Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter II – Roast Mutton

Welcome to There and Back Again: A Journey Through Middle Earth – an indefinite season of all things Tolkien here at Books by Proxy. Join me as I make my journey through the most defining literature of my childhood, and unravel the details behind one of the most spectacular fantasy worlds ever made.


| Introduction |

A little later in the week than expected… but welcome to the second post of Chapter and Verse! This is a brand new weekly feature where I will be re-reading and analysing every chapter of The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien as part of my indefinite There and Back Again season.

If anyone wishes to join in with the re-read, please feel free to do so – the comments are open to anything and all things Tolkien. And for those of you yet to discover The Hobbit, there will be spoilers a-plenty throughout these posts.

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

| Chapter II: Roast Mutton |

Bilbo wakes up to find his home empty and in a state of disarray, proving that the unexpected party the night before had not been a terrible dream as he had hoped. Feeling relieved that the dwarves had already departed, though with a brief pang of regret that he would not be sharing in their adventure, Bilbo sets to the washing up.

House in order, Bilbo sits down for a little second breakfast when Gandalf happens upon him, informing the surprised Hobbit that he has missed the note on his mantelpiece and that the dwarven company are awaiting his arrival at the Green Dragon Inn in Bywater. Ushered out of the door with not even a pocket handkerchief, nor even time to question whether he really intended going on an adventure, Bilbo hurries to meet Thorin and company.

Suddenly finding himself on a small pony, wrapped in a hood and cloak donated by Dwalin, Bilbo and his strange new companions set out on their journey. From merry beginnings, the company soon find themselves in the cold and miserable rain as they cross the Lone-lands, and Bilbo, not for the last time, wishes himself back in the comfort of his hobbit hole. The situation is only exasperated when they find that Gandalf has gone missing.

After a series of mishaps where all but a small amount of their food is lost to the river, the company, now more than a little miserable and argumentative, find their spirits lifted when they see a red light through the trees. Putting all their faith in their poor under-qualified and unsuspecting burglar, Bilbo sets out to investigate.

As he sneaks quietly towards the light, he discovers that it is a campfire occupied by three trolls. Deciding that he cannot return to the dwarves without demonstrating his usefulness, he sets to picking one of their pockets. Lifting a purse when it can talk however is a far more complicated business. Bilbo is captured by the trolls and they set to arguing over what they should do with their captive. Dropped in the ensuing fray, Bilbo scrambles out of the light of the fire only to see the trolls capture the dwarves one by one as they approach to investigate the fire and Bilbo’s whereabouts.

Still in hiding and with no idea how to save his dwarven companions, Bilbo looks on as the trolls argue over how to best cook the dwarves. They argue for so long, for unbeknownst to them Gandalf has returned and is mimicking their voices in order to delay them, that the sun rises and turns the trolls to stone.

Rescued from their misadventure, the company go in search of the suspected troll hoard where they find enough supplies to sustain them on their journey, and Gandalf, Thorin and Bilbo obtain beautiful and unusual weapons. Finally, Gandalf explains to Thorin and Bilbo that he had left in order to scout out the road ahead but upon hearing rumours of the trolls turned back, and only just in time.

| Commentary |

During the course of this re-read, I am continually surprised by the humour which rings out of every page and the beauty of each succinct description which frequently appear throughout the narrative. This is a children’s book which could easily have been written for adults, with Tolkien’s careful use of tone, humour and fairy-tale magic creating a more child-friendly read in what is actually quite a dark tale.

The opening of Chapter II gives a clear indication of Bilbo’s divided spirit; convincing himself that he doesn’t want any part in the adventure, despite his pangs of regret. Assured that he has now missed out on the ensuing escapades, he sets to cleaning his Hobbit hole; the mundanity of which perhaps makes him question going on adventure even less.

However, when Gandalf arrives to hurry Bilbo to The Green Dragon, he is taken aback that Bilbo hasn’t cleaned the mantelpiece, suggesting it is a chore he usually does daily and has been neglected due to a preoccupied mind. Furthermore, Bilbo is surprised when he finds himself “pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands” before running “as fast as his furry feet could carry him” to catch up with the dwarven company, an indication that his spirit of adventure had not truly been quashed. 

Having left his home in such a hurry, he begins his journey without the necessities that he might have otherwise brought including a hat, money, a walking-stick, or even a pocket-handkerchief. Supplied by Gandalf with handkerchiefs and tobacco a-plenty, Dwalin loans Bilbo a dark-green hood and cloak:

“They were too large for him, and he looked rather comic. What his father Bungo would have thought of him, I daren’t think. His only comfort was he couldn’t be mistaken for a dwarf, as he had no beard.” 

