Friday, 28 September 2018

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli: Blog Tour Review!


I am so ridiculously excited to be taking part in The Caged Queen blog tour - I was honoured to be a part of The Last Namsara's too and you can check out my interview with Kristen here!  I loved this book so much and I'm so excited for everyone to read it! 

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Series: Iskari, Book Two
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback
Published: 27th September 2018
Number of Pages: 400
Book: For Review* 
Genre:  Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Paranormal, Mythical, YA
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol References
Author's Site: Kristen Ciccarelli


What would you sacrifice for love
Roa and her sister, Essie, were born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever.  It was a magic they cherished – until the terrible day Essie died and her soul was trapped in this world.
Dax, the heir to the throne of Firgaard, was responsible.  Roa swore she would never forgive him – yet when he came begging for her help to dethrone his cruel father, Roa made him a deal.  She’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen.
Now she is royalty, but an outlander; far form home and married to her enemy.  And even after everything she has sacrificed, Dax’s promises have gone unfulfilled.  Roa’s people still suffer.
Then a chance to right every wrong arises – an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister.  During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.
All she has to do is kill the king...


                                                                   Review:
 “You can save her, Roa.  You can save all of us.”
She looked up at him miserable.  “By killing the king.”
“By removing the next tyrant from the throne.”
Once upon a time, there were two sisters who were so close, not even death could separate them...
Roa was heartbroken when her twin, Essie, died and her soul became trapped in the body of a hawk.  She hated, hated, the boy responsible.
But now... now she’s married to him.  Because the only way to save her people from starving to death, was to sign a devil’s contract with the newly crowned King of Firgaard.
But Dax is not keeping the promises he made to her.  Roa’s people are still suffering, Roa herself is an outcast and Essie... Essie’s soul is slipping away more and more every day.
Roa has one opportunity to fix everything.  To save her people.  To bring her sister back.  To get herself out of this absolute mess.
And all she has to do?
Kill Dax...
I loved The Last Namsara so, so much.  I am mildly obsessed with dragons (ok, ok, utterly obsessed: I would give my soul for a dragon) and I just could not get enough of Ciccarelli’s world building when I read The Last Namsara because, guys, there be dragons!  And that was why I just could not wait to get my greedy little hands on a copy of The Caged Queen.  And so when it was so kindly sent to me (thank you Gollancz!) I just dived right on in.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from it, though.  Because it isn’t a direct sequel, more like a following book in the same universe following a newish set of characters on their adventures.  I loved the leads from The Last Namsara, Asha and Torwin, and knew The Caged Queen wouldn’t be focused on them – and would sadly have less dragons.  But from the very beginning of The Caged Queen, I honestly just fell in love all over again.  Because wow.  I adored the slightly different mythology and beliefs, loved the political drama and manoeuvrings, and just fell utterly head-over-heels for the very complex relationship between Dax and Roa.
