Bright Side by Kim Holden

Book Review

bright-side

Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 5/10

Setting: 6/10

Writing style: 6/10

Character building: 7/10

Enjoyment: 6/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

Bright Side is an emotionally gripping book that shows the importance of loving life even when it is difficult to find a reason to. It is a story about life through the eyes of one special girl who finds a silver lining in every situation. The book is beautiful, sad, unfair, and real to the core.

This book is written in two perspectives, although for the majority of the story we get to see everything through the eyes of Bright Side – the heroine of the story. This contemporary romance features extremely delightful characters, concentrating on the simple beauty of love and romance, but never putting it above family and friendship. Kate, or Bright Side, is a girl who moves away from California, leaving her best friend Gus behind, who is on the road to becoming a rock star, and is never forgotten throughout the book. She moves to Minnesota to attend college in hopes of becoming a special needs teacher. There, she meets many people who are in need of this girl’s help to face their demons, get out of their comfort zone, and to take chances. One of the people that she meets is Keller, a guy who instantly develops a connection with Kate, but who hides some important details of his past. But secrets surround Bright Side as well, and the reader embarks on the journey of finding some painful elements behind Kate’s world of sunshine and rainbows.

There are a lot of great things that I can say about this book. First, it is not a sappy epic love story. I thought that the portrayal was very realistic, characters’ connections were beautiful, and the pasts that they were hiding – emotional but believable. I really liked the romance in this book, especially since it was not the main focus. A lot of time was dedicated to friendships, the fact that I absolutely loved. This book featured a truly unique and delightful connection between two people in quite a platonic sense (although not fully). Nevertheless, it was delightful to experience it. Gus and Kate’s friendship was the core of this book, and more connections like this should exist, both in fiction and in real life.

Moreover, the main character Bright Side was just wonderful. Her easy-going persona, addictive positivity, chatty personality and strong opinions made her one of the most delightful female character that I have read about. She was much different from the overly used innocent good girl, Bright Side really had a strong personality.

I really liked the story behind the book and even shed a few tears in the last couple of chapters. I thought that the story was done wonderfully, making the reader connect to the characters, and then breaking their hearts. I really think this book is worth reading, since it does make you care.

However, I did find quite a few really mediocre sides of this story that are impossible to overlook. First, I did not think that the length of the book was really necessary. I get that the author tried to make the reader care about the characters before introducing some emotional themes, and focusing on so many different relationships needed quite a lot of time. Nevertheless, I feel like this book got a bit boring at times, and shortening it would have worked in favour of connecting the reader to the story even more.

Secondly, I just did not get the reason behind introducing the dual POV until the very end. In the first half of the book, we only got one chapter in Keller’s perspective, and I did not understand why it existed at all. You either do two perspectives or one, but not one unnecessary chapter in between one character’s perspective. I did get the point of it at the end of the book, but not before.

Thirdly, the overused thrope just really killed the book for me. There were so many different directions that the author could have taken, so the big cliff-hanger came as annoyance rather than a shock. I would have loved to see more concentration on Kate’s past, because all the traumatic experiences seemed to be brushed away under the rug.

And lastly, even I know that I said that I really liked the main character, again I find a problem with her being a little bit too perfect for my liking. I want flaws and complexity, not rainbows and sunshine.

All the negatives aside, I still think it was a decent story that is superior to quite a number of books in this genre. It is emotional, hopeful and really heart-breaking. It concentrates on love, and friendship, and family, and loving yourself. It is a beautiful story, even though I wished some elements were a bit altered.

Book Playlist

  1. Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
  2. Ben Harper – She’s Only Happy in the Sun
  3. The XX – Angels
  4. Sophie Zelmani – Ready
  5. Birdy – Skinny Love

 

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 8/10

World Building: 8/10

Writing Style: 9/10

Character Building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

An intriguing story with an excellent balance between fantasy and politics, a promising start to the series.

The Winner’s Curse is a fantasy romance with typical structure, expected characters, the romance storyline that everyone has experienced one too many times, and despite all the cliques, everything working out just perfectly. It makes the reader fall in love with the characters, be intrigued with such an unusual fantasy world, where the main issues are incredibly close to the real world, and see boring storyline grow into an incredible plot, making the reader anticipate to read the next book instantly after finishing this one.

