Book Review: Company Daughter

Book Title: Company Daughter

Author: Callan Primer

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Children of Astraea

Ratings: DNF

A girl. A saucepan. A plan to conquer the universe.

Aleta Dinesen doesn’t see the point of hanging around home, not when she can cook a mean paella. But her plan to conquer the universe one meal at a time runs afoul of her overprotective father, commander of a tough mercenary company. And when he puts his foot down, he’s got the firepower to back it up.

Undeterred, Aleta escapes the dreadnaught she calls home one step ahead of the gorgeous, highly disapproving Lieutenant Park, the unlucky young officer tasked with hauling her back. But the universe isn’t the safe place she thought it was. Stranded in a dangerous mining community, she clings to survival by her fingernails. Only by working with someone she can’t stand will she have a chance to escape, proving to everyone that a teenage cook can be the most dangerous force in the universe.

– Goodreads

Special thanks to Sarah Canning for providing me a copy of Company Daughter

I tried picking it up several times but it just didn’t work. I was confused about everything right from the start and couldn’t bring myself to read any further.

∞ ϟ 9¾ ♔ ⚯͛ △⃒⃘ ➵ ♆

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Book discussion: Ruin and Rising

Book Title: Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Tsarpunk, YA fantasy

★★★★★

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.- Goodreads

 

Hands down this is the best book in the Grisha trilogy.

 

The Characters

Alina

Her character development is amazing. I’m glad that she’s grown so much (as you know, I don’t really like her in Siege and storm)

Mal

I’m still not really fond of him, but it’s good that he has become less emotional and more bearable.

Nikolai

ASDFGHJKL He is THE best. He’s witty and a good leader and I’m so thankful that he doesn’t turn evil (phew). The part when he turned into a Volcra though… I really hope he’ll live a happy life 😦

 
Reference to Russian History
I do see some Russian history reference

  1. Nikolai has a similar name with Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917). Hopefully I won’t write ‘Nikolai’ in the exam (lol)
  2. The Apparat reminds me of the Orthodox Church in the Romanov Dynasty

 
The Story
I thought Alina would not kill Mal. And it’s kind of weird, how he resurrected. The ending… I feel empty – after embarking on an extraordinary journey, they live an ordinary life again. However, I cannot think of a better one: I want the Darkling to remain evil (and dead), I don’t want Alina to be the queen, and I want Alina to be happy.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and it’s a great sequel (as you all know, sequels can sometimes be disappointing.) I absolutely love the science reference (e.g. refraction, bending light etc.) It’s not pure fantasy, it has science in it (whoop)

A side note: I accidentally flipped to the part where Mal’s discovered as the last amplifier and I was like ‘NO NO SPOILER ARRGH I’m ruined’

 

Good and Evil

Both Alina and the Darkling are very powerful – they are very similar. But what make Alina ‘good’ and the Darkling ‘evil’ are their decisions and how they rule.

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Well, in Alina’s case, it’s faith. Loads of people have faith in her, and because she cares about her followers, people are willing to bow down to her and call her a ‘Saint’. The Darkling uses fear to rule, and his follower only bow down to him because they fear him.

There is no greater power than faith, and there will be non greater army than one driven by it.

To be honest, both Alina and the Darkling are power-hungry. I love how they are very similar, yet so different. Also, characters like Genya and Zoya displayed their bright and dark side throughout the story. Leigh Bardugo makes this message clear – We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. (what’s up Harry Potter reference)

 

∞ ϟ 9¾ ♔ ⚯͛ △⃒⃘ ➵ ♆

The Grisha Trilogy as a whole

The covers are AMAZING! I can’t choose between these two:

 

Even though it’s not an action-packed fantasy, it brings out important messages. The world building is amazing, and the characters are well developed. There’s no fine line between good and evil – everyone can be both at the same time. I’ll definitely recommend it to those who are new to the fantasy genre and it is one of the best trilogies I’ve read this year 🙂

∞ ϟ 9¾ ♔ ⚯͛ △⃒⃘ ➵ ♆

So what do you think of Ruin and Rising? Are you satisfied with the ending?

Book discussion: Seige and Storm

Book Title: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Tsarpunk

★★★★★ (4.5 stars)

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
– Goodreads

This is a sequel to Shadow and Bone. If you haven’t picked it up yet, I recommend you to do so. So far it’s not an action-packed series, but the characters and world building are amazing… So bye! Non-spoiler people!

Tsarpunk
The edition I have includes a Q&A session with the author. One of the questions is about the genre of The Grisha trilogy. It could be classified as High Fantasy or Epic Fantasy, but Leigh Bardugo prefers ‘Tsarpunk’.

So how do you define Tsarpunk?
I’ll say that Tsarpunk is fantasy that takes its inspiration from the aesthetics, culture, politics, and social structure of early 19th century Russia. – Leigh Bardugo

[ Read the full interview here: http://ageofsteam.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/genre-friction-what-is-tsarpunk-by-leigh-bardugo/ ]

‘Tsarpunk’ sounds cool 😂 I’m learning Russian history at school right now and I wrote ‘Tsarpunk’ all over my notes to keep myself from falling asleep. (Shouldn’t be doing that. Whatever.)
Later when people ask me what genre is this trilogy classified as, I’m definitely going to say ‘Tsarpunk’

 

Okay. Enough Tsarpunk. Now let’s move on to my thoughts on the book.

 

Characters
I love how Leigh Bardugo creates the character – even the hero/heroine have their dark side. It makes the characters more human. And this (in addition to the amazing world-building) are the reasons why I still love this trilogy though it’s not that action-packed.

Alina
I was so afraid that Alina would be power-hungry and eventually become the next Darkling (Lightling, maybe). And the fact that she doesn’t tell Mal about the appearances of the Darkling irritates me. I hate it when characters keep ‘secrets’ from each other. However, as I’ve said before, heroine has her dark side, so although I don’t really like her in S&S, her character is interesting.

Mal
I’m never fond of Mal. His relationship with Alina in this book bugs me a lot, but I’m going to wait till I finished the whole series before I comment on his character.

Sturmound
If he doesn’t turn evil, he’s probably my favourite character in this trilogy. He is just AWESOME, but I don’t trust him yet.

 

Faith
Sankta Alina
I like how Leigh Bardugo made the pilgrims worship Alina as a saint. There are something or some messages behind ‘faith’, but I’ll have to wait untill I finish the whole trilogy (again) before I talk about it.

 

The Ratings
The plot of Siege and Storm is pretty good – there are surprises, politics and actions.
The first 2/3 of the book is kind of slow. After coming back to Ravka, the characters have to deal with their personal matters, so that part is not gripping at all. I was ready to give it a 4/5 stars. But then there’s Nickolai’s birthday, and things start to get intense. The final battle is just EPIC. I loved it so much, I just can’t give it a rating lower than S&B.
It’s not a 5/5 stars because I really don’t like Alina keeping secrets, and Mal kind of bugs me. But I’m looking forward to their character development in R&R.

I’m probably going to do a discussion post on the trilogy as a whole.