Favorite Book World

I’m not typically one for favorites. Not really. Most of the time if someone asks me what my favorite of anything is, I can’t answer because it is always subjective. Color? Depends on what we are talking about. If it is flowers, then I’m limited in choices. Clothing? I like what looks good on me. You ask about food, forget it. I’m a mood eater, just like I’m a mood reader. So if you ask me what’s my favorite book, I’m not going to be able to answer. I can give you a list of books I love, but I couldn’t pick only one. Or even 5.

I was thinking about book worlds and it seems that is a different ball of wax for me because it doesn’t cover just one book or one thing. It is a much bigger concept with lots of little pieces tied into it. It is because of those complexities that I can say I have a favorite. When I realized I actually had one, I sat and thought about why. What makes it a favorite?

When it comes to book worlds, I immediately go to fantasy because those tend to require a level of creativity and detail that realistic fiction doesn’t require because the larger aspects of that world already exist. All those different parts and pieces need to work together and they need to work in a way that sells the reader on that world. That it makes them believe in it. At least that is the way the best ones work for me. I’m sure other genres could work, but something contemporary that exists in the real world probably would never even come close for me.

One of the things that makes a book world truly compelling is that I can’t get the world and how it works out of my mind even when my nose isn’t in the book. It is something that consumes my thoughts, invades even my dreams, and sticks with me long after I’m done reading. So much so, I’m heartbroken every time I finish a book and have to wait for the next release.

While I have several series/worlds that come so close to hitting that coveted favorite spot, only one truly stands out. It’s kind of funny, but all of those series are written by the same author, Anne Bishop. I have other authors and book series I adore (guess what? I don’t actually have a favorite!), but when it comes to worlds, she takes top billing.

The runner up for me has got to be her Black Jewels world. This was probably the first book world that invaded my dreams. I remember the first time I read through the series, I had dreams throughout the entire time I was reading the series. This isn’t entirely uncommon for me as my brain doesn’t like to let me sleep anyway, but it shocked me at how much this world influenced those dreams. I still love this series, but it has to take second place.

Tied for that second place has got to be her Ephemera series. I think part of why this world was so fascinating is because it truly exists on the foundation of this singular concept of “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” It is a world that forces you to look a little deeper into yourself and I was at a point in my life where this had a huge impact on me. This didn’t invade my dreams or daily life so much as just really forced me to stop and think, to be a bit more mindful, to see the larger impact of my words and actions.

First place goes to all the books in the Others world. The biggest reason this gets the top spot is because I keep seeing things from that world tie into issues in today’s real world. There are so many deeper concepts in this outside of just an entertaining fantasy. Mostly from the very broad and generalized concepts of humanity, its arrogance, willful ignorance, and finding a balance with the natural world. I cannot tell you how many times I’ll be talking about current events with Hubby and I end up bringing up something from one of the books in this world. I find it utterly fascinating.

While it does have a lot of elements from reality, it is also so very not. I think it is that balance, combined with the level of detail that I really fell in love with. I also feel like it is really unique. Sure, there are certain elements that you see a lot of, but they are presented in such a different way that it makes them feel like brand new concepts that have zero ties to any of those other representations.

Anne Bishop is one of those authors that I’d love to spend at least a couple of minutes inside their head just to see some of the crazy that has to exist to be able to create the stunning worlds she does. I think she is one of those authors that most ideas start out with a “what if?” and it just explodes from there with a ton more of those “what if’s” along the way. You can almost see the path she takes from that question into the worlds she’s created. It is probably why the worlds she creates hold all the top spots for favorite book worlds for me.

Looking at all of these things I’ve brought up with regards to worlds, I think the things that I like the most and what really intrigues me is when they make me think, if it can bring in connections to real life even if the world is completely fantastical. They are all also extremely well thought out, highly detailed and feel utterly unique.

Do you have a favorite book world(s)? What about those worlds stick with you?

*Yes, I am aware that the image I used for this post doesn’t actually picture any of the books from my favorite world. That is because I only have those in ebook form, something I need to rectify. And soon!

 

Book Review: War, House War: Book 8

Author: Michelle West (Sagara)
Book Name: War
Series: House War
Order: #8
Genre: Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4.5 Stars
4.5 Stars

 

 

Blurb: The eighth and final book in the epic fantasy House War series closes this chapter in a beloved world of magic and political intrigue, where new threats are stirring.

