Tag Archives: Sarah J. Maas

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

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 2, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 12, 2017
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

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.

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This read went pretty much about how I thought it would. I used to LOVE Sarah J. Maas books and I had a really hard time with the pacing and characters ever since A COURT OF MIST AND FURY and EMPIRE OF STORMS. I was wholly sucked into QUEEN OF SHADOWS and ever since then, I lost the magic. I feel like the books aren’t well-edited anymore and Sarah J. Maas is so big that she is allowed the freedom to write whatever she wants and things don’t get pared down when they should. I’m not saying that actually is the case but that’s how it feels sometimes. I’m totally okay with books being long, especially series finales like A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN, but there were several parts that could have been cut down and a lot of things in the past two books in this series could have used a fair bit of editing, from pacing to structure to dialogue. I felt very alone in these opinions with ACOMAF but it seems like this happened a little bit more with ACOWAR which actually surprised me, but I’m glad that I wasn’t alone in that feeling!

The highlight of this series for me is the Inner Circle! Azriel continued to be my favorite, I think because he was, well because he was broody first and foremost but I loved his quiet gentleness and yet he had a ferocity about him on the battlefield and also towards his friends and family. He is a warrior after all! Cassian is also a favorite with his lightness and humor to go along with his brute strength and warrior-mode. Amren is delightfully dark and I love her sass and Mor rounds out the “lesser” characters of the Inner Circle to add a caring and warm quality to the group. I love their squad goals and how well these four fit together. Yes, four… not six. I actually didn’t care about them being involved with Rhys and Feyre (even though Rhysand is the whole reason this group exists). They just had so much personality and I wanted to see them shine even more. I think they were really deserved more of a spotlight in this book after being introduced in A COURT OF MIST AND FURY because they were so important in so many ways and they really brought so much to this book/series. I felt more connected to Azriel and Cassian because I felt like their histories were detailed well and reiterated several times throughout the series. Amren was so amazing and she should have had more of a history in this book and not just the breeze-through conclusion in the end, and we get to know more about Mor but I felt like she was often pushed to the background too. Feyre’s sisters ended up being a big part of the book and Nesta did get much more “on-screen” time but I don’t think Elain got the attention she deserved either, nor did Lucien after setting up his whole part in this series in the second book. He did do big things in this book but again, it was like he was there for the “big things” and then pushed back into the background. There was a whole story line with him and Elain that was established and then not really developed.
These characters really were the highlight of this book for me and I really wished I could have had more from them, like their own chapters or something. This book, especially, being from Feyre’s POV only really limited what action readers could see and it just pushed my favorite characters in the background because the focus was on Feyre and Rhys. I feel like Sarah J. Maas has a tendency to introduce these characters that we love and then they get pushed aside for the main characters instead of getting their own development. Then more characters get added, and more characters get added, and readers get even less of that development that they’re craving (or at least in my case).

For some reason, I’ve never been a Feyre and Rhysand shipper. I loved Rhysand’s darkness and that forbidden allure to him in ACOMAF and he was just a little too perfect in this book. I know we discover in ACOMAF that there’s much more than meets the eye to Rhys and he’s actually a pretty good guy, which ughhh. I liked his darkness! He still has that snark and sass but the darkness is pretty much gone in ACOWAR which was something that really interested me. I especially felt this in ACOWAR and I got bored with Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship. It was like once they got together, the spark was gone, and so much of their relationship felt forced. The details of the relationship just felt like TOO much at times. Too perfect, too over-the-top, just too much. And speaking of too much, the sex scenes just felt way too forced as well. Not necessarily in content, although that didn’t feel natural either, but there were far too many and in random places. Every time something good happened it was like yay, let’s celebrate with sex! I just felt shoved in there for the sake of sex scenes and keeping it steamy the end and I would have rather had SOME fade to black scenes instead of every single instance being full detail. I don’t have a problem with those scenes at all (I read the occasional romance) but it was more the fact that I felt like I was reading a romance novel sometimes instead of a strong fantasy book with solid character, world, and plot development.

I also got really annoyed that every single main character had to get paired off into a couple or if not in a couple at the end, the single person had some unrequited love going on. I can see that war makes you want to be with the one you love or match up while you still can but I got annoyed that characters that I thought would be awesome on their own (I won’t say who because possible spoilers, I guess) ended up pairing off with someone and it very felt out of character. I was excited about the Elain/Lucien set-up in ACOMAF and was super disappointed that wasn’t used to its fullest potential here. It was set up and then never really went anywhere and I found myself wonder why it was introduced at all. If that hadn’t been established in the second book, it really wouldn’t have affected the third book or in the moments it had, the action could have resolved in some other way. It all felt forced and superficial and that bond wasn’t even there. It was a total waste of character development that could have been put towards something else since it wasn’t even developed anyway.

Mostly, I just wasn’t impressed with the writing. As I said before, I feel like the book needed much more editing. There were a lot of out-of-character things, strange pacing, an excess of characters, and the world-building was just off. To be honest, I feel like Feyre, Tamlin, and Rhysand all went through personality flips since the first book (at least in perception like in Rhys’ case, if not true character changes). There’s a difference between personality development and taking things to a totally different realm and I think it’s good that Feyre isn’t the same person that she was in A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES because she should be different and show some growth but I felt like the person that she became didn’t feel characteristic of the person she once was and it seemed like too much of a personality change.

I was also missing so many details on some really interesting things like the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and other unusual creatures/gods/immortals. I even found myself asking myself what exactly the Cauldron was all about. The Cauldron! A huge part of this series!!! It didn’t feel like infodump when I first learned about all of these things and yet I felt like I couldn’t remember any of those details later on in the series or recall learning more about them in other spots. Those are the parts of a book that I love and I just felt like a lot was missing. I think Sarah J. Maas missed a lot of world-building opportunities that really could have brought this world together even more.

The ending was a little too perfect and happy for such a huge war and giant conclusion. I felt like a few things were cop-outs even though they were happy things. I had set myself up for some Big Things and was disappointed for some reason when bad things didn’t happen to good people…? Truly, I just think it’s just realistic within a war that not all of the good people survive or end up mostly untouched. Things did happen, though I won’t go into detail, but I think we all braced ourselves for some really bad stuff so it almost felt a little anticlimactic! For some reason the Rhysand chapter at the end was also totally cheesy and I don’t know why but it reminded me of TWILIGHT… I think the observation and listening in on Feyre? I don’t know — don’t ask. But that was the vibe I got from it so it was just a little too sappy and not necessary (though I wished we could have had his POV throughout the rest of the book).

