ARC Review: Harrow the Ninth // An electrifying sequel you do not want to miss

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Harrow the Ninth
Author: Tamsyn Muir
Series: The Locked Tomb #2
Genre/s and tags: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Space Opera, Horror, LGBTQ+, Sapphic
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Publication date: August 4, 2020
Content warnings: Graphic violence, mentions of murder/death
Goodreads synopsis: 

Harrow the Ninth, the sequel to the sensational, USA today best-selling novel Gideon the Ninth, turns a galaxy inside out as one necromancer struggles to survive the wreckage of herself aboard the Emperor’s haunted space station.

She answered the Emperor’s call.
She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.
In victory, her world has turned to ash.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?

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First of all, happy release day to this brilliant book! A few months ago, I was given the chance to read and review Harrow the Ninth for The Nerd Daily! I was ecstatic of course! Gideon the Ninth was one of the best books I’ve read last year, and for that, its sequel was one of my most anticipated this 2020!

But enough of this chitchat, here’s my review of Harrow! (Don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free!) Make sure to also check out my interview with author Tamsyn Muir!

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Most Anticipated 2020 Releases: Part 2

Hello book nerds! It’s July and that means I’m back for another round of my most anticipated releases! I published the Part 1 back in January, listing down the books I’m excited for which will be released from January to June. Now I’ll be focusing on the books that will be released in the second half of 2020!

Some of my most anticipated releases from the first half of 2020 got pushed back though. Some of them are The Friend Scheme, Cemetery Boys, and Harrow the Ninth. Still, I’m so excited for them (and I’ve actually had the opportunity to read the advanced copy for some of them!) But anyway, that’s enough chit chat!

Here are my most anticipated 2020 releases from July to December 2020!

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ARC Review: The Angel of the Crows

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Title: The Angel of the Crows
Author: Katherine Addison
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Lowkey LGBTQ+ rep
Content Warnings: Murders, graphic details about wounds/corpses/murder scenes, crimes
Publication date: June 23, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

A fantasy novel of alternate 1880s London, where killers stalk the night and the ultimate power is naming.

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

The moment I found out about this book, I was so pumped! It just seemed like a book made for me: supernatural fantasy, serial killers, alternate London?! I wanted to read it already! Fortunately, I had the pleasure of reading the e-arc!

Though I feel like it lacked in plot and world-building, The Angel of the Crows is entertaining enough to get you invested.

My thoughts on The Angel of the Crows

The Angel of the Crows is a good read! Did it blow me away as I hoped it would? No. Was it entertaining? Definitely! Did I get invested with the characters? Oh, yes.

As a whole, the story was entertaining. But I’m going to be honest and say that it has no real or main plot. Maybe the part about Jack the Ripper was supposed to be the bigger picture in the story, but it felt disjointed. It also wasn’t fleshed out for me (or maybe I was just looking for closure since Jack the Ripper was never caught in real life and I wanted to see how the author will go about it). The whole book is a series of different cases taken by Doyle and Crow, and we see them meet various people and creatures and solve one problem after another. For me, this allowed the book to be character-focused. It’s not exactly character-driven per se (since there were various sub-plots that moved the story forward), but as a reader, I was able to focus on the characters and get to know them. I adored Doyle and Crow as individual characters, and I also loved their tandem! (I also keep seeing gay subtext between, but that could just be me.)

As for the world-building, oh how I craved for it. It was good, but I wanted more! Details about the other creatures are vague and lacking. There was enough background about angels, but as for the others, no.

To my surprise, there’s also LGBTQ+ rep in The Angel of the Crows. (Watch out for spoilers, highlight/select the following texts to see it!) Doyle was assigned female at birth, and said he’s neither a man or a woman in the later part of the book (I presume this is in regards to his gender identity). Crow is also an asexual being, considering he is an angel and angels feel no sexual attractions. It was also stated that angels can be both male and female. Though it was nice to see these representations, I feel like the author could have expounded more on it.

The author also said in the Author’s Note, that this story began as a Sherlock wingfic. Now, I’m not a fan of Sherlock Holmes (because I’ve never read the book, watched the movies, or anything), but I am very familiar with fanfics (as a fanfic reader myself!) and it was another pleasant surprise for me! Wingfics are fanfictions where characters (usually human) are reimagined with wings. I thought it was great that the author managed to create this story from what was once a fanfic. On the other hand, this also made me understand others’ sentiments about this book being a Sherlock “retelling”.

Overall, The Angel of the Crows is wonderful read. And if you feel like this book will suck you in, please read it!

Quotes from the book 

​“You cannot keep faith with the faithless.”

​​“If you don’t feel sexual desire and someone coerces you into having sexual relations with them, I don’t see how it’s anything other than rape.”

“Curiosity trumps most things.”

*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.


Buy The Angel of the Crows

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Y’all, this is my last read for May! I can’t believe I actually finished it despite me being so busy these past few weeks. But anyway. How did your May reading go?

Book Review: Prosper’s Demon

Title: Prosper’s Demon
Author: K.J. Parker
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s and tags: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Gothic, Supernatural
Content warnings: Torture via demonic possession, murder, death
Goodreads synopsis: 

In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper’s Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men.

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.

The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person.

Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.

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Prosper’s Demon was both a fantastic and surprising read! When I first heard of this book (an exorcist who doesn’t care about the host just as long as he gets the demon out), I was immediately intrigued. A morally grey character in a Gothic/supernatural setting? I had to know more! And after finishing this novella, man, I can say I am really glad I picked up this book.

