Blog Tour Interview: MOM by Collin Piprell

Today’s my second stop on the blog tour! I had the pleasure to read an eARC of MOM by Collin Piprell. And I had to learn more of this futuristic world, so I set up an interview with him.

Hope you enjoy!

Siobhan

 

 

  1. MOM is one of the most complex multi-layered stories I’ve read in a long time. Can you tell the readers what it’s about?

That may be true, but I’d like to reassure readers that the novel focuses on dramatic developments between the characters — the heavier themes and multiple dimensions frame the action without intruding on what’s otherwise just a rollicking good read.

MOM is the “mall operations manager,” a machine intelligence become self-aware. And one theme in this book is the question of reconciling machine and human evolution. MOM also takes disintegrative trends in our current material and cognitive worlds and extrapolates to what may not be unrealistic extremes in the not very distant future. Forces for disintegration contend with reintegrative moves as background to the dramatic conflicts.

In the Magic Circles series as a whole, this becomes in part a contest between opposing cosmic imperatives — call it a war between the urge, on the one hand, to bring everything in the world under the control of one agency in the search for absolute security, and, on the other hand, the acknowledgement that error and diversity and conflict play essentially positive roles in our experience, essential to our staying open to the rise of real novelty — what some describe as creative emergence.

In fact, the story eventually proposes novel developments at least as revolutionary as the rise of life itself, or cultural evolution’s supersession of biological evolution. That thread is developed more surely as the story unfolds in Genesis 2.0 and Resurrections and beyond.

Throughout MOM and the novels that follow, there’s also much play with the variety of ways we can experience “reality.”

Here I should say again that, despite all that, MOM basically presents a ripping good read. And so my dear, departed mother would agree were she still with us.

 

  1. MOM has been published before. Can you explain what has changed from the first publication?

Not much has changed. The publisher chopped about 10,000 words (10 percent) — mostly a first few chapters I’d thought were needed to introduce readers to life in the malls and in the Worlds — and I had to agree that, after I wrote patches, the book now gets off to a faster start, while nothing essential has been lost.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same book. I’d had the ruins of the Baiyoke II Tower, formerly the tallest building in Bangkok, poking up out of the sea that surrounds the Eastern Seaboard, Southeast Asia (ESSEA) Mall. In the current edition, I’ve substituted the MahaNakhon, an even taller building that’s almost finished.

 

  1. I see that Bangkok holds a special meaning to you. Why have you incorporated it in your stories, especially this one?

I’ve lived in Bangkok for quite some time, and it seems natural to borrow settings from that city and the rest of Thailand. MOM is set in (1) the ESSEA Mall, what remains of a coastal megalopolis; (2) generated realities set in 1980s-90s Bangkok; (3) a subterranean site beneath a much-changed landscape several hundred kilometers north of Bangkok; and (4) the Eastern Seaboard, United Securistats of America (ESUSA) Mall, roughly where New York used to stand.

 

  1. What inspired this futuristic sci-fi? Has recent (or older) technological advances inspired the book at all?

I believe nanotech and qubital computing will together transform our lives far more than the digital revolution ever has. And — like the digital revolution, or the Industrial Revolution before than, and so on back to the rise of agriculture and cities and to even earlier radical transformations of our human worlds — these technologies will bring new advantages, some of which would seem miraculous to people from our time. At the same time, they’ll bring new problems, some of them so horrendous as to threaten the extinction of all life on the planet.

At the start of MOM, the PlagueBot — a global superorganism emergent upon a failed “gray-goo scenario” involving self-replicating nanobots — presents one of these threats. But nanotech and qubital computing have also provided fixes, however inadequate, by way of the malls and the Worlds, among others. Much of the drama arises amid the ever-accelerating failure of these fixes.

Later in the Magic Circles series, we see what looks like the end of humanity and the rest of the planetary biosphere transformed into a strangely familiar but in fact radically new basis for Gaia 2 and a human renaissance.

