Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Originals
by Julie Plec
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 352
Publisher:  HQN Books
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 9780373788897
Summary (via Goodreads)

Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you're immortal, promises are hard to keep.

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they've escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus's attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus's volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?
Review (warning spoilers)
If, like me, you are a fan of The Vampire Diaries or The Originals, then you will most likely be in love with Klaus Mikaelson and the other members of the original family.
The Originals by Julie Plec tells the unknown story of the original vampires and what happened when they first came to New Orleans in the 1700s. Any fan of the show will know that Julie Plec has worked closely with the television show since the beginning and therefore it makes perfect sense for her to be the author of the new series inspired by everyone's favourite bad guy.
The book takes place in 1722, New Orleans and the rest of America are beginning to blossom as the world opens up to it. Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah are living a somewhat peaceful existence under the rule of the witches and werewolves whom have set aside their differences to begin a new alliance through the marriage of a beautiful and determined woman, Vivianne....what could possibly go wrong??
Enter Klaus...besotted by the young woman and determined to have her, no matter the cost. Typical Klaus really.
Anyway, that's enough spoilers. On to the review...
Overall the book was enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series. I think that the literary representations of Rebekah and Elijah to be spot on in their portrayals. my only slight disappointment was in Klaus as at times I felt he was too sentimental and not 'Klaus' enough. I have to admit that I prefer Joseph Morgan. Who could say no to that face???

I felt that the book was well written and the character plots thought out and easy to follow. I actually would like to see some of these storylines come into the actual series as it would be interesting to know more about what happened when The Originals were in New Orleans and how they gained power the first time round.
I would recommend this book to any fan of Klaus and The Original family.

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Courtesan and the Samurai

by Lesley Downer
Rating: 3.5/5


Pages: 480 pages
Publisher:  Corgi
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9780552155328

Summary (via Goodreads)

1868. In Japan's exotic pleasure quarters, sex is for sale and the only forbidden fruit is love ...

Hana is just seventeen when her husband goes to war, leaving her alone and vulnerable. When enemy soldiers attack her house she flees across the shattered city of Tokyo and takes refuge in the Yoshiwara, its famous pleasure-quarters.There she is forced to become a courtesan.

Yozo, brave, loyal and a brilliant swordsman, is pledged to the embattled shogun. He sails to the frozen north to join his rebel comrades for a desperate last stand. Defeated, he makes his way south to the only place where a man is beyond the reach of the law - the Yoshiwara.

There in the Nightless City where three thousand courtesans mingle with geishas and jesters, the battered fugitive meets the beautiful courtesan. But each has a secret so terrible that once revealed it will threaten their very lives ...


The Courtesan and the Samurai is full of lust, adventure, danger, war, betrayal, fear, love and above all, loyalty, not to mention revenge. The book tells the story of Hana, the humble wife of a Samurai who, when confronted with death finds the courage to fight and survive which leads her on a journey of self discovery down a dark and dangerous path from which there is no return.

Then, just when Hana fears that her life will take a turn for the worst she meets Yozo, a handsome young man running from his own demons. Together they confront their pasts and fight for their freedom.

Overall I found the book to be interesting and enjoyable to read. I felt that Downer created the characters well and made them all stimulating individually as well as a collective without which the book would not be as successful. The wider characters within the book, particularly on Yozo's side, helped to make the book more interesting and bringing warmth and humour the story.

I have to admit that I found Hana's storyline more interesting to read about than Yozo's but this was more influenced by personal preference than a reflection on the book's content as Yozo's storyline was necessary in order to fully comprehend Hana's.

I did find certain parts of the book to be predictable but this did not hinder my enjoyment of the book overall whatsoever, if anything it made me anticipate the eventual ending all the more.

I would recommend this book to any lover of forbidden love or Chinese fiction.