When the Sleepers wake.

Once, that phrase meant: never. The Sleepers were a myth, part of a story told to children. But in truth, the Sleepers, ancient princes in the court of the Winter Queen, were imprisoned in slumber by the gods themselves—in the cold, dark ruins of the ancient city that lies buried beneath the capitol of the Empire. And that prison is fraying, at last.

They are waking.

The gods no longer walk the world. There is no power that can stand against the princes when they wake—and the city that has been Jewel’s home for her entire life will be destroyed when the Sleepers walk. There is only one person to whom they owe allegiance, only one chance to halt them before they destroy everything in their ancient rage.

But that person is the Winter Queen; she is not, and has never been mortal. Jewel carries the last of the surviving saplings that might usher in a new Summer age—but all of the roads that lead to the court of the Queen are closed.

Jewel ATerafin has faced the Oracle’s test. She has control of the prophetic powers that she once considered a curse and a burden. She will find her way to the Winter Queen, and she will ask—or beg—the Winter Queen to intervene to save her kind, her House, and everything she loves.

But she is mortal, and time has never been her friend. The demons are waiting to bar her way, bringing battle to the hidden ancient paths on which she must travel. To win, she must face the true meaning of the Oracle’s test, and risk sanity and life to make the choice that has always lurked at the heart of the firstborn’s test.

And even then, it might be too late.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Series Continuity: 5/5 Stars
I don’t have much to note specifically here other than to say this book definitely stayed true to form, but this does play a huge part in my overall opinion.

Series Expectations: 4/5 Stars
As usual, this exceeds expectations in most areas. Some I saw coming and others I was surprised by in a way I’m still torn on.

Personal Opinion: 4/5 Stars
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this book as the end of the House War series. Because this is so intricately tied with The Sundered, The Sacred Hunt, and The Sun Sword series, I didn’t know for sure if this was the LAST, last book, or just the last House War book. It doesn’t feel like the end of the much larger universe and story arc that ties all those other series together.

There is so much that happens in this one book, I’m not sure how to unpack it all. Many threads that have been introduced throughout this series (and some of the other connected series) get tied up in this book, which was to be expected, but they don’t feel completely done. There are other, much larger, storyline threads outside of the House War series that are still left unfinished.

I wasn’t entirely surprised by the end result of Jewel’s journey. I am a little surprised at the specific events that get her there. I was honestly expecting different events or circumstances would be the catalyst that brought about her decision, a kind of emotional upheaval, but these weren’t. I am by no means disappointed, just… it came about differently than I thought, leaving me a little torn about my response to the actual events.

There is a conclusion to the storyline about The Sleepers, but I feel like this takes a bit of a backseat to Jewel’s story. Since she is essentially the focal character in this particular series, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I would have liked to have gotten a better glimpse of their interaction with Meralonne, though. But that is the problem with any great character in any book, you never feel like you get nearly enough page time with any of them.

In typical fashion, I get to the last page and I wasn’t ready for it to BE the last page. There are still lots of threads left unfinished, even the threads of many of the focal characters in this series. There are still so many characters in this series that I’m not ready to see the last of. This book, even being the end of the House War series, means that I don’t have to see the last of them just yet. I’m hopeful that means we will still get more of the specific characters in THIS series, wherever the larger storyline takes us.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Other areas of note (not included in the SPA rating):

Cover: 5/5 Stars
I have to be a bit giddy about this cover. I have loved the art on ALL the covers of this series. They all hold an extremely consistent look and feel and this blends in perfectly with the rest. I cannot get over all the detail and how deeply this (and all the other covers) reflect the events in the book.

World Building: 5/5 Stars
It is probably obvious if you were to look at my favorites list that this falls into one of my favorite series. It is because of the world building in this series that I love it so much. Fair warning, though! You’ve GOT to read the books in order to truly understand what is going on, that means the books across all the different series. You may be able to pick up one of the series and not feel entirely lost if you read from the beginning of that series, but you would be missing out on some of those finer details and underlying pieces that are so essential to the whole.

There is so much detail and intricacies woven throughout this as a whole. I honestly don’t think I’d want to ever be in the author’s head. To be able to hold it all together and keep it in line and consistent is kind of astonishing.