Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Bookmas Tag

Hey, everyone!!
Happy Holidays!!

How you've been? I hope you are doing amazing. First of all, as always, thank you so much for reading me, guys, it means so much to me, and I can't properly express how much I love you, and thank you for all the love I've been receiving from visitors, and the wonderful things people have been saying about my reviews. Just THANK YOU!!! 

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to keep posting regularly, but to give you an idea, in the last week of school, I delivered no less than EIGHT papers in the same week. Imagine how my brain ended up after that. But I'm free now, and I want to do something fun for the Christmas holidays. 

Today I bring you the Bookmas Tag. It's old, I know (2016), but it has all this cool questions, and have more than one answer for them. I saw it done by two great booktubers, LilyCReads and SophieSeries, and I thought it would be fun to do it too. I've been wanting to do it since July, but you know... Seasons be crazy.

Anyway, here we go.

1. The Lovebirds: Which two characters would you like to see under the mistletoe? 

With this I'm going with Faramir and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I was obsessed with this pairing when I was a kid and I used to read their chapter over and over again, to see how they fell in love and how she was able to heal her heart and recognize a man who loved her so much, for everything she was, and was worthy of her. I love them, I absolutely love them. Éowyn is one of my favorite female characters of all time.

2. The Mismatched: Which unlikely pair of characters would get stuck under the mistletoe? 

Oh, I definitely know this one. Nico di Angelo and Reyna Ramírez Arellano, from the The Blood of Olympus. I totally imagine them bumping to each other under the mistletoe and being like "Erm... No." Just friends. For obvious reasons.

3. The Grinch: Which character would spend the day with their face in a knot? 

I could name more than one in this one (and I will). There's a lot of characters out there that could totally be the Grinch, but I'm going with Mr. Darcy, from Pride & Prejudice. I can totally picture him sitting in a corner of the room as everyone else around him is dancing, bored, and giving his opinions on the guests and the music, and the "perfectly tolerable" young woman who's sister is the most beautiful creature his friend is ever beheld. And sitting right next to him is Severus Snape, with the same expression on his face as Dumbledore hands him a cracker. 

4. The Naughty List: Which character has angered so many people that nobody felt like getting them a gift? 
Again, two characters, both in the Potter world. You tell me who, in the name of God, would buy a gift for Dolores Umbridge, or Rita Skeeter. They have to be two of the most annoying character ever written, they have made so many people angry that nobody would bother on getting them a present. Except it's something that would make them even more angry or contain a really, really nasty surprise for them (Fred and George, I'm looking at you!)

5. The Fraud: Which character would assign a fake date to the gathering, just so they don't appear alone? 

I can totally picture Maria Bertram, from Mansfield Park, doing this. She needs to feel wanted by men, if it isn't one, it's the other, she can't be alone, so I definitely pick her for this one.

6. The Caroler: Which character does everybody have to yell at to stop singing Christmas songs

Tom Bombadil, one hundred percent. Tell me it wouldn't be him! He lives by singing, and he wouldn't stop with the carols no matter what they tell him. He's a happy guy and that he will show!

7. The Klutz: Which character accidentally knocks over the Christmas tree? 

Oh, my dear Nymphadora Tonks, this would be you. Stealth is not your thing. She entered the Dursleys' house and immediatly broke a plate, and in Grimmauld Place she kept stumbling upon things, like the umbrella stand. She would totally knock over the Christmas tree.

8. The Snooper: Which character would ruin all of their surprises by trying to figure out what all the gifts are?

Definitely James Potter and Sirius Black during their school days at Hogwarts. They drew the Marauder's Map and without curiosity, that wouldn't have been possible. With that attitude there wouldn't be Christmas surprises left for them.

Thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed that. I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas, as we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a beautiful holiday, and if you don't celebrate it, an great joyful time.Thank you so much for your visits, and I'll see you soon with new reviews and tags!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Review - Queen of Shadows

Original Title: Queen of Shadows
Series: Throne of Glass, #4
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 1st, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

If I had to describe this book with one word, that would be intense. The fact that it took me so long to finish it was not the book’s fault. Not at all. It was just life getting in the way. But I did it! And wow, what a ride it was! I couldn’t stop reading, I stayed up late, it was so very intense, and I only stopped because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

I definitely love Sarah J. Maas’ writing style. It’s utterly brilliant, poetic in the right moments, and raw and direct when it needs to be impactful, like a dagger to the heart. I noticed and loved how well done and fully fleshed-out the worldbuilding is, as she doesn’t try to sugarcoat the world she created. She paints it exactly as it is, with both its bright and dark sides, both with vivid details and without holding anything back. It’s as realistic as it can be, being a fantasy world, and it is incredibly done. Great job, Sarah J. Maas!

Something I really love in this series is that every character is well written, and there for a reason. It’s not that you can remove any of them without disrupting the plot, as it has surely happened before with other authors. Sarah J. Maas makes sure that everyone is there with a purpose, and has their own, unique voice, which is worthy of applause, because you can tell who is speaking even if his/her name doesn’t appear on the page. The protagonist, Aelin –no longer Celaena–, is definitely different from any other character I’ve ever read. She’s a true badass, fearless, and brave, a queen worthy of the name, and not to be messed with. She’s still distrustful but we are far, far away from the characters that started the series in Throne of Glass. That was more like a fairytale –even if darker–, but here, in Queen of Shadows, we are fully into an epic fantasy story, and the characters have evolved accordingly, with deep personalities and complexly layered, and it is good to read the work of an author who actually cares for those aspects.

