Books, Recountings

recountings: ten thousand thorns

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TEN THOUSAND THORNS 

by Suzannah Rowntree

Princess Morning Light meditates in a hidden temple surrounded by ten thousand thorns. Guardian of a long-lost sword skill, the princess is destined to wake after a hundred years to return justice to the world.

Or so legend says.

As the Vastly Martial Emperor extends his brutal domination, rebel leader Clouded Sky flees the capital for the safety of his martial sect at Wudang Mountain. Meanwhile, a renegade martial artist seeks a hero to awaken Morning Light. As bounty hunters and imperial guards close in, Clouded Sky must determine who he can trust – and who may be planning to betray him.

An action-packed retelling of Sleeping Beauty in the style of a Chinese martial arts epic!

Ah, I really enjoyed this one.

THE WRITING

The writing is clear and crisp, and it truly draws you in; almost as if you are watching a movie – seeing the shadows, hearing the clash of weapons, and watching the cast interact.

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Some of the descriptions were quite perfect:

‘she moved as lightly as a dandelion seed blowing on the wind’

THE CAST

The characters are delightful, Iron Maiden in particular. Sometimes heroines can really get on my nerves (you know what I mean … ‘I AM A STRONG, POWERFUL WOMAN WHO CAN FIGHT BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. I ALSO HAVE AS MUCH CHARACTER AS A CARDBOARD CUTOUT. NO! LESS!) but thankfully, such was not the case in this book.

What really was nice, was the way that Rowntree wrote her – skilled, but not flaunting it. Feminine, but more than capable of handling herself in a fight. The balance was right, and so I was really able to enjoy reading about her.

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Everyone was saying Very Wise And Poetic Sayings, which gives me life goals because I would very much like to drift around and say things like ‘truly, one happiness scatters a thousand sorrows’ (…and then crack out some ‘Awkward-Octopus-Strikes-Thrice-And-Falls’ martial arts move, afterwards, of course.)

THE PLOT

At first, I was a little overwhelmed (gee, doesn’t that make me like a swooning heroine!) with the amount of names, details etc there were – but that could be because my brain has the retention skills of a colander.

But once I caught the gist of the story and memorised names and who was who and what was what … it was clear sailing.

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There were some PLOT TWIST! moments that I enjoyed, and I found the way that the fairy tale was retold to be unique and quite clever.

TO SUM UP …

Altogether, I found this story to be an action filled martial arts adventure, garnished with the perfect touch of swashbuckling charm.

And also, my word, it felt like Rowntree had throughly researched the setting for her book – so hats off and kudos to her for that.

amazon // goodreads

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge in return for an honest review. I would have happily written a review in return for a dragon, but I wasn’t offered any.

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Books, Recountings

recountings: LET THERE BE BLOOD!

Red Rising is like Jane Eyre but without:

  • Mr. Rochester
  • Jane Eyre
  • Wives In Attics
  • St. John Rivers (THANK GOODNESS.)

(So basically … it’s nothing like it … but still … )

It does, however, feature a character who decides upon a course of action … and keeps to it. Darrow has a plan, and my word, does he carry through with it.

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I am rereading the book series because a) it is one of my favourites and b) Iron Gold is soon to be released.

THE WORLD 

I adore the world building that Brown has put into his work – there’s a colour coded class system, heavy Roman influences, and an utter ruthlessness that permeates through the upper levels of society.

It’s fascinating. And maddening. (The Reds. Oh the poor Reds. That particular plot twist was ruined before I first opened the book – it was written on the back cover. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. I WOULD HAVE ENJOYED THAT TWIST.)

THE CHARACTERS

Occasionally, I grow frustrated with myself; I have this desire to write insightful, intellectual posts analysing books in an interesting fashion. To say: THE MAIN CHARACTER WAS AWESOME!! rather puts a halt to this urge.

Oh well.

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But it is true – I find the main character, Darrow, to be quite something. The bee’s knees, so to speak.

Why?