The main story is quite simple, although it does deal with quite a sensitive topic – slavery. In this world, the book starts 10 years after the war between Heranni and the Valorians. Valorians won, enslaving all the Heranni people that survived. The main character Kestrel, the general’s who won the war daughter, does not share the ideals her father has and refuses to enlist to the army as her true passion is playing the piano. However, one coincidental day, she stumbles upon slaves’ auction, and the slave’s rebellious behaviour blended with the promise of his ability to sing, end in Kestrel purchasing the slave for the incredibly high price. This one action starts a complicated journey of love, betrayal, and war between the duty for your people and desires of the heart.

I have heard quite a lot of mixed opinions prior to reading this novel. I was quite worried about this story being too clique or too romantic, because I could not help myself and have read way too many reviews beforehand. Therefore, I had quite low expectations when going into the book expecting it to be filled with romance. However, I needn’t worry, the book actually surprised me in the best possible way. Was it filled with cliques? Definitely. The whole premise of the story is very expected, and road the story was going to take was very obvious. We have a typical forbidden love story, where characters, despite from having so many differences and fighting for a completely different cause, fall for each other. Cheesy, right? Yet I loved every minute of it. It might be that I am a complete sucker for romance, or that my low expectations ended up working to my advantage, but this book just gave me all the feels.

I saw so many good aspects in this book. First, the writing style. It is obvious that the author is a very skilled storyteller, and her rich language made the journey incredibly pleasurable. Everything floats so wonderfully, there aren’t too many descriptions or dialogues, and the mystery is kept at the right level, always giving insight into both of the main characters’ thoughts when it is necessary. Secondly, the idea of the book. I absolutely loved the fantasy novel without any magic. The author has created the world much resembling our own, she was bold enough to write about the horrors of slavery, and somehow, the lack of magic and the realness of the problems, just made the story much more magical. And although I did not find many shocking revelations along the way, I believe more surprises will come in the later books, and this kind of beginning was needed.

Thirdly, I will just say it, I absolutely adored the romance. Although there was quite a lot of time dedicated to the interactions between the two main characters, I did not think that there was any need to cut the romance. Actually, I thought that this was quite a perfect blend with the book being the fantasy romance, yet the romantic plot never overshadowing the main storyline. I loved the forbidden angle, loved all the angst, and I can honestly say that Kestrel and Arin might be becoming one of my favourite fictional couples.

However, the factor that makes me want to praise the author the most for is her male character. Having read quite a number of fantasy books with the main protagonist being a young female, I have seen many strong heroines over the years. However, more often than not, I find the male characters a bit lacking. Usually, I feel like they are mere love interests without their own storylines, used only for the purposes of romance, and often, comic relief. However, in this case, Arin was an incredible character, with his storyline being even more important than Kestrel’s. I never felt like Kestrel was being overshadowed, I was just joyful to finally read about an interesting male character, who was not snarky and flirtatious, but a true hero of his own people. I know I cannot wait to continue with this story, because that ending was just incredible, promising much more to come for the main characters.

I completely understand why many people would see this book as one of many in this kind of genre. As well as I absolutely agree with the ones that loved the book. I am just glad that I decided to pick this book up, as it delivered fantastic world, with incredibly strong characters, and the potential to go far. Honestly I have no idea which direction the story will take, and I am so excited to find out.

If you love romance, or you love fantasy (ideally both), I recommend picking this series up.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Roo Panes – Know Me Well
  2. Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down
  3. Deerheart – Breakdown
  4. Ross Copperman – Holding on and Letting Go
  5. The Sorry Kisses – Abandon Ship

 

Poetry Sunday: The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 

In the forests of the night; 

What immortal hand or eye, 

Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 


In what distant deeps or skies. 

Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 

On what wings dare he aspire? 

What the hand, dare seize the fire? 


And what shoulder, & what art, 

Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 

And when thy heart began to beat, 

What dread hand? & what dread feet? 


What the hammer? what the chain, 

In what furnace was thy brain? 

What the anvil? what dread grasp, 

Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 


When the stars threw down their spears 

And water’d heaven with their tears: 

Did he smile his work to see? 

Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 


Tyger Tyger burning bright, 

In the forests of the night: 

What immortal hand or eye, 

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Quote of the Day

“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”

-John Lennon

Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

Book Review

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Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 7/10

Setting: 7/10

Writing style: 6/10

Character building: 5/10

Enjoyment: 7/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

 

Intriguing and emotional-heavy story but disappointing characterisation

Swear on this Life is a gripping and emotional story with a wonderful premise but flawed execution. This book made me feel, and cry, and root for the characters so much. It was a beautiful and heart-wrenching love story that would be worth my highest rating if not for quite a few disappointing outcomes. Nevertheless, despite the negative aspects, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The book is about Emi, a struggling writer that does not seem to be able to get published, stuck in a passionless relationship with her ex-athlete boyfriend of 7 years, and having trouble dealing with her traumatic past. So when she starts reading a new bestseller by a mysterious writer J. Colby, she is shocked to find the book to be about her. This brings a lot of painful memories, tears, and anger towards the author – her first love who she has not seen for 12 years.

This book really has many wonderful aspects. First, the premise of the story. I thought it was brilliant. The reader gets to read the book inside the book, transferring them to Emi’s painful past and the wonderful friendship between her and her childhood best friend and first love, Jace. The reader also gets to experience the present timeline, seeing Emi as a grown-up woman trying to deal with her feeling towards her story that is put into words, and her anger and longing towards the writer who cannot be anyone other than her best friend who has been MIA for 12 years ago. This dual timeline gives the story mystery, especially since the reader is introduced to the past through a work of fiction, that is sometimes just an interpretation of one perspective and not necessarily what actually happened.

I really felt the connection between the main characters. These two had a tough and cruel childhood, they took care of each other and loved each other when no one else did. I felt every single thing that Emi felt while reading her story, and it was heart-breaking but truly wonderful at times. Moreover, it was exciting to see how these two people will react when finally coming face to face after years of silence. It was delightful to see the two different journeys that the main characters took, both hopeful and emotional. It really made me feel.

However, I have to acknowledge the problems with this book. It is my second book by Renee Carlino, and I am again faced with the same problem as I was when reading When We Were Strangers. I liked one timeline but found the other one a bit boring. In this book, the fictional novel was really well-crafted and emotional. Characters made silly choices and mistakes, but considering their traumatic experiences and a young age, it was understandable. However, they did not seem to change one bit during the 12 years they spend apart, I saw zero character development, they acted childish and immature, and most of the time I just did not understand their behaviour at all. The long awaited moments seemed anti-climactic and unreasonable, without much emotion. The characters’ portrayals and their actions failed to have any coherence. Especially with so much build-up and emotional trauma, the present story came out flat. The ending was an utter disappointment, and I can just say that I expected much more.

I feel like if I have read this book a few years ago, I would have appreciated it more. But when you read a lot, it becomes very easy to distinguish well-executed books from poorly-executed ones. It is sad that this story must fall into the latter category as it showed signs of potential. In no way it is a bad book, since I found it extremely difficult to put down, plus it did make me cry. I am actually angered to see such an interesting premise and a long build-up be flushed down the toilet.

All in all, I did like this book. I cried, and I laughed. But some of the characters’ actions were really out of character, and some decisions did not make sense. Plus, the dialogues were really boring. It is disappointing to see good premise being poorly executed, yet I still think it is a compelling and decent contemporary romance, better that a lot of similar books that I’ve read. So if anticlimactic endings and characters acting like teenagers when they are in their late twenties do not bother you, then this book really will be a wonderful read.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you think it is a great contemporary romance, or do you have examples of the better ones? I eagerly await your thoughts.

Book Playlist

  1. David Gray – Flame turns blue
  2. Counting Crows – Round Here
  3. John Paul White – Ghost in this house
  4. Sara Bareilles – Breathe again
  5. Wilco – True love will find you in the end

 

 

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World Building: 8/10

Writing Style: 9/10

Character Building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

A Heart-Breaking Story Run by Emotional Heaviness

Tiger Lily is the kind of book that I would call a hidden treasure. When I started reading it, I really did not know much about it. But it surprised me in the most wonderful way with the beautifully heart-breaking story, raw emotions, immense creativity, magical world-building, and most of all, a writing style that speaks to your soul.

