Bookish Fun: Awesome International Book Covers

While the US and UK may have some lovely book covers, and I thoroughly enjoy comparing them with one another, at times I feel like we overlook some of the amazing international language editions of popular books. In some cases, they’re even nicer than the English editions! Last year I had a look at some international covers of popular YA books and I thought it might be nice to do this again but include Adult reads as well. So, here are some of the interesting covers I’ve found in my online exploration…

(Note: I’ve put either the US/UK cover on the far left for reference).

The 7 (1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

France, Portugal, Italy & Slovakia

While the US/UK cover for Evelyn Hardcastle has a clear 1920s vibe, in my opinion the international covers are much more interesting! The French version is very mystical with all the stars and the moon, which works considering this isn’t a traditional mystery. I’m not really sure why the manor is sideways on the Portuguese cover but I like the red & white colour scheme. The Italian cover is probably my favourite. It looks like paper tole art with all the layered elements and people peering ominously out from behind the pillars. I’m a big fan of the Slovak design, too, and like that they went down a different route, focusing on the mysterious man in the plague doctor mask.


The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Spain, Germany, Turkey & The Netherlands

I know, I feature this book a lot on my blog but I love it so, too bad. I would have used Circe but there aren’t many different covers for it. The Song of Achilles, however, has some super pretty foreign language editions. I am so in love with the Spanish version. Mainly because it’s foiled and shiny. Like, look at that gorgeousness! I adore the border on the German cover and, although you can’t see it from this image, all the beige sections such as the hair are foiled, too. Give me all the shiny books! The Turkish cover is similar to the original US cover in design but with extra detail and a more “classical” colour scheme. It works, though. The Dutch cover is fairly simple but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that shade of blue against the stark black is beautiful.


Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Sweden, Brazil, Russia/China & Japan

Most of the international covers for RW&RB have similar imagery and colours to the original. I’m not super fond of the Swedish cover but at least they tried something different. The Brazilian cover is very much like the original. The only real difference is the illustration style, which I like a lot better! They look so cute and fun. In complete contrast, we have the Russian cover (the Chinese cover uses the same image with a different border). It’s so serious looking and there isn’t much warmth. I would never have guessed it was a romance. With the Japanese cover we bounce back to the original’s vibes. The illustrations are sweet but they look slightly strange sitting in mid-air. Is it just me? At least the original’s figures were leaning on the title.


Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Poland, Turkey, Croatia & Norway

It turns out that the cover for Strange the Dreamer is pretty much straight up gorgeous all around the world. As you probably expected, lots and lots of moth designs. I generally like all the covers I’ve got listed here but that Turkish cover in bright sunshine yellow with blue accents is stunning. I also quite like the way the Norwegian cover has integrated the text into the moth’s wing. It’s still legible but looks different from the regular.


The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V. E. Schwab

France, Hungary, Bulgaria & Russia

For this one, many countries have embraced the US cover with the title in their own language, but there are several international covers which took different routes. The French cover keeps the US colour scheme but also includes a greyscale illustration of Addie. While I prefer the simplicity of the original, I do see a sort of haunting quality to this version. The Hungarian cover is completely different but I really like it. I think the layout is very nicely done and the soft pink/navy colour scheme is striking. The Bulgarian cover is a little odd but still nice. However, it does give me more of a science fiction vibe. Once again, the stars make an appearance, though. The Russian cover is hands down my favourite. I think I might even like it more than the original. It’s so dreamy looking for such a simple design.


Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

Japan, Greece, China & The Netherlands

The original cover for Where the Crawdads Sing is such a peaceful shot with a soft colour palette so I was interested to see how other countries had repackaged it. As it turns out, a lot of them took a like-minded approach just with different photography, like the Chinese cover. The Japanese cover is similar but I like that they’ve designed it like an oil painting, and the pink-purple colours are lovely. I find it so funny that the Greek cover went completely literal and smacked an actual crawdad on the cover. No mess, no fuss – here is a crustacean! The Dutch cover goes in a different direction to the others with the silhouette. I don’t mind this image but I wish there was slightly more contrast between the green foliage and the blue background.


Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Iran/Persia, France, Serbia & Israel

Like Addie La Rue, most of the international SoC covers are reworkings of the US/UK cover but I still found a few different ones. The Iranian/Persian cover is 100% my favourite. I’ve noticed that they seem to prefer using realistic-style illustrations in those countries. I love how Kaz is at the front, Inej in the top left corner & the rest of the crows in the back. It’s wonderfully dramatic. The French cover is quite clean and I like the crow image against the off-white background. The figures at the bottom are okay but could be more identifiable. The Serbian cover is another good one – great atmosphere and the decision to use Kaz’s cane as the focus was a solid one. It fits nicely against the original cover. The Hebrew edition isn’t my favourite but it’s not bad. The crow positioning is good and I like that they’ve tried to include some Fjerdan imagery at the bottom. It could be more visually dynamic, though.


The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Korea, Japan, Georgia & Italy

Okay, I love all of these. Admittedly, cover designers for the The Night Circus had a romantic, fun subject matter and nice colour scheme to work with, so they were bound to come up with some pretty lovely imagery. These all look so mystical, dramatic and intriguing, but I think the Japanese and Georgian covers might be my favourites.


The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Vietnam, Finland, Bangladesh and Italy

A book cover which features books, what could be more perfect? And these are all lovely in their own ways. The Vietnamese cover is my favourite. I love it so much – it looks magical. The Finnish cover is very tidy but it works. I appreciate the clean lines, plus the layout makes the title stand out. The Bangladeshi cover is kind of abstract but I like how the green and yellow stand out, and all the little images woven into the hair. The Italian cover seems like complete chaos at first but I think the pastels in the colour scheme and the white border pull it back for me.


Normal People – Sally Rooney

Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway & Slovenia

I really like each of these international Normal People covers. I’ve never been enthusiastic about the original US or UK covers so it was nice to explore some alternates. The colouring and layout for the Czech cover is great (love a good orange/blue combo). The only thing that bugs me is the empty eyes on the illustrations. The contrast on the Portugese cover is pretty cool – one dark half, one light, one figure looking forward, the other away. The colour scheme for the Norwegian cover is nice and the boxy layout is very modern and funky. The Slovenian cover is simple, much like the UK cover, and the yellow background reminds me of Conversations with Friends. I love the clean lettering and the illustration is nicely symbolic of the main characters’ bond.


Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Germany, Hungary, Indonesia & Sweden

Covers for Station Eleven tend to fall into two categories – pretty/starry landscapes or full blown apocalypse (Google Lithuanian’s Vienuolika stotis and Japan’s ステーション・イレブン for examples). All of the covers above are nice in different ways. Germany has the starry sky and pastel colours, Hungary’s is another example of my fave orange/blue contrast again, Indonesia balances mysterious with ominous, and Sweden’s looks like travel poster art.


The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Bulgaria, Vietnam, Poland & China

There aren’t a lot of differently designed covers for The Bone Season but of those I found, there were several pretty nice ones. I really like the Bulgarian cover. It retains the image from the original in the middle but I’m really drawn to the addition of the cards, bones and mist surrounding it in that lovely blue. The Vietnamese cover is quite gothic looking. I find it interesting that they took the UK/US symbol and made it out of actual bones. It all feels very horror-esque. The Polish cover has a similar vibe to the original but with different imagery. I think the sun design is striking, especially against the blue. The Chinese cover isn’t my favourite, but it’s attractive in a sci-fi way.


Did any of these covers catch your eye more than their UK/US equivalent? If so, why? It definitely makes you want to try learning another language, or at least it makes me want to!

What’s your favourite international edition of an English language book?

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Books Published in the Past Ten Years

I can say with 100% certainty that this was not one of the easiest Top 10 Tuesday topics I’ve ever done. And by not easy, I mean extremely difficult. Not only did it require a good deal of research but, is it just me or are a crazy number of amazing books all from the same publication year? For this reason, I wouldn’t really consider this to be a true favourite books list. There are some years where I really didn’t read all that many things I absolutely adored, while there are others which sent me into a massive meltdown with just how many books I wanted to list. So, I may…have cheated and done multiples for certain years. I’m terrible at choosing things, alright??? With 2019 only less than half way through, this list will cover 2009-2018. Gosh, I hope I got the publication years right…*breathes heavily*


2009

city of glass (The Mortal Instruments 3#) by cassandra clare

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As I’ve recently re-read this one, I’m confident that I still really enjoy it. It’s a worthy favourite from 2009 (not that there were many options to pick from). I was off the charts excited for this release when I was a teen, back during my big Cassie Clare fan period. This book is probably my favourite TMI book overall – the side characters get more of the limelight, there’s a big battle between shadowhunters and demons, a lot of the major questions get answered, and & Alec and Magnus are just cute.

