Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

ARC review

430 pages
Expected publication: TODAY! February 18th 2020 by Uproar Books, LLC

I received this book from netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I really loved reading Asperfell, this book is peculiar and the characters are intriguing and interesting.
Set in a world called Tiralaen, a sort of medioeval one, where magic is real and people who possessed it are called Mages, the story starts when the main character, Briony, is only eight years old. When the king is killed by his heir Elyan, a potent Mage, able to siphon other’s magic and use it, he’s condemned to walk through the Gate, a passage into another world and to be exiled in the Asperfell prison.


The Asperfell is an ancient prison, created hundreds of years ago, the only one capable to hold the Mages’ magic. With the king’s death and the new one’s growing paranoia about and violence against who possesses magic, the world of Tiralaen is turn upside down and where reigned violence, suspicion and deaths.

Briony’s life, a young and stubborn daughter from a prestigious and influential family is sheltered and she lived with her family, her sister Livia, parents and uncle in the capital, Iluviel, at the court, her days spent learning how to curtsy, to sew and to do the things women are supposed to learn. When she survived a bad illness, Briony and Livia are are sent away to their aunt. Kept safely away from the capital, where her parents and uncle advised their mad and violent king, Briony’s world is changed another time 10 years later, when soldiers accused her to be a Mage, bringing her to the capital and sentencing her to death. Helped to escape into the Asperfell world, Briony promised her friend Cyprias to bring back the only hope for her country: prince Elyan, sentenced there thirteen years ago.


Asperfell is not what she could have ever imagined, though and the prison, full of true criminals and of innocent people alike, is awash with secrets, about itself, Briony and the whole world too.

I loved reading about Briony. She’s such a strong and brave main character. Unlike her sister and the women of their time and world, Briony is wild, curious, brilliant and she refused to be a pretty wife or to gossip at court or to learn how to be a housewife, how to sew and so on. I admired her curiosity, her drive to know more about everything, her refusing to be passive and remissive. I liked her friendship with Cyprias’, her father’s spy and how she kept herself informed while with her aunt.

Briony is resilient. When she is saved and pushed in Asperfell her promise to save her kingdom and country is strong and even in a different and peculiar world, surrounded by dangers and criminals, she learned how to adapt and how to discover more about her power and the prison’s secrets. It was really interesting reading about all the kind of Mages and their magic, about Briony’s power, so peculiar. Her eagerness, her curiosity, her need to learn more about her magic, to compensate and balance from her being untrained collided with the person she’s sent to save and free, prince Elyan, who is rude, cynical and a really powerful Mage.

I love their interaction, how Briony is not a simpering subject and she stood her own ground against him, pushing him to not giving up hope for their freedom.
Elyan is a peculiar character, not the spoiled royal one could think he is. He’s rude and sarcastic and insufferable, irritating Briony with his attitude, but he’s a complex character, full of grief, pain and regret and, after being in that prison for so many years, his cynical side was brought forward. Briony’s eagerness and her scheming and plans overwhelmed him, crushing his reservations, or, at least, involving him into hoping for more. I really like their relationship, it’s really complex and not granted.


This book is full of interesting characters, like the Steward of Asperfell, Philomena and its Master Tiberius, Yralis, Phyra and Thaniel, who become Briony’s friends while she adapted and learned to care about her new home. I liked the riddles and mysteries of Asperfell and how some things were connected since the very beginning, with mulpiple twists and magical beings. It was really amazing learning everything about Briony’s world’s magic through her eyes and to follow her in her quest and journey.


Asperfell itself is an interesting place, where people learned to life, surrendering themselves to this exile, creating relationships and so on. It was peculiar reading about the Melancholy Revels, where past nobility is still grabbing at their illusion of power, even in prison and in exile. It was interesting reading about the power system, fueled by violence and power. I liked reading about Thaniel’s knights and the lower levels, too, the Sentinels and basically everything in this book.

In the author’s biography she says she wants “to smash the patriarchy one novel at a time, creating characters and worlds that inspire, empower and elevate women” and I have to say she’s done it really well with Asperfell.

The first book is amazing and Briony is an unconventional heroine, unconventional because as a woman, in her time, she did the opposite the world expected from her and it’s amazing and really inspiring.
I can’t wait to read more about her, Elyan, Phyra and the others and their journey towards home and country.

