Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

*Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Because we’re just going to be shouting about how incredible this book was from now until the end of time, we thought instead of writing a review that would be 100% incoherent, we’d shuffle our thoughts into a Reasons To Read Invictus. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

  1. PACING
    Invictus is heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat fast, but at the same time it has slow moments for you to savour things like the tentative conversations between the couples. There was not one moment where I thought, ‘this needs to speed up’ or ‘wait, I’ve lost what’s happening.’ It’s literally crafted to perfection so you’ll never want to put it down!
  2. FOUND FAMILIES
    If you’re a fan of The Heroes of Olympus series, or Six of Crows, basically anything where a group of kids have to come together and save the world/steal some stuff, then you’re going to love this book. Invictus has the wholesomeness of the Percy Jackson series and wicked sense of the Grishaverse. With some strong Firefly and Doctor Who vibes as well, but that just comes with the sci-fi territory. (Side-note for other influences: the recent Star Trek films. The prologue is very Star Trek opening realness, and I was living for it.)
  3. MIND BOGGLING REVEALS
    OH MAN. The twists and turns in this story were off the scale good. Like, I didn’t see any of them coming. It’s really not something you can put together yourself, and even when I thought I had a one-up on the characters, I really didn’t. I’d like to think than Ryan thought of the ways a reader could construe things and then was like ‘haha nope! They’re not going to guess this!
  4. ROMANCE
    There are two main romances. You’d got Far and Priya, and Imogen and Gram. The first are the most true-love destiny pairing you’ve read since Percy and Annabeth. They communicate and it’s pretty glorious. And even though they’re young, they’re really serious about their feelings which is so joyful to read. As for Imogen and Gram, they don’t communicate and that’s the best thing too. Like, unrequited love that isn’t actually unrequited has got to be everyone’s favourite relationship dynamic ever right? It’s like love/hate but with more angst and emotional tension rather than sexual tension. Basically, it pulls on your heart strings and turned me into a puddle of love and tears. The romances aren’t over done, they’re secondary to the action plot, but they’re pivotal to the adventure so, sign me up!
  5. ACCOMPLISHED WRITING
    It literally blows my mind that Ryan Graudin came up with both Wolf By Wolf (a stunningly original idea) and Invictus. Seriously, one person should not be allowed to be this clever at plotting books. Everything I’ve read by Ryan has been different, but all her books have the same tone and beautiful crafting. I need Ryan to run a webinar on plotting, for sure!

Also, thought we’d give a shoutout to our friends Carys, Kate and Lily who we buddy read this book with. It was super fun to discuss it with them, so maybe another pro of this book is that it’s great for a book club pick – there’s a lot of talk about!

So, obviously, Invictus is getting 5 stars from us! I so wish this was the first in a larger series, but it’s also such a rewarding standalone (and you don’t get many sic-fi ones!) that it’s perfect on it’s own! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

13612962The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Published by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 300
Format: e-book
Series: The Iron Trial (#1)
Rating: ★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

You see, I can’t help but be slightly disappointed with this series. At first the Harry Potter parallels were obvious, and it’s going to be hard to separate the two considering it’s 2 boys, 1 girl at a magical school hidden from the regular world. I mean, we all see what’s going on here. And I seriously hoped that by book two they would have moved away from HP and I hate to admit that the plot line is still basically the same with the characters roles switched up a bit.

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Review: The Almost King by Lucy Saxon

22929591The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 400
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating: ★★
Series: Take Back The Skies 
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I have to say that after finishing this book, I’m not entirely sure what the point was. The main plot lines consist of: Aleks finds a journal detailing the horrible plans that the reader already knew about from Take Back The Skies, Aleks builds a new life for himself including love interest, Aleks goes on a mission to discover new land but nothing really comes of it. To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. I really enjoyed the first book, even though I was frustrated with the ending. At the very least I wanted the sequel to evoke the same feelings, but this time the ending was so frustrating because it just seemed too happily ever after in comparison!

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Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

cressCress by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Romance
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 550
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Series: Cinder (#1) | Scarlet (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I was expecting a lot for Cress. 550 pages? I could do this! Except…I couldn’t. Cress put me in one of the longest reading slumps. It took me over a week to read, which is strange since I normally manage to finish a book every two or three days. I think I struggled with this story because Maddie had hyped it up so much (it’s one of her favourite books of all time!) so of course I was under quite a bit of pressure to enjoy the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it! But the middle was rather slow and I was sad that the characters didn’t become a proper team until the very end! Cress was an adorable character, and I loved that we got more Thorne, but I think the book could’ve been at least 100 pages shorter. Continue reading “Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer”

Review: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

18705209The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 500
Format: Hardback
Review: ★★★★
Series: The Lost Hero (#1) | The Son of Neptune (#2) | The Mark of Athena (#3) | The House of Hades (#4)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I have mixed feelings about this ending. That’s probably to do with the nature of it being an ending. It’s hard to say goodbye to characters that I’ve really got to love over the past month, where I’ve tried to blitz my way through the series. Okay, so yes, I was slightly disappointed that Percy and Annabeth didn’t get a perspective – neither did Frank and Hazel! – and I can see why those that read BoO when it was a new release would have found this particularly devastating. Maybe it was because I was prepped for this lack of Percabeth that I didn’t feel too remorseful when they didn’t pop up after a Jason chapter. But what I also appreciate is that I wouldn’t have had the series end any other way. It started with Jason, Piper and Leo, so it should end with Jason, Piper and Leo. But, you know, with the odd bit of Reyna and Nice thrown in for good measure.

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Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Heroes_of_Olympus_-_The_Son_of_NeptuneThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Published by:
Hyperion Books
Pages:
545
Format:
Hardback
Rating: ★★★
Series:
The Lost Hero (#1) | The Mark of Athena (#3) | The House of Hades (#4) | The Blood of Olympus (#5)
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

Rick Riordan, you have outdone yourself, my friend. Percy is back. PERCY. IS. BACK. I could barely contain my excitement! I’d missed him so much! Jason, Piper and Leo were great, but Jason could never replace Percy, so it was lovely to have his charming perspective again. I enjoyed this sequel more than the first. I though Hazel and Frank’s backstories were really interesting, and the quests seemed even more exciting. The Roman camp was so new and different to Camp Half-Blood, I really enjoyed learning about it, and who doesn’t love a bit of Roman mythology?

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Review: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost by Iain Reading

kitty hawk 2Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost by Iain Reading
Genre: Adventure, Contemporary
Published by: Amazon
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find:  Goodreads | Amazon

Kitty Hawk is fast becoming a prominent character among my bookshelves. In the sequel, Kitty doesn’t fail to impress with another jam-packed adventure.

This time, Kitty is in Key West, Florida, with more focus on her plane as a water vessel than as an air ship. The adventurer-detective discovers a crime. Some people are looting the seas, stealing precious treasure for the sea floor. It’s safe to say Kitty does a lot of swimming! (Isn’t the cover beautiful?)

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Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

embassy rowAll Fall Down by Ally Carter
Genre: Adventure, Mystery
Published by: Orchard Books
Pages: 320
Format: ARC E-book
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I cannot contain my excitement over this book. Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors, the Gallagher girls is one of my favourite series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the first book in her new series ‘Embassy Row’, starring Grace, a girl prone to injury and jumping off things from a height.

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