Review: All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

9780765379948_custom-a047a9fe6159435f98535d0c3369b717733b8de1-s400-c85All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Genre: Science Fantasy / Apocalyptic

Publisher: Titan Books

My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths…

When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world and live up to his reputation in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repair the earth’s ever growing ailments.

As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia’s shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.

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My Review

I first discovered this book when I saw a poster for it whilst rushing through the London Underground to catch my train from Waterloo Station. The subterranean tunnels were heaving with people and I was hurrying after my boyfriend Mark when an advertisement caught my eye. The cover was what initially drew me in – I think it’s really beautiful – but what intrigued me most was the snippet of a review on the poster that described All the Birds in the Sky as ‘apocalyptic’. That was it, I was sold. I was gonna buy this book. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I can’t resist anything apocalyptic.

When we got to Waterloo, we had some time to kill before our train, so I dragged Mark into the bookshop and what did I see on the first display? All the Birds in the Sky. It was like fate. I bought it immediately.

That was quite a few months ago now, but I’ve only just devoured this book. And devour it I did. I really enjoyed it. Witty and weird, Anders’ writing is smooth and original and so are her two main characters of Patricia and Laurence. They’re both deeply flawed, and not always nice to each other, but they are the only ones who can understand their flaws and quirks. Patricia has the biggest quirk out of the two – she’s a witch. Thankfully, however, there was no sudden ‘oh, I have superpowers, I am all-powerful!’ kind of revelation. It’s much more complex than that and deeply affects both Patricia and Laurence, and their abilities to be accepted by their peers.

Anders has weaved science with magic extremely well. It seems a little weird at first, the two of them mixing, especially because Anders isn’t one to mollycoddle the reader and explain the ins and outs of the magic world, or the scientific discoveries. But this overall makes for an extremely unique story and I really enjoyed that Anders didn’t try and explain everything; it enhanced the wittiness of her writing and the complexity of her strange characters.

I’m actually struggling to put this novel into words. It’s one of those that is too odd and unique to really describe; you have to read it to believe it. The only reason I didn’t give the novel 5/5 was that I felt the climax was rushed and didn’t make a lot of sense. If you’ve read the book, I’m not talking about Patricia’s answer to the question that plagues the novel (you know the one I mean), but the seemingly psychotic actions of two members of the Ten Percent Project. I know the novel is apocalyptic as nature starts going a bit mental, but the actions of these two characters made no sense. Their response was irrational and unbelievable. That’s where I think Anders fell short; the climax of a novel is often the most crucial part, where the protagonist is in the most danger and the conflict is resolved. However, I think the ‘danger’ just didn’t add up with the rest of the story.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this novel and the characters of Patricia and Laurence. There is an essence of their destinies being star-crossed and I loved that aspect. Will they ‘save the world’? Will they end up together? Can magic and science be one? Who knows. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Have you read All the Birds in the Sky? What did you think? Do you enjoy Science Fantasy as a genre? Let me know in the comments!

Caitlin (1)


Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

piercebrownsredrisingRed Rising by Pierce Brown

Genre: New Adult / Sci-Fi / Dystopian

Publisher: Hodder

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Break the chains. Live for more.

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My Review

I don’t know why I waited so long to start this series; I’m actually pretty annoyed with myself. This novel is so slick, with excellent writing and a plot brimming with twists and turns, not to mention that the world-building is complex and unique (yet easy to understand) and the characters 3D.

Darrow himself is an excellent protagonist. Hot-headed, passionate, but deeply caring, his voice leads you through a story filled with violence and oppression, but also hope. Darrow is originally not a rule-breaker, unlike Katniss of The Hunger Games. However, both infiltrate their respective society’s from the bottom up. Yet, after tragedy strikes, Darrow is still not 100% sure he wishes to rebel. Initially, he just wants to give up, and to see Darrow change from a resentful boy to a headstrong young man was something I enjoyed most about this book. His hot-head nature and confidence never spills over into cockiness; he’s self-assured and talented, but if he ever attempts to overstep the mark, he is suitably knocked back. Usually, I find teenage male protagonists the hardest to connect with (Darrow begins the story being 16 and we see him turn 18), but I had no qualms here. Brown has created such a likeable and believable – yet suitably flawed – character and I commend him for this.

His cast of characters are truly unique and Brown doesn’t hold back in showing us their worst sides. Sevro may not be the most ‘humane’ character, but I really liked him, and even ended up liking Tactus a little (although his previous actions aren’t excusable). I did like Mustang as well, and I enjoyed the dynamic between her and Darrow. These ‘Gold’ teenagers – Gold’s being the highest caste in society. Reds, such as Darrow, are the lowest. Other colours include Pink, Green, Obsidian… – are thrust into a ‘game’ not unlike the Hunger Games. However, whereas The Hunger Games novels are Young Adult, the violence and language of the ‘games’ in Red Rising firmly cements it in the New Adult genre for me, as the book deals with slightly darker issues than a Young Adult novel, and so will also appeal to adults. The ‘games’ are brutal and Brown doesn’t shy away from violence and death; nor does he shy away from more sensitive topics such as rape.