 

  1. Can you explain to readers what worlding is and what’s its purpose in this dystopian world? How did you come up with the concept? How does it affect Cisco and others?

Worlds UnLtd is an infinite manifold of interactive, totally immersive generated realities accessible to denizens of the malls on certain days. These are the only escapes from the quarantine imposed on the mallsters. Except for telepresent encounters in their holotanks or in the Worlds, these few surviving people are kept strictly isolated both from Outside and from each other inside. One of the early mysteries in MOM is why it’s an offlining offense to try entering the Worlds on a Monday. Another mystery is why the ever-more frequent Mondays are getting longer and longer.

Meanwhile “to world” has become a verb, and people can be more or less adept at worlding. Because of their special training and experience, Cisco Smith and Dee Zu, two of the main characters, are Worlds test pilots, making sure they’re safe for the average mallster. The Worlds — realer than real, higher-rez and infinitely customizable — are utterly addictive, and most mallsters, if they could, would spend their entire lives in them.

 

  1. Now you’re expanding on your series, what are you looking forward to in the next instalments? What do you have planned?

In MOM, I established a variety of fictional “worlds.” When I started writing Genesis 2.0, I was delighted to find that, rather than creating worlds, it was more like I was exploring worlds that were already there. Implicit in the settings that underlay the dramatic action in MOM I found all kinds of new features and dimensions. The same thing is proving true as I work on Resurrections.

Much of the pleasure of writing Magic Circles, one reward for all the hard work, has been this excitement at learning what happens next and where those developments are going to lead.

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Book Haul: March 2017

I’ve been catching up on my TBR list, so I haven’t bought anything recent. However, my friends at Common Deer Press sent me an eARC of their book coming out in April, and my bestie told me I must read her two favourite series (I love book lovers 😌).

What have you bought this month? Are you trying to tackle that growing TBR pile?

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

I admit I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi books. Some are good, and well, others don’t stand up to time. But I’ve been intrigued by this book since I first heard of it.

MOM is the first book in the Magic Circles series. Society is wiped out, and the last remaining humans live in malls and are protected by MOM, which is a mall operations manager. Humans are entirely dependent on this machine, and unfortunately for them, it’s become self-aware.

Next month I’ll be involved in the MOM blog tour. So watch out for some posts!

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The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Demons, mythology, and gorgeous men? Oh hi, I haven’t read you before. I may not be a huge romance reader, but with this book, I’m in. I’m a bit late getting into the series, but naturally I usually am.

I’m looking forward to the mythology in The Darkest Night. I’m usually an instant fan when authors incorporate Greek lore (actually, any good lore) into their work! I can’t wait to read this book.

Thank you, Beth! ❤️

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Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

I haven’t read vampire books in several years. I can’t remember the last time I have. When my friend handed me the book, I was a bit hesitant. But the author’s J. R. Ward, and she’s huge in this genre, so I have faith in this book recommendation. From the start, the Black Dagger Brotherhood appealed to me. And I like the whole pureblood concept.

I have an inkling these two fantasy romance novels may get me hooked. Help me if they do. Or at least drag me out to get some fresh air once in awhile.

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Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Extent: 336 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.


“It’s my turn to shape the galaxies.”

Are you looking for a story with brujas, brujos, magic, love, and betrayal? Well come here. I have a book to tell you about.

Labyrinth Lost, the first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, takes you a magic-filled journey that will thrill you from the first to last chapter. Alejandra, also known as Alex, lives in world where magic rules and may take away everything you’ve ever loved. She doesn’t want to claim her powers, yet refusing them is simply unheard of. But when she decides to give them up, her world is torn apart when she inadvertently sends her entire family, living and dead, to Los Lagos.

I’ve been dying to finally crack open this book. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. I’ve fallen in love with the design already. Sourcebooks Fire, you’ve done great! More importantly the author weaves together a colourful and diverse story where a teenage girl learns of self-acceptance, falls in love, and rises above her former self.

