Tag Archives: Fae

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, Book 2)
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
(Spoiler Free!)

“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!”

Celaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. “No, there aren’t,” she said. “Because I’m here now.”

I am so overwhelmed by this book! I don’t know if it’s because this is part of a series and not a trilogy, or if it’s just due to Maas’s wonderful storytelling, but Crown of Midnight doesn’t have even a single trace of Middle Book Syndrome. Even though the story achieves everything that a middle book must fight to achieve (world building, character building, and plot advancement without an actual finale), this doesn’t read like filler–it reads like an essential and exciting part of the journey.

Here are some of the aspects that I loved: getting to witness Celaena as an assassin, SO much more action than in Book 1 (TOG), the explosion of culture building, learning about Celaena’s backstory, getting to know Chaol (though I STILL have no idea how to pronounce his name), and more unveiling of the king’s evil plots. And when The Horrible Thing happened, it completely sucker punched me, even though I knew it was coming. I actually had to put the book down for a day before picking it up again and racing through the rest of the story.

The one element I could have done without was the romance-related anxiety of the characters, specifically when it was not part of the main plot. To be extra clear, I’m NOT talking about the main romantic developments of the story, just the side stuff! While this story somehow avoids having a blatant triangle, there are several moments of internally expressed jealousy and/or heartache on the side. There is so much amazing plot happening here (both romantic and otherwise) that I found those moments distracting. They pulled me out of the badass fantasy and made me sad for all of these characters that I love.

As it is, though, I don’t expect this to go away any time soon, so I’m trying to cope by sticking with the mantra from my review of TOG: I am team Celaena all the way! Regardless of any romantic ties Mass makes and breaks along the way, this is Celaena’s story, and I’m just going to keep rooting for her to come out on top!

As I’ve said, this is an excellent sequel, and many others have said they liked it even better than TOG. I love this series on the whole, and I can’t wait to pick up Heir of Fire to see where Celaena will go from here 😀

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Minute Review: Storm Warrior by Dani Harper

Storm Warrior (Grim, #1)
Storm Warrior by Dani Harper (Grim, Book 1)
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

He towered over her, all rugged power and muscle, but she was assessing his usefulness this time, not his appeal. Morgan had a patient waiting, and she was all business now.

“Rhys, I need your help.”

“My sword arm and my shield are yours to command,” he said solemnly.

Uh huh. “Actually, it’s your hands I’m going to need.”

This was a fun, quick read about a rural veterinarian and a Celtic gladiator who was cursed to live eternally as a grim. The paranormal drama (Rhys and Morgan vs. the Tylwyth Teg) added a lot to the story, but the relationship drama (Morgan refusing to believe Rhys’ story and Rhys refusing to show her the abundant evidence) kept this from being a higher rating. That being said, I’d like to pick up book two to give this series another try.

Recommendation: Read this if you fantasize about naked, animal-loving gladiators, or if you’re a lover of giant dogs 🙂

Minute Review: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp

The Dark Realm (Feyland, #1)Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp (Feyland, Book 1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You changed the rules! You can’t do that.” Jennet’s legs felt shaky as she edged back into her chair. She was so not prepared for this.

The queen laughed. It was the sound of ice shattering on a black lake. “Of course I can. This is my court. My realm. You are but a visitor. Please – drink.” She waved one delicate hand at the goblet.

“No thanks.”

The fantasy-lover in me thoroughly enjoyed the world Sharp created (both in-game and out), and the casual gamer in me loved all of the technology and geek culture.

Recommendation: Read this if you are intrigued by the idea of futuristic gaming, and how they fae might choose to exploit it.

Minute Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating:
5 of 5 stars

Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him.

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

This series opener is set in an amazing fantasy world that revels in the darker side of fairy tales, and I’m totally bummed that the next book isn’t due to be published until May, 2016…

Recommendation: Read this if you love the idea of a Hunger Games/Beauty and the Beast mashup.

Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1)

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire is the first book in the October Daye series, which is currently up to book 9 and is still going strong. The series is steeped in the world of fae lore, connecting creatures of many cultures, and it falls squarely in the category of paranormal mystery/adventure. In this first in series, we get to know October “Toby” Daye, a half-faerie private detective, while she investigates the murder of a friend, trying not to get herself killed in the process.

All in all, this was an okay read for me. There were things I really liked, things that started to drive me crazy, and a general sense of apathy that kept me from getting pulled into the story too deeply.

What I liked: The world McGuire built was amazing, full of way more cultural faerie lore than I even knew existed. This was especially great for starting a series because there are so many facets to explore. I also liked some of the side characters, namely Tybalt, Sylvester, and Luna – I really wanted to read more about them.

What I didn’t like: Toby really wore on me. She just seemed so bland and generally average. She was supposedly knighted due to merit, but I have no idea what she actually did to earn it. Her faerie abilities are absurdly weak, which she freely admits, and I was hoping her cunning and personality would make up for it. For me they just didn’t.

