New Read: Faith and Moonlight

faith-and-moonlight

Last year, I read and enjoyed four of Mark Gelineau’s & Joe King’s novellas from two threads of their fantasy series, Echo of the Ascended. So much so I didn’t wait long into this year to continue my reading with Faith and Moonlight; the first novella in a third thread of their epic series.

Previously I have read about Elinor a brave orphan girl who rose to be the King’s Reaper; in the A Reaper of Stone thread. Also, I have read about another orphan Alys, who is a hardened survivor of the dangerous, poverty-stricken underworld of the capital city; in the Best Left in the Shadows thread. Turns out these orphans all originally knew each other and this novella takes the reader back in time to the tragic fire at their orphanage which saw them separated and scattered across the kingdom.

In Faith and Moonlight, we are introduced to teenage orphans Roan and Kay. Who have been torn from the only home and family they’ve ever known, after a terrible fire destroyed their orphanage and killed most of it’s inhabitants. Now, Roan and Kay are journeying together to the city with hopes and dreams of entering the prestige School of Faith to train to become a legendary Razor. However, on arrival they are given just one month to prove their worth by passing the entry trial of pushing past the veil and touching the magical power within. Failure will mean an end to all their dreams and the prospect of life out in the cold, dark and dangerous world alone.

Unlike the previous novellas I have read, Roan and Kay are not grown up orphans but instead they are still young, naïve and vulnerable. This gives the reader the opportunity to watch them grow and, hopefully, follow their path to success like their fellow orphans Elinor and Alys. It also cleverly gives Gelineau’s and King’s series a young adult thread. Ronan and Kay are very close to each other and have promised to face everything together. Yet on arrival they find themselves divided, as Roan excels in his training Kay desperately struggles to keep up. I really liked them both and found myself willing them on, particularly poor Kay.

Like previous threads this new one gave me a view of another area/side to the kingdom of Aedaron. First, I was taken out onto the wild Marshlands; then I was taken to the dark, seedy Lowside; while this took me to the beautiful and serene School of Faith – a place of peace, education, power and history, with its marble buildings and lush green grass, where there is the opportunity for fame and glory if Roan and Kay are allowed to stay! I enjoyed having this pleasant and safe setting however don’t get thinking this means there is nothing scary. Just outside the gates the bustling, dangerous world threatens and Kay is terrified of going back there.

Overall, I thought Faith and Moonlight was another highly enjoyable young adult thread to this epic fantasy series and I look forward to reading Faith and Moonlight 2 soon! Good read.

Thank you to the authors for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any of the other Echo of the Ascended novellas?

Top Ten Tuesday: Less Love Triangles Please!

blog-top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them

I would like less love triangles in books please! Don’t get me wrong there are some great literary love triangles, such as: Rebecca, Max and the new Mrs De Winter in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, also Aragorn, Arwen and Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. However for me there are now too many love triangles particularly in modern, young adult fiction, including:

~ 1 ~

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

~ 2 ~

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

~ 3 ~

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I read and enjoyed all of the six books in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Due to the typical love triangle between Clary, her best friend Simon and newcomer Jace though, I made a slow start to this series. Fortunately the relationships do develop which meant I got to know and like the characters better, so this series is just about forgiven.

~ 4 ~

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

~ 5 ~

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

~ 6 ~

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I have to admit I love this trilogy however I am still left with the niggling question of whether the love triangle between Katniss, her best friend Gale and fellow tribute Peeta is really needed? Especially when I think there is no competition…it is Peeta all the way for me 😀

~ 7 ~

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

~ 8 ~

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

~ 9 ~

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Things started so well for me in the Twilight and even New Moon was passable, but from Eclipse onwards the twisting and complicated love triangle between Bella, her best friend Jacob and the mysterious Edward all became too much for me.

~ 10 ~

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I actually enjoyed and much preferred this science fiction drama to Meyer’s Twilight Saga, yet couldn’t help be a little annoyed that the only other book I have read by her has another complicated love triangle in it! Fortunately there is a big twist to this one so I can just about forgive it.

What’s your opinion on love triangles? Also, please link in the comments if you have taken part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic too.

New Read: Wendy Darling, Volume I: Stars

Wendy Darling

After loving her previous novels, I immediately snapped up a copy of Wendy Darling, Volume I: Stars by Colleen Oakes, the start of her new, young adult series inspired by J M Barrie’s Neverland. Sadly however this book languished for too long on my Kindle until the 10 Books of Summer challenge finally gave me that push I needed to pick it up.