One quality that sets this book apart from other YA fantasy books is Alex’s family structure. It’s paramount in this book. And it’s something I’ve been waiting to read for a long time. How many books do I know of, where the family’s bond is positive? I can’t count on my left hand. She and her sisters share a typical sibling relationship, one I’ve been craving to read. And their mother gives up everything to ensure they’re safe. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Labyrinth Lost is rich in Latin American history. Zoraida incorporates many Latin-inspired traditions and mythology (some she’s created her own). A great aspect to this book is the level of detail in culture and lore. It keeps me turning the page and wanting to explore this world more. When Alex uses magic, it comes with a steep price (when doesn’t it?). A price that all brujas and brujos pay. And given she is a novice bruja, she doesn’t understand the consequences. Alex and Nova, a guide who conveniently knows the way, must travel to the centre of Los Lagos, an Underworld-type dimension. But magic isn’t as it seems in this other world.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

Alex, the leading lady, is a strong protagonist. She’s spunky, lively, reserved, and guarded. Instead of being afraid of her sexuality, she fears her powers, which she cannot control. She even believes that they chased her father away. Throughout the story, she faces many tests so she can save her family. But in doing so, she needs to learn how to trust in who she is, what she can do, and why she owns this power.

Nova is your typical badass. He’s cocky and sometimes self-absorbed. Yet I find his history intriguing. I’m sorry, but not sorry. I’ll always look for a broken character who has a deeper and more caring soul than any other. Rishi is a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting her to be included in Alex and Nova’s journey, because she doesn’t know Alex’s secret. But she offers an airy and uplifting side to this trio. And I love her unwavering faith in Alex.

I think the only negative I have with Labyrinth Lost is Alex’s relationships with the secondary characters. I’m thrilled to read a LGBTQ book. I want to find more strong and positive gay stories. Yet I find the relationship Alex has with Rishi is slightly strained. Rishi, in my opinion, almost worships her, and sometimes I wonder if the relationship Alex has with Nova holds a stronger flame against Rishi. I feel that Alex has more attraction toward him. Even with that negative though, I love Alex’s sexuality. She’s free and not afraid to show who she is. And I adore these parts in the book. Her sexuality doesn’t hold her back, certainly isn’t a struggle she must overcome, and is a natural extension of her. Zoraida beautifully represents the LGBTQ community, and I’m proud she’s done so.

So say your cantos, jump through the portal, and take a trip to Los Lagos. Labyrinth Lost won’t disappoint, and I’m sure you’ll be wanting more when you finish the book. I know I do.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

 

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Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

27840861.jpegCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Henry Holt

Publication Date: September 27, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Crime

Extent: 546 pages

Rating: 5/5


When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

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.


“When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.”

I finished this book back in December. But writing this review took even longer. I adore this series and absolutely fell in love with both books. But the both of them stuck with me long after I finished. Not many books have that effect on me.

Instead of revelling in the spoils from the greatest heist ever pulled off, this badass, chaotic gang Katterdam dredges up from the ruthless Barrel looks for retribution. Double-crossed, Kaz and his group race against impossible odds to save one of their own, pull off another job, and prevent jurda parem, a highly addictive drug that changes Grisha powers, from slipping into the wrong hands.

The stakes touch on insanity. Leigh blends together power plays, masterful arcs, heartbreaking pasts, and unattainable love in this ingenious sequel. I don’t know how I can possibly express how much respect I have for her. I’m still picking up the fragments of my shattered little organ I once called a heart.

Leigh masterminds a well-thought-out story that kept me thinking and picking over every little detail, and yet she fools me every bloody time. Crooked Kingdom is one of my favourite reads in the last few years. She combines an intricate storyline, engaging characters and antagonists, and arcs I hadn’t seen coming. The character development just completes the book and series. These characters bring more vibrancy to this world. You don’t fall in love with the world; you fall for them, who keep calling you back.

