Book Talk: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Last month I re-read the Throne of Glass series and The Assassins Blade18006496 by Sarah J. Maas, so after finishing Heir of Fire for a second time and the beautiful cover release for Queen of Shadows, I figured it was time for me to share the things that I want or expect to happen in this fourth installment.

Just as a warning, this post will include spoilers for the other books in this series.

So at the end of HoF, Celaena has embraced her identity as Aelin and she has left Rowan behind to travel back to the city, the palace, and ultimately the king. She is going back as Celaena Sardothien and obviously has some sort of plan in her mind as to how she is going to use that to her advantage.

Here is my major concern with that; I have a hard time believing that the king really won’t know who she is. I mean, he is super clever and scheming all the time, I don’t think that he isn’t going to put two and two together. Celaena coming back without having done the job she was sent there to do is already risky enough, but on top of being furious, the king might question what she was doing with all of her time over there. And with everything going on with Aelin emerging where Celaena was, plus all of the curious things surrounding Celaena in the castle, which we all know the king has noticed, he shouldn’t have trouble connecting things. So the question is, is Celaena actually walking into a trap?

On of the main questions I have is what exactly is going to happen to Dorian? At the end of HoF, his father locked the black collar around his neck and that’s all we got. I’m not sure if having the collar on is going to just put Dorian under his father’s control, or if it’s actually going to change him into something evil. Sarah J. Maas stated that QoS will be opening with a chapter from Dorian’s POV so I guess we are going to find out. I’m worried the king is going to use Dorian to get information out of Celaena or betray her. I think my main fear is that she is going to have to end up killing Dorian. Or actually, it would be even worse if Chaol has to kill him. Like if he and Celaena team up now that he has left the castle and his duties behind, and ultimately they can’t save Dorian so they have to kill him to save him. I feel like it would be extra heart-wrenching to have Chaol do it since they were like brothers.

Speaking of Chaol, I’m so nervous to see where he and Celaena are headed. I’m a huge shipper of them together, but I’m so nervous after HoF. Rowan implies that Chaol can’t actually be Celaena’s mate, and at the very end of the book, she takes off the ring she got from him and feels lighter. Obviously they aren’t done with each other, but I’m scared they will be romantically. However, maybe there is a loophole with the mate thing and maybe once she sees that Chaol picked her side, their romance will rekindle. I just don’t see her being with anyone else, or at least not any of the other male characters in the book right now. I feel like her being with Dorian would make sense, so they can rule together, but I don’t see it happening since she already kind of went down that road. I don’t want her to end up with Rowan, what they have is so much better than romance and I would be so mad if they lost it for some smooching time. Besides the two of them, that basically leaves Aedion or a new character. I don’t see Aedion happening since they are cousins, and I don’t like the idea of a guy coming in this late in the series to woo her. I don’t know, maybe Celaena won’t be with anyone, which I would prefer before anyone but Chaol.

I also have my finger crossed that we are going to see more of Manon in QoS. I loved her story line and her as a character in HoF and we know that something is going on with the witch clans. I do ultimately think that Manon will team up with Celaena, but maybe only after they face each other. I’m just intrigued to see exactly what sort of plan the king has for the witch clans and their new mounts. I don’t necessarily think that Manon and Celaena will meet up in QoS, because I feel like Manon might take this book to question herself and her duties more before encountering Celaena. We see a bit of Manon’s heart in HoF and her disobeying her grandmother, but I feel like the doubt isn’t strong enough yet for her to justify turning her back on the rest of the clans.

I think that in this book we are going to have a few major things happen, one of them being Celaena rescuing Aedion. I refuse to believe that Sarah J. Maas is evil enough to bring in such an interesting character and kill him off so quickly. I loved Aedion in HoF and I want to see what he can do with Celaena to help bring her to power. She is going to rescue him, I just know it. Another thing I think is going to happen, is that they are going to take out one of the towers blocking magic. I’m not sure if it’s going to be Celaena or Chaol or the rebels, but I think it’s going to happen. It was such a big revelation in HoF, and such a big deal if they could restore magic, that I don’t think they would put it off. And that way, Rowan will be free to come over and aid them. Then finally, I think that Celaena is going to kill her old mentor, Arobynn. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate this man and how excited I am to see Celaena kill him. He deserves it and I know that she is coming for blood. We know from a except released that she is at least looking for him in QoS, and I feel like shen she finally finds him, after everything he did to her, there is no way he is going to live,

The only other things I know about QoS is just that it’s going to be substantially longer than HoF which is both exciting and intimidating, and that Celaena is going to be using her ninja suit from The Assassin’s Blade. We also are going to be seeing the name change in this book, from Celaena to Aelin. I personally think I’m going to have a bit of a hard time dealing with this, but I’m sure I will get used to it eventually.

Please let me know what you guys think or hope is going to happen in Queen of Shadows! I honestly cannot wait for this book to come out, it’s release date is set for September 1st and it feels like a lifetime away.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter

Title: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) 21936988

Author: Melinda Salisbury

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: March 1, 2015

Summary: I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

 

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This book was not at all what I expected, and while sometimes that can result in a pleasant surprise, this is not one of those cases. There was so much potential here but everything just fell flat.

The first problem I had with this book was the appalling lack of personality and life in the main character, Twylla. It just left like we didn’t actually get to know Twylla as a character, she felt lifeless and one dimensional. I found that she whined a lot and was very bitter about her life, but never actually did anything to change it. There isn’t anything that frustrates me more than a main character that just does absolutely nothing. The few things that she actually does do are centered around stupid decisions and I just found myself constantly cringing, knowing that disaster was just around the corner.

