Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

graceling_cover

Image and blurb from Amazon:

“Kristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.”

thoughts
Oh Graceling. I looked at this book several times before actually reading it and I am SO glad I finally did! Katsa is a wonderful main character. She is a graceling, meaning that she is graced with special abilities like many other characters in this fantasy world. Katsa is able to kill anyone with her bare hands and is a skilled fighter. I absolutely adored Katsa. She was such a fierce, independent heroine and I love that I’ve been seeing more of that in YA novels. Everything about Katsa is intense. Her fighting, her relationships and her sheer will to survive and persevere through some impossible situations.

 

And Po, I loved Po! The romance was absolutely adorable. Po softens Katsa, and yet he understands and respects her. I personally didn’t love that Katsa was often too independent and stubborn with Po, but I think Cashore was trying to make a point about different types of love and relationships.

 

The story itself was exciting. A lot of great fight scenes and dramatic rescues. Much of the story revolves around Katsa uncovering the treachery of her kingdom. There was also a twist towards the end that I was not expecting! While I adored all the characters and their relationships, the world-building and story line of this book is really where it shines. It was so well thought out and complete for being a stand alone novel (Bitterblue and Fire are companion novels but the stories are different). Highly recommend this read. One of my favorite fantasy novels.

 

5/5

 

sig

Review: The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater

cover_ravenboys_300

Image and blurb from Amazon:

“Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”


Definitely not really what I was expecting but I was pleasantly surprised! I was on such a ACOMAF hangover that I wasn’t sure any book would be able to pull me out of it, but I think this is exactly what I needed. Having read Linger (and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t a HUGE fan of it) I was not sure what to expect. One thing I noticed is that Stievater’s writing style was well suited to this mysterious psychic, power-filled ghost town. Her whimsical, lyrical writing style gave a mysterious veil to this town.

I wasn’t used to the 3rd person omniscient writing style, but also felt it was well suited because it really gave us insight into each of the characters. I also adored each of the characters! Adam- the scholarship student who is constantly trying to prove himself and dealing with home difficulties. Ronan- who has more secrets than we even begin to realize in this book, quick to anger but also a loyal friend. Noah- quiet, always around and seems to know more than he lets on. The author was very clever with him! Gansey- the rich kid who unknowingly offends with his wealth and status, but as you get to know him you realize how much he wishes people would see the ‘real’ him. And finally Blue- the odd girl with the odd name with the psychic family. I loved Blue and the boys together- they make a great team. There was no love story forced, and I liked it. It was more like Blue was figuring out how to have friends and maybe one day what love will be like.

One aspect of the book that was difficult for me to grasp was how Stiefvater described some of these “otherworldy” elements such as the ley line. She certainly focuses on it, but does not describe it in a way that allows readers to compare it to anything they know. Because of this, I often had a hard time visualizing what she was trying to tell the reader and I would get a little lost. This was remedied by the fact that her writing was beautiful and while I did not always understand the direction it was going, I enjoyed the ride.

The story itself was exciting, mysterious and I am eager to pick up the next book! One thing I really enjoyed about the story line is that it was..different. And I liked different. Different and fresh.

4/5

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

77493_original

Image and blurb from Amazon: 

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

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

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


**I wanted to note that I wrote this review before reading ACOMAF! My opinion of this book has definitely changed now that I have read the sequel.**

 

thoughts

First let me preface this review by saying I am already a fan of Maas, and I LOVE her Throne of Glass series. While I enjoyed this book, I didn’t love it. There were too many little things that bothered me throughout to really love it. That being said, I definitely enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the sequel so definitely something I would still recommend for a good read.

Some things I liked:

  • Feyre: While it took her a while to grow on me, I ended up really liking Feyre. She had this admirable fierce determination about her, even when it looked 100% certain that she would fail. She was never stronger or faster than the fae, and yet she never thought twice about going after them. I like that she was really just, normal. Of course she was clever and determined to survive, but she didn’t have any special powers against all these fae that had A LOT of power.
  • The storyline: I liked the Beauty and the Beast undertones. Maas definitely made it her own story, but I do love those fairytale references:)
  • Under the Mountain: I really enjoyed the last ~30% of the book. It was very action packed and  I often had to stop myself from skipping paragraphs at a time to find out what happens next. Amarantha was a great villian!

