I didn’t think portal fantasy would work for me but this was ok!
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is about a young girl called January who stumbles across a doorway to another world, setting off a chain of events that will change her life forever!
At first the story was a quite dry and hard to get into. It was a little on the slower side and it wasn’t gripping my attention as much as I wanted it to. It was a kind of info dumpy at the start and it was hard to focus on what was going on. Though, as the story continues and the dual timelines start to come into play, I became really invested in the story.
I didn’t really like January’s character at the start of the book. She was very placid and didn’t stand up for herself enough for me. In hindsight it does make sense why she would just do nothing but it was sooo frustrating in those moments when I felt like she just didn’t even try.
I was really invested in Adelaide and Eul’s story! I kind of wanted the focus to be more on them and less on January to be perfectly honestly. I would have loved to follow Adelaide more closely as she traveled the world trying to find the right door. She was tenacious and driven and would do absolutely anything to get to her goal, which contrasts quite starkly with January.
The inclusion of the ‘vampires’ was a little strange to me. It didn’t go into enough detail as to what the creatures actually were and they felt like a last minute addition to create an antagonist for January to be running from. Even though the overall story was fantastical that element seemed a little too supernatural and was quite jarring for me.
Overall I did get swept away into the story! The characters were all very distinct and interesting. The few plot twists that were thrown in did take me by surprise and in the end it was entertaining!
⭐️3/5 stars Good, could of been great!
The Starless Sea is a very whimsical, lyrical fantasy novel revolving around a man who picks up a book in a library and finds a story from him childhood in the pages.
To be totally honest I was completely lost for the first half of this book. It was really hard for me to stay focused on the story and actually comprehend what was happening. It jumps back and forth so often between Zachary’s point of view and the fairy tales that it came across a little nonsensical to me. However, after that half way point I really got settled into the story and was able to understand and appreciate how everything was tied together.
All of these characters in this book are very diverse and distinct. Each one of them has a purpose in the novel and interconnects in such a fascinating way. I really liked Zachary; he was very relatable and realistic to me. He was naïve but still questioned everything that was happening around him which I appreciated. Dorian I was a little skeptical about at the start. We aren’t given a lot of background information about him and I wanted to learn a bit more about where he comes from and what he did with Allegra all those years.
The romance aspect came across a little insta-lovey to me. They didn’t have enough substance for me to fully commit to that story line, however I was able to appreciate how they come together after experiencing everything that happens in the harbor. I was more fascinated by the Keeper and Mirabel; I wanted more interaction between them and to learn more about their history as well.
I have come to the realization that I don’t really like this kind of fantasy novel. There is not really any structure to the magic system and there aren’t really any rules or restrictions that are explained. You kind of just have to go with the flow of the novel and accept what were given and learn things as we go. This whimsical style just doesn’t gel with me personally.
Once I was able to really get my bearings in the story, I was very much engaged and wanted to know what was going to happen next. There is definitely a level of unpredictability and tension on the book was kept me invested in that second half of the plot. I was still a confused at the end about how the new harbor would be established…. especially since they are now on the surface? I definitely think this is a book that I will need to reread just to get everything to sink in!
⭐️3/5 stars confusing yet whimsical
I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed this!
The Crown’s Game revolves around two enchanters named Nikolai and Vika. They are the only two in the whole of Russia that are able to conjure and manipulate magic and they are both vying for the position of the Imperial Enchanter to the Tsar. In order to attain this position they must both compete in the crown game, a series of tests that will determine the winner and the loser is sentenced to death.
I’ve read a couple of books set in Russia this year and I have to say I have really loved the setting and the atmosphere. I liked how the different traditions and lore was very much present in the story; it added a layer of realism to what is an otherwise very fantastical tale.
Vika was a character that I kind of grew to dislike over the course of the plot. She starts off a little naïve which is a bit of a pet peeve for me, although it wasn’t really her fault. She was quite sheltered her whole life by her father and he did keep a lot of secrets from her. Some of her actions after she found out about Sergei I was a little iffy about, especially when she ravages Nikolai’s apartment. Even though they have the rivalry in place I thought a lot of her anger was misplaced, which she does acknowledge. She becomes a little too full of herself in a way, too reliant on the excess power that she doesn’t even realize she has.
Nikolai is a very likable character. He has had to overcome a lot of adversity throughout his life and he constantly has to live under the shadow of Pasha. We delve pretty deep into his background which I appreciated as well. I wasn’t quite a fan of how his arc ended though. I had hopes that there would be a resolution where both characters would make it through and it still seems like that could be a possibility in the next book.
