Review: Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore

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Goodreads Summary:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.


My Review

I have been looking forward to reading Graceling for well over a year now! I had heard mixed reviews but I was hopeful. Unfortunately, I think after having read most all of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, I couldn’t help but feel like this was a poor imitation in many ways. Which is even more unfortunate, because Graceling came out before Throne of Glass.

Graceling centers around the life of Katsa, a girl who is gifted or “graced” with the ability to kill. Many children across the kingdoms are born with different graces that allow them to have special abilities, some as mundane as being adept at swimming, while others are as intimidating as mind reading. All of her life Katsa’s grace has been manipulated by her devious uncle, that is until the day she decides to truly take matters into her own hands. Little does she know how drastically her life will be changed the day she decides to leave her home.

Katsa’s abilities allow her to be the perfect assassin, feared by all the land, and trained to kill even the most fearsome of creatures with only her bare hands. Seems badass it’s true, but unfortunately, the hype of events seemed to be understated when the author decided to make things move so quickly, I couldn’t even take the time to enjoy them. This was a common pattern with this story. Every time developments would begin, they were over just before they got good. I felt like the author stayed at the surface of everything. All of a sudden, boom, Katsa is leaving her uncle, boom, she’s in love, boom the conflict is resolved. Nothing was explained or drawn out just a little. And what was drawn out, was unnecessary to draw out. I just could not get involved in this book. I wish that’s wasn’t the case. The concept was most definitely intriguing, but the surrounding content just didn’t do it for me.

Many people feel differently than I do, so if you’d like to give it a try, don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Buy it on Amazon now.

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Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

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Goodreads Summary:

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 Timesbest-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.


My Review

So, I seem to be a part of the minority group in that I wasn’t 100% in love with Heir of Fire. Don’t get me wrong, it still earned a 4 star rating on Goodreads, but there were just a few aspects that really irked me! Some of these are sort of spoilers, so if you don’t want to risk it, stop reading now.

Heir of Fire picked up right where Crown of Midnight left off. Celaena is on her way to Wendlyn to fulfill a crazy mission she was set up for by Chaol in an effort to save her from the king. Chaol is expected to return to his father’s kingdom and Dorian is still terrified about his new found magical abilities.

I must say that Heir of Fire was 100% not what I was expecting it to be. This was mostly due to the fact that so many new characters get introduced. Some of these characters I was totally excited to read about. Others, made the story drag on waaaaaay too much!! One character (a witch) had some really awesome scenes to offer, but also got in the way of the other really awesome characters. So it was really hard to care about the content of the characters who had less relevance at the time.

Furthermore, a new “love interest” gets introduced. It kind of left me thinking: “Really? How many men can she potentially have fall for her in such a short period of time?” I was super hesitant about this new dude at first. I am still totally team Chaol at this point. However, Maas has a knack for getting me to fall in love with a new male lead. So I have to admit, this new guy is growing on me. Of course this frustrates me that there has to be a new guy in the first place. I also was not overly pleased with the way this new relationship with Celaena and “he who shall not be named’s” relationship evolved. It didn’t seem to have as smooth of a transition as I would have hoped. There were definitely some heart wrenching moments between the two, but it still felt a little too overly simplified as it went from extreme loathing to 100% “I would die for you feelings” in the blink of an eye. Still, I have a soft spot for all that he has endured, and his connection to Celaena that, up until this point, no one else has been able to have.

Ultimately, I very much so enjoyed Heir of Fire. It still contained my beloved characters, and added a few more I’m starting to become attached to. There were just a few aspects that were a little long winded and others that could have been given more attention.  Either way, the ending was absolute INSANITY, and I cannot wait to get started on book 4!

Buy Heir of Fire on Amazon now!

Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J Maas

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Goodreads Summary:

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


My Review

Crown of Midnight picks up shortly where Throne of Glass left off. Now that Celaena is the king’s champion, she has no say in the direction her life must take. If he tell hers to jump, she asks how high. If she tells her to kill an old acquaintance, then she cannot hesitate. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from attempting to take matters into her own hands regardless of the consequences. In between her mischievous actions, she continues to uncover secrets about magic and the connection it has with the wyrdmarks.

This second addition was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions!! Holy crap was I thrown for a loop!! The romance in this book is STELLAR, but it will also totally rip your heart out, shred it into tiny pieces and then stomp all over those pieces. It was just so utterly brutal at times. I was taken on so many highs and lows, and in between that, there was just confusion over what I actually wanted to happen. There are quite a few developments in book two that preface all that is to come, and though some of these developments were predictable, they were intriguing nonetheless.

Crown of Midnight will make you fall in love with the characters even more. Each one is so wholly unique with their own personal struggles that they must conquer. The Throne of Glass books provides readers with the first heroine who has a true dark side. This heroic dark side is the first that I’ve come across in YA fiction. It’s such a different perspective to read about, and makes these books all the more entertaining.

