Last Year I Was Reading… | 17.09.20

In a surprising turn of events, we’re doing something different this week (woo!) and engaging in a little Throwback Thursday fun times. Maria @ReadingMaria came up with the cute idea of ‘Last Year I Was Reading’ in which you compare your current read to the book you were reading at the exact same time last year. You consider how they differ/are alike, which one you like better and mention any specific facts you feel like mentioning.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1#) – Sarah J. Maas

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Here it is, my current read, in all of its 803 page, door-stopping glory. After powering through six romance novels in the first week of this month, I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t spend the rest of it tackling one of the bigger books on my TBR. HoEaB is an adult urban fantasy book full of fae, vampires, angels, shapeshifters and a bunch of other magical beings. The story revolves around a half-fae party girl named Bryce teaming up with a disgraced angel, Hunt, to investigate the brutal murders of Bryce’s friends. There’s magic, family drama, characters with plenty of baggage, a bit of violence, and romance typical of a Maas book.

At this point, I’m about 600 pages in and so far so…relatively good. It’s definitely a bigger book than it needed to be, the writing is questionable at points, and I’m still confused about elements of the world building. Still, for the most part, I’m enjoying it. I’ve heard that the last 200 pages get pretty crazy so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens.


The Institute – Stephen King

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In September of 2019 I was making my way through Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute – a sci-fi, fantasy, thriller mix. It involves a group of kids being abducted for their telepathic and telekinetic abilities and taken to a secret facility in Maine (it’s always Maine). Here, they undergo testing to enhance their powers for some mysterious reason before being sent to another part of the complex after which they are never seen again. This was King’s first book in a long time focusing on child characters, which he still writes fantastically. It was very well received, even scoring a win for best horror novel in the 2019 Goodreads choice awards (I wouldn’t consider it much of a horror book though).

I enjoyed The Institute but not as much as I did IT. The characters were certainly likeable and the story did build up to an action packed (if somewhat rushed) climax. Yet, the pacing was a bit too slow in some sections and the neatly packaged ending was disappointing. There was also something missing from it that I still can’t quite put my finger on.


These are two very different books so comparing them is tricky. They both involve fantasy elements I suppose but that’s where the similarities end – vastly different settings, characters, lengths and moods yet still enjoyable. Of the two, I would say that House of Earth and Blood is my preferred read but only because my love for magical creatures comes out just ahead of my obsession with humans with superpowers. I will say though that these are two books that could have had smaller page counts and improved story momentum in spots.

What book were you reading this time last year? Was it more or less enjoyable than your current read?

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag

As my family and close friends know, I’m a big Buffy fan. Huge. Enormous. I mean, this is a show that absolutely revolutionised TV in the 90s. I pretty much try to get everyone I know to watch it at some point. Amazing characters, great dialogue, gripping plots, badass action scenes, female empowerment, one of the first ongoing gay relationships on TV, the best musical episode of a non-musical TV show ever (fight me), some corny but fun CGI…it’s just so good. Go watch it if you haven’t already.

Anyway, when I came across a book tag devoted especially to it, I knew I had to do it. Just HAD TO. This tag was originally created by Lauren over at Book Slaying but was then changed slightly by Sarah at Written Word Worlds. I’m going to do a combination of the two versions, with my own changes and additions because why not? Let’s get slayin’.


Buffy: A Character Who Lives a Double Life

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Nova Artino (Renegades- Marissa Meyer)

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There were a few options for this one but I’ve decided to go with Nova. In Renegades, Nova’s allegiance is to the so called ‘Villains’ group in society. She resents the Renegades, (who act as the city’s political body/law enforcement group) for their past failures, and believes they’re not what they claim or people hold them up to be. In order to gain valuable intelligence on the inner workings of the Renegades team, she joins them, complete with an entirely new (and fake) personal history.


Willow: A Badass Witch

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Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass series – Sarah J. Maas)

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I don’t use Throne of Glass related things for many prompts. It’s mainly because I wasn’t a huge fan of the series and only made it about 4 books in. Still, there’s no denying that Manon is 100% a badass witch. Or more specifically, a scary-ass witch. I mean, she’s killed people and actually drank their blood, has retractable iron fangs and nails, and she flies a wyvern. Combine that with an icy, ruthless and determined personality, and the end result is…well, don’t cross her if you can avoid it.


Xander: A Character Who Mostly Provides Comic Relief

M-BOT (Skyward – Brandon Sanderson)

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While M-Bot certainly has its other purposes, as you do being a super advanced stealth space ship, its main contribution to Skyward is as comic relief. If you’re laughing at something during this book, 80% chance it’ll be M-Bot. Sometimes it’s talking about its drive to catalogue mushrooms, others it’s randomly hacking into Spensa’s communications channel to give commentary, and then there’s the constant crapping on poor Rig as he attempts to repair it. Regardless, M-Bot is an easy fan favourite.


Giles: A Parental Figure

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Miss Honey (Matilda – Roald Dahl)

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Honestly, can you guys think of a more perfect parental figure than Miss Honey? She’s kind, gentle, smart, wants the best for each of her students, and tries hard to ensure that Matilda will receive the kind of care and education that she deserves. The two develop a special bond with Matilda using her telekinetic powers to ensure the return of Miss Honey’s home and inheritance from Principal Trunchbull. By the end of the book, Matilda goes to live with Miss Honey and it’s pretty much a happily ever after.


Dawn: Favourite Sibling Relationship

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Tyler & Scarlett Jones (Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman)

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Ugh, Dawn. I almost changed this prompt to ‘A character you found ridiculously annoying’. There are a few sibling relationships I really love, but for the sake of variety, I’ve picked Tyler and Scarlett. Having just finished Aurora Rising, these two are fresh in my memory. They have a great degree of banter, trust one another, are able to communicate with little more than a look or a raised eyebrow, and have faith in the other’s abilities. Ty and Scarlet are squadmates and siblings but more importantly they’re good friends.


Oz: A Book With Werewolves

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Nightshade -Andrea Cremer

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I read this book YEARSSSSS ago and I can’t remember anything about it other than it was about werewolves and the main character’s name was Calla. Based on my GR review, I must have liked it somewhat (but not enough to read the sequel). Obviously I was drawn in by the pretty purple cover. Gosh, that’s a nice colour. I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be so keen on it were I to read it now – male wolf dominance, love triangles and all that, but eh, it’s a werewolf book and it’s something different from my usual book tag choices.


Cordelia: A Character Who Undergoes Major Growth

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Zoya Nazyalensky (The Grisha Trilogy & King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo)

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When we first meet Zoya, to put it mildly, she’s kind of a raging bitch. But after being knocked off her pedestal and then joining Alina’s & Nikolai’s fight against The Darkling, she undergoes some great character development. However, much like with Cordelia Chase, it’s a spin off that really gives her the chance to shine. Zoya is sassy, resilient, able to handle Nikolai (a feat in itself), a badass grisha, and has not got time for your shit. Basically, we stan. Zoya for Queen of Ravka.


