Book Review: The Poppy War

Diverse military fantasy at its finest - The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: R. F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Check out this comprehensive list by the author

Format I Read: E-book

Grade: Outstanding

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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Book Review: Empire of Sand

A Mughal-inspired lush fantasy with characters that make you fall in love - Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Tasha Suri

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Orbit on November 13th, 2018

Content Warning: Death, genocide and abuse

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

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Book Review: Empress of All Seasons

Hunger Games-esque plot meets Japanese folklore - Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Emiko Jean

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Tough love parent, gory violence and death

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

In each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, and you can marry the prince. All are eligible to compete – all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yokai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku.

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Book Review: The Nightingale

Title: The Nightingale

Author: Kristin Hannah

Genre: Adult historical fiction

Format: Audiobook

Published: By St. Martin’s Press on February 3rd, 2015

ISBN13: 9780312577223 (US hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Content warning: Physical abuse, rape, death, war crimes

The Nightingale

Synopsis

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

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Book Review: The Book of M

Title: The Book of M

Author: Peng Shepherd

Genre: Adult fantasy

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By HarperCollins Publishers on June 28th, 2018

ISBN13: 9780008225629

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Book of M

Synopsis

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

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Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter

Title: Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1)

Author: Tamora Pierce

Genre: Adult fantasy

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By Harper Voyager on September 20th, 2018

ISBN13: 9780008304331

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Tempests and Slaughter

Synopsis

In the ancient halls of the Imperial University of Carthak, a young man has begun his journey to becoming one of most powerful mages the realm has ever known. Arram Draper is the youngest student in his class and has the Gift of unlimited potential for greatness . . . and of attracting danger.

At his side are his two best friends: clever Varice, a girl with too often-overlooked, and Ozorne, the leftover prince’ with secret ambitions. Together, these three forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms.

But as Ozorne inches closer to the throne and Varice grows closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

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