Odalisque by Neal Stephenson, Volume 1 of The Baroque Cycle, Part 3, A Review

This is the final book in Volume 1 of The Baroque Cycle and I am very pleased to say that Stephenson wraps things up very nicely while still leaving me wondering what happens further on.

This book contains both the evolving stories of Daniel Waterhouse and Eliza during the tumultuous 1680’s. Charles II has died and there is a new king of England, however, of course, things are not that simple. A new word is born, Revolution, or at least, given new meaning. Not only a “revolving around” but now a Revolution as we commonly know the word today, as an “uprising”. And Daniel and Eliza, although both in completely different parts of Europe, are quite in the middle of everything.

Neal Stephenson writes so clearly about these sophisticated political situations and, also, the ideas of Natural Philosophy at the time, that I have no problem understanding and following along. One thing I would like to mention that this first Volume has taught me, and that is that humanity in the late 17th century could be just as polite, nice, charming, vicious and vile as it is today.

There is so much quality to match the quantity of this massive Volume, so if the sheer size of the books of The Baroque Cycle scare you, I can assure you it is more than worth your time.

I highly recommend this! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!

King of the Vagabonds (Vol. 1 of The Baroque Cycle, part 2) by Neal Stephenson

Once again, the book begins with hangings, although this is a little more involved. Jack Shaftoe is the unlikely hero of this tale which starts at the start, with his brothers. Eventually, Jack is on his own but is well-known as “half-cocked Jack”, the King of Vagabonds. This name does have an explanation that supports it, however, I am not going to go into that. You will just have to make an educated guess!

Jack is what is called, “The Devil’s Poor”, as opposed to, “God’s Poor”. “Devil’s Poor ” are the kind of poor that are not worth helping. However, Jack finds ways to help himself (even if its confused and sometimes backfires). His view on life and this world, Europe in the late 17th century, is often callous but there is real sincerity that just cannot help but shine through.

Jack has an involvement with a beautiful woman, Eliza, whom also narrates her own story throughout the book. It is Jack’s care for her, which he is really bad at showing, but it proves his inner goodness. This story created so many emotions in me. I honestly cannot explain it exactly without giving away what happens. All anybody really needs to know is that The Baroque Cycle is incredible. The story leaps off the pages and into my heart…. I’m just going to say, I’m feeling some feelings, ya’ll.

This is a must read! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

Quicksilver (Part One) by Neal Stephenson, A Review

This is part one of Volume One, entitled Quicksilver, of The Baroque Cycle. This was fascinating. There are not many other works that so truly fit in the Historical Fiction category that I have found to be so utterly fascinating. It’s as if Neal Stephenson somehow traveled through time to the mid to late 17th century and came back to generously tell us about this exciting, thrilling, disturbing and even sometimes humorous time period.

One of my favourite aspects to this book was sharing the joy and often, dissatisfaction, that comes with discovery. After all, what a time period to be alive in. This story is mainly told from the perspective of Daniel Waterhouse who happens to be a friend of Isaac Newton, a natural philosopher and also a member of The Royal Society of London. However, currently Daniel is remembering all of this while boarding on a ship trying to make it’s way out of the Massachusetts Bay and back to England 30 years later. This may sound confusing, it’s not, its awesome, trust me! There are even pirate fights!

Long story short, if you love learning about history and what discoveries led to our current way of life, you have to read this series. Also, you should read it because Neal Stephenson shows off his amazing skills in conveying the feeling of this insane time period in his writing.

I highly recommend this! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, A Review

What a spectacular ending to a spectacular series! My emotions got a little out of control on this one, especially by the end. There were a few times I thought it was over and it would end badly for Clary and Company, that evil would prevail. I dont want to spoil it but the ending is good, perfectly wraps up this six book series of the Mortal Instruments.

If you know exactly how the last book ended, you should be aware that the true battle of good against evil is just getting started in this final book. Luckily, it’s a long book so there is plenty of time. Anyways, the proverbial shit has hit the proverbial fan.

This book opens with a wild scene at the L. A. Institute. However, it gave me the heartwarming feeling of family and togetherness and not fighting alone while still being incredibly heartbreaking. It’s the perfect start to this mad journey of love and truth and kindness battling those that are simply amoral and do not care about anything good.