The story is a retelling of Peter Pan, and I definitely loved this tale much more than the original one. Although it takes place in a magical world of Neverland, the fantastical aspects of the book were easy to forget since the story explores real issues that are easily relatable and always important. Moreover, the unique narration makes it such a beautiful and really sad story which stays with the reader for a long time to come. Although the main character of the book is Tiger Lily, who is a young girl on the verge of growing up, we see her wild nature, rebellious personality, and hidden vulnerability through the eyes of a fairy Tinkerbell, who does not participate in the story much, she is merely an observer. Tiger Lily lives in a tribe where her desire to hunt and run wild is not easily understood, and in order to suppress her wild nature, she has to fulfill an old promise that her father made by marrying a boy who is brutal and nothing like her. However, her clear path towards marriage is disrupted when she meets Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. With them, Tiger Lily is allowed to run wild, be happy, and feel much more than she ever thought she was capable of. Therefore, Tiger Lily tries to find a balance between her life in a tribe and her hidden one with the Lost Boys.

After attempting to describe the book, I realised that it became an immensely difficult task to do so. The greatness of the book comes not from the plot or the wonderful characters (however, they do add quite much to the story), but what really makes the reader connect with it is the hidden feeling behind every sentence. You do not merely read the scenes, you feel them. And you recognise the unfairness as well as the beauty of the world in the little moments that are impossible to describe. With Tinkerbell’s ability to read thoughts and emotions of people she is observing, the reader is made aware of the emotional state of different characters, this narration adding so much to the story as a whole.

I do not want to spoil anything more about the story, so I will not be going into more detail. However, I will tell you this: I loved how the story is always bittersweet. We get really magnificent moments of happiness, but we see the sadness hidden behind it. We see both the good and the bad sides of all the characters. And we are given an ending that makes you wonder if it was one of the most beautiful happy endings or the most heart-breaking ones.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough. More like this one should exist. Whether you are a fan of fairy tales or not, whether you adore fantasy or not, this book cannot be put into the frames of merely one genre. It is all and none at all. And most of all, it is not read but felt.

Book Playlist

  1. Tom Odell – Constellations
  2. Feist – Cicadas and Gulls
  3. Finding Neverland Cast – When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground
  4. David Gray – Sail Away
  5. Angus & Julia Stone – Crash and Burn

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Book Review

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Ratings

5 stars

Plot: 10/10

Setting: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 10/10

Enjoyment: 10/10

Overall: 10/10

My Opinionated Review

It has been several hours since I have finished reading It Ends With Us, and I am still unable to stop the train of emotions that hit me while reading this book. I am so behind my reviews right now, but I need to write this one right this instant. Not because I want to get everything out while it is still fresh because I am certain I will remember this story and all the feelings it brought out of me for a long time. But because it is not only the best book that Colleen Hoover has written to date, but it is one of the few books that affected me so deeply, that I think deserves to be read by every single person on this planet. The only other contemporary book that has affected me this much is In The Stillness by Andrea Randall.

I am not sure if I want to outline all my emotions in full detail, or leave it vague because I went into this book completely unaware of what the story was about, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. So for those who have not read this book just yet, all I can say is just read it. It follows an incredibly mature, strong and wonderful character Lilly who narrates a tremendously deep storyline with many life lessons, love stories, terrible and wonderful actions, life-changing experiences, friendships, family bonds, and overall, the perfect outline of what is like to be human. It gives much-needed perspective on life and certain actions us humans often need to take. At least it changed my perception on quite a few sensitive topics.

The strength of the book comes from Lilly’s character, and the wonderful writing technique Colleen Hoover uses in telling her story. A first person’s point of view results in the reader sharing the same emotions with the main character. The story’s continuation throughout several years, also giving insight into Lilly’s past through diary entries addressed to Ellen DeGeneres, provides tremendous depth of the story. But mostly, it surprises the reader making them fall in love with all the characters, excusing their wrongful behaviour on several occasions, and seeing the reasoning behind it.

Not only it is an incredibly powerful story, it also is a great lesson. I believe every single person can find something relatable in this book. Colleen Hoover really outdid herself with this one. Although I have loved all of this woman’s work, when I think about some of her books now, I am not sure that the present me would like them as much as the past me. However, I guess with me maturing, I can see Colleen Hoover developing as a writer as well, and giving me exactly what I need with her every piece.

