Toru: Wayfarer Returns

Toru-WayfarerReturns.pngTitle: Toru: Wayfarer Returns

Author: Stephanie R. Sorenson

Published: February 16th 2016

Length:  274 ages

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

So I just realised that the books from my last TBR couldn’t have been more varied in terms of their genre! I find it keeps me motivated and interested in reading, if I keep switching up the genres I’m less likely to get bored or fall into a reading slump! This book is a steam punk/urban fantasy which I actually don’t think I’ve read before. The one thing I appreciated is that the blurb didn’t give away too much, you went in knowing the basis/foundation of the story but you weren’t spoiled for the anything! Generally, I really enjoyed this book, here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Revolutionary young samurai with dirigibles take on Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in this alternate history steampunk technofantasy set in 1850s samurai-era Japan.

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures, growing ever more demanding.

T ru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by American traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, T ru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.

T ru: Wayfarer Returns is the first book in the Sakura Steam Series, an alternate history of the tumultuous period from the opening of Japan in 1853 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This volume covers the year prior to the American Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan and follows the hero and his young allies as they lead Japan through a massively compressed industrial revolution, dramatically altering that pivotal moment in history.

While T ru and his dirigibles are fictional, the story unfolds against the backdrop of the “real” Japan of that period, with historical figures and their political environment woven into the tale, staying true to their motivations and agendas even as the alternate history warps their actions, history and a few laws of physics. Underpinning the adventure plot is a young man’s yearning for his father’s approval and an honorable place in his world.’

Characters: Let’s start by talking about the characters, Toru is this comes back from America with a renewed passion to be involved in developing Japan, and helping defend it! He’s a lovable character and the portrayal of his sincerity in saving his country really does come through in the writing style. I genuinely believed that he had no ulterior motives! Masuyo was a character with ideas and perspectives the reader and even Toru deemed to be ahead of her time. Being a woman in that time was enough to keep you in the shadows, stripping any independence you could have, let alone being a Lady! She was a feisty, yet realistic character, she knew which battles to fight and when to back down as she already saw another opportunity approaching!

World Building:  I don’t know much about modern Japanese culture, let alone 1850s, so initially I worried I wouldn’t be able to full immerse myself in the story. BUT the world building in this book was just so good! The author found ways to connect the culture of that time to the current time, so the reader could at least somewhat relate to Toru and his story.

Plot: Okay, so I feel like it’s really dangerous to talk about this plot because the blurb doesn’t reveal anything at all, so I’m going to say this. There was a build up to the plot that helped you still follow the story yet it didn’t really spoil anything, HOWEVER I just didn’t find that there were any mind blowing plot twist.

For a first read of genre I really enjoyed this, I would recommend this to pretty much anyone, but if you have an interest in politics or enjoy reading historical fiction I definitely think it’s worth checking out! I’ve written up quite a few reviews but I don’t want to just spam you with posts so I’ll have a discussion post up tomorrow! The topic is how I keep organised, from the books I’ve received to review to the posts I have to upload etc.

Thanks again for tuning in peeps, next up discussion post!

The Sims Book Tag

The original Sims – The best author debut.

I would probably have to say The Trap by Melanie Raabe, IT WAS SO GOOD! Reading the synopsis you kind of feel like the interesting story has already happened, but this characters journey through her grief is just amazing. The writing style was also ON POINT.

The Grim Reaper – The Saddest Character Death.

This question is hard to do without spoiling it, I originally had a book in mind but it would be a major spoiler. So my second choice is a book I just recently finsihed Assassin’s Heart. Ermahgerd, it just broke my heart…

Sims Getting Stuck – A character that just got in the way.

The aunt in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, I mean she has a purpose in the story but she’s still irritated my soulllllllllllllll.

Simlish – A book with amazing writing.

I definitely think Passenger belongs here, the writing style really stoood out. As did the world building!

Expansion packs – A series where the books kept on getting better.

Ermm, I actually haven’t read any series lately soooooooo……

Sims romance – The worst case of insta love.

I don’t really read that many romance novels and I feel like this tends to happen most in those books, but the last one I read Unbound: Colors of Love. Yeah, that has a bad case of insta lovee..

Cheats – A (contemporary) book that was entirely unrealistic..

Again I don’t really read that many contemporaries, ( why did I do this book tag lolol). I read fantasies, they’re all unrealisticccc!

Needs fulfillment – A character who made all the wrong decisions.

Ermm, Throne of Glass… Okay hear me out, I haven’t read the rest of the series so maybe her decision making skills get better. Not in Throne of Glass. *Commence the death threats from die hard TOG fanss*

Error code 12 – A series that started off great but went downhill from there.

The Mortal Instruments, I actually kind of enjoyed the first few books, tried marathoning the whole series. I don’t know maybe I lost interest? I didn’t find that the rest of the story was that compelling… I’m definitely going to try and finish it off, I really want to read Lady Midnight!

The Sims vortex – A book/series that completely engrossed you.

HALF BADDDDD! I lalalaloved the first book! I still haven’t had the time to read the rest of the trilogy, soon the time shall come!

Let me know if you guys enjoy reading these posts, I actually enjoyed making it! Shall I start participating in more? Also there are some great releases for next month so I will have a post about the ARCs I’ve received next week!