I was truly impressed and invested in the story of the new people in it. Arobynn Hamel, oh, my God! What a character. Every scene with him made me unable to stop reading, I gasped, and held my breath, and enjoyed that tug-of-war with Aelin, as she fought to get the amulet back without giving in into his requests. She definitely outsmarted him, with a little help, of course, and it was brilliant. The whole trick with the ring, to push him to reveal his true intentions, that was just… Wow. Amazing. Incredibly done. I was truly outraged when it happened. And it’s also greatly done how important the bond between him and Aelin is, how he shaped her identity and her character, and how, through his death, she not only recovered what she needed –the amulet of Orynth–, but also fully stopped being Celaena Sardothien. The ruthless assassin who only yearned for freedom after slavery dies along with him, and a Queen comes to take her place.

I utterly loved the character Lysandra, even though, at first, I thought I’d hate her. What a good addition to the series! I think she’s an expression of how people can actually change, and aren’t always what they seem, something I thought before knowing she was actually a shapeshifter (but that only made it literal). I mean, she was able to deceive with her looks even without her powers, right? Her story was sad, but I liked to see how she was a badass in her own way, not afraid in the least when she had to end Arobynn’s life; and also, her wits, and her selflessness, both sacrificing herself to save this girl, Evangeline, from her own fate as a courtesan, and later coming to help in battle! I really liked her relationship with Aelin, and I’m glad that Sarah J. Maas decided to include female friendships in this series that are far from the typical cat fight, that I despise so very much. First Celaena and Nehemia, and now Aelin and Lysandra. And that is something that needs to happen more often in YA fiction, because there’s already enough books out there filled with girl hating and slut-shaming, as if it were impossible to tell a story without that. But this author proves that is possible, even when one of the characters is, literally, a whore, but with enough depth as to see that she’s a lot more than that.

I have to say it, people. I really loved Manon in this one, even when in the previous book I used to grumble every time I encountered a chapter on her and the rest of the witches. But her character has definitely gone far, proving that the Crochan witch was right, that they are made into monsters, not born. She’s a badass, she demands respect, and doesn’t let anyone control her, and with every chapter, she’s a little stronger and more willing to stand up to her grandmother, changing her fate into what she can be, instead of focusing on what others think she should be. Her fight scene with Aelin on the crumbling temple was absolutely epic, and I loved how she respected the life debt, helping her with Dorian when they had given up all hope on saving him, and were ready to kill him to stop the demon inside of him. Oh, and finally the whole thing came together! Rebels, Valg and witches, all together in the same scene at last. It was about time, and I didn’t want to wait for the next book for it to happen. And also, I don’t know how relevant this is, but I really loved Asterin after she told the story about her love for a human, and the baby she lost. 

As for Dorian, wow, that was depth. He’s king now, but still, he’s not a warrior, and by that, I mean he’s not the typical prince. He’s fragile, broken, and doubtful, and carries very heavy burdens, especially Sorscha’s death, that he should have prevented, but couldn’t. Thanks to an unintentional spoiler before he even met Manon, I kind of knew where the story was heading into, and I wasn’t worried about him, but his scenes fighting the demon inside of him were very intense. I really want to read a further development in his relationship with Manon, because he’s utterly broken, even though he’s free, and that gives a lot of potential to deepen his story. He needs to heal, and I don’t know how he will do that, but I’ll gladly read about it.

Oh, Elide, poor little girl. She’s actually the proof of how much I drifted away during Heir of Fire, because I revisited it and it actually says that she is Marion’s daughter, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised when she said so. I really liked her, and I can tell she has a lot of potential. Even though she has witch blood in her veins, she’s still very human and fragile, and has authentic reactions in front of terrifying situations, or under her uncle’s thumb. But she also has this inner strength and courage, not fully developed, but there nonetheless, that will make her a good character to read about. I definitely want to know more about her, and I can’t wait to read her reunion with Aelin, and of course, the moment in which she finds out Celaena and Aelin are the same person, and gives her the stone Kaltain gave her. 

Oh, and Kaltain. Wow. Just… wow. That woman was smarter than anyone gave her credit for. From ambitious court girl to devourer of worlds, capable of standing up to demons when everyone else begged for death, there’s no other like her. I’m just sorry she’s gone, she would have made a hell of a character in battle, although she did make a spectacular final act. She went down but took as many as she could with her, ruining Perrington and Vernon’s plans and destroying the offspring of witches and demons, which I’m glad she did, because after Elide’s description, I’m ok with not knowing more about how that came to happen. Yes, it was that terrible. It is so well written that it is absolutely horrifying, and had me doubting who was the real monster there: the creatures they bred, or the people who forced the Yellowlegs to give birth to them? Again, well done Sarah J. Maas. If I have nightmares, it will be your fault.

I absolutely loved the scene in which Aelin went undercover as a dancer to rescue Aedion, it was so intense, so well written, that I couldn’t stop. And of course, the reunion! Hopes not disappointed at all. Such raw emotion, and open feelings, it was greatly done. I really like Aedion, his attitude and badassery, and I’m happy we got to know a little more about him. The only thing I just don’t quite get is how Aelin, Aedion, and Rowan walked through Rifthold just like that, with no guards looking for them, after the spectacular rescue. One would think that after Aelin herself was in town to rescue his cousin after she openly defied the king, and that the party in which he was to be executed was clearly a bait, every soldier in the city would be looking for her. But they go from here to there like nothing is happening and that felt a little odd. The only thing I really couldn’t care about was Rowan and Aedion’s little alpha male drama. It’s ok, but honestly, I didn’t care enough about their battle of wills as much as I was supposed to. But it’s understandable, as Aedion wanted to be bonded to Aelin for so long and found out Rowan did it before him, so in general terms, it is well done. I’m glad they could eventually work together.

