Addition: Audiobook
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

A shivering of worlds.

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning…

This is the final book in Terry Pratchett‘s amazing Discworld Series. This is one of my favourite book series – so many characters, so many adventures, so much humour. These books are well written, they are hilarious, there is always danger and adventure, and the characters are fabulous. There are 41 books in this series, and I am pleased to say I have read them all!

I really enjoyed The Shepherd’s Crown. This book had all the elements I mentioned above. This novel is the 5th book in the Tiffany Aching mini-series, which also features the witches, Granny Weatherwax and Granny Ogg. Tiffany has found herself in the position were she must save the Chalk from the fairies, who are getting set to attack. She must keep her wits about her, round up the witches, plus the folk of the Chalk, and get set for battle.

As ever, this book was entertaining from the start. Pratchett never fails to draw me in and keep me hooked. He uses characters I love – I was pleased that Death had a cameo in this novel, he is one of my favourite Discworld characters – and he writes such good stories! In other Discworld novels, other reviewers have felt that there is too much going on in the story; I didn’t feel this was the case with The Shepherd’s Crown. We had the story of Tiffany, and her rise as a witch on the Chalk, we had the story of Geoffrey, the man who wanted to be a witch, and his work alongside Tiffany; and of course there is the elves storyline. All three worked well together and brought us to a great climax – the battle for the Chalk.

I have read other reviews about this book which mention that Pratchett died before this novel was completed, and that it is obvious in places that he hadn’t quite filled out some of the story. To be honest, I didn’t notice this. I was excited that there was a final book, grateful that I was able to go back to the Discworld one more time and I just enjoyed the story.

I was reminded somewhat of Julia Kagawa’s Iron Fey series when we were in the world of the fairies. This is another series I enjoyed so this isn’t a criticism. The stories are very different, but as I was reading it there were moments when I was transported into Kagawa’s world.

This book ticked all the boxes for me. It was entertaining, gripping, humorous and enjoyable. This is an excellent fantasy novel. It didn’t feature all my favourite characters – I really like the characters based in Ankh-Morpork, such as the Wizards – but I found the Nac Mac Feeble really funny. However, if you have read any Discworld novels, you will also see the sadness in the pages. This is a goodbye to the Discworld series, and to Terry Pratchett. I am rating this novel 4 out of 5, and I am gutted there won’t be another Pratchett novel.

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THIS REVIEW CONTAINTS SPOILERS!
Addition: Review paperback

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

This is the first book in The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking and the series has a been a great hit in America. I received this as a review book from Think Jam. The novel was released on 5th January 2012 in the UK and is available on Amazon as a paperback and in a Kindle version.

The story follows Wendy; a girl with a very traumatic past. At the age of 6 her mother tries to kill her, claiming that she is not her daughter and that she is evil and a monster. Her mother is taken away to a psychiatric hospital and Wendy is raised by her brother Matt and her aunt Maggie. Wendy has never really fitted in, has always caused trouble and never settled at school. She has recently changed schools and her world is turned upside down when the weird boy who keeps staring at her – Finn Holmes – appears outside her bedroom window at 3am. What is particularly strange about this is that her bedroom is not on the ground floor. Earlier that evening they had been at the school dance and whilst dancing together Finn had said some horrid things. Upset by him, she uses the mind control powers that she has to persuade another classmate to drive her home. Finn realises what Wendy has done so turns up in the night to confront her and take her home – to the land of Trylle. It seems her mother had been right, Wendy is not of this world. It turns out she is a troll – not the kind you imagine hiding under bridges, but a beautiful, powerful woman, who is remarkably like a human. She does not want to leave Matt and Maggie and does not believe Finn until a few nights later she is attacked by trolls from a different tribe, who want to kidnap her. Rescued by Finn, she agrees to leave and to set up life as a troll. What she finds when she gets there completely surprises her – life is not what she imagined. She is the Princess, switched at birth to a wealthy family so that she will get a good education and a trust fund. All seems to be going well, until at her debutant ball her home is attacked, and they are after her…

