The Monthly Round-Up: September 2015

The Monthly Round-Up - SeptWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!

| Books Read |

I’ve managed to complete a few goals this September but oh no! I still haven’t finished The Daylight War! My excuse is that it’s under a dust sheet whilst decorating… and I think I’ll stick with it! But hurrah I did manage to tick off my goal of reading at least two books featured in my Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished and in doing so tick two books off my Top Ten… Books on my Fall TBR. It definitely feels good to complete some goals! I didn’t write as many reviews as I should have liked but I’ll definitely be making up for it this October. In some semblance of order, here are the nine books I’ve completed this September:

| 1. |

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

| 2. |

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

| 3. |

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

| 4. |

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

| 5. |

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

| 6. |

Raffles by E. W. Hornung

| 7. |

Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

| 8. |

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

| 9. |

The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

Book of the Month

The Way of Shadows

by Brent Weeks

| September Goals |

To read at least two books featured in my Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished with at least one book finishing the series

1 of 2 | The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

2 of 2 | The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

Status: Completed

To finish The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: p. 286 of 808 (35%)

To read at least two classics

1 of 2 | Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2 of 2 | Raffles by E. W. Hornung

Status: Completed


| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 91/100 Books Read (91%)

Status: +9% during September

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 38/50 Books Read (76%)

Status: +4% during September

| Reviews Posted |

4 and a half Stars

The Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe

              4 Stars

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

                  3 and a half stars

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

| Other Posts From September|

The Monthly Round-Up: August 2015

The Month Ahead: September 2015

Tough Travelling: Labourers – Blacksmiths

Tough Travelling: Magic Systems – The Magic Systems of Brandon Sanderson

Tough Travelling: Portals to Another Land

Tough Travelling: A Lady and her Sword

Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed Unity

Bookish Beats: Elysium OST

Bookish Beats: Belle OST

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Characters I Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Complete Series I Still Haven’t Finished

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Fictional Cities in Fantasy Literature

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books on my Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book Pairings

Teaser Tuesdays: September 01 – Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Teaser Tuesdays: September 08 – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Teaser Tuesdays: September 15 – Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

Teaser Tuesdays: September 22 – The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Teaser Tuesdays: September 29 – Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Review: The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

The Traitor Queen

Book Three of the Traitor Spy Trilogy

by Trudi Canvan

Fantasy | 509 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2012

| Rating |

three point five

If you’re a reader of my Top Ten Tuesday posts, then you might have noticed that Trudi Canavan’s The Traitor Queen has been appearing on rather a regular basis. This is one of those books that I intended to read as soon as I bought it but managed to neglect until oh… you know, several years later! The Traitor Queen is the closing chapter in the Traitor Spy Trilogy, and while it doesn’t reach the exciting, dizzying heights of The Black Magician Trilogy, it is still a rather entertaining read.

The Traitor Queen concludes the story which opened with The Ambassador’s Mission and continued with The Rogue.

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels. The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

This book has, probably quite rightly, received very mixed reviews and despite the criticisms, I still found this to be an enjoyable read. It might not be heart-thumpingly-awesome, it might not have those breathtaking qualities that some of Canavan’s other work possess but it is entertaining and the overall storyline is well thought out. The Traitor Queen manages to expand upon and add detail to the world so beautifully drawn out in The Black Magician Trilogy and brings about a satisfying, if a little lacklustre, close to the trilogy.

Canavan writes in an accessible and gratifying way, giving insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters whilst providing careful doses of description throughout. Everything that should have happened did happen – that’s not where the problems lie; they lie with how each of these events unfolded. All the action is packed into the latter half of this novel and when it does occur it is somewhat rushed; we’re left with a final battle where not a lot happens and pivotal scenes where I was left wondering if I’d missed something. I would rather this book had been twice the length and had given more play time to these elements than have rushed through them in 500 pages.