Being now 21, Young Adult novels still appeal to me as I enjoy the sense of discovery and change that comes with adolescence, but often now they’re just not gritty enough. Red Rising was certainly gritty and exactly what I’ve been looking for. I think it can be a little naive of some Young Adult authors to ignore the fact that teenagers swear (a lot) and that issues are discussed beyond who kissed who.

Overall, I really loved Red Rising. I’m wracking my brain for flaws and can’t really think of any. Maybe the beginning was a tad slow? But I didn’t really mind because the world-building and characterisation that occurred in the initial chapters was excellent. I’m really excited to get started on the next book at some point, and the prospect of a Red Rising film. I hope they don’t dampen it down to make it more suitable for younger audiences because I think the brutality is what makes Red Rising stand out. It’s not gratuitous, but instead is an excellent study in human nature and our capacity for violence and power.

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Have you read Red Rising? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, sorry I haven’t updated recently, but it’s been a busy week, especially with celebrating the end of my boyfriend’s university exams and subsequently giving him the Norovirus I suffered from last week! I’m currently reading All The Birds in the Sky and enjoying it. Review to come soon!

Caitlin (1)

The Sunday Post #2


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.

My Weekly Recap

Well, in terms of posts, nothing happened because I came down with horrendous food poisoning. I haven’t even felt like reading all week and I’m still absolutely exhausted. So, I’m still halfway through Red Rising by Pierce Brown, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far. The novel doesn’t pull punches and I think I’d class it as New Adult because, whilst it deals with young adults, it certainly doesn’t hold back in terms of violence or swearing. New Adult is definitely my favourite genre; you get the excitement of YA with more mature themes. I suppose, being 21, ‘New Adult’ is the stage I’m at in my life. Sometimes YA annoys me because there’s zero swearing and the themes studied seem quite immature. In reality, your teenage years involve a lot of rude words and some pretty big milestones.


I know that a Red Rising film is in the works so I’m excited to see how they do that. Brown doesn’t fall into corny sci-fi jargon and I hope the film manages to steer clear of that (if it ever gets made).

In other news, the last post on my blog was Bookish Scents: Literary Candles where I reviewed candles from two Etsy shops, with one shop specialising in candles inspired by books. I bought ‘Winterfell’ and ‘Ghost Stories’, so click on the link to see what I thought and where you can get them!

Coming Up

A review of Red Rising; and whilst lying in bed feeling as though death was about to take me at any moment, I planned a post on book-to-screen adaptations that are done well, so keep an eye out for that!

I’m also hoping to get back to pushing through my TBR pile and get started on some books such as these:

And when I have the money, I’m planning on buying these beauties (and many more):

I’m really excited to read The Star-Touched Queen. I’ve heard so many good things about it and the excerpts I’ve read have been beautifully written.

And Finally

I made an ever-growing playlist on Spotify of my favourite Indie songs, the kind of songs that scream summer and road-trips. Some of my favourites on the list are ‘A tout a l’heure’ by Bibio, ‘Bitter Town’ by INHEAVEN, ‘Flowerball’ by The Wombats, and ‘Seventeen’ by Sjowgren. Feel free to give it a listen!

Caitlin (1)

Bookish Scents: Literary Candles


I have a bit of a candle obsession. If there were a support group for people like me, I’d join it. Or maybe I wouldn’t, because who doesn’t love candles?

I’ve seen blog posts about candles whose scents are based on novels, like Wuthering Heights or The Hunger Games or the smell of old bookshops. But when I followed the links to these candles on Etsy, I was put off completely by the postage I’d have to pay to get these candles from America. I’m a poor student; even I can’t justify spending £12 on p&p for a candle.

So I started looking about on Esty and found a few UK candle shops (with much more reasonable prices). Whilst the candles aren’t based on books, I ordered a couple of candles from ‘Cozy Glow‘. One was called ‘Rainy Days’, the other ‘Pine Needle’. Their candles don’t tend to be an amalgamation of scents, which I enjoy. For example, I really like the smell of roses or sandalwood, and they have candles that are just those scents.


‘Rainy Days’ is one of the few which has a mixture of scents. It smells really comforting and its aroma is gentle, not overpowering. I can’t put my finger on what’s in it, but I think there’s a faint aroma of baby powder.


