Bohemian Gospel

This was something that I liked incredibly much. Even as the last chapters had me mostly wondering what happened and whether there was time skip.

But the story opens in a way that is unforgettable and even later never loses sight of who Mouse is as a character. And for all that she is, she is a character whom I understood why she did things. And why she never seemed to understood the inner workings of the court.

And even why she was barred from the church and yet she never chose to do anything.

The plot is simple yet I always felt for her, and the stakes that were at hand. As a lady, there is limits to what she could do. And yet she always seeked her own will no matter the personal cost it will leave upon her.

The pacing was perfect, never leaving anything that could be used against it behind. Who was Mouse’s father, we get answers later on. Ottokar and her relationship, which went in a direction which I expected as much as it was different. Mouse loves him but never loses sight of who she is and when someone else precious to her is threatened she will also do the same.

And even later on, the more mysterious side of the story opens up explaining just who was her father. As well as just what kind of power she has.

This is a story that simply caught my attention and refused to let me go at any point. And if you like historical fiction with a tinge of the supernatural, then this is the one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Does a protagonist need to be a hero?

This had been on my mind for quite a while, seeing as a lot of books I rated low often happened to favour heroism over character. And books that did not favoured was vice versa.

I liked being able to relate to the characters, for all their flaws, the strengths, their quirks, rather than their deeds, the admiration others have for them. I relate to them through the emotions and experiences they have went through.

Which brings me to this? Does our protagonist needs to be a hero? I say no, I have seen villains. But to me, I prefer them human first before I even decide their allegiance. Even then, I still let the character work out their own back stories and moral compasses on their own.

My characters are principled, rarely good but never fully evil. They can be a villain as much as they are a hero, they can play a role that heroes rarely do. And I embrace their human side, their quirks and let their deeds be choices they made at the end, and mistakes to be the same.

For fantasy, especially epic there is a lot which favours heroism over character. Which is a major issue why I eventually read lesser of it, because I’m rather tired of the same old, same old. Rather, I wanted to explore the human mind and emotions, which was why I might have favoured historical fiction for their ability to do character study, controversial characters by nature, and kings who have both good and evil.

A protagonist that has both inner conflict and outer conflict. Where their circumstances force them to be who they are and at the same time it is also their nature which affects them. Because I have a strong belief that circumstances and personality form the most of us, shaped by experiences, but having a certain temperament from birth.

People can have common experiences but turn out so different, and vice versa. Which is why I weigh this two together and thus is where I get most of my characters from.

Perhaps it’s just me, but my characters are always human first and heroes at times not always.

What about you? What do you think about protagonists having to be heroes?

The Queen of Sorrow

If there is one word which I can use to describe this story, it is satisfying. It never lets the fans down, and the story goes in ways that I do not expect as much as I enjoy.

And in this work, I feel that the villains are shining. Merecot for all her insanity is one of the most charming and convicted characters. Her charm was so good that her plan no matter how insane seemed possible, and that it will be a neat solution.

It isn’t, it is far from that. But her intentions had never felt anything but having the best idea in mind. But it was her means which made it anything but delusions of a madman.

And she was what kept me really invested in the book. Dalenia and Naelin are less interesting in this book, but they never lose their touch. Dalenia always thinks of ways to make it safe, and she will never choose bloodshed. While Naelin prefers more personal ways and ensures that safety of her children. No matter the cost.

Both of these Queens work well together. As much as the story was dependent on a lot of other factors as well.

Although I’m not really liking the two of them, and the political mind games are a little on the simple side. The only thing really noteworthy here is how Merecot schemed to get power, how she simply waited for the right moment to make her demands. How she ensured that she had the advantage.

But it is in this very nature that makes Dalenia and Naelin heroes, and Merecot not. But still I have a very good heart for her.

As for the rest of the cast, which I think was simply a little too bloated. There wasn’t nearly half as much enjoyment as before. Maybe it’s because I read a lot of historical fiction books featuring women climbing their way to power in a man’s world. Power which rightfully belonged to them, but is always undermined.

As much as I say, this just simply didn’t feel as good as it was before. But it is still a good book and I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Spinning Silver

This was a wholly much better work. But I feel that it just lost the steam as it got to the end.