Those two I honestly loved to pieces.  They were both so much more than they appeared to be, and seeing them from Roa’s perspective rather than Asha’s was intriguing.  Plus their relationship just had me enthralled from the very beginning – because while the two were legally married, it was very much a marriage of mutually beneficial terms and wasn’t built on any kind of emotions, especially not on Roa’s side.  But watching them argue and distrust and disagree and grow together was just amazing and so very brilliantly done.  Ciccarelli is really just the queen of complicated as hell relationships.
Roa was pretty prickly but steadfastly loyal to those she cared about – especially Essie and her people.  She was strong both mentally and physically and wasn’t afraid to fight for what she wants.  She was also totally badass and you all know I love that in my leading ladies.
Dax I just adored. He’s such a clever boy, that one – charming and charismatic and kind of adorable, he really knew how to play the political game.  Plus I just knew there was so much more to him than anything I saw in The Last Namsara.  And, now I am seeing him as someone not the sibling to the narrator, I think I love him. 
I also loved seeing Safire again from The Last Namsara – I really liked Dax’s coousin in the first book and just admire the hell out of this badass lady.  There were also cameos from my babies from Namsara and I loved it.
Also I just have to mention the bond between Roa and Essie.  Because it was just heartbreaking and beautiful.  Can you just imagine being born a twin, as close as could be to one another, so connected you can physically sense one another?  Now imagine your sister dies and you’re all alone, but you don’t want to be because what are you if not her sister?  Do you see why this bond made me cry?  I just felt how much Roa loved her sister, how desperately she wanted to save her, how terrified she was of Essie slipping away from her for good.  It’s one of the most unorthodox and touching sisterhood I’ve ever read about before and I just love the two of them so so much.
Ok I’ve rambled about the characters enough – why do I always do this?  Anyway, in The Last Namsara we got these snippets after chapters – little stories from the world’s mythologies, memories of the characters, that kind of thing.  And I just loved that we got the same in The Caged Queen.  We got to see more of Roa’s homeland and her relationship with Dax when they were children, before everything fell apart.  Plus Ciccarelli just has this way of storytelling that’s utterly enchanting and absorbing and I can’t get enough.
And seriously.  That plot.  Wow.  I honestly did not see a bunch of the twists coming – I blame a certain character for many of them, that wily fox – and I was hooked from start to finish.  Hell, I stayed up stupidly late after being exhausted from uni just to finish it because I just had to know how it ended.  Also I need another book, please.  I need more.
This world... I just love it.  I love Asha and Dax’s kingdom, but I really loved learning more about Roa’s.  I adored the beliefs there – especially about Relinquishing, which was just such a brilliant idea that I’m sure has taken root from some belief in the real world and is brilliantly brought to life in The Caged Queen.  Also just the thing about Essie... it’s honestly enough to make a girl cry.  Two sisters who love one another so deeply and totally that not even death could separate them, and one returned as a bird just so her sister would not be alone.  I really don’t know where Ciccarelli came up with that idea, but I adore it and she owes me a packet of tissues.
So seriously, if you haven’t read The Iskari Series, read it now.  There be dragons and spirits, kings and queens, love and heartbreak, loss and laughter, betrayal and forgiveness.  It honestly just has everything I could possibly want in a fantasy book and I’m really, really hoping there will be a book three!  There’s still so much of this world to explore, and hopefully more dragons to ride.
Please.  More dragons to ride.
I need more dragons in my world, Kristen.  Please.