So if you have not read this book just yet, I could not recommend it enough as it is truly life-changing. But be warned of an emotional roller-coaster that is guaranteed to fall upon you. I have read this book during a long coach journey, and I hope not that many people saw me crying for a good couple of hours. So find a comfortable spot, preferably not in public, and read it.

Discussion

Now for those who have read this book or are not too bothered with some spoilers, I will continue with my ramblings since I do need to get all the emotions that I am feeling out right now.

Abuse and the romanticizing it has been a topic that really gets me worked up for quite a while now. I believe far too many books make the abusive alpha males into people who are supposed to be admired and desired. Whereas some texts show only the really horrible parts of the abuse. Coleen Hoover struck the middle of it, exploring the idea of the abuse when it is not just black and white. She completely changed my perception on abuse, towards the abuser, and especially towards the victim.

I am one of those people who see the victims of domestic abuse as stupid if they do not have the strength to leave this kind of life instantly after such incident occurs. Experiencing abuse myself on quite a few occasions, it was always hard for me to understand how this kind of behaviour can be excused. I have felt the physical abuse from my mother’s boyfriend, and abuse by words from my step-grandfather, and I could never understand how my mother and grandmother could be so weak and not leave those men. Especially since this abuse was directed towards me. I do not know if it affected my development as a person, but I always want to think that I dealt with it in the best possible way. I never took it, I never stayed silent, I was never afraid, and I always felt in the position of power. I did sometimes feel disappointed in the examples the women in my family were setting though.

Now I do understand that it is not that easy. I guess my thick skin and the ability to see reason comes from the lack of emotion towards my abusers. But this book has opened my eyes to the reasons why some women find excuses. Some abusers are not just bad, and with love involved, the good part can easily overshadow the bad. I have seen this example in my step-grandfather. He is an alcoholic, therefore has two personalities: when he is sober, he is good and caring, and when he is drunk – he is the meanest person on Earth. I always hear my grandmother telling everyone how good he is, but I was never able to excuse his bad parts just because he has good ones. I still do not excuse this behaviour, and never will, but I can see why she chooses to see the good instead of the bad.

Regarding this book, it was haunting how relatable I found Lilly’s relationship with her father and her mother. But what confused me profoundly was the way I felt about Ryle’s character. I believe that abuse is never excusable, and yet I found myself trying to find reasons behind his behaviour and hoping for a happy ending for him. I loved that character, and although it is impossible to compare real feelings, I do get it now why many women forgive their abusers. I liked the outcome of the book very much, and believe that Colleen Hoover has written the most touching, realistic, and informative story about domestic abuse, and how it is almost never as white and black as you usually wish it was. My perception has changed so profoundly after I finished reading It Ends With Us, my heart was shattered into a million pieces, and yet I think this book should be read by every single woman on Earth because it shows the true colours of life.

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

It really was a hunting story, it affected me on such a deep emotional level, and confused me in the way that allowed me to grow up some more. More books lie this should exist.

Sorry for my ramblings, but sometimes getting everything out is a necessary step you have to take. I am certain I will remember this book for a long time, therefore my thoughts will always by here to be read whenever I need it.

Book Playlist

  1. 10cc – I’m Not In Love
  2. Fool’s Garden – Dreaming
  3. Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth
  4. The Lumineers – Slow It Down
  5. Tom Odell – I Think It’s Going To Rain Today

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

3 stars

Plot: 4/10

World-building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character-building: 6/10

Enjoyment: 4/10

Overall: 6/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: This is a review for the third book in the Throne of Glass series. You can find the reviews for the previous two books here:

Throne of Glass

Crown of Midnight

Heir of Fire is the third book in the epic Throne of Glass series, taking Celaena to a new journey of making peace with what she truly is. It is such a different book compared to the first two, with the use of a completely different storytelling method by bringing quite a few different plots into one book and introducing new characters’ perspectives. Although it continues to be Celaena’s journey, multiple perspectives give this book new angle and new insights.

After the mind-blowing revelations and action-packed events that took place in book two, Celaena endures on a new journey to a far away land, where magic still exists, Fae are mighty powerful creatures, and new challenges are awaiting the heroine. In order to be able to understand the enemy better, she seeks her Aunt, Queen of the Fae. But answers do not come easy, and Celaena must endure incredibly tough training in order to gain control over her magical abilities. Back in Adarlan, Chaol and Dorian have to face new issues and choose what side they are on.