So yes, this was a lot of venting or however you want to take it but those are my feelings and my opinions. Although it was a lot of things I wished that would have been better, that’s actually what I expected to feel when I read this book. I wanted to finish to finish the series so I wanted to finish this book but I didn’t expect to love it and it actually went pretty much as I thought it would. After feeling a lot of the same things with ACOMAF and EMPIRE OF STORMS, I almost definitely won’t be reading the spin-offs for this series, and I guess we’ll see how the next Throne of Glass book goes. I definitely still want to finish that series since I’m so invested in it time-wise and I do want to know how that concludes but after Throne of Glass finishes, I’m not sure if I’ll be reading more Sarah J. Maas books.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Inner Circle. These characters were truly the best part about the book. Serious squad goals, banter, loyalty, ferocity, and a great mix of personalities. Truly the highlight of the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Development. I just don’t feel like it’s there and I don’t know what happened! QUEEN OF SHADOWS was one of my favorite books from that year and I just don’t feel that magic anymore.

Addiction Rating
Take it or leave it

It’s the last book in Feyre’s story so it’s worth finishing to conclude the series but I also think if you’re having the same issues, it’s not a huge deal if you don’t.

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    FALLING KINGDOMS

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) – Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: September 6, 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 25, 2016
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

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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I’m actually fairly disappointed with this book which makes me very sad because QUEEN OF SHADOWS was literally one of my favorite books of 2015 and I’ve fallen so in love with Sarah J. Maas’ books. Admittedly I did have a harder time finding time to sit and read this one but I did read 400 pages more or less in a weekend to finish and still wasn’t captivated. This surprisingly felt like that “second in a series slump” that I so often hit with trilogies, possibly because it’s the second book in the second half of the series.

I didn’t feel as engaged with this book at all. I had met all of these characters in QUEEN OF SHADOWS but so many were secondary characters there and I didn’t quite feel that solid transition from supporting to main character. The stories felt disjointed and not as detailed and alive as in QUEEN OF SHADOWS. I did love Elide and Lorcan the most because there was a lot to discover there and their personalities really started to shine. I felt less drawn to Aelin, which was so incredibly disappointing. She should have grown more, as she had been in previous books, and really started to come into her own as the rightful Queen of Terrasen, and I just felt like her character became very tired and less important with all of these other new main characters to follow. I also somehow lost that magic with her and Rowan and I just didn’t even feel that connection anymore.
I really didn’t feel as connected to Manon in this book either, which is a shame because I loved in her QUEEN OF SHADOWS and I was so excited to see where her story was going. I mean, I’m hoping it connects back to the main story line in the last book because otherwise, Manon should have just had her own series, to be honest. I enjoyed what was happening with her and her Thirteen (and others) in EMPIRE OF STORMS but I’m still not 100% sure why it’s so relevant to Aelin and her story. I can only assume the pieces all fall into place in the last book but I’ve been waiting for three books now, really, to see how this ties in and why it’s so important to have Manon’s whole point of view, so hopefully we’ll see that in the last book.
I also felt like Chaol was completely thrown away and that was incredibly frustrating, and I wasn’t even a Celaena/Chaol shipper. I don’t understand why he was such a main character only to switch a romance (which I was fine with, actually) to Rowan and then totally cut him out of ALL of book five. I understood quieting his role down, as he may not be playing as major of a role, but I don’t really understand what his purpose was then if he’s just getting totally pushed to the side. I guess Sarah J. Maas can write whatever she want, of course, but it just seemed like a big injustice to his character.

I feel like Sarah J. Maas incorporated some tired tactics to keep this story going and not a lot of new stuff happened here. The things that did carry the story over, which are the things I’ve loved from her in the past, weren’t really refreshed enough for me and I had a hard time remembering some of those things from other books, especially references to the novellas. I read those a long time ago and I didn’t have the time to reread an entire series for this book so it would have been nice to have some more details and updates on the events in the novellas that appeared in EMPIRE OF STORMS. I also think more details would have been very beneficial to those who haven’t read the novellas. I spoke to friends who haven’t read the novellas and they actually felt less lost than I did since they didn’t know it was a reference back to the novellas but I also think the characters, the history, and the plot could have been so much richer with those little updates.

I’m mostly disappointed in the elements that were used in both the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series. When writing two Fae series at the same time I think it’s super important to keep them very different and I don’t think these two are, which is especially disappointing because that was something I noted on the positive side after reading A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. I had actually really liked that Feyre and Celaena/Aelin were so strong and yet two very different personalities. The more I read of both series, the more they really blended in concept and plot direction.  I felt like A COURT OF MIST AND FURY had too many elements from QUEEN OF SHADOWS and now reading EMPIRE OF STORMS, I noticed some twists that were already used in ACOMAF, and that was really disappointing. The ending became totally anticlimactic because it borrowed an exact same situation from ACOMAF and I was just so let down that it didn’t seem like an original idea.

EMPIRE OF STORMS was still enjoyable and I am still interested in the Throne of Glass series, but admittedly, I’ve lost a lot of faith in Sarah J. Maas at this point. I feel like this just didn’t have as much substance and character as previous books in this series. I loved QUEEN OF SHADOWS and to feel like this after EMPIRE OF STORMS is a major let down. I’m just very upset after finishing this book and even more so after reviewing it because I feel like I’ve really started to fall out of love with this series after EMPIRE OF STORMS and I’m losing faith in Sarah J. Maas.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Aelin // Character obsessions: Terrasen, Rowan, freedom, power.
I actually lost so much interest in Aelin this book and I don’t know how this happened. She just felt like she actually lost so much depth and really, she lost all her spunk. I get that she’s more serious now that she’s fighting for control of Terrasen but I kept missing all the sass and banter and FUN that we saw from Aelin in previous books. She felt so flat in EoS.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New characters late in a series. I’m not an author so I can’t tell you what is good/bad/iffy to introduce late in a series but I really enjoyed new characters Elide (who was previously in the series but a small role) and Lorcan. When they’re done well, they bring a new and exciting element to a series and help fit even more pieces together. I actually did love a few (well really, I loved all of the new characters) but I also had a hard time with why they were really important to have MAIN character roles. I did like Elide and Lorcan because of their connection and romance but others I really wonder if they needed to be lead roles and what they brought to the book, even though I enjoyed getting to know them.
Left Me Wanting More: Terrasen. I thought this book was going to be all about Terrasen considering where QUEEN OF SHADOWS left off and we barely even saw it. I was really missing that because the whole quest for QoS was leading there and that was not where we left off in EoS.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I mean, I still recommend reading the book. I fell so in love with the series in the first four books but this one felt like it was too much filler and not enough happened. Lots did HAPPEN but it didn’t all feel really relevant and I felt like there was a lot of time spent building up romances that didn’t need to happen too.