Angel: An Extremely Broody Character

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Victor Vale (Vicious – V.E. Schwab)

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Ah, Victor. You’re certainly a very broody character. Admittedly, this is fairly understandable because: (a) he went to prison for years for a murder he committed accidentally, giving him plenty to brood about, (b) how else would he plot his nemesis & former friend’s demise?, and (c) it just fits his whole gloomy, anti-hero image. So, in Victor’s case, unlike some other’s, it actually works very well.


Spike: A Character with a Redemption Arc

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Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

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To avoid reusing Holland from ADSOM for the millionth time, I’m going with Severus Snape. In fairness, I don’t think I’ve ever used this one in a book tag before despite how popular a choice it must be and how much I love HP. Snape definitely has some massive flaws and he’s far from being fully redeemed by the end of the series. However, our view of him as a character is certainly very much improved in Deathly Hallows by the introduction of a whole bunch of new info about past events.


Tara: A Book with a LGBTI Relationship

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Alex & Henry (Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston)

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There are so many wonderful LGBTI ships out there in fictional land. I recently finished this book so it’s been on the brain which is probably why I jumped here first. However, it’s also probably because these two are so darn CUTE. Ahhhhhh. Alex is smart-mouthed and outgoing while Henry is a closet-nerd and major romantic. The two start out a bit rough but eventually their relationship develops into hilarious late night texting convos, sexy, secret rendezvous, and some genuinely sweet heart to hearts.


Anya: A Character Who Grew on You

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Nesta Archeron (ACOTAR Series – Sarah J. Maas)

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Yes, more SJM. I’m sorry I’m a cliche, okay.
If you happen to go through my read along posts for ACOTAR, you’ll find that I didn’t have many nice things to say about Feyre’s sisters early on. Nesta can be harsh, closed off and selfish, but after spending more time with her, I ended up loving that she was a more emotionally complex character. Some people will find it difficult to like her but I know she’s going to have her moment once the new series kicks into gear. Also, if she doesn’t end up with Cassian, I’ll riot.


Faith: A Character with Questionable Allegiances

Ashlinn Jarheim (Nevernight Series – Jay Kristoff)

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Ah, Ashlinn. I can’t really say much on this one without giving away major spoilers to anyone who hasn’t read Nevernight. If that’s you, go do it already! Before book three comes out in September! I will say that she’s sassy, resourceful, and calculating, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she ends up at the end of the series. Somehow I doubt she’ll do any more plot twisty things but considering her character, you never can be entirely sure.

Are you a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan? I love finding people to gush about amazing TV shows with, especially older ones. If so, who’s your favourite character?

I definitely think it’s time for a re-watch!

Short and Sweet: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

3 stars

ACOFAS

I know this one is going to be massively popular on the review circuit and originally I’d planned not to post about it but (a) I’ve written something for every other book in the series and (b) thoughts kind of started spewing out of me right after I finished the novella so why not share them.  Here goes. Short and sweet. A bit like the novella, really.

I’ve tried to keep spoilers very minimal, but be prepared for some small details.

PLOTTING ALONG

This book can be adequately summed up as the Inner Circle does their version of Christmas with a side of emotional trauma. Most of it feels like fan service, and by that I mean it reads a lot like fan fiction. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does seem somewhat fluffy and uneventful. It’s almost like those fan made conversations people post between the characters on Tumblr or Instagram except a whole book. You get to have some fun with your favourite characters as they eat, get drunk, buy & receive gifts, have snowball fights, and so on. However, I do feel like there could have been more room for substantial character drama had we sacrificed a few shopping trips (there’s a lot) or Feyre’s painting dilemmas. 

This aside, the book does dangle the smallest (bare minimum) of threads on a few future plot points. There isn’t much in the way of development on them (at all) but there’s still clear indications of their looming importance in the series to come. We might not be able to say much at this point, but there’s some definite conflict a brewin’ on the horizon. This book is merely the calm before the storm.

THE GANG

SJM’s characters really are the focus of ACOFAS – their relationships with one another, memories, and war scars (both recent and older). As usual, Feyre and Rhys take up a lot of the focus of the book and most of the chapters are written in first person flicking between the two. We occasionally get a third person perspective from other characters such as Cassian, Mor and Nesta, but our main couple remains center stage. The problem is that by this point Feysand has almost become a bit too overexposed. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still one of my favourite fictional pairings but did we really need pages and pages of them once again going on about how much they love one another? Probably not. Did we need the constant sexual innuendo (please stop. No, really) and that extended smutty scene? Nope. We get it. They love each other. Perfect together. Willing to die for one another. While some of the scenes are certainly nice, a lot of that time could have been better spent on more compelling characters with stories still to tell.

Speaking of which…

ACOFAS suggests some great character arcs to come in the new series and I’m actually now really looking forward to seeing inside some other characters’ heads. I adore Cassian, for example, and the novella has given me a strong indication that he’ll be featuring a lot more prominently from here on in. Nesta, too, will be getting a chance to shine and while I don’t much like Nesta viewed through other characters’ eyes, this book has shown me that I really enjoy reading from her third person POV. There’s just so much emotional complexity and potential there. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a Nessian shipper. Without saying too much on that point, I struggled with the believability of where that relationship was in this book after where we left it at the end of ACOWAR. Still, I know there’s good things in store after the last few pages of the novella.

Mor is short changed in this book. The woman remains a goddess and there’s clearly a big plot arc coming her way, but I do wish we’d gotten more time with her, especially after the heaviness of her early third person chapter. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow and develop, and more importantly, find acceptance in herself.

Elaine’s dilemma remains the same as before and while she’s starting to come out of her shell, I can’t help but find her a bit boring. I do want her to be happy but at the same time, more drama needs to happen soon or I’m going to lose interest entirely. She bakes and gardens. Woooo… so much fun. Have a vision already, or at least semi-deal with this maybe forming love triangle.

Ah, Tamlin. I didn’t expect you to make an appearance at all. You certainly did some very bad things mister, but I feel so, so sorry for you here. At this point, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for a damn good redemption arc, for the Lord of Spring to get his ass into gear once the shit hits the fan again. I really want him to find some happiness because these scenes just broke my heart.

WAR & CONSEQUENCES

I also have to note that I continue to be impressed with SJM’s unwillingness to skate over the emotional and physical effects of conflict and trauma. Throughout the novella we’re exposed to the damage the war has done to not only the city but the population as well. Past events aren’t simply forgotten, they carry a great deal of weight and influence a lot of what can be considered the plot of this book, whether it be Feyre picturing her sister holding a severed head or the conversation with a war widow as she recounts the depth of her grief. It’s gut wrenching but it’s real and we can’t ask for much more than that. Yet, Sarah also successfully manages to balance out the tone of the book with her usual humour.