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5 



Read this book if you liked:
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Before I Ignite by Jodie Foster
And I Darken by Kiersten White


Happy Reading
Megan
* This book was received from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review

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Also check out Words From A Reader and The Untitled Book Blog because they have more The Caged Queen goodness up today too!

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Ah, I love this series so much!  If you haven't read it, check it out ASAP because it is amazing!
Everyone, definitely check out Kristen's website, follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and add The Caged Queen to your Goodreads TBR ASAP list! 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli


Series: Iskari, Book One
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Hardcover
Published: 12th October 2017
Number of Pages: 432
Book: For Review* 
Genre:  Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure, Paranormal, Mythical, YA
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death
Author's Site: Kristen Ciccarelli


Blurb From Goodreads:
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.


                                                                   Review:
“The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said.  So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one...”
Once there was a girl who was drawn to old stories.  The stories with power.  The stories the dragons craved.
She told stories to Kozu, the first dragon.  And he grew to crave her, too.  But when she refused to tell him another story, he grew angry with her.  He burned her with his fire and then he destroyed much of her kingdom, killing many of her people.
It was all Asha’s fault.  She should have known better – after all, the old stories killer her own mother.  
Now, her people loathe her and to restore the honour she lost the night Kozu’s fire scorched her people, Asha goes out and hunts dragons, bring their heads to her father, the dragon king.
But that is not enough to redeem her.  No, she must now marry Jarek – a cruel man she despises like no other.  There is no escaping the binding – until her father offers her a chance of escape: if she can kill Kozu and bring him the dragons’ head, she will be free.
But amid rising tensions and the defiance of Jarek’s slave, Torwin, can Asha find a way to save herself and her people?  Can the old stories reveal the truths that have been hidden for so very long? 
Anyone who knows me is all too aware of my dragon obsession.  They are my absolute favourite fantastical creature and I would literally sell my soul for a real one.  My mum actually calls me Hagrid from time to time due to my dragon mania.  So when I was offered a chance to read The Last Namsara, how was I meant to say no?  In fact, The Last Namsara has probably been my most anticipated debut of the whole year and the instant it landed on my doorstep, I just dived straight in.  And I fell instantly and irrevocably in love.  Because I’ve read a lot of books about dragons, but none like this.  The Last Namsara just pulled me under a spell – stories truly do have power, especially ones as magical and beautiful as this one.
Asha was such a stronger character – and my very favourite type of princess: a badass with swords and an axe.  To begin with, she was all kinds of broken – a hunter desperate for forgiveness, who could not forgive herself.  A girl who killed dragons to try and clear away the other deaths on her hands.  It would have been so easy to dislike her – but I never did.  Because Asha was brave and tough as nails and funny and so very alone it made my heart ache for her.  And then she goes on this journey over the book – I’ve never seen such character development in a single book and I just loved it.
Torwin – oh my sweet Torwin!  He was just the sweetest, loveliest thing and I spent a lot of the book just wanting to wrap him up in a hug.  He was loyal and devoted and kind to Asha, even when no one else would even look at her face.  
I just loved the two of them together.  I’ve never read a story where a princess fell in love with a slave – and I never thought I could love such a romance so much.  The two of them were just perfect together and I loved watching their relationship grow.  It felt utterly real to me and was just the sweetest, most wonderful thing.
I loved all of the minor characters too, especially Safire, who was just as much of a badass as Asha – maybe even more.  The child of Asha’s uncle and a slave, Safire was an outcast and seen as easy prey despite her royals blood – but she never let it break her.  And Dax was a really lovely big brother – a bit of a dreamer, he was kind and strong and quick witted.  Roa was awesome!  These two are the main characters in The Caged Queen and I’m so excited to see more of them!
Jarek was an epic arsehole – I loathed him, even when I felt pity for the boy who lost his parents to dragon’s fire and yet saved the girl responsible for their deaths.
I simply have to mention the dragons – even if I have to watch what I say for risk of spoilers!  The dragons in this book were characters in their own right (the main two especially) and they were written in such a way it took my breath away.  The dragons in this book can be terrible and destructive and ruthless.  But then so can humans.  And like humans the dragons can be so much more – and though they do not speak our language, they could tell stories of their own – such beautiful stories.
I absolutely loved the way Kristin wrote this book – I loved the main plot line and story of Asha and her journey.  And I loved the old stories interspersed throughout the book.  I can see why Asha was drawn to the stories – they were just so very beautiful.
This plot was just nonstop!  Just when I thought it was time to take a break and get some much needed sleep, a new twist threw me and simply made me read on.  Kristen will be responsible for many sleepless nights and her books are always going to be so worth it.
My god, this world!  The very idea that stories could hold such power – and that depending on who was telling the story and how it was told, each could be so utterly different.  As a book addict and a devourer of fantasy books, I know how powerful a story can be.  I know how a story can transport you to a whole other world, can let you be a dragon rider for a few hundred pages.  Alas, thus far stories have not called a dragon to me. I even read to my dog a lot of the afternoon (she’s recovering from surgery and is going a little stir crazy – reading to her seems to calm her down a bit) and no sign of a scaled friend for myself.  I’ll keep trying.
I don’t like slavery – I think it’s utterly abhorrent, as most do!  But I thought Kristin handled the subject in a truly delicate way, weaving the slavery of skrals into the story effortlessly and enabling yet more plot twists to cause my jaw to drop! 
If you haven’t guessed yet after reading so far through my long, rambly review, I absolutely adored The Last Namsara.  As a dragon lover, this book was heaven to me and I cannot wait to see what Kristin brings out next.  I’m especially excited about the second book in the series, which will focus on Roa and Dax – I loved both characters and can’t wait to get to know them better!  Kristin Ciccarelli is now added to my list of auto-buy authors – and The Last Namsara is one of my favourite books of 2017.  If you love dragons like I do or just want to read about a badass princess, please pick up The Last Namsara.  You won’t regret it!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stand in nature and tell an old story to the world.  Because I just really really want a dragon.


