Gideon the Ninth Review

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

There’s been a lot of rave for this book, but I am not sure I will fully rave about it. I enjoyed it a lot and it kept me hooked and reading it, but the way it had been pitched and talked about meant I was expecting something else.

If you’re looking for lesbian necromancer in space, you won’t really find that here. This is NOT a space opera, there’s very little “space” part in it, which was what made me unhappy the most. I was expecting some crazy space opera with necromancers and most of the space talk is them moving from their planet to another, which takes a few pages and that is it. There aren’t really any more space themed things going on beyond the fact that tehy are on a planet (I mean, in most stories you read, the characters are in a planet or something of the kind).

We get most of the story from Gideon’s point of view, so if you don’t like much her prickly/snarky want to be a hero and not super focused but rather emotional way of being, you won’t like the way this is narrated (which seems to be one of the main issues I see others found not great). I liked the snark and sarcasm and prickliness of her and her interactions and shenanigans made me like her a bit or at least be fond of her antics.

The story is mostly about them trying to solve a big puzzle in an abandoned building to become the best necromancer for the emperor. But it isn’t easy and it comes at a cost, plus being a necromancer doesn’t mean you are immune to death (one wishes, right?). I enjoyed the way necromancy is divided by houses and abilities, where each house has a focus on how they use necromancy and what they use it for. I also liked the whole mystery how are we going to solve this, do we try to work on our own or team up? thing.

There’s a lot of competition and lots of backstabbing (figurative and literal) and a lot of fighting and crazy stints and I enjoyed this a lot. One of the downsides is that there are a lot of characters and at times I couldn’t really remember which house they belong to, who they had come in with and what abilities they had. Nor could I fully remember they had or hadn’t achieved to a certain point in the story because we get a lot fo the story from Gideon’s point so we miss a lot or only what she cares about (which is fine, but can make the story confusing and I only really cared for a few characters rather than the whole set).

All in all, it was a crazy fun necromancy read. Just don’t expect the whole crazy space part because it wasn’t that.

Dangers of the Deep Book Box Club Unboxing

A well themed box with a book I wanted to read (it is so gorgeous!), so let’s go unboxing, starting on the theme card and going clockwise:

  • Theme Card, definitely matches book and thene.
  • Whale notebook, I like notebooks and the artwork is gorgeous
  • Socks, mermaid socks! I am a happy human and they’re cute.
  • Two publisher’s frebies
  • Clubhouse invite for a chat with the author
  • Octopus pin, this is very detailed and cute.
  • Another promo item
  • Dangers of the Deep Shampoo Bar. This caused a great conversation about them at work and I raved on how good they are, so I am looking forward to using it and think it is great we get alternative care items beyond lip balms and creams and scrubs. Love it!
  • A sturdy coaster, this is a really good one!
  • Deeplight by Frances Hardinge. It is a super gorgeous book and I can’t wait to read.
  • A signed map, since Waterstones had the exclusive rights to signed books so we get a signature on the map. A good way to get away with a signature, clever and crafty!

All in all, a box very well themed that gives an ocean and deep sea vibe and I can’t wait to start reading the book today with our reading group.

The Okay Witch Review

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This book that I sadly haven’t seen anyone raving about is a hidden gem. It’s a graphic novel with cute artwork, and lots of coming into your magic, plus small town vibes and school shenanigans!

Moth loves everything that is magical and witchy, but that means she’s a little out of the main circle in school. However as she makes a new friend because she is friendly, she accidentally comes into magic powers. And boy, they are interesting and scary and also, magic is hard!

Not to spoil anythign but Moth lives in a small town that was really against witches, there is a talking cat, and there is a school play, Moth’s friend trying to impress his father (mysterious character that the father is), and then Moth’s own mother is keeping some really interesting secrets of her own.

But none of that will stop Moth from trying to learn how to do magic and use it better than by accident! She is one determined girl and this is a fun read full of joy, adventure, crazy stuff and bucketfuls of magic and history.

Highly recommended if you like empowering books about preteens/teens coming of age and finding powers, if you like magic, and friendship and family. It’s a really lovely book.

Shadow Review

Shadow by Lucy Christopher and Anastasia Suvorova

In our old house, Ma told me there was nothing to be scared of. No monsters hiding behind doors, or in wardrobes, or under beds. She said there were no dark places at all. But, in the new house, under my new bed, that’s where I found Shadow.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

I like having a stack of illustrated books to go through when I am not feeling well enough or in the mood for a big read. That isn’t to say they aren’t as wrothy, but rather, this type of books are very powerful in a small number of pages, and Shadow is one of those. [This review contains “spoilers”]

Shadow takes us on a journey into depression and “shadows”. How grief and fear can stop the world and sometimes put the ones we love into the shadows and push them away. The little girl has a good life and then they move to a new place and Ma isn’t the same so she finds a new friend to play with, Shadow.

