Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge [thoughts]

Cruel Beauty coverCruel Beauty by Roasmund Hodge
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe

Goodreads description: Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

I decided to read Cruel Beauty  because I enjoy retellings and it was getting crazy amounts of praise among bloggers I follow. I don’t think I knew about the mythology factor much beforehand, but that would have made me want to read it more.

Nyx is a princess type person (I don’t remember her father’s title) and she has been brought up to marry an evil ruler person who is monstrous. There’s a plan for her to murder him and free the land but things get complicated. The Goodreads summary for this one seems pretty spot on.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked a lot of the world building. It was based on a lot of Greek/Roman ideas and I think (I don’t have the book with me right now, I read it on Overdrive) it’s almost like an AU of somewhere in Greece. I loved the house and how it changed, but I wasn’t completely sure about all the seals and magic that was supposed to be used. I loved other magical things, and the use of mythology. I thought it added a lot of depth to the story.

I loved how selfish Nyx was, and that she wasn’t just dying to be the hero. She wanted a life that was her own, and not having a choice really bothered her. She let herself be afraid and she didn’t force herself to be strong at every single moment. I liked that, it was different from some YA heroines. She wasn’t completely hateful and unlikable, she felt guilt and love, but I understood where all her negative feelings were coming from. It’s okay to not be the perfect girl that wants to fall in line and do everything you’re told, well-behaved women and all that. I also liked Nyx and Ignifex’s relationship, it was antagonistic. She was sent in with a mission but it was easily confused. It seemed like it was fun for her to get to know someone that was completely different, and she enjoyed getting to know him and arguing with him, even knowing that he was…evil.

I did not care for how Nyx’s family worked at all. I was on Nyx’s side, and when she started to feel guilty about her selfishness, I wanted to yell at her. Some of the fire in her attitude seemed to fizzle at the first sight of a sprinkle. She was too easily swayed one way or the other, and it annoyed me. There is one big decision in the book that really made me frown and felt disappointing for me. I don’t think it would be as annoying to everyone else, though. The ending was something else I didn’t love, or maybe not what happened but certain circumstances, but again, I’m not sure it would bother anyone else the same way it bothered me.

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about Cruel Beauty, but I did enjoy it. It’s a difficult decision whether this gets a 3 or a 3.5 but I think I could possibly want to reread it at some point, so I’m going with 3.5. And I believe, from how the series seems on Goodreads, that there might be more stories in this world but not exactly a series. I’m not completely sure, but I plan to read more by the author. I recommend it if you love retellings, strong girls that don’t just fall into place, and feisty relationships. Goodreads average rating: 3.82.

Roasmund Hodge‘s website and twitter!

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty [Book Review]

A Corner of White coverA Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1

Goodreads description: The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…

I completely misunderstood what A Corner of White was about, somehow. I saw it on someone’s blog a while ago and I think I completely missed the other world aspect and thought it was more about Madeleine and her mother running away from life.  I was at the library and they didn’t have all the books I wanted but I saw it and remembered being interested so I got it.

Madeleine, the MC in The World, turns fourteen the day before the story begins. She and her mother are new to Cambridge, England. They’ve lived many places and done incredibly exciting things but they ran away from her father and a wealthy life. Her mother, Holly, is obsessed with game shows. Elliot lives in Cello, which is another world. In Cello, they have Color attacks. They have the Magical North and seasons that roll in and out and last a day sometimes. Elliot is fifteen and his father is missing. He goes on dangerous trips to try and find him. He is popular and well liked in his town and likes to help people.

Madeleine spends a lot of time wanting her old life and wondering why they left. She has two new friends, Belle and Jack, and she likes them but it isn’t the same. Her mom is having issues which might be mental or physical or both and Madeleine isn’t sure how to handle this. She finds a piece of paper on a parking meter and starts writing letters to a boy in a different world. She doesn’t believe it’s a different world, she thinks he’s just a writer or something. Elliot knows about The World, but knows he isn’t supposed to communicate with anyone in it.