*big sigh*

Can we talk about Aelin and Rowan? The big romance twist in this series. I have to tell you, it makes a lot more sense with him than it ever did with Chaol, a relationship I’m actually glad is over. At least we can say that it was relevant to the plot, because a lot of things that happened wouldn’t have, if it wasn’t for their brief, intense romance. But with Rowan is different. He is in her heart the way Chaol never was. I love them together, but at some point I got a little tired with their comings and goings. I ended up yelling at my book “just kiss already!”. They did everything, except kissing, and I ended up begging them to please, once and for all, act on your horniness so I can stop reading pages and pages of every little detail every time you touch each other. But if you, as you claim, can’t be together for the time being, no matter what it costs, the solution is very simple: stop sleeping in the same bed, and save me some time! 

Another thing that bothered me about them is how they both kept sulking about their past loves. Don’t get me wrong, it adds depth to their characters, and their past loss is what, in a way or another, brings them even closer together, because they understand each other better than anyone ever could. I get Rowan though, because Lyria was pregnant with his child, and she shouldn’t have died. But Aelin, I mean… yes, she really loved Sam and suffered a lot when she lost him. But, for the love of God, let him rest in peace! I completely understand that Sam was important to her, being her first love and everything, but it exhaust me to read about someone who isn’t even in the book. He belongs to a past I can only get to know through snippets from Aelin’s memories, but I can’t share her pain, simply because I don’t know Sam enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, as it is all linked to Arobynn’s character. I’m just saying that I prefer to read about characters that actually are in the book, that are relevant to the plot, and that I can care for, because I know them. 

The only character I can’t like, no matter how much I try, is Chaol, and luckily, he barely appears in this one. His attitude, I mean… I don’t know how to explain it. I just don’t like him. But I like the bond with Dorian, their strong friendship, and how Chaol didn’t give up on him, and protected him when Aelin tried to kill him to save him from the demon. As for Nesryn, there’s not a lot about her, but I’m not opposed to read more about her, now that she’s in the king’s army. I can’t say more because the book doesn’t give them a lot of importance, but I wish them well. 

Something I appreciate is when characters spend a big part of the book talking about their plans to do something, and they actually do it before the end, like here, when they said they would blow up the clock tower with hellfire. For a brief moment I thought I’d have to wait until the next book to see that happening, but they did it, and I couldn’t be happier when magic was unlocked. That opens the road for a lot more powers, and to see the real reach of everyone’s magic: Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, the witches… It’s promising. Just one thing: during the battle in the tunnels, I really thought Rowan, Aedion and Lorcan would be killed, but I loved when Lysandra suddenly jumped over them in her animal form and saved them, not only for that, but because what it meant for her to have her shapeshifting abilities back. I let out a breath when she leaped over the enemies and started ripping throats here and there, proving her loyalty and her true power. She truly deserved what she got at the end, and I really hope to read more about her.

Finally… the plot twists. Oh, my God. I’m shocked with the turn of events, because the king is no longer there, and there’s still a lot of story to read. That let me with my mouth open, like, “and now what?”. In one, brief second, Sarah J. Maas introduced a new villain, changed my attitude towards the king, raised a lot of questions, and moved the plot in a way I never saw coming. And that, my friends, is what a true writer does. Well done. Truly, well done. 


Not much else to say, because I can’t possibly cover every little detail, except that I’m very excited now that Aelin is back in Terrasen. I’m really looking forward to know more about Elide, and Manon, and all the consequences left by the events in this book. This one truly is a great fantasy series, I can’t possibly cover all the details here, but I recommend it to everyone who hasn’t read it. Sarah J. Maas is a great author, and I will keep reading this amazing series until I can answer every single one of my questions!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review - Heir of Fire

Original Title: Heir of Fire
Series: Throne of Glass, #3
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 2nd, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
I’m going to start this review with a quote:

She darted to the next tree […], cursing silently at the slowness of her pace.

That was me during the first two quarters of the book. To give you an idea, in my previous review I said that with Crown of Midnight I didn’t have time to take notes, because it was so intense, but here, I could not only do that, but also go get coffee, and even take a nap. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it, but the first half was very slow and heavy with details, and the only truly intense, fast-paced part was the last quarter, the way I wish the entire book had been. 

The first thing I noticed is the characters’ evolution. They undoubtedly got deeper, and it is very noticeable how things have changed since the first book, not only around the tone of the story, but also on Sarah J. Maas’s writing, in the way that now the twists and turns of the story are truly surprising, and well done. I mean, remember the very first book, when they all suspected Cain was guilty, and in the end, it truly was him, no plot twist there? Well, that doesn’t happen anymore. More than once I thought something would happen, and in the end, it went the opposite direction. Bravo! That’s how it should be.

I have mixed feelings about this book. At first, it was a three GR stars, but the last quarter of the book turned them into four. I feel like it wouldn’t be fair, given how the story takes a dark turn by the end, but still, I have a few things to say. It took me forever to finish it, and there’s plenty of reasons for that. After Crown of Midnight, I was hoping for a novel as intense and action-packed as that one was, but, considering how and how long this one is, I believe that it could have been so much shorter! The most that happened by the middle of the story that made me say “I have to keep reading” was the scene with the cave, the frozen lake, and the monster with the red eye. It was the only part I didn’t said “I will keep reading but the next chapter can wait until I feel like coming back.

