Review – The Bone Season

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Series: The Bone Season #1

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 39
(see below for breakdown)

3.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads:

19-year-old Paige is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped. She is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

My Thoughts

This was a re-read for me. I originally read this before I started my blog so I have not written a review before. I was surprised but I actually found myself enjoying this read more than I originally did, however I also came out with a very similar rating to my original.

I forgot how complex the world that Samantha Shannon has built in this series. It is vast and filled with history, most of which I didn’t remember picking up on my first read. It is a full and complex alternative history that has lead to a dystopian style society in London. It uses 18th century slang regularly and I can see why others may find this off putting as at times it was like Shannon had created her own language. The system of clairvoyants is also extensive and complex, and I feel we only barely scratched the surface of that in this book. On top of that after the first section of the book we completely leave London behind and have to learn a new regime along with the main character.

Speaking of characters, when I first read the book I wasn’t so keen on Paige, however, this time I had a lot more sympathy for her. I did find myself more invested in the story of secondary characters, I wanted more from Liss and Julian, I found there stories more interesting, I wanted to explore their lives. I didn’t really enjoy the romance. It seems to go from zero to 100 in the space of a single chapter with no real lead up or even hint at it. It also seems somewhat unnecessary. The book would have been just as good with out it. In fact a lot of Paige’s relationships were just kind of sour and unhealthy without discussion. I was not overly happy in the treatment of the gay character and Paige’s feelings towards him.

The plot is interesting but I found myself at times not really understanding the motivations of the characters. There didn’t seem to be any big push or reasoning behind certain actions, which is a shame when held up against the world building. However, this was Shannon’s first book and while to show in some of the narrative decisions I am more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and to follow the series and her growth as a writer.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 6

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 6

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 7

PLOT – 6

ENJOYMENT – 7

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Mini Review – Sad Cypress

Title: Sad Cypress

Author: Agatha Christie

Series: Hercule Poirot

4 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads:

Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows…

My Thoughts

There is nothing quite like a good Christie mystery. Just when you think you have her formula sussed she throws another curveball that changes your perceptions. This was a great set-up that had me hooked from page one, it was also unusual as it takes the form of a courtroom drama and reminiscence over a typical Who done it. The crime has already been committed, the ‘Murderer’ has been caught, but did she really do it?

The plot is immaculate. Elenor our main character seems guilty in every way and while reading it I really thought this would be the one Poirot couldn’t solve. Typical of the beloved Belgian he doesn’t show up until Act 2. In Act 1 we get the major players within the crime and the cast for this one is extremely small and tight nit but still Christie manages to seed those doubts in your mind, hiding Red Herrings everywhere and leaving you guessing as to what Poirot’s conclusion will be. The only hang up I have is that, typical of some of the Poirot novels, we as readers are kept in the dark on a few of the scenes till after the twist and reveal. So, we can’t easily guess who is the culprit as we aren’t given the whole picture due to Poirot obtaining that evidence off page.

The element of the courtroom drama and the summation of council being the final reveal added a real element of excitement. I love Christie’s Parlour scenes, but setting it in the Court just added an element of danger. There is a little bit of everything in this one from love triangles to poisonings. It’s just a fun read.


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – Ark

Title: Ark

Author:Veronica Roth

Series: Forward Collection #1

4 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads: On the eve of Earth’s destruction, a young scientist discovers something too precious to lose, in a story of cataclysm and hope by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent trilogy.

It’s only two weeks before an asteroid turns home to dust. Though most of Earth has already been evacuated, it’s Samantha’s job to catalog plant samples for the survivors’ unknowable journey beyond.

Preparing to stay behind and watch the world end, she makes a final human connection.

As certain doom hurtles nearer, the unexpected and beautiful potential for the future begins to flower.

My Thoughts

I will be the first to admit I am not a fan of Roth’s YA at all! Agilent’s treatment of genetics had me enraged at how wrong it was in even its basic biology. However, the premise of this short story was just too intriguing. I will also admit after reading it it has me changing my mind about reading her work, particularly her short fiction. Just shows its always worth giving an authors work a second chance.

This had a beautiful pacing to it. It felt like it had a wealth of plot and worldbuilding even though it was only 39 pages long. It captured lots of little details and aspects of life, love, friendships all within a very interesting prepping for the apocalypse setting. Actually part of the feeling made the impending doom of the world feel almost monotonous and peaceful which was refreshing.

