- It was dull as dirt - It was waaaaaaaay too long - I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was - RoReasons why I didn't like this book:
- It was dull as dirt - It was waaaaaaaay too long - I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was - Rowan is overrated. There, I said it. - I fell asleep listening to the audiobook over 15 times. 7 alone for the last 10%. - The chapters with the witches felt SO POINTLESS. (BTW, the king outlawed magic, but witches are okay? dafuq? Oh well, I don't care.) - I feel like each book follows the same plot: Celena trains. Celena fights with cute guy. Mysterious monster is killing people. Celena kills monster. Fin.
It's always interesting to revisit books years after you've read them in a different format. The first time I read Throne of Glass, I wasn't really imIt's always interesting to revisit books years after you've read them in a different format. The first time I read Throne of Glass, I wasn't really impressed with the writing, though I was relatively drawn into the story as a whole. However, this time around, with the audio I actually connected with the romance between Dorian and Celaena so much better. This just goes to show you that *when* you read a book and which *format* you choose can make a big difference on your reading experience. Which is why I think "reading objectively" is a steaming pile of horse shit.
Anyway, I'm looking for Crown of Midnight now! ...more
Final books are hard. Readers dive in with so many expectations, hopes and fears, and let's not forget the ships. I suspect it must be at least a littFinal books are hard. Readers dive in with so many expectations, hopes and fears, and let's not forget the ships. I suspect it must be at least a little daunting for an author to want to give their readers everything and stay true to their story. Friends, for me, Marie Rutkoski has done just that. This story has taken me on a remarkable journey, capturing my heart and and melting my emotions in one fell swoop.
The Winner's Kiss is a perfect conclusion to an expertly crafted series. And as always there are many familiar reasons to love the final installment as much as its predecessors while containing quite a few twists that kept me anticipating the turn of each page. Our protagonists, Kestrel and Arin, experience a lot of growth as previous choices finally reach shocking, climatic consequences, many of which I was unsure how they'd move past. I definitely didn't expect the changes Kestrel underwent; she is both the same and vastly different, exploring physical and mental strength of female characters.
You don't need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.
The unpredictability of this novel is its greatest weapon as Rutkoski clearly shows she's not afraid to make you beg for your favorites' survival. She's heartlessly brilliant like that.
What I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed Roshar's character. I give his sarcastic, witty remarks an A++ and loved how he reminded me of a rougher version of Sturmhond from The Grisha series. It was smart for him to have as much page time as he did since The Winner's Kiss contains romantic tension to the max with a few scenes causing me utter desperation—moments where I was throwing buckets of water out of my ship, lest it sink, screaming "Noooooooooo!" fiercely at my ceiling.
I still admire the writing and how it manages to convey so much more than is actually written. It's made me re-think my stance on 3rd person narration, usually my least favorite. But the fact that I, too, now feel as though I can translate Kestrel and Arin's Epic Starring Contests, Roshar and Arin's Bromatic Body Language among a host of other tells, just goes to show you the quality of writing. No words are wasted, and always feel so carefully deliberate while still maintaining its raw honesty.
Perhaps what The Winner's Kiss succeeds at the most is its ability to straddle that fine line between a character driven and plot driven novel. Neither side took over the other, out-shining or lacking in development. The relationships were given the proper amount of time and dignity. Not only is there a focus on Kestrel and Arin's, but also of another that's made very clear it's just as important, and maybe even more so. And, yes, in case you were wondering, this book does indeed pass the Bechdel test, something which I'm always pleased to see in a YA novel.
The plot was excellent. Surprisingly detailed battle scenes, strategies and political maneuvers are at the front without making my eyes glaze over with confusion. And I loved that Arin's cultural religious beliefs along side Kestrel's disbelief was handled with a great amount of respect and love. It really highlighted an ongoing theme of tolerance and respect of others' differences, and that is so incredibly relevant. And, of course, I really enjoyed how the novel began and ended with A Winner's Curse, bringing the entire series full circle. Nice touch.
