I'm glad I powered through with this book, but honestly, I didn't really find it all that engaging until about 100 pages in. Typically, I have a 50-paI'm glad I powered through with this book, but honestly, I didn't really find it all that engaging until about 100 pages in. Typically, I have a 50-page rule: if I'm not invested in the story by that point, it's okay to put it aside. Since this book clocks in at around 400 pages and it was lent to me by a friend who raved about it, I decided to power through to 100 pages, and by that point, it had got more interesting, so I kept going.
My friend had warned me that Celaena is pretty irritating and arrogant in the first book in this series, and that's kind of how I felt about her to begin with. Her entire journey from the salt mines to the palace wasn't all that interesting for me. She never seemed to be the badass assassin she was described as. There are a lot of descriptions of her considering attacking people, or reminiscing about attacking people, and her incredibly beauty (in spite of the fact that she's in a terrible state after, you know, being stuck in a salt mine for a year). And we kind of get thrown straight into the Dorian vs. Chaol love triangle during this journey, and as other reviewers have commented, at this point they're pretty interchangeable, so I wasn't exactly rooting for either of them. I just wanted the story to actually start.
The plot got more interesting around 100 pages in, once we're actually at the palace and Celaena is learning about the tests she'll have to go through to compete to becoming the King's Champion. We start to get more insight into Celaena's character at this point. I felt like I really got invested in the story around halfway through, once Nehemia is introduced and Celaena starts learning about Wyrdmarks and investigating what they mean. We also start to get more insight into Dorian's character at this point, and I genuinely became interested in how his story would develop.
I wish we'd learned more about Chaol in this book--he never really felt like a viable love interest for Celaena, as the insights into his feelings were always pretty brief and not very well developed. I know this book is part of a series, but really, if you want me to care about both love interests, they have to both be equally well developed. Although Chaol is definitely more my type (quieter and less cocky and alpha than Dorian, protective and sensitive while also being Celaena's equal in many ways) we didn't spend as much time inside his head, or learning about his backstory.
Celaena isn't the most consistent heroine. She's supposed to be the most feared assassin in the world, but she doesn't wake up when Dorian leaves a bag of sweets on her pillow, or explore possible hidden escape routes from her room as soon as she arrives? I don't buy it. I wasn't so annoyed by her petty jealousies about not being allowed to attend palace events or her struggling with he attraction to Dorian. She might be an assassin, but she's still a young woman with emotions and hormones. In fact, it was kind of nice to see her having flaws, after the first quarter of the book were she seemed almost too perfect. I did get fed up with her jumping to conclusions when trying to solve a mystery towards the end of the book. It was so obvious to me what was going on, and I was almost rolling my eyes at her idiocy. Then again, is an assassin supposed to be able to solve mysteries? Maybe not.
I would say that the first quarter of this book was uninspiring, the next quarter was good, and the last half of the book was excellent. It took me age to work through the first 100 pages of the book, but I sped through the last 200, not wanting to put the book down. I definitely want to read the next book in the series, but I'm hoping that it doesn't have the same plot structure.
For all its flaws, Throne of Glass is a great introduction to a wonderfully crafted world with plenty of countries, cultures, languages and religions. I think it could be a bit shorter and cut out some word-padding and repetition, or spend more of the early pages on character development, but otherwise it's pretty good. If you have the time, it's worth pushing through the early chapters to get to the good stuff....more
Right after I finished Wicked as They Come, Twitter informed me that this book was free on XOXO After Dark until the end of the month. It's a super shRight after I finished Wicked as They Come, Twitter informed me that this book was free on XOXO After Dark until the end of the month. It's a super short story (all of 39 pages), and although it's technically the prequel to the first Blud book, I'm not sure much it would be appreciated if you weren't already invested in the series? As with WATC, the world-building is fantastic and lyrical, and you really feel like you're there, at the carnival. The romance is pretty unexciting, since Lydia and Charlie fall for each other immediately. There's a fair bit of action, and Lydia experiences a lot of violence for such a short story, but I did appreciate the continuity with the details in WATC, like explaining why the wolfman was no longer part of the carnival when Tish arrived, etc. I was going to rate this book 3*, until the twist at the end. It's incredibly dark and unexpected, but I loved it. I'm generally not a big fan of short stories, unless they do something surprising like that, so this is getting bumped up to a 4* purely because of the ending. ...more
ZOMG. Don't be put off by the cheesy half-naked guy on the front cover. I realise this looks kind of like vampire erotica and you're probably thinkingZOMG. Don't be put off by the cheesy half-naked guy on the front cover. I realise this looks kind of like vampire erotica and you're probably thinking, "Um, Rachel, you run a Christian book review website that explicitly states that you don't review this sort of thing. Plus, you're friends with your mum on social media. What's going on? Why are you publicly admitting to reading this book?" I'm not going to lie, steampunk Fabio did almost put me off reading this on public transport, but I'm going to urge you to look beyond the cover, because this book is awesome.
