Book Review: Rory by Ciye Cho

Title: Rory (The Ghosts of Palladino #1)
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Ghosts
Publisher: self published 
Publication Date: 10th August 2013 
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Far beyond heaven, earth and hell is a city known as Palladino, a place ruled by ghosts and filled with demons, magic, and all sorts of darkly beautiful things. A city where no one can ever escape.

Eighteen-year-old Rory is a cake decorator who makes stunning confections. But no amount of frosting or miracles can save her when a demon kidnaps her—and carries her to Palladino. Here, Rory ends up in a deadly charm school where young women are forced to become companions for the Ghost Lords. And for her to survive, Rory must become everything that she isn’t: graceful, elegant… and perfect.

But nothing is what it seems in Palladino. Not the magic. Not the ghosts. And definitely not Martin Marius, the bizarre Ghost Lord-slash-inventor who is drawn to Rory. For amid a thousand machines and a hundred cats, Martin holds a secret that could change everything. A secret that could either free Rory… or destroy her.

My Review:

I jumped at the chance to read another Ciye Cho novel. I adored his two Florence Waverley books (Florence and Luminaire) and I absolutely adore books with ghosts.

Rory tells the story of eighteen year old Aurora, a cake baker who diligently visits her mother in hospital every day before dark. Her mother had always warned Rory that the shadows are no her friend but until an incident in the night breaks Rory’s mother’s fragile mind, Rory never really understood the dangers. Now Rory is left alone in the world… and things just keep getting weirder.

Kidnapped in the night, Rory now finds herself in the realm of Palladino. Here girls are taken away from the world and forced to train at a bizarre type of finishing school before they are auctioned off to become companions to the ghosts who live there. Ghosts who live forever and require their companions to remind them what living was like.

This book was crazy – in the best kind of way. There’s creepy ghosts, strange teachers and some very cool inventions of Cho’s – like Dust Tea which invokes memories. Rory was a fantastic heroine. She’s brave and interesting. Her willingness to stand up for her beliefs and others was fantastic. But best of all, she was awkwardly perfect with her flaws. Quirky with a quick temper, Rory is real. The other characters were great to read too but none of them were quite as vivid and authentic to me as Rory.

Cho outdid himself with the world building. He has such a way with words that even the otherworldly eccentricities of Palladino were described in a way that felt like I could see them just as Rory did. And not just the world, but the feelings too. Rory’s memories evoked by the tea were beautifully expressed.

I had a great time reading this book and can’t wait for the next book in the series to rejoin Rory and the ghosts in Palladino.


Thanks to Ciye Cho for providing me with a copy of Rory to review. 

This book has not been released yet. I will put links of where to purchase Rory from after it’s released on August 10. 

In the meantime, check out the gorgeous trailer for Rory!

Book Review: Luminaire by Ciye Cho

Title: Luminaire (Florence Waverley #2)
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mermaids
Publisher: self published 
Publication Date: December 2012 
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Being the only human in a world of merfolk… isn’t easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage–a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament… or will she perish inside it?

Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.

My Review:

Florence Waverley is slowly making a life for herself in the underwater world of Niemela. Florence thought things were mostly right with the world. They’d managed to defeat the Darkness and her romantic relationship with Rolan was blooming. But the newly crowned King Rolan has been acting strangely cold and oddly formal to his Luminaire – and Florence has no idea why the sudden change in attitude. In the days leading up to Rolan’s coronation

But Florence isn’t given too much time to dwell on her Rolan situation – the powers that be in Niemela have decided to move up the all important Qualifying Challenges and the Life Path Tournament in an attempt to get more warriors to protect Niemela from underwater enemies.

To help her friend, Princess Yolee, Florence decides to undertake the important test that every Niemellian must take in order to be a productive member of society. But with Truth Dreams haunting her and the unknown dangers of the Tournament to face, Florence needs everything she has to master the maze and save Niemela.

