Hello! I’m still amazed at how fast January flew by! I managed to read 9 books last month and I definitely started the year off with a bang. It was so hard to pick my favourites but I did manage to narrow it down to 4 books, all of which absolutely blew me away. One was my first 12 months / 12 friends / 12 books pick which ensured I am already eager to pick up the next choice, as well as one Sci-Fi and two fantasy arc’s. I’ve linked to my reviews where possible so you can get a better idea of why I loved these books so much and also included a few of my favourite quotes from them all. Did you have a favourite read from last month? Have you read any of the below? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
“How do you take the fight out of half the population and render them willing slaves? You tell them they’re meant to do nothing but serve from the minute they’re born. You tell them they’re weak. You tell them they’re prey. You tell them over and over, until it’s the only truth they’re capable of living.”
“I’ve been told endless lies since I was born. That I was not kind enough, considerate enough, humble enough, honorable enough, pretty enough, pleasing enough. And if I failed to meet the needs of those around me, I did not deserve to live.
Propaganda. All of it. Propaganda to keep me chasing after the approval of others on my bound and broken feet, as if being a good servant is the only thing I should be proud of.”
“This is not true power. True power is when I stood on the Nine-Tailed Fox with Yang Guang’s corpse at my feet, playing by my own rules. Victorious by my own standards. Reliant on no one but myself.”
Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
“From your life came mine. I would not exist if you had been born in the East. I am but a verse inspired by your chorus, and I will follow you until the end, when the Isle takes my bones and my name is nothing more than a remembrance on a headstone, next to yours.”
“She had hated him. But she was coming to learn that it was hard to hate what made her feel most alive.“
“But the image faded into ash when she realised she didn’t want such a life anymore. She wanted the truth. She wanted to feel it brush against her skin, wanted to claim it with her hands. She wanted honesty, even if it felt like claws raking across her soul. “
After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the seven devils? Biggest score of them all. To avoid attacks, the crew of Zelus scavenge for supplies on long-abandoned Tholosian outposts.
Not long after the remnants of the rebellion settle briefly on Fortuna, Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: the AI wants One’s daughter back at any cost.
Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, and pair up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.
“But she was not empty, and it was not the voices of the gods she heard. It was Kyla and Clo, Rhea and Nyx, Cato and Ariadne – each of them filling some space inside her until there was no corner left unclaimed. They did not speak of duty but of justice and compassion. The devils inside her head had been replaced with mercies.”
“According to the surveillance, the closest guard on duty is just outside the weapons cache. Now you get to knock him unconscious! Lucky you!” Nyx muttered something that sounded like Eris and Kyla always get to have the fucking fun.”
“Remember, Cloelia,’ Kyla said, ‘Eris has to approve your training. So, be nice.’ ‘I’ve been nice,’ Clo scoffed. ‘I havenae tried to kill her in months.”
Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.
Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.
The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.
Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?
“All her mother has to do to convince Beatriz to jump off a cliff is to tell her not to do it.“
“Daphne understands, suddenly, exactly what she is – not quite a girl, not a princess, not a spy or a saboteur. She is poison, brewed and distilled and fermented over 16 years, crafted by her mother to bring ruination to whomever she touches. Poison is a woman’s weapon, after all, and here she is, a weapon of a woman.”
“Power is an illusion, and the more of it people think you have, the more determined they will be to tear you down. You should know that better than anyone, having been on the other side. How long do you think it will be before another you arrives with schemes and plots? You’ve climbed far, but that only means the fall will kill you.”