Empire of Storms Book Review

empireofstormsTitle: Empire of Storms
Series: Book #5 in Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 689
Format: Purchased Hardcover

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. 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.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

As this is the fifth book, there will most likely be spoilers in this review.

When I first started this book, I knew it was going to be intense. I just wasn’t expecting it to be as intense as it was.

There was so much going on, so much that happened, and my mind was reeling after reading it, trying to comprehend everything that happened, everything that is to come, and so much more. And to be quite frank: I absolutely enjoyed it.

I found that the plot followed a steady stream from where it left off in Queen of Shadows and took a lot more darker turns, a lot more sexual turns, and showed a lot more teamwork, friendship, and hardship. It was one that I found to be full of action – and a lot more devastating action than before. There were heartbreaks and upsets, but there was also hidden joys and bits of happiness that could also be found.

So let’s take a look into the characters, shall we?

Aelin continues to grow stronger in her magic in this book, which I highly appreciate given I wanted more after the last two books from when she really started to hone her skills into the Fire Wielder she is now. Holy crap, she’s powerful, and at times I felt like she was too powerful, but I was also glad to see that even her magic has limits, that even she is susceptible to burnouts, and that she needs to replenish her magic just like all of the others who have magic have to, too. I found Aelin to be more arrogant in this book, even if it was a front sometimes, but I also found her to be more unwilling to share any sort of plans with her comrades. I felt that that was where her downfall was, because then maybe some certain events could have been prevented more, but at the same time, probably not.

Despite having so much arrogance, it’s not that Aelin doesn’t trust her friends with things (she does tell Lysandra some things), but it’s that she feels that if her plans fail that her friends will hate her for it – again, another character flaw, but one that was well done, in my opinion, because her friends got that and understood it (even if they did get a bit mad afterward). She was such a strong, kickass version of herself in this installment, and I need to know what happens to her next because she just got into a lot of shit at the end there. Oh man.

Rowan was ever the protective Fae male warrior who definitely lusted after Aelin a lot, but as those scenes between then grew and grew until they practically burst, I found that I was growing to like it more and more. Even if it was a bit much sometimes. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy what went on between them, but I feel like we lost a bit of the warrior Rowan we saw in Heir of Fire in these last two books. I mean, he still kicks ass and he’s still fierce, and willing to take down a whole arming of ilking if the need arose, but I wanted more of that stern, snarky warrior we once had before.

Manon. Oh, my ever loving heart, Manon. She was phenomenal. She was still cool and calculating, ready to rip peoples’ throats out, but I saw that humanity in her, the one she thought didn’t exist, especially when it came to a brutal decision that was forced upon her and her Thirteen. When she stood up to her grandmother, you bet I was cheering for her. She’s powerful and strong, and cunning, and I love that even though she says she doesn’t need anyone, she really does. I don’t know if she’s truly realized that yet, but she’s definitely a powerful force to be reckoned with and I’m really interested to see how she goes about accepting her bloodline, what will happen next, and if there will be any resolve as a result of it.

ELIDE. FREAKING. LOCHAN. Where the hell were you hiding, girl!? Elide definitely grew on me in the last book, but in this one? Oh, she has my whole heart now, because she just showed so much growth and strength and heart, and I thought that she was just incredible in this book. Not only did she set out on her journey to find Aelin, to do what she could for her queen, but she also showed that she’s not this frail little thing, but she has a fighting spirit. I loved her time spent with Lorcan, strained though it was, and I thought that the two were two sides of the same coin in ways. We got to learn more about her, how she uses her cunning to get through many situations, and that she’s willing to risk a lot for those she cares about. I need more of her in my life. Now.

Speaking of Lorcan, I love him. And yes, I’m totally 100% shipping him and Elide together. Even though he was kind of a jerk at the end and all of that, I want them to be together. He was very hard to crack at the beginning, very serious and hellbent on completing whatever mission he had set out to complete, but as time progressed alongside Elide, I thought that he softened a bit and slowly came to realize that there is more to life than fighting and death and destruction. I think he’ll really try to atone for his mistakes in the next book for sure.

