Friday, 19 February 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire

By Sarah Rees Brennan



Tell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…

Publication date: April 5th 2016

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 3.4 / 5
My Thoughts:

I haven’t read Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities but, based on the author's note, some elements of Tell the Wind and Fire are based on it. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Rees Brennan’s previous books so when I was approved on NetGalley for an ARC of TTWAF I had to request it ASAP. 

The story is set in a New York divided between Light and Dark magic, both sides battling against each other and a power shift when the Darkness begins to overpower the Light. The Light/Dark world was an interesting concept but felt a leeeetle simplistic for my liking. I'm used to Brennan's imaginative and unusual plots so a fight between Light and Dark, when Light magicians aren't always right and good and vice versa was a bit, well, boring. However, I must say that TTWAF was a much darker YA read than I expected from Brennan.

Happiness is self-sabotage, a mean trick that your mind plays on you. It makes you careless, makes you lose your grip, and once you lose your grip, you lose everything. You certainly aren’t happy anymore.
Lucie is divided between the two cities since she was born and raised in the Dark city, but has spent the last few years, since her father's rescue, in the Light city with Ethan. She reminded me of Katniss from the Hunger Games; seen as a beacon of hope and a symbol of the rebellion but isn’t willing to actively participate in the rebellion itself. She wants nothing more than to keep the people she loves safe, but unfortunately everyone she loves is in danger by association. Lucie is a likeable character in a difficult situation with a difficult upbringing but I always felt that there was so much more she could do for the peace if she tried. She’s happy to fake smile and pretend it’s all okay so that she doesn’t upset anyone and ensure her father's safety, but as the MC I wished she had shown more courage and taken more risks. She's too scared to make a move out of place just in case the safety and protection given by the Strykers, is taken away from her. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when she put herself in immense danger, but those were few and far between. Plus, she takes risks with Carwyn, always with the best intentions, which I found weird because it was all out of character for her. 
I said I just wanted to help people, to ease their suffering, but that was a lie. I didn’t do it to help anyone but myself.  I wasn’t showing real compassion for strangers, I wasn’t showing what I really felt. Real grief is ugly and uncomfortable. People look away from grief the same way they look away from severed limbs or gaping wounds. What they want is pain like death on a stage: beautiful, bloodless, presented for their entertainment. 

My favourite character was Carwyn. As the ‘evil doppelganger’ everyone is expected to hate him because doppelgangers don't have a soul (or so they say). When Carwyn pretends to be Ethan Stryker, he purposely mocks Ethan, his family and life to wind everyone up. Despite him being the ‘dark’ version of Ethan, his bitter humour made the story lighter and fun to read. His actions were rather predictable, especially the ending, but I still enjoyed his part in it. 
I spoke through my teeth. “I’m afraid I have to go home to Penelope. I have to be there for her and Marie right now.”“Oh, becase one of your adopted family has disappeared into the Dark city, possibly never to return? Of course. How insensitive of me. Please forgive me. I will think of you fondly during every course at dinner, and twice during the cheese course.”
Ethan was undoubtedly the most underrated character in this story. Although he has a huge role, we see very little of him throughout and only really get to learn about him at the very end. Initially, I was hoping Lucie and Carwyn would end up together because Ethan was portrayed as the boring ‘golden boy’ but after the ending, I’m glad she stayed true to Ethan!
“Why torture me, then?”His shadowed, moonlit face changed, amusement overcoming exhaustion, his mouth curling into a sly grin. “I said I wasn’t a criminal mastermind whose devious plans topple cities,” Carwyn told me. “I never said I was nice.”
Overall, a good read but not as exciting and fun as I had hoped. Sarah Rees Brennan’s wit flows through Carwyn’s character, which is probably the main reason why I’d recommend this book. Brennan is one of my favourite authors, which is why I expected much more, but there are many underlying messages about good and evil that I believe will be useful for younger readers.
The only choice, in the Light city or the Dark, was to be twisted or to break.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady Midnight

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Despite what's currently going on in the news in relation to Cassandra Clare and plagiarism accusations, the book that I cannot wait to read is:


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
By Cassandra Clare

Publication date: March 8th 2016

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

Source: Goodreads

What's your WoW pick of the week?

