5-5

Victoria Schwab – Vicious [1]

ViciousOkay, I think I can now really say that Victoria Schwab is my favorite author. I swallowed her “Vicious” (Villains 1; ISBN 0765335344; 364p.; Goodreads) in yet another single-sitting. And I really hope it’s not gonna be a stand-alone, because the ideas these pages were filled with, and that wonderful, amazing, superb ending to it!… Ah.

Victor and Eli seem similar at the first glance. Both smarter than your average students. Both ambitious. Both very likely to try and pick unlikely things and see where it brings them. Thus, once told to find a research topic, they ran with it: extraordinary abilities induced by or acquired due to near-death experience. And since research in theory went so well, they decided to take it up a notch, and try it in practice. Here the similarities of the boys ended. For in death it is the greatest desire that echoes the loudest, reaching back. And one of them just happens to have a whole different understanding of self.

This is a story of heroes and villains. Or so it seems to the characters inside. Robber, killed by a hero who just happened to be there on the right time, in the right place, had no weapon on him. Hero, who stalks, and befriends the prey. Villains who pick up the stray people, offering shelter from the rain, and possibly pain. And this endless battle, between what? Good and evil? Decisions and consequences? Self-righteous men who are right, and selfless vengeful men who are…

Here’s my take on this story. Two similar boys with different understanding of self. One sees himself as a person who wants to, say, grow. The other one, believes himself right. And therefor, it’s not the growing that concerns him. It’s the memory he will leave behind. Thus when it came to superpowers, one of them told himself that God gave it to him, and therefor he is right. While the other one simply believed that this is how things are, and there’s no right, or for that matter, wrong. 5 out of 5, because bloody hell this was an amazing trip.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Supernaturals, Treasures, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin [3]

acowarUsed to be I disliked series. Now I love series! Because who wouldn’t love that odd sense you get after you finish one, where you don’t know what to do with your life anymore. Everyone’s living their lives, as if you hadn’t just survived a wizard war or, in this case, a fae war. Yes, I have finished “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas (acotar 3; ISBN 1408857901; 699p.; Goodreads), the last one in acotar series or trilogy. And while they’re not as great as, say, Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab, they’re still pretty damn amazing.

 

The Wall between humans and fae was never meant as permanent solution. It was made to cease fire, to give time for healing, to learn co-exist. Yet humans have short lives, and horror tales of fairies got worse, and worse with every new generation. While fae lived long enough to have seen humans freed, and witness this day with wall about to crumble. And not all who did feel that it is right to co-exist with great-great-great-great-grandchildren of their former slaves. The war is inevitable. All there is to do now is prepare.

Cauldron once created this whole world, so how does one stand against a weapon able to create the cycle of life and death itself? Fayra and Rhysand are trying to gather allies, rally everyone they possibly can. They’re seeking any advantage points in this overtipped scale, and if that means unleashing Death Gods themselves, Fayra is willing to make a bargain again. Bargain she was warned against while she was still mortal. And with worse beings than fae…

Rhysand, on the other hand, has his own little (or not so little) problem. How does one convince the world that this mighty High Lord of the Night Court to whom Court of Nightmares bows, wants to protect, and defend, rather than wreck havoc? How does he gain trust once the mask falls, and who will dare to stand with him? Especially with Tamlin running amok, with a tale of betrayal in his court, by no else than Fayra, his mate.

And Lucien? Lucien, like a stray kicked cat is testing the waters with caution. Being left courtless, which is pretty much homeless, twice in his life now, he fits into the Court of Dreams by his nature of an unwanted oddity alone. But can Rhys, this mortal enemy of Tamlin’s, his friend’s nemesis, really be trusted to not just give him up to his family, where he’d surely be killed? He’s willing to try his luck, if carefully, at the very least, for his mate, who now lives under Rhysand’s wings.

So, the book. Whole inner monologues of “how and why I feel” almost ceased to exist. And once you start believing that pace of the book is too slow – someone drops a brick on the heroes heads. Or an army.  There’s funny, there’s witty, there’s edge-of-the-chair intense. So I give it 5 out of 5, for now the story truly earned it.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frank Herbert – Dune [1]

dune-coverI tend to dislike overly long books, even if they’re as good and wonderful as Frank Herbert‘s “Dune” (Dune 1; ISBN 0340839937; 604p.; Goodreads). For, simply, so much happens between the first page and the last, that it becomes as good as impossible to say one thing that would reflect it all.

