#Review: Clockwork City by Paul Crilley @paulcrilley @HodderBooks

This is book two in the Delphic Division series if you missed my review of book one, follow the link to read it now. Poison City.

Description

Cop. Drunkard. Low-grade magic user. My name is Gideon Tau, but most people just call me London. (Because that’s where I’m from. Get it? Hilarious.)

Three years ago, someone killed my daughter. I sacrificed everything (the human race included) to learn his name – and then had to allow that knowledge to be erased from my mind in order to save the world I’d doomed. Fantastic.

Now I have to start over from scratch, and who do I have to help me find my daughter’s killer? The reanimated corpse of my boss, a low-rent P.I. who’s heavily into conspiracy theories, and my alcoholic, foul-mouthed demonic sidekick dog.

Our journey will take us from Durban, South Africa to London, England, where we’ll have to contend with Fae gangs fighting for territory, the murder-suicide of two Delphic agents and the seven deadly sins.

Oh, and did I mention planning a heist to break into the most secure bank in Faerie? Because that’s on the agenda too. And if we fail? An ancient horned god will destroy London. (The city, not me. Although, to be fair, I don’t think I’ll survive either

Review

Gideon Tao, nicknamed London because that’s where he comes from is on a mission, he needs to know what happened to his daughter, to take down the monster, literally, responsible for taking her and countless other children.

This time his investigations take him and his spirit guide, the alcoholic smartarse dog, back to London where he has to investigate what happened to two of his Delphic Division agents who were murdered and he somehow gets caught up in a fae bank heist.

It was wonderful to be back in the world of Gideon and Dog. Their relationship lightens the mood when things get serious. Dog is hilarious and while he should be a great reassurance to Gideon he often opts for the easy way out as his first choice and is instead dragged into danger by Gideon.

Gideon hates his situation, he hates that he is running headlong into danger, but he needs answers and will die before giving up on his search, his desire to know what happened to his daughter means he makes some terrible decisions and acts like he is invincible at times. But he also gets shit done and somehow he manages to get answers, even if he does come across as desperate…well, he is, so…!

This is a superb book, as expected. I love how this ended, untied story arc’s that lead me to hope there will be a third book, I’m so not done with these characters yet.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleClockwork City
SeriesDelphic Division #2
Author: Paul Crilley
Genre: Fantasy | Urban Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 14 December 2017
Review Format: Hardcover
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback | Audio
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen | Wordery | Audible

#Review: The Gunslinger by Stephen King @StephenKing @HodderBooks

Description

‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

Review

A huge thanks to you, my readers, for choosing this in my first ever TBR Topple for June. I had actually read this before back in the 90’s when I was a just a teenager, I think I was about 15 when I first read this series, well the first four books. I never did finish the series and I promised myself I would re-read the first books before finishing up. I’ve been promising myself this for some time so you have definitely helped kick start things.

In The Gunslinger we meet Roland, a lone ranger of sorts who is pursuing The Man In Black, a mysterious man who seems to be leaving a trail of devastation and confusion in his wake. Roland is the last Gunslinger and is obsessed with his task.

As we follow him across the desert we join him meeting an eclectic cast of characters, most who end up dead in weird and wonderful ways. His relationship with the young boy Jake which is pivotal to his pursuit of The Man In Black is deeply moving and despite Jake being so young he holds his own as a strong and capable character.

There are tie-ins with biblical lore and the obvious tie-in with the wild west. Yet this is a world which feels completely set apart from ours, somewhere harsher and more deeply ensconced in a brutal reality of getting by with the bare minimum. It is almost dystopian in it’s formation but still very firmly a fantasy novel. The magic we see in this novel isn’t the magic of the fae or wizards it is something darker more corrupt and far more dangerous than we usually are confronted with.

This is a short book, and very much feels like an introduction, just as things start to feel like they are getting going the book ends. In most fantasy novels this would have been just where things were kicking off but here was where this book ended, meaning the pleasure of settling in for an epic journey didn’t get going for me.

Roll on book two and the story continuing!

Rating

 

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Gunslinger
Series: The Dark Tower #1
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 10 June 1982
Review Format: Paperback
Other FormatseBook | Audio
Pages: 340
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstone’s | Foyles | Book Depository | Speedy Hen | Wordery

#Review: HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt @Thomas_Novelist @HodderBooks

Description

The greats of fiction Stephen King and George R. R. Martin lead the fanfare for HEX, so be assured that Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s debut English novel is both terrifying and unputdownable in equal measure.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.

The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.

Review

I’ve had HEX on my ARC shelf for over a year, waiting patiently and I will admit that I was being a little bit of a wuss, slightly afraid of what I was going to find in those pages! But I finally put on my big girl pants, I manned up and started reading and well, what a bloody brilliant book.

Black Spring, to look at, is a normal town in the Hudson Valley, except they are cursed, there is a 300-year-old witch named Katherine, who appears in their homes, walks their streets. Her eyes and mouth are stitched to prevent her from causing chaos. But once someone moves to Black Spring they can never move away.

Now, regular readers of this blog will know I tend to flip things on their side, and while I found Katherine immensely creepy (and as someone who suffers with psychosis and sees people who aren’t there, is slightly freaked out that a Katherine is going to appear by the bed now) I felt intensely protective of Katherine as the book progressed. I felt like this was a woman who had been cursed herself and the town wasn’t cursed by her but as a result of what had happened to her.

