Posted in Must read, Recenzie, review

Review Fire and blood by George R.R Martin / Harper Voyager

Fire & Blood

By George R.R. Martin,

Doug Wheatley

 

REVIEW

 

Synopsis: With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros. 

 

Fire & Blood quenches the thirst of any ASOIAF fan seeking to know more about the history of the glorious Targaryens, along with their dragons and wars. Covering all the kings from Aegon I to the end of the regency of Aegon III, this book adds much more detail about the lives of the Targaryen kings than TWOIAF did, providing more insight into their characters and actions. The Dance of Dragons is especially well covered, which is in my opinion the most intriguing conflict in Westerosi history. Although it is only a „dry history book“ I did not find it dry at all and greatly enjoyed reading it. 

 

I’ve always wanted to know about the other continents of this world- Essos, Sothoryos, and Ulthos. FAB has given me more information than watching the TV series or reading the first 3 books of ASOIAF or the tale of Dunk and Egg did. FAB, however, is far from sating my hunger of knowledge, instead it made me want more and yes, I am contemplating in getting myself The World of Ice and Fire, for what better way to learn this world’s history from East to West than the book that tells about the First Men and The Andals of Andalos from Pentos?

 

This isn’t some book that only contains informations you already know, we learn so much. This is like reading an amazing, highly informative and greatly written History book, except in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It is written like related by a learned master of the Citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn like the title says, and delivers all you could possibly want to know about the Targaryen House, from Aegon the Conqueror to Aegon III as the title says. So much characters and important events, like Maegor the Cruel and Aegon’s conquest like Bookdragon Sean mentions in his great review, but also more informations about his reign, about Jaeherys and Alysanne, about the Dance of the Dragons…

How much you enjoy Fire and Blood will depend on several factors. The first is your pre-existing investment in the ASoIaF/Game of Thrones setting. If you really enjoy reading about fictional backstory, about the socio-economic underpinnings on why certain things happened, and if you like treating fantasy like real history, with the more lore and detail the better, then absolutely Fire and Blood is worth picking up. Although the broad strokes of the story are familiar from the main series, there’s an absolute plethora of new information here, and dramatisations of key moments from the history of the Seven Kingdoms (when the high and somewhat remote style of much of the book gives way to almost novelistic out-takes of key scenes). There’s also lots of completely new material, minor episodes, even small wars and skirmishes which have gone unmentioned so far in the main series.

 

Reading this book is a labor of love. There are parts that are tedious. I found my attention flagging and doing a lot of re-reading. Martin likes to be detail oriented and I appreciate that but I don’t think this book needed THAT much detail with random names and stories. Thus, finishing this book left me with the same feeling finishing other Martin books does: received that it’s done, exhilarated from what I read, missing it and wishing I was reading the next in the series.

A big big THANK YOU to Harper Voyager for sending me this beauty. I loved it!

Posted in Must read, Musthave, Recenzie, review

Recenzie Ready Player One de Ernest Cline /Editura Nemira

Ready player one

De Ernest Cline

 

Sinopsis: In 2045, lumea noastra nu este locul in care ai vrea sa traiesti. Singurele momente cand Wade Watts se simte in viata sunt cand evadeaza in OASIS, o utopie virtuala vasta, unde aproape toti oamenii isi petrec zilele.

Cand excentricul creator al OASIS-ului moare, lasa in urma o multime de enigme bazate pe obsesia lui pentru cultura pop din deceniile trecute. Iar cine le va rezolva primul va mosteni imensa lui avere si controlul total asupra OASIS.

Wade reuseste primul sa rezolve puzzle-ul cu care incepe jocul. Deodata intra in joc cu rivali care sunt gata sa ucida pentru premiul cel mare. Cursa pe viata si pe moarte a inceput si nu poate supravietui decat daca o castiga.

Ready player one este o calatorie aventuroasa intr-un concurs virtual unde castigatorul are sansa de a detine cea mai importanta franciza de jocuri din lume si de a deveni  mai bogat decat Jeff Bezon! Actiunea devine 

interesanta atunci cand elementele realitatii se imbina cu 

cele virtuale cum ar fi: moartea, iubirea si aliantele nu doar 

virtuale.

 

Apreciez cartea deoarece pentru mine a fost ca o oda in cinstea evolutiei calculatoarelor si a 

jocurilor video. 
Pentru cineva care a trăit călătoria, într-adevăr apreciez transformarea magică a tehnologiei care a crescut de nicăieri pentru a crea o lume nouă, cu o serie de noi probleme și oportunități pe care le avem astăzi. Doar mai puține informatii legate de istoria lor, de dragul firului narativ, ar fi funcționat mai bine pentru mine. Insa, daca sunteti pasionati de asa ceva, aceste detalii sigur nu va vor deranja.

