A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: Book Review

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Synopsis: Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

Publisher: Bloombsbury

Date Published: May 3, 2016

Date Read: May 24, 2016

No. Of Pages: 624

Source: National Book Store

REVIEW

A Court of Mist and Fury? more like A Court of Serious Case of Book Hangover and Too Much Attachment over Fictional Characters.

Warning: Welcome to the world where everything is not what they seem. If you want the agony of liking a character and then cursing them in the end or vice versa, or possibly running the risk of being attached to a ship that could sink any moment, then be my guest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh my Cauldron! This book totally outdid the the first, I could not even begin to fathom how the third book would be like. I’m tingling with happiness, and some emotions I can’t quite name, and a tad bit sad all at once. It was as surreal as it could get. It has been a long time since I felt like this reading a fantasy book. I’m latching on to every idea of the book, I could not let go of it just yet, I want to savor it over and over. I had my issues, still (which I will talk about a little later), but the way SJM concluded the book was just truly amazing, hats off on this one. I hope I could give this book justice. I’ll try my best.

I have to admit this now, I had a change of heart. In ACOTAR I was Team Tamlin through and through, who could blame me? It didn’t actually sit well with me the fact that Rhysand’s actions were painted in a romantic way, which to be honest I found very alarming and wrong in so many levels as I have mentioned in my review on A Court of Thorns and Roses. But then, the book took a 360 degree turn and changed everything. My change of heart wasn’t instant, no, it was not like how Feyre instantly fell in love with Tamlin in Book 1. But it happened gradually. I had to convince myself that there was something more under all the facade of Rhysand. To say the least, I was trying to convince myself, I was looking for all the redeeming qualities, I was looking for great character development – and I got it, it was served to me in a quilt box with beautiful ribbon tied around it.

First, I have to say this book floored me. It was beautifully crafted, the complexities of the plot was presented in an engaging way, gripping its readers from the first page to the last. And oh what a satisfying feeling to finish this beast of a book. It is a well-thought-out sequel. I am going to say this now, this book did not suffer the proverbial Second Book Syndrome, this book surpassed the first book’s greatness and even beyond it. The story really came together, making it more solid and more polished. I commend how SJM weaved all the intricate details and make all its connection unto each other. The world was painted in a beautiful light, with the abundance of great imagery and on-point descriptions of each scene, it sure served my imagination well. , SJM sure knows how to set the mood for every scene. Reading this book was definitely a journey.

Second, the characters. Well, Feyre still annoyed the shit out of me. Still hated her for being indecisive and stubborn to a fault, and probably too caught up with herself – as if every damn thing is about her. Wake up woman, NOT everything is about you. Haha if it is not too obvious that she gets under my skin, then I don’t know what will make it obvious. I know a great deal of the book sprung from what happened to her during the last chapters of the first book, but she was just a part of a bigger picture. I wish her character wasn’t too self-centered? (for lack of a better term). There are things that have been convenient, case in point: Feyre’s powers. Then Rhysand, o Rhysand! As I have mentioned Rhysand’s character didn’t instantly win me over, I wasn’t exactly the proverbial moth to the flame. His character definitely needed some getting used to on my part, well, this is my observation, it is like ACOTAR Rhysand (which was douche, for me at least) and ACOMAF Rhysand are two very different characters. It was a complete shocker how his character turned from worst to best. He was literally zero to hero. I was Team Tamlin, if you haven’t noticed already (operative word here: WAS), but then all this great backstory and explanation why Rhysand is what he is actually made so much more sense in this book. I’m not saying I instantly forgave what he did in book1, but book 2 served as enlightenment to his true character and how “noble” he is, in the most “noble” Rhysand could possibly be. ACOMAF was indeed a revelation, not only of Rhysand’s character but of the whole back story. Rhysand’s history is rich and thoroughly explained, which I appreciate a lot. I appreciate how SJM took her sweet time to lay out everything, how each and every detail was explained down to the very dot. And then Tamlin, again ACOTAR Tamlin and ACOMAF Tamlin can very well be two different characters. Tamlin went from hero to zero. I lost him somewhere between him losing control of his rage and the too-controlling/too possessive high lord that he secretly was. I didn’t expect his character to be lackluster, and I tell you, more than half of the book he isn’t even there. This could very well be one of my issues, it felt like one of the main characters was just ignored a great deal if not entirely. It’s like the book could actually do away with his character, which was a little disappointing since Tamlin’s character was brimming with potential, but was not brought to its full capacity. There could have been so much to do with his character, so much room to play around. And all we got was few chapters in the beginning and even fewer chapters in the end. I don’t know if it was a writing technique, but I was not buying it.

Now to the other characters. ACOMAF introduced new and interesting characters. My new favorites were Amren, Azriel, Mor and Cassian. Damn these guys are all badass in their own ways. Literally #SquadGoals haha! I would love to be friends with them. And hey Jurian, what’s up with this weirdo? Haha. He was unnecessary to me much like Feyre’s father, ooops! SJM, I noticed, has a habit of making a character very likable at first and then as the story went on you will end up hating them or vice versa. Definitely toying with reader’s emotions. I’m not so sure if I like that or not. Let’s just say, there’s not much consistency on the characters, especially the major ones *insert TAMLIN and Rhysand*

The whole plot twist(s), gahhh there have been so many things going on. It was a cobweb of complex plot and even more complex idea as to where the book is leading its readers. There was this war coming, and then the mortal queens, and the cauldron and the book, and everything else. Skip one page and you will be lost. This book sure needed all the attention one could possibly muster. It was convoluted but it was what the book required, if anything the complexities of it all added extra flavor to the book and the whole series. Making the reader eager to know where the story will take them. There’s just so many room to play with, so many ideas to work with. There was this sense of meeting one’s expectation and so much more. The ending though, I know there are still a lot of things to resolve, but the ending sure gave me eh? moments, but something I could easily shrug off because the whole book compensated whatever issues I had. It was not flawless, much like every book there is, but this book definitely made a promise and it definitely delivered. This book was intense and gripping, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was such a great experience to be completely immersed to the world SJM created, it was so good while it lasted and now I have to suffer a whole year to get the answers I needed, but don’t worry I’ll live. There just so much more to look forward to!

Rating: images

“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”
Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”
Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Book Review

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Synopsis: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Date Published: May 5, 2015

Date Read: May 12, 2015

No. of Pages: 416

Source: National BookStore

 

REVIEW

Highly addictive and gripping until the end.

So okay, I gave in to the hype. With the release of the second book in the series A Court of Mist and Fury I knew I had to read this book sooner rather than later. I know I could not dodge spoilers forever, so what best way to avoid them is to actually know what is happening in the book. So I gladly gave in, and so happy I did. The hype is real guys. I now understand why people go gaga over SJM’s works, she’s a one brilliant writer. This is the very first book I have read by her and it definitely did not disappoint.

So let us begin with the plot. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a beauty and the beast retelling. Definitely something right up my alley. It gave a new flavor to the famous fairy tale, making it its own. I am not saying that it was entirely an original one, there are definitely bits and pieces of the book that I already have encountered in some other novels, but the entirety of it was too gripping you just could easily overlook said parts. I started reading the book without reading the synopsis, all I knew was it was a retelling and I kind of took it from there. Again, the bliss of not knowing a lot of things about it added to my excitement and I easily devoured the book in less than 2 days. (Which was fast enough for me, since I have established the fact that I have the attention span worse that a 2 year old). It was the right mix of fantasy, romance and adventure. I loved the pacing of the book, though it was not heart stopping as I hoped it to be, the pacing was just right. Slow when it needs to be and exciting when it is supposed to. The chapters are divided in a clever way, ending it with enough tease that you have no option but to read the next, that’s how it gripped me. That’s how it was able to hold my attention. I also commend the world building, it was just concise and not too complicated. The backstory was also well played-out, I was not left confused at all. I could follow the storyline with ease. I loved how the different creatures and courts were described, all unique.  And the writing style was really good, Sarah J Maas was born to write fantasy books.

Now let’s go to the characters. Feyre, our female protagonist is the youngest of three sisters who was forced to hunt the woods to put food on their table. She reminded me so much of Katniss Everdeen, with all that bow and arrow and her skills in hunting, the similarity is palpable. It was one of those issues I had, but I mentally put it aside and see where her character will lead me and how will it develop as the story went on. I am not a fan of Feyre, I am laying it out now. There are things that she did that irked me to no end. She was stubborn to a fault, and a little too whiny at times. But then she was also badass, so I have to give her that. Towards the end of the book, her character developed into something I would definitely root for. I have to say she had the best character development in this book. Her stubbornness kind of gave her an advantage, were it not for it there would be no great story to tell.