The romance was just as lacking. This book has a dreaded love triangle and I couldn’t understand Twylla’s affections for either boy, or theirs for her. I mean, they are definitely all similar in the way that they have no personality and are kind of whiny, so maybe it’s exciting for them to finally find someone equally as bland. We don’t get to know much about either boy but they are, of course, instantly and madly in love with Twylla. Not only was the romance not particularly interesting, but it also took up a huge portion of the book that would have been much better off focusing on something else.

As far as the villain goes, there is no doubt that the queen was evil and twisted. However, I really have a problem with villains like this, ones that are absolutely evil but give no indication as to why they are they are that way. We got no background on the queen, no history behind her or story as to how she ended up where she is, unleashing rabid dogs on people and killing whoever she wants. One of the things that can really make a book for me is well developed villain, which this book was lacking.

The main thing that I did enjoy about this book was the world and the mythology incorporated into it. I found the concept of the Sin Eater really interesting. In this world, when people die, their families will cover their coffin with food that symbolizes the sins the person committed during their life. The Sin Eater, Twylla’s mother in this case, will go and eat all of the food and in doing that, it’s like she can declare them pure enough to continue into the afterlife. The different beliefs and gods in this world are all fairly interesting. On top of that, the different countries and their histories were intriguing too, although we don’t get to learn nearly as much as I would like to.

The plot of this book really suffered from heavy amount of romance and not much else. There is this plot line centered around wanting to change the way things are run and fighting against the queen’s tyranny, but while the political aspects and a rebellion could have been a driving force behind this story, it was such a small part that was overshadowed by the romance. Also, I was really hoping we would get a lot of focus on Twylla coming to understand her powers, but that is also a small part of the story. I like the concept behind it but Twylla actually never does anything about her power, she just feels sorry for herself a lot and mopes around. There was also this very random feeling plot line centered around the myth of this “Sleeping Prince” that just came out of nowhere and didn’t seem to really have anything to do with the rest of the story. Although this book does get kudos for the ending that I definitely did not see coming.

In the end, while the world and story had lots of potential, nothing in this book was half as interesting as the summary implies. With boring characters and an insta-love and a love triangle that takes over most of the story, it was difficult for me to trudge through this one. Aspects of this book were interesting and if the author had decided to build onto those, the story would have been much more successful.

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic ( A Darker Shade of Magic #1) 22055262

Author: V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 24th, 2015

Summary: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

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I’m not even sure where to begin with this book. Should I start with the amazing characters and how I fell head-over-heels in love with them? Or the magical world and how every different London was just as amazing as the last? Well okay, Grey London wasn’t anything exciting but that’s not exactly V.E. Schwab’s fault. Or maybe I should start with the intense and intriguing story of magic, mischief, evil, aspiring pirates, multi-sided coats, and a black stone that’s far too clever for anyone’s good? I suppose that would be a good place to start.

A Darker Shade of Magic begins with our hero Kell, one of the last magic users alive, traveling back and forth between different Londons as a sort of glorified postman. But you can immediately tell he has a heart of gold despite his potentially unsettling appearance, (his one pure black eye) from the kindness he shows an old, lonely king. But Kell secretly smuggles items back and forth from one London to the next, something that is strictly forbidden. He never paid much attention to the rules though until a woman gives him a black stone that turns out to be far more trouble than it’s worth. Although perhaps not as much trouble as Lila Bard ends up being, after she steals from him, ties him up, and makes him drag her around on his misadventures with him.

This book was so much fun, but even more than that, it was interesting and it had so much life. The different worlds were all so defined and unique, but ultimately similar enough in some aspects that they felt connected. Every time Kell travels to a different London, it really just gives you a certain feeling or vibe while he is there.Not only was the world building fantastic, but the characters were beyond well written. Every character was unique and so complex and well written, I found myself even enjoying our moments with secondary characters and villains. Speaking of villains, hot dang, these baddies gave me the willies. I mean, V.E. Schwab gave sinister a whole new meaning in this book.

Kell as the main character was just a darling. I seriously love this boy, and I instantly knew that I would. If you look back months ago when I first raved about how excited I was to read this book, I told you all how madly in love I was going to be with Kell. I was not mistaken. Kell was absolutely fascinating and I found myself constantly just wanting to pick his mind and know more about him. He was “adopted” by the royal family in Red London but considers himself more of their trophy, despite the affection he feels for them. The fact that he was forced to forget his past only adds to the whole slew of confused feelings he has with his home life. So he defies them in small ways and has a hidden room full of trinkets he collects. The thing about Kell though was that while he had a heart of gold, he wasn’t all good. He kills, and has killed before. He makes mistakes that gets others hurt, then he makes more mistakes. But what matters is how he tries his best to do the right thing, the decision that allows him to live with himself.

Then we have Lila Bard, the thief that is actually an aspiring pirate with a heart set on adventure and a stomach for murder. Plus awesome taste in weapons. My kind of girl. but mostly she ends up being a loyal friend who constantly has Kell’s back, whether he wants it or not. Seriously, this girl is my dream BFF. She constantly proves herself to be brave and resourceful, plus she is quick enough to keep up with magic using Kell and his never ending pile of trouble. She is spunky and tough as nuts, she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty or, you know, killing the occasional person. But only if they really deserve it.

Overall, this book was exactly what I wanted it to be and more. It constantly kept me on my toes with the fast, suspenseful pace, amazing magic system, some of the best world building I’ve experienced in a long time, wonderful and interesting characters, and an absolutely brilliant story. There was not a single aspect of this book that I didn’t like, besides the fact that it had to end at some point, and I would recommend it to everyone. The only problem now is I’m wondering if I’ve waited long enough to re-read it.

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