Review of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

“While I saw the destruction of the tree as nature’s beauty, Victor saw power—power to light up the night and banish darkness, power to end a centuries-old life in a single strike—that he cannot control or access. And nothing bothers Victor more than something he cannot control.”

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

I know 2020 just began but I think I’ve already found my favourite book of the year. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit too dramatic but seriously, I think I enjoyed this book more than I really should have. This book is a retelling of Frankenstein (the original by Mary Shelley) but from the perspective of the most underrated and overlooked characters from the original: Elizabeth Lavenza (later Elizabeth Frankenstein).

Now, in relation to the original Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I personally didn’t like it very much (I gave it two stars on Goodreads). The deeper meaning of the story and the questions Shelley asked in the novel about humanity, what it means to be human, life and death, how far can we get away with tampering with nature etc. were the only things that actually kept me interested in the book but really, I just didn’t like Shelley’s writing style. That’s it. I didn’t like her writing style, and thus, unfortunately, Frankenstein became one of those books where I kept counting down the pages until I finished. In fact, for a lot of classics (e.g Wuthering Heights! It took me almost three years to finish this book because. I. Just. Couldn’t. Focus.) I really just disliked the writing style. Other aspects of classic literature such as plot, themes etc. I do find interesting and enjoyable.

(In fact, I think the only classic novels I actually truly enjoyed was Little Women, The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Great Gatsby).

But this retelling of Frankenstein is seriously making me want to reread Mary Shelley’s original.

In summary, as I said, this novel is retelling Shelley’s story but with Elizabeth as our main character rather than Victor Frankenstein. We’re first introduced to Elizabeth as a child who is essentially being abused by her caregiver, she was about to be kicked out and thrown into the streets to fend for herself at the age of 5, until her saving grace, the Frankensteins bought her (that’s right, bought not brought) and took her to their estate for the sole purpose to ‘fix’ their eldest son, Victor.

It’s clear from the beginning that Victor is not a ‘normal’ child. Prone to anger tantrums which only got worse as he got older, he had absolutely no friends until Elizabeth came into his life and manages to calm his temper. However, Elizabeth is very aware that her only purpose with the Frankenstein’s is to be a friend to Victor, and if she loses Victor’s favour, she will be thrown out of the house and left to suffer as a woman alone in the 18th century.

So, Elizabeth does everything necessary to make sure she and Victor are inseparable – that means managing his terrible temper and supporting his every decision. That also means destroying the monster he created. And all the evidence of its existence.

Elizabeth is a very calculating and cold character who’s main motivation is to just not be hungry and homeless. We’re supposed to dislike her but I honestly can’t help but feel bad for her. She’s willing to play the part of the ‘traditional 18th-century woman’ who’s sweet, pleasant, and completely innocent and ignorant of the cruel world (she wears white clothing almost throughout the whole novel because Victor prefers her wearing white). As a woman in this time period, she has absolutely nothing, and so he puts all her hopes of a safe life in Victor’s hands. So, when she fears for his safety, she will do anything to make sure he’s safe. At the beginning of the novel, we learn that Victor has left for University and hasn’t been writing back to Elizabeth, so, we have her travel to Victor’s university where she discovers his experiments. After managing to convince him to come home, the infamous monster starts causing trouble. Her obsession with loving Victor (because she has no choice but to love him) is truly both her downfall and her awakening. Elizabeth burns down a building, ‘betrays’ her best friends and lets Victor get away with stabbing his younger brother all because she loves Victor. But even her love for him, she found, had limits.

Now, the scary thing about Victor is that for literally 3/4 of the novel, us, as readers, actually like him. Because of Elizabeth’s unhealthy love for Victor, as readers, we actually start to believe that he loves her too. Now let me make this clear, Elizabeth’s only fatal flaw is that she loves Victor blindly, and since this novel is told from her perspective we almost believe that he loves her – from what she tells us anyway. So, unless you pay attention to the little clues the author gives us, the ending may or may not surprise you. For example, a major clue that Victor never truly loved Elizabeth (in a healthy way) was from the way he would address her: he always addresses her with possessiveness terms such as “My Elizabeth”. He is clearly in love with the idea of possessing and owning her. (It frustrates me that I can’t go more in-depth about Victor and Elizabeth’s character because I’m TRYING to not spoil anything).

Adam’s part in the story felt too rushed in my opinion. On Goodreads I noticed a few people complain about pacing issues with the novel and I completely agree with them. For the first 3/4 of the novel, there is a lot of focus on characters rather than the plot (which I personally think was a good choice to make this a character-driven novel – Frankenstein is a popular classic and since most of us know the story already, focusing too much on the plot would be extremely boring). But then, the last bit of the novel, where Adam is introduced, the plot as we know it changes and everything just feels too rushed. The ending is satisfying but the journey the author took us on to get to that ending felt weak near the last couple of chapters – especially since it was near the ending she made the switch to focusing on the plot more than the characters. Adam however, is a personification of the author’s answers that Mary Shelley brought forward in her novel, and that’s all I’ll say about him.

Now before I finish off I just wanted to mention something that inspired the author to write this novel in the first place. In the ending of her novel, Kiersten White had a passage where she talked about where she got the idea of this retelling. White talked about how in her copy of Frankenstein, there were passages in the beginning and ending of the story where she talked about her husband – Percy Shelley. Mary Shelley talked about how her husband convinced her to write and always supported her writing and it was very clear from those passages that Mary Shelley was blindly in love with her husband. And that infuriated Kiersten White, while Percy Shelley was the one who convinced Mary Shelley to write, Frankenstein was the result of her ideas, her creativity, she was the one who created modern-day horror and yet she gave her husband all the credit (and it was very clear that her husband didn’t even think her novel was any good).

From those passages and from that anger, White developed the idea of having a female protagonist who is so blindly in love with her husband that she failed to see the madness in him. And thus, the creation of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein.

So, to finish off, other than some pacing issues, the issues and topic this novel raises is arguably as interesting as the original and is another highly recommended novel.

My Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought of starting the year off on this blog by talking about the books I am most excited to read in 2020. It’s no secret I am a major bookworm so yes, this may (or may not!) be a long post so without delay let’s get into it!

Note: The following books will be listed in accordance with its publication date and NOT in alphabetical order.

The first book I am super excited for is actually a sequel to a book I recently read. That book is A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. The first book, A Curse so Dark and Lonely was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and quickly became one of my favourite fairytale retellings. The power dynamics between the main characters were equal and accepting, and the characters themselves were really interesting. The interesting characters are a good thing because, like I said this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, we all know how that story goes, so the main thing which kept my attention was the characters.

So, on to the sequel, A Heart so Fierce and Broken deals with a threat which is prepared to destroy Emberfall and also deals with the issue of Rhen’s father possibly having another heir somewhere.

In all honesty, I loved the first book so much I’m worried that this book will ruin the retelling aspect of the plot, but, I still really want to read it so, we’ll see how it goes.

This book is a YA Fantasy novel and is expected to be published on January 7th.

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)

The next book on my list is The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. This is the final book in the Truly Devious trilogy, this is a YA Mystery novel and will be published on January 21st.