This is a paragraph that I find rather significant in Bilbo’s developing relationship with the dwarves. It is clear that initially he would have been quite embarrassed to be mistaken for a dwarf; an indication of his inherent hobbit-ness and a characteristic which suggests the insular nature of his kind.

However, during Chapter I of The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo’s perspective of the world and its inhabitants has entirely shifted, and it is revealed that he has treasured and frequently used his old loaned hood and cloak, eventually departing from Hobbiton wearing them: 

“From a locked drawer, smelling of moth-balls, he took out an old cloak and hood. They had been locked up as if they were very precious, but they were so patched and weatherstained that their original colour could hardly be guessed: it might have been dark green. They were rather too large for him.”

The speed at which the journey progresses, when compared to Frodo’s departure from the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring, is made very apparent throughout Chapter II.  Bilbo’s encounter with the trolls only takes him to the end of the chapter, a relatively short read, while Frodo’s encounter with the stone trolls occurs during Chapter XII of The Fellowship of the Ring. Understandably cut short for a children’s book, the length of their journey is given more indication than lengthy description throughout The Hobbit:

“At first they had passed through hobbit-lands, a wide respectable country inhabited by decent folk, with good roads, an inn or two, and now and then a dwarf or a farmer ambling by on business. Then they came to lands where people spoke strangely, and sang songs Bilbo had never heard before. Now they had gone on far into the Lone-lands, where there were no people left, no inns, and the roads grew steadily worse. Not far ahead were dreary hills, rising higher and higher with dark trees.”

The landscape encountered, or the Lone-lands, is the wilderness found to the east of Bree which features the ruined watchtower of Amun Sûl, or Weathertop, which featured in The Fellowship of the Ring and once housed one of the Palantíri. The narrative describes the hills as being crowned with, “old castles with an evil look, as if they had been built by wicked people”, which suggests not only that the company were passing perhaps near Weathertop, but also near the ruins associated with the old Kingdom of Rhudaur, which formed after the division of the Kingdom of Arnor.

This may also give some explanation to the apparent anachronism of “They have seldom even heard of the king round here”, which could in fact be a reference to the subsequently divided kingdoms of Arnor – Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur.

The prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring gives some further explanation, describing how Hobbits still remembered and followed the laws set down over a thousand years before by the high king at Fornost, to the north of the Shire, which was in fact the capital of Arthedain. Furthermore, in direct relation to the ancient tradition of Fornost, it is explained that, “the Hobbits still said of wild folk and wicked things (such as trolls) that they had not even heard of the king.” 

It is in Chapter II that we begin to see something of the individual (or often paired) skills and personalities of the dwarves, and the worrisome and often bewildered character of Bilbo is developed further. Upon leaving the Shire, Bilbo soon begins yearning for home and its comforts, which leads to the revelation that Nori and Ori, like hobbits, enjoy eating plenty and often. It is also revealed that Oin and Gloin are particularly skilled at making fires; and that Balin was always their look-out man.

Bilbo’s role as the company’s burglar is also developed when he is thrown headlong into his new role; a role which is more like what we might call a thief or rogue in today’s fantasy novels. It is explained throughout the narrative that hobbits, by nature, are skilfully quiet, however Bilbo puts himself and the dwarves into unnecessary danger in order to prove himself worthy of his burglar title. His encounter with a talking purse, as “Trolls’ purses are the mischief, and this was no exception”, is particularly humorous but opens the discussion of where a troll might happen across a talking purse.

The trolls are very humanoid in The Hobbit, appearing to Bilbo as “three very large persons” who speak in the common tongue and give themselves quite ordinary names. Their nature is also given some indication through the suggestion that they have a long history as the foes of dwarves – “Trolls simply detest the very sight of dwarves (uncooked)” – and that there are in fact other types of trolls inhabiting Middle Earth, including those with more than one head. They also appear quick to be reasonably dim-witted and are quick to anger – as much with each other as anyone else – calling each other “all sorts of perfectly true and applicable names in very loud voices.” 

However, there also appears to be a certain (and surprising) emotive quality to at least one of these trolls when William says of Bilbo, “Poor little blighter, let him go.” Whether this was because he was drunk and had no more room left to eat him, or whether trolls are capable of feeling on an emotional level is left unexplained.

