#Friday56 – Descendant of the Crane

FriYAY is here at last!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Descendant of the Crane by Joan He. I squealed with excitement the moment I was accepted for this from NetGalley so big thanks to them, Titan Books and Joan He for the opportunity to read this book.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


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Descendant of the Crane is the perfect balance of political intrigue and mystery all set in a fantastical oriental inspired world. The ending was an absolute rollercoaster of revelations and the Epilogue just left me wanting more, more, more! If you enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and Song of Sorrow then Descendant of the Crane may be the love-child of the two that you’ve been searching for. You can check out my full review here!


Have you read Descendant of the Crane? What’s your favourite Asian fantasy? As always, leave me your #Friday56 links or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – Descendant of the Crane

Hey Bibliofriends,

I have probably repeated this way too many times already but… I got my first accepted requests on NetGalley and THIS was one of them!!!! Partying Face on Apple iOS 13.3  I had to try and stop myself from squealing with excitement as I’d made the mistake of checking my emails on my phone whilst being on a Zoom meeting and I don’t think that would have gone down too well with our HT… anyway…

This book has been on my radar since it was first released back in 2019. I could only ever find it in hardback format on Amazon / Book Depository with weird shipping and prices. I’m not sure whether it had a small release or what, but when I stumbled upon it whilst browsing NetGalley I couldn’t help but push that request now button – it was like my lucky day when the request was accepted! Thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.


Book: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Teens & YA
Publication Date: 16th June 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 416
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Descendant of the Crane is an enchanting fantasy novel which centres around the murder trial of the King of Yan. His daughter, Hesina, will go to extraordinary lengths in order to solve the mystery of her father’s death whilst trying to prove her place as Queen and help fix her broken country. In a land where the magic soothsayers have been outlawed and are forced to remain hidden in plain sight, Hesina must battle against her Ministers, her family, her allies and even kingdoms in her quest for the truth. This novel was everything I look for when it comes to a fantasy tale. The plot was very well-developed and explained with intricate detailing and nods to ancient Chinese culture and heritage. Twists and turns came from everywhere and nowhere and left me wondering where this beguiling story could possibly end up. If you love a bit of political intrigue, betrayals and deceptions from every corner, a hint of magic and mystery all set in a stunning Oriental inspired world then you should definitely read this book!

Pace

Now to me, the pace of this novel can be explained a bit like a rollercoaster:

Leaving the gates = learning about the world of Yan, the history of the sooths and why they were outlawed.

Going up… = the takeover of the Eleven 300 years ago and the Tenets which are the laws the Kingdom is ruled by – not to mention the cast of characters…

…Still going up = the King’s mysterious death is revealed and Hesina desires for a trial to take place…

Nearly at the top = people within the palace are being put on trial and we learn more about Hesina’s family, her personal struggles and the Kingdom…

Don’t forget to look outside the carriage = It feels like we’ve come a long way through the story and we’re still getting to grips with all that’s going on but there are dramatic actions and events for you to admire in the surrounding landscape.

We’ve reached the top = everything seems to be drawing together. The plot begins to knit together in your mind as you see the rest of the track and you think you know where the novel is going…

Whoosh = you plummet down the drop, revelations spring from each side – there’s shock, there’s mystery, you didn’t even think ‘that’ character could ever do such a thing!

Then – darkness —– You’ve gone through a tunnel and suddenly the plot you thought you formulated in your head has been blown to smithereens (trust no-one!) – you come out of the tunnel and through the loop the loop back over another mini-incline, drop down and BAM the story crashes to a halt – cue The Epilogue…!

Pace is definitely something which develops and quickens the further through the novel you go. Whilst this is pitched as a standalone, I believe that Joan He has said that the ending of the story leaves room for companion novels set in the same world and after that ending, I would say that they are definitely needed, wanted and welcomed! I imagine this could follow a pattern similar to The Illuminae Files or A Curse So Dark and Lonely where the sequels follow the extension of the plotline based within the same world but with different leading characters.