The book is quite powerful, the artwork is very fitting in a limited palette that hints at darkness and more, but it is a good book, with lots of detail in the artwork and the wording. Good for children who would read a fun story about an imaginary friend and a daughter and mother, or for older ones who know grief, anxiety and depression.

Black Canary Ignite Review

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she’s going. First, she’ll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she’ll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock star group of friends may even save the world, but first they’ll need to agree on a band name.

When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah’s goals and threatens her friends and family, she’ll learn more about herself, her mother’s secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This was an impulse buy because the superhero name sounded familiar but I couldn’t remember much and it looked cute.

We meet Dinah as she is singing for a band rehearsal, she and her two friends know they want to win and are ready to rock the world! However there is this weirdo mysterious person who keeps appearing at ood moments and that seems very interested in Dinah.

Things progress quite fast in the story but it was easy to read, didn’t feel like I was missing much even if there was a lot of dumping of mum’s past (wish it had been done a bit better). The artwork felt very fitting to the story and like it captured Dinah and her family and Gotham’s feel well, there wasn’t a mismatch between art and story and it didn’t feel like one was carrying the other but rather complimenting each other nicely and to me that is always a really nice ting and sometimes missing in other graphic novels.

I enjoyed this graphic novel, had fun, wanted to know more about Dinah after the story ended (would read another one of them) and felt satisfied with it, which is a good thing and kinda what I want of this type of book. It only doesn’t get 5 stars because it didn’t blow me away. But definitely enjoyable and fun to read.

Dawn of a New World Owlcrate Unboxing

A very late unbpxing of October’s Owlcrate (I did open it a while ago, but forgot to post about it, woops). It had two books and an item that as soon as I saw it and others too it was a comment of “it is perfect for me/you”. So let’s unbox, starting from the top left and going clockwise:

  • Crier’s War by Nina Varela. Androids and humans in an interesting world, so excited to read it!
  • An Illuminae book tin, each side has a quote from one of the books. It is dark and intriguing and a bit cryptic and I like it.
  • I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Bishi, the world is ending and I am not sure about this book but intrigued!
  • A Warcross inspired sticker, it is very holographic and I like it.
  • Magnetic bookmarks, probably the item I was the least excited about since I like the arts but do not particularly like the item.
  • Theme card.
  • The pin of the month, wasn’t my favourite but its kinda retro and cute.
  • Finally, the item I loved the most, a moon necklace with circuitry. It is inspired by the Lunar Chronicles which I haven’t read and not bothered but absolutely fell in love with the charm and necklace. It is amazing.

Sanctuary Review

Sanctuary by V. V. James

The small Connecticut town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback.

Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker?

As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

I read Sanctuary a while back but had a backlog of reviews, so only doing it now. My bad! Because this book was a wild ride and it kept surprising.

The only thing to consider is that this is a book about a witch hunt, a “murder” and contains rape of a minor by another minor (slightly older). There’s a lot going on in this book.

I found this book a wild ride because the beginning is a hit in the face, and then it shifted from a muder mystery/investigation to a bit of “The Real Housewives of Sanctuary”. This was the part that took me the longest to get through, as it is exactly that type of drama and relationships that I try to keep myself away from and do not particularly appreciate in personal relationships (Vic wrote it brilliantly, which is why I struggled with it, it was too “real”).

The concept of a “small” town full of secrets was very intriguing and it was good to see the secrets reveal themselves a little through Maggie but also to get them from each of the characters involved and then seeing different sides of the same story. And seeing characters suddnely connect the dots and go “oh dear”.

Abigail and Michael drove me up the wall, but I have known people like them and yeah, wide berth. No wonder Daniel was as he was.

I liked Sarah and one part I wanted to know more of was the magic system, the Conclave, everything. It is a world where being a witch is allowed and technically not persecuted (the nuance on how it can be a useful but slightly complex skill and how to use it, plus the implications on keeping records, and what actions you can do or not, was fascinating. I could read a book on how it is meant to work, or more details of it, seriously).

To be fair, in general, the characters kept me wondering or hating them very much. For some I just wanted them to stop being so obtuse, and the ending was good, as was the explanation of the mystery and if it was a murder or not. Plus all those layers of secrets on secrets and lies on lies were very intriguing and kept connecting the story throughout. Shame that the children sometimes end up having to live through everything the parents have done and undone.

Still, if you want a good witchy scary feminist book, with a murder and a mystery, go for this book. it won’t disappoint!