Book Review: Spellbook Of The Lost And Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . 

‘That night, everybody lost something.
                Not everybody noticed.’

When I first picked up ‘The Spellbook Of The Lost And Found’, I was drawn into the story pretty much immediately; the writing was beautiful and the mood so perfectly set within it’s opening that I was deeply intrigued and longed to learn more. Throughout I continued to want to learn exactly what was happening but, at the same time, I increasingly found myself thinking that things were getting much, much too strange and ultimately went from loving the book to finding it fairly average, which frustrated me.

The writing of this novel stayed beautiful and somewhat haunting throughout. It painted things so lyrically and for the most part I loved the author’s actual writing. The diary extracts that were dotted throughout were fascinating to read, as were all of the points of view. The one fault I had with it was that at times I thought certain metaphors were pushed just a bit too far although other than that the writing was divine.

Although I enjoyed reading everyone’s point of view I didn’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters within this novel. Some of them intrigued me – especially the mysterious Jude – and I did feel sorry for others at times but I didn’t find myself caring for them as deeply as I often do when reading a book. I think the instant fascination with the unusual trio living in the woods felt a little strange to me, which didn’t particularly help.

I honestly thought I’d really enjoy a story where things are mysteriously being lost and found; I knew to expect strange events that defied logic and usually love magical stories. Instead of feeling magical this story just felt increasingly bizarre to me though. There were quite a few scenes that I read and came away from thinking ‘well that was odd’ rather than being hooked and intrigued as I’d have expected. There was just something very strange feeling to the entire story for me, which I find really frustrating as I honestly thought I’d find it wonderful. There seemed to be a lot of elements within this book for a fascinating story – especially with the mysterious and hypnotic Jude and the girls who were enthralled by him – but for me something just didn’t click. Although it needs to be said that there were also a few heart wrenching scenes involved which are worthy of note.

Altogether I started out by loving ‘The Spellbook Of The Lost And Found’ but quickly found myself losing interest as I instead increasingly found myself remarking upon the weirdness of certain scenes. I didn’t end up getting particularly fed up of it but I gradually lost my desire to find out what was going on so I ultimately found it to be a fairly average book despite the wonderful writing. I’m still looking forward to checking out The Accident Season sometime; I’m just not in quite as great a rush to do so.

Check Spellbook Of The Lost And Found out on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail or share their opinions of it then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Firstly I just want to thank Readers First for my copy of ‘The Wicked King’ and also apologize, once again, for my review being so late due to illness. Thanks again for being so understanding.

  ‘Fighting was chess, anticipating the move of one’s opponent and countering it before one got hit.
        But it was chess played with the whole body. Chess that left her bruised and tired and frustrated with the whole world and with herself, too.’

The Wicked King picks up several months on from where The Cruel Prince left off, following Jude as she struggles to keep hold of the power that she managed to scheme her way into. Betrayal after betrayal tugged and tore at my heartstrings, whilst more shocking twists and turns left me racing through Holly Black’s beautiful words, eager to see what would happen next. It was a dark and often heart wrenching joy to dive back into Holly Black’s world of Faery with its intoxicating cruelty and savage allure. 

Once again I felt that Holly Black managed to perfectly capture just how dark, devious and brutal Faery can be whilst also showing how mortals are helplessly drawn in by it. Truthfully I think it’s a hard balance for an author to find – beauty, desire, fear and danger, merging so seamlessly – yet this author does it exquisitely. The world is addictive whilst the plot is ripe with twists, turns, shocks and action that makes it impossible to tear your eyes from the page. 

Predicting what any one of the many characters will do is probably as hard as striking up a deal in Elfhame that favors a mortal but they always still act in a way that fits what is previously established of them. Jude has to be one of the most brutal protagonists that I’ve ever come across but her actions are quite understandable when you see the level of fear that she’s been raised in. It’s fascinating to see her try and juggle everything, not knowing who to trust or where to turn; especially when her own feelings start to torment her too. Cardan frequently surprised me throughout this book, his drunken antics as High King probably being the least unexpected of his actions whilst several members of Jude’s Court Of Shadows managed to worm their way into my heart. I’m not going to say too much else about individuals as I want to avoid spoilers but what I will say is this: guard your heart. Certain characters managed to break mine once more whilst others startled me in new and unexpected ways. 

Altogether I can easily say that I highly recommend this book. It’s got to be one of the best takes on Faeries that I’ve ever came across and is easy to get sucked fully into. Pick up this book, you won’t regret it; although the wait for book three will surely be trying. 

Check The Wicked King out on Goodreads here.

If you enjoyed The Wicked King I also recommend: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


Book Review: The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes . . . 

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke. 

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

‘Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.
        It’s important that we learn the lessons our mother didn’t.

After the end of The Cruel Prince I’ve got to admit that I really wasn’t a fan of Taryn, although that’s not to say that I wasn’t interested by her character. Reading about her is fascinating but, if forced to think of her on an emotional level, I find her pretty unlikable thanks to previous actions. The opportunity to learn more about those actions, and see her point of view on certain events, intrigued me to no end however, so naturally I picked up this story. Although, regardless of character, I’m pretty sure I’d take any chance to delve back into Elfhame and Holly Black’s marvellous writing.

This short story got off to a dark and horrifying start, with Taryn telling a twisted tale that is sure to draw most readers in. It was brutal to say the least; but it definitely left me eager for more. From there the fairy tale feel of this story carried on throughout, something that seemed to fit quite well considering both Taryn’s and Locke’s love of stories. I learnt more about both of those characters in this novella although I can’t say that I’ve warmed much to either. They fascinate me regardless however and I look forward to seeing what they’ll both do next.

So yes I recommend this novella to anyone whose read The Cruel Prince but definitely also suggest reading The Cruel Prince first due to spoilers. I’ve also got to say that, short as this was, I’d still love to read other novellas set within this world and follow other – or the same – characters. I just find all things Elfhame one hundred percent addictive.

Check The Lost Sisters out on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

Nicasia’s wrong about me. I don’t desire to do as well in the tournament as one of the fey. I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal.
        In my heart, I yearn to best them.’

This book is amazing; I honestly don’t think that I can recommend it enough. Admittedly it was one of the books that I was most looking forward to reading in 2018 but sometimes having high expectations can leave you disappointed. With this book that definitely wasn’t the case however; I loved every moment of it.

The world that The Cruel Prince is set within is just perfect. It manages to merge both the mortal and Faerie realm well and jumps straight into the action from the very first page. There’s a vast range of characters within it, with varying personalities and attitudes, many of which surprised me at one point or another. I found myself warming to unexpected characters and turning against others that I wouldn’t have initially imagined. I love that Jude isn’t your typical central character either. She’s tough and has a very hard shell, to be perfectly honest she’s rather brutal at times, but the reasons for how she is are explained and understandable. Hearing the story from her point of view definitely keeps you on your toes. Everybody was well written and the variety of different faeries, who are all so vividly described, is fantastic. There were twists and turns throughout and I constantly found myself with a desperate need to know what would happen next. 

I think my favourite thing about this book is the way that the faeries in it are portrayed though. Many of the ‘rules’ that I’ve previously read about were mentioned, along with Faery food and bargains with stings in their tails. The fae themselves were just perfect; beautiful and alluring yet dark and deadly, intoxicating and cruel but in such a way that others find it hard to stay away. There’s just something so compelling about the twisted world of Faery and the dark, manipulative beings that live within it and Holly Black’s take on it was an addictive joy to read. The wait for book two will certainly be a hard one.

Check The Cruel Prince out on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.