2010

The Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices 1#) by Cassandra Clare & Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy 5#) by Richelle Mead

Another Clare book, surprisingly. I’ve always had a thing for Victorian English settings and the fact that Clockwork Angel has great characters, hilarious dialogue and features the shadow hunter world building from TMI, means it hooked me pretty quickly. The series also happens to feature one of the only love triangles I’m okay with. I definitely have to do a reread of this one at some point.

I really love the VA books (she says for the millionth time). I remember being so excited when this finally came out. I started reading it as soon as my mum popped it into my hot little hands. While book four was just okay, I really enjoyed book five. A prison break out, trip to Vegas, hopes for my favourite ship rekindled, and a twist ending. I was mighty keen to get book six as soon as possible.

2011

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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While I read this in 2018, it was actually released seven years before and somehow I missed it! I loved this book, far more than Miller’s later (and, I think, more popular) release, Circe. It’s just the perfect blend of everything you could possibly want – romance, action, history and mythology, and even though you know it’s going to end tragically, you still hope for a happier ending. Honestly, I would gladly get my heart broken over and over again by this book.

2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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This was a struggle year to pick for because unlike some of the others further down, I haven’t read many books published in 2012 that I consider to be the-best-thing-ever. In the end, I’ve gone with The Selection in all its trashy glory because yes, it’s ridiculous, stupid, fluffy and has a protagonist who’s incredibly frustrating at times, but it’s the perfect choice for when I want to switch my brain completely off. This is comfort reading at its best. I can’t tackle literary masterpieces all the time.

2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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This year was still slightly a struggle to pick for because while I do have a couple of books I quite enjoyed from 2013, they’re still only 4 star reads. I’ve read The Bone Season twice now and raced through it enjoyably each time. Sure, there’s quite a bit of info dumping to get through and the magic system is kind of confusing but the plot is engaging, the characters are likeable, there’s romance without it taking over everything, and I just can’t help getting swept up in it all.

2014

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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This is another series that I’ve mentioned many times on my blog since I read it in 2018, but it’s only because I enjoyed them so darn much. After a slow start, RR really found its feet and it ended up being a little bit Hunger Games-esque only with more scheming, blood, and on a grander scale. This was actually only a 4.5 Star read for me and I even rated the next two books higher, however, in comparison to other books I’ve read from 2014, this one comes out on top (but only just slightly!).

2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo & A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Lord help me. Remember those meltdowns I mentioned? Half of them were because of this damn wonderful year of books. As I’ve already given the Red Rising series some love, it’s SoC & ADSOM who’ll be taking the prize for this 2015.

Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard of these two amazing reads? Both of them feature fantastic fantasy worlds and a great cast of characters who very quickly force you to fall in love with them. There’s adventure, humour, magic, friendship, strong women, high stakes, and I enjoy every minute of these two stories. If people are looking for fantasy recommendations, these books are 100% at the top of the list.

2016

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR 2#) by Sarah J. Maas & Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Twenty-Sixteen was another glorious year for books, friends. Even narrowing it down to these two was hard, not that they’ll come as a surprise.

While ACOTAR was an average read for me, ACOMAF was five stars all around. It introduces so many fabulous characters, and the slow burn romance is just, like, YES. This is what I want and never seem to get. Another series I really need to re-read.

Nevernight is the bloody, dark, and exciting read I didn’t know I needed. Assassin school is probably all I really needed to know. Yeah, the writing style is odd to get used to at first, but afterwards it’s easy to get on board. Mia is my girl and the fact that I once lived without knowing Mr Kindly, is sad indeed.