Next would be Tamlin, oh Tamlin. He is the High Lord of the Spring Court who could shape shift into a beast. He was described as someone with golden hair and green eyes, but he perpetually wears a mask, much like everyone else in Spring Court. It was his curse. You could now see where The Beauty and The Beast retelling comes into play. His character started strong at first, he exudes the confidence, strength and power of a High Lord, but then on the latter part of the book everything changed. His character was close to useless. There was next to nothing character development, I wouldn’t like to say his character became a little lame, but I could not find a better word for it. But I still hoped that he could redeem himself on the next books. Having said this, I still loved his character more than that of Rhysand. Safe to say I am Team Tamlin, but we’ll see if I could change my mind.

Rhysand on the other hand is the High Lord of the Night court. I was not particularly fond of Rhysand, he did a lot of awful things that I just could not simply ignore. There was this instance where the feminist side of me kind of revolted, and I don’t get it why all these nasty things he did was painted in a romantic way. I found it so wrong in so many levels. This was the reason, I didn’t like his character. And yes, he was described, yep, you guessed it right – handsome. Because you know, our female protagonist had to be torn between these High Lords, because a fantasy book is incomplete without a love triangle. UGH. NOT. A book can be as good even without a love triangle, I don’t know why authors have the habit of incorporating this trope into books, why do they have to make it complicated, when it could very well be simple but still as gripping as book should be. So this is the main reason why I didn’t give this book a solid five stars.

If anything, the only character I loved the most was LUCIEN!! That’s it, I am #TEAMLUCIEN. His character was selfless, and witty and just uh-mazing!!!

I was entertained and quite frankly I was over eager to know what will happen next. So it sure did feel like I am a moth to a flame. I need to know more, I demand answers. And see to it that my ship will not sink. I had issues of course, but this won’t stop me from continuing on with the series. I.CAN’T.WAIT!

Rating: rating_4stars

“Because your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is … entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be, even when I try not to be.” 
― Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses

 

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Book Review

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 Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Date Published: January 28, 2014

No. of Pages: 346

Date Read: April 2016

Source: Fully Booked

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Great premise, poor execution.

Oh no, I don’t know how to begin this one.

So when I heard that this one was a Beauty and The Beast retelling I knew then I had to read it. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite childhood fairytale and anything with premise like it appealed to me so much. So naturally, I did expect – a little too much I guess. Well it happens to the best of us, right? When a book sounded that it would be right up your alley, add the fact that it is a retelling of one of your favorite fairytales and all the hype surrounding it, one cannot NOT expect. I mean you’ve been teased enough already, you have no other option but put your whole trust into it. This is why I shy away from reading hyped books, I’m afraid that the hype wouldn’t live up to its promise. And that’s what happened here.

Cruel beauty had the perfect premise, what could possibly go wrong? Apparently, a lot. But let me tell you first about the good points. The mention of Mythology was a plus point for me, thanks to this book for another mythology lesson, some of it I already forgot. I liked how the book revolved into the story of greek gods or how they played an enormous part on the overall plot of the book. This added spice into it. Another good point is the uniqueness of the setting, with all the rooms that changes every time, the Hearts (fire, earth, water, air). The element of fantasy was well played out as well.

Now to the issues I had with this book. Let me tell you first that I was confused most of the time. The book really tested my attention skill. It was the only book that I put down every two paragraphs, I don’t know what’s wrong with me when I was reading it. It just wasn’t able to grip me the way a good book should. I always find myself rereading paragraphs because my mind tends to wander off  in the middle of every page, which gets me so frustrated. I found it really hard to concentrate. I don’t know if it is just a case of bad timing or the book is just not doing it for me.

Another issue, was the love triangle. It was weird, for lack of a better term. Just, no. Im not really digging it. Add the instalove (which by now we are all aware of, but for those who has been living under a rock – instalove is instant love, when characters suddenly fell in love with one another with not much basis, when there was the littlest development on their relationship. Much like instant ramen – it will kill you with all its MSG haha. So there’s that. I didn’t quite sit well with me that at one moment Nyx really hated the Gentle Lord and just like that, at another page she loved him completely. NOPE. Just don’t. She was bound to kill the Gentle Lord and save Arcadia for crying out loud, not go falling in love with that Demon – it could have been acceptable if the Gentle Lord did something so grand and profound to warrant Nyx’s love, but as far I remember there was no such thing. So where does this love come from? And can I say Nyx was the most inconsistent character I have ever come across with. She contradicts herself most of the time, at first you’ll understand that she was torn between saving Arcadia and loving the Gentle Lord but as the story went on, it annoyed the wits out of me. I hated that the first 50 pages of the book was  just Nyx whining how much she hated her father for the bargain he had with the Gentle Lord, how she hated her sister and loved her at the same time, for hating that she’d be the one to marry the demon and not her sweet sister and blah blah blah. All this can be condensed into 5 pages or so, but no it went on and on and on.