To be honest, it was the same problem I had years ago with Eldest, by Christopher Paolini. Just like that one, the plot revolves mostly around training. It’s not badly done, don’t get me wrong. It’s good to see Celaena making mistakes, slowly accepting her destiny, and getting in control of her magic. If she had been good from day one, just because she’s Fae, I wouldn’t have bought a single page of this story. She has to start the climb at the bottom of the stairs, just like any other warrior in training. But it bothered me that the whole thing took that many chapters, and I seriously questioned Rowan’s method so much! Because Celaena trained page after page without making any real progress, with a teacher that didn’t really help, and I didn’t like that. All Rowan did was pointing out to all her mistakes without actually telling her how to do the things he asked from her, and then even found ways to make her pay for that, like giving her double shifts at the kitchen and things like that. All he did in every lesson was ordering “shift”, and with only that, I ended up a bit confused about what she was supposed to learn.

About that, at first I couldn’t understand how other readers said they ended up with a massive crush on Rowan, because… well, I never like characters like him, who think so highly of themselves to the point of not even deigning to talk to other people. Rowan and Celaena ride for days without speaking to each other, but simply because Rowan won’t talk. He has lived too long and too much, so he’s above that. I found that sense of superiority very irritating. Plus, this line about Rowan’s tattoos had me rolling my eyes:

She had debated asking him what the words meant, but that would involve talking. And talking meant building some sort of . . . relationship. She’d had enough of friends. Enough of them dying, too.

Oh, my God. *deep breath* It’s just asking him, don’t exaggerate! You won’t build a deep bond by only asking him a question. Come on, Celaena, is not that big of a deal. You are smarter than that.

Anyway, I disliked Rowan until I saw how their relationship moved forward, and they could truly form a deep, meaningful friendship, especially after her burnout, and after he discovered her scars, and her past as a slave. Rowan is fiercely loyal, a true warrior, and I ended up liking him a lot, because at one point he stopped acting like he didn’t have all those scars and sad history, and both he and Celaena let themselves be vulnerable around each other. I really want to keep reading about him and see his part in the whole mess that will ensue. And honestly, I’m not opposed to a romantic relationship between them. After all, it would make so much more sense with him that with Chaol. 

And talking about Chaol… I honestly don’t love him. It’s ok as a character, but in this book is he constantly thinking about why he sent Celaena to Wendlyn, and sulking about their relationship, after what happened with Nehemia in Crown of Midnight. He spends the entire book (literally) saying that he will go to Anielle to accept his courtly duties as the heir to the throne, but nothing ever happens around it. He just says it over and over again, and I found myself thinking “are you going or not?”. He’s still this guy who shows no emotions externally, but he’s cracking up internally, and now that he has left the king’s service behind, I want to see him as a rebel, and seeking to help his best friend Dorian. That “I love you” there, by the end, was totally out of brotherly affection, and I really liked it, because it could be said without being romantic at all, and it was still heartbreaking. I can’t wait to go with them to save Dorian and Aedion.

Oh, and Aedion! I loved him! I completely loved him. When he first appeared, I was ready to hate him for having betrayed his lineage and serving the king, but then everything changed. It was all a carefully built façade, because he was still fiercely loyal to Aelin and the Ashryver-Galathynius bloodline. He has this fire on him that will help him not to break as long as he is in shackles, and I loved how happy he was when he heard Aelin was still alive. Now I need that reunion. I need Celaena and Aedion to meet again and fight together for Terrasen and Eyllwe, and for all those people who gave their lives for the queen to survive. That will be epic! 

Unlike the previous books, Heir of Fire is told in three different perspectives, showing how everyone is fighting their own little wars where they are, inside the big war that drives the plot. And one of those fronts is the story around Manon Blackbeak the witches and the wyverns, a plot I just couldn’t care so much about, basically because, as if we didn’t have enough of Celaena’s training, we need a complete side story about the same thing. I can tell that they are going to have a big role in the upcoming story, but still. I think I grumbled a couple of times when, turning the page, I found out that the next chapter was about Manon. But it was good from the moment I noticed that Abraxos, even having ripped off Titus’ head, still could be loyal and defend his rider, like the rest of the wyverns. And the last scene was just… so great! With the Crochan witch they forced Manon to kill, that said that everything is a lie, that those heartless witches are not born, but made, meaning that Manon can change her fate, that of her of people, and make the whole plan of a witchy army backfire on the king. I don’t –yet– see why she wouldn’t take Celaena’s side on the future, but I hope she does.

The part that really gave me goosebumps, because it was so great in its simplicity, was when the rebellion slowly started to show on Adarlan, after the massacre on the labor camps of Endovier and Callacula, and the orchestra played the songs of those nations that suffered because of the king. It was terrible, but realistic, if you know what I mean. It made me want to cry so badly, because that was a quiet rebellion. The king is the origin of all these sorrow and death, and his people won’t support that. I love it. And think this. That little girl who started the rebellion by killing the guard in Callacula (I wanted to know what had happened to her), did it in Nehemia’s name, and that inspired the slaves in Endovier. See how greatly done it is, that Nehemia, even being out of the picture, still lived a little longer in them, and how she inspired them in giving her life for what she thought was worth it. I still think that killing Nehemia was a waste of character, because she had a lot of potential, but without that, Celaena couldn’t have become Aelin, and at least we can say that it was worth it.

I really liked to see the king angry when Aelin defied him, because he can’t orchestrate everything, and that was something he did not see coming. In your face, you damn bastard! But I need to say this. He is this massive villain, the main source of terror, but he’s barely on the book. He has only a couple of scenes, and very little dialogue, but still, he is this scary, permanent presence that rules everything and everyone, and the characters in the three fronts this book narrates are directly linked with him, under his influence in a way or another. That is honesty so well done!

