Books I've Read

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of StormsTitleEmpire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 704

Genre: YA Fantasy

SeriesThrone of Glass, book #5

Edition Read: Kindle

Blurb: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Review: I’m finally getting around to writing this review! Huzzah! Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead for the first books in this series, so read at your own risk.

Be

Ready

For

Spoilers

Go!

Plots within plots within plots!

First off, I love that Lysandra is able to be her shape shifty self. She’s awesome.

The stakes are higher each time with these books, which is one of the things I love best about them. It isn’t enough that Aelin is alive – that doesn’t mean she can get her kingdom back. The nobles who live in Terrasen still have to approve of her as queen. And they aren’t ready to do so, not unless she can bring some heavy alliances with her. Seriously, they really shouldn’t underestimate Aelin, not at all. I was completely amazed at all she accomplished by the end of this book. She is not fooling around, and she’s not going to let some crusty old men tell her what to do for her kingdom.

With the King of Adarlan gone, we needed a new villain, and this book really delivered. Erawan is a terrifying villain and it was wonderfully evil to see him as his true self, not hiding in another human body. He is not to be trifled with, very powerful and has some very powerful beings on his side.

Manon continues to be my absolute favorite part of this series and I’m so excited that she’s with the main group of characters now. More Manon is a good thing in my book. I also really love how Elide came into her own a bit more. She is starting to regain some of the confidence she lost as a captive for so many years and it’s the absolute best. The fact that she gained the heart of one of someone like Lorcan just proves how amazing she is. So much untapped potential.

Really and truly, it’s the characters that make this series. I love all of them so much. They are just so well written, well-rounded, interesting, flawed, and great to read about. The story is also very good and keeps going in places you don’t expect, but the characters are really what sells it.

This one left off on such a HORRIBLE CLIFFHANGER!!! Especially since I’m not planning to read the next book for a while!!! And by horrible, I mean exciting and terrifying and wonderful. I honestly have no idea where this story is going to end up, but I am here for it.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars all the way

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday – 5/14/19

tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

Chaol Westfall, former Captain of the Royal Guard and now Hand to the newly crowned King of Adarlan, had discovered that he hated one sound above all others.

Wheels.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #6)

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t actually started this one yet. This is the very first part of the first chapter though, so I figured it would be a good teaser. I’ve also been really slacking blog-wise so far this week because my schedule at work has been crazy. Things should die down a bit towards next week though. I hope.

Have any good teasers this week? Please leave them in comments!

Books I've Read

Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

**SPOILERS AHEAD – PROCEED WITH CAUTION**

Queen of ShadowsTitle: Queen of Shadows

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Throne of Glass #4

Edition: eBook

Blurb: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Review: Dorian. Poor, poor Dorian. He is locked inside a body possessed by a demon with no control over any of his actions. Just screaming inwardly. And his father is just loving it, the evil bastard.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is the conflict with Chaol and Aelin. This is the woman he loved and now he can’t trust her. Not only that, but he knows a way to bring magic back into Adarlan – and he’s afraid to do it. He knows that he would forever be at a disadvantage if people like Aelin and Aedion were able to access their full magical potential. He is afraid of a future where people like himself are not the ones in power, even if their ruler is inherently evil. Having an evil ruler still means that his people – mortal humans – are at the top of the hierarchy. If that isn’t a metaphor, I don’t know what is.

And Aelin is certainly no saint, especially in this book. She is vicious, cruel and calculating. Despite being the heroine of the series, she is NOT a good person at all. Granted, she usually has good reasons for doing what she does – like avenging her lover’s death at the hands of her former master, the King of Assassins – but she also relishes in the suffering of her enemies. When she is out for blood, she is absolutely ruthless. Rowan describes her as a “whirlwind of hate and rage and violence” and it’s pretty accurate.

I also very much enjoyed the twist at the end with the King of Adarlan. Won’t spoil it, because that would be bad, but it did take me by surprise and made a two-note villain into something more, which is always enjoyable. I am also really enjoying the Ironteeth witches, particularly Manon Blackbeak, who is clearly more than what even she thinks she is. They are going to be a huge player in this game and I can’t wait.

This series just keeps getting better and better, upping the ante each time.

GoodReads Rating: 5 stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of FireTitle: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Throne of Glass #3

Edition: e-book

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

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Timesbestselling Crown of Midnight.

Review: Obviously, there will be some spoilers here for prior books in the series. Read at your own risk.

This book is the one that made the whole world explode. Wow.

In the first two books, we just had the group in Rifthold, dealing with Celeana and her survival. Now, Celeana is in another kingdom, Wendlyn, learning how to use her true powers in her true form, Chaol is back in Rifthold maybe helping start a rebellion, and a new group of players joins the game – clans of Ironteeth witches who are learning to ride wyverns to aid the evil King of Adarlan in his conquests.