The beginning opens with a girl who collects money because her father won’t. And that is how she will survive. She also happens to be a Jew and I incredibly like the contrast in how she breaks the stereotype of a moneylender.

It is far better than Uprooted, crashing sympathetic characters. And it is what ruined it. There were too many perspectives which I didn’t care a thing about. I was confused because they were not kept to singular chapters although they are different enough that I know it is someone else. But I will have liked more distinction and less head hopping. And third person will have done a lot better in this kind of perspective. Because I know at least it is someone else and not have to figure out whose perspective I’m reading.

But the plot developed well and slow, until the middle hit and all of a sudden the story didn’t seem to really know what direction to take. The strongest entry has always been Miryem, she is the character whom I grew to admire and love for her strength. Wanda also had my attention for most part. But it was when Irina came in that it began to really lose the interest.

Especially when Miryem goes to the Staryk. Which replaces her using her wit for a rather tedious side of the story. Which is her adjusting to her life as much as it wasn’t.

Overall this was a story that started well but did not know how to end it. Or how to carry on once the middle came in. And that it really should have been written in third person.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Anna Dressed In Blood

It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but for once it is pretty good in how it delivers something different and not make me feel disappointed to say the least.

It is about Cas who is a ghost hunter looking for Anna, who died in a good dress as much as it became her defining identity. If isn’t about hunting her, not really. And it does give her some nice personality as much as I hoped she was a little more malevolent at the end of the day.

But Anna is merely a girl who went through a horrific ordeal only to be trapped in a house for the rest of eternity. That will drive anyone mad as it is and I can see why it didn’t do her sanity any favours either.

And this isn’t so much on stopping her, as it is more about Cas. Although their relationship was nice I feel that being romantic was a little way too fast.

However the story was satisfying and did deliver some pretty interesting twists which I did not see coming. Not at all. As well as exploring some of the more interesting concepts I have seen when it comes to ghosthunting.

As for Cas’ mother, it is incredibly nice to know a mother who is either missing or dead. She doesn’t like her son doing it but she realised that helping him is a lot better than if she was merely disapproving but not doing much. And the fact that they also happen to have a nice healthy relationship, where she mothers him but never feels overbearing.

As for both his friends, which are nice additions to this. Adding some good comic relief to the story as well as much story importance. And that both happen to not be that afraid of ghosts is also incredibly nice.

Overall, not what I thought it will be but not bad by all means.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Uprooted

For most of the time I was reading, nothing really kept my attention. Or even tried to keep it.

The story is about a girl who ends up becoming some apprentice to a dragon. And has a friend who is corrupted or something. And when the dragon helps her, a prince comes to check if she is so.

I’m mostly confused as to the story, it doesn’t seem to focus on the right details. It doesn’t try to advance the plot in a way that will have much importance on it other than making me raise my eyebrow.

I understood nothing short Agnezika or about her life before. Even when she is doing all sorts of things, her voice isn’t outstanding, she is by all means like many many other books that I have read. Which fails to give me much of a lasting impression.

Thus, again I’m sorely disappointed in this work despite how promising it was to me.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Queen’s Rising

Disappointing, I was intending for a story about a woman who was going to rise to be Queen. Which I got nothing of.

It begins with a girl who is admitted because of her blood instead of skill. And when she is a teenager, she is hopeless. That makes for the best of stories, am I right?

And it begins with her talking about her life for most of the pages I read. And when something does happen, it seems to be random rather than a careful and inevitable set of events. It feels as though they were just put together to make up the pages.

As for the main character, what is her point again? She is hopeless, but also charmless and lack any realism grounded in her character. Which only makes things even worse since she is an absolute failure without anything that she is good in.

That doesn’t make me feel like her, that makes me wonder why is she the main character. Especially when her personality also seems focused on emphasizing her lack of talent.

The plot, it was random. One moment she was in school the next she was involved in a Conspiracy with Maevan about a stone tablet which the Queens used to legitimize their rule and the Kings will do everything to stop and the next moment I was reading a story about Amardine Jourdain. Seriously, where’s the link.

Overall, I’m just really baffled by the story as much as exasperated with the main character.

Rating: 1 out of 5