2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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TSHOEH was my number one read of 2018 and while there were some really great books published in 2017, this one is the definite winner. I adored this novel. The characters and setting are wonderfully rich and detailed, the romance is beautifully done, the sexual diversity is fantastic, the structure and style is perfectly suited to the story being told….really, I could go on for ages. It’s brilliant and I’ll recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

2018

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Gosh, I loved this book. I tend to gravitate more towards fantasy than sci-fi normally but it’s books like this that remind me just how much I enjoy it. Sanderson is absolute magic. His characters are great, the plot is exciting, world building exceptional, and it’ll even make you laugh. I already know this will be on my best reads of 2019 list (yes, I know I took a while to finally read it). I honestly can’t wait for the sequel later this year.

There we have it! Ten years in books. It was really interesting to look at just how long it took me to read certain books after they were published, especially ones that ended up being favourites. The fact that I now read a lot more books during the year and that these tend to be ones published in the last couple of years made certain entries for this list quite challenging but it was certainly an experience.

What are some of your favourite books from the last ten years?

TTT is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl

Top 10 Tuesday: My Favourite Series

Recently I stumbled upon an old video by book vlogger, Christine Riccio, in which she was talking through her top ten favourite book series. Suddenly I thought, you know what, why don’t I do that as a Top Ten Tuesday topic? (I mean, I never seem to do the set topics like I’m supposed to anyway…)

Of course, then I realised that picking my favourite series is actually ridiculously hard and involves a lot of questions of ‘would I rather read this or that’? And, ‘is it how I feel about the series now or are we going retrospective here’? Decisions, decisions… *shakes head* Anyway, so these are the ten I’ve ended up with and to my surprise there’s actually a lot of books I’ve only discovered in the last two years.

So the rules are simple:

  1. The series must consist (or will consist once they’re all released) of at least three books. That means no duologies – sorry, Six of Crows.
  2. I must have read at least two books in the series for it to count.

Sounds simple enough right?

Of course it’s not bloody simple. Being a bookworm is NEVER simple, I tell ya. But regardless, here they are, in no particular order (because having to do it like that might actually kill me):

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As if you didn’t see this coming. HP is my favourite series of all time. I could read these every year until the day I die and still not get sick of them (…probably). I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with them but they’re still just as good as the first time. Every time I read them, I laugh, fall into the pits of sadness, and experience that strange sense of wonder that only the magic of Harry Potter can provide. These are the ultimate comfort books and one day, if I ever have kids, I’ll be cracking out my illustrated editions to hopefully instil the same love and appreciation in them.

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Ah, VA. You have such a terrible name and teenager-y covers and yet, the wonders you hold inside… I’ve read this series so many times and I love it. Love, love, LOVE it. So many vampire books from this period slowly became cliché or lost their “sparkle” as I aged (get it? I made a terrible Twilight joke) but these ones are still gold.  Rose remains one of my favourite protagonists, I adore the friendship between Rose and Lissa, there’s an adequate amount of kicking ass, and the dialogue is still hilarious. Plus, I’ll likely ship Rose & Dimitri til the day I die. In other words, it’s the perfect recipe for a great series as far as I’m concerned.

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My discovery from 2017 and I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. Book three doesn’t come out until later this year but good things come to those who wait. The series has a unique, amusing and sometimes brash narrator, world building based on ancient Rome, an absolute bad-ass main character in Mia, and really interesting magical elements.  Godsgrave was the first sequel in a while that I was desperately keen to get my hands on the day and minute it came out (and I wasn’t disappointed!), and I feel like that adequately sums up my love for these books.

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Ah, Schwaby. Your novels make my little bookish heart sing. I adore the characters, world building, magic, and storytelling. Her writing is fantastic and I love it so much that I can’t wait to read them all again without having to wait in between novels.  This series has parallel universes, powerful magics, charismatic pirates, a thief, racially and sexually diverse characters, and an exciting plot in every book. Adventuring with Kell, Rhy, Lila and Alucard is where it’s at, guys.

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I fell in love with this series when I was about ten years old and it’s still one of my favourites. Sure, it has a lot of stuff I now know to be fantasy tropes but I don’t really care. Alanna is the definition of a strong female MC – willing to spend years as a boy just to become a knight. There’s a love triangle with a prince and a thief, a war,  a conniving magician after the throne, quests to far off places, magical artefacts, goddesses, and well, everything my fantasy loving heart desires. Better yet, the books are super short and perfect for reading in an afternoon when you’re stuck at home.