Spice, melange, is the most wanted, and the most expensive substance in the cosmos, obtained in one planet alone, Arrakis, know to the open desert folk simply as Dune. It is said that it never tastes the same twice, that the spice adjusts to persons wants and needs, pandering to the desires, and soon creates an addiction. On top of it, it gives an almost supernatural insight, the Sight, without which navigators are as good as blind, unable to predict the dangers open space has in store for their ship.

The price of it lies not only in want and addiction, but the hardships of mining this substance. For Spice is closely guarded by giant creatures known as desert Worms, known to grow large enough to swallow mining factories, men, spice, and all – whole. The relation between the worms and the spice is too intertwined for anyone to risk killing more than one or two truly menacing ones, but no one, except maybe the free folk, truly know how it is with them.

I feel like I’ve just read an epic story, like Kalevala or whatever else. The book inside is thespicemustflowsplit into three, so it’s not difficult to read, and the story is so well paced, and so well braided with treacheries within treacheries, that I ate page, after page. The way people live in the desert, how moisture is preserved, and how even tears are frowned upon as wasteful, how treacherous sand can be, how easy it is to get buried and never found again, and oh, how the spice changes the color of the eyes… And most of all, how scary the damned giant sand worms are, forcing people to adjust even their way of walking just to avoid attracting one. Politics are unbelievable too, real easy to follow, and real interesting to watch unravel. 5 out of 5, there can’t be a question here.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

V.E. Schwab – A Conjuring of Light [3]

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. SchwabMy journey through Londons ends, and I must say, I’m fairly content about it. With “A Conjuring of Light” by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic 3; ISBN 0765387468; 624p.; Goodreads) Shades of Magic trilogy ends. Some things were left untold, and it felt natural, for they were the things Red London didn’t speak about. Other things received their dots where dots were needed. And since there’s spoilers further on, my advice is to not read unless you’ve read the previous book. Know that I loved this book.

We’re all familiar with the concept of AI becoming self-aware, and what could that mean to us, to our world. In our “grey” world, if not per se London, this concept is the most interesting among theoretically possible ones, for having no magic means we advanced in other things. Red London, on the other hand, has full-on magic…

Once, due to a mistake, or worship, a spell became self-aware outside the will of the caster. And now this creature, believing self to be a God, for hey, they DID worship it where it’s from, is wrecking havoc on Kell’s home. And, of course, he’s prepared to kill it or die trying.

They say two heads are better than one, so how about four? Kell, Lila, Alucard, and their prisoner, sail out into the ocean, in search of the blackest market of all the black damn markets. If you need it – they have it. If you want it – bargain for it. And they’re nothing if not in need of weapons able to fight a divine power, where revered creatures as Antari don’t stand a chance to compete. Just imagine these four in close ship quarters for a week… Rhy, in the meantime, stays behind to defend London until they return, with a promise to Kell that he won’t get into TOO much trouble until he’s back. But that’s easier said than done, for there’s a monster outside alright, but what about the traitors on the inside?

I love how no one went out for a stroll in Black London, and the myth, more or less, stayed a myth, or at least a forbidden place no one wants to think about, like the ajar closet door at night. I like that prince was so utterly in love with his man, that he listened, and understood, and made things possible, as kings do. I like that Delilah stayed her own woman, with her own agenda, her own mind, even with all the stuff about Kell, and that it was him who got to consider that hey, maybe I’m not actually rooted into one spot after all (I hate those damn stories where girl stays behind, and doesn’t go to some uni, just because her new found love was too dumb to get in anywhere, and had to stay in some miserable hometown of theirs). I love that everything ended so well, and that the end, if firm, is not solid, and if need be – there could be a book 4, but if there never is – reader is content with absolutely everything. It’s a very right, and very good ending to have. So I give it 5 out of 5, something I have never done to an entire series before (I think, I might have done that to Harry Potter, but I can’t recall anymore), and will add it to my favorite list when I’m not too lazy about it.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Pirate Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows [2]

gatheringofshadowsI forgot I didn’t yet tell you about this book until I realized I have barely any left of the third. So do let me tell you how great was the second book in V.E. Schwab trilogy Shades of Magic, “A Gathering of Shadows” (ISBN 0765376474; 512p.; Goodreads), for it was amazing. Mind you, if you haven’t read the first one, you might want to skip this review, and just know that I loved it cover to cover.

As Kell and Rhy are now sharing one life – a lot of things pass between them via that magical link. At first it was seemingly just pain, for if one dies – the other one dies too, only natural you’d feel the deadly prick just as the other party does. But then there’s all the mental stuff too, and before they strangled each other due to constant hum at the back of their heads, Rhy makes up his mind. His brother will have to attend the magical dueling tournament and release some of that built-up magical steam. For unlike your regular mages, this one will gladly slap you if you finish off his already thin patience, or scare him too much by nearly dying if he cared about you, etc. And, of course, since he’s the most powerful magician known, that people revere and fear as a god, he’ll have to enter in disguise…

Delilah Bard turns her ears up when Captain Alucard, after long months at sea and foreign ports, turns the ship around back to London. He intends to attend this magical dueling tournament, and Lila just happens to have discovered she has powers too…

In the mean time, White London, the drained and bleak one, is stirring. A legend came true. On their throne now sits a hero, a king that fairy tales claimed to be able to restore magic in their world.

I can’t stop admiring the characters, how much each one of them is their own person, acting on their own set of mind, and not just there to ask the right questions. I love how Rhy would flirt with a chair, but then is madly in love with one person, and keeping that feeling safe from the world. I love how Kell, at points indeed revered as god due to power is actually a hotheaded spirit, ready to stomp his feet in anger, and yell at you if you chocked and nearly died in his arms, because he got so scared, and you can’t do that! And I just love Delilah Bard, I do believe she is my all time favorite woman ever written. 5 out of 5, deserved every one bit.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

V.E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic [1]

ADarkerShadeOfMagicAh, what a discovery, what a find! Thank You, Hannah Cassie, for all those relentless recommendations at P.S. I Love That Book, for at last I reached one and it was oh SO good. This is my first encounter with V.E. Schwab, and her first book in the superb fantasy trilogy “A Darker Shade of Magic” (Shades of Magic 1; ISBN 0765376458; 400p.; Goodreads) blew me away. One of those books I nearly finished all in one sitting, but then scolded myself, and reminded how bad it feels to not be able to continue the next day. I promise, there was more than 2 chapters left when I put it down.

Kell – a messenger from Red London, traveling among the other ones, passing letters from royals to royals. Grey London is mighty boring, no magic, no nothing. White London is fairly scary, for magic there is enslaved, and thus – fights back, draining the life out of the users to the bone. Legends say there was once Black London too, but people don’t speak of such nasty things in good company.

Of course, being one of the rare creatures who can travel among Londons is not the only talent Kell has. He’s a great damn smuggler too, taking little trinkets between the worlds, under the nose of the law. Sometimes just because it’s fun. Other times because it pays off, thou how is a heavy question: what do you need, belonging to royal family, with crown prince loving you as his own brother? And another time – just because he wanted to do something good to the desperate. On one such expedition Kell finds himself with an artifact that by all means, should not exist. The artifact creates magic, where magic shouldn’t be, as in – those who have no talent for it – suddenly can create like they were born into it. Worst of all, the inscription on the artifact is written in the language Kell knows for a fact was used so freely only in Black London. No, wait, that’s not the worst. The worst is that he notices it too late.

Oh, this was so amazing. Delilah is amazing, the most wonderful woman I have ever read about. Kell is fantastic, such a bad-ass with so little understanding of how bad-ass he is. No “fell off my unicorn due to how gorgeous you are” shit, they’re imperfect, usually dirty like chimney-boys, and so on. No “I wanted to travel, but I’ll stay here, because you’re here” bullshit either. The pace was perfect, build up – great, tension – even more so. 5 out of 5, this is definitely among my favorites of all time now.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lynn Flewelling – Stalking Darkness

StalkingDarknessWhile I considered Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewellyn to be my slow night reads, I abandoned sleep until 4am just to finish “Stalking Darkness” (Nightrunner 2; ISBN 0553575430; 501p.; Goodreads). There’s just something about these books that feels familiar. Reminds me of those summers I spent reading through the night with a flashlight, all those fantasy books, Innkeeper’s Song, Swords against deviltry, Hobbit. And if the previous book got to you, well, this one will do so even more.

