Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review 

23437156Title : Six of Crows

Author : Leigh Bardugo

Genre : YA, Fantasy

Rating : 4 stars

This will be a spoiler free review. I will discuss characters and writing style or technique but will not delve into the plot.

I loved Leigh Bardugo in her first series but my gosh has she improved in this series! I was so grateful to see Bardugo progress in her plot lines and execution within this novel. I felt like this storyline was a more risky and inventive idea and was conveyed with a more experienced hand but it was also intriguing to see her utilize the world she created in her first series within this book. I mean why throw away such an amazing world when you can just write about other people within it?! I wish more authors did this.

So more on my rating. Why did this book get a 4 and not a 5? 

Well to be honest, there is no real reason why this book didn’t get a 5. I have decided that my ratings for amazing books will always be 4’s, any 5’s I hand out will be for my absolute favorite books of all time. One’s that I just can’t live without. 3’s will be for books that prove to be good reads and 2 for books that are alright but lacking something. 1’s will be for books that I don’t very much like – I’ve never marked a book a 1 before and I sure hope that doesn’t happen any time soon!

What I found most interesting about this book is that all the characters are thrown together by chance.

Normally in novels we find that the main character is thrown into this unique situation but the rest are there for a reason, brother, friend hero whatever but they have not landed where they are by chance. In Six of Crows ALL the characters are where they are by situation and circumstance. Purely coincidental. I love that! Seriously, I found it so intriguing as I flicked through the pages to have pieces of the puzzle slot together. Each character had such a thorough backstory and strong personality but somehow each remained unique.

I loved that each of the main characters were bad in some way. Criminal, Liar, Killer, Gambler. I’ve read plenty of books where the main character is an outlaw and makes some questionable decisions but never have I read a book where absolutely every character is a bandit. AND IT WAS SO REFRESHING! I hadn’t realized how many of the books I’ve been reading are Fae or royal characters.

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There were plenty of catchphrase’s throughout this book that were repeated and I felt like that added to the book. I liked that the crew had their own motto.

The relationships between these characters were so interesting, so much happened and so little at the same time. I don’t even know how that’s possible. But it is. Each of the characters was also damaged in some way, their sorry pasts landing them in their current situation and driving their actions.

At the beginning of the book Kaz is portrayed as this mastermind criminal that no one can beat. No one knows where he comes from and they fear him but as we progress through the novel parts of Kaz are divulged and he went from being this mysterious crim to a normal adult, almost childlike with his fears and vulnerability. But this change was balanced, he still remained the same character but just more relatable. 

After reading this book I’m not so sure I’d rate Bardugo’s first series so highly. Only because she so greatly improved in her background and characters as well as story that I was left going wow, I didn’t realize the depth in characters or plot as much in the Grisha Trilogy as I am now in Six of Crows.

I feel like I’m missing so much. Perhaps because this is a spoiler free review and I’m not listing my favorite parts! There truley so so many!!

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

 

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How to get Published

How to get Published

 

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Tips Tricks and Know-hows

Firstly, I’m not a published author – yet – so this is not a step by step to getting signed. This is just some information I’ve picked up over the years in the industry, learning how the many authors I talk to every day have reached their level of success. It can take years to get to the publishing point and there are a lot of things that need to be done prior to getting yourself out there so I thought I’d share some knowledge on what few steps you need to take and what you need to be doing before you submit your piece of art to be scrutinized by the professionals.

Writing a novel is no easy task. It doesn’t happen over night and if it did, I’m sorry but you will still spend months perfecting it if you want to be taken seriously. This is a job, yes it can be a hobby but if you want to get signed for publication it is a job and like any job they expect you to be able to do it right.

The very first thing I recommend doing is research and plenty of it. How to write a short synopsis and a long synopsis, character descriptions and summaries just how to write your book in general really. You need all this to properly build your world and backdrop for your creation. Also, it’s something you’ll have to do if you got signed anyway, editors are pretty amazing but they are not mind readers and they need to know where the story is headed, what spurs your characters actions and what they look like. This all enables them to do their job and do it thoroughly and if they need this to do it thoroughly, why wouldn’t you?

