ARC Review: The Wizards of Once (Cressida Cowell)

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Genre:
Childrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Series: The Wizards of Once #1
Publication date: September 19th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 384

Add to Goodreads
Preorder from Book Depository

Blurb:
From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes an exciting high-adventure series – set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites.

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure …

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests.

Wizard boy, Xar, should have come in to his magic by now, but he hasn’t, so he wants to find a witch and steal its magic for himself. But if he’s got any chance of finding one, he will have to travel into the forbidden Badwoods.

Xar doesn’t realise he is about to capture an entirely different kind of enemy. A Warrior girl called Wish.

And inside this book, at this very moment, two worlds collide and the fate of the land is changed forever.

In a whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must visit the dungeons at Warrior fort, and face the evil Queen.

But something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring …

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I received a proof copy of Cressida Cowell’s upcoming new series The Wizards of Once. Famous for her works in the How to Train Your Dragon series, in which movie I loved by the way, I was super excited to read this. I rarely read Children’s books. Their language and plot are a bit simpler than that of Middle Grade. So in an attempt to properly review this book, I put myself in the shoes of a pre-school/primary school child to see if this book would appeal to me had I read it back at that age.

Wizards of Once is the tale of a Wizard and a Warrior who met in an unusual circumstance and had to help each other out in order to save both human and magic world safe from the evil clutched of the Witches.

Hands down, Cowell is a great storyteller and illustrator. Despite being short, I felt thoroughly entertained with the adventures of Xar and Wish. The illustrations are so beautiful that I loved looking at them for long periods of time to memorize every little detail.  However, being a proof copy, some illustrations were incomplete and yet to be included in the book. I was a bit sad about that but I’m sure the finished book is going to have an abundance of beautiful drawings that will entertain its young readers for hours.

Xar, the Wizard, wasn’t really my favourite character from this book. He’s annoying, disobedient (as mentioned by everyone), arrogant and self-centered. I don’t know how this kind of character would portray to a child but I do appreciate that Wish is the opposite of him. The book depicted how well two very different personalities can become friends. Wish is truly a special girl, and I want her to be my friend. Someone who is kind, loyal and caring is very hard to find.

The plot was very simple in a way that a child will be able to follow through easily and be amazed at all the wonderful new words that Cowell has created in this world. We see tough situations bringing Xar and his companions closer on a quest to save their world. It shows resilience, teamwork and perseverance bring out the best in us. And I think Cowell is great for this – for engaging a child’s mind to question beyond fiction. And see that these characters aren’t so different from us at all. We all have moments of cowardice and selfishness, but finding the silver lining in every situation makes us grow into kind human beings.

If you’re a parent reading this review, or an older sibling/aunt/uncle and you want your young ones to start reading, I think The Wizards of Once is a great series to begin with. Its language and plot are simple to comprehend, the illustrations are on point, and there are so many questions you can ask your young reader to make them think beyond the story.

I definitely would have enjoyed this book if I came across it during my preteen years.

I’d definitely recommend reading this during bed time. The voices and impersonations you can make while reading this aloud is just amazing. Believe me, I’ve tried.

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★★★★☆

Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

My Ramadan TBR!

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Friend: Shahirah are you joining the Standard Chartered marathon?

Friend 2: Oh Shahirah only joins book marathons

Me: Sounds about right….

So it seems pretty obvious that we readers only ever do readathons instead of the actual running marathon. And it’s been a long time since I’ve joined one (readathon, not marathon) that I’ll be participating in the #RamadanReadathon hosted by the lovely folks at @MuslimReadathon ! You can also check out their introductory blog post here.

This readathon will be held throughout Ramadan, our ninth and most holy month in Islam as we introduce to you guys Muslim authors, Islamic-representation and Muslim characters from our favourite books! It’s a wonderful way to get on the diverse bandwagon and expand our reading materials.