Characters

The characters in the novel have fairly complex relationships with each other meaning that you’re not sure who you can trust or rely on. This adds a good deal of suspense to the novel and is one of the key drivers for the frequent twists and turns that come jumping out of the plot. Whilst this is great for keeping me invested into what is happening with the story, it did leave me feeling a little ambivalent towards some of the characters. Hesina, was really well-developed and the depth of explanation and narration from her story helped me to understand her feelings and perceptions. Aside from the main storyline, familial relationships form a big theme throughout the novel. Hesina constantly struggles to balance her feelings and bonds with her mother, brother, step-brother, adopted siblings and even the ghost of her father and the legacy he left her. The pressure of maintaining those relationships brought a realistic element to the story and made Hesina seem slightly more relatable to me as a reader (whoever has a totally normal family right?).

World-Building

The world-building in the novel is revealed through both flashbacks and the character narration. There is a fair amount of the Kingdom of Yan’s history to take on board in the story which although slowed the pace, helped to weave together the rich oriental world that the characters were living in and set the scene perfectly for the uprisings, revolts and trial that form the main action within the story.

Motifs

One of my favourite things to pick out in books is little niche motifs. The Imperial Palace is set on a whole labyrinth of tunnels, secret passageways and caves. Although they are not necessarily a main part of the story, they do allow for some key events to take place and I loved this little story element.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

One, teensy-tiny minor thing which massively distracts me when reading any novel is when a writer has a word or phrase that they repeat endlessly through their writing. Descendant of the Crane was no exception. The phrase ‘death by a thousand cuts’ was repeated approximately 14 times and whilst I understand the writer is referring to Lingchi, a torture technique and form of execution used in Ancient China, there are no actual scenes where this even happens in the book. Additionally, although I’m a Taylor Swift fan, every time I read that phrase I constantly had her song of the same name buzzing round my head like it was stuck on a constant loop. So yes, this was rather distracting and slightly irksome as it took my focus away from the story due to my little niggling rage.


What I liked:

  • the depth and level of detail Yan and it’s history is described in.
  • the characters were likeable and I was invested into finding out what really happened to the King.
  • The plot is intriguing and full of twists, turns and suspense which hooked me
  • Hesina’s relationship with her mother and the way it was developed throughout the book.
  • The folklore and background relating to the Eleven and the Tenets they created as society rules and regulations.

What I would have liked a little more of:

  • For me, the ending needed slightly more explanation to balance it with the rest of the book – whilst I liked the Epilogue, the novel seems to be cut dramatically short, which would be fine if there was a sequel definitely announced but I’m not fully sure whether this is the case.
  • The idea of the crane is quite prevalent throughout the story and there is a nice element of folklore surrounding it but I think this needed to be a little more explicit in the closing parts of the novel, particularly in how it relates to Hesina and her family especially seeing that it is the title of the book.
  • I still have a few too many questions about characters and why their circumstances are the way they are and what may happen to them now that the novel has finished – if there were already a sequel definitely pegged in the works then I’d hope that the questions I’m left with would be answered.
  • Not a little more, but a little less repetition of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ – I understand where it comes from and why it’s there but I found it personally rather irritating.

If you enjoyed State of Sorrow, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns or simply enjoy well-written, intriguing and complex Asian-inspired fantasy stories then you are highly likely to enjoy Descendant of the Crane. You can find out more about the book here:
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon |

Have you read Descendant of the Crane? If Asian-inspired fantasy stories are your thing what books would you recommend? Do you have a buzz-phrase which annoys you when reading? As always, drop me a comment to chat! 🙂

T xx

 

 

#BookTag – Book Festival Book Tag

Hey Bibliofriends!

How are we all doing now that things are gradually getting back to a “new normal”? I’m starting to really resent that phrase and just want to be able to spend time with my friends again doing things I enjoy! 😫

I found this Book Tag on Alice and her Bookshelf’s blog. She has some amazing content so do stop by and see her post!