Dorian was so cool in this book (no pun intended). He really got a hold over his magic and I thought that he did really well in learning just what that magic held. He was still kind of a lost puppy at the beginning, but he still proved that he was worth something as the book progressed, and that he was still hurting when a certain scene happened that I feel didn’t really need to happen, but there it was because ohmygodthatsexualtension. Anyway, I thought that Dorian was strong in ways even he didn’t realize, and I really appreciated that.

Aedion and Lysandra just need to get together already. Both of them proved how strong they are in different ways and how far they’re both willing to go for their companions. I found that Aedion was just as protective and hot headed as ever, and that Lysandra was really a cool calm before the storm. They really mixed well and balance each other out nicely, that’s for sure. I love how much potential each of them holds and am anxious to see more of what they’ll have to show in the next book.

As for the rest that happened? Oh, where do I even begin? There was so much more added to the story, and bits and pieces of the story from before we even knew certain characters that was shown and unfurled as the plot progressed. I loved seeing a lot of it and felt that it wasn’t too much or overbearing, but just what the characters needed in that time.

Also, can we talk about Erawan and Maeve? I seriously feel like they’re conspiring together, but both of them are so good at hiding things from everyone around them, I can’t be sure that that’s actually true. And I really don’t like Maeve. At all.

ALSO, all of those characters that came back from the novellas!? I loved that! Seeing Rolfe, Ansel, and the others was just so, so awesome and I hope that they play a bigger role in the next book.

There were just a few things that nagged me and bugged me that happened in the book that is causing this to not be a full five star read for me, and that is the amount of sex scenes in the book. I mean, I’m all for a good sex scene and it being a positive experience for the characters and all that, but I felt like there was just too much of it going on amidst the chaos of the rest of the book. Maybe it was to break up the tension, but maybe it could have been done in different ways. Like, every other character pairing wanted to get into each other’s pants. Chill your hormones.

I’m very interested to see what happens in the last book *insert sobbing here* because there is going to be a LOT of action, a LOT of heartbreak, and I can already feel my heart sobbing in many different ways.

I rate this book 4.75/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’ve read the rest of the series.

A Court of Mist and Fury Book Review

acourtofmistandfuryTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: New Adult – Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 624
Format: Purchased Hardcover

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

As this is a sequel, there may be spoilers!

Guys. I just. I have so many wonderful, incredible emotions from this book. It was heart-pounding, beautiful, rage-inducing, sorrowful, funny, and just plain incredible. I loved this book to the moon and back and I am so incredibly happy that I read it.

This sequel was much more of a New Adult read than a Young Adult read because of the sexy times that happened on multiple occasions in this story, so keep that in mind when reading this. Apart from that, I thought that the story itself was levels above the first book, and I like the first book. The story and characters in this one, though, were all so much more… alive and entrancing and it made me yearn for so much more from this world and to learn as much as possible about each new character and who they are and their story.

The plot of this book focused a lot more around Feyre’s time in the Night Court with Rhysand, and how at first she hated and resented it, but over time it was an escape, a way for her to be free from what was happening in the Spring Court, and it also focused heavily on her powers and what she gained from being Made into a High Fae. The plot also centered around the threat from the King of Hybern, the Cauldron and why it’s so dangerous, and a magical book called the Book of Breathings. It was all interwoven exceptionally well and I did’t feel like any part of it was really rushed or anything because the way the ending was written definitely left a lot to be discovered and developed in the next book – which I need in my hands ASAP, by the way.

Feyre grew exponentially on me throughout this book because she FOUGHT for herself and she FOUGHT for her rights as a human being – simple rights that were being denied her and OH MAN. It was glorious. She stood her ground when she wasn’t shattering, and she was given the freedom she so deserved when she was in the Night Court. I am so proud of her for sticking up for herself. She did go through a long series of depression at the beginning of the story, which was very much to be expected given the circumstances that had happened, but also the toxic situation she was in. But as the story continued and she learned how to use her powers, learned how to fight and regain strength, learned how to trust in others again – I saw her grow and change and it was just lovely. She used her mind tactically, but she also used her heart. I think using both, for a main character, is extremely important and Feyre did an excellent job of both.