I love how this story world is growing and becoming richer. There is also a lot of great character development here. Celeana is being challenged by one of the Fae, Rowan, who has been tasked to help train her. She is her usual stubborn self, but is finally able to break through that and embrace who she is. She has a lot to work through, mostly the overwhelming guilt from the deaths of her family and friends, but knows that the only way to avenge them and make things right is to face the truth and stop hiding.

Where there was a bit of a love triangle, there is now a . . . pentagon? The triangle was between Celeana, Dorian and Chaol, but now there is Rowan (who may not be a love interest yet, but is definitely devoted to her) and Aedion (her cousin she grew up with who seems to maybe love her more than that?? I might be reading more into that). Dorian might be out of the loop for this one, but still, all the relationships are complex and varied and I love that. There are no practically perfect people in these books. They are all deeply flawed and that makes them feel even more real to me.

I am really enjoying the set up of the Wyrdkeys and how the King of Adarlan has supressed magic for so long. It should be really interesting to see how this is going to come to a head, especially since Celeana isn’t interested in hiding anymore. Go get him, girl! Make him pay for the atrocities he’s committed!

This series keeps getting better, and I am loving it!

GoodReads rating: 4 stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: Crown of Midnight

Crown of MidnightTitleCrown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

SeriesThrone of Glass #2

Edition: Kindle e-book

Blurb: “A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Review: Slight spoilers for book one, because it’s hard to avoid them at this point.

I love when reading the first book of the series and thinking that the story showed promise, and then reading the second book and being extremely satisfied. This was a great book two! It followed up on the events of book one (particularly the tournament in which Celaena becomes the King’s Champion) and added whole new levels of excitement and intrigue.

Celaena is such a great heroine. She is feisty, doesn’t take crap from anyone, but is still deeply, deeply flawed. And she knows it. The final reveal at the end of the book was not necessarily a surprise (I had my suspicions), but it was still so satisfying to see the evil powers confronted the way that they were. I won’t say more, or else I’ll really spoil things. It was a great finale for the second book, but things are definitely not tied up neatly. So much is happening, threatening Celaena’s relationships/friendships with both Dorian and Chaol, and testing Chaol’s loyalty and Dorian’s sanity.

And yes, there is a love triangle a bit, which can sometimes annoy me, but this one was done nicely. It didn’t bother me.

This book was hard to put down. I had to know the next steps. Has Celaena turned loyal to the king? Or is she playing her own game? What is going on with the magic in Adarlan? Who are these rebels? All things we need to know!

GoodReads rating: 4 stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: Throne of Glass

throne of glassTitle: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Throne of Glass #1

Edition: Ebook

Blurb: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review: I picked up this book after being emphatically told that I must read this series by my very dear friend and former podcast co-host, Jess. Actually, what she said was more along the lines of, “I need you to read these books right now because I really really really need to talk to someone about them before I lose my mind!!!” She has done this to me before, and usually, she recommends good stuff. Our reading tastes are very similar, which is why we get along. I also noticed that, back in 2016, I had read this book and gave it a 4 star review on GoodReads, but never read the rest of the series. This makes it eligible for my “Complete the Series” challenge, an added bonus.

I have to say, I read this book very quickly. I was immediately pulled into this world and these characters. Maas is very good at making the story seem simple at first, but leaving little hints of the depth of the world behind it all. It is very easy to be captivated by Celaena’s story and struggles to win the competition, but it is also very clear that there are deeper mysteries that she will need to contend with.

I really liked Celaena as a character. She is feisty, sarcastic, and does not take any crap. While the love triangle thing is played to death, especially in YA, I also really like the two men who in her orbit. Dorian is the son of a terrible, cruel king, but Dorian does not want to be like his father. He is kind and compassionate and will hopefully survive to become a benevolent ruler. Chaol is the captain of the guard, keeping his feelings close to his chest, but you can also tell that his grudging respect for Celaena will grow into something more.

The plot and pacing of the story was good, very exciting. The competition aspect was good, but adding the whole intrigue layer with champions being attacked and killed just upped the ante. The final battle, both of the competition and of the book itself, we both satisfying and open enough to make you want more.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars, but probably more like 4 1/2

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday – 2/5/19

tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

“And when we are done, when we have served him, he will let us keep the wyverns. To take our host to reclaim the Wastes from the mortal pigs who now dwell there.” A fierce, wild thrill pierced Manon’s chest, sharp as a knife. Following the Matron’s gaze, Manon looked to the horizon, where the mountains ­were still blanketed with winter. To fly again, to soar through the mountain passes, to hunt down prey the way they’d been born to . . .

They ­weren’t enchanted ironwood brooms.

But wyverns would do just fine.

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

Still enjoying this series, although book #3 is throwing a bunch of new stuff at me really quick. The world is expanding, and I love it, but it is getting harder to keep track of everybody.

Please share your teasers in comments!