There were quite a few good things about this book. The introduction to new lands and the magical Fae abilities were needed for a long time. I really liked how Maas focused on different characters, making their individual storylines develop, and transforming these supporting love interests into leads. I also really respect the author’s decision to present the reader with the long training process, indicating that nothing big can happen overnight, and accepting a part of yourself you have been denying for many years is not easy, and takes much strength and endurance.

Nevertheless, this story felt like a filler book, making me want to skim-read at quite a number of times. While I believe that Maas really grew as a writer, the book left me with so many mixed feeling that by the end of the book I could not help but feel disappointed.

At first, I was excited to see how all the characters were going to develop separated from each other. And objectively, I loved many things in this book. I loved that the author is very bold, and is not afraid to give the reader pain, ruin friendships and relationships and show dangerous characters who make mistakes and learn their lessons slowly. I loved that nothing happened overnight, and it took vast amounts of time to prepare for battling such great evil. I was sad to see the rift between the characters from the first book, but understood why it happened, and respected Maas for not giving the reader a happy painless story. I loved that she understands that in war, nothing is white and black, and that choosing a side or accepting who you are do not come easy. She created a believable story in such a magical world.

Getting to know the Fae world and learning more about Celaena’s ancestry was great. I loved seeing Chaol and Dorian having their own storylines and developing so much as individual characters, although the rift in their friendship saddened me a great deal. I loved seeing Celaena accepting who she is, and finding someone that understands and accepts the part she was so eager to hide. I loved the last few chapters especially, so much has happened, so many things were revealed, and by the end, I have loved every single character, and understood their point of view, no matter how different it was.

However, this book was boring. Oh boy, there were so many chapters where nothing happened, so many new characters that I did not care about (And if you have not read the book, minor spoilers ahead). First, the witches. It took me ages to get into the story, I just did not care what happened there. And although by the end of the book I happened to love Manon very much, but for the most part of the book I was trying really hard not to skim-read her chapters.

Second, new Dorian’s love interest. She was not a bad character, but she was not an interesting character either. Although I saw the necessity of that storyline by the end of the book, that Cinderella type angst did nothing for me. I wanted to see more of Dorian working with his magic and mending his and Chao’s friendship instead of seeing all this unnecessary angst.

Then it was Aedion. I think I enjoyed his introduction the most. He was a perfect combination of a strong and cunning douche and a loving dedicated cousin, and him and Chaol working together was one of the most entertaining storylines in the book.

And then it was Rowan. I have heard so many good things about his character before reading this book, and although not knowing anything about him besides that he is amazing, I had quite high expectations about his introduction. The more I read, the more I liked him, I loved how he pushed Celaena and helped her accept who she is, loved how over time. He and Celaena developed such a strong bond, and I believe that he was quite a necessary addition to the story. However, I do not think that he is THAT amazing. I mean, he is great and all, but I still enjoy other characters like Chaol and Dorian more. For now, I love how Maas is putting friendships above romance, but I am so afraid that Rowan is going to become yet another love interest for Celaena (and she has enough of them already) and ruin this beautiful parabatai-like bond that Rowan and Celaena have going on now.

The thing that I like the least is the growing rift between the main characters from the firs book. Although I did not enjoy Chaol’s character as much in Heir of Fire as I did in previous books, I still believe he is the best character here. I still can tolerate Celaena and appreciate her bad-ass-ery , but somehow her endless assassinations are easily excused while Chaol’s fear of what magic can do and refusal to accept only one side (whether it is abandoning his city and accepting a very dangerous new queen or being loyal to a cruel King) gets so much judgement.

Hopefully, the story will get better as there is so much potential for it to go upwards or downwards, but I will be hoping for the best. With six books in the series, the filler book was to be expected, and although it required quite a lot of suffering, now I like the new characters very much. I liked that there wasn’t that much focus on romance, as I find it silly when characters spend more time obsessing over their love life than war. But I still hope Chaol and Celaena will find their way back to each other. Also, I expect for more focus on bromances, since there are so many great ones here.

Overall, I did not enjoy this book that much. So many characters were completely transformed, and the new ones did not hold my interest. However, the impressive world-building and complex plot makes me believe that it will get better.

