The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest

The Gender Secret
by Bella Forrest
#2 in the Gender Game Series

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Date: 2016
Pages: 411
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Dystopian
Days to Read: 2
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia

Gliding over the treacherous Green in a shaky aircraft that she has no idea how to land, Violet Bates is still in shock. The harrowing events of the previous night play over in her mind as she asks herself question after question.

Why did Lee Desmond Bertrand behave the way he did?

What is the truth about the mysterious silver egg stowed beneath her seat?

What happened to Viggo and where is her brother? Is either of them still alive?

When Violet manages to reach the toxic ground alive, she has landed in a world of unimaginable danger. She has barely time to catch her breath before she is sucked into a perilous journey at breakneck speed – to uncover secrets guarded for centuries and find the only two people that matter.

The Gender Secret follows the events that occured at the end of The Gender Game. We follow Viggo and Violet in the wake of the dramatic cliffhanger we were left on at the end of the first book as well as unravelling some epic betrayals.

The ideas that are examined throughout the the first two books explore gender diferentiation, stereotypes and how the world would look if we it were divided into two cities/countries run by each gender. It was interesting to see how the prejudice grow throughout the stories and how they are ingrained in each culture.

Violet and Viggo as characters are both morally questionable and as a reader I can say that it definitely made them more interesting to read about. They have already developed so much from the events in the first book that I felt more interested in where their stories we heading.

The Setting of The Green, Matrus and Patrus – which I take to be a post apocolyptic USA – allows the reader to really exeperience the dystopian nature. The Greens descriptions of toxicity and the creatures affected by it gives ‘The Wilder Girls’ and ‘Annihilation’ vibes that allows the reader to see the severity of being out there and experiencing that wilderness.

The developments in the plot of the Gender Secret develop the world exponentially from the Gender Game. We begin to see the implications of a world divided by gender.

There are many ethical questions that are raised throughout be beginning of this series that cause questions about what it would mean for our world if something became more evident. This gives readers an experience that fuels many feelings and thoughts as well as promoting discussion.

Plot: 6.5/10
Ease of reading: 5/10
Character Development: 6/10
World Building: 6.5/10
Quality of Writing: 6/10
Overall: 3.5/5

The Odyssey: Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds

The Odyssey
By Gareth Hinds

Publisher: Candlewick
Date: 2010
Pages: 256
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Classic
Days to Read: 2
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before.

“Gareth Hinds brings THE ODYSSEY to life in a masterful blend of art and storytelling. Vivid and exciting, this graphic novel is a worthy new interpretation of Homer’s epic.”
—Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series

Fresh from his triumphs in the Trojan War, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants nothing more than to return home to his family. Instead, he offends the sea god, Poseidon, who dooms him to years of shipwreck and wandering. Battling man-eating monsters, violent storms, and the supernatural seductions of sirens and sorceresses, Odysseus will need all his strength and cunning—and a little help from Mount Olympus—to make his way home and seize his kingdom from the schemers who seek to wed his queen and usurp his throne. Award-winning graphic artist Gareth Hinds masterfully reinterprets a story of heroism, adventure, and high action that has been told and retold for more than 2,500 years—though never quite like this.

Gareth Hinds adaptation of The Odyssey is one the brings colour, vibrance and richness to a classic Homer tale. Both the Illiad and The Odyssey are stories I have expereienced in their ‘classic’ form and both are rich stories that had such an impact on my love of Greek history, culture and mythology.

In the Odyssey we follow Odysseus’ son ________, as he attempts to protect his mother from the hoard of men who wish to marry her after Odysseus is thought dead after the Trojian war. _____ is informed by the gods that his father is traped and that is why he is yet to return. Armed with this knowledge he attempts to find his father and bring him home.

The graphic novel reimagining of this story was one that provided vibrance to a story that can get bogged down in the homeric language that is used. I definitely found the story more entertaining in this format. The colors were muted which added to the story even more, with an art style that impacted me as a reader.

I enjoyed the combination of authors adaptation in dialogue form with the artwork for each character and scene. It felt very transportive and engaging, I found myself eager to continue reading the text.

At some moments through out the story I did find myself confusing some characters and forgetting their relation or importance to the story. The sheer magnitute of The Odyssy really can be overwhelming at times.

This adaptation of a classic Greek story is one that fits Gareth Hinds adaptation and art style. They complement eachother in a way that enriches historical and classical liturature and makes it accessible to all readers.

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

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon
By Stephenie Meyer

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date: 2006
Pages: 563
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Paranormal
Days to Read: 7
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

I knew we were both in mortal danger. Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin. It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect – not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place.

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella could ever have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning

After rereading Twilight I knew I wanted to do a complete reread of the series. It has been a lot time since I have sat down and actually reread these books and the nostalgia is real!

If you don’t know Twilight follows our main character Bella as she moves to the town of Forks to live with her dad after she decides that her mum should go with her new husband on his travels as a minor league baseball player.

Once there we are introduced to the mysterious Edward and the ever friendly Jacob.

Within the sequel ‘New Moon’ Bella is faced with hreat break and forced to move on, however instead of doing so Bella decides to embark on fixing motorbikes with Jacob. The development of the relationship between Jacob and Bella is one that I will always enjoy. Both are a little over dramatic but I was defnitely here for it when I read it in high school and I’m here for it now.

Although New Moon develops the character of Bella from the inital book, I don’t find it to be a positive development. She seems like a classic over dramatic heart broken teen, who really can’t function without thier ‘Soulmate’. It’s definitely not healthy but it is I woulf say accurate to intense teenage romance.

The setting of LaPush is one that I’ve always injoyed in both movies and books. It is such an interesting place in terms of its history and the community aspect of the peoples of the reservation. There was a developemnt of the mythology that surrounds the tribe as well as a progression from beleiving the myth to realising its reality. The scenery was definitely one that really does encaptulate me when it comes to the Twilight Saga.

Overall this reread is one that brings up so much nostaligia as a reader. I am deeply enjoying my time revisting the Twilight Saga and experiencing the characters again.

Plot: 5/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 6.5/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 6/10
Overall: 4.5/5

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Skyward
by Brandon Sanderson
#1 Skyward

Publisher: Gollancz
Date: 2018
Pages: 513
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Science Fiction
Days to Read: 11
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. 

‘Skyward’ was the first Brandon Sanderson book that I picked up. I’ve been wanting to read something by the famous fantasy author and thought a YA science fiction was the way to do it.

Initially I found the start quite slow. I didn’t mind Spensa as a main character. She is strong and and independent. However, initially I wasn’t invested in her story. Once I got through the first fifty pages or so, It was a different story.

I began to enjoy following all of our characters and found diversity in their personalities. The first book in this series really focuses on Spensa’s father and how she must deal with everyone treating her as though she isn’t an individual person but simply a copy of her father.

When we got to the end of the story… Oh My Gosh I was on the edge of my seat, the plot twist was definitely something I didn’t see coming and I am eager to see how the story continues from where we left off in Skyward.

Brandon Sanderson’s writing is something that I finds builds the more you get into a story. It’s full of detail and allows the reader to become part of the story.

A great addition to the Young Adult Science Fiction genre.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 6/10
Character Development: 6.5/10
World Building: 7/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall: 3.5/5

What did you think of Skyward?

‘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

The Tea Dragon Society and The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

The Tea Dragon Society and The Tea Dragon Festival
by Katie O’Neill

Publisher: Oni Press
Date: 2017 & 2019
Pages: 208
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

The Tea Dragon Society

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

The Tea Dragon Festival

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

This has to be one of the cutest graphic novel ‘duologies’ that I’ve read. Tea Dragons are the most adorable characters ever and I want one of all of them because I cannot decide which is the cutest.

In these companion stories we explore a world where Tea Dragons exist. These are small dragons that grow flowers on their bodies which can be used to brew different teas. In the first one we are introduced to the whole concept of tea dragons and learn some of the history of them.

in ‘The Tea Dragon Festival’ we follow different characters within the same universe who awake a long slumber dragon who is celebrated within the village. We also have a deaf character in the story and I absolutely love how the character is represented in the story and how the format of a graphic novel is used to emphasis this.

The art style in both books used a lot of colour that is slightly muted through out. Its definitely a vibe I can get behind and really added to my enjoyment of the stories.

The dialogue is lyrical and magical and makes the story so sweet and enjoyable.

Both books are quick reads, they are definitely meant for a younger audience and I am so excited to share this with magical story with my children in the future – and maybe take it into work to share with my class!

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

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Queen of Nothing
by Holly Black
#3 Folk of the Air Series

Publisher: Little, Brown
Date: 2019
Pages: 300
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Days to Read: 12
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

‘Queen of Nothing’ was the final book in the folk of the air trilogy. This was a book that I hav been looking forward to at the end of ‘Wicked King’ – The second book in the series – we were left with a shifted world, particularly for Jude, our protagonist. I was in such anticipation of how this was all going to be wrapped up and ‘Queen of Nothing’ delivered.

When it comes to Fae stories I am a huge fan of how Sarah J. Maas portrays them. ‘The Cruel Prince’ was my first experience reading Holly Black’s portrayal and I found that I was enjoying the way they were written and saw a lot of what I had read previously in her writing. ‘Queen of Nothing’ stayed true and consistent to the characters we meet in ‘Cruel Prince’ witch great growth and development.

Both Jude and Cardan show a great amount of growth from our first encounter with them. Their growth was fluid for readers – something I find very important when engaging in a story – making us want to see them succeed. They way that every was tied together and wrapped up in our final book was something that I think was done well with the limited pages we got (300 is just not enough!)

Overall, if you enjoy reading fae stories the Folk of the Air series is one that you will enjoy. Throughout the three stories we see how typical fae characters interact with humans who have known the fae world for a very long time. It’s a story that will keep you engaged and hopeful for the characters.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Overall:3.5/5

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: 2011
Pages: 352
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Historical
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD Scribd

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

If you are just stumbling upon my blog with this review, first of all, Hi, my name is Kate. If there is something to know about its that I love all things mythology but what began my passion was Greek Myth, Legend and History. This is a relatively new thing that I have discovered about myself as I recently (in the last couple of years) visited Greece and went on a classical Greece tour which was utterly amazing and taught me so much about the incredible myths of the country. I also married a greek – opa! – which has not only made me an honorary greek but introduced me to a wealth of knowledge through his family.

After I read Circe also by Madeline Miller I knew that I would be picking up Song of Achilles. To be brief Song of Achilles follows Patroclus through his life and journey which finds him at the battle of Troy with the hero Achilles. The intricacies of this story are incredibly woven with the depth of the characters and a plot rich in history. I loved every minute of it. I felt as though I was sitting by a fireside drinking in the knowledge of a legendary story.

Patroclus really makes readers feel something. He is a character with great empathy for others and a desire to help people. He wishes to learn more about the people he encounters and not only teach them but also learn as much as he can from then. I felt his giving nature in all of his interactions with people.

The descriptions of both Pthia and Troy were incredibly rich in detail and as a reader I really felt as though I was in the story experiencing things along with our characters.

Song of Achilles is a story I cannot wait to revisit in the future and experience these amazing characters over and over again. If you are someone who enjoys Historical Fiction or Greek myth this book will definitely give you one incredible story.

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