Lambs Can Always Become Lions: My Review

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When I saw that there was a retelling of Robin Hood with Robin Hood actually being a woman, and a F/F romance, I knew I had to pick it up. I saw the blurb, and suddenly I realised it was all I had been waiting for. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Title: Lambs Can Always Become Lions
Author: Charlotte Anne Hamilton
Genre: YA, Retelling, Romance
Publication: May 2017
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

Robin Hood – formerly known as Lady Loxley – lives in the woods with her companions, robbing rich carriages and dividing the money between the people who need it. They are outlaws, hoping for a better world, waiting for the return of King Richard, and running from the Sheriff of Nottingham.

With the help of her lover Lady Marian Fitzwalker, Robin hears word of an important shipment, and starts planning for an ambush, but gathering more information might endanger everyone she cares about, including Marian herself, who really wants to help.

My opinion:

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazed I was at the diversity in this book. First we get a F/F romance at the center of the story. But quickly we find out more about Robin’s friends, and discover that Will Scarlet is non-binary (which has officially become a headcanon, I will never see them as anything else from now on) and that one of the other members of the group is a Muslim girl called Edda who basically embushes rich people while wearing a hijab, and if that’s not awesome then I don’t know what is. It is also strongly implied that Little John is asexual. This book was so refreshing. I was literally squealing half the time while reading it. I need more books like this.

Lambs Can Always Become Lions follows the main lines of Robin’s Hood story as we know it, with Robin as an excellent archer, the merry gang living in the woods, the rivalry with the Sheriff of Nottingham, and of course, the romance with Lady Marian. I’m a huge fan of retellings, but I had never read a Robin Hood retelling before, though I really love the story. The closest that came to it was my binge watching Once Upon A Time two years ago. So if you have any great Robin Hood retelling to recommed, feel free to leave them in the comments, I am up for that!

I don’t know what else to say. I guess my only regret is that it was too short (96 pages). A sequel is coming in 2018 I believe, and I can’t wait to read it. I really hope you check out this book, and are as excited by the premise as I was. Please let me know your thoughts if you have read it, I would love to talk about it!

Ps: Follow the author on Twitter!

The Song of Achilles: My Review

The Song of Achilles

I read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller back in December and it was really time I made my review for this book. It had been on my TBR for a very long time, so I’m glad I finally picked it up. I listened to the audiobook, and I really enjoyed the narration, so if you are looking for audiobooks I would definitely recommend this one.

Genre: New Adult, Mythology, Fantasy, Retelling
My rating: 3,5 stars
Release date: September 2011

The story:

Set before and during the Trojan War, The Song of Achilles follows the famous Greek hero Achilles, through the eyes of his companion, best friend and lover Patroclus, a fallen prince who has no desire to fight. Achilles is the son of a nymph and a mortal king, and it has been prophesized that he will either die young in battle and fame, or live long and be forgotten. Achilles is strong, handsome, and the best warrior of his time. When Agamemnon calls all Greece for the Trojan War, he is reluctant to go at first, but finally gives in, running straight to his destiny.

My thoughts:

My first thought on this book was that the story is extremely beautiful and moving, and the writing is excellent. I know the story of the Trojan War, so I obviously guessed how this book would end, yet it was full of so many little details that made it definitely worth the read. Patroclus is an amazing, caring, and unique narrator, and it was definitely interesting to read about Achilles through his point of view.

My only regret is that I often felt that the story was a bit slow, however, it also turned out that the slow pace gave a unique atmosphere to the book, which was extremely fitting.

Overall, a very good retelling and a very enjoyable read. I wish that I could say more about it, but I feel like it left me impressed and speechless… I will definitely be looking for more Greek mythology retellings as I always end up really liking those.

Warning:

And first of all, thanks Diana for explaining this to me. Now that I know it, it is quite obvious. This book is a very good example of a very bad trope: the kill your gays trope. Of course it can be argued that this retelling is only following the original story. But it is still part of a trope that can be very harmful, and I couldn’t write this review without mentioning it.

Recommended for:

Mythology and retellings lover.

If you liked it, then I would recommend Song of Princes by Jannell Rhiannon! (review)

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this book in the comments as I would love to discuss it!