If you have kindle unlimited this collection is freely available as part of the subscription.


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – Girls of Paper and Fire

Title: Girls of Paper and Fire

Author: Natasha Ngan

Series: Girls of paper and fire #1

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see below for breakdown)

From Goodreads: Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

My Thoughts

Warning: This book does contain scenes of violence, sexual violence, forced nudity and rape. Including scenes of an invasive medical examination. If you are not comfortable reading these topics this might not be the book for you.

I dont know what took me so long to pick this one up but I am glad I did. The writing style is gorgeous and descriptive. While it kept the plot quite slow it really added to the emotion of it all. The descriptions really made the book for me they both created a colourful fully formed world and mythology which really highlighted the dark topics explored.

I also enjoyed the characters, particularly Wren. I just wish we had a lot more of the development of the relationship between Lei and Wren. For me it moved rather quickly from them ignoring each other to falling in love. I wanted more slow burn. Especially as the lead up to the main events of the book we so slow we could have got a lot more of the lead up. The plot its self is not that complicated but again the descriptions made it dark when it needed to be an light at the right moments

What really got me was the epilogue! Oh it hooked me. I was happily reading along and it just grabbed me and made me want to pick up the second in the series. Overall I really enjoyed this book, the ending especially. I will be diving into the second one very shortly.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 8

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 8

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 8

PLOT – 6

ENJOYMENT – 7

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Audiobook Review – The Audiobook of the Year 2019

Title: The Audiobook of the Year 2019

Author: No Such Thing As A Fish

Narrator: No Such Thing As A Fish

5 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads:

The Book of the Year is back, with yet another pro-rogues gallery of the most amazing, audacious and absolutely absurd news of 2019.

Once again the fact-finding foursome behind the podcast No Such Thing As A Fish have been newspaper-trawling and website-crawling to create your ultimate guide to the past twelve months.

Learn which of Donald Trump’s claims are so bizarre they can’t even be fact-checked. Find out why every single French MP received camembert in the post. And get to the bottom of all the improvements made to the Ford company’s robotic bum. All this and much, much more, including the news that:

· Two tourists planning to visit the Norwegian village of Å, ended up 1,310km away, in Aa. · Five guys were arrested at a branch of Five Guys. · Hollyoaks was partly written by the British government. · The US town of Hell froze over.

From Assange to Zuckerberg, taking in Cardi B, CCTV, D-Day, and eSports, The Book of the Year is the only book you need to make senseof the year, no matter how senseless it might have seemed.

My Thoughts

It’s a first for me. I am solely reviewing the Audiobook. Usually, if I do have an audiobook I will switch between listening and reading a physical/ebook copy, but I prefer listening to this instead of reading it. I am a huge fan of the podcast No Such Thing as A Fish, of the TV show QI and of the Radio 4 programme Museum of Curiosity, all of which the creators of this audiobook work on. This audiobook is like having an 11 hour version of one of the NSTAAF podcasts and its excellent.

I really liked the inclusion of some of the live shows and the fact that they don’t edit out the inside jokes, pronunciation errors or banter between the narrators. I imagine it is probably a lot more fun to listen to this than to read the physical book for those reasons. The bleeping out of ”Brexit” was particularly funny and welcome. You just seem to get a lot more content with the Audiobook that just the researched facts about the year. In fact this audiobook contains a bonus chapter of news that appeared after the book went to print! Also we get the personalities of Anna, Andrew, Dan and James which would be lost within the print version.

It’s also one of those books you can listen to in little bursts without loosing your place. It’s great for filling in little bits of time, walking to the shops, waiting on a train etc etc. As it is organised alphabetically you can listen to each letter independently. Though I would suggest listening to them in order as there are recurring joke.

For me its just an enjoyable listen that also educates on some of the weirder points of the year. It was a reminder that the news wasn’t all doom and gloom and that there was some great, wild and interesting stuff happening that would have passed me by otherwise. Even if you have never listened to an Episode of NSTAAF this would be a great place to start!


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – Ninth House

Title: Ninth House

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series:Alex Stern #1

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 42
(see below for breakdown)

4 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

WARNING:

This is Leigh Bardugo’s first Adult book and it contains scenes of drug use and addiction, graphic violence, sexual violence (one scene against a minor), manipulation and coercion. If you are uncomfortable with any of these topics this may not be the book for you.

