Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3


Date Read: March 4 - March 15 2017
Date Released: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…"


With each book in The Bone Season series, the world somehow keeps on expanding and I have to remind myself there’s seven books in all. Let’s be honest, I’ve fallen so far into Scion I’m probably never going to make it back out of this intricate and devastating world.

The Song Rising opens with Paige hitting the ground running as Underqueen and it’s daunting how much discord her reign starts with. Everybody is divided on her right to rule and her betrayal of Jaxon in the Rose Ring. If The Song Rising had an alternative title it would be Everybody is Out to Get Paige! They either hate her and want her dethroned, or they’re afraid of her and want to kill her for her powers. Or all of the above, take your pick! Paige faces a massive challenge with the need to prove she’s ruthless enough to be Underqueen, while balancing her internal desire to be considerate and kind. As someone accustomed to being in the thick of things and doing the dirty work, it’s a real lesson for Paige in learning to pick her battles. Her journey and growth isn’t easy and I have to keep reminding myself Shannon has to pace the growth across the books. I think Shannon did a good job of giving Paige just the right amount to develop and leaving lots of room for improvement in character.

There are so many great secondary characters in this series but the real standouts were of course Nick and Eliza, Paige’s mollishers. These two have stuck with her through thick and thin and I loved the unquestionable trust they have. Shannon peels back the layers of these characters and we get a glimpse of what betraying Jaxon meant to them. We see the consequences of this – their sacrifices and their wants, overridden by their need for the greater good. We finally see glimpses of the human villains and masterminds behind Scion; it’s hard to picture these people as human because they cause such tragedy on a large scale but at the end of the day they are definitely mortal. And then you got to wonder how such evil and callousness exists in the world… oh wait *looks at reality* nevermind.

In typical Bone Season fashion, the romance continues to be slow burn and the tension is wonderful and UGHHHHHH it also makes me want to rip my hair out ‘cause JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY. On the other hand, it makes the stolen moments all the more precious and the angst and feels are delicious.

The plot though. Wow the plot. The world keeps expanding and the web reaches farther than I thought possible. Scion’s corruption is deep and I think the Rephaite have their own hidden agenda (what’s with their world?!) that Shannon’s going to slowly reveal throughout the series and it’s going to be mind-blowing. In The Song Rising we see life outside of Scion London and the effect Scion has had on the rest of the UK. It’s a sorry sight, everything leeched of life, perpetual poverty everywhere people turn. The streets seem layered with scum and nobody walks around carefree. Shannon really has a way with words and her imagery is always on point, to the point where you read about filth and you sort of spew a little in your mouth. Oops sorry TMI? She’s that good!

What a ride guys, what a ride. I get the chills thinking of what book 4 will bring because it’s like a whole new world of unknowns, but excited for all the possibilities and the havoc Paige will wreak. I get a little more scared for Paige with each book as her powers become more coveted and Scion is increasingly more far reaching and dangerous. It’s a thrilling and fast-paced world, there’s no safe place, no surrender.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Firstly, thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy <3


Date Read: February 26 - March 4 2017
Date Released: March 1st 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:
"Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.
Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed."


That feel when you find a gem of a contemporary. With a gorgeous cover (dust jacket AND naked cover), This Adventure Ends is beautiful inside and out. Emma Mills was already on my radar since I adored her debut First & Then, so when I heard she was releasing another contemporary (blessed with gorgeous covers Mills is) I was so excited. Safe to say this is one of my favourite contemporaries of all time and Mills is now auto-buy.

One of the first things Sloane does upon her arrival in Florida is to stick up for a guy (Gabe) at a party. As a result, she befriends said guy’s twin sister and is immediately part of their friendship group. Said twin sister Vera is actually a social media sensation no big deal, Sloane doesn’t lose her head over it (she doesn’t use even use social media). That’s the way things are with Sloane – she’s mega chill, casual and extremely witty. I loved her comebacks, her wisdom and her independence. She’s immensely loyal despite giving off the vibe she doesn’t need friends. That’s one of her many flaws and I really liked the way she got hurt and contemplative when people called her out on her shit – because nobody had done that before. Sloane’s growth throughout the book via her interactions with these friends is touching and wonderful.

Vera really stood out to me in this book. She’s a gorgeous social media sensation, posting selfies on Instagram and similar platforms but she doesn’t let it get to her head. She’s this humble ball of energy that makes everybody around her feel like they have all her attention (they do). She’s sweet, sensitive and a great friend overall. The other relationship that resonated with me was between Sloane and her dad. Everett Finch is kind of like Nicholas Sparks in that he writes tragic yet hopeful romances. Her dad’s in a writing slump but holy crap he is HILARIOUS. When he finds out about fandoms online he gets totally obsessed with this teen werewolf show (basically Teen Wolf), bingeing the series, reading all the fanfic… and starts writing fanfic of his own. He gets totally immersed in the world, learning terms like ‘canon’ and ‘AU’ (I mean I never even knew what this meant but thanks to Sloane’s dad I do now) as well as ‘ship’. His obsession with the world draws in Sloane, Vera, Gabe and their friends Randy and Aubrey. It was so interesting seeing a TV show connect different generations. The book also explores Sloane’s bilateral interactions with the other characters and their own problems, giving each character dimension and making them unique and memorable. Because while Sloane imparts wisdom, her friends also give a lot back that make her think twice about who she is.

Romance is slow burn and cute and kind of not really there. If you want to talk ship it’s kind of still docked at the harbour, bobbing in its spot, but waiting to set sail if you ask me! Sorry was that lame? Sorry not sorry. Gabe is this broody, quiet guy who’s more aware of things going on around him than he lets on. He’s the total opposite of his sister and I really think he just needed a hug most of the time.
Underpinning the progression of the book and Sloane’s developing relationship with the characters, is her quest to find a priceless painting left by Vera and Gabe’s mum before she died. It was accidentally sold and Sloane has made it her personal mission to try and get it back for the twins. It was a real rollercoaster ride every time it looked like Sloane had a lead only to get to a dead end. While I didn’t find the quest to really expand on her relationship too much with the other characters, I believe it was part of her personal growth in understanding her drive towards why she wanted to get this painting back so badly.

Mills’ writing is engaging, fun and her dialogue gives unique voices to each character. I laughed a LOT and I also got teary a couple of times throughout the book. The characters were all wonderful, the plot seemingly light, yet layered in a way that I could gently peel them back and find the deeper meaning at its core. This Adventure Ends is honestly one of the loveliest, most thought provoking books I’ve read in a while and I can’t wait to see where Mills will take me next.