I won’t talk about this book too much because I don’t want to spoil the plot for those who have not read the first two books, so all I’ll say is that I religiously listened to the audiobooks of the first two books mid-2019. I have absolutely zero ideas and predictions about where the plot will go next, so I’m patiently waiting to get my hands on this book so I can see what happens. I’m also very excited to read about the characters, especially David, he feels like a wildcard at this point of the book and urgggg I really want to read this book!

On March 3rd, Sarah J. Maas’s first-ever Adult Fantasy novel will be published. It’s called House of Earth and Blood and is the first of her Crescent City series. Personally, I really just need her to finish her ACOTAR series first, Nesta is supposed to have her own book at some point in ACOTAR and that is the book I really want to read. Other than that my obsession with Maas’ work is slowly fading. No, I do NOT hate/dislike her work, I’m just finding other authors which are new (to me) and I am just more fascinated with other novels.

But, back to House of Earth and Blood, this book is about a half-human half-fae female character who gets herself involved in a murder investigation and has to work together with a Fallen Angel to find the real murderer.

It sounds very interesting and the cover for this book is gorgeous! I’m not buying a copy of this book, instead, I’ll just be borrowing it from my local library so it may be a while since I actually read it because wow, the waitlist for this book is very, very long.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

This next book is going to make my 14-year-old self re-emerge from the depths of my soul because Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, a.k.a one of my all-time favourite trilogies and movies is publishing ANOTHER book set 64 years before the events in the first Hunger Games book. CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING IN JOY. Of course, the movies left out a lot of important messages but the books are gold and this book – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – is expected to be published on May 19th. The book is about the 10th Hunger Games and other than that, that’s all GoodReads has disclosed about the plot of this novel. Hopefully closer to the publication we’ll get more information about the plot but either way, I am ready for this book.

The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson is another book I am screaming in anticipation for. This book is a YA Fantasy and is expected to be published on July 7th. This book is a sequel for The Storm Crow. This is sort of similar to The Hunger Games in the sense that this sequel book is supposed to feature a rebellion against an evil monarch in power, other than that I don’t want to say too much about this sequel because the so much happens in the first book I’m afraid of spoiling it for new readers. Just know, that there will be a book review on these two books – it is a duology.

September 1st is going to be a busy day for these authors because there are two books I’m a fan of which will be published on this day. The first is Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin. This book is the sequel to Serpent & Dove and was one of my 2019 favourite novels. At the moment GoodReads doesn’t have a plot summary of this book so instead, I’ll tell you about Serpent & Dove: Lou is a witch in a world where witches are hunted and burned alive for possessing magic. Reid is sworn to the Church and his job is to lead a team of Chasseur’s who hunt and kill witches. But by a strange twist of fate, Lou and Reid are married. Reid struggles to love a new woman while he’s still in love with another and his occupation makes him one of the most dangerous people Lou can associate herself with. But while it is dangerous for Lou to be with Reid, he’s taking his marriage vows seriously and is keeping her safe. So, the most dangerous place for Lou to be is also the safest. But then everything is ruined when Lou’s old witch coven make plans on taking over the city Reid swore to protect.

The second book which will be published on this date is Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody – this is the final book in The Shadow Game Trilogy. Enne and Levi are still trying to survive in the City of Sin and decide to play one last game. Again, since this book is part of a trilogy I really don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the first book yet. But honestly, the first book in this series was my favourite, I’m really waiting to read this book because out of curiosity I want to know how it ends. I personally feel like the character developments occurred too quickly, in the first book the Ace of Spades, Enne is a sweet innocent girl and about halfway she has a personality switch into a Throne of Glass female assassin. Also, Levi has a reputation for being one of the most feared people in the city, and yet… he can’t seem to get anything right. Either way, I’m still excited to see how this trilogy ends.

Both books are YA Fantasy novels.

The last book I am anticipating is The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi this is the sequel to The Gilded Wolves and is expected to be published in September 22nd. The ending of The Gilded Wolves SHOCKED ME, I mean, Roshani Chokshi how dare you break my heart like that. I won’t spoil the ending of The Gilded Wolves, but the second book has Severin and his unlikely group of friends trying to solve that issue. This is a Six of Crows meets Fast and Furious heist like plot which actually is pretty simple BUT the world-building in this book is brilliant and I hope there’s more world-exploration in the sequel.

This book is a YA Historical Fantasy novel.
(The cover hasn’t been revealed yet).

Now, while those book listed above are my most anticipated reads of 2020, I actually have more books that I want to read BUT sadly they do not have a publication date yet. Either way, I thought of adding them onto this list anyway. So, below are the books I’m looking forward to reading but currently do not have a publication date.

The first book which has no publication date (at the time I wrote this blog post) is the 4th book in the Witchland series by Susan Dennard. GoodReads states that this book is expected to be published in 2020 but no exact date and plot has been revealed yet. Now, Aeduan and Iseult are the only reason why I am still reading this series. Truthwitch and Sightwitch were my favourite novels but Windwitch sort of drained me and was hard to finish. I don’t know if there will be another book after this but… for Aeduan and Iseult… I’ll read it.

This is a YA Fantasy.

The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire, #6)

Now, if we’re lucky we’ll get the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel (the next Game of Thrones novel) The Winds of Winter in 2020. If we’re unlucky, we may never get it. Either way, the wait continues for George R. R. Martin to publish this book. #TeamKhalessi.

This is a Fantasy novel.

Leigh Bardugo has a lot of work to do and all I can really do is be patient. She mentioned on her Instagram story a few weeks ago that she is currently writing the next book in The King of Scars/ Nikolai Duology and it is currently expected to be published in 2021 but again, there is no exact date for publication. She has also confirmed that the Six of Crows will be a trilogy but there is no word about the third book yet – on GoodReads it is untitled, with no plot summary or cover so we can assume that it will be a while until we get this book.

Both of those books are YA Fantasy.

I mentioned above that I am waiting for Nesta’s ACOTAR novel. Her character and personality are very different from the rest of the characters in ACOTAR so I’m really excited to see what Sarah J. Maas is going to write about. GoodReads states that this novel is currently untitled BUT it states that this book will be 648 pages long so I’ll be assuming that Maas may currently be writing this novel now. She hasn’t been posting on social media for a while so again… just have to play the waiting game.

This is a YA Fantasy novel.

The fifth book in the Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan is the Tower of Nero and another book I can’t wait to read. It is expected to be published in 2020 but at the moment there is no exact date so hopefully, a publication date will be announced late in the year. I will always love whatever Rick Riordan writes, and though this is a middle-grade fantasy book his humour always makes my day better.

And finally, the last book I am eagerly anticipating is A Hazel Wood novel: Tales from the Hinterlands by Melissa Albert. This is technically a novella of all the stories from the Hazel Woods, and while the official sequel of The Hazel Wood is being published in 2020, it’s this short story book I am actually waiting for – and luckily it is also to be published in 2020 but once again there is no exact publication date. When I read The Hazel Wood it was the little short stories which held my interest and intrigue so I’m really excited to be getting more of it soon.

This is a YA Fantasy novel.

So, it is very clear that I am going through a stage where I love YA Fantasy. What can I say, a book which has good world-building, character relationships and a decent plot will catch my attention and at the moment the YA Fantasy genre has what I like in books currently. Anyway, this is my list of my most anticipated books in 2020, what are your most anticipated reads? Are they the same as my ones? or do you have a book which I don’t have on my list? Comment below and let me know, I love to discover new books.