And Dorian! Dorian, for the love of… well, whatever deity they have in Erilea. He’s a prisoner now and I swear I never, ever saw that coming. I’m desperate to know what will happen to him now. I need to keep reading. When the king took Sorscha, I seriously thought she would be saved, in one way or another, that Dorian would blast the king and freeze the guards with enough time to save her. Honestly, I was really liking their storyline, with Dorian recognizing that he and Celaena are not meant to be. I loved this line:

He’d been a fool once, swearing he would tear the world apart for Celaena. A boy in love with a wildfire—or believing he was in love with one.

Of course, all this only helps me to state my claim once again: the love triangle is not necessary. Look how easily it went out of the picture, hardly disrupting the plot. I liked that Dorian recognized this girl, Sorscha, and truly valued her as a person that did so much for them, and kept her mouth shut, that had to tread as carefully as everyone else in the castle. She did not deserve to die, she never hurt anyone, and ended up paying the price it entailed. Just as those poor slaves in Endovier and Callacula. When she was beheaded, my mouth fell open, and I couldn’t react by several seconds… Completely. Stunned.

I just don’t understand how Dorian’s magic works in a land where the king has banished magic, I hope there’s some sort of explanation behind it, and also about the towers, the Valg, and Perrington, Roland and Kaltain, who did not appear in Heir of Fire. I want to know where they are, and what role will they have in the future.

God, there’s so much in front of us! Considering what Sarah J. Maas did in this book, I positively think that we can expect anything from her. I really like it, even when this book was very slow at times, and I hope it gets better. I’ll grab Queen of Shadows soon, and see how it goes! Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Review - Crown of Midnight

Original Title: Crown of Midnight
Series: Throne of Glass, #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 27th, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

That’s literally all I can say right now. I am stunned. Truly, and utterly, stunned. Never before a book series made me take back my words. I feel like giving it less than five stars wouldn’t be fair, because this sequel has been a wild ride. Wild indeed. If I had to describe it with one word, that would be intense. There’s not a moment to breathe as you read, as the events unfold and there’s simply… magic.

Although I’ve already put the spoiler alert, I’ll say it again. Don’t read this if you don’t want to be spoiled. Stop right here. 

First of all, I want to say that I stand by everything I said about the first book of the series. That was full of suspense, but mostly romance, and court drama, and did not fulfill my expectations. But Crown of Midnight was everything I wanted that first book to be. It was captivating from page one, in a truly unique way, keeping me up at night, saying “just one more chapter”. I normally take notes as I read so I don’t forget about the things I want to say later, but with this book, I didn’t even stop to do that. I’d never thought I’d be so hooked by a story that starts with a gruesome murder that had me wrinkling my nose in the first few pages. But that is exactly what happened, and as I write this, I realize that it rendered me speechless. It went exactly in the opposite direction I thought it would take. The gap between this book and the previous one is enormous. 

The first noticeable thing is the character development and the incredibly well done worldbuilding (so far), not only because of the places they visit, but for the people. Sarah J. Maas gave every character their own voice and depth, you can tell who is speaking simply for the words they use. Here, we can truly see Celaena as the feared assassin everyone said she was, but without solid events that could truly prove it. This woman is not perfect. She has a temper, she’s a badass, but even with all that, she’s still human, she still loves and fears, and that is incredibly well done. She’s not to be messed with, and she turned very scary when angry. I was particularly moved by the scene in which she remembers her past, and mostly with the part that, in the previous book, had been told as her attempt to escape from Endovier, because, in this book, we learned that her intention wasn’t escaping, but taking revenge. A payback for what happened to Sam, her first love. It was truly chilling. Well done, Sarah J. Maas! 

Can we talk about Dorian for a minute? I really liked the fact that he’s not the typical prince, trained to be a warrior, and the pride of, if not his father, at least his people. No, not at all. Instead of the fairytale cardboard royal, we are met with a fleshed-out character filled with fear and doubts, fragile, treading carefully in a court in which a misstep can have terrible consequences. And now he has found out he has magic! I definitely want to know more about that, since magic has been banned from Adarlan for a long time. Where does it come from? Was he born with it, or Nehemia put it in him when she traced the Wyrdmark over him? Can it get stronger? I have so many questions! Honestly, I don’t particularly love Dorian, but I do like him and I want to keep reading about him. 

Oh, my God, the love story! Although this book took it not one, but a million steps further, I still stand by what I said in my review of the previous book. The love triangle is simply not necessary. It doesn’t have to be there, it only tires me as a reader. Because, in the first book, Celaena was mostly attracted to Dorian, wanting to kiss him constantly and opening up to him, and in this book, she turns to Chaol. Here, their relationship is a lot darker, and deeper, and when they started to be happy together, I simply knew that couldn’t last. When things go too well in books, distrust shows its face, and I was not proven wrong. But the thing is that I don’t really like having both Dorian and Chaol having feelings for Celaena, and having Celaena going back and forth between the two of them and their load of qualities. It is like the line between the two is constantly blurred. Celaena certainly is unique, I give it that, but I don’t particularly root for this love triangle. Luckily, the story has a lot bigger pillars to sustain it, and it is not based solely on the romance, because I couldn’t read that without rolling my eyes. 