In this second book in the Florence Waverley series, I found myself falling as in love with Florence and the world of Niemela as I did when I read the first novel, Florence. Florence as a character is slowly finding her way in her new life and doesn’t shy away from the challenges she has to face. Even when her relationship with Rolan falls apart, Florence still manages to do all she can to try and protect her adopted land. She’s smart, brave and good in a crisis. That said, she’s still vulnerable and has moments of uncertainty.

The new characters that were introduced in this book were one of the highlights for me. Wynn, Mara and the others are fantastic. I loved their personalities and the unique ‘Mer’ness that they bring to the story.

Luminaire is not short on action – but it progresses at a rate that feels natural. I loved the pace and thought the concept and execution of the Qualifies and the Life path Tournament were brilliant. They was well thought out with lots of tiny details that really went the extra mile.

The vivid colours and beautiful scenery that I adored from Florence  were present throughout Luminaire and once again I felt like I could see everything that was described. I had a great time reading this book and can’t wait to see if there will be a third book in the Florence Waverley series.

The book trailer for Luminaire is just as gorgeous as the one for the first book. I think it’s very clever in that it shows everything that happens in the book and yet doesn’t manage to spoil a thing. And the colours are just beautiful.

Thanks to Ciye Cho for providing me with a copy of Luminaire. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Smashwords (ebook) / Buy the Book (from the Luminaire website)

Book Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

Title: Florence
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance 
Publisher: self published (I received an e-copy from the author)
Publication Date: July 2012 
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand–and find out where she belongs–Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart… and her very soul.

My Review:

Florence Waverley is an outsider in her own world. Kids she’s been in the same class with for years still call her the new girl or the quiet one. After being abducted by a merman during a school field trip, Florence finds herself an outsider once more. A human among the merpeople of Niemela – a beautiful underwater world.

In this new world the ideas of work, order and purpose are the three things that Niemelans hold dearest to their hearts. Everyone has their place and is required to work for their society. Florence is out of her depth and has no role – except that for what she has been brought to Niemela for: to be the handsome Prince Kiren’s Familiar – a gift from his brother, the surly Prince Rolan, for Kiren’s coronation in a few days.

In this unfamiliar world where things appear to be perfect, Florence learns that there’s more to anything than meets the eye and that maybe you might be an outsider in your own world but can find yourself belonging in another.

I loved reading this beautiful story of mermaids and the incredible world of Niemela. The imagery was gorgeous. From the first descriptions of the underwater world, I felt like I could have been there along with Florence, experiencing the wonders with her. It was vibrant and the descriptions of everything from the scenery to the characters was in-depth and memorizing.

The world of Niemela was one that I enjoyed inhabiting whilst reading  Florence. In many ways it comes across as a Utopian society but as I was drawn further and further into the story I came to realize – much as Florence herself did – that not everything is as it seems on the surface.

The characters were fantastic. From King Iriego to the Wise Ones and everyone in between – I loved reading about all the inhabitants of the underwater city. Yolee was a fantastic best friend for Florence as she imersed herself in the Niemelian culture. My favourite characters were the two royal brothers: Rolan – the “Prince of Doom” who appeared to dislike and distrust the human, and Kiren – the younger prince on the verge of becoming a King but the cheekier of the two. I thought they were fantastic characters who could not have been more different. I liked how they interacted with each other, with the other citizens and also with Florence. Both so different and yet I found myself loving both.

I love good romance story and I loved how the romance played out during this novel. It’s not in your face – rather more subtle – and it felt perfectly natural for the story and it’s characters.

Ciye Cho has succeeded in creating a story and a world that is both beautiful and imaginative – who know there were that many uses for kelp? I recommend this story for anyone who lives reading about different worlds that are incredibly crafted  and descriptions that are vibrant and vivid.

This is the book’s trailer that I thought was fantastic.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Smashwords (ebook) / Buy the Book (from the Florence website)