A story about a face-changing thief and risk-taking prince | ARC Review: Nocturna by Maya Motayne


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Looking for a thriller recommendation? | ARC Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
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SYNOPSIS

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Should You read Nocturna by Maya Motayne ?

The magic poured life into the images, showing his people swathed in bright colors, prospering and using magic freely.

This is the first Latinx fantasy I’ve ever read and to put it mildly, I was blown away by Nocturna. This is a story about a prince and a thief who become allies to save a kingdom that brought both of them nothing but misery. This is the story of a kingdom too; a kingdom that-with the help of its people- rescued itself from the clutches of colonialism and rose stronger than ever. 

Set in a place called San Cristobal, the story starts with Prince Alfehr as he returns to his homeland reluctantly. We follow the Prince or Alfie as he meets his family and is lamenting the death of his older brother. Then, we come to view the face-changing thief known as Finn Voy, who has escaped a hell of her own and is trying to survive on the streets of San Cristobal.

When Finn and Alfie first meet at a clandestine meeting it’s for completely different purposes. They never would’ve thought they would work together in the upcoming days to fight a dangerous magic that could drown the world in darkness. 

The story is not entirely character driven and I liked that. Since that meeting where Finn and Alfie meet, there’s no stopping of action as Finn is kidnapped by a deadly “gang” who want something in exchange for Finn’s freedom. To collect that item, Finn has to go to the palace where she meets Alfie for the second time and this is also the place where a dangerous magic is released from its confines.

I loved Maya Motayne’s writing and the way she brought magic alive in the pages of Nocturna. The author also wrote in a “To the Reader” letter that she meant this book for a young girl who thought magic didn’t belong to people who looked like her. I’ll say she wrote this book for every young girl or boy because I identified with the history of colonialism, and I identified with the story when I saw that the people still followed some customs of their colonizers.

Apart from that, I loved the worldbuilding, and the description of the magical system was sublime. There is affection between Alfie and Finn and for many of us who don’t like romance being central to the story, will want to shout and scream at their slow-burn romance. 

Overall, I recommend this book if  you love fantasy and looking for diversity. Although the ending didn’t feel like a cliffhanger to me, I saw that Maya Motayne a trilogy planned for Nocturna. I will definitely be interested to read more of Alfie and Finn’s adventures.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT:

Author: Connect with Author Maya Motayne here.

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Publication Date: 2nd May , 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 300 Pages
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Will you read Nocturna ? Have you heard of this book before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A trip to a magical Paris during the french revolution | Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantée by Gita Trelease review

The Priory of the Orange Tree Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
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SYNOPSIS

When the Sky fell on Splendor summary
Photo credit : mine, Synopsis: Goodreads

Why should you read Enchantée by Gita Trelease? 

Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.

― GITA TRELEASE, ENCHANTÉE

Enchantée takes place during the onset of the French Revolution when the people of France we’re starving while the nobles including the king and queen looked on. However, this version of France has a twist: a magical one. Paris was a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians.

Camille Durbonne, our protagonist, is a magician but she doesn’t want to be. Camille has no choice but to use magic to provide for herself and her siblings.

Camille’s reluctance to use magic is understandable since all magic comes at a price and the price is one’s sorrow. Camille doesn’t lack sorrow since her parents died of small pox and left her fending for her abusive brother and sick sister. All Camille wants is all her sorrows to end and to find happiness like she did before. Camille does find happiness,if only momentarily.

“Magicians needed sorrow. And deep sorrow existed only because of love.” 

One day Camille saves two boys from dying in a hot-balloon and this is where she meets someone called Lazare. This day reminds Camille of bittersweet childhood memories and for a moment there’s only joy and nothing else. However, Camille is soon given a painful reminder of sorrow in the form of her brother. Arriving home, Camille finds all of her and her sister Sophie’s belongings and money and it could only be done by her brother. Camille has no choice but go find her brother at Versailles and demand their valuable possessions.

It may have been easy arriving at Versailles but leaving was much harder. After discovering her brother passed out at a gambling table, Camille finds herself in a trap when two women arrive wearing Camille’s stolen dresses . In order to get back her stolen dresses, jewels and money, Camille must gamble with the two women.

I forgot to mention earlier but there are three kinds of magic mentioned in the world of Enchantée. At first, Camille only uses only the first kind of magic, i.e. using her sorrow to turn metals into coins. Thereafter, she uses a darker kind or the second kind of magic called the glamour.

As Camille begins to gamble with magic at Versailles, she discovers that court life is not what she imagined at all. As she begins to use glamour magic to give herself a new identity at court, she discovers that she isn’t the only magician there. As lies pile up, will Camille be able to remember her true purpose or loose herself in the magic and glamour of it all ?

