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Currently reading: Simon VS the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Book of Snow & Silence by Zoe Marriott

Written by: Zoe Marriott.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 30th June 2020.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "Fierce Princess Theoai is devastated when betrayal by her own sister destroys her chance to inherit their mother’s crown. Exiled across the sea to wed a prince she has never met, she soon finds that taking possession of her new crown will be more perilous than she could ever have imagined. The snowy realm of Silinga is rotten to the core, and Theoai’s handsome Prince is spoiled and reckless, with eyes only for the beautiful mute who washed up on the shore the day after Theoai’s arrival: Shell. But though she enchants the entire palace with her unearthly dancing, Shell is more than just a romantic rival, and against her will Theoai is drawn to her. As they both navigate the glittering, treacherous court, their relationship changes from hostility to friendship – and then to a love that will shake the very foundations of the cold kingdom that seeks to tear them apart. THE BOOK OF SNOW & SILENCE is a sweeping, Feminist novel of enchantment, ambition and, above all, love."

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The moment I saw Zoe announce this book on twitter I just knew that it was up my street. A queer retelling (of sorts) of the original Has Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid. Erm, yes please and thank you very much.

Princess Theoai is aboard a ship destined for her new home, the frozen world of Silinga, a far cry from her desert homeland of Yamarr, where she is to wed the Prince, the spoilt and Uldar. When disaster strikes and Theoai finds herself alone in these foreign lands, she is determined to do what it takes to get the crown. But as she finds herself more and more entertained with the mysterious mute, Shell, things will not be as easy as she had first hoped.

I really enjoyed this book and I had thought that I would. It features some of my favourite things. First off, I am a winter guy. Give me winter over summer any day of the week and I will be happy. I like it cold. I like snow and ice and so this was perfect for me. I adore The Little Mermaid both Disney and Hans Christian Andersons decidedly darker original. When I was younger, I wanted to be the actual mermaid herself so I have always loved any variation on the tale. But for it to be a queer retelling. Ugh, be still my beating heart. I love betrayal, I love the sea, I loved so much in this book that it was a pleasure to read from start to finish. 

There is a great cast of characters for you to fall in love with and also to dislike. From our narrator herself, to Shell, the Crown Prince. Captains of the ships. And the animals! They're characters too, right?! I loved the use of animals in the book. The second I saw the word orca I was sold. If you want to get me hook, line and sinker just mention orcas and I am down. And the bears. Good lord, the bears. I shall say no more. 

Zoe's writing is so fluid and rich, it was a joy to read. I felt like I was being taken along for the journey, almost as if I was there. It was that engaging and entrancing. The world is so well fleshed out and it just made sense. The different nations and their cultures. The differences between them, and indeed their similarities. It all felt so real.

I really hope that this is the beginning of something because I want more. It was so fun and enjoyable that I don't want it to stop more. Sequel? Please and thank you!

My thanks to Zoe for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me a sneak peak at this wonderful world!

It is out TODAY! Go get it. You won't regret it!

Burn by Patrick Ness [Review]

Written by: Patrick Ness.
Published by: Walker.
Released: May 2020.
Format: Hardback.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst's father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?"

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I tore through this one. I knew that I would enjoy it... Come on... It's Patrick Ness for goodness sake. Can he do no wrong? But I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. 

I was sold as soon as I heard the word "dragon" mentioned when the book was announced and I have to say that this book completely exceeded my expectations, in the sense that it wasn't what I expected at all. It didn't feel so much like a fantasy as I had expected. Yes, there were fantastical elements but it all felt so real. As if it was right that the dragons were a part of our world, and why would it be questioned?

I fell in love with Sarah as a protagonist, her attitude, the way she carried herself, her ability to not let her fathers feelings of dragons influence her own. And speaking of dragons, how could you not just want more and more and more of Kazimir?

I loved that it tackles a lot of different subjects. Racism. Homophobia. There are still echoes of what happened in World War 2 and with the treat of a cold war looming, the tension is palpable. 

As ever, there is always a little weirdness to Patrick's books and I love how, much like Release there is a second story going on away from the main focus point of Sarah and the dragon. Following FBI agents Dernovich and Woolf was a ride on its own.

All in all this is one not to be missed and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second! An exhilarating read!