Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

3 stars

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

Six of Crows was one of the top books of 2015 for me, it reinforced my love for Leigh Bardugo after the Grisha series. I fell in love with the characters and the possibilities, and after the ending I was dying for the next book.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

It didn’t live up to my expectations.

After finishing this book I thought on it a lot and I think what didn’t work for me was the first book was heavily character driven, and had so so many feels that I ate right up. With Crooked Kingdom I honestly didn’t feel much for the characters. The plot was the main focus and it was like there was so much crammed in that there was no room for feels, only a few feels made the cut.

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Things I enjoyed:
-The development of Wylan and Jesper as characters. In the first book, while they were MC’s, the other four caught my attention more often. That was not the case here, I found myself wishing for the POV chapters of these two. We got a lot more background on Wylan and his family, same with Jesper. It helped develop them immensely and connected me to them as a reader.

-Bardugo’s writing: her lyrical writing is what made this book a three instead of a two. I found myself lingering on some sentences and the power behind the words. The imagery was stunning, world building two thumbs up. Bardugo has only improved her writing style with time.

What didn’t work for me:
-Kaz and Inej: after the build up for them as a couple in the first book I found this one lacking. I wasn’t longing for their POVs because nothing was happening, they didn’t go anywhere for me.

-Nina and Matthias: Same thing with them, HUGE build up in book 1, felt totally brushed over in this book. And one huge spoilery thing happened……… I didn’t feel a thing :/

Anyways, I think I am in the minority. Many other people loved this book, and you may too. Six of Crows is still hands down one of my favorite YA novels ever, so don’t let this review deter you from reading that book.

“How many times have you told me you’re a monster? So be a monster. Be the thing they all fear when they close their eyes at night.”

Advertisements

The Winner’s Crime

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkowski

4 stars

“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.”

Boy am I glad I waited to read this book, because holy mother of cliffhangers! Now I can continue to the next one no waiting. Waiting would have sucked!

The second book in a trilogy, The Winner’s Crime continues after the events of the first book. If you have not read the first book, there will be spoilers pertaining to that in this review. Otherwise it should be spoiler free.

Kestrel is engaged to the son of the Emperor, a deal she made to free Herrani from war with her country. Arin has become governor of his people and must lead them however he can. Kestrel’s engagement has landed her in a political web, one where she must always be on her guard. When it comes to Arin, he is her only weakness and she will do whatever she can to keep him safe. Arin is left frustrated and in the dark, feeling one way for Kestrel despite signs that he should forget her and let her go….

“An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that it wasn’t how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she’d heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer.”

This second book was a lot more political than the first. The first being more about the romance and rebellion, this one was about secrets and intrigue. If you are shipping Arin and Kestrel, it is a painful couple to wish for because the two of them cannot seem to get a break. Kestrel is trying to keep Arin safe, and Arin just wants answers which will put him in danger.

I think this was a great follow up to the first book, but I didn’t have the LOVE IT feelings I did for The Winner’s Curse. But it is thoroughly enjoyable and I liked the story the author weaved, making it difficult to guess what would happen next. My heart bled for all of the heroes of this book and I wanted all of the villains to die! I cannot wait to read the next book.

“Sometimes you think you want something when in reality you need to let it go.”

I won this paperback copy in a Goodreads giveaway. About a year ago. I’m so sorry it took me so long to read this book! I wanted to wait for the final book to be released before diving in, which I don’t regret.

Soundless

Soundless by Richelle Mead

4 stars

“Look what we’ve done so far. We’re pretty good at the impossible.”

I didn’t expect to like this one. The only book I’ve ever read by this author was Vampire Academy, and I wasn’t super impressed by that one (despite loving the movie as a guilty pleasure). So Soundless was a bit of a risk going in, but the premise is what had me intrigued.

Fei lives in a small village in China, up on the mountains where they can only be reached by zip line. Years ago an avalanche blocked all exits from the village leaving the people up there for hundreds of years. The village has worked out a negotiation where they send down materials they mine, and food is sent up. The entire population is deaf and has been for a long time. But recently the people have begun to go blind as well.

One day Fei wakes up suddenly and she can hear. This opens up new possibilities of escape and a life greater for her people than just working in the mines. Fei and a childhood friend decide to make their way down the mountain, and what they find changes their lives.

