Burden of Truth – Kristin Ward

Welcome back everyone, you’ll notice me jumping between two series for the next couple of weeks, so I hope you don’t mind. After finishing After the Green Withered, I lasted all of 22 hours before asking for the second book so I could start reading it immediately.


Writing Style

After the unique style of After the Green Withered, I was expecting this one to follow the same style. What I found was that although there were elements that were still there, there were also elements that felt very similar to some other dystopian YA novels.

I still want to know what happens next. But I’m almost afraid to know because it’s so close to tipping into the realm of what’s been done multiple times already. Which is one of the issues I have with the YA genre that Kristin has done SO WELL to keep clear of so far.

I know it’s really hard (if not impossible) to come up with 100% unique stories these days. But this one is getting perilously close to the point of no return for me. And I REALLY hope it doesn’t go that way because I really did love the first one.

Please Kristin, do not go the way of Hunger Games, Divergent and The 100! Your story is so different, and it doesn’t deserve to be tarnished with those generic story lines!

Note: I still enjoyed those stories, I just don’t want to read another one that follows almost the same skeleton for the story and character development as so many other YA books.


Initial Thoughts

I really felt like there was hope that Enora could be true to herself and what she believes in. Maybe she could be the driving force for change in a positive way.

At the same time, was I reading the vibes between Enora and Springer properly? Were they being set up to fall for each other and be a romance within the story? I kinda hope not.

I’m really loving the focus on the survival and the truth. So, I hope it isn’t ruined by an attempt to put some romance in there just coz it feels like there probably should be some romance to balance the sorrow that otherwise overpowers the story.


Final Thoughts

By the end of the book I was wishing Kristin took a different route for the story. Almost all my fears for the story and character development were realised.

Enora and Springer end up kinda being a couple, the rebel faction is possibly just as evil as the DMC so Enora and Springer decide to make their own way. Only to end up pretty much dead (but still alive) right at the end of the book and Enora doing something quite possibly, ridiculously stupid in an attempt to save their lives.

Sound familiar to anyone?

If you’re not sure, think about Katness almost shooting the rebel leader and at the last second shooting the evil president in Hunger Games. Not to mention her weird romance with Peeta. In Divergent, don’t Beatrice and Four leave the rebels and their home in the hope of finding something better when it turns out the rebels are as bad as their ruling council?

I don’t like drawing parallels between different stories. But every step this book took towards this feel I cringed. Kristin, it feels like you have so much creativity and some great ideas that are different to anything that’s happened before. Please bring this out in full force for Ander's story!

I still enjoyed the story as a whole, there were just moments when I felt like those parallels were glaringly obvious. While at other's it was still it's own story with no other similarities that made me mourn right alongside Enora and Springer.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s second Shifter novel Truth or Bear.

After the Green Withered – Kristin Ward

Welcome back everyone, last week we were enjoying the English countryside. And this week we are exploring a dystopian America sometime in the future as part of a MASSIVE book tour.

Writing Style

My favourite thing about the writing style and the story, is that it doesn’t remind me of Divergent too much. That is, past the whole the world has almost died/humanity has almost died and there’s only a few survivors and the main character is a teen.

Like, it’s a YA/NA novel so the whole teen as a main character thing makes sense. But I’m glad it’s not written in as soppy/teen-love kind of way as Divergent.

Anyway, Kristin really gets her hooks into your skin to make sure you want to keep reading.

Initial Thoughts

I honestly thought once I started reading this “OMG, not another Divergent. I read that one, and even though it’s OK I just REALLY don’t want to read another book about how some teens life is so difficult coz the world has practically ended.”

I’m not saying that it wasn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it. But that style of writing is one I enjoy reading while getting drunk on a tropical beach while on holiday. Coz it doesn’t take concentration, I can power through it and enjoy it and move on with enjoying the beach.

But I’m not on holiday. I’m suffering through a heat wave. And I want something more adult to take me away from the pains of treating an assignment like a child (because that’s honestly what they want me to do with it).

I stuck at it. Not only coz I had a feeling I should, but also coz I committed to reading this one as part of a Book Tour.

Final Thoughts

And I’m glad I did because, I found that once I got through the drag of the first 25-30% of the book (you know, that boring setting the scene kinda thing) I just flew through the book. I double checked the length, and it’s not a short book. So, I must’ve been really engrossed in it to read it in a matter of days purely in the 10-20 mins before falling asleep. And the 40-50-minute bus trip to and from work each day.

I will honestly tell you that when I finished this book, I felt a sense of relief, and regret, and a sinking “o no” feeling all at the same time. Relief, because maybe now I can focus on getting the studying I need to do done. Regret, because maybe I should’ve let this book last longer. And the sinking feeling because I immediately knew I would be fighting the urge to buy the next book and start reading it straight away.

And I was right! Obviously I needed to read the next one, so keep an eye out for that review in the coming days!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the third instalment of the Time for Alexander series, Son of the Moon, by Jennifer Macaire. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

    

#4/1 – Briar’s Book – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, this week we have Briar’s book!

I found this book to be the saddest in the whole series across all three quartets (I know the last one isn’t finished yet).