Star Rating:
5 Out of 5 




Read this book if you liked:
Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas




Happy Reading
Megan
* This book was received from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ghost Blog Tour: Father's Day Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be hosting a brilliant giveaway for all you lovely people this Father’s Day!  I have one hardback copy of the brilliant Ghost by James Swallow, the latest in the crazy popular Marc Dane series, to giveaway to one of you lucky people!  It’s open to European book addicts only, I’m afraid!  But I’m so so happy to be hosting this!  One of you is going to be very lucky!

Blurb from Goodreads: 
A terrible threat from the depths of the dark net. A devastating betrayal at the heart of a covert strike force. A deadly pursuit across a digital battlefield. A ruthless terrorist fuelled by revenge. As devastating attacks unfold across the globe, Marc Dane must call on all his skills and ingenuity to track down the mysterious figure behind it all - a faceless criminal known only as "Madrigal". Before they plunge the world into war . . .

A
lso, guys, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing stops on this Father’s Day Special Spotlight of Ghost!  There are other giveaways going on and loads of brilliant extracts to read!  So check out: From First Page To Last, My Little Library in the Attic, Stephen’s BookishLife, Night Resplendent and Whispering Stories for loads more content!

Now for the actual giveaway!  All you have to do is follow the instructions in my Rafflecopter giveaway widget thingy (I am so good at this tech thing...)  You have to leave a comment on this blog post to be entered for the giveaway – all the other choices are optional for more entries! 

Because I figured since this is for Father’s Day, it would be nice to share something you love about your dad.  One thing I love about mine is how totally supportive he’s been of my blog – I started when I was fourteen and he was always happy to drive me to my blogging events, even though he really doesn’t like books!  So thank you Dad – I really don’t know where I’d be without you! 

Thank you to BonnierZaffre for organising this giveaway!  Again, it's only open to those in Europe, you have to be 18+ or have your parents' permission and this giveaway closes 24th June!  The winner shall then be randomly selected and the lovely people over at BonnierZaffre will send you your brand new book!  So get entering, spread the word and have a great Father's Day, everyone! 


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Girl in the Broken Mirror Blog Tour: Savita Kalhan's Top Ten YA Books That Deal With Sensitive Topics

I am so absolutely thrilled to have the wonderful Savita Kalhan here with us today!  Her newest book, The Girl in the Broken Mirror, is a powerful and moving book about such a difficult but important topic.  I am so very excited to be helping get the word out there about this wonderful book and I really hope you all go and grab a copy!  But first, let me just say thank you so much to Savita for including me in the tour and for putting together this amazing list of books!

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Hi Megan! Thank so you much for inviting me on your blog today. 
The Girl in the Broken Mirror came out on May 1st, and it’s SO exciting seeing it out there and seeing people reading it! Yes, it’s a tough subject matter, so keep a box of tissues handy, but it’s necessary that books about rape and sexual assault are there for teens and young adults, for them to know that they are not alone, and that there is help and light at the end of the darkness.
So here’s my list of books that deal with sensitive issues for teens and young adults.
All the books below have left an impression on me. Each of them tackles a difficult or sensitive subject in teen/YA literature, subjects that need to be written about and read, and discussed, voices that need to be heard. All these books deserve a place on a bookshelf in a school library and a bookshop.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Subject: racism/class. Angie Thomas was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to write this story of Starr who witnesses her friend Khalil being shot at point blank range by a police officer. Khalil had committed no crime. This is such an important book for the times we live in, well-written, hard-hitting. Brilliant.

Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell – terminal illness/suicide. Set in Kyoto in Japan, the story follows seventeen year old Sora, confined to a wheelchair at home with a terminal illness ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease – he has months left to live. It is a devastatingly moving story about loneliness, friendship, and death. This book had me in tears!

No Virgin and No Shame by Anne Cassidy – Subject: rape/trial. Anne Cassidy gives voice to her teen victim, Stacey Woods, raped by a privileged middle class white man who thinks he did no wrong, much in the way that my own book explores this issue from the Asian perspective. It is a powerful uncompromising book.

(Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai – Subject: arranged marriage/culture clash. This was Bali Rai’s debut novel and it was based on a personal experience. It is set partly in the UK and partly in an area in Punjab, and explores what it is to be a British Asian who is expected to conform to his parent’s wishes – even when it comes to who he should marry.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – Subject: war. This subject of this book is a little known but devastating tragedy of the Second World War – the German ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, was sunk in port in early 1945 and it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Told from the perspective of four different characters from four different backgrounds, it follows them as they make their way across Europe to where refugee ships await. It’s a heart-breaking story.

