Review: Empire of Storms

28260587Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 6th, 2016

Summary: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

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WARNING: This is not going to be a spoiler review but if you aren’t caught up with the series, I would read at your own risk. There will be potential mild spoilers in this review.

So I’m going to do something different than usual for this review. Normally I take the time to type out a big complicated review, going in depth on things… But I’m not doing that this time. You guys are getting a jumbled speed review because I’ve sat at this computer for days now trying to write a review and I just can’t. My brain and heart haven’t recovered enough yet. So here we go…

AELIN: My poor baby, you big selfless, crazy, ridiculously stupid brat. I love you but I want to punch you so hard right now. Through the whole book she was just being her usual sassy badass self but I KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP. I KNEW IT. And I was right. That ending wrecked me.

ROWAN: I love this guy. And I cried for him so much. Like I just can’t even think about him right now. What he did for Aelin and just thinking about the next book… These tears are real.

MANON: Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to love his girl any more than I already did, she went and got more amazing. She is just the perfect blend of cold, killing evil badassery, with a gooey heart hiding underneath. CAN THIS GIRL JUST BE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING PLEASE?

DORIAN: Still love him. His part didn’t feel as big in this book but he still shone like a little star. His magic powers are seriously becoming really impressive, Aelin might have some competition.

AEDION: Can I just say, thank god for this kid… If he wasn’t around, no one would be challenging Aelin or calling her out. Sure, he might be wrong most of the time, but I’m just relieved to have someone around who doesn’t think she’s the bee’s knees 24/7. Oh and I would totes marry this boy.

LYSANDRA: ALL BOW DOWN TO THE NEW QUEEN IN TOWN, THIS SHAPESHIFTING GIRL IS KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES. Lysandra is so cool you guys. Like, to levels that I really wasn’t expecting. I doubted her for a little bit and I take it all back, she is perfect. And that sea wyvern scene just… I can’t.

ELIDE: This girl is in my heart like on a more personal level. I feel like if I was a character in this book, this would be me; forgotten about, no flashy magic, not unbelievably perfect… BUT THIS GIRL DON’T CARE. Holy wow, she was so resourceful and brave and tough and I really wasn’t expecting the feels I got from this. You go girl.

LORCAN: I really didn’t have much of an opinion on this guy and now I don’t know if I want to kiss him or chop his head off. I mean, I get it, I get him, but that just doesn’t make it better. But then… the whole period shirt thing just makes me want to bawl and shove him and Elide together.

MAEVE: I’m so ready for this bitch to die. I don’t even care about that other bad guy, this bitch needs to die. I hope Sarah J Maas takes several pages to describe her suffering when it happens.

Of course, I have to touch on the ships because there are so many for this stupid book series and my heart can’t handle it.

AELIN/ROWAN: Perfect. Enough said.

DORIAN/MANON: YES. I’ve shipped them since they first met and I’m so satisfied right now. Their relationship isn’t all warm romance and rainbows but I kind of like that because as they fix each other, then it can turn into that in their own way. Also, can Dorian please just marry her already so she can be queen of like, everything. K thanks.

AEDION/LYSANDRA: I can wait. This is worth waiting for, I can feel it. And can we just talk about how awesome it is that Aedion likes everyone and is still super close to and besties with one of his previous male lovers? What a cool guy.

ELIDE/LORCAN: I was so not expecting this and I’m still struggling to understand why I ship it so much. I don’t even love Lorcan or anything but my heart just broke when he told Elide he wanted to go to Perranth. I need them together but not until Lorcan grovels A LOT.

And everyone keeps talking about the fact that this book has some fairly descriptive sex scenes in it, so I suppose I’d better too. I keep hearing lots of people talking about how they are mad that Sarah J Maas put them in the book. Basically, I agree that the sex scenes aren’t really necessary. But do I care? Nope. I get that they didn’t need to be in here and I feel bad for anyone that was offended by them. But that being said, I still enjoyed them in a way. I ship these characters and sex is usually something that happens in a romantic relationship. And I can absolutely believe that these characters would have sex. So it didn’t feel forced or unbelievable to me. Would the books have been just as good without the sex scenes? Yes. But Sarah J Maas is the author and if she wanted to write some smutty scenes, good for her. I’m just here to read and enjoy and having some unexpected sex in my book did absolutely nothing to change that.