The book had loose ends, it wasn’t as polished as I hoped it to be. It was very noticeable that the author was in the process of trial and error, testing what works and what doesn’t. I cannot say that this wasn’t my cup of tea, because it is. Fantasy and retelling will always be my favorite, but this book fell a little short. Would i pick up another Rosamund Hodge book? Well yes, I heard Crimson Bound is better than Cruel Beauty so I will still definitely give it a try. Who knows, I might like it. It really had a potential, but the execution wasn’t as solid as I have expected. Based from the issues I had you may think that this is a bad book, but no it isn’t, I enjoyed it nonetheless, it just wasn’t for me I guess.

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“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense.
But now I knew that every mad word was true.”
― Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty

phonto

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson: Book Review

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Synopsis: Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny

Date Published: July 7, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

No. of Pages: 470

Date Read: March 2016

Source: Fully Booked

REVIEW

Great character development and a gripping ending.

The Kiss of Deception sure was included on my Top 14 of 2014, so it is just right to continue on with the series. I loved how Mary Pearson was able to toy with the readers’ emotions, how not all cards were immediately laid out – there was always the element of surprise. That’s what made me fall in love with The Kiss of Deception. 

The Kiss of Deception left us with a cliffhanger, the kind of torment readers crave. To be upfront, before I started reading The Heart of Betrayal, I searched the ever reliable internet for the summary of the first book, checked my review and others’ as well, just to refresh my memory who is who, what is what, and what events transpired that are very crucial to the story. After being confident enough to know the necessary details, I proceeded with The Heart of Betrayal. You see, second books in a series can be tricky, they can either surpass the greatness of the first book or fell short. The Heart of Betrayal fell a little short for me. But don’t take this in a whole negative way. I still loved and enjoyed the book just  maybe not as much as I did The Kiss Of Deception. I found it a little slow-paced for my own liking, majority of the book was written to explain the back story of the Vendans, which I really appreciated. I appreciated that the back story wasn’t compromised, but then again I’ve been craving for some action, but this craving wasn’t really satisfied not until the end part of the book, which made a lot of difference, I think I held my breath more than humanly possible because of that ending. It was intense and gripping, it sure made up for all the dragging parts of the book.

The character development is definitely not one to miss. This is what I liked most about the book, the characters really evolved into something greater. Now that they need not pretend as to their real identities anymore, it helped a lot to show their real characteristics, their true potential and what they are capable to do. But there are also some more deception that was happening in the entirety of the book, with Rafe’s men, as to the true identity of Rafe as he wants Komizar and the rest of the Vendans to perceive him. It was this cobweb of deceptions and lies one after another, and it worked just fine in the book. It didn’t look as though it was forced, and it did give me that uneasy feeling that their deception will be revealed any moment. It was another plus point for me, again toying with my emotions. The Komizar reminded me of Johny Depp in some weird way, his character perfectly fits that of Johnny Depp. Calantha on the other hand, I was picturing Theresa Palmer all along. I wish to read more about Calantha, I wish there would be some novella about her. Her character is very interesting. Lia on the other hand became more badass than what I gave her credit for, she truly came out of her shell, her chapters are always pleasant to read. She has become a strong female protagonist, a true development from her character as a tavern girl in the first book. Rafe on the other hand, hmm, I was expecting more from him, I just think that he was not able to show his true capabilities, which was perfectly understandable since his hand are tied quite literally and figuratively, with him being a captive in the land of Vendans, one can only do so much. Now Kaden, don’t get me wrong I have been Team Rafe since the beginning, but after learning more about Kaden, I now understand why many are rooting for him. I loved that he respected Lia, and truly loved her. Also his backstory is really a shocker, I love to know more of it.

There are parts that were predictable, a stark contrast from the first book which deceived me for the better part of it, but still, I repeat there is some element of surprise to it. I cannot also discount the fact that there are a lot to consider and to look forward to, that’s the beauty of this book, it will leave you wanting more, demanding answers, but sadly we all have to wait until August 2016 for that last book in this trilogy, I’m not ready for it to end. I can’t let go of them yet!

