Review | City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Scholastic

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Paranormal

Page Count: 272

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.

And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.


“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

As I travel further into the worlds Victoria creates, I simply fall in love with how creative her writing has evolved over the years. If you’re looking for a spooky yet adorable ghost story, pick up this middle grade paranormal treat!Read More »

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Review | Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 565

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.


“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

After reading this sequel, I am utterly broken. And words fail me. I had my heart ripped out of my gapping chest. I cried. I laughed. I was giddy, angry, and happy. But I somewhat feel okay with that? But I am proud to have Heir of Fire sit on my shelf. The third installment of the Throne of Glass is Sarah’s strongest. The writing brings you right into this multi-dimensional world. You feel the tears, the rage, and the redemption. Aelin Galathynius began her story as Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s Assassin. Now she embraces who she is.

Sarah slowly weaves a thread from one character arc to another, and I am impressed with how she creates this world. From the beginning, I knew who Celaena is, but I couldn’t fathom how she transforms into the broken Queen of Terrasen. Now, I do. Sarah explores more from this intricate word and the magic system within it. But what I adore is the characters.

You know how I fall hard for character-driven books. And Sarah delivers that promise and more. As her power strengthen, so too does Aelin’s growth. Her pain drives her reluctance to harness her gift though. Aelin must train with Rowan Whitethorn, a member of Maeve’s blood-sworn Cadre. If she completes her mission, her aunt Maeve will then offer her more knowledge of the wyrdkeys. I much prefer Aelin over Celaena. This future queen struggles with her identity and her duty. Throughout the book, I feel that her development holds the most reward for readers.

Rowan made me swoon the moment he flew into Aelin’s life. I knew he’s trouble, but I instantly loved this otherworldly, alpha Fae. I love a brooding man with a damaged history. You see hints of a connection between the two. And I can’t get hold how they eventually open up to each other, help heal their wounds, and look to a brighter path. He challenges her and doesn’t allow Aelin to slip back into the shadows.

I’ve been dying to see it more of Sarah’s worldbuilding. As Aelin confronts her pain, Adarlan is preparing for war. There, you meet Manon Blackbeak, an Ironteeth Witch. Do you know how refreshing a bloodthirsty female character is?! The author brings a new dynamic by introducing the three witch clans. To my heart’s content, she finally introduces Aedion Asryver, Aelin’s cousin. His riddled backstory, hidden motives and alliances, and his convictions of avenging his country play with the political undertones, which are brought to the forefront.

Each character enhances the storytelling, which Sarah excels at. She’s not afraid to take chances with her characters and storylines. Her risks are what makes her series so enjoyable to read. She takes the most dangerous chance of all: exploring beyond the world she’s so carefully created. Heir of Fire creates the foundation for the next stellar addition of the Throne of Glass. There’s no doubt why readers love this series.

Review | The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 435

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.

When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches—and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives.


“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”

Coming into this series late, I knew I had a lot to catch up on. I knew I’d travel through painful and heartwrenching backstories. So I was nervous and hesitant to start the prequel. Sarah reminds us why Throne of Glass enchanted us at the beginning, how Celaena Sardothien suffered, how much she lost, and what she gave up to save the forgotten.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ben, a fellow assassin, has been murdered. Celaena is hellbent on avenging him, but Arobynn Hamel, the Lord of the Assassins, has other plans by sending her and Sam Cortland to Skull’s Bay. Sarah introduces the infamous Lord of the Pirates, Captain Rolfe. And I am smitten even if I want to gut this man. Both she and Sam discover their master wants them to ship slaves back to Rifthold. This is moment shows me why I love Celaena, who is indignant and plans to thwart Arobynn’s plan.

This short story is a solid start to the novella. This experience shapes Celaena into the character who she is now. I was surprised by the hostility between Sam and Celaena. I wasn’t expecting that, but I loved the banter though. This story appalled, horrified, and sickened me. Sarah opens up her world and shows you the seedy side of Erilea. It gives you perspective and understanding behind Celaena’s convictions.

The Assassin and the Healer

⭐️⭐️⭐️

After the punishment Arobynn inflicts onto her and Sam after their actions in Skull’s Bay, Celaena meets a former healer, Yrene Towers, and teaches the young woman how to defend herself.