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Yep, I’m a cookie cutter YA fantasy fan. I ain’t ashamed  of it. You guys know all about this one, I’m sure. This series re-interested me in faerie stories. While book one was a bit average, books two and three are fantastic. The fantasy world is well developed, all of the major characters are fleshed out and loveable, there’s a strong and emotionally realistic female protagonist, and the romance is gradually built up and balanced. There’s magic (which I’m always a sucker for), battles, betrayals, many, many couples to ship, and emotional turmoil. Definite winner.

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The newest addition to this list. I actually had to make some modifications to my original draft because I knew I needed this one on here. For the first 50 or so pages of RR I was so bored but then we hit Darrow’s transformation from red to gold and I was hooked. Space battles, squabbling and politics between powerful families, revenge vendettas, a group of rebels determined to overthrow a cruel regime, friendships and betrayals, gasp worthy twists, just everything really. Impossible to put down sci-fi.

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Okay, I’ll admit, I still haven’t read the last book in this series – I WILL GET THERE! I’ve read book 3 once and I’ve read books 1 & 2 a bazillion times. Once again this is another series I now know has a lot of fantasy tropes in it but don’t care. I love it. It’s the definitive dragons in fantasy series for me. Eragon and Saphira make the perfect team and I love nothing better than following them around Alegaesia in their quests to overthrow the evil  Galbatorix. There’s also amusing dwarf sidekicks, MORE magic and an awesome warrior-elf princesses. Just don’t talk to me about that travesty of a movie.

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This series is just so much fun. It’s funny, ridiculously action packed, and has actually managed to successfully get me with multiple plot twists. I mean, a hacker with pink hair, crazy AI, zombie-like outbreak, and an interstellar war. Who could say no to that? I’m really excited to get my hands on book three in March because I know it’s bound to be awesome. I also love the variations in writing style which are so different from the things I normally read and give the books a little something extra.

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Everyone needs a guilty pleasure series and this is mine. Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors. She writes complex, witty female characters (which Georgina is, for sure), and she’s always able to make me laugh out loud. I’ll admit that this series does have a bit of a weak point around book four but overall it’s fun, sexy and really entertaining. But then again, what else would you expect of a series about a succubus?

Bonus

This was HARD okay. I just love too many books. AHHHH!! So two more bonus series just for fun.

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This isn’t a series for everyone – there’s a lot of information to take in about the world itself but if you can get past that, it’s fab. The story evolves quite a bit over time with different elements of the world and characters being fleshed out as you go along. Paige is a solid protagonist in her balance between strong and vulnerable, there’s an interesting magic system, and a good blend between the bigger stakes of the dystopian world with the issues of the criminal underworld.

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The good old Hunger Games. What can I say about this except that it’s a fantastic dystopian YA series with good world building, a strong protagonist, and a great concept. I’ve read these through several times and they’re still exciting reads that manage to drive knives through your gut (repeatedly) whilst still managing to give you some hope for the future.

Let’s Talk:

What are some of your favourite series? Are any of these in your top 10 or are you thinking about reading them some time soon?

Love Ashley

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (A Re-Read)

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Bloomsbury | August, 2013 | p. 452

I first read TBS back in 2013 and was super excited to get my hands on The Mime Order when it came out in 2015. Over two years later, here I am, eager to start flipping pages on The Song Rising EXCEPT, I have a problem: amongst all the waiting for the next instalment I’ve gotten a little hazy on the details. Do I remember the major events? Yes. However, I know the minute I pull back that lovely white and orange cover Samantha Shannon’s intricate word building is going to hit me like a truck at top speed. And so it’s clearly time for…

A RE-READ!

Just like last time, I tore through TBS in the space of three days. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away and I’m happy to report that my previous rating holds up the second time through.

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the GR synopsis:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. 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.

The first few pages of this book are not easy to get through, regardless of whether it’s your first time or not. It’s easy to feel discouraged because to put it bluntly, the first 10% or so of the book is DENSE. Shannon has created a wonderfully detailed and complex world for her stories but boy, is it difficult to get a handle on. History, government organisations, geography, characters, clairvoyance, technology, politics –it hits you over the head like a piano in an old Looney Toons cartoon.  No-one’s a fan of massive info dumps but in this case I understand why Shannon’s done it. There’s a lot of information to get through in this new world and in order to understand the plot, you need to have a basic grasp on a lot of it. My advice: sticker the clairvoyance chart at the beginning and the glossary at the end – you’re going to need them, a lot. Shannon also likes to incorporate a lot of world specific slang into her writing. Just when you think you know vaguely what’s going on, she throws another unfamiliar term at you. This didn’t really bother me as much as it did other people because much of it can be determined from context, and the ones that can’t become less of a problem as you go on.

