fantastic sequel that was just as epic as its debut!!!
“When two imperfect people come together, they make a perfect whole…”
“Nothing is more remote than yesterday, nothing is closer than tomorrow..”
In a nut shell.. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
This story continues from where we left off in the The Crown’s Game and we return to the characters I love so much.. Vika, Nikola and Pasha.. For those who read the first book, you remember what happened to these guys? (Really don’t want to give any spoilers here) Like book 1, book 2 kept me on the edge of my seat however I found this story to have even more mystery, intrigue and action!! The Crown’s Game focused on the building of alternate Russia and gave us insight into how The Crown’s Game worked – where enchanters entered into a competitive battle to win the position of Imperial Enchanter. However, now.. we look at the burning question – what happens when it’s not about fighting for the position of Imperial Enchanter anymore? It’s a fight for the throne…
Written so incredibly well, the story flowed amazingly even with various storylines. I absolutely loved the accurate referencing to Russian history within a fantasy story of magic set in alternate Russia. It’s definitely one of those books you can tell the author put a lot of thought, plan and research into it. I can officially say this book is another 2017 favourite!!
Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Elegant and Sophisticatedly Complex
This would have to be one of the best books I have read this year!!!
A compelling story of a first love that defines a lifetime which is told with an intricate and beautiful writing style.
The main character who we get to know as the story progresses is Joshua Pearl. He is from a world that our own no longer believes in – a world of Fairytale. Pearl knows that his great love is waiting for him in that distant place but he is trapped in our time. As his memories begin to fade, he discovers strange objects, tiny fragments of a story from a long time ago that help in piecing his life back together.
What I liked about this story is how unique it was – the storyline and how it was so cleverly written. As Joshua Pearl is trying to piece together his memories to circle back to the one he loves after being thrown from his own world to our world, I felt just as confused as Pearl but each chapter develops – each fragment, pieces together a puzzle that guided me to the next part of the story and so on, which finally came together with an answer!!! A tale intertwines fantasy with historical fiction finding you going through the stages of World War II. This was such an absorbing read.
I recommend this to fans of fairytale retellings, historical fiction and YA fantasy.
An intense, refreshing and intriguing account of life as Anne Boleyn
Expected publication: 18 May 2017
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession takes on a new intense, sympathetic perspective on Anne Boleyn’s life. In particular, the author explored a refreshing feminist perspective where Anne was a heroine in her own right – using her powers to influence social policies of the day and using her charm and wit to gain the favour of Henry VIII. What I enjoyed most about this novel is that whilst the story is overall sympathetic to Anne Boleyn, it was told in a believable way. The author added layers to her personality by showing that Anne Boleyn was an imperfect, ambitious woman who is also fragile and insecure throughout her life as mistress and then Queen of Henry VIII. This book chronologically accounts Anne Boleyn’s life from the glamorous French Court where she served as lady in waiting, to her time in the English Court where she ensnared the lust and obsession of Henry VIII. It accounts all her struggles against Queen Katherine (Henry VIII’s first wife) and daughter Mary, the harrowing path to become the new but much hated Queen of England and ending with her well-known downfall. Overall, it’s a long but intriguing read about what life would have been like as Anne Boleyn who was portrayed as a progressive and spirited woman. A woman who had to choose between love and power, faith and desire, passion and duty. There was substantial research done by the author to make this book an authentic read. I recommend this book for historical fiction lovers!
War is a terrible part of the worlds history but it’s a story that needed to be told.
A beautiful heartbreaking story about the heroes of the war, the men and women who supported behind the scenes and the brave who reported it.
During a time when women’s rights were still a foreign concept in Italy Rebecca Quinn faced it all and all without her husband (who left her with little to no notice to go off chasing a story). I felt for her and cringed while she faced judgement from the men who still believed that women should just go tend their houses, my heart cried out for Sandro who I loved right until the final pages, my anger at Jack for leaving Rebecca to become so incredibly independent in a world that rejected such independence didn’t sit well with me and his betrayal of her trust was just the last straw. Rebecca showed that despite the fear and rejection she faced that she could still hold it together when it counted and could be courageous in the face of dangers that most women today wouldn’t imagine leaving themselves in a position to experience.
An incredibly inspiring character and a story that melted my heart and gave me a new opinion of war themed books.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for the opportunity to read this Advanced Review Copy.
The thrilling sequel to Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club
– 5 Stars –
It is June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen is now disowned by her uncle and now a full member of The Dark Days Club. The stakes are even higher now as Lady Helen struggles to become the warrior she is expected her to be for the club.
In participating in a read along with a friend, I have to say I wish I was able to finish this sooner!
I found this sequel to be more gripping that the first one – an intricate story full of plot twists you don’t see coming then just as you feel you have closure towards the end, the plot thickens and you will yearn for more.. In book one, we learn all about the status of women and how Lady Helen was quite unique and challenges the status quo. There were times my feminist streak would take over and I wanted to talk to some of the misogynist characters with my fist!!! In discovering the Dark Days Club in book 1, this book takes us through an insight of how the Dark Days Club operated and Lady Helen going into training to become a “Reclaimer” We also find that dark forces are within the Pact and one mystery that kept the story alive was the unsolved issues about Lord Carlston.
Both book 1 and 2 are written extremely well and book 2 really holds you to the end!!
I really need book 3 now!!!
Many thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Clare Rolfe is a member of Read3r’z Re-Vu and she has just published her very first novel!!! Feeling privileged to be among the first to read this awesome debut, Read3r’z Re-Vu committee members Crystal and Annie are in conversation with Clare for an exclusive blog interview!!!
-Retaining a 4.5 star Rating-
Ten Letters to Delacroix’s Tomb
Jenna flees her life of slavery to fulfil one last desire to re-unite with her beloved Gabriel in the timeless city of Paris. During her journey she is hunted by the relentless Purgers and must confront a dying world bereft of its own history. In her heart lies the fragile hope that Gabriel is still alive after 40 years since they were torn away from each other by the implacable masters, urging her on through crippling doubts and the haunting demons of her past.
Review and Thoughts by Crystal
A great debut novel by Clare whom I am honoured to call a friend. The only way to describe this book is “A heart breaking tale that reaches the soul and will have you still thinking about it long after it’s done” I absolutely love books that keep me thinking even after I’ve put them down and this was definitely one of them. I also absolutely loved how the 10 letters were given in reverse and written in such a way that I could not even guess what would happen (and normally I am really good at guessing endings). When I read this book I found myself thinking about Jenna and her journey even while doing mundane tasks like my dishes (which is normally a time I crave the distraction of YouTube). It was a nice change to just allow my mind to ponder the story and where Jenna’s journey would be taking her. I read the final chapters in great anticipation to discover what it was that she had hidden inside her clothing that was so important that she had to kept so close to her chest (an item that is not revealed until the final chapter of course).
Exclusive Interview by Annie and Crystal
- What was it like writing the scene with Jenna and her confrontation with the Ocean? Did you experience similar emotions while writing it?
This chapter and the last were the most thoughtful as I couldnt rely on plot to maintain the momentum of the story. The ocean was the stage of the journey where Jenna had to leave things to chance rather than previously she had strategised how she would make it back to Gabriel. Hence the language is prayer like and desperate ie when all else is gone there is only hope….. It required me to delve more deeply for the words …make the emotions live on the page….I felt I was with her as I do all the characters I create otherwise its like taking a photo using words.
- Can you tell us a bit more about the purgers and how you came to choose these characters?
The Purgers are genetically engineered soldiers. They are not robots as they are flesh but are formed to be the perfect soldier who arose out of previous generations of war and attempts to control limited resources. Ultimately they are used to plan the escape from the earth by the bond masters when they know the date of the death of the sun. They were chosen more as a crafting tool who represent the unforgiving world around Jenna . In a time when resources are so scarce everything has to be controlled and the way to do this was a system of policing that was incorruptible to its purpose. It also explains the rigid partitioned society where it is predetermined which class you will belong to ie master or slave…
- Did you have any particular real life inspirations that helped to shape this book or influence the world and time it was set it?
