Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (Book Review)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count
: 385

**TW: Self harm (blood mages need to cut themselves to use magic), parental abuse, war, torture and gore**

I’ve wanted to read this book for so, so long! And I know that it divides people, because so many hate it, a lot of people think of it only as “meh” but then there’s people like me who absolutely 100% LOVED this journey. It’s honestly not often that I see a book where I could throw my last name in and it would just blend in nicely with the others, also, if I am not mistaken entirely, there’s going to be a Katya in the sequel and that’s just one letter away from my name, so I am going to take it! All those minor details aside, monsters, gods and mortals with major morality quarrels are the way to my heart.

“There was madness in his black eyes – madness and something terribly close to divinity.
Which was, in essence, the same as madness.”

You don’t get much time to adjust to this very rich world before you are thrown into a war that has lasted centuries already. The different viewpoints are clear, but you uncover so much more to it all throughout the story, it’s hard to explain where you find yourself and your allegiances at the end of it all. Our three main characters all grew up within certain belief systems and it has shaped them into the people that are presented to us at the beginning of the tale. Especially Nadya’s religion plays a huge part of her self image and it’s understandable that she meets people who portray everything she was taught to hate with hostility. I thought I would be more annoyed at them for being so stubborn and unwilling to see the other person’s point of view, but ultimately, it just made for all the better tension when they all ultimately meet and have to team up. None of these characters are saints, even if some might believe differently, because they all have done terrible and selfish things at one point or another, but for me it was easy to see how (at least most of them) came to be that person. I did not hold their past against them, which made some betrayals sting all the more. But honestly, it’s not just the main three characters you find yourself easily attached to, I also found myself drawn to the fiercely loyal companions and was worried about their well being by the end just as much as the others. I am not exaggerating when I say I screamed “MY POOR CINNAMON ROLLS OF STEEL!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY BABIES?!?” during the final pages.

Now, I understand if the romance in the book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It worked for me, but then … I am also someone who wasn’t bother by the Rey and Kylo Ren pairing in Star Wars? I chose that specific example, because I know the author is like the number 1 Kylo Ren fan and there are certainly some Reylo similarities to be found here. Just like that didn’t work for everyone, I am guessing it also won’t work for every reader here. I, personally, felt the tension and was fine with it.

“When he stepped past her, a smile flickered at the edges of his lips. There was darkness at the corners, something evil just underneath the surface, sinister. He turned and grinned at her, monstrous but beatific, holding out his hand, darkness gone. Maybe she’d just imagined it. She took his hand.”

There’s also the diversity I enjoyed a lot. While you feel this world largely inspired by Slavic culture, the world ranges from deserts to snow regions, includes people of color, with disabilities and different sexualities. To me, those are all parts of what makes for good and enjoyable world-building. I was most fascinated by the supposed gods and the religious texts and accounts of saints though! There’s definitely a lot more to it than meets the eye and I wonder what we will discover about their origin and purpose as the series goes on.

I am glad I waited beyond the hype and checked out the book myself, because for me, this was an immediate hit. Also, even though I still have to wait a couple months, I am way closer to the release of Ruthless Gods (aka the sequel) than I would have been had I read the book upon its release. I still want it so bad right now … the sooner the better!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Give me all the monsters, gods and mortals and the sequel while you’re at it!

Have you read the book? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Book Review)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count
: 510

Our Dark Duet is the second and final book in the Monsters of Verity duology (you can read my review for the first book, This Savage Song, here). While I will try to avoid spoilers for this part as best as I can, I don’t recommend you read on if you haven’t read This Savage Song.

Back in 2016, I talked about this series all the time. So much so, that I pre-ordered the hardcover copy of Our Dark Duet, fully knowing that I’d be in Canada by the time it would arrive and therefore also buying the ebook version for my Kindle. All of that because I truly loved This Savage Song. I loved how quietly exciting it was, how original the creation of the monsters was. But most of all, I loved the characters and that’s what lead me to put off reading the book for such a long time. I was worried about their future and their livelihood and rightly so, because Monsters of Verity doesn’t have a happy end, but it might just have a hopeful one (even if it comes at a price, as Schwab so deftly put it in her acknowledgements).

