Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Paper Magician

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)

Rating: 4 Star

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

This was lovely. When I first heard about this through Goodreads, I was so excited. This kind of theme is right up my alley. But then I read some other poor reviews, and I lost some hope in it.

But, oh, this is one of those magical times (no pun intended) when I disagree with everyone else who ever said a word against this book, because I adored it. Absolutely adored it, loved it, craved it, devoured it, etc, etc, . . .

.The Paper Magician: fantastic book series:

I loved Ceony (cool name, right?). She was just plan awesome, who, yeah, at the beginning was a little bit of a brat, but got over herself within a chapter. To be fair, she had reason to be a bit of a brat, because how the heck would anyone feel when they had their hope set on becoming a metal magician and went to this overpriced, extremely difficult school to be able to do just that, and even have the highest marks in her class, and then be told her choice was being taken away and she was being assigned to become a paper magician. And if she doesn’t want to become a paper magician, well then too bad, because it’s either that or no magic for her. And once she’s bonded to paper, she will never be able to bond to any other kind of magic, steel or otherwise.

So, yeah, I think her being a little bratty at the beginning is fair. And she gets over it quite quick, with the reasoning that she still just wants to learn all about magic, paper or otherwise. This has been her dream, and she’s not giving it up so easily.

Her trainer, Mg. Thane, is also kind of . . . crooked. He’s likely one tablespoon away from crazy, but in the best way. And Ceony kind of takes over his home, cooking for him, making sure he doesn’t stay huddled away in his office forever. She reminds him to be human, and in exchange, he teaches her how to read words on a page and quite literally make the story come alive, to be able to fold a paper frog and make it come to life, and to tell someone’s future through paper.

Paper magic isn’t all that bad.

“But she still had time. Surely she still had time. Stories like this weren’t meant to end badly.” ~The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg:

But then Mg. Thane is almost killed, and Ceony basically says, Screw that, and goes to retrieve his heart.

And that isn’t some metaphor for his love or whatever – she literally has to  go retrieve his heart before the paper heart she made for him wears out.

Excisioners – blood magicians – are killers. Their magic literally relies on the death of others, and that’s exactly who Ceony has to go and retrieve Mg. Thane’s heart from. Go figure.

Not only that, but the Excisioner who stole Mg. Thane’s heart is his ex-wife. And she’s more than a little mad.

And so Ceony quite literally gets sucked into Mg. Thane’s heart and has to navigate through all his fears, dreams, desires, etc., while watching his past memories and hopes and dreams playing out as his ex-wife follows her, trying to kill her before she makes it to the end.

“Remember that you are much different now than you were an hour ago, Ceony. Before you merely read about magic; now you have it. Denying it won’t make you return to ordinary.”

Add into that that parts of Mg. Thane’s heart are very dark, and there may be parts of him that try to stop Ceony, to play on all her worst fears and desires because she is stuck in the misery part of his heart, and misery loves nothing more than company.

I felt like I was fangirling the whole time I was reading this. It was just so adorable at parts, because Ceony is so bold and Mg. Thane is so crazy and insane and too quirky for his own good (undoubtedly a side-effect of living too long by himself in a house literally crammed full of paper objects and animals which come alive at a whim . . . and also having an insane ex-wife too, probably).

“Perhaps the man wasn’t so mad after all. Or maybe it’s a madness that I can learn to appreciate.”  

Some might say this has a bit of insta-love in it, but I disagree. While a part of my mind was saying that the romance was processing a little too quickly for my taste, at the same time I felt like I completely understood where it was coming from and how it happened. It didn’t feel over embellished or ridiculous. It kind of felt like a Pride and Prejudice kind of love or a Jane Eyre kind of romance.

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Six of Crows

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

(*gasping and flailing wildly*)

Happy Book Birthday to lbardugo! Six of Crows was the book I never knew I’d been waiting for: a heart-wrenching whirlwind of scheming, science, and sorcery (with a lot of nods to my personal...:

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t have high expectations for this book. I think it might even be a stretch to say I had decent expectations for this book. I didn’t much care for Ms. Bardugo’s first novel in the Grisha trilogy, and while after the last book in the series I was full of emotions and flailing around like an idiot, the first book, Shadow and Bone, did nothing for me. It wasn’t that it was bad or not entertaining, but just that I literally couldn’t remember anything about it. It was unmemorable to me, and I kinda expected the same thing to happen here. Not a bad book, just not my favorite.