Overall, I had a good time with this one and for what it was, it does okay. While I’ll admit that I wish certain plot points and characters had been focused on or expanded more, and there were some things that occasionally got on my nerves, I’m excited to see where the new series will go.

3 Stars

Let’s Talk: Fairies in Fiction

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When I was ten, I was captivated by the magic of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. The fey in these stories varied in their appearance and nature, ranging from brownies and goblins to nixies and ogres, but just like in any other book about the fair folk, they were also tricksy, mysterious and of course, dangerous. As I moved into my teenage years, fairy stories soon began to lose their appeal in favour of vampires, angels, and werewolves. However, over the last few years the genre has had an epic resurgence in fantasy and, much like a lot of other people’s, my interest has returned with a similar vengeance. So, recently I started thinking about what it is exactly that’s so appealing about stories dealing with the fey these days, and here’s what I came up with:

Magic

One of the best parts of fantasy is magic and it’s something that features pretty much constantly in fey stories. It’s most common purpose is  reinforcing a hierarchy – separating the all-powerful rulers from the ruled or, more commonly, the annoying antagonist character that needs to get their butt kicked from our central characters. Magic in fey stories is also often a court identifier and shows just how rooted a fairy character’s court is in their personality. In Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, Summer King Keenan isn’t just the ruler of the Summer Court, he literally exudes sunlight and warmth. And we wonder why fey are usually arrogant asses…

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Magic’s great at spicing up conflict situations. I mean, reading about Aelin kicking ass in the Throne of Glass books is pretty awesome but assassin abilities plus fey magic? Now you’re talkingFairy magic also acts as a great plot device in regards to coming of age or transformation stories, particularly where it’s somehow bestowed upon someone who used to be human (or at least thought they were) and now has to learn how to use it. Eventually they accept themselves, develop as a person and progress on their path towards bad-assery, as we find with Laurel in Wings and Feyre in A Court of Mist and Fury.

Truth Telling & Two-Sidedness

A fascinating component of fairy lore is the idea that the fey are incapable of lying. Yet, because of this they’re exceptionally good at telling half-truths and using the truth to manipulate situations to their advantage. Just look at the scene introducing the fairy queen in Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes – one conversation, a little bit of honesty, and suddenly everything’s topsy-turvy in our characters’ relationships.  I love this trope because it forces you and the characters to read between the lines of what’s being said and creates the perfect circumstances for a plot twist or betrayal.

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…Or a reverse betrayal as the case is in Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens.

This idea feeds into the fairy nature of being two-faced. While the fey are outwardly very beautiful and seem to delight in light-hearted things like games, music, dance and food, underneath it all there’s a compelling darkness and twisted cruelty. This provides such a great opportunity for characters to rise above all of that in order to serve as interesting protagonists. Yet, it also allows for some pretty terrible villains, acting out of a desire for power or simply their own amusement (like the asshole fairies in Black’s The Cruel Prince).

Immortality & Beauty

Okay, let’s be honest, it’s rare to find fairy based stories that don’t involve a romantic component and if there’s romance going on, you can bet that the characters involved will be damn attractive.

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And fairies are just that. They’re athletic, beautiful (often almost verging on too much so), experienced in the ways of the world, and will likely stay that way forever – that is unless someone decides to physically attack them. Essentially, there’s the attractive elements found in the vampire genre minus the creepy, well, dead issue. Listening to every human character go on and on about how amazing looking fey characters are in comparison to themselves does get a bit old but hey, a reader needs someone swoon worthy once in a while, even if they can be kind of a sucky person on occasion (e.g. Prince Cardan from The Cruel Prince, Dorian from Dark Swan, or Kiaran from The Falconer)

Courts & Conflict

Another very common feature of fey based stories these days is to follow elements of traditional fairy lore by dividing the population up into different courts. This is usually based on seasons, times of day or whether they’re feeling particularly Seelie or not (haha…okay, bad joke. I’ll see myself out.) It’s a structure used in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan books, and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series, just to name a few. And why? Because it’s a perfect driver for conflict. These courts don’t just differ in name, but also in culture, attitudes and temperament. Then again, it doesn’t help that fey kingdoms often resemble modern-era Europe in their desire for power and tendency to prey on the weak. Plus, anyone who lives as long as fairies do is bound to build up some serious grudges over the years. If it were me, I’d start screwing with people just to alleviate the mind numbing boredom of immortality…

Fairy courts also provide opportunities for alliances and political intrigue, and at times even all-out war. The fun part is watching them try to interact with one another with sometimes awful or hilarious results. See A Court of Wings and Ruin for an entertaining example. Essentially, Me:

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Are you a fan of fey related books? If so, why and what are some of your favourites?

Love Ashley

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2017

And it’s time to get back into good old Top Ten Tuesday. This week is a nice, easy topic – my favourite reads of this year. So far, I’ve read 40 books in 2017 which is pretty decent for me – I watch far too much TV and play a lot of video games. I marvel at all you amazing people who reach over 100. Teach me your ways! Anyway, here were the books I enjoyed most this year (plus links to the reviews I actually got my lazy butt to write). There’s nothing surprising or niche here, but hey, just means these books deserve the hype they get which is a great thing.

1. Nevernight (Jay Kristoff) – 5 STARS

Pure amazingness. It was the book I didn’t even know I needed in my life until I read it. The sequel was just as fab and probably should have been on this list too. Can’t wait for the next one.

 2. A Conjuring of Light (V. E. Schwab) – 4.5 STARS

A fantastic conclusion to one of my now favourite series, from one of my now favourite authors. Victoria Schwab, you are amazing. Your characters, writing, and world building completely stole my heart.

3.  A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J. Maas) – 5 STARS

The book that helped me understand the craze that is SJM and made me fall in love with the series. Such a fantastic novel and it flew by like it was nothing. Thank god I pushed myself to give this sequel a go.

4. Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor) – 4 STARS

 In one word – gorgeous. The writing, the characters, the world building. Much love.

5. Gemina (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff) – 4 STARS

Non-stop action, humour, great characters, and a lot of fun. I love this series and I can’t wait for Obsidio to come out next year!

 6. An Ember in the Ashes (Sabaar Tahir) – 4 STARS

Another book that managed to take me by surprise. I had a great time reading this one and have already bought the sequel ready to go.

7. Cinder (Marissa Meyer) – 4 STARS

I majorly underestimated this book and it ended up being really enjoyable. I’ve heard amazing things about this series for ages and I’m glad I finally decided to give it a go.

8. Geekerella (Ashley Poston) – 4 STARS

My second attempt at reading YA contemporary for 2017. Such a fun, light book that ended up being so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Plus, it appeased my inner geek girl.

9. This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab) – 4 STARS

The concept for this one alone makes it a standout. Schwab once again creates great characters and surrounds them with a really engaging concept.

10. The Bone Season (Samantha Shannon) – 4 STARS

Yes, it was a re-read but it counts because it was just as awesome as before. Heavy world building, yes, but very enjoyable.