  • He isn’t a wimp
  • Much like Jane Eyre (an analogy that I refuse to regret) he sticks to his guns. To put it more bluntly – he is like a rocket of justice that WILL NOT be swayed by the winds of opposition and peasant feelings. He’s got his mission and by golly, he’s going to do it.
  • He is like a legend of old; the whole business of ‘The Reaper’ sends shivers down my spine. (Okay, that is a tad dramatic. But to put in my mindspeak: THIS. IS. AWESOME!!!!!)
  • He has a conscious. A heart.

Sevro … is still a creepy, lovable character. The bromance is strong and it does me weathered heart good to see it.

‘I killed their pack leader,’ Sevro says when I ask why the wolves follow him. He looks me up and down and flashes me an impish grin from beneath the wolf pelt. ‘Don’t worry, I wouldn’t fit in your skin.’

As for the others? I’ve read the trilogy, I know what happens and I’m bracing for impact.

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I am, however, secretly hoping that some things will change with this reread. But don’t tell anyone that.

THE PLOT

With this second read, I think I burned myself out a little, fried zee little grey cells. I binged this book in one day.  I looked at its sequel – Golden Son – and left it on its shelf (I know, le gasp, how could I not continue?!) my brain was that fried.

I tried to appreciate Eo (Darrow’s wife); I understood her a little more but … her *spoiler* still seemed somewhat flimsy. But I could feel Darrow’s motivation so much the better for it.

Some people have compared Red Rising to The Hunger Games. I’ve never read The Hunger Games (HEATHEN!) so I wouldn’t know. I can tell you, however, that this entire book is brutal, ruthless, bloody, and unforgiving.

And I love it.

“Tactics win battles. Strategy wins wars,” I say.
“Oooo. I am Reaper. God of wolves. King of strategy.” Mustang pinches my cheek. “You are just too adorable.”

goodreads // kindle


PS. Suzannah Rowntree, from Vintage Novels, has a Proper Review right here. I always find her reviews on books that we’ve both read to be thought provoking; here she puts her finger on some of the issues in the book that I appreciate. (And expresses them in a far more lucid style.)

Books, Life, On Writing

Life, On A Different Continent

So. I’ve quit my job and left England. I’ve been planning it for a while, but quite frankly I’m stunned that I’m actually here in Montreal, Canada. This is happening.

I’ve been working for the greater part of a year to able to afford it, jamming in as many shifts as I possibly could, and neglecting my writing horribly.

But, no more. No more, I say.

ERM, WHY?!

Just why did you leave your own country? and WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU ABANDON ALL YOUR BELOVED BOOKS?!!! are perfectly legitimate questions to ask.

And I have answers:

  • I want to spot a lumberjack in its natural habitat. (The border official was like: ‘in Montreal?? Yeah. No.’ But you know what? I live in hope. Desperate, terrible hope.)
  • It’s time for me to speak fluent French. (Why didn’t you just go to France? I hear you ask. WELL EXCUSE ME FOR TAKING THE LONG WAY ROUND! THIS COUNTRY HAS MAPLE SYRUP!!! MAPLE. SYRUP.)
  • It was time to live on a different continent.
  • Why not?
  • I have a kindle. It was – and I am being perfectly serious right now – very hard to leave my books behind. But at least I have SOME books with me. Even if they are ebooks. Even if I can’t sniff ’em.

WHAT NOW?

I write. I write as hard as I can. This is the time to catch up on all the projects I haven’t finished.

And yes, I can hear select members of my family sniggering a continent away. My writing is a bit of running joke, you see. The joke being that I never finish a novel and have at least ten books on the go.

I would like to point out that a) Rome wasn’t built in a day, b) genius takes time, and c) there is nothing wrong with elongated multitasking. Nothing.

WHAT ABOUT THIS BLOG?

My aim is to go back to posting once a week – recountings of books, detailing what I’ve been up to (so far, I’ve set a house alarm off, explored some of Montreal, and have heard a report THAT THERE IS A LIBRARY NEARBY! WOOP!) and perhaps attempting to keep you enthralled with updates on my SO TOTALLY GOING TO BE FINISHED projects.

adieu for now!

Books

how to bookworm when you’re busy

Recently, it’s been taking me much longer to finish a book. I’m claiming ‘Being Busy’ as my reason. However, I am still reading. And here’s how.

