I may not have been one of the thousands of Sarah's fans on Fiction Press back when this book was still in its early stages, but that does not mean that this book release was just like any other. I was bouncing-off-the-walls EXCITED for this. I generally only let myself get really pumped up for a couple of book releases per year, and Throne of Glass took the cake in the debuts department.
First off, and because I don't know how else I can possibly start off this review, I have to praise the stunning cover! You can only TRULY appreciate the UK cover when you look at both the front and the back. This cover really sets the atmosphere of the story inside—and this one is sure to stand out in bookstores.
My reading of this book really began with the novellas and I’m not sure if I can possibly detach myself from those because they were GOOD. And if you’re interested in reading this book because of the assassin aspect of it, I’d definitely recommend you check those novellas out because there really isn’t too much assassin-ing to be done (on Celaena’s part, anyway) in Throne of Glass. And there’s good reason behind it.
Throne of Glass begins when Celaena Sardothien, an infamous and deadly assassin, who has been a slave at the Endovier salt mines for a full year, is released. She is brought to the glass castle at Rifthold—she must compete against the most fierce thieves and assassins, and if she doesn’t win and become the King’s Guard, she will return straight back to the salt mines for eternity. Only, what was once a competition for freedom quickly turns into a mystery with a body count. Celaena, always ready for adventure and danger, decides she must get to the bottom of it, before she too becomes a victim.
I like bold characters. Characters that give off the impression they don’t give a damn. There's something so refreshing about Celaena's character, however. She's so stubborn, brave and just badass. Despite being an assassin, she's so deeply compassionate with a kind heart. She has a soft side, despite the mask of stoicism that she wears. Furthermore, she's beautiful and she KNOWS it (which is one reason why she may rub some readers the wrong way). It does take some time to warm up to her, but to be honest, I’d already fallen for her in the first novella leading up to this book. She has a likeness to Katniss (The Hunger Games) and Katsa + Fire (The Seven Kingdoms).
Before I get to the love interests, I want to touch on the foreboding nature of many of the characters you’ll find in both the novellas and Throne of Glass. We don’t find out a lot more about the contenders in the competition, which makes them unsympathetic when one of them does die. They become numbers rather than people. Like many books of this nature (The Hunger Games, Divergent, maybe The Selection—you know, books with some kind of contest in them), there are those contenders that are there so the author can kill them off. Then there are the frontrunners, as well as the underdogs. Throne of Glass follows this trend, in that Celaena is an underdog, and almost every other character is big and tough and… well, male.
Speaking of male… Celaena doesn’t have trouble attracting them. I’ll only talk about the romances in Throne of Glass, not the novellas. I have a love-hate relationship with love triangles. Yes, I said the dreaded phrase. This book has a love triangle in it. BUT, I liked how it worked. I can’t really justify my liking it, other than the fact that I liked her interactions with both guys, as well as the guys themselves. I think that makes all the difference when an author tries to write in a love triangle. For anyone wondering, I am most definitely Team Chaol. He’s captain of the Royal Guard, and he thinks of Celaena as nothing but an assassin... for a good length of time. All the while, Prince Dorian treats her like a guest or royalty rather than a prisoner. Like I said, I like both guys, but the interactions between Celaena and Chaol just get to me, left me smiling to myself every single time. (However, I do have to say I preferred the one in the novellas.)
There is a big mystery aspect to Throne of Glass, and unlike in the novellas there is an unpredictable nature to it. I had no idea exactly who-dunnit until the very end. I loved reading all the clues and just following along with the story. I could not put this book down! On top of that there is quite a bit of action, and I personally feel like there was a good balance between action, character development and plot. I really hope that there is more world building in the next book, and I feel like the plot will allow more of that exploration, since in this book Celaena was contained and therefore did not have much opportunity to go sight-seeing or anything like that.
Throne of Glass is written in third person. I know lots of people aren’t a fan of third person narration, especially in YA fiction, but I was able to connect with the characters easily. I don’t have much else to say about the writing style. If you’re familiar with the high-fantasy (or historical fiction) genre then I don’t think you’ll have much of a problem with it.
