Ring by Koji Suzuki


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One night in Tokyo, four healthy teenagers die one after another of heart failure. A journalist, the uncle of one of the victims and intrigued by the coincidence, investigates and learns of a videotape that the four watched together a week before dying. Amid a series of bizarre and frightening images is a warning that the viewer will die in exactly one week unless a certain act is performed. The description of the act, of course, has been erased from the videotape, and the journalist’s work to solve the mystery assumes a deadly urgency.

I have watched the movie version a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. It is actually one of my favourite horror movies ever so I couldn’t wait to pick up this series. Most of the plot in this book is the same as in the movie but there are some minor differences and some huge ones (including the ending). What I mostly enjoyed about the plot is the tension. It builds up really slowly and in the beginning I thought ”Well this is never going to be scary!” but then in the end I was getting more involved with each page that I read and the tension was building up like crazy until the last page. It left me blown away and I hope that the second book will do this in the same way because it left quite an impression on me.

The characters in this book are enjoyable. Some are likeable and some are not but in the end especially the less likeable ones turn out to have a lot more layers than I though that they would have. It doesn’t mean that I started to like them, but it did explain a lot about why they did certain stuff. But it also left me wondering why they reacted the way they did. I still in the end have some questions about some characters and I hope to get some answers in the second book, which I can’t wait to read!

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Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

1966969When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder — able to capture and release souls — spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before…. Honour sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would -be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

Once again a great matching cover. I love the colours and the fact that you still don’t see Yelena’s face but still, the cover of book one is my favourite.

Book 3 I must confess is probably my least favourite book in this series. I loved the first book because of all the tension, the second book because you learned so much new stuff but the third one… It feels a little bit as if Yelena is all over the place. She is going from north, to south, to east, to west and there are so many little problems that take up her attention instead of the big problem. That doesn’t mean that I dislike this book, after all I still gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I loved the beginning, I loved the ending (it was a huge surprise to me to learn who the big bad guy was) but the in between felt a little bit chaotic to me. Not only is Yelena travelling almost all the time but the some characters started out as a friend, became an enemy, went back to being a friend and then in the end turned out to be an enemy once again. But overall I still really enjoyed the plot, I raced through this book just like I did with the previous two.

The characters, as always, are great in this book. I still really like Yelena. She started in Poison Study as this strong female character and she still is this in the third book up until the end. Yelena’s love interest Valek hasn’t changed all that much either. He is still mysterious and there is a lot of him that we don’t know yet. What I really liked in Poison Study was that the book wasn’t about them falling in love, it was more like a little side thing and it still feels like that in this book but this time we do get to see more of them as a couple. And not only the nice romantic parts, you also get to see them fight. And I like that because no relationship is perfect. But what I was really happy about in this book is that Ari and Janco came back. I love those boys so much, they are a lot of fun to follow around and I think that they are amazing. I was also very happy to see more of Irys and the other Master Magicians, especially to see them acting when they are having trouble and they need to fix it. It’s very interesting to see how they react to it. And in the end, when you find out who the big bad guy is? I was blown away, I didn’t see that coming but I liked it a whole lot. There was so much tension in that moment and the characters surrounding it were all acting amazing. It was such a worthy ending for this series!

But I’m also very happy that there will be more books featuring these characters!

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Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Yelena is a survivor. Kidnapped as a child, held prisoner as a teen, then released to act as a poison taster, she is now a student of magic. But these magic skills place her in imminent danger, and with an execution order on her head, she has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of birth. But nothing in Sitia is familiar. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her powers, a rogue magician emerges – and Yelena catches his eye. Suddenly she is embroiled in a situation not of her making. And once again her magical abilities will either save her life… or be her downfall.

To be really honest, I like the cover of the first book better. I like this one too, but something about it just makes me like it less then the first book. On the other hand, what I’m really happy about is two things. One: it matches the first book perfectly. Cover changes are one of my biggest pet peeves. Two: it is another recognisable scene from the book. I love it when you can see and recognise a certain scene from the book on the cover. I like it more then just some random face on the book, which by the way reminds me that there is another thing that I really like about these covers: there is room to imagine. You can see the backside of Yelena, see the colour of her hair and the shape of her body but not her face. You can imagine that yourself and that to me is always a reason why I prefer reading a book before watching the movie/TV-show.