War, a Cauldron, and a lot of Faerie Bickering: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

3.5 stars

ACOWAR

I was extremely worried going into this book. I’d been ambivalent about ACOTAR and then fell head over heels for ACOMAF, but had heard a lot of loud disappointment from people about Maas’s newest entry in the series.  Now, almost seven-hundred pages later – I didn’t realise I’d be signing up for almost Diana Gabaldon like territory when I began this chunky book – I can say that while I have a few problems with it, overall ACOWAR was not what I’d call a disappointment. To make things easier, I’ll break this down into what I liked and what I didn’t like.

The Good

It’s difficult to break down what I loved about ACOWAR because by and large, things were pretty good. For the most part the plot flowed in a logical and easy to follow direction. As we expected from book two, book three focused on the immediate build up to Prythian’s war against Hybern and then the actual battle itself. I enjoyed the storyline – the battles themselves were exciting and interesting to read, and there was always a slight underlying tension as I wondered whether every member of my favourite night court family would make it out unscathed. I love a great high fantasy battle scene, which I think I can attribute to my repeated viewings of the Lord of the Rings films over the years. When they’re done right, they’re great, and SJM has done a pretty fair job here.

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The build-up to the war itself was largely entertaining as Feyre and co. scramble around searching for allies and every possible upper-hand to use against the enormous armies of Hybern. The book does drag at points (characters put off doing things that you know they’ll eventually come back to later) and probably could have been a bit shorter but when it picks up, it really does pick up.  One of my favourite sections, which I, unfortunately, reached at a time already verging on unreasonable for bed, is the meeting between the various high lords of the different faerie courts. The characters are diverse and the conflict brewing just beneath the surface, which on occasion does rise to the top, is enough to keep you flipping through pages, dying to know how things will play out.

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The characters remain as wonderful as ever, playing off each other in entertaining and dramatic ways under the new stress of the war. Lucien is introduced back into the mix and somewhat redeemed after the events of ACOMAF, even though he does end up disappearing half way through on what becomes a somewhat pointless quest. Both Nesta and Elain also come into their own a bit in this book which is wonderful to see, especially during the final battle. My lovely Feysand ship remains strong and intact, ready to tackle the world. I never tire of the way these two support each other. They offer their opinions but always know that their partner is an individual and has the right to make their own decisions, good or bad.

Speaking of bad, let’s move onto my issues with the book…

The Bad

Up first, the character allegiance twists. I have to say that this was a book that was extremely messy in terms of its characters switching allegiances or being “shockingly” revealed to be different from what they appeared to be. While it’s great to keep readers guessing, there comes a point where not only does this become boring, but also difficult to keep track of who’s betrayed or fighting with whom.

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Second, the viewpoint of the battle scenes. My issue here is that of Feyre’s involvement. In order to depict the battles as she wished (aka. a bit more like third-person), SJM positions Feyre at a height above each battle scene from which she can observe the fighting. Feyre then describes which army sections are flanking others and the actions of individual characters such as Rhys and Cassian as they fight. While this is fine, I do wish that Feyre had been a bit more involved in battles, other than the attack on the Summer Court, and got to kick some ass as we all know she’s capable of doing.

Up next, a complaint about language choices, specifically ‘mate’, ‘female’ and ‘male’. I get that pretty much all of the characters in these books are fey, not human, but do we really have to refer to individual characters as ‘females’ or ‘males’ like they’re an exotic animal with little self-control or higher thought processes? Talking like David Attenborough can be fun on occasion but perhaps not in this context. Additionally, I’m very much over Feyre and Rhys’s constant references to each other as ‘my mate’. It sounds possessive and well, weird.

While we’re on the subject of relationships, I was mildly let down by the lack of full development in any other relationship than Rhys and Feyre’s. Nearly everyone in this story had a romantic plotline with someone else and I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending of just about all of them. More ground was gained in some relationships than others but overall, none really had a proper resolution. Even Cassian and Nesta who have a sort-of moment during the final battle are never really shown discussing it in the aftermath. Way to remove the wind from my sails SJM. However, points for the sexuality discussion concerning a certain character.

Last but not least, the finale. Yes, these scenes did what they needed to do to close the story arch but I have to say, they felt a little too dramatic for me. There’s people fighting left right and center, characters splitting off into different locations, new allies turning up every few pages, a random and not properly explained betrayal, sacrifices, an almost death (really SJM, did we really need to go through that?),  an actual death, a crack in reality, and a declaration of love. It’s all just a bit overwhelming.

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Furthermore, one of the more important allies to show up is just a little too far-fetched for my liking. It’s someone who has been gone for about a book and a half, hasn’t been a significant character, somehow manages to get there at the exact right time, and renders Lucien’s quest useless. Yet, I do have to say that I liked that everyone, particularly Feyre’s sisters, ended up being necessary to save the day. Yay, team work!


I know it looks like I had a lot of bad things to say but overall, I enjoyed ACOWAR. It was an engaging and exciting read. Despite its issues, it’s still ahead of ACOTAR because it was memorable. So, if like me, you’re worried about making it to book three in the series, I say don’t be. You’re still in for a fun (and stressful) time.

3.5 Stars

Top 10 Tuesday: Kick-Ass Female Characters

Today marks the beginning of June, a new season, and the second half of the year. Woo! However, today is also the day that the DC comics’ movie, Wonder Woman, opens in cinemas. This is the first big comic book movie ever to focus on a female protagonist. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal! I’m super excited to see the film and it’s got me thinking about the many other wonderfully strong, brave, determined, and just generally kick-ass women who have their origins on the page. There are so many amazing women that come to mind that limiting my list to 10 is a crime, so for now, here’s fourteen:

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter Series)

It’s impossible to leave Hermione off any list of this nature. She’s kind, courageous, and incredibly smart. While Harry may have been the chosen one, without Hermione both he and Ron would most certainly have died (many times) over the years, and failed a heap of school assignments along the way. Whether she’s solving riddles, crafting massively complicated potions well beyond her years, or erasing someone’s memory, Hermione is most certainly the best person to have in any magical situation.

Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)

If there’s one thing you can say about Sarah J. Maas, she knows how to write strong, bad-ass women. As a trained assassin, Celaena knows just about every which way to make a person hurt and yet, still takes a great deal of pride in her femininity. When someone can kick your ass wearing a dress and high heels, you know they’re definitely not someone you want to piss off.  Having lost her family and spent several years as a slave, Celaena hasn’t let her suffering slow her down. This is a girl who knows how to best serve revenge: ice cold.

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss goes through quite a bit over the course of her life – the death of her father, extreme poverty and almost starvation, risking a lifetime of slavery to hunt for game, and that’s all before the books even begin! She’s agile, strong, and a wiz with a bow and arrow, but more importantly, she’s not afraid to throw herself into danger to help the people she cares about or fight back against those who prey on the weak. Even through all of her suffering, Katniss never loses her exceptionally kind heart and it’s from this that she draws her enduring strength of character.