And with that, I hope you all have a Happy New Year and a good year for reading.

2019 Blog Post Masterlist

Since it’s the end of the year (and of a decade), I decided to make a masterlist of all the posts I have published this year – mainly for the sake of convenience since I updated the layout of the blog. I’ll have them in the order of publication and with a short description of what each blog post is about.

  1. The first ever blog post I made this year (and the very first post on my blog) was a clothing review of a vintage inspired indie brand called Cry Baby. I found this brand on Instagram and have been following them ever since they released their first piece a year or two ago.
  2. 9 Feminist Themed Books You Should Read was the second post on this blog and featured books by Angie Thomas, Margaret Atwood and many more! I’ve always been a bookworm so I was excited to post my first book-related blog post.
  3. Another book review post! Amanda Lovelace captured my interest from the beginning and so I decided to post a review of her Women Are Some Kind of Magic Trilogy. It’s a poetry collection highlighting a number of topics such as feminism, femininity, abuse, love, heartbreak, strength and mythology.
  4. The next blog post was centred around the reason why I only buy from Cruelty-Free Makeup brands (and is also one of my most liked posts on this blog).
  5. My first ever travel post! This blog post was a review/ commentary of my trip to Canada and was the first of three parts (1/3).
  6. More poetry! This time I reviewed Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers which was a poetry collection that focused on moving on and making new homes. Milk and Honey was her debut collection and is more well-known but The Sun and Her Flowers had a message which I connected with and thus wrote about that rather than Milk and Honey.
  7. A skincare review of a favourite brand of mine – Frank Body. They are an Australian skin care brand which incorporates coffee beans into their products. In this blog post I reviewed two of their face masks – a face mask which helps give a glow to your face and a cleansing charcoal face mask.
  8. This time for my travel post I visited Hawai’i and published another short review/ commentary about my time in Hawai’i.
  9. Mecca Maxima May Beauty Loop Review was the next post! Mecca Maxima is the Australian version of Sephora except they have a WAY better rewards program (no shade, but it’s true). Every year (depending on how much you have spent) you receive 4 beauty loop boxes with samples of popular and/or new products and then three times a year you also receive a bonus box with a mix of full sized items and sample products. (Note: the bonus boxes are a new addition to Mecca Maxima’s rewards programme, this blog post is just about the beauty loop boxes).
  10. Following up with another makeup review, I created a general product review of Anastasia Beverly Hills. This product review includes ABH lipsticks and their cult favourite glow kit highlighters.
  11. Since it was a while since I did a clothing review at this point, I decided to do a quick review of Nasty Gal. This was also the first time I ever bought sometime from Nasty Gal.
  12. Misguided was also featured in a clothing review shortly after I published my review about Nasty Gal. This was also my first time shopping from Misguided.
  13. In June I discovered a book which became one of my all time favourite books ever. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is scandalous, dramatic, but also had developed characters, a complex plot and a lot of discussions on body rights, feminism, equality and racism. In short, this book had a little bit of everything I enjoy.
  14. Finding POC representation online in the beauty industry is still a little bit difficult, so I complied a list of some POC Beauty Guru’s ranging from light tan to deep dark skin tones. This was meant to be a guide for beauty lovers since I know a lot of us prefer watching makeup reviews for the purpose of figuring out how a certain product would look on certain skin tones. Anyway, I hope this guide was helpful.
  15. Magaret Atwood is evidently a favourite on my blog. This time I wrote a review on The Handmaids Tale, this was the book that introduced me to Atwood and while haven’t picked up anything else written by her (and she has a lot of published work), I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  16. This blog post was the second instalment of my trip to Canada (2/3).
  17. Next is a Colorpop Makeup Review and one of the most liked posts on my blog. This blog post featured lipsticks and highlighters – the highlighters are my all time favourites!
  18. A in-depth discussion about Sarah J. Maas’ books, the plot, the characters, criticisms and my personal opinion on the two series she has written so far. I found out about Maas in High School and quickly got caught up in the hype for her books, while I do love the books, I also did have some important critiques included as well, so hopefully I managed to be as non-biased as possible.
  19. A luxury clothing review of Abyss by Abby. This is another Australian brand and specialises in gorgeous and expensive dresses.
  20. In September I wrote a monthly catch-up on future plans for the blog/ what’s been happening lately.
  21. I’ve always loved mythology, especially Greek mythology so this month I reviewed Circe by Madeline Miller. Madeline Miller also has another book called Song of Achilles which I also highly recommend reading.
  22. Following up my previous SJM post, I published a summary of what happens on a book tour with Sarah J. Maas. I mentioned briefly in my first Sarah J. Maas post that I would be going to her promotional book tour for Kingdom of Ash and decided to write about what happened at the event – this blog post was mainly for those who haven’t been to a book tour yet and wonder what it would be like.
  23. In November I made an announcement of my personal writing challenge. I really enjoy writing for this blog but I had missed a few blog posts (I am to write at least 2 posts per month except for January), and so I thought of challenging myself to a writing challenge to get back in the mood to write more.
  24. The first post I made as part of my writing challenge was a book review of Sadie by Courtney Summers. I originally listened to the audiobook of this book and then later bought a physical copy of the book because I liked it that much.
  25. The next post I made as part of my challenge was a Farsali oil review. Farsali is a brand that is very popular on Instagram and after a few years I thought of buying a few products any trying it out for myself.
  26. The final edition of my adventures in Canada was published as well as part of my writing challenge week (3/3).
  27. Cara Delevingne has always been one of my favourite Western models (and role models) so it was clear I had to write a review of her book Mirror Mirror.
  28. Another post which is well liked on my blog is a list of books to read by Asian authors. I noticed that a lot of popular and mainstream books aren’t always written by POC authors so I thought of researching and reading books written by Asian authors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the book mentioned in this blog post, as an Asian myself (I’m Indian, Hi, how are you?) I really related to a lot of the messages in those books, and hope you do as well.
  29. A quick discussion about why Fenty Beauty deserves the hype.
  30. An in-depth discussion about Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air trilogy. Similar to my discussion about Sarah J Maas’ books, I tried to go in depth about the trilogy, I talked about everything I loved but also mentioned some things I wish were changed.
  31. Another general update on future posts and plans for the blog.
  32. A list of books I’ve read this year which only included books which were published in 2019. At the moment according to my GoodReads Reading Challenge, I have read 89 books, but I thought that the blog post would be too long if I included ALL those books so, I decided to limit myself and just talked about the books which I have read which were published this year.
  33. An update on Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air trilogy. When I wrote the first Holly Black post I had only read the first two books in the trilogy and thought of reviewing the final book separately. Since I talked about all the important stuff (e.g characters, plot) in the first Holly Black post, this blog post is simply a reaction and review to the final book in the Trilogy – The Queen of Nothing.
  34. And finishing off 2019 with a travel guide to packing efficiently when travelling. This is a list of travelling tips I thought of sharing since a lot of people tend to travel during the end of the year.

And, that is it. including this post I’ve written 35 blog posts this year, which is honestly more than I anticipated writing, and now I’m wondering if I could top that number in 2020.

Here’s to 2020 and a whole new year of blog posts.

Happy New Year!