There was so much that I wanted to like about this book. Other worlds with Colors that attack and a magical Butterfly Child? Missing people and mysterious disappearances? It sounds great! Unfortunately, there’s so much information and not a lot actually happening. I found myself wondering if I wanted to complete the novel, but I was curious about certain things and I kept reading. In the beginning of the story, I was looking forward to the Magical North because there was talk of dragons and werewolves and a Lake of Spells, but nobody goes there so I was disappointed.

I’m not sure how much I liked Madeleine or Elliot. Isn’t that weird? Not knowing if you like a character? I guess I have no strong opinions on either. I wanted things to go their way while I was reading but I never felt that attached to either one. There were times when I was annoyed by both characters. They had both been through difficult times and it was easy to sympathize with them, but other than that I kind of felt like they were bland. Their letters to each other were annoying, too. I did like Jack, one of Madeleine’s friends, but he wasn’t as involved in the story as I expected him to be, which was disappointing.

Cello is interesting as another world but some of the time I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The Color attacks were fascinating but also confusing. Colors can cause fires and injuries, abduct people, and make people act strangely. There are good and bad Colors. There was also the Butterfly Child, who was supposed to be a big deal, but I thought the everything to do with her was pointless. She was just a convenient fix to a major problem. It felt like every problem in the book was very conveniently fixed, except for the problems meant to lure you into the next book. The end of the book speeds up and slams a lot of “Questions will be answered next time!” on you.

One of the best parts about the book for me is that the cover is actually relevant to the book. Madeleine actually wears that outfit and carries a tangerine umbrella! I did like some of the writing and will share some pretty words:

“Where was she now, the girl with the thunderstorm heart?”

“The Kingdom whispered.
Moonlight sighed across the ice fields of the Magical  North, glinting int he eyes of bears and wolves. It wound through the battlements and turrets of White Palace and glanced off the fishing poles that lined the Lake of Spells.”

“Both Holly Tully and her daughter were oddly compelling when they spoke. Their voices seemed pitched in a way you had to bend your head to catch; in a way that hit Jack in his stomach, then rose pleasantly to the centre of the back of his neck.”

2.5 stars

There were some things I enjoyed about A Corner of White, but as a whole it wasn’t fantastic. I’m curious about one thing that might or might not happen in the rest of the series but I don’t think I care enough to read more about the world. I would not want to reread this book. I don’t see the book as genre-busting, funny, or rousing which is how the description begins. I would recommend A Corner of White if you like strange other worlds, lots of information about Byron and Isaac Newton, and surprising lures thrown at you in the last few pages.

Check out Jaclyn Moriarty‘s website!

Review: Shiloh by Helena Sorenson

Shiloh coverShiloh by Helena Sorenson
Goodreads | Amazon
Release Date: April 16th 2013
Publisher: MyInkBooks.com
Series: I think it’s the first book in a series.

Goodreads description: In a world of perpetual darkness, a boy is born who wields remarkable power over fire. Amos is no more than seven when he kills a Shadow Wolf and becomes a legend in Shiloh. He would be destined for great things were it not for the stories his father tells about a world beyond the Shadow and a time before the Shadow. Only madmen hold to such tales, and in Shiloh, they have always come to bad ends.

Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.

On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.

The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophecies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?

Buy your copy of Shiloh today to find out more …

I received a finished eBook for review from the publisher.

Shiloh is a world of darkness, of the Shadow. There are stories of light beyond the Shadow: a lantern in the sky, or stars at night. To most, these stories are foolish and inconceivable. The people of Shiloh have only known darkness.

In Shiloh, Amos is a legend for killing a Shadow Wolf when he was only seven. However, as amazing and fearless as young Amos is, his family is still different. His father Abner has strange beliefs in old tales of lights. Wynn is his worried mother, and his sister Phebe is scarred from a Shadow Cat attack. Amos befriends another outsider named Simeon from cruel village children. They become fast friends and Simeon sort of becomes part of the family. Simeon grows to believe the stories Abner tells. He is meek and in awe of how fearless Amos is.

When Amos and Simeon are twelve, they are excited to finally get to go on the Great Hunt. Unfortunately, Abner is killed by a Shadow Wolf and it changes everything (note: this is in the description so I’m not really spoiling here). Amos changes completely and becomes afraid for the first time in his life. He’s approached by a dark man who leads him down a dark path.

