First Impressions #2 // Fire And Thorns, Kushiels’s Dart & The Tethered Mage

25 April 2019

It’s time, once more, for a first impressions post because I have discovered I have hundreds of unread books and I need to pull my finger out and start reading some (or at least try reading some). I was still in the mood for a good fantasy read so I to try a few books I’d rediscovered when I was tidying up my shelves. Each have been on there a little while and it was time to do the whole ‘should I stay or should I go’ thing.

Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) – Rae Carson
Published: 20th September 2011
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Princess Elisa is a disappointment to her people. Although she bears the Godstone in her navel, a sign that she has been chosen for an act of heroism, they see her as lazy and useless and fat. On her sixteenth birthday, she is bartered off in royal marriage and shipped away to a kingdom in turmoil, where her much-older-and extremely beautiful-husband refuses to acknowledge her as his wife. Devastated, Elisa decides to take charge of her fate and learn what it means to bear the Godstone. As an invading army threatens to destroy her new home, and everyone at court maneuvers to take advantage of the young princess, Elisa becomes convinced that, not only is her own life in danger, the whole world needs saving. But how can a young girl who has never ridden horseback, never played the game of politics, and never attained the love of a man save the world? Elisa can't be sure, but she must try to uncover the Godstone's secret history before the enemy steals the destiny nestled in her core.
So this book is also known as The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I bought the first and second book in this series so long ago I can’t even remember why, but I feel like I saw good reviews and bought it on that… and then never read them.  Well, that’s a lie, I’ve tried to read this first book a few times and ended up DNF-ing because it just did not work for me. But I figured it was more me than the book so I figured it was time to give it another go since I didn’t remove it from my shelves so I couldn’t have hated it.

So there isn't a whole lot going on in the first chapter so it's difficult to get a full sense of Elisa's character but I tried. I liked she was not a skinny white girl who was there to save the world. Instead, she was big (she is straining her outfit in the very first scene and then goes to the kitchen to get more food cos hell she wasn’t going to miraculously drop a few pounds by the time she has to wear it so might as well embrace it and eat some good food). I liked that she was not super confident but instead was reserved and uncertain. I was shocked she was 16 and getting married but what can out do? It wasn't unrealistic.

I did struggle to get a sense of Elisa though. We find out she has a stone in her navel and is god touched or whatever but I didn't know what any of that meant and I didn't know if I should like or hate her family and who was the dude she married?

Yeah, basically I didn't get enough sense of anyone from that first chapter but did want to continue reading after so that's a win right? But I wasn’t super eager to keep reading, I just wanted to keep reading because I had no clue what to think so wanted ot get more of a sense of things by continuing to read. Not exactly a major endorsement for continuing. I think this is going in the meh pile.
Verdict: Meh, you convince me to read otherwise it’s going to charity.

Published: 23rd June 2001
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good... and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission... and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair... and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.

Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.
This one has been on my shelf for a good long while and I have been intimidated by it ever since it arrived in the post. That book is huge! I know there are reasons why I wanted to read it but all those things have been blocked out by the massive tome this book is. Seriously, I’m not usually overly daunted by big books, but this one is bigger than most.

I have to say, it's another one where the shortness of the first chapter meant that I couldn't get a full idea of the book. Short chapters are great in a lot of ways, but less good to get a good first impression. I will say the writing seems intimidating. It's very wordy and it's definitely one which would take me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the writing. And the names, I can tell this would be one I'd take a while to learn the character names, luckily there's a cast list at the start to help me keep track.

The small glimpse I've seen of this book definitely makes me think I'll keep on reading. I would have preferred to have it on my kindle simply because it would save my arms. Carting my copy around is a work out in itself. I'm a little sad I liked it, I'd kind of hoped to have it off of my shelf simply because it's so huge.

Verdict: Will read, but will need to psyche myself up for it

Published: 24th October 2017
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.

Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage.

War looms on the horizon. A single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

The Tethered Mage is the first novel in a spellbinding new fantasy series.
The great thing about posts like this is that it helps me discover books (rediscover?) That I have on my shelves and this was an excellent rediscovery. Like the other books in this post, there is a short first chapter. You get a small taste of what's to come but this one had me eager to read more.

From the first couple of paragraphs, I thought I was on to a winner. The writing style just clicked with me and I was eager to keep reading. I liked the MC had snuck out for a book (about maths and magic I think) and I liked she was in a bad part of town and brave enough to go it alone. I even liked how she interfered to help a girl being cornered in a street by some big burly men and that that girl then turned out to have some power and she had to try and stop her instead of saving her and in the end, it all backfired for everyone involved. Basically, I just liked the vibe of this first chapter.

Now, since starting to write this post I have in fact started reading this book, and anyone that checked out my Sunday post will then know I have promptly fallen out of the mood for reading fantasy and have no motivation to pick this back up. But I started wanting to read it.

Verdict: I wanted to read.

Have you read any of my latest selection of first impressions? Can you convince me to read/pick back up any of these?
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