I’ve spoiled myself with many characters, so I knew who Yrene is. But I had zero knowledge about her history and her connection to Celaena. Even though Celaena is tough on Yrene, I enjoyed seeing Celaena display a softer side you don’t always have the privilege to see.

The Assassin and the Desert

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Arobynn sends Celaena to the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert. There, she must earn approval from the Master of the Silent Assassins. She believes she can easily win him over, but instead, she must work for it. You see a lot of conceit and pride with Celaena. Yes, she’s earned the title “Adarlan’s Assassin,” but that means nothing here.

This story proves crucial for Celaena. She opens up, learns how to associate with other people, and befriends them as well. I enjoyed reading this story even if it isn’t my favourite.

The Assassin and the Underworld

⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Coming back from the aftermath of what happens in the Red Desert, Celaena plans to pay off her debt to Arobynn, who is apologetic of what he’s done to her. To ask for forgiveness, he offers her another client, who wants her ex-husband dead.

Here is where you see the relationship between Celaena and Sam blossom. They fight, bicker, and plan her next job. But both of these characters evolve. Unfortunately, they aren’t told the full situation, and Celaena soon realizes she can’t trust everyone.

Lysandra is, hands down, the positive to this story though. I can’t get enough of Celaena and Lysandra’s fighting.

The Assassin and the Empire

⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Celaena wants out of Adarlan and the Guild and away from Arobynn. Sam finds a contract that may solve all their problems though. Both of them must kill the Crime Lord Jayne and his right-hand man Farran. She’s hesitant, with good reason. Sam believes he must prove himself by making the first kill.

This addition lays the groundwork of Throne of Glass. I wasn’t prepared for this one. No. No, I wasn’t. I cried hard, and I’ve been dreading this story because I know what happens. But the pain isn’t less gut-wrenching.

 

I overall enjoyed this prequel. But I didn’t love it though. I wasn’t invested in it as much as the other sequels. But like always, Sarah throws in foreshadowing that hurts and makes you want to skip by it. So prepare yourself when you attempt to read it. It’ll give you chills, make you ugly cry at points, but sets up a beautiful beginning to one of my favourite series yet.

 

What are your thoughts on Assassin’s Blade? Is it a so-so read, or did you thoroughly love it? Let’s chat!

Review | Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 18

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 352

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?


“That’s the difference between the real and the virtual. Reality is where you can lose the ones you love. Reality is the place where you can feel the cracks in your heart.”

I believe everyone all knows how much I adore Warcross. I never knew that I’d fall that hard for a science fiction book. But here I am, marveling at Marie’s creation. So Wildcard ended up as one of my top most anticipated sequels to read. While I enjoyed this hi-action, colourful, and thrilling read, I’m left wanting more.

Emika knows the truth behind Hideo’s NeuroLink algorithm. And with the help of the Phoenix Riders, she realizes she must stop him from releasing it to the world. But a bounty on her life causes her trouble, and she may be forced to rely on Zero and the Blackcoats, which are hellbent on controlling Hideo’s new toy.

Even though my thoughts are clashing with each other, I must admit that I’m in love with Marie’s worldbuilding. This author knows how to make a flashy virtual reality look utopic, but in reality, it conceals a deadly and hidden underworld. The premise of the book impresses me. It also terrifies me though. Emika travels through more of the Dark World. And with that comes the risks she never anticipates. We aren’t in the rainbow-filled Toyko anymore.

Marie explores the consequences of technological advancement. And I couldn’t get enough of that storyline. Unfortunately, the execution at the end feels rushed and hastily put together. I wanted more substance from this arc. And I didn’t find it. This sequel relies heavily on the plot, not the characters. And I believe that part is where the two books differ. I loved meeting the characters. And even though we get more backstory of some, they weren’t the pinnacle of the finale.

However, some stood out from the static. Emika will always be one of my favourite characters. Being thrown into a dangerous world, she feels the responsibility to set it right. She knows the dark path Hideo is taking to avenge his brother, and yet she can’t let go of her feelings. By the end of Warcross, I was swaying back and forth with Hideo. Some part of me doesn’t, nor will ever, trust him. But Marie shows us why he chose this direction. Zero may be on the most conflicting character to understand. But I love yet hate him.