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BOOKS LIKE EMPIRE OF STORMS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

TRUTHWITCH    THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN

Redesign Reactions [7]: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Yes, yes, I know this is a super old redesign but with EMPIRE OF STORMS coming out SO SOON (omg, it’s really almost time!), I thought it would be fun to revisit this cover redesign. I got into the Throne of Glass series a little later than others. I didn’t pick it up until HEIR OF FIRE was coming out. Long story short, I had tried THRONE OF GLASS and was A) not a big fantasy person yet (how is that even possible) and B) not in the right place for it so I had returned it back to the library after time ran out with the promise to try again. When I tried again a few years later, I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on! I totally binged the first three books, but that meant that I hadn’t gotten to discuss this cover change since I wasn’t in on it from the beginning! So let’s chat:

redesign reactions

OLD COVER: The old cover was kind of cookie-cutter YA. The girl on the front was an average YA-cover girl who looked WAY too sweet to be arrogant and vengeful Celaena Sardothien. This girl looks more like a protected princess who’s pretending to be a warrior but she doesn’t really come off as tough. Also my biggest thing with this cover is… Is it just me or does this cover girl bear a striking resemblance to author Sarah J. Maas? Maybe not so much now that we all “know” Sarah but when I first picked up the book way back in 2012, I totally thought the cover model looked like the author.

NEW COVERS: I wasn’t totally in love with new cover when I first saw it because I wasn’t prepared for an artistic rendering of Celaena since I was used to this more photographic image of a cover model… But obviously these covers are much more appropriate for the books and the characters! (Side note: I love them now. I was more unsure of what to expect when the cover change happened and it took me a second to get used to!) These covers continue the series and each one depicts something that directly correlates to the book, which I always LOVE. Celeaena is always so badass in these covers and the whole vibe really just fits. I think most people are fans of the new covers but I’m curious to see if there are old-cover fans!

Which do I like better? For me, it’s the new cover(s). The overall feel and vibe from this artwork really just fits the book so well and the attitude (and hair color) totally makes a difference. I also just LOVE that there’s a back view of the picture on the back cover (as in, actually seeing this image as if you were looking at it from the back) and the back cover image features Celaena in one of her dresses so we still get a pretty girl in a pretty dress cover but in a totally different way. I think it’s so clever and I love that we get to see the dresses from the back, and warrior Celaena takes precedence on the front covers.

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which covers for Throne of Glass do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 3, 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Audible, Amazon
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 25, 2016
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

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.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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** Warning: This is NOT a spoiler-free review like I usually write. I won’t give away twists from the very end but I WILL be discussing things that happened throughout the beginning and middle of the book! **

I was pleasantly surprised when I read A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES last year because going into it, I knew it was a story with a strong fae presence. By this point in time in my reading career, I wasn’t new to fantasy but I was still a bit picky about what sort of fantasy I liked and fae did not fall into that category of selected themes… But knowing how much I loved Sarah’s Throne of Glass series and the fae presence there, I dove into ACOTAR and loved it! It had a bit of a BREAKING DAWN ending so I wasn’t quite sure where the second book would go but naturally I had very, very high hopes for it since I hadn’t been let down by a Maas book yet!

I won’t sugar coat it — it actually took me a really long time to get into the swing of this book. I was enjoying the plot but the beginning felt so incredibly dramatic and I just didn’t feel like things were moving forward. There was a lot of time spent on Feyre’s PTSD from her time Under the Mountain and I absolutely understand and don’t think that her traumatic experience should be just brushed over. I do felt like there was too much time dwelling on it though. ACOMAF isn’t a short book and I think some pages could have been saved and still gotten the point across throughout a few sections in the beginning. If the book were more character-based instead of plot-driven, it might have been more appropriate but the plot really seemed to suffer because of this and this isn’t the first time I felt this way in a Maas book either. I understand that these characters have gone through something that truly does change them but I felt like I was reading about totally different characters when I started ACOMAF. Feyre and Tamlin were just not themselves and I think had ACOTAR ended with a bit more of this shadow or if it had slowly creeped in throughout ACOMAF, it wouldn’t have been as much of a surprise. I just really felt like I was thrown into a totally new environment and it was really hard for me to adjust to, especially since I had read ACOTAR over a year before I got to start ACOMAF.

I continued to have issues with Feyre throughout the book. I don’t know why but she was just really bothering me. Instead of snarky, witty comebacks, I felt like everything with her was taken as an insult and she was constantly being defensive and kind of hated everyone. It was really hard to watch her interact with characters and I started to latch onto new (or new-to-the-spotlight) characters like Rhysand and his gang. It did make me extra thankful for Rhys coming onto the scene and shaking things up, though! The interactions between Feyre and Tamlin were just unbearable and painful to read. Then I ended up on the flip side where although I didn’t want Feyre and Tamlin to still be together, I also felt really weird that Tamlin was almost totally absent from this book. He was there in the beginning and I won’t speak of the ending but this book was straight up about Feyre and Rhysand and it almost felt like a waste that we spent all that time building up a romance between Feyre and Tamlin in ACOTAR to have it totally change. I absolutely love where it went but it’s confusing to understand why the Feyre/Tamlin romance was so important and developed in ACOTAR and why Rhysand wasn’t more of a main character throughout that courtship to really get his foot even more in the door.

I’ve followed the romances in Sarah J. Maas’ books quite well, I think, considering they’re not always simple and straightforward. I know some people who have issues with love triangles or already have their OTPs with the first love interest really have trouble moving with the characters as they fall out of love or move from one interest to realize that their true match is someone else and I feel like I’ve followed along with that fairly easily. I can see where people feel like the romance in ACOMAF is a love triangle and I guess to a certain extent it is, but Feyre also does not have interest in both men at the same time. It is quite complicated though so if you’re sensitive about triangles, you almost definitely won’t like the romance.

I personally loved the development of Rhysand as a love interest, especially once Feyre really started to struggle with Tamlin. I found it telling that at the hardest points in their lives, Feyre and Tamlin drifted apart and just couldn’t find a way to even communicate instead of being able to rely on one another and get through a hard time together. That doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t be with someone but in the case of story telling, it’s a pretty big sign that the main character isn’t where they should be. I’ve heard this complaint from other Maas readers but this is the first of her books where I really felt like the romance started to take over the book. While I did love the new Rhysand/Feyre development, I felt like there was a lot of back and forth between them before anything major (finally) happened and that could have been cut down to some more meaningful interactions instead of repetitive, similar situations that happened more than a few times throughout the course of the story. Their romance actually is a very important part of the plot so it’s not like I wanted it to be downplayed but I just felt like so many points of the large general story were pushed aside to develop the romantic moments and it started to turn more romance story than epic fantasy — and yes, there are some cheesy romance book-worthy moments. Let’s just say this is NOT A YOUNG ADULT BOOK, friends. There are some very explicit scenes so if you have teens or are directing/teaching teens who are reading this series, you may not want to put this book directly into their hands. (Not that I’m saying censor them but. Ya know. Read it first so you know what you’re giving them.)