As you know, romance is kind of my thing, and I do find vampires pretty interesting even if I don't read a lot of novels about them, but I've never delved into the steampunk genre prior to this. This book was on my radar for a good few years before I actually read it, mostly because I wasn't sure if it was too far out of my comfort zone for me to properly enjoy. You see, I've kind of been fangirling over Delilah S. Dawson for a couple of years. I discovered her when she live-tweeted Nora Roberts' key-note speech at RAW back in 2013 and I've stalked her social media pages ever since. She's written some fantastic stuff about writing and motherhood and generally given me the confidence to keep going with this thing. Simon and I roared with laughter when we discovered her tumblr devoted to ridiculous things her son said (plus, the knowledge that she also let her preschooler watch Adventure Time made me feel more normal about my parenting decisions). Apparently I'm not the only crazy woman who has managed to write a novel while literally nursing a baby. Basically, I want to grow up to be a cool mum who talks to the internet about my quirky romance novels with long-haired heroes.
So, yeah, I was worried that I would hate this book and it would feel disloyal as I've loved Delilah Dawson as a person and didn't want to not like her novels. It was a silly worry, but well, that's the kind of thing I think about. Thankfully, this wasn't the case, and I ADORED this book. If the second instalment in the series wasn't inexplicably £16 (!?) on Amazon UK right now I would have already ordered it. I've had a bit of a reading block over the last couple of months and it's sometimes taking me weeks at a time to finish a single book, but I sped through this one in three days. I was entirely immersed in the world of Sang and although I was eager to get to the conclusion of the story and know that Criminy and Tish had saved the day and figured out a solution to all of their problems, I also really didn't want to leave their world. It was utterly fascinating, but not overwhelming for someone who doesn't know the first thing about steampunk.
Because of the entirely immersive world, I didn't mind not getting inside Criminy's head, or the fact that he was basically in love with Tish at first sight. This isn't really a straight romance, but I still appreciated the sections of the story that were devoted to Tish figuring out which world she wanted to stay in, and how she really felt about Criminy. Unlike some romance novels where the heroine unexpectedly plops into the hero's world and is entirely at his mercy and has to go along with everything he says, Tish doesn't immediately fall for Criminy or agree to his wishes or resign herself to having to marry him in order to get by in the world. She's awesome at insisting on making her own boundaries, taking their relationship at a comfortable pace, and generally making it into a fantastically consensual, respectful romance. I'd like more of these, please! Tish wasn't afraid to tell Criminy to back off, and this book didn't have any of the annoying "Oh, he's so attractive when he's basically forcing himself on me!" stuff that makes me want to throw up.
I think I'd probably rate this book 4.5 rather than 5 (if that were an option, ahem, GoodReads), simply because I felt like some plot progressions were made too convenient by the revelations Tish got through her "glances". Occasionally we got major info dumps that helped the characters to move forward at a rapid pace, and the reader was expected to just accept this new piece of information and run with it. The pacing towards the end was fantastic, but around the time that Criminy and Tish set off on their investigation, there were a few times when things seemed to move unrealistically fast, or they ran into someone who coincidentally had a major part to play in revealing part of the puzzle they needed to solve in order to save the day. Otherwise, I don't really have any complaints.
All in all, this was a fantastically quirky book. I have zero experience of this genre (and it appears that vampire steampunk romances ARE actually a thing, and not just a one off?) so I don't have anything to compare it to specifically, but the world-building was amazing, the details were fascinating, Tish's dilemma was compelling, the adventure was suspenseful, and the romance developed at a comfortable pace. Basically, IT WAS ALL AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD READ IT. I'm kind of hoping that Criminy and Tish reappear in later books in the series as I got rather attached to them....more
I enjoyed all the books in this trilogy, although I can't remember any of the details. Celia Rees was my favourite horror writer when I was a teenagerI enjoyed all the books in this trilogy, although I can't remember any of the details. Celia Rees was my favourite horror writer when I was a teenager, but these weren't her best books....more
I went through a horror phase when I was 12, around the same time that I devoured all the Sweet Valley books in my local library, bizarrely. I'm not sI went through a horror phase when I was 12, around the same time that I devoured all the Sweet Valley books in my local library, bizarrely. I'm not sure why I combined these two vastly different styles of books. Anyway, I read a lot of Celia Rees at this time. I read all three books in this trilogy but I honestly can't remember anything about them, but I did enjoy them despite them not being very memorable....more
I was SO scared by this book when I first read it. I was used to generic, Point Horror-style horrMy review at age 11:
"Odd/freaky sometimes, but good."
I was SO scared by this book when I first read it. I was used to generic, Point Horror-style horror, so a decent book was an enigma for me. I remember sitting in the garden with my family while reading this, in the blazing sun, and still being scared that some creepy, dead-but-undead child was hiding behind me. And the cover! I hated looking at the cover; super creepy! Even six years on, I can still remember loads of details about this book - it had a big effect on me! Recommended to young thriller fans....more
"Vampires! Really good. Interesting too, as it switches between times."
I went through a horror phase when I was 11 and 12 (interspMy review at age 11:
"Vampires! Really good. Interesting too, as it switches between times."
I went through a horror phase when I was 11 and 12 (intersperced with Meg Cabot and Sweet Valley) and this was probably one of the better books which I read. I recall being completely gripped by this book and rather scared. I think this is probably one of the first books I read where the book wasn't all told from one character's point of view, and in the present time, hence my amazement at "it switches between times." I actually remember writing an essay on this book in 2nd year (age 13) English, as it was a favourite of mine for several years.
I was quite amazed when I found out that this was originally published as a generic Point Horror book. 'Blood Sinister' is definitely better than the likes of Point!
I also found it amusing that nowadays, vampires aren't creatures whom you fear and try to escape from, and are instead...pin-ups? :P...more