While I’m all for diverse reads, as a Muslim, I struggle to find characters that I could relate to as a Muslim, let alone as an Asian Muslim, in the books I read. We’re getting more LGBTQ+, African and Latino representation which is great! So why not expand the choices further to include Muslim characters? Let’s face it, Islamophobia is a real thing which has plagued the Western countries for too long. And just like the #BlackLivesMatter, it’s important to remember that media representation and prejudice should be curbed in order to see the real kindness that exists within people of all religions and races.

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So I have here a collection of Ramadan-inspired reads on my TBR for this readathon. You’re more than welcomed to join us and you don’t have to be a Muslim to read these amazing books! 😀

1. Sofia Khan series by Ayisha Malik

Add Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to your Goodreads
Add The Other Half of Happiness to your Goodreads

I cannot wait to dive into this series. Written by a British Muslim, this romance contemporary promises lots of quips, wits and sarcasm that every modern Muslim can relate to while living as a minority in a huge city!

2. Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed

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Add Reclaim Your Heart to your Goodreads

I’ve read this book twice (both times in college) back when I needed it the most and this remains one of my most favourite self help books. I’m looking forward to rereading this beautiful book again in the holy month and reconnect with myself and God.

3. All The Things I Should Have Said by Rania Naim

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Add All The Words I Should Have Said to your Goodreads

 I got this poetry book from Thought Catalog as a gift, and what better way to appreciate a Muslim poet than including it in the Ramadan Readathon? 😀

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Overall I’m super excited for Ramadan, sahur and breaking fast with the family and new colleagues at work in addition to reading these amazing books! I’ll try my best to read these alongside other books top on my TBR pile. But these 4 titles are definitely a high priority for now.

Share with me your Ramadan TBR, I’d love to know what other Islamic-centred books are out there. If you have any novels recommendations please do share below as well!

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (Sarah J Maas)

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Genre:
Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children Books
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Publication date: May 2nd, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 699

Read my reviews for the previous books in the series:
A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Mist and Fury

Add to Goodreads
Buy from Book Depository, Kinokuniya Malaysia

Blurb:
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

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Wow. I cannot believe the series have come to an end. All that waiting for a year after A Court of Mist and Fury was released. And we’ve come to the end of Rhys & Feyre’s story.

Did you hear that crack?

I think my heart broke a little.

I’m not entirely sure how to write this review. The book is pretty massive. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I read 700 pages in a week. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.

But in all seriousness, I’ll split this review into two sections: things I liked about it and things I didn’t. Because I have to admit I had some problems with how the book turned out in the final 200 pages.

Also, be warned that there will be some mild spoilers for this review and major spoilers from A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury in case you haven’t read the first two installments yet.

So read at your own risk.

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Hands down the best thing about any Sarah J Maas book is the writing. If you want a fast-paced fantasy novel, Maas is the person to go to. I have no idea what it is, but her words just grip me so hard and suck me right into the plot and characters she’s crafted so wonderfully for this series. From the moment I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I knew that Maas has a talent for getting your senses heightened and bringing out unexpected twists.

The plot in A Court of Wings and Ruin is more intense and complex than A Court of Mist and Fury. We see more strategies being laid out by the Inner Circle as they prepare for war with the King of Hybern and attempt to find as many allies as possible. This is where I got sucked right into the book and breezed through it. There’s always something happening with each chapter that you can’t stop reading in fear of missing out the next big twist of the story. It is more serious and intense compared to A Court of Mist and Fury in a way that romance doesn’t really set itself in so well this time.

In A Court of Mist and Fury, we saw the emotional and intimate side of Feyre and Rhys, but in ACOWAR, we see the war as the main focus point and every action and words carried out within the book revolved around this war. So if you’re expecting more drama and kick-ass scenes, you will love what A Court of Wings and Ruin has in store for you.

I personally love how The Inner Circle of Rhys is highlighted in this book on a whole new level. I swear Cassian’s entrance was the most epic thing I’ve seen after Goblin and Grim Reaper’s street entrance (holla if you got this Kdrama reference!)