An Indian Girl’s Guide to: Packing Effectively

+ Other Tips for Travelling

So let’s face it, generally, we travel a lot more than ever before, which is great. Transport to other places has become so much easier with more planes and flights routes available. However, the more we travel the more tips and tricks and life hacks there are to make travelling easier.

So, with seven years (and counting) of travelling around the world under my belt, I thought it would be useful if I post some of my travel tips, some I learned from my parents and from friends or family and some I learned through experience, over the years after making a few mistakes.

  • Don’t pack a lot of clothes e.g if you know you’re going to be shopping a lot then pack enough clothes for half your trip and then buy the rest/ wash and re-wear what you have
  • Roll your jeans up don’t fold them, by doing this you save a lot of space, and if necessary you can roll all your clothes instead.
  • If possible try taking travel-size makeup/ skin care products, they save space and are lighter to carry.
  • Check with your airline beforehand about how much weight your suitcase can be so you can figure out how much you can pack and how much you can shop and add on later
  • Research the area your hotel is located in, cheaper hotels are always great but sometimes they may be cheaper than others because the location is not so ideal, so always try and do the extra research.
  • While you’re at it try checking how far the distance is from your accommodation to whatever you plan on doing. By doing this you can possibly lower transport costs. E.g if you plan on going to the beach, check how far the beach is from your hotel. If you are far away from your accommodation then sort out transport.
  • During high travel seasons, crimes against tourists rise, so always try and be precautious. It can be very easy to become a victim of petty crime such as pickpocketing etc – this isn’t really a tip but remember to always be vigilant while you are travelling to a place you have never been before.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash on you. Carrying a lot of cash can make you a target of robbery or pickpocketing, so I would recommend you use some cash and then other times use your credit card or debit card – Pro tip: if possible pay off all your credit card debts before your trip so you can shop with ease when you’re overseas.  
  • Plan what you want to do day-to-day before you start your trip. By planning ahead you are able to do everything you want to do and of course, will not have to waste time there deciding what to do – this ensures that you’ll be able to cover all the things you want to do.
  • If you are going to a country where the locals do not speak your language, either get a tour guide which can show you around and translate or learn some basic sentences such as “where is…..” “do you speak (language you speak)….” etc. Remember just because you speak one language it is absolutely ignorant for you to assume that everyone around the world speaks the same language as you do. So always keep that in mind. Also, for reference, most of the time, people who work in hotels, airports or any tourist hotspots may be able to speak some basic English.
  • ALWAYS get travel insurance and ALWAYs declare all your medical issues. A lot of people do get travel insurance which is great, keep doing that. Having travel insurance will help you financially if you’re in a tight spot. However, even if you do get travel insurance, please, please, please read the fine print and declare all your medical issues. Sometimes you are only covered for a certain medical issue but not another, in this case, you should declare what other issues you have. Yes you will have to pay extra for this, but believe me, you’ll be glad you paid extra.
  • Check the currency exchange rates! If you do decide to take some cash with you always check the exchange rates that way you can more worth out of your money.

To conclude, just be as prepared as possible. Pre-plan as much as you can, it saves time, money and gives you less stress frankly. I hope this blog article was useful! Remember to like and to subscribe if you want more articles like this and let me know what you thought of this article.

Update On The Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black

So, not long ago I did a review on Holly Black’s the Folk of the Air Trilogy (which you can read here) and I mentioned that at the time I wrote that review that I didn’t have a copy of the last book in the trilogy yet; and I would update that post with my review on that final book.

Ultimately, I decided to do a new post completely about that final book rather than add it on to that previous post (mainly because I didn’t want the blog post to be too long) – however, links will be available so navigating between the two posts shouldn’t be very difficult.

And so, here is my review/ reaction on the Queen of Nothing by Holly Black:

(WARNING: THERE WILL BE A LOT OF SPOILERS!)

Update #1 (December 1st 2019): This book was published back in November on the 19th and I pre-ordered a Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition back in August. Sometimes I receive pre-ordered products a few days before the official release date, other times I receive it around the official release date and then sometimes I receive it a while after the release date. This is one of those times. Don’t get me wrong I am NOT complaining about the wait, I am completely fine waiting for the book. But, I’m also really want to find out how Jude and Cardan’s journey end. SO.
I’ll wait.

(Seriously, though, Christmas is coming up and delivery companies are really busy, I really don’t mind the wait).

Update #2 (December 6th): I got the book! It was delivered today and the hardcover version is gorgeous! Let the emotional rollercoaster begin.

Update #3: At the moment I completed reading around about 1/3 of the book and so far nothing super important has happened. Jude has been exiled and has been living with Vivi and Oak in the mortal world. But, though she’s exiled, she still does odd jobs for faerie who live in the mortal realms. Just as Jude got back from a job, she finds Taryn waiting for her in need of a favour.

BASICALLY TARYN KILLED LOCKE.
I really wanted Jude to have a moment where she gets revenge (remember that part in the second book where Locke tried to hunt Jude down? or that part where Locke plays with her emotions? Because I certainly haven’t forgotten). But, either way, he’s dead. The favour Taryn wanted was for Jude to go in her place to be questioned about his death since Jude can lie with ease despite being under the faeries spell.

Also I’m hoping Vivi and Heather work things out. Vivi deserves to be happy and Heather is really the embodiment of myself if I was ever taken to the faerie realm.

***
OH MY GOODNESS CARDAN SAID HE WANTS TO SEE JUDE (disguised as Taryn) IN HIS CHAMBER AFTER THE QUESTIONING. WELP.
***
He knew Jude was disguised as Taryn. He knew. He always knew. Of course he knew, why was I still surprised? And he wrote letters to Jude (awww), and before we get any real interaction between those two, Jude is kidnapped by Madoc.1 How fun.

Update #4 (December 7th): So, I’m currently around half way through the book AND I HAVE EMOTIONS.

So, essentially since Jude and Taryn are identical twins, Madoc (or anyone else for that matter) could tell that the person they kidnapped was Jude and not Taryn. Madoc took Jude away and they are basically campaigning for Madoc’s claim on the throne. Jude tries to escape but in an attempt to escape she finds that Madoc captured Ghost and well… Jude being Jude decided to stay with Madoc awhile longer so she could find a way to get Ghost out of there.

BUT then, before Jude actually made her grand escape, Cardan and Roach snuck into Madoc’s camp and tried to help Jude get out. Honestly, the reason why I loved these books so much was purely because of Jude and Cardan’s interactions and at this point they haven’t interacted much AND I NEED MORE BETWEEN THEM.

But yes. They ultimately did escape. Except Jude almost got cut in half by Madoc. Just your average family feud right?
***
Cardan announced to the faerie court that Jude is his wife and their High Queen. I. AM. SCREAMING.
***
I NEED MORE JUDE AND CARDAN. PLEASE. PLEASE HOLLY BLACK PLEASE.

Update #5: Okay so right now I’m currently only a few chapters away from finishing and I personally think that authors need to really chill with the snake imagery, I mean, why is Cardan a snake? Yes, Cardan did the heroic thing and destroyed his Ruby Crown and the throne. And yes, at the end of the day, I guess a snake would suit his character the most BUT WHY A SNAKE. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. I recently finished reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and there is a literal snake on the cover so maybe it really is just me being extremely terrified of snakes.

