Tag Archives: historical

[Review] Mark of the Plague — Kevin Sands


Book Title: Mark of the Plague (The Blackthorn Key #02)
Author:     Kevin Sands
Number of pages:  544


mark of the plague - kevin sands - book coverThe Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy.

And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…

(re: Goodreads @ Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– Can be read standalone (not recommended for context however)
– Layered mystery with less reliance on puzzles (though there are some) and a greater emphasis on antagonists to push the conflict
– Addition of a female secondary character; no romance
– First POV narrative can sometimes read as though protagonist is withholding information from the reader
– Pigeon feels.

Initial Thoughts

My body was not ready for pigeon feels.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Mark of the Plague from Simon and Schuster Canada.

Continue reading [Review] Mark of the Plague — Kevin Sands

[Review] Julia Vanishes — Catherine Egan


Book Title: Julia Vanishes (Witch's Child)
Author:     Catherine Egan
Number of pages:  384


Julia Vanishes - Catherine Egan - book coverJulia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding–though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia suspects that there’s a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.

(re: Goodreads @ Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– A hodgepodge of genres that while enhances the crossover appeal of its setting, it can be a bit much to follow in practice
– Slow paced and limited action until the latter parts (80% mark)
– The romance in this story doesn’t really matter
– A variety of narrative threads and conflicts that may be a cause for confusion

Initial Thoughts

This is a very difficult book to review because there a lot of “idk?” that follows every comment being made.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Julia Vanishes from Goodreads courtesy of Knopf Canada at PRH.

Continue reading [Review] Julia Vanishes — Catherine Egan

[Review] The False Prince — Jennifer A. Nielsen


Book Title:  The False Prince (Ascendence Trilogy #01)
Author:      Jennifer A. Nielsen
Number of pages:  342


In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

(re: Goodreads @ The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– Competitive premise; tautly written page-turning narrative and palatable action sequences
– Low fantasy featuring historical/medieval undertones (no magic or anything as of now) and a politically driven conflict
– World building may not be descriptively vibrant if you’re used to intricate magic systems etc.
– The protagonist walks around with a a witty “better than you” swagger. Likability factor depends on the readers opinion on grey characters that aren’t “good” for the sake of being a hero
– Romance is a bit of instalust and/or love triangle but is not the focus at all.

Initial Thoughts

Good ol’ MG Fantasy pick-me-up.

Continue reading [Review] The False Prince — Jennifer A. Nielsen