I think of this story as having three parts: when the boys are young and they meet, when they’re twelve and the hunt happens, and after the hunt. A lot of the story feels like setup for the rest of the story. Important information is given, but it seems like a lot of telling until Abner dies. It was interesting but it also felt slow. A lot happened, but it also felt like I was waiting for something to happen. There were a few times I had to push to keep reading, but I’m glad I did. There’s a lot more actions after the hunt.

Amos is frustrating and I wasn’t a fan. After his father dies, he’s in turmoil and lets everything he knows fall into darkness. He gives up hope and leaves his home and family. He’s gone for over five years and when he comes back, he isn’t pleasant. He hurts someone emotionally which leads to something awful. Then he just snaps out of it and feels bad. It was strange how easy his remorse came after spending so much time in anger.

There’s also Isolde, from another clan. She’s heard stories of Amos and the old stories. She’s unhappy and wants more for life, so she goes out on her own. She sort of roams and adventures looking for Valour’s Glass, an important lost relic. She also shows up right at the opportune moment to go on a quest with Amos and Simeon. It was kind of random that she just showed up. I think it would have made more sense if she’d been there earlier and met them before. She was a strong character and she was frustrated with men being in charge of her life, so she was likable.

Simeon and Phebe were my favorite of the four main characters. Simeon is so timid when he’s small but he works hard and grows up strong. He also seems very kind and determined. Phebe is disfigured and lonely, but she still sings on. She still has hope.

My favorite part of the story was the lore. The creation story was unique and I loved it: “Whenever one of the Immortals (for so they came to be called) saw in another Immortal an image that matched something in his own mind, that image came to life.” The Night Weavers were creepy things that came when one was feeling extremely depressed and vulnerable. Shadow Wolves and Shadow Cats are fierce animals hunting the people of the world. Darkness is a common theme, but for everything to be darkness? The world is dark, how do they see? How do they function? It was difficult to grasp but I liked it. I liked the hope that some of the people had. I loved that they were light themselves.

I feel like the people are complacent to the darkness, but they also seem to be waiting for something else. They’re skeptical of the stories but maybe they are reluctant to hope for something better. Their lives are difficult and I think they want something more but the thought of any change is frightening. Perhaps hope is crushing because of how unlikely it seems. They have so much to fear and it seems like it would be easy to ridicule people who are brave enough to believe in a completely better life.

3 star rating

I enjoyed this book. There were issues but there was a lot to enjoy about the story. It kept drawing my thoughts back to it when I was doing other things. I’m pretty sure Sorenson has more books planned in this world, and I am very interested in reading them. I recommend this if you’re looking to take a chance on something different; it’s not for everyone but it might be for you!

Check out Helena Sorenson‘s website and twitter!

Series Post: The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

The Abhorsen Trilogy

Sabriel coverLirael coverAbhorsen cover
note: I had this post scheduled with the intentions of finishing it last week and never got around to it. I forgot to re-save it as a draft so it published while very unfinished. If you saw the pre-ready version, my apologies! Trip exhaustion got the better of me. Hopefully this one is better, even if it takes a ramble-y turn.

Sabriel | September 30th 1996 | Harper Collins | goodreads | amazon | book depository

While at boarding school across the border in Ancelstierre, Sabriel inherits the title of Abhorsen when her father dies unexpectedly. She believes he died as a mistake and wants to try to rescue him. His death makes her the necromancer of the Old Kingdom, which means it is her duty to put the dead other necromancers raise to rest. With reluctant assistance from Mogget, a cat-like creature and prisoner of the Abhorsen, she sets out to save her father and restore his title. She learns that the Old Kingdom is in chaos. A dark, dead power called Kerrigor is using dead to take over the realm. On her journey, she finds and wakes Touchstone, a frozen-in-time-and-Death Charter Mage, who can’t seem to remember or at any rate speak about his life in the past. Touchstone is powerful and joins Sabriel and Mogget on their mission against Kerrigor.