I really enjoyed this book, in fact I read all of it this morning, in one sitting! It is not a long book – only 280ish pages long. The story is easy to follow, and very enjoyable. My favourite character was probably Matt. I loved how much he loved Wendy. He named her when she was born as their parents didn’t want her, and he has spent his life protecting her. I found Wendy an interesting character – and depending with who she was with, depended on what I thought about her! I found myself feeling sorry for her when she was with the Queen – her real mother – but when she was with Finn or Rhys – the human she was swapped with, I wasn’t so keen on her as she seemed to lead them both on. Finn had to grow on me too, as he was so hot and cold. I found that very frustrating!

Switched reminds me of both The Iron Fey Series and the Twilight Series. It reminded me of Twilight because of the house Wendy was taken too. Although the house in Switched is a lot bigger it was very modern – not what you would expect in this sort of novel – like in Twilight. I was reminded of the Iron Fey series for a number of reasons: – the lead character growing up in the human world; – the tracker being at school, like Puck; – and the lead character falling for the wrong guy, like Meghan falling for Puck.

This book is full of adventure, tense moments – the sort of “what is going to happen next” moments, a romance and a great plot. This is a young adult book, but such an enjoyable read anyway. I wasn’t keen on the swearing, especially as this is a young adult novel, but fortunately there wasn’t too much of that. This is a great book – it kept me gripped, and I’m still reflecting on it later on in the day. I will definiately be looking out for the next book in the series! This is well worth reading – especially if you like series like The Iron Fey Series.

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Addition: Review e-book from Netgalley

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Review:

This is number four in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa – and although perhaps not as good as the others, still a great read. I have been waiting what seems like an age for this book, and squealed when I received an email telling me it was available from Netgalley. This time the book is written from Ash’s point of view, not Meghan’s and we follow his story – barely getting a glance at what was happening in the Iron Realm. At the end of book three Meghan banishes Ash for his own safety – as fey he can’t survive in the Iron Realm. Yet he made her a promise: to be her knight. He loves her and is determined to keep this promise and the only way to do that is to become human. There is only one way to do this – go to the End of the World and complete the tasks. With the aid of Puck, Grim, the Big Bad Wolf and a seer, Ash sets off; but will he succeed? And if he does, will Meghan still love him?

I really enjoyed this book – although I missed Meghan. She does feature in the story, but not heavily. We walk with Ash and only glimpse Meghan and her world occasionally. I found this book to be more graphic and gory than the others – there seems to be more bloodshed in this adventure. Yet the book was exciting and fast paced. There doesn’t seem to be a dull moment in this story – once one foe is defeated, another seems to come along quite quickly. There is a lot of energy in this book which kept me hooked.

All the way through this series I have been Team Ash – and that didn’t change in this book either. It was nice to get a better look at Ash, although at times that was a touch heartbreaking. One trial he has to go through is examining his conscience and relieving everything he had ever done – all the hurt he had caused people. There were a few incidents described and it was sad that Ash is not the perfect prince I imagined him to be. This was an honest portrayal though and we saw his struggle with the anger and hate that come from being part of the Unseelie Court.

I loved Puck as well. Although I was always rooting from Ash, I loved that Puck stuck around and was there to help Ash because he loved Meghan so much. He is funny and kept me entertained throughout the book. There were other characters I liked too – Grim is fabulous. He is sarcastic, clever and I love how when trouble arises he vanishes! The Big Bad Wolf was entertaining too – I enjoyed the attitude between him and Grim.

There is a big surprise halfway through the book that I wasn’t expecting. It added to the book and Ash’s torment and made for some great reading! I won’t add in a spoiler but suffice to say – it was good and added another dimension to the story.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the book – I missed Meghan – she is a key character and we didn’t see a lot of her – and Kagawa’s writing seemed different – simple and sometimes not completely engaging. However, the good completely overthrows the bad, and this is a great read and a great instalment to this series.

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Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over.That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

This is the third book in the Iron Fey series, and like the other two, I loved it ♥ Once I had started reading it, I could not stop. At the beginning of this book Meghan is in exile from Nevernever because she chose to follow her heart, and her love, Prince Ash, who had been exiled for falling in love with her. Together they are in the human world, happy and alone. Until they are attacked by iron fey. They are quickly summoned back to Nevernever and receive a pardon, on the condition they take down the iron fey and the false iron king. This they agree to, and quickly war is on the cards, and Meghan has to battle and win, as being half-human she is the only one who can withstand the iron.

This book was amazing. Right from the start there was action. War and battles run throughout the book, making it exciting and fast paced. This book is different from the others in that this time Ash has given himself to Meghan, whereas before he was hiding his love. Their story and relationship flows alongside the story but this isn’t a problem, especially as after most love scenes along comes Puck with some sarcastic remark.

The imagery in this book is incredible. The descriptions of the faery land is beautiful, and it is so easy to picture this world. This is a fantasy book with dragons, dwarfs and gremlins but the way Kagawa writes makes it very accessible and I was transported from my chair to this world and quickly forgot it was make-believe.

The characters are great. I love Meghan. She is strong and determined. She didn’t give up and always did what was best. Puck made me laugh the whole way through. There were some touching moments with him but mainly I just enjoyed his wit and humour. My favourite character, as before was Ash. Strong, silent, brooding, and so easy to fall in love with! I’m easily Team Ash! I loved seeing a whole new side to him in this book, where he let his feelings for Meghan show. Grimalken the cait sith is great. He is exactly how I imagine cats would be if they could talk. Arrogant and only around when it benefits them! Together they make a great team.

I was intrigued by the ending and the role Meghan has taken on. I like the twist, it will change the direction of the story which is great. The epilogue and the suspense is already killing me! After the great battle I was almost in tears but this new spin has made me excited already!

This is classed as a young adult book but I loved it. I empathised with the characters, I was gripped the whole way through and I just loved it. There was action, fantasy, imagination and a bit of romance and it made for an extremely satisfying read. I cannot wait for book four!


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Addition: Review e-book

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

This is number two in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, and I loved it ♥ Meghan, half Summer court princess and half human is a prisoner in the Winter Court. Having made a deal with Prince Ash of the Winter Court to go there willingly if he helped her rescue her brother, she is now alone. She fell in love with Ash on her adventures, and thought he loved her. But instead, since arriving at Court he has shunned her. Then, at the party to celebrate the changing of seasons in Nevernever, the Seasons Sceptre is stolen. Meghan knows that the Iron Fey have stolen it, but no one believes her. Winter is blaming Summer and the two courts are about to go to war. Ash re-appears and tries to get Meghan to safety but his brother catches him in the act, and he is deemed a traitor. He decides to drop off Meghan and go find the sceptre. Meghan, now reunited with Puck also has the same idea. Through unforeseen events they find themselves reunited and fighting the Iron Fey.

I really enjoyed this book. The story flowed and I found myself engaging with the characters. When Ash shunned Meghan my heart broke with hers, but I was very pleased with the ending! And quite a cliff hanger I felt! Again, I loved how Kagawa wove the story, the events and what she is able to imagine.

My favourite character this time was probably the Iron Horse. He was noble and fought for what he believed in, and he was loyal to his causes. I was surprised with his story line but really enjoyed it. His character developed and changed in a great way. I loved Grim as well. That cat is so arrogant and blunt – just what I would expect a cat to be like if they could speak! I was pleased to see Puck back, I missed him Winter’s Passage, and of course I’m still in love with Ash!

