Monday, 9 June 2014

Chocolate Bar Challenge

The Chocolate Bar Challenge is a blog tour in which participants choose up to eight of their favourite books and then pick the perfect chocolate to go with each of them. As I can never say no to chocolate, I was tagged by the brilliant A.F.E. Smith to indulge. Her first fantasy novel, Darkhaven, is due to be released this August. Having had the privilege of reading her draft work, you're going to be in for a real treat.

Speaking of treats, let's dig into the yumminess!

1. Sabriel

As I've mentioned this book multiple times in previous posts, you might have guessed I quite like it! This was the first YA fantasy I ever read, recommended by a friend, and I've never been able to read anything else since. The concepts were refreshing- none of that Chosen One crap, a non-orphaned FEMALE lead, a unique magic system, the beautiful Old Kingdom and Garth Nix's fun writing style make Sabriel a timeless classic for me.

We don't talk about the abhorrent sequels, though I am interested to see what Clariel will read like...

So what better chocolate to represent than the good old Cadbury's Dairy Milk? Tried and tested, it's a familiar comfort (tastes even better when you come back to England from holiday and want some real chocolate!).



2. The Gift (The Naming)



I've had a strong aversion to high fantasy for a long while, if only because of the stagnant settings, complete lack of world progression, boring storylines and black and white morality systems. However, I saw this book sitting in the library and something about it just said 'go on, try me'.

I'm so glad I did! This is certainly no Lord of the Rings knock-off. Again, if you know anything of Alison Croggon, she's certainly not going to sit back and the let the gender stereotypes have free reign. Our protagonist is female, and while she *is* a Chosen One (kinda), the story diverges enough to make it a thoroughly enjoyable tale. The magic system of the Bards is interesting, too, and the morality of the characters, both major and minor, is refreshingly complex and grey.

For this book, I'm going for Cadbury's Dream. Why? Because at first glance you think it's just another white chocolate brand, probably no different from the rest, and then you eat it and find yourself oh so totally wrong!


3. Faerie Wars



This book is an amazing blend of science fantasy. While I'm still not a fan of having a normal human boy as the protagonist (Pyrgus is a lot more interesting and dynamic than Henry), Faerie Wars is a great introduction to a fun series. There's magic, political intrigue, espionage, modern technology, old technology, and it all combines into a fantastic blend of action, adventure and animal rights (I'm not even kidding :P).

This book would go best with Galaxy Cookie Crumble. It combines just the right amount of cookie and chocolate, and results in a great balanced taste.



4. Dragonfly



This is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It was the first fantasy romance I tried, and while I love Golding's other work (like Darcie Lock and the Companions Quartet), I was a little sceptical that this would be any good, that the romance would obliterate the plot.

Thankfully I was wrong. Although the set-up isn't the most original (it's romance, I forgive that :P), the characters are well drawn and the setting and plot is immersive. Golding's writing also shines through, making this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

What else can I choose for this book but Lindt's Lindor Milk chocolate? This is pure indulgence chocolate that I can eat by the gallons, and I know it's bad for me (especially as I have diabetes in the family), but I just can't help myself...
5. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn


This was my second foray into Chinese historical fantasy (the first was also very enjoyable). Eon tells the story of, well, Eon, who's training to be a Dragoneye- someone who can wield the powers of the Zodiac Dragons. However Eon is a cripple, and also hides another secret that could be the undoing of the kingdom.

I enjoyed the characters in this book immensely, as well as all the gender roles that are played around with, and the dark political intrigue was mysterious without being boring (looking at you, Golem's Eye and Ptolemy's Gate).

For this book I'm going to go with Bounty. It's a little exotic, but has just enough of that familiar chocolate taste so you're not stranded too far from what you like.



6. Mines of the Minotaur (The Companions Quartet)



Is it cheating to have two books by the same author? But they're vastly different from each other. While Dragonfly was a fantasy romance, the Companions books are much more action-based fantasy. Following Connie as she becomes the newest member of the Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures, we see how mythical beasts have been living in our world in secret, and the humans who are their lifelong companions who share special bonds with them.

I loved these books so much I've even done fanfiction, but Mines of the Minotaur is my favourite. It gave great character conflict and more dynamic use of Connie's powers, and a pretty epic fight at the end.

This book for me has to go with Smarties. They're plentiful and colourful, like the mythical creatures in the book, and once you start you just can't stop til the tube is empty.


7. The Princess and the Captain

This was a hidden gem. I found it sitting in a bargain shop, and the cover and blurb caught my attention. It's actually a translation of a French author's work, but it reads perfectly fine in English, too. This follows the tale of two characters, Orpheus and Malva, from completely opposite ends of the social spectrum. Of course their stories intertwine, and what follows is a great sea-faring adventure.

I think a Freddo bar best encapsulates this novel. Cheap and cheerful, but made from quality and it doesn't make it any less as tasty.



8. Slaves of the Mastery



I LOVE this book. My favourite out of the Wind on Fire trilogy (and written by the man who wrote the script for the film Gladiator, too). I adored the concept of the Mastery, where people are made to work in what they feel they're best at, leading to a very organised and highly functioning society. The characters are at their best, as are the intriguing subplots, world-building and inter-character relationships. Can't recommend this enough!

This book is pure luxury, so I had to choose Ferrero Rocher. You just can't resist, and the variety of flavours means you're never wanting for anything, either.



So, who wants to be tagged to spread the word of chocolate? Let me know in the comments below.

2 comments:

  1. Oooh, lots of interesting-sounding books here that I haven't read. The only difficulty will be deciding which one to read first. It might have to be Dragonfly, because any book that gets compared to Lindor has got to be good!

    I think you may have cheated with your slightly unusual numbering system, though. I make that nine ;-)

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