The other things that got to me were the occasional unbelievable scenarios and the apparent lack of editing. For example, when you bleed all over a bus handrail right in front of the driver, the cops are going to get called, especially when iron poisoning is dampening all of your faerie “don’t notice me” vibes. As far as editing goes, passages like this kept distracting me from the actual plot:

I didn’t see what came next. I opened my eyes to see Dare leaping onto her brother’s back, momentum sending them both crashing to the floor. The gun went off when it hit the floor…

What was that about not seeing what came next?

Overall, my interest in the world and side characters mostly balanced out my occasional annoyance, resulting in a wash. I’m glad I gave the series a try but I probably won’t read any further.

Review: The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy

The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles, #1)

 

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy is the first book in The Avalonia Chronicles, as well as being Oomerbhoy’s debut novel. It follows the adventures of Aurora Darlington as she is whisked away into a magical land and a heritage she never knew was hers.

I have mixed feelings about this book, which tends to happen to me with debut novels. I’m just going to lay my thoughts out from good to bad…

The Good: I LOVED the world of Avalonia. The descriptions were fantastic and abundant, but in just the right amount so that it didn’t get overwhelming. Everything was so well imagined from the landscape to the lodging, clothing, food, and society. The setting and detail were by far my favorite aspects of the story. My second favorite was Aurora’s inherited magical ability. I loved reading about her discovery of these powers and the growth that followed.

There are also a bunch of great side characters, my favorites being Kalen and his mother Penelope Plumpleberry. Rafe, also known as the Black Wolf, was charming, as well. If you are a fan of the sexy Robinhood type, you will definitely love Rafe! (Though he did fall pray to some of the pitfalls that drove me crazy. More on that in a moment…)

The Neutral: The writing was fairly simplistic, which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on your target audience. I think I would have easily read this as a Middle Grader. In fact, I can picture it fitting in quite well on my Ella Enchanted shelf.

The Bad: By the end of the story, Aurora started to drive me CRAZY with her various bad decisions and the occasional bought of neurotic inner dialogue. I don’t want to get too spoilery so I won’t go into specifics, but there were several times when her inner dialogue would be pulling her one way and her actions would yank her in the opposite direction. The more this happened, the less I sympathized with Aurora and her path.

As I eluded to earlier, Rafe also fell prey to some mind-boggling decisions, though not as many as Aurora. I wish I could just knock their heads together to put them on the same page. I do understand the draw of tension and obstacles, especially toward the beginning of a series, but the incomprehensible logic behind some of these conflicts made them seem forced and trivial.

Despite my frustrations at the end, I’m glad I gave The Last of the Firedrakes a try because the world that Oomerbhoy created was truly delightful. I’m hoping that the rest of the series comes out soon so that Aurora will get to use some more of those badass powers she’s been developing!

(This ARC was provided through Net Galley for an honest review.)

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars, including a swoon rating!

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a young adult fantasy novel that kicks off a series of the same name. Celaena Sardothien is the most accomplished assassin in Adarlan – she is even a household name. After having been caught and surviving a year in an unthinkably horrible death camp, Celaena is taken back to the capital city with Prince Dorian and Captain Westfall. With a chance to finally win her freedom, she must compete against other renegade “Champions” and prove that she is deserving of becoming the King’s most powerful weapon.

“You could be different,” Elena said quietly. “You could be great. Greater than me–than any of us.”

Celaena opened her mouth, but no words came out.

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

I grew to love Celaena over the course of this story. There are times where she can be a bit whiny or vain, but she is an eighteen year old who never had time to just be young. Throughout everything she faced growing up, and everything she faces during the competition, she stays true to herself. Her freedom and her personal code of honor remain of the utmost importance.

Regarding Celaena’s badassery and her apparent reputation: You know how some novels tout the fighting prowess of a character but fall completely flat when it comes time to portray an actual fight scene? That didn’t happen here! When Celaena’s skills make an appearance, they impress (at least they impressed me), even in scenes where she is forced to downplay her abilities. Maas knew how much action to include to keep the story exciting and build Celaena up without overdoing it.

Celaena straightened her spine as she stepped into the ring. She quickly bowed to the king, then to her opponent.

She met Grave’s stare and smiled as she bent her knees, holding the staff in two hands.

You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into, little man.

I also loved the world that Maas created. She wove it into the plot lines seamlessly, and upon finishing the book, I’m dying to know more about Erilea. I especially want to know more about Nehemia and her country.

Love Triangle Warning! This series definitely has one, and it seems to be the kind with two excellent men, and a woman who obviously cares deeply for them both. Someone is bound to have their heart broken.

I’m usually very wary of love triangles. I hate agonizing over the third-wheel’s heartache and it always feels like unnecessary anguish. In Throne of Glass, however, I didn’t mind it so much. I think the difference was that this is not a story about a woman falling in love. It is about a woman fighting for her freedom, learning how, and whom to trust, and enjoying experiences she never thought she’d have again. For that, I am team Celaena all the way. We’ll see if the rest of the series brings on the anguish…

All in all, I am eager to pick up Crown of Midnight and continue the story. I wasn’t ready for this one to end and I’ve got to see where Maas is going to take things from here. I may or may not also be itching to find out if we see Mox again down the road…

See my review on Goodreads