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.”

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Review | Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Published by: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre: High Fantasy

Page Count: 409

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchase

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One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.


“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it.”

I’ve been eagerly waiting to get back into another high fantasy. So when I saw several bloggers talk about Shadow of the Fox and also read the blurb for it, I bought myself a copy. Even though I loved the Japanese mythology, I couldn’t fall in love with it.

Every thousand years, an ancient scroll awakens a dragon who grants a wish of either great power or great destruction. Yumeko, a half-kitsune girl, is tasked with protecting a piece of that scroll when a demon slaughters her adoptive family. But many foes look to claim it, like Kage Tatsumi. But they make a pact built on hidden truths and lies, which may tear them apart.

How can I complain about that description? Julie delivers all the elements I’m looking for in a YA fantasy: a touch of romance, mythology, Japanese culture, dragons, and a great backstory. I’m not sure if the journey the characters take dulls the story or if I simply couldn’t connect with the storyline itself. What I was expecting was a well-executed Japanese-inspired fantasy, but what I got is anything but that. However, I love how Julie engrosses you in magical folklore. But I think that was one of the few things that kept me reading.

I wanted something more than formulaic writing. Too many tropes and over-used elements suck the life out of this book. By the end, I struggled with finishing it. One character who prevented me from DNFing it is Tatsumi. The demon slayer of the Shadow Clan must wipe his mind of all emotions, or the demon who possesses the sword of Kamigoroshi will take control of his body. He battles his own mind when he pairs himself with Yumeko. His growth is complex and compelling. I wanted to see more of his past and watch how he fights internally.

Unfortunately, the other main character, Yumeko, couldn’t keep my attention. I don’t mind when a character is naive. But even though the monks isolated her from the world because she’s half-kitsune, her character development is barely non-existent. She falls for the same tricks. In the first one hundred pages, I loved her. But she falls flat by the end.

Julie relies too heavily on the mythology, and she doesn’t see the flaws in her writing. If she focused more on her characters, then perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more. However, she has created a unique platform to build off a solid series though. If she fixes these issues, then her sequels may fare better.

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 | 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.

Beyond the Blurb | Genres I Hope to Read More Of

Happy Friday!

This topic has floated around in my mind for some time. I’m more of a predictable reader when it comes to genres though. But I want to change things up. I want to explore more I usually don’t read and take a risk. I typically stay with fantasy, then venture into sub-genres from there. However, I want to find more authors, stories, and fandoms. But I’m always wary over new series I’m not sure I’ll love or am worried to waste my time and my money on. But no more.

So do you feel the way as I do? I don’t blame you for not taking the plunge. There are so many genres out there, so what ones are you looking to venture into? Which ones are you still not sure of? Stick to the tried-and-true ones. See which ones fellow bloggers love the most. And from there, find a book that interests you.

So here are some of the few genres I want to read more of eventually:

 

Science Fiction

I haven’t always enjoyed reading sci-fi. I’m more of a sci-fi movie lover (oddly enough). For me, I feel it has typically been an iffy genre to love. I can’t remember the reason why I fell out of love with it but have been seeing more sci-fi books come out lately, and I can’t help but gravitate toward them. I love how they’ve evolved over the last few years.

 

Romance (Particularly the Sub-Genres)

I’m starting to love romance, even though, for a long time, I’ve avoided it at all costs. I enjoy reading romance in other genres, especially paranormal. But until this year, I never took the big leap into it. However, I’ve just been too judgemental over it for no reason. Or perhaps, my tastes in books have changed.

I find romance overwhelming, and I don’t blame readers who aren’t sure where to start.

 

High Fantasy

Yes, I caught the TOG bug (god help my credit card with all the KOA book boxes I’ve just bought 😭). And I need to find more high fantasy books, stat! I never stuck with high fantasy. For years, I’ve stayed with urban fantasy and just fantasy. But I’ve been loving the detail and the complex plots and characters. I know I need to catch up.

 

Thriller

I sometimes find thrillers to be predictable. I don’t like when the bad guys go off ranting about the reasons why they commit these heinous acts. I. Don’t. Care. That’s sloppy storytelling. And it just kills the entire atmospheric tone to the book. But I hope I can find books that don’t do this.

So find a series that stands out from the rest, then go from there.

 

Historical

I rarely read this genre, and yet it’s one of my favourites. But I rarely find a great story I want to jump into. However, more authors are exploring it and making it into their own.

 

I’d love to find more series, so let’s chat! Do you have a recommendation I might like? Which genres are your go-to books? And what ones do you not like?