 

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

The diverse team currently deals with the aftermath of its heist gone wrong. In Six of Crows, Jan Van Eck tricked Kaz, the cleverest mastermind in Katterdam. And I think you all know what happens when people cross the Bastard of the Barrel. Scheming face? Scheming face. He matures into the most cunning and well-written character out of the gang (out of any series really), yet I didn’t see enough of him. However, the moments Leigh offers you make up for his absence. I haven’t wanted a character to succeed, break the bonds that bind him, and win than I have with Kaz. You can’t imagine how happy I was when witnessing his growth. Kaz’ disability, psychical and mental, isn’t his shield. It grows into his strength.

That girl Inej has more balls than, I dare say, Kaz does. She kills it in this book. Leigh reveals her weaknesses and her insecurities, then somehow gives her a life she isn’t hoping for but keeps fighting to get. Kaz and Inej’s relationship slowly unveils. The littlest actions show how much he loves her. They’re a smouldering chaos that would bring Katterdam to its knees.

Jesper is one cocky bastard, I’ll tell you that. His past, his powers, and his growth just add to the book. I wanted to smack him in the last one, but now, I’ve fallen in love with getting to know him more. And Wylan, that little devil, may just break every heart imaginable. He somehow brings semblance to these delinquents.

Nina and Matthias grow into the brightest flame of the book. I consumed every passage, conversation, and slightest touch between the two. He transforms into the character I wanted him to be. And bless Nina, this woman owns my heart.

My love for these crazy characters has transitioned into the fanatical zone I’ve never thought I’d cross.

Crooked Kingdom lives up to the claims. It’ll make you cry, rage, scream, cheer, and otherwise obsess over Leigh’s beautifully crafted world. Each characters’ personal battles will break your heart but keep demanding more from you. I want back in to Katterdam. I want to know how Kaz will fleece another pigeon, and I just want to live in this pandemonium.

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Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

91519King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopian

Extent: 528 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase


Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


“He’s terrified.

For a second, it makes me happy. Then I remember―monsters are most dangerous when they’re afraid.”

YES. Finally, yes. King’s Cage is the book I’ve been hoping for in this series! But be warned. You’ll need a good supply of Kleenex, a support group at the ready, and strong liquor. I had nothing, and this book has gutted me.

Packed with ruthless political plays, heartache, and trickery, King’s Cage brings you back to Maven’s playground. Mare is now his prisoner. As Maven strips away her lightning ability, he prepares to annihilate the Scarlet Guard and his brother, Cal. As they watch, the resistance braces for war and recruits Reds and New Bloods, while Cal will sacrifice anything to get Mare back. But Norta barely holds itself together when Silvers turn against their own.

Victoria touches on the political landscape in Red Queen and Glass Sword, but it explodes in the third instalment. I’ve been waiting to see more politics in King’s Cage, and Victoria doesn’t let me down. Throughout each chapter, you see how much dedication she puts in to her work. She meticulously details every passage, scene, and conversation. They are well thought out. The storyline hooks you from the first chapter. And while several readers hate the pace of King’s Cage, I love it. I don’t expect a war to start off fast. It’s slow yet brutal. But when that speed is needed, Victoria just punches you in the gut with it.

She also presents new POVs, which I enjoyed reading and were wholly needed. This world unleashes itself onto you. Victoria jumps from Norta, to Piedmont, to the Lakelands, then to Montfort. Her world building expands greatly. She then throws in some fantastic battle scenes and introduces new characters who, I know, will probably just add to the ever-growing list of people who I’ll mourn.

 

“I live in a shrinking world where the only thing I can trust is Maven’s obsession. Like the manacles, it is a shield and a slow, smothering death.”

Maven uses Mare to taunt the Scarlet Guard and Cal. He turns her into his own tortured pet. And under his control, she loses her lightning power by Silent Stone and Silence guards, who neutralize abilities. I found her character development inspiring. She refuses to let him break her. She still owns her spark he can’t touch. And honestly, I’m proud of her. Through betrayal, pain, and a heartbreaking revelation, Mare emerges from the ashes of her former self and steps up to be ther leader her people deserve. The book realistically illustrates Mare’s grief, loneliness, and PTSD. And these elements adds new layers onto an already complex story.