What did you think of the book? Are you a pert of the people who absolutely love the series, or the ones who dislike it? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Book Playlist

  1. Twenty-One Pilots – Stressed Out
  2. Pink – Just Like Fire
  3. The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine
  4. Red – Let It Burn
  5. Civil Twilight – Fire Escape

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

5 stars

Plot: 8/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

My Opinionated Review

Note: This is the second book in the series. You can find my review for the first book here:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury is a strong sequel to the first book, introducing amazing character development, unpredictable plotline, and taking the Fae world building to the next level. The lengthy book never bores the reader, with its character-driven plot becoming the most enjoyable part of the story. It creates the desire for the reader to become a part of the Court of Dreams.

In this sequel to ACOTAR, the story takes a completely different turn and does not resemble Beauty and the Beast retelling at all. There is no point in describing the book in much detail, since I am very late to the party, and most people know what wonders and horrors took place in ACOMAF. And for those who haven’t had the chance to read it, I can just say it is better to go into the book blind. A few months have passed since the horrible events of Under the Mountain, and everybody is dealing with their experienced horrors in their own ways. The apparent peace is not that easy to accomplish, and an inevitable war is keeping characters on edge. So when Rhysand appears to collect for the bargain that Feyre made, the characters’ lives are changed forever, making it hard to establish who is a friend, and who is a foe.

When it comes to expressing my feelings about the book, I can just say that I get it now. The hype surrounding the book was insane, and now I see why. Although the length of the book is quite intimidating, it is never slow, with so many different plotlines taking place. Although I would not call this book fast-paced as well, but the character-driven story, with the most enjoyment coming from experiencing different interactions, makes the reader get attached to these fictional personas, and left craving for more after the end of the book.

The world that SJM is building in this series is truly incredible. She is so creative with all the Fae traditions, and her ability to introduce these fictional momentums, making the reader believe in them, is truly magnificent. Moreover, the plot was quite amazing as well. So many things have happened, completely changing the tone of the book, and leaving the reader wondering what is going to happen next. The King of Hybern is a tremendous threat, and the amount of preparations and cunning it takes to be ready to face the enemy really makes this villain a powerful and frightening one.

But I believe this book’s strong point was not the rich world building, nor the unpredictable plot, although they definitely did wonders for the story. Its strength lies with the incredible characters of the Night Court. In this book, we are introduced with quite a few newbies (actually they are really old), and I can say, I loved every single one of them. It was wonderful getting to know their backstories and seeing how they interact with each other. Plus, the subtle hints of possible romantic interactions just warmed my heart. I definitely cannot wait to explore their history in more detail, especially Amren’s. These wonderful characters really made the Night Court into a Court of Dreams.

Of course, the most important and most enjoyable dynamic was the one between Fayre and Rhysand. I really loved her relationship with Tamlin in the first book, and was quite worried about the newly introduced romance in this one. However, I needn’t worry, because Rhysand’s character was the best part of any SJM’s work. My heart ached for him, and I was insanely happy when he got to experience some joy. His and Fayre’s interactions were feisty and flirtatious, and heart-warming, but never overshadowing the main storyline. Their slow-build romance kept me on the edge of my seat, and Rhysand is definitely one hell of a character, and his dedication to Fayre made my heart into a melted marshmallow.

So I think it is quite safe to say that this book is really amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I do not seem to share the same opinion when it comes to naming it the best book ever. I am starting to recognise the patterns in SJM’s writing, and a lot of things worry me. First, I did not like the complete reinvention of Tamlin’s character or the whole Spring Court. I get that he experienced great trauma in Under the Mountain, and he might not be the best suitor for Fayre, however, he was made into a character without any redeemable qualities, and I did not like it at all. Moreover, I am also worried about the books SJM added to the series. I can see the potential of the storyline, and the many directions it can be taken, but I doubt it will do wonders for the quality of the series. Plus, there were certain moments where Fayre came a bit too close to becoming similar to Celaena’s character, and I just hope there won’t be that many quotes where she becomes darkness and power, and much much less love interests. I am just really worried that the characters will keep getting reinvented, and ruin my enjoyment. For now, I will be hoping for the best, and seeing this series as an improvement from Throne of Glass.