Book and ARC Haul: December 2017

 

Well, December was quite uneventful and short. But I’ve been meaning to see what the fuss is with a certain series. And recently, I wanted to catch up on some blog tours. I haven’t honestly thought that I would buy an entire series, but here I am. I officially have no room on my shelves. So guess who needs at least two now. I need two jobs to support my habit.

I may need more willpower when it comes to buying books though.

 

 

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

For years, I’ve been wanting to get into the Throne of Glass series. And since a few months ago, I bought Tower of Dawn, I couldn’t just let that book sit alone on my shelf, right? Unfortunately, I spoiled myself. So I know what has occurred in this series. But I’m Maas trash, and I’d probably buy anything she decides to publish.

How do you like this series? Are you looking forward to the last book?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

I found out this book has a reverse harem theme, and I thought, “Huh. Go for it.” I’m slowly growing my paranormal romance collection, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! I’m dying to pick up the rest of the Kit Davenport series.

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Look at the cover, then you’ll realize why I picked up the book. This new series brings a new twist to the witch-themed storyline. Ethan and Alex constantly face danger because of their Earth powers. Both must learn how to work together and deny their attraction toward each other, but their union may save their supernatural world or end it all together.

If you’re looking for something, Hinder may spark your interest!

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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: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Extent: 464 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword is a heartbreaking, volatile, and twisted sequel that tests the strength of every character. Savagery seeps through and corrupts even the most loyal ones.

Betrayed, accused of murdering the King, and hunted by Silvers, Mare and Cal search for and recruit newbloods, Reds who possess Silver abilities. But they aren’t the only ones who do the same. They escaped their execution, but Maven, the new merciless king, now haunts them still. Lines blur, loyalties are tested, and Mare fears that what she’s demanded to fulfill will turn her into the very monster she thought she loved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Victoria revels in her readers’ pain. She has a knack for hitting you in the heart and expects you to turn the page. Clearly, I’m a sucker for her writing. She expands on her characters and gives you a larger scope of her world. She shows you the inner workings of the Scarlet Guard. And she has written a diverse cast of newbloods. Finally! I get more Shade, the brother who apparently faked his death in Red Queen. She even includes more scenes of Farley and Kilorn.

 

“No one is born a monster. But I wish some people were. It would make it easier to hate them, to kill them, to forget their dead faces.”

Maven’s cruelty over Mare intensifies. He finds new ways to taunt her and to control her every move. Some scenes shocked me, and not many do in other books. Glass Sword is dark. Victoria heightens the brutality of warfare, and you get a sense of how savage this world truly is. But she does gives you some light within the dark.

Cal and Mare know their love for this tainted king may be their undoing. But they understand the love they share between each other will also hinder their task. Their private moments make me tear up. They both live in chaos, pain, and guilt, yet they find solace in each other.

 

“I am a weapon made of flesh, a sword covered in skin. I was born to kill a king, to end a reign of terror before it can truly begin.”

Am I cruel to say I enjoyed reading Mare’s progression? I do. Her strength is in her pain. Mare secludes herself from the people she loves so they won’t feel the debilitating control Maven holds over her. While reading, I felt conflicted with her development. She questions herself on if she’s turning into Maven. Yes, she gives the newbloods a choice to join the Scarlet Guard, but she makes the hard decisions. Reading this growth tugs at your heart.

Cal is still the reluctant heir. He cannot come to terms with killing Silvers, even though they threaten the mission. He fears the group’s actions will simply put a new king onto a throne and not change the course of the nation. Taking down one monster but sliding in a new one don’t sit well with him.

Victoria offers you a better perspective of how Elara, Maven’s mother, infects and pollutes Maven. She turns him into her own puppet, and yet he has the power to destroy her. He commits to tracking down Mare and Cal, ending their mission, and getting her back. He develops an obsession with his lost red queen. But he doesn’t scare me as much as Elara does, though.

I’m intrigued with the Scarlet Guard. It offers sanctuary for Reds and aligns itself with new allies. You delve deeper into this secretive resistance and see how it works. But I sometimes question the loyalty it has now when it faces a new obstacle: the newbloods. The Colonel, Farley’s father, spares no trust for them. And I find him a difficult character to read.

The ending! Oh God, that ending. Why. Why, why, why?! Yeah, I knew that scene was coming. The book I’ve been dying to read gets spoiled by the author. How? Tumblr, that’s how. I can’t catch a break.

Glass Sword shapes into a fast-paced, gut-wrenching story. You’ll cry, you’ll yell, and you’ll more than likely curse. But it demonstrates how humans stay resilient, resist oppression, and stand up when they have little chance of survival.

FREE MARE!

 

What did you think of the ending? Are you excited to read King’s Cage? Let me know in the comments.

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