“I went to the library seeking information on what might bring hearing back, but now I wonder if there’s a way to make it go away again. I can’t see why our ancestors thought hearing was such a great thing, why they mourned its loss so much. It’s jarring and distracting, making it impossible to focus on anything else.”

As I said before, I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. This book flowed fairly quickly and was fast paced, despite a lot of it being descriptions of surroundings and characters. I liked Fei as a character, she had hard choices to make and ultimately was a good person and made the right ones.

I am very glad this was a standalone, another book after this would have just stretched the story. It’s refreshing to come across a YA fantasy standalone as most publishers are making things trilogies for the money. The ending of this felt a bit rushed after all of the build up, but was still a great way to end things. Very romance light, with a hint of what is to come in the future.

If you want to try a different kind of YA novel, I recommend this one. It’s a very refreshing and unique read among a genre where similarities and tropes are endless.

“Some things don’t need words. Sometimes it’s enough to just feel. You don’t have to label and articulate all that’s around you.”

Winter

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

3.5 stars!

First off I want to give Marissa Meyer a high five for a fantastic YA fantasy series.

 photo 2.png

Rarely would you ever pitch Cinderella with androids and have me be at all interested, but this series was the exception. Now the wait for this last book:

Just kidding. It was only 2 years. But still that felt like forever. Going into this book I had a hard time remembering what had gone down in Cress, and I also didn’t read Fairest (I have no interest in Levana’s story) so I read some of the lovely reviews on Goodreads of Cress to refresh my memory and it helped.

 photo Untitled_1.png

Winter begins with all of the characters in a bind. Kai is with Cinder’s crew and Scarlet is trapped on Lunar under Winter’s protection. The goal is to go to Lunar, sneak in and overthrow Levana as Queen and put Cinder in as the rightful Princess Selene.

I don’t want to be any more specific as to not give away any spoilers. But there is 800 pages in this book so a lot happens. I really enjoyed this book even though it took me 6 days to read (give me a break it’s 800 pages!!!). Meyer’s writing flows really well and I couldn’t put the book down.

So why not a perfect 5 stars? Well, while I enjoyed the book I honestly thought it was way too long with a crap ton of build up and then a super fast and somewhat unsatisfying ending. Lots of issues presented throughout the book were not resolved and considering this book was as I already said, 800 pages, I feel like some things could have been cut out and these issues resolved instead. I won’t post them because they contain spoilers, but I will say it involves Cress, Thorne, Winter, Jacin, Cinder, Kai and Wolfe. Basically everyone but Scarlet. I need more clarification on their endings instead of the “happily ever after” at the end. (my GR friend Jessica presented a lot of these issues in her review so I recommend reading her review for specifics).

I did have the opportunity of meeting Meyer on her Winter tour and I loved the tale of Snow White she told us. As I was reading Winter I could see where lots of her inspirations came from when she told us Snow White, so it did enhance my reading experience and made it a little bit more fun.

Lastly, my favorite couples from the series in favorite order:
-Scarlet and Wolfe
-Cress and Thorne
-Cinder and Kai
-Winter and Jacin (sorry ladies, he was a dick most of the time).

On that note I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it despite my nit-pickings above. I can also say Meyer is one of those authors whom I will read anything she comes out with.

 photo 1_1.png

I know this isn’t my best review. I tried 😛

Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

4.5 stars!

“Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.”

 photo darktriumph.png

These books just keep getting better and better!

A daughter of Saint Mortain, Sybella has been trained in the art of assassinry and death. Now that she is a grown woman and fully prepared, the nuns send Sybella to return to her childhood home to spy on her father, and to endure the horrors within.

One evening, Sybella is tasked with aiding the prisoner, Beast, in his escape from the dungeon. From there I cannot say more, as it would give away much of the plot.

“Jewels can be replaced. Independence, once lost, cannot.”

First off, I’d like to note that I rarely if ever, read and enjoy historical fiction. My undergraduate major was general history, so I tend to find historical inaccuracies in many of the HF books I read and it bugs me. I always find myself second guessing what’s happening. For example I end up asking myself questions or making statements such as: “Why are you not pregnant already?!” or “They would never be unchaperoned in that time period.” or “That is such a modern word phrasing, they would never say that.” I never found myself doing these things when reading these books. Since this series has an element of magic, I pretty much have been able to overlook these. Plus, these books are just so good that I throw all of my history pet peeves out of the window.