 

In roman este vorba de o gasca de copii care trebuie să lupte împotriva bătrânilor răi (în viața reală) care conduc o corporație la fel de insidioasă, care intenționează să câștige premiile jocului OASIS și să le folosească pentru a exploata lumea. Deci, sunt adolescenți împotriva adulților, băieți buni împotriva băieților răi semnificativ mai puternici … și speram sa castige echipa potrivită.

 

OASIS este o utopie virtuală, în care utilizatorii se pot conecta și pot fi într-o lume, similară celei reale, o realitate virtuală pe scurt. Sincer, OASIS este jocul meu de vis de când eram copil, așa că am fost foarte entuziasmata înainte de a citi aceasta carte. Am avut așteptări înalte cat un munte și am fost șocatcă am ramas nu numai mulțumita, ci și uimita după ce am citit acest roman. Mi-am luat timp sa citesc asta, mi-a luat in jur de 3-5 zile pentru a citi, si singurul motiv pentru care am stat atat de mult la el este pentru ce mi-am dorit sa ma bucur de roman. Fiind un standalone, trebuia să mă bucur de fiecare clipă.

 

Voi citi cu siguranță acest roman din nou în curând. Nevoia de a ma scufunda intr-un roman superb este o necesitate, iar Ready Player One este alegerea mea pentru asta. O plimbare plină de distracție, cu referire ocazional la unul dintre jocurile / filmele mele preferate din toate timpurile. Acest roman este o nevoie, nu o dorință.

Posted in Musthave, Recenzie, Recomandare

Recenzie Urmasii de sange si os de Tomi Adeyemi /Review Children of blood and bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Carte publicata la Editura Epica in format hardcover. Acum in librarii

Sinopsis: Zelie Adebola isi mai aminteste de vremea cand pamantul Orishei vibra de magie. Arzatorii aprindeau flacari. Mareicii chemau valurile, iar mama Secerator a lui Zelie chema sufletele mortilor.

Dar totul s-a schimbat odata ce magia a disparut. La ordinele unui rege nemilos, majii au fost vanati si ucisi, lasandu-i pe Zelie fara mama si pe poporul ei fara speranta.

Acum Zelie are o sansa sa aduca inapoi magia si sa riposteze la prigoana regelui. Cu ajutorul unei printese fugare, Zelie trebuie sa dejoace si sa scape de urmarirea printului mostenitor, care este pornit sa starpeasca magia pentru totdeauna.

Primejdia ameninta la tot pasul in Orisha, unde leopanarii de zapada dau tarcoale dupa prada si spirite razbunatoare pandesc ascunse in ape. Totusi, cea mai mare primejdie poate fi Zelie insasi, care se lupta sa-si controleze puterile nou-dobandite – si sentimentele din ce in ce mai adanci pentru un dusman. 

Doamne! Nu am mai citit o carte asa de buna de ceva vreme. Sau poate am criticat prea dur cartile pe care le-am citit in ultimul timp. Multe dintre cartile fantasy pe care le-am citit pur si simplu nu s-au ridicat la standardele mele. Insa, aceasta carte a curprins fiecare element favorit cand vine vorba de fantasy si cred ca a ajuns in topul anului acesta.

Lumea din Urmasii de sange si os a fost ilustrata minunat, sistemul a fost pus la punct foarte bine, personajele sunt extraordinare si chiar mi-a placut faptul ca exista gemeni. Animalele, zeii si locurile unde se intampla actiunea au fost fabuloase. Sa nu mentionez ca si coperta cartii m-a cucerit cu totul! Cartea este plina ochi de actiune si aventura bine plasata, personajele se dezvolta pe tot parcursul firului narativ, totul este exact cum trebuie sa fie. Mai apoi ajungi la final unde se afla nota autoarei care este scrisa ca raspuns la violenta si brutalitatea asupra oamenilor de culoare din America, iar asta adauga si mai multa dedicare povestii.

O sa mai spun un singur lucru: As muri pentru Amari. Atat! Vreau cat mai mult de la acest personaj. Amari este personajul meu preferat, ea este cea care a avut cea mai complexa personalitate in opinia mea. Ea si Inan de asemenea. Si Inan a fost bine conturat si am apreciat asta destul de mult. Insa, am gasit personajul Zeliei fiind destul de simplu si nedezvoltat. Pe Tzain, nu stiu, nu l-am iubit, nici nu l-am urat, dar mi s-a parut ceva straniu legat de el.