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You’re getting more sass and crass jokes from everyone and their involvement in the war is so well written that you do feel part of the Court of Dreams when you read this. It was wonderful to be able to read about Feyre’s relationships with her sisters, how Nesta and Elain struggled with being a Fae, and how Tamlin and Jurian turned out to be at the end. There are these characters with complex backgrounds and personal issues that seeing them grow and change to suit their surroundings was an exciting thing to read.

“We’re all a broken, in our own ways – In places no one might see.”

Although I gotta warn ya, so many new characters appear that it will be easy to get lost. So keep track of them in a notepad.

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”  

But the best part of this book? How amazing Feyre developed as High Lady of the Night Court. I mean so much bad-assery and kick-ass moments are included in this book that you can’t help but to feel proud of your girl.

Feyre did good. And I mean, real good.

All her cunning ideas, sharp strategies and plots to help fight in the war just make you realise how far she’s come since A Court of Thorns and Roses and that moment she was brought into the Spring Court. It is always a wonderful feeling to be able to see your favourite character develop and progress as the strong, beautiful and powerful lady she truly is.

And I find that inspiring.

“What we think to be our greatest weakness can sometimes be our biggest strength.”  

Her relationship with Rhys was sweet in this one, though not as emotionally explored in A Court of Mist and Fury. But her positive relationship with Rhys and how he supports everything she does is something I am so proud of Maas for writing. We’re getting more YA books with motivational and positive relationships being portrayed and I think that is so important for young female teenagers. So kudos for this OTP!

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Okay so naturally I’d have some problems with books I don’t give full ratings too. And I pray the fandom won’t attack me for voicing out my opinions on these things!

A Court of Wings and Ruin isn’t my favourite book out of the entire series.

There, I’ve said it.

Phew.

I had an expectation for A Court of Wings and Ruin to have that emotional and intimate exploration between Feyre and Rhys back in A Court of Mist and Fury. I get it, A Court of Mist and Fury was the book they discovered their mating bond and that’s why the personal issues were ironed out. But I feel like it should have been an ongoing thing. Relationships don’t just start out with a rocky courtship and then you talk about it, have sex and things are happy forever. The feelings of insecurity, vulnerability and fear don’t just disappear when you meet your soul mate. It lingers for you to keep figuring out how to deal with it. And while I do love how Maas has portrayed such a loving relationship between the two of them, which I have no doubt is what she feels for her husband, it would have been nice to know that your favourite OTP do get into fights and do find a way to love each other in spite of everything that’s happened.

And with A Court of Wings and Ruin, it felt like they didn’t talk about the serious stuff like how to deal with the stress and emotional burden of engaging in wars. It was all mostly physical contact and securing allies.

But none the less, Feyre and Rhy still remain my favourite OTP. Because they’re still amazing even if we don’t get as much intimate interaction between them in this one.

“I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have… the wait was worth it.”  

My only other problem with the book was how messy the last 200 pages felt. Things were happening way too quickly. There were twists at each chapter, and so many characters buzzing in and out of the pages that I really had a tough time letting it all sink in and digesting them. I felt all over the place reading those parts and have no idea where Maas was leading us to. But thank God, the last 50 pages made it up for it. The ending, albeit a bit cheesy and cliche for me, tied off quite nicely with some minor cliffhangers that leaves you wondering “What’s next for Prythian?”

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Overall, I really, really enjoyed A Court of Wings and Ruin and do recommend all of you to read it if you want to finish off the series. The entire series is definitely worth a try and it is one of my favourite series that I’ve read in the past 2 years.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the perfect blend of magic,  suspense, friendships, and heroism that will leave you quite breathless as you turn to the last page. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

If you’ve read A Court of Wings and Ruin, let me know down below how you felt about it and about the entire series! What do you think will be in store for the companion novels I heard Maas is writing? Whose story do you think we’ll read about next?

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★★★★☆

Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Review: Release (Patrick Ness)

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Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Series: Standalone
Publication date: May 4th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 287

Add to Goodreads
Buy from Book Depository, Kinokuniya Malaysia

Blurb:
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

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“It was so much easier to be loved than to have to do any of the desperate work of loving.”