The sections where the plot progressed were really quite delightful. Sarah J. Maas is still a master at layering stories and it’s so interesting to see how much of a previous book comes back in a different light in a subsequent book. There were so many moments that the reader is able to recognize from ACOMAF and see from a different character’s perspective or reassess it with more information and it makes the story that much deeper! Once things started to really take off around halfway through and a little thereafter, the book was simply addicting and I couldn’t wait to see where the entire plot of the series was going! Sarah really does have an amazing ability to craft an overall series arc and it’s so fun to watch that develop. The ending positively floored me and it was hard to remember why I had been so frustrated for a while throughout earlier sections of the book. So many things were revealed, actions taken, and trusts betrayed that I just really didn’t know what was coming. The twists and surprises were epic and once again, I was left in utter anticipation of the next book!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Purchased from Audible
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Performance: Very good! I might not seek out more narrations from her but I did like her narrator of ACOMAF.

Jennifer Ikeda was a great narrator for Feyre! I think her demeanor really worked well with the character (or she adapted her demeanor very well to Feyre’s tone) and she was great with the quips and sass and rudeness. There were times I wasn’t totally into her narration but overall she was very good. I’m not sure if I’d seek her out but if there was another book I wanted to listen to, I’d definitely listen to her again.
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Feyre // Character obsessions: Freedom, Rhysand, independence.
Feyre was just so hard to get along with throughout the beginning of the book. I remember significantly noting that I liked how she was strong and fierce but her character did NOT feel like Celaena from Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Once Feyre started to heal and move past her PTSD, she was understandably hardened from it but then she absolutely started to feel like the same character as Celaena and I was a bit disappointed. That essence that made her feel different was gone and I loved the badassery but and took that over the weird, rough Feyre that I couldn’t get a hold on.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New Adult non-contemporary. Most of the New Adult books I read (when I do read them) are of the contemporary romance variety due to that being the main market for NA. It’s interesting to read New Adult as a fantasy! I guess it’s not really that much different than YA or Adult fantasy but it feels so much different when actually classifying it as such!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus on the plot. I’ll tell ya. I was really missing the plot in the beginning. The beginning and middle were quite character-focused which I don’t have an issue with… when I’m not expecting the book to be plot-driven. It really took me a while to adjust.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

The ending was just fantastic and really kind of made up for the rocky times I had in the beginning. If we have similar reading tastes, just beware of possibly having the same issues here!

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE WINNER'S KISS    shadow and bone

The Throne of Glass Book Tag

I had an absolute blast coming up with The Lunar Chronicles Book Tag and it was so neat to see that in inspired more book tags based off of books! The lovely Hannah from So Obsessed With and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books created one for Throne of Glass and Hannah tagged me for it so naturally I had to jump in!


Dissonance The Book of Broken Hearts The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

Lysandra | A book with a cover change you loved
I’ve seen so many cover changes along the way but had a hard time thinking of a change that I really LOVED. I remembered a few I hated and there are some that got better but weren’t too stellar. So I scrolled through Goodreads and remembered the new cover for DISSONANCE by Erica O’Rourke! This book got a makeover for the paperback and the hardcover of RESONANCE followed this new design as well and even though the mismatching makes me a little crazy, I do adore this new cover! These are my favorite colors (blue! green! teal! purple!) and I love the origami stars and how that really ties into the book.

Abraxos | A book that’s better on the inside than it looks on the outside
I despise this cover of THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler. This book was so great and it got a totally crappy, stock photo cover. The redesign was only marginally better because at least it pertained to the story a bit more but I hated how the couple on the cover looked like they were thirty and on a romance cover instead of teens on a YA cover. This book deserves way better covers because the content is so beautiful!

Erilea | A series with great world-building

I fell straight into the world in THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. Among many other amazing aspects, this world totally engulfed me and I loved learning more and more about it. There were always surprises and new things to explore and everything fell right into place.

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1) The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) Gone Girl
Rifthold | A book that combines genres

I had a hard time with my first experience with fanta-sci (I think A] I wasn’t ready for it and B] it had some world-building problems) but I absolutely adored how fantasy and sci-fi came together in TRIAL BY FIRE by Josephine Angelini! I had to adjust a bit because I think fantasy and sci-fi, as similar as they can be, are hard for me to blend sometimes but it really worked out well this book!
(And of course, The Lunar Chronicles.)

Damaris | A book based on/inspired by a myth/legend

I always think I’m going to like mythology adaptations and somehow I never really quite do… but books like THE RAVEN BOYS take on mythological incorporations so seamlessly that I didn’t even think about it as mythology until I had to categorize the book when I first reviewed, but it really does have a lot in there! Gansey is obsessed with the legend of Glendower and that’s a pretty enormous part of the series!

Kaltain Rompier | A book with an unexpected twist

I always feel like saying a book has a twist ruins the book for people. There are so many I could say but I always want to leave readers in the dark on twists so that they’re totally surprised! SO I’ll go with GONE GIRL. I finally read this book (listened on audio, rather) a couple months ago and I was so, so afraid it would get spoiled and I guess in a way it was… but there were still sooooo many twists left to explore. I had guesses on what happened to Amy but there’s still a lot more to the book even after you find out what did happen to her. I was so pleasantly surprised that even if I knew some info about the book, I still never knew where it was heading!

We Were Liars Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)
Assassin’s Keep | A book with an unreliable narrator

Ugh, I wanted to use the same book that I did for the twist question but again, I don’t want to give THAT away and since I already mentioned GONE GIRL too… Hmmm. I mean, in pretty much any psychological thriller you can expect an unreliable narrator nowadays but let’s go with WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Most people have read the book by now and know there’s a twist so… hope I didn’t spoil it for you! (Hey, the word LIAR is in the title so… that shouldn’t be a spoiler. You know SOMEONE is lying.)

Asterin Blackbeak | A book that’s got SQUAD GOALS

Harry Potter immediately popped in my head but even more so than the golden trio, how about The Order of the Phoenix? Or the DA? Seriously squad goals, my friends.

Terrasen | A book that feels like home

I really have to go with QUEEN OF SHADOWS! Okay, so this doesn’t really “feel like home” but I mentioned several times in my reviews that falling back into this series and reuniting with these characters really felt like coming home. It was a familiar place, a happy place, and a place that I found more adventures.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius | A book with the power to destroy you

Well, I’ve already mentioned several feels-ruining books already (The Name of the Wind, The Raven Boys, Queen of Shadows) so I’ll go with THE HERO OF AGES by Brandon Sanderson. It’s the last  book in the (first three books) of the Mistborn trilogy (it has spin-offs that take place later in time!) and ohhhh my gosh, I was totally ruined. Feels all over the place, series ending, finishing a binge. What a time.

