Genre: Adult Fantasy

The Magicians by Lev Grossman | Review

Posted January 14, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Magicians by Lev Grossman | ReviewThe Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman
Published by Viking on August 11th 2009
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 402
Goodreads

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

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The Final Empire & The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Review

Posted January 14, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Final Empire & The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | ReviewThe Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Gollancz on October 1st 2009
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 647
Goodreads

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch | Review

Posted January 11, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch | ReviewThe Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) by Scott Lynch
Published by Gollancz on February 1st 2007
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 530
Goodreads

Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.
In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood", one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling...
An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.
A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.
Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.
Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying...

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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | Review

Posted January 11, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | ReviewThe Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1) by Erika Johansen
Published by Harper on July 8th 2014
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 448
Goodreads

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.
Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."
Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

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Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | Review

Posted January 6, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | ReviewRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch
Published by Image Comics on April 8th 2014
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Pages: 128
Goodreads
five-stars

Who are the Rat Queens?
A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.
It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!

This is such a fun graphic novel series! Rat Queens follows a band of all lady Dungeons and Dragons-type adventurers who fight monsters, make trouble, and frequent the pub. This is going to be a great series for fans of RPGs, as there are so many references to video game and D&D mechanics. It’s as if the series is winking and nodding to RPG fans. Even if you aren’t an RPG player, this series has so much for everyone. The Rat Queens are a varied band, with women of all sizes, races, and sexualities. They are all quick witted, funny, and unique. I was so excited to learn more of their backstories and see what else this series has to offer.

Unfortunately, I will not be continuing this series after Volume 3 due to choices made by the creative team to welcome back the co-creator (who was arrested for domestic violence), after they had told the female artist that he would not be coming back and that she would be the artist moving forward. It was a shitty mess. If you want to know more about this in detail, this article goes into all of it. Now, as of late 2016, the series is going on a print hiatus and will only be a webcomic for a while. I’m wondering if the backlash caused this series to flounder. Which is such a shame, as it had so much promise and I would have gladly continued if the co-creator did not return.

So while I adore this series, and plan to read those first few volumes, I ultimately know I will not be continuing and can’t really recommend it to others based on that. Unless you, like me, go into it knowing the experience is going to end earlier than it should.

five-stars

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The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman | Review

Posted January 2, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman | ReviewThe Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3) by Lev Grossman
Published by Penguin Books on June 9th 2015
Genres: Adult, Adult Fantasy
Pages: 401
Goodreads

“If the Narnia books were like catnip for a certain kind of kid, these books are like crack for a certain kind of adult.” —The New York Times
Critics, readers, and fellow writers have all hailed the Magicians trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman as one of the greatest achievements in modern fantasy. Cast out of Fillory, Quentin Coldwater returns to the place his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. All too soon, however, his past comes looking for him, and Quentin sets out to face his fears and put things right—or die trying. Filled with riveting battle scenes as well as intriguing new characters and the return of beloved favorites, The Magician’s Land brings Grossman’s epic tale to its magnificent conclusion.

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman | Review

Posted August 15, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Magician King by Lev Grossman | ReviewThe Magician King (The Magicians #2) by Lev Grossman
Published by Viking on August 9th 2011
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 400
Goodreads

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The MagiciansQuentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

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The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | Review

Posted July 25, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 1 Comment

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | ReviewThe Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Gollancz on February 11th 2010
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 724
Goodreads

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson's saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility.

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The Final Empire & The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | REVIEW

Posted June 20, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Final Empire & The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | REVIEWThe Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Gollancz on October 1st 2009
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 647
Goodreads

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

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Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal | REVIEW

Posted August 7, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 1 Comment

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal | REVIEWShades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Published by Tor Books on June 7th 2011
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Pages: 306
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men. 
Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right--and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.
This debut novel from an award-winning talent scratches a literary itch you never knew you had. Like wandering onto a secret picnic attended by Pride and Prejudice and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Shades of Milk and Honey is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen…if only she had been a fantasy writer.

This book is the perfect read for any fans of Jane Austen or fantasy of manners. Everything about this feels like stepping into a Jane Austen novel, with magic. With that being said, some people are going to enjoy that while others are going to find it unoriginal. I happened to be in the camp that enjoyed it.

Firstly, the writing and world building makes you feel as though you’ve stepped right back into Regency England. I felt like I was watching the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice while reading. The magic system of glamour added a new and interesting touch, as it was a passive kind of magic used for art and aesthetics, rather than the typical offensive magic we see typically for fighting.

Secondly, the characters are all Jane Austen archetypes. Again, some people may find it unoriginal, but I found it comforting. I immediately enjoyed our main character, who reminded me very much of Lizzie Bennet. The familial dynamics explored were also reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice.

Lastly, the story was also one that feels like Jane Austen canon. That did make it slightly predictable, but for me, that was enjoyable. Again, I found it very comforting and familiar, so I was able to fly through this book and it left me feeling satisfied. This is the first book in a series that I plan to continue.

Overall, as is painfully obvious, this book felt nostalgic for me even though it was my first time reading it. All of the elements felt familiar and cozy. If you are not a fan of Jane Austen, you will not enjoy this. While it wasn’t the most original story, I found it fun. I have heard the rest of the series gets a little more original, while maintaining all of the elements I enjoyed, so I look forward to continuing.

 

four-half-stars

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