So until then, let’s all hold hands just to get through this whole ordeal of waiting for the third book. May we all survive this.

 

Rating: rating_4stars

“Confluence-a coming together by chance.. Together they become something greater, but it isn’t delicate or sweet. Like a raging river, a confluence can lead to something impossible to predict or control… Yet sometimes the coming together, the confluence of destinies, seemed not to be by chance at all.”
― Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal

 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Book Review

 

Synopsis: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

Date Published: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Harper Teen

No. of Pages: 384

Date Read: February 7, 2016

Source: I bought my own copy.

 

REVIEW

A mixture of Hunger Games, X-men and a little bit of Selection. In short, something we already have seen before.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a year now. I bought it during its release date back in 2015, and since I am not one to join the hype I didn’t read it immediately. Yes I waited a whole year, the perfect timing I guess since Glass Sword comes out February 9, 2016 and Victoria Aveyard will be having a signing here in the Philippines.

So what did I think of it? Hmmm. The first 100 pages gave me the whole Hunger Games vibe and a little bit of The Selection series feel to it that I just couldn’t quite shake off. (I haven’t read the Red Rising by Pierce Brown, so I couldn’t really compare it to that, as most of the people do). I was imagining District 12 as the Stilts. The similarity is really palpable, what with Mare having a little sister just like Primrose, and Kilorn as Gale, one cannot just simply ignore it. There was also the feel of Cinder to it that I could not point exactly but it is there. Add the fact that there was also some XMen element to it. It was truly a mixture of every YA dystopian/fantasy novel rolled into one book, and I don’t know how to feel about it – the originality itself was compromised. Now I understand the mixed reviews, I was so ready to give it a lower rating, I was waiting for something to happen, something to capture my interest more, because I have to admit they are waning when I was past the 150 pages mark. I need something to hold on to, something MOREEEE! And then bam! It hit me like a wrecking ball! THAT TWIST!!! WHAT IS THAT TWIST!?? The twist won me over. Now that got my freaking attention!

I think it was the twist that saved the whole book, if it weren’t for that, the whole book will be another mediocre and forgettable one to add to the pile of all the YA books that tried to be different, but ultimately failed. It was also the reason I gave another star for it. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I knew there was going to be a twist, but I didn’t expect it to be what actually transpired. I knew from the start of the book that there was something shady that has been going on with the characters involved. There was this unease that I’ve been having towards the big reveal, I knew something was off, i’m just not sure which was it exactly, (I’m trying this to be as spoiler free as possible so forgive me for being vague), how everything was convenient and too good to be true, my suspicions came to fruition, just not what I had expected. I commend the element of surprise, I wish that was the case in the beginning, – surprising the readers one event after another, maybe then this book could have a solid approval amongst the book lovers.

Another issue was the ever present predicament of love triangles, a character torn between two people. Ugh, why can’t we just do away with it. Is it possible for YA not to have this kind of concept? LOVE TRIANGLES are the bane of my existence! Haha! or anyone for that matter, I never actually met someone who loves love triangles, so why do authors keep on incorporating it on their books? I just don’t understand. Anyway, this book even there was a love triangle, the romance was played out in a subtle way, not too overwhelming or annoying to a fault. For someone who is a sucker for romance, this is one of the few books that I was thankful that the romance was played into a minimum.

Next issue was the lack of back story about the war, that as what the book repeats all the time – the war that has been going on for centuries. I mean I wish there was more explanation as to how the war came about or as to why there was this kind of war and why it just doesn’t end. Why there was a division between the Reds and the Silvers. I have so many questions, that I wished someone had the answers to. The back story was not really well executed, if for anything it adds up to the confusion. But I would like to commend the foreshadowing, how the events led into the big reveal. How each event was linked to the end, I thought that was well played. I cannot discount such fact. I hoped the book was more polished. Plus it annoys me that there was so much repetition. For an instance, whenever Cal do something, Mare will say Cal, the soldier, doing something something, or Cal the prince, the general… and this will go on and on. We know, for crying out loud, we know, we know he is the prince, he is the soldier, he is a general. Or when Mare do something, she will say to herself, “the Red, the liar, or how lying came out so easily ahhh. That was tiring to read. It’s like every action needs justifying, needs explaining, I just don’t like that in a book.