Sarah J. Maas' debut novel Throne of Glass is a whirlwind of excitement and intrigue where danger lurks around every corner. In Celaena Sardothien's latest adventure you'll either be shuddering in fear or swooning or laughing out loud every step of the way. I simply cannot wait to find out what happens next in Book 2!(less)
Ooh! Now there are two 2012 debuts with protagonists who share the same name as me. ;P I couldn't tell this was dystopian, but I dig the fact that thi...moreOoh! Now there are two 2012 debuts with protagonists who share the same name as me. ;P I couldn't tell this was dystopian, but I dig the fact that this mentions Aboriginal heritage, seeing as I live in Australia.(less)
I just couldn't get enough of The Diviners! Despite the intimidating page count, I jumped right in and there was never a dull moment. There's a whole world to explore in this book—every scene, every page breathes with life. Libba Bray really doesn't skimp on the details, but rather than damping down the story, the extra paragraphs of description brought so much more to it. I felt like I was there. While I was reading this book it was difficult to differentiate between the world that Bray had created, and my own. I was lost in the bright lights of NYC and I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to get away from it all.
Evie O’Neill is special. She can touch others’ possessions and see into that person’s past. One summer evening, Evie uses this gift as a way of astonishing her friends at a party. When she ends up revealing a dark secret, her small hometown of Zenith Ohio starts to talk and she is exiled to New York to live with her stuffy uncle, owner of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult.
Evie rediscovers herself in the bustling city of New York. Everything is a new opportunity, a gained experience, a chance for bigger and better things to come. However, from the day that a girl is discovered having been brutally murdered and marked with mysterious symbols, and Evie touches the girl’s shoe buckle and sees something that could be the key to the case, she doesn’t think she can keep quiet or stay away from the investigation. And then more people end up being killed in a similar way, and she knows she must get to the bottom of things.
Note: In true Libba Bray fashion, we also have the perspectives of several other characters, who both stand on their own but are integral to Evie’s story. I won’t go through their different story arcs, since I only wanted to include what’s revealed in the blurb of the book. Seriously, I recommend anyone to just start reading this book BLIND. As in, don’t read the blurb or reviews or anything that might give away any of the story.
Evie’s got a lot of moxie, there’s no doubt about that. She’s gutsy to a fault, where she sometimes gets herself into bad situations because of her boldness. It was hard not to engage with her character; even when she did do something completely reckless it was easy to forgive her just because of who she is presented to us as. I wouldn’t say she’s one of my favourite characters, because she doesn’t have a whole lot of substance to her: ultimately, she’s just looking to have a good time.
I actually cannot pinpoint my one favourite character from this book. I feel like they have the potential to grow on me even more as the series progresses. With The Diviners we’ve only just skimmed the surface and I personally want to know more and more about them.
There’s a bit of romance-y stuff in The Diviners, which is probably expected considering it’s a historical (1920s NYC no less) crossed with paranormal (hometown of romance). There’s a very cinematic quality to the way that the romances are presented. I could very easily see the scenes play out in my mind. Not just that, the relationships progressed relatively slowly and realistically, much to my delight. All you need to know is Evie has the option of two guys: Sam or Jericho. For the majority of the book I preferred Sam, just because of the circumstances surrounding Jericho, but by the end I thought there was more heart in their possible relationship. There is also some romantic tension between two of the surrounding characters which I strongly approve of.
While we’re on the topic of love, there’s also another kind of love explored in The Diviners—the love shared by family and friends. There’s the kind that felt familiar to me (the friendship between Evie and her NYC pen-pal Mabel), as well as the bonds that are formed between brothers (Memphis and Isaiah) and relatives (Evie and her uncle).
The Diviners is a heavy book, and I mean that both literally (+500 pages, guys) and figuratively. This NYC that Libba Bray has imagined is not a safe place to be. The main plot unfurls at an achingly steady pace. You’ll want to know more about what is causing all these murders, more about the Diviners, more about Evie and all the characters. I read a good chunk of this book at night-time, which put me at a little unease. There’s definitely some spook-factor in this book; leading up to the climax you won’t be able to keep your eyes off the pages because everything becomes epic and frightening and almost end-of-worldly. And because you have time to know the characters, you’ll end up caring what happens to them.
