Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

ThePrioryA world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Expected publication February 2019

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My Autumn TBR

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Books On My Autumn 2018 TBR

Very easy this week – these are my upcoming reads.  Hope you all have lots of lovely books and I can’t wait to see what you’re all reading this Autumn/Fall:

  1. Creatures, the Legacy of Frankenstein
  2. Dracul by Dacre Stoker
  3. No Sleep Till Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton
  4. Dragonshadow by Elle Katharine White
  5. The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
  6. House of Glass by Susan Fletcher
  7. Charmcaster and Soulbinder
  8. Chasing Graves by Ben Galley
  9. Nightmare Keep by Phil Tucker
  10. What you reading this Autumn??

 

I Always Find You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I alwaysI Always Find You is such a strange book to review.  It evoked so many emotions as I was reading it that my thoughts are a hot jumbled mess and to be totally frank I’m not convinced even at this point, that I enjoyed it. In fact, it’s not a book that you enjoy – absolutely not – it’s more like a book that compels you to read on even if you feel horrified, creeped out or just downright repulsed.  You simply have to read on.  It’s like a hideous trainwreck that you can’t tear your eyes away from.  Anyway… I’ve cut and paste the blurb for the book below – I don’t think I’ll attempt to outline the plot but more explore my feelings and thoughts.  So:

‘In September 1985, nineteen-year-old John Lindqvist moves into a dilapidated old building in Stockholm, planning to make his living as a magician. Something strange is going on in the building’s basement – and the price of entry is just a little blood.

I Always Find You is a horror story – as bizarre and macabre as any of Lindqvist’s bestselling novels. It’s also a book about being young and lonely, about making friends and growing up. It’s about magic, and the intensity of human connection – and a society’s communal responsibility for a devastating act of political violence.’

This is undoubtedly going to be a splurge of ideas and emotions so bear with me.

The story starts out like an exploration of loneliness.  JL rents an apartment that is little more than a concrete box.  He is living in complete dire straits with very little money.  He doesn’t know anybody and dreams of becoming a magician and finding his fortunes that way.  He’s a difficult character to like in some respects, or, at least he’s a character that you find yourself going from feeling sympathy for to eventually kind of disliking as his actions spiral out of control, and yet in spite of that I still did want to be on his side.  He feels like his actions have gotten away from him somehow but there’s still goodness inside – it’s just been poisoned a little by events.  Strangely enough, the other residents seem to be living similarly lonely existences.  Lots of lonely people, locked away in their little concrete boxes, isolated and unhappy – all mixed in with a period of political unrest when people feel cheated somehow.  At the same time we are given a back story from JL’s childhood in which he meets a young boy.  I’m not going to give anything away here because I found this story really creepy and so think you should read it without any prior knowledge.  Whilst this element feels oddly disconnected at first this isn’t the case and both stories are in fact related.

The first thing that really stood out for me was a feeling of confusion.  Is any of this actually based on real events?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about the horror elements because those definitely come from the land of fiction – at least I hope they do!  But, and this is why I had the confusion, there are elements of this story where you can really see the inspiration for the other JL stories.  Clearly this is an author with a very vivid imagination and an ability to take the simplest of things and create a horror scene – for example the ‘tunnel’ that is featured in the book.  It feels insidiously creepy and it’s the sort of place that most people would feel wary of. It’s a great example of letting your imagination run riot.  But then there’s elements of the story such as the loneliness, the unhappiness the failed relationship, the stealing, etc – are these also imaginary.  I would say that some of these are real experiences and they’re mixed into the story in such a realistic way that the result makes it impossible to separate fact from fiction – hence confusion.

Then there’s the other residents.  All of them eventually congregate around the shower block/washroom where something decidedly odd is taking place.  The horror element here is a strange creeping weirdness.  Something that is paid for in blood and that takes people into what becomes known as the ‘other’.  The ‘other’ feels like a bizarre space where people’s imagination runs riot, their inhibitions are squashed and it’s almost like they become a massive exaggeration of themselves somehow.  More than that though it becomes an obsession for all of them, and obsessions are never a good thing.  Those obsessions eventually leads to a general feeling of apathy with real life compared to the escapism and freedom felt when transported to the ‘other’.  Now imagine the desperation when it seems like the ‘other’ is starting to disappear.  Can you go back to normality having experienced this life with no shackles.  No need for politeness.  If you’re a monster then you’re a monster, no explanation necessary – but having released your inner beast can you really put it back again and return to normality?

I sort of wish I’d made more notes now as I was reading because parts of this felt like the personas that the characters take on when in the ‘other’ are a representation of the seven deadly sins.  Gluttony and lust definitely seem to be represented but I’m not so sure about the others.  That’s another of my random thoughts that I just wanted to chuck into the mix.