Now Rhysand. Oh. My. God. Rhysand. I didn’t really like him in the first book. I was kind of really iffy about him and his motives. But now? I love him to pieces. He was so… normal in this book that I didn’t really know what to expect. The mask he had to wear when he was around certain groups, compared to who he was in front of his comrades and others – it was the difference between light and day. But I think the thing I loved most about him was that he NEVER forced Feyre to do anything she didn’t want to. He always left the choice for her to do something if she wanted to or not. I loved that he flirted with her and bantered with her, and I love how he looked after her. His magic is astounding, for sure, too. He loves his people, his Inner Circle, Feyre… I am so glad he was so well developed in this book because he deserved every second of that spotlight that was shining on him.

Tamilin, I want to gouge his eyes out with a spoon. Slowly. He pissed me off so much in this book I was ready to jump into the pages and tear him apart. He was controlling and WAY too overprotective of Feyre. It was actually kind of crazy that he didn’t really seem to care that she was suffering so much at the beginning and then he’d apologize for his behavior… it was a vicious, toxic cycle and I’m glad she got away when she did before she married him.

And then we met Morrigan (Mor), Cassian, Azriel, and Amren. Rhysand’s Inner Circle. I love them all. I don’t know how Maas did it, but she made it so you could connect to the characters and fall in love with each of them.

  • Mor is the third in command and has a sarcastic kind of personality where she’ll easily banter with others, but she makes friends almost everywhere she goes. And she’s not afraid to kick ass, either.
  • Cassian is an arrogant Illyrian fighter and he is probably my favorite of the Circle. He’s funny and likes getting into trouble, I swear. But he’s fiercely loyal and I love that.
  • Azriel is extremely mysterious, and he’s a Shadowsinger, able to communicate with shadows around him. He’s very quiet, but he’s a fierce Warrior.
  • Amren is also mysterious, but for entirely different reasons. She’s sharp tongued, highly intelligent, and mean. I like her.

Throughout all of this, though, there are friendships forged, lessons to be learned, moments of peace, and, most importantly, love. And when the romance came about in this book and then THE THING happened? I nearly died of swoons and feels and happiness and I was glowing right along with  Feyre. Oh man. It was beautiful, guys, truly.

There’s also lies and deceit from some people that you would least expect it from and I wanted to punch something I was shaking with so much rage. There’s trials and so many risky things that Feyre, Rhys, and the others go through that I just had to keep flipping the page to find out more.

And the sexy times. Ooooooh man, the sexy times. They were very steamy, descriptive, and I needed a fan. I don’t think it really distracted or took away from the story because of certain things that happened around it.

AND THEN. Just when you thought everything was going to turn out fine? THAT ENDING. THAT TWIST. I’m pissed and sad for various reasons, BUT I am also very, very anxious to see what happens in the last book. I need it. Now.

Overall, this was an extremely solid sequel in my opinion and I absolutely, 100% recommend it.

I rate this book 6/5 stars.

No? Okay.

I rate it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Queen of Shadows Book Review

queenofshadows

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Book #4 in the Throne of Glass series
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Pages: 656
Format: Purchased Hardcover

As this is the fourth book in this series, there will most likely be spoilers.

Also, this is a really long review.

From Goodreads: 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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

This book tore my heart out, ripped it to shreds, mended it back together, and let it soar.

I cannot express the amount of feelings I had throughout this book, but I can tell you some of what I felt: anger, annoyance, passion, love, betrayal, triumph, fear, curiosity, and more.

I felt that this book is definitely the best in the series thus far, and there’s still two more books to go… I don’t know how my heart is going to handle it.

Let’s start with the character development and world building, both of which exceeded my expectations.

The character development was nothing short of promising and amazing. Not only did Aelin (Celaena) go through some major changes, but several of the other characters such as Manon, Lysandra, Rowan, Chaol, all went through some sort of change at one point or another. Each developed at their own time and speed, and from the first book to now, the characters have grown into their own skin, have grown as individuals, and have just become so magnificently part of this story that I couldn’t imagine it without them.

