Book Review: “Tower of Dawn” by Sarah J. Maas

Ahh I’m so excited to be posting a review for this book. I’ve been one book behind in the Throne of Glass fandom for years, because I only bought the paperbacks…but this time I pre-ordered the hardcover, so I got the book on release day! (That means my series doesn’t match anymore, but that’s a story for another day.) I’m really excited to be reviewing it. ^__^

I read most of the book on vacation at the beach, so I got some nice photos of Tower of Dawn by the ocean and on the shell pathways. 🙂

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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

31450852Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

Goodreads | 672 pages
Where I got it: Purchased on Amazon!

My Thoughts

I really did not expect to like this book as much as I did.

I have a love-hate relationship with Sarah J. Maas books. I usually look for two things when I’m reading: characters/plot, and quality writing. While SJM is by no means a bad writer, her writing style isn’t quite for me – there are too many unnecessary swear words, dashes, and ellipses for my personal tastes. However, I can overlook things like this when I really like the characters and story. And like it or not, I’ve become enthralled with the world of Throne of Glass.

So far, I’ve rated most of the books 3 and 4 stars, with the exception of The Assassin’s Blade, which was 5 stars for me. I loved the prequels and knowing Celaena’s backstory. Probably my favorite story from that collection was “The Assassin and the Healer,” where we meet Yrene Towers. So I was delighted to have her be one of the main characters for this book. I love her character arc. She’s one of the few genuinely sweet characters in the series and I liked her chapters the best.

The plot twists had me biting my fingernails (thanks, SJM, I’m trying to break that habit). 😛 I think this book fits quite well into the overall storyline, and I can’t imagine moving onto the final book without having read this one. It’s a parallel story to Empire of Storms, so I think it was good that I’d read EoS prior to reading this one. The Throne of Glass book order is quite confusing.

I loved reading about the Southern Continent; we even get a map at the beginning! 🙂 You can tell that the author really enjoyed writing about it. The world building is phenomenal; this is something that the whole series excels at, and I was impressed at how well thought-out the Southern Continent culture was. Nothing like having to build TWO worlds for a fantasy series. I felt like I was there, and it was fantastic to explore. The Torre Cesme is awesome and I would totally love to go there, just saying. (I still am not sure how it’s intended to be pronounced, but I’m going with Torray Kesmay.)

I liked Nesryn as a character much more than I thought I would. She seems younger and more innocent than I gathered from Queen of Shadows, and I just wanted to give her a hug for the entirety of the book. I did, however, find her chapters more difficult to get through – they were sometimes dull. But I really liked her as a character.

The rest of my thoughts are SPOILERY. I’m not sure how to insert a spoiler break on WordPress, so I’ll do this:

Spoilers below this point!

Read no further if you don’t want to be spoiled!

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I’ve always been a fan of Chaol, and I hated what SJM did to his character in Queen of Shadows. One of the things I don’t like about the series is how Aelin is made out to be this amazing person who can do no wrong, and if anyone disagrees with her, they’re suddenly the Bad Guy. Nobody is right ALL the time, and Aelin does some super questionable things. I don’t blame Chaol for standing up to her: he’s the only person who dared to do it! But he got made out to be this terrible person, and then the fandom started hating on him, while I remained puzzled on the sidelines. Suffice it to say that I’m a Chaol fan, so I didn’t have a problem with having an entire book about him.

I think he has a good moral compass and did bad things because he felt he didn’t have a choice. That doesn’t excuse the bad things, but I feel for him being forced into that situation. In this book, he’s trying to come to terms with his guilt. The overarching theme in this book is healing, and it’s really refreshing to find. Not only is he trying to heal his spinal injury, but also the emotional and psychological damage he’s suffered. I wasn’t expecting this aspect at ALL, so it was a wonderful surprise. It’s so important to have books that talk about things like this. It seemed very therapy-like to me, and it’s nice to have it included in such a popular book series. So major points to Sarah J. Maas for that.

This book was a solid four stars all the way through, but the ending bumped it up to five. I can’t say how much I appreciate the message at the end. Chaol isn’t completely healed at the end, but he’s content with his situation. Here’s a quote I want to plaster across the Internet:

“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,” he said. “It never was. And I am as much as a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.”