Gandalf’s reappearance further enhances his role as more of a trickster in The Hobbit than the great wizard we see in The Lord of the Rings, throwing his voice to confuse the trolls and apparently, along with Bilbo and the dwarves, putting “a great many spells” over the hoard of buried gold which had been looted from the trolls. Interestingly, Gandalf is also unable to read the elvish runes inscribed on the swords – a wizard who, in The Fellowship of the Ring, “once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs”.

Chapter II: Roast Mutton sets off at an exciting pace, throwing the company directly into the action and setting the scene for the remainder of the novel. The interactions between both the company and with outside forces, makes for a funny, endearing and somewhat tense chapter that sets the rhythm of their flight from danger to safety over the course of the novel.

What were your impressions of Chapter II: Roast Mutton? Please leave a comment below!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016 |

Welcome back to another week’s Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas whether you celebrate or not! 2015 is finally drawing to a close and for this week’s Top Ten we’re looking at the most anticipated releases of 2016 – and it certainly promises to be a spectacular year for fiction! In no particular order, here are the books I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on in the coming year:

| 1. |

Sharp Ends

Sharp Ends

by Joe Abercrombie

26th April 2016

The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.

heart

| 2. |

Daughter of Blood

Daughter of Blood

by Helen Lowe

26th January 2016

A falling wall, a broken shield… and an enemy that will exploit every weakness.

Malian and Kalan are coming home, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, dangerously weakened by civil war among the Derai families that garrison it, is on the verge of failing. Everywhere their ancient enemy, the Darksworn, is on the move as the threads of an old pattern begin to tighten.

In Grayharbor and in the Red Keep, a child and a young woman are caught in conflict’s maw, as whispers gather around Dread Pass and a Darksworn prophecy points to Malian herself being the stake the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

heart

| 3. |

The Bands of Mourning

The Bands of Mourning

by Brandon Sanderson

28th January 2016

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
heart

| 4. |

The Tiger and the Wolf

The Tiger and the Wolf

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

11th February 2016

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming.

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?

heart

| 5. |

Morning Star

Morning Star

by Pierce Brown

11th February 2016

Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son totally changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Born a lowly Red in the mines of Mars, Darrow lost his beloved wife to the treacherous Gold overlords. Vowing to fight for the future that his wife believed in, Darrow joins a secret revolutionary group and is remade into a Gold so that he can infiltrate the ruling class and bring them down from the inside. Now, after years of hiding amongst the Golds, Darrow is finally ready to declare open revolution and throw off the chains of oppression. Nothing in Darrow’s world has been easily won, and this final fight will be the most harrowing of all.

heart

| 6. |

A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab

23rd February 2016

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

heart

| 7. |


Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky

by Guy Gavriel Kay

12th May 2016

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

heart

| 8. |

The Silver Tide

by Jen Williams

25th February 2016

Tales of the Black Feather Three and their exploits abound far and wide, and Wydrin of Crosshaven, Lord Aaron Frith and Sir Sebastian have become sell swords in demand. Having foiled powerful mages and evil magic, they now face a challenge unlike any before – in the form of Wydrin’s mother.

Devinia the Red, notorious pirate and captain of the Poison Chalice, is intent on finding the fabled treasure hidden within the jungles of the cursed island of Euriale. She needs the skills of her daughter Wydrin and her companions to get there, and our heroes cannot resist the lure of coin and adventure. But no explorer has returned from the heart of the island, and it’s not long before the Three find themselves in the clutches of peril. Deep within the island of the gods, there are remnants of forces best left undisturbed…

Follow the reckless heroes of The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost in an epic quest unlike any they have faced before.

heart

| 9. |

The Trees

The Trees

by Ali Shaw

10th March 2016

There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins…

There is no warning. No chance to prepare.

They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.

Adrien Thomas has never been much of a hero. But when he realises that no help is coming, he ventures out into this unrecognisable world. Michelle, his wife, is across the sea in Ireland and he has no way of knowing whether the trees have come for her too.

Then Adrien meets green-fingered Hannah and her teenage son Seb. Together, they set out to find Hannah’s forester brother, to reunite Adrien with his wife – and to discover just how deep the forest goes.

Their journey will take them to a place of terrible beauty and violence, to the dark heart of nature and the darkness inside themselves.

heart

| 10. |

Corsair

Corsair

by James L. Cambias

10th May 2016

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, meet at MIT. One, Elizabeth Santiago, dreams of technology and space travel. The other, David Schwartz, is just looking to make a quick buck.

Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows for international thieves, while Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, her job has become increasingly stressful.

David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. When Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players, and both Elizabeth and David are in for a world of trouble.
heart

What are your most anticipated releases of 2016? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten ‘X-mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree |

Ahh it’s almost Christmas and for this week’s Top Ten we’re listing the books we wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under our trees. A mix of both old and new releases, this is a pile of books I absolutely can’t wait to read. So sit back, crack open the mulled wine and mince pies, and take a look at some of the goodies that may or may winging their way to me this Christmas.

| 1. |

The Aeronaut’s Windlass

by Jim Butcher

The Cinder Spires is set in a world “of black spires that tower for miles over a mist-shrouded surface” and follows a war between two of the Spires: Spire Albion and Spire Aurora.

It’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower. There are goggles and airships and steam power and bizarre crystal technology and talking cats, who are horrid little bullies.heart

| 2. |

Legion: Skin Deep

by Brandon Sanderson

Following the success of Legion, Legion: Skin Deep charts another fast moving and gripping adventure for Stephen Leeds, AKA Legion. Leeds is a genius, his mind contains too much information. And to cope it his split his skills off into individual personalities. They crowd his head and he lives with them in a vast empty mansion. While he can call on any one of them to solve a problem he also walks a line across an all-consuming madness.

Legion: Skin Deep is an all-new, action-packed novella starring one of the most fascinating and charismatic heroes ever.heart

| 3. |

Shadow’s Edge

by Brent Weeks

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?heart

| 4. |

Guns of the Dawn

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A standalone, action-packed pseudo-Napoleonic historical fantasy adventure from the esteemed author of the Shadows of the Apt series.

Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne’s brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland.

Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front.

In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor’s Club; the swamp’s own natives hiding from the conflict.

As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne’s cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation. heart

| 5. |

Rise of Empire

by Michael J. Sullivan

A puppet is crowned. The true heir remains hidden. A rogue’s secret could change everything.

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.

heart

| 6. |

Angel of Storms

by Trudi Canavan

Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose… except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?heart

| 7. |

Sorcerer to the Crown

by Zen Cho

In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. And that’s only the first of his problems. He must juggle the conflicting demands of a wayward Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, where a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must cope with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs. And now the British Government is avid to deploy this increasingly scare magic in its war with France. He must also contend with rumors that he murdered his predecessor and guardian, Sir Stephen Wythe. But this task would be easier if Sir Stephen’s ghost would just stop following him around. And now he has to deal with something even more outrageous than any of these things: a female magical prodigy. 

Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she has drudged all her life, and a visit by the Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.heart

| 8. |

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.heart

| 9. |

Ancillary Justice

by Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.heart

| 10. |

Old Man’s War

by John Scalzi

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce– and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine–and what he will become is far stranger.heart

Happy Christmas fellow bookworms! What books do you hope to find under your tree this year? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015 |

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of my favourite newly read authors of 2015. From debut authors published in recent years to firmly established literary masters with a huge repertoire to their name, these are the writers whose work has crept to the top of my reading pile. In no particular order, here are ten of my favourites:

| 1. |

Michael J. Sullivan

with Theft of Swords

heart

| 2. |

Becky Chambers

with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

heart

| 3. |

Brent Weeks

with The Way of Shadows

heart

| 4. |

Pierce Brown

with Red Rising

heart

| 5. |

Bernard Cornwell

with Azincourt

heart

| 6. |

Victoria Schwab

with A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious

heart

| 7. |

Helen Lowe

with The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

heart

| 8. |

Anthony Ryan

with Blood Song

heart

| 9. |

David Gemmell

with Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown

heart

| 10. |

Kim Stanley Robinson

with Red Mars

heart

Who are your favourite newly read authors of 2015? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards |

Nothing makes a good book like a good bastard which is why, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m choosing ten of the most greedy, selfish and devious bastards to grace my bookshelves. And I’m thankful for every single one. These are the pirates, felons and twisted torturers; the characters who do the wrong thing at every opportunity, who lie and cheat and steal yet somehow always manage to come out sunny side up. In no particular order, give thanks for these magnificent bastards:

| 1. |

Sand dan Glokta

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Crippled war hero. Torturer. Complete bastard. Glokta is an Inquisitor in the Union’s House of Questions who uses his cunning and intelligence to extract more than just fingernails from his guests, and he does it all with a good dose of cynicism. He is one man you do not want on the other end of the thumb screws… unless, of course, he is on your side.

