Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - spoiler free review.

Hi booklovers

Last year during the summer I participated in the Fantasy Favourites Read-A-Thon and I was supposed to read Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, but it had been so long since I had read Heir of Fire that I couldn't remember enough of the story, so I stopped reading it and never picked it up again. The theme for February for the #OWBookclub was 'Badass females' and I thought Celaena Sardothien was pretty badass from what I could remember of the first three books. Also, I want to be all caught up with the series by the time the last book in the series comes out. But like everyone else I found out that the book about Chaol will be published in September and the final book in the series has been pushed back to 2018. At least now I don't have to rush to get through the other books and get myself into a reading slump. Binge-reading books in a series and I usually don't get along, unless they are very good books that aren't too long (i.e. less than 400 pages). Anyway, long intro, let's get into the actual review.

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, fantasy
Format:paperback
*Story:
After spending a year in the salt mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien is given a chance to win back her freedom by becoming the king of Adarlan's champion. To become the champion, however, she has to defeat a number of other assassins and thieves. Throughout the story she regains her strength, both mentally and physically and she grows into her role as future champion.

*Characters:
-Celaena: oh my,  I had totally forgotten how arrogant and shallow she is at the beginning of the book. At times she cares more about how she looks than anything else. True, she’s a good assassin and she regains her strength throughout the book, but she was still so unbelievably shallow at times.
 
-Dorian: he is the Crown Prince of Adarlan. He has chosen Celaena to be his father’s champion. He’s at a marriageable age and his mother keeps pressuring him to choose a bride. Dorian, on the other hand doesn’t want to think about that just yet. Of course, he is immediately intrigued by Celaena and of course, he falls in love with her. Some might think this is a spoiler, but you can actually see that plotline developping a mile off. I did enjoy the way Dorian and Celaena interacted and bantered.

-Chaol: captain Westfall is to be Calaena’s personal trainer to help her get ready for the competition. At first he only sees her as an assassin, but as time goes by he starts to see her as a young and vulnerable girl. Of course, it doesn’t take him long either to develop feelings for her. Again, no spoiler, it’s an obvious plot development. With these two, I also liked how they interacted and bantered. Chaol is the complete opposite of Dorian, always serious and taking his duties very much to heart.

-Nehemia: she is a foreign princess who has come to the Adarlan court. She quickly befriends Celaena since Celaena both speaks and understands Eyllwe. Nehemia is a very strong person who is not always who she appears to be, but she proves herself to be a true friend.

-Elena: The spirit of the long dead queen of Adarlan. She gives Celaena the task of vanquishing the evil roaming the castle’s hallways.
 
*Plot/worldbuilding/overall rating:
There were some things I really liked about this book: it was fast-paced and action-packed at times. I really liked the characters of Nehemia and Elena. The story was good, however, it does have its flaws. There was too much emphasis on Celaena’s beauty. After reading about it five times, we get it already, you don’t have to repeat it a gazillion more times. Like I said, I found Celaena to be very arrogant and shallow. Granted, her name still bestows fear in the hearts of a lot of people, but, she did get caught and she did end up in Endovier. I also disliked the obvious YA trope of the love triangle. Like I said before, this is no spoiler, it is blatantly obvious the story is going to develop like that. I found the world building to be a bit lacking since we get to see little of the country.

*Audiobook experience:
While I was looking for a book to use my audible credit on, I stumbled upon this one and I decided to listen to a sample of it. I immediately recognized the voice-actress as the one who also read the part of Nina in Six of Crows. I really enjoyed her voice-acting and since I wanted to do a reread of the series, I thought I’d give it a go. It was a really good experience, although I do have to admit that I sometimes found it hard to know when the story switched POV’s.
Have you read this book / series? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.
Bye for now
Annelies

Friday, 14 July 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer - spoiler-free review.

