Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Date: 2018
Pages: 984
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 14
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

The final battle is here.

Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself―and the promise of a better world.

Kingdom of Ash is the final book in the Throne of Glass series. We follow multiple perspectives throughout the story and travel throughout the lands of Arellia and beyond. The basics of the story (so you won’t be spoiled, dear reader) is that Aelin and her friends must go to war against Erawan, the demon lord who is taking over the continent.

Aelin has developed as a dynamic and kick ass character, she continues her growth throguhout Kingdom of Ash, becoming a beacon of strength, resiliance and empathy. I love Aelin as our leading lady. She shows what a main character should be, flawed and oh so human but willing to change. She also shows a passion for equailty among her peers and her people.

Our support cast is full of magical and mighty players in this hectic and chaotic war provide additions of much needed humor as well as showing us what is happening in other parts of this vast, expansive world.

The conclusion to this 7 book (plus one prequel book) series is in a word, epic. The setting of Arillia has changed so much over the course of the seven stories that it becomes almost like the reader is experiencing a whole new world. The description and detail really adds to this experience.

To say that Kingdom of Ash is a Tome is an understatement. The sheer mass of this books is something that I found off putting when it came to finally reading the conclusion to a series I was deeply emersed it. It was a commitment that I was anxious about making, however is not one I regret.

The Throne of Glass series as a whole includes so many great tropes. Competition is rife, Fae are many and the detail in back story and connection between past and present is made so semlessly and effectively.

Plot: 8.5/10
Ease of reading: 4/10
Character Development: 7.5/10
World Building: 5/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall: 4.5/5

Legacy by Shannon Messenger

Legacy
by Shannon Messenger
#8 Keeper of Lost Cities

Publisher: Aladdin
Date: 2019
Pages: 3688
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 3
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

Illusions shatter—and Sophie and her friends face impossible choices—in this astonishing eighth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster wants answers. But after a lifetime of lies, sometimes the truth is the most dangerous discovery. Even the smallest secret comes with terrifying new responsibilities.

And Sophie’s not the only one with blank spots in her past, or mysteries surrounding her family. She and her friends are part of something much bigger than they imagined—and their roles have already been chosen for them.

Every clue drags them deeper into the conspiracy. Every memory forces them to question everything—especially one another. And the harder they fight, the more the lines blur between friend and enemy.

Honestly what didn’t happen in ‘Legacy’? There were so many additions to an already complex plot that I am blown away with how well the story all fits together. The world is utterly incredible.

Throughout Legacy we get so many answers. Not only to questions that readers have been wondering since the beginning of the series as well as questions we didn’t even though we had. By the end of the book too, I had even more questions.

The characters in Legacy are definitely growing up with different social issues arising that have been brewing in the other books but aren’t yet addressed until the characters are older. Now is that time. Most readers will either be a Keffie or a fitzfie shipper and at this point I’ve got to say I am all for Keefie!

I always enjoy my time reading this series. I absolutely love the world building that has occurred from book one. absolutely has be blown away. I am so invested in the outcome of this story because I feel like I understand the world so deeply as well as the sacrifices many of our characters have made thus far.

Legacy with an amazing 8th book in a long and intricate series that is perfect for readers that want to become utterly lost in a magically detailed and far reaching world.

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Overall: 5/5

‘Harry Potter & the Dealthy Hallows’ by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
By J.K. Rowling
#7 in the Harry Potter Series

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Date: 2007
Pages: 759
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 11
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

Harry Potter is leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind.

The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding.

To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them.

He will have to face his enemy in one final battle.

‘The Deathly Hallows’ is honestly one of the most heart wrenching read that I revisit year after year. It is the final book in the Harry Potter series and is one hell of a ride. We follow Harry as he head off to with Ron on the most important of adventures in the effort to end Lord Voldemort.

It is incredible in this story how everything ties up from within the series. With so many pervious books it is amazing how everything is built to these final moments and so many small things fall into place.

The Characters in this book are really facing so much more than they have faced yet – and that’s saying something. I absolutely love the development of these characters from children to older teens. They are now facing so absolutely crazy hardships as well as a war.

At this point the relationships between characters is incredible, we really see some more of the side characters that I love like Luna and Dean. I also really enjoyed the exploration of the other creatures within the wizarding world and how the war is affecting them and what side they are on.

Ultimately ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ is an amazing conclusion to a series that holds an important place in my heart.

Plot: 9/10
Ease of reading: 
8/10
Character Development: 
9/10
World Building: 
9/10
Quality of Writing:
8/10
Overall:
5/5

Flashback by Shannon Messenger

Flashback
by Shannon Messenger
Book 7 in the Keeper of Lost Cities Series

Publisher: Aladdin
Date: 2018
Pages: 848
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 6
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.

Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.

But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.

Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.

The Keeper of Lost Cities is one of the best series I have ever picked up. It’s a big series that manages to keep the reader engage throughout each tome. It is absolutely incredible. The seventh book in this series is no exception. I flew through this one with the same eagerness I’ve read the six previous.

In Flashback we get some more background into Sophie and her importance to the both the Black Swan and why the Neverseen are so interested in her. We also begin to see more of the relationships that some elves have with other intelligent species. There is a lot of development within the Vacker family alone in this book and it was interesting to see how elves with indefinite lifespans view the elven world in its current state.

I thoroughly enjoyed the character development and find that the progression of the characters occurs at at stead pace allowing the reader to see, feel and experience things and the characters themselves do.