Lirael | April 29th 2001 | Eos | goodreads | amazon | book depository

Lirael is a daughter of the Clayr, the Seers of the Old Kingdom. She expects to receive the Sight, but it never comes. She is depressed and isolated. She badly wants to be a part of the Clayr and wants to have family. She eventually gets to help in the library, learns all about magic, and meets the Disreputable Dog, who becomes her best and only friend. She discovers the Sight is not for her, but there is something else waiting.

Sameth is Abhorsen-in-waiting. He went to boarding school over the wall, in Ancelstierre. He faces Death bravely, but after that he wants no more to do with it. He isn’t interested in being the Abhorsen, he only wants to create and invent things. Instead of learning more about necromancy, he takes off to do what he wants. Meanwhile, his friend Nick from boarding school is being used to resurrect an ancient evil.

Along the way, Sam and Lirael meet and discover their interests are aligned and they need to work together, along with furry friends Disreputable Dog and Mogget, the angry, sleepy cat we already know. As one would expect, Dog and Mogget don’t get along.

Abhorsen | January 7th 2003 | HarperTeen | goodreads | amazon | book depository

Sameth and Lirael have to try to save the world. They learn that Nick is being used to raise an evil so serious, it will actually wipe out the world. They have to use their various skills and powers and every other resource they can find to put the evil to rest.

Issues:

Not many. A few times I thought the story was going a little slower than I wanted it to, but it wasn’t ever too bad. I also didn’t know that the last book continued off the third, (since the first is a bit separate and contained) so I was confused by that and I was worried about so much setup and expected a quick wrap up. That’s probably more of a personal error.

The Abhorsen world is full of rich magic.

Free Magic is magic that has no rules, which often leads to unsavory things. Including people using the dead for nefarious purposes and trying to TAKE OVER THE WORLD (said in The Brain’s voice, from Pinky and the Brain).

Charter Magic was created to contain Free Magic. This added guidelines and rules instead of lawlessness. There are Charter marks which mages can use by writing, speaking, or thinking. There are Charter stones which 

Necromancers go into the realm of Death and raise the dead to do their bidding. The realm of Death is filled with a river and nine gates. Each gate takes a spirit where it needs to go, away from life. Necromancers take spirits out of this realm and into the realm of life. A few different kinds of dead used are: Hands are mindless reanimated corpses, Shadow Hands are raised spirits, and gore crows are a group of dead crows infused with the spirit of a human. There are many more, including scary Greater Dead. SO many dead things creeping around!

The Abhorsen is an “official” necromancer and uses Charter Magic to put the dead to rest and stop necromancers from using dead bodies and spirits. The Abhorsen also goes in the realm of Death. They use bells to “sing” the dead to sleep and bind their spirits. The bells are important and too complex for me to easily explain, but they are so awesome. I never knew I could be so excited about bells!

The Clayr have the Sight and can see possible futures. One thing I found really interesting about The Clayr is that each Clayr sees something of her death, but not the death itself. Creepy! They also live in a glacier! 

Nix also does a stellar job weaving the magical Old Kingdom with its less magical and more modern neighbor, Ancelstierre. These countries share a border with a guarded wall and they are so different. Not only is the world-building amazing, but the way the differing countries interact is incredible to me.

It’s filled with strong and enjoyable characters.

Sabriel is thrown into a completely unexpected responsibility. She knows about necromancy and she’s studied the Book of the Dead, but she’s unprepared for the weight of the title of Abhorsen. She misses her father and wants to save him so he can be Abhorsen and do what needs to be done. She’s scared and she would like to be able to go back across the wall and not worry about anything, but she really steps up. She is strong, determined and she has awesome bells and a kick ass sword. She’s a fun character to read about, and her relationship with her father was really touching.

Mogget is a Free Magic creature who is a prisoner and unwilling servant of the Abhorsen. He has a Charter Magic collar keeping him in line and under control. He’s snarky and can be rather unpleasant. He’s also hilarious, especially when exasperated. I could tell he’s just biding his time, and his anger is evident in vivid detail throughout the books. However, there is so much more to Mogget than I originally thought, in multiple ways. He is surprising and I’m not sure how anyone could resist liking him! Easily one of my favorite characters of the series, and probably somewhere on the list of all-time favorite characters.