My thoughts on Prosper’s Demon

ProspersDemon-fullThe novella follows a young, unnamed narrator who happens to be an exorcist. He’s out for revenge after waking up and realizing he’s been possessed by a demon (a demon who he happened to know ever since he was a child) to kill an innocent. Since our main character has already spent a lot of time extracting this particular demon out of numerous bodies, he knows him already. So he follows the sign and it leads him to the Prosper of Schanz, a genius philosopher, scientist, artist, and more. Though he thinks he has it all figured out, he discovers something else, a plan grander that he would have thought. But the main character doesn’t exactly have a perfect moral compass, and he is good at getting the job done.

“…in a botched extraction, whatever the host feels, the demon feels it ten times as much. Based on my experience, I’d say that’s roughly accurate. But they don’t die, and we do. As I said: equilibrium.”

The writing style of the author is great and though the story was short, it was definitely an enjoyable read. I loved the dark and vivid storytelling. There are several scenes and passages that left a chilling memory in me, and the use of metaphors just strengthened the enigmatic imagery.

The tone of the narration is sharp and witty, but it’s also remorseless yet not unkind or wholly evil and that really translates to the personality of the main character. He is a man who has done morally questionable methods in the past (and still is), but he’s not evil at all. In fact, this particular topic is one of the main themes of the book. The good versus evil debate, moral versus immoral actions, the whole debacle. The main character thinks about this frequently, especially if he’s recounting his past deeds and encounters with demons, and he also talks to the Master Prosper about this. Thing is, the world isn’t just black and white, not just good and evil, and he points it out various times in the story.

“It’s a bizarre but widespread myth that only heroes have good qualities, and the only qualities heroes have are good; villains are, by definition, all bad. Bullshit.”

I didn’t expect this book to be stimulating, but somehow,it is and it’s quite excellent. It’s stimulating not only because of the good versus evil debate, but there are quite a few more thought-provoking topics in the book. There are conversations about philosophy, art, science, and politics—as one would expect when the main character finds himself in the company of someone like Master Prosper. This story makes you think and it makes you wonder, and I love it.

The pacing of the story can be a little dragging. As I read the first few parts, I started to think, “Okay, this is all riveting, but where is this going?” It turns out, the author has a couple of surprises for the readers in terms of the plot. Everything from start to finish leads on to something quite big and significant in the end. And to be honest, it blew my mind that the author was able to catch me off guard like that, and that the main character was able to leave me in awe.

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Anyone who loves stories with paranormal/Gothic, this is a perfect read for you!

How about the others, have you read this book? Tell me in the comments!

(This review was first published on The Nerd Daily.)

Book Review: Magic

Title: Magic
Author: Mike Russell
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 💫
Genre/s and tags: Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy/Supernatural, Magic Realism
Content warnings: Graphic depictions of violence/murder (one scene depicts a woman being sawed in half), mentions of child abuse, mentions of domestic violence, mentions of suicide, mentions of genocide
Goodreads synopsis: 

Does magic exist? Charlie Watson thinks it does and he wants to tell you all about it. Before he was famous, Charlie Watson decided to write a book to share with the world everything he knew about magic. This is that book. You will discover why Charlie always wears a top hat, why his house is full of rabbits, how magic wands are made, how the universe began, and much, much more. Plus, for the first time, Charlie tells of the strange events that led him from England to the Arctic, to perform the extraordinary feat that made him famous, and he finally reveals whether that extraordinary feat was magic or whether it was just a trick. 

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher
in exchange for an honest review! 

I’ve read Strange Secrets by Mike Russell last year and I enjoyed it a lot. So when I was asked to review a new book from him, I was excited to dive in!

Magic is a strange yet funny and heartwarming story that will make you think about magic and the world, and will make you wonder just how real magic is.

My thoughts on Magic

magic-by-mike-russell-front-coverWhat you need to know, first of all, is that this book is sort of a personal account of Charlie Watson and his strange journey with magic. Charlie, our protagonist, is directly talking to the readers and telling us about his  various encounters with different people, telling us about his thoughts and feelings. As a result, I was able to fully connect and understand Charlie as a character. He’s kind, innocent and childlike, and although that can be a little annoying at first, it’s impossible to hate him. He goes through many changes and the readers are right there with him. At the end of the book, I loved his character arc!

The plot is truly strange and interesting, and yet it has a heartwarming touch to it. I felt like it was a little bit dragging at the first few parts, but once the conflict has been introduced, it has been an exciting turn of events. Charlie met a lot of people who made him realize different things, people who made him question whether magic is real or not, and people who made him think about the existence of everything.

There are also a couple of issues talked about in the book. Bullying was a recurring theme and I love the subtlety of various characters overcoming it. Suicide/depression was also talked about in the story, but I feel like the author could have expounded more on that.

Overall, this was quite a nice read and I recommend it to those who are looking for a little magic!

Quotes from the book

You have to be brave if you want to know the truth. You have to risk being disappointed. 

First of all, this book was about how magic exists. Then it changed into a book about how magic doesn’t exist. Now I don’t know if magic exists or if it doesn’t exist, but I really want to find out. 

She’d had enough of men being in charge of her. She wanted to be independent. 

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Have you guys read this book yet? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

Catch my interview with author Mike Russell later this week!