Libba Bray is a self-acclaimed research nerd, and it really shows in The Diviners. She included 20s slang words, she included minor details about the historical happenings of that time. I just loved the way this book was written. It’s in several perspectives, third-person narrative. And I think it’s important that this book was written with a bit of a reprieve from the main plot because it does have down-time and allows the reader to process the progression of the sinister and nearing evil entity’s appearance. Personally, I felt the pacing was well done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of action and faster-paced books could not make it to the end of The Diviners.
In The Diviners, Libba Bray reaches success in crafting a tantalising world shrouded in mystery and intrigue--you'll have no choice but to read on and go along for the ride. This first book in a new series is a seductive mash-up of roaring 20s New York and the supernatural. Brimming with characters that carry the very essence of life in the 20s and full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, The Diviners is a 2012 YA release not to be missed!(less)
Holly Cupala really enunciates the effect that words can have.
Joy Delamere is suffocating--from the parents who dismiss her with empty words, from...more4/5
Holly Cupala really enunciates the effect that words can have.
Joy Delamere is suffocating--from the parents who dismiss her with empty words, from the older brother who doesn't have any more words to say to her, from her friends whose words are disapproving and distanced. Most of all though, is Asher's words. His controlling personality means that Joy doesn't need to make her own choices, but that also means that with every word Asher utters, Joy loses a little bit of herself.
DON'T BREATHE A WORD emanates power and strength, while also having resonances of helplessness and fearfulness.
In order for Joy to take back herself, she needs to lose herself in among the streets of downtown Seattle, where she will find the boy whose soothing words might be able to restore what she's lost. Trust. Hope. Belonging. This boy, Creed, reaches out to her one day when Joy is out with Asher. The words "If you need help, you know where to find me" may just be her salvation.
This is a story that sticks. It's heartbreaking and engrossing and full of characters whose depth and realism remind you that THESE KINDS OF THINGS HAPPEN. Joy has a quiet strength, but she's also helpless in the way that her asthma controls her, as well as Asher's hold on her. I can't say I liked her character, but I can say that I sympathised with her. I understood why she left her home to live on the streets. She felt she had no other choice but to get away from everything she's known. Because words have power.
We get to know Creed and May and Santos, the homeless teens that Joy will live with indefinitely. They each have their own secrets and dark pasts, and reasons why they're living out there. Holly Cupala describes the environment with lyrical prose that transport you to downtown Seattle.
DON'T BREATHE A WORD is gritty, seething with realism. It's powerful and transporting. Once you've heard Joy's story, you won't be able to brush it off and think it was nothing. This story counts and makes you think and gets under your skin. If you're looking for a contemporary read that may be a bit difficult to read, but is worthy of literary praise and is realistic, pick this one up.
My 'review' for Delirium (linked above) was written straight after I read that cliffhanger/tearjerker of an ending, and so therefore I let my emotions run rampant along the screen. As a result . . . well, I didn't reflect my thoughts on the book in full; much of it was just the shock-wowza factor, and for that I gave the book a 5/5. I recently re-read it and I'd give it a 3.5/5 now because, overall, it's a snoozer (for me). I liked everything all right; it's just that nothing really got to me, until I got to the end.
Bursting with action, the second book in Oliver’s dystopian trilogy where love is seen as a disease (Deliria Nervosa) kept my attention from abrupt beginning to fist-clenching end. I may be in the minority with this, but I actually liked Pandemonium more than Delirium! There was just so much more going on. In Delirium, there were bouts of panic and action, but much of the book I’ll admit left me bored. Not the case in Pandemonium. I couldn’t peel my eyes away!
The old Lena is dead... buried... behind a wall of smoke and flame
From page one of Pandemonium, we are thrown straight into the action and it takes a while to make sense of what's happening. Lena tells us both the NOW and THEN after the events of Delirium, separated into two distinct but linked plot arcs. History repeats itself as Lena starts to fall for another man (not Alex) and the Resistance against the "Zombies" (Cureds) grows stronger still.