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this but I can see why it can be quite decisive for some. There is a lot of slightly unnecessary violence and a lot of it is used as simple character development that reads more as “she’s damaged” rather than “she is a survivor”. There is only one of these scenes that I feel really holds a light up to College culture but it is ”solved” with then swept away as the plot continues. These are probably my major complaints about the plot. Other than that this is a rather interesting murder mystery with an intriguing magic system.

The magic system was really interesting. We launch straight into dark and creepy magic and the way it works within the different houses is fun. I wish we had focused more on each of the houses and how their magics differ. The setting within Yale really made this. As someone that is not familiar with Yale itself I found it difficult to separate the real from the fictional. I found it quite atmospheric.

I actually liked Alex, and loved Darlington. I liked Alex’s arc, her mix of imposter syndrome that ebbed and flowed throughout the book, her futile attempts to reinvent herself at university (which we all try) and her accepting that maybe her way is ok for now is a realistic growth. While she is powerful she isn’t overpowered and cant suddenly save the day she just muddles through with her little knowledge and a lot of help. I would have liked a bit more characterisation for the secondary characters as what little we did get made me want to know more. I wanted more about the houses and their members, how they work but I am sure that will happen as the series continues.

Overall I enjoyed it. I wanted a bit more but I will happily continue with the series.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 7

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 7

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND Worldbuilding – 7

PLOT – 7

ENJOYMENT – 7

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – A Very Scalzi Christmas

Title: A Very Scalzi Christmas

Author: John Scalzi

5 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads: Deck the halls with boughs of holly! ’Tis the season…for Santa’s lawyer to talk about the legal status of the workshop elves, for Christmas to arrive in an unexpected month, and for the innkeeper at the nativity to spill the beans about what really went down on that one night in Bethlehem.

It’s not just Christmas. It’s A Very Scalzi Christmas.

New York Times bestselling and Hugo Award-winning author John Scalzi gift-wraps fifteen short takes on the holiday season—interviews with holiday notables, “informational” articles about TV specials and Christmas carols, short stories and poems, and even a couple of nods to Thanksgiving and New Year’s—and puts them all into a stocking stuffer-sized package that makes the perfect gift for friends, family, or yourself.

With stories both funny and touching, A Very Scalzi Christmas also features three new stories exclusive to this collection: “Christmas in July,” “Jangle the Elf Grants Wishes” and “Resolutions For the New Year.”

A wonderful collection for the most wonderful time of the year.

My Thoughts

I am a huge fan of Scalzi’s novels but his short fiction can sometimes be some of his best! I loved the last collection of short fiction I read and so did Netflix making three of them into cartoons as part Love, Death and Robots series. Now he is back with a fun and festive collection.

It contains the expected out of the box thinking with his interviews series. It gives us insight into Santa’s legal issues, the reindeer training regime (as long as you don’t mention Rudolf), what really happened in Bethlehem and just how Festive mascots make their mark. Every single one of these interviews had me laughing out loud. They were filled with the usual observational wit that I associate with Scalzi.

Another particular favourite was Christmas in July which was just a perfect little military Sci-Fi story that fully incorporated Christmas. To me it very much could have happened in the world of “The president’s brain is missing” another Scalzi short work I read earlier this year. Again just filled with wit and a sideways skew to traditional thinking that I love about reading Scalzi.

Then Scalzi did something I didn’t think one of his books would make me do. He made me cry. Sarah’s Sister is a beautiful and heartwarming story with just a pinch of magic that I am sure will have any big sister reaching for the tissues by the end.

It’s a great festive read. I also picked up the Audio (as it was cheap) and it was a full cast production so I highly recommend that too!

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

ARC Review – Deeplight

Title: Deeplight

Author: Frances Hardinge

Release Date: 31/10/19

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see below for breakdown)

4.5 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received a free eARC copy from Pan MacMillan , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

For centuries the gods of the Undersea ruled the islands of the Myriad through awe and terror: they were very real, and very dangerous. Sacrifices were hurled into the waters to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored. Then, thirty years ago, the gods rose up in madness and tore each other apart.

Now, none remain. The islands have recovered and the people have patched their battered ships and moved on.

On one of these islands live Hark and his best friend Jelt. To them, the gods are nothing but a collection of valuable scraps to be scavenged from the ocean and sold.

But now something is pulsing beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it.