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Plot wise, it’s important to know going in that while the beginning and end are fairly action packed sections, the rest of the novel is a bit slower with a few exceptional chapters. This is because these parts of the novel are centred upon (a) character building – particularly Paige’s, (b) Paige learning about her situation and working out how to get out of it, and (c) developing Paige’s relationships. For me, this was enough to keep me wanting more. Both A and C are dealt with through the help of flashbacks. I know a lot of people hate this technique but here they serve to aid our understanding of who Paige is. More importantly, they give us an idea about the London crime syndicate and characters that become prominent in The Mime Order. A lot of the book is devoted to Paige’s conversations with certain people so if this doesn’t float your boat, maybe stay away. The characters around Sheol I are decent enough, but all of the members of the Seven dials are compelling, even though they’re developed to varying degrees.  Nevertheless, the most important of Paige’s relationships is that formed with her Rephaite keeper, the Warden. Warden is an interesting and complex character, and it takes time to understand him and his intentions. As a key part of the novel, it’s also engaging to watch his and Paige’s relationship gradually develop over the six month period as they come to understand one another and build up trust. *spoiler* I will say though that the romantic jump does feel a little bit too sudden despite the ground gained. *spoiler over*

Paige herself, in my opinion, remains a likeable character. She’s strong, emotionally and physically, but comes with limits and vulnerabilities. She refuses to give up despite the apparent hopelessness of her situation and is constantly on the move, trying new things and searching for any piece of information that’ll help. And yet, she’s also flawed and doesn’t always come out on top. When she does, she needs help. In this way, she feels like an actual person, someone who makes mistakes and has a lot of room to grow throughout the series, which is a great thing.

The novel’s magic system is quite confusing and a little over complicated, and I still find myself a little unsure about it. However, I’ve found that with TBS it’s definitely possible to enjoy the use of magic and references to it without grasping the full picture. People sending images to people’s minds, controlling ghosts, and telling the future with tarot cards is still awesome even if you don’t understand the why.  I liked reading about Paige developing and learning more about her abilities. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good training session in a novel, especially where magic is concerned, and it’s nice to know that Paige is still somewhat at the beginning of understanding what clairvoyants can do, much like us, the reader.

While I recognise quite a few issues with TBS from a writing standpoint, I still can’t help but find that I really enjoy reading it. Even though it’s complicated, the world is compelling, and the characters are fantastic. There’s action, magic, romance, mystery, criminals, monsters, ghosts, alternate dimensions, and I just can’t help but be completely swept up by it all. I think that in this case, TBS is just one of those books where either you’ll be completely put off or, despite the mental haze, you’ll be more than happy to be along for the ride. Lucky for me, I fall into the latter group.

Have you read The Bone Season? What were your thoughts on it?

Happy reading!

Love ash

 

 

 

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June TBR

When I began my blog, one of my main motivations was the desire to encourage myself to read more and get back on track with old reading habits. So, in pursuit of that I’ve decided to set myself a reading goal of six books this month! In recent months I’ve only really been making it through about two a month, so this is kind of a big deal for me. Fingers crossed I can pull it off.  I’m not allowed to buy any books this month because the TBR pile is getting out of control (but birthday gifts are of course exempt from the rule). Here are the books I’m hoping to be able to cross off that massive TBR list this month:

A Court of Wings and Ruin (Sarah J. Maas)

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Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

I’ve actually just finished this as of yesterday afternoon so clearly I’m off to a great start on my goal. My goodness, it was thick (I think I need to aim for something under 500 pages for my next book) but honestly once you hit a major war in a book, it’s pretty difficult to put down.

The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)

The Raven Boys

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I’ve heard this is a great book so I’m really excited to give it a go. Hopefully the plot is as good as people have said and I’m left eager to get stuck into the rest of the series. I read a couple of Maggie’s Shiver novels ages ago and the writing was quite lovely. Also, I’ve heard she designed all the stunning covers for this series herself!