Rules:

  • Pingback to the creator of the tag @bookprincessreview
  • Tag the person who tagged you
  • Find an answer to match each prompt

My book festival:

Author Lineup – name your top three authors:

Living on the doorstep of the Cheltenham Literature Festival I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing authors including Salman Rushdie, Sarah J Maas and Ian McEwan but there are definitely some authors that are still at the top of the ‘want to meet’ list:

J.K. Rowling – I would just love to meet the person behind the phenomenon that is Harry Potter
Neil Gaiman – I bet he is really funny and would be quite quirky and entertaining
Carlos Ruiz Zafon – just because I absolutely love his writing and would really like to hear where the inspirations for his stories come from

The Official Schedule – how do you determine what books you are going to read next?

To be honest, my books are pretty much stacked up and my shelves are overflowing so I normally just go through the stack in the order that I want. The exceptions to this rule are if I have to read something for an author request or through NetGalley; alternatively, at the minute I’m trying to clear some of my backlist books that have been on my shelves for years so I’ll alternate a newer book with an older one. It’s kind of all random to be honest!

ARC Drops – what ARC would you wait hours in line for?

The new Cormoran Strike novel Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith and the last in the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer, A Vow So Bold and Deadly.

The Swag – what bookish merch/pre-order incentives/etc. is your favourite?

I have a pretty stationery addiction so any kind of stationery or notebooks; something practical that I can use! Not a big fan of the pins as I never know what to do with them.

The Panels – what topic would you love to see some of your favourite authors talk about?

Conservationism in literature: how our stories could influence a greener planet. I’m not necessarily talking about climate change and global warming etc. as they are bigger headlines and often talked about, but ways in which we can save our endangered animals and ecological systems so that Mother Nature can be sustained for our future generations.

Yallfest, Yallwest, BookCon/BookExpo, YALC, Etc – what book festival/con would you go to if you had the choice?

I go to Cheltenham Literature Festival every year as it’s so amazing and right on my doorstep. I’d like to visit the Hay-on-Wye Book Festival as I’ve heard it is very good and also YALC in London.


Have you ever been to any book festivals yourself? Where would you go if you had the opportunity? Feel free to tag yourself and as always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#SixForSunday – LGBTQ+ Books on my TBR

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

How are we in June already? 🙃 A new month brings a new Six For Sunday theme and so befittingly for June we are celebrating all things Pride related. 🌈

I don’t tend to read much LGBTQ+ representations in literature and before anyone @’s me I have no prejudices whatsoever but I do feel that whilst YA is starting to feature these voices more and more, there is only now beginning to be a greater representation of these characters within the more mainstream fantasy books that I read. I could be wrong so please feel free to respectfully educate me!

With that in mind, this week’s Six For Sunday is focused on books on my TBR which have an LGBTQ+ representation. For those who don’t already knowSix for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme.
Title headings link to Goodreads.


  • Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
    Anything to do with royals immediately grabs my attention and I liked that this read sounded fun and contemporary which is why it has found it’s way onto my TBR.
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
    This has been on my TBR since it came out in a Fairyloot box quite a while ago. I’m going to use my typical ‘I-can’t-start-another-series-just-yet’ excuse before starting this one!
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    I recently read Circe and loved Madeline Miller’s writing style. She made me feel such empathy towards the main character and everyone I have spoken to has said that The Song of Achilles is even better so I can’t wait to pick this one up.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
    This is where I had to start trawling Goodreads to find LGBTQ+ representations in books that I had wanted to read. There seemed to be quite a bit of hype surrounding this series so I’m intrigued to see what it’s all about.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
    I had no idea that this would fit this week’s Six For Sunday brief despite it being on my want to read pile for ages now.
  • The Trials of Apollo Series by Rick Riordan
    Again, another series I didn’t know would be relevant here but I feel like I need to read the Percy Jackson series first before following up with this. All the new hype surrounding the PJ Disney+ series is making me want to channel my inner Camp Half-Blood mindset.