Manon Blackbeak | A book that intimidated you 

Definitely A GAME OF THRONES. I started it shortly after the series came out (no wait… maybe it was after the second season was coming out… or something) so now I had to read a whole massive series before I could start watching the show AND it was a huge fantasy series when I was still getting my feet wet with some serious adult fantasy. It was super intimidating but we did the series read as a read along and it was not only manageable but so much fun!

Rowan Whitethorn | A book that makes you swoon

All the swoons forever and ever for Etienne St. Clair. I think he’s still my number one book boyfriend even after the countless books (okay, I can count them. But it’s a LOT) that I’ve read throughout my lifetime. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins always captures my heart!

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1) The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

Chaol Westfall | A book that challenged you to see things differently
I think I’ll go with CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. That book totally blew me away (GAH that would have been a good unreliable narrator book! Sheesh, I’m all over the place here) and it made me rethink my aversion to historical fiction. I know the book is still fiction but it does have a lot of real history in there too and it was so interesting to really learn something as I was reading.

Fleetfoot | A book that you received as a gift

At my rehearsal dinner for my wedding, all of my bridesmaids put together a gift which consisted of a hand-picked book for me with a note written inside. My sister bought me the illustrated 40th Anniversary edition of THE PRINCESS BRIDE which is so gorgeous. Not only were the books amazing but even more importantly, the notes inside made me cry! It was such an awesome gift.

Eye of Elena | A book you found right when you needed it

This is a super hard question! Hmmm. I think I’ll go with IF I STAY by Gayle Forman. I wasn’t too sure about YA contemporary when I first started reading YA and I ended up picking up IF I STAY from the library. I fell head over heels in love with the story and it renewed my faith in pretty much everything — contemporary, YA, reading, beautiful stories in general. It was absolutely perfect timing and launched my love for Gayle Forman!


So there you have it! Those are my choices for the Throne of Glass book tag! Thanks again to Hannah and Alexa for putting that together! What do you think?

This is the part where I tag other people to join in the fun so I’m tagging… Andi from Andi’s ABCs and Amy from Tripping Over Books! (Or anyone else who hasn’t been tagged and wants to do it!)

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 25, 2014
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

     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.
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2014 was the year I became a Sarah J. Maas fan. Yes, I was a bit late to the game but I devoured the first three books in her debut Throne of Glass series and that made me even more excited for her new series releasing in the spring of 2015, A Court of Thorns and Roses. Thankfully, I got to read the first book in the series (of the same name) early. VERY early. In December, in fact, which I’m almost positive is the earliest I’ve ever read a book before it was published but I just knew I had to read it as soon as possible and I was definitely not wrong about this! A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is a book you will want to read as soon as you can get your hands on it because it certainly did not disappoint!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is described as “a blending of Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore” and that’s a pretty accurate description — but what I loved the most about the book is that the Beauty and the Beast hints are very subtle. There are moments that definitely reminded me of the fairy tale (and even other fairy tales as well) but ACOTAR was very much its own story. Blending is absolutely the perfect word. It’s not a retelling and I suppose it could be described as a loose adaptation or interpretation but ACOTAR is absolutely unique, thrilling, and  mysterious.

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know I NEVER used to like faerie stories. In fact, I actively avoided them, convinced faeries were just one thing I would never get along with as far as my fiction went but Sarah J. Maas not only made me excited about picking up a book about fae but absolutely had me falling in love with it. I think for me, part of the reason why it stuck was that Feyre — the heroine of the book — was not fae herself. After crossing the High Fae that rule the lands to the north, she avoids punishment by death by going to live with with the Prince of the Spring Court (see the subtle Beauty and the Beast feel there?) and the readers along with Feyre discover the mysteries and politics of the fae little by little. I really feel like the human aspect really kept me linked to the story whereas if there had been no human characters and only fae, I might not have had the same reaction.

The characters in this book were just phenomenal and the dynamic between each and every one of them was fantastic. Each character is so carefully crafted and it was fascinating to see just how entwined all of their stories were. I loved watching those connections unfold and how each new piece of the puzzle affected the friendships and relationships between each character and Feyre as well as amongst the rest of the cast. Each relationship is utterly unique, special, and important and these characters really just brought the book to life.

The overall plot of the book was just wonderful as well. The action picked up and slowed down at just the right times. There was plenty of time for world building while we were learning about characters and even throughout action scenes. Sarah J. Maas is a master at layering plots and outlining an overall series (as I’ve learned from her Throne of Glass series which is only on book three out of six and I’m already incredibly impressed) so with what I’ve already learned from one volume of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’m already highly anticipating what else we will get to learn and what else will be built upon the things we’ve learned from the first book.

Every reveal feels perfectly timed. Every action scene feels perfectly choreographed. Every character feels utterly real. The romance aspects just made me melt and the struggle felt REAL. The forbidden romance aspect really heats things up and also brings tension levels too an all-time high. It stressed me out but also those moments where things finally fall into place — even if only for a second — give you just the best feeling in the world.

I just love how Sarah’s writing grows with each book she writes and I look forward to reading every single one of her works in the future. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES was absolutely delightful to read (agony and all) and I’m so glad I didn’t wait as long as I had to start Throne of Glass. I won’t make that mistake any more! This book deserves all of the praise and hype that it’s getting and I think it appeals to a wide range of readers — from YA to adult, fantasy to romance — A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES really has it all.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

A Court of Thorns and Roses updates

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Feyre // Character Obsessions: Her family, her vow, duty, love, freedom.
Feyre is another fantastically strong character from Sarah J. Maas and it’s wonderful to see the same confidence and strength that Celaena possesses but to be able to see the two heroines from each series as totally separate characters. I feel like too often it’s easy to compare characters from different series when they possess some of the same traits, but Feyre was definitely not Celaena 2.0 — she definitely had the strength and attitude to rival Celaena but she always felt 100% unique.
Lucien // Character Obsessions: Friendship, loyalty, bravery, passion.
I know that Tamlin is the main interest here but I absolutely LOVED Lucien. Tamlin was definitely a bit more broody and serious (which don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed) but I immediately latched on to Lucien’s snark and attitude. He was SO much fun and I loved how protective he was of Tamlin too. It was totally a great bromance between these two men and I really, really loved their friendship. I also loved Lucien’s character development throughout the book and how his interactions with each character evolved. Gah. I just loved him.
Rhysand // Character Obsessions: Amarantha, the Night Court, tricks, secrets.
Okay, Rhysand HAS to be mentioned because I actually kind of loved him too. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with him… except for that fact that I didn’t really hate him and actually loved him. But you WANT to kind of hate him. He’s a very complicated and complex character and along with Rhysand himself toying with Feyre, the pondering about his character and his actual place in the story sort of messes with you too. There was just something about him that was so appealing but also kind of made you want to hate him… So naturally I loved the conflict!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Faeries. I am NOT a fae person like at all… But I just totally click with Sarah’s stories and actually get EXCITED for books about faeries and THAT is something pretty magical.
Left Me Wanting More: X factor. Okay, I don’t even know what that means. But I don’t know how else to describe it! I LOVED everything about this book but there was just a teeny tiny bit of something that wasn’t quite five stars but it was honestly 4.5 stars to 4.75!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

This is definitely a book and series that you want to start! I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to read more of this series. I’m so impressed by Sarah J. Maas’ writing and I am totally a big, big fan. Definitely an auto-buy author for me!

