Review: Dawn Study

Review: Dawn StudyDawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder
Published by Mira Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 478
Goodreads

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

I finished Night Study in 6 days. In comparison, Dawn Study took me twice as long, and sadly I didn’t feel it lived up to the previous books.  Having really enjoyed every other Maria V. Snyder book, I went into this one with pretty high hopes, especially since it was the final book in the series, but Dawn Study wasn’t quite the epic, dramatic, characters-all-come-together finale I expected.

I mostly liked the characters – Yelena, Valek, Onora, Janco, Ari and Fisk are still characters I really like, but the inclusion of various other characters, just didn’t work for me.  Maybe it’s because I just finished Assassin’s Fate, which does a very similar thing in terms of bringing in old characters and tying up loose ends, and it’s hard not to compare the two.  Whilst I loved the way Hobb did it in Assassin’s Fate, sadly it just fell a little flat for me in Dawn Study; instead of feeling epic and Avengers-like it just felt a bit forced.  I didn’t always have 100% clear recollections of the characters from previous series, and their portrayals in Dawn Study didn’t seem to refresh my memory: Kade for example seemed soft, and I found Devlen’s dialogue consistently distracting, like it just didn’t fit.

The ending felt a bit too easy, and a bit too rushed, which was disappointing.  I think what made it especially frustrating was that Dawn Study, just like Night Study felt slow at times, like there was a lot of running-in-place in the build-up to the finale. I wonder whether perhaps I would have preferred this trilogy if it had been written as a duology instead, as that would have cut a lot of the pacing problems.  Having said that, it’s still a Snyder book, and so I still enjoyed it; I like the way she writes and I liked the main characters.  If you’re a die-hard Snyder fan, I imagine you’ll still really enjoy it, and it is worth picking up for the continuation of Valek and Yelena’s story if nothing else, just be prepared that it may not live up to her previous books.

One StarOne StarOne Star

May TBR list – the Winner!

My TBR list is a meme hosted by Michelle at Because Reading which aims to help knock a few books off our TBR piles by letting everyone else vote on what we should read!


 

 

This week, Truthwitch and Flame in the Mist actually got exactly the same number of votes, so I took to Goodreads and picked the one with the highest average rating.  That means that this month the winner is….

I’ve heard good things about this one, so I’m really intrigued to give it a go!

Bout of Books 19

Bout of Books
 The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

I love Bout of Books, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this week (honestly, it’s been in my diary for ages!).  I find I do a lot better with the week long readathons than the short ones, because if I’m busy one day and don’t get to read, I know I can try and balance it out later in the week! This is a fairly standard week for me, but my days off this week happen to fall at the weekend and so I’ll probably get less reading done than I do when they fall during the week (as I’ll probably go out with family and friends).

I’ve already started A Court of Wings and Ruin, so finishing that is definitely on the TBR, and I’ve picked out a few other possible reads, though I may decide I fancy something different! I’m setting my goal at 1000 pages, just under 150 a day for the week – after all, it’s all about pushing ourselves to read more than we normally would, right?!

Goals:

  • Read 1000 pages
  • Finish 3 books
  • Visit other blogs 🙂

Possible TBR:




Progress

Monday
Today was a pretty busy day, so I didn’t actually get a chance to pick up A Court of Wings and Ruin at all.  I did at least get lots of audiobook time, as I had a long drive and also a gym session.

Time spent reading: 3 hours of listening to Cold Days
Pages read today: 119
Books completed today: None

Total pages read: 119
Total books completed: 0


Tuesday

Today is probably the quietest day of my week, so I’ve managed to get quite a bit of reading in.  I started A Court of Wings and Ruin before bout of books started, but I got it finished this morning before picking up Release and reading that through in one sitting! I also started listening to Ready Player One with my boyfriend, which we definitely won’t get finished this week!

Time spent reading: 2 hours of reading A Court of Wings and Ruin, 2 hours of reading Release, 1 hour of listening to Ready Player One
Pages read: 615
Books completed today: A Court of Wings and Ruin, Release

Total pages read: 734
Total books completed: 2


Wednesday

Wednesday was a pretty standard day – work + gym. I got up early to squeeze some reading time in, and I listened to some audiobook at the gym.