Completio! Would you recommend me any of these series or are there some here that are also on your TBR? What’s your favourite type of LGBTQ+ representation in literature? As always, leave your link below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

 

 

May Wrap Post & Haul!

Hey Bibliofriends!

May was such a brilliant reading month for me. It seemed that some of my bookish and blog goals were coming together as I managed to read some of my first NetGalley requests and also got approached by some authors and publishing companies through both my blog and Twitter! It’s definitely helped me to keep topping up my blog content and I’ve found a brilliant way to utilise my FairyLoot Reading journal as a blog planner so that I can keep track of my reading and blogging all in one place!

May was also my birthday month as it seemed a little strange not being able to go and celebrate with all of my friends together however I did have a wonderful picnic and walk through our local countryside with my family. I’m so lucky to live in a place with lots of hills and woodland on my doorstep. The sunshine has been pretty spectacular too!

So with birthday presents and all, this month has seen a pretty spectacular book haul which is why this post may be super long. There’s a kind of contents list below so you can skip to any part you wanted to! Thanks for reading about my topic month!

  • Books I Read in May
  • May’s Book Haul
  • Movies I Watched

Books I Read In May

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
Rating: 📚📚📚

After the absolute mission that was OWLs Readathon I felt like I needed something light and funny to kick off May. I’d had a chapter sampler of this sent to me pre-publication and it was brilliant. I liked the uniqueness of Leon and Tiffy’s situation. Read the review here.

The Carpet Cipher by Jane Thornley
Rating: 📚📚

I requested to read this through Netgalley and managed to get through it in about 2 days. To be honest, I don’t think my read pile would have been terribly sad if this wasn’t in it. I rarely get annoyed by a book but there was so much promise for this from the blurb but for me, it raised more questions than actual enjoyment. Read the review here.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Wow, wow, wow! This book was the dark, delicious poisoned apple offered by the Wicked Queen that I devoured. Luxurious, deceptive and romantic; if you love a Slytherin romance with a determined and headstrong character then you need to add this to your TBR. Read my review here.

The Spaces Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

It’s been a while since I read something purely sci-fi without the fantasy element and this was my first actually accepted request from NetGalley!!! *still jumping up and down in excitement* I loved idea of the book set in a multiverse of 382 Earths and the idea of being able to walk in all of the worlds your doppelganger no longer occupied. The mixture of scientific and spiritual was really well-balanced and I enjoyed the journey the main character took into finding her identify and place in the world. Traverse on over to the review here.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

May was a super lucky month for NetGalley approvals as I also received this book which had been on my TBR ever since its first release date in 2019. Descendant of the Crane did not disappoint. This book is more of a slower-paced read as there was a lot of description and information to digest as each new revelation was revealed. At the centre of it all was a trial and investigation into who killed the King which led to lots of other backstories and crises of revolt and impending war upon the country of Yan. If you like lots of world-building and information interspersed with plenty of action in a deliciously oriental palace setting, then check out my review on 10th June to see if Descendant of the Crane is right up your literary street.

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart
Rating: 📚📚📚.5

As part of my mission to try and finish off some of the series that I had already started I read this sequel to Grace and Fury. I managed to steamroller my way through this book really quickly. I absolutely love the whole concept of Mount Ruin, not that it’s a prison (obviously) but just the role it plays in the story. Review coming up soon!

A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy) by Rebecca Crunden
Rating: 📚📚📚.5

I am so grateful to Rebecca for approaching me to read this first book in her series. I had so much fun getting to know the characters and explore the Kingdom of Cutta. The book had a fantastic dystopian vibe and it was wonderful to read something which seemed to balance both ends of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre quite well. I’m currently in the process of writing my review which will be coming up later this month!


May Book Haul

With it being my birthday this month, the rule about not-buying any more books was not just broken, but annihilated! Some of these were treats to myself and some of them were birthday gifts. Many of these were sequels that I purchased specifically just to try and finish some off before starting others.