I wanted to set my excitement high for this sequel. I wanted the Warcross world to engross, tease, tempt, and impress me. But this time, I didn’t login into this virtual reality. I’m left questioning the book more than loving it. If you’re in need of another championship fix, check your expectations. But I’d give it a chance if you fell in love with Warcross.

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge (Day 2)

Morning book lovers,

So who’s ready for another quote? I’m now onto day 2 of the quote challenge. I want to stick with the whole badass theme with it. So I’ve picked a quote from my King Kaz. He infuriates me, makes me laugh, makes me curl up into the fetal position and cry, and inspires me every day to fight my demons since no one else will.

I want to thank Mariam from Book Mania for tagging me. I appreciate it a lot!  💜

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

The Quote

“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.”

—Kaz Brekker, Crooked Kingdom


Tag Time

You know the drill! If you’ve already done this post and don’t want to do a repeat performance, that’s fine. If you do, link me up. More importantly, have fun with it! I know I have.

Becky | Jennifer | Mogsy

Review | Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Superheroes

Page Count: 384

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.


“She was a ghost. A wraith.”

In the highly anticipated third installment in the DC Icons series, Selina Kyle discovers her claws, and she’s looking to bring Gotham City to its knees. If you’re a huge DC fan as I am, then Catwoman: Soulstealer is your next read. Thieving, trickery, sexual tension, scheming, sisterly love, friendship, and female leads who know how to look good while stealing are what make the DC nerd in me sing.

The big old Bat is away, and Catwoman returns to the infamous Gotham City, and she’s looking for an all-female crew to swindle the rich and wreak havoc. But when she arrives, ghosts from her past want back what she stole from them. And they’re willing to burn Gotham to the ground to get it.

Catwoman is one of my hotly anticipated reads of the Summer. And before I picked it up, I had large expectations I wasn’t sure Sarah could carry out. She has disappointed me with a few of her books. However, she doesn’t let me down with this one. Catwoman is more rough on the edges. You don’t always see the human side of this multi-faceted character. But Sarah reveals a different perspective of her, and I love it.

Selina turns into a street fighter in order for her and her sister, Maggie, to survive. But when the cops come knocking, Selina must choose either going to jail or giving up her sister by accepting the deal with the League of Assassins. Two years later, she is more lethal, wiser, and determined to fulfill her plan. I love Selina as the villain, the anti-hero, and frankly herself. Her alter-ego doesn’t diminish her as a strong-willed character with scars to show. Sarah gives just enough depth for dedicated fans to appreciate and new readers to enjoy.

Sarah easily incorporates classic DC villains and characters readers love. I savoured every moment Selina has with her sister and the schemes she concocts with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. And as a follower of Sarah, I know her writing will grip me until the very end. Every fight scene, tender moment, and foreshadowing come together to make an explosive plot. This storyline gives readers several gratifying character arcs and shows how deadly Gothman’s streets truly are.

What stands out for me is the bonds of friendship and sisterhood. I adored how Selina slowly lowers her guard when she brings Ivy and Harley into the fray. And even though I prefer Catwoman with Batman, the budding relationship with Luke Fox, or Batwing, is intriguing. However, I felt it’s more obligatory than natural. Why does Selina need a love interest? She doesn’t. Unfortunately, Luke’s character growth isn’t as well developed as Selina’s, and that choice puts a damper on the character himself.

Sarah delivers an action-packed coming-of-age with the right dose of love and an overwhelming amount of sass, snark, and scheming. Friendship is at the heart of this sequel. So if you love Catwoman, find yourself a copy. You won’t want to miss this.

“There are good people in Gotham. Protect them.”

Review | Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 402

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.


“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

I’ve survived my first Kristoff book. And when I closed it, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or what I should do with myself. Lifel1k3 is a brilliantly crafted novel I never knew that could exist. And yet, here I am writing a review for it. Now, I understand why so many readers love Kristoff’s work. I’m an instant fan.

Rarely do I find a book that offers everything to readers: a stellar cast, captivating writing and storytelling, explosive worldbuilding, and heartbreaking character growth. But Kristoff exceeds those expectations. I was close in dnfing Lifel1k3, but I’m thrilled that I pushed on to find one of the best books of 2018!