It’s important to know where your story is headed so that you get the most out of your pages. You don’t want pages full of useless filler and you don’t want all the information palmed off in the first few chapters either. It’s an art to be able to reach that middle ground.

I get so many calls about manuscript submissions form unsolicited authors and it’s great to know so many of you are out there but it’s also strange that many of them have not done any research. They have no idea what the difference is between solicited and unsolicited authors, what a synopsis is or even how to find a literary agent. My answer is, Google. Don’t go calling publishing houses, they only give you their customer service line, the customer service teams aren’t the ones who read your manuscript, they are the ones that distribute it to their customers. The ones who make the big shots are up in head office and they are called publishers, they’re editors who have studied the craft of writing and that is why I say, do your research. Perfect your novel, don’t hand it in half finished. Most author’s have not done Uni, and you don’t need to, but the people who mark your work have studied for years to learn how to dig through the dirt and find the gold.

Get a professional editor to help you re-structure your work, copy edit and provide feedback.

This is not a cheap thing to do but personally, unless your great at English and just bloody lucky there is going to be grammatical errors in your work, plot holes and structural issues. All author’s face these problems because they know what they’re talking about but their audience does not. Novels need to be written in a way that allows the reader to know everything they need to but nothing of what will happen. Editors help you achieve this, they fix all those issues and get it submission ready. They don’t come cheap but the investment for those who are determined to get published is well worth it.

Lastly, the final bit of advice I will give is to find an agent. Don’t call the publisher yourself, there is people out there who have contacts much higher than you’ll ever get by calling the customer service line. There is a reason there is such a thing as a literary agent and that is because unless you want to self publish, you need them. They negotiate your contracts to get you the best royalties they can, they get your book out there and into the hands of the people who decide if your book is worth a short and most importantly, they are your strongest advocates. They are the ones that back you and support you and guide you through the maze of publishing.

If your an aspiring author check out the below links. They should help you get a little more knowledge on processes and requirements.

Snowflake Method

Australian Literary Agents’s Association

The NSW Writers Center

How to get Published

Till next time bookies,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber

Book Review : Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber

22586972.jpgTitle : Siren’s Fury

Author : Mary Weber

Genre : Fantasy, YA

Rating : 2 Stars

This will be a spoiler free review!

If you’ve been following me you’ll know I wasn’t a really big fan of book one, in my review I mentioned that I had some issue’s with descriptions and I guess you could say writing style. But another reason I was disappointed when reading the first book was because the story had such potential to be amazing! I mean, the ‘elemental’s’ could have become a new ‘thing’ and I would have totally backed that. Unfortunately for me, the main character (the elemental) lacked that whole mystery and fantasy element for me and was just a bit dull.

But aside from that I had issues with descriptions. They’re more mental depictions than actual physical descriptions of what is happening which becomes quite confusing to understand. For instance we just get told things, they aren’t explained in any depth. We have to imagine what we are seeing ourselves instead of picturing the way its been described and that really grates me.

So book two was much of the same, with some similar issues as above. HOWEVER – 

Book two is a major step up from book one. So if you were like me and wanting to give up after book one, try book two as the writing definitely improved. The story-line is interesting but still lacks a certain amount of suspense, although surprisingly, the main character has improved to a point where she’s not so plane or annoying this time around. 

The ending was a little typical, only because I’ve noticed more recently that authors have been a little more daring and end their books on a bit of a win/loose but Weber played the ending of this book safely. It was just to typical. Good person wins against all the odds.

If you gave up on book one but have thought about finishing the series, because if your like me, you just have to, don’t worry, things improve. Slightly.

But not a lot but enough to be bearable.

On a positive note, I do love the world the author has created and the elements that she brought into it. I just wish it was executed differently.

Don’t hate me.

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoi Marriott

Book Review : Barefoot on the Wind by Zoi Marriott

51j0unaq0cl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Title : Barefoot on the Wind

Author : Zoi Marriott

Genre : Children’s, Fantasy, Mythology

Rating : 3 Stars

Disclaimer : This review has been sponsored by Walker Books Australia however all my thoughts, opinions and feels are my own and are in no way influenced by other sources. Thank you Walker for supporting me and allowing me to review this book for you, I am greatly humbled.