And though there is much to enjoy in this novel, the one thing which The Traitor Queen is seriously lacking is tension. Tension, tension, tension! And then some. The action needed more tension – more do or die moments, more close shaves and descriptive destruction; the romances needed more sexual tension – less of the predictable, the safe and the ‘nice’; the politics needed more political tension – more danger, more intrigue and more terrible consequences. The Traitor Queen had the potential for all these things, the stage was already set! It just failed to give them enough page space or execute them in a satisfying way.

While all the main and supporting characters are essentially likeable and have a lot to offer, I would have enjoyed more growth and development throughout the novel. It was a shame that Sonea, our fantastic protagonist in The Black Magician Trilogy, had such a small and insignificant role in this book and though I enjoyed the development in Regin’s character, his role was too small to really make much of an impact. Lorkin doesn’t quite manage to live up to the expectations of a protagonist in a Canavan novel, nor does Tyvara succeed as well in her role as the main love interest. Having said that, I didn’t dislike any of the characters, nor did I dislike the novel – The Traitor Queen merely suffers the fate of not living up to the expectations created when you write something truly awesome.

The Traitor Queen is a tale of conflicting loyalties, of trust and of power which develops and adds insight into the world Trudi Canavan has created. This is a quick and easy read which, despite some issues, has a lot going for it. While this might not be the breathtaking read that The Black Magician Trilogy was, The Traitor Queen is still enjoyable and will probably receive far too much criticism for having such a brilliant predecessor. If you’re new to Canavan, I seriously urge you to read The Black Magician Trilogy or The Age of Five. If not, you could do much worse than pick up a copy of this trilogy!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books on my Fall TBR

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… Books on my Fall TBR |

As usual a ridiculous number of books have made their way onto my to-be-read list and this fall is no exception – so many amazing new releases too! However due to the inordinate quantity still waiting to be read I’ve decided this week’s Top Ten will focus on those ‘Oh my god! I need to read this NOW’ books which I most certainly didn’t read now, in fact, they haven’t been read at all. This autumn, fantasy will take centre stage (as it usually does) and I will endeavour to plough my way into the rather ominous looking pile that has developed.

| 1. |

The Traitor Queen

by Trudi Canavan

Ahh The Traitor Queen! Once I’ve devoured you I will have ticked off a monthly goal! I also won’t feel guilty for having bought you in hardback, had you signed and then proceeded to forget about you for… umm… several years now?!


| 2. |

The Queen of the Tearling

by Erika Johansen

A recent addition to my book mountain from August but I keep hearing good things and… damnit! I want to be in the loop!


| 3. |

King of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

Another neglected series much highlighted in the Top Ten of two weeks ago. Two weeks later and I’ve still not opened you up to have a look at your good stuff. Soon!


| 4. |

Half The World

by Joe Abercrombie

I love Joe Abercrombie. I may have mentioned this once… or twice… or perhaps on every single list I publish! I’m thoroughly ashamed for not having finished his Shattered Sea Trilogy despite having all the books waiting patiently on my shelf.


| 5. |

The Farthest Shore

by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Farthest Shore is next on my list in my attempt to make my way through The Earthsea Cycle.


| 6. |

Alice in Zombieland

by Gena Showalter

And October wouldn’t be October if I didn’t have at least one ‘spooky’ read. This year’s choice is one I picked up at random recently – Alice in Zombieland


| 7. |


The Republic of Thieves

by Scott Lynch

Another hardback bought as soon as it came out, another one left until now! I’ve been looking forward to reading this for so long!


| 8. |

Tower Lord

by Anthony Ryan

Blood Song was an incredible read and left me incredibly excited for Tower Lord which I immediately bought and immediately shelved and forgot about.


| 9. |


Lord of Chaos

by Robert Jordan

I’ve had the sixth book in The Wheel of Time on my shelf for so long it now has two other rows of books in front of it. Time to dust it off.


| 10. |

Royal Exile

by Fiona McIntosh

Acquired rather recently, I know next to nothing about this book… except that it’s a pretty hardback and I want to read it!


What’s at the top of your to-read list this fall? Are there any new releases you’re excited about? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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