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

This has been on my shelf since last year. I keep putting it off for some reason so I definitely think it’s time to get into it this month. Thanks to Beth from Reading Every Night for the reminder in her Standalone Sunday post from the other day.

This Savage Song (V. E. Schwab)

TSS

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I enjoyed Schwab’s novel Vicious and absolutely loved her Darker Shade of Magic books. With the sequel, Our Dark Duet, coming out this month there’s no better time to get stuck into reading This Savage Song.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)

GLPPS

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

It’s important to have a little variety amongst all the YA and fantasy going on. I’ve heard lovely things about this particular book. I don’t usually like novels told in letters or messages, diary entries, etc. I’m hoping this will be one of the rare exceptions I come across.

Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

strange the dreamer.jpg

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

I didn’t fall in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone the way a lot of other people did so I’m hoping this will be the book that shows me the magic of Laini Taylor. I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous cover! I’ve heard that a couple of people felt this book was extremely overrated and then there were others who thought it was amazing so hopefully I end up falling in the latter camp.

BONUS – If I manage to somehow exceed my own expectations:

The Bone Season Series

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. 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.

I read both The Bone Season and The Mime Order shortly after each was released and loved them. I really, really want to read The Song Rising but unfortunately with the time between book releases, I feel like I’ve forgotten a lot of important details so I’d love to do a re-read of the first two books before tackling book 3. I guess we’ll see what happens.

What books are you planning to hit up this month?


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Top 10 Tuesday: Kick-Ass Female Characters

Today marks the beginning of June, a new season, and the second half of the year. Woo! However, today is also the day that the DC comics’ movie, Wonder Woman, opens in cinemas. This is the first big comic book movie ever to focus on a female protagonist. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal! I’m super excited to see the film and it’s got me thinking about the many other wonderfully strong, brave, determined, and just generally kick-ass women who have their origins on the page. There are so many amazing women that come to mind that limiting my list to 10 is a crime, so for now, here’s fourteen:

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter Series)

It’s impossible to leave Hermione off any list of this nature. She’s kind, courageous, and incredibly smart. While Harry may have been the chosen one, without Hermione both he and Ron would most certainly have died (many times) over the years, and failed a heap of school assignments along the way. Whether she’s solving riddles, crafting massively complicated potions well beyond her years, or erasing someone’s memory, Hermione is most certainly the best person to have in any magical situation.

Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)

If there’s one thing you can say about Sarah J. Maas, she knows how to write strong, bad-ass women. As a trained assassin, Celaena knows just about every which way to make a person hurt and yet, still takes a great deal of pride in her femininity. When someone can kick your ass wearing a dress and high heels, you know they’re definitely not someone you want to piss off.  Having lost her family and spent several years as a slave, Celaena hasn’t let her suffering slow her down. This is a girl who knows how to best serve revenge: ice cold.

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss goes through quite a bit over the course of her life – the death of her father, extreme poverty and almost starvation, risking a lifetime of slavery to hunt for game, and that’s all before the books even begin! She’s agile, strong, and a wiz with a bow and arrow, but more importantly, she’s not afraid to throw herself into danger to help the people she cares about or fight back against those who prey on the weak. Even through all of her suffering, Katniss never loses her exceptionally kind heart and it’s from this that she draws her enduring strength of character.

Delilah ‘Lila’ Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic)

A thief, a pirate, a magician, is there anything Lila can’t do? Having been on her own for most of her life, Lila has had to keep herself alive on the rough streets of London. An adventurer at heart, Lila is willing to throw herself into new languages, skills, lands, and experiences without so much as batting an eyelash. Where she finds herself at a physical disadvantage, she relies on quick and creative thinking to get out of tough situations. In doing so, she proves that size and strength are no indication of the trials one may overcome and the enemies they can defeat.

Feyre Archeron (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

My most recently discovered kick-ass protagonist. With her varied and powerful magical abilities, strong will, and determination to protect the human race, she most certainly belongs on this list. Feyre isn’t afraid to speak her mind and call someone out when they’re being a prick. She’s also constantly working to better herself and improve her usefulness to others. Most importantly, she can kill a giant worm utilising only some mud and a couple of old broken bones. If that isn’t kick-ass, I don’t know what is.