Adeyemi explora atat de multe teme importante in aceasta carte: bigotismul, ura, moartea, prabusirea culturii, evazivitatea dar necesitatea sperantei, increderea, inselaciunea, dezamagirea, iubirea de toate felurile, pretul iertarii, mila, harul dat si primit, si importanta increderii in ceva mai maret decat tine.

Pe scurt? Cartea aceasta a fost glorioasa, de la inceput pana la final si m-am indragostit de ea

Children of Blood and Bone

by  Tomi Adeyemi

Synopsis: They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. 

Oh. My. God. I haven’t read this good of a book in a long time. Or it could just be I’m overly critical when it comes to books. Many of the fantasies I’ve read simply didn’t meet my standards and I didn’t really enjoy them. This book just encompasses some of my favorite elements in fantasy, and I think it as also topped my list for best 2018 release so far. 

The world was beautifully portrayed. The magic system is established nicely. The characters are wonderful, and I really enjoyed the fact that it features two pairs of siblings. The animals and the gods and the settings are fabulous. The cover is STUNNING. It’s full of action and adventure and it’s well paced. There’s plenty of character development. And then you get to the end and the author’s note says that Adeyami wrote this in response to police brutality and violence towards people of colour in America, and it adds a whole extra level to the story. 

So let me just say this one thing: I would die for Amari. That is all. Also, if I could date Amari, that would be great, too. Just give me more Amari. Amari was my favorite character – she was one who I found had actual dimension to her and I loved that. Her, and Inan, too. Inan felt multi-dimensional, too, and I loved that. However, I found Zelie’s character to fall a bit flat and be a bit one-sided. Tzain… I don’t know, I didn’t love him, I didn’t hate him, but I found his characterization to be a bit off. His character would do complete 180s every few seconds, which just frustrated me… But other than Tzain and Zelie, the characters were great. I loved what we got to see of the side ones!

Adyemi explores so many important themes in this one book. Bigotry, hate, death, the tearing down of culture, the elusiveness but necessity of hope, working through justifiable fears, trust, betrayal, disappointment, love (familial, romantic, and friendship), the cost of forgiveness, mercy, and grace both given and received, and the importance of believing in something bigger and more important than yourself. 

In short? This was glorious, from start to finish.

Posted in Must read, Recenzie, review

Review The other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn /Piatkus Books

The Other Miss Bridgerton

by Julia Quinn

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (20 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English

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Synopsis: She was in the wrong place…

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time…

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

 

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The thing with Julia Quinn’s books (at least the Rokesby books) is that nothing really happens, there’s really no great action or drama, it’s just two people really getting to know each other, and it’s lighthearted pure entertainment. It’s so much fun! This entire series, the characters are so good and intelligent and just pure fun, you just have to love them!

The story of well-born Poppy being kidnapped by a handsome, aristocratic, charming, privateer/spy, with a heart of gold and a French chef to cook all of his meals was, of course, utterly unrealistic. However, I don’t mind (and even) like improbable romance plots as long as the writing and chemistry are there and spoiler alert, they definitely were. Poppy and Andrew were incredibly well-matched and their verbal sparring was great fun to read.

The romance was fun, the adventure was well-played, and the Bridgerton name carries on as one of the best literary families to read. But I think that what I loved most about this book was that I can really see the changing tide of the romance novel inside of this historical romance’s pages. At the beginning of romance novels, it was 100% female submission (the “bodice rippers,” if you will). Then it became strong women, but stronger men (the woman who had to learn to accept that she did not always know best because, actually, the “alpha” hero did). But now, there’s a tide towards true feminism – equality.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and it’s a great read for you all out there who want an easy and fluffy time.

The other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn will be released on November 20 by Piatkus Books and you can buy your copy with a click HERE  

