Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first book in the series The Iron Trial*

Series: Magisterium #2

Publication: September 1st 2015 by Scholastic Press

Goodreads summary:
Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate.

My thoughts:
I flew through The Copper Gauntlet reading it in I sitting. The books is short, just 265 pages long, but somehow Black and Clare tell a gripping story full of action.

I've heard a lot of people compare Magisterium to Harry Potter and yes there are similarities but there is also differences. I still think Magisteruim is a solid Middle Grade series that stands apart from others in the genre.

The Copper Gauntlet surprised me. I thought each book was going to take place over the course of the school year (eg Book 1 was about getting through 1st year, book 2 was going to be about getting through 2nd year etc) but the majority of this book tool place over the course of a few days.

Call is still as likeable as ever despite having the Enemy of Deaths soul in him. His inner dialogue is funny, especially when he thinks before making every decision what an evil overlord would do.

Reading about Aaron was interesting. He's struggling with being called a hero and being treated like someone special. He isn't use to being treated this way so it was interesting to see him react to people interacting with him. He's always polite and kind to others.

Tamara is just as clever as she was  in the first book. I liked how her friendship with Call was challenged in this book. She's out in hard situations sometimes but I think she always does what is right. Her number one priority is to keep her friends safe.

Jasper has a more prominent role in The Copper Gauntlet than he did in The Iron Trial. I didn't like him in book 1 but after reading book 2 I'm starting to enjoy reading his interactions with Call and his friends.

I can't not mention Callum's pet wolf Havoc. He's is on of my favourite characters in the series. He's no longer a little pup but he's still adorable.

Overall, I really liked The Copper Gauntlet, I think it was a good second book and I'm excited to see where the story goes in the next instalment!

My rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first three books in the Throne of Glass series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire)*

Series: Throne of Glass #4

Publication: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury 

Goodreads summary:
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

My thoughts:
Queen of Shadows is my new favourite book of all time. From the beautiful cover to the words inside,this book is perfection. It's 645 pages of pure epicness and everything I had hoped for.

Before reading Queen of Shadows I'd recommend reading the prequel novellas in The Assassins Blade because now that Aelin is back in Rifthold she encounters a lot of characters that were introduced in the prequels.

In Queen of Shadows Maas brings back old characters and introduces lots of new ones. I really enjoyed reading all of them, they are all fantastic and complex. Everyone knows that the series has had a big cast of strong male characters (from Dorian and Chaol to Rowan and Aedion) and I'm pleased to say that Maas introduces lots of new strong female characters in this book. Up until this point it's only been Aelin and Manon but now there are other who are stepping into the spotlight and I love it. The women in the story are amazing and I'd fight side by side with them any day.

One of my favourite things in this book was the friendships that develop between Aelin and the others. A lot of readers will focus on the romance (which is a big part of the series but I don't want to talk about that because I'll spoil you) but for me it was the platonic relationships that stood out. Aelin has had some pretty bad experiences with friends (i.e. Nehemia) so I was so excited for her when she let these people in.

The pacing, as usual in a Maas book, was perfect. The plots starts rolling almost instantly in the second chapter when Aelin meets with her old master Arobynn. The short chapters are full of twists and turns and the action sequences throughout the novel are amazing as expected and the multiple plot lines made it impossible to put down. Obviously Aelin's point of view was my favourite but I loved the others too.

The ending was spectacular. There were lots of reveals and now I have more questions than answers but that just makes me even more excited for the next book in 2016.

My rating: 5 out of 5!