I have mental illness, not physical, so I don’t know how wheelchair users feel about this book. I just think this is a much better message than having him be completely healed. There are people who deal with this on an everyday basis, and now there’s a character in a popular book series who does, too. And as someone who deals with anxiety and OCD on an everyday basis, it’s nice to have a character who isn’t magically cured at the end. It doesn’t make them less of a person. That’s a message I don’t see very often, but one that I really appreciate.

Spoilers are finished. 

Sensitive Reader Advisory

After Empire of Storms, I was bracing myself, but I was pleasantly surprised with Tower of Dawn! There’s MUCH less swearing in this one, probably because Celaena isn’t narrating. There are some racy scenes with Chaol and his love interest, but it’s much tamer than her recent books, and I was grateful for that. Still definitely New Adult, just more tasteful.

Rating: 5/5 stars ***** = Fantastic!

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Review: “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, illustrated by Yuko Uramoto

I’m ridiculously excited to be reviewing this book today, because it’s one of the cutest books I’ve read in a long while. It also inspires me to help keep my room tidy, which goodness knows I could use some help with. 😉

I love the color scheme and illustration on the cover:

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Book Details

34043787Marie Kondo presents the fictional story of Chiaki, a young woman in Tokyo who struggles with a cluttered apartment, messy love life, and lack of direction. After receiving a complaint from her attractive next-door neighbor about the sad state of her balcony, Chiaki gets Kondo to take her on as a client. Through a series of entertaining and insightful lessons, Kondo helps Chiaki get her home–and life–in order. This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy. Featuring illustrations by award-winning manga artist Yuko Uramoto, this book also makes a great read for manga and graphic novel lovers of all ages.

More Info | Author Bio | Goodreads
Where I got it: I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a review.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, so I was super excited when I saw there was a graphic novel variation of the book. As a general rule, I prefer traditional prose novels to graphic novels, but it’s nice to change it up sometimes. This was also my first encounter with manga, and I’ll be checking out more!

For anyone unfamiliar with Marie Kondo, she’s a Japanese tidying guru made famous for her Konmari method of tidying. I was already familiar with the Konmari method after reading her first book, so I went into this one knowing how the method works. It’s the story of Chiaki, a woman in her twenties who hires Marie Kondo for tidying lessons. The book walks Chiaki and the reader through the method step-by-step, so the reader can learn right along with the character. For readers of Kondo’s other books, this one will likely feel repetitive because it’s essentially reviewing the same concept. Chiaki also seems unrealistic sometimes when she starts to do something only for Konmari to instruct her otherwise – it definitely feels like a plot device to teach the reader rather than organic character development. But that wasn’t a big deal to me because this seems more in the nonfiction category, despite the plot being fiction (albeit based on real events). Creative nonfiction, perhaps.

The illustrations are adorable – I love how Yuko Uramoto illustrated Marie Kondo. The characters even refer to her as a fairy, because she’s tiny and has the sweetest smile. I think this book was particularly effective in graphic novel format because you can really see just how messy Chiaki’s apartment is at the start, and how it progresses. There’s also an extremely helpful section on folding clothes, which is much easier to understand from illustrations rather than just words.

I would strongly recommend this book to fans of Marie Kondo. I think I enjoyed this book more having read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up rather than reading this one first. This is a fantastic companion book, and it was nice to see an example of the Konmari method in action!

Rating: 4/5 stars **** = I really liked it

Cover Reveal for “Where Dandelions Grow” by Lydia Howe!

Hello! I’m beyond excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe!

I’ve been following Lydia’s blog, Noveltea, for a few years now, and it’s such an inspiring corner of the Internet. I’d definitely recommend giving her a visit. 🙂 I’ve read two of her books and was delighted when I got to sign up to review her latest book, Where Dandelions Grow!

Without further ado, here’s the beautiful cover…

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I’ll admit I’m quite picky about book covers, but I think this one is gorgeous. There are so many details that relate to the story, the main character looks like how I pictured her, and the bright yellow of the dandelions is so pretty! 🙂

And here’s the back cover, with the blurb:

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Where Dandelions Grow is being released as an ebook on September 26, and you can preorder it on Amazon here for 99¢. 🙂

As I mentioned, I had the chance to read the book already, and I really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to post my review when release day comes around. I actually got to spend some time with my cousin lately when my family visited from across the country, so I can really appreciate the family-oriented aspect of the book. 🙂 Plus, I’m always looking for clean books, which can be nearly impossible to find…but Where Dandelions Grow fits that criteria. In short, I recommend reading it!

Lydia Howe is holding a giveaway for an Amazon gift card to celebrate the cover reveal! Click here to enter. 🙂 She also has a super fun blog post for the cover reveal party, so definitely check that out!

I did receive a copy of the book for review, but I’m participating in the cover reveal out of genuine excitement. I’m a huge fan of book covers – I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do it all the time. 🙂 How about you guys?

Beautiful People August Edition: Get to Know Your Characters!

Today I’m linking up with Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In for the Beautiful People Character Interviews! This is a monthly link-up where they post 10 questions for writers to answer about their characters. It’s supposed to help you work out their backstory, which goodness knows I need help with, as well as be fun to blog about. So I’m giving it a go!

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My victim character today is Emma from my most recent work-in-progress, Magical Thinking. It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty where she finds a cursed crochet shawl and teams up with another girl, Tali, whose grandma has been killed by said curse. Then they go on a good ole adventure through fairyland to try and break the curse. It’s been a lot of fun to write. ^__^

Anyway, Emma really needs a new name, because “Emma” is absurdly popular. I’ve been dithering over what to name her. But I’ve just gotten so attached to this particular name that I’m having trouble changing it. Does anyone else have this problem? 🙂

What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

Crocheting! Well, the whole plot of the book revolves around her being completely obsessed with making this crochet shawl she finds, so I guess it’s true in a couple different ways. Her mom taught her to crochet when she was young, and she works at a yarn shop, so her whole life is pretty yarn-involved.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positive qualities: She’s optimistic and tries to look on the bright side. She’s extremely devoted to her family, especially her little brother, Will. She’s also a good leader – forceful when she needs to be, especially when it comes to her friends and family.

The optimism is sometimes a negative quality as well: sometimes she’s just in denial. She also doesn’t like being alone with her thoughts for long. She could also learn to talk things out better: she tends to mull them over until someone else initiates the conversation, which leads to some misunderstandings.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

Probably yarn.

Her family tends to find yarn scraps everywhere.

(I don’t know whether that sentence refers to her or me… I’m also a crocheter.)

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

7. She’s on the more organized end of the scale…at least when it comes to her job at Yarn Emporium. She also lives in a small house, so things have to be tidier by necessity.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

For a night out, she’d probably wear jeans and a T-shirt, but find a pair of nice shoes and some jewelry. For a fancier occasion, she might pull out a skirt. For a night in, she could likely be found watching TV or crocheting, wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt. She’s not overly concerned about fashion, but she does do some fancy braids in her hair sometimes. (Which is super fun for me to research…Pinterest is a terrible, wonderful time warp!) 🙂

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

She loves ballet flats. Her favorite pair is a pair of white flats with a rainbow strap across the top, inspired by a pair I once saw from Town Shoes. For the life of me I can’t find the link, but you can see a picture in this blog post.

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

She’s definitely a dog person. More specifically, she would love to have a corgi. Unfortunately, their house is too small and both Emma and her mom work, so a dog is not feasible. But now I really want to write an epilogue where she gets a corgi. 🙂

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I picked just some of the questions, but you can find the full list on either of the blogs!

What do you think of this link-up? Should I keep doing it? It’s fun to develop character backstories more…I definitely need to do more of it. 🙂 If any of you lovely people have works-in-progress, I’d love to hear about them!

Ten Books I Loved While Homeschooling

I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday. Today the theme is “Back to School,” and one of the suggestions was a list of books you were assigned to read in school. I was actually homeschooled from sixth grade through high school, which was fantastic because it gave me tons of time to read. The homeschool curriculum I learned from had extensive reading lists each year, and I’ve chosen some of my favorites! Just because it’s assigned doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. 🙂

I know homeschooling is sometimes associated with being extremely conservative. It’s true that I don’t like books with a ton of adult content, but I’m not one to believe in banning books. I mean, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, which is one of the top banned series out there. 🙂 There are a lot of homeschool stereotypes out there, and I plan on trying to debunk some of them throughout this blog. I’m grateful to have been homeschooled, and I feel that it prepared me well for a college learning environment. Plus, I learned how to write by reading a ton!