The world building in this book continues to grow as we got introduced to Morath, the mountain in which the King of Adarlan is building an army to conquer the world – but not just any army: an army of demons. And he does it with the help of the Witch clans. But not only do we get a lot of time spent at Morath, we also get more development into Rifthold and how it’s changed since Aelin went to Wendlyn and came back, and how things have kind of gone down hill. The end of this book promises more of Terrasen, and I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like there.

The plot continued to follow what the main points of the series talk about, but there was so much more. So much I just don’t even know where I could begin to explain what happened.

Okay, let me talk about some individual characters:

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius is the most badass woman in this story. Mind you, she’s not the only one, but she still kind of takes the cake. She started with just wanting to wipe out the King, but other factors kept piling in as she learned Dorian was under control by a Wyrdstone collar that allowed a Valg demon prince inside of him; that the rebel forces Chaol is leading is struggling just to rescue people; that her cousin, Aedion, is imprisoned in the castle. Her plans changed, but not entirely. In this book Aelin grows so much as a character as she battles not only with the obvious enemy of the Valg soldiers, but also the game she and Arrobyn have been playing for a long time now, as well as her own assumptions and opinions she once thought to be true. But in this book she grows and breaks those barriers, shattering Arrobyn at his own game, befriending someone she never thought she would, and learning what it means to be strong and believe in oneself, and in others.

Rowan! My dear, sweet Rowan came back and I was so, so happy. He wasn’t the stickler of a commander anymore, but rather Aelin’s friend and protector, their blood oath connecting them in ways I knew that MY SHIP WOULD SAIL. Ahem. He is the badass male to Aelin’s female and I loved him so much in this book. He was a fierce protector, loyal companion, and we got glimpses of the story from him and I love his trains of thought and how he wrestles with how he should keep his distance from Aelin, even though he doesn’t want to. He made me laugh more than once at some of the things he thought or said and I was happy to have read some bits from him. I’m interested in seeing how he is in Aelin’s court and what role he’ll play.

Aedion Ashryver is just so… brotherly! I love him to bits and I want him to be my friend. He may be a big pain in the butt to Aelin sometimes, but he’s still so fiercely loyal and protective that I just love his interactions with Aelin and how they can fight like siblings and make up like siblings and it’s just, well, a much needed relationship, I think. He can provide that sort of comfort for Aelin that only a family member can provide, but he also knows when to take that step back and to just let things be and let his queen take care of herself.

Dorian was trapped by a Valg prince for the majority of the book, and I just… I felt so bad for him! He went through so much at the end of Heir of Fire and now he was being trapped and abused by this demon and… ugh! I was so sad. And then there were some glimpses of him a few times and I had hope! I really want to see his part played out in the next book.

Chaol was a royal pain in the ass. Oh my God, he pissed me off so much during the first half of this book. I don’t know what his deal was but wow, I wanted to punch him so much whenever he interacted with Aelin. Both of them acted like spoiled brats whenever they talked to each other, even when one tried to be the bigger person. I understood he was under a lot of pressure being on the run and trying to free people who were being captured for wielding magic before the ban and whatnot, but wow. I was also interested in finding out more about his past before Aelin and oh my, I’m definitely intrigued to see where that goes. But during the latter half, he kind of went back to being the Chaol I liked, but not quite. I was shocked about his condition at the end, though, for sure.

Manon was still cruel in this book, but the others around her, especially her Thirteen (specifically Asterin) and a servant girl, Elide, really started to crack the shell around her heart and she actually started to feel some other emotions other than hatred and bloodlust. I really think that she had some of the best development because not only was it the slowest, but there was a promise for greater things to come and I can’t wait to see where she’s at in the upcoming books.

Speaking of Manon… when she and Aelin meet? YES. Super awesome battle scene.