Anyways… THE PLOT: Brilliant. Mind blowing. Heartbreaking. Like, I’m trying not to think about it so I don’t cry. Sarah J Maas continues to amaze me. I’m a filthy fangirl when it comes to her, I know, but I can’t help it. And I loved that this book had the feeling of like, the dream team slowly coming together. Now we just need Chaol and Nesryn to swoop in at a key moment in the next book. Calling it now.

OVERALL: Darrow can die, Maeve needs to die slowly, no one on the dream team had better die, and I’m going to die after the next book.

RATING:

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Spoiler Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395 Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: 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.

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This is going to a be a spoiler review of ACOMAF so if you haven’t read the book yet, read at your own risk. I did post a non-spoiler review which you can check out here.

Obviously, the big thing that I need to address is the fact that Feyre and Rhys are relationship goals for life. I can’t express how much I adored this relationship. Rhys is exactly what Feyre needs because he knows how broken she is but he also knows how she is strong enough to overcome it. He helps and supports her so much, but also realizes that she has to find the strength in herself to keep living and fight. He gives her everything she needs and is there for her time and time again. I love when he says, “Feyre is whatever she chooses to be.” He never holds her back or discourages her. All he wants is for her to be happy and achieve her fullest potential. That is a relationship that is worth fighting for. The relationship between them is deeper on a different level than Feyre and Tamlin. And I nearly died when he confessed that he had visions of her and knew who she was and did all of these things to protect her. He was perfect but still flawed and broken in his own way so his love and their relationship never felt fake.

A lot of people were mad about how Tamlin treats Feyre, calling him OOC and that Sarah J. Maas made him OOC just to give Feyre and Rhys a reason to get together. I couldn’t disagree more. Even in ACOTAR, Tamlin is controlling, overprotective and possessive. But now, he comes home with Feyre after being abused, getting his power taken away, and being forced to watch the love of his life risk hers. While he could literally do nothing. I personaly don’t find it a little unreasonable that he is struggling with being overprotective and having a lot of rage built up inside him. I find it ridiculous when people expect characters to remain the same throughout a series, even when they have to deal with some messed up shit, then act like the author is doing something horrible by being realistic and showing change. I think it would disrespectful to the readers and the characters to just act like nothing affected them and change doesn’t happen. I thought that the deterioration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was sad but not OOC and not unexpected.

I also adored Velaris and the everything about it and when Rhys and his friends talk about being the Court of Dreamers, I was legitimately tearing up. Feyre just seems so perfect and comfortable there, like it’s her home and where she was always meant to be. I love everything it represents and says about Rhys and how hard everyone was willing to fight for it. Listening to Rhys’ story of everything he did and had to go through was so heartbreaking but wonderful at the same time. My emotions are so jumbled. I hated seeing how he was treated by everyone and how much being a slave killed him, but I have so much respect for everything he did to save Velaris and to help Feyre. I think the fact that he did everything he did in the first book, like behind the scenes, and to realize how much he loved her, then that he was going to let her live her life with Tamlin, just speaks volumes about him. I just want him to scoop Feyre up and fly her home to Velaris where they can spend forever together, watching the stars and dreaming. If Velaris is not still standing by the end of this series, I’m going to have some issues.

And is anyone else freaking out over how awesome Feyre’s powers are? She is a mega badass to the max. Her and Rhys are the ultimate power couple. And my heart melted when he declared her his equal, like formally to the court. Rhys is such a dream boat. But seriously, I can’t wait for Feyre to fully discover the extend of her powers and mess some bad guys up in some huge battle. Just imagine her and Rhys flying side by side, winnowing in and out of places to slaughter bad guys. Ughhhhh, I can’t wait. I’m also super excited to see where Lucian and Elain go because uh, apparently they are mates… Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder if Cassian and Nesta are mates too because they definitely had something going on there. The chemistry between the two of them was sizzling. I think Nesta needs to seriously pull that stick out of her butt and go for Cassian because they would be an awesome couple and he seems like the sort of guy that she needs desperately.