The final few chapters of Flashback served up so much intrigue and intensity that I needed to binge that last 10 or so chapters. I needed to know what was going to happen and how everything was going to wrap up before the inevitable cliffhanger.

Flashback is another great addition to the Keeper of Lost Cities series that has added more depth to an already diverse and dimensional cast of characters. We learn even more about a world that seems to be ever expanding where the reader it taken to what feels like a different planet with all the magical detail.

I am already on to Legacy the eighth book in the series and it has me so excited to keep reading.

Plot: 10/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Overall:5/5

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven
by Kate Williams
Book #1 in the Babysitters coven series

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date: 2019
Pages: 368
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Paranormal
Days to Read: 10
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Book Depository Booktopia

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

oh the references! There were so many amazing references in The Babysitters Coven, I was in heaven! The story is littered with pop culture references and it was incredible.

The Babysitters Coven follows Esme as she discovers that there may just be something paranormal about her and her town.

The flow of the story was easy to read with little pockets of information dumping but nothing that made me feel like I was being bogged down with information. I felt I knew enough to continue to be engaged in the story and that I would learn more if I kept reading. This is a story recipe that always gets me, I am a reader that is always desperate to know more and understand the world as the characters begin to understand more.

Esme felt like a classic teenage protagonist with a passion for fashion and a classic nonchalant teen personality. The only things she takes seriously are babysitting and her dog Pig. I didn’t feel myself getting annoyed with her, even when sometimes her annoyance with her dad seemed unwarranted.

I really enjoyed the pacing of the story. There were times when things to be happening quickly, the book beginning on some intense moments, however I felt that even though these devices sped up the pace of the book a bit they really worked to grip the reader from the beginning.

The story overall gave me some crazy charmed/ Buffy vibes (one of which is referenced in the book) that had me enjoying my time with the story. I cannot wait for the next instalment!

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 6.5/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 6/10
Stars: 4/5

Lodestar by Shannon Messenger

Lodestar
by Shannon Messenger
Book #5 in the Keeper of Lost Cities Series

Publisher: Aladdin
Date: 2016
Pages: 688
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 6
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

Dark schemes unfold–and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit–in this thrilling fifth book in the best-selling KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES SERIES.

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities–but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc.

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act.

A mysterious symbol could be the key–if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.

Lodestar takes the Keeper of Lost Cities to a whole new level of twists and turns. Throughout the series we have had our fair share of plot twists, but it feels like Lodestar really takes the cake (at least so far).

Everything from earlier in the series is beginning to intensify from the darkness of some of our more villainous characters, to the mysteries of our unidentified members, to the love square that has been developing since book one! Its all getting so much more intense, and I am loving it.

The progression of the characters from when we first meet them to now is a slow and even growth, so far in the series the characters are acting as would be expected as well as the love square progressing in appropriate way for the characters age., as well as that of the target audience of the story.

Lodestar’s story line really takes a turn after the events in Neverseen. We start to explore trust between characters and the lines between good and evil really begin to blur as all our main characters attempt to fit reality with what they have previously believed.

The Keeper of Lost Cities series is such a whimsical and magical series with all different species of magical creature having a hand in the story, the magic really never stops.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 9/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 7/10
Quality of Writing: 6/10
Stars: 4.5/5

Strange the Dreamer by Lani Taylor

Strange the Dreamer
by Lani Taylor
Book #1 in the Strange the Dreamer Duology

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date: 2017
Pages: 536
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 11
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Why on why did it take me so long to pick up this book?! I finally found it on Audible and knew that the writing was lyrical and wanted to experience it as an audiobook.

I honestly love Strange as a character and a narrator. He is so sweet and innocent and completely and utterly adorable. He has an innocence that doesn’t make him naive but conscientious and kind. I loved when -as readers- we experienced things in his perspective.

The world the Lani Taylor creates really revolves around Weep, a lot civilisation that Strange studies in his spare time as a Librarian Apprentice. Its a land of magic and myth and when Strange talks about it gave me whimsical vibes.

It was really interesting to look back on what Weep was really like before everything happened and before the name was forgotten, there is such a big difference between what people thought of Weep and the reality of those who lived there. That contrast was really interesting to see.

Overall Strange the Dreamer is a magical and whimsical story. Lani Taylor writing is so lyrical and it really lends its self to the story. It’s a story that had different perspectives that you want to hear from all the time.

I loved my time reading this book and am so sad that its all over!

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 6/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 10/10
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Stars: 5/5

What are your thoughts of Strange the Dreamer?

‘Harry Potter & the Cursed Child’ By J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Publisher: Little, Brown
Date: 2016
Pages: 343
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

The eight story, nineteen years later …

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ was a book I picked up as part of the N.E.W.T.S readathon in August. It fulfilled the prompt for an E in Defence Against the Dark Arts which was to read the first book that came to mind.

The Cursed Child takes place 19 years after all the events in the final instalment in the Harry Potter series. In it we follow Severus Albus Potter as he grapples with life in his brothers shadow and learning to accept who he is.

This story is also written in play format and has been adapted to what I have heard is an incredible production. However as a story it was something that I read as a seperate entity to the Harry Potter series. It was still something that felt like meh story. I wasn’t committed to the outcome, which is unfortunate as I am a HUGE Harry Potter Fan!

Overall I felt like this story was not necessary as a continuation of the Harry Potter universe. I don’t feel like I gained more knowledge of the wizarding world in any real way. I wish I could of gotten more out of it.

Plot: 4/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 4/10
World Building: 4/10
Quality of Writing: 4/10
Stars: 1/5