I liked this book so much better than the first one for many reasons. For one, I found the main characters to be incredibly interesting and way more complex than the MC’s in the first book.

Sybella: she is cunning, smart, untrustworthy, not quick to trust others, haunted, and abused.

Beast: A man described as that ugly has never been more attractive in the readers’ eyes. Beast was a strong, kind, funny, loyal and caring man, and quite honestly, the perfect man for Sybella.

The romance between Beast and Sybella, while not at the forefront of the book, contained some of the sweetest moments. I love the two of them together. It made sense that Sybella would look past Beast’s not so handsome features and see him for the valuable man he was on the inside. Beast was also huge so he could easily overcome her in a fight, which not many can do. These characters, they just clicked right together.

The continuation of the themes from the first book was present in this book.
Do not use a higher power to justify your own actions.
-Think for yourself and make your OWN conclusions.
-(specific to the book) Just because someone is marked, does not mean they need to be assassinated.

Basically I loved this book. The only thing I don’t really care for is the political plot, as it doesn’t interest me. But it cannot be avoided as it is essential to the plot, so I do my best not to skim it.

“Truly, we are the gods’ own children, forged in the fire of our tortured pasts, but also blessed with unimaginable gifts.”

 photo horseandgirl.png

Note: This book is the 2nd in a series and the 1st book must be read before this one in order to understand what is going on.

Grace Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

4 stars!

“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”

Battered and abused for the majority of her life, Ismae is saved right after her wedding ceremony from a disgusting man and sent to a convent of Mortain’s, the God of Death. There, she is schooled in the art of being an assassin and dedicated to carry out his work. For 3-4 years she is trained in many different ways to kill a man, and when she becomes 17 she is sent on her first assignment. Fairly soon Ismae is wrapped up in a mission to help the Duchess of Brittany, and forced to work with a man named Duval, who also does not want Ismae’s help.

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

I’ve read and heard many mixed reviews on this book since it’s publication, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I really liked this book, but it fell short of that something special that would make me love it.

Ismae is a very compelling character, if a bit ill-prepared for the assignment she was given. Duval was interesting as well, but I never really felt as if the reader really got to know him. The relationship between him and Ismae could technically be filed under slow-build, but it felt forced to me. I wish more time had been spent building their relationship because it very much felt like it went from “I can’t trust you” to “We will do our best to be together in the future” in a matter of 50 pages or so. The aboutface was too quick for my tastes.

“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”

I’m also not a giant fan of political plots in my fantasy/science fiction novels and this book was primarily that. It was done very well, but I grew a bit tiresome of it by the end of the book.

^^^Despite all of these issues I listed above, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I felt it was a very fresh idea in the young adult genre. The book also promoted important aspects such as to think for yourself, second chances, and first impressions are not always correct. All very important themes for a ya novel.

I am very excited to read Sybella’s book next, I feel like she would be an incredibly interesting character.

Heir of Fire

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

I’d give it 10 stars if I could, but 5 out of 5 stars for now 🙂

“You didn’t need a weapon at all when you were born one.”

 photo heiroffirecollage.png

This is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

Heir of Fire begins with Celeana drunk and mistaken for a vagrant in a distant land. She is approached by the fae warrior Rowan, who is sworn to her Aunt Maeve, and they journey together to her realm to meet with her. In order for Celeana to obtain the secrets of the Wyrdmarks from Maeve, she must train with Rowan and prove herself worthy of entering Doranelle, where she will find the knowledge she seeks.

Rowan and Celeana clash instantly. Rowan believes Celeana to be nothing but a spoiled, royal brat (which we all know is the furthest thing from the truth) and Celeana sees Rowan as a judgmental tyrant. Training together tests both of their boundary’s and limits, physically and mentally.

 photo winterforrest.png

Darkness lurks in the woods surrounding where they train, and the two encounter many types of monsters over time. But nothing can prepare them for what is to come…

“It would not take a monster to destroy a monster – but light, light to drive out darkness.”

