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Book Review: Diamond City by Francesca Flores

Book Review: Diamond City by Francesca FloresDiamond City by Francesca Flores
Series: Diamond City #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th January 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn't want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

I was really impressed by Diamond City! It’s a very strong debut that is action packed and full of assassinations and heists and deceit. Everything you need, right?

I got very strong Aelin vibes from Aina, the main character. I’m not sure if the author has read Throne of Glass, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she was inspired by it. I really enjoyed reading about Aina’s character growth, as she started off very closed off and then slowly opened up around her close group of friends.

I think the friendships were the best part of the book for me. I loved all of the side characters and how they interacted with Aina. They really helped bring out the best in her and helped her realise what was good and what was bad.

I have to put a warning in here about abuse, as Aina is in an abusive almost-relationship with her boss, who she kind of idolises for saving her from dying. She slowly comes to realise that it’s unhealthy though, somewhat with the help of other characters but mostly through her own realisations.

I have to say that there was a lot less diamond stuff and magic than I was expecting. This book is more of a low fantasy than anything, and the fantasy stuff only came up in a few scenes. Most of the book focuses on assassinations and heists, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not really how the book is being marketed!

Like I said, I really enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out – hopefully next year!

Book Review: The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

Book Review: The Empire of Gold by S. A. ChakrabortyThe Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty
Series: Daevabad #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 11th June 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

The Empire of Gold is, without a doubt, one of the best conclusions I’ve ever read. The City of Brass is one of the best series I’ve ever read, and I’m very glad that Chakraborty wrapped it up in this way. It’s full on perfection, so read my review below to hear my somewhat rambly thoughts on it.

If you’re interested, I’ve also uploaded a video review on Booktube, in which I almost cry on camera, get really protective of Nahri, and gush about how proud I am of everyone.

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Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour of Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez! It’s a very solid fantasy debut inspired by Bolivian politics and mythology.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel IbañezWoven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 7th January 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

Woven in Moonlight was a really good read! It took no time at all to get into, and I found myself reading it very quickly as I was completely enamored by the world building. The author has done a fantastic job building this world that is inspired by Bolivian myths and politics, and because she was clearly quite invested in her craft, I was as well.

I think the world building was the strongest point of the book, as the main plot of Ximena being a decoy was a bit of a let down. Ximena’s character or personality may have had something to do with this, as she was far too open about everything she was talking about. Because she kept talking about herself and her background, and because she was so impulsive, the whole decoy plot point fell apart, as it didn’t really make much sense.

I wasn’t too keen on the romance, but this is YA so what can you do? I often feel very meh about YA romances nowadays, so to be honest I wasn’t expecting much.

Overall, Woven in Moonlight is a solid debut, and if you’re into YA fantasy then I would recommend picking it up!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Sky Weaver! I’m really excited to work with Orion Publishing for this tour, because The Sky Weaver is a book that I’ve been anticipating for ages. See below for my honest review of the book (provided for free by the publisher), and make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen CiccarelliThe Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 14th November 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Lavish, romantic and magical, The Sky Weaver is a new standalone story set in the world of The Last Namsara - one that fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black and Laini Taylor will flock to. . .

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they're hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.

The Sky Weaver was an utterly addictive read that I spent just three hours on because I was enjoying it that much. As soon as I opened the first page I was swept back into Ciccarelli’s Iskari world, and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m now really sad that the book – and the trilogy – is over, because now that I’m back in this world I want more!

Full disclosure, I only read The Last Namsara prior to reading The Sky Weaver. I haven’t read The Caged Queen yet, partly because I heard bad things, and partly because it kind of flew over my radar. Thankfully, I don’t think I missed out on anything, since Ciccarelli did a good job of recapping everything for me. It seems to me that most of the things that are relevant happened in The Last Namsara anyway!

While this book is being marketed as being full of pirate-y goodness, I wouldn’t say it’s the focus of it. There are lots of pirate-y moments and scenes, but the main draws of the book are Safire, the dragon king’s commander, and Eris, someone who can shadow-walk.

I absolutely loved both of these characters, and I adored spending time with both of them. Their enemies-to-lovers romance made me smile a lot, and I’m so happy that I read their story. I have to say that I felt a bit detached from Eris to begin with, since she has no connection to Asha’s family and she kind of came out of nowhere. That said, she really grew on me, and by the end I was truly invested in her story.

I also have to mention that, as usual, I adored the stories that Kristen Ciccarelli was able to weave (ha!) in there. The interwoven stories were something that I loved the most about The Last Namsara, and I was so pleased to see that they were back in this book. They really help with the world building and the mythology, not to mention the overarching story! I feel like they do spoil things sometimes, but they’re meant to be a sort of low-key build up to the things that are happening in present day.

Not to mention that stories themselves play a massive part in this world, since it’s how humans connect with dragons! I just really love everything about them.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. It was a highly enjoyable read, and while it’s not an all time favourite, I genuinely loved reading about the gods, the dragons, and the dragon riders!

Blog Tour: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

It’s my stop on the blog tour for The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, a YA fantasy debut that came out earlier in October. In this fantasy world, memories are used as a currency, and are bartered, traded, and sometimes stolen. I had a lot of fun reading this one, and I’m excited to share my thoughts (and a giveaway!) with you. You can view the full tour schedule here to check out posts from the other tour hosts! I obviously received The Memory Thief for free in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour: The Memory Thief by Lauren MansyThe Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 1st October 2019
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal's" memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
 

Apparently I’m a masive sucker for anything to do with weird currency or transactions, because as soon as I heard about The Memory Thief I was comparing to Everless and I was getting really excited. The concept of memories being sold, traded, and stolen is a fantastic idea, and also mildly terrifying.

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