War of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

44780383._SY475_Following on from the events in book #2, Reign of Mist, tensions are running high across the realm. Bleak and Casimir are searching for the one thing that might give them an advantage over Ines, while the others are preparing for battle.

The Oremere Chronicles has been one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. It has everything: magic, action, humour, spunky characters, giant wild cats, friendship, betrayal, epic battles, a little bit of romance, fantastic world building and great plot development.

There are so many strong female characters. These books are very feminist and filled to the brim with powerful women, but the male characters aren’t pushed to the side or forgotten. Every single character brings something significant to the story, and they all have unique, memorable personalities despite there being so many different characters. I could go on for hours about each character individually, but my best advice would be to read the book and fall in love with them yourself.

There is a teeny bit of romance, but that is very much a minor element in the plot. It was actually a cross between very enjoyable and quite frustrating because I shipped everyone in this book. Especially Bleak – I shipped her with almost every other character: Dash, Bren, Fiore, Cazimir, Henri, even Swinton once or twice. To be honest, I think I’d have been happy with any outcome on that front.

Being the third and final part of the trilogy, the story comes to an eventful – and at times traumatic – climax. I won’t spoil it, but prepare to weep in between moments of triumph.

Overall, this series was truly excellent. I loved every second of all three books, and War of Mist did not let the series down at all. It might even have been my favourite. I can’t wait to see what Helen Scheuerer comes up with next.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

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Reign of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

39216289.jpgIn book #2 of The Oremere Chronicles, it is all kicking off. As more people learn the truth behind the deadly mist and King Arden’s treachery, war is brewing. Scattered across continents, Bleak and her friends are forced to choose sides, forge their own alliances and prepare themselves for the battles ahead.

I adored book #1 in this series, Heart of Mist, so I was really excited to get straight on with reading book #2. It didn’t disappoint.

At the start of the book, all our main players are separated and spread out across the continents. This meant there were a few different threads to follow simultaneously. Initially, I was concerned that this would make the story too complicated (and one of my favourite things about this series has been the relationships between characters, so splitting them up was not so good), but fortunately the whole gang was reunited fairly quickly and all my concerns were dispelled.

The plot progresses much quicker in this book. There are a lot of characters to follow and a lot of politics to cover, but none of it felt rushed or lacking in detail. The pacing was pretty much spot on to keep the story moving and maintain excitement. The story really comes to life through Scheuerer’s brilliant writing, fantastic characters and strong world-building.

I haven’t enjoyed a YA fantasy series this much in so long.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Heart of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

34865933All Bleak wants is a cure for her power. The ability to hear the thoughts of others may seem like a gift, but when the only way to drown it out is through copious amounts of alcohol, it’s more of a curse. Despite never telling anyone of her abilities, Bleak is suddenly snatched from her home by the King’s Army and summoned to the capital. But the journey doesn’t quite go according to plan as Bleak is rescued by the queen of a nation if female warriors, the Valian Kindred. Saved from one form of captivity and pulled straight into another, Bleak finds herself right in the middle of a power-struggle, with a much bigger role than she ever could have anticipated.

It’s really difficult to guess which YA/New Adult Fantasy books are going to be good, and which are going to be mediocre. As a serious fantasy lover, I haven’t come across many that I thought were bad, but truly great ones are few and far between. Heart of Mist is one of them. I absolutely loved it, from cover to cover.

I pretty much loved every character. Bleak was probably my least favourite, but she’s got tough competition and, with the full cast supporting her, she’s a fantastic protagonist. I adored Fiore from the moment we meet him and thought he would be my instant favourite, but then we were introduced to the Valians and suddenly everyone was my favourite. Even Swinton really grew on me as the story progressed.

The plot is fairly slow paced, but because the characters were so fantastic and I know there’s more to come in the series, I was totally fine with the pacing. The story has a good amount of depth to it, with the main story line being backed up by a couple of mysteries which I’m really looking forward to finding out more about.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli

30846371Dragons, danger, romance; The Last Namsara is everything I love about fantasy fiction.

Following a traumatic dragon attack in her childhood, Asha becomes the Iskari – the King’s fiercest dragon-slayer. Feared by everyone (except her family), it’s a lonely life that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl, and with a bleak future married to her father’s cruel, violent commandant, Asha has little to lose. Until the king offers her a way out: kill the First Dragon, and win freedom from her betrothed.

First things first, I totally loved this book. For starters, dragons. I love dragons. The dragons in this are both fierce and friendly (very How to Train Your Dragon-esk) – what more could you want? Second, Asha is a great main character. She’s strong, sassy and deeply troubled – the vital characteristics of any fantasy hero. Third, the relationship between Asha and Torwin is adorable and a delight to watch unfold.

The Last Namsara is well-written and engaging, although Ciccarelli’s style was at times a little too careful. You could tell that it’s a debut novel; I would love to see her take more risks and use a little more variety in her language.

I enjoyed this book from page 1, right up to the very end. I’m really looking forward to book #2. (Also, the cover is stunning).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

T5W – Books From Before You Joined The Online Book Community

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Thoughts on Tomes. (You can find the Goodreads group for it here) This week’s topic is Favourite Books From Before You Joined The Online Book Community. For me, this means my favourite books from before starting my blog and joining Goodreads. Here we go!

  1. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – I gush about this book every time anyone asks me about my favourites, so I won’t say too much now. It’s a work of absolute genius. Just read it.good-omens-2
  2. The Call of the Wild by Jack London – I’ve loved this book since I was (quite) little. I think it might be the only book I’ve ever enjoyed written from the point-of-view of an animal, and Buck is still one of my favourite book-animals. This book has so much depth as well as drama and excitement.call-wild-jack-london-paperback-cover-art
  3. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I was attracted to this book for obvious reasons (in case you hadn’t realised, my name is Ella) and I do usually enjoy almost any fairytale retelling. This one was particularly good. Do not let the film put you off – I hated it. Anne Hathaway was a terrible casting choice and they changed the story so much! The book is well worth a read.858361
  4. Angelfall by Susan Ee – My favourite paranormal YA book ever. I loved Twilight, The Mortal Instruments and The Hunger Games, but Angelfall takes the crown in my opinion. The heroine is sassy and loveable, the hero isn’t abusive and the side characters are a delight, but because it’s never been made into a film it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.15863832.jpg
  5. The Woodcutter by Kate Danley – This is a blend of fairytales, told from the point-of-view of a minor but integral character: the woodcutter. It’s complicated but well thought out, and one of the best works of imagination I’ve read.16128504

A few of these are childhood favourites and, to be honest, since joining the online book community my favourites haven’t changed very much. What are your favourite books (from before or since finding your way onto WordPress)?