 

Assassin’s Heart

assassins-heart

Title: Assassin’s Heart

Author: Sarah Ahiers

Published: February 2nd 2016

Length:  420 pages

Source: Received for review from Netgalley

 

First of all, the cover for this book is just STUNNING, I mean just look at it! I haven’t read a lot of books that have their main female protagonist as an assassin. I read the synopsis for this one and thought I’d give it a try…

Synopsis: (taken from goodreads)

‘In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.’

There were a few things that I liked about this book, but a few things that were a bit… This story had a few strong characters, I would say the main character Oleander (Lea) was one of them. She managed to come across as a ruthless assassin yet somehow the reader found her relatable. I LOVED Alessio (Les) , I really thought that him and  Lea had chemistry and there interactions were really enjoyable to read. BUT I felt like the pace of the story was weirdly inconsistent. I mean I know the pace is supposed to change as the story occurs, but it was just offff. I didn’t feel the story was unfolding naturally, I don’t know if what I’m saying is making sense but for anyone who’s read it I think you’ll understand what I mean.

World Building: This was a high fantasy and I think if the world building wasn’t as great as it is I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. This story came across as a being fairly religious which was a bit unexpected, each region of this world tend to follow a God, where Lea is from they follow Safraella. The highest order of worship to this goddess is being an assassin or a ‘clipper’ as its referred to in the book! The one consistency I found in this story was the depth of the world building, whether it’s the beginning where we’re still getting to know the Saldana family or the end where I’m not going to spoil anything… My point is that the world building was probably the strength of Assassin’s Heart.

Characters: So this story had some strong characters,it also had great character development.  Although it’s a repeated sort of idea, an individual has something horrific happen to them and they’re blinded by vengeance, only to realise that may not be the answer… Because Lea was relatable, as a reader I could understand why her perspective would change! Les was my favourite character BY FAR, I didn’t know a fictional character could be so charming, I literally felt like I was the one being wooed! I feel like less of a weirdo actually typing this on a book blog, imagine telling someone you felt like a fictional character was courting you, hermahgerd…

Plot: The development of Lea changed the direction of the story, so I was really interested to see what she would end up doing. I feel like I say this a lot of but again the last 30 pages felt a little rushed, that particular point in the story could’ve been stretched out a bit. Let me try and make sense of this, at around 60%, the story felt like it kind of stalled a bit, I feel like that kind of lasted until about 90%. Then BAM, everything happened at once and I was like wait, what, hold up!

APPARENTLY there’s a sequel for this, I felt like the ending didn’t leave much room for a sequel. I would really recommend this to anyone but especially if you like high fantasy, and having the basis of the story be so bizarre!

 

 

September Wrap-Up

Well this month has been a fail… I completely underestimated the workload I’d receive from my first week into school, so I basically haven’t had the chance to read even half of the books on my TBR list. Here are the books I’ve read:

  • The assassin’s heart:

assassins-heartI felt like this story had some strong characters! There were also some really great moments, but I felt like the pacing was a little weird… I really liked the concept, it’s a high fantasy basically based on a religion. There are many different Gods and each country/region tends to choose to follow one. Lea’s God is Safraella , and the highest order of worship to her is becoming an assassin. It sounds a bit bizarre but this book had some great world building so it’ll make sense if you read it!

 

  • Heart Sick:

heart-sick

Again I felt like this story had some really great characters but the pacing was weird. My review for this is already up so check it out!

 

 

 

 

  • Toru: Wayfarers Return

toruThis was a fairly political and cultural book so it was a bit refreshing to break from the normal genres I always read. It also comes under steampunk, which I’ve never read a book from that genre! I actually really enjoyed this book. Set in Japan 1852, it tells the story of a fisherman who had an accident at sea and was rescued by an American ship. He goes on to spend the next 2 years in America, and when he finally comes home he is labelled a traitor and is to be executed. BUT Toru knows some very valuable information and I feel like I should stop here and let you figure it out when you read it! I personally skimmed through the synopsis just to know whether this would be something I’d enjoy, other than that I tried to go in with as little knowledge as possible! I LOVED TORU, he’s a smart and somewhat manipulative young man who’
s had this weird experience in America and comes back to Japan to a very ‘warm welcome’. This is the story of building trust in relationships, loyalty, sacrifice and so much more. My review for this should be up soon as well!

  • The loving husband:

the-loving-husbandWell I haven’t actually finished reading this book… But I also don’t plan on doing that. The closest book I think I can compare this to is Gone Girl, it has that mysterious aspect and constantly plants doubt in the reader’s mind. BUT after a few chapters reading this book began to feel like work. I had to force myself and I would barely finish a few pages in one sitting. For as long as I remember I’ve finished the books I started to read, I just couldn’t with this one. I review books in my free time and as soon as it begins to feel like work I start backing away from reading at all. My main problem with this book is that it was just too slow, the pace never picked up. I understand there’s a fairly slow pace in the opening chapter, but I felt like that pace stretched to the next chapters. Until I was about almost 1/3 of the way in and it was just difficult to read at that point. This is just a wrap up so HOPEFULLY I should be able to have a full review up next week.

I feel like I read quite a few ‘meh’ books this month, maybe that’s why I started slowing down? For me when I read a good book it gets me motivated to find another one that’ll give me a memorable experience. Once reading starts to feel like work that puts me off… Hopefully to try and get me back into blogging I decided to pick a day I HAVE to upload on! THURSDAY! Okay yes I know I’m a day late already but this’ll start next week I promise! I should be posting more reviews over the next few weeks as well!