Time spent reading: 3 hours of reading Wing Jones, 50 minutes of listening to Cold Days
Pages read: 420
Books completed today: Wing Jones

Total pages read: 1349
Total books completed: 3

Thursday

Thursday was almost an exact repeat of Wednesday – work, gym and early morning reading. I mixed up my reading with a graphic novel this morning, as I was beginning to feel a bit burnt out!  I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up at this pace all week but I’m very happy with my progress so far.

Time spent reading: 45 minutes of reading Saga volume 4, 2 hours of reading Under rose-tainted skies, 60 minutes of listening to Cold Days
Pages read: 407
Books completed today: Saga volume 4, Cold Days
Total pages read: 1756
Total books completed: 5

Friday

Friday was a pretty quiet day for reading, because I had some errands to run and spent the evening with family, but I still managed to just about finish Under Rose-tainted skies, which I really enjoyed (and I’m thrilled to have finished 6 books this week!). Can I make it 7? (I think probably not, but maybe?!)

Time spent reading: 45 minutes of reading Under rose-tainted skies
Pages read: 74
Books completed today: Under Rose-tainted skies
Total pages read: 1830
Total books completed: 6

Saturday

Saturday was filled with social things both friends and family wise, so I didn’t get much reading time done except for first thing this morning when everyone was still asleep (Nemesis) and for a while when I spent some time tidying up. I suspect tomorrow will be similar, but there’s no way I can end the week on 1999 pages, so I’ll have to find time to read at least a page 😉

Time spent reading: 1.5 hours of reading Nemesis, 1 hour of listening to House of Hades
Pages read: 169
Books completed today: 0
Total pages read: 1999 (so close to 2000!)
Total books completed: 6

Sunday

I actually have no idea what my plans are for today yet – it could be a chilled out day of blogging and reading, could be a day out with friends or could be a movie day with the boyfriend, so I’ve no idea how much reading I’ll get done! I did make sure to sneak some in this morning before everyone got up, and I’m hoping to get at least a bit more done later too.

Time spent reading: 1.5 hours of reading Nemesis
Pages read: 131
Books completed today: 0
Total pages read: 2131
Total books completed: 6

Save

Save

May 2017 TBR List: Voting time!

My TBR list (#MyTBRL) is a meme hosted by Michelle at Because Reading which aims to help knock a few books off our TBR piles by letting everyone else vote on what we should read!

I’m determined to take part in My TBR list throughout 2017, because last year it led to finally reading a book of my shelf that turned out to be one of my favourite reads of 2016 (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)!

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair one is an Alpha – physically perfect in every way – and the other an Omega burdened with deformity, small or large.

With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other. Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side by side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

 

 

 

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


My goodreads friends have given this an average of 4.33 out of 5 which is a pretty great average, but I’ve just never gotten around to giving it a try for some reason.

Which book should I read for the May TBR vote?

  • Truthwitch (50%, 2 Votes)
  • Flame in the Mist (50%, 2 Votes)
  • The Fire Sermon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

Loading ... Loading ...

Thank you for voting! Next week I’ll check in to let you know which book won!

Review: Assassin’s Fate

Review: Assassin’s FateAssassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3) by Robin Hobb
on May 4th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 976
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher
Goodreads

The final book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river.

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee's only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.
Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected?

But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four. An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices.
ASSASSIN’S FATE is a magnificent tour de force and with it Robin Hobb demonstrates yet again that she is the reigning queen of epic fantasy.