Touchstone is a bit harder to talk about him without spoiling, because the mystery of his background is important, as is the revelation of said mystery. When he first shows up, he seems kind of slow to Sabriel (and to me!) but he’s been frozen in a non-conscious limbo for a really long time. Plus he’s under a spell that won’t let him speak about what happened to him. He shows his worth and his power soon enough, and he is not to be underestimated. He’s an important character and his help and friendship to Sabriel is paramount.

Lirael is a daughter of the Clayr and grows up as an outsider because she doesn’t have the Sight. She’s learns a lot about Charter Magic and becomes intensely skilled. She can even make animal skins with Charter marks and when she wears them she transforms into the animal. Awesome, right? She’s a really sad character who just wants to belong. I think anyone that’s been lonely can relate and sympathize with her. However, with the help of Dog, she sets out on a mission and gets to discover a whole world outside of the Clayr and what she is lacking. She’s meant for great things! She’s also very no nonsense and doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Dog or Disreputable Dog: It’s difficult to explain the origin of Dog out of context, but I will sum it up for you in a word: magic! Dog is Lirael’s friend and kind mentor. Like with most things, there’s more to Dog than anyone can imagine. She is kind and loyal, but she’s also really knowledgeable and helpful. Easy to love and a very important character.

Sam: He is the very reluctant heir. He likes creating toys and gadgets. He has a responsibility to the Kingdom and his parents, but he’d rather do his own thing. The thought of necromancy makes him scared. He’s kind of a mess, but he means well.

The characters go on journeys and use magic to fight evil, while learning and growing.

The first book is about Sabriel and her wish to save her father, which turns into a mission to save the kingdom. It’s also about her doubt, struggle, and self discovery. She learns so much about the world and herself. She’s unsure of herself, but she’s determined. I love watching her fumble and watching her find her way. I also love the romance that sparks between Sabriel and Touchstone.

The second two books are about Lirael and Sam finding their ways and saving the world. Sabriel and Touchstone make appearances in these books, too. Lirael is so easy to relate to because who hasn’t been lonely? She’s such an outsider and she’s longing to fit in. It’s exciting to see her leave the place that’s holding her down and discover there is so much more out there. She has an important task, but it’s also a time of discovery for her. Sam is so bogged down by expectations. He wants to slink them off and be free. He feels scared and helpless and he’s searching for something better.He’s immature and selfish, but his feelings are understandable. 

I knew I liked these books, but I guess I underestimated how much I enjoyed them. I had a lot of fun writing this and remembering all the things I loved about this world and these characters. If you like fantasy worlds with magic, the walking dead (not zombies but still gross), journeys, friendship, talking animals, swords and battles then you should definitely give these books a shot! My favorite of the series is probably Sabriel, but each book is incredible and the ending of the series is kind of everything, even if I wanted more (I am greedy like that). 

Bonus fun fact: The other day I was shoe shopping at Payless and there was a really cute little girl and I overheard her parents calling her Sabriel. I’m sure there’s a chance they found it somewhere else, but I choose to believe they named her after these books and I love it.

boxed set: book depository | amazon

The Abhorsen Chronicles (all three books in one, plus an extra story): book depository | amazon

Check out Garth Nix’s website and twitter!

Siege and Storm cover

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm coverSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Series: The Grisha #2

Goodreads description: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm

I read Shadow and Bone when it came out. I liked it but I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did. I remember liking Mal and kind of liking The Darkling. It must have been a bad mood thing because I reread it before I read Siege and Storm and I enjoyed it more this time. I also enjoyed Siege and Storm a lot! This review is kind of vague because I don’t want to spoil anyone!

Alina and Mal are on the run after the huge rumble in the Fold. They’re trying to remain incognito while regrouping and deciding what to do next. It works until it doesn’t. Then they have to figure out how to stop The Darkling and save the country. Easy shmeasy, right?

Alina and Mal have this connection. They were there for each other when they had nobody else. When they were orphans, they weren’t important to the people who took care of them. They were tolerated. In each other they found someone to feel something for and an actual attachment. They’ve been separated, and they missed that attachment. They keep wanting to help one another and to save one another. I love that. They have issues in this book and struggle to hold on to the connection they both want to keep. I love the push and pull of their relationship and Mal makes me swoon.