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        SHADOW AND BONE   daughter of smoke and bone

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) – Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 3, 2014
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

    Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
    While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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** This is a spoiler-free review for HEIR OF FIRE but please note that there ARE spoilers for the first two books, THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, if you have not already read them. **

HEIR OF FIRE in one word? Brilliance. I’ve binge read the series up to this point and I think that makes it even more obvious to me how much Sarah J. Maas has already grown as a writer throughout this series as it stands. With each book in the series, my love for it only grew and by the time I finished HEIR OF FIRE, I was pretty much in total awe of what Sarah’s done with this series so far.

HEIR OF FIRE is by far the longest book yet at over 500 pages, but it’s one of those books that never felt long. The book follows the story lines of characters we’ve grown to love in previous books (Celaena, Dorian, Chaol) but we also get a new major plot and character with Manon Blackbeak, a fiercely awesome witch with a badass attitude. At first I was afraid with the introduction of a new character receiving their own story line (though I know it will eventually tie into the main-Celaena story line) because I recently had a more negative experience with this concept and it kind of ruined part of the book for me. BUT I know I shouldn’t have doubted because Sarah J. Maas is a master-plotter and even though Manon didn’t end up connecting with Celaena and the gang in HEIR OF FIRE, there’s no doubt that she’s going to play an important role in this series and I never once felt like her story was irrelevant. It added a hefty amount to read, but I loved every minute I spent with Manon and I can’t wait to see more of her in future books.

My absolute favorite thing about HEIR OF FIRE was the fact that now that we’re three books in, readers are able to see larger pieces of the puzzle. Since this series is longer than the current trilogy fad, there’s so much more time to be able to detail not only the characters but the plot as well. Longer arcs don’t have to be rushed and there’s so much more time to let ideas and mysteries simmer. In HEIR OF FIRE, we see certain items and events and places from THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and how they all tie together. There were several instances in which I had totally forgotten about something because it had already been used as a major plot point in previous books BUT its role in the series isn’t done and that just totally blew my mind. I feel like I’ve read so many series lately that use certain elements and then they get discarded, specifically put in the story for that one event. Not that I have an issue with that — more so that I was just so impressed to see how carefully Sarah J. Maas has crafted this overall series arc and how well all of the books flow from one to the next.

The character growth has also seriously impressed me. If you’ve read the novellas, you’ve pretty much seen Celaena’s entire history (aside from the more mysterious aspect of her childhood but no worries because *flails* you get more info in HEIR OF FIRE!!) and know exactly how she acted when we first met her — confident, cocky, brash, and invincible. After her time in Endovier, she became much more closed off, but still had an air of arrogance about her. Even after everything she’s been through, Celaena still somewhat has a sense of entitlement, but new character Rowan is NOT having it — and I was SO thankful for his presence in this book! I like Celaena. I really do… but she needed someone like Rowan to come in and really change her perspective a bit. Celaena IS so good at what she does and she does have that confidence in what she can do that it’s hard for someone else to really challenge her. Rowan is the perfect person to really push Celaena to become a better person in many different aspects of her life and I loved how much he enhanced this book and helped Celaena keep moving forward. I think she really needed someone like him to do that.

I feel like I could talk about this book forever but I’ll wrap it up with the reiteration of how much this book amazed me. At only a quarter of the way in, things were already escalating to the point where I was floored by what was going on and there were still so many adventures left to have in the book. By the time I reached the end, I was nearing the point of being speechless. HEIR OF FIRE was simply magical to read and I absolutely cannot wait for the rest of the series. It’s clear that Sarah J. Maas just keeps improving her writing with each book and I look forward to seeing where she takes us for the rest of this journey.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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THIS BOOK THOUGH. I don’t usually swear in my reviews/updates/on Twitter but “holy shit” were the only words I could use to describe that last part of the book. 

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Celaena // Character Obsessions: Magic, training, protection.
I think Celaena really grew up in this book… quite a bit. That was a really great thing for me personally because sometimes I got a taaaad bit annoyed with her attitude and cockiness but I think she really just needed someone to help her realize that she may think she’s acting like an adult and yes, she may really have the skills she feels confident of but there’s still so much more to learn. Celaena needed to learn how to conquer some things she was hiding from and also how to let the right people in.
Rowan // Character Obsessions: Training Celaena, duty, responsibility, loyalty.
Rowan is my new favorite character. I absolutely loved his role in this book and there couldn’t have been a better time for someone like him to appear here. His character really just blew me away and I LOVED the relationship that he and Celaena developed. They really grew to respect one another and I couldn’t have asked for more.
Manon // Character Obsessions: Honor, winning, leadership, wyverns.
Manon was also awesome and I did not think I would feel that way about her. Her story was amazing to witness and it was great to see how much my feelings changed for her the more I read about her. I can’t wait to see how she fits in to the overall plot when her storyline does connect!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Big books. I’m so thankful for how long this book was. I NEVER say that. Usually I’m afraid of the bigger books because they just take so long to read and even though this did take me a while to finish, I enjoyed every word and didn’t want it to end. Don’t let the size intimidate you because every word was enjoyable and absolutely necessary!
Left Me Wanting More: … Of the series? I binge read the series up until this point…. MAYBE not the best idea since I had instant gratification with being able to read the next book and now I have to wait a loooong time for the next. Whoops?

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

I already loved the series, but whoooooo boy, HEIR OF FIRE totally floored me. I’m so impressed with how much the series has grown so far and I can’t wait to read more of it! If you’re hesitant, take it from me — IT’S ALL WORTH IT.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HEIR OF FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     dreams of gods and monsters    rift nightshade #1

 

 

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) – Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: August 27, 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 7, 2014
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

    She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known.But where will her conscience, and her heart, lead her?After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
    Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she willing to fight for?

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** This is a spoiler-free review for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT but please note that there ARE spoilers for the first book, THRONE OF GLASS, if you have not already read it! **

True to everyone’s word, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT really was the sequel that blew THRONE OF GLASS out of the water. Don’t get me wrong — I really did love THRONE OF GLASS — but Sarah J. Maas really stepped everything up a notch in this fantastic sequel and I was hooked from the first page!