Physical Books

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie [Fairyloot March Box – Exclusive Edition]
Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart (sequel to Grace and Fury)
Shadow and Flame by Mindee Arnett (sequel to Onyx and Ivory)
These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch (sequel to These Rebel Waves)
Rage by Cora Carmack (sequel to Roar)
All the Wandering Light (sequel to Even the Darkest Stars)
Given to the Earth (sequel to Given to the Sea)
Cloak of Night by Evelyn Skye (sequel to Circle of Shadows)
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Book 2 of The Infernal Devices trilogy)
FairyLoot’s April Box Book (I kept this one spoiler free for now!)

E-Books / E-Arcs

The Spaces Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (NetGalley e-arc)
The Carpet Cipher by Jane Thornley (NetGalley)
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (NetGalley e-arc – rerelease)
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott (NetGalley e-arc)
Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard (NetGalley e-arc)
Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale by Andrea Blythe (Netgalley e-arc)
My Fence is Electric by Mark Newman (Short Story Collection: ePub thanks to Odyssey Books)
A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy) by Rebecca Crunden (thank you Rebecca! ☺️)


Movies I Watched in May

Having the Sky Cinema bundle on NowTV has been such a lifesaver for my film addiction whilst in lockdown! Some of the films are brand new streams and some were a little older.

Dora The Explorer: City of Lost Gold
Darkest Hour
Stuber
Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw
Hudson Hawk
Closer
Hotel Artemis
The Meg
Escape Room
Captain Marvel
Avengers: Endgame
Spiderman: Far From Home
American Made
The Billionaire Boys Club

Back at the tail end of 2019, I purchased the Marvel Cinematic Universe boxsets on Blu-Ray as I hadn’t seen them all. Making my way through all of the films across the four boxsets reminded me a little of the guys that paint the Forth Bridge in Scotland; once they get to the end, it’s pretty much time to start repainting again from the beginning – it’s taken me so long to get through the entire Marvel Universe that now I feel that I need to go right back and watch them all in chronological order! 😂


What has been your highlights of May? Did you get an impressive book haul or achieve any of your bookish goals? What are you looking forward to in June? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#Friday56 – The Space Between Worlds

I’ve got that feeling again guys – it must be Friday!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. I was so thrilled to get approved for this book from Netgalley so big thanks to the publishers Hodder and Stoughton, Netgalley and the author for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


You  understand you’re alive, don’t you? she says, more than once. You are alive, Caramenta. You are still whole.
She calls me a dead girl’s name, and pronounces her alive. But even if she’d gotten my name right I wouldn’t really believe her. I used to be at least 382. Now I am 7. How can I possibly be whole?

The Space Between Worlds is a gripping dystopian Sci-fi novel set across a multiverse of 382 versions of Earth. This novel is action-packed with doppelgänger difficulties, raging wars and revolutions as well as some poignant ideas about the true meaning of finding yourself in a universe where 382 versions of you exist.

If this gets your Sci-Fi senses all a-tingling then check out my full review here!


How would you feel if there were 382 (or fewer!) versions of yourself out there in the big expansive void? Would being a world walker give you freedom or give you a bad case of the imposter syndrome? As always, leave me your #Friday56 links or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#BiblioshelfMusings – The Space Between Worlds

Hi Bibliofriends,

Hope you have been having a good week. This week’s review post is from my first-ever approved NetGalley title! I had so much fun reading The Space Between Worlds and couldn’t believe in when Hodder & Stoughton approved me for this book so big thanks to them, Netgalley and Micaiah Johnson for providing me with this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

How would you feel if there were 382 versions of Earth out there in the multiverse each with a doppelganger of ‘you’ on it? How would you then react if you could travel to 375 of those Earths because ‘you’ no longer existed on them? Would you get Imposter Syndrome? Or would you be thrilled at the opportunities that living countless new lives could bring?

