fantasy · romance · series · Uncategorized · young adult

Review: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Throne of Glass

Summary from Goodreads:

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 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 four 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.

Comments:

Okay, okay. Maybe I thought I was going to fizzle out near the beginning because I didn’t read continuously as I could have. I was quick to judge. Suddenly, things got more interesting. A lot of the books I had read recently have a “from extreme hardship to comfort and wealth but there’s something dark and scary in exchange” theme.

This story feels like a Hunger Games, complete with the one obvious rival and of course, a love triangle. HAHA. I love it. (My ship? Chaol/Celaena. ♥)

Celaena Sardothien… I don’t know how I feel about her. She is a feared assassin well-versed in a wide array of weaponry. She is a voracious reader (I’ve never really met an assassin like this). She likes playing the piano. She also loves wearing pretty dresses. She eats A LOT. She’s funnier than the main character in the last book I read but she is so… multi-faceted that I don’t know whether to like her or not.

But I think the way the mystery of the deaths of the Champions unfolds nicely. I was trying to guess who is behind all of that. It’s a tad bit predictable but not-quite-so-expected either. So it was brilliant, I would say.

Well, I hear this series has a lot of novellas and, I think, six (!) main books. I shall see if I can read the entire thing. I will definitely read the next book, because it might reveal more of Celaena’s past.

Oh, also, I should warn you: this is not a book for you if you like eating while reading. Or if you just have a weak stomach like I do.

“When she awoke every morning, she repeated the same words: I will not be afraid.”

My Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)

fantasy · romance · series · young adult

Review: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Grisha

Summary from Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

Comments:

I’ve been seeing the hype over the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo, so I’ve been really curious. I was looking around and saw that there was a trilogy before that, though, so I decided to read the previous one first. I was chatting with the librarian at the school I work at and she let me borrow the book. Yay!

I guess, many readers would feel that this is somewhat your clichéd YA with a love triangle and a somewhat Mary Sue main character. But while reading I admit I was thinking, “This is my type of YA: the perfect blend of magic and romance.” To me, the first book in a fantasy series is important because most of the world building would be in it. And it didn’t disappoint: I love all the different kinds of powers the Grisha possessed and the hierarchy that comes with them. I also like the school setting (reminded me a little bit of Bloor’s Academy, and yes, even Hogwarts), though I wish they wrote a bit more about it.

I’m not quite a fan of childhood-friends-turned-into-more-than-friends stories, so when The Darkling started interacting with the main character Alina, I latched onto the ship. Somehow in my head The Darkling resembles Kylo Ren, except with “quartz gray” eyes. And the feels, oh the feels. Perfect.

Bardugo’s writing is great and I absolutely adored the Russian flavor of this universe. The pacing in the narration is a little off, though, so I docked half a star in my rating. Yes, I am going to read the next book, maybe even finish the trilogy before I pick up Six of Crows.

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 actually)

fantasy · ghosts · paranormal

Review: The Ghost and the Goth

Author: Stacey Kade
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: The Ghost and the Goth

Summary from Goodreads:

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit (DON’T call her a ghost) in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast who despises the social elite. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Comments:

I’m glad I enjoyed this book even though it’s a genre that I’m hesitant to read. I might be a bit biased with my rating but this book totally deserved it because it helped me get out of a slump.

Alona Dare, the most popular girl in high school got hit by a bus and died unexpectedly. Problem was, she never got “into the light” and was stuck in the in-between. Little did she know that Will Killian, resident loser and goth, is able to see dead people. She needed answers on how she could move on and the only way to do that is through Will, who also has enough problems of his own.

The story featured a typical high setting – popular kids are the cheerleaders and jocks, different cliques depending on your intellect, talents, sense of fashion, losers get bullied.. You know the drill. I enjoyed the premise of having to make Alona and Will work together although they come from so different worlds. Of course, Alona would eventually bring out that good side of her, while Will had to break through stereotypes that he isn’t really a goth. Although some would agree that the characters are a bit shallow, I did like the part where we understand more of Alona’s background and that she has not led the perfect life everybody thinks. I thought there should have been more focus on the reconciliation part with her mom because that scene seemed rushed just so the rift would be over.

I’m not sure if I’m totally digging this couple’s love story. I mean, it would be impossible to work out, right? I thought about the parts where they kiss and how a normal person would look at Will and just see him kissing the air. It was cool that the story somewhat took the ghost part lightly, considering most people would find it scary to be able to see them all the time.

I liked the writing style which was funny and light, perfect for someone who just wants to enjoy the story without having to overthink. Cute story indeed. Recommended for anyone who needs a quick and fun read.

“Trust me, you see the dead walking around, you learn not to scream, laugh, or piss yourself pretty quickly.”

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

adventure · fantasy · paranormal

Review: Poison Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: The Chronicles of Ixia

Summary from Goodreads:

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Comments:

Actual rating is 4.5

It all started out with Yelena’s chance for a new life.

I love the setting the of the story. I was never into fantasy or magic, but somehow this novel made me reconsider. The pace of the story was slow, with memories of Yelena strewn along the pages. As the big picture was slowly presented, I was able to empathize with Yelena for the choice she made. The themes of loyalty, betrayal, thirst for power, and even romance worked together to create this intriguing novel. I have to agree that this is a welcome break from the usual YA.

I love the characters in the story. They were realistic in their reactions to different situations presented to them. Yelena’s distrust and survival instinct came because of all the harsh experiences she had. Valek’s loyalty to the Commander was also explained. There was Rand who was torn by his good nature and debt. The evil characters were driven by their lust for power and greediness to the extent destroying other people. The only confusion I got was from the Commander’s past which was actually weird for me.

I was a bit disappointed with the romance between Yelena and Valek. Although it was very obvious that Valek liked her, I’m not sure how Yelena came to reciprocate the feeling. Maybe it was because she finally decided to trust him by recounting her past but I am unconvinced. I feel like all she views Valek as a protector and a teacher, which somehow leveled up to be a lover. Again, that’s just my opinion.

Will definitely read the next book in the series when I have a copy!

My Rating: ★★★★ (4.5)

adventure · fantasy · middle-grade

Review: Wish You Weren’t

Author: Sherrie Petersen

Summary from Goodreads:
Marten doesn’t believe in the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn’t expect it to make any difference.

Until his annoying brother disappears.

With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

The thing I absolutely love about this book is that it is so relatable. As the oldest of four, I know what it is like to be blamed for your younger siblings’ actions. You know that feeling when you just can’t believe your parents always seem to side them even though it’s not your fault? Yes, that is exactly what our boy Marten’s sentiments are. The pesky little brother always gets away with everything. So, out of all that rage and frustration, there is one solution left – wish that his younger brother weren’t here.

If I loved the idea, you might ask why the three stars? I think I didn’t really but that part about the shooting star. It became confusing for me because of the lack of explanation for everything that is happening. There are some ends which weren’t neatly tied together like that time when Susan accidentally teleported with them. She just went on with her life like nothing happened.

Really nice concept and good values for being appreciative of our siblings. I think children will better understand how it is to be more patient and loving to each other.

My Rating: ★★★ (3)

fantasy · romance · sci-fi

Review: The Vanishing Girl

Author: Laura Thalassa

Summary from Goodreads:
Every night after Ember Pierce falls asleep, she disappears. She can teleport anywhere in the world—London, Paris, her crush’s bedroom—wherever her dreams lead her. Ten minutes is all she gets, and once time’s up, she returns to her bed. It’s a secret she’s successfully kept for the last five years. But now someone knows.

A week after her eighteenth birthday, when frustratingly handsome Caden Hawthorne captures her, delivers her to the government, and then disappears before her eyes, Ember realizes two things: One, she is not alone. And two, people like her—teleporters—are being used as weapons.

Dragged off to a remote facility where others like her live, Ember’s forced to pair up with her former captor, Caden, to learn how to survive inside until she can escape. Only Caden’s making escape seem less and less appealing.

But even as Ember falls for the boy who got her into this mess, she knows that she is running out of time. Because the government has plans for those like her, and those plans might just cost Ember her life.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

From someone who isn’t usually into fantasy and science fiction, 4 stars is saying a lot. One of the things that I really liked is its power to engage me from the beginning. There is kind of a mystery feel to this book because it warrants so many answers yet to be discovered. However, even upon finishing, there still remains the confusion on who is the enemy, or who should be trusted. Twisted right?

Character-wise, Ember can be cool or irritating but due to alterations, it seems she can’t be blamed. I was a bit skeptical with the love story because again there’s the case of insta-love but at least was a bit played down. Caden just had to be perfect in every way as with other book boyfriends. o_o

I also liked how luck wasn’t always on Ember’s side just like how it seems with other plots. It was a plus that she was caught. I’d seriously be rolling my eyes if she wasn’t considering the government are supposed to be watching. I’d be watching out for the next installment and hope it’ll be awesome as well!

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

fantasy · paranormal · romance

Let the Sky Fall

Author: Shannon Messenger
Series: Let the Sky Fall #1

Summary from Goodreads:
Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past – except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she’s real.

Audra is real, but she isn’t human. She’s a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She’s also a guardian – Vane’s guardian – and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Comments:

I’m so relieved that the ending was so much better than the other parts of the book or I would have been really frustrated with this book. The author gave me a new world to explore since I’ve never heard of sylphs before, but the story didn’t really make me that interested. It wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t that good either.

How would you feel if one day you would discover that you aren’t human? Let us leave that question to be answered by Vane Weston when he found out that he was a sylph. Not only that, but suppressed memories were suddenly becoming clear. The greatest event was meeting that girl he often dreamed about – Audra.

The story was interchangeably from Vane and Audra’s point of view. Vane’s tone is usually sarcastic and funny whilst Audra’s more serious and uptight. I guess one thing I didn’t like was the info dump regarding the winds and windwalkers and other wind talk. The conversations were a bit too long for my taste while the action came at the end. Each day that they were together was just too long. Romance-wise, it was alright, not something I’d really fangirl about.

Hopefully the next installment wouldn’t be as dragged out as this one!

My Rating: ★★