Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix

Title: Sabriel

Author: Garth Nix

Publishing Information: Published September 30th 1995 by Harper Collins 

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure

Series Information: Book 1 in the Abhorsen series

Format: Hardcover, 292 pages

Source: Received as a gift for my personal library

Recommended For: Readers looking for an adventure story with a likable heroine, a powerful and less than harmless feline creature, and a young man haunted by his past.

Ever since she was a tiny child, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into the nine Gates and Precincts of Death. Though her journey begins alone, she soon finds companions: Mogget, whose seemingly harmless feline form hides a powerful-and perhaps malevolent-spirit, and Touchstone, a younger Charter Mage imprisoned two centuries in a wooden ship-head, still trapped by painful memories. With threats on all sides and only each other to trust, the three must travel deep into the Old Kingdom, toward a battle against vicious Hands, Mordicants, and the evil Kerrigor.

Confession time, my friends! My grandmother bought this book for me over ten years ago and you know what? I didn’t read it because the cover looked boring. SHAME ON ME! It wasn’t until I moved into my new apartment and was putting it on the shelves that I remembered that Garth Nix was writing a fourth book (and that it would be available at BEA) that I decided to maybe try it out. I was still a little put off by it for some reason and then I found out that Tim Curry narrates the audiobook! Well, I love Tim Curry in all things and I immediately started listening to Sabriel on audio. It took some time for me to fall into the story but once I decided to read the book in print and listen to it I really fell for the storyline. Continue reading

Review: Night of Cake & Puppets and Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor

Publishing Information: November 26th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Series Information: novella 2.5 in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy

Format: ebook, 89 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a deeper look into Zuzana and Mik’s relationship as well as the closeness between Zuzana and Karou in Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Related Reviews: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 1), Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 2)

In lieu of a traditional review, I am going to write a mini review for Night of Cake & Puppets and Dreams of Gods & Monsters because at this point I almost think it is silly to go in depth about the conclusion to a well known series. Bottom line is, if you haven’t read this series yet – get on it. Immediately.

“I want to do mysterious and improbable things alongside a fierce and beautiful girl who looks like a doll brought to life by a sorcerer.”

Continue reading

Review: Cruel Beauty of Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publishing Information: January 28, 2014, by Balzer & Bray

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Retellings

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 346 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Fans of vibrant fantasy novels with strong heroines, tall, dark and handsome male leads, and beautiful imagery

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

What a synopsis, am I right?  One thing I have to add is that there really should be some mention of Mythology in the synopsis for this book. The first part of the book is so completely wrapped in Mythology that I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how all of the gods fit together in this world. Then it tapers off a little bit, not in a bad way, but enough that this really could have been a retelling of Cupid and Psyche, it even has Hades and Persephone elements, and it definitely directly circled around Pandora. That isn’t to say that there aren’t elements from fairytales, Cruel Beauty also had some strong emphasis on Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard. This might seem like an array of randomness thrown together but I promise that it all falls together nicely. Continue reading

On the Same Page: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

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On the Same Page is a new feature here on Books Take You Places that I am hosting along with two of my very dear friends, Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide). Essentially, we will be reading one book a month together and then doing a non-traditional review such as a playlist, character analysis, or like my post below, a dedication to some beautiful quotes found in the book. To find out more about this new feature, head on over to its dedication page!

The quotes in Days of Blood and Starlight really stood out for me, I can’t tell you how many pictures I took on my phone of different quotes throughout the book. With that in mind, I went forth and made some images that feature some of my favorite quotes through the novel. Enjoy!

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight

Author: Laini Taylor

Publishing Information: November 6, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels, Magic, Romance

Series Information: Book 2 in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 513 pages

Recommended For: Fans of intricate and vibrant novels that tear your heart out a little bit.

A new way of living

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.”

It was rare

“It was brave,” countered Issa. “It was rare. It was love, and it was beautiful.”

Daughter of my heart

“Daughter of my heart,’ was the message Brimstone sent just for Karou. She wanted to cry again right here in the court, thinking of it. ‘Twice-daughter, my joy. Your dream is my dream, and your name is true. You are all of our hope.”

More than magic

“The man had lifted Madrigal up, cloaked in her living shawl, and brought her back down again, and even a boy could see that there was magic between them, and more than magic.”