Now let’s talk about Mare, our heroine, she’s not ultimately likable, I had issues with her, but these are more on the tolerable side of things. She can be annoying at times, and she can be mature if she wants to, so all things considered, she was still a good character, maybe I was looking for more depth. Cal on the other hand stayed consistent until the end, out of the all the confusing characters in this book his character was the one I liked most and the one I was constantly rooting for. He has a strong character yet there was soft side in him too. Now Maven, had more character growth, he was the wolf in sheep skin. Despite what he did, I liked his character, he was made to toy with the readers’ emotions, which was a plus for me.

If you are undecided to read this one, I say you do, give it a chance. Maybe you’ll like it, or not. The thing is, you should judge it for yourself. Reviews vary, people’s tastes are different from each other – always always lay judgment after you already know the whole thing, that pretty works in books and hey in life too! Haha

I understand that some people hate it with so much passion, while some loved it. I am kind of in the middle. I am not that impressed, but as I have said the twist was the rope that was thrown in to save the book from completely sinking down. So in the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed this one and will still be reading the next book. Maybe we can see some progress, book 1 will always be a make or break, and Im sure Victoria Aveyard put a lot of effort into making this book.

Rating: rating_4stars More like 3.5

“His lips are on mine, hard and warm and pressing. The touch is electrifying, but not like I’m used to. This isn’t a spark of destruction, but a spark of life. As much as I want to pull away, I just can’t do it. Cal is a cliff and I throw myself over the edge, not bothering to think of what it could do to us both. One day he’ll realize I’m his enemy, and all this will be a far-gone memory. But not yet.”
― Victoria AveyardRed Queen

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The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke: Book Review

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Synopsis: After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Date Published: June 18, 2013

Date Read: January 17, 2016

No. of Pages: 330

Source: From dear friend Krish.

 

REVIEW

It’s like eating a stuffed-crust pizza, every bit of it is soooooo good. 

I started reading The Pirate’s Wish with the smallest of expectation. The first book the Assassin’s Curse left me welling up with too much frustration over the male protagonist – Naji. I could very well remember how my eyes rolled so much. He needs to redeem himself on book 2 or else I will definitely lose it. So I approached this second book with trepidation, cautious enough to not let the actions of Naji affect me. Surprisingly, this book redeemed itself, what with all the issues I had on book 1, the book made a promise and f*cking delivered. Finally everything is falling into their rightful place. I am one happy reader once more, less of pulling my hair out and even lesser eye rolling. Haha.

Let me first comment on the character build-up. Oh boy, it was really one of the best character build-ups (?) I have seen for a looong time. You can really notice the changes in the character, how they evolved and made wiser decisions but still staying true and consistent to their own selves. It was never monotonous! The characters will always surprise you one way or another. Especially Naji, he did redeem himself, he acted more as protector of Ananna than the other way around, and I also get to see the extent of his magic and more information or back story of The Order, I wish there was more to it though. And Ananna stayed sassy and kick-ass all throughout. Though she was sometimes like a love sick puppy, which annoyed me a few times, but it isn’t something I could not handle. It was still good, all things considered. And can I just say I love love love loveeeeeeee the manticore! She made the book all the more exciting and engaging! Sometimes I continue reading just because I wanted to read more of her. Cassandra Rose Clarke should write a separate book about the manticore and I will devour it *pun is super intended* hahah I’m so punny. I also loved how all the characters and what happened to them are explained clearly. Like what happened to Ananna’s parents, Queen Saida and Marjani’s backstory, I truly commend how lgbt aspect was inserted to the book, the manticore’s story, Jeremy, the Order, the Confederation, and all the important details are presented in such a clear and convincing manner. It’s like you are getting so much out of a 300-page book. It was short but all the necessary information are condensed into this beautiful story  that will leave you satisfied.

I also commend the author for giving more power to women. The feminist in me is very pleased. (I don’t want to dwell much on this because it will come out as spoiler, but I hope you will see this aspect in the book.)

And yes, I will not forget to praise the world-building. I’ve mentioned in my review of the first book that Cassandra Rose Clarke made this beautiful world that was so vivid, as if I am watching a movie, this continued on on this book, and this time even better. My imagination was running wild, I loved every bit of it. Especially the fight scenes, how action-packed everything was. How badass the characters came to be and how the whole story revolved to finding how the tasks are to be accomplished. I loved how clever everything was made, how it was perfectly plotted, how it doesn’t feel forced. Again, how everything fall in their rightful place.