With that said, let’s go to the plot twists. I swear I never, ever, saw Nehemia’s death coming. I honestly thought Celaena would make it on time, but… *painfully sobbing*. I found myself in complete denial. Literally. All I could think was “Nehemia, no. No. That didn’t happen.”. I tried to think things like “I’m sure this is a ruse, she will turn up alive in one of next books, or something like that”. That won’t happen, but I want you to understand the level of my denial. I truly loved Nehemia, she had so much potential to be a badass, indomitable character with the temper and the attitude to be an awesome queen. I found her to be a character worth of admiration, an inspiration for her people, and I was seriously not ready to see her gone. I wanted her to be happy. It completely broke my heart. But, if I have to see the bright side, it means that I’m in for a story with great plot twists, and unpredictable turns, filled with deep, raw feelings. After Nehemia’s murder, Celaena went completely wild with anger and pain, and I could truly feel it, it is incredibly well written, and I can positively affirm that I love Sarah J. Maas’ writing. 

As for Archer, oh, my God! I knew that he was lying about not being involved in a rebel movement, but never, in a million years, could have guessed he was the one who had Nehemia killed posing as Lord Mullison! It took me completely by surprise, and I was actually glad when he died. I just thought that he, just as Nehemia, would stay for the next books. But good riddance, I say. Archer, you damn bastard!

As for Celaena being Aelin, I could deduce it at some point, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued. As I said in my review of the previous book, Celaena has a past that goes beyond the point in which we can start reading her story. I was glad that, when Chaol knew she was Fae, she was able to provide an explanation, if short (which is ok, it was not the time for it). My point is that it’s not that she knows nothing, and it took her by surprise too. She is aware of her nature, and the fact that she didn’t mention it before doesn’t make it a bad plot twist. On the contrary, it makes me ever more eager to get to Heir of Fire to know more!

Damn, this is what happens with good books. I end up so excited that I can barely review them. There’s so much happening in Crown of Midnight, that I simply can’t cover the details, but I’m definitely looking forward to read the rest of the books. There’s so much I want to know! What is up with Perrington, Kaltain and Roland? What will happen with the Wyrdkeys? What about Dorian’s magic, the portals, the mythical creatures, the Fae, the king’s twisted plans…?

In short, this book is simply brilliant. I could guess some things as it progressed (like the clue about the Wyrdkey on Elena’s tomb), but in general terms, it was amazingly done, and I wish I could say more about it, but I simply can’t cover all the details. I will for sure read the next books, and I hope the series only gets better and better!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review - Throne of Glass

Original Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 2nd, 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

I finally did it. After a lot of grumbling and procrastination, I started with the so hyped up Throne of Glass series. I confess that I was curious, as fantasy books and series are always interesting for me, but the final nudge was hearing that it is becoming a tv series, so I thought, “I must be missing something great”. Plus, every fantasy reader out there seems to love Sarah J. Maas. But, just like it happened with another book I read a few months ago, for the very same reason (this one), I found a novel that is not up to its synopsis. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it, and I’ll give it another chance reading the second book of the series, but there’s a few things I want to say first. 

Throne of Glass had a very promising beginning, with engaging characters, and an interesting world. From the moment we meet Celaena Sardothien, the heroine, we know things are not going to be as they are in the classic fantasy stories. For starters –and I really liked this–, she’s not your typical heroine living a normal life, and discovering she’s special upon an unexpected event. Celaena has a past, and a complex one, that is. She has already lived a whole life by the time we meet her, to the point that she became the most feared assassin in all the land. But some things just don’t make much sense. Don’t get me wrong, this was going great, with the whole scene in Endovier, and her sassy, badass attitude, but… well, as the novel progressed, I expected to read her as the terrifying assassin they claimed she was, and instead, I found her to be more of a princess. I mean, we are told that she’s feared at a very young age, right? At eighteen, she has already killed more people than most soldiers, and even made a notorious attempt to escape the mines, killing everyone in her way before being caught, an inch away from her freedom. That has to count for something, isn’t it? But from the moment she leaves the mines as the king’s Champion and gets to the royal palace, things… change.

As the blurb promises, I was expecting a fierce competition between trained, experienced killers, in order to become the royal assassin. But, actually, it doesn’t have the importance I thought it would have, in comparison to other aspects of the novel, as the Tests are not made to push them to their limits, and take a very little page time. At one point, it says:

Amidst her worrying, another Test passed without incident or embarrassment.” (chapter 36).

So? The Test? *Knock knock*. Come one, there’s literally nothing you want to say about it? This confuses me. Wasn’t the whole plot concocted around this competition and Celaena’s training to win? As I told you, this book was more about Celaena as a princess than an assassin. One would think that after her parents’ horrible death, killing for a living from a very young age, and having been cruelly enslaved in the mines, all the girly habits would be gone, and she would be this distrustful person most people would just… dislike. But instead, we are met with a girl that suddenly everyone notices how beautiful she is (cliché?), and perfectly adapts to court life, knowing the manners of a lady, in speaking, dancing, and dresses. What?

Ok, let’s move on. If you have followed me for a while, you know I really don’t like love triangles, and I was not happy when I noticed where that part of the story was going. It got tiring how Celaena felt attracted to both Dorian and Chaol, but there was never any doubt about whom she preferred. The main problem is that the whole thing was so unnecessary. Nothing would have changed in the story if Chaol’s side of the love affair had been cut off. It had nothing to do there, because Celaena clearly likes Dorian better. But still, it baffles me that after everything that happened in Celaena’s past, she had absolutely no problem in falling in love and trusting this guy, like any other non-assassin girl, with an open heart and no sign of any kind of apprehension. Plus, the whole romance feels so forced! She wants to kiss Dorian in totally random moments, but I really can’t see their chemistry. He suddenly loves her, and I just don’t buy it. It feels like the characters only fall in love because the author said so, and that does not work for me. I have no reason to root for them.