The ‘Pine Needle’ candle is a little overpowering when you sniff it, but when lit the scent mellows slightly and its really relaxing. It helps me to calm down in the evenings after a busy day. ‘Cozy Glow’ also have excellent customer service, I must add, and the delivery was quick.

Now, onto the literary candles.

I ordered two from ‘Old Glow Candles‘. One is ‘Ghost Stories’, the other is based on ‘Winterfell’ from Game of Thrones. 


I love horror and all things creepy, so I was excited to see what ‘Ghost Stories’ would smell like. It smells really nice but not… creepy. Yet in all honesty, what does creepy even smell like? No one wants a candle to smell of death and decay. I do really like the aroma of it though. I can’t put my finger on what it does smell like, so if anyone purchases it and has any ideas, let me know!

‘Winterfell’, however, wow. Just wow. As soon as I sniffed it I was like “This smells like a castle!”. You know those holidays where your parents drag you around some musty old castle or stately home? ‘Winterfell’ smells just like that and more. It doesn’t smell like a disused castle, but a working one. It’s a little musty, but not in a bad way; it’s supposed to smell like Winterfell after all. There’s definitely a woodiness to it and a scent that reminds me of the incense used in Catholic churches. It smells just like I’d imagine Winterfell to smell. Wild but homely.

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I really like both of these Etsy shops. ‘Old Glow Candles’ took a while to dispatch my order, but I’m not sure if that was due to them needing to actually make the candles; they may not have had any ready. They have a lot of other literary candles, including Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Neverland and Rivendell. I’m excited to try the last two especially when I have the money to buy them.

I hope ‘Cozy Glow’ consider releasing some themed candles because, whilst I love their simple candles, I think it would be great to see another company’s take on how the moors of Wuthering Heights would smell, or the Red Keep at King’s Landing. But either way, they have a large selection of candles and I can’t wait to try some more.

In case you missed the links earlier in the post, here they are again:

Cozy Glow

Old Glow Candles

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Have any more literary candles you love? Have you tried any other candles from Cozy Glow or Old Glow Candles? Let me know in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)

Review: Champion (Legend, #3) by Marie Lu

14290364Champion by Marie Lu

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Publisher: Penguin

My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: He is a legend. She is a prodigy. They thought their country was on the brink of a peaceful existence. But a plague outbreak deadlier than any other has arisen and war threatens.

June is the only one who can save her country. But Day would lose everything he has as a consequence.

Who will be champion?


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My Review

When I started this book, I could barely remember what had happened in the previous two novels, even when I looked up the plots online. Whilst I was sure that I’d enjoyed the previous installments, they obviously hadn’t wowed me enough to stick in my mind between my reading each book. I also started off thinking that Champion was pretty slow and was only going to get a 3/5 from me. However, as I progressed through the novel, I once again began to enjoy it as I had the previous installments.

One thing I’ve always liked about the Legend series has been the world-building. I enjoyed that the rest of the world wasn’t forgotten about, like in The Hunger Games. I’d found it really exciting in Prodigy when we’d been able to experience the reality of the Colonies for a while, and in Champion Lu extended this with a visit to Antarctica. I’ve definitely had fun experiencing the progression of the Legend series, the way in which Lu hasn’t just regurgitated similar stories in the same place (the Republic of America) in each novel. She’s pushed beyond the usual confines each time and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that. In Champion especially, I enjoyed the action of the war extending into the Republic, when in previous novels it had remained at the border between the two warring countries.

However, for me, I’ve always found that Lu’s world-building and plotting has out-shined her characters. Day has always annoyed me a little; he’s a bit too cocky and stubborn. I still felt the same about him at the beginning of this novel, but towards the end I think Day had finally developed beyond his cocky nature and I found myself feeling sympathetic towards him. June, too, has never been quite developed enough for my liking, but I found by the end that I liked her more too.

And why is that? Well, the ending was emotional and I definitely had a bit of a lump in my throat. I thought it was poignantly done by Lu and her writing really shined here, and so did June and Day. The ending has prompted me to consider re-reading the series back to back when I have more time, so as to see if I’ve been missing anything from these novels, especially in terms of my somewhat indifferent feelings towards June and Day. At the end of Champion, I’d come to understand just how much the two characters loved each other, and how bittersweet their relationship was. Their dynamic certainly was original when compared with other YA romances. The things that have kept them apart at intervals have been raw and reasonable, instead of feeling forced. Neither of them was unnecessarily rude or secretive just to keep the plot pushing forward.

Overall, I’ve had fun reading the series and experiencing the world. They’ve been enjoyable novels and I do feel a little sad knowing that I’ve come to the end. I feel bad that I didn’t enjoy the protagonists more, but maybe if I give them another shot in the future I might like them as much as other reviewers have.

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Did you read the Legend series? What did you think? Have you read any more of Marie Lu’s work? Let me know in the comments!