Enough chatter, onto lists.

top ten tuesday

1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

We read an abridged version of this in my high school French class! I don’t normally like to read abridged things, but have you SEEN this book? It’s like a doorstop. So I’m glad we read the abridged version, especially since it was in French. I started reading the unabridged version in English, but it’s slow going. I’m also a huge fan of the movie adaptation of the musical, and it helped me understand the plot of the book, too. It’s all so iconic!

2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This is another book we read in my online French class. A lot of my classmates thought it was weird, and preferred other books in the curriculum, but I absolutely adored it. I got a copy in English so I could make my family members read it, and my dad described it as a “trippy little book,” which is a fairly accurate description. If there’s one book I could recommend to absolutely everyone, it would be this book. There are also some really pretty quotes… “On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” / “One only sees clearly with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.” (It is SO HARD to type in French with autocorrect going.)

3. Les Jeux Sont Faits by Jean-Pierre Sartre

Okay, this one’s cheating a little bit because I read this in my college French 203 class. But I’d already read several novels and plays in French when I was in high school, at a similar difficulty level. (My high school French teacher was amazing, and a grammar drill sergeant.) The title means something like “The chips are down” or “the die is cast,” and the whole play is about whether or not you can change your fate.

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Anyway, I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Funnily enough, I ended up loving the two main characters, Eve and Pierre. They were so cute together, and I ended up heartily shipping them. I’m sure Sartre is rolling in his grave at that sentence…but it was a really interesting play, and thought-provoking too!

4. D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths

I think I may have misspelled that. So much for being a French major. Anyway, I remember this book of Greek myths being around for most of my homeschool days. I loved the illustrations and reading about all the adventures the Greek gods were up to. This book started my interest in mythology (and retellings – I loved Rick Riordan’s series!). However, it did lead to some very embarrassing mispronunciations. I have never been good at pronouncing words, and the Greek names take it to a whole new level. Demeter? Hades? Or, the worst offender – Persephone?

5. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This was one of the books from my high school literature class (at a homeschool co-op). I’d never read anything like it before, and it still resides with my favorite books on my bookshelf. Cisneros’ writing is beautiful – it’s like a cross between poetry and prose. This was the first ‘story cycle’ kind of thing I’d read, and it was a really enjoyable read. Also led to some wonderful discussions with the class!

6. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The awesome thing about homeschooling is you can learn about things in a variety of ways. I took a class on dystopian literature where we read books like The Hunger Games, Legend, The Selection, and this one in question. It sounds silly, maybe, but it offers some great discussion…and makes sure that everyone is interested in the books! The Testing sounded like a total ripoff of The Hunger Games, and it sort of was in the first book, but we read the entire series and it grew much more original near the end. As a huge fan of THG and dystopian novels in general, I had a super fun time in this class.

We also worked on developing our own dystopian worlds, and when my teacher saw the stack of typewritten pages I’d brought in, she said: “You’re going to be a writer, aren’t you?” 🙂 Actually, I’ve been developing a story that takes place in this world, and it might be the next project I tackle. This class was full of inspiration. 🙂

7. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

I read this in sixth or seventh grade, I think. It was the first actual romance I remember reading – it was age-appropriate and everything. 🙂 It was such a fantastic book that I reread it several times, and I still have it. I read a lot of historical fiction because it was on the curriculum, and this book is set in ancient Egypt. I also loved The Golden Goblet which I believe is by the same author.

8. The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Another book by the same author! I was really surprised when I found this out. This wasn’t actually assigned reading, but I stole borrowed it from my sister’s library bag and tore through it in a couple days. It’s about changelings and the faerie realm, and this could very well have been what sparked my love of the Fae. 🙂

9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This was also from the dystopian literature class. It’s the only classic dystopian book we read, which is probably a good thing as this one was extremely difficult to read. The teacher gave us a warning that it was an adult book, and I’m glad I knew that going in. It’s an extremely chilling look at a future world that I REALLY hope never comes to light. Our teacher recommend, only half-joking, that we keep pictures of puppies nearby to cheer ourselves up. I did end up interspersing this one with a fluffy, happy book (it was probably The Selection, hehe). I’m glad I read it, but I’m in no rush to reread it.

10. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This wasn’t assigned reading, but it’s something that I think should be on required reading lists! My mom and I found a boxed set of the entire series for only $20, and I read my way through at least four of the books. (I grew disinterested when Anne was grown-up, to be honest. I’d probably get more enjoyment out of it now!) This series is so entertaining, and Anne is one of the best fictional heroines of all time. 🙂

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Thanks so much for reading! What are some books that you read in school? I’d love to chat about ‘required reading’ and if you enjoyed any of them! 🙂

 

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Book Review: “Death Knocks” by Miranda Hardy and Jay Noel

I don’t read many paranormal books, but the few that I’ve read, I’ve really enjoyed. I’m starting to think I should be reading more of them. 🙂 Today we have a review for such a book! I actually won this book in a contest, which was the most exciting thing ever. Nothing quite as cool as getting free books in the mail! 🙂

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Summary

They don’t demand money or possessions…they want much more than that, they want your life.

Maverick is preparing for senior year: he’s no longer stuck in the “friend-zone” with the girl of his dreams, he’s looking forward to choosing the right college and being on his own, and he plans to have a blast along the way.

But a knock on the door changes all of that forever.

Maverick begins a mind-altering, life-changing journey to discover the truth—a truth that certain individuals will do anything to keep hidden.

Goodreads | 311 pages | Where I got it: A prize from a contest! Many thanks to the author! 🙂

Review (spoilers near the end)

I’ll be honest: I liked this book much more than I thought I would!

I hardly ever read paranormal books, and don’t read too many male narrators either, so I wouldn’t have picked this book up on my own. I’m definitely not opposed to either of these, it’s just not what I typically gravitate to. But when this beautiful book arrived in the mail, I wasn’t going to let it sit around unread.

It hooked me from the first chapter, and I finished it the same day. So much for not enjoying paranormal books. 🙂

The whole premise of the book is fascinating. It revolves around the urban legend of Black-Eyed Kids, who basically knock on the door and steal your soul. (I tend to panic anyway when someone knocks on the door, so this probably isn’t going to do wonders for that.) I’d never read about this legend before, but I didn’t feel lost at all – in fact, now I want to do some more research on it.

I grew really fond of Astid. No, that’s not a typo…my brain keeps trying to auto-fill “Astrid,” but there’s no R in there. I’m also not sure how to pronounce it, but that’s a common concern in the books I like to read. Maybe an audiobook would help. She’s one of the Black-Eyed Kids, and I loved getting chapters from her point of view. In fact, I thought she was the most interesting character in the book.

I liked Maverick as a narrator; he seemed fairly sensible throughout the whole book. I also really liked his mom. I wish she had a bigger role in the book. That brings up the whole debate of how uninvolved parents are in YA books. I thought his mom was actually present for a fair deal of it, and they seemed to have a nice relationship, which was really refreshing. Not everyone despises their parents – I hate when characters are just plain rude to their parents. That’s not acceptable! I was happy that this book had a sweet relationship between Maverick and his mom.

One thing I did find problematic was Maverick’s therapist. SPOILERS in this paragraph. All of the therapy scenes put me on edge because they’re just not an accurate representation of therapy. (Yes, I have experience.) For example, my therapist has never said things like, “Why don’t you meet me tomorrow?” – that sounds unprofessional. In traditional therapy, they don’t generally guide you through an hour-long meditation. And they certainly don’t talk to parents behind their kid’s back, at least with a confidentiality agreement. (I realize this is different for little kids, but Maverick is 16 or 17.) However, a plot twist later resulted in all this making sense – the therapist is revealed to be working with the Bad Guys™. I actually called this one from the moment the therapist was introduced. This was really my only issue with the book, and it turned out to be a non-issue in the end. Spoilers ended.

I ship Maverick and Astid. Also, I thought of a perfect ship name for them… Asterick! 🙂

Sensitive Reader Advisory

Some romance, probably some swearing (I can’t remember the extent, but it’s YA, so it’s safe to say the characters are swearing). Definitely some creepy scenes, and character death throughout, including one particularly distressing one that had me scowling in anguish at the book. It’s creepiness to watch out for, not romance.

In Short

An entertaining, creepy novel that introduces readers to a fascinating urban legend, leaving room for more books in the future.

Rating: 3/5 stars ***

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

Ah, yes, it’s time to talk about one of the most popular series in blogland. 🙂

I first read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and ended up liking them well enough. I’ll be posting about those books sometime as well. Then I learned she was writing another series marketed for an older audience. I really wanted to read it, but I’m not such a fan of adult books, so I dithered for a few years (yes, a few years). I figured I may as well give it a go.

