Best Books Read in August: THE NAME OF THE BLADE #1 and #2 by Zoë Marriott

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 | 2 comments

Having finished a couple of writing projects I’ve had on the go since Glimpse — one I started in 2010 and one I started last year — I’m in the liberating (and rather scary) position of being WIP-less. This is the first time this has happened since I start writing, so I’m determined to choose carefully the story I write next, rather than ploughing ahead with the next shiny idea that grabs me.

As such, I’ve had lots of time for reading (just to balance out the previous two months of barely having time!). This month I read / listened to…

  • Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid – hard-hitting subject matter, incredibly well written. The sweet and convincing romance helped balance out the less-easy-to-read scenes. 5 stars for great writing.
  • Say Her Name by James Dawson – very fun, and just the right level of scary. Possibly my favourite of James Dawson’s fiction so far. 5 stars for entertainment.
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – I won this in a giveaway from Luna’s Little Library (thank you, Luna!). I was very keen to read because of its glowing reviews and gorgeous cover, but didn’t love it as much as I hoped. Well written, but a little slow-paced for me.
  • The Drowning by Rachel Ward – a really fast, creepily fun read. Hoping to get my hands on the recently-released companion novel, Water Born, soon.
  • The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce – one I’ve been wanting to read for ages. Very much enjoyed it — the main character has such a smart, funny voice — though would have liked a few of the loose ends tidying up. (Can we have a sequel, please?)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – LOVED LOVED LOVED. (Though I do wonder what my experience would have been had I not been waiting for the much-hyped twist. Would I have been a little bored? Possibly. But the twist was just such the kind of thing I like that I could forgive anything.) 5 stars for a twist that couldn’t be predicted, but with clues that could easily be picked out on a re-read.
  • Half Bad by Sally Green – was enthralled for the first two-thirds (despite the OTT violence), but lost interest a bit towards the end. Maybe the second book in the series will hook me back in.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – perfect YA romance. Wonderful end to one of my favourite series. 5 stars.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – a rare non-YA book, picked up because of rave reviews and an intriguing premise (a unique take on the zombie genre). Unsettling without being too scary, and very clever.
  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – a beautifully-written historical mystery with paranormal elements. Really very unique, with some quite chilling moments. 5 stars.

Having read so many great books this month, it’s hard to pick favourites. I’m going with two books that surprised me with just how much I enjoyed them — the first two books in Zoë Marriott’s The Name of the Blade trilogy: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden.

The Night Itself

 

Darkness Hidden

Blurb for book one:

When Mio steals the family’s katana – a priceless ancestral sword – from her parents’ attic, she just wants to spice up a fancy-dress costume. But the katana is much more than some dusty antique and her actions unleash a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets of unsuspecting London. Soon Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, appears to protect Mio – and threatens to steal her heart. With the gods and monsters of Japanese myth stalking her and her friends, Mio realizes that if she cannot keep the sword safe, and learn to control its legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life … but the love of a lifetime.

I’ve wanted to start Zoë Marriott’s new YA series for a while. Though I’m not a fan of high fantasy, urban fantasy really appeals to me (my brain works in strange ways). And look at those gorgeous covers! I loved the original art for the first book, The Night Itself, but these new covers are equally beautiful, just in a different way.

I read The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden back-to-back, and only wish it was 2015 so I could have ploughed straight on with book three. Weaving stories and monsters from Japanese mythology into contemporary London, Zoë Marriott’s created a really vivid, compelling world. The backstory surrounding Mio’s family and the battle she finds herself caught up in is skilfully revealed over the course of the first two books. It’s all very creative, but reads effortlessly. The characters are wonderful (I especially loved Jack and Hikaru), and the romance… *sigh*

Neither book ends with a full-on cliffhanger, which I really appreciated. Obviously, both contain enough open threads that you need to read on (especially book two…oh, that ending), but enough questions are answered in each to be satisfying and tide you over till the next one.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I really do recommend it.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much, Kendra! xx

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