I am fiercely in love with all things Kestrel and Arin. Their relationship struggle in the novel was so real. Finally a YA book where it's not the fantasy world keeping them apart, but actual real relationship bumps that plagues us all: break down of communication, acknowledgements of individual changes and growth, trust issues, accepting faults along with strengths, understanding personal struggles, guilt of hurting the one you love the most, forgiveness, and above all, mutual respect.
"He changed us both." She seemed to struggle for words. "I think of you, all that you lost, who you were, what you were forced to be, and might have been, and I—I have become this, this person, unable to—" She shut her mouth. "Kestrel," he said softly, "I love this person."
It's sad for me to come to the conclusion of a favorite series, one that I never expected to adore so much. But I loved every minute of this ride and can't wait to revisit.
Excellent series is excellent.
An ARC was provided by the publisher. No monies or favors were exchanged.
I tried really hard to like Snow Like Ashes. Really hard. There are a lot of things a person might try to do. You can try to ride a bike. Try to draw.I tried really hard to like Snow Like Ashes. Really hard. There are a lot of things a person might try to do. You can try to ride a bike. Try to draw. Try to, I don't know, jump off a cliff. And that's when I realized I was being completely ridiculous. You can't force yourself to like something no matter how hard you try. So I stopped trying and just continued reading, mostly because I really hate DNFing books, and took the pressure off of myself. Needless to day, Snow Like Ashes never improved for me.
Be warned that this review will be full of spoilers, but not really since you can figure everything out by the second chapter. But I thought I'd at least throw it out there.
The basic premise around Snow Like Ashes is one you've read before. There's a kingdom that has been ruined by an evil king of another kingdom, imprisoning its subjects and killing the queen. However, a few survive, including a knight, an heir to the throne, an orphaned girl and a bunch of other people who serve absolutely no other purpose other than existing. For 16 years, this group seeks a magic locket that will somehow help free their people and restore the magic of the Winter kingdom.
The story is told from Meira's point of view, a girl who was orphaned during collapse of Winter. She's just a normal girl trying to fit in and belong to the cause. A girl who prefers combat over dresses. Meira is not a terrible heroine, but one I had zero emotional connection with. If you are like me, you'll probably start wondering from chapter one why the author decided to tell this story from Meira's point of view. And by chapter two you'll notice a few things:
- Mather, the heir to the Winter throne, flinches when he is referred to as the king - Sir told Meira from a young age not to call him "father" - The magic of Winter is always passed down to a female - Sir never lets Meira go on the dangerous missions, but somehow it's a great idea to send their heir, Mather... - Mather feels bad that he won't be able to use Winter's magic even after they get the locket back
And if that's not enough to persuade you that something fishy is going on there are these clues by 40%:
- Of course Meira would be betrothed to a Prince and promised a title after Winter was restored - The Cordellan king calls Mather king in italics - Hannah, the dead Queen of Winter, appears in Meira's dreams all the time
Unfortunately for me, that killed most of the enjoyment I might have received from Snow Like Ashes. Knowing the big plot twist from the very beginning diminished my anticipation of getting to the end and having that "AH HA!" moment that I love so much in stories.
The world in Snow Like Ashes is a basic one. There are 8 kingdoms: 4 Seasons and 4 Rhythms, each with their own conduit filled with magic. Spring is ruled by Angra, a dominating and oppressive leader hell bent on destroying Winter. The reason why he's so focused isn't very clear and I'm thinking that might be part of the deeper plot of the trilogy. The issue I had is how the world is described to the reader. Info dumps plague Snow Like Ashes in the worst possible way. But then it's taken a step further with Meira giving explanations of the info dumps.
Just as Winter focused its magic on mining, Coredell focuses its conduit on opportunity--on helping its citizenswork a situation in their favor so they get the most out of it. Opportunistic, resourceful, swindlers: whatever they're called, they can make "leaves turn to gold"--a Cordellan phrase Sir explained in our many lessons, referring to the fact that they're so good at turning a profit it's as if they make leaves on a tree turn into gold coins. That explains Captain Dominick's curse earlier--golden leaves.