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Summary

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Summary from Goodreads | 432 pages | Where I got it: I bought it at my local bookstore. I love indie bookstores! 🙂

Review (Spoiler-Free)

I have a lot of thoughts about this book!

First, it’s quite impressive that Sarah J. Maas (SJM from here on out) is writing TWO full-length fantasy series at the same time. She’s publishing two books a year. Unfortunately I felt that her later books suffered from this, but not this one.

I love books that start in the human world and move into the faerie realm. This was one of those books. I hear a lot of people say the beginning was slow, and I can see where they’re coming from, but I really liked it. Feyre’s sisters are terrible, though, especially Nesta. As an older sister myself, I just don’t understand how Nesta let Feyre go hunting in the woods by herself for several YEARS, and was a huge jerk about lifting a finger to help. Elain is a sweetie, but just because she’s a cinnamon roll doesn’t mean she’s unable to help. I think this is what I feel most strongly about in the whole book, oddly enough.

I got a strong Hunger Games vibe from the whole hunting thing. Feyre reminds me a lot of Katniss, which is one of the reasons I liked the book as much as I did. Katniss is one of my all-time favorite heroines.

Then we movie into Prythian, the faerie realm. I’m going to go on a tirade here: Prythian does not sound like a good faerie realm name to me. I think it should be Prythia, and Prythian should be the adjective form. Like, I don’t live in American: I live in America, and I am American. The “AN” part at the end makes it sound like an adjective, and it bothered me for the entire series. I realize this is nitpicky, and it will likely not affect your reading experience, but I had to say it. 🙂

This book was inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and as such, it’s a bit of a Stockholm Syndrome story. I also got hints of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” If you’re unfamiliar with the fairy tale, you should look it up, it’s really interesting. Basically, a girl goes to live with a polar bear who turns into a man every night. Although he’s her husband, she never sees his face. When she does look at him out of curiosity, he’s spirited away to the castle of the trolls and she has to do a bunch of tasks to get him back. This book is similar because of the masks everyone in the Spring Court wears. (I think it’s the Spring Court. Please correct me if I’m wrong; I don’t have the book in front of me.)

The last third or so of the book gets a LOT darker. This is where I got some more Hunger Games vibes. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it has a distinctly different feel from the rest of the book. It also gets a lot more interesting.

One thing that I didn’t like so much in the book was the writing style – Sarah J. Maas seems to really like using dashes…and ellipses. It’s not so much my cup of tea. I’m not trying to rip on her writing here, but it got a little distracting by interrupting the flow of the sentence. But everyone likes different writing styles!

I’m not really sure how to wrap up this review. I’m in the minority here, but I liked the first book MUCH more than the second two. However, I’m not an enormous fan of the series. Yet I keep coming back for more. What is it about Sarah J. Maas’s books that I can’t stop reading?

Sensitive Reader Advisory

Here we go.

I would not recommend this to readers under 18, personally. Although it’s marketed as Young Adult, I would have been scarred had I picked this up at the tender age of 15-16 (or, heaven forbid, younger). I was admittedly a naive child, but I’m worried about younger teens picking this up thinking it’s just a normal fantasy book and being surprised. So, NEW ADULT. 

There’s a lot of swearing in all SJM books. Pretty much every swear word, including the F word. This bothers me because I don’t mind swearing in books, but this feels excessive. Do faeries really need to be swearing every page? The narration also has swear words in it, not just the dialogue. Over-the-top, in my opinion.

There’s definitely focus on romance. There is also a sex scene with no fade-out. It’s easy to skip if it bothers you. But there’s a lot of romantic tension throughout the book. Her books tend to have a lot of innuendos too.

Lots of violence, blood, and scary scenes. A very distressing end of the book. Mentions of torture (SPOILER: this was quite distressing to me as the victim shares my name). If this were a movie, it would probably be rated R.

In Short

A dark fantasy novel with some truly lovely scenes, but definitely NOT young adult.

Yet I still really enjoyed it, so 4 stars. 🙂

Rating: 4/5 stars ****

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this! Do you like YA or NA better? Are you a Sarah J. Maas fan? Let’s chat! 🙂