The Space Between Worlds is an insightful yet gritty Sci-fi novel which seeks to answer these questions whilst at the same time contemplating what it means to be ‘you’ in a multiverse where multiple versions of you could possibly exist.

Below:
Book Details
Mini-Musings (Review in brief)
Book Synopsis
Detailed Musings (Spoiler-free review)


Book: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: Expected on 4th August 2020
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 336
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Mini-Musings (review in brief)

I don’t tend to read much Sci-fi and usually stick to the more fantasy side of the wider genre but the blurb for The Space Between Worlds intrigued me so much that I had to read it. The world felt really dystopian and the balance between the shiny, rich Wiley City compared to the rural wastelands was reminiscent of the divided world in The Hunger Games. It took me a little while to get into it as I felt the need to concentrate on what was happening, especially with so much talk of multiple versions of one person flying around, but the further I traversed into the story, the clearer I understood how this multiverse worked. There are so many dimensions and levels that each chapter was like peeling back another layer of the onion. The Space Between Worlds has plenty to offer both those looking for a sci-fi mind-bender of multiple earths, as well as those looking for the morality and human elements behind the storyline. It was a truly captivating read and I’m so glad and thankful that I was given the opportunity to read it.

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

Reasons Cara has died:

– The emperor of the wasteland wanted to make an example of her mother and started with her
– One of her mother’s boyfriends wanted to cover up what he did to her
– She was born addicted and her lungs didn’t develop
– She was left alone, and a stranger came along
– The runners came for a neighbour and she was in the way
– The runners came for her mother and she was in the way
– The runners came for her boyfriend and she was in the way
– The runners came for no one, serving nothing but chaos and fear, and she was what they found
– Her mother left her alone in a shed while she worked or got high and she fell asleep alone and hungry and forever

Reasons Cara has lived:

– She doesn’t know but there are 8.

The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.

Enter Cara. Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight

But on this earth, she survived. Born in the wastelands where if a basic lack of resources didn’t kill you, violence would, Cara is happy to reap the benefits of a job and a safe place in the city to call home.

But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.


Just like the multiverse itself, the mixture of characters, world-building and themes gave The Space Between Worlds many layers which I felt neatly came together at the end. There was action, adventure, deception, angst and romance as well as overarching themes which complemented to a bigger, more philosophical picture. I came to increasingly like the main character ‘Cara’ and understand her viewpoint on life the further into the story I got. Seeing it through her eyes allowed me to empathise with her character and my connection to her grew more and more as parts of her past and history were revealed.

At the start, I admit it took me a little while to understand how the multiverse and traversers’ abilities to walk between worlds actually happened. This is not time travelling, there are no rockets or spaceships involved, it’s more a sense of transportation from one Earth to another. The ‘science’ behind this is explained more as the novel develops but I loved that it wasn’t reliant on my knowledge of astro-/quantum physics just to keep up – it’s the story that is the main focus here. The presence of Nyame, who is almost like the God protecting the spaces between, helped to balance the scientific with spirituality which added a thought-provoking dimension to the narrative and transformed it from some of the more traditional space-travel novels out there. This balance is neatly woven throughout the story.

The many versions of Earth helped to highlight different real-life elements which pose as barriers in today’s society. The rich and elite live in Wiley City where they thrive with protection, wealth and opportunity; Ashtown showcases the hard-graft and poverty that comes with surviving in a rural wasteland. The idea of the Eldridge Institute (where Cara works) monopolising interstellar travel hints at corporationalism and the sense that totalitarian control and data-tracking are steadily becoming major parts of our everyday human existence. The Space Between Worlds also seems to throw the usual rules of altering the past/future or meeting your doppelganger out of the window. In-fact the whole plot ends up being central to the reliance of this breaking of the rules adding an interesting aspect to the whole narrative.

