Hello! I’ve decided to start doing a “Mini Reviews” feature for a selection of the books I read. I read more books each month than I can feasibly write and post full reviews of, and this seemed like a good alternative. I’m aiming for each review to be under 200 words and for the books featured in each Mini Review post to be linked in some way. This first one is fantasy reads.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
On her nineteenth birthday, Kelsea must set off on a journey to reclaim the throne of her dead mother, and defeat the Red Queen who is determined to destroy her. That should be easy. Her journey is dangerous, bur she has the Queen’s Guard (her mother’s guards) to protect her from harm. Kelsea is desperate to learn more about her mother and to be a good Queen to her people, but no-one wants to open up to her and the things she discovers make her feel increasingly uncomfortable. this was a great coming-of-age fantasy novel, gripping and interesting. I loved seeing Kelsea grow in confidence and make her own decisions to cement her place as Queen . I also loved her strong sense of morality and her determination not to let bad things happen just because they would be easier for her. Lazarus was a great character; grumpy, but wise and only wanted what was best for Kelsea. This was a great start to a fantasy series and I look forward to reading more.
The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
The Smoke Thieves is the first in a fantasy series bringing together the lives and stories of four different characters: a princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Catherine’s father and brother dictate her every move, and are preparing her to marry a prince she has never met to strengthen their alliances. but she might just be in love with one of her guards. Tash is working with Gravell hunting demons and capturing their smoke to sell (side note: that’s illegal). March is looking for revenge and Edyon is moving around from town to town stealing things. The stories are all very distinctive and well-written, but Catherine and Tash’s interested me most, and I did find myself skimming the other chapters at times to get back to their stories. The Smoke Thieves is a very political novel. I found it slow to start and couldn’t understand how the different story-lines worked together, but it grew on me and I cannot wait to read more.
The Mermaid by Christina Henry
One day a mermaid (Amelia) finds herself caught in a fisherman’s net. Jack (the fisherman) cannot bear to see her trapped and sets her free, but Amelia has fallen in love with him so she gives up her life in the sea to live on land as Jack’s wife. Many years later, Jack is lost to the sea and Amelia needs to find a way to live without him. she finds herself the subject of curious rumours and wanted by PT Barnum as an exhibit in his museum. I am a big fan of The Greatest Showman film, and this PT Barnum was nothing like the film version. He is cruel, ruthless, treats the women in his life appallingly and sees Amelia as a way to make his fortune. Amelia is headstrong, opinionated and not prepared to let a man tell her what to do. She is everything the other women of her time were not and I loved her for this. There are many mermaid stories around at the moment, and this is one of the best. I inhaled it in one sitting and was left wanting more.
Have you read any of these? Do you have any thoughts on my plan to do more mini reviews like this? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to talk books with you.