Reading Nook Reviews: Fantasy Adventure and Post-Balloons

Welcome to the second edition of Reading Nook Reviews! If you haven’t come across my first post on this, Reading Nook Reviews is a new series I’ve started here on Stumbly. Every few weeks or so, I’ll be sharing reviews of a few books I’ve been reading and opening the comments up to discussion about the books. FYI, my reviews are spoiler free. Hope you enjoy!

This past week or so, I’ve gotten really into a few new fantasy novels I’ve been meaning to get my hands on.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty


This adult fantasy tells the tale of a skilled thief who has some hidden talents she hasn’t yet fully explored until a magical djinn arrives to help her discover her heritage. I know that’s really cryptic, but I promised no spoilers! Anyway, this book starts out slow, so if you do give it a shot, give it a few chapters before coming to any hard conclusions. It picks up fast and pretty much from the fifth chapter on, I was in love. The world-building is amazing and goes at a pace that really lets the reader see it in their mind. I’m not a fan of books that world-build too fast or incompletely, making it hard for the reader to keep up. My only two let downs with this book are that it sets it up for a sequel, which is okay but I didn’t see it coming, and secondly, the romance is a bit of a downer. Okay, it’s a pretty big downer. But I’m hoping there’s redemption in the second book!

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


I heard good things about this book and so I really did want to love it. But did I? Nope, not one bit really, and I didn’t even finish the book. I made it a little past halfway before I couldn’t take anymore. The Belles is about a group of girls in a futuristic society where everyone is born ugly, and the only way to become pretty is to have a Belle transform you with her magic. The book primarily focuses on the lead Belle, as she deals with the politics within her society and its royalty. Now, I liked the premise of the plot and I could appreciate some aspects of the world-building. But the execution of the plot was manic. I felt like the focus was on the fluff, and too many times we were given a hint at something but our curiosity never fulfilled. The lead character was also, in my opinion, really boring. There were several moments when I wanted her to have a backbone and the author didn’t take that opportunity to give her one. Also, I know this may seem silly but the terminology got annoying. Like, it felt like every other sentence was “Oh look, a post-balloon.” “A post-ballon coming in through the window.” I don’t even know what it is but I’m pretty sure I hate the word ‘post-balloon.’

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian51Kg4byCUhL._SX329_BO1204203200_

Now we’re talking! I was sad because I was several behind in the line for this book at the library but I somehow managed to get the book fairly quickly and I finished it in less than 48 hours! It was just that good. This story is about a princess (obvs) who is the rightful ruler of her country but is held captive by conquerors who killed her mother, the queen. Where The Belles fails at intriguing political plots, Ash Princess succeeds. The characters are great and show real development. I also liked how the book has some dark moments, which I find refreshing in YA novels. I got really into the story and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book.

If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Be on the lookout for the next post in this series, where I’ll be reviewing A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, along with two other mystery books.



  1. July 7, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    The City of Brass, and The Belles are both on my TBR so I haven’t read them yet. I’m glad that you enjoyed reading The City of Brass. I’m a little iffy on The Belles though. I don’t really think it’s for me, but I’ll see if my library has it. I’ve read the Ash Princess, and I enjoyed it since there was just so much that happened. But I didn’t particularly enjoy the almost-love triangle. Like, seriously…..grr. I liked the darker aspects of Ash Princess as well! — Great post! 😀

    • Cailin
      July 8, 2018 / 8:58 am

      I agree about the love just seemed so basic to me like “Really? You’re falling into this trope?” But other than that, I really liked it! And thanks!

  2. eviebraithwaite
    July 8, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    Ah such a shame about The Belles! I’ve heard some amazing reviews for it! Definitely need to get around to reading Ash Princess, it’s at the top of my TBR list atm. Great post x

    Evie x |

  3. July 9, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    I haven’t read any of these personally, but too heard good things about The Belles. Good thing j read this review before purchasing! I also don’t like main characters who seem like they can’t defend themselves. I want to read a bit of action, you know? Stand up for themselves! Thanks for the review Cailin!

    • Cailin
      July 9, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      Glad you liked it! And I don’t know, the book might still be worth a go for others because your tastes might be different than mine. But yes, I personally was disappointed by it.

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