But yes, Madoc went straight to Cardan (and Jude; although he didn’t know Jude was the High Queen at this point) and challenged him for the crown. Cardan made a very Kingly speech and ultimately ended up destroying the throne and his crown. Unfortunately, the crown was cursed so when Cardan broke it he transformed into a massive purple and gold snake. And again, Jude being Jude, tried to save her love.
***
I forgot to mention above but CARDAN CONFESSED HIS LOVE TO JUDE! Yes, yes, it’s true, it happened, he said those three magical words. They also had…ahem… they had a moment. If you know what I mean. Either way, you may being creating your couple fanart now.
***
Since Cardan is a giant snake, Jude is in charge until they find a way to bring Cardan back and, she has no idea how to act like a Queen and honestly it is the most frustrating and adorable thing ever.

Final Update: The book is over. I feel empty. I NEED MORE. The book basically finished up with Jude finding a way to bring Cardan back to his normal fae self. Of course, I won’t go into the details, that is for you to enjoy while you read the book, but I’m happy that he’s back.

Madoc and his forces surrender and, Jude and Cardan, as the rightful High King and High Queen, dish out the punishments, party and visit Vivi in the moratal world.

Yes, you read that right. Cardan visited the mortal world.

I never thought I needed a chapter where Cardan visits the human world, but Holly Black gave it to us (technically though this was the Epilogue) and I am completely satisfied with this ending.

Overall Review:

I don’t think I have ever tried to finish a book as quickly as The Queen of Nothing. (It wasn’t a very long book to begin with, but naturally life loves interrupting me when I want to sit down with a good book). So my final opinion on the book and on the trilogy as a whole is this: I NEED MORE. PLEASE.

Jude is a character which spends a lot of time in her own head, which I don’t mind reading about she’s an interesting character to read about (always scheming), but I’m always craving more interactions between her and Cardan. Truly, I think I could probably read a whole book JUST about Jude and Cardan’s banter – especially now that they’re at that stage of their relationship where they’re basically hopelessly in love. Imagine all the innuendos.

Actually, I take that back. I need a whole book of Jude and Cardan in the human world plus their banter.

Other than the characters, I don’t feel like anything (plot-wise) impactful happened in the book. I think that’s the reason why The Wicked King would be my favourite book out of the whole trilogy because of the fact that Jude seriously gets a lot of things done. I really enjoyed her role as Cardan’s puppet master and as a spy. Whereas in The Queen of Nothing Jude is a literally Queen and doesn’t have to do all the dirty work herself anymore – there isn’t a lot of scheming and planning.

Also, she’s in a lot of situations where she can’t control the outcomes and I guess you can say the plot was kind of predictable. I mean, Taryn needs a favour, we all know Jude wants to go back to Cardan in the faerie realm so of course she’ll help Taryn and ignore the fact that she betrayed Jude in the past. Madoc kidnaps Jude, obviously she’ll want to escape. Cardan turns into a snake. Without a doubt Jude will bring Cardan back, I mean why wouldn’t she? There is literally no reason why she wouldn’t bring him back to normal. The Wicked King and The Cruel Prince both had a slightly more complex narrative than the Queen of Nothing is basically what I’m trying to say.

But, then again, the plot and the characters had been pretty developed in the first two books, and the Queen of Nothing is really just tying up loose ends. So, I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh in judging the plot.

I think one of my most favourite things about this book (and the main reason why I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads) would have to be Cardan’s dialogue. If you haven’t read the book yet here’s two of my favourite lines by him:
– “By you, I am forever undone” 2
– “You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear those words,” he says. “You don’t want me dead.” 3

The first dialogue I mentioned above had me screaming and the second had me laughing.

So, to conclude, this books wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, but nonetheless I loved it and would highly recommend this trilogy. Let me know what you think about this review (and the book) and remember to like and subscribe if you want more articles like this!

1 The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of The Queen of Nothing has extra pages with the letters Cardan wrote to Jude while she was exiled – and may I add that those letters made my heart bleed. Cardan is so obviously whipped.

2 Page 203, The Queen of Nothing

3 Page 290, The Queen of Nothing

A List Of Books I’ve Read This Year

It kind of goes without saying that I read a lot of books. Well, what can I say? Growing up, I’ve always been encouraged to read a lot and over time…. I did exactly that. At the end of the day I’m glad I read a lot, I can write frequent book reviews at least. However, instead of a book review, I decided to just list a few of the books I read over the year with a short summary, because, as I said, I read a lot, giving a detailed review would take too long.

Just a little note, the books I will be featuring will be new releases only, so they will all be books that have been published in 2019 – please keep in mind that books published in Australasia are slightly different than publish dates in UK/ Europe and the Americas.

So in no particular order, one of the first books that I read in 2019 is Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. In many ways, this book is your classic ‘girl rises up against the odds’ book but in many ways, it’s also very different from your usual YA Fantasy and is a breath of fresh air. This book is about demons and humans and hybrids of those demons and humans. Lei is from the lowest of the low – the Paper caste – and somehow was chosen to be a Paper Girl to serve the king. Being a Paper Girl is both honouring yet demeaning and while living in an oppressive palace she gets herself intertwined in a secret plot which could destroy the very foundations that her society is built upon. This book featured a lot of Asian-inspired aspects. The Paper Girls in the novel are all from different Asian backgrounds, while they are not specified it’s easy to figure out which one is Indian, Chinese and so on. My favourite parts to read were, in fact, all the times each of the Paper Girls communicated with each other – excluding the main character that is. Please keep in mind this book does have a trigger warning.

Next is a book which is also written by an Asian author and is The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. Set in 1889 Paris, Severin is given an opportunity to get back his true inheritance but first, he needed to find an ancient artefact. He gathers a team involving an engineer, a banished historian, a dancer and of course Severin’s own brother along with a pet spider. This book is a mixture of Fast and Furious and Six of Crows and if that doesn’t get you at least interested then I don’t know how else to sell this book. The world-building is my favourite in this novel. Personally, I found the plot simple and easy to keep track off – not exactly as sophisticated as Six of Crows, but it was the world-building and character relationships which kept me hooked. Also, look at how beautiful the cover is.

Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard was a little bit difficult for me to read. I don’t know, I really just couldn’t find myself to focus while reading this book. I really liked the first book in the series as well as the Sightwitch novella so I was determined to finish it – it took me two attempts but in the end, I opted for the audiobook and thank goodness I managed to finish it. Since this is the third book in the series I won’t go into a plot summary of the book – I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the first few books but just know that Aeduan and Iseult are the reasons why I love this series so much and why I was so determined to finish it.

This next book is also part of a series – The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic #3) by Amanda Lovelace. This is a poetry trilogy and the third and final book was published this year. Since I have fully reviewed this trilogy on my blog before, I won’t bother saying anything more about it. I’ll leave a link here if anyone would like to read it.

This next book is about one of my favourite characters ever, written by Leigh Bardugo. It is King of Scars which was released near the very beginning of 2019. I have a soft spot for characters like Nikolai and Zoya, especially Nikolai. Bad boy characters are extremely overrated (and borderline abusive at this point) and I am READY for charming nice boy characters to take over YA Fantasy. Since The King of Scars is a continuation of Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows series, again, I won’t go into too much detail about the plot – I plan on doing a full review of this entire series in the near future (it’s still early so there is a chase her plans may change BUT Leigh Bardugo is supposed to come feature in a Writer’s Festival early 2020 – I’m hoping to get tickets to the event so hopefully I will be able to write a full discussion about Bardugo’s books – similar to what I’ve done previously for Sarah J. Maas).