I must admit, I was a little bit reluctant to read another Ness book after not enjoying The Rest of Us Just Live Here. But I couldn’t resist that amazing cover and because I loved A Monster’s Call so much, I wanted to give Ness a third chance.

I’m glad I did because I truly enjoyed this gem!

Release is, as mentioned at the back, one of Ness’ most tender and personal novels yet. And it resonates so well with what happens in the book and how Adam is portrayed throughout. The feels you’ll get reading this and the thoughts you’ll have along the way indicates how poignant and emotionally deep Release is.

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Let’s appreciate how well Patrick Ness has weaved the every day life of Adam and the paranormal settings of a ghost rising from the lake. His effortless writing which includes a mythical creature, a Queen of the Underworld and the ghost aforementioned grips you in even harder into this book and makes you wonder how this situation could even work out.

The whole genre of this book got me baffles because while it feels like a YA novel, it has paranormal/fantasy /thriller elements to it that doesn’t quite lean into that spectrum, but feels like it does somehow…? But regardless, the plot was just great. I finished this book within 4 days and felt what a quick read this was. I was on my toes figuring out how things will end, and felt mildly surprised by the ending. It was perfect and suited the book really well.

The feels of this book are beyond what I expected. I was fairly surprised that this is an LGBT book. I haven’t read much LGBT YA books because the ones I read were a tiny bit cheesy in the romance department. But Release allowed us to look deeply into Adam’s emotional struggles as he comes to terms with his family and his relationships. Whether it’s with his devout Christian parents and brother, or ex-boyfriend Enzo, we see how he found self-acceptance and the strength to deal with life and move on after all the heartbreak inflicted by both parties.

“They’re your parents. They’re meant to love you because. Never in spite.”  

This book felt very matured, not only in the explicit sexual contents (so be warned!), but in the emotional questions posed by Adam in discovering his true family and how sometimes you just live the life you’re given…

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Adam is such a wonderful character and I love his sense of maturity, vulnerability and sensitivity to the world around him. His friendship with his best friend, Angela, a Korean-American with Dutch parents is pretty much the highlight in this book for me! While people questioned the Asian sidekick-trope going on in YA novels recently, it didn’t feel that way in Release as Angela played as much as Adam the main character in this book. You’ll immediately fall in love with her and all of her brilliant quotes!

“Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. It’s the worst kind of regret.”  

The other characters are amazingly written as well. You see the true struggle of coming out to devout Christian parents like Adam’s, and I find this could be relatable to so many teens. With no strong family support, it is easy to feel lost and question your every decision.

And I don’t mean this just for the LGBT teens…

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Overall, this book was a brilliant take into the struggles of a teen finding himself and believing he made the right choices in a world set in their ways of pre-approved choices which clashed with his. The strength to challenge and bring new change is something that we could all relate with Adam. Our troubles and vulnerabilities shouldn’t be the only things keeping us in the way of embracing ourselves, and Release reminds us of that.

Even when ghosts rise from lakes and threaten to destroy your whole world and mankind as it is….

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★★★★☆

London Book Haul!

Hey guys! If you followed me on my social media, you may have noticed that I was in London last week for my graduation (yay!). And of course I couldn’t help but to go on a book spree while I was there. I visited Foyles Charring Cross, Waterstones Piccadilly Circus and Any Amount of Books. Alongside various WHSmith I found at train stations.

If you’d like to know more about London Independent Bookstores do read my post here.

I was looking forward to scouring for books that aren’t easily found in Malaysia, and here are my finds!

I got Beyond the Bright Sea and The Other Half of Happiness at Any Amount of Books on Charring Cross. A secondhand bookstore that has a wonderful collection of both old and new books. All this for just £3 can you believe it??! I love Lauren Wolk who also wrote Wolf Hollow, review here, and Beyond the Bright Sea was just released this month, so it is by SHEER PURE LUCK that I found this gorgeous book in a secondhand bookstore! I’ve been falling deeply in love with Middle Grade books with wonderful plots and life lessons, that I am super excited to read this one.