Alina has all this power that she doesn’t fully understand. She’s not sure what she wants to do with it or what she wants to want to do with it. It would be awesome if she wanted to help people and be a genuinely good person and she knows that. A part of her just wants to take the power and go crazy with it, but she isn’t sure she wants to want that. Girl is confused and understandably so. When she understood her powers for the first time and learned to use them, they made her feel whole. She knows her abilities can cause corruption, but there are other uses for them, too. It’s frustrating but important to watch her reason out her feelings and try to find the right path for herself and perhaps for everyone in the country. Alina is an easy heroine for me to pull for because she’s so vulnerable but she’s also selfish. I love watching her want.

“I looked up at the star-filled sky. The night was velvety black and strewn with jewels. The hunger struck me suddenly. I want them, I thought. All that light, all that power. I want it all.”

Sturmhond is such a great addition to this book! I enjoyed him. He is charismatic and irresistible! I’d heard a lot of good things about him before I read the book and I was kind of expecting to not like him, but I was pleasantly surprised! He is a bit smarmy and can lay it on pretty thick, but he’s also multi-faceted and surprising. Hidden depths might be a cliché, but it definitely applies! I also enjoyed the twins Tolya and Tamar! They were both awesome, tough, and so much fun to read about.

Meanwhile, The Darkling is still creepily intriguing. He lost a lot of his allure for me this time around, but he’s still a captivating character. He’s unhinged and scary, and he wants to consume everything. The Grisha who followed him are kind of at a loss because of how much they believed that he wanted to save the country and make it better. Now they’re bewildered and don’t know where they stand.

A good thing (for me) about Alina’s triangular love interests is that Bardugo shows why she feels torn, and you can see that her desires are splintered. It isn’t just that she can’t make her mind up between some cute guys. There is a draw to each and she’s unsure about herself and what she wants. Even when she’s doing something I don’t like, I still understand her motivation and confusion, which is something I really like about the writing.

The religious aspect of the story completely fascinates me! I’m curious about the amplifiers and their connection to the Saints. There are so many questions, and I’m so excited to learn more. The pilgrims have put their hope in Alina as the Sun Summoner and as a savior, which is obviously overwhelming. Regardless of the origin of their beliefs, beliefs are a powerful thing. There’s so much potential power in the people and their faith in her.

There’s a lot of action in this book, but I did get a bit bored in the last part of the book. Maybe it was just impatience, because I am very impatient. Alina was learning and preparing but sometimes it felt like nothing was happening. There was a lot of introspection, politics, and drama. Some of it I even liked, but I was still ready to pick up the pace. Luckily, the end sped up again and I was thrown into a dizzying, suspenseful turn of events. The end of this book is pretty incredible and left me wanting more!

4 star rating

I enjoyed Siege and Storm and I’m excited to read Ruin and Rising! I’m hoping for a good resolution, even if it isn’t exactly a happy one. I also hope Alina learns more about what she wants and who she is, what her motivation for power is and how she truly feels about Grisha. I would recommend this to anyone, even if you don’t like fantasy I think there’s plenty of real character interactions that will draw you into the story.

Check out Leigh Bardugo‘s website and twitter!

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass book coverThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Goodreads|Book Depository
Release Date: August 7th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Rating:

Goodreads description:After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I enjoyed Throne of Glass. When I was done reading, I wanted to know more about the world and characters. I wanted to go reread parts of it. It wasn’t perfect but I liked it. I do wish I’d known about the pronunciation guide on the author’s blog before I read it though!

Celaena is an infamous assassin; but she was betrayed and captured. She works and suffers in a prison work camp which is basically a death sentence. She’s a killer with honed skills and a lot of rage. So when Prince Dorian and his captain of the guard Chaol take her out of the camp with the chance to compete to become the king’s champion and win her freedom. The competition is against 23 other criminals and the winning might lead to freedom, but only after four years serving a tyrant king. A dangerous competition for a horrible job or the rest of her life in a harsh work camp–it isn’t a difficult decision.

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