Eve lives with broken memories and in a shattered country once named the US. But in this post-apocalyptic world, she wants nothing more than to survive the next day with her bestie, Lemon Fresh; her logika, Cricket; and her dying grandpa. But when she uncovers Ezekiel, a lifelike, that life is over when she attracts the wrong gang that wants to see her dead.

Other than the worldbuilding, the characters are what win me over with this book. I grew to love Eve. She’s a badass, tough female lead who takes nothing from no one. And as the storyline progresses, I empathize with her once she discovers her past and the lies surrounding it. She may rock a fauxhawk and a cybernetic eye and fight robots in death matches. But by the end, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Her character growth rivals that of well-written characters.

The lifelike, or android, displays more empathy, compassion, love, and humanity than most humans do. Ezekiel is swoon-worthy, but he’s the moral compass to the book. And I love that about him. Lemon Fresh—yes, that’s her name—may be the finest sidekick a woman can ever dream of. I loved the banter and sarcasm she brings to this colourful gang. And I can’t forget to mention Cricket. I can’t imagine I’d love a robot this much, but I never rooted so hard for one in my life!

Kristoff combines Tank Girl, Romeo and Juliet, and Mad Max in this outlandishly wild journey. What excels in this chaos is the worldbuilding. Eve and her cohorts live in the destruction of what was known as Kalifonya, now called the Dregs. Corporations now fight over what is left of the country after the annihilation of lifelikes, which refused to follow the Three Laws, which govern all robotics. Unfortunately, she has attracted unwanted attention from the Brotherhood. This mayhem just enhances the intricate design of the story. And with every chance I got, I reveled in it. Kristoff makes you want to love science fiction all over again.

I’m not sure if I can put into words of my admiration of this author. Even though Lifel1k3 is the first book I’ve read of his, I need the rest so I can tame my need for his writing. Not many authors have that kind of writing power. But Kristoff does. His writing enthralls your imagination from the start. You need to know how the world fell, how society made it this way, and if these characters will survive to the next chapter. This must-read science fiction needs to be on your TBR list.

Review | Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: August 15, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 418

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie…and whom she will fight for.


“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

With badassery, betrayals, and deadly secrets, Crown of Midnight cements Sarah’s place in the fantasy world. Since I’ve had some time to control myself after reading this spectacular book, I can finally write my review. The foreshadowing master has done it again by writing a sequel that surpasses its predecessor. Am I surprised? No. Am I completely at her mercy? Yes. I’m here to stay, TOG fandom!

I lost count of how many times my emotions took a hold of me. And I somehow put myself together so I could move on to the next book. You know I’m dedicated when I can’t stopping reading a series. Sarah threads multi-layered arcs and brings them together to craft a well-executed story.

The Throne of Glass series is one of my favourites. And I truly don’t know how properly to explain my love for it. I had strong expectations with this sequel. I wanted everything her debut novel has to offer and more. And Sarah doesn’t fail. Having won the tournament, Celaena Sardothien is now the King’s Champion and must do his bidding, whether she wants to or not. As she uncovers secrets that should be left unburied, she faces a devastating loss.

Did I honestly believe I could love a character more? Clearly, I was wrong. I adore Celaena and her journey. You get to see more backstory with this cleverly thought-out character. And I can’t help but respect how multi-faceted she turns out to be. Death and heartache are not done leaving scars on her. And this book just shows how much she has suffered and continues to do so.

Like I’ve previously said, the secondary characters impress me. And I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia. I knew Chaol and Calaena explore a relationship, but I never knew it would tear strips into my already fragile heart. I shipped them hard. I loved his character arc, and the banter between the both of them made me so happy. Even though Dorian isn’t the love interest, he does play a strong role. And the tension between Nehemia and Calaena may be the hardest part of this book though.

Sarah slowly reveals this deadly and cutthroat world. You don’t want to live in Erilea. You don’t want to survive here. And yet she consistently proves how strong her characters are. Her storytelling improves as she uncovers the horrors of this continent. And I wonder how anyone ever lives in such a terrifying environment. Now, she intertwines fantasy into a magicless world. And I love that it builds suspense into her worldbuilding.