Kerri Maniscalco captured my heart with the final book in Stalking Jack the Ripper series. It’s sad to think that Capturing the Devil is the end of Audrey Rose and Thomas’ adventures but I’m satisfied with how everything ended. Their story ends in America or more specifically the World’s Fair in Chicago. Thomas and Audrey Rose are trying to solve another serial killer mystery which has links to their past whilst the two are also trying to solve their personal affairs. Again, bad boy characters are over for me, characters like Thomas is exactly what the world needs right now. (Also, it is safe to say I plan on writing a full review of this series as well in the future).

Now as much as I adore Magaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale, this recently published book by her was not an absolute favourite but it was still a good read nonetheless. The Testaments is a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is in my opinion – unnecessary. Yes, the book has AMAZON discussion on human rights and feminism, I will always respect Margaret Atwood for writing about such an important topic but… plot-wise, the book essentially was about Offred reuniting with her daughters. I thought that The Handmaid’s Tale as a stand-alone novel was enough, the ending was fabulous and a sequel was really not needed. But, it was still a good book and I’d still recommend it.

And last but not least, The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson was a book I didn’t expect to like so much. This book is about Anthia and… well… Crows. In her tropical kingdom of Rhodarie, magical crows are part of every aspect of their way of life, that was until Rhodarie was invaded and all the Crows were killed off. With Anthia’s mother died her older sister Caliza takes over and made the decision to marry Anthia to the son of the invading queen. Anthia struggling with her depression reluctantly agrees to the arranged marriage and goes to her new home with him, but then, everything changed when she discovered the last Crow egg. Like I said above, I’m done with the stereotypical bad boy character I want a different kind of character now. For the large majority of the book, I was urging, praying and hoping the main character, Anthia (Thia for short) would not fall in love with the bad boy character/ her fiance. I still am hoping they won’t end up together but with the way the story went it’s likely they will and I sadly will just have to deal with it. But, the character motivations, as well as the world-building and plot of the story, trumped the issues I had with the character relationships. I’ve been in a YA Fantasy slump lately and I haven’t been able to find a fantasy book which interested me as much as Game of Thrones did, but this book sparked my love for fantasy again. I won’t spoil it, and this is a duology so a sequel book is going to be published sometime in 2020, so you can expect more information about this series after the second book comes out.

And that is my list. I probably should have warned everyone that it was a long article – and it’s been a hot minute since I wrote a long article – but fear not, I have nothing else to say except thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

Update On Future Posts and Other Plans

I’ll be honest when I say that writing up and creating a constant flow of content for my November Challenge was the best decision I have ever made in relation to my blog till date. The sense of productivity and accomplishment publishing an article daily felt so rewarding and I’m definitely thinking about (maybe) making it a yearly thing for myself – I’ll make that decision next year, however, so let’s not worry about it now.

So, you may or may not know that I try my best to pre-write (and edit etc.) as many posts as possible during the holiday periods so I don’t have to worry so much about my blog during the University-year. Of course, this doesn’t always work out but I do try. In relation to that, I pre-plan post ideas and more recently I’ve been planning everything out a bit more just so I can stay more organised.

One of the things I have planned for (which I’m sure most may have noticed) is my ‘Indian Girls’ Guide to’ travel series. A few months ago I had travelled (with family) to a few destinations in Europe and so I decided to do some special feature articles about my European adventures. I am extremely excited to share my trip with everyone and I’m also taking this as an opportunity to revamp my whole IGGT series. More information about this will be coming soon, but for now, I can tell you that it will feature 6 different destinations in 4 different European countries and that you can expect these articles in 2020.

And I have one more announcement, but this one relates to makeup. Since I have a travel series, I decided to also create a makeup series as well (perhaps another series relating to books as well? We’ll see). ‘My Makeup Collection’ series is also coming in 2020 and will feature makeup products I personally use and love. These blog posts will be categorised for efficiency, for example, the first post in my Makeup Collection series will completely be about primers and the second post will relate to foundations and so on. This is another project I am extremely excited for and I can’t wait to get started.

On to some other plans I have for my blog:

  • I decided to change the name, I thought of the original name out of pure boredom and while I did like it, it felt amature-ish so from now on, inspired by the ancient silk roads which connected Asia to the Western continent, this blog is called Silk Roads Lifestyle.
  • Other than the name, I might, MIGHT be making a few changes to the theme, again I started this blog out mainly on a whim so while I am generally happy with the website design and theme of the blog, I might be making a few tweaks to the website. It won’t be anything too drastic – promise.

And that’s it! There is one more month left in 2019, it’s crazy to think that around this time in 2018 I got the idea of creating a blog and a year later it’s flourishing. You can expect two more blog posts in December before the New Year, but until then, I hope you all have a lovely day.

Let’s Talk About Holly Black and her ‘The Folk of the Air’ Trilogy

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse”

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. You have been warned.

Note: Since I am going to be reviewing an entire trilogy, this won’t be like my normal shorter book reviews, instead this will be longer and more like my Sarah J. Maas review which I had done in the past. On to the review:

Now, I don’t know about you, but these books frustrate me so much! Both in a good way and in a bad way that is. We’ll get into why that’s so a little later first let’s talk about the first book in the trilogy: The Cruel Prince.

The Cruel Prince establishes the universe, the backstory and character relationships and everything really – and for the large majority of the trilogy, these details remains the same. So, what actually happens in the book? The story is about the ‘Cruel Prince’ BUT the main character is Jude, so don’t get confused. Basically, Jude and her sisters are human, when they were children her parents were murdered and they were (kidnapped) taken away and now live in the Faerie realm. This novel beings ten years later, when Jude and her sisters are older. Jude’s eldest sister, Vivienne was able to get away and lives the rest of her life in the human world, but Jude and Taryn (who are actually twin sisters) both want to desperately belong in the Faerie world – the only problem being that the faerie hates humans and Prince Cardan, the youngest and… well cruellest son of the High King, seems to especially hate Jude.

The one advantage Jude has over the Faeries is that since she’s human, she can lie – the faeries can’t lie outright they can only be smart with their words. That’s what makes Jude actually capable of being on the same level as Cardan and the other faeries. But, of course, the plot isn’t that simple. This book isn’t just about Jude trying to be accepted by the faeries (and wow, the things she went through – I mean she almost drowned at one point, I really feel for her but she’s a really difficult character as well), this book has a lot of political intrigues, faeries are tricky and deceptive and there’s someone actually bold enough to betray the High King. So, while Jude is trying to get accepted, she’s also trying to save her sisters and the realm because hint hint the person who betrayed the High King is close to Jude.

The complexity of the characters and the magic of the faerie universe (and of course the politics) is what draws me to this book so much. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book which interested me so much. The Cruel Prince is so much more complicated than what I’ve mentioned in the summary and boy are you going to scream at the ending (again in a good way!) if you decide to read this book.