The Shadow Queen: My Review

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I read The Shadow Queen back in December and I still haven’t posted a review so here we go.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication: February 2016
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

Lorelai, true heir to the throne of Ravenspire, is on the run. No one knows she is alive except her two travel companions. She has only one goal: get revenge on her step mother Irina, who murdered her parents and is responsible for the kingdom’s misery. And to accomplish that, she has only one option: use magic, a weapon the people are weary of, because it is one she has in common with Irina. But it is also the only way to beat Irina: use her own weapon against her.

Meanwhile, in the neighbourhood kingdom of Eldr, Prince Kol suddenly becomes king, and to save his people who are at war with ogres, and clearly losing, he has no choice but to turn to Irina, the powerful queen of Ravenspire. Her condition is that he brings her the heart of Lorelai. Does he really have a choice?

Non spoilery thoughts:

I picked up this book because it was a Snow White retelling, and if you don’t know me yet, I am obsessed with retellings. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed by this one. It had a lot of original elements, and it managed to be a story of its own, even if you could also regognise all of the elements of the fairytale, which makes me, in my opinon, a perfect retelling.

I liked the pace of the story, and the way it was told. Overall, this is a book I definitely enjoyed and recommend.

I also heard that this was going to have a sequel, and I’m really excited about it!

Recommended for:

Retelling lovers, obviously. And if you like YA Fantasy, then this is definitely something you could enjoy! Also recommended if you like The Lunar Chronicles and Stitching Snow, which is another Snow White retelling.

Spoilery thoughts:

I decided to put a spoiler warning first, because I don’t know how to go into this without mentioning elements of the story, and it might be spoilery, so now you have been warned.

I really love the concept of the hunter also being the prince, it reminds me of Graham in Once Upon a Time, and I think it really adds to the story.

Even though it was not the most original fantasy ever, I really like the twists Redwine added to the Snow White story we all know. The fact that Lorelai is fighting is no more original, we find it in Once Upon a Time or Stitching Snow or The Lunar Chronicles. But I really liked for example the fact that the rotten apples were helping Irina subdue the people to her will. And Kol’s plot was also really interesting, both the fact that he was a dragon king, and the fact that he couldn’t resist his hunter instincts, even if Lorelai had saved his life, and he didn’t want to harm her. I also really like the fact that there was no “insta love” here, but trust slowly built between Kol and Lorelai, and I love how their relationship slowly evolved.

I also liked the fact that the story didn’t spare our feelings, and straight on killed Lorelai’s brother after sparing him a first time. It really broke my heart, and I could hardly believe it at first, but it also made Lorelai stronger, more reckless, and merciless towards her enemies, which is something she needed to beat Irina in my opinion.

I also liked the fact that we got to see some of the story from Irina’s point of view, and understand her better as a villain.

OVERALL this was a really great story, as I said before. If you have read it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, as I would love to discuss it with you!

Heartless: My Review

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Hi readers, and first of all, I am very sorry I have been so inactive recently. I was very busy with uni work, and sightseeing Berlin with a friend. But now I am back in Paris for Christmas break, and I have many reviews that are long overdue. One of them is for Heartless by Marissa Meyer, so without further ado, here we go!

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling
Publication: November 2016
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Catherine is one of the most popular girls in Wonderland, beautiful, rich and from a rich family, and also the center of the King of Hearts’ attention. He wishes to propose and make her his wife, but all Cath cares about is opening a bakery, the best one in Wonderland. But before the King is able to propose, Catherine meets Jest, the new Court Joker, and soon realises she is falling for him, though this was not part of her life plan… Nor her parents’ obviously.

As the King enter a courtship with her, Cath grows closer to Jest, and starts questioning all she knew in a country menaced by the mysterious Jabberwock.

My opinion:

This book being a retelling of Alice in Wonderland following the future Queen of Hearts, I know it could never end well, however I couldn’t help hoping for my happy ending. I grew very attached to Catherine, who is a rather relatable character. Bold, independant, and also a dreamer, Catherine is the girl I sometimes wish I could be. It gave me a complete new view on the infamous Queen of Hearts, and I will probably never read Alice in Wonderland the same way.

I am a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles so of course I had high expectations for this book. I was also very curious because it focuses on a character known as a villain, like Fairest. And I have to say, I was not desappointed. Maybe it was not as good as The Lunar Chronicles, but it was still an amazing and very emotional read, and I gave it five stars without second thoughts.