Then there’s the writing style.  There’s a cold simplicity to the writing, a lack of embellishment and a simple ‘truth’ to it that somehow exacerbates the horror elements.  I distinctly recall at one part of the book being really scared.  I couldn’t stop reading, in fact I was almost afraid to put the book down because I wanted to keep moving forward to see if I could get past the scary elements and find a happier place to latch onto.  At that particular point I thought this was perhaps the scariest thing I’d ever read.  But then the story did move on.  The creep factor seemed to decrease whilst the ick factor increased and I then had a very strong feeling of discomfort.  Some of the scenes are difficult to read about without doubt.  There’s an element of the story that feels like voyeurism and I think I can safely say that if you’re in the least bit squeamish then this will not be the book for you.  Now, obviously I don’t want to over egg the pudding here.  I’m sure there are staunch horror fans out there who will doubtless find this a walk in the park and will wonder what I’m chatting  about – but for me, the strongest feelings that came across during this read were fear followed by discomfort all tied into a story that I couldn’t put down.

I don’t know what else to say really.  Should you read this – not if you’re easily disturbed or don’t want nightmares.  If you’ve read the author before then I think yes.  Particularly, if you’ve read Let the Right One in or I Am Behind You because I think you’ll be able to see the connections.

I’m definitely not sorry I read this.  I’m not sure that I totally understand it.  And, in case I’ve not been clear above, this is a disturbing book and certainly not a popcorn read.  With those provisos in mind don’t say you haven’t been warned.  Pick it up if you dare.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up : 16th September 2018

Posted On 16 September 2018

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Well, all things being equal, I’ve had a good week this week – in terms of books at least.  Hope you’ve all enjoyed your week too.  I’ve managed three books – maybe not totally scheduled but nonetheless three, plus I’ve read the first 30% of my next three SPFBO books and I’ve started a fourth book.  And, I’ve caught up with a few reviews – although that’s not immediately apparent as I’ve added 3 more books to my review list! So, what have I been up to:

My books:

  1. I Always Find you by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  2. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
  3. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Next week’s reads

  1. The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding
  2. Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein by Emma Newman; Tade Thompson; Paul Meloy; Kaaron Warren; Rose Biggin
  3. Dracul Dacre Stoker; by J. D. Barker

Upcoming reviews: –

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. Noir by Christopher Moore
  4. The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
  5. Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach
  6. Dark Water by Elizabeth Lowry
  7. I Always Find you by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  8. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
  9. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

#SPFBO 2018 : Batch 2, Books 4-6

Posted On 16 September 2018

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As mentioned in my post here as part of the SPFBO competition I’ll be randomly choosing six books per month for the next five months, which I will then aim to check out at least the first 30% of each book during that month.  I’ll post information about the first three books at the start of the month and then about the remaining three during the mid way point with a conclusion around the end of the month about which books will be going forward or eliminated.  The conclusion for my first month’s reading can be found here.  Ultimately, the aim is to choose one book from the thirty I’ve been assigned – that chosen one will then be my finalist.

Books 4-6 in my second batch are:

the lost1. The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for the new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed in their quest, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

Follow Tei’s journey through the magical land of Kalaya and the Astral Plane in The Lost Sentinel – Book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles

 

Rebel's2. Rebel’s Blade by Frost Kay

NOTHING IS BLACK AND WHITE

Secretly trained, swordsmith Sage Blackwell steps up to run her family’s forge when her father falls ill. Sage desires to help the neglected Aermians but is bound by duty to provide for her own… Until, that is, she’s offered a chance to make a difference.

THE REBELLION

Sage knows the risks; imprisonment or death, and yet, she’s still willing to take them to protect her family. But when plans unravel, Sage finds herself facing the devils themselves, her sworn enemies, the princes of Aermia.

THE CROWN

Tehl Ramses is drowning; crops are being burned, villages pillaged, and citizens are disappearing, leading to a rising rebellion. As crown prince, and acting ruler, Tehl must find a way to crush the rebellion before civil war sweeps through his beloved kingdom. He’ll do whatever is necessary to save his people. Yet, his prisoner is not at all what he expected.

ONE STORY. TWO SIDES. ONE GOAL: SAVE AERMIA.

 

3.Savage Swords Savage Swords by Viel Nast

This is the first tale of my tribute to the great old one series, where I will honor writers and artists that cultivated my love for heroic fantasy, while I present my fantasy world Land of Oyr.

The character created will be used in more stories and play a further role (as well as their descendants) in the history of my world and the kingdom of Tarantis in particular.

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