The characters Kagawa has created are incredible. Her descriptions are often breath taking and the action is superb. There are many fight scenes, many fleeing scenes and great interactions between characters. There is nothing to dislike about this book. I was gripped from the beginning and hooked all the way through. This did not take long to read and it was exciting and full of fantasy. The love story isn’t overpowering. This is young adult fantasy at its best!

And yes, I am:

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Addition: E-Book

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

This is a short novella, less than 70 pages long. It is number 1.5 in the Iron Fey Series. It follows on from The Iron King. Meghan is home after having rescued her brother, but she made a deal with Prince Ash – the man who should be her enemy but instead she is in love with – that if he helped her save Ethan, she would hand herself over to his court without hassle. However, she does want to make a detour – to check up on Puck, who was seriously injured during her quest. Yet there is something chasing them, something deadly. Will Ash be able to save her and get Meghan to the Winter Court?

I have given this 3 out of 5 for one reason: this book is too short! I love this series and this book is good. It includes Kagawa’s imagination and what Meghan and Ash face is great to read! This is fantasy and adventure at its best! I found this easy to read and gripping. The story follows on nicely, and of course leaves the reader on a cliff hanger, ready for The Iron Daughter. The fight scene was great and the language is simple yet effective.

I loved Ash and Meghan as before but this book was too short for any further character development. It was a shame that Puck was not used in this story, but as a teaser for this series, it is good.

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Copy: Review e-book

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined–the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

I loved this book for everything from the beautiful cover to the great story line. This is the first book in Julie Kagawa’s young adult series The Iron Fey Series. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to get onto the next: The Iron Princess (out this month). The final book in the trilogy is released in Feb. 2011. This is fantasy and adventure, with a touch of romance – everything you need for a great read.

The star of the story is Meghan Chase, a girl who didn’t fit in well at school. She did however have a good friend: Robbie. Her life changes when she discovers her little brother Ethan has been kidnapped and replaced by a monster. Suddenly she finds herself on a mission: rescue Ethan. This opens up a whole new world for her, the Nevernever world. Unbeknownst to her, this is the world she belongs in, as does Robbie. He turns out to be Puck, and he had been guarding her for the Summer King. Whilst in the King’s court she meets Ash, the Winter prince sent to kill her, but sparks start to fly. And then when they discover it is a new enemy trying to take over Nevernever and is holding Ethan hostage Ash and Puck have to put their differences aside, Ash has to stop trying to kill Meghan and together, with the help of Grim the cat, they have to defeat the new Iron King.

This book is full of imagination, adventure and I cannot think of one bad thing to report. Right from the start I was interested. The faery land mischief starts in the human land when Meghan turns 16. From there she meets all kinds of interesting characters. Kagawa has an amazing imagination and what she creates is great to read. She has taken normal fantasy creatures and evolved them, she has given power to normal animals, such as cats and she has created new monsters. All this wrapped together makes for excellent reading.

I finished the book as definitely Team Ash! Of course that might change with the reading of the new book, but he was strong and handsome, and prepared to put his needs aside. Of course to start with Meghan had to bargain with him but as the story progressed you could see him softening. Puck, or Robbie was a great character too, but I the girl in me preferred the hero Ash! Puck made me laugh with his humour and tricks, but I think I liked Grim the most. I’m not a cat person but this was a wonderfully written character – smooth and cool, and just down-right entertaining. Meghan was a strong-willed girl and the love for her brother drove her on, which was lovely to see.

Overall, I can easily give this top marks, and I am itching to get onto the next in the series, and to read the novella, Winter’s Passage. I’m glad I discovered this series, and if you like young adult books or fantasy, this is well worth reading.

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Waiting on Wednesday – or WoW – is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I am waiting for is:

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

No synopsis yet but the cover looks amazing. I’ve just read The Iron King, and loved it (review will come later today) and have The Iron Princess lined up and ready to go – and already I am excited about The Iron Queen! I have to say, I’m Team Ash at the moment!

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