Wendy Darling and her brothers are part of a wealthy family who live a comfortable and conventional life in a town house in London. One clear, starry night their world is to be turned upside down when they are visited by a wild, magical boy, Peter Pan. Who, with the promise of adventures, lures them out of the nursery window and up, up away into the stars and on to Neverland! A magical land of turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, mermaids, pirates and the freedom of life as a Lost Boy. Wendy finds herself intoxicated by the place and Peter, and yet she is plagued with misty memories of home and an annoying sense that all is not as it appears.

I liked how Colleen Oakes, the author, has chosen to tell her re-imagining of Neverland from the point-of-view of Wendy. A young lady, who at the start of the story, is sad about growing up but is also excited by the prospect of love and womanhood. At this hormonal time Wendy easily falls for this beautiful, wild boy who flies through her window without much thought for consequences. I often wanted to give her a jolly good shake for her naivety and emotional weakness however she is a kind character with potential; I hope to see her develop further. Wendy is joined by her brothers: the adorable Michael and the thoroughly dislikeable John, both are completely  immersed in life on Pan Island and do not share any of Wendy’s misgivings.

While I didn’t particularly always ‘like’ the characters I did find that Colleen Oakes re-imagined classic and new characters are realistic and much better fleshed out than in the J M Barrie’s original tale. I also loved being able to delve deeper into the settings too. While I’m not sure I totally bought Oakes’ Edwardian London – I was completely blown away by her description of Neverland. I really could imagine the turquoise seas, sandy beaches, towering peaks, humid jungle, sinister Skull Rock, and the giant, sprawling tree that constitutes Pan Island.

Previously I have read and loved two of Oakes’ previous novels: Volume 1 and Volume 2 of her young adult series Queen of Hearts which is a re-imagining of Lewis Carol’s Wonderland. I enjoyed them so much that they both made it on to my Top 10 Books of 2014. So my expectations were perhaps too high for this new series, Wendy Darling. This first book in the series was again well written, detailed and imaginative however I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous books/series. I think that was simply down to the characters though – which is just my personal taste and not any reflection on the quality of writing or story.

Wendy Darling, Volume I: Stars is an enjoyable fantasy adventure in an expanded, detailed and magical re-imagining of Neverland. I am looking forward to reading Volume 2: Seas to see how the characters develop. Good read.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any other books inspired by Peter Pan and Neverland?

10 Books of Summer – 5/10

New Read: City of Heavenly Fire

City of Heavenly Fire

Everything must come to an end, and so does Cassandra Clare’s popular young adult series The Mortal Instruments with this; the City of Heavenly Fire. This post may contain spoilers for the previous books.

Clary and her friends must fight their last and most deadly battle yet. Sebastian has launched terrible and bloody attacks on the Praetor Lupus and Shadowhunter institutes all over the world – killing many and turning others into Endarkened Shadowhunters. Now Sebastian’s Endarkened army and his allies threaten the ancient stronghold of Alicante, where the remaining Shadowhunters and their families have taken refuge. Trying to stop this impending apocalypse and save their loved ones, Clary and her friends take what could be a one way journey into the demon realm of Edom; to challenge Sebastian face-to-face.

I have always liked our young protagonist Clary. Watching her grow from a shy, artistic and awkward teenager to a strong, clever and brave Shadowhunter. It also helps that she is short like me – yeah short girls can kick ass to! Clary doesn’t have to face this final battle alone though as, always, she is joined by her ever faithful and brave friends: Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Simon. Who have all grown in their own ways to. Jace, Alec and Isabelle have always been Shadowhunters so it is Simon who has perhaps made the most obvious changes. All these changes is what made the end even more bittersweet for me.

I started reading this series back in 2013 with the City of Bones; perhaps the weakest book in this series. Fortunately for me the intriguing premise kept me reading and I can honestly say I have enjoyed this series more and more each book I have read. The changes and growth in the characters turned them from two-dimensional characters to ones I really liked and could believe in; particularly Clary and Simon. I also feel the action got darker and a bit more adult throughout the series. Now I have finished this series I would be interested in reading Clare’s other series The Infernal Devices – my brother has devoured both series.

The City of Heavenly Fire was another fun and action-packed adventure in a dark fantasy setting, and I thought it was a satisfying ending to the series. Good read.

Have you read this series? Have you read Clare’s other series The Infernal Devices?