Shadow of the Raven by Millie Thom

Millie ThomShadow of the Raven (Sons of Kings 1) by Millie Thom

A tale of Viking raids, hapless thralls, noble kings and their sons and friendship and love. Above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge…

The life of Eadwulf, ten-year old son of the Mercian king, is changed forever when his family is betrayed to the Danes by his treacherous uncle. In a Danish raid, his father is killed and his mother is raped. And along with his tutor and childhood friend, Eadwulf is captured and taken to the Danish lands to be sold as a slave. As a thrall in Jarl Ragnar’s village, Eadwulf’s life is hard, his days unbearably long. But on the return of Bjorn, the jarl’s jovial firstborn, from his summer raids, Eadwulf’s life greatly improves. Under the protective wing of Bjorn and his crew, he spends the next few years sailing to places he’d never even dreamed of, trading and raiding. And though he’s still a thrall, he becomes a well-respected member of Bjorn’s closely knit crew. But through it all, the smouldering desire for revenge on those who destroyed his family refuses to abate. Eadwulf’s tale plays out against the backdrop of events unfolding in Wessex in the face of escalating Danish raids. Alfred, the fifth son of the Wessex king, faces family tragedies from an early age, losing first his mother, then his beloved sister when she is married to the new Mercian king. At his father’s court and the successive courts of his three elder brothers, he learns the weighty art of kingship. And, like Eadwulf, he learns the harshest lesson of all . . . that a trusted kinsman can so easily turn traitor.

This is the story of the early years of Alfred of Wessex and the fictional Eadwulf of Mercia, son of Beorhtwulf of Mercia. Eadwulf is 10 years when his home is attacked by Vikings, his father killed and Eadwulf taken as a slave. He learns the viking ways and in time earns the respect of his master Bjorn. Meanwhile Alfred is growing as the king’s youngest child who is already showing piousness as a 4 year old. Mature for his years, his life is also turning upside down when his mother dies.

This started really slow but I’m glad I kept reading because after it started picking up it was good. Eadwulf goes from being king’s son to a slave, thrall, and becoming one of them. But he never forgot who he is or where he came from and longs to avenge his family.
Alfred is so young that he doesn’t really do anything in this book but I’ll look forward seeing more about him.

There’s lot of great minor characters like Bjorn and his sister Freydis and I hope we get to see some of them in the future.

3,5/5

Published: self published (2015)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

DarkerA Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic 1) by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last travelers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, without magic and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London- where magic is revered, and where Kell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London – where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London.

Officially Kell is the Red traveller, carrying letters between the monarchs of each London. Unofficially he is a smuggler, a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences. His escape to Grey London leads to a run-in with Delilah, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations, who forces Kell to take her on a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and an adventure becomes a mission to save all of the worlds. (back cover)

I really liked the idea of different worlds where in all of them there’s London in the same place. All of the worlds have something in common and still are very different.

Kell can travel between the worlds and it’s a rare ability since only two is known to possess it nowdays. He was raised with the royal family but doesn’t feel he belong there but I liked his relationship with his foster brother Rhy, the heir to the throne. Kell doesn’t know who his parents are or anything about his childhood and I hope we learn more about his past in the future. And he has a coat that has many sides depending how he wants to look. How cool is that?

When we first meet Lila I wasn’t too excited. I don’t know, I guess she was too reckless, selfish and caused unnecessary problems which lead to me wanting to shake some sense into her. But she did grow on me and I started to like her more.

This was my first book by the author and I really look forward reading rest of this series!

4/5

Published: Titan Books (2015)
Format: paperback
Pages: 384
Source: library

Mailbox Monday (15.6.15)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I just realised that I haven’t posted mailbox monday since April. But it’s been quiet in my mailbox which is a good thing… But here’s what I got in the last few weeks:

books15.6.15
Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine (bookmooch)
Odin’s Child by Bruce MacBain (for review)
Visions by Kelley Armstrong (bought)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queenRed Queen (Red Queen 1) by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. (Goodreads)

In Mare Barrow’s world there’s two kinds of people: those who has Red Blood and those who have Silver Blood. Those with Silver blood are “better” people and have magical gifts while those with Red blood do not have any gifts and are more on the poor side. Those Reds who turn 18 and don’t have a job, are sent into army on the war front.

One night Mare meets a stranger who arranges a job for her in the court. There she discovers she has powers while it’s unheard for a Red to have one and Silvers hatch a plan so the world won’t discover the news.

There was huge hype for this some time ago so I was little nervous to start this and I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this. I liked the idea of Silvers and Reds but I just didn’t connect with the characters enough. There wasn’t any chemistry between Mare and Cal, or Mare and Maven. I kinda liked Cal alone but with Mare there was no sparks flying.

I liked the end but otherwise it was little slow and especially in the middle it dragged too much.

And our heroine Mare… The first problem I have is with her name. First thing that comes to mind is a (female) horse. Second thing is brood mare. Can you see a theme here? Every time I read her name I wondered if we would start talking about horses. So distracting…
She’s just so naïve it’s a wonder how she has survived this long. She tells us how good she is reading people and that she’s no one’s fool. Umm yeah… I don’t know how many times I wanted to shake some sense into her.

But as I said I liked the end, which saved the book for me and earned the third star. So it wasn’t all bad.

3/5

Published: Harper Teen (2015)
Format: paperback
Pages: 388
Source: library