Review | The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 336

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
 
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
 
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

As I sit down to write my review, I know one undeniable truth: I have not survived reading the sequel. So from this point on, I do no forgive Holly for the emotional torment she has caused. The Wicked King surpasses my wildest expectations. And with each passing edition in this twisted series, I’ll make a deal with a faerie so I can go back to Elfhame.

The Folk of the Air is an addicting series to travel into. Each sentence crafted in such a way, along with characters’ decisions and actions, will make you suspect and challenge the next scene. And it has morphed into one of my all-time favourites. I never thought I’d demand a book to dominate my time. I truly pushed back finishing it quicker because I didn’t want to be forced back to the mortal realm.

One aspect I genuinely adore is how dark Holly takes her series. She reveals each element of her world and doesn’t care about any trivial thoughts on if the readers will take offence or be ashamed in enjoying this savage world. She has given us a better understanding of court politics and intrigue. How calculated move Jude takes will either set her back or destroy her scheming. I am so enrapt with the level of precision and detail Holly has put into this sequel.

Since Jude has gained control over the newly crowned High King, Cardan, she knows she must keep Oak, the next in line, safe from Faerie. But many sides now look to steal the crown from both of them. Her development builds up gradually throughout the novel. But her strategizing is what sets her apart from other female main characters though. I can only hope ever to achieve that level of badassery.

Cardan revels in his debaucheries as Jude schemes from behind the throne. But he stops at nothing to thwart her every step. They both can’t deny the sexual tension between them though. And that plays with their forced relationship they’ve built over the last few months. I cackled every time Cardan and Jude opposed one another. I couldn’t get over how their conflict has turned from hatred to passion.

Treachery and deceit are like fine wine or currency to the faerie. And each character feels the need to one-up the other. And while the Wicked King centres more around the plot, it also explores more characters and their convictions. Even though I hate most of Jude’s family and the way Cardan has turned out, I see why these characters have turned out this way. But what surprises me the most is how Holly has more world building to offer. Each step in another direction of Elfhame is new, wild, and exhilarating.

If I haven’t convinced you to pick up the Folk of the Air series, I don’t know what will. But what should is the deceit, lying, scheming, warped love, and political intrigue. Drop whatever book you’ve started reading, and start with this series. Just don’t expect to come back the same way you went in.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

Review | A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 272

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.


“Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in. As if we were the only souls in a galaxy.”

You all know I love the ACOTAR series. I cannot get enough of it, so when I heard Sarah is expanding this world, I haven’t been that giddy for such a long time. So if you’re a dedicated fan like me, A Court of Frost and Starlight is on your most anticipated books of 2018.

I wasn’t expecting huge revelations in ACOFAS, but I hoped for more spunk and spark displayed in her previous books. This novella is more toned down. But again, my expectations shouldn’t be high. But they are, and that is where I’m conflicted with this book. The story takes place six months after the war. The Night Court is still healing. Scars and destruction cling to all the courts. So when the Winter Solstice arrives, Feyre and her family are determined to celebrate it.

This character-driven novella is beautifully written. And I easily fall into this world. I adored reading the lighthearted scenes. And Sarah opens up and gives you heartwarming glimpses of characters you’ve grown to cherish. The four aspects that make ACOFAS such a memorable story are the storytelling, character developments, personal healing, and Nesta.

Yes, Nesta. Her growth will shock you as it does me. And while some readers may say she doesn’t deserve Cassian, somehow their pain, anger, and strength complement each other. And let’s be honest: I ship Nessian. I haven’t shipped a couple this hard before (other than Feysand). I had an inkling that Sarah might take Nesta down this path. This author somehow perfectly demonstrates the human condition. She weaves together these complex emotions into layered characters arcs I haven’t seen before. So I’m dying to see how Nesta lets Cass in and allows herself to move past her agony. Or I will riot.

Now onto my number one OTP: Feysand. I hear the collective sigh and squees from here. Yes, I came for the smut, but I stayed for the love. Do you know much much I adore and envy their relationship?! I’ve been rooting for them since ACOTAR (even though the word mate is excessive), and finally, they get their future. Cue the ugly crying! And while their past still haunts them, they somehow grow stronger. This book is a perfect ending to their story.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a tale of healing, love, ghosts, and pain. It reminds you why you keep coming back to the ACOTAR series. And while I didn’t enjoy the pace and some other scenes, I wouldn’t give us this series for another.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 370

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

I don’t usually find a book that renders me useless when writing its review. But Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince does all that and more. I struggle writing it because I wonder how I can possibly match the level of creativity in this book. I certainly hope so, but let’s get one fact straight: I am an instant Holly fan. And I want to go back to Elfhame.