Okay so… where do I start? Really everything about this book was quite amazing. One thing that really sticks out to me is how much more the relationships developed between all of the characters, really. I love the friendship that develops between Dorian and Celaena after where they leave things in book one. Dorian is actually one of my favorite characters. I love that in THRONE OF GLASS, there was a bit of tension between the two best friends — Dorian and Chaol — regarding Celaena, but it never really felt love triangle-y. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT could have easily carried the series straight through a love triangle, but I’m so thankful that instead, Dorian becomes more of a friend to Celaena. Yes, he does still have his jealous moments at times when things flare up between Chaol and Celaena (and do they EVER) but it was handled so well and everything felt really natural. The characters just have such authentic reactions and feelings — I really just loved how they all intertwined.

I really felt like the plot grew exponentially more complex as well. It was so great to have some really wonderful surprises! I felt like THRONE OF GLASS was a little predictable at times (though not in a bad way because I really enjoyed the book) but CROWN OF MIDNIGHT really kept me on my toes! There are a few really great twists and one REALLY BIG SHOCKING THING. Sarah J. Maas really kept the punches coming in this book, whoo boy.

It was really great to see some more fantastic world building as well. I felt like a lot of world building and setting the stage was done in the novellas (which I read even before THRONE OF GLASS), but THRONE OF GLASS dove more into the plot and characters than it did the world. I loved seeing more of the history behind each region, a few backstories pop up for some of the characters, and a real understanding of what exactly the magical system is and how it works since we received a basic understanding in book one. Each one of these things is so well described in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and the depth of it all really allowed me to sink so much further into this series and let myself get lost.

This book was really just epic — there’s no better way to sum it up. The romance, the friendships, the character building, the world building — really everything just becomes so much more detailed and I really sank my teeth into CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. Oh my gosh, THE ENDING. From about halfway through until the end, the book just takes off — full of action, deceit, love, adventure, mysteries, loss — it’s just incredible and it left me reeling in anticipation of HEIR OF FIRE!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Celaena // Character Obsessions: Wyrdkeys, friendship, nobility, honor.
I loved watching Celaena slowly change and mature from the novellas, through THRONE OF GLASS, and into CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. Despite the fact that she’s an assassin and she has amazing confidence in herself, she often has an inner-battle with choosing the right thing to do and moments of cowardice. It’s really incredible to see how realistic this inner-struggle is and to see how Celaena chooses to react to things based on what she knows of herself as well as how her friends around her perceive her actions.
Chaol // Character Obsessions: Celaena, duty, respect, friendship.
Um, YES. Okay. I’m getting the whole Chaol obsession now! I really liked him as a love interest (and yes, as a person too) in book one, but he’s really grown on me quite a bit! I love his passion for everything that he does — his position in the castle, his friendship with Dorian, his feelings for Celaena. Oh, it just kills me!
Dorian // Character Obsessions: Honor, thinking for himself, answers, the future.
DORIAN. I love him! I honestly think he’s my favorite character — even more so than Celaena and Chaol. I just really connect with him for some reason. I love his personality and honestly some THINGS happen with him in this book and that was one of the most exciting parts of the whole book for me haha!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fae. Omg you guys, look at me growing to like books involving worlds with fae! You know I’m not big into fairy worlds and plot, but I really love how all of that is incorporated to the series story line. It was really interesting to learn more about it!
Left Me Wanting More: Um… sensitivity? I’m evil. You know the one big thing in this book that is like THE biggest shocker and heart-wrencher? Didn’t hit me as hard as it did everyone else. I won’t give away what it was, but those of you who have read, we can discuss!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

I’m so happy to be falling in love with this series! CROWN OF MIDNIGHT really made sure of that too. I’ve already started HEIR OF FIRE and am thrilled to be gobbling it up! (Although that creates difficulties waiting for the next book… Oops. Didn’t think about that.)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CROWN OF MIDNIGHT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     dreams of gods and monsters    rift nightshade #1

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) – Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: August 7, 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Barnes & Noble
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 20, 2014
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

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 three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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.

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I first tried to read THRONE OF GLASS almost two years ago when it first came out and for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t a big fantasy reader back then so maybe it was just the wrong time for me, but I eventually let it go back to the library unfinished, knowing I wanted to give it another shot someday. When Bloomsbury introduced their Throne of Glass series read along, I knew that was the perfect time to dive back in and hope I would enjoy it this time around!

As I said in my review for the novellas, I owe Nikki from There Were Books Involved a huge thanks for encouraging me to read the novellas first. Since I was hesitant to get back to THRONE OF GLASS due to my less than exciting first attempt, I really wanted to get to know the world and characters better and I felt like I had a good grip on what this world was really all about when I started THRONE OF GLASS. The only downside to reading the novellas first, I think, was that… well, I actually enjoyed the atmosphere of them a bit more. Well, don’t get me wrong — I really did enjoy ToG too, but there was definitely a different feel, and rightly so. Celaena went through hell and back before ToG even started so when we first see her in the beginning of the novel, she’s already quite a different person in some ways than she was before.

I couldn’t help but make comparisons to THE HUNGER GAMES for some reason. In the novel, Celaena is entered into the competition to become the king’s champion and for whatever reason, I got a real Katniss vibe from her, though I think this easily happens with several strong female characters in similar situations. But this wasn’t a bad thing! I really admired Celaena’s dedication to her friends, her determination to win the competition to better her life, and her flat out talent. The aspect of the whole competition thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was that it seemed fairly predictable. I guess it can’t really end any other way, but I was hoping for a bigger twist or two, I think.

I think what I enjoyed most is that while this was an enjoyable first book and I felt like it could have used a little more “oomph” here and there, Sarah J. Maas doesn’t rush into cramming all of the twists and surprises and plot elements all at once. It’s a longer series (six books instead of the common trilogy nowadays) so there’s plenty of time to allow plot to develop and for characters to grow. It had a very specific story line that wrapped up nicely for book one and at the same time led in perfectly to book two, and the best part about all of that is that it got me excited for the rest of the series.

THRONE OF GLASS was definitely an interesting read for me and thank goodness it held my attention this time! I think it was just right book but wrong time when I first attempted it and the novellas really did ground me in this world so I didn’t have to discover what it was all about all at once. The book didn’t totally knock me over but I really, really enjoyed it and I’m so excited to continue on with the series. I totally understand why so many people are in love with Sarah J. Maas’ books!

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

tog

I started this book almost two years ago and just wasn’t in the right place for it. So glad I came back and tried again!!

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Celaena Sardothien // Character Obsessions: Freedom, becoming the King’s champion, trust, friendship.
It’s interesting to see the change in Celaena from the novellas to THRONE OF GLASS. She’s definitely not the same person after everything that happened to her and everything she went through in the salt mines… I definitely appreciate reading the novellas first so I was able to see the person that she was before the most terrible things in her life had happened to her, and yet, you can still tell she’s very much the same person in many ways as well. I loved getting to know her better and now the reader gets more of a detailed plot line with more adventure whereas the novellas were more getting to know Celaena and her history.
Chaol Westfall // Character Obsessions: Duty, honor, pride.
Starting to understand the whole Chaol love obsession here! I really enjoyed his character in THRONE OF GLASS and I loved him as one of the main characters. He’s definitely in a precarious position for so many reasons and I loved watching how he handled each delicate situation. It was a bit maddening at times… but in a good way!
Dorian Havilliard // Character Obsessions: Family, friendship, standing up for what is right.
I kind of loved Dorian. He was such a personable character that even when he was painted in, shall we say, not the fondest light, I still loved him. He felt very human and I really connected with him probably even more than I did with Celaena and Chaol. He’s in a tough spot in his family and he wants to do what’s right but at the same time doesn’t always know what that means in his life. Definitely a gem and I love what Sarah J. Maas does with his character.

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Kept Me Hooked On: High fantasy. I think I’m pretty much solid on the fact that I really enjoy high fantasy now. I felt like it was important to note because when I first attempted the book, I really didn’t. I was just starting to dip into fantasy and for some reason this book wasn’t catching me… No issues with that now! It’s become one of my favorite things to read.
Left Me Wanting More: Adventure. There are six books in the series so yes, we’re slowing building up the adventure bit by bit. The training and competition scenes for the King’s Champion were… okay. I enjoyed them still but it felt a bit like The Hunger Games in a way. Not in a bad way, but I guess I just expect more glorious adventures in high fantasy… Although not to worry since I’ve already read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and I know things DO pick up!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

This is really the start of a great series and I can already tell I’m going to get really into this one. I’ve already read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and I’m toying with starting HEIR OF FIRE ASAP!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THRONE OF GLASS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 Graceling    The Kiss of Deception

 

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 – 0.5) – Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 – 0.5) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 13, 2014
Related Posts: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out

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** In full disclosure, I actually read the novellas individually but for conveniency’s sake, I’m reviewing as the full book, The Assassin’s Blade; therefore, I am missing the one novella that was not available for purchase outside of TAB **

I had been meaning to start THRONE OF GLASS for a long time and was juuuust about to start it when Nikki from There Were Books Involved advised me to read the novellas first. See, this would haven’t been my first read of THRONE OF GLASS. I had actually tried back when the book first came out in 2012 and made it about 80 pages before my book was due back the library… But I hadn’t been really interested it in. I had found it a bit hard to get into and I think I wasn’t at a point in my reading life at that point in time where I could really appreciate fantasy as much as I do now. When Nikki advised me to read the novellas first because they actually helped her appreciate THRONE OF GLASS that much more, I decided that was definitely the best route for me.

The funny story is… I was only able to borrow some digitally from my local library so I had to purchase the others… and ended up accidentally reading them out of order (I read the third one first and the first one third). It didn’t really affect my overall opinion too much, but more of a funny little story which obviously wouldn’t have happened if I was actually reading THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE. Oh well!

THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD is the first novella of the bunch (and the one I ended up reading third. Oops) and I’m actually kind of glad I ended up reading it out of order. I really loved all of the novellas but I think this one was my least favorite. Since I read the third one first, I already knew essentially what happened here and it wasn’t that it was anticlimactic but more so that I had already seen a more mature Celaena — even two novellas later — so I grew a bit impatient with her at times. It wasn’t a huge deal for me, but I did notice it a bit. I also felt like the plot was probably the least interesting out of the four that I read and felt more like a string of sequences than something that really flowed. It did have quite a bit of important foreshadowing in there, though, and it was really great to get that foundation for both the world and the characters. This was also an extremely important story because it really sets to motion absolutely everything that leads up to THRONE OF GLASS.

The second novella (skipping over the one that is only in TaB… so technically # 0.3) is THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT. I think I enjoyed this more than THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD because Celaena really starts to learn things about herself and is both mentally and physically pushed to the limits on so many levels. It’s easy to know who you think you are but once you’re put in extremely trying situations, you start to see the person you really are and what weaknesses emerge. It was heartbreaking too, because I think Celaena really opened up and discovered a lot about herself but then both of those things made her close herself off again. I really loved the relationships in this novella a lot and I think it was a really important piece of Celaena’s background that we got to know.

The next novella was THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD (that I accidentally read first) and I just fell in love. It was so intriguing and so complex for a novella! I really felt like I got to know all of the characters so intimately and each of the characters — as well as the plot lines — really begin to grow. There were TWISTS and things I did not see coming and it was probably one of the best novellas I have read in a long time (maybe ever?)… That is until….

THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE — HOLY CRAP, you guys. This novella BROKE me. It was flat out amazing and also set up a lot for THRONE OF GLASS but there were so many things I didn’t expect and so many things that completely floored me. If you read the main novels first — as goes for any of these novellas — you already know what happens in the end but I got to experience all of that backstory first hand and it was… well it was a wild ride. This is one of THE best novellas I’ve ever read and all of these are worth the read, whether you’ve already read all of the books so far in the series or not.

My overall opinion of the novellas is that they’re must-reads for fans of this series. I know a lot of people actually aren’t a fan of novellas but these four (and I’m assuming the fifth that I haven’t read yet) all fit together to really kind of form a whole new story in one book. I read them all before I started THRONE OF GLASS which you don’t have to do, but I really enjoyed it because these are all prequel novellas and I really felt like I was reading the series in chronological order. Given what I’ve learned so far in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I think it’s important to read these novellas before book two because there is a lot of history explained there that really makes more sense and draws on more emotions if you’ve read the novellas first.  

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Celaena // Character Obsessions: Clothes, books, training, fighting, Sam, and erm… kiling.
Celaena is totally badass. She’s not always my favorite heroine in terms of the way she handles herself and reacts to certain situations but I really respect her and hell. It’s not like I could ever be in her shoes. I really enjoy her stories and I loved learning about her past in these novellas.
Sam // Character Obsessions: Working his way up in the ranks, loyalty, pride, Celaena.
Oh, Sam Cortland. I just loved him. I thought he was the perfect balance for Celaena in so many ways. I actually think he’s still one of my favorite characters in the entire series so far.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Prequels. Even though I read this before I started the series so it was like “starting at the beginning” for me, I just love prequel novellas. I’m sure authors have tons of background that they probably have to write down in order to really round out some of their characters so I love reading that extra information and getting that info in a novella!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection with Celaena. I actually really grew to like her a lot more in each novella the more I got to know about her, but it wasn’t a little bit hard to really feel like I related to her in the very beginning.

Addiction Rating
READ THE NOVELLAS!!

If you’re a fan of this series at all, I think the novellas are really important to both world building and character development, but especially character development for me. There’s so much history in them and I think it’s really important to know and see it firsthand.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

Graceling    The winner's Curse