This book made me swoon and laugh and cry and stress out about all the dear characters. Even though it was a retelling, it still managed to have great surprises in store for the readers, and I really appreciated it.

I’ve read it at the end of November and it’s getting harder to write a proper review, so I won’t say much more now. I really liked this book and I heavily recommend it. It was unique, surprising, and overall an amazing read!

Recommended for:

Retelling lovers, Alice in Wonderland fans, overall people who liked The Lunar Chronicles and enjoy a great YA fantasy. If you watch the TV Show Once Upon a Time then this is also something I would recommend!

Song of Princes: My Review

Song of Princes (Homeric Chronicles, #1)

Song of Princes is the first book of the Homeric Chronicles, a New Adult series, retellings of the Trojan War. It was written by Janell Rhiannon, and published in June, 2016. I first about this book on BenjaminOfTomes’ YouTube channel, and added it on my TBR shelf on Goodreads. A while later, I was contacted by the publisher, and they sent me a copy for review. I know it’s long due, but better late than never…

Genre: New Adult, Mythology Retelling
My rating: ★★★★✩

Warning: This book is a New Adult read, and contains a lot of sexy/sex scenes.

The story:

Song of Princes goes way back before the Trojan war started, and follows most of its main protagonists. It starts with Hecuba and her husband king Priam, right before the birth of their son Paris, and the prediction that says he will become the doom of Troy.

As the story unravels, the reader gets to meet more of its protagonists. Gods, mortals, heroes, queens…And the unavoidable slowly becomes more and more clear: the Trojan war is drawing closer.

My opinion:

Of course, this book is a retelling of a very old tale, so you know what’s going to happen right from the start. However, that doesn’t make it any less amazing. Janell Rhiannon clearly made her research, and provides the reader with so many details, it is impossible not to get drawn into the story.

I thought it was an very interesting take on the original story. I usually envision the Trojans as the “villains” of the Trojan war, because Paris is the one who captured Helen, and the Illiad and the Odyssey are told from the Greeks’ point of view. However, in Song of Princes, Trojans are at the center of the story most of the time, and they are portrayed in such a human way it is impossible not to like them. And even more importantly, all human characters are presented as simple pawns of the Greek Gods. They are at their mercy, and do whatever they are told. It is impossible to avoid the prophecy. But that made the book really enjoyable. In a way, you are placed into the position of the gods themselves: you see them struggle, trying to avoid their fates, the prophecies, and in the end it’s impossible.

The character portrayals in this book are excellent. I don’t know how else to put it. This book has a lot of diverse characters, they are all so different, and so human each in their own way, and that makes it extremely interesting. Really, congratulations to Janell Rhiannon for this, I can’t wait to read more about all of them! I particularly liked the emphasis on the femaly characters such as Hecuba and Clytemnestra, I think the chapters about them were my favourites.

Finally, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed this book, and would totally recommend it. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because some of the male characters were too rude and brutal for my taste. I know it totally made sense in this context, and I respect that. It just was a bit frustrating to me. But overall, this was an incredible read! I just love mythology so much, and boy, I was not disappointed with this! Keep up the good work, Rhiannon, I will be watching out for your next release!

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon!

 

Stars Above: My Review

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This book was basically the perfect ending to one of the best series I have ever read. It was so good to go back in time with all these characters, to learn more about them, and just to be with them one more time.

The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication year: 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings, Companion short stories
My rating: ★★★★★

Contents:

The Keeper: A prequel to Cinder, about Michelle Benoit and how she came to be a guardian for her granddaughter Scarlet, and the Lunar princess Selene.

Glitches: A second prequel to Cinder, this one a few years later, when Cinder wakes up, is adopted by Linh Garan, and moves to New Beijin.

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we follow Ze’ev Kesley on his journey to becoming a Lunar Special Operative.

Carswell’s Guide to being Lucky: This one seems to be a favourite to loads of people, as it follows a young Thorne trying to gather money to buy a Rampion ship.

After sunshine passes by: In this prequel to Cress, we get to see how Cress grew up, and got to leave alone on her satellite, with Sybil Mira being her only contact to the outside world.

The Little Android: This one is a retelling of classical tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, and follows an android who develops feelings for a human.

