Audiobook Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Audiobook Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

pireview

It took me forever to get motivated to start this series again and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed Throne of Glass a lot. It seemed like a series that was only going to get better and more layered.

I decided to listen to Crown of Midnight on audio because I’m a lazy, slow reader these days. I’m happy I made that choice. I enjoyed the narrator. She did a great job of capturing Celaena’s personality well.

I did, however, run into the same problem I had the last time I read one of Maas’s books. I felt like nothing happened through 75% of it. The story unfolded so slowly and then a ton of really fascinating things were revealed at the end but I wish I could’ve been fascinated the whole time.

I also found Celaena unlikeable and uncharacteristically cowardly at times. She certainly didn’t make some choices I wanted her to make but I’m hoping that improves in the next books.

I think this is a really interesting world with tons of potential but I need someone to tell me the next book is better and faster paced. As of right now I’ve lost the motivation to continue again so convince me to read the rest! Please?

pialso

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
on May 12, 2015
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

pireviewI really didn’t know what to expect from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I read the blurb a long time ago and forgot most of it. So I went into it with fresh eyes and was quickly swept away in this unique new young adult novel.

The story starts fast and doesn’t really explain much back story until later. It works for this book. I was too caught up in the story to wonder about the history for the most part. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more information on Khalid’s rise to the throne, but that was a very minor issue that I can easily look over.

The elements that made The Wrath and the Dawn utterly captivating were Shahrzad, Khalid, and their romantic tension. My god was that some good tension! I’m so happy that they didn’t spend the entire book fighting against their feelings. Sure Shazi had her hangups and guilt but she didn’t dwell on it endlessly. That was so refreshing. I really couldn’t help falling right along side Shazi. Khalid is such a fabulous character. He has secrets and the weight of the world on his shoulders. It makes him such a intriguing character. Shazi is just as amazing. She’s so brave and you can’t help but love her quick wit and sharp tongue.

The world in The Wrath and the Dawn is another extraordinary element to the story. I’m not really familiar with Arabian Nights, but I feel like Renee Ahdieh created something beautiful with this book. The world is so lush and I can’t wait to find out more!

Obviously I loved it. I think you probably will too. The Wrath and the Dawn is definitely the most compelling book I’ve read in awhile. I’m so happy it’s the start of a new series because I need more!

pialso

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Blog Tour: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman–Review & Giveaway

Blog Tour: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman–Review & GiveawayShadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
on March 10, 2015
Series: Seraphina #2
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

pireview

It’s been such a long time since I was so completely swept up in a story. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman was the perfect sequel and an all around incredible fantasy novel.

It’s been years since I read Seraphina. I was a bit worried that I would be completely lost for awhile in Shadow Scale but thankfully that was not the case at all. I’ve always wondered why there isn’t recaps at the beginnings of sequels or subsequent books. There was with this one and it was so helpful. I loved that it flowed with the story as well.

The world that Rachel Hartman has created with these books is so unbelievably rich and detailed. I’m in awe just thinking about it again. Shadow Scale was one of those rare books that I forgot I was reading and not living. I mourned the loss of the story when it was over. The writing was beautiful as well. Rachel Hartman is an amazing talent.

Almost all the fantasy novels that I love involve some sort of epic journey. This book was no exception. Seraphina sets out to find all of her fellow half dragons. The history, landscape, and politics you learn about while on this journey are dizzying in their scale.

Shadow Scale delves deep into things that were only mentioned in Seraphina. The danger and villain felt so real that it filled me with dread often. I couldn’t see any way out of the situation they were all in but it was handled wonderfully in the end.

There was one other storyline I was very curious about, the relationship between Seraphina and Kiggs. I was really pleased with every aspect of their story. I loved that the romance wasn’t a huge part of the story but it always a subtle undercurrent. I also loved the unconventional way their story ended.

I really just can’t say enough good things about Shadow Scale. It’s an utterly incredible follow up. I’m so sad that it’s over but Rachel Hartman has earned a fan for life.

Giveaway:

I’m so excited to give two readers a chance to read this book!

Comment below telling me if you’ve read Seraphina and/or your favorite dragon book.
US/Canada only
Must be 13 or older to enter
Prizing courtesy of Random House
Ends April 7th

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Review: Half Bad by Sally GreenHalf Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

pireview

I have always been a fan of witch books. It’s one of the few paranormal sub-genres that I still get excited about. I was really excited about Half Bad by Sally Green from the moment I heard about it and it absolutely did not disappoint.