There were other characters that I was surprised of, that were introduced, or that were fleshed out more such as Kaltain, one of the ladies of the court that were dragged to Morath; Lysandra, the courtesan that’s been at odds with Aelin forever; Elide, the quick-witted servant girl for Manon; and even the King of Adarlan had a surprising bit in there. I was thoroughly surprised.

Now this isn’t to say that this book didn’t have its flaws (more spoilers):

  • I felt Rowan could have been more useful other than just having such strong feelings for Aelin. I wish I could have seen more fight scenes with him, less restraint, and more of that warrior Fae prince I’ve come to know and love. (Not that I didn’t love the feelings, but more would’ve been awesome.)
  • I wish Arrobyn’s death would have been grander. He deserved it and I’m glad who did it, but I wished for more talking and whatnot.
  • I felt like it was almost too easy to just let the King of Adarlan be possessed the way he was. Like, I really wished he was that cruel. Who knows what actually happened?

I am excited to see what happens in the next upcoming volumes because now we’ll be facing new enemies, new lands, new ways of life, and I’m really, really excited to see what happens.

In this book my heart was ripped out and sewn back together; there was amazing friendships, romance, adventure, death, destruction, discoveries, and so, so much more.

If you couldn’t guess, I rate this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

The Assassin’s Blade Book Review

theassassinsblade

Title: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s – an imprint of Bloomsbury
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult – Fantasy
Pages: 435
Format: Purchased eBook and Hardcover

“The Assassin’s Blade” by Sarah J Maas is a compilation of five novellas that tell Celaena’s story before the events of “Throne of Glass.” This bind up was told all from Celaena’s perspective through five different kinds of “trials” in the year before the events of the first book.

Fair warning: this is a long post.

As it says on Goodreads: Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

So before I go into a bit of detail into each novella, let me just say that this bind up was definitely worth the read. If you’ve read the first book and didn’t think it was up to par, or if you loved it and have read all the books out so far, I highly suggest reading this to get a sense for who Celaena was before shit went down.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This first novella was about how Celaena was sent on a mission with her rival from the Assassin’s Guild, Sam Cortland, and how the two had to work together to see a deal through with the Pirate Lord, Rolfe. Celaena doesn’t question the mission and begins to go through with it, Sam begrudgingly by her side. But when they learn the true purpose behind the mission at hand, they do everything in their power to destroy the original deal while trying to make them as inconspicuous as possible.

This novella really showed who Celaena was at the beginning before she had a lot of bad things happen to her. She was ruthless and cunning, and so willing to get in and get her hands dirty without question. But I believe that her inner compassion for those who would otherwise not otherwise be looked at twice really shone through. She could see the anguish in the eyes of those she would help and she could see the fear and pain in all of their faces. I think this really shined a light on Celaena as a person. Though she’s supposed to be Adarlan’s Assassin – this tough brute of a young woman who kills her mark every time – she’s really still a young woman in the world who has feelings and compassion for others.

I really enjoyed this novella as it not only showed some budding romance (though it was kind of blind to Celaena at first), it also showed the beginnings of a softer side of Celaena that is a recurring theme in the main book series.

The plot itself was good and engaging and it allowed to really see how things would turn up in the future.

The Assassin and the Healer

This was probably the most boring of all the novellas as it was from dual perspectives and not a whole lot happened in this one, except Celaena taught a girl who was working in an inn for little to nothing and who wanted to be a healer how to defend herself. Again, this showed Celaena’s compassion even though she didn’t really care whether or not the girl actually learned anything.

But it did show a lot more action and just how skilled Celaena is with a blade. Oftentimes in “Throne of Glass” Celaena would say how she could easily dispatch a guard or a person with a flick of her wrist, but she rarely acted upon it.

In this novella, though, she acted upon it and it was awesome.

There was blood and guts and it was a story that mostly told of how she thinks of others before herself. She knows the importance of the girl becoming a healer on another continent in an academy that could specially train her and how the world needs more people like her in it.

Overall, this was my least favorite novella, but it was still a good read because yay, kickass scenes!

