Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

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 Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa,

You may have heard of me…

TheIron

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

Expected Publication : February 2021

Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa #wyrdandwonder

W&W

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

NightoftheNight of the Dragon is one of the books I was reading as part of Wyrd and Wonder’s month long celebration of fantasy – (details here).  My review is below and the TL:DR is: this is a great series.  Fun, epic, packed with creativity, creatures of myth and legend and characters trying to save the world against the odds.

Night of the Dragon is the concluding episode in the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa and brings to an end a highly entertaining, well written and completely absorbing story.  Ahh, that bittersweet feeling when a series you’ve enjoyed comes to an end but what a spectacular ending this was and one of the most enjoyable YA series that I’ve read for a long time.

So, this is the final leg of Yumeko and her companions’ quest and in true fantasy fashion things get real.  This is packed with drama, there is a much bigger picture going on here than is immediately apparent and the twists and turns at the end are almost none stop.

I’m not going to go into the plot too deeply.  Suffice to say this is a desperate race by a ragtag and unlikely bunch of characters trying to save the world from the demon hoards that concludes in a dramatic finale on the stormy cliffs of Iwagoto.  Did I mention a dragon?  There may be a dragon.

What works so well for me with this series is a combination of things.

Firstly, the relationships and characters are excellent.  You can’t help but form attachments to them and really care, you read the fight scenes with your heart in your throat and I’m not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes, Kagawa is pretty ruthless, so prepare yourselves, stock up on tissues and get ready to be gutted.  Some of these chapters will hit you hard but the author doesn’t give you a moment’s respite – straight onto the next scene – and I say ‘scene’ because this book is like a movie playing inside your brain.  It’s so cinematic and easy to visualise.  Please, somebody, anybody, the God of Anime – lets do this thing.  This series would be so good if adapted (if adapted well that is).  It’s chock full of fantasy goodness.  Ghosts, dragons, demons and a young and innocent girl who also happens to be a fox.

Secondly, the writing.  Not going to lie, sometimes I find YA a little too skimpy, I end up reading but having questions that remain unanswered and whilst I understand that not every reader wants overly fine detail it can be a difficult balance to strike.  Here’s it’s done well, there’s enough information to see the place and know the characters, to understand the places they’re travelling through and the adversaries they’re coming up against without feeling cumbersome or over wordy to the extent that the tension and plot suffer.

Thirdly, here is a romance in a story that I can really appreciate.  No instalove – which I think deserves a big thank you simply on it’s own.  But, on top of that characters that are getting to know each other, there’s a slow burn of tension and chemistry and at the same time a light touch that prevents it becoming the key focus of everything.  It’s a background issue that you’re aware of, it builds gradually finding a footing in a natural way that doesn’t overshadow the rest of what’s taking place.

In a nutshell this has been such an enjoyable series.  An epic quest, a fascinating world and a coming of age tale of a young girl who wins hearts and minds.  Not to mention all the emotions. Oh, my heart with the final scene.  There could have been tears.

I have no hesitation in recommending this series.

Rating 5 stars

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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne

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 : A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne.  I need this book in my life.

ATimeofCourage.jpgBattle the dark
Reclaim the world

The Demon-King of the Otherworld is finally free. And armed with mighty new starstone weapons, Asroth prepares to lead his demonic war-host south. With the help of his dark bride Fritha, he plans to crush the warrior-angels and their allies.

In the shadows of Forn Forest, Riv and the surviving Ben-Elim hold a war council. After the catastrophic events at Drassil, they are desperate to unite those who would stand against Asroth and his army. So they fly west, to join the Order of the Bright Star. But Drem and the Order are besieged by a demon horde – and their fragile defence may soon shatter.

Across the Banished Lands armies are heading south, to settle ancient grudges and decide the fate of humanity. Drem, Riv and the Bright Star’s warriors will need every ounce of their courage if they are to join the final battle. But will their combined forces be enough to face down their greatest foe?

In A Time of Courage, angels, demons and heroes face the ultimate fight for the Banished Lands. Thousands of years of enmity will be put to the test, in the epic conclusion to John Gwynne’s mighty trilogy.

Expected publication April 2020

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa

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 : Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa.  I’m so excited for this.  I have quite literally just posted my review for the second in series, Soul of the Sword – which was a fantastic middle book with no irksome syndromes at all.  How happy am I to have this one already showing a cover, a synopsis and a publication date.  Yippee and queue happy dance.

Night of the DragonMaster storyteller Julie Kagawa concludes the enthralling journey into the heart of the fantastical Empire of Iwagoto in the third book of the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. As darkness rises and chaos reigns, a fierce kitsune and her shadowy protector will face down the greatest evil of all. A captivating fantasy for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas and Marie Lu.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

OMG – just read that synopsis – sound like the final instalment is going to be mind blowing.

Expected publication : March 2020

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword may be the second book in the Shadow of the Fox series but it doesn’t suffer at all from middle book syndrome.  In fact far from it.  This book takes everything that was great in book 1 and builds even more firmly upon those foundations.  There is more action, more emotion and more excitement as the quest style journey continues.  In fact I had an unreasonably and unexpectedly good time reading this not to mention some real laugh out loud moments.

Shadow of the Fox is high fantasy set in a Japanese inspired world packed with fascinating people and creatures.  Demons, witches, ghosts, kitsunes and Samurai to name but a few.  It’s an exciting read, entertaining and absorbing and for me it surpassed the first in the series.

Please be aware that this review may contain spoilers for book 1.

I’m not really going to elaborate on the plot.  We pretty much pick up from where book 1 concluded and again the book is strangely reminiscent of a Tolkien style adventure but with Japanese inspired myths and legends.  Basically, we have a bunch of people travelling from A to B with a mission in mind.  Of course, given the ending of Shadow of the Fox the characters and motivations have changed somewhat – but I won’t say why.  What I would mention in terms of the changes are that if you’re picking up this book expecting more of a certain character – and I think you all know who I mean – then you might be disappointed as the dynamics between the POVs have necessarily altered.  I actually liked the changes, they allowed us to get into the demon’s psyche and also to be in the middle of things from the opposing point of view.

Yumeko plays an excellent role this time around.  She still retains a degree of her innocence but she has undoubtedly changed and become a lot more comfortable with her Kitsune abilities in the process.  The other members of the team are all still present and contribute greatly to the entertainment value with their banter and camaraderie and we learn more about Tatsumi’s early years which whilst quite sad help to gain a better understanding of who he really is and why he is so affected by Yumeko.

The world building is really strong in both books and I absolutely love it.  There is plenty of travel and a greater exploration into the Shadow Clan, their strange palace and their creepy mode of quick travel that involves walking a path haunted by hungry ghosts.  We discovered a little bit about the politics of the Clan and what is really at stake should things ultimately go wrong.  I also loved visiting the Steel Feather Temple which is so brilliantly described and packed again with unusual protections and riddles.

If I have any criticisms I think I would probably mention that Yumeko’s actions at the end seemed a little out of character – but, I would stress at the same time, that she was faced with some very difficult decisions and given her age and lack of experience her choices are more easy to come to terms with.

Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading Soul of the Sword.  It was fast paced, entertaining, in fact highly amusing at certain points, and full of action.  The characters have managed to work their magic on me to such an extent that I was genuinely worried about who would live or die when all the fighting got underway and I think the conclusion was something I didn’t see coming at all.

In a nutshell, if you enjoy quests, fellowships and the fight between good and evil but with a different setting involving Japanese folklore, Samurai, ronin and warring Clans – then this could be just your cup of tea.  I can’t wait to see how it all concludes.

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

My rating – between 4 and 4.5 out of 5

 

 

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