I have a cover fetish or perhaps for a more elegant term, obsession.

So before I get into the actual book reviewing I’d like to start by cover reviewing! I think that a clever cover should always portray the themes throughout the book, to hint at what is going to happen, allowing a glimpse into the book without giving away all to much. This cover is really quite artistic, the book is a beauty and the beast retelling and that is made evident with the wolf in the background and the delicate butterfly’s. The thorns are a very effective concept throughout the book which they have craftily brought into the cover. All in all, I thought this was a beautiful and effective cover. In terms of cover rating/stars, I think I would give it a 3.5-4.

NOW, onto the important part of this review!

This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. The author included a note on the very first page to her readers about why she wrote this book and I really loved that idea. I kind wish that all authors did that! Marriott’s reason behind writing this book was because and I quote, “as [she] got older, it began to seem more and more strange…that in the traditional fairy tale, it is innocent Beauty who is forced to learn to love the Beast while the Beast is rewarded for” his misconduct.

I don’t know about you but I had to agree with that statement and it was so interesting to know how the author began to dream up the book. 

This novel is set in a Japanese landscape with the characters baring traditional Japanese names, which is not at all what I had been expecting but it was certainly something I’d never experienced before and it worked quite well. 

In terms of genre, I’m not sure if I believe this book is adequately placed as a YA title as it seemed a little too juvenile for my tastes. Personally, I believe this book is perfectly pitched to an audience of ages 10-16 perhaps a bit older or younger but I wouldn’t really class this as YA, as you can see from my genre picks above. 

Once I got past the fact that I had prepared myself for a YA read and found myself reading a children’s book, I began to enjoy it a whole lot more. The book is quite elegantly written, it is not an advanced read but that is to be expected for the age group I’m pitching this for. The book doesn’t feature a dramatic amount of dialect, a lot of the manuscript is internal monologue but that doesn’t hinder the story in any way. If anything it gives Marriott a certain authors writing style and I like that it makes her stand out. But the little direct dialog we did get was very stiff and formal, which I guess is in line with Japanese culture but for a novel I felt like it created a barrier between reader and writer. despite this Marriott is so very good at communicating the thoughts and feelings of the character while also telling you every minuscule detail about the surrounding and the happenings of the scene. But somehow that wasn’t quite enough for me. For a book with so much detail I found it lacked a certain amount of depth, emotion.

As a 313 page book, it is quite a small and quick read, but with being small it’s harder to get as much depth into the book as you might get in a 500-600 page novel.

If you haven’t read this book or are looking for a book for your niece or little sister or daughter, this is one that I highly recommend. It’s an easy flowing read that is very appropriate and has a beautiful traditional story line.

And that is where my spoiler free section of the review shall end today. So if you haven’t read this book yet and don’t want to be spoiled – Toodaloo!

Throughout this book the main character Hana is plagued by guilt over the lose of her brother, we went into great detail on this and it was the principle reasoning the Hana used for a majority of her actions. So I found it odd that those emotions where so accurately conveyed whereas the connection between the Itsuki and Hana was more tiptoed around. For a children’s book, it was appropriately pitched however I felt that there still could have been more depth to the bond that the main characters shared without being inappropriate. Perhaps I just wanted to see more of Itsuki’s face throughout the book, his facial expressions would have given more emotion or added the spark that I felt the pages between these two characters were missing. But again, I guess the lack of seeing his face for the majority of the book added to the ‘mysterious’ side of him.

The way things were ‘fixed’ in the end and how the Yuki-Onna and Hana had a little chat and were suddenly best friends was a little to youthful for my liking but it was a good way to bring a to a close all the open ended questions that we still had.

I found Kyo’s return a very cute and sweet way to end the story but I found it more interesting that he was the same age when he came back as when he’d left. Younger sister is now big sister and I would really like to see an elaboration on that! 

All in all its a beautiful book with a unique fairy tale twist. Its beautifully written and thoroughly descriptive and I highly recommend it for the younger generation as I believe its more of a children’s book.

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash