Fantasy

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch

I’ve taken a week to formulate my thoughts about the mesmerising finale of Arden‘s Winternight Trilogy. I’m afraid my emotions are still all over the place and I do apologise in advance for extensive gushing.

Let’s first back up a bit. The Winter of the Witch is the third book in the series and I do not recommend reading it as a standalone book as it heavily leans into its previous instalments. On the flip side, if you haven’t read any of these books yet, you have quite a treat waiting for you. There are full of magic, highly atmospheric and I do dare to agree with Amalia and her beautiful review of this book – I also think this trilogy is ‘making its way to be a classic‘.

The Bear and the Nightingale started this magical series with a highly atmospheric, coming of age story. I got to meet Vasya and I immediately fell in love with Arden‘s writing, her clever story telling and all that Slavic folklore, which always screams ‘HOME‘ to me whenever I am exposed to it.

The second book, The Girl in the Tower, turns darker. The innocence of youth is long gone and Vasya, a young adult, is determined to travel the world. Its tone is different – it’s not only that darkness but also its faster pace that contrasts the first book. It’s a roller coaster of events and I could not put it down.

The Winter of the Witch starts exactly where The Girl in the Tower ended. You can sense the torment medieval Moscow is experiencing, you can feel the fear her people are immersed in. The beginning is DARK…. and it gets darker, much much darker.

It’s rare to be amazed by all books in a series but that is the case of Winternight Trilogy – I do not know how it’s possible that every book makes me so sad when it’s over and every time I read those books I keep on thinking ‘this is why I read‘. It makes my heart sing, it makes me happy on so many levels. Arden‘s characters are believable and complex. Vasya is not beautiful and her appearance is utterly irrelevant. It is who she is as a person that counts. She is set on a quest, makes mistakes, asks for help, admits her flaws and owns all of it.

The Winter of the Witch explores Vasya‘s dark side. What I enjoyed in particular was her interaction with Medved (the Bear). Medved is a clear antagonist. In a perfect hero / anti-hero tradition, Medved almost completes Vasya and despite him behaving terribly and doing unacceptable things, you almost get to like him. Something I always appreciate when reading about villains.

And then there is Morozko (Frost Demon). Not portrayed as a monster but rather as someone, who can feel human emotions and who can care despite being terrified of it. A very minor spoiler ahead: yes, he is featured in this book and yes, Vasya doesn’t forget him. 😊

‘’I am a witch’’, said Vasya. Blood was running down her hand now, spoiling her grip. ‘’I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter, died at my own choosing, and wept for a nightingale. Now I am beyond prophecy.’’ She caught his knife on the crosspiece of hers, hilt to hilt. ‘’I have crossed three times nine realms to find you, my lord. And I find you at play, forgetful.’’

This book is full of action, features battles, moments of sadness when lives are lost, moments of hope when Vasya steps into her power and utterly charming moments of magic when Vasya travels the Midnight road to start her new quest.

I appreciate how Arden mixes old and new beliefs together. How this book is not just about what you believe in but how strongly you believe it. Fans of Gaiman‘s American Gods will enjoy this messaging for sure!

I also enjoyed reading Arden‘s parting comments, in which she shares Russian history and explains how some of her characters got to be. Some of them are based on real historical figures. I do recommend reading this section as it is a fascinating read.

I loved everything about this book, its pace, well developed characters, that feeling of bittersweetness and Arden‘s gorgeous writing. Russian folklore, medieval setting, atmospheric descriptions… it will all steal your hearts.

To me, it’s an utter perfection. I could have easily read it in a day but forced myself to read it over seven days to prolong this magical journey. I cherished those evenings I could read yet another chapter of this book.

I’ll leave you with a question: “if someone lives in our thoughts, does it mean that person still exists”?

I firmly believe so.

I would like to thank both the publisher, Penguin Random House UK as well as the author, for proving me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ❤️


Over to you: have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? If not, are you planning on doing so?

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by. 📚❤️

 

Bookish

2019 Wishlist & Slow Reading Experiment

slow reading

Happy New Year!