Delilah ‘Lila’ Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic)

A thief, a pirate, a magician, is there anything Lila can’t do? Having been on her own for most of her life, Lila has had to keep herself alive on the rough streets of London. An adventurer at heart, Lila is willing to throw herself into new languages, skills, lands, and experiences without so much as batting an eyelash. Where she finds herself at a physical disadvantage, she relies on quick and creative thinking to get out of tough situations. In doing so, she proves that size and strength are no indication of the trials one may overcome and the enemies they can defeat.

Feyre Archeron (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

My most recently discovered kick-ass protagonist. With her varied and powerful magical abilities, strong will, and determination to protect the human race, she most certainly belongs on this list. Feyre isn’t afraid to speak her mind and call someone out when they’re being a prick. She’s also constantly working to better herself and improve her usefulness to others. Most importantly, she can kill a giant worm utilising only some mud and a couple of old broken bones. If that isn’t kick-ass, I don’t know what is.

Lisbeth Salander (The Millennium Series)

Having grown up with an abusive father, been admitted to a psychiatric facility as a teenager, and survived a sexual assault as an adult, Lisbeth’s life is not a happy one and it’s sometimes difficult to understand how she remains as strong as she does. An exceptional hacker with a photographic memory, Lisbeth is intelligent, calculating, and unafraid of personal expression, even where it makes others uncomfortable. No matter how bad the situation, she never stops fighting. As someone who ties up and tattoos her rapist, sets a man on fire, and even survives being buried alive, Lisbeth is most certainly a kick-ass heroine.

Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)

Inej, or The Wraith, is the right hand woman to thief extraordinaire, Kaz Brekker. Reserved, spiritual, and honest, Inej has the balance and flexibility of an acrobat, and the strength and knife skills of a warrior. Often filling the role of spy, Inej spends much of her time traversing the roof tops of Ketterdam. Kidnapped and sold into prostitution at fourteen, Inej somehow manages to retain an underlying belief in the goodness of others. As someone who is able to move through the night without making a noise, defeat trained assassins, and scale heated metal chutes with only a pair of rubber soled shoes to assist her, Inej is in good company on this list.

Paige Mahoney (The Bone Season)

Paige, also known as the Pale Dreamer, is a member of one of the rarer clairvoyant categories in Scion. She’s powerful enough to enter dreamscapes and push people’s souls out of their bodies. This would be badass on its own but on top of her magical abilities, Paige is also a part of the Seven Seals, one of the more powerful gangs in Scion’s criminal underworld. Her time with such a group has made her very capable of protecting herself, skilled in picking up on small details, and unwilling to give up when the going gets tough.

Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Clarice is a student at the FBI academy and determined to prove herself in a field largely dominated by men. Despite her inexperience and extreme discomfort, Clarice constantly throws herself into each stage of the Buffalo Bill investigation. While others doubt her investigative efforts and hunches, it is through careful questioning, reviewing of the evidence, and persistence that Clarice digs up the necessary clues to identify Bill. With no back up and only her side arm to protect her, Clarice takes on Bill in a final showdown, her success resting on quick thinking and smart use of FBI training.

Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy)

A trained dhampir guardian, Rose is direct, witty, protective, and kicks a lot of ass. Over the course of six books, she decapitates strigoi, overcomes death (repeatedly), fights back against bullies, discovers a way to retrieve her boyfriend’s soul, and travels half way across the world to fulfil a promise. At first a little arrogant, Rose grows and develops, and eventually comes to realise that protecting Moroi isn’t as simple as she’d once thought. She’ll make you laugh, make you cry, and in the end you’ll believe, with a little help from her friends, there’s almost nothing she can’t do.

Kady Grant (The Illuminae Files)

The second hacker on this list, Kady is stubborn, extremely tech savvy, and not afraid to bend the rules from time to time. She’s a bit of a flirt, a little snappy, and likes to go in guns blazing. But when your planet gets attacked, your AI goes psycho, and a zombie outbreak hits your ship, this is the girl you want on your team. She reboots entire computer systems, tracks down even the most secure information, can survive a ship full of murderous infected people, and somehow stays on the good side of the crazy AI. Definite kick-ass protagonist material there.

Irene (The Invisible Library)

Irene is a librarian. An awesome librarian. One who jumps between different universes, fights fey, makes deals with dragons, and solves mysteries with Sherlock Holmes like detectives. She’s level headed, articulate, and yet still able to deliver a beat down to pesky werewolves if need be. Irene is the kind of heroine who will bravely rush in to save a friend but she’ll damn well do her best to plan it out beforehand. If that’s not possible, she’s an expert in improvisation. Plus, you can’t help but love a character with the same appreciation for books as the reader.

Daenerys Targaryen & Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)

It seemed unfair to pick between these two wonderful female characters. Martin’s women are all well-developed, complicated, and just as strong as the men (in many cases even stronger). Both Dany and Arya have suffered great personal losses and been forced to leave their homes because of them. However, both have also worked extremely hard to reshape themselves into people who can claim what they are due, by force if necessary, and will get revenge for those they have lost. Dany and Arya are determined and resilient characters, and although one may show strength through dragons, and the other a “needle”, each is set to accomplish big things in books to come.


Who are some of your favourite kick-ass heroines?

A Sequel that Definitely Doesn’t Suck: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

4.5 stars

ACOTAR

Well, damn.

All I can really say is: thank you Instagram book fanatics for your unceasing photo uploads of this series. Without you, I wouldn’t have been pressured into giving it a second chance and I would never have gotten to enjoy this absolute gem of a novel. I’ve now read six Sarah J. Maas books and for the first time I can actually see what all the hype is about. ACOTAR was good but forgettable, a fine way to spend an afternoon but not much more. And then, in a shock turn of events, I find that a sequel, A SEQUEL, has managed to surpass its predecessor in basically every single way possible. So yes, I’m extremely late in coming to the party but here are my thoughts on ACOMAF.

Feyre

In ACOTAR Feyre was a reasonably solid character. She did some really stupid things but she had a good heart and an underlying spark that shone through in rare moments. However, I really did want her bravery and strength of character to come out on a more regular basis. For the first half of ACOMAF Feyre’s a little damaged. Okay, very damaged. It’s a believable state of mind after what’s she’s been through. I liked that her past actions weren’t just brushed over (as I often find in YA books) and it was refreshing to see her slowly pull herself out of the hole over the course of the book. She succeeds at just the right time to avoid the reader getting frustrated, and it’s here that she really becomes the character I wanted her to be. At last we can see the girl who managed to trap and kill a giant worm, who was spunky enough to publicly give Rhysand the finger while fighting for her life, and who threw a bone shard at Amarantha without a flinch. Feyre fights to change herself into someone who can stand their ground without fear. She realises that she’s strong and powerful, and deserves to be happy.

You go, girlfriend!