Some things I didn’t like:

  • One of the things that really bothered me was Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin. It felt quite forced at times and it bothered me how Feyre was willing to do ANYTHING for him. Even when she finally learns about the truth of the “blight” she doesn’t think twice and wants to charge after Tamlin anyway. She seemed quite blinded by their relationship.
  • The language: Lets just say I got a little tired of Feyre’s “knees buckling” and Tamlin’s hardened chest and god-like looks.

Overall, I really did enjoy the story and I like how things ended. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book!

4/5

sig

Review: The Love that Split the World- Emily Henry

25467698

Image and blurb from Amazon: 

“Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start . . . until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a preschool where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

Then there are the visits from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her, “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.”


I’m not yet entirely sure how I feel about this book. I read it quickly, so it definitely held my attention. The writing was beautiful, as many other reviews noted. Lots of good quotes in there! Natalie is a likable character and I adored the relationship between Natalie and Megan.

I read about the insta-love between Beau and Natalie before reading the book but tried to go in with an open mind. I.. still didn’t love the insta-love. In fact, I really didn’t love Beau. Sure, they had their cute moments but overall he is not a memorable love interest for me. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure why Natalie was so drawn to him in the first place, they didn’t really have anything in common (other than the paranormal aspect of course 🙂 ). They seemed to end most of their conversations with Beau kissing Natalie, and sometimes it felt kind of inappropriate for the situation. I’m sure people will disagree with me, but that’s just my opinion! He was definitely sweet, I just didn’t love him.

After finishing the book and taking some time to mull things over, I realized that the book really wasn’t supposed to be about this epic love story. It was really about Natalie growing up and coming to terms with her adoption and heritage. It was more about Natalie and her own self-awareness rather than the relationship between Natalie and Beau. Once I looked at the book from that point of view, I appreciated it more. Not exactly what I was expecting, but still a well-written, enjoyable story. I also thoroughly enjoyed the stories the Grandmother told to Natalie. Henry tied this in nicely with the rest of the plot.

The end was a little confusing for me, but maybe the author intended for it to be open-ended and it fit with the tone in the rest of the book. Overall the book was beautifully written, had likable characters, and was really just different than anything I’ve read in a while. And it made me think at the end which is always a good thing! For me, there was something that seemed to be lacking and that held me back from naming this book a favorite. Definitely an interesting read though!

3.5/5

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

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

17927395

Image and blurb from Amazon:

“The stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses.

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.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights”


thoughts

WOW! This book was really fantastic. I have been a fan of Maas since I read the Throne of Glass series and I always enjoy her writing. While I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, I didn’t love it. After finishing ACOMAF, IT ALL MAKES SENSE. Every relationship, every conversation in ACOTAR was perfectly placed to set the scene for the sequel. I really wasn’t a huge fan of Tamlin, and Feyre’s relationship with him felt forced at times. That being said, I was very happy with the direction the sequel went!

Feyre’s character development through the book was phenomenal. I am amazed at how Maas seamlessly touched on some very heavy topics of PTSD, depression and abusive relationships in a fantasy novel. Feyre was truly broken after the events with Amarantha Under the Mountain. Forced to kill innocents and tortured both physically and mentally- Feyre is left feeling empty. Much of this novel focuses on Feyre working through that depression and emptiness and it is a very realistic and beautiful journey for her! We also get to see her adjusting to her new Fae body and the new abilities that come with it.

I loved all the new characters we were introduced to in the Night Court and I am so glad we got to see more of Rhysand! Maas does and excellent job of developing her supporting characters. We also learn a lot more about Prythian outside of the Spring Court.

Even though this book focused very heavily on relationships and character development, there was no lack of action! With war from the King of Hybern quickly approaching, Feyre and friends must find a way to fight him. We get to see some Summer Court, flying Illyrians, water-wraith action and it all makes for some very exciting scenes!

Finally, the romance was steamy. I always love a slow-burning romance and I was not disappointed here. Overall, a great read and I would highly recommend! Especially if you were not 100% sold on ACOTAR. Please, trust me and read this.

5/5

sig