Caitlin (1)

Let’s Wrap: April


So this is a little late, but that’s because I’ve just handed in my final essay to university. That’s it. 3rd year done. I’m a free elf.

It’s really surreal that my education is over. But I urge anyone who’s still undecided about university to go for it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You have to care for yourself whilst you get lectured by some of the greatest minds in your chosen subject. It’s a strange balance, but a unique one. And if you also want to experience the world of work, get a part-time job (which, like me, you’ll probably need to get one anyway just to have money to live).

But either way, university is an amazing experience that I haven’t once regretted. Now to put my BA English degree to good use (if I actually pass with a degree…) and kick-start my career.

And so, here’s my wrap-up for April.

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This Month’s Posts

I posted a lot this April in an effort to up my follower count, which I’ve achieved, so thank you for following and keeping up with my posts!

I also went to New York, which was an amazing experience, so I made a post of some of my favourite places to see and restaurants to eat at.

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Favourite Novels This Month

Least Favourite Novels This Month

Coming Up

Reading and (hopefully) reviewing:

  • Champion by Marie Lu – I’m finally getting round to finishing this series! I’ve enjoyed it but found after finishing each book I’ve quickly forgotten about it. Let’s see how good the third novel is.
  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – Been eager to read this relatively new release but just haven’t got round to it.
  • Half Way Home by Hugh Howey – I really enjoyed Howey’s Silo series so hopefully this’ll be up to scratch
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown – Finally starting this much-loved series!
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller – I’ve heard good things about this so fingers crossed!

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Is there a novel listed here you’d really like to see reviewed? Let me know and I’ll get round to reading it ASAP (now that I’m a free elf). Thanks for reading!

Caitlin (1)


Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

9781471144882-ukRot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world – turning those infected into the undead. Benny Imura has grown-up never knowing anything different; his last memory of his parents was of them becoming zombies. Now Benny is fifteen, and joining his brother Tom in the ‘family business’ of zombie killing.

Benny and Tom head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of the wandering undead, and Benny realises that being a bounty hunter isn’t just about whacking zombies. Benny finds his beliefs challenged – and discovers that sometimes the worst monsters you can imagine aren’t the zombies, after all…

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My Review

If you’ve read my post of my favourite zombie novels, you’ll know I have a big love for zombies, but that it can be difficult to find books in the genre that aren’t corny or poorly written. For some reason, I’d just never bothered giving the Rot and Ruin series a chance, but now I’m glad that I have.

Good plotting, eloquent writing and a refreshing look at zombies, Maberry has crafted an excellent YA horror with equal parts gore and humanity. And it’s the humanity that I really enjoyed. If you’re looking for a book where zombies are smashed to bits and not a lot else, then don’t bother with this novel. But if you’re looking for a book that deals with the complications regarding the morality around zombie killing, questions on how ‘human’ zombies still are, and a good amount of action, then this is the book for you.

Maberry teaches us that it isn’t the zombies – ‘zoms’ – we should really hate, but the humans who do things consciously. 

“These zoms, every last one of them – even the smallest child – would kill him if they could, but not one of them meant him harm. Meaning, intention, will… None of that was part of their makeup. There was no more malice there than in a lightning strike or bacteria on a rusted nail.”

The true villains of the novel are the men trafficking children to an almost sicker version of The Hunger Games, where they throw kids into pits full of zombies and make them fight for their amusement. Maberry showcases the horrors of a world where law is no longer enforced by an omnipotent government, and many are to frightened to enact justice. That is, except Benny Imura, his older brother and protector Tom, and their friends, including the mysterious and vicious Lost Girl.

Maberry’s character development is very good, his characters three-dimensional and individual from each other. I especially liked Tom Imura and the Lost Girl. Both have witnessed unspeakable horrors, but Tom channels that into his ‘compassionate’ business (I won’t spoil exactly what he does), and the Lost Girl into seeking revenge. I did like the protagonist Benny. He’s funny and brash, but with a big heart. However, I struggled a little to get into the mindset of a 15-year-old and his 14-year-old friends, but I’m sure many other slightly younger readers wouldn’t have that problem.

My only small gripe is that something just didn’t quite work for me in the big finale. It wasn’t rushed or predictable, but something just didn’t seem right. I can’t put my finger on it. It might have been the dialogue, which was good throughout, but I think it lacked the punch it needed in a finale. However, there isn’t much I can fault in this book. I’m really looking forward to the other books in the series and, seeing as Benny has matured by the end of this novel, I should find it easier to get into his mindset. Hopefully, Maberry doesn’t fall into the trap of ‘gore, gore and more gore’, but instead keeps the stark humanity that made this novel so refreshing.

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Have you the read Rot and Ruin series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Caitlin (1)