Speaking of the ending, I’m having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight. I’m so happy that Rhys trusts Feyre to spy on Tamlin and the Spring Court and I nearly sobbed in relief when he said they still had their bond. I can’t wait for Feyre to screw up all of Tamlin’s evil plans and go flying back into Rhys’ arms. I’m really upset that at least the beginning of the next book is going to focus on her and Tamlin which means less lovey time with Rhys. But Rhys is probably going to be busy trying to save Cassian from dying (that poor baby, I’ll die if his wings are gone forever) and keeping Velaris from being destroyed. I’m actually really nervous to see how Elain and Nesta handle being fae now but I feel like Rhys will take good care of them and his court is a good place to be since they don’t have many formalities and can handle Nesta raging out. I don’t even know what I think about the bad guys except that I want the queens to die horrible deaths and suffer for all of eternity.

I realize this was a huge jumbled mess and I didn’t talk about the plot nearly as much as I’d wanted to but I’m too emotional overwhelmed right now to care. Mostly, I’m dying inside because I want the next book so bad. Help. I don’t know how to handle this right now.

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395 Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: 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.

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I know I wasn’t the only person feeling nervous going into this book. I loved the first one, Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship seemed perfect, and ACOMAF seemed like it was introducing the dreaded love triangle. Where could this book go that wouldn’t bother me or ruin my love for the first one? I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. I’m genuinely embarrassed that I ever doubted Sarah J. Maas.

The first thing I really need to address is the fact that this is absolutely not a love triangle in any way, shape or form. So if you are worried about that, don’t be. And that’s all I’m going to say. For those of you that haven’t read this book, I’m not going to risk spoiling anything for you, but just know that there’s nothing to worry about as far as a love triangle goes.

But more importantly, THAT ROMANCE. I know I can’t be a jerk right now and spoil anything but I can’t just not address the fact that this romance absolutely blew my mind. This was exactly how a romance should be. It was give and take and honestly one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve had the pleasure of reading in my life. Just seeing the support and love and faith that is freely given to Feyre, it made me want to cry. Okay, maybe I cried. Five to seven times. I’m having a hard time explaining the feels this relationship gave me because it was that perfect and wonderful and Feyre is such a lucky woman. I adored seeing someone believing in her and encouraging her, and never holding her back, encouraging her to thrive and flourish. Someone that understood her struggles and depression and did everything in their power to not let it destroy her. Guys, I’m ranting and like legitimately tearing up right thinking about it.

Moving on before I curl up into a ball and cry, there are a lot of people I’ve seen who are having a hard time with certain changes characters go through. There has been lots of talk of characters being OOC and I couldn’t disagree more. Without spoiling anything, I’m simply going to say that Feyre and Tamlin are having some struggles after everything they dealt with in the last book. Tamlin is a little overprotective and Feyre is a little damaged and people are calling both of them OOC. I think that Sarah J. Maas is a master at showing character growth and the changes that people go through. Changing and struggling with things is not OOC. Tamlin was placed in a horrible position, getting his power taken away and the love of his life basically getting destroyed while he watched and couldn’t do anything. I think the fact that he becomes over protective, a little rage filled and distant is completely understandable. And Feyre isn’t doing much to fix things because she’s messed up and struggling too. I can’t help but compare them to couples who lose a child or something tragic along those lines, and they become distant, both struggling with what they did and didn’t do and handling that while trying to focus on their significant other. Sometimes it tears couples apart. Sometimes it doesn’t. But things like that change people. I think that readers who expected Tamlin and Feyre to be the same after what they went through should have realized that’s not realistic or Sarah J. Maas’ style.

But on a more positive note, we get some of my new favorite characters in this book and they added so much to the story for me and raised the stakes when it came to the conflict. We obviously get to see Rhys more, who I’m adding to the top of my fictional boyfriends list. But since Feyre spends time in the Night Court, we get to meet his friends and I was dying. So many sexy men with wings. I never even realized that wings were actually something I found attractive before this book. But when big muscular men with tattoos were flying around kicking ass, I could help but drool. And the ladies all kicked ass too. I had a hard time deciding who I had a bigger crush on.

I guess I should probably talk about the plot too. This book was the perfect blend of action and mystery surrounding the potential looming war, while still focusing on Feyre’s struggles and growth and relationships with others. The world building was so expansive in comparison to the first book and I devoured every bit of information I could get on the other courts. We get to see new places, characters and creatures. The pacing was perfect, even when it slowed down, there was so much still going on that it never actually felt slow. And so many cool powers were in this book, I couldn’t believe some of the awesome things that Rhys and his friends could do. Jealous to the max. And the ending nearly killed me. Not even kidding. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

After reading this book and discovering it was so much better than I had hoped, it makes me sad to see all these people who aren’t even giving it a chance because they are afraid or sure they won’t like it. It’s sad to think they are missing out on something so amazing and beautiful. If you are on the fence, I hope I’ve convinced you to read it because you won’t regret it. And then you can join me in this pit of sadness and depression waiting for the next book, while fighting the overwhelming urge to re-read ACOMAF constantly until then.

RATING: 

Review: Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)22294935

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Publication Date: September 29th, 2015

Summary: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Guys, this is seriously one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. Yes, I can say that with absolute certainty, it was really that good. Everything about it just drew me in and kept me hooked until the very end, and even after finishing it, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just read.

The main thing that really made this book for me was the amazing cast of characters. We have Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan, who is kind of a not-so-main character because we don’t get any chapters in his perspective. I have to start with Kaz because he was my absolute favorite and amazing beyond words. He has a dark and mysterious past, doesn’t hesitate when he needs to get his hands dirty, is ridiculously smart and constantly ten steps ahead of everyone else, not to mention he has a bad ass cane with a crow’s head on it. I have a huge weakness for tormented, ruthless young men who are too smart for their own good and Kaz fits right into that category and swept me off of my feet. Then we have Inej, aka The Wraith, a girl who was kidnapped and forced into a pleasure house, only to be bought by Kaz and became his eyes and ears on the streets. She was a conflicted character but I love how real she felt and how strong she was, even after everything she had been through. Nina was spunky and so much fun, I love how she used everything she had as a weapon, from her looks, to her sharp tough, to her Grisha powers. Matthias was rough and tough and gruff and grumbly and I absolutely adored him, even though he could never figure out if he wanted to help everyone or kill them. Then we have Jesper and Wylan who I’m just going to group together because all of the scenes with the two of them made me laugh and ship them at the same time. Though it’s a huge cast of  characters, they are all so unique and intriguing, it was hard to say which one I wanted to read about the most.

The thing is, even if the characters weren’t the best ever, which they were, the plot still would have kept me hooked. I loved being in this grimy part of the Grisha universe and I found this story to be a lot more engaging and interesting that Leigh Bardugo’s first trilogy. In Six of Crows, we have a sort of super drug going around that makes Grisha more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Kaz is hired to get a group together and break into one of the most impenetrable places in the world to break out the scientist who knows how to make said super drug of death and destruction. I found the plot to be intense beyond words at time, surprisingly dark and violent and made me feel some things I didn’t even know I could. I’m pretty sure that at one point I was half crying, have screaming, half cheering, then probably having a heart attack at the same time. This book was physically and mentally exhausting.

One complaint I’ve heard a few times is that all of the different characters and flashbacks make the story feel slow, or that it drags on. I personally disagree as much as possible. I found that all of the different perspectives and backstory contributed massively to character development and constantly kept me interested to see who was next and what we would get to learn about them. I was as excited and invested in the flashbacks of each character as I was in the current happenings, because both were equally gripping. It was definitely a slow burn at some points but then the exciting parts were so intense and suspenseful and it would just tease you by jumping to a different perspective in the middle of something, and it was evil and infuriating but genius. And I absolutely adore, beyond words, books like this that have so many twists and a character that is constantly planning ahead and is ridiculously smart so just when you think things are going bad, he reveals the trick up his sleeve and your head just explodes because HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?!

This book was so smart and complex and suspenseful, I think I set it down once the whole time just to go grab a drink of water because my throat was raw from screaming. And that ending was the most evil thing I’ve encountered in a book in a long time, I don’t know if I can handle it. Guys, you should do yourself a favor and read this book. Then do me a favor by coming back here and talking with me about it so I can vent and gush and try not to die waiting for the next book.

RATING: 

Review: Queen of Shadows (SPOILERS)

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) 18006496

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Summary: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, if not my most anticipated. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series and one that I’ve amazingly never really had any sort of issue with, which is really saying something since I can be a huge nitpicker. When I got this book in the mail, I knew that it would be another successful read, an amazing continuation of this equally amazing series.

Queen of Shadows starts off with Aelin back in her city, scheming and planning against her old master, Arobynn, King of Assassins, to get back the Amulet of Orynth and the Wyrdkey inside of it. She finds out that the king has her cousin, Aedion, held prisoner and is planning on executing him on Dorian’s birthday. Oh, speaking of Dorian, he’s just withering away as the Valg prince takes over his mind and slowly destroys him. Oh and Chaol is leading part of the rebellion and decided to be a sulking, grumpy ball of misery. Things aren’t looking very good, to say the least.

One of the biggest things I heard about this book was that people decided to not continue the series and bad talk Sarah J. Maas for her decisions surrounding Chaol. I’m a huge Chaol and Aelin shipper so I was really disappointed to find that their reunion wasn’t all I had hoped and dreamed about. In fact, they basically went for each other’s throats, blaming each other for everything that had happened and destroying whatever relationship they had. After a while, it became apparent that they would never be rekindling their romantic relationship, and while I found that immensely disappointing, I also understood. I think that what a lot of people are missing is that Aelin and Chaol aren’t the people they were during ToG and CoM. They have gone through so many struggles and have had to change who they are to survive. Chaol was the man that Celaena needed when she was an assassin, but now she is Aelin, a queen and ruler, and she left that other girl behind. By the end of the book, Aelin and Chaol seem to be mending their friendship, but I think we can all agree that romance is out of the question, which I actually found myself supporting, simply because it wouldn’t make sense for the people they are now. I think everyone should give the book a chance and realize that even though things might not go the way we want them too, realistically, in series like this, changes are going to happen, and as long as they make sense and honor the characters, I’m fully support that.

While I’m on the subject of romance, I should probably address the fact that Rowan and Aelin are now romantically involved. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this yet. A huge part of me feels like a traitor because I’ve always been completely on Team Chaol, but when I was reading this book, I found myself really supporting Rowan and Aelin together. Rowan is who and what Aelin needs and I adore their relationship. But the thing is, in HoF, I loved that they had such an intense connection without is being sexual or romantic, so I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that it’s become that now. It was refreshing to see such a beautiful relationship that went beyond friendship between a man and woman, while remaining platonic. I’m not surprised that they starting smooching it up, and I loved every second of it, but part of me will always miss what they had before. But my inner fangirl is crying over their devotion to each other and how stinkin’ adorable they are all the time.

As for the actual story in this book, it was full of so many twists and turns and intense parts that I could not put it down. I absolutely love reading books where the schemes feels so smart and there are a million layers to every plan, so kudos to Sarah J. Maas for managing to be so unpredictable and clever. I loved the revenge aspect with Arobynn and seeing their strange relationship in action, as well as the differences between Aelin and Celaena. There were so many different story lines going on, but each one was so vital and interesting, there was never a point that I was bored or uninterested. And that ending, HOLY MOTHER, I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening because my mind was so blown. I mean, I NEVER saw that coming.

Aelin was, as usual, absolutely amazing. The amount of growth she goes through in every book, as well as the obstacles she overcomes, continue to shape her into more of queen. The one thing that upset me about this book was how quickly she seemed to accept Dorian’s condition and how easy she made killing him seem. But Aelin will always be my number one bae. We also get more new characters in this book and my favorites had to be Lysandra and Nesryn. Those girls knew how to kick ass and take names, I mean, DAMN. And Manon, don’t even get me started on how much I love that witch, having her and Aelin fight each other was like a dream come true. Just watching Aelin’s court grow as she helped people and earned their loyalties literally had me tearing up at some points. I loved seeing how Rowan and Aedion never once judged her for any of her current and past actions, and their love and commitment to her was unwavering.

