This book follows the story of Alice who has been moving around her whole life with her mum Ella trying to outrun the bad luck that plagues them constantly. That is until Alice’s grandmother a reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood and Ella proclaims that they are free. Or are they?
The first half of the book I really enjoyed. The build-up of anticipation and tension really set the scene for the book and kept me on the edge of my seat. But the second half was a little disjointed and was a bit of a letdown. It got a little too fantastical all at once and I was a little lost in the woods. Had there been a little more information given about the Hazelwood prior to them actually entering might of made me appreciate the setting a bit more. But how it was kind of told just made me a bit confused and not really connected to what was happening.
I did enjoy the kind of mystery aspect surrounding what Althea had written, that component really intrigued me and had me wondering about what she encountered when she went missing. I like that we only got inserts from the book by Finch and how elusive it was to actually hold and read it.
Alice isn’t a favourite female protagonist of mine but I did appreciate how protective of her mother she was. How she would truly do whatever was necessary to try and find her and get her back even putting herself in danger was really courageous. But I liked the fact that she still kept secrets from her mother and tried to find out about her grandmother and the Hinterland. She was just a bit too standoffish and cold (lol) for my liking for me to personally warm to her as a character, but in the end it did make sense so that made me appreciate her.
This book is actually quite dark and a little bit macabre, the pacing was pretty fast but there were a few lulls in the plot and at times I did find myself a little confused but I pushed through and did get it in the end. The premise was very different and unique but I thought the execution and the twist wasn’t explosive enough for me.
⭐️3/5 Intriguing, dark and a little strange…
This was fantastic!
We follow multiple perspectives in this series. Han is a reformed thief and is struggling to put food on the table for his mother and younger sister. Raisa is princess heir to the throne, who has just returned to court after 3 years being fostered in the mountain clans.
I loved these characters!!! They are all so different and distinctive and multifaceted. Han in particular I really enjoyed. You can really see his commitment to his sister through every action that he takes. He has given up being the street lord of the Raffers and is trying his hardest to stay out of the streets and their grudges. I found him to be quite a refreshing male protagonist. He is very sure of himself when he is navigating the streets and when he has to get out of a fight, but when it comes to choosing what he wants to do in the future, he is coming up short. Everyone else seems to be on the right path but what is his path?
I appreciated Raisa’s character but she still kind of got on my nerves a little in this book, very naïve and a little manipulative to be honest. She was always saying that she wants to be informed with what’s going on in the kingdom and doesn’t want to be a glittering ornament in a cage, but when she knew something was happening or something wasn’t right she never acted on it. Right at the start when they nearly got caught in the fire the wolves appeared to warn her and she had a feeling something bad was going to happen but she never said anything. Then right at the end when he mother summoned her she knew something bad was going to happen but just walked right into it. That really frustrated me, but I still understand that it helped to drive the plot forward I only hope she evolves in the coming books.
I love the fact that every single character has a purpose in the book, and they all have a particular story or plotline that keeps them relevant. Also the different settings in the book kept me interested in the plot. I love the Clan and their way of life, I found myself really intrigued by their magical abilities and their status within the kingdom.
The pacing was very well done and the writing was very engaging. I found I couldn’t put the book down once I started! This really has everything that I love about fantasy, a unique premise, an intriguing plotline and dynamic characters. I have a good feeling about this series and I really hope the next books live up to my expectations!!
⭐️5/5 LOVED IT!
This book was absolutely fantastic!
Truly Devious was a shining star last year for me, I really enjoyed the whole premise and plot of the story and The Vanishing Stair really lived up to the expectations that I had built up.
Stevie’s parents have pulled her out of Ellingham Academy after the tragic death of her classmate. She still longs to return and figure out the unsolved case of Truly Devious but her parents are resolute. That is until Edward King turns up at her house with a solution.
Every single line of this book was captivating to read. It was really fast paced and the stakes were incredibly high. The theme is very dark and mysterious and there are so many twists and turns that you can’t help but turn the pages.
Stevie was really relatable in this book. She is so driven and focused on her goal and she will really stop at nothing to find out the truth of what happened that night back in 1936 and also the present day conundrum of Ellie and Hayes. I like the fact that she didn’t immediately dismiss Ellie’s disappearance and looked further into it. It really showed how dedicated she is in becoming a detective. I also like that fact that she tried to include others into her discoveries. She asked for help when she thought she needed it and didn’t dismiss their input.
I’m not quite sure what to make of David yet. I kind of wrote him off as a typical rich kid character that is trying to get his absent fathers attention, but I can’t help feeling like there might be more to his story. I liked how we see him break down after they found Ellie, it was nice to see a teenage boy express his feelings and not be embarrassed by it. He acknowledged their friendship in his grief and I thought that showed how comfortable he is with Stevie.
