Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass #3)

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

or: OMG THIS IS PERFECT AND I CANT EVEN

Goodreads     ||   The Book Depository

Synopsis: She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no oneCelaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed. The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Timesbestselling Crown of Midnight.

I don’t know what’s better, the fact that Celaena starts this book off being as drunk as a skunk, or the fact that this book was utterly perfect.

This story takes the other two and absolutely SLAYS them. Maas brought the game to a whole new level. I liked the other two a lot, but this one was just Nirvana. Sometimes, series tend to slow down or falter on the third book of a series, as the author tries to bring in the major story line and add in new characters, new problems and question things. Maas doesn’t. Maas is the text book perfect example that all authors should follow.

As if Celaena could get any more badass. She does. What I loved most was the training sequences; watching her grow and her set back. Watching Maas prove, time and time again why  Celaena earned her spot as one of the most popular literary YA heroines in current circulation. There is no wisp of a hint of Mary Sue-ness; Celaena is a god damn miracle princess.

Literally.

This book introduced a swath of new characters, both friend and foe. Perhaps my two favourite new additions were Rowan and Manon. Rowan is perfect for Celaena’s character development, acting as the testy zen warrior master, impatiently pushing her- kicking and screaming- towards her end goal. Rowan is just bloody amazing, lets be real. I’ve got a thing for sullen older male characters, and Rowan is masterfully created and just ticks all the boxes. I’m so glad Maas didn’t force a romance in this book; their relationship developed naturally and painfully. They brought out the worst in each other before they brought out the best.

I loved Maas switching to Manon’s point of view; I loved the jumps to Manon’s story as it added another increasingly complex layer to an already thick, swelling plot. This other dimension just works, and it almost broke my mind trying to figure out what the clans were up to and what the king needed them for. I loved Manon. I loved how I wasn’t supposed to like Manon. I loved how bloody nasty she was. I loved her cheek and I loved her spirit. I truly think we need more characters like Manon. I loved how Maas explored the dynamics of the thirteen and the complexities of the clan ranking system. I loved the Wyrverns.

A lot of people grumble that this book relies to heavily on character building . A lot of people have a lot of problems with this book. Was there immense levels of character building? Yes, a heck tonne. Was it necessary for the series. YES. It explained so much, and I would argue, moved what could have been a series that eventually ran flat, into something much more complex and special.

I was willing to slog through the sometimes excessively slow parts because it was obvious the whole time that something BIG was coming. Maas rewards those who wait, and Maas dropped a stunning finale right in our laps. The end of this book certainly out-weighed the means to get there.

I always struggle reviewing books in a series, as it’s literally impossible to review them without seriously spoiling the first couple of books for people looking to read them. And I struggled with this book in particular because I wasn’t entirely sure what to say, and how to put my thoughts into words. This isn’t an easy book by any means; it’s not a book or series where you can simply switch your mind off and easily read. Each book, and line, and word requires concentration. Maas has given the readers a gift in this respect.

And I think, no matter how long I took to review this book, I’d never be able to do it true justice. This series is utterly fantastic and it’s mind boggling that I’ve only been reading it for a few months.

I cannot wait until book five which,- slated at the time of this review- to be released in September this year (2016). I read book 4 not long after this one, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that review.

I’ll end this review, with perhaps one of my favourite quotes from this book;

“And then I am going to rattle the stars.”
Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire

 

Read: English Paperback Edition

The Opposite Books Tag

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This gif literally describes my reviewing skills as of late. Nothing seems right and i’m struggling to finish book reviews. In the mean time…

HAVE A TOTALLY POINTLESS BUT RIDICULOUSLY FUN BOOK TAG!

I’m that weirdo that loves quizzes. I don’t know why. They just appeal to me. Except school quizzes. They’re yucky.

 

  1.  First book in your collection/Last book you bought.

The first book in my collection was a book you can even find online. I got it when I was 9 and it was one of those historical/biographical novels aimed at kids. It was a Marie Antoinette book. I bloody loved it. I read it over and over again. In fact I’ve really lost track of how many times I read it. It still sits proudly on my book shelf as I cant bring myself to get rid of it. We go back this book and I. No book gets left behind or forgotten.

The last book I bought was…

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The second book in the Outlander series, this is the next book I’m going to pick up to read, despite the fact that my TBR pile is enormous and I’ve had some books on my TBR pile for over 2 years.

 

2. A cheap book/An expensive book.

The cheapest book I ever purchased was from a School fete and I think it was $3 or something. It was a second hand paperback of Pride and Prejudice which I’ve had for about 10 years. It’s been so well loved it’s pages are starting to come loose and I have to treat it like a museum piece.

Most of the more expensive books in my collection are actually gifts. I dont tend to buy books if they go over a certain amount. A stab in the dark will probably put the Mime Order by Samantha Shannon as one of the more expensive books in my collection. I bought this book maybe or month or two from when it came out after reading the first book and I think I paid maybe $25 AUD for it from a book store chain. Before you freak out, that’s in Australian dollars, and we tend to pay way more for things then everywhere else in the world.

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3. A book with a male protagonist/One with a female protagonist.