The novel tackles many key issues relating to mental-health such as loneliness, identity and grief. Feeling lonely on one Earth can be painful enough, but loneliness in a multiverse of 382 of them? Perhaps there’s no word for that. This feeling was made poignantly clear through Cara’s perspective. Her deep-rooted desire to find a people and place where she truly belongs runs through the heart of the entire novel. It is her exploration and experience of these ideals which enables the reader to begin to relate to her character and see her as more than just a one dimensional world-walker.

With each chapter, a new jigsaw piece was put into place to help me understand the story. There was enough action and explanation to keep me in a state of curiosity as to where the plot was going and how it could possibly end. I felt that the finale wasn’t as high-stakes and action-packed as I was expecting, especially given a previous scene in the novel, however reflecting on this I now see that it didn’t need to be. All of my questions were answered yet still leaving me some room to have my own reader speculations about where the characters’ lives could go next – in a way, that’s one of my favourite types of endings.

If you’re just starting out into the sci-fi genre, or you prefer your sci-fi novels with a little less spaceship and a bit more character development, then you would probably would find an awful lot to enjoy in The Space Between Worlds. This novel has so much to offer a reader and the constant references into what lies in the spaces between things – be it worlds, people, places, identities, emotions… completely encapsulates and resonates in the entirety of this book. There were so many quotations and phrases I highlighted which I found to be powerful and moving. For me that’s a sure sign that I thoroughly enjoyed everything The Spaces Between Worlds gave me.


You can find The Space Between Worlds and get your Doppelganger-fix here:
Goodreads
Amazon
Waterstones
Book Depository

Thanks for reading! Happy Wednesday everyone!

T xx

#BookTag – Books As First Dates

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends!

This week’s ‘Books As First Dates’ Book Tag comes from @BooksAre42 on Twitter. You should definitely check out their blog as they have some amazing regular content and brilliant reviews.

I had a lot of fun doing this tag as it made me try to think outside the box for books that I normally wouldn’t mention.


This tag was originally created by Alice at Love for Words.

The Rules

↠Link back to the original tag.
↠Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
↠Tag 5+ bloggers.
↠Have fun!

First and Last – A Book/Series You’ve Read and Enjoyed, But Can’t Bring Yourself to Read Again

The Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber – this series was so brilliant and fun to read but I just feel like I’m done with it now that I know what happens in the end.

With A Friend of My Friend – A Book/Series Someone Recommended to You That Turned Out to Be Different from What You Had Expected

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth – I didn’t really know what to expect when I read this but I actually found it really enjoyable. I’m not normally a massive dystopian fan but I found this series to be such a gripping story. I think the films kind of spoiled it for me as some elements were good but others were a bit of a let down compared to the books.

Double Date – A Book Whose Sequel You Immediately Had to Read

I remember finishing Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and ordering Crooked Kingdom immediately afterwards. I could not put that series down and the ending practically ripped my heart out. 

Let’s Go to The Movies – A Book/Series That Should Be Adapted to The Screen

I recently read Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez and think this would make an incredibly delightful film. I could imagine the Bolivian backdrop being picturesque and spectacular; the weavings and animals could be wonderfully magical as well.

Dreamy Stargazing – A Book That Made You Go Ahhhh And Ohhhh

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas gave me all the feels! I think it’s probably the most swoonworthy book I’ve ever read!

Fun at The Fair – A Book Full of Colors

A slightly different stance on this one. The picture book The Day The Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers is one of my favourite books to teach with. I love the way all of the different colouring crayons are made to have different feelings and personalities.

Amusement Park Adventure – A Book That Was A Rollercoaster

The Descendant of the Crane by Joan He is a book I read recently and in my review I likened the pace of it to that of a rollercoaster. The first half of the book was like going up the steep incline and then the rest of the book is the dramatic drop, loop-the-loop and tunnel all rolled into one. It ends quite sharply too so a rollercoaster seemed the perfect way to describe it.

