I’m officially leaving to go on holiday today which means an end to taking part in indieathon. I already had a holiday TBR before I found out about indieathon but I decided to take part for the first couple of weeks of March because I think self published and small press books deserve more of a spotlight. I did have a struggle at the start of the month as, being a mood reader, I’ve never taken part in a readathon before and I happened to really want to read a book that was definitely not indie! I managed to get it read quickly though and then dove back in. I managed 5 books in just under 3 weeks which is pretty great for me.
My favourite book was definitely Heart of Mist which was amazing but I enjoyed all of the books I read. There were so many to pick from and I have a lot more indie books on my kindle already bought for me to read at some point.
But onto the reviews:
First of all I want to say that I loved the characters. All of them. They’re all amazing and there are a lot of them. I also loved the relationships portrayed.
Parole is a city under quarantine after a drug has given a lot of the citizens special powers. But the city is burning and falling into the flames underneath it. Surviving is a full time job.
So listen the idea is awesome, I’ve already mentioned I loved the characters. The powers and changes that the drug gave people are wide and varied and interesting. Not your average super strength or ability to fly kind of super powers but the difficult to control and unexpected. The plot as well is interesting. There are a lot of Exciting moments the problem for me is that between those exciting moments the book slows down. A LOT. And this is almost completely because, at one point, every other scene is people talking to each other about dealing with their feelings and talking through exactly how they feel about the thing that’s just happened. This pretty much happened every time something happens and not just once because while these two people are talking about how they feel we also get to see these two people talking about how they feel too. And I mean, it’s great to see a book where people talking about their feelings and working through them is shown in a positive light. It really is. There are a lot of wholesome conversations that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But after they’ve basically had the same conversation five times – well, I ended up skimming those conversations. And it didn’t take away anything from the plot. I wish there’d been less of them because otherwise I would have really enjoyed this book. But if you’re looking for a feel good book with excellent rep and amazing characters them you’ll love this. If you’re expecting a fast paced action story then not so much.
I recently finished the Starship’s Mage series by Stewart and loved it so much that I had to check out some of his other books. Most of them are Sci fi but this urban fantasy caught my eye. It follows a half-fey changeling who moves to snowy Calgary to get away from fairy court politics in the south but ends up right in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy. There’s magic, warlocks, shifters and vampires but while there is a small amount of romance involved it’s nothing like the normal tropes I’ve seen in urban fantasy. The romance is healthy and is only a small part that doesn’t affect much of the plot. It seems to be a trend in Stewart’s writing that romance always takes a back seat which is a nice change from books where love stories overtake anything else going on. I didn’t love this as much as the Starship’s Mage series but that would have been difficult to do seeing as that firmly shoved it’s way onto my all time favourite series list. It’s a strong urban fantasy that merges the supernatural with a hefty dose of normal life and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s been scared off the genre because of all of the teenagers falling madly in love with vampires and werewolves.
This book definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I was thrown when I started this book as I was expecting a book set in a fantasy world, both the blurb and the cover made me think this but the book starts following brother and sister Ben and Abi at an ordinary high school. I didn’t have a problem with this, I thought the glimpse into their family life at the start was really well done and was a great jumping off point to introduce the magic and secret society that we’re told about in the blurb. If it had been done in that way I think I would have enjoyed this much more, but as it turned out neither main character really gets introduced to the fantasy element until about 40% in. Which made everything seem very slow to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was all interesting and I enjoyed reading it. There were loads of really great scenes that I really got to know the characters in but it wasn’t until about half way that this book resembled anything that felt like what the blurb had promised. I feel like this was two stories. Ben’s decent into ‘madness’ was my favourite part, It kept me reading and turning the page and needing to find out what happened next whereas Abi’s parts, even in the second half of the book, were very slow and passive until right at the end. Which brings me to the second thing I was expecting from the blurb, which was a strong brother-sister relationship, and while it does say they get spilt up in the blurb I was just expecting…. More. It seemed like they only remembered they were supposed to be trying to get back to each other every now and then. Especially in Abi’s parts. She does have a lot to think about but I feel like she should have been thinking more about her family. Once I got over my expectations, the premise and the story itself was enjoyable, I just wish it had been a bit quicker to get to the action, which might just be my love for exciting fast paced stories.
The author describes this book as “beauty and the beast inspired fantasy with dragons, gay romance and elemental control” which sold me and it was easy to see the beauty and the beast references sprinkled throughout. The characters are elves with different magical gifts, there’s royalty, conspiracies and brewing war. It was a very enjoyable book to read. Unfortunately for me, the pacing felt off. Some scenes were slow and meandering and then other action packed scenes happened so quickly there wasn’t any time to really understand what was happening let alone build tension. Because of this, at times, the book relied heavily on mysteriously not telling charters things. There was a lot of, “I won’t tell you about that yet”, or, “I’ll explain this later”, or “I cant tell you that”. And often we aren’t really given much of a reason for why the characters are being kept in the dark and it only added confusion. I did love Nyah though, she was probably my favourite character. I also loved all the animals that the different characters could shift into and how they were used and treated was interesting. Overall, a really enjoyable read but I felt it could have been more if things had been explored better in the book.
I’m not sure where to start with this, the beautiful cover? The women race of treetop warriors? The f/f warrior Queen relationship? The magic? The main character who struggles with alcohol addiction? The kind and funny princess who happens to also be blind? The young stable boy who just wants to be a hero. Can you tell that I loved this book? I’m so glad I stumbled upon it. The characters are allowed to make mistakes and are very human. We’re never left confused for the sake of mystery and the magic is teased and woven in just the right amount. I’m looking forward to the next book.
I recommend it to fans of Robin hobb as it reminded my a lot in style and tone to her fantasy books.
Overall I think indieathon was a success for me! And if I had to reccomend just one of these books it would be Heart of Mist but I did enjoy them all. And I look forward to getting to some of the other indie reads that I’ve bought this month at some point.
Have you taken part in indieathon, how are you doing? What’s you’re favourite indie book that you’ve read so far? Has anyone read these books?