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Book Review – The Passion of Dolssa

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Title: The Passion of Dolssa

Author: Julie Berry

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Length: 271

Rating: 4 (4.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame.

Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town.

The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies.

When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank HarperCollins Australia for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a full review! Sorry its been a long time in the making.

While I received an ARC of this book to read i noticed that my motivation for reading wasn’t very high last year when I received this book so I went out and got myself the audio book. I loved it. I would strongly recommend this books audio version. Its super easy to listen to and has good voice actors.

There was only one thing within this book that I didn’t completely fall in love with, and that was the high religious component to the plot. I don’t remember how I came about to get this book from the publishers, I don’t remember if I asked for or if it was just sent to me, and I didn’t remember this when I listened to it either so I went into this book pretty much not knowing anything about it, and I was not overly thrilled to find out that her passion was for god. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, I have nothing against people being highly Christian or anything, but I myself am Pagan so I am not really interested in reading about that Christian faith. Other stories I have reviewed such His Dark Materials have been marked down because of the high dose of religion. BUT it is major part of the story, and the more I got into it, really the less it bothered me.

The plot of this story was just spot on. It was very dark and had some pretty gruesome parts in there while also having some lighter moments. The way it was written had me waiting on the edge of my seat and making me eager to get back into the car again or made me sit in the car longer than was necessary so that I could hear the conclusion to something. I don’t remember finding anything predictable and parts of it nearly broke my heart. Everything was beautifully described and the pictures that Berry painted with her words were spot on.

All the characters in this book are well developed and thought out. There isn’t anyone in this book for the sake of trying to move something along needlessly or that seemed pointless. They were all well developed and had a purpose and enhanced the story by them being there, whether that took the story to a happy or sad place it didn’t matter. Despite the plot being very powerful this would have to be a character driven novel because each part was decided wholeheartedly by the characters.

The characters were great by themselves but they were also great in groups. Each relationship is introduced in a sort of gentle way that by the time you are done learning about each relationship you feel as though you are part of it and it just straight up hurts when something happens to any of them. You hurt because you care about them, and you hurt for those who also love them.

Something I also noticed more when picked my ARC up for this review that I feel needs mentioning as well is that Berry did a truly wonderful and great job at researching the time period that she set the book in. There are historical notes, additional readings, and glossaries for it all in the book! I think she did such a wonderful job that if you took out the dates, people could probably still work out what time frame in history they were reading about. You can also go into it knowing absolutely nothing about the 1200s and still just know and understand and visualise everything in perfect detail. I really love when an author puts that much research into their stories.

This is where I am going to leave you for this one. This book book was surprisingly good, and had me totally hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction in any regard. For those who are turned off by religious things like me, take me word for it, you wont care about it by the end. I think most people would enjoy this book, if only the word of it was out a little more.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – The Invasion of the Tearling

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen v2

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling [The Queen of the Tearling 2]

Author: Erika Johansen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian

Length: 480

Rating: 5 Star

Release Date: June 9th, 2015

Book Series Reviews: 1, 2, 3

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Description/Synopsis:

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to say a big thank you to HarperCollins through Edelweiss for allowing me to read this book ahead of the publication in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book. While the other one took a very long time to get anywhere and was pretty mush setup for the series, this one I found moved much faster. Yes, the book is still a slow at times, but stuff is pretty much always happening so you barely notice. Also unlike the other story, we are receiving too very different storylines in the book.

In this book Kelsea takes on the ability, an ability that she cannot control, to have visions of the past. In these visions we see the life of Lily, a woman who lived before the crossing that lead to the creation of the Tearling. I found these parts really interesting. This world we are seeing is so different to the one we get with Kelsea, and I am forever questioning why on earth we are getting told this story and how it will all connect back to Kelsea. It was also really interesting to see the effects it was taking on her physically.

The end to Lily’s story. Wow. Did anyone see that coming? Seriously. I hadn’t a clue at all. Totally threw me off. I liked it for that, but I worry about the direction that is going to make the story go in. When I pick up a book like this that is not really the kind of direction I want it to go in, but I suppose I will have to wait and see how the plot develops.

Now with Kelsea we focus more on this impending invasion from the Mort because she cancelled the treaty by stopping the slave trade. This part of the story moves a lot slower than Lily’s, and while I really liked reading about Lily we seemed to focus more on her than Kelsea and thats just wrong. The here and now are really what we should be focussing on, and because of Lily’s constant interruptions we didn’t move very far in this side of the plot at all. The Mort don’t advance on the Keep until the very end of the book. Kelsea herself seemed to take several steps back in terms of development as well. She snaps out of it at the end, but I am with Mace throughout most this book. She acted like an idiot a lot of the time. I totally understand WHY she had a mental, but still. Her ending to this book is something that I am gushing over. Oh my god. Cliff hangers everywhere! Anyone who has read this book should come to me straight away to discuss them.

We had some some questions answered which I wont go into because of the spoilers, but we still have many that were not. Like who the hell her dad is, where on earth the sapphires/magical necklaces came from and just the general sauce of magic and so on. I like stories that have things unfold throughout the book but at this point I kind of feel like these things are getting left out for the wrong reasons.

It may seem like I have done a lot of complaining in a review which I have given 5 stars, but that just goes to show how much I liked it despite the flaws I have mentioned. It was truly an awesome read and I am so excited for the movie. The wait for the next book might literally kill me. I recommend this book to anyone who even remotely enjoyed the first one. It is still slowish, but much more happens and a lot of things you don’t expect. The writing is amazing.

 

Till Next Time…