Maybe it's just me, but I didn't need this explanation and many times it felt like Meira over-monologued her monologues and talked her way into complete circles. This coupled with a plot that felt very contrived, especially in the beginning, didn't always make for an enjoyable reading experience for me.
- Meira is allowed to go on a really dangerous mission to collect half of the locket because Mather lies to Sir about her besting him in close range combat. A lie that was not at all convincible. - This is Meira first dangerous mission and she just happens to overhear where the locket is located by people who were warned not to speak the location out loud. - After 16 years of trying to get this half of the locket, Meira succeeds because this really dangerous villain put her on a horse, conveniently, without checking her first for weapons, and she gallops away. - Shockingly, no one pursues her.
I just don't buy that. Just like I don't buy the names of the Seasons' capitols: Juli, Ocktuber, Jannuari and Abril. Sure these may seem like great obvious choices to play off months in which these seasons flourish if you live in the Northern Hemisphere of the world. But if you perhaps live in Australia or Asia, January is the exact opposite of winter... it's summer. It was little things like this that left Snow Like Ashes feeling very unpolished.
And now I feel bad because I haven't exactly said anything good about this book. But the thing is, nothing really sticks out for me. Snow Like Ashes failed to completely capture my interest and, therefore, is more of a meh read. One that isn't terrible, but that I won't remember much about to actually recommend it to someone.
But there was one scene that stuck out: the dick fight. Prince Theron and Mather just had to flex their muscles at each other over Meira. I understood Mather's reaction because he's in love with Meira and doesn't like the idea of her marrying Theron. But what about Theron? Pride maybe? Is he territorial? All I know is that, Mather started beating on his chest and Theron thought that was a great time to start comparing dick sizes.
"No matter what I use, I always hit my mark."
Things just start getting more and more ridiculous from there with Meira's monologuing.
No man can refuse to answer that call.
It's the kind of sword fight Sir has told stories about...
Sir, has warned Meira of these Mythical Fights of the Dick.
So yup, that was the best part of the book and then it got boring again. I find out the big plot twist and discovered... oh wait... I already knew the plot twist and that made that little scene really anticlimactic. At that point, I was just waiting for the book to end. I had gotten that far and refused to give up because I'm really stubborn and I enjoy torturing myself. Though, in hindsight, I probably should have stopped.
Basically, this book just wasn't for me. That doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out, but if you do decide to give it a go and you aren't impressed by chapter 5, chances are it isn't for you either.
ARC was acquired at Book Expo America 2014. I was not paid for this review.
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Well, this was terrible. I hated everything but the cover.
I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned outWell, this was terrible. I hated everything but the cover.
I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned out to be one of my most disappointing reads this year. HarperCollins was really pushing this title marking-wise, and while it’s not considered YA, they did offer it to quite a few YA bloggers for consideration for review. I had to be the special person to request it. I wish I hadn’t have done that.
The Queen of the Tearling tried to do a lot of things and that’s its biggest problem. You can’t have a high fantasy, historic society set in the future and NOT do any type of world building. You can’t have set rules up in your world only to break it because MAGIC. It’s not nice to tease the reader from the very beginning of SECRETS and have you supporting cast dangle it in from of us like a carrot for the entirety of the novel and NEVER TELL US by the end. Because that’s exactly what happened. It really made me question what the point of the novel was considering I learned nothing new about the plot or characters by the end.
I’m also surprised this was marketed as Adult to YA readers when it really is just a poorly plotted MG fantasy. For all this book had going for it — and it had a lot, including a movie deal with Emma Watson attached to star! — I expected so much more. I expected to be blown away, and maybe that was part of the problem, but really the level of SUCK contained in The Queen of the Tearling is baffling. I don’t recommend it at all....more
My original review for this book consisted of the following statement:
Ugh. So boring.
And for some reason those three words have kinda pissed peeps off My original review for this book consisted of the following statement:
Ugh. So boring.