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik is actually the sequel to the wonderful book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the first book that I went to Foyles Charring Cross to get the book for £8. If you want to try out the first book, I’d recommend you buying from BookXcess Malaysia which stocks it for just RM17.90! You can imagine my frustration when I found out BookXcess actually stocked it. But, I’ve dealt with it. Obviously.

I am very stoked to begin this series soon as my attempt to read more by Muslim authors or about Muslim representation in fictional books. I’m even planning to join a readalong hosted by Muslim Readathon for #RamadhanReadathon and I will definitely include both of these books! I think it’s high time we get more fictional books that give a normal and hilarious account of modern Muslims!

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The final 2 books I got at Waterstones Piccadilly Circus. I love their “Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price” offers because new titles are sure to be included in the list! And I can’t resist buying 2 books after entering their beautiful store….

How beautiful is that hardcover Release by Patrick Ness? I would have loved to buy it but I already got myself a paperback in Malaysia. (I’ve read this and it’s just brilliant!)

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Anyway I got The Secret of Nightingale Wood and Miss You from Waterstones! If you’ve noticed I’ve grown my love for Middle Grade books ever since I read Pax (review here). So, I’m ecstatic to be trying out more MG books and see if The Secret of Nightingale Wood is as good as its review. MG books nowadays have such wonderful story line and lessons for the young that the old should definitely give it a try too.

Miss You is a romance novel with a twist of humor. I thought it’d be fun to try out a cute romance novel that centers around 2 adults not being able to meet each other because of missed opportunities and wrong timing. Sounds like a book I could get down with. I may find myself in the mood for some romance-booster in the future 😉

I’m looking forward to reading all of these titles! My TBR just keeps increasing but it doesn’t intimidate me when I know I’ve got amazing titles like these waiting for me. Have you read any of these books? 😀

 

 

Review: A Conjuring of Light (V. E. Schwab)

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Genre:
Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Series: Shades of Magic #3
Publication date: February 28th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 666
Add to Goodreads
Buy from Book Depository, Kinokuniya Malaysia

Read my review on the first two books:
A Darker Shade of Magic
A Gathering of Shadows

Blurb:
Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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(contains spoilers if you haven’t read the first 2 books!)

“Anoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”

I just finished A Conjuring of Light minutes ago and currently at a loss on how to write this review. I knew this was going to be hard.

But I wasn’t preparing for how hard it actually is.

A Conjuring of Light is the third and final installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy and rarely does a book break me from within like A Conjuring of Light. Rarely does a book can hook me in from page 1 and pull me in every time I’m not reading it, so I wonder what’s actually happening without me. Rarely does a book gripped me so hard that I felt so close to tears as the plot unraveled and I’m left a hollow husk of a soul wishing I could save all those damned souls.

Then again, not every book is A Conjuring of Light.

This book left me breathless at the end. It is by far the best of all three installments. I can’t even begin to describe which parts of the book made it so effin’ brilliant. It was a mixture of everything, from the plot, to the brilliant character developments, to the amazing world building.

And the deaths.

Oh my god, so many deaths.

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

I mean I knew it was coming, Schwab herself said to prepare for it. But I am still in shock. I remember stopping to put down the book after a beloved character was killed, and questioning all of my principles as a reader and why do I willingly tolerate this mental torture….

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I love all of the characters in A Conjuring of Light so much this time around. I still remember reading A Darker Shade of Magic and forgive me, but I loathed Delilah Bard. She was my first ever female MC that I wasn’t sure was the villain or heroine, and the more books I read by Schwab, I realised that her style always lingers within the grey of both worlds. So you can imagine my struggles to get on board with Miss Bard’s shenanigans.