Speaking about the ending, now let’s talk about The Wicked King. This book begins about five months after the events of The Cruel Prince and Jude, after wanting to be seen as equal to the faeries, has finally been put in a position where she has power over them – and of Cardan, the new King of the realm. Jude has complete control over Cardan for a year and a day – so if she tells him to be a King, he will have to be King, if she tells him to eat dirt, he will eat dirty (as awful as it sounds, this was one of my favourite moments in the book).

How did Jude and Cardan end up here? Well, The Cruel Prince ended with the revelation that Jude’s younger brother (Oak) is the heir to the faerie throne (how that actually happened is long and I don’t think I want to bore you with the details), and we all know that Jude is willing to do anything to keep family safe – even if they might not do the same for her. So, Oak is sent away to the human world with Vivienne while Jude is essentially abandoned by Taryn and is left to navigate the politics of faerie by herself. Though Cardan is under her control, he still does everything in his power to make Jude’s life hell (despite their budding romance). But, again, there’s another betrayal except for this time, which again threatens to hurt everyone Jude loves and cares about. Faeries love making trouble, don’t they?

And, since I’m still talking about The Wicked King, let me just tell you again that I SCREAMED when I read the ending. Again, Holly Black, you are the queen of cliffhangers and book endings. Two books filled with tension and banter between Jude and Cardan and Holly Black just makes Cardan exile Jude to the mortal world. Okay. Thank you for my ongoing trust issues.

And finally, before I go more in-depth about the characters (and potentially embarrass myself fangirling), I just want to talk a little bit about The Queen of Nothing. Since I have yet to read this book (it was recently published), I’ll just give you the blurb. Remember how Jude had control over Cardan, well The Wicked King ended with Cardan tricking Jude into releasing her control over him. How did Jude get tricked well, they GOT MARRIED in secret. Cardan promised to make Jude his queen provided she gave up her control over him and, of course, our Wicked King, the second he got control he exiled Jude, and since no one knew about the marriage, Jude packed her bags and left.

So, The Queen of Nothing essentially picks up from a little while after those events. Jude, the exiled Queen of Nothing, is spending her time with her sister Vivienne and Oak (and Vivi’s girlfriend Heather) in the human world. But she’s determined to go back to the faerie realm, so when Taryn’s life is in danger (honestly, if you know what happened in The Wicked King THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS – seriously, listen to Jude) she goes straight to Jude for help. Jude, of course, takes that chance to go back to the Faerie Court where she tries to save her sister once again as well as confronting her feelings for Cardan. And, that’s all we know about this book.

Now, let me rant about these characters. I have a lot of emotions to release concerning these characters. Let’s start with Madoc, Vivienne and Taryn – Jude’s family. Madoc is a proper contradiction which is both infuriating and perfect at times. He was the one who had murdered Jude’s parents when she and her sisters were younger, but he has a twisted sense of loyalty and honour (think Ned Stark but more amoral) and spared the girls since they were kids at the time and took them to the faerie realm and raised them as his daughters. There is some kind of weird paternal love that Madoc shows the girls (he taught Jude how to fight and to stand on her own) but he’s also cunning and power-hungry. A great combination of catastrophe if you ask me.

Vivienne is one of my favourite characters. She’s a loving older sister, kind of rebellious but while Jude loves her twin Taryn more, it seems more like Vivienne is there for Jude more than Taryn is. Vivienne ends up being the person that Jude trusts with all her grand plans, and unlike Taryn, Vivienne actually does what she can to support Jude. The only thing you should remember about Vivienne is that she hates the faerie realm. While Jude and Taryn desire to be accepted by the faeries, Vivienne had always resented them – I guess since she’s the oldest of the three sisters, she had more memories about the human world and always preferred living there than with the faerie. So, for the large majority of the first two books, we don’t see Vivienne as much, which is a shame. But she’s not really the main character, but since Jude is exiled, I’m assuming (hoping) we’ll get to read more about Vivienne.

Jude’s love for Taryn is so undeserved if you ask me. Personality-wise, Jude and Taryn are complete opposites, Taryn is more gentle and your stereotypical lady while Jude is more of a Katniss Everdeen-like character, angry, tough and ANGRY. Despite these differences Jude truly cares for her twin sister, there were quite a few moments in The Cruel Prince where Jude puts herself into tough situations so Taryn is okay. So what’s the issue with Taryn? While Jude is more explosive and loud about her want to be accepted by the faeries, Taryn has chosen a more lowkey method of acceptance – by marrying a faerie who’s in Cardan’s court. While her want to get married isn’t a bad thing, the person whom she chose to marry also happens to be the same person who tried to court Jude and later, also tried to kill her. Confused? Don’t worry, if there is one thing I can tell you about this book, it would be that Jude can’t trust anyone. Including her own twin.

And now, let’s talk about Jude and Cardan. Just in case it was unclear from my plot summaries earlier in this review – Cardan and Jude are essentially following that enemies to lovers trope. While Jude is our the main character and we are expected to be on her side, both she and Cardan are terrible people, Cardan, of course, even more so evil, but Jude is just as difficult. And I love them both because of it.

Their dynamic starts out extremely easy and simple to understand, they hate each other wholeheartedly – Cardan takes every opportunity available to humiliate Jude and Jude hates the power he (and the other faeries) have over her as a human. But then, as Jude elevates herself into a position where she’s more or less equal to Cardan, that’s where things start to change. Jude found out that Cardan has been tortured by his older brothers and also found out more about his complicated family relationships. To the reader, it becomes apparent that one of the reasons why Cardan despises Jude so much is because she has somewhat a more loving family than he does. Also, Jude makes a lot of comments about how beautiful and attractive Cardan is (ahem AND THE OTHER FAERIES but mainly Cardan). Not to mention, as the story develops and the two end up spending more time together, in between their married couples banter and tension between the characters grow fonder of each other, letting moments of vulnerability and tenderness slip in every now and then. So, evidently, they do end up with a pretty complicated relationship, they’re not really friends, they could be lovers, but then there’s not a lot of love. Urg! Again, this is a great thing for Holly Black, she knows how to keep her readers constantly intrigued in her storyline and characters.

Holly Black has mentioned (apparently, I heard this from the grapevine) that Cardan will be getting what he deserves in the final book and well… after all the emotions I felt from the first two books, I wish I knew what exactly it is he deserves? Does he die? Yeah, he does deserve that he is an awful person. But, he’s also a loveable person, so does he and Jude live happily ever after in the end? Unlikely, but a fangirl can hope.

Now, putting the politics, the character relationships and the worlding building aside, there is one important thing we have to talk about. As much as I love reading The Folk of the Air, there is one major problem I do have with it. (I don’t always read critically, most of the time I just read for pleasure, but there are things that can’t be ignored). So, the ONE reason why this book frustrates me in a bad way? It’s the fact that Jude and Cardan’s relationship can be seen as an abusive and toxic relationship and that these books portray it as romantic and ideal. Now again, I love this trilogy, I love Holly Black, and I love a good hate-to-love relationship dynamic, BUT,I also do understand that slightly younger readers may think that Jude and Cardan are to be idealised. You know like how Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship is portrayed? We all know they are toxic and a bad couple to idealise, but when a relationship has been overly romanticised so much this is definitely an issue which can arise – and it is plainly obvious in the writing that the author wants Jude and Cardan together. So, while individually they are very interesting and great characters (though not exactly good people), together their relationship can also be toxic and problematic. What do you think about this? Let me know I’d love to hear all opinions about Jude and Cardan.