I didn’t really like Pasha at all, I found him to be quite insufferable and spoilt. Being the tsavevich grants him a lot of power over people and even though he goes to great lengths to kind of shirk his responsibilities I feel he still utilizes that power whenever it benefits him. Like banning people from venturing to the island that Vika created so he can be the first to explore it and making Nikolai drop everything and cater to his every whim and be ready at his beck and call.
I still found the plot to be incredibly engaging and the magic system very whimsical and pretty straightforward, it was quite easy to understand! The pacing was very constant and the tension steadily rises throughout the course of the plot. I was entertained right from the start and the premise was unique and fresh!
⭐️4/5 stars whimsical, unpredictable, thrilling!
This was a great continuation to this series. Brandon Sanderson really took the foundations that he laid down in Skyward and continued to build depth and layers to the story that is just so entertaining and enthralling to read!
Spensa’s character remains quite consistent throughout most of the story until she has her epiphany moment towards the end of the book. She realises that she has judged some of these aliens based purely on her bias and minor interactions. I like that similar to the first novel she is able to reflect on her actions and accept when she has done something wrong and acknowledge her flaws and actively work towards shifting her perspective.
We don’t get a whole lot of Jorgen in this book, which made me a little sad, as he was one of my favourite characters. I think what little insight we gained from his experience with Gran Gran that leads him to a pretty astronomical discovery was still essential in terms of the overall plot line. I just wish we got a little more scenes between him and Spensa! That little taste at the start of the book wasn’t enough for me.
M-bot has definitely evolved in this book. I’m not sure I like the direction his particular plot line seems to be leading to. Hopefully he doesn’t fulfil all of those fears it seems his previous owners predicted might occur. All of the fail safes and programs written into his software prohibiting him from doing certain things seems reasonable to me and the fact that he’s even questioning those rules and asking Spensa is he is alive doesn’t bode well for me! I really like his character and I don’t want him turning into an antagonist.
The scope of the book is blown wide open in this instalment to the series. In Skyward even though Spensa is airborne they still pretty much revolve around what is happening on the ground. I like that we are given a completely different and foreign setting, but maintain a sense of continuity with the flight training Spensa has to undergo.
It boggles my mind how Brandon Sanderson is able to piece together such intricate storylines that still manages to surprise me at every turn. Characters and interactions that I dismissed as trivial and unimportant turn out to be vital to the continuation of the plot. You really need to pay attention to every little detail he puts in because somehow it will be revealed as a key piece of information that the whole story is revolving around.
⭐️4.5/5 stars This was absolutely fantastic 100% recommend!
The Beautiful is set in the year 1872 and revolves around a 17 year old girl named Celine Rousseau, who has run away from her dark past in Paris to rediscover herself in the city of New Orleans.
I didn’t really like Celine’s character at the start of the book. She came on a little too strong and I found her to be a little too arrogant and brash. She kind of thrust herself into situations that I felt wasn’t necessary, for example when she first met Bastien. Stepping in like that even though she was with her friend who clearly did not want to be involved just to satisfy her own need to feel powerful wasn’t the best way to make me like her. Granted she did grow on me over the course of the plot line but even still she ultimately doesn’t think things through completely and she doesn’t really take into account other people’s feelings.
The romantic aspect I actually did enjoy. I’m usually not a big fan of love triangles but the way this plot lines seems to be headed actually appeals to me. I like that hate to love trope and mixed with the star crossed lover’s piques my interests. It was a little obvious but still I liked their banter and the chemistry between all three characters involved!
Other than that I actually really liked all the rest of the characters in the story. I thought they were all very distinct and diverse. Bastien and his court of Lion’s were very intriguing. It kind of didn’t go in depth enough for me though; I could have definitely used more information on each of them. Where they come from, how their powers differ, how did they end up in New Orleans.
The pacing of the book was kind of up and down for me. The start was a little bit slow and it took me at least the first 100 or so pages before I was actually invested in the plot. The fact that Celine wasn’t a favorite of mine kind of stalled my progress for a while and made it harder for me to fully loose myself in the story.
I thought the atmosphere and tone of the book was fantastic. You are kind of transported into that time and place and it felt very realistic and what I felt was an accurate representation of the time.
⭐️4/5 stars Dark, mysterious, a slow build!