Political power plays, deception, and betrayal beautifully introduces you to a wicked and depraved world where deceitful acts are a way of life in Faerieland, and you must be brutal to survive this magnificent yet threatening landscape.

Holly brings you complex and multi-faceted characters who outwit their enemies and betray their family. What do you expect from the fae? In this harsh world though, humans are sometimes no better than the faeries who trap them in Faerieland.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Jude—whether villain or heroine—adapts rather well even though the fae man who brought her and her sisters killed their parents in front of them. Forced to live in this surreal land, she lets her revenge guide and forge her into a warrior, and her ambition to never be weak again shapes her into a clever and devious main character. She kept me guessing her every move. And her development and scheming make this book captivating.

Cardan, the broken prince with a past to hide, surprises me. Yes, at first, I couldn’t stand how he treats Jude and her twin sister, Taryn. But this world has molded him into the wicked prince he is. But that reason is not an excuse though. And yet this character conceals more than what he shows though. I’m intrigued to see how his character development unfolds.

The family dynamic builds throughout the story. Taryn often warns Jude not to offend or to draw attention from any of the fae, especially from Cardan. The three sisters’ relationship is rather complicated, I find though. Vivienne, the oldest sister who is half-fae, infuriates me since she doesn’t shield her siblings from her world. But these siblings grow to love General Madoc, which murdered their loved ones. In the end, Jude wonders who she can trust. Will blood betray her, or will she be forced to deceive them?

Even though Holly’s writing is inspiring, it never stops you from seeing the seedy underbelly of the fae and their land. The vicious behaviour faeries show toward humans harshly contrasts against the elegance of this world. Holly reminds you that even though they are stunning, with a smile on their face, they’ll always find a way to slit your throat. This constant threat heightens the storyline. And I have to admit, that I love that.

With court and political intrigue, a budding dark romance, and atmospheric writing, Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince reveals the dark side of Faerie. It is one of the most gratifying books I’ve read in a long time. And now I’m counting down the days until I have The Wicked King in my hands.

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 304

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”

 

This book is magical and makes me sigh with delight. I feel remorseful for not picking it up sooner. Treat yourself to this whimsical novel, which will captivate you until the very end.

Isobel, an artist, possesses an incredible gift: the Craft, which the fae crave. She is known for her portrait paintings. Rook, the prince of the autumn court, asks her to paint his portrait, but she makes a deadly mistake by showing sorrow in his eyes. When he discovers her error, he whisks her away so she will stand trial for her crimes. But the two must depend on each other when they’re thrust on to a dangerous path that may threaten everyone.

Enchantment of Ravens slowly sneaks up on you, teases you with fae lore, then charms you all the more. I had such a pleasure reading it, and I hope we get more from this author. I’m surprised that Margaret is a duet author. Her writing captures your attention from page one. And the way she spins a sentence will surely make you hope for more.

We’ve been seeing a lot of fae-inspired stories and series. And I love quite a few of them. Now, some will stick to old fae lore where faeries are powerful yet vulnerable. In Enchantment, they cannot create the Craft (paintings, drawings, writing, and the such), so they rely on humans. And they can’t break the Good Law, which forbids fae and humans from falling in love. These mythical creatures aren’t what we’re used to seeing. Even though they have great beauty, their true form is haunting. Margaret makes these weaknesses more believable. She weaves in folklore, then incorporates enough political aspects to her story to intrigue you.

The writing and the world building will sweep you away and allow you to see a truly unique novel. I wasn’t expecting the level of detail and complexity in this multifaceted storyline. Margaret creates a lush and tangible world that I felt I was walking alongside the characters, who take centre stage.

Isobel, the protagonist, stays true to her Craft. She provides for her family even though one slip may put her life in danger. I adored reading her character progression throughout the novel. She fears giving up her talent, even when she falls in love with Rook. What’s significant in this story is that she doesn’t see the need to change who she is. Her Craft is everything. And that subtle yet important message speaks out to me.

Rook, that little cinnamon bun of quirkiness, is darling. Although he is odd, his character makes the story sparkle. I loved his weaknesses and his inability to understand humans. The relationship they build is rather precious, and I wasn’t anticipating to admire it as much as I do.

Enchantment of Ravens is one of a few books that surprises me. I want more. I want to see how Isobel and Rook’s relationship progresses. And I just want back in to wander this magical world the author has made. So I cannot recommend it more. Pick it up.

“When the world failed me, I could always lose myself in my work.”