Now, Holly Black isn’t on tour at the moment, but usually, when there is a new book release, authors do go on tour to promote it and talk about it. Hopefully, if this does happen I will try my best to go see her on tour! (Of course, I will create a tour summary post – similar to my Sarah J. Maas tour summary if I do go see her on tour).

So, to finish off, I highly recommend this trilogy, you will not be bored, there is a little bit of everything (fantasy, romance, adventure, murder, betrayal etc.) intertwined intricately together. Holly Black really outdid herself in this trilogy. Also, since I haven’t finished The Queen of Nothing, I will update this post later on with more information (and images) of the final book.

***

Queen of Nothing Updates: Click here to read

Why Fenty Beauty Deserves The Hype

I think the thing which annoyed me the most, when this brand first launched a few years ago, was hearing about they downplayed how amazing Fenty Beauty truly is. Now let’s face it, the beauty industry hasn’t always been the most inclusive place. Yes, there were brands which did cater to darker skin tones (e.g MAC) but for the longest time ever it was only a small number of brands which did so.

That itself was a problem because essentially there was an assumption that brands had where they believed that darker skin toned women just don’t wear makeup (which is bull because Hi, how are you? We do wear makeup). And Yes, again, over time, more brands did carter of POC, but again, it was done poorly. They may have had the shade range but the undertones were too grey or too orange (we don’t like having orange undertones in our foundations okay, it’s not a hard concept to understand we are not carrots).

But the audacity of people dismissing Fenty Beauty for being inclusive and for having a shade for every skin tone. That’s privilege talking. Of course, I don’t deny the fact that other brands were inclusive before Fenty Beauty ever came along but you can’t argue with the fact that Fenty Beauty was the first brand that perfectly executed that inclusivity. I mean, if Fenty Beauty didn’t do such a good job then how do you explain all the good reviews? The POC on youtube who literally cry in rejoice that they have a product which suits them? How do you just dismiss them so easily?

Without a doubt, this topic goes way deeper than a privilege and can be extended to *ahem” racism and colourism. I don’t want to get too political (because for some reason the colour of our skin has to be up for political debate all the time), but it was something which interested me and I really wanted to talk about it. Feel free to leave your comments or send me your thought on this article

List of Books To Read by Asian Authors

Let’s face it… there isn’t a large amount of book written by Asian authors available mainstream. It’s kind of sad, but we’re not going to go into the socio-political reasons about why that’s the case. It’s no secret that I read a lot, and recently I made the effort to try and find some Asian authors and read their works. At the moment I prefer reading fantasy and wow it was actually, really hard trying to find a decent amount of fantasy novels written by authors with an Asian background so I decided to include different genres in this list.

Kavita Kane is sort of like the Rick Riordan of Indian Mythology. Sort of. She has two books (both of which I have read) Sita’s Sister and Karna’s Wife. The thing that caught my interest was this: Generally speaking, as an Indian, many traditional and mythological Indian stories are sexist against women. GENERALLY. Kane’s novels sparked my interest because she re-told important mythological stories with a more curious and non-sexist point of view – using the important women (Sita and Karna’s Wife) in those stories as the main characters instead of the men who so often overshadow the women. Personally, I would love to read more novel by Kane, I enjoy reading different versions of Indian mythology but for now, those two are my favourites.

The other Indian (and Filipino) author is another personal favourite of mine: Roshani Chokshi. She actually writes a series in Rick Riordian’s publishing company – sticking to the cultural mythology theme she writes about Aru Shah’s journey intertwining Indian Gods and Goddesses as well as Indian Mythology. Actually, now that I think about it, Chokshi is probably more like Riordian and Kavita Kane (concerning writing style and plot).- however this is a series I have not read yet but it is on my to-read list. My favourite books by Chokshi is the YA Fantasy novel The Gilded Wolves (the sequel is coming out in 2020 and I am PUMPED WOO!) and The Star-Touched Queen Series. I won’t talk too much about those books – they will be featured again in the future so keep a lookout for it.

Melissa De la Cruz’s series Blue Bloods was actually recommended to me by a friend back in high school. Now, seriously, in high school, I was more of a werewolf person (without the abusive and sexist Alpha and Luna characters that is) and my friend is more of a vampire person – hence why she recommended me this book. I thought the plot was kind of weird but the book grew on me. Basically, it was vampires in America, and the same group of vampires exists and every time they die a while later they are reborn and taught everything about their past and their histories. The thing that weirded me out was basically there was this ancient couple in the book who are meant to be together in every life, were reborn as twins… I still can’t get my head around Cersei and Jamie’s relationship so. Other than that it was actually the first time I read books about vampires, and I really like the plot and storyline. Since this is a series I don’t know how to talk about it without giving too much away, so, just know that issues start to arise when the main character falls in love with one of those twins. (I’ve never read Twilight and while I have watched vampire TV shows and movies they don’t count because they’re not books).

I briefly mentioned this in a previous post but, around the time Wonder Woman (2017) with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine came out, a book (Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – aka the first book I ever read by Leigh Bardugo, it was shortly after that book I started reading her other books and fell in love with her as an author) was published as well. DC had teamed up with four Young Adult authors to write four separate coming-of-age novels about DC’s most loved characters. Leigh Bardugo wrote Wonder Woman’s story, Matt de la Pena wrote Superman’s story, Sarah J. Maas wrote Catwoman’s story and of course, Marie Lu wrote Batman’s story. I knew of Marie Lu at this point, but I just never got around to picking up one of her books. So, when I heard that she was writing Batman: Nightwalker I bought a book subscription box which featured her book (yes I have Batman fan merch which I do not need at all but I have and I don’t regret the price I paid for it, DON’T JUDGE ME). And I freaking loved it. The book features Bruce Wayne before he became Batman – as a teenager who is just about to legally inherit his parents’ business empire. With crime always present in Gotham City the Nightwalkers are a criminal crew who make use of the chaos in the city and terrorise the rich and wealthy. I can’t say I blame them wanting the rich to be more human but murder is bad so I can’t really support them now can I? Back to the plot: Bruce more or less took it upon himself to stop the Nightwalkers that is until he meets a girl who could help him stop them, a girl who also happens to be involved with them. Highly recommended. (Also, you don’t have to know anything about Batman to read this book, the story is pretty easy to pick up as well as the other books featured in this DC x YA author collaboration).

An honourable mention which I have to talk about is Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Now, we all loved the movie, it was a hit, loved everything about it. The books more dramatic, more scandalous and of course the books will have all the details and extra storylines the movie couldn’t include. While this series is also one of my favourites, the anti-LGBT+ jokes made by a few characters are extremely unnecessary – thank goodness they didn’t include those in the movie.

Now because I don’t want this post to be too long I’ll bullet point the next couple of books but don’t worry, SOME of the books listed below will be featured on my blog either in the future or they’re already available on my blog. They are:

  • Natasha Ngan, YA Fantasy, Girls of Paper and Fire
  • Isabelle Ronin, Romance, Chasing Red
  • Rupi Kaur, Poetry, Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers
  • Jenny Han, YA Contemporary/ Romance, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy
  • Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

That’s the end of this post, and as usual please let me know what you think about this blog post I love comments and feedback and also I hope you have a lovely day.

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