Posted in New, Recenzie, review

Review Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman/ Walker Books

Dry
by Neal Shusterman
Jarrod Shusterman
Synopsis: The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a war zone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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Every time I pick up one of Neal Shusterman’s books I’m simply amazed by how intense and thought-provoking it is and this book was no exception. I have the manuscript version (with very clear warnings not to post, share, or copy) and I don’t know how much the small stuff will have changed once the novel is released, but at the core, this story is about survival and human nature.
Alyssa and her family are a typical suburban family. They have a few water bottles in the fridge, some Gatorade, but they certainly did not stock up for a national emergency. Her parents, little brother, Uncle, and dog all need water and there isn’t enough to last a day.
Alyssa is a typical teenager, who is mostly worried about her homework and college when everything starts to go to hell. She has a fierce love for her family and will do anything for them. I really liked her little brother Garrett, he was also a kid with a good heart.
Kelton comes from a family that is survivalists, they are prepared for the worst. But they were not really prepared for what their neighbors will do to survive.
The story was beautifully written, although I’ll admit that I never really bonded with any of the characters. And, speaking of characters…there are a LOT of them. While I loved the snapshots of other people affected by the crisis, it did make it harder to deeply bond with anyone. Although I have to say that the ending made all of it worthwhile. Seeing how everything happened…yes, please! As for the ending, well, I didn’t love it. I mean, much of it was fine, but certain people…Ugh. Not gonna say more.
As I stated before this is a very plot-driven story that is very hard to put down. The story is very topical and very realistic. I don’t want to say much about it, because it is something that you just need to experience for yourself. There are very real passages about how society will break down and what it is like to die of dehydration. I always like to think that society will behave better in the face of catastrophe, but I think I know that it will really come down to chaos and everyone out to save themselves.

Posted in Fără categorie, Recenzie, review

Review Damsel by Elana K Arnold /Harper360 UK

Damsel

By Elana K. Arnold

Review

Synopsis: The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

 

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

 

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

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Damsel is a brilliantly reimagined traditional fairy tale story of brave price who rescues a damsel in distress, over and over again. Behind the usual tropes of the fairy tale, we get layers of dark and uncomfortable truths, that if you are willing you can not even notice. Which is the beauty of this book, that gives you the story that disguises as a simple fairy tale, but is nothing but a fairytale.

Fantasy is designed to whisk you away to magical realms of spectacular beauty. Oh, how we long to go to these places ourselves…usually. You will sometimes get that rather gritty, overly realistic fairy tale romp that leaves you thinking, “Visit Westeros? Emm… Pass.” The world of Damsel is much the same. The whole story is an uncomfortable journey that follows a naive ‘Damsel’, Ama, as she slowly navigates a centuries-old tradition upheld by a purely patriarchal kingdom. The good news is that you’re supposed to be uncomfortable. The focus of this narrative lies not in the world, but in Ama’s role as a Damsel and her interactions with those around her. It’s an examination of a corrosive relationship, of a woman caught in a kingdom that’s conspired to rob her of her will and freedom. As the reader, you are forced to suffer along with her but also rise with her when the time comes. This was an interesting retelling of a classic happily-ever-after where the rescued Damsel is finally given a brain and a voice of her own.

Arnold’s writing is not graphic, despite some of the other reviews I’ve read—it is evocative, with prose that’s careful to attend to many different senses, which can sometimes feel more intense than if it were descriptively graphic. Whatever Ama feels, the reader feels. And in this book that means a sense of foreboding, a creeping dread, the absolute knowledge of your own powerlessness.

Finally, while this is being shelved as YA, I would advise caution to younger readers due to the content and nature of the novel. There are darkly fantastic tales and then there is simply dark tales.

Posted in Must read, Musthave, New, Recenzie, review

Review The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby / Harper360 UK

The Other Side of Lost
By Jessi Kirby
Synopsis: Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.
 
With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
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I really enjoyed this, plus I am now desperate to go on a decent hike somewhere gorgeous.
It is a lighthearted and easy read, even while touching on grief and feelings of inadequacy. Mari is not always 100% likable, but she is trying which I liked. And I like that we see her doubts about her life before, and see her grow through the book in an effort to change how she thinks and reprioritize. I was a little let down at the end as we don’t really get to see that change take effect, but I liked the journey.
I really loved the progression of the story and the way in which Mari learned to carry her grief and figure out whom she really was, what kind of person she wanted to be, and what she wanted to contribute to society. She also meets some really fun trail friends along the way who are immediately accepting of her and in the end help her work out her issues. Everyone has something different they’re going through, but together, they are one giant support group learning to face their problems and push through them effectively.
But with this story, in particular, there were so many little anecdotes and life lessons almost that stuck with me and I think will stick with me for a long time. The aspect of loss and grief with Bri’s death and Mari (who I have decided to pronounce Mar-E vs. Mary) honoring her legacy really drew me in and made me shed more than a few tears. I also liked the aspect of being a social media influencer, as I work in media and know a bit about that side of things. For one, it seems absolutely exhausting, having to live every moment of your life thinking about what the next picture or video or caption is going to be.
I can’t think of any aspect of the book that I didn’t enjoy, as I stayed up late into the night reading until forcing myself to set it down and finish the next day. I definitely don’t think it’s a question whether or not I’ll be rereading it. It’s more of a matter or not if but when, as well as if I can stop myself from rereading it in less than a week from finishing it the first time.
A big Thank You to Harper360UK for sending me a copy.