heart

| 2. |

acok

Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Littlefinger is a sly manipulator. Cunning and ruthless, he has worked his way up from nothing to become a master of coin and court intrigue. Unfortunately for those who either cross or underestimate him, Petyr Baelish is at his best when he’s dancing his puppets on their strings… take care that you’re not one of them.

heart

| 3. |

DM

‘Gentleman’ Johnny Marcone

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Johnny Marcone, the crime lord of Chicago and ruler of its dark and (almost) human underworld is not a man you cross lightly… unless your name is Harry Dresden. Marcone is a skilful and ruthless ‘business’ man who’ll stop at nothing to get his own way. Only be careful who you cross, he might just have something which resembles a heart beneath his slick, suited and deceptively ordinary exterior.

heart

| 4. |

Nicomo Cosca

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Nicomo Cosca – soldier of fortune, womaniser, drunk. Beneath the flamboyant exterior, flaking scalp and drooping moustaches lies a treacherous snake who would sell his own mother for an extra coin. With damn good luck and a surprising talent for warfare, this repulsively lovable rogue always seems to find himself on top… with  a bottle of Styria’s finest in hand, of course.
heart

| 5. |

Victor Vale

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor Vale is not just a bastard, he’s a super-human, pain-wielding, morally deficient bastard. Sure, he might just keep you alive… if it suits him… but he’s the best of a bad-bunch-of-evil-bastards and needs must. Or so they say.

heart

| 6. |

Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

And you certainly can’t have a list of Bastards without including at least one Gentleman Bastard. Locke Lamora is a thief and a con-artist, a cunning liar skilled in the art of deception, and a man who could have Camorr, Tel Verarr and Karthain in his pocket if he wasn’t far better at losing all his gold than he was at making it.

heart

| 7. |

Thalric

Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Aggressive, driven and unflinchingly loyal to his ideals, Major Thalric of the Rekef Outlander will stop at nothing to paint The Lowlands in stripes of black and gold. With an impressive résumé which includes back-alley murders, political assassinations and a penchant for torture, this is one (of many) Wasps you don’t want in your path.

heart

| 8. |

Jerek Mace

Morningstar by David Gemmell

Jerek Mace is the Morningstar – a legendary hero whose defeat of evil has long been prophesised. Except Jerek Mace is a liar, a thief and a complete bastard. When avoiding his heroic duties you may find him womanising, pilfering, murdering and shamelessly running away after committing wanton acts of banditry. Behold! The hero of old!

heart

| 9. |

rf

Darian Frey

Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Womaniser. Morally bankrupt. Thief. Bastard. Captain Darian Frey is rogue and a pirate who would quite literally steal candy from a baby… with the deepest of sympathy, of course. But be warned, accuse him of the one crime he didn’t commit and you’re going to have a whole heap of trouble on your hands.

heart

| 10. |

Mulch Diggums

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

And bastards aren’t just limited to books for adults either. Mulch Diggums is a kleptomaniac dwarf who comes in handy in a tight spot but not without making you pay for it again… and again… and again. Under a myriad of aliases Diggums, his repulsive body odour and what can only be called a ‘bum-flap’ take breaking and entering to a whole new level. Easy-Breezy.

heart

Who is your favourite literary bastard? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See |

Having not read half the books which are soon to become films, this week’s Top Ten will be looking at the book to movie adaptations I would love to see. These are the books that would make incredible films, fantastic TV series and fill that empty hole left when you finish them. So without further ado, here are this week’s Top Ten:

| 1. |

Dissolution

by C.J. Sansom

The Matthew Shardlake novels would be an amazing series of films. Murder, mystery and a crime solving lawyer in the heart of Tudor England – what’s not to love?! This would make a cracking series too.

heart

| 2. |

The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

Couldn’t resist throwing in The Blade Itself. How awesome would Glokta be?! And surely we need a great anti-hero movie, everything’s always a bit Mary Sue on the big screen.

heart

| 3. |

Rivers of London

by Ben Aaronovitch

A film following Peter Grant as he discovers there’s an even darker and more dangerous side to London – yes please! Gods and goddesses, riots and rebellions, wizards and vampires – I can see the whole series of films!

heart

| 4. |

Red Rising

by Pierce Brown

This book would just have to work on the big screen! It’s got everything – an awesome angst filled hero, an abundance of oppressed masses and more evil overlords than you can shake a stick at.heart

| 5. |

Vicious

by V.E. Schwab

What an awesome movie this would make! The super-anti-hero needs a place on our screens and Eli Cardale and Victor Vale fit the bill perfectly.