Hi booklovers

I'm finally going to try and catch up with my reviews (I'm not making any promises, though) so today I'll be reviewing a book I read in January for the #OWBookclub: Heartless by Marissa Meyer. The theme for that month was 'Fantasy'.

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, fantasy, retelling
Format: hardback
*Story:
This book tells the story of the Queen of Hearts before she became the Queen of Hearts. This is the story of Catherine, the daughter of a marquess, who loves baking and dreams of one day opening her own bakery with her maid and best friend Mary-Anne. The King of Hearts is very fond of sweets and all things baked, so he wants to marry Catherine. And then we have Jest, the court's joker/jester who is very intrigued by Catherine and vice versa.

*Characters:
-Catherine: You know, I never thought I would actually say this but I genuinly feel sorry for Catherine and I 'understand' how she came to be the evil queen she is in 'Alice in Wonderland'. We see her going trhough so many changes - not always for the better - and you can't even blame her for it. I loved how - even though she tries to stay strong-minded - she also has her doubts. She tries to be her own person. Even though Marissa Meyer said she has taken a lot of liberties with the social rules and norms of Victorian England I feel like you get to see what it was like to be a young girl having your own dreams put aside because you were eligible for marriage.

-Jest: Oh sweet, funny, poor Jest. He is such a versatile charachter with all the struggles he goes trough from being in love with the girl he can't have to being the joker of an unbearably silly king and SPOILER his mission for the White Queen.

-Raven: Intriguing is the word I would use to describe this bird.

-Hatta: The entire time I was reading the book I kept picturing Johnny Depp as Hatta.
He's different from the 'original' Mad Hatter because he hasn't gone mad yet, but they're also very much alike because he is so peculiar.

-The King: The stupidity and foolishness of this man are so unbearable at times - which means he's a well-written character - that I wanted to smack him on the head several times!

-The marchioness: She reminded me of Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice in the way she behaved to make sure her daughter would marry the king. She got on my nerves several times.

*Plot/world building/overall rating:
This book was wonderful. Maybe it was a bit slow at first but the last half of the book really made the book perfect. Marissa Meyer really is the queen of fairy-tale retellings. She has turned this book into such a believable story that I truly felt for the characters. The portrayel of Catherine will even make me look differently at the 'original' Queen of Hearts from now on. Don't get me wrong, she is still an evil queen, but I feel like this 'explanation' has made me understand why she is who she is.
SPOILER
She litteraly turned evil and cold-hearted overnight, but it was still done incredibly believable and well-written. The story went from being warm and fuzzy to cruel and evil in a couple of chapters and it felt real.

I think Lewis Caroll would have approved of this prequel story. I also loved the references to the original Alice in Wonderland story and how Meyer took little details from the original story and weaved them in perfectly. I have to admit I was a bit nervous to read this book because I really love Alice in Wonderland but it didn't disappoint. It was so unbelievably good that this book has cemented Meyer's place on my auto-buy authors list.
Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Fairyloot #4 - June 2017

Hi booklovers

The theme for the June Fairyloot was 'Elementalists' and this is my unboxing. Enjoy!

The stunning info card
A Stormheart candle by Witchwood Remedies
(I got Thunderstorm)
An Avatar the Last Airbender lip balm from Geeky Clean
(I got water bender) 
 A Hamsa Hand bracelet from In The Moment
A Clairvoyance soap from Ascent Bath and Body
Fairyloot exclusive potion sticky notes
(these are adorable)

Portable Magic pillowcase by Miss Phy
A promo card for Frost Blood 
A chapter sampler
And the June book is Roar by Cora Carmack
A letter from the author
Fairyscoop
Full unboxing

A lot of people raved about this box, but to be honest, this wasn't my favourite box. I am, however, very excited to read the book, because I've read Cora Carmack's NA stories, I'm curious to see what she did with this one :-)
 
July's theme is 'Tricksters'. I have absolutely no idea what the book could be :-)
 
Bye for now
 
Annelies