The romance!!! Ahhhhhh. I live for this kind of romance – the mature and unselfish kind. The kind of romance where you meet half way, where you decide on something and make it work. I loved how the romance did not happen on an instant, how gradual yet surely it all unfolded. How it didn’t feel rushed or unripe. It was just right, just what the story needed. It was complicated yes, add the fact that Ananna was always so insecure and having all these doubts about Naji loving her back, but I guess it worked for me. It made their love story a little cuter and swoon-worthy. The romance in the book happened in a slow manner, yet it will hit you with so much force you may not fully recover from it. I am actually hungover, I want more of them. I demand a third book haha!

It was over all amazing! I highly recommend this one! This book made it to my top fantasy books. I enjoyed every bit of it. What I would trade to read it for the first time again!

RATING: rating_5stars 5/5

“Love is a wound,” the assassin said. ” Neither life nor death.”
― Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Pirate’s Wish

Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke: Book Review

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Synopsis: Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

Date Published: October 2, 2012

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Number of Pages: 298

Date Read: January 14, 2016

Source: Gift from my dear friend Krish

 

Review:

Gripping with superb world building!

I would admit that the  sole reason I want to have a copy of this book is when I heard that the storyline of it is quite similar to that of The Kiss of Deception, a bride fleeing on her wedding day because she doesn’t want to be wed off to some stranger. I really enjoyed The Kiss of Deception, one of my favorite reads of 2014 and so when I heard Assassin’s Curse is quite similar to it, I knew I had to read it.

Assassin’s curse made me want to read more about pirates and assassins. The world building was just exceptional. I could picture everything vividly. This book is seriously begging to be made into a movie, because why the hell not. As I was reading the book, I felt the Pirates of The Caribbean vibe to it. It was as magical and as fantastic as that movie and I really enjoyed the fast-paced and action packed entirety of it. I could  not also discount the fact that the author had this beautiful way with words making all the scenes more alive in my head. I was quite literally playing a movie inside my head. The constant change in the setting from dessert to sea then to a mysterious island appealed so much to me, I loved how I was sometimes holding my breath, as if I was really there. The change in the scenery did so much to my imagination, I loved how books can do that, how it constantly surprises you of the different places being described.

The plot was somehow unique, I never quite read anything like it before. I’ve mentioned that Kiss of Deception was similar to it, but as I read Assassin’s Curse the two books are different from each other. Both are amazing in their own right.

And yes I think I have found a new favorite female protagonist in the character of Ananna, oh boy she was one hell of a kick-ass heroine, she’s determined and just plain awesome. She could literally take on anything. I loved how the author did not describe her as someone so beautiful and all the cliches existing in the literary world, she was as ordinary as one can get yet holds flare and sass within her that is very palpable you just could not ignore it. Ahhh, she was just amazing, I love her character so so much!

Now Naji, he annoys the shit out of me. I had to refrain from rolling my eyes too much or else I would look like someone having a seizure. Seriously, I have never been annoyed to a male protagonist quite like this before. He was too weak, figuratively and literally. I hate the fact that he always looked like he was dying.

SPOILER!!!!! He was supposed to protect Ananna but hell, it was Ananna who has been protecting him the entirety of the book. I was welling up with so much frustration towards his character. The book should very well be about Ananna saving Naji’s life over and over again. end of SPOILER!!! 

If it weren’t for Naji and the few issues I had I could have given this book a solid 5 stars. So what are these issues? Maybe the whole back story of the curse, I mean it was mentioned, yes, but I was expecting more from it, I didn’t feel the seriousness and weight of the curse. I was just hoping for more, like the whoa factor. It fell short. Also I was confused as to the extent of the power of the Mists, I mean there could have been a lot of opportunity for them to strike, where Naji and Ananna are at their weakest, but they are not there. I mean I want to see how powerful they could be, I was asking for so much more and I didn’t quite get what I was craving for. So here I am hoping Pirate’s Wish would be better and for the love of Kaol, Naji please redeem yourself. Be the male protagonist everyone will root for.

I want to know more about the Confederation and the Order, so yeah I am excited to start The Pirate’s Wish. If you love action, your imagination running wild and a kickass heroine then this book is definitely right up your alley.

Rating: rating_4stars

“You don’t realize how much you miss something till it comes back to you, and then you wonder how you went so long without it.”
― Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Assassin’s Curse