I knew going in that there was some mixed reviews about Half Bad, but I was completely enthralled after just a couple of chapters. It was a darker book than I was expecting. I’ve never been one to shy away from dark reads, so that wasn’t a problem for me.

The world building was fabulous. Half Bad takes place in our world with witches hidden among us. The witch history and politics was really fascinating. I enjoyed the magical aspects a lot and I feel like we’ll get to see even more magic in Half Wild.

Nathan has had such a troubling life. He’s an outcast amongst the small world of witches. He’s bullied and then tortured. It’s was sometimes hard to read, but it made me feel for Nathan so much. Through all the horrible things that happen to him he’s so strong. He has to do some unsavory things to help himself, but he really only wants to be good. I’m rooting for Nathan so hard. I can’t wait to see how his story unfolds.

The paranormal genre is pretty saturated but Half Bad stands out because of Sally Green’s gorgeous writing. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nathan’s story turns out.

pialso

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
White Cat by Holly Black

 

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
on June 17, 2014
Series: Grisha series
Also by this author: Siege and Storm
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
5 Stars

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

pireview

I have been in love with the Grisha series since sometime around the end of the first chapter in Shadow and Bone. It’s such an incredible fantasy series. One that I feel like I could read over and over. Ruin and Rising was a dark conclusion, but a magnificent one.

To be completely honest with you, I did feel like the first half of the book was a little slow. That could’ve just been me. Since I was a little fuzzy on the way the Siege and Storm ended, I had some catching up to do. Once the story took off for me, it really took off!

Ruin and Rising is filled with the same imaginative places as the previous two books. I love the Grishaverse so much. It’s definitely not an easy place, but Leigh Bardugo has done such an amazing job of bringing it to life.

The boys in this series just seem to keep getting better. Well, except for The Darkling. He just gets more evil. I’ve always sided against Mal for some reason, but Ruin and Rising made me forget why. That’s all I’m going to say. That and Leigh Bardugo sure knows how to writes swoony boys.

There’s been so much turmoil and heartbreak in this series. It’s hard to fathom how it could end. I would’ve never guessed what happened. It’s not often that I read a book that takes me completely by surprise but this one did. It broke my heart and then mended in the last chapter. What an amazing conclusion to a extraordinary series. I couldn’t be happier with how it ended.

pi5pialso

Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rea Carson
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
on March 3, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Also in this series: The Winner's Curse
Also by this author: The Winner's Curse
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

pireview

I was so completely enthralled by The Winner’s Curse last year. It was such a unique world and an amazing premise. That’s why The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski has been at the top of my want to read list for a long time. I’m so happy to say that it didn’t suffer from the sequel syndrome and it did not disappoint!

I’m not sure how much I can say about The Winner’s Crime without giving something away. Everything that made us love the first book, the politics, the romance, the deception, is very much alive and well in this follow up. Kestrel is juggling so many important pieces. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire book just hoping that she didn’t drop any.

The tension and romance is still a main story line, although maybe not as prevalent as in the first book. I did get just a tiny bit frustrated at Arin and his inability to see obvious things. But that really just made the tension better.

Then there’s the ending. I woke up randomly at 3am the night I finished the book and could not stop thinking about that ending. The wait for book 3 is going to be a very hard one.

This is an utterly stunning series. I can’t recommend The Winner’s Trilogy enough to everyone. Not just fantasy lovers. It’s beautifully written and so addicting.

pi5pialso

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
on March 4, 2014
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Also in this series: The Winner's Crime
Also by this author: The Winner's Crime
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

reviewtag

2013 marked the end of a lot of my favorite series. That meant lots of holes in my heart, but thankfully Marie Rutkoski has written a new series to add to my favorites list. I hadn’t heard much about The Winner’s Curse when I received it, but after seeing all the advance buzz I quickly moved it to the top of my TBR pile. I’m so happy I did. This book was my first read of the year but I will wager that it will make my favorites list at the end of the year.

The Winner’s Curse is a sweeping fantasy novel with a heart wrenching romance. There were so many unexpected layers to the story. Marie Rutkoski really explores right and wrong and the gray area between. I loved seeing how far the characters would go for love and loyalty. The push and pull between Kestrel and Arin was remarkable.

There were no easy answers in The Winner’s Curse. Nothing was simple for these characters. I never knew how things were going to work out and I loved that. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning.

I love a good high fantasy with intricate world building, but this world is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s very well fleshed out but not overly detailed. I look forward to learning more about it but I was very pleased with my first look.

I hope I’ve conveyed just how much I enjoyed The Winner’s Curse. It was a captivating a gorgeous story. I highly recommend it.

pi5You Might Also Like

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo