All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
Here we are- another book review! *wild cheering* So I'm just going to go ahead and pretend it's not the middle of March and that this month hasn't been stressful and horrible to me so far.
This book review comes for the first book I've fully read and finished in March. It took ten days and I think I'm slumping a bit from not getting enough reading time lately. Let's go.
Title: The Wren Hunt
Author: Mary Watson
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone- There will be a companion novel coming soon, but not with Wren/from her POV apparently
Original publication date: 8th February 2018
My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars (Read March 2018)
The premise of the story really interested me. It starts off on Wren Day/St Stephens Day which is the 26th December (also traditionally known in Britain as Boxing Day. Why we call it that I don't actually know...). Wren is our main character whom represents the wren of the above celebrated day.
I'm going to try and put this into a list of positives and negatives where I can, because I've left this review a couple of days and I'm still not sure how I feel about the book. I enjoyed it, but part of me is just confused.
First off, I'm a fan of the cover. Yes, that's probably shallow, but I don't care. I love how the bird is also part of a tree if you look at it a certain way and in real life, the gold parts make for a nice texture. It's also really simplistic, which is nice for a change, but additionally lends itself to the at times dark nature of the book.
The book started with Wren being hunted, which led to a nice atmospheric feel, but I thought the wren hunts would have made more of an impact on the overall story than they did later on in the book. I understand that the title doesn't just imply Wren being hunted, but that she's also looking for something, but still.
I really enjoyed the Irish mythology and language that was put into the book (and Happy St Patrick's Day to any Irish people reading this!), along with the powers that Wren and her fellow augurs had because they were all so varied. I enjoyed reading about how Wren's different relationships with her family and community were intertwined because they just felt like any normal family.
Now I don't know if some versions have minor changes to the blurb, as I've seen some reviews where people weren't happy to find romance added, but my copy says 'Part thriller, part love story...'. I agree with that, but I think they were equally balanced out.
To me, the development between Wren and her love interest was believable- there was attraction at their first encounter, but thankfully no insta-love to be seen. The thriller aspects were definitely there too- plenty of tension during Wren's time in Harkness House. That was one thing that interested me- that Wren, an augur, and the boys who hunted her, all judges, were enemies from way back when.
Now onto some things I didn't like. I'd already read that parts of the beginning were confusing and/slow. This turned out to be true after the first couple of chapters and the first wren hunt. I think this was to let the audience take it in and get some sense of the world Wren lived in. In one sense, I suppose the genre can technically be classed as some kind of urban fantasy or urban thriller, as it's set in modern day Ireland, so the world building was minimal aside from the magic and how it all worked.
I think that was the book's first issue. Some of the augur's most important places, ect, for magic were explained well and shown, but it's been half a week now since I finished the book and I still couldn't explain to you how their gifts come to them, or why certain people don't get one. It felt a bit...rushed? As though there was so much to get in plot-wise, important backstory elements were missed.
I did understand that the judges had stolen magic belonging to the augurs and that there had been war between in the past. But some of the rituals that happen with both groups also lost me a bit. And as I've already said, it would have been nice to see more hunts, as the book suggests.
However, there are some very good plot twists which I didn't see coming and in the end, learnt that I couldn't take any character at face value. Despite life getting in the way and me having to take my time with this one, it did keep drawing me back in.
I would recommend The Wren Hunt and will probably re-read it at some point, to see if I get more of an explanation the second time around now I know what happens?
All the best and happy reading.
Welcome back. Time for my next book review.
One day, I’ll actually review a book on the day I finish it.
Today will not be that day. Fire Lines is not that book.
I’d not heard a lot about it, but it interested me, so gave it a try. Fire Lines clocks in at just under 300 pages, but an insanely busy week made it take longer than needed, finishing it 1st March. It’s actually harder than I thought to come up with words for this without giving spoilers, but I’ll do my best.
Title: Fire Lines
Author: Cara Thurlbourn
Part of a trilogy: Yes, book 1 in the Fire Lines trilogy
Original publication date: 26th September 2017
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read February-March 2018)
The beginning reminded me of a few books I’d read before and it seemed like it might follow similar tropes popular in the YA genre. The beginning was a bit hard for me to get through, since I was being distracted by a few things. (Note to self- always read when alone) Honestly, I found the first couple of chapters a little slow anyway, but it soon picked up when Emi discovers the world outside of her home, and more about who she is. That’s where the real interesting stuff is.
We meet a host of interesting characters, including Kole, who is- wait for it- an elephant rider. They only ride the elephants in battle though, and have an amazing bond with their elephant. I fell in love with Maya quickly- how many books have I read with actual elephants in?
We see quite a lot of the world, the building of which I think will only get better in the next books. There’s a handy map at the front too, but we all know I love books with maps anyway! There were many twists and turns I didn’t see coming, and other aspects/creatures I enjoyed, elephants aside.
I have positive expectations for when book 2 comes out.
If you've read Fire Lines, what did you think? I would recommend reading it if not. All the best and happy reading. :)
Hi, I'm an animal lover and have a degree. You can usually find me either reading or writing. Failing that, I might have actually ventured into the outside world...