King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.
Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.
I decided to try this book after being recommended it late last year (you can read more about that here).
Wheeler’s writing style appeals to me. Despite using ‘fancy’ words like “forsooth”, he is still able to keep the language accessible and this story was a quick and easy read. The magical world that the story is set in was also different enough to hold my interest, while also keeping some familiar tropes.
I did struggle a bit with the age of the main character. There seemed to be some inconsistencies in the way that Owen was portrayed in terms of his maturity and how he would handle situations. While he did grow throughout the story, it wasn’t always a linear development. Having Owen be 8 years old was a difficult ask. He was, I think, perhaps a bit too young? Other than obsessively playing with bricks (a ‘young’ thing to do), the rest of what he got up to could just have easily been done by say an 11 year old. The fact that he was playing with a girl who already knew she would marry Owen when she was older felt a little odd for them both to be so young. I’m not sure, it just didn’t seem to sit quite right with me.
While I haven’t picked up the next book in the series yet, I would like to read it. There is a jump in time for the next book which doesn’t leave me with the need to rush out and find out what happened next. That’s isn’t to say that a time jump is a bad thing. I think it will be helpful for Owen to have had some time to grow up a bit.
Book Titles: ‘The Wretched of Muirwood’ (Book #1) | ‘The Blight of Muirwood’ (Book #2) | ‘The Scourge of Muirwood’ (Book #3)
Author: Jeff Wheeler
Series: Legends of Muirwood
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic
‘The Wretched of Muirwood’ (Book #1) In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write. All but doomed, her days are spent toiling away as a kitchen slave under the charge of the Aldermaston, the Abbey’s watchful overseer. But when an injured squire named Colvin is abandoned at the kitchen’s doorstep, an opportunity arises. The nefarious Sheriff Almaguer soon starts a manhunt for Colvin, and Lia conspires to hide Colvin and change her fate. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right. At once captivating, mysterious, and magic-infused, The Wretched of Muirwood takes the classic fantasy adventure and paints it with a story instantly epic, and yet, all its own.
‘The Blight of Muirwood’ (Book #2) The Aldermaston, the protector of Muirwood Abbey, is directed by the Medium to make Lia the new hunter of Muirwood. This will take some doing and a lot of training, but with leather bracers, a shooting glove, and quivers in hand, Lia rises to the challenge. Her first real order is to protect Ellowyn Demont from rivals like the Queen Dowager and the Earl of Dieyre. Lia knows very little about the princess’s land of Pry-Ree, but when Ellowyn is abducted, Lia will join forces with Colvin to bring her back. Lia and Colvin must venture into the heart of a fallen kingdom, one devastated by an encroaching sickness called the Blight. It is here that a dark new secret is revealed – one that will make safeguarding the Abbeys nearly impossible.
‘The Scourge of Muirwood’ (Book #3) When a deadly plague is unleashed in the land of Muirwood, the fate of the world is placed in the hands of a young woman named Lia. Charged to be a magical protector, Lia volunteers to be sent on a desperate quest to rescue the squire Colvin, her love, and his pupil Ellowyn Demont, the alleged heir to the fallen kingdom of Pry-Ree. Still recovering from the injuries of her last adventures, Lia sets off across land and sea warning the kingdom of the oncoming plague. The journey leads her to Dochte Abbey, where her friends are supposedly held. Instead, though, a fallen enemy lies in wait for her, as well as an unbearable new truth. The revelation will force Lia to choose between the lives of her closest friends and her deepest desires…
The trouble with reviewing books is deciding whether or not you should be objective or subjective. That’s why I take the easy route and just share my experiences while reading. I read the three books in very quick succession, so it is hard for me to remember which book things happened in. Hence the series review.
I really enjoyed Wheeler’s writing style. The characters had an engaging (at least for me) way of interacting with each other. That helped me become engrossed in the world and invest in the characters. I have noticed that I am now increasingly picky about writing style and narrative voice. I just don’t have any tolerance for stories where I find those things jarring (hence why I gave up on ‘A Glimmer of Hope’ after only 11%).
I was pretty sure I knew Lia’s secret from early on the in story, and although there were attempts to convince me I had it wrong eventually I was proved right. My main motivation for devouring the books so quickly though was not the magic or the intrigue. It wasn’t learning about how society worked in the world. Nope. It was the romance.
And I hate myself a little bit for it.
Remember when you read the ‘Twilight’ saga in a matter of days because the angst was just so real you became addicted to it? A similar thing happened to me in this series. Now please don’t misunderstand me, these books are FAR superior to ‘Twilight’ but as the story lost its way a little bit across the three books I just kept reading. I read past bits that made me momentarily think ‘huh?’ so that I could see the lovers finally unite.
The world created in the Muirwood series is explored by Wheeler in another series but I won’t be picking those up. The last book just left me feeling meh. Which is a real shame, because for most of the series I was much more engaged than that.
So would I recommend The Legends of Muirwood? Yes. Definitely books 1 and 2, and then prepared to be a bit disappointed with the third one.
Book Title: The Red House Mystery Author: A.A. Milne Series: N/A Genres: Mystery, Classics, Crime Format: Paperback
Far from the gentle slopes of the Hundred Acre Wood lies The Red House, the setting for A.A Milne’s only detective story, where secret passages, uninvited guests, a sinister valet and a puzzling murder lay the foundations for a classic crime caper. And when the local police prove baffled, it is up to a guest at a local inn to appoint himself ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and, together with his friend and loyal ‘Watson’, delve deeper into the mysteries of the dead man.
‘The Red House Mystery’ is a lost gem from a time before Tigger and a perfectly crafted whodunit with witty dialogue, deft plotting and a most curious cast of characters.