I actually really struggled with a book with a male protagonist before I remembered, like the dingo I am, that Rainbow Rowell is bae. So for this book I picked…

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This book is so good, I honestly get shivers each time I think about it. WE ARE NOT WORTHY.

The female option is overwhelming. For the sake of keeping this really interesting, I decided to pick a book I don’t talk about as often as I should.

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This book and the series is honestly fantastic. This book is nothing at all like the musical and I love Maguire for it. It’s honest, brutal and bloody fantastic. Elphaba is brilliant and things are so many different shades of grey and black it’s hard to imagine what the musical’s creators even based the play off. Do not judge this book by it’s cover- it will stab you in the back with it’s wicked iron claws and rip down your back if you do. Trust me, READ this book.

4. A book you read fast/One that took you long to read.

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I honestly read this book in a matter of hours. This wasnt a skinny book. It was honestly that good that I spent a few hours on a cruise, by the pool reading the whole book from cover to cover. Stiefvater has a way with words and this second book in the Raven Cycle series ups the anti so much higher than the first. I was so scared to put the book down, thats how good this book was.

The book that took me forever to read probably wont surprise those who know it.

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Weighing in at something like 850 pages of tiny tiny text, this book was an epic… which is worrying because the books actually get bigger as the series progresses. I loved every second I spent with my nose glued to the pages of this book. Reading for about 2hrs plus each day for 4 weeks, this book just had me. I savoured it. I loved it. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Stay tuned for my official book review on it to come.

 

5. Pretty cover/Ugly cover.

This one is easy;

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‘nough said.

As for an ugly one…. I see books as all beautiful… but perhaps this one is a bit…. plain.

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Don’t really know what Harris’ people were doing on this one…. let’s just leave it at that.

6. A national book/An international book.

TBH, there’s only one Aussie classic that I truly care about…

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I would argue this book (and the whole series) is a national treasure and I honestly don’t know why Marsden hasn’t won all the awards. This is a staple to every Aussie child’s education with most kids reading it for English class or borrowing it off a friend that had to. I read it for pleasure and this book had perhaps one of the most profound influences on me. You know how you can name only a few books that changed your life and entire outlook? This book was one of mine. Honestly? Still get teary eyed over this series.

International books are honestly too easy. But let’s be real, there’s one book that all the world loves and there’s a reason it’s been translated into most world languages;

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One of the few books in the world that unites us all, even in the darkest of times. #hogwartsalumni

7. A thin book/A thick book.

One book that recently came into my possession was a gorgeous rebound copy of the Time Machine by H.G Wells. It’s probably only a few centimeters thick but the cover is gorgeous;

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The book (and picture) are by Rock Paper Books and they have so many beautiful titles on offer. Honestly, check them out.

As for thick books, I’ve already stupidly mentioned the thickest books in my collection earlier on in this blog (*cough* Dragonfly in Amber, Outlander and Mime Order *cough*). The next thickest book that I own is…

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Felt like I was logging around a brick each time I took it with me but so, so worth it

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8. Fiction book/Non-fiction book.

For the fiction book, let’s go with another book I don’t mention enough but probably should;

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This was probably the first book I read that got me addicted to reading. 10 year old Ashleigh LOVED this book and the series. I think I read the whole kit and Kavoodle in a year and was the biggest series of unfortunate events trash. I’m rather desperately awaiting the netflix series to come out all these years later.

I’ve read so many non-fiction books that I didn’t like, it’s more of a struggle to find one that I did. One of the few ones that I still own is ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli. It’s a remnant from Uni days past. But still an interesting read

 

8. Very (way too) romantic book/Action book.

As someone who tends to stay away from Romance Books in general, this is a tricky question. For me however, the one that instantly came into my head was…

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I adored this book. I loved how it pulled apart the traditional Romeo and Juliet, I liked the mystery and I loved that the ‘destined to be together’ romance wasn’t too teeth-numbingly sweet.

As for the Action book;-

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This whole series is full of action, but I would argue that this book is the most action packed. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time biting my nails. This book was so bloody (heh sorry about that pun) exciting that it was kind of insane. I loved it and it may be my favourite book in the entire series.

 

9. A book that made you happy/One that made you sad.

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This book made me ridiculously happy. The whole book- from page to page- was an utter delight. I loved every second of it. Even though Cath went through a lot, I still felt happy because Cath was such an easy character to connect and empathize with. And hello? Emergency Kanye Dance Party’s for the win!

There is one book that has made me so overwhelmingly sad I sat and cried for a good 30 mins afterwards…

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I think a lot of people may agree with me on this one.

 

 

So… there you have my pointless tag. I tag absolutely everyone;- If you want to do this, you go right ahead and you do it. Unfortunately, I was not able to track down the original creator of this tag. If someone does know, please let me know so I can amend this blog to credit them.

 

Review: The Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

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Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

or: Richelle, step away from the ‘epic quests’! I mean it!!