Let me know what do you think about my blog and reviews in the comment!

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Blog tour Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Welcome to my stop of the blog tour for Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel, Highfire, which comes out on January 28th!

A huge thanks to Milly Reid for my shiny copy of Highfire and to the publishers! I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour!

Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series: Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel is a hilarious, high-octane adventure about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who’s been hiding out from the world – and potential torch-carrying mobs – in a Louisiana bayou . . . until his peaceful world’s turned upside down by a well-intentioned but wild Cajun tearaway and the crooked (and heavily armed) law officer who wants him dead.

Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him…

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation. Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp…

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again

I’ve always been a fan of Eoin Colfer’s books, since I grew up with Artemis Fowl, so I was over the moon when Netgalley accepted my request for an earc and then when I was asked to be part of my first blog tour.

Told by three POVs (Vern’s, Squib’s and Hooke’s), Highfire is a very peculiar book, full of adventure, action and funny moments. Like in his other books, Colfer’s writing style is brilliant, full of sarcasm, jokes and foreshadowing.

“And as is so often the case, things would’ve turned out a whole lot better if the kid could’ve kept it in his pants.”

Highfire’s characters are brilliantly written and relatable. Squib is a fifteen years old, who finds himself involved in something bigger than he could have ever thought, running from a crooked cop, with a dragon as boss. His thoughts and inner monologue are hilarious and his character is multi-dimensional and realistic. Through his POV the reader can see how deeply he loves his mother, how loyal and stubborn he is. And unfortunate. He means well, even though he finds himself into trouble everytime.

His thoughts are consistent with his age, still able to believe in extraordinary things like a talking dragon and to accept this turn of events, without thinking himself crazy. Even though he’s in a difficult situation (his Momma works hard, he works three jobs, his Daddies left them in trouble), Squib is brilliant, sassy, sarcastic and able to see the world for what it is and act accordingly, but without losing his hopes and dreams.

Reading through Vern’s eyes, the reader is able to experience his loneliness, his depression. He remembers, melancholically, an Era when dragon were feared and he mourns his family, killed by humans, whom he distrusts and hates. Vern hides from them and their phones recording and weapons and from what would happen if they discover his existence. Convinced to be the last dragon alive, he would love to live peacefully watching TV cable and talking only with Waxman, his mogwai and oldest friend. But then Squib changes his entire existence.

Vern is funny, sarcastic and thoughtful. Even though he has fantasy characteristics, such as flying, hording riches, fire, Colfer created a new dragon, talking about his physical traits like his powerful sense of smell, the oil he needs to use his fire, his fat, his cells, the proprieties of his fluids and excrements, his penis and the importance and message of the balls if they are in or out. It was unbelievably funny ( and sometimes gross) reading about the physical characteristics of both dragon’s and mogwai’s anatomies.

Even though he is a dragon, a mystical creature, Vern is absolutely relatable and “humanized” with this thoughts and fears, his prejudices, his depression and blues and loneliness. I’ve never felt so close to a dragon before.

The third POV is Hooke’s, who is crooked, arrogant and psycothic. Sadist. From his background the reader learns he had a difficult childhood, with his parents, above all his father, but it’s impossible to feel sympathy for him, because Hooke is unrepentant. He’s cruel, greedy, patronizing, calling everyone “son”, feeling superior. In his thoughts and inner monologue it’s clear the influence of his father and the church. His lust for Elodie and hatred for Squib are very clear. It was interesting seeing his thoughts, because he’s the perfect villain in the story, ready to do anything to get what he wants. He represents, incarnates the cruel human Vern is hiding from, with his violence and plans to exploit or kill.

The relationship between Vern and Squib is one of the thing I loved the most in Highfire. Rocky and suspicious at first, slowly they get to know each other, until they are at ease with one other. Vern is cinical and bitter, but funny and Squib is sassy and brilliant, even though many didn’t know that. I really liked reading their banter. They would do (and do) anything for each other. It was fascinating reading how much they and their relationship grow throughout the book, until they become friends. Vern and Squib are captivating main characters, very intruing.