Again, and as I’ve seen in other fantasy novels, the names confuse me. In this world we can find a mix of made up names, and names from our own dimension. On the one hand, we have, for example, Celaena, Kaltain and Chaol, that clearly are made up, but on the other hand, we find names like Dorian and Georgina. So… Which is it? Made-up, or real? Plus, I saw a wasted opportunity with Queen Elena, I mean, she, of all characters, was one of the fae, a non-human character, so, all the more reason to give her a non-human, unique name, right? 

Also, I have some problems depicting the world-building in my head. Judging by the cover, Celaena is dressed in an outfit fit for an urban fantasy novel, but it is misleading, because she spends most of the book wearing fine dresses and shoes, and even some jewelry. She holds two swords on the cover, but her fighting skills are not up to the fear she supposedly inspires as Adarlan’s Assassin. I was definitely expecting more in that aspect.

I liked the plot around the mystery, the Wyrdmarks and the fae. The murders were gruesome, but not to the gore point, and that’s how I prefer it. The thing is that I definitely want to know more, both about the world and the fae, and the characters, like Nehemia. I really liked her, I loved her attitude and her badass predisposition, she’s a strong character and I even liked her more than Celaena herself. She will be a hard bone to crack, and I want to keep reading to see how her story plays out. As for the other characters, I really don’t know what to say about Chaol, because he barely speaks, and shows almost no emotions, except those feelings Celaena stirs. As for Lady Kaltain, she’s the typical pretty court girl who is jealous of everyone else and is willing to do anything to get her way. I don’t really care much for her, but I want to know more about what happened to her, and if she will play a bigger role in the rest of the story. I also admit that the last scene with the king and Perrington did the trick, because now I just want to know more.

The competition wasn’t so brutal as the blurb made it sound. The competitors are not very deep characters, save Celaena, and have almost no influence in the plot. They are there to die at the claws of the mysterious creature that roams the castle and eats their organs. But the villains… I mean, everyone suspects Cain is the one killing the other competitors, and in the end, it is him. That is, the biggest and ugliest of all the competitors, and that, my friends, stinks of cliché. The bad guy is exactly the one they suspected from the start, and in a court and a tournament filled with trained killers, the golden opportunity for a good plot twist went down the drain. 

Even though I was expecting something different, I have to admit that the Yulemas ball scene was greatly done. Celaena’s wonderful dress, the dancing, the music, and the setting in general were magical, and very romantic. There’s was not a big effort to disguise that it was totally Cinderella-inspired, but still, it really painted a picture. I did like Sarah J. Maas’ style, her writing flows flawlessly and her metaphors are not overwhelming, but placed in the right moments. I will definitely read more by her.

So, in short, this book was not what I was expecting from a story with a main character that is an assassin, of all professions, but now that I know where I’m standing, and that the story and the world will be like this, I don’t have a problem with continuing reading the rest of the series. The characters have the potential of unexploited depth, and things can get better in the next books. Even when I don’t look forward to the love triangle’s further development, I do hope the whole thing gets better. This book was good, but not brilliant, and so far, I don’t think it is up to the hype. By the big fuss around it, I was honestly expecting this would blow my mind, and in the end, it didn’t happen. 

But I do have hope for better sequels. It’s a promising fantasy world, and I liked the characters enough as to keep reading about them. Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Review - Asenath

Original Title: Asenath
Series: -
Author: Anna Patricio
Published: September 24th, 2011

Publisher: Imajin Books

What in Seth's damnable balls was he thinking?"

Well, that does it for me.
I warn you, there’s a rant review coming next. 

I shelved this book a long time ago, and only now I got to it. I think I only read it because it screamed stand alone, and I really didn’t feel like starting a new series, nor continuing with the ones I have in suspense. God, what a mistake! 

First of all, I have to admit the idea was good. The whole concept is original, and goes where no other writers have gone, that I know of, simply because there’s not a solid historical foundation around Joseph’s Egyptian wife, nor the Bible itself says much about her. I think we can all agree that it is a golden opportunity with a lot of potential, that gives an unusual amount of freedom in historical fiction. But it was wasted. It was very poorly executed, and you’ll see why.

It had a promising beginning, showing us Asenath –born as Kiya– in her home village, surrounded by her family and friends, performing rituals and playing with the other kids, right before being kidnapped. I feel like this happened for the sole purpose of killing her parents, and hence, giving her a reason to go from the village to Heliopolis, because the tribe that kidnapped her was never mentioned before, and it never gets mentioned again. There’s no explanation at all about who they are, where they came from… They only say they have a grudge against the Pharaoh, and their leader is getting his revenge by destroying Egypt one tiny bit at a time, kidnapping children and raping women. And that’s it. There’s nothing else about them.

Something that bothered me a little were the time jumps. Asenath tells the story in first person, and from the end of some chapters to the beginning of the next, years have passed. I personally don’t like when this happens, because I feel as if the author were in a hurry. But as the book went on, I couldn’t but be grateful of things moving faster, otherwise the whole thing could have been more boring than it actually was. 

I really wanted to like Asenath, but I just couldn’t. I mean, I get that she had a difficult life, but she is such a drama queen! And it doesn’t help to soften that image the fact that she falls in love with Joseph the moment she sees him. The insta-love is all over the place, and takes the center of her life, to the point that it gets truly annoying. She starts comparing every single man to Joseph, and none of them is that beautiful, or that smart, or that perfect… *eye roll*. She praises him over and over again, until I ended up yelling at my book “I get it, he’s beautiful! Please, girl, focus!”. This are just a few examples: 

– “His magical eyes held me. His beauty had the depths of evening skies. He was a song that melted hearts, brought the world to a halt and moved a rock to tears.” (Chapter 16)

– “He was like a window into another world –a world of enchantment and beauty. He was a magical hypnotic spell.” (Chapter 17)

– “I was amazed how one being could contain such a vast, nearly impossible amount of beauty.” (Chapter 18)

– “His beauty was nearly too much to bear.” (Chapter 18)

Oh my God, CALM DOWN!!!