Monday, 15 February 2016

Arthurian Saga - Book 1

The Crystal Cave
By Mary Stewart



Who was Merlin? Was the famed magician of Camelot & King Arthur's court really a sinister, all-powerful being from another world? Was he truly a Prince of Darkness? Or was he a man with the passions of other mortals? A man with unique intelligence & unusual gifts? Why was he so feared? How did he come by his occult powers? Why was the crystal cave so important to him?

5th century Britain is a country of chaos & division after the Roman withdrawal. Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess who will not reveal to her son his father's true identity, Myridden Emrys--or as he would later be known, Merlin--leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents & visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon & the conception of Arthur--king for once & always.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.2 / 5
My Thoughts:

Presently, my TV series addiction is the BBC's Merlin. I've seen adverts in relation to this for years but never thought the show could be my kind of thing, that was until I subscribed to Netflix and it appeared as a recommendation. How have I deprived myself of the awesomeness of Merlin for so long??!!!

TV Series, being what they are, eventually end (unless they're EastEnders and then they're never ending!) and alas, I'm coming to the end of series 5 but I'm just not ready to let it go! And so, I've been researching into books relating to the Arthurian Legend. One of the most recommended series is the Arthurian Saga trilogy by Mary Stewart so I thought of giving it a try...

The Crystal Cave is essentially the build up to the birth of the future King, Arthur's. Merlin learns more about his powers of the Sight, which are both awed and feared by many other kings in this time of war. As Crystal Cave is the first book in the trilogy, there was a lot of narrative and worldbuilding, which at times became tedious to read. However, I completely understand that this is essential for a fantasy series so I wasn't too bothered about that.

To my delight, Merlin retains the wit and dry humour shown by Colin Morgan on the BBC. His risk taking and easy going personality kept the story going and I loved reading about his many adventures, especially his banter with his servants. Ideally, I would have liked Arthur to have made an actual appearance in this book (their TV bromance is hilariously adorable) but Crystal Cave is like a prequel to Arthur's story; the battles leading up to his birth and how important his arrival was to Merlin's destiny and therefore, the future of Britain.

"The gods only go with you, Cerdic, if you put yourself in their path.""Well, all right, but some of them have mighty big hoofs to walk over you with. Do you want Christian burial?""I don't really mind. I suppose I'll work my way up to Christian baptism fairly soon, if the bishop has his way, but till then I've not signed on officially for anyone."
I was surprised to learn that Merlin himself is, or was, a prince. On the TV show, he's portrayed as Arthur's servant boy but in this book he is seen a far more powerful light. To have a claim to the throne but not consider it twice is not something most people could do but it becomes clear that Merlin is unlike most people. Once I learnt more about his nature, his generous and straightforward personality, I wasn't surprised at this, indeed I doubt it had even crossed his thoughts until the King pointed it out!

Overall, the crystal Cave was a very interesting read and I'm now proceeding to book two. Although, I would like to know how much of the book, the TV show and Disney's Sword in the Stone movie is based on actual history? Has anyone read / watched any of these? Any thoughts?

Favourite Quotes:

"Because they are not for me. I have feared for other men, but never in that way for muself. Not yet. I think what men fear is the unknown. They fear pain and death, because these may be waiting round any corner. But there are times when I know what is hidden, and waiting, or when - I told you - I see it lying straight in the pathway. And I know where pain and danger lie for me, and I know that death is not yet to come; so I am not afraid. This isn't courage."He said slowly: "Yes, I knew you had the Sight."

Friday, 12 February 2016


It's been quite some time since I last posted on my blog. I left because the entire appeal of blogging had disappeared. I just didn't feel like blogging anymore. I ended up repeating myself again and again, once here with a review, then on Goodreads and then amazon. Plus, I started reviewing for Dark Faerie Tales and I just didn't think I had the time to maintain my own blog too. 

So why have I come back now, you ask? Well, I realised that I don't read any poems so I randomly started researching short poems (baby steps!) and I came across a beautiful poem that I just had to share... 
By Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad. 

Source: The Times

What do you think of it? What are your favourite poems?