OLD FAVOURITES

I may not be finishing new books, but I am reading scenes and passages and chapters from some old favourites. And yes, this isn’t adding any extra stats to my goodreads account, but I don’t mind. I find it comforting, and enjoy revisiting past adventures.

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DON’T BE NEKKED

Out to the dentist? Take a book. Working? You have a lunch break. Take a book. Traveling? Take a book. Take THREE books! (No. FOUR!)

Quite frankly, without access to a book, I feel rather naked. I don’t like feeling naked in public. So I take a book. Logic.

(This advice is followed by: and then read the book you brought with you.)

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PFFT. WHO NEEDS SLEEP?

Sleep is important. Very important. Don’t skimp on it. Or read. That’s good too. In my experience, the two don’t go together very well.

It’s like an equation:

Read a lot = sleep little.

Sleep a lot = read little.

As a bookworm, I’ve read into the wee hours countless times. I’m not too proud of it – I wouldn’t have to wear so much concealer if I got a proper eight-hour hibernation session in. But, what can you do? Sacrifices have to be made.

… and I’ve been making them since I was a wee teen and read G A Henty into the small hours. Followed by countless other books, including the Patty Series? (I can’t remember. It’s been awhile and there was a love triangle and she chose Bill. I approved. But then there was a paragraph where she regretted her choice. Bam! Such betrayal. Pfft, Bill. You could have done better. Me, for instance.)

It’s a habit. A bad one. But when you’re gripped by a book, what’s to be done? Go to sleep? No. Nope. You have to finish it. Or at least, you have to try.

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(There’s a balance somewhere; I’m attempting to find it.)

To read more, you have to make time for it. But I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how much reading you can fit in. Even when you’re busy. Take a book. Don’t be naked.

Happy reading!

Books, I think I just rambled, Life

being whelmed and getting hitched

reading

I’ve been reading, quite extensively at times. Old favourites, new ones. Gorging on a new-found author. (Erm, not literally.)

Person Sitting While Open the Book

It seems that the closer I come to The Adventure, the more I try to avoid thinking about it. It’s subconscious, I don’t think ‘come now, Ness, let us avoid reality.’ But, it happens. I’m excited about The Adventure, terribly so. Nervous, anxious, itching to get on with it. But staying whelmed by reading.

(That’s the opposite of overwhelmed. I’m giving it a new definition.)

… or I’m reading so much because I am a dedicated bookworm at heart. It could just be that too.

i’m getting hitched

I didn’t know it until last night, but I am well on my way to matrimonial bliss. An Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsman (doesn’t that sound like the setup for a joke?) walked into my place of work.

(Well, I know that one was Irish, one was Scottish, and the other was either English or Irish or Scottish. I’m not sure; the ear I should have for accents is profoundly deaf.)

The probable Englishman (‘my name’s such and such, but you can call me ‘fiance”) admitted that he didn’t have enough cash for a quick elopement to Las Vegas, so the Scotsman gamely stepped up and offered (‘I do‘ he said, clearly foreshadowing our vows).

Woman Wearing Pink and White Low Top Shoes Dancing Beside Man

We’re getting married in Las Vegas on the 12th of September (he was too busy on the 10th) and are going to have matching tattoos, and flame-haired children.

So that’s that sorted, then.

writing

This is a bit embarrassing. I’ve been suffering a mighty writer’s block brought about by three things:

  • Tiredness, due to work
  • A Wish To Read Instead, due to my bookworm nature
  • Lack Of Will Power, I’ve got the word document open often enough – but rarely do I actually, oh, I don’t know, add actual words.

BUT I HAVE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH. (And this is the embarrassing bit.)

I’ve changed the font.

Boom.

I was writing until half one last night/early this morning. AND ALL I DID WAS CHANGE THE FONT.

I just … nope. Why? Why does my brain act this way? Why?! Why couldn’t it have been ‘you must bathe in the milk of a unicorn at dawn when the crow calls twice with lisp and once with a hiccup’ or something like that. But noooo, it turns out that I’m a simple woman with simple ways to get over things: have writer’s block? Change the font. Boom. Done.

I think I’d make a terrible arty book heroine; I’ve no complicated connection to my artistic soul. Fonts. That’s the key. I’m not bitter about it, or anything …

happy reading/writing!