The Mechanic: This scene shows Kai and Cinder’s first meeting (at the beginning of Cinder) but this time it’s from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this last tale, the Rampion crew gather together a few years later, for a much anticipated wedding…

My opinion:

One more time, I was transported to this magical world I love so much. Though magical is probably not the most appropriate terme, but it feels that way to me because I love it so much…

I can’t pick a favourite short story, honestly, I loved them all so much. I didn’t want this book to end. It was really interesting to get prequels, and learn once again more about those amazing characters and how they got to be who they are in the rest of the series. We had gotten glimpses of the events through the rest of the series, things mentioned about their childhoods, but it was great to go more in depth about it. It was also interesting to read from other character’s points of view (yes, I’m talking about The Mechanic here…)

And at the same time, we also got new content, like with The Little Android and of course, Something Old, Something New, which was the perfect way to end this series.

There’s not much more to say about this book, honestly, but I still wanted to make this post to tell you all how much I loved it. If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, and haven’t read those short stories yet, I would definitely recommend you pick up this book ASAP. If you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles, then what are you waiting for?

You can check out my reviews for CinderScarletCressWinter and Fairest by clicking the titles of the books. And if that’s not enough to make you want to read them, you can check out this video I made about 5 reasons why you should read this amazing series!

Fairest: My Review

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Fairest is an additional novel to the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. I finally read it, and I have to say I am a bit confused as to what to make of this book and its main character. I want to feel bad for her, but at the same time, it’s really messed up, because she is clearly completely mad…

MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES

The Lunar Chronicles 3.5
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
Released in 2015
My rating: ★★★★✩

The story:

Levana is the evil Lunar queen, the one who unleashed a terrible desease on Earth to have the planet at her mercy, the one who unleashed an army of genetically modified soldiers on Earth, the one who had her nephew burnt to keep the Lunar throne. But she was also a disregarded young princess, who was mistreated by her older sister, the future queen Channary, and who thought she could built her life with a handsome guard. Between hopeless dreams and murders, Fairest will tell you more about Levana, and how she grew up to become who she was.

My opinion:

I have to say, this book was not entirely what I expected. I absolutely loved The Lunar Chronicles, I gave all four books five out of five stars. So of course, I had to read Fairest because really, I would read anything about those characters. I always want more. But this time, this was about the villain. This was about Levana, the crazy one, the evil queen. This was supposed to show how she had become such a merciless, self-centered queen. And sure it did.

At moments, I did feel bad for her. She was clearly neglected by her parents, and mistreated by her sister, who by the way, was as crazy as her. She was not exactly a lucky girl either, falling in love with a married man.

But seriously, something is wrong with her. I wanted to feel bad for her. Because she was ugly, because no one liked her. But as people say, Levana is bat shit crazy, and nothing can make me understand what she did. Like, seriously. She created a master plan to get rid off her niece, so that she could keep the throne. Her excuse was that the Lunars loved her. And yet she would not let them see her without her glamour because she didn’t like being pitied (which is something I can understand, though it has its limits). And all she could come up with was to have the young princess burn? Bat shit crazy, I’m telling you.

But just because I couldn’t feel any empathy toward Levana doesn’t mean I didn’t like this book. Any piece of book related to the Lunar Chronicles is something I would enjoy. And even more so, pieces of how we arrived to the stories of Cinder, Scarlet and the others. It was really great to see how Levana became who she was as we know her in the rest of the series, and I really enjoyed that we also got to see some background on other characters like Sybil Mira, and even Cinder, Winter and Jacin even though they were just kids in Fairest. It was also great to learn more about Channary, who is nothing like her daughter Selene. And finally, I really enjoyed the fact that we got to see more of the Lunar Court, through the eyes of someone else. It was a really interesting addition to the rest of the series.

Overall, I would say Fairest was thoroughly enjoyable. It was a really interesting book, in that it showed a really complex character, whom we can’t help but feel bad for at least at one point in the story, though in the end, her actions are unforgivable. I really liked this book, though probably not as much as the rest of the series, which is why I only gave it four and not five stars…

Definitely recommended to fans of the Lunar Chronicles, to read in publishing order (between Cress and Winter) or after them all if you prefer! Don’t read it as a prequel, though, because it would most likely spoil you for the other books!

My reviews for the rest of the series:
Cinder Scarlet Cress Winter