Boy, was I wrong.

lunchbagmonster:   Six of Crows is an excellent...:

I adored this. I know I make fun of/scorn the whole idea of insta-love, but I seem to have become a hypocrite of my own words, because after two chapters of this book, I was head-over-heels for Kaz Brekker.

I honestly think I can say I have never fallen this hard this quick for a character before. Never. Sure, it might happen halfway through a book, but after two chapters? Nope. Never happened before.

And you want to know what’s kinda messed up? Kaz didn’t do anything during those two chapters except outwit another gang boss at the same time as ousting a traitor in his own midst. He was so clever and awesome and bada**. (And I really, really like clever men.) (Especially the ones who have not-so-crystal-clean-motives-and/or-values.)

Now, I think it goes without saying that Kaz will have some kind of sad, sad backstory that will explain how he ended up in Ketterdam – one of the most ruthless places that exist – and how he worked his way up to this kind of gang boss who deals in trade and not-so-legal things. He has his hands in many pots, as the saying goes. And then there’s his limp, making Kaz use a cane to get around . . . and use as a wicked weapon, of course. ‘Cause why not?

Obviously, Kaz doesn’t trust anyone . . . except maybe Inej.

The Six of Crows:

This isn’t about some hidden love they have going on. It isn’t about secret feelings or a desire to be someone else, someone who isn’t constantly fighting for their lives and who could have a nice, quiet life together somewhere. Neither really want that. Kaz loves money and power far too much to ever give that up for anyone, and that’s not about to change, and Inej doesn’t really trust Kaz as far as she can throw him, not really. She trusts him more than anyone else, sure, but that’s not really saying much.

“She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”

Inej just wants to go home. Kidnapped from her parents when she was a little girl and sold to a prostitution house, Inej has a special skill set picked up from traveling with her parents when they worked with a circus: she doesn’t make a sound. And she’s rather handy with a knife.

There’s quite a lot of blood on her hands, and while she doesn’t revel in it, she’s not ashamed of it either.

a gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost grisha, a suli girl who had become a killer, and a boy from the barrel who had become something worse. six of crows by leigh bardugo:

Then there’s Nina. A Heartrender who’s trying to make up for past sins, she stays voluntarily in Ketterdam. But she’ll do anything to get Matthias back, to repay him for her sins against him. Not that he’s any better, of course, with being a witch hunter himself and wanting nothing more than killing Nina, who earned his trust and then betrayed him in the worst of ways.

But she’s not ready to go down without a fight.

“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.” 

Nina doesn’t want redemption, but Matthias does. And he believes her death will be just that.

I loved the girls in this. I think anymore that a novel can be decided as either good or great based on how the females are portrayed (at least for me). Neither Nina nor Inej try too hard. Neither are innocent little virgins who have a heart of good. I loved that. Neither try to keep up with the boys either, or try too hard to be ruthless. They have talents all their own, and without even one of them the whole team would have been dead ten times over.

a gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost grisha, a suli girl who had become a killer, and a boy from the barrel who had become something worse. six of crows by leigh bardugo:

I was honestly surprised at how much I loved this. I love how ruthless everyone is, and how none of them judge the other for any past or current sins, because they all have a reason – however justified or not – for doing the things they do, and no one else has a right to judge them for it.

There is romance here, but not an abundant amount of it. There is no one ever wondering if so-and-so likes them back or unnecessary sexual tension. Kaz is protective of Inej in the way of letting her do her own thing and knowing she is just as capable of fighting her own battles as he is, but he’s also more than willing to kill for her. Torture for her. And neither ever questions the other’s morals.

Inej is planning on leaving; that was always the plan. Make enough money to pay off her debt, and then get away from Ketterdam as quickly as possible. No infatuation will change that. And so she knows that if she does stay there, with Kaz, it will be with all of him, not just as his Wrath, but as her. And she’ll take nothing less.

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

And she will never cry over him. She will never mourn him, because if she can’t have all of him, then she wants none of him.

“She wouldn’t wish love on anyone. It was the guest you welcomed and then couldn’t be rid of.”  

The many different POV’s scared me at first, just because that is one of my top most-hated things in YA books: multiple POV’s. I like just seeing the POV of one character.

Don’t worry about that here. I loved it. And while I still – as always – had my preference of character POV’s that I preferred, I still enjoyed them all.

Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.

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