Overall, I really think this book deserves the hype it is getting. Maas definitely is a talented writer, and I especially love the way she crafts her chapters. I am really enjoying Fayre, even if she is becoming a bit too special for my liking. I like every member of the Court of Dreams, and cannot wait to explore their stories further. But most of all, Rhysand is reason enough to absolutely love the series.

So what are your thoughts on this book, and the series in general? Do you enjoy Sarah J. Maas writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Book Playlist

  1. The Smiths – Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
  2. Kodaline – Midnight
  3. Dream Theater – The Spirit Carries On
  4. Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
  5. The Lumineers – Don’t Wanna Go

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

A Court of Thrones and Roses is a wonderful and captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling, with a rich Fae world building, great characterisations, and plots and twists that are impossible to see coming. It is the second Maas’s series, and the complexity and richness of the Fae world have improved immensely compared to Throne of Glass.

I avoided reading this book for months, having been too exhausted and annoyed with the Throne of Glass series. After finally starting it, I saw the similarities with the first series, recognised the themes that I usually do not particularly like, acknowledged the beastly behaviour of the love interest, and the over-the-top love story. And yet, this book broke all my prejudices and bend all my rules, and made me enjoy every single moment of the story.

The book starts with the main character Fayre killing a wolf, who is actually a Fae in an animal form. Having been starving for the most part of her life, she is a huntress who provides food for her family, and is filled with hate and resentment towards her father and older sisters for not taking care of her, and especially for the Fae race, who terrorises the mortal lands and leaves humans vulnerable and suffering. But one day, a wild Fae beast appears demanding justice for the killed Fae, and takes Fayre to Prythian, the lands of the Fae, to live the rest of her life among the immortal beings that Fayre hates. Of course, she finds that nothing is as it seems, and Tamlin, the Fae lord who has taken Fayre, is much kinder than she has thought a Fae could be. Moreover, there are many secrets surrounding the place that she lives at now, and many existing threats and twists in the storyline takes the heroine on a wild and life-changing journey, and provides the reader with an incredible romance.

I usually do not find Fantasy books with so much focus on romance to be that captivating. Somehow everything worked in this one. I was enthralled in the shift from hate to love between Fayre and Tamlin, captivated by their wonderful relationship, and was rooting for the characters so much. Of course, being late to the party, I was aware of certain spoilers from the second highly praised book, especially with the love everyone seemed to possess for a character Rhysand. And while reading ACOTAR, I just did not understand how my opinion could change about a cruel character Rhysand, or the very lovable beast Tamlin. Tamlin and Fayre’s relationship was thrilling and primal, and most of all, it was about two wounded souls finding ability to love. I adored every minute of the relationship, with every single moment surprising me about it. I am never a huge fan of such romance-focused fantasy, especially the instant kind, and Maas somehow was able to break every rule I live by.

But the aspect that I enjoyed the most was the rich world building. Compared to Throne of Glass, ACOTAR has such a rich and captivating Fae world build-up, with so many details and different traditions, that I was constantly impressed with Maas’s skills. She definitely has tremendous talent in creating amazing characters and a plot that is able to shift at any minute.

Where the most part of the book was quite foreseen, the last third came as a total surprise. I started liking certain characters more, changing my opinion about others, and most of all, I respected the author for never being afraid to take things too far. So now, after finishing the book, I have trouble processing every single thing that happened during this wild ride, I cannot wait to read the second book, that is apparently even better that the first one, and most of all, I want to know why everyone is so obsessed with Rhysand and why nobody talks about Tamlin anymore. Rhys’s character definitely grew on me in the last bit of the book, but I am not sure what has to happen in order for me to change the opinion about who I am rooting for.

Overall, it is one of the best retellings of Beauty and the Beast. However, the story world is so much richer, that describing it merely as a retelling, does not do the book justice. I definitely saw all the flaws in the book, like over-the-top romance, unnecessary sexual scenes, silly reasoning, and stupidity, but I did not care, because somehow I loved every single moment of this incredible story.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? I eagerly await to hear your opinion.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Midnight Choir – Muddy River of Loneliness
  2. Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page
  3. Magnolia Electric Co – Leave the City
  4. Bastille – Torn Apart
  5. Giant Sand – Spiral