – and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

    OPINIONS: While Skyward still had to do a lot of the set up of a new sci-fi universe, and a second world planet with its associated human society, Starsight was able to reap all the benefits from its prequel and dive right into the action. I do feel like the two books very much have a prequel – sequel relationship than necessarily a more traditional series structure: Starsight could very well be read apart from Skyward, as it mainly takes place in a mission setting, with a new cast of characters. So if you accidentally picked up Starsight only to realise it’s book two, don’t worry, read it anyway, you can always catch up later! These books are rather fast paced and very thrilling reads, so they do basically read themselves.

    As book two mainly takes place on an interspecies space station, Starsight, it includes far more diversity. We encounter a variety of different species, from the enemies known from Skyward, the Krell, to the Dione, a species that reproduces by literally combining the parents for months to ‘try out’ a potential child, to the Kitsen, a tiny furry people, reminiscent of very intelligent Ewoks, that just recently moved from monarchy to democracy, to just name a couple. As this also leads to a lot of species-based bias, the topic of intelligence and development is a big one, as is aggression.

    The Krell and the Dione seem to be the leaders of this galactic alliance, and claim a peaceful nature for themselves, while attributing aggression to humans. But what makes a species peaceful or aggressive? And what behaviours are acceptable to protect one’s goals? These and many more questions like them are at the centre of this novel and make the reader think, and link back science fiction to current events and world politics.

    So, I highly recommend you pick up this lovely book, and read it! Add it on Goodreads or order it from BookDepository or your retailer of choice, and disappear into another universe!

  • The Future of Another Timeline – Annalee Newitz

    One of the last ARCs from Bookcon that I have left to review! This was my first book by Annalee, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Riot Grrls meet time travel meet feminism had me sold immediately. It addresses incredibly current issues – I’m not actually sure they realized how important these issues were going to be by the time the book would be published, sadly. 

    RELEASE DATE: 24/09/2019

    STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

    SYNOPSIS: 1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too.

    2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost.

    Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline–a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?

    OPINIONS: First of all, this is not a book for the faint of heart. There is rape and murder, though not in graphic detail, and what tends to hit me much harder, active misogyny. Both Tess and Beth have to fight for their places in society and their basic rights on a very individual scale already, female rights more generally not looking any rosier. This is the fight that is at the heart of this story: the fight for women’s rights, especially abortion rights, and the extents that the characters have to go to in order to achieve them. I’m sad to say that this is something that hits home with my generation. I’m lucky enough to be a white, middle-class, woman in Europe with good access to healthcare and little restriction in terms of career or opportunities, but many are not that lucky, and things tend to get worse rather than worse – take the current anti-abortion developments in the US, or the treatment of our trans sisters, for example.

    Just like most people, Annalee’s women are broken and flawed, and have to find ways to put their pieces back together and fight. They are resilient and human and try their best, even if they fail epically at times. However, there was one issue that put me off loving the book fully: at times it read too much like men versus women. I would have loved one or two more complex male characters breaking up this duality, adding a bit more dimension to this dichotomy.

    Time travel is their playing board for the story, rather than the story’s main element, and it’s based on ancient rather than futuristic technology, which makes it rather unique. The historical elements are very well researched (and that’s me saying this as a trained historian!) and I learned a lot about periods I knew very little about beforehand, which I enjoyed immensely.

    As usual, here’s the Goodreads and Book Depository links! We should take this story as an incentive to do better, to fight, to be vocal, and to never ever take things as they are.

  • The Never Tilting World – Rin Chupeco

    Baby’s very first blog tour! And I’m very excited that it’s such a special one – I’ve really enjoyed Rin Chupeco’s Bone Witch series, and am thrilled to get to delve into another of her worlds. Rin writes beautiful fantasy infused with her Filipino heritage, full of diverse and nuanced characters. Sadly, her books are very much underrated here in the UK – I have never seen them in a bookshop – so I’m extra happy to be able to shout loudly about how great they are!