Although Katherine is the focus of the story I felt like the people of the town were where the main story sat. This story was about what happens when there is a kind of marshal law, or even a mob rules. What happens when the laws of the land don’t apply and people go against what is morally right and get carried away with being cruel instead jumping into the idea of an eye for an eye. It’s as though our author has looked at where evil really comes from in these stories.

This book gets uncomfortable and hard to read in parts, it doesn’t hold any punches and things happen that made me feel ill but they aren’t going too far, they fit with the story and the situation perfectly. Not once did I feel that things had gone outside the realms of reality.

There were subtle references to original Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which obviously didn’t end well, in some ways this was like a modern adult version one. It did remind me of them in the way it read.

The writing was engaging and between the author being a fluent English speaker and Nancy Forest-Flier who acted as translator for the novel you would never know this had been written in Dutch originally.

I can’t recommend this highly enough, a gripping, psychological journey.

A huge thanks to Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleHEX
Series: N/A
Author: Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Genre: Horror | Thriller | Magic
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 26 April 2016
Review Format: Hardcover
Other Formats: Paperback | eBook | Audio
Pages: 385
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

#Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor @lainitaylor @HodderBooks

Description

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Review

As I finish Strange the Dreamer I’m left overwhelmed with a feeling of loss, these characters have seeped into my psyche and become a part of me in the days I have been reading this book. It wasn’t a book I could speed through and read quickly as I often read books, I needed to take my time and absorb the words on the page and I did absorb each and every one.

Lazlo Strange is a junior librarian, one who dreams vividly, he daydreams while reading, walking into walls and has built himself a reputation for his dreaming, so much so he is called ‘Strange the Dreamer’ and mocked for having his head in the clouds. Following Lazlo’s journey was a roller-coaster of emotions. He has so much fire and passion but at the same time he himself doesn’t understand what he can offer to the party he has joined. His dreams are so beautiful and I love that in a fantasy world where she could create anything she has drawn a line in the sand to then be able to create dreams where literally anything can and does happen. This is absolutely stunning.

Having two characters who are unable to meet in real life be able to meet in a dream was also a stroke of genius and I loved the dynamic between Lazlo, a human, and Sarai, a goddess. The pure, innocence of first love glows from the both and my heart broke for their circumstances over and over again while glowing for how they appreciated what they had.

The use of moths as representing Sarai’s consciousness was wonderfully done and whilst I don’t want to say to much and ruin it for others I (almost) forgot my phobia of moths reading this as they just felt so naturally a part of the story and as though they belonged.

I wish the general world-building had been a little stronger, I really wanted to envisage what the world around these characters looked like, I wanted a picture of the streets, the houses, the land and I didn’t get that. I would also have loved a map to help me place where all the cities were that were mentioned. It was clear Weep was a long way from where we started but it’s nice to get an idea of what the author envisaged when they started out.

I loved that this book explores the question “what makes somebody bad?”, it explores if somebody good can do a bad thing, and does this then make them a bad person. It’s a strong moral dilemma and one that readers need to consider carefully, I think different readers will draw different conclusions here but it’s a strong life question.

As a result of this question themes such as revenge, forgiveness, and guilt are strong throughout the novel and very relevant.

I highly recommend this novel, the character building is exquisite and such a pleasure to read, I would happily sit down and read this book again today.

With thanks to Laini Taylor and Vero at Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

I read this novel as part of my Discoverability Challenge for April.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleStrange the Dreamer
SeriesStrange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 545
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | FoylesBook Depository | SpeedyHen

#BlogTour: Caraval by Stephanie Garber @SGarberGirl @HodderBooks

It is fair to say that there are times when you get invited onto a blog tour and the invite requires a happy dance, this was one of those times. When I read Caraval last year something special happened. I felt something like I had felt when I first read The Wizard of Oz as a little girl. I felt like there was something really special in the world and I was not only holding it in my hand but I needed to tell the whole world about it. This isn’t a book for a certain reader of a certain genre, this book is for everyone, it has something for every reader of every genre.

I’ve been given the first chapter to share with you today, something to whet the appetites of those of you who are still waiting for Tuesday’s release. I have also reposted my review here so you can see exactly what I thought, as I did originally post it a few months ago.

Description

A mesmerising, magical and stunningly imaginative debut novel for anyone who loved The Night Circus.

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Continue reading #BlogTour: Caraval by Stephanie Garber @SGarberGirl @HodderBooks

#Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber @SGarberGirl @HodderBooks

Description:
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

Continue reading #Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber @SGarberGirl @HodderBooks

#BlogTour: #Review & #Feature: Poison City by Paul Crilley @paulcrilley @HodderBooks

Welcome to my stop on the Poison City Blog Tour, written by Paul Crilley and published by Hodder & Stoughton. I’m very pleased to be taking part in the tour especially as today is the book’s release, I have a treat for you today, with my review, a Q&A with one of the characters from the book, and the start of a drinking game which will continue through the tour!

Description:
The name’s Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things – finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I’m going to do to the bastard when I catch him.

Continue reading #BlogTour: #Review & #Feature: Poison City by Paul Crilley @paulcrilley @HodderBooks