heart

| 6. |

1 - adsom

A Darker Shade of Magic

by V.E. Schwab

And of course A Darker Shade of Magic would make the cut too! I would love to see Schwab’s Londons up on the big screen – the sumptuous and rich Red London, the gritty and bleak Grey London, the harsh and cruel White London, and the mysterious and dark Black London.

heart

| 7. |

Company of Liars

by Karen Maitland

It’s 1348, England, and nine strangers are trying to outrun the plague. Except they’re being picked off one by one and the most likely villain is already part of their group. Everyone’s a liar, no one can be trusted, and this would make an awesome film!

heart

| 8. |

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

A swashbuckling, sword-fighting, rip-roaring tale of misadventure – this would be an incredible adaptation. Not least because Camorr would be like Venice on acid.

heart

| 9. |

Ship of Magic

by Robin Hobb

The Liveship Traders trilogy is a beautiful fantasy adventure. With (Live)ships, pirates and a courageous heroine, this would surely be a fantastic adaptation.

heart

| 10. |

The Final Empire

by Brandon Sanderson

And my list of movies wouldn’t be complete without throwing the Mistborn series in there. With one of the most unique magic systems in fantasy fiction, one which would showcase the most amazing fight scenes, this film would surely be a hit. Even if the film was only half as good as the books.

heart

Which books would you love to see made into movies? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects |

This Tuesday’s Top Ten will be looking at those homicidal inanimate objects that wreak havoc throughout fantasyland – much to the displeasure of many a protagonist. Whether artifacts of power, deadly weapons or household ornaments, these items will always endeavour to corrupt, maim and destroy.

| 1. |

1- c

The Blackstaff

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“The Blackstaff itself pulsed and shimmered with shadowy power, and I got the sudden sense that the thing was alive, that it knew its purpose and wanted nothing more than to be used, as often and as spectacularly as possible.”

Changes by Jim Butcher

The Blackstaff is a wizard’s staff which appears to have a conciousness of its own and amplifies any act of black magic. It is wielded by a wizard occupying the position of Blackstaff of the White Council and protects the user from the backlash usually associated with black magic. If you like rocking the creepy black vein look, this is the staff for you!

heart

| 2. |

1 - wb

Nightblood

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

You didn’t use me much, Nightblood said, sounding hurt. You could have used me. I’m better than a shirt. I’m a sword.”

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is a sentient sword created to destroy evil. Except Nightblood is a sword and has no concept of what evil actually is. This results in the wielder being subjected to constant urgings to kill, slash, stab and destroy amongst innumerable snarky comments.

heart

| 3. |

1 - lotr

The One Ring

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede, and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it. Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrink, though it loseth neither its beauty nor its shape. Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read.”

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Ahh the ultimate malevolent evil. The One Ring was created by Sauron to gain dominion over all the free peoples of middle earth and has the power to corrupt all those who wear it – the more powerful the bearer, the more powerful they could become. The One Ring exhibits sentient qualities which allow it to abandon its current bearer at opportune moments and to manipulate those who find the Ring to take it up.

heart

| 4. |

1 - tcom

The Luggage

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

“Rincewind watched it sourly. The Luggage had an elemental nature, absolutely no brain, a homicidal attitude toward anything that threatened its master, and he wasn’t quite sure that its insides occupied the same space-time framework as its outside.”

~ The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Luggage is half suitcase, half homicidal maniac. Capable of moving at astonishing speed, it is fiercely defensive of its owner, completely homicidal by nature and will consume anything that crosses its path with its big square teeth and pulsating tongue. It’s also not half bad as a suitcase.

heart

| 5. |

1 - twos

The Black Ka’Kari

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

“The ka’kari was rolling across the floor coming toward him. It wobbled as it rolled and when it climbed up his boot and dissolved into his skin, [he] felt a rush of power.”

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Black Ka’Kari is a magical item which bestows upon its bearer immortality, invisibility and extreme magical power. Known as ‘The Devourer’, it can devour almost anything, from the most powerful magic to your mother-in-law.

heart

| 6. |

1 - adsom

The Black Stone

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“It’s the symbol for magic,” he said. “Vitari.” “A magic stone called ‘magic’? Not very original. What does it do?”

~ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Black Stone is a source of pure magical power which can only have come from the sealed and effectively quarantined Black London. The stone is an ultimate corrupting and destroying force which is sought by and seeks evil, and is yet another magical item which allows one to rock the black veiny look.

heart

| 7. |

1 - hbp

Horcrux

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

“Even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form…few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable.”