I’m no Team Brothers. I’m Team Mare. When I read the epilogue, I wanted to punch both of these boys. I don’t understand Team Maven. No, he didn’t shield her from his world in King’s Cage, and he certainly didn’t protect her from torture either.

 

“You are only a shadow, and who looks at shadows when they have flame? Who would ever choose a monster over a god?”

The Queen may be dead, but she has destroyed Maven. What she has done to him unsettles me. Her ghost chills me every time Maven explains his upbringing. It still doesn’t excuse him though. I thought his obsession with Mare in Glass Sword is disturbing, but it does not compare to what he does to her now. Now seeing their relationship, if a twisted connection is what you call it, makes the story more complex. She witnesses who Maven was, what he could have been, and what he is now. Is that outlook a form of empathy? I don’t know. Their relationship borders on frightening. But he is one character who completely surprises me. Victoria pushes him down a path I wasn’t expecting. I thought I could anticipate his moves. But no, she shuts me down every time.

 

“The crown is in the heart, and the heart do not change.”

Sometimes I love Cal, and sometimes I want to throttle him. Pick a side! Choose her! She is right there. I predicted that his arc may take him a direction I won’t support. He’s the heir who hasn’t made a choice yet. He fights for Reds, he enlists the help of New Bloods and other countries, yet he does not choose a side. I don’t like where he’s going. All I see is pain, blood, and heartbreak.

One salvageable quality he has is loving Mare. We get to see their love story. Three books in, I was getting worried Victoria might not show it. But my God, she does. But come on! That epilogue still haunts me.

 

“An all-too-familiar ache rises in my chest as I settle onto my throne. I do my best to keep composed, quiet, and dutiful. Loyal to my blood. It’s all I know.”

I do not believe I can type these words, but I feel for Evangeline. I still don’t. Even a month after reading this book, I can’t wrap my head around my turnaround. Let’s just say you get perspective of this merciless character. And a part of me is rooting for her.

King’s Cage steps up and becomes the story I’ve been looking for. I cried. I laughed. I seethed. And I cried some more. I’m not ready for the final book.

 

What are your thoughts on the progression of the Red Queen series? Can’t get enough of it? Let’s talk!

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

17927395A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling

Page Count: 626 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase


Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.


“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Do you know when a book sneaks up on you and sparks your every emotion, then buries itself deep in your conscious, where you can’t stop thinking about it? Well, A Court of Mist and Fury is that book. This poignant yet alluring and seductive sequel has hollowed me out, and I’m stuck with the worst reading slump imaginable. Betrayals, political plays, captivating arcs, and stunning plot twists set ACOMAF apart from other books.

After surviving Amarantha, who enslaved the High Lords of Prythian, Feyre tries to move past her guilt of what she’d done Under the Mountain. She survived the trials that broke Tamlin’s curse. But this mortal-turned-High Fae discovers that more than just her body was broken. Tamlin changes. And she must fulfill her pact with Rhysand, the Night Court’s High Lord. But her world shifts, and she must now live with the aftermath. But once she heals her mortal heart and discovers who she is, a new threat from Hybern’s King may just take it all away.

 

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

ACOMAF breaks the mould for sequels. It is light and dark, hate and love, and pain and happiness all rolled up in a beautifully executed book. I haven’t devoured a book with this intensity than I have with ACOMAF and haven’t been this impressed with one in a long time. I don’t want this series to end, because I feel I haven’t experienced and lived in it long enough.

 

“He locked you up because he knew—the bastard knew what a treasure you are. That you are worth more than land or gold or jewels. He knew, and wanted to keep you all to himself.”