Book Haul: May 2017

I’m spoiled. I wasn’t expecting a large book haul last month. But I finally received my two most anticipated books of 2017! What did you get? Let me know in the comments.

 

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

YA novel with a mystery/thriller twist and a Kelley book? I’m in. Honestly, I don’t need to read the synopsis; I’ll just add the book to my ever growing TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it. I’m turning desperate, I swear.

Every teenager dreams of leaving Reeve’s End. Winter Crane hopes to do the same. But when she finds a boy left for dead in the forest she loves, she wonders what has happened to the other teenagers.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

ACOWAR is my most anticipated book of the year, and I cannot stop looking at it. Obviously Sarah is planning to write more novels from the ACOTAR world, but I’m rather sad to see Feyre’s POV end, since I believe Feyre has more stories to tell.

ACOWAR (ominous acronym, don’t you say?) quickly starts off from ACOMAF. Feyre is back in the Spring Court and hopes to find everything she can about the coming war and the King of Hybern. But with betrayal and deceit at every turn, Feyre must find who she can trust and who will be her ally.

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Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Here’s my second most anticipated book of 2017. I’ve been waiting to read this book for a long time! And I’ve bee drooling over that cover equally as long.

Mariko, a daughter of a samuri, survives an attack while she was on route to her betrothed. To discover why she marked for death, she infiltrates the Black Clan. But what she soon learns will change her life.

I’ve recently finished it, so I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

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The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Beth, you are a godsend. And naturally you continue to supply my book addiction you created. 😂 I love you, woman.

Determined to find ancient artifacts that may lead to the Lords’ freedom, Lucien, Keeper of Death, is ordered to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. What he doesn’t know that she’s hellbent on hooking him.

The second instalment of the Lords of the Underworld series will capture the attention of any paranormal romance reader.

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The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Danika Ford has been on the run for months, since Aeron, the Keeper of Wrath is tasked to kill her and her family. Finally, I get to read Reyes’ book. Reyes, the Keeper of Pain, can’t help but protect her. But their undeniable attraction may just doom them both.

Gena has been hinting at Danika and Reyes’ story since the first book, The Darkest Night. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read their book since my friend gifted it to me.

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The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Sabin, Keeper of Doubt, prefers the battlefield over the bedroom. And I don’t blame him. His demon will shatter any woman’s confidence. But Gwen, a harpy oddly nicknamed the Timid, is up for the challenge, even though she fears Sabin may spark her inner harpy. He takes her under his wing once he and the other Lords set her and other supernaturals free from the Hunters.

But the Lords’ hunt for the artifacts leading them to Pandora’s Box may just become increasingly dangerous than the warriors thought.

Keep your eyes open for my review!

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Book Haul: October 2016

Well, you see, this month I’ve gone through a bit of a buying splurge. I don’t know why. No, I do, but I’m trying to cushion the blow. I still have books waiting on my shelf, but alas, once I see a great deal, I kind of destroy my bank account. Or my savings, to be exact.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these pretties! BUT WHY DID I BLOODY AGREE TO HAVE THE LAST TWO BOOKS BE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?! What was I thinking? I am a masochist. Through and through. Ahem. Now cue the regularly scheduled squee moment. 😂

16096824.jpgA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve been hearing pretty good reviews of this series, particularly the sequel, so I had to buy the first book. I haven’t gotten into fairy tale retellings, though. I’m a little late on this band wagon, but I can’t pass up on a book that retells Beauty and the Beast and also has faeries in it. I hope it’s great!

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

Why would I start a series and just not buy the sequel? That excuse is what I’m going with. I’m not that much of a masochistic. Screw that. I still am. But I need more faeries in my life, and I’ll be damned if I’ll wait for an already released sequel.

Some of my blogger friends (oh, hi darlings!) have told me that this instalment makes up for a few issues in the first book.

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23299512.jpgThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Don’t hate me, but This Savage Song will be the first Schwab book I’ve ever read. But her Shades of Magic series has been sitting on my TBR list for a year. I love that there are ZERO love stories in this book. ZERO. ZILCH. But tons of monsters. What more can a woman ask for? MONSTERS. Give me monsters.

…And I’m more twisted than my Mom thinks I am. Wonderful. PHEER ME.

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27969081.jpgLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Ah mah gerd. It’s here. Besides Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Labyrinth Lost is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen this year. And FINALLY I get to see more diversity and LGBTG storylines in books (I have to give Sabaa Tahir more credit here, though).

I also adore how Zoriada has incorporated brujas/brujos and Latin American themes into her book.

A fellow blogger’s post pushed me to buy it. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Danya @ Fine Print!

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