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Ahh the Horcrux, an artifact in which a dark witch or wizard can hide a piece of their soul; an artifact which can only be created by the ultimate act of evil – murder. Not only is a Horcrux inherently evil (splitting your soul is a big no no), but the fragments of the soul within the Horcrux can think for themselves, influence others and possess a last line of defence against impending destruction.

heart

| 8. |

1 - sb

Stormbringer

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

“Farewell, friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!”

~ Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock

Stormbringer is a malevolent sword, or demonic runeblade to be precise, with a will of its own and a thirst for blood. Stormbringer endeavours to take over the one who wields it whilst feasting upon the souls of those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck by its pointy end. A definite hit at parties.

heart

| 9. |

1 - dm

The Blackened Denarii

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“There was a glitter of orange-red light, the sigil vanished, and something clinked on the asphalt. A silver coin a little smaller than a quarter rolled away from the man’s head, bounced against my foot, and then settled on the ground”

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Blackened Denarii are thirty pieces of silver, each of which is bound to a particular Fallen Angel from The Order of the Blackened Denarius. These coins have a nasty habit of falling into the path of unsuspecting men, women, children and wizards, tainting those who touch them and tempting them with power. Those who take up the coin can draw on the Fallen’s power and are more than likely to be wholly corrupted.

heart

| 10. |

1 - mao

The Gonne 

by Terry Pratchett

“It called out to something deep in the soul. Hold it in your hand, and you had power. More power than any bow or spear – they just stored up your muscles’ power, when you thought about it. But the gonne gave you power from outside. You didn’t use it, it used you.”

~ Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

A firearm with a difference. Anyone who picks up the Gonne will hear its voice penetrating their mind which consequently turns them into an utterly power-hungry, incredibly homicidal, and thoroughly scruple-less maniac.

heart

Do you have a favourite malevolent artifact or weapon? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Review: Morningstar by David Gemmell


morn


Morningstar

by David Gemmell

Fantasy | 321 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2014


| Rating |


David Gemmell is one of those authors that every fan of fantasy fiction should have read; unbelievably this was my first. Needless to say, I need more Gemmell in my life! Morningstar was a fantastic introduction into his writing; exciting, fast paced, and overflowing with ne’er-do-wells and reluctant heroes. If, like me, you need a starting point for the Gemmell catalogue, Morningstar will not disappoint.

The Angostin forces are storming the Highlands; murdering, pillaging and laying waste to everything that lies in their path. The people are deserting their towns and villages, fleeing into the bandit infested forests beyond; they have but one hope – the Morningstar.

Owen Odell is a storyteller, a worker of magic who spins his power into the tales he tells. A chance encounter in a darkened alley changes his life forever when he meets Jarek Mace – liar, thief and outlaw. With war threatening the Highlands, Odell finds himself attached to Mace and his merry band of misfits who turn their acts of banditry against the invading Angostin force – a mutually beneficial arrangement which both rallies the people and makes Mace a hell of a lot richer.

Rumour is rife, could Mace be the legendary Morningstar come to save the oppressed masses? Through skirmishes and battles, and facing darker forces than just an invading army, the ultimate question remains – will Mace run (presumably with all your gold and quite possibly with your wife) or will he stand and fight?

Morningstar weaves history, myth and legend into a fantasy narrative to create a rich and almost believable tale. The overriding conflict of the Angostins and the Highlanders is reminiscent of Edward I’s campaigns against Scotland and Wales, creating a vivid backdrop for a story which underlines the struggle between freedom and oppression. The clear influences from history give the story a sense of realism which may have otherwise been lost in a tale of magic and supernatural evil.

The comparisons to Robin Hood are similarly well deserved; outlaws and banditry abound, refuge is sought in the depths of the forests, and rich Angostins are relieved of their gold which, ever reluctantly, is bestowed upon the poor masses. This is a reweaving of the Robin Hood legend – a Robin Hood who despite all intentions to murder and pillage ends up, however unintentionally, helping others and fighting for the common good.

Gemmell’s writing is fast paced and fluid, describing the world and its inhabitants in vivid detail. The whole band of characters are given dimensionality; cutthroats, prostitutes and thieves alike. The first person perspective, in which the narrator is describing the life of another character, works incredibly well. Owen Odell plays the part of naïve narrator superbly; he is the moral compass of the tale caught up in a world completely alien to him, and this secondary perspective works to emphasise the complexity and duality of Jarek Mace’s character.