*deep breath*

Anyway, let’s move on. After Asenath and Joseph meet in Lord Potiphar’s home, they start exchanging letters, and that’s when their bond grows. But, as I said before, Anna Patricio had all this freedom to create a whole original story, and didn’t use it. It added nothing to what’s already in the Bible. Why? Because although there’s communication between Joseph and Asenath, we don’t see it. We never get to know what is in those letters that makes Asenath fall head over heels for him (besides his physical perfection). But apparently, what they share is so deep, that the next time they see each other –in prison–, he already calls her “my love”. And how…?? *face palmage*. The letters they exchanged may be enough for them, but not for me. I won’t believe their love if you don’t at least show me the growing of a relationship between them. I get that the author tried to show us how they are soulmates because of the similarity in their stories, both losing their families at a young age, and everything… But I didn’t like how she did it. At one point, Asenath says she wants Joseph because “He… completes me”, when she never spoke of a missing piece the first place. She claims to have these deep feelings for someone she has spoken to twice, and with that, Anna Patricio created a relationship she didn’t even let me see where it came from in the first place. 

This, especially, puzzled me: “I dreamed of Lady Zalikha brandishing a sword and hacking to death everyone I loved –Joseph, Menah, the twins, my first parents, my second parents and the village mother Mekten.”

This screams insta-love. Joseph is the first one in her list. How? 

Ok. Moving on. Most of the characters that are not Asenath herself, or Joseph, feel like background noise. At one point, when the twins Nyla and Lyla die as a consequence of food poisoning, I was puzzled with Asenath’s grief. I get that they knew each other from their days in the fishing village, but I didn’t know they meant so much to her, especially because those girls didn’t have a single line of dialogue in the entire book. As for the other characters, the big main villain is Lady Zalikha, Lord Potiphar’s beautiful but resentful wife, the one who separates them when she accuses Joseph of trying to rape her. This actually happened, it is in the Bible. But in this book, it was funny how everyone knew that she was lying, because of all her resentment towards her husband –and the entire world, apparently. That’s her essence. Being resentful, and jealous of Asenath, because she’s young and beautiful, and has Joseph’s preference. Does it ring a bell? Of course it does. She’s the witch in every fairytale, and has zero redeeming qualities. And again, the freedom of creation went down the drain.

There’s a couple of scenes that really bothered me, like the one when Khasekh kisses Asenath in front of Joseph for him to reject her, and finally get to marry her. After that, there’s a scene in which she looks at Khasekh, and says: “He looked like he wanted to murder me. It really would have been better if he had. There was nothing to live for anymore.” UGH. Such a drama queen! And what a lack of trust from Joseph’s side, if he claims to love, and hence, trust Asenath! *deep breath* It’s frustrating. The whole scene is completely unnecessary, because nothing relevant comes from it.

And finally, we get to the part that I HATED the most. The anachronisms, and the writing itself. Both the prose and the dialogue are way too modern for Ancient Egypt, and that is something that can be seen all over the novel, from start to finish. It simply didn’t fit the time period. And also, there a TON of words I had to write down as I found them, that couldn’t possibly be used in Ancient Egypt (or biblical times for that matter), and made the novel lose all seriousness for me. They simply felt out of place.


– “He donned an elegant pleated kilt.” – The term “kilt” belongs to the end of the 16th century, in Scotland and England. It shouldn’t be in biblical Egypt.

– “Though I was dressed very simply, I thought I looked glamorous.” – How can a peasant girl know this word when she can’t even read or write? Plus, the term belongs around the years 1935-40.

– “I fled and found myself back in the loggia.” – Maybe the Egyptians had a similar building structure, but the term is undoubtedly Italian. Besides, the Romans built the first loggias around the year 1735. What are they doing in Heliopolis?

– “Zalikha could be a fine actress when she wanted to be.” – While there was actually theatre in Ancient Egypt, the term actress was first recorded in the year 1580. Asenath couldn’t know it. 

– “The whole thing had been so weird I did not know what to make of it.” – Asenath could not possibly use a word of Germanic origin. Couldn’t she just say “strange”?

And this one was the one that definitely, made me hate the writing style, and I just can’t get over it. 

– “There, a poker-faced man sat at a desk.” – How can this term even be in Ancient Egypt?? Biblical times, people!! How can they possibly know what this means if the term is an Americanism dating back to 1880, and refers to a card game invented in the USA, during the 19th century? 

I lost all respect for the book after this. Sorry. No. This can’t happen.

I couldn’t overlook any of these things. It simply wasn’t possible. Maybe I am very nitpicky, but when these things started appearing, they felt so out of place, I just couldn’t ignore them. It was as if they were underlined in red, I was forced to detect them.


I’m having bad luck lately. It is one bad book after another. I just hope my next one will be good, and I won’t have to write my fifth rant review this year. So, in short, the whole concept of this book is a good idea, but it is poorly executed. A little more research wouldn’t hurt anyone, if not on Asenath herself (because there’s nothing about her), at least on Ancient Egypt, in the manners of royalty, and all those aspects that fell flat, and made this book so bad. 

I have some other books in my to-read list about Ancient Egypt, and I honestly hope they are better than this one. Fingers crossed!