To me, Our Dark Duet was a lot … well, darker. Whereas Kate’s opportunity at a family and a place where she belongs got once again taken away, August tried to embrace his supposed purpose in life and lost himself in the process. They had to grow up even more than in the last book and it just made me feel terribly sad for their circumstances. Only when the two are together, they can allow themselves to be themselves. I am very protective of my son August, but Kate grew even more on me here than she did in the last book. They see each other for who and what they are and that’s such a vital and beautiful quality whether it’s in friendship or whatever else they were having. It’s my favorite part about their relationship, while I simultaneously hated that they spent most of the book apart.

The book didn’t just deliver more of the same old, it had quite a lot of new elements  a terrifying monster and a new Sunai, by the name of Soro. The latter, in particular, was quite the enigma to me, which leads me to a final statement I want to make with this review: There’s still a lot of unanswered questions. It’s not like the book ended on a cliffhanger and I won’t survive, but there is so much more that this world has to offer, so many characters that we could still explore and I truly want to spend more time with. I don’t know if that is an option, or if Schwab is truly done with this world, but I, for one, would really enjoy some sort of spin-off or continuation in Verity and its surrounding areas (aka maybe a Prosperity spin-off???).

A lot happens in the book, we get several different POVs and there was a lot of heart in the story. My heart broke and hurt for hours after I was done. It’s always that way when I truly loved something and I just need to establish it one more time – if I could, I would adopt August and coddle him for life!

Rating: 5/5 stars! I am sad it is over, but this story was freaking fantastic.

Have you read the Monsters of Verity duology? I am telling you, it is totally worth it!

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Book Review)

ThisSavageSong

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count
: 427

This Savage Song was featured in the July OwlCrate box and so far I have not been disappointed by any read I have got from them, this one not being an exception – I loved it!

I know that Schwab has quite an impressive bibliography, but I haven’t read anything other than the Shades of Magic books so far. While I did enjoy them, I did not necessarily love them though, but now I have simply fallen for This Savage Song.

She created this world full of monsters and music. No one is safe. No one is truly good or evil – or at least that’s what the premise promised, but I thought it was pretty obvious who was on which side. I think that might have been a point that disappointed people a bit, but I personally didn’t really mind it. Good people have to do terrible things all the time. It’s how they deal with it afterwards that makes me decide if I still consider them good people or not and whatever August and Kate had to do in the book, you saw with a certainty that they did not fully enjoy doing really terrible acts.

At first I was a little confused with the set-up. Why were the monsters there? How were they created? How can something just begin to exist with a plop and be this fully developed being? The thing is, we don’t really get answers to that, but that is the exact same thing August is struggling with. You get a vague break-down of what happened, but it didn’t feel like a real explanation to me. Going through the same process as the character makes all the difference though and was maybe also the reason why I liked August a tiny bit more than Kate. She was tough and had something to prove, but I felt more connected to August’s struggle to just hold on. He soon turned into my baby that I just wanted to protect, but failed miserably at it.

One of the things I liked most was that it all was so quietly exciting. You got an in depth feel of the characters and their inner workings, but the real action didn’t start until the final third and I was totally okay with that. Also, I was glad to find that the ending open but not with a terrible cliffhanger. I knew going into this that it was a series and I am really looking forward to the continuation of the story. Right now our MC’s are all over the place, but I am sure they will find their way back together (just like Kell and Lila).

Fazit: 5/5 stars! It was an exciting, character-driven story that I cannot wait to dive back into with the sequels!

5stars

Have you read This Savage Song? Do you share my feelings for it or did you have a different experience? Let’s discuss!

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2014

Before I start this post: I wish all of you readers happy holidays! It’s been a great year and I am thankful for all the support I’ve got from you. I’m truly happy about every visit to my page, like and comment! Thanks!

Now, on to Doctor Who! Despite the fact that the episode was named after the single most terrible Christmas song ever produced, meaning Last Christmas, the episode wasn’t nearly as bad. Beware of Spoilers ahead!