Reading about Briar being forced to work in a civilian “hospital” managing a massive outbreak that is killing people, is highly contagious and resistant to all treatment is awful. Especially because they discovered it because his mate Flick caught it and was one of the first to die from it.

Map of Summersea Harbour during the outbreak

Reading about how oppressive that environment is gave me a whole new appreciation for our doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to help those in need. Poor Briar and Rosethorn worked from the moment they woke up to the moment they passed out caring for those around them and having their own life and energy sucked from them was almost heartbreaking.

I’m pretty sure if I was to read this now, I would end up in tears because of how sad the whole situation is.

And poor, sweet and considerate Briar was the one to realise that they needed their living plants around them to perk them back up. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and Rosethorn got sick.

Briar’s attachment to Rosethorn was so strong that he leaped after her into the world of death to bring her back because he wasn’t ready to lose her. To make sure they didn’t lose him, all three of the girls jumped after him to hold him secure to the world of the living.

Briar's Book

That whole ordeal was tragic. If it wasn’t for the fact that I knew The Circle Opens was out, I’d have wondered if all four of them and Rosethorn were going to die trying to save her. Luckily, they were able to bring Rosethorn back with them and save her life.

But her speech and mobility were impacted because she was technically dead for a few minutes and so parts of her brain died. But we don’t really see too much of this in this book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Magic Steps, the first book in The Circle Opens quartet.

#3/1 – Daja’s Book – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, this week we have Daja’s book!

This one really hit me hard when I read it on so many levels. Daja is a Trader who’s been made an outcast because her whole family died, and she survived. Because of this she isn’t allowed to speak to a Trader ever again, and they aren’t allowed to even acknowledge her presence.

Map of the Gold Ridge area

When I was reading this book, I was at that impressionable age of 12 or 13 where bullying is really ramping up. For Daja, she was excluded because of some silly Trader law while I didn’t have the easiest time because I was an early bloomer in my yr. And boys can be horrible.

What made this amazing for me was that even though the Traders hated on Daja, her friends stuck by her and made sure the Traders acknowledged her and treated her better than they wanted to. Also, Daja being the caring person she is made sure the Traders survived even though they’d been absolutely horrible to her and her friends.

She put her own life at risk in an attempt to save their lives because she had a chance of surviving, and they didn’t.

Daja's Book

Throughout all this time, Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja had been battling with their magic becoming corrupted by the other’s magic and having to sort it out. I loved the little stories of how their magic got corrupted and the funny things that happened. But I can also agree that if it wasn’t fixed then it’d end in disaster.

Anyway, right at the end Daja is given a new staff that tells her story of her family dying, and of her bravery saving the Trader caravan which then ends with her being accepted back into the Trader world. I remember this bit being the first thing to ever get me close to tears from anything other than anger.

Of this quartet, this is probably the favourite for me. But I have others that rank higher in the Emelan world.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Briar’s Book.

#2/1 – Tris’s Book – Tamora Pierce

In this book we mostly follow Tris, however that doesn't mean that the other's are lost to us. In fact, they all work together to thwart money hungry pirates that attack their new home.

Map of Summersea's harbour

Key Story Points

All four of our characters are starting to understand their magic and learn how to use it. In this case we're mostly following Tris as she learns how to master some new and impressive powers.

Unfortunately her favourite cousin is making life difficult for her. He rocks up to Winding Circle and seems to put a few people on edge for a few different reasons. But Tris is happy to see him, and the others just want her to be happy.

Then out of the blue, Winding Circle is attacked by a bunch of pirates. And thanks to Tris's magic with weather, she's able to help clean out the pirates from Winding Circle and restore order.

Tris's Book

My Thoughts

I will admit, parts of this book makes me love it. But as a whole, it's not my favourite in the quartet.

Overall, I got the feeling that I was being strung along between great moments embedded at JUST the right moment to keep you hooked.

My Fav Part

Honestly, the main points that I remember and that pops into my head sometimes is Daja working on the city's and Winding Circle's defences. And Tris learning some cool new magic that allows them to see into the past.

I'm pretty sure this is the book where Daja almost gives her fellow apprentice a heart attack when she handles metal straight out of the forge. It has me chuckling every time I think about it.

Thank you for reading and next week I'll have the next book (Daja's Book) up next week!

#1/1 – Sandry’s Book – Tamora Pierce

The first book in the Circle Universe is Sandry's Book, and although she is a main character. She isn't THE main character.

Map of the Pebbled Sea

Writing Style

The way Tamora has written the first two series in the Circle Universe means that each book has a main hero; who the book is typically named after. So with this book being named after Sandry, it means that she will be the main hero.

Since this book is written for the Young Adult audience it's not as complex or as deep as most of the books I read these days. But I've grown up reading Tamora Pierce and I just love how she writes her stories.

In this case I could feel the despair, anger and confusion that Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar feel as they are found by Niklaren Goldeye. Then as they try to find their places in their new world.

My Thoughts

Since I wasn't much older (I think a yr or two?) than they were when I first read these books, I could really relate to the emotional turmoil they were going through.