And for some reason those three words have kinda pissed peeps off and landed me in some hot water elsewhere. But no matter. I feel like enough time has passed for me to give my true feelings.
So here they are:
This book is mediocre. There's nothing special about it. Nothing groundbreaking is contained in its pages. In other words, it's average. And that's what a 2 star rating for me is. I'm one of those reviewers who actually goes by the Goodreads ratings. 2 stars means I liked it, but it wasn't awesome. It also means I can see why others liked it. What it doesn't mean is that the book has no redeemable qualities or that your love for it is misplaced. I also want to point out that I really like Sabaa Tahir and have had the wonderful opportunity to meet her in person. She's truly lovely and I'm happy her novel has done so well. So take several seats if you've come here to troll me. Good day, sir.
So anyway, now that that's out of the way, back to An Ember in the Ashes.
Sometimes the problem with being a book blogger is that I know too much. Publishers love getting bloggers involved in campaigns to help promote their books because it's a fantastic way to generate hype and buzz for a title. Unfortunately for me, this sometimes means books are overhyped BEFORE I even get an ARC, let alone a finished copy. So the expectations I had for An Ember in the Ashes were ridiculously high and probably impossible to meet.
I think my primary issue with An Ember in the Ashes is that it bit off more than it could chew and, therefore, only began to scratch the surface. The halfway developed characters made for uninteresting, multi-POV narration. Even though I listened to the audio version, it only mildly helped the situation. And usually when I run into characters who aren't fleshed out completely, there's the plot to compensate, but not even that worked for me because everything moved at a snail's pace with no clear indication which direction the finish line lay.
Laia's role as a rebel was probably my least favorite aspect of the novel. Not only was she absolutely dreadful at it, but the rebels seemed shocked to find Laia hurt on a number of occasions. Things like this was worthy of an eyebrow raise because Laia was attempting to spy on the most dangerous person in the story, The Commandant, knowing that their previous spies were tortured and killed. So why are Laia's bruises a surprise?
Elias' POV was no better, to be honest. He spent most of his time mulling over his constant mommy issues and romantic feelings for his best friend. So basically, it was a lot of wangst that I could have done without. Also, he pulls a bit of a dick move that momentarily made me saw red. Not to mention Elias' character arc seems to revolve around a Prophecy and I'm just kinda over that in YA right now.
Still, since this is a 2-star review, there are some things that I did like.
- The commandant was a fantastic character. Deliciously evil and sadistic in all the right ways. She seemed to remain the most consistent and interesting throughout the book and I found myself enjoying scenes that she cameoed in.
- Elias' best friend, Helena. Even though I didn't exactly care for the romance, I enjoy the tension it created and that it caused his best friend to have more page time. She was such a badass and I loved her. Also, I started seeing some forms of a love rhombus and oh god please don't.
- The battle near the end was a surprise I did not expect. Tahir ended up killing off a few side characters I didn't realize I actually cared about. The audio narration was especially wonderful during that part.
All in all, it's not terrible, but also not knock-your-socks-off-amazing either. I don't feel invested enough to read the sequel since I found this one to be such a chore to get through in the first place. However, if I start seeing whispers of a Laia and Helena ship starting to form in book two, I might just need to rethink everything I thought I knew. ...more
OMG. If I could give this series 10 stars, I would! This is an amazing story and equally amazing audiobook. Plot: perfect. Characters: perfect. RomancOMG. If I could give this series 10 stars, I would! This is an amazing story and equally amazing audiobook. Plot: perfect. Characters: perfect. Romance: perfect. The only negative thing I can think of is that the first book does take a little while to get started. However, DO NOT GIVE UP ON IT. By the time I got to book four, The Crimson Crown, I was a zombie connected to my iPhone listening to Carol Monda’s every word. She has such a deep and gritty voice that she effortlessly switched back and forth to both female and male characters. LIKE WHOA GUYS. If you only ever read one audiobook series in your life, let it be this one....more