My Thoughts

Frances Hardinge is a master at worldbuilding. This is a rich full world filled with history and lore, so different from our own. It is completely encapsulating, dark, to the point of being chillingly creepy at times. It is very intriguing making you want to learn more and more about it. The characters are as skill fully fleshed out with complex stories and actions.

The plot itself is focused around realising that friendships can also be toxic and dangerous in the most fantastical of settings, but the setting is not whimsical it suits the dark subject matter perfectly. Ancient sea monsters, absent gods, scavenger gangs and unreliable friends, all mixed into one. It can be slow to get started but once you find yourself engrossed in the world it really speeds up and you will find those pages flying by.

A beautiful part of this book was the integration of deaf characters, many of the inhabitants of this world were deaf or had partial hearing, including a major character. The MC himself uses sign language to communicate with his friend.

It is a enjoyable read. I would also recommend it, while marketed as YA would also suit advanced Middle grade readers. I think they would find the message important and the world dark and exciting.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 7

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 7

CHARACTERS – 8

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 9

PLOT – 7

ENJOYMENT – 7

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – This is how you lose the Time War


Title: This is how you lose the Time War

Authors: Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 56
(see below for breakdown)

5 Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads: Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

My Thoughts

This is where Sci-fi becomes magical. This epistolary novella, following two agents of opposing sides in a great time war, reads almost like an epic poem. It flows and weaves like time itself, creating the most beautiful imagery and gorgeous love story. There love just unfolds in front of the reader, as they reveal a little more of themselves to each other.

This is all done in the midst of a confusion of space and time that is almost disorientating. There is not a lot of world building detail. We don’t how the time war started, how long it has been faught or even the greater extent of the races of our two protagonists but it isn’t needed at all. We get everything to be swept along in those letters. It is so inventive with tiny details of alternate histories, technologies, cultures slotted in just to give the reader a taste, while focusing firmly on the emotions of the characters and taking the reader into that emotion to.

The bittersweet ending is just everything, it kept me emotionally invested long after I closed the cover. I wanted to immediately go re-read, re-discover and find every missed detail. A universe that you don’t want to leave even when it is at war, a book you don’t want to put down even when it had ended. El-Mohtar and Gladstone have created something truly magical. Just read it!

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 9

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 10

CHARACTERS – 9

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 9

PLOT – 9

ENJOYMENT – 10

Review – The Mortal Word

Title: The Mortal Word

Author: Genevieve Colman

Series: The Invisible Library #5

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 39
(see below for breakdown)

3.5 Stars

⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads: A corrupt countess A spy in danger And an assassin at large

The fifth title in Genevieve Cogman’s witty and wonderful Invisible Library series, The Mortal Word is a rollicking literary adventure.

Peace talks are always tricky, especially when a key diplomat gets stabbed. This rudely interrupts a top-secret summit between the warring dragons and Fae. As a neutral party, Librarian-spy Irene is summoned to investigate. She must head to a version of 1890s Paris, with her assistant Kai and her detective friend Vale, where these talks are fracturing. Here, she must get to the bottom of the attack – before either the peace negotiations or the city go up in flames.

Suspicions fly thick and fast and Irene soon finds herself in the seedy depths of the Parisian underworld. She’s on the trail of a notoriously warlike Fae, the Blood Countess. However, the evidence against the Countess is circumstantial. Could the killer be a member of the Library itself?

My Thoughts

It had been quiet a while since I had stepped into the world of the Library, but it is easy to slip straight into the adventure and be swept along with Irene, Kai and Vale. These books are reliably entertaining and this instalment is no different.

This is the start of a new arc and it is a fun and entertaining murder mystery that explores the interactions between the Fae, Dragons and the Library. We get to explore a lot more about the Dragon’s society. May only complaint is we still don’t have a lot of information about our main characters. We are being drip fed little bits of information about them over the past books, exploring Irene and Kai’s relationship at an incredibly slow pace. I would just like to move a little quicker and learn a little more.

I also wish that the main trio were not separated as much throughout the plot. I love Vale but I felt even though this was a murder mystery, he was somewhat absent from a good part of the investigation. The same was true of Kai. We lost a lot of the witty banter that moves between the three, focusing more on Irene. However, I am really like the more political direction this new arc is going and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 7

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 7

CHARACTERS – 6

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 6

PLOT – 6

ENJOYMENT – 7