I think that’s the real story here. Cassandra Clare wraps us up in a dazzling tale but what she is really saying, is to let your love shine through. That love conquers all.

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

House of Earth and Blood, Crescent City book one, by Sarah J.  Maas

I have just completed this magnificent first book of the Crescent City series by the,also magnificent, Sarah J. Maas…. and I am almost (almost) speechless. This has to be the best book she has ever written. It’s long, yes, about 800 pages, and I will admit it does start slow. However, stick with it and you will not regret it. Wow, yeah, that’s an understatement… this book just begs to be read and fiercely loved.

I really did go through every emotion possible while reading this. Maas has a way to just bring me to the edge and maybe even farther, more so than any other author. Now, I know I say books make me emotional often, so let me express this very clearly: In House of Earth and Blood, I didn’t just sorta feel everything, I practically felt like I was living through these characters. It’s as if Maas is really creating bigger than life stories, stories and characters that dont just live on pages but seem to live on in my life as if they are real people I know. And, I (mostly) love these characters and deeply appreciate their friendship.

This story is so much more than what it initially appears to be. There were countless times that I thought I had EVERYTHING figured out and I was so wrong everytime. That is one of the major morals to this story, to not judge someone until you know, until you really know everything. The person you may believe is a useless partier or just a thug has a history and, hopefully, deep reasons behind their actions. I find myself doing this so often, judging people. And it’s not right or fair. I do not know their whole story, just like this book… I didn’t know Bryce’s whole story until the very end and all my assumptions about what would happen in the storyline proved false. Because I didn’t know.

You are in for the ride of your life with this book! I suggest it so so highly, I cannot express how highly I recommend this awesome piece of work!

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang, A Review

Wow! The ending of this book is so intense! I was losing it while reading the last thirty or so pages. Just incredible. I do not comprehend how authors have this amazing talent to paint such vivid pictures with words that can elicit such powerful emotions from the reader. Like I said, incredible!

I love where R. F. Kuang takes this sequel to The Poppy War. The author really goes in an unexpected direction and it is such an amazing ride. While Rin recovers and faces grief, the Cike are on a serious mission and are fighting their way to get to the point where they can take their revenge by destroying Su Daji, the empress. However, there are complications for Rin who, along with the grief and pain, is facing madness from her god taking over her mind.

There are quite a few characters from the first book that reappear in the sequel, some of whom are quite unexpected.

This book deals with so many real world topics, for example addiction is a major issue for Rin. She is using Opium to resist her god, the Phoenix, from controlling her completely. The grief she comes to face with sobriety is also very real and Kuang very vividly creates images of the pain that is truly felt in similar situations. And, of course, there is WAR. I hope you didn’t bet all your money on a war-free sequel!

Kuang is great at keeping things realistic and true to life. She shows the ugliness of war in all its inglorious details. There are also some topics brought up that could be triggering for anyone who has been through abusive situations, I just want to clearly warn anyone that’s dealing with that kind of pain.

I do highly, highly, very highly recommend this series to fans of epic fantasy!

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, A Review

Wow… the ending of this book just about leaves me speechless, however, if you know me then you know that’s not possible. I will just say, this is a better ending to The Winternight Trilogy than I could have dreamed of in my wildest imaginings. It also leaves me completely at peace and satisfied that the series is over. That is honestly not something I can say about every series.

Vasya is such a dynamic character, and the reader really gets to see how far she has developed and grown by the end of this book. The last book ended with Vasilisa destroying a wicked magician, setting fire to Moscow, and saving her niece and the city all in one night. So, now what? You may be wondering. So much has happened so far, what can possibly happen now?

Well, Part One of this book just about killed me. You will have to read it and find out for yourself why. Vasya, being the strong woman she is, of course overcomes and carries on to continue fighting. This book is full of war. War between brothers, between The Winter King and The God of Chaos, Morozko and Medved. War between Russia and the Tatars. War for the chyerti, for their very existence. Yes, a lot is going on, but it is all handled beautifully and it wraps up perfectly in the end.

Travel the roads of midnight and face the madness of magic in this gorgeous end to The Winternight Trilogy!

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!