Goodreads  ||   The Book Depository

Synopsis: Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land’s prophecy-haunted queen, there’s no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld…The spell-driven source of the blight isn’t the only challenge to Eugenie’s instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can’t trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can’t–or won’t–reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon–and risk the ultimate sacrifice…  

Someone needs to have a word with dear Richelle about throwing in ‘Epic Quests’ willy nilly into her stories. I though after the -dare I say it- dismal ‘quest’ to find the Iron Crown in Book 3 of this series, that we may well be saved… apparently not. At least this quest was vastly more interesting and not drawn out than the last.

I’ve had rather mixed views regarding this series. I was uhming and ahing about the first book, I liked the second book much better, and I was in pain during the third book. After the third book, I was going to give up on the series honestly, but a sheer determination to just finish the series overcame me, and I decided to just bite the bullet and rip it off like a band-aid.

To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t that bad. I was worried for no reason. This book wasn’t fantastic or a ‘redeemer’. This book was a solid ok. There were parts I liked, and there were parts that I didn’t like. On the whole this book was a solid, ‘meh’ season finale.

First, lets talk about the pregnancy. Richelle- a mother of two- spent the right amount of time describing the pregnancy without going on and on. It felt genuine and she clearly used some real world inspiration. It wasn’t that glowy bull poo that authors usually try to shove down our throats, and that’s one of the reasons I like Mead’s work so much; it’s all genuine, gritty and real.

Mead creates a strong tie between the readers and the twins, and while the twins are only physically present for all of 5 pages through the whole book, Mead gets the readers hook line and sinker. I really wanted these kids to be safe, and I worried about them for most of the book which – I’ll take a wild stab- is exactly what Mead wanted us to do.

The twins almost distracted me from the clusterfudge that was the ‘cold war’. Richelle. NO. Just no. Obviously, in an attempt to make a worthy and gritty drama to go along with the last book, Richelle whipped out the whole cold-war-vigilante’s-at-work-but-shock-horror-its-X-the-whole-time cliche. Didn’t work. Saw it coming the whole time. Which is frustrating, because Richelle is usually really good at creating drama and dropping big plot twists on her audience. It almost feels like she didn’t try.

Perhaps she wanted to wrap this up as much as I wanted her too.

I’d predicted the final plot twist (honestly in the last 20 pages- Richelle likes to do that) about a book ago when we first learned that Eugenie was preggers. Obvious. Overcooked and used. Typical romance trope coming out and giving us the bird. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you didn’t work it out.

There were other good bits- a nice bit of sexual tension between Eugenie and Dorian, some nice time dedicated between the sisters. The wedding was lovely. Some nice snappy dialogue. These good bits tended to balance the bad.

So, now that I’ve finished this series, I’m happy to report that you probably shouldn’t read it. I mean, you can, if you want to… but Mead has much better books to spend your time and dollars on. As you can tell from the sheer amount of salty-ness in this review, this series definitely doesn’t make it on my favored books/list. But, as I’ve said, I’m just happy I got through it.

Does this make me a true Richelle Mead fan now that I’ve read this series? I could get a shirt- ‘I survived reading the Dark Swan Series’

Read: International Cover-change Paperback. 

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 

or: THIS IS FANTASTIC AND SO WORTH THE WAIT

Goodreads   ||     The Book Depository

Synopsis: One Life to One Dawn. In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

It feels like I waited a 1000 years to get my hands on this book (Ha see what I did there?). Needless to say, when I opened this book as a present on Christmas Day, I was more than a little excited. I knew this book was going to be good; I could feel it in my bones. This book did not disappoint me.

Sumptuous writing, tantalizing character development, and a spellbinding plot, this book just simply has it all. A retelling of ‘A Thousand and One Nights‘, this book swirls in the old tale like cream in a luxe coffee. The characters are vivid and fascinating and I was honestly hard pressed to hate any character in the book; even the villains and the characters with questionable motives were excellent.

However, this a hard book to review. One of the reasons I put this review off for so long, is because it’s hard to work out what to say without spoiling some part of the complex plot. This book needs to be read with no expectations or knowledge of the plot. Trust me, I think the book summary is spoilery enough.

That being said, I’d like to talk in this review about the legitimacy and the strength of the POC narrator/main character. While no real heritage is given to the characters, it is assumed that the reader will equate them with an Arab or Turkish Lineage. And that’s certainly how I cast the characters. Not once does this proposed heritage feel forced or white washed; this was an authentic and true rendition and the biggest kudos needs to go  to Ahdieh for her work here.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about the need for more diverse fiction, or my desire to read more of it. But as has been the case recently in the Young Adult fiction world, there becomes times where the readers will turn against a writer if the POC characters or story feels disingenuous. All it takes is a brief look at the reviews on good reads to see that this is not the case for this story.

This story hits home on more that one aspect, and it’s definitely a book that captures your whole mind. This shows a flawless level of audience/author understanding and an admirable amount of skill on Ahdieh’s part.

The next book in this series is coming out later this month, and I am like an enegizer bunny desperately waiting to find out what happens next. Regardless of if you choose to read this book or not (you totally should- 100 billion out of 10 recommend), Ahdieh is definitely one too watch. If her debut is this good, heaven help us all when she reaches her peak.

I am not worthy. I am not ready.

Read: International Paperback Edition