Larry is another character that I kind of dismissed in the first book and didn’t think he would have a pivotal role in the storyline. I thought he was very honourable and decent and actually treated Stevie with respect and slight disgruntlement for being in the midst of all the scandals. Stevie kind of looked up to his as an authoritative figure that she could trust which is far and few between.
This book is so entertaining; it really has you on the edge of your seat as you read. I found myself really engrossed and engaged in the plot, as I didn’t want to miss anything. All the scenes in the book I thought were pivotal in the overall storyline and every single character that is introduced or carry on from the last book have a purpose. I love reading between the lines and figuring out all the clues and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final book and see once and for all what happened to Alice. I definitely have my theories and I’m excited to see if any are true!
⭐️5/5 I loved this! Mysterious, moody and manic, a wonderful read!
I didn’t absolutely love it and I didn’t hate it either.
It was just kind of ok…. We definitely delved a lot deeper into the story and the reasoning’s behind the study of the defect, but I wasn’t really left with any overwhelming feelings after the ending.
This book really starts with a lot of tense, highly emotional scenes that set up the tone of the book very well. The stakes were very high throughout the first 100 pages or so and it really had me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages. But with that being said the rest of the book was just kind of mediocre for me. I like that the flashbacks are more in depth and we are getting the answers to a lot of questions but the direction that the book went with wasn’t a favourite of mine.
I started to question Mara and her decisions a lot in this third instalment of the series. Yes I know she was tortured and has had a lot of emotional and physical trauma happen to her a short period of time, but I didn’t really like who she became after she escaped. Sure she did save Stella and Jamie but I don’t feel like that justifies some of her actions since. I was wholly on Stella’s side after the incident in the subway and I fully supported her decision to leave and go home… I feel like I would of done the same. I think it was the fact that Mara took on the role of judge and executioner and really would of followed through had it not been for Jamie and Stella’s presence. It didn’t sit well with me and I thought she was very detached.
Daniel really shone for me in this book, his staunch support of his sister and commitment to finding the truth and uncovering the secrets of the trial was wonderful. I love the bond that they share and I really enjoyed his character and how solid and stable he is.
Noah didn’t do a lot for me in this book either. I know there was the whole mystery surrounding his death but I had no doubt that he would be making a reappearance. It was a little obvious and when he did finally show up it wasn’t all that impressive or shocking. He just kind of strolled in and it wasn’t impactful at all for me.
It was a very fast paced book and I did read it really quickly but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. Everything was exposed and it made sense but it didn’t really answer all of the questions that I wanted and it was a very open ended conclusion. I wasn’t left awestruck or dumbfounded I was just like ok.
⭐️3.5/5 A little anticlimactic…
Brandon Sanderson has done it again!
This story follows Spensa who lives on a world that is constantly under attack by aliens. In this world being a fighter pilot is deemed one of the most honourable and sought after positions in their society. Spensa’s father was a fighter pilot and was highly respected until one day when she was seven he deserted and was killed forever branding him as a coward. Now nine years later Spensa is trying to step out of her father’s shadow and become a pilot herself.
This is another example of how amazing Brandon Sanderson’s writing skills are. The world was built up wonderfully and the characters are flawed and highly developed.
Spensa is another strong female protagonist that isn’t afraid to speak up and voice her opinion. She has had to overcome so much adversity in her life, always having to defend herself and work so much harder to fight for what she wants because of what her father supposedly did. Her arc throughout the storyline was wonderful to read. She starts off as this cocky, overconfident cadet who is trying to prove herself worthy to a strong, self aware, more grounded (lol) pilot. The fact that she is able to acknowledge her flaws and express her emotions showed great growth in her character.
I also quietly enjoyed Jorgan as well. I thought he was a great contrast to Spensa, he was more rigid and by the book where she kind of flew off the cuff and was more spontaneous and prone to disobeying orders. I like that we get a look into his life and how different it was to Spensa’s, seemingly being handed everything to him on a silver platter as opposed to Spensa’s battle to belong. I like the subtle shift in their relationship as the story progressed and how it evolved into a more companionable and mutually respective friendship. Though the banter between them was fun and very entertaining to read.
The fact that the flight group kept dwindling really added a layer of urgency and pressure to the storyline. Every time they took off you didn’t know if everyone was going to make it and that really kept me engaged in the plot.
M-bot added a nice spark as well. The communication between him and Spensa was witty and light in comparison to some of the darker tones that the book was evoking. The same with Cobb, he really had Spensa’s back from the start and he was a great buffer to the Admiral. He kind of acted as a lifeline to Spensa’s father and added some insight to that day he defected, I like that he still honoured his friendship to her father by being her mentor.
All in all I was very much invested in the characters and the plot. The battles and the simulation were exciting and precarious. There were definitely rumblings of political schemes in play so I can see it really evolving and expanding a whole lot more in the books to come! Some of the flight jargon and manoeuvrings slowed me down and bored me a little but the overall plot and storyline was very captivating to read!
⭐️4.5/5 stars from someone who isn’t a great fan of sci-fi this was GREAT!!