“Papa’s ghost might have whispered in her ear, there would be consequences, some of them not fair. How else would you know you had done something, if there was no change? No shift in the world?” 

― Gita Trelease, Enchantée

What I loved was the magical twist to one of my favourite places, the worldbuilding, it’s diversity rep(there is a queer couple and a biracial character), it’s soft romance.

What I didn’t love was the length of the story. I think it could have been shortened by a whole lot. There were so many unnecessary scenes in the ARC that I had to skim some of it. Since I read an ARC so I hope the final version has been corrected of this.

Someone asked on Insta if this had a world similar to Caraval. Well, not quite. It’s entirely different.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading about Paris, historical fantasy and magical fantasy(not sure if that’s a word).

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 glowing stars.

Author: Connect with Author Gita Trelease here .

  • Publisher: Flatiron/Macmillan
  • Publication Date: 05 Feb 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 434 Pages
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Do you think you’ll read ENCHANTÉE? Do you enjoying reading fantasy mixed with historical fiction? I loved visiting this fictional Paris. What favourite city of yours would you like to see in a fantasy setting? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A bloody but brilliant tale of a girl, a prince and a monster

Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan

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Wicked Saints synopsis

Trigger warnings include self-harm and parental abuse. 

REVIEW | WHY SHOULD YOU READ WICKED SAINTS ?

“We’re all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.”

-Emily Duncan, Wicked Saints

This was a bloody book. I mean that literally. Blood is the currency, if I may use that word.

Wicked Saints is the story of a girl who is touched by divinity, a monster with secrets and a prince who wants nothing but to save his country from ruination.

Wicked Saints reminded me a bit of the Grisha trilogy , but in a darker, more gruesome way. It is set in a place where countries are at war with each other and our three protagonists-Nadya, Serafin and one other boy-might bring a stop to the war or cause utter ruination.

The story starts with Nadya who is a cleric touched by the gods. Clerics are people who can perform magic but with the aid of one god. However, Nadya can communicate with all the gods and they grant her powers whenever she is in need of them. Sounds simple? It isn’t. Nadya has lived a simple, secluded life within the walls of a monastery but she is soon about to realize just how much danger her powers will land her in.

Nadya doesn’t have to wait for long to start using her powers as the monastery is soon attacked by an enemy prince who is a powerful Blood Mage. Despite being aided by powerful gods, Nadya’s powers are not enough to save everyone and she is forced to flee with a friend.

While on the run, Nadya and her friend stumble upon three rebels who want a similar outcome as Nadia does. Malachiasz -the leader of the three- is from a country who at war with her’s so he should be her enemy but Nadya is too desperate to ignore help. In return, the three ask Nadiya’s help to infiltrate the palace of the enemy but it will be too late for Nadya to realize that she is not the only harboring a dangerous secret…

Book Rambler Wicked Saints image
Wicked Saints (Instagram : @book_rambler)

I loved this new concept of magic, even if it was too bloody. There was no clear good or bad sides. I mean, I questioned Nadya’s faith as much as I did Malachiasz’s. The plot picked up about halfway through the book(for me) and I couldn’t put it down after that.

An achingly mournful half-smile caught at his lips and it took all of Nadya’s willpower not to kiss him again.

-Emily Duncan, Wicked Saints

The ending was unbelievable. It was a total 180 than the ending I had predicted. After closing the book and immediately wanted the sequel in my hands.

Why should you read this book? If my review didn’t convince you to pick this book then I wouldn’t know why. I can tell you why you shouldn’t pick up this book. If you have read the trigger warnings above and you feel that this isn’t for you then don’t pick it up. If you are someone who is not the audience for the said trigger warning then, what’re you waiting for?

Overall, this was a fantastically wicked fantasy novel from Emily A. Duncan and I need the sequel now!

Thanks to Macmillan International for providing me with an ARC in exchange of an honest review.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Author: Connect with Author Emily A. Duncan here .

  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Publication Date(US): 2nd April 2019
  • ARC: 400 Pages

Do you think you’ll read Wicked Saints? If you’ve already read the ARC, let me know your thoughts down below!

What are your thoughts on trigger warnings: Do you like them to be on top, before the review or after? If you’re a blogger, do you include trigger warnings in your social media reviews?

Book Review: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

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From Instagram @Book_rambler

Synopsis: In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Continue reading “Book Review: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton”

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke | Book Review

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Synopsis: A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Continue reading “The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke | Book Review”