Pandemonium hits off with Lena still distraught over her loss of Alex when they tried escaping over the border into the Wilds. The old Lena is dead, buried behind a wall of smoke and flame. I found the NOW and THEN plot device to be a clever way to really bring home the changes that living in the Wilds does to Lena. Also, each section would end on a tense note, which just urged me to read on and find out what happens next. At the edge of a broken city . . . This, for us, is heaven.
In Pandemonium we are given even more insight into the new world. More than that, we see the ugliness that exists outside the safe walls of Cured lands. Lena is with her new 'family', a group of Invalids who started to grow on me. The harsh life that they have to lead chilled me to my core, especially when winter rolled around and supplies ran low. Even so, they have each other. They depend on and care about each other.
"For now, there is only a homestead built of trash and scraps, at the edge of a broken city, just beyond a towering city dump; and our arrival--hungry, and half-frozen, to a place of food and water, and walls that keep out the brutal winds. This, for us, is heaven." (p. 289)
We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking.
What never changes about Oliver’s books is her eloquent writing style. She has such delectable written expression, and she can build worlds and environments with ease. Her writing is akin to poetry. It’s no wonder she’s doing so well as an author! There's a good mix of action and description. I think Oliver keeps a better balance of this here when compared to Delirium.
He is not Alex. You don't want DERP (guy name). You want Alex. And Alex is dead.
I think much of what may repel readers from continuing on after Delirium is the romance aspect. We know that Alex has died – or is at the very least on the cusp of death and captured by the system – so where does that leave Lena? Surely she doesn’t find another . . . oh wait! She does! I’m still not sure how I feel about this new love interest, but I must admit they share some really sweet scenes together. He's not quite the sweeping romantic that Alex was, the guy who showed Lena what it was like to really be alive and free. He actually pales in comparison, but by the end of Pandemonium we see a glimmer of hope. For what? You'll have to read it yourself to find out!
Following what was one of the most gut-wrenching YA I’ve ever read comes a truly captivating sequel in Pandemonium. The complexly drawn storytelling will keep you reading well into the night, and once you’ve flipped the final page you’ll want more. Another Oliver book not to be missed!
WANDERLOVE starts off with ex-artgirl Bria, who is currently in her break between high school and university/college, recently broke up w...more5/5
WANDERLOVE starts off with ex-artgirl Bria, who is currently in her break between high school and university/college, recently broke up with her intense artsy boyfriend Toby, and now ready to be someone different. When her two best friends bail on their trip, she takes it upon herself to screw it all and go anyway. But, the travel package that drew her to Central America turns out to be a dud - her group consists of only old or dull people, which means absolutely no hookups.
Sick of the routine and lack of adventure, Bria is taken under the wings of backpackers Starling and Rowan. Wanting more than anything to fit in with the backpacker lifestyle, she loses herself along the way. Because of the theft of her handbag, along with her camera, the only way she'll be able to capture the rugged beauty of her surroundings is if she picks up her pencil and starts to draw again. Rowan and Starling take her to places far off the beaten track, and she finds herself - the art school girl she's always wanted to be - along the way, and maybe, she thinks, it's not too late to return to how she was before Toby.
Okay, guys, I just read this amazing book. It's called WANDERLOVE, and if you're into travel - heck, even if you're not into travel - this is THE 2012 YA book for you. Aside from the pure escapism that this book provides so easily, Hubbard has created characters that stick, with real problems that may not always be relatable, but will encourage the reader's empathy all the same.
It's so clear to see how much Hubbard loves to travel, and that she didn't just research Central America - she LIVED Central America. I can just imagine the sparks that flew when she wrote this book, so immersed in her love for backpacking and getting lost in a whole new world; which probably attributed to why I enjoyed this ten million times more than I did LIKE MANDARIN (Hubbard's debut). I could FEEL not only Bria, the main character, but also the author, because of the depth of detail and the drawings - oh, guys, the DRAWINGS . . . . Easily one of the most beautiful books I've read all year.