Politics are done, no one needs Seregil’s head anymore, but that seems to be the only piece of good news. No rest for the wicked, somewhere out there dark magic webs are being woven, and tendrils already reach his beloved city. It all started with small, simple, even insignificant things, like sudden renovations in the sewer system. A passing shadow in an alley there or here. Odd feeling in the dark. And then deaths. Seregil’s underground has been well rooted, pushing him out in the open to gather the information…

Further adventures were a test of morals, for attempts to break them were made in earnest. Brutal murder, destruction, carnage, and kidnapping set the four, Micum, Seregil, Alec, and Nysander apart, and the Darkness is prepared to break their wills before they’re given to the Eater of Death, where they’ll be set part of this nightmare for the rest of the eternity.

It’s a long book, as I said. The start of it is so different from the middle, and the end, that I can’t describe it in earnest without spoiling the living hell out of it. What I can say is that while slow paced it was intense, and had the edge-of-the-chair moments by the handful. Descriptions are down a notch, so it’s easier to read. But be aware, it is a mistake to think this is a light goodnight read. It’s too hard to put it aside for it to be a good bed companion. I’ll give it a full 5 out of 5 this time. And on to the next one!

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat [11]

princelestatukI remember the excitement when we heard Anne was writing another book on Vampire Chronicles. And what an odd feeling it was to pick up “Prince Lestat” by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles 11; ISBN 0307962520; 458p.; Goodreads), knowing it’s as good as a miracle for this book to exist. And how upset I was that Quinn Blackwood, the guy Lestat spent previous two books, was as good as nonexistant. Nobody remembered him, nobody spoke of him. The most obscure vampires got their scene time instead. Pardon me if I’m already bored of half the fellas around. Just, dammit.

A voice with no body, physical or aetherial, is whispering to all the vampires it can reach, seducing them into committing the Second Burning (first one was when Akasha walked into the sun after being abused by her priests, she didn’t die, but due to the link vampires share – anyone below her were dying out, starting with the weakest and the youngest). And as a wave of fires rolls across the world, burning those unworthy, young and old, vampires who never deserved the Gift, no one feels safe anymore. It seemed natural, that in this moment of terror, they all turned to Lestat. After all, he switched bodies, wrote chronicles, drank from Akasha and gods themselves, escaped the devil, and did hell knows what else.

The voice, the source, the idea behind this is brilliant. I’m torn about the political situation here thou, for at times it felt like watching that Simpsons episode on new Star Wars episodes, where 2 hrs in they were still talking import/export and economics. The book ends up being made half of good hooking action, and half of monologues, and discussions on how vampires will from here on make their laws. In a sense I like it, because I grew up on Vampire the Masquerade, where rules and laws mean your survival. In a sense it was just a bit funny: you guys took THIS long to realize you need some kind of order? I’ll give this book 4.5 out of 5, a worthy read, even if I did get mighty annoyed by the lack of Quinn…

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Felicia Day – You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

YoureNeverWeirdOnTheInternetI guess I’m a pretty impulsive person. If I decide to learn something one day – I will spend whole day learning it. Back in the day I decided to figure out this YouTube thing before it blew up big and everyone was doing it. Yes, my hipster side demanded I get into the social media that others aren’t using much yet, and I speak in terms of Lithuania here. It wasn’t a big deal, in fact, it was all about fan-vids, and music. So I dove in, determined to be the kid who waits for Wednesday episode of some web show you have never heard about, and that’s not aired on TV, ever. First I found these really dull and highly scripted vlogs. Then I found the good kind of vlogs. And then I found the web series, the true series, the good stuff of the web series. The Guild (just “load more” and it’s at the very bottom, everything). And that’s how I got to know Felicia Day. Ever since I’m a great fan, I follow all I can, and while I’d like more, I still admire her ability to keep things from the world that she wants to keep from the world. And of that I learned from her book “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” (ISBN 1476785651; 260p.; Goodreads). Don’t be mistaken, she’s a gamer alright, and we get her as the Gamer Girl / Geek Queen all over the net, but this book is not about video games.