    So, thank you Shealea (https://shutupshealea.com/) and Harper Collins for the opportunity to be part of this amazing group of bloggers celebrating The Never Tilting World! To support my fellow bloggers and see what they think, click through to Shealea’s official launch post here!

    PUBLICATION DATE: 15/10/2019

    STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

    SUMMARY: Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

    Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

    While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

    But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

    OPINIONS: Aranth and the Golden City. Ice and Desert. Odessa and Haidee. This novel is full of dualities, and it explores both what breaks us apart, as well as what binds us together. In a world split asunder eighteen years ago, the young goddesses, who grew up in opposite worlds, both ultimately want to achieve the same goal, which for me symbolised a form of hope in a rather bleak world. And oh, how well said world was written. No one in their right mind would want to visit there, ever, but Rin has managed what few authors have been able to do: she has been able to evoke images out of my mind. I am not a visual reader AT ALL (I know, I’m weird that way), but I have clear images of multiple places in this world, of Odessa and Haidee with their colourful hair. This really speaks for her skill with words, and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with!

    Another aspect of The Never Tilting World that I really loved is the character development. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, so I don’t end up spoiling anything, but all four of the main characters go through major learning processes throughout the story. They grow as people in a way that makes sense, and the reader’s sympathies change throughout the story, as there are often no clear-cut moral lines. As a Bi girl, I was also really happy about the f/f relationship between Odessa and her healer, Lan, which was extremely well written and nuanced, and picked up on a lot of social cues and nuances as well as the feelings and chemistry that clearly existed between the two girls.

    There are so many subtle details and hints built into the story that only become clear after having read the whole story and having thought about it again, which makes it all the more wonderful. I loved reading this story influenced by Mesopotamian mythology and the Philippines, and hope you will too! I can’t wait for part two of the duology to come out, and book one hasn’t even been published officially yet…

    If this sounds right up your alley, add The Never Tilting World on Goodreads, order it off Book Depository, or from your retailer of choice, and join us for the official book tour twitter chat next Sunday, October 19th using #CBTTC! 9AM EST / 9PM PH time means 2PM UK time, so it is quite a humane time for us Europeans to make it!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy. Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

    You can find her online on quite a few sites:

  • The Bone Houses – Emily Lloyd-Jones

    Look at this amazing cover! I love how the picture turned out and fits the dark mood of the book. Sadly, it is the best part about it, I really couldn’t get into the story, and ended up disappointed. I had high hopes as I had really enjoyed Emily Lloyd-Jones’ first book, The Hearts We Sold. So without further ado, here’s my review.

    PUBLICATION DATE: 24/09/2019

    STAR RATING: 3/5 ✶

    SUMMARY: Ryn is a grave digger. In her village, that comes with additional responsibilities: The so-called bone houses (aka zombies) rise in the nearby forest and need to be taken apart and burned. But they have begun coming out from between the trees and attacking the village. When Ellis, a mapmaker, arrives, they set out together to try and solve the mystery behind the bone houses.

    OPINIONS: I started writing this review ages ago, and I keep pushing it out further and further, and I think it’s because the more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get. I really wanted to love it, as it sounds dark and morbid, and the cover makes it look like it’s right up my alley, but then, the execution is just …your standard YA fairy tale, and nothing about it was surprising. And now it’s the featured book for September in my favourite book crate (where it’s part of an AMAZING theme and what sounds like a great box) and I have to skip it because of this silly book, which doesn’t help my opinion of it any.

    I’m not saying it’s bad. Not at all. I’m saying it’s not for me. If you’re me approximately 5 years ago (so, about 1000 fantasy books ago), you’d probably like it. A lot. All the elements for a good read are present, and there’s even comic relief in form of an undead goat. Even present-me loved the undead goat. The undead goat is great. For me, it just ended up being one of those books I had seemingly read a hundred times before. Maybe I was more critical because I read it in the wake of some of the best books I read this year, such as Gideon the Ninth, Magic for Liars or Serpent and Dove, all of whom are proudly unique.

    Anyway, lots of others seem to really love it, so go and make up your own mind – here’s the link to Goodreads and BookDepository as usual!