Feyre‘s development is emotionally charged. It makes for a beautiful yet difficult arc to read. I can’t remember how many times I wanted Feyre to find a way to heal herself from the past that haunts her. Her choices Under the Mountain wrap a hold of her and refuse to disappear. She cannot shake them, she cannot move past them, and they won’t let her see past her pain. Feyre fought for Tamlin’s love in ACOTAR. But in this story, she lays bare her broken soul, walks through the darkness, and rises to claim her hard-fought and life-changing love.

 

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

Tamlin may be the light, but Rhysand shines in the dark. He is, by far, my favourite character. If Feyre deserves solace, he deserves life. Even thinking of his growth makes me weepy. His selfless acts save his people. Darkness lives within him, yet he’s gentle, caring, utterly damaged, but determined to save her. When he does so, Feyre also saves him. I don’t want to list how many chapters Rhys broke my heart. I’ll need thick paper, many pens, and a stockpile of Kleenex. How can I not love this High Fae? I think I squeed for a solid minute when I found out he has bat wings.

 

“But then she snapped your neck.”
Tears rolled down his face.
“And I felt you die,” he whispered.
Tears were sliding down my own cheeks.

Cauldron, boil me, because the romance in this book nearly kills me. It turns into a slow burn that’s tangible and adored. And the banter! I love their banter. The ships must be protected at all costs. Please. PLEASE. If I become a blubbering mess when I read A Court of Wings and Ruin, I may just swear off books for several weeks (trust me, this declaration is unheard of).

 

“He did—does love me, Rhysand.”

“The issue isn’t whether he loved you, it’s how much. Too much. Love can be a poison.”

Oh Tamlin, I was rooting for him. We all were. He had her right in front of him, but he gave up on her and let Amarantha win. Tamlin––the fandom affectionately calls “Tamlin the Tool,” and I have to agree––reverses into a controlling and scared High Lord. His progression may not look abusive, but remember that any control is. I understand why he turns into this man, how he changes so rapidly, and some readers, even to this day, hate how Sarah has made him into this beast. But a character does devolve this way. A traumatic event will break anyone, and it broke both Feyre and Tamlin.

 

Sarah opens up the Prythian world tenfold. She lets you travel from the Spring, to the Night, and to the Summer Court. She also include Rhys’ Inner Circle: Morrigan, cousin and third-in-command; Cassian, childhood friend, general commander, and one of the most powerful Illryian warrior; Amren, second-in-command who is shrouded in mystery; and Azriel, spy, childhood friend, and Shadowsinger. Sarah weaves their history into the story so effortlessly. I LOVE THEM ALL.

I’ve only wanted to reread a handful of books after I finished them. And I cannot stop myself from glossing over passages in ACOMAF. I want to jump back into Sarah’s world, dance down the streets of Velaris, and fly over the Sidra River. The Court of Dreams, a sub-court of the Night Court, becomes a character in itself. Rhys and the High Lords who preceded him protect the court. The sacrifice Rhys has taken on to ensure the safety of his people pierces your heart. You don’t get the true understanding of his pain until you read ACOMAF. And he is one character I fiercely want to shield from this cruel world.

I cannot recommend the book enough. Read it because, while readers may have objected to some issues in the first book, ACOMAF will destroy any expectations you have. I still cannot get it out of my head. This character-driven treasure will forever stay on my favourite’s list and hold a little piece of my heart.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas16096824

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling

Extent: 421 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.


“She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.”

I may have arrived to this fandom late, but I’m here to stay. In this faerie folkore meets Beauty and the Beast mash-up, Sarah creates a realm uniquely her own. I’ve been waiting to read her work for some time, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Feyre lives in a divided world where faeries rule, and most mortals fight to survive. When a High Lord demands retribution for the Fae wolf she kills, he gives the 19-year-old hunter, who despises Fae, two options: sacrifice her life for the life she has killed or live out her life in his Spring Court. She reluctantly agrees to the latter. In time, they fall love in. But a curse may just break them apart.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses is my first exposure to Sarah’s writing. Sarah doesn’t just stick with a Beauty and the Beast storyline, though. She introduces a new approach to this well-told tale. The first instalment draws you in to an authentic realm. It is a richly thought-out fairytale. And I’m surprised by how much I enjoy reading this book. The story and characters develop beautifully. And the writing and storytelling compel me to keep reading. I couldn’t get enough of the story.