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for the next book in this series. Now that Aelin and her court are back in Terrasen and Dorian is king, and the war looming overhead, things are about to change for sure. I’m really excited for Chaol and Nesryn to go to the Southern Continent, and to see what Manon and her thirteen are going to do. Not to mention Elide working her way to Aelin with the Wyrdkey; I’m definitely going to cry when they are finally reunited. Okay, and am I the only one hardcore shipping Dorian and Manon together? Can we just all take a minute to enjoy the thought of Manon ruling beside Dorian? That poor boy wouldn’t know what to do. In all seriousness though, this was a solid fourth book in the series, exceeding my expectations and hurting my heart and soul so good.

RATING: 

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) 16096824

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Summary: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I knew Sarah J. Maas was going to deliver an amazing story. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge ridiculous fangirl when it comes to her work, whether it’s the Throne of Glass series or The Starkillers Cycle she’s working on with Susan Dennard, I adore anything that comes out of her genius mind. This book was no exception.

The main thing I adored about this book was the cast of characters. We have Feyre, our main character, who is stubborn and full of bitterness and hate, and genuinely a good person on the inside, even if she doesn’t see it. She goes through so much growth over the course of this book, learning to find happiness for herself and to love, despite her hard life. Then we have Tamlin, the fae who kidnaps Feyre, but isn’t all that he seems. Living in the shadow of his father and facing a responsibility he doesn’t want, Tamlin lives a lonely and cursed life… Until he brings Feyre into it. Living on Tamlin’s estate, we also have his friend Lucien, another fae with a missing eye and enough snark to make up for it. And later in the book we run into Rhys, a dark and mysterious fae with an unknown agenda and a ridiculous amount of sex appeal. I wouldn’t mind having one of him all to myself, just saying. All of these characters interact in such realistic and honest ways, forming friendships and bonds and you genuinely become invested in them.

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s one of the most original and creative ones I’ve read so far and I really have to applaud Sarah J. Maas for that. She took just enough of the elements of Beauty and the Beast and incorporated it into the story to make it familiar and lovable for being so, but subtle enough that the rest of the story shines through. The story itself was beautiful and so heart wrenching, full of interesting fantasy elements, an evil curse, and an amazing romance. And can I just talk about this romance for a second? Because damn, I was feeling the feels. Usually it’s hard for me to go so investing in a romance in just one book and really feel the characters and their connection, but I had absolutely no problem with that. I felt like I truly knew Tamlin and Feyre and could feel when their feelings started to develop into something more. It was deliciously steamy but at the same time, so sweet and romantic that it made my heart ache.

Reading this book was overwhelming because it makes you feel so many different things, and it makes you feel them so strongly, you want to scream. In the first part of the book, you just want to know everything about all of the characters you can, becoming emotionally involved with them and their struggles. Then the romance sweeps in and you want more than anything for them to just admit their feelings and find time for their own personal happiness. At this point, as the characters grow and learn to accept each other and themselves, Sarah J. Maas swoops in and sends everything crashing down and fills your world with hurt. Now we have the quest and the mystery driving the story, and that all-consuming need to reach the end, just to know that everything will be okay. You hate the evil villain with all your heart that isn’t already consumed with love for Feyre and Tamlin and Lucien and Rhys, and you want to know the solution and the end, but at the same time, you’re so afraid to read because death and heartbreak could be lurking just around the corner. This book was an emotional roller coaster and all you can do is hold on for dear life and enjoy every second of it.

Without a doubt, this book was the best one I’ve read so far this year. It’s a tale of romance and breaking curses, of freeing yourself and finding the happiness you deserve. And maybe of dirty poems, drunk dancing, neck bites, giant flesh eating worms, and smoldering manliness in three scrumptious forms, AKA Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhys. Just trust me on this one and read this beautiful book, then come talk to me about it so we can squeal and cry and fangirl until our hearts explode.

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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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