For me, my school friendship group was changing. And since I'm not very good socially (and neither are these 4) this was a bit stressful for me. But with the help of constantly reading Tamora's books in those few years (see evidence below if you don't believe me about how many times I read these books) I managed to get through it.

And I even discovered some other people who liked reading, and who even liked Tamora Pierce as well! That was a bit of a turning point for me when I realised I had something else in common with others. Which actually seems hard to believe since I'd already spent the last 6-7 years with most of them by that point in time.

My poor, broken, over-read copy of Sandry's Book

My Fav Part

So I have a few different fav parts, I mean, these characters and their stories are written in such a great way that you can't help but have a few parts of the book you just can't wait to read again!

Ok, so my all time fav is when Sandry pulls rank on some snobby noble girl (Sandry's family is like upper upper upper echelon of society and only the people actually ruling a few different countries rank higher than her) to get Daja a seat when Daja first arrives and doesn't know where to sit in the dining hall.

A girl nearby muttered, "If that's a lady, I'm a cat."
Reaching out, Sandry lifted the pitcher of milk from the table. Cradling it in both hands, she walked over to the mutterer.
"I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess, Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Wheelwright, a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you"- carefully she poured milk into Esmelle's plate-"you had best start lapping, kitty."
She set the pitcher down and returned to her chair.

When Sandry and Daja first meet

Being someone who HATES bullies and will actively fight back I practically bounce in my seat with glee every time I read that bit. It's just so hilarious and it just sets the tone for Sandry's personality in a way no other quote can quite grasp.

I do love a number of other moments throughout the book. Those moments of banter, discovery and amazement are heady feelings. The way Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar grow, make discoveries and learn about magic together never fail to strike a chord with me and give me a good chuckle and/or smile

Thank you for reading and next week I'll have the next book (Tris's Book) up next week!

Tamora Pierce – The Circle Universe

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Hi all, welcome back to a new series of series reviews! Woohoo!

My mum bought me the first book in this world’s series when I was like 9 or something when I was in the city with her one day. I distinctly remember hating her in that moment for forcing me to read something outside of my normal genres.

In my first attempt of fantasy I really hated it. But luckily a few years later I rediscovered Tamora Pierce through a friend and ended up falling in love with all of her books and went back to reread this one.

To give you an overview, this series follows 4 main characters in the original Circle of Magic series when they are first brought together.

Tris, Briar, Sandry and Daja in The Circle of Magic Source

Over the course of the Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens and The Circle Reforged we see them grow up and into their powers in ways that keep you engaged, interested and riveted.

Sandry, Daja, Briar and Tris all grown up Source

Across all three series we travel across various regions countries, so you may find the below map helpful as I review the series.

The Circle Universe world map Source

I look forward to exploring this series with you and hearing what you think of these reviews!

Awakening – C.E. Sundstrom

Welcome back, this week I can't promise as good a review as I have given in the past. However I want to make it clear that I believe the things I'm not a fan of in this book are things that I don't believe would worry a teenager or young adult as they don't have the same life experiences I have had.

So I met the author at the Clunes Booktown Festival a few weeks ago and he told me a little bit about this story. What he told me is that this book follows 2 women in two different times in history; one in the Salem Witch Trials and another in modern day Melbourne. The thing they have in common is that they can both see the future. This bugged me for the rest of the day until I went back and bought a copy of the book.

After reading it I'm a little disappointed. The book only has one out of every 4 chapters (roughly) where we follow Mary during the Salem Witch Trials. Now I don't know about anyone else, but if I'm told a book follows two people I expect it to be closer to a 50:50 split in terms of page time for each character. To start off with I thought we'd be spending time following both of them and I was looking forward to discovering how they are connected, other than the fact that they both see the future. And I was left hanging. So unless this is explained in the second book don't expect any answers on this front.

As I began the book I noticed that the style of writing was quite simplistic and not as mature as most of the books I read these days. I'm gona take a guess and say I didn't really like this because I'm maturing and growing up. And therefore my tastes in how my books are written have matured and grown as I have. Because of this I just couldn't fall in love with this book as much as I wanted to. And I gota say I really wanted to, coz this idea is amazing!

The other thing that really started to irk me towards the end of the book was how the author judged those that aren't fortunate enough to have clean, safe and stable jobs. I'm sure most people don't think well of drug users and prostitutes. However that doesn't mean that they deserve our judgement, derision or appalling treatment just because they don't work a nice clean "respectable" job that actively contributes to society in a positive way. The work I do is often seen in a negative light by many people even though how we do it is completely different to most companies. We have changed how we operate by doing a lot of training and work to listen to our customer's and understand their situations better. Because of this I can't enjoy reading about someone actively passing judgement on someone else without understanding how or why they are in the situation they are in.

So although there were aspects of this story and how it's written that I don't like. The story itself is great, and I can see the development of the character happening. I feel like if I pushed ahead and read the second book I wouldn't be quite as disappointed. But if you go into the book expecting a level of writing aimed more at a teenager or young adult I don't think you will have any issues with this book.

Next week I will be releasing a surprise post rather than letting you know what it will be in advance. So look forward to it!

Finally, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this weeks post.