Visiting Paris and Europe old civilisation meeting modern world ….Pere La Chaise cemetary in Paris is where Eugene Delacroix ‘s tomb is located ….the sense of history , time passing as well as the magnificent gravestones cobbled paths made me think of our brief existance and the mark we leave…..in terms of climate environment…drought here at home ….. mostly it is a philiosophical novel hence the lack of explanation in terms of Purgers or the density of details that a sci fi novel may contain. I wanted to present a surreal feel ….a sense of disconnection which comes from not understanding what is happening around you yet trying to live through it.
- Was it a hard decision to present the ten letters in reverse? Can you tell us what that process was like?
Not as difficult as it may seem. The letters and book are almost two separate story lines so each was written independant of the other with some tweaking to make it flow.
- Can we expect a prequel or another book like this soon?
Probably not like this one. Ten Letters is part of a triptych which includes another novella and 3 short stories based in current times…they explore absurdist philosophy and have art and Paris in common ..I may at some point write a story about the wars of attrition briefly mentioned in Ten Letters. My next project is a trilogy fantasy which I am reviewing currently. That was completed a few years ago. I feel ready to tackle it again.
- What inspired you to write and why this particular book as your first novel?
Reading inspired me to write. I have dabbled in poetry for a long time but writing stories is what I enjoy the most. I decided to be more serious about 7-8 years ago for no other reason than its now or never. Ten letters just felt right….Dystopian themes are prevalent with concerns about climate change also where is technology headed …are we losing something as tech begins to order and compartmentalise our lives do we lose the diversity and vulnerability that the creative side of our natures ie art culture brings…also with AI on the horizon I wonder where do humans fit on the scale of things…how in control are we if ultimately the sun dies so do we…you know normal everyday questions one may ponder while enjoying some vegemite on toast ….so why not throw all that into a love story with Paris in the background!!
- Did you experience writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
Not in terms of a story line but choosing the right words. Writing requires patience & persistence so if Im stuck I step away or work on something else…Poetry is a great salve for many things…
- Which author inspires you? Why?
For story and adventure in fantastical worlds Tolkien and Herbert (Dune) For exploring philosophical themes Dostoesvky and Camus. Ten Letters dystopian setting and brevity was inspired in part by the Road by Cormac McCarthy …every word infiltrated my mind in an explosive manner ..I hadnt felt such a strong impact from a piece of fiction for a long time….
- When you’re not reading what could we find you doing?
I like coffee catch up with friends …art exhibits…occasional poetry gigs…. I work as well so that fills up the week and pays for the travelling. Writing in between.
- What was the best piece of advice you were given as an author?
Find the middle voice keep writing….and review review review!!!
Congratulations Clare on this wonderful achievement!!! Read3r’z Re-Vu are so excited and proud of your work, we hope to continue seeing you at our sessions and wish you all the very best for your next chapter!!!
-Blog/Interview Duet by Annie and Crystal
What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame?
“Yes, she said, finally. Breaks are important. There are times when it’s wiser to get away. From it all.”
“On The Blue Train” is an interesting interpretation into the disappearance of Agatha Christie on 4 December, 1926 who took on a different identity. Escaping her past, Teresa decides to take a break away from it all and becomes a resident of the spa hotel named Harrogate Hydro. It is here she meets and becomes friends with another resident of the hotel, Harry McKenna who shows her how to dance and enjoy life again. This is a novel about white lies to protect ourselves and truths be known. It is a dark and brooding novel which moves from France to England taking us on a ride through Agatha Christie’s twelve day disappearance and what could have happened.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I rated it 4 out of 5 stars – special thanks to Allen and Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. I really recommend this book!!!