This book is about a home-schooled girl who went off to make her dreams. Got crushed, over and over again to that, but got up and started chiseling at the industry again. All up until the day her determination paid off, and she realized she has made a crack enough to wiggle in and make something of her own. A place for herself. The road to that was hard and bumpy not just because of the industry, and nasty people within. She fell for depression and addiction too. Video games can be much better than real life, especially when you’re socially awkward but still want to connect, and I myself can say that the best friends I have are mostly there because one day I met them in a video game. So I understand her completely. And she’s not vilifying anything, she’s still a gamer! All she says is that there’s more to it, that you can’t bury your dreams under a layer of current comfort, be it video games, books, movies, whatever. Kick yourself and do it. Your guild will not fall if you take one day off to write on your biography, go out have a coffee, or even try a new video game. And if you fail at what you do – don’t beat yourself over it. If you want it still – do it again. And again. And again if you have to. Like a quest you can repeat if you fail. Like a book chapter you can re-read if you couldn’t figure it out.

Felicia day is killer funny. I laughed my ass off on every page. Love what an anxious ball of stress she is, and how, in the end, she just rolls with it. She’s inspiring, and everyone could use a bit of that, right? At the end of the book she tells all about how she entered a support group that basically guilt-tripped her into writing something, and she got the Guild born. How she collected trash off the street, due to having absolutely no budget, and being a perfectionist who wanted the set just damn right. I read this book in one sitting, and I regret it, due to being unable to read it the next day again, and that’s all the bad I can say. Here’s a 5 out of 5, and now someone please go buy bookmarks and jewelry I make, because I want to get a hard copy of this too, audio + pdf for illustrations is just not enough.

18352924

Categories: 5-5, Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anne Rice – Blood and Gold [VC #8]

3_bloodandgoldAnd so, with Anne Rice‘s “Blood and Gold” (Vampire Chronicles 8; ISBN 0099271494; 752p.; Goodreads) I finish the classic run of the Vampire Chronicles. For I have read the other two long ago, and consider them the break-point in my life. The other two in my head are marked under “Prince Lestat Series“, and I can’t help it. And the New Vampire Stories are just that – a different line in the same branch. So be assured, I’ll get to all of these, and maybe will even re-visit Blackwood farm and Blood Canticle to make a review for them.

A red haired warrior from the north slept deep in ice watching with his mind eyes as the world around him went on. Made by the oldest of his kind he had no need to rise, really, not to feed, not to, what, stretch his old bones? But wake he did, and nothing more was to do but to rise, and walk out. Out there, where he met Marius. And Thorne, being so alone in this new world, felt deeply for the company Marius offered, craving the stories over anything else, and Marius had many of these.

We learn how he was made, for what purpose, with what reasons. We learn of how he went on, all the way until he formed into what we met in Armand’s book. In fact, we do meet Armand again, and see another side to the story he told. We get to know why and how he turned Bianca, and how Armand was unable to keep secrets from her. We get to know of Marius’ mad love – Pandora, and her even madder fear of Those Who Must be Kept. Now this part I found the most interesting, for it shone a whole different light on Akasha, what she’s like, what she was like. In their immobile state, Marius and her, saved each other time and again, all the way until the day Lestat entered the chambers (“and spoiled everything!”). I dare say that this book could be a good thing to read right after Lestat’s biography, for it gives perspective on Akasha that I didn’t have, and didn’t form through the Queen of the Damned book/movie.

While I still believe that Blackwood Farm is the very best in Chronicles, Blood and Gold earned the 5 out of 5, fully. Marius is an odd creature, at times as ridiculous as a clumsy moose, other times as graceful as a deer. How he fought every woman in his life, and hoped to keep them all, just to realize that such sharing of the heart is not meant for all, and that some take “I said what I had to say in the moment” as no excuse at all.

BloodAndGold

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.