The Assassin and the Desert

This one was probably my favorite novella. It’s about how Celaena has to go to the Red Desert after having essentially given up Arrobyn’s business contract with the Pirate Lord and how she has to train with the Mute Master and have a signed paper telling of her accomplishments at the end of a month before he would forgive her.

When she first gets to the desert, it’s hot and disorienting, obviously, but once she’s in the actual assassin’s keep area, she is almost instantly tested for her skills and how she would survive in a place like that. Though the Mute Master doesn’t train her right away, he does eventually teach her their ways and how the importance of observance and patience in a given situation can either make or break you.

She also meets a girl there, Ansel, who is different in that she bears armor that’s entirely shaped like wolves. It’s the symbol of her homeland and she’s kind of a spirited girl. When she takes Celaena on an errand one day, they end up stealing very expensive horses. In fact, Celaena even considers Ansel to be a friend.

And then it all kind of hits the fan.

Though this novella was heartbreaking in some places, it was a fun novella with more humor than I was expecting. It also showed how Celaena’s training came into play and how she was brave enough to turn back and help others rather than just helping herself (see a theme?).

The Assassin and the Underworld

This one was a bit different in that Celaena was given a contract to kill a woman’s ex-husband and get her documents for plans for some sort of slave road that’s being built. Now this novella in particular had a lot of up and down moments, particularly in the romance area between Celaena and Sam. There was dancing and plenty to observe on her mission.

But then when she goes to fulfill said mission, one, she’s almost killed, and two, the second time she goes, she’s played for as a fool and ends up giving the enemy exactly what they want.

And she refuses to play those games anymore.

She ends up buying her freedom, and Sam’s, and the two become much more engrossed in one another soon after that.

But this one showed that Celaena isn’t invincible, that she is capable of making mistakes. It showed a human side of her, and a girly side of her.

The Assassin and the Empire

Okay, this one was the most heart wrenching even though I knew what was going to happen. But still, the feels strings were tugged during this novella. It was a risky move that Celaena and Sam were willing to make in order to keep their freedom and to live separately and far away from Arrobyn and his Keep, but the events that lead up to the devastating thing were even more devastating because of how and why it happened (and you do find out why after and oh my gosh did I want to punch a certain someone in the face).

This novella was the one that lead right up to the beginning of the events of the first book. It showed how and why Celaena was captured and then to be imprisoned in Endovier. It was… an emotional roller coaster, really. I really enjoyed this novella, except when it wrenched my heart out. This one showed how Celaena is broken by traumatic events in her life (and if you’ve read the second and third books, you know what I’m talking about).

WOO. Okay. That was a lot to go through. But overall, these novellas are definitely worth the read for the background story information that we get about Celaena and how they all somehow portray different parts of her – whether it be revenge and rage, or compassion and kindness.

If you’ve read the series, I highly recommend this novella bind up.

I rate the entire bind up 5/5 stars.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Review

acourtofthornsandroses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: Book #1 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Genres: Young/New Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 419
Format: Purchased Hardcover

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J Maas is a story about a girl named Feyre (fay-ruh) who is a hunter for her family. It’s the dead of winter and her family is running out of food and she’s the only one brave enough to hunt in the woods that border the Wall that separates the mortal world from the Faerie Lands. One night when she kills a wolf, a Fae barges into her home and demands the treaty signed hundreds of years ago be fulfilled with a life for a life: Feyre took the life of a fae, so she is in turn to stay with this new fae at his home.

But there’s more lurking under the surface as Feyre, who hates Faeries, learns more and more about the world in which they live.

This book was so awesome. It had me wanting to keep reading and keep going from the first chapter. It was sexy, beautiful, dangerous, heartfelt. I loved it.

For those of you who didn’t know, this was a loose retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale and I could definitely see elements within the book that reminded me of the Disney movie version (particularly the dinner scene or anytime compliments were made).