Lisbeth Salander (The Millennium Series)

Having grown up with an abusive father, been admitted to a psychiatric facility as a teenager, and survived a sexual assault as an adult, Lisbeth’s life is not a happy one and it’s sometimes difficult to understand how she remains as strong as she does. An exceptional hacker with a photographic memory, Lisbeth is intelligent, calculating, and unafraid of personal expression, even where it makes others uncomfortable. No matter how bad the situation, she never stops fighting. As someone who ties up and tattoos her rapist, sets a man on fire, and even survives being buried alive, Lisbeth is most certainly a kick-ass heroine.

Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)

Inej, or The Wraith, is the right hand woman to thief extraordinaire, Kaz Brekker. Reserved, spiritual, and honest, Inej has the balance and flexibility of an acrobat, and the strength and knife skills of a warrior. Often filling the role of spy, Inej spends much of her time traversing the roof tops of Ketterdam. Kidnapped and sold into prostitution at fourteen, Inej somehow manages to retain an underlying belief in the goodness of others. As someone who is able to move through the night without making a noise, defeat trained assassins, and scale heated metal chutes with only a pair of rubber soled shoes to assist her, Inej is in good company on this list.

Paige Mahoney (The Bone Season)

Paige, also known as the Pale Dreamer, is a member of one of the rarer clairvoyant categories in Scion. She’s powerful enough to enter dreamscapes and push people’s souls out of their bodies. This would be badass on its own but on top of her magical abilities, Paige is also a part of the Seven Seals, one of the more powerful gangs in Scion’s criminal underworld. Her time with such a group has made her very capable of protecting herself, skilled in picking up on small details, and unwilling to give up when the going gets tough.

Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Clarice is a student at the FBI academy and determined to prove herself in a field largely dominated by men. Despite her inexperience and extreme discomfort, Clarice constantly throws herself into each stage of the Buffalo Bill investigation. While others doubt her investigative efforts and hunches, it is through careful questioning, reviewing of the evidence, and persistence that Clarice digs up the necessary clues to identify Bill. With no back up and only her side arm to protect her, Clarice takes on Bill in a final showdown, her success resting on quick thinking and smart use of FBI training.

Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy)

A trained dhampir guardian, Rose is direct, witty, protective, and kicks a lot of ass. Over the course of six books, she decapitates strigoi, overcomes death (repeatedly), fights back against bullies, discovers a way to retrieve her boyfriend’s soul, and travels half way across the world to fulfil a promise. At first a little arrogant, Rose grows and develops, and eventually comes to realise that protecting Moroi isn’t as simple as she’d once thought. She’ll make you laugh, make you cry, and in the end you’ll believe, with a little help from her friends, there’s almost nothing she can’t do.

Kady Grant (The Illuminae Files)

The second hacker on this list, Kady is stubborn, extremely tech savvy, and not afraid to bend the rules from time to time. She’s a bit of a flirt, a little snappy, and likes to go in guns blazing. But when your planet gets attacked, your AI goes psycho, and a zombie outbreak hits your ship, this is the girl you want on your team. She reboots entire computer systems, tracks down even the most secure information, can survive a ship full of murderous infected people, and somehow stays on the good side of the crazy AI. Definite kick-ass protagonist material there.

Irene (The Invisible Library)

Irene is a librarian. An awesome librarian. One who jumps between different universes, fights fey, makes deals with dragons, and solves mysteries with Sherlock Holmes like detectives. She’s level headed, articulate, and yet still able to deliver a beat down to pesky werewolves if need be. Irene is the kind of heroine who will bravely rush in to save a friend but she’ll damn well do her best to plan it out beforehand. If that’s not possible, she’s an expert in improvisation. Plus, you can’t help but love a character with the same appreciation for books as the reader.

Daenerys Targaryen & Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)

It seemed unfair to pick between these two wonderful female characters. Martin’s women are all well-developed, complicated, and just as strong as the men (in many cases even stronger). Both Dany and Arya have suffered great personal losses and been forced to leave their homes because of them. However, both have also worked extremely hard to reshape themselves into people who can claim what they are due, by force if necessary, and will get revenge for those they have lost. Dany and Arya are determined and resilient characters, and although one may show strength through dragons, and the other a “needle”, each is set to accomplish big things in books to come.


Who are some of your favourite kick-ass heroines?