At the beginning of the book, Bria is naive and still clinging onto the past. She's a bit snappy and immature, but she's been through a lot. We just don't know much about her problems. Along the way, as she opens up, both in her thoughts and out loud, we are aware of the reasons why she has a lack of trust in people. By the end, she's a completely different person - she braves the unknown, in more ways than one! Some of her choices weren't the smartest, but I did like Bria a lot, and I could relate to her. I also LOVE that Bria is 18 - there needs to be more YA protagonists around the 18-23 bracket!
Starling and Rowan, and the other backpackers we meet along the way, FELT. LIKE. REAL. PEOPLE. And I bet anything that Hubbard actually did base some of these characters on people she'd met during her travels. Really though, I love when characters stop feeling like characters, and more like people who you could believe exist. It also helps that the drawings are spot on with how I imagined them in my head.
The problems that Bria faces, revolves around art - something that she loved more than anything, but was turned into something ugly because of those around her. Her future, her parents, her relationship with Toby. They were all addressed because of what happened to her art. Let me just say I adore main protagonists who actually have passions and dreams, and who aren't just living it out for their dream guy, or a better life.
There IS a relationship that sparks during Bria's journey. Really, it would've felt just as sweet if it remained a friendship, but the extra oomph that the relationship provided really kicked up the dramatic side of things. Bria deals with the confusion that comes with not knowing whether it's serious or not, and what's going to happen if she lets herself fall for the backpacker guy she ran into at the airport. At first I didn't like Rowan that much, because of his easy confidence and way of speech. He came off as a bit cocky and high-and-mighty. But we also get to know him along the way; I warmed up to him quickly. I enjoyed the gradual progression as the two move from walking around eggshells, to *groan* cracking those eggshells and dancing around.
Also, the cover and title. Both meaningful and only help to escalate the sophistication and intensity that this book delivers so effortlessly.
There's just so much to love about this book, and I could go on about it forever. However, I want to stop while I'm ahead, before this begins to sound like a serious review, rather than just a gush-fest. Sometimes it's better just to gush, when the opportunity calls for such a feat.
WANDERLOVE is beautiful. WANDERLOVE is a budget vacation/adventure you will never want to forget. If you are only going to read one 2012 YA contemporary release, make it this one. Beautifully rendered and picturesque, Hubbard's writing and drawings and characters will have you turning page after page, until you're done and you'll want to read it all over again. This book feels like a splash of cold water on a blazing hot day; a warm hug when you're cold.
GOING. ON. MY. PREORDER. LIST. READ NOW PLEASE! Seriously though, I'm stopping . . . now.
QUOTES ~ From e-ARC, Netgalley ~ ~ I have 19 quotes, many of them pages long. Ha! ~
" Some of my old sketchbooks--the ones I stashed under my bed right around the time art school acceptance letters arrived--held drawings of Bria's Dream Guy. He wore tiny black glasses and Converse shoes, with that legendary paintbrush tucked behind his ear. Then there was his archnemesis, the Bad Guy. In a series of two-dimensional encounters, Bria's Dream Guy rescued her from the Bad Guy--via surfboard, hang glider, and white stallion--paintbrush moonlighting as a sword. Back then, I thought Mother Nature split the good guys from the bad with a thick black line. But the thing is, in real life, they're often the same guy. (47)
" "They're a drag. I mean, seriously--they just drag out painful moments." I shrug, still feeling all sorts of unpleasant. "I suppose." "Think about it. Think about your last big goodbye. Both people are searching for the right thing to say, and both are uncomfortable because there is no right thing to say. Best to just leave and be done with it. Shut the book as quickly as possible." I try not to think of how long I dragged out my breakup with Toby. Isn't that what a breakup is? A painfully protracted goodbye? At least, it was in my case. "You make it sound easy." "It's worked for me so far." (106-107)
REVIEW TO BE POSTED ON BLOG: 14TH DECEMBER. Will include illustrations, and other extras.(less)
Urge to read this . . . rising. I remember the name Orion, but I can't remember anything past the fact that he did some bad, murderous stuff. Did he d...moreUrge to read this . . . rising. I remember the name Orion, but I can't remember anything past the fact that he did some bad, murderous stuff. Did he die or something? GAH this is why I hate series sometimes. I suck at remembering crap!