Rhysand

Now this is the male lead we deserved. Rhysand is such an interesting and complex character. Every scene he’s in, he shines. Just when you start to think you understand him, Sarah peels back another layer. He’s witty, smart, and a perfect match for Feyre. In my ACOTAR commentary I said Sarah would have to do a lot of character development for me to get on board this ship. She delivered and more. The number of conversations Feyre and Rhys share throughout the book is almost impossible to count but I never tired of them. Whether they’re verbal sparring, sending each other suggestive, disappearing notes, or sharing their most intimate thoughts, memories and experiences, the chemistry comes off the page in the most wonderful way.

After many years of reading YA fiction, I am over insta-love. So over it. It’s lazy. Points to Sarah for avoiding it. Rhys and Feyre’s relationship develops over a period of about four months and even though that’s still short, the build is so gradual and in depth, it feels extremely natural. By the time they come together, they know each other inside and out – their pasts, personalities, powers, secrets, flaws, everything. These are two people who really do make the other a better person.

I’ve bought my ticket, so let’s hoist the anchor and set sail already. Go ship, go!

The Inner Circle

While our two leads are the main reason behind the book’s success, it’s the side characters that really kick it out of the park. In ACOTAR we only really had Lucien and Alis, both of whom I liked but had nothing on the great cast of characters we find in the Night lands – Cassian, Azriel, Amren, and Morrigan. Each has their own defined and separate personalities which work in harmony with one another. The inner circle plays off each other in wonderful ways which really accentuate the idea of family and provides a few laughs along the way. I’m unable to pick a favourite because I love them all so much, even Amren with her silver eyes and creepy diet.

Prythian

Another fantastic improvement on book one is our exposure to the world of Prythian. ACOMAF introduces us to the wonders of Rhys’s kingdom – the cities, people, and landscapes. It was all extremely well developed and described with loving detail. I can actually understand how people live in Prythian now beyond the walls of an isolated manor house. We also get to see a little bit of the Summer Court and it’s great to see the contrast between the different regions. I hope we get to see more of the world in later books.

Plot

While some may claim otherwise, most of the book is devoted to Feyre and Rhys’s character development and their budding romance. I have no complaints about this. The broader plot, however, is focused on preventing the outbreak of a new faerie-human war. It was entertaining, took the characters to some interesting places, and allowed for some interaction with Feyre’s family. My only real complaint is that the last few chapters, or climax, of the story felt slightly on the rushed side and the two main antagonists almost verged into moustache twirling villain territory – you know the ones. The book ended well though and Sarah’s left herself a lot of wiggle room plot-wise for book three.

Tamlin

Last but not least, Tamlin. A lot of people have been crying over the destruction of Tamlin’s character and yep, that’s pretty much what happens. BUT it’s achieved only by drawing out and bringing attention to pre-existing problems with Tamlin’s character, for example, his possessiveness. I mean, I liked Tamlin in ACOTAR but to be perfectly blunt, he was about as interesting as a wooden board. While his and Feyre’s romance was kind of on the sweet side, I wasn’t about to hit up Tumblr yelling, “I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP” any time soon. So, yes, Sarah ruined him but isn’t he much more interesting this way?


Well done, Miss Maas. I can’t wait to get stuck into A Court of Wings and Ruin. However, I might try and take it slower than two days this time.

4.5 stars

‘A Court of Thorns & Roses’ Page-by-Page Commentary, Part 2

Welcome to part two of my commentary on A Court of Thorns and Roses. In other words, the lazy way to write a book review without it actually being lazy at all because it requires so much damn effort. Time to get stuck in:

146: She’s finally going to do some painting! Yay, bonding!

147: Aw Tamlin’s happy. And she’s getting little butterflies. It’s definitely a stark turnaround from ‘he’s a ferocious, dangerous monster’

151: Poor faery. Evil fey woman, whose name I cannot for the life of me remember, cut off his wings.

154: ‘I wouldn’t want to die alone’. Very sweet

157: HA! It’s like Tamlin and Feyre are on a date with Lucien as chaperone.

158: Lucien is chugging wine, such a lush.

160: Wow, murdering your girlfriend and then trying to murder you; Lucien’s family is worse than Feyre’s.

170: Apparently Fey is painting Tamlin now. Paint me like one of your French girls.

172-3: Tamlin’s words caress her bones, what the…? Now he’s kissing her hands and she’s getting warm feelings in her secret places.  He’s kissing her cheek, saying something ambiguous about it not being the right time yet, there will be answers, blah blah blah, and…he’s disappeared. I didn’t realise Tamlin got his dating tips from Tuxedo Mask.

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174: Oh good god, he wrote her some poems. Oh no, and he’s going to read them to her aloud so she won’t struggle reading them. Oh god, the cringe factor. Please make it stop….

175: I just can’t deal.

176: Is it bad that I’m like, phew, we’ve returned to the traumatic family back stories?

184: So, there’s going to be a faerie party. Tamlin: Stay inside all night, for your own protection. Fey: Of course, Tamlin. *five seconds later* Feyre: I should go outside because DRUMS

187: Rapey faeries. Why does Feyre always seem to need rescuing? I mean, she does do her best to fight back but could we have a little variety in conflict here?

188: Ah, enter Rhysand. I remember you. You’re the one everyone makes love heart eyes over.

189: Beautiful, magnificent. Okay Feyre, try not to drop your pants and underwear all at once.

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193: It seems that this whole faerie party thing is a sex rite to rejuvenate crops. I think I vaguely remember how this goes. In one word: raunchy.

196-7: Now I remember why this is categorised as being for older young adult readers. You definitely know it’s older when you find biting, grinding and fantasies about shoving someone’s head between your legs.

202: Fey’s all dressed up for dinner and Lucien’s so keen not to be a third wheel again, he’s leaving smoke puffs behind him like the roadrunner.

216: Severed heads on sticks. Did I pick up Game of Thrones without realising it? Hey, Joffrey, where you at?

218: Lucien gets to take care of the head. Best job ever.

222: He made her want to purr. Ugh. They’re not even together and already they’re that couple that make people want to vom.

224: Another faerie party and there’s wine. What are the odds Fey gets drunk? Also, the idea of Lucien getting Fey to eat the faery equivalent of ‘shrooms is hilarious.

225: Yep, she’s drunk. Poor, Lucien. Life is hard when you have a master who throws you in the reflection pool.

226: Now she’s dancing and Tamlin’s playing the fiddle. Of all things, the fiddle.

227: Tamlin has something better to show her than the dancing. *wiggles eyebrows suggestively*

228: Okay, calm your farm eyebrows. He’s just showing her the will-O’-the-wisps which will forever be linked by my brain to the movie Brave.

229: Their first kiss and Feyre’ like ‘that’s it?’ Awks.

231: Chill with the flirting over breakfast guys, you’re making Lucien uncomfortable, poor baby.

232: You know what, just screw already.

234: Rhysand has decided to visit. And Tamlin is extremely unhappy.