The plot of this book was good but even better then that: it was mostly interesting. Yelena is moving form Ixia to Sitia and there is this whole new country to explore for Yelena and the reader. There are so many differences between Sitia and Ixia. Magic, clothes, food, culture, government and so much more. I loved learning where Yelena really came from, even though she couldn’t remember it herself. It was great to discover it with her together. But I must also honestly say: I didn’t like Magic Study as much as Poison study. Why? Two reasons: first of all the tension. In Poison Study there is a constant tension with the poison tasting and the enemies of Yelena who are always behind some corner. I somewhat missed that in this book until the antagonist revealed himself. From that point on there was enough tension because I consider him to be even worse then the antagonist from Poison Study.  He is probably one of the scariest antagonists I have ever read about. He gave me goosebumps, literally, and I feel so bad for all his victims. But to me all this tension started out a little bit to late. Another thing that I really missed in this book were two characters: Ari and Janco. They gave Poison Study a lot of humour and action and while there was enough action in this book it felt like sometimes it really needed some Ari and Janco humour. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that Magic Study is a worthy follow up in this series.

Because the characters in this book are so good, just like they were in Poison Study. All the old ones were still amazing, I loved to see them again but what I loved even more was getting to know all the new characters like Yelena’s family. I found them all very charming and funny and they left a huge impression on me. Essau is very sweet and relaxed, Perl is sweet and caring (a bit to much sometimes) and Leif… Well Leif is just very awesome and cool (and a bit of a grumpy pain in the ass sometimes). And I can’t forget Cahill and his men. I wished we could have got to know them better in the book, just knowing a little bit more about what happened with them when they travelled to Sitia would have been really nice and interesting I think. And another group that I must name are the other master magicians beside Irys. They are all so different: their personality, their powers, the way they see things, the way they treat Yelena. So interesting to see how they rule Sitia together. And then there is also Tula, poor Tula, and strong Opal. I literally can keep going on and on and on about all these new characters, I loved them a whole lot.

There is a lot going on in Magic Study. A lot is found out and even more questions arise. Now lets see how it all ends in Fire Study.

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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

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About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

When buying a book I’m always looking if there are any different types of covers and while I like all the covers for Poison Study this one is by far my favourite. You can see Yelena in her red robe somewhere in the castle. She could be spying, hiding, running away you don’t know but I love it so much. You can’t really see it that well on the picture but the band across the cover has some little figures on it and it just finishes it up really nicely.

The plot of this book was really good. Some things I saw coming, and some things I didn’t. I didn’t mind it that some things might have been a little bit predictable because it was executed in a great way. There is a constant flow of action and mystery going on and the battle and fighting scenes are just awesome. But I must say that I even more like the quiet and intimate scenes where you can really get to know Yelena when she is not fighting for her life. Those moments were written down so well, I just could see myself sitting on a couch next to Yelena and she would be telling me the story of her life.  There was some romance in this book but what I really liked is that it didn’t took over the story. The story is (in my opinion) about Yelena trying to survive and finding a place for herself in this world.

The characters in this book were amazing. First we have Yelena, the main female character. She is strong, stubborn and she admits that she has murdered someone but she also had a very good reason for doing this. She has some amazing talents and I love her character so much. Then there is Valek, a very mysterious and maybe even sometimes creepy kind of guy and love interest. He is more then just an assassin, he has more talents then just murdering people. I loved Valek a whole lot and I think that he is a refreshing type of love interest. And while the main characters in this book were amazing by far my favourite are two side characters. I’m talking about Ari and Janco. They are hilarious but also so strong and I just love the whole big brother thing they have going on with Yelena. Another character that I have to mention is Irys. She isn’t that much in the book but she does play a significant role in the end and she was really awesome, I hope to see more of her in the second book! The last character that I want to mention is the commander. The commander has so much layers, it just keeps going on! I have so far never met any type of character with these types of layers in any of my books and I love the commander for surprising me sometimes with everything that is going on.

There was never a dull moment in this book, I always had questions and while some of them got answers, a lot of them didn’t so I can’t wait to read the second book!

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Welcome on my blog!

Hi there and welcome to my bookblog version of my booktubing channel on Youtube! (Are you still following me?)

My name is Maud, I’m a Dutch 22 year old girl with a passion for reading (I love young adult, fantasy, classics and horror books!) and since I also like to talk about them I decided at the beginning of 2013 to start my own booktubing channel and now I have made a bookblog too because I also like to write reviews! (They will be spoiler free!)

Hang around, check out my youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/ReadingMissFroggy (subscribe/comment/like and all that kind of stuff) and let’s talk about books!

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