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence – Subject: drugs. This is more than a gripping urban thriller. It is about sixteen year old Marlon who finds himself embroiled in a murder. The book explores themes of family and loyalty and the lengths Marlon feels he has to go to in order to protect those he loves.

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelsen – Subject: extreme disability. Fourteen year old Jemma is a clever, engaging teenager with extreme cerebral palsy – she cannot communicate at all and is reliant on others for everything. When her carer goes missing, Jemma knows who has taken her, but she cannot voice her suspicions, until a new trial technology is developed which might allow her to finally find her voice. This is such a unique book. You will love Jemma and be rooting for her all the way!

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan – Subject: grooming/terrorism. Fifteen year old Muzna has what she calls #BrownGirlProblems – her parents want her to be a doctor and she wants to be writer. With super strict Pakistani and feeling stifled by them and the traditional community, she falls for a boy in her class and ends up embroiled in a terrorist cell. The book was inspired by the author’s shock at the news that three Muslim girls had left the UK to join the Islamic State.

Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill and Hidden by Miriam Halahmy – Subject: refugees. Looking at the Stars is set mainly in a refugee camp where Amina has ended up sheltering in after her family were forced to leave their home. Their life is grim, the conditions harsh, yet Amina finds a way to give some comfort to the kids of the camp with her story-telling. It’s a story of keeping hope alive. In Hidden, a refugee is washed ashore on Hayling Island and rescued by fourteen year old Alix and Samir. The book explores the issues of illegal immigration, refugees, bullying and xenophobia. It is due to be republished soon – and is being produced as a play, too.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten – psychiatric disorders/OCD. Adam has extreme OCD, a condition which makes every day things like opening a door difficult. He joins a counselling group, who meet in Room 13b, and finds that other kids struggle with similar problems and other conditions. He also falls in love for the first time. I loved this book – it’s sad, it’s funny, and very poignant.

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Megan. I hope your readers look up all the books I’ve mentioned – they are all really great reads.

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Previous Stop on The Girl in the Broken Mirror Blog Tour: Tales of Yesterday
Next Stop on The Girl in the Broken Mirror Blog Tour: The Teen Librarian

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Wow, thank you so much for this list, Savita!  I have a few new books to add to my TBR now!
And, everyone, do check out Savita’s website, follow her on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, and add The Girl in the Broken Mirror to your Goodreads TBR list ASAP!

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About Savita Kalhan:
I was born in my grandparent’s home in a small village in the north of India. The family home has been transformed into an amazing charity hospital, which is pretty cool. I moved with my parents from that small village in India to a small town in Buckinghamshire when I was 11 months old. No, I’ve never got used to the cold or the damp or the rain
I went to uni in Aberystwyth, where the winters were colder and the seas stormy, and got happily stuck there for a few years before heading to London and life as an impoverished batik artist, before taking the plunge and getting married in Manila. Then I headed off to the desert heat of the Middle East where I lived and taught English for several years, read like a demon, and started writing.
I’ve never stopped writing. I hope I never do.

Now, I’m in North London, with a view of the woods, a stone’s throw from my allotment where I fight a daily battle against the onslaught of an army of slugs and wrestle with plotlines, and the tennis club where I slug a few balls, and my writing shed at the bottom of the garden where I write.

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The Rest of the Blog Tour:

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn: Blog Tour Review




Hello, book addicts! I'm so very excited to be taking part in The Company of Eight's blog tour! I adored this book and I can't wait for children everywhere to experience the Longest World and go on adventures with Cass and her friends! If you like circuses, pirates and adventure, this book is definitely for you! So give my review a little read and then go out and buy yourself a copy!


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The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Format: ARC**
Published: 3rd May 2018
Number of Pages: 208
Book: For Review* 
Genre:  Fantasy, Adventure, Coming-Of-Age, Middle-Grade
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Alcohol References
Author's Site: Harriet Whitehorn


Blurb From Goodreads:
When Ravellous's Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts's disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different? 
A beautifully written adventure story for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars from Harriet Whitehorn, award-winning author of the Violet series.