Mace is a wonderfully reluctant hero. His motives are always questionable, his true feelings hidden from us. There may have been more fights and battles if the narrative had been told from Mace’s perspective but we would have lost the most important and vital part of the story. The true beauty of this tale is that we never know what Mace is really thinking or what his intentions are, and despite any good or bad outcome we can never know if it was done for completely selfless or selfish reasons. Jarek Mace will always remain an enigma.

Morningstar is a short but gripping tale full of intriguing characters. The momentum is carried with excitement and humour and ultimately reaches a satisfying, if somewhat hurried, conclusion. My first foray into the work of Gemmell was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and one which had me reaching for the next Gemmell book as soon as Morningstar closed.

Knights of Dark Renown, also by David Gemmell, will be reviewed shortly.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


Darker


A Darker Shade of Magic

by V.E. Schwab

Fantasy | 384 Pages | Published by Titan in 2015


| Rating |


Apparently there was a lot of hype surrounding A Darker Shade of Magic, a lot of hype that seemed to bypass me entirely. V.E. Schwab’s name was cropping up everywhere, everywhere but my bookcase that is. Fortunately for me, Dragons and Jetpacks had selected A Darker Shade of Magic as the August Fantasy Book of the Month and it soon found itself (along with Vicious – that sneaky basket stowaway) at the top of my to-read pile. Now I’m fully initiated into ‘the loop’ I can honestly say this book is magnificent. Schwab has created a richly immersive tale, woven with darkness and vibrant enchantment, which leaves me in great anticipation of a sequel.

Magic once flowed through the worlds, their doorways open to those who would cross them. Until the corruption set in. One by one the doors between worlds were closed. Each sealed off from the next, they evolved, changed and festered under the influence of monarchs, dynasties and usurpers.

Now only travelled by powerful magicians known as the Antari, one thing remains constant throughout. London. Grey London, a drab and magic free land ruled over by mad King George; Red London, a city of vibrant enchantment home to the Maresh Dynasty; the twisted and deadly White London, where magic is wielded like a knife; and Black London, a mysterious and ravaged city severed from the worlds like a rotting limb.

Kell is one of the Antari, a blood magician and traveller between worlds. An ambassador for the Red Court, he is charged with carrying messages between the respective powers of these lands. That is, until his habit of smuggling magical and benign artefacts between worlds lands him in a whole heap of trouble. As he escapes through Grey London, Delilah Bard, a notorious thief and prospective pirate, is swept along with Kell in the flight from cut-throats, brigands and a magic far darker and more powerful than anyone thought possible.

Schwab certainly has a way with words, her writing is incredibly evocative and weaves together four contrasting, imperfect and imaginative worlds. Each London is distinctive and instantly recognisable. Schwab captures the essence of each of these cities, her descriptive style assaulting the senses with colours, sounds and smells. Though they all share facets of the London, it is Grey London which resonates most with our own world. Danger forever hides in the shadows, in twisted alleyways and darkened streets. Even the most idealised London, full of colourful characters and vibrant magic, is not safe. This novel has carved new worlds out of our own history; at once exciting, dangerous and utterly absorbing.

A Darker Shade of Magic successfully bridges sub-genre gaps to present a narrative which appeals to a wide audience. For the most part, I like my tales dark and gritty; I like my weak, immoral, impulsive bastards. And if an antihero protagonist isn’t in the offing, then a dastardly villain will do just as well. Enter the Dane Twins. Every scene with them is a malicious dance, every encounter tortuous; Athos and Astrid are cats playing with mice. And then there’s Holland…

Schwab paints her characters in shades of grey, their personalities underlined by their London, the full spectrum of morality open to all. She creates a vivid picture of humanity’s imperfections and the two protagonists wear their imperfections (and many an item of clothing) incredibly well. Kell and Lila dominate the storyline; two conflicting, intertwining characters who remain infinitely relatable throughout, and who leave us with promise of magic, adventure and intrigue at the close of play.

Though, for me, Kell and Lila lose out to the secondary players in terms of unique personality traits, this novel succeeds in developing a diverse range of compelling characters, whose roles I can only hope will be extended in the ensuing novels.

Schwab is a gifted author whose words are as magical as the characters she creates. A Darker Shade of Magic is a short but brilliant read which will have you in another world at the turn of a page. And perhaps if you look out of the corner of your eye, or smell the scent of flowers on the air, you might just find a way from one London into the next.


Bookish Beats Suggestion

Purchase Here

Follow my blog with Bloglovin