The side characters were brilliantly written, too. I liked a lot the relationship between Vern and Waxman, full of insults, witty and sarcastic banter and good-natured bickering. I liked how Squib listened to Waxman’s advices and thoughts, how he was an important friend in his life. Elodie Moreau and Bodi Irwin were amazing characters, both of them sassy and protective of Squib first and then of Vern, too. I’d loved to read more about them.

There are a lot of reference to music and TV shows in Highfire, from Flashdance (Vern really liked that movie, above all a particular scene), Game of Thrones (Vern DIDN’T like how the dragons were portayed), Lord of the Rings, Batman and so on.

I loved reading Highfire. I laughed so hard, I was moved by many moments and involved in the action. It was impossible not to love these characters, cheering for Squib and Vern, getting angry at Hooke, laughing at Vern bantering with Waxman, Squib and Bodi.

I really enjoyed reading Highfire, a very peculiar book, a mix between a comedy, a thriller, a noir with unforgettable characters, full of funny, moving and deep moments, able to captivate the reader since the first page into an emotional and brilliant rollercoaster.

Trigger warnings: suicide, attempted suicide, death, gore, mutilation, rape jokes, depression, kidnapping, drugs, weapons.

#Highfire           @JoFletcherBOoks                        @EoinColfer

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Burn the dark Malus Domestica #1 by S.A. Hunt

Publication date: Today! 14 January 2020 https://www.amazon.com/Burn-Dark-Malus-Domestica-1-ebook/dp/B07QLHFZGB https://www.bookdepository.com/Burn-Dark-S-Hunt/9781250306425?ref=grid-view&qid=1579030128846&sr=1-4

I thank Netgalley and the publisher for this book, received in exchange of an honest review.

Robin Martine is not the usual girl. She’s an orphan, she can use swords and knives, she runs a Youtube channel, she travels around America recording her adventure in…witch killing. Robin is a witch hunter and the witches are not like Sabrina Spellman or any kind witches seen on television. They are cruel, they are known to siphon life to them through spells and sacrifices and they are immortal. They killed Robin’s mother, Annie, blaming her violent father. After being instituzionalized, because Robin spoke the truth about the witches and doctors made her believe she was crazy, filling her with medications and shock therapies, she’s rescued by a family friend, Heinrich. He reveals her the truth about witches and starts training her. Haunted by a green eyed monster, for years, Robin fights against supposed hallucinations and spells, while trying to do her job. The story is built with flashbacks and memories and starts when Robin comes back to Blackfield, in her old city. For Robin, coming back home means reconnecting with Joel, his old best friend and to know Kenway,with whom Robin right away get along, dragging both of her friends in her caotic and dangerous life and revenge. Her path crossed Wayne’s and his father, who they just moved in her old house. While she’s keen on getting her revenge on the Coven that killed her mother, Robin starts to understand she may have been underestimated the situation.

I really liked this book. Robin is a great main character, funny, determined, stubborn and keen on discovering the truth about her family, her mother, the creature that haunts her. She wants to kill the coven that murdered her mother, the dangerous Lazenbury. Joel is a fantastic and ironic best friend and I love her relationship with him and how she found someone in him and Kenway to rely on. Kenway is another amazing character. He’s a veteran, he went through hell and back and, like Robin, he’s full of memories and scars. I loved how Robin’s plot crossed with Wayne’s, the new kid. I like Wayne, a lot. The author did a fantastic job writing his character. Wayne lost his mother to cancer, his father went through a bad moment, drinking and, deciding to move from Chicago to a little city meant for him changing his whole life, school and friends, while still grieving for his mother. He’s a strong character, friendly, smart and I liked reading about he having new friends. He was forced to grow up faster when his father started to drink. I found really sweet his habit to put her mother’s wedding ring near his eye and see through it.

I love how important that ring became in the book., too. Leon, his father, a teacher, found himself involved in witches, monsters and spell, involving witch hunting, magic rings and creature from other dimensions. I liked reading about Robin’s mentor and savior, too, Heinrich, even though he’s less present in the book and I hope to read more about him in the sequel, because he seemed an interesting character. The book is captivating, full of twists and revelations and it kept me hooked until the end. It was amazing reading the multiple POVs, Robin’s, Joel’s, Wayne’s, Marylin’s and see through the “villains’ ” eyes too. I liked reading about witches, their powers and dryads, goddesses and so on. I’m really happy to have read this book and I can’t wait to know more about Robin’s story.