I was hoping for more politics in ACOTAR. And even though you get some hints, especially in the last half of the book, Sarah doesn’t give enough. What the book lacks in politics more than makes up for in folklore. She weaves in these fairytales and produces an elaborate world that keeps you guessing and wanting more. She impresses me with her world building and keeps me on my toes.

 

“Because your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is … entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be, even when I try not to be.”

I enjoy Feyre’s storyline. Her voice is strong, and her strength pulls you in. I was hoping for a stronger bond with her sisters since she risks her life for them. But they’ve built a barrier among themselves. Their father’s fall from power pushes Feyre and fuels her need to protect her family. The father infuriates me, but I find that Feyre thrives as a character who takes charge. Obviously I was expecting her eventual attraction and love for Tamlin. I wasn’t expecting her to give up everything to break his curse.

 

Do not expect Tamlin to be the beast. The High Lord wants nothing more than to break the curse that strips him of most of his powers and forces him and his people to wear masks. Feyre has a hard time believing faeries can show kindness, which he does give to her. Instead of imprisonment, he gives her freedom. I find their slow attraction sweet. But something in him bothers me. Lucien, that glorious fox, I could eat him up. Sass and sarcasm mix up to create this delicious man. I adore him, and I hope that Sarah builds off this character.

 

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Someone should have warned me how dangerous this Rhysand is. He needs a warning sign permanently slung around his neck. Surprisingly, I see more attraction between Feyre and him than I did with Tam and her. While he’s complicated like Tamlin, I find his character more alluring. I want to punch him, but his actions surprise me the most.

 

This book will not appeal to all readers. Some will hate the controversy and won’t move past these passages. Others will question the drugging and lack of consent in the last half of the book. I was fully warned about these issues. So while reading, I expected them. And even though I don’t like some of them, I look at the overall story itself and see how they build an intricate world where nothing is as it appears. I don’t condone them, but the author integrates them into her world for a reason.

I’m slowly introducing myself to the retelling genre. And while I always adore Beauty and Beast, I enjoy this new twist. This enticing and sensual retelling will lure you in. Even though some scenes are difficult to read, this book catches me off guard. No, I wasn’t expecting to revel in ACOTAR, yet Sarah has an uncanny talent that traps people. I can’t help but admit that this series may just ruin me.

 

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Wrap-up: February 2017

february-wrap-up

I loved February. I got to read the books I’ve been dying to get my hands on. And my heart, psyche, and well, mind are all in revolt. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried. So here are the reads that kept me up past midnight!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naturally, my first carnival book is, in fact, my favourite. Yes, Caraval has a insta-love feel to it, but the author makes a nice twist to it. The hype is real, so magically real, and I can’t help but gush about this book.

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A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kelley’s books are always instant buys and instant reads for me. I’ve read most of her work and probably own well over thirty of her books. I’ll warn you now: this book is dark and may trigger some readers. Kelley has an uncanny talent for writing complex and utterly intriguing characters. I can’t get enough of the series and hope to get my hands on the next instalment.

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I need a support group, stat. Please. King’s Cage is a vast improvement from Glass Sword. You can feel how much time and effort Victoria put into this book. It’s deliberately slow paced, yet it smacks you with intensely real emotions at the end. The sequrel cannot come soon enough.

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A poignant tale of a girl falling in love with the Goblin King and finding herself and her music in the Underground. I knew I had to read this story. Don’t expect anything similar to the Labyrinth. Wipe the slate clean and prepare yourself for this gut-wrenching love story. Highly recommended!

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