BOOK REVIEW: The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy

Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Series: None

The Ickabog★★★★/5

SUMMARY: Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them.

But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands… the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it’s just a myth…

And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.

REVIEW: My first book of the year was THE ICKABOG by J.K. ROWLING. And wow, was it a fitting book to how 2021 has begun. The metaphor of the story is really singular to the political climate in the USA right now, and for it to be able to relate in such a simplistic and innocent way goes to show the complexity of the ideals behind it. The book was somewhat light-hearted and if you don’t look deeper beyond the words written on the pages, the story is an enjoyable and easy read–it’s around 275 pages but definitely didn’t feel like it, because I finished it in one sitting.

King Fred the Fearless: I really hate ignorant characters, but in reality there are many people in the world like this. They’re selfish and vain, and will turn a blind eye to anything that doesn’t directly concern them. I did enjoy the twist at the ending though. While he wasn’t the brains behind the whole Ickabog scheme, he did have a hand in letting it happen due to his inability to rule the kingdom. But his redemption at the end was a great way to show how people can change for the better.

The Ickabog: *Roar* I loved that part and definitely imagined it being said in my head. The bornded idea of their Ickaboggles being brought into the world was such a unique one. It touches on the ideal that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Children are so easily influenced by their parents’ heart and state-of-mind as well as the world that they’re being born into. But even like the first Ickaboggle, people can change with time as long as they are given the opportunity and environment to do so.

Overall, I think this book is great to introduce young readers to the political controversies going on in the world today. While children may not fully understand the extent of what the world is going through at the moment, they undoubtedly feel the tension and know that something isn’t quite right. While to a certain extent ignorance is bliss, I also believe that being educated and possessing knowledge of how the world is changing is an important one to instill into the next generation.

“Monsters” are only as scary as you make them out to be.

People can change if given the opportunity and environment to do so.

Ruling with fear and lies will bring an untimely end to power.

The last thing I want to mention was the fact that J.K. Rowling released one chapter at a time for free online and then held an illustration contest for children to submit their work to be printed in the physical copy. This was a quarantine project for her and I think it was such a great idea to get readers involved in the process. (The drawings are so unique and fanciful!)

I would definitely recommend the book for a quick and light read! Buy a copy on Amazon.

DESTINY OF LIGHT

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy
NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Republish of KALCYON

Seventy years ago, Alythea Somer and Logan Bray were tangled in the thorns of a wretched destiny. Now, seventy years later, she’s gone and he has returned to Celestria to unleash the wrath of his betrayal. The bloodlines of powerful families run strong within the veins of three special Valkryns who are blind to the secrets binding them to their ancestors’ past.

Selena Somerset is invited into the Guardianship to assist in the pursuit of Logan Bray, however, a string of disappearances and tragedies begin to occur–all the victims being six-year-old children. But these children are special, and the power growing within them is being exploited into darkness. Can Selena save the kidnapped children from the darkness Logan is forcing upon them?

I have officially completed the re-publishing of DESTINY OF LIGHT, book 2 of The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy. The paperback version is available on Amazon, and the hardcover version will be available in a week.

Revisiting this part of Selena’s adventure was exciting for me and I really enjoyed how she evolved and grew. I’m excited for you all to read the ending of her journey in the final installment of The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy, Prophecy of Fire.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

FATE OF ASH (The Phoenix Ashes Book I)

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy

RELEASE DATE: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

Republish of KARNAGE.

Able to generate electricity, Selena Somerset is admitted into Vanderwald Academy, a school for the gifted who possess a special ability known as a Ceres. There, she meets an alluring, yet distant student named Lucas Brayden who is burdened by a haunted past. Thrown together by the hands of fate, Selena grows closer to him and uncovers the pain he has been hiding.Selena soon discovers a hidden Ceres deeply rooted into her tangled past. As the descendant of an ancient power, she is carved into a destiny that questions her very existence. When a thief’s sudden rampage terrorizes Celestria, Selena and her friends must figure out who the culprit is to bring him to justice. Friendship, love, and betrayal lay in wake for her as she is faced with the impossible decision to save the many or to save the only one who she has ever loved.

Writing Update: The Phoenix Ashes

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy

It has been 11 years since I started my journey writing The Phoenix Ashes trilogy. 5 years since I published the first book. 4 years since I published the second book. And finally, after long last, I am on track to completing the final installment this year. I have one very big update in terms of this series. In my pursuit to complete this trilogy, I decided to reread the two earlier installments, and felt that it did not truly reflect the completeness that I wanted to portray with this trilogy.

This trilogy holds a special place in my heart and while I had originally decided to be an indie author and self-publish this book, I have been reaching out to agents in hopes to receive representation to re-publish this book through traditional publishing. However, I do understand that this is a long and arduous path that will undoubtedly postpone the release of the final installment. Therefore, if I am unable to find an agent who believes in this trilogy as much as I do, I do plan to re-self-publish these books.

My re-publishing will consist of both previous books at the completion of the final book. With this republish comes edits that stay true to the original book, a title change, and a revamped cover. In addition, an exclusive author’s note will be included at the end of each book, covering anything from my original inspiration to my writing process.

KARNAGE will now be titled FATE OF ASH.
KALCYON will now be titled DESTINY OF LIGHT.
PHOENIX will now be titled PROPHECY OF FIRE.

For readers who have supported me along the way, I want to thank you for your interest in Selena’s story. It means so much to me that you enjoy my story, and I plan to do more than just verbally thank you. I have something very special planned for you once the final publication has been announced, so please stay tuned!

BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Six of Crows (Duology)

Crooked Kingdom: ★★★★★/5

SUMMARY: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

* * * * *

REVIEW: This book is hefty, jampacked with some crazy twists and turns. I never knew where the story was going to go and that made it so exciting to read. The transitioning between the character views throughout the book really led to an immersive experience. Overall, the book was a smooth read, despite the sometime dense storybuilding.

Kaz Brekker: He is a complicated individual. No one really knows what he is planning, and though he might seem ruthless, he did really care about his crew. I was glad to fully learn his backstory. You couldn’t fully love him, but he was impossible to hate. When everyone was thinking about the next step, he was always thinking of the product of the next ten steps. But nobody is perfect and even some things were beyond his expectations.

I won’t be delving into each character since it follows so many of them from Six of Crows, but I will say that I loved each one of them. They had their own unique voice and character arc that made the whole book even more enticing and enjoyable to read. I loved the dynamic between each of the characters and the growth they made as individuals to overcome the hardships they faced. But one thing that never changed was their trust in each other and unshakeable resolve to complete the heist. This made their team strong and ultimately successful in so many different ways than one.

I’ve LOVED every book that Leigh Bardugo has written and since learning that Netflix will be adapting Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone into a new series, I can’t wait to see her stories come to life on the screen. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, action, and some unexpected turns.

Get your copy of Crooked Kingdom here!