The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
Juliette is definitely a breath of fresh air in terms of female main protagonists. I think it was the fact that she wasn’t afraid to be the bad person in the situation. When she came back from America she was fully committed to being the heir to the Scarlet Gang and would bully and intimidate her way through the ranks and gain the respect of the others members even though she is a woman.
Roma I felt like we didn’t get to know him enough for me to be invested to him as a character. The book was kind of more focused on Juliette even though it was dual perspective and I don’t feel like I was able to make much of a connection with Roma as I was with her. He is intriguing and the predicament that he finds himself in being in love with Juliette and having his father find out and use that information against him was gripping. But I want to say the whole situation was a little too predictable but then again this is a retelling so I can only expect so much.
The mystery aspect with the monster and finding out who was behind the vaccine and finding the lakspur was tedious. There really wasn’t any urgency until Roma’s little sister was infected and then I feel like everything came together too easily. Like all the factors were there and they just couldn’t see it until it really started to matter.
I liked the fact that we are given insight into the other characters and it just isn’t all about Juliette and Roma. I was also highly invested in the two gangs and the way they differentiated from each other. Learning about the blood feud and why the two gangs are so willing to kill each other when they breach each other’s territories gave much needed depth and excitement.
⭐️ 3/5 stars Just ok, will definitely be continuing on!
For the last couple of years I’ve been listing 5 of my favourite stand-alone books that I read in the year previous. So I figured why not continue on with that tradition!
Another 5 of my Favourite Fantasy Stand Alones are:
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
I have to admit I am only about 10% of the way into Truthwitch at the moment. I am currently in a little bit of a reading slump but I am going to persist and hopefully have this book complete by the end of this week! I am soooooo happy to be back in this world and reacquainting myself with all the characters. I absolutely love Safi and Iseult and their loyalty and companionship they have found with each other. Once again I found there was a little bit of an info dump right at the start and it was a little jarring to get into but I am excited to see this tale unfold once again!
I really enjoyed this!
The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.
We learn so much more about Chih in this book without having to go into minute details about them particularly. It’s more so the way they react to situations or how much they rely on Almost Brilliant’s companionship. The stoicism when they had to tell the story to the tiger’s even though they were frightened really conveyed their character to me.
Si-Yu was a quirky character. I liked that we got to learn more about the different kinds of people in this world and how they differ from the previous book. I would of liked to have learnt more about the Mammoth corp and the history of their family but alas this was a novella and there is only so much information we are going to be given about each character.
What really captivated me was the tigers, I was very much interested and intrigued by them from the start. The fact that they can shapeshift into humans, yet they are still considered tigers. The way Chih had to negotiate with them in order to not be eaten and the way they interjected throughout the course of the tale because Chih had it wrong. How Chih had to reiterate that this was only the way they had been told the tale and to ask the tigers to correct it.
The one qualm I have is that the writing style is a little hard to get into. It’s kind of structured in a way that you really have to pay attention at all times and take in what is being said. It’s quite a lyrical and descriptive style and isn’t something I am able to just pick up straight away I have to kind of ease myself into it. And being that this is so short the books halfway done by the time I’m situated.
⭐️3/5 stars I was invested, definitely unlike anything I’ve read before!
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
I absolutely loved this book! The concept was intriguing, compelling and highly original. The way the story was structured held my attention and the length was honestly perfect!
Nora’s character and her journey throughout the course of the plotline and her lives was highly interesting. I was pretty much invested right from the start when we learn she decided to kill herself. Her self discovery, jumping between her lives and coming back and forth from the library made for a really honestly entertaining read.
I have always been a fan of the butterfly effect and to see that kind of theory put in narrative form was unlike anything I’ve ever read. Seeing how one simple decision could have such a major effect on the way her life could of been. I liked the fact that we meet other people who are in the same situation that Nora is in, making their way through their various lives. It added some depth to the story and was another element that kept me wanting to read more.
The only thing that I wasn’t a big fan of what all of the philosophical talk and how they kind of broke down what was happening into more scientific elements. I would of appreciated if we kind of had to just accept what was happening without any kind of explanation. I think it would of make the experience that little bit more touching. Not really knowing if The Midnight Library was a real place and actually happened to Nora or if she just imagined everything after she overdosed.
I think just the second chance at life trope was something that touched me and I really found myself sympathising with Nora and happy that she managed to figure out what she really wanted in the end!
⭐️4/5 stars Poignant, relevant & impactful!!!