But I’m so glad to see how Lila has developed really well throughout all 3 books. From a skilled thief to a powerful magician, I’m proud to see Lila become a ruthless yet thoughtful human being who no longer runs away from every situation where she could end up caring for the person more than she liked. We got to see a side of her that struggled to deal with Barron’s death, along with a few others, making her more humane than she would have wanted people to believe. And this vulnerability is what made her such a unique character, craving for safety and solidity after growing up in such a terrible disposition. I also loved how her relationship with Kell progressed once she realised that safety can be in the arms of the person you care about…

“She was a thief, a runaway, a pirate, a magician.
She was fierce, and powerful, and terrifying.
She was still a mystery.
And he loved her.”  

And she is the perfect example that you shouldn’t ever change yourself to impress someone. A person will love you for all of your strengths and flaws. No matter how crazy you are.

Now let’s talk about Holland, because that’s obviously him at the front of that book cover. We got to see so many sides of Holland in A Conjuring of Light that it gave us so many new perspectives on his history and motives. I love how Schwab writes so well of his past and interweaving it with the present and why he did the things he did in this series. Whilst he was clearly the villain in the beginning of the series, his transition to something else that involved Kell and Lila allowed us to see him for who he truly is at the end of the book. Which was surprising because I thought Kell would be the limelight of this final installment. Yet, the reality is so much better.

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Being 666 pages thick, expect some non-stop high intensity action coming your way. I was surprised and excited to see how fast A Conjuring of Light progressed throughout the pages because I felt the previous two books were slow in revealing the climax. But this book was perfect. So perfect that I couldn’t keep up.

With all the new characters, schemes and plots to overthrow the shadow king, the deaths that overtook some of the characters…

It was truly chaotic to be honest.

But in a brilliant way. In a way that keeps you on your toes and second-guessing what happens next. Who dies and who lives? You can never truly be accurate in your prediction when it comes to Schwab. That much this book will tell you.

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Overall, I don’t think anyone reading this had any idea what to expect in the beginning. Despite Schwab’s multiple warnings in Twitter to brace ourselves, we still felt the shock and pain after reading this book.

I sure did. And the scars will take a very long time to heal.

I hope you brace yourself. Because you have no idea what’s going to hit you.

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★★★★★

Diverse Books You Should Definitely Look Out For !

Hello there! I’m super excited for so many PoC/diverse books that will be released pretty soon this year. I’m super proud of publishers taking the forward step to focus more on diverse main characters (MC) and introducing their wide audiences to a variety of cultures and religions. It’s super important for people to learn more of other cultures and races what with all the hate crimes going on nowadays.

What better way to educate than through books?!

You may or may not have heard about these titles, but either way I am super excited to see them in bookstores and read them.

Here are some titles you should definitely look out for!

1. When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Indian-American
Date of Release: May 30th 2017
Goodreads | My Review | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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I’ve already read an early eARC of this book, and I promise you, you will LOVE Dimple and her amazing personality. Throw in some hilarious Indian-family chaos and you’re in for a treat for this book!

2. Saints and Misfits (S. K. Ali)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Arab Indian-American
Date of release: June 13th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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A YA novel about a Muslim teen?? LIKE FINALLY! THE WORLD IS SO READY FOR THIS, BELIEVE ME!

Here’s one of the most anticipated titles in YA and I hope it lives up to my expectations! 🙂

3. I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Maurene Goo)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Korean-American
Date of release: May 30th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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A YA novel written in K-drama fashion? HELL YES, SIGN ME UP PLEASE!

Also, I can’t be the only one missing Goblin.

Right?

4. The Gauntlet (Karuna Riazi)

Genre: Middle Grade
MC Race: Arab-American
Date of release: March 28th 2017
(okay so this is the only book that’s released but I can’t help but to highlight this book because of its amazing plot and premise!)
Goodreads | Order from Book Depository

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When you have a Muslim version of Jumanji, you’re bound to get super excited for the action packed into this one. I hope Malaysia sells this soon! This sounds like an amazing read.

5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Julie C. Dao)
This is the debut book in the Rise of the Empress series.

Genre: YA Fantasy
MC Race: Chinese
Date of release: October 10th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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Oh wow this book! Filled with so many action and drama set in medieval China in the age of emperors, I believe this is going to be super epic.

What are some diverse/PoC books you’re looking forward to reading?