Let me talk about the main characters:

Feyre was a strong heroine, I feel. She starts out starving and hungry with her father (who is a cripple and won’t even try to get a job and help them) and her two sisters, Elain and Nesta. She’s the only one willing to hunt – and she had to learn everything on her own from watching others, by trial and error, or asking for help. She would never beg, though, and I think that helped to make her strong even during those times. And then when Tamlin comes crashing into her house, literally, she admits that she’s the one who killed the faerie and that she’ll go live with him – if only to save her family, who doesn’t seem to care much about her to begin with. When she’s taken by Tamlin, who’s a High Fae, into the Spring Court she still doesn’t trust him or anyone in his court, really, because of the stories she heard as a child and growing up. Over time, though, she learns of how the faeries aren’t all bad, that there’s something happening to them to weaken them, and over the months that she’s there she even grows to love them, to feel for them. I think that she definitely had a few weaknesses throughout the book, because she’s a human in a faerie world, but I loved that she’d always find a light, a source to be able to take her out of the darkness and keep pushing forward.

Tamlin is a High Fae who is dealing with a lot of crap happening in the Spring Court. So when he lashes out verbally to Feyre or his emissary, Lucien, it’s not really his fault because he’s under a lot of stress. He definitely had moments of vulnerability, showing a gentler and softer side to his otherwise hard exterior. You learn that the Spring Court, all of the Spring Court, are wearing masquerade masks that are stuck to their faces due to a blight that is making its way through all the courts of Prythian. So obviously he’s under stress from that, but as he spends more time with Feyre (even though she was really unwilling at the beginning), he opens up more to her and becomes calmer and nicer to her. He’s strong, even though his magic is weakened from the blight, and when he shape-shifts into his beast form, get out of the way because he’s a BAMF. I love him so much because he’s just so… awesome. I don’t even know how to describe it.

Lucien is Tamlin’s emissary and he once belonged to the Autumn Court. He’s snarky and full of sass, and he barely tolerates Feyre at the beginning for killing one of his friends (the Spring Court was under orders to not harm Feyre in any way). In most of the moments we see Lucien we see him either making a snide comment or trying to reason and argue with Tamlin. As the story progresses, though, and he becomes more acquainted with Feyre, he cares for her enough to heal her when needed and to give her warnings where they were needed. I thought he was a great addition to the story, even though for some parts he wasn’t in it or didn’t hold much ground in terms of what was going on around him (for various reasons).

Rhysand (ree-sand) works for the Faerie Queen who lives Under the Mountain (kind of). Now, this queen is technically not supposed to be there (her name is Amarantha), and we don’t really see him much until the last third of the novel, but at first he’s a smooth talking guy who is out for his own means. I thought he was kind of a real jerk a few times, using Feyre to his advantage, but at the same time I understood the reasons why he did those things and everything. He wasn’t necessarily the villain in this novel, but I can see a potential for the future. Maybe.

Amarantha is like Rhys in that she didn’t really show up until the last third of the novel, but she’s cruel and cold and calculating and a master of manipulation. She’s the villain and I just really didn’t like her.

Now as for plot I loved this book. I’ve never read the original tale of Beauty and the Beast, but I love the story of a girl who can’t possibly fall in love with someone or something so vile, but in turn she discovers that he’s not so bad after all and that there’s a secret that can help free him if only she figures it out. I thought this book was great. The plot was driven forward with each chapter and it progressed into a climax that was worth it. Even though I hoped for a different ending, I still am happy with the way it ended. I was just expecting something different – hoped for something different.

Yes, there were some sexy bits in here and oh my gosh I was fanning myself. When you read about the Fire Night, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

And I solved the riddle half way through reading it, but I understood that there needed to be more plot in order for it to make more sense (the riddle’s not until we meet Amarantha in the last third of the book).

It’s full of redemption and learning to love for what isn’t seen or rumor, but for what really matters. Nothing went unexplained and I thought it was a great wrap-up to the first book. I can’t wait to see where the next two books takes us and which fairy tales they follow.

UPDATED JULY 1, 2015: After much consideration I am downgrading this book from a 5 star to a 4 star because I felt that it was lacking in some aspects and that some things could have been better explained in some parts of the book. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it; I just want to give it the rating I think that it deserves.

I give this book a 4/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Accompanying video: A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Review