I’ve recently read many wonderful posts written on goals for 2019 – in particular, Umut’s confession really resonated with me. I started thinking about my own plans. I have been reflecting on what I learned during 2018 what I want to take away from it:

I’ve noticed that setting a concrete challenging reading goal for 2018 produced a few interesting outcomes:

  1. I read more – much more than I would normally read – I haven’t met my 100 books goal, but wasn’t that far away from it.
  2. Reading became a chore and I had to abandon my goal to preserve my sanity and to enjoy reading for what I want it to be – something I cherish but also something that I don’t want to do all the time.

I started this blog with the intention to write on a regular basis as well as to talk about books. That indeed was a success. I wrote a lot more in 2018 than I did in previous years. It was hard at times, but it also brought me a lot of joy. And as a lovely byproduct, I happened to discover this supportive and amazing community. I am so grateful for your love my friends, I feel so lucky to be part of it.

There have been many ups and downs in 2018 and I am so appreciative for my loved ones, that were there for me. To celebrate the great times together and to lend me their strong shoulders when I needed them to cry on them during those tough times.


Let’s look ahead.

I like to choose a theme for the upcoming year. I like to write it in my journal and use it as a beacon in the dark, whenever I feel like I’m losing my way. I’m currently toying with following words as contenders for 2019:

Notice / Listen / Tune In

I want to listen more this year and be more attentive in general – I’m striving to notice rather than to react. I want to give my full focus to others when they speak – no interruptions, no offer of an immediate advice. I also want to tune in inwards to hear my own voice – in order to observe my habits and my thinking… I’m leaning towards Notice so far but that may still change.

Based on my summary above, do you have any other suggestions please? I’m reaching out to all those creative souls out there.

I’ll be grateful for any other suggestions please. 🙂 Thanks! 


In terms of my goals for this year:

Big Goal:

Get certified as a Life Coach. I am starting Masters in Coaching later on this month. This will take a lot of my spare time as I still have a 40+ hours a week full-time job. I’ve gone through my compulsory reading list (nearly fainted a few times after I fully grasped its length 😉 ) and started cracking on with a few of those mandatory reads. They are super interesting! 🙂

Bookish / Creative:

Read fewer books and enjoy slow reading experience. This may go against many reading goals but I honestly want to read less this year. 😉 I started experimenting with it with my last book, The Winter of the Witch and it made me so happy.

I’ll be writing a separate discussion post about it as there’s a lot to talk about. Stay tuned for that one. 🙂

Read some of the books I already own but haven’t read yet. Perhaps many of you can relate to the process of buying books, looking at them lovingly, being excited about reading them…. and then forgetting all about them. I have many eBooks. I don’t even know what I own and haven’t read.

I’ve been compiling a spreadsheet (my inner organiser is loving it) of all books I own. My plan is to choose my reading material from this list on a regular basis. I won’t constrict myself entirely to it but will start reducing it.

Space Fleet adventure – my dear friend Alexandra invited me to take a part in her Fleet Space Adventure. I have a character that I’ll be writing about – her name is Ada Novák. I have learned so much about this creative writing process already – thank you Alexandra for all of your help, you are such a wonderful friend and I am so grateful I have met you.

Please come over to say hello – either to read along or to take part and to join our expanding crew. Ada may even coach you if you let her… 😉

Carry on writing blog posts but post less frequently – I’m currently thinking once a week or once every two weeks. Again, this may change but having a less of an internal pressure to ‘create content’ will help me focus on studying.

It will also hopefully enable me to enjoy blogging for what I want it to be – a hobby that will connect me with others and that will honour my value of creativity as well as my love for books.

Mental Health:

Less time online, more face to face interactions. Sadly, this will mean less blog hoping but I’ve noticed tremendous health benefits when I switched off my phone and went out for meals or walks with others or on my own. I’m currently setting up boundaries – I’m thinking no online time on weekends as well as some evenings. This may still change but that’s where I may be heading…

Fitness:

Running challenges – I’ve signed up for several 10-12km long trail races, one of them includes 600m elevation – I may have got carried away a bit with that one but hey, let’s embrace it… somehow …. 😉 Strangely, I started enjoying running during 2018 – miracles do happen my friends! Running longer distances still doesn’t come naturally to me (I’m an ex-sprinter, anything longer than 400m is looooong….). It is hard sometimes, especially on those cold and dark mornings. But it makes me happy afterwards – all those endorphins, that sense of achievement, that joy of watching sunrises and smiling at other runners I get to meet on trails… it all totally outweighs the initial discomfort I think.

Fun climbing challenge – my boyfriend and I created a friendly (a total lie he he!) climbing couple competition for 2019. I may even start climbing more often as I’m totally going to win this one. 😉


Over to you now:

  • Do you use a theme for the upcoming year?
  • Where’s your focus going to go this year?

Fancy sharing it with you? As always, I love hearing from you. 💗💗💗

Bookish

Yes Please & No Thanks Books of 2018

As 2018 is coming to an end, I’ve decided to look back to reflect on what I read this year. I read many excellent books and am extremely grateful to all those wonderful authors for writing such great stories. I know how hard writing can be so thank you for creating and keeping us entertained.

What a privilege is to be able to read all those books.

There were a few books that were not meant to be but that’s OK. Just because a book didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Edmund Wilson once wisely said:  “No two persons ever read the same book.”.

Let’s take a look at books I absolutely loved and can not stop talking about:

Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine by Gail Honeyman. I loved everything about this book. How darkly twisted it was, how that conscious stream of Eleanor’s thoughts made me both cry and smile and how she didn’t get saved by love. Because she didn’t need saving. I wrote a rather long review about it here. Big thumbs up for consistent pacing, vivid characters and that perfect bittersweetness.

Circe by Madeline Miller– if I framed every quote I loved in this book, our entire house would be covered by frames. It’s a slow but extremely philosophical read. It questions what it truly means to be alive and what a gift our mortality, in a way, is. There are so many messages there, its language is exquisite and I still think about it to date. Of course the fact that Greek mythology is ever present was a big bonus for me. Review can be found here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng– it took me a little while to get into this book as its writing style is quite unusual. It has a sort of journalistic feel to it as it is describing what happened and why. Once I got used to the style, I could not put this book down. Again, there are many messages there and it will make you think. About privilege, how a perception of who we are, can be derived from where we come from, about friendships and life in general.

Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden: The Girl in the Tower / The Winter of the Witch – do you remember how much I loved The Bear and the Nightingale? Well the series gets better from there on. Book 2 – The Girl in the Tower – takes us to medieval Moscow and everything starts turning darker. It’s still atmospheric but that innocence of youth is long gone, book 3 – The Winter of the Witch – goes even darker. It’s brutal at times but there is hope. To me, this series is an utter perfection. Everything I ever wanted from fantasy. Its language is lyrical and creates powerful atmosphere, the world is craftily built, characters aren’t perfect and have many flaws, and its love story doesn’t distract us from the main plot.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty- another “I can’t put it down” book. All about shame, in particular parenting and appearance based shame. All these little lies we tell ourselves to keep going, all that hurt that’s buried inside of us. All those secrets we hope nobody will find about us. It’s an excellent character driven mystery, that really dives deep into what makes us tick and how we can overcome shame and heal. Full review can be found here.

If I had to pick a favourite memoir of this year, it would be a tie between Born a Crime and Educated, but if you twisted my arm really hard to make me choose, I would scream out Born a Crime.

Born a Crime by Trevor NoahNoah is a very political, intelligent and highly opinionated stand up comedian. His comedy will make you think. I watched a lot of his shows on Netflix and am his big fan. His collection of essays is the best audio book I have ever listened to, and in my opinion, one of the best memoirs I have read. It’s both funny and sad, there are many strong messages and I will be re-listening to it again next year. Full review here.

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie – in my opinion a must read for everyone. Not to create hate or division, but to connect us and to realise we are in this together. It’s not driven by judgement or fear, but by love. I recommend this as an audio book as the Adichie‘s voice is utterly mesmerising and I could listen to her for hours. A perfect length for a walk or a commute to work. Full review here.

Books I enjoyed a lot and that I think are worth mentioning:

Books that were not meant to be during the time I read them:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (review) – The biggest disappointment of the year as it started off so well. I’m forcing myself not to go on a rant here, but this book made me really angry and I tend not to feel that way when I read books. I usually just lose interest and move on, but as we are friends here, this book really made me mad. The language was haunting and beautiful but I had many issues with both its messaging and the lack of growth of the main character. I still see red whenever I think how sex was implied to be “a rite of passage to an adulthood” and how it glamorised dangerous “monsters”.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (review) – This may be quite a controversial choice given how many people loved this book. By the way I hope we can still be friends if you loved this book. No hard feelings please. 🙂 I loved the messaging of this book – i.e. the questioning of if evil is born or rather made make me really happy… but… it could be that mermaids are just not my thing or that I found both narratives quite indistinguishable and the version I read didn’t have any captures of who was speaking when – either way, it somehow didn’t work for me. I still think it was a strong debut but sadly, not my thing.

Find your Why by Simon Sinek – Gosh, this was so boring. It again started off so well and then turned into such a drag. I DNF in the end, maybe I will revisit it but will need to forget it first before my next attempt.. I still shudder whenever I think of it… sorry!

Linchpin by Seth Godin – I respect Godin a lot. I generally feel aligned with his messaging and think he’s a very interesting person. However I was not impressed with this book. It just went on and on, repeating, admittedly a great idea, that could have been summarised by a few chapters, if even. I do have a short deficit spam but even I didn’t need that constant repetition… I gave up on it in the end, another DNF for me.


There you have it my friends, I wish you all a wonderful end of 2018, full of laughter and fun.

Thank you for reading, commenting and being here. Your time, love and support means a wold to me. ❤️

I look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Šťastný Nový Rok (Happy New Year).💕

Bookish

Happy Holidays

In the Czech Republic, our main Christmas celebration is tomorrow, on 24th December, Christmas Eve.

My family starts the day with some light breakfast, for lunch, we have ‘kuba‘ – a meal made out of mushrooms, groats and garlic. We then go for a long walk, which we finish visiting a cemetery to light up candles for those, who are still in our hearts but no longer with us.

Our main food of the day is Christmas dinner, which usually consists of some fish soup, which I absolutely hated as a child 🙈, a fried carp and some yummy potato salad.

Carp is a traditional Czech Christmas meal, which symbolises Christianity.

We open presents after dinner. After we hear a bell ring coming from the living room. That’s to let us know that Ježíšek (baby Jesus) has visited and left us something underneath the Christmas tree.

I still remember that sense of wonder when I saw the decorated Christmas tree. My parents would decorate it the day before Christmas Eve, lock up the room and let us, kids, see it for the very first time after the Christmas dinner.

There was something magical in those sprinkling lights reflected in glass baubles. I absolutely loved it. That sense of surprise mixed with anticipation. Feeling giddy with excitement. It’s one of my favourite memories I cherish dearly.


Regardless if you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you all a very peaceful holiday full of wonderful moments we people you care about.

Happy Holidays my friends. ❤️❤️❤️

Fantasy

Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce

Emperor Mage

Emperor Mage is the third instalment in The Immortals series and when I was reading it, I kept on thinking: “we are back in business“! I loved the first book (review here) but ended up having mixed feelings about the second book (review here). I am happy to report that Emperor Mage brought back that wonderful feeling of joy, I so enjoyed experiencing, when I started reading this series.

Before we look at the book, I’ll start somehow randomly.

Pierce’s books finish with her parting comments. I loved hearing about how her characters got to be and who, in particular, she saw in her mind, when creating them.

During early 90’s, Pierce pictured Jeff Goldblum whilst imagining her mage Numair, and Ozzy Osbourne has been behind Emperor Mage Ozorne. What a lot of fun she must have had! 😊

Anyhow, back to the synopsis. Goodreads says:

Daine Sarrasri’s power is growing, and her bond with animals is ever stronger.

Along with her mentor, Numair, and a delegation from Tortall, Daine is sent to the Emperor Mage of Carthak in hopes that she can help to smooth international relations between their lands before discord bubbles over into war – by helping the emperor’s ailing birds.

But Carthak’s emperor Ozorne is charmingly treacherous, and Carthak itself built on the labour and suffering of slaves. No matter her choices, Daine finds herself at the centre of a terrible crossroads: she cannot turn away from animals in need, but to help this man could place those she loves in the greatest danger and make a mockery of all she values.

All the while, her magic is flourishing, leading her to answers and abilities beyond what she ever could have dreamed … but also to incredible danger.


This was such a quick read. I finished it in less than a day – it was compelling and I could not put it down. 🙂

I’ve been trying to pin point why I enjoyed books 1 and 3 so much yet the second somehow felt short. I think it’s the humans – the middle book was more about animals rather than people and despite enjoying those animal interactions a lot, I could not fully connect with the book.

Emperor Mage was again more about human relationships. It still featured many animals, as well as some rather interesting dinosaurs’ fossils. It also included a Goddess called Graveyard Hag – and what a fun character she was! Full of mischief and tricks, the Graveyard Hag got on Daine‘s nerves on an ongoing basis. I loved their conversations and did laugh out loud a lot. 🙂

I also enjoyed seeing what happens when Daine gets crossed. In other words: do not mess with Daine‘s friends. Seriously, don’t! 🙂 It was amusing to see another side of this character. I found it highly entertaining.

I applaud Pierce for continuously blurring the line between good and bad. We know Emperor Mage Ozorne is power hungry and definitely fits the ‘unlikable character’ category yet he cares deeply for his animals and shows a lot of kindness towards them. There are many examples in Pierce‘s books when good people behave badly and vice versa and such massaging makes me so happy. Especially as this book is geared towards the MG audience.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-pace entertaining read. It is full of action and could be read as a standalone book despite being a part of this series.

I would like to thank to both the publisher, Pan Macmillan as well as the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


Now over to you.

Have you read anything by Tamora Pierce yet?

Thanks for reading and for being here! ❤️❤️❤️

Fantasy

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn

Let’s start with a little bit of background first:

Tower of Dawn is about Chaol – a character that behaved somehow questionably in book 2, Crown of Midnight, of the Throne of Glass series (ToG). His side of the story was never told, his character forgotten for following two books. He was featured again in book 5, Empire of Storms, of this series but somehow was really ‘not in it’ so to speak.

Empire of Storms ended up very dramatically. It left me craving its sequel straight away.

Well guess what: we were told that Chaol would have a standalone book and we would have to wait for two more years for the sequel of Empire of Storms. I was not over the moon about it, that’s for sure.

I thought Tower of Dawn was just some form of filler, skipped it and started reading Kingdom of Ash – the final book of the ToG series. Only to realise I forgot majority of its characters’ names and that there were some characters I did not know about. 😉

This also happened to be during the time when I started buddy reading Kingdom of Ash with Leslie. Leslie was kind enough to tell me that Tower of Dawn is a part of this series and is kind of good to read… seriously, I am the worst buddy reader ever, consider yourself warned if you ever fancy buddy reading with me! 😉

Anyhow, off I went and grudgingly started reading about a character that I did not remember much of in order to finish the ToG series. What a great start, eh? 🙂


My thoughts?

It may be that I am just drifting away from Maas in general but I found her overused “manhood” and “maleness” slightly disturbing and it really bothered me how “beautiful” her main characters were. It was really getting on my nerves as it was completely unnecessary. I thought that the focus on characters’ appearances distracted us from their behaviour. I found that to be rather regretful as there were all interesting characters.

Chaol

Chaol is going through a tough inner battle – he is learning how to deal with his relatively new condition as well as his unresolved past. His hate aimed towards himself gets explored.

Yrene, a powerful healer, who is assigned to help him, is fighting her own battles and turns out to be a rather likeable new character. So why focus on how gorgeous she is rather than actually highlight even more her selflessness and her need to help others despite of how she feels about them?

I somehow felt that the purpose of this book is to redeem Chaol and to give him a new love interest. Sure, there was a bit of a side plot going on, but the main focus was on the tension between Chaol and Yrene.

I wanted more of Chaol. He was a soldier his entire life and due to a recently received severe injury, that identity was stripped away from him. That left him with facing a brand his new future, which was uncertain. Which automatically put him into a very vulnerable category. I felt that was a great opportunity to explore.

Yet I felt that it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked it to be. It only touched its surface. I was also not happy that he got somehow saved by love. Sure, love heals as it connects us with others. But the most important type of love is self-love. Self-acceptance was touched on but again, it did not get fully explored.

I got a sense that Chaol grew though and I really appreciated that. I just wanted a little bit more of that inner battle, exploration of one’s fears and perhaps even a slightly different, a bit more realistic, ending.

On the other hand, Maas has this ability to draw me in. I know she is overly dramatic, her beautification of characters annoys the heck out of me yet I cannot put her books down. And I keep on buying further instalments in her series.

There is something addictive that I always get hooked on. I am saying all of those things above yet I carry on reading her books. 🙂

So I am not judging anyone who enjoys these books because I do as well. I am just purely sharing my thoughts after I had time digest what I just read.

I felt Tower of Dawn was certainly a big improvement from her previous books as it included more diverse characters, started touching on what it means having to rethink our identities and minimised the amount of sex scenes that Maas likes to indulge in and I cannot help rolling my eyes about.

Despite 600+ pages, I finished this book fairly quickly and will definitely be reading its sequel, Kingdom of Ash shortly.


Over to you my friends.

Do you enjoy Sarah J. Maas’ books? 

And if so, what are your thoughts of Tower of Dawn?

Mystery

The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell

the devil aspectEverything about The Devil Aspect spoke to me: it is set in Czechoslovakia in 1935 (I grew up in the Czech Republic), has a psychological aspect, is Gothic and full of Eastern European folklore. I was sold before I even started reading it. 🙂

Let’s take a look at Goodreads’ summary first, shall we?

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum. 

In 1935, Viktor Kosarek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum.

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.


What did I think?

Let me put it this way: I have a feeling, this book will haunt my dreams for a while. 🙂 Its Gothic setting, enriched with folk legends, created a creepy sense of something gloomy and evil lurking in dark sections of Prague‘s cobbled streets. And I loved it.

I will not lie to you – there is a lot of gore involved. I grew up reading Stephen King and certain aspects of this book brought me back my teenage obsession with horror. If that is something that can bother you, you may want to proceed with care.

There are two story lines that intertwine:

The first one is told by Viktor – an ambitious psychologist that is working with six serial killers trying to uncover their ‘Devil Aspect‘. Viktor‘s work is based on collective unconscious – a theory introduced by Carl Jung to represent a form of the mind that contains memories and impulses of which the person is not aware of.

The second narrative is told by Lukas – a detective trying to capture a murderer called Leather Apron, who is replicating crimes of Jack the Ripper.

The plot is working out if the Devil Aspect exists as well as finding out who the murderer is.

Russell skilfully leaves a trail of breadcrumbs, which we can follow if we pay close attention to it. The answers to the mystery are all there, but we must carefully look for them. That is what I really appreciated. The ending wasn’t a giant twist for me but the process of finding out the answers was a lot of fun and left me with a smug sense of self-satisfaction in the end.

smug


The Devil Aspect is set in Czechoslovakia in 1935. Czechs call this period ‘First Republic‘ – Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, after the World War I ended, and its First Republic stage lasted till Munich agreement in 1938. I thought Russell splendidly captured the Czech nature. I loved how he got certain behavioural nuances, sometimes only locals are aware of. It felt authentic and I honestly am impressed by that.

I also appreciated the local folklore. I remember it, as if it was yesterday, my grandma symbolically spitting three times over her left shoulder to ward off any evil powers as the devil is known to be sitting on people’s left shoulders. This superstition is mentioned in the book amongst many others and brought me back a lot of nostalgia.


Overall, it is a relatively fast paced and highly atmospheric read.

I had a lot of fun guessing the mystery part of this book and recommend The Devil Aspect to those, who enjoy dark Gothic / horror stories.

I would like to thank both the author and the publisher, Little Brown Book Group for an advanced readers copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review. 


Over to you my friends. 

Do you enjoy these types of books?

If you do, fancy recommending me similar books please? I crave more…. thanks! 🙂