I would most definitely recommend you continue reading the ToG series and pick up book two! Buy it here!

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

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Goodreads Summary:

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


 

FOREWARNING: PREPARE FOR LOTS OF RANTS AND READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS!!!!


 

My Review

Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t even know where to begin with this review!!! My heart and my mind are completely WRECKED! WRECKED I SAY!!! This book took me on the most incredible and heart wrenching ride! I am so blown away by how amazing it was!! It literally left me shook! I haven’t felt this way about a series/book in too long!!

Ok ok let me get started now. Or try to…

Oh wait, before I really begin, let me also add that my experience with this book was all the more involved and real because I made sure I reread the first two books before this one. So everything was crystal clear this time, and made this third book all the more enthralling!

Ok ok, trying again. (***Clears metaphorical throat***)

Alright! We all know after reading book two that Rhysand is EVERYTHING. And Tamlin is a big giant pile of poo poo. And wasn’t that just the most insane turn around you ever did read in a book? (***bows to Sarah J Maas***) Check out my review for A Court of Mist and Fury to see more of what I’m talking about!  However, my perspective on Tamlin and that entire destructive love triangle, Love battle? Love fiasco?  completely became altered after reading ACOWR. Of course I still have some animosity toward him, but his character development allows the reader to open their eyes more in regards to the reality of his situation.

After book two ended, the reader was left with watching Feyre literally walk into the arms of the enemy, and though it was heart breaking, she was on a mission to destroy Tamlin and his hold on his kingdom, and boy does she do that and then some!! As if we didn’t already know Feyre was an eternal badass, she takes things up a notch now that she is a full blown High Lady! The measures she takes to ensure the safety of her family are astronomical, she goes to any lengths, even if it means facing her true nightmares in order to see those she loves succeed. And of course Rhysand is there for her through it all being all dashing and wonderful as always! Their romance was as sweet and fierce as ever, making me fall even more in love with their relationship.

Moving on. The character development in this book was INSANE!! Something new about every main character is revealed that adds further depth each time I turned the page.  Maas dangles Cassian and Nesta’s tumultuous relationship in front you the entire time, and its so killer yet so fantastic! Also, I didn’t think I could enjoy Mor, Amren, and Azriel even more, but I was oh so wrong! It’s so rare when an author can create characters who are so wholly different and unique that they cause you to love each one individually for their own ways. I can’t wait to see more from these side characters in future books, because it’s sure to be mind blowing!

And lastly, so much happened in this book, it was easily the most fast paced of the three thus far. The action and suspense was nonstop, I could not put it down, and when I had to for stupid things like work and studying for the GRE, I was super sad to see it go. By the time I finished this book, I was a complete emotional wreck, but I was also bursting with so much love and hope for the story. From what I understand, I believe this is a mini conclusion for Feyre and Rhys’s story. The next three books in the series  will focus more on the other characters, which I’m ecstatic to delve into, but damn I hope Maas includes those two throughout! Either way, the ending of ACOWR was phenomenal, I couldn’t have asked for a better book! I don’t think there’s one thing I would change! And Maas certainly dropped multiple easter eggs about certain events to come!

I would most definitely, 100% recommend you read this book, it is so worth the experience! Go buy it right now!! Right here!And if you did read it already, please comment, I would love to discuss! Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to convince a lot of my book friends to read this so I haven’t been able to really talk about it with anyone yet!

 

Review: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

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Goodreads Summary:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both. 

My Review

After absolutely loving An Ember in the Ashes, I was more than ready to get my hands on this second book! And can I just say: WOW! Tahir most certainly does not disappoint! A Torch Against the Night picks up right where the first book left off, with Laia having just freed Elias from execution under the terms that he promise to help free her brother Darin from the most guarded prison in the land.

While reading this, I needed to know that everything would be ok, because there were just so many heart wrenching events that occurred. Tahir is definitely cut throat when it comes to how far a character will go to get what they want. I would definitely not categorize this book as Young Adult just because of how brutal some of the killings are. Throughout the story, I kept freaking out over how things would possibly turn out in their favor, and honestly some things went to hell so quickly. I think Tahir utilized these terrible events to further drive the need to see the protagonists eventually succeed. I feel as if I have just as much of a burning need for vengeance as the main characters have.

Laia and Elias’ relationship evolves so much more in this second edition, which was wonderful to finally experience. They make one another stronger, and it is plain to see as their stamina is continuously tested. There was one particular plot twist that was revealed that absolutely blew my mind and changed everything for events to come. I am reeling after finishing this book, both from joy over certain romantic developments, and anticipation of the payback that is to come! Unfortunately, I have to wait till “bleeding” 2018 to read book three, which hurts my soul in every possible way!!

I would most definitely recommend you read book two in A Torch Against the Night!! Pick it up on Amazon here!