                                                                   Review:
“I am afraid I cannot name them all, but overall they were known as Mele’s Sword Fighters or the Company of Eight.
“The Company still survives today, helping those in need and vanquishing evil, as they did in Mele’s time, but these days, it has become an underground organisation and the identity of its eight members is a closely guarded secret.”
All Cass wants to do is get out of the Magical District and join the Circus Boat.  She wants to be an acrobat aboard their ship – where her utterly un-magical nature isn’t seen as being weird.
But when she misses her audition, she is forced to re-evaluate, and decides she wishes to spend the next year on the Island of Women until she can try out again.
And when she manages to impress Lord Bastien, the Protector of the Longest World, she decides to travel with him aboard his Palace Ship.
But she soon realises Bastien and his son have ulterior motives – ones Cass is entirely uncomfortable with!  Before long, she has become entangled with thieves and slavers... and the Company of Eight, a legendary set of female sword-fighters who could be her only hope...
When I saw Company of Eight on Stripe’s Instagram page, I commented instantly because it sounded and looked brilliant.  And when they offered me an ARC to read?  Of course I said yes please!  I won’t lie, I’ve been so stuck in my YA fantasies lately that getting into this took a little time, but I was soon totally wrapped up in the story!  This is the kind of book I would’ve been absolutely obsessed with ten years ago – and one I thoroughly enjoyed today, aged twenty-one.  It was magical and exciting and full of adventure and kick-butt women. 
Cass was such an awesome character – brave and clever and loyal.  While she made a few decisions I didn’t really agree with, I still loved her character.  She was great fun and a real role-model (running away aside!) who was never afraid to stand up for herself and went out of her way to help her friends.
I really loved all the supporting characters too!  Especially Rip – he was so sweet and just such a good friend!  And Elsba was amazing – such a wonderfully strong female!  She was just so very strong and so kind.  
However, I was not a fan of the pirates or a certain lord.  At all.  The pirates were just cruel and that lord was just an absolute jerk!   I also want to say that even though a lot of the characters weren’t around long, as Cass is often moving around the Longest World, I felt all of them were well developed and different and just good fun!  My favourite minor character just had to be Lion – he was adorable.
Ah, this story!  It was the perfect amount of thrills, excitement, humour, magic and suspense and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  It’s honestly the perfect bedtime story read – only be prepared for a lot of ‘just one more chapter’.  I literally finished this book in two sittings (it would have been one, but my friends insisting on badgering me with messages in the middle of my binge read).  I was constantly excited and engaged in the plot – I loved the twists, turns, pirates and sword fighters!  It was just such a fun read.
And, as I pointed out earlier, I’ve been reading too many adult and YA fantasies lately so the writing did take a little getting used to, since it’s far simpler compared to what I was used to.  But it’s engaging and exciting and soon had me within its grip!  It’s the perfect level for its intended audiences, although the fairly short chapters are a danger – I literally just kept thinking ‘one more chapter... one more chapter’.  And then it was 2a.m and I wanted book two, please.  Please tell me there’s going to be a book two!  I’m not done with Cass and the Eight yet!
Oh and I really enjoyed this world – I’m so happy the finished book comes with a map!   I’m a big map fan.  Plus this map is gorgeous – and shows me where all my favourite places in the Longest World are!
This is the perfect book for young readers to read alone or as a bedtime story – it’s fun, exciting and magical.  Plus it has acrobats, pirates, Lords and a team of awesome female sword fighters!  What isn’t to love?

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5


Read this book if you liked:
The Huntress Series by Sarah Driver
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket


Happy Reading
Megan
* This book was received from Stripes in exchange for an honest review
** Quotes used are from a proof copy and may have been changed in the finished book

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Previous Stop on The Company of Eight Blog Tour: Chrikaru Reads
Next Stop on the The Company of Eight Blog Tour: Tanya's Allsorts

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Ah, I really hope there is a book two! Everyone, go and read The Company of Eight! 
Also definitely check out Harriet's website, follow her on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, and add The Company of Eight to your Goodreads TBR ASAP list!