235: Amarantha. So that’s bitchy faerie’s name. Plus, Rhys is kind of an asshole.

237: Oh dear, Rhys just saw Fey’s place setting. It’s about to hit the fan.

238: Wow, Sarah you’ve got some major character work to do on Rhys. Ain’t no way I’m shipping that yet.

244-245: Well this is dramatic. Tamlin’s sending her home and Feyre’s chucking a tanty.

246:..and the mood has changed into um, well, straddling.

247: How the hell is this young adult. Questioning the classification guidelines here MASSIVELY! Like it actually says word for word ‘he slid down between my thighs and feasted on me’. What the…what?!

249: And now she’s actually leaving.

252: Oh great, it’s the cow and the mouse (aka her sisters).

264: So it seems that Nesta knows everything. She’s a smarter cow than I gave her credit for.

265: Nesta tried to rescue her from Prythian. Okay, I may regret calling her a cow.

269: Oh no. Fey did a bad thing, a very bad thing.

273: She’s off to save Tamlin!

278: Finally, Alis is here to give us some actual answers about what’s going on in Faerieland.

280-281: There’s a lot of information to process here and it’s a little hard to take it seriously when every few sentences Alis is shoving turnips and spices into a bag.

282: Amarantha carved out Lucien’s eye with her fingernail. That’s it, that bitch is going down.

283: This is a little too coincidental. Everything magically falling into place just at the right time. Also, Tamlin totally could have toned down the whole ‘Murderers!’ dramatics at the beginning.

286: Why in the world do you keep saying the seven times seven years. Just say forty-nine!

287: There’s a lot of blame going on here considering all Feyre did was fail to say I love you. Big whoop. That’s a lot of pressure on one person to save a whole freaking race from enslavement without even knowing they’re supposed to. And now she’s going to stupidly throw herself into danger with no plan, no weapons, and no clue to save everyone. Damn protagonists.

291: Yeah, I’m with Alis here. You don’t even know if you’ll get the chance to speak to Amarantha, you dumb ass.

294: Oh sure, nowww she realises she’s an idiot and should have got more information before running off into the depths of a bloody cave tunnel network. And because she’s not a ninja, predictably one of Amarantha’s sentries has found her.

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296: And somehow she’s lucky enough to be brought exactly where she needs to go, (BECAUSE PLOT) to Amarantha who apparently isn’t as attractive as expected.

287: Fey: I’ve come to claim the one I love. Honestly, Amarantha, I’d laugh too.

298: Tamlin let some poor other girl get tortured to protect Fey. Well, that was definitely morally ambiguous. I’m not okay with this.

299: Really not okay with this. It’s actually awful.

300: That is some serious revenge. This woman really needs to see someone about her inability to let go of a grudge.

304: Fey made a deal with Amarantha to complete three tasks in exchange for Tamlin and the spell being broken. And now she’s a human punching bag.

306: Yay, Lucien!

308: Amarantha actually spent two weeks torturing Jurian. Like, awfulness aside, how did she not get bored??

309: Rotting corpses on walls. I really need to get the name of Amarantha’s decorator.

310: *snorts* Rhysand, you smooth talker you.

313: Riddle time. I’m not good with long riddles. Where’s Frodo Baggins when you need him?

319: This first challenge reminds me of that scene at the beginning of Return of the Jedi with Luke and the rancor. Except there’s a maze and a giant worm.

323: yes! Go Feyre! Fight back!

324: I love that in all the chaos and being chased by a giant worm, Feyre still makes time to flip off Rhys. Gold.

328: Ha, Rhys was the only one who bet on her actually winning.

329: Oh dear, septicaemia time.

333: I repeat: Rhys is an asshole. Feyre’s growing on me in her ability to tell him to go to hell even through a fever, blood loss, no food, and a massive chunk of cow bone sticking into her arm.

335: Making deals with the devil, Fey. I’m interested to know where this will lead you.

346: Night court faeries are painting Fey’s body. Kinky.

347: Ooo it’s like in the mummy where the man wants to be sure nobody is touching his property.

352: Ugh. It’s the only way I can describe Rhys’s treatment of Feyre. Ugh. Was this entirely necessary Miss Maas?

358: Clare’s body is literally still nailed to the wall. Isn’t the smell bugging people yet?

359: Rhys, you’re a complicated one. I can’t figure you out. But then again, I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?

365: See Feyre, if you’d just accepted Tamlin’s offer about the reading lessons you wouldn’t be in this predicament

368: Why in all hell is Rhys licking tears off her face? What a creeper.

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377: Aw, it’s Tamlin and they’re touching fingertips.

382: Rhys really must not have any friends if he’s come to Fey to bitch and moan. Actually, that doesn’t surprise me.

385: Okay, maybe Rhys isn’t completely awful. Just slightly awful.

389: I forgot how completely crap this last task was.

393: Yep, no idea how she intends to come back from this one.

386: Finally it all comes together, the last little piece.

400: It’s all gone to complete chaos. Very predictably.

404: Oh yeah, you’re in trouble now bitch.

405: That was violent and satisfying.

407: Seems that faeries can show gratitude. One minute you’re dead, the next you’re immortal.

411: one minute you’re feeling guilty over dead faeries, the next you’re undressing Tamlin. I can’t keep up here…

414: ‘Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.’

Woooooo! No more typing as I read! Gosh that was hard work. It’s almost 1 am.

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And I am never, ever doing that again.

Okay, book 2. Love triangle, here I come.

‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ By Sarah J. Mass: A Snarky & Overdue, Page-by-Page Commentary

Lately, I can’t seem to go two taps on Instagram without running into another picture of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin. In January 2016, I read the first book in the series A Court of Thorns and Roses. It had an eye catching red cover and I’d already read a couple of Sarah’s Throne of Glass books (they weren’t amazing but were mildly enjoyable). I had higher hopes for an obsession to develop with this one. However, much like her other books I found ACOTAR to be…just OK. It was entertaining, had some likeable characters, but did I feel the all-consuming desire to get my hands on the next one? Nope, not really. So when I heard the third book had come out, I shrugged my shoulders and went about my business. HOWEVER, then came the promotion circuit – the Instagram posts, the posters in shop windows, the e-mails from my favourite bookstore, the blog entries. It was everywhere. I think even if I’d done a Patrick Starr and started living under a rock, someone still would have shoved a copy underneath. So I did it: I bought the next two books. Only thing was, I was now faced with an unexpected problem. I couldn’t remember a single thing about book 1. It was like someone had fiddled around inside my brain, pulled out all relevant information, and plugged the hole with cotton wool. I strained and certain details came back to me – fairies, some Beauty and the Beast influence, a romance, and then…mind blank.

Shit. I was going to have to reread the book.