Picnic with Cherries – A Book Whose Food Descriptions Made You Feel All *Heart Eyes*

Either:
Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic for all of the bakery references
Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye for the amazing Asian flavours
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal which is all about food and cooking
or the sticky cinnamon buns from Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

Trip to The Museum – A Book That Taught You Valuable Stuff

The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black was incredibly in-depth but had a really interesting take on the esoteric and religious symbology behind the different creation stories of the world. Stephen Fry’s Mythos was also a brilliant insight into Greek mythology.


What would make your Books As First Dates list? Would we be double-dating on any of the above choices? Again thanks so much to @BooksAre42 – check out their Twitter or Blog pages! Feel free to tag yourselves if you haven’t done this tag already and would like to!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – The Shadows Between Us

Howdy Bibliofriends!

This was my first time reading anything by Tricia Levenseller and if it’s anything to go by then it definitely won’t be the last time I read anything by her!

I received The Shadows Between Us in the Feb 2020 FairyLoot Rulebreakers box and can definitely see how this book fitted into the brief. Neither Alessandra or the Shadow King play by the rules or conform to convention. Billed as a Slytherin Romance I was expecting lots of sneaking, cunning and trickery throughout this book – let’s just say, it did not disappoint!


Book: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Genre: Fantasy, Romance (YA)
Publication Date: 25th Feb 2020
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends [FairyLoot Exclusive]
Pages: 326
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?


“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.
And they never will.
I buried Hektor Galanis in a hole so deep, even the devils of the earth couldn’t reach him.”

When your protagonist introduces the book with these lines, you know you’re going to be dealing with someone who oozes sass and feistiness. Alessandra absolutely delivered on this – imagine Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary mixed in with dash of Bellatrix Estrange and a hint of Anne Boleyn… that’s your girl!

Her determination to reach her goal was relentless and nobody was about to foil her plans no matter how powerful or what role they had at court; ‘hell hath no fury’ and all that…!

I enjoyed the change in Alessandra’s character as parts of her plan had to evolve and things didn’t necessarily go her way. She had to undergo a transformation of getting over past hurts and learning the art of compromise and teamwork. Although Alessandra’s personality comes across to the reader through narration and interactions with other characters, it also comes through in the way that she dresses.

Clothing in particular plays a huge role in this story. I love the way Levenseller picked one element of her world to focus on as the main source of description throughout. Rather than write huge chunks describing, castles, towns and kingdoms, Levenseller shows the reader the vibrancy and attitude of the Shadow King’s court through fashion. In a way, this was a brilliant move. I am a massive fan of world building and would happily read a book with an extra 150 pages just so I can get a clearer picture in my mind of the way the author wants us to view their creative universe – but to see the way in which changes at court or in people’s emotions/feelings were reflected through what they were wearing added a decadent feeling to the whole narrative. This also echoes the importance of fashion and clothing throughout history. Think back to Tudor times when certain colours and materials were only available to those with the right money for dyes and textiles; then fast-forward to the present day and think of how haute-couture is only available to those who can afford the price-tag or garner the right publicity and influence.

The plot-line was a relatively simple one to follow and with most of the narrative being dialogue, it really helped to speed up the pace of the novel and digest what was going on. In true Slytherin style, the amount of deceptions and variety of motivations from different characters helped to keep me guessing who was actually trustworthy right until the very end – but even then I didn’t think the ending would necessarily be as simple as it was.

If you like your romances with a hint of black magic, then The Shadows Between Us would probably be right up your street. This was a wickedly dark, entrancing read which had me gripped right from the first page. It is filled with secrets, court politics and a romance developed from deception. I enjoyed the way that Alessandra was a woman championing her equal rights and standing up for herself and what she believed in. She came across as a woman with ambition who was willing to work her ass off to get there, rather than stomp around pouting with a sense of entitlement. The romance between her and the Shadow King is one of my new favourite relationships from the fictional world – they are so well-suited to each other and I’m a little gutted that there isn’t a sequel just so I can see what happens next.


Have you read The Shadows Between Us? Would you recommend any other Tricia Levenseller books? What other Hogwarts House romance are you craving in your bookish lives? As always, drop me a comment to chat! 🙂

T xx