Dead souls

“Dead souls dream only of death. Small dreams for small men. It is life that expands to fill worlds. Life is your master, or death is.”

Shimmer and shadow

“Light coursed through Karou and darkness chased it-burning through her,

chilling her, shimmer and shadow, ice and fire, blood and starlight, rushing, roaring, filling her.”

Be sure to check out Amy and Brittany’s similar posts:
Amy: Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and Visualize Days of Blood and Starlight
Brittany: Branching Out Into Fantasy

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publishing Information: September 27, 2011 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Series information: Book 1 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

Format: Hardcover, 424 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a beautiful novel of love and redemption.

 

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

I have been struggling with this review for days. Not because it wasn’t awesome, it totally was, but because I fear that by raving about the sheer amazingness of this book I will spoil some extremely important and mysterious plot lines. I have decided to provide the summary from Goodreads so you can get the gist of what the novel is about and then I will do my best to explain just why this book was SO SO SO good without any spoilers.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

How good does that sound? Let me just tell you, that summary? NOT EVEN CLOSE TO HOW AWESOMELY LAYERED THIS BOOK IS!! The book starts off and you’re thinking okay so this is some supernatural love story about a “devil” and an “angel” who fall in love. Ohh if only…let’s delve right in.

First, the plot of the story was near perfect. I absolutely gave up sleep to read this book because I had actual need to find out what happened next. As I said before, it is nearly impossible for me to say what I loved about the plot without giving away too much. Just know it had politics (the good kind), hate, jealousy, rage and all forms of love. As the story progresses you see how the past and present come together and my heart was literally breaking at more than one point. I had to read the last few pages multiple times because I could feel the overwhelming feelings Karou must be feeling as she discovered the truth. At first I had a hard time with the love between the two characters because it was so instant and “I have to know her” on Akiva’s part that it paralleled so many other paranormal romance novels out there. However, as the plot unfolds you realize there are serious reasons as to why this love is so instant, and so overwhelming.

Second, the characters are so great and so layered with their pasts that intertwine and they make you love every flaw, scar and tear. Karou was this strong female character who starts off as a (somewhat) typical teenager attending art school and going on frequent errands for her adopted family who just happen to be of a secret race of Chimera. Her world is suddenly torn apart and instead of acting like an immature teenager saying boo hoo how do I handle this she takes her problems head on and finds ways to act and move toward her goal. Then there is Akiva, the Seraphim who is of course, unbelievably gorgeous while also brooding and overly dramatic. In time the reader finds out why he is so brooding and I can understand his reasoning so I can’t blame him for being that way and I still kinda love him a lot. I loved Brimstone, and the rest of Karou’s “family” and Madrigal, who I can’t say too much about, was also a very strong and near perfect character.

Finally, the brilliance in Laini Taylor’s writing is found in how lyrical her words are…

Karou right after she sees Akiva for the first time:

“Into kohl-rimmed eyes in a sun-bronzed face. Fire-colored eyes with a charge like sparks that seared a path through the air and kindles it. It gave Karou a jolt – no mere startle but a chain reaction that lashed through her body with a rush of adrenaline. Her limbs came into the lightness and power of sudden awakening, fight or flight, chemical and wild.

Who? She thought, her mind racing to catch up to the fervor in her body.

And: What?

Chapter 44:

“Snap.
Rushing, like wind through a door, and Karou was the door, and the wind was coming home, and she was also the wind.
She was all: wind and home and door.
She rushed into herself and was filled.
She let herself in and was full.
She closed again. The wind settles. It was as simple as that.

She was whole.”

Ahhhh how is it that this author can write the simplest sentence and still make me want to scream and laugh and cry?! This book was just pure awesome, I am literally recommending it to everyone that comes into my library. When they ask: “Do you have it here?” I say “Yes, but it’s checked out. Go buy it, seriously.” That is how good this book is. I hugged it when I finished, I went back and re-read random parts. I obsessed over Laini Taylor’s website and I NEED it to be time for the sequel now please!

In a nutshell: Go read this book right now, and you’re welcome.

Once upon a time, there were two moons, who were sisters.
Nitid was the goddess of tears and life, and the sky was hers.
No one worshipped Ellai but secret lovers.