As I continue reading this series, I don’t know how I can love the next book more than the last. But I do. Sarah creates believable characters who I want to find freedom. And she unfolds a beautifully told story I’ll continue to admire.

Review | Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: August 12, 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 404

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the king’s champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing she never thought she’d have again: a friend. But something evil dwells in the castle-and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.


“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

A badass female lead with a hidden past, a world where magic has disappeared, a ruthless king who has slaughtered an entire country, and an intricately weaved storyline will capture readers who are looking for their next favourite series. I’m hooked. And I need more.

The hype and the fandom surrounding this debut book have kept me from it. And I regret not being a part of this fandom. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s second series, but I was hesitant to make the transition to TOG. So please kick me for not reading this sooner!

The characters are what make this book excel. I’ve known of what happens with select characters, but I never witnessed the story itself so I can appreciate the level of detail Sarah puts in her writing. And I must give her credit for what she has achieved in the series.

Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s Assassin, has survived her slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier. But this freedom depends on her winning the King’s Tournament. Sarah entwines Calaena’s past with her present. And with each passing page, you get a glimpse of her strength and determination. How can I appreciate a character with this much complexity? I don’t know. But I love her as much as Kaz Brekker. And she deserves the respect he receives.

The secondary characters— Dorian Havilliard, Chaol Westfall, and Nehemia Ytger—do not disappoint. They have their own arc, yet they’re drawn to Celaena. And they complete this stellar novel. I loved how they interact with each other, how they depend on one another, and how they grow into better characters.

Sarah’s storytelling drags you in. You aren’t aware of the outside world until you’ve read well past midnight. The thing is that you don’t care. You want to know what happens in the next chapter, and you can’t get enough. I love her writing. And the way she builds a believable yet devastating world makes me marvel at her work. I don’t want to live in this world, but I want her characters to defend it, fight for it, and give up everything to make it better.

I was scared to commit to this series. But I stayed for everything else. I’m thrilled to be a part of the fandom. And I can’t wait to see what Sarah has in store for us.

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Published by: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 23, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adult

Page Count: 512

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.


 

“Magic and magician must between them balance. Magic itself is chaos. The magician must be calm. The fractured self must be a pure vessel for power, spilling power without focus measure from every crack.”

I never thought I’d love this series this much when I first picked up A Darker Shade of Magic. But as I write this review, I know Shades of Magic will be one series I’ll cherish over others. The magic, the thrill, and the friendship will always bring me back. And I want more time to revel in Red London.

Victoria is an author to marvel at. She creates these complex and highly detailed magical worlds and systems. She unravels an intricate and layered story that makes you love storytelling all over again. And her characters stand on their own yet complement each other beautifully. I adore how each character has developed from the aftermath of the first book.

Kell must live with the actions of saving his brother, Rhy, and bringing a deadly magic to their world. Both the king and queen have lost their trust in Kell, and he feels that loss and resentment when they force more restrictions on him. Rhy and Kell’s bond though is what anchors the both of them, and I loved their interactions together. I also enjoyed how Kell’s entire perspective of his life changes. He struggles with his choices that bound his life with Rhy’s. And that internal battle builds depth to his character.

Lila, the stab-happy and would-be pirate, adapts well to Red London. She is one character who I loved reading in the ADSOM. And even though I want to rant about how her stubbornness gets in the way of growth, I can’t help but admire her badassery. Alucard Emery, the captain of Night Spire, just adds a little flare to everyone’s life. I thought I’d hate him, but he’s such an exciting addition.

The worldbuilding expands in this sequel. As the Essen Tacsh begins, magicians compete against each other. Over five days, thirty-six contenders must battle each other out until a competitor is crowned the winner. I absolutely loved seeing different magicians from other regions of Red London. You see how each country wields magic. But while people are enchanted by the Element Games, an old threat reappears.

What stands out the most is Victoria’s writing. She ensares your love of magic and shows you how beautiful yet dangerous it is. I was entranced the entire time, and I knew I need more from this world. Victoria doesn’t rely on romance to tell her story. She allows the magic to envelop her readers, and I’ll forever respect her series.