Ordinarily, I’d read the book, post a review and and be done with it. Let’s be honest though, basically every man, woman, and cat has read this particular novel and it’s been reviewed to death. So instead, just for kicks, I’m going to read it and make commentary on it as I go without worrying about spoilers. How hard could it be (hard, no but tedious yes, as I would soon find out)? Without further ado, here are the beginnings of my rather disjointed thoughts on ACOTAR along with the usual assortment of reaction gifs.

Oh and just to repeat: SPOILERS!!!

3: Hm, a protagonist who is unashamedly not a virgin. That’s a nice refreshing change.

5: Like, five seconds ago you were telling me that faeries are super scary individuals who may or may not be burning villages to the ground and you’re still like, ‘You know what, I’ll kill this one’. It’s not like they’ll consider retaliation or revenge or anything.

10: I’ve read the name Feyre probably a hundred times in my last read through of the book and I’m sorry, but it just refuses to easily roll off the tongue. It sounds like two random noises stuck together by some sort of fantasy name generator.

13: Why do characters in young adult books always have such sucky families? Feyre’s sisters are cows.

14: yep, I repeat: COW

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18: Wow, her sister really is awful. She basically just called her a slut. I mean, sure a hay bale is probably not the nicest place for a romp but whatever floats your boat. Female empowerment and all that. *fist pump*

No more deer for you, Nestra. And while there was likely no way you were getting new boots before, you sure as hell ain’t getting them now!

19: Crap, I just bent a book page.

22: children of the blessed *spits out drink* seriously?

23: Okay guys, we’re throwing the word whore around a lot here. How about we just chill out a bit?

31: Here’s Isaac, Feyre’s sex buddy. I remember him being very unimportant. A summary – Fey: Dude, I’m only here for the rather average sex, Isaac: But I want to talk about my problems because I am so burdened and hard done by.

32: I can’t believe she just gave her sisters money! Come on, that Nesta cow does not deserve new books. Sex with Isaac cannot possibly be that good…

OOOOOO…Here comes Tamlin. Tamlin: I could knock and be civil but why do that when I can kick down the door, roar super dramatically, and yell MURDERERS.

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33: Feyre is trying to work out ways to fight back against Tamlin. Now I’m actually imagining her throwing iron bracelets at him and Tamlin just standing there thinking WTF. Imagine if one of them landed on his tusks – five points to Feyre!

34: Now she’s moved on to considering throwing nails at him. I get it, iron aversion but even then the best case scenario is you hit him in the eye. Let’s be realistic.

35: Feyre: so if someone had hypothetically, accidentally killed your wolfy friend, totally on purpose, with suspicions he was a fairy, what would they do to fix it? But like, hypothetically.

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Okay fine, I did it. On purpose.

37: Tamlin: you just murdered my friend. I therefore invite you to come live in my fey palace with much food and luxury until the end of your days. I think someone needs to explain the concept of punishment.

39: Fey’s really on a murder bender. She’s sitting there thinking, ‘oh, I can slit his throat at a later date and escape’.

46: Feyre, you killed his friend and said it was justified. All he did was put you to sleep for a bit.  Suddenly he’s the bastard. Let’s not call people names here.

So, every time Feyre mentions Tamlin’s claws under his skin, images of Wolverine flash before my eyes. It’s like, Fey, I doubt that’s how his physical anatomy works (I realised later that this literally how his anatomy works – he’s like faerie wolverine).

67: She set a freaking trap. Against Tamlin. The dude who can change himself into a beast with massive claws and teeth the size of steel bars. And Fey thought death by curtains would work out. Hahahahahahaha!

Okay, I need a break. This whole commentary thing is exhausting.

 

Alright, and we’re back. Chapter 8, here we come.

76-77: Well, that’s creepy as hell. Something invisible is breathing down her neck, watching her and she describes it as something that wants to play. I’m getting major The Shining twins flashbacks *shivers*. You know what, yeah, you take that bread knife, Feyre.

79: Oh come on, Fey, now you’re being annoying. ‘Tamlin looking after my family is not the same as me looking after them’. Really?

84: Fey wondering if Lucien can see out the back of his head with his fake eye. Sure, Lucien is clearly the faery version of mad eye moody

85: She’s not the brightest spark, is she? Of course Lucien knows why you want to hang out with him. It’s not like you’re there for the insults and winning smile. Ulterior motives galore.

87: Ooo swearing. People talking like actual people for a change. Where’s the parental patrol? They must be lurking somewhere…

90: More creepy things. Like, I get that Fey is the main character and thus nothing bad will actually happen, plus I’ve read this before but this is still super tense. Thingy wants her to look at it so it can eat her and suck out her bone marrow.

92: Ha, Feyre insinuated that Lucien’s old. He’s super offended. Clearly she added a century too many.

95: Fey, you honestly think your father who can barely walk around a hut somehow made it 2 days through uneven forest, past the wall, and then survived all the crazy murderous faeries to somehow stumble upon the exact estate you now live on. You little idiot.

 facepalm idiot idiots face palm GIF

96: He’s not wearing warm clothing, not speaking, and leading you into the dark forest, but still she follows. And Tamlin saves her. You should have bloody let her die, Tamlin. She’s clearly got bricks for brains.

98: Oh for Christ’s sake. YES, YOUR PROMISE TO LOOK AFTER YOUR FAMILY IS FULFILLED! STOP GOING ON ABOUT IT BEFORE I TEAR MY HAIR OUT! Go paint a picture or something.

Okay, I need to sleep now. Miss Too-stupid-to-live is getting on my nerves right now.

 

Back to it.

105-106: I’m really seeing the Beauty and the Beast inspiration coming out here

114: A library with wall to wall books. Sounds like my kind of heaven.

117: Feyre thinks she’ll never go North on the island – ha, the irony. I do remember that much at least. You’re going to be hanging out in the north quite a lot soon, Feyre. Tall, dark and sexy will be keeping you company.

 sexy smile yes wink sure GIF

119: She’s very critical of Tamlin. It’s quite unfair really when all he’s done is offer to help her out, show her around, etc. She keeps going on about him being some beast designed to kill things. It’s just a tad harsh.

121: Fey wants to trap a Suriel for information on the fey-human treaty and what’s going on with magic in Prythian. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? Probably because I’ve read this before.

122: Ah sarcasm and hypotheticals. My favourite. You know what, Lucien, you’re alright.

127: So Suriels aren’t likely to be winning any faerie beauty pageants in the foreseeable future. Well, not unless the criteria is black gums, a knobby spine, and corpse eyes.

129: It’s story time! Evil king, throne of bones, death, destruction, betrayal. Fun times

130: Yep, as predicted everything has gone to shit. This is bad. Oh Lucieeeennnn, where you be bro?

131: This is really bad but because she’s survives to star in two more books I’m going to make a wild guess and assume someone comes to rescue her

132:…and it’s Tamlin, right on cue.

137: My god, Feyre said thank you to Tamlin. Is that a flying pig I see outside my window?

And that’s the first third of the book. Hopefully, for those of you who’ve read the books, it made some degree of sense. I’ll post more of my thoughts in the coming weeks.