The first book in this series was very much a young adult fantasy book. The second book introduced a lasting political plot and the groundwork for the overall evil to come. This book, oh this book. I don’t really even see it as a “young adult fantasy” book. Heir of Fire was so much more than that, and it read like an adult fantasy book to me. There were so many complex themes, emotions and issues that are not usually present in ya fantasy, and Sarah J. Maas did an incredible job writing this book.

“These days, I am very glad to be a mortal, and to only have to endure this life once. These days, I don’t envy you at all.”

“And before?”

It was her turn to stare toward the horizon. “I used to wish I had a chance to see it all- and hated that I never would.”

The theme of this book was very much self-acceptance.

Celeana must come to accept her past and her heritage.
Chaol must come to accept that the King he serves is an unjust ruler.
Dorian must come to accept the magic within him.

I loved the characters, the world-building, the plot, the adventures, pretty much everything this book had to offer. And the most surprising part, this book had little to no romance in it, and I still loved it! (That’s almost unheard of from me).

Despite there being no romance, there seem to be 4 men who Celeana could end up with. FOUR!

-Chaol: her ex-lover who still pines for her and regrets the choices he made that led to their end. Chaol believes Celeana to hate him, yet he risks his own life and betrays his King who he serves to help keep her alive. (And I felt so freaking bad for him the entire time. I have a soft spot for Chaol).

-Dorian: I’m still listing him as a contender because there are 3 more books in the series, so we will never know. It would be nice if he got a chance at Celeana.

-Rowan: Their relationship was strictly friends in this book, but it has the possibility to turn into something more. The connection the two have runs deep.

-Aedion- Celeana’s very distant cousin and childhood friend, who she has not seen in years and yet he is still loyal to her. I suspect he has feelings for her…

My favorite part of the book was the character development between Rowan and Celeana. Their relationship is not one that can be defined by words, but only with feelings. Both know what it is to be enslaved in one form or another, and their connection is spectacular. I really hope their is more about the two of them in the books to come.

“You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you’ve committed. And I know this because I’ve been doing the same damn thing for two hundred years. Tell me, do you think you will go to some blessed Afterworld, or do you expect a burning hell? You’re hoping for hell–because how could you face them in the Afterworld? Better to suffer, to be damned for eternity.”

I would say my least favorite part of the book was the witch plot. To be honest, I did a giant reader NO-NO and began skimming and then skipping those chapters. My rating of the book does not include those parts because I didn’t really read them, as I had a hard time trying to care about those characters.

….So now I guess I can twiddle my thumbs until the next three books. After this book, I have faith that Sarah J. Maas will deliver something incredible in the next three volumes. I am so happy to be on this journey.

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

 photo celeanaback.png

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

OMG the ugly crying that this book brought on.

Since I really have no words, I decided to do my review in pictures. Enjoy:

This sums up my journey with this book:
 photo startabook.png

 photo clockworkangel.png

My Tessa:
 photo cprincess.png

 photo tessa.png

My Jem:
 photo jem.png

I know he’s too old and overused in reviews but fuck it. This is my Will:
 photo will.png

 photo lifeisabook.png

 photo jadenecklace.png

 photo infernaldevices.png

 photo willandtessa.png

 photo angel.png

 photo finishaseries.png

***disclaimer: I did not create any of these photos, I found them all on pinterest. All creativity rights go to the people who made them. I just admire them and find them beaultiful.

Crown of Midnight

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

4.25 stars!

“The best lies were always mixed with truth.”

 photo CrownofMidnight.png

After fighting the other champions in the first book, Celeana has been made the King’s assassin, and has being doing his bidding for a couple of months now. When the King orders Celeana to assassinate a childhood friend of hers, Celeana discovers a rebel plot that could have dire consequences. Lots of plot twists and turns, rebel spies, evil royal politics, and a ton of action, this is a truly great fantasy novel for readers of all ages.

“Why are you crying?”
“Because,” she whispered, her voice shaking, “you remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.”

After I finished Throne of Glass, I had no idea where this series would go. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the author took with the plot and the character development.
Not a perfect 5 stars like the first book because I got a bit bored and skimmed a bit near the end. But this is shaping up to be an incredible series, and I look forward to the next 4 books. Too bad I have to wait for them.