As soon as I saw that the legendary A. A. Milne had written a mystery novel I knew I needed to read it. I bought it back in January during my birthday book haul but it took me until August to actually get around to it.
Unusually for me I also read the introduction. To hear the author talk in that familiar style about his writing process was fascinating to me. As was his use of the word “watsonize” which may be my favourite thing to come out of reading it.
The story itself was frightfully British and in the ilk of Agatha Christie. There is a grand house and a visitor who sticks his nose in while trying to solve the crime. While this isn’t a ground breaking formula, it is something I can read time and time again without getting bored.
The twists and turns in this mystery really kept me guessing (as proved by my tweets below).
I finished this treat of a book this weekend📙📖📚 Quick first thoughts: 1. Loved the writing style 2. The characters were fun 3. It kept you guessing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I'll write a more detailed review when I am back from my week away https://t.co/xGkJH9gqD3pic.twitter.com/9eI0JkhoOI
Book Title: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Author: Akira Himekawa Series: The Legend of Zelda #3 Genres: Sequential Art > Manga, Graphic Novel, Fantasy Format: Paperback
After sealing Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, Link returns to the time when he was a boy. Peace has returned to Hyrule, but his old friend Navi is missing. While wandering the forest in search of Navi, he meets Skull Kid, who is wearing Majora’s Mask, an artifact said to grant your wishes. The mischievous Skull Kid steals the Ocarina of Time from Link and turns Link into a Deku Nut!
I’m not usually one for skipping mid-way into a series but this was the first edition available back on Free Comic Book Day when I picked it up. I was excited to dive into my second manga after reading Pokemon earlier in the year.
I like to think that reading manga is reading outside of my comfort zone. Considering both of my manga reads to date have been about video games I have played, I think perhaps I am kidding myself on that one.
It was initially weird to me that the character of Link was able to talk in the story. He is notoriously silent in the video game but once I was a few pages in I was enjoying reliving the excitement of the game through the book. There are some understandable differences in the story line and these edited out a lot of what you experience as you play through the game. It didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment though. It was still a nostalgic read.
There is an additional short story at the end that left me perplexed. Now I am very good at imagery, symbolism, reading between the lines etc. but I just didn’t get it. That left a rather sour taste for me.
This is very much a book that fans will enjoy. I’m not sure how well others would appreciate it.
Taking that into account, overall this is a 4* read.
The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18posts here.
Oh dear. No British Books were read in April or May. Whoops. Only 4 days into June however I have already read one. Yay me! Lets hope this is a sign of a better month.
Rachel Ward is not an author I had heard of before #YAShot2018 back in April. I took a workshop with her where she read the first couple of pages of ‘Numbers’ and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t something I had read before. It sounded exactly like my kind of thing. I promptly bought a copy and then did nothing with it for a few weeks. Standard.
Anyway, in a bid to improve my mental health, I decided I needed get myself back into reading so on Thursday night (technically still May but whatever) I started reading. In fact…
Finished it tonight, all done it two sittings! I was screaming at Jem not to go out there. Horrible knowing what's coming and not being able to do anything about it. Which is obviously the point! Will def be getting book 2 📙📖
Book Title: Numbers Author: Rachel Ward Series: Numbers #1 Genres: Young Adult Format: Paperback
Since her mother’s death, 15-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else’s, a number pops into her head – the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn.
I’ll be honest, initially I wasn’t sure. Jem’s language was grating (and it is a first person narration). It took a couple of chapters for me to get to know her and look past that. Once I did I got completely lost in the story.
The inclusion of scenes from school really helped to get a better understanding of both Jem and Spider. I was a teacher. I know that feeling of helplessness where you can’t make the kids understand the importance their right now has on their future. But on the flip side… not wait don’t let this degrade into a rant about the state of the education system.
It is amazing the difference a decade can make to the inclusion of technology in a story. I couldn’t decide whether the fact that the characters smoked dated the story as well. It seemed really strange to me that they smoked but this was set pretty soon after the smoking ban and way before vaping became what all the cool kids were doing. Maybe I am just really out of touch.
I swear the book was scratch and sniff in places. I could smell Spider from the description. Rank.
And the end, well I saw it coming. Including the bit revealed in the epilogue. But that didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment (I didn’t want to believe it) and satisfaction with how the story ended. You get enough resolution to not need book two, but I will pick it up at some point none the less. I would like to see where things go.
Book Title: The Boy from Tomorrow Author: Camille DeAngelis Series: N/A Genres: Children, Middle Grade, Time Travel, Fantasy Format: Advanced Reader Copy
Published May 8th 2018.
My e-copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old and a hundred years apart.
The children meet through a hand-painted talking board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them.
Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?
I wrote this review on the same day I finished the book back in April. The parts in italics are additional thoughts since that time.
According to my Kindle I woke up this morning with just over an hour left of ‘The Boy from Tomorrow’ and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make it through to bedtime before I read to the end. It has been a few hours now since I finished and I am still thinking about it. In fact I kept thinking about for days afterwards. I struggled to get started on any other books. It was liked I was in mourning. I wasn’t ready for another world yet.
I loved everything about this book. It beautifully articulated the pain our parents can cause us but never let the characters give up hope. You could really feel Alec and Josie’s loneliness and how much of a salvation their relationship was for each of them.
I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the ending. And not because it didn’t fit, or a I didn’t get a resolution, I just didn’t get what I wanted. I knew I couldn’t, it was impossible (she says of a story where people communicate from 100 years apart) but that didn’t stop me wishing for it! I got the impression that Alec was ready to move on though and I really hope he does. It is never “just” a stir fry after all *wink wink*.
My reading journal allows for 6 star rating. I save this for special books. Those ones I cannot seem to shake once they are done. This was a 6 star story for me.