Last Christmas … I don’t even know where to start. This was definitely the most Inception-like plot ever, because there were just so many dreams in dreams and technically we still don’t know if they woke up (just like in the movie). There were parts I really liked and others I didn’t like so much. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on this years’ Christmas Special of Doctor Who:

  • Nick Frost as Santa together with his elves was simply hilarious. Also I was very happy to see Nathan McMullen, who I first encountered on Misfits, in this episode. I like the way they incorporated Santa and left it open as to whether he truly exists or not, even though we don’t actually have Santa in my country and I never believed in him, the thought of him is quite nice. And just fyi: I like getting tangerines. They are totally yummy!
  • Leave it to Steven Moffat to make dreaming unsafe. I generally didn’t dislike the episode, but it was really confusing and even repetitive at times. A very interesting concept, but at times copied from Inception (as I mentioned above).
  • Unfortunately I didn’t care that much about the other dreamers. The only thing that was a bit interesting to see was where and how they woke up.
  • A lot of people wondered why the episode was called “Last Christmas” because there were so many rumours about Jenna Coleman leaving. In truth though, it was Clara‘s and Danny‘s last Christmas together. It was heartbreaking to see them part yet again. Danny is just too perfect, even if he was just a projection in a dream.
  • Well, Jenna Coleman didn’t leave, although I read somewhere that she had a change of heart at the last minute and that they had to rewrite the ending of the episode. (This information was never actually confirmed though) It was originally planned that Clara would die at old age with the Doctor visiting her for the last time. It doesn’t really matter now that that didn’t happen, although that part of was brilliant. The prosthetics didn’t look as terrible as they sometimes tend to look and I just loved the whole scene. The way the Doctor still saw her the way she looked like when she was young and Clara telling him that there was only one other man than Danny, but that he was impossible. In the end, I am very happy though to see her for at least another half-season. We’ll see if she still stays after that.
  • Clara and the Doctor on the sleigh was so cute and lovely. Another one of my favourite moments!
  • I’m not exactly sure I can pinpoint it, but a lot of this episode reminded me of Donna. The way Clara dreamt about her life with Danny, made me think of Donna while she was saved in the library and the Dream Crabs really reminded me of that thing on Donna’s back during Turn Left.
  • While we still don’t know when Series 9 will continue, we have a title for the first episode: The Magician’s Apprentice. Sounds interesting.

It may still not rank as one of my favourite Christmas Specials, but it wasn’t bad at all. I quite liked it, what about you? What are your thoughts?

Let’s Rob a Bank Together!

Another week, another Doctor Who episode and this time it was “Time Heist“. Beware of the Spoilers ahead and don’t hesitate to discuss your thoughts with me afterwards.

So, where to start … I’m having a bit of a difficult time reviewing this episode because usually I am very passionate when it comes to Doctor Who, but tonight I felt a little indifferent about it all. The thing is, I don’t understand why! Time Heist had an adventurous storyline, great characters, an interesting monster and the Doctor saving the day – there really isn’t much to complain about, is there? Let’s go through some of my thoughts and see what I can come up with:

  • We’ve had those “monsters” before – the last of their kind, that do seemingly terrible things, but aren’t that terrible at all. Sometimes they just don’t want to be alone … (remember “Hide“, “The God Complex” and “The Beast Below“? Just to name some recent examples for similar cases). Nonetheless, I don’t think those stories ever get old. They’re kind of cute in my opinion and the Teller was a really interesting creature.
  • I really liked Psi and Saibra … although, I liked Psi a little more. I was extremely happy to see that they weren’t dead and although we didn’t actually find out much about them, they seemed intriguing to me. So, in conclusion they were great side characters and I really wouldn’t mind if we met them again somewhere along the way.
  • The Doctor was the hero of the day! Don’t get me wrong, I know that he is very often. But lately, it often seemed like Clara was the one saving the day, so I am glad to see the Doctor at his best. The only thing I can’t get over, is how easily he accepts it when someone dies. In the end they didn’t die, but still … well, but then again Saibra called him a good man.
  • Memory worms are always fun!
  • The woman from the shop was briefly mentioned again. Still want to know who that is!

All in all it wasn’t a bad episode, but I am much more looking forward to next weeks “The Caretaker“. Danny and the Doctor will finally meet and Clara has to deal with her divided life. I love it already! What is your opinion of the “Time Heist“?