May was a slightly quieter month for me in terms of books, since I’ve been pretty busy with work, and I also (finally! XD ) received my pre-order of Fire Emblem: Fates, so I’ve been playing that every spare second. 😛 That said, I did manage to finish five books, and get through a good portion of a sixth (which I’m really enjoying, by the way), so I am content. 🙂
A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. A gothic novel set in a London boarding school for girls in the late 1800s, and follows a teenage girl called Gemma Doyle, who – along with a small group of friends – gets involved with an alluring, but incredibly dangerous form of witchcraft, and a mysterious organisation only known as The Order. I can definitely see from reading this why Libba Bray is such a popular author; she writes really beautifully, and I could really feel the sinister atmosphere of Spence Academy and the mysteries that Gemma was trying to unravel. However, I wasn’t able to get particularly attached to the characters, and the story never really managed to grab me until near the end of the book – which is why took me quite a while to finish… It did improve a lot as it went on, however, and the ending was very tense and dramatic.
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. The sequel to A Great & Terrible Beauty, which follows Gemma and her friends over the Christmas holiday. Obviously I can’t say too much about the plot, but I enjoyed seeing more of their lives outside Spence. There was one chapter from Kartik’s perspective, which was interesting, though I really want to know more about the Rakshana. I’m still not a huge fan of either Ann or Felicity, but they were both much more sympathetic characters in this book… Lastly, the plot itself had a slow start, but got really exciting towards the end of the book, with twists flying in every direction (though not all of them were entirely unexpected).The Stolen Throne by David Gaider. A prequel to the video game Dragon Age: Origins, which tells the story of the exiled King Maric’s first meeting with Loghain, the man who would become his most trusted friend and advisor, and the war they fought to return him to the throne of Ferelden. This is a great read for any fan of the Dragon Age series of games, so naturally I really enjoyed it. The narration wasn’t always fantastic, but that’s somewhat to be expected coming from an author who usually writes scripts rather than novels, but it was more than made up for by the wonderful plot and dialogue. I was also a bit disappointed that my hopes of seeing a more sympathetic side of Loghain (who was quite thoroughly villainised in the games) never really came to fruition, despite half the story being told from his perspective… even his friendship with Maric seemed to be something that he resented more than anything else… I did really like Maric himself, though, as well as both Rowan and Katriel, two characters who were only ever mentioned in the games.
The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale. The story of a busy street in a normal English town during the lead-up to Christmas, which counts down the seconds to a horrific explosion. This book was excellently written, and really interesting – and it was also my Library Scavenger Hunt pick for May, so you can read all my thoughts on it here! 😉The Tribute Bride by Theresa Tomlinson. A historical novel set in the Anglo-Saxon period, during the founding of Northumbria. The book follows a Deiran princess called Acha, who’s sent away to the neighbouring kingdom of Bernicia as a peace-weaver bride to the fearsome King Athelfrid, when a flood ruins her father’s crops, leaving him unable to pay the tribute that Athelfrid demands. This was another interesting book, though I had some mixed feelings about it in terms of characterisation and writing style… But, again, I’ve written a full review, in which I’ve discussed all the details.