SPOILER ALERT: SPOILERS FOR BOTH EARLIER ROBIN HOBB BOOKS AND THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE FITZ AND THE FOOL TRILOGY

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll be well aware I am a huge Robin Hobb fan (see here, here, and here!), so it’s probably no surprise to you that Assassin’s Fate was without a doubt my most anticipated read of 2017.  Knowing that this was the finale not only to the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, but to The Realm of the Elderlings as a whole, I went in with both huge anticipation and nerves.  I didn’t feel I had time to re-read the whole Realm of the Elderlings series, but the long wait between Assassin’s Quest and Assassin’s Fate gave me plenty of time to re-read the first two books in this trilogy before Assassin’s Fate so that I’d be fully refreshed on the details before Assassin’s Fate.  I finished Assassin’s Quest on holiday and immediately picked up Assassin’s Fate.  Over the ten days it took me to read it, I wanted to fly through because it was so addictive and because I so desperately wanted to know what happened, and yet I also never wanted it to end. Reading on holiday worked out as a reasonable compromise, because we were so busy I didn’t actually have that much time to read, so I got to savour a little longer!

Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered well what you can’t do once you’ve done it.

In this final volume, Fitz, Lant, Perseverance, Spark and the Fool are heading to Clerres to seek revenge on the Four and the Servants, while Bee is unwillingly being taken to Clerres by Dwalia.  Those two plot-lines are addictive in different ways.  Bee goes through even more character growth than she did in Assassin’s Quest, and she’s come a long way from the little girl we first met in Fool’s Assassin.  She has to explore how ruthless she’s willing to be as she and Dwalia try to survive their trip to Clerres, often having to choose between the enemy you know versus the one you don’t.  Hers is a fairly isolated journey, and although there is plenty of danger on the route, there’s also a lot of internal conflict but it’s no less intriguing for that – the snippets of Bee’s dream journal in particular make for interesting mysterious reading.

Fitz’s journey in comparison, is full of people and the complex relationships between them that Hobb is so good at writing and which I have such a weakness for.  The relationships between Lant, Perseverence and Spark, as well as their interactions with both Fitz and the Fool are interesting enough on their own, but of course it’s Fitz and the Fool’s relationship which remains, as it always has from my perspective, the most mysterious, the most intriguing, the most intricate.  In this book, as they read Bee’s journals, the two also form a bond with Bee, and the way those bonds differ, as well as the way they impact the Fitz and Fool’s relationship adds another layer of complexity to their relationship.

She could be prickly and exacting, critical and demanding. But she was like that in the confidence that they shared a love that could withstand such things.

As well as all of that, the journey takes them through many lands familiar to us from previous books, and Hobb ties up the whole Realm of the Elderlings series, showing us glimpses – and sometimes more involved appearances – from characters we’ve loved in other trilogies.  Hobb’s characters feel like old friends – in some cases, very old friends – and even as you’re addicted to the storyline in Fool’s Assassin, the nostalgia may well have you adding a re-read of the other books into your reading plans too.  My boyfriend said to me at one point that Assassin’s Fate was like my Avengers movie, and I agreed that it was – but better.  The liveships, the dragons, the white prophets, the Bingtown traders, the Pirate Isles – it’s all here, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more.

Hobb’s writing is, as usual, one of my favourite things about the books.  I re-read favourite sentences, I copied down quotes, I just-barely restrained myself from reading bits aloud to my other half (who has only read the original trilogy so far).  The way Hobb ties up the series as a whole, bringing in previously loved characters never felt awkward or contrived.  Despite the fact we haven’t seen some of these characters in years, there’s no info-dumps; the characters are there, as interesting and three-dimensional as they’ve always been, and so, particularly for more minor appearances, when Hobb assumes you’ll know who they are, you just do.

So much of his life was mine and so much of mine was his.

I’ve followed Fitz from the very beginning, and here, at the end of the series, I wasn’t sure what to expect, or what to hope for.  I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll say only that it was perfect.  We got answers to questions we’ve had for a long time, we got the fantastic worlds and characters Hobb always delivers and we got a plot I didn’t want to put down.  When this ended, I genuinely found myself hugging the book and smiling.  Fool’s Assassin made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me ramble incoherently with excitement, and it only solidified my love for the series.  I’m not sure what else you could possibly want from a series finale really!

All I can say is, thank you Robin Hobb.  And whether she returns to the Realm of the Elderlings or writes something totally different, I’ll be happy to follow, because she’s never once let me down.

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star