Review: Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

One word that comes to mind when I want to describe this book – Glorious! I have always been a big fan of this series, right from the first novella, in fact. I have a huge crush on Celaena, and love her character. As an assassin and a young girl, both her faces are known to fans. But in Heir of Fire, we get to know the princess of the Fae, the true Queen of Terrasen. Heavily focusing on different characters, this book was a treat to the senses.

At the beginning of the book, Celaena is grieving and wallowing in her guilt. Her vow to Nehemia is the only thing driving her, and she has sunken into a deep pit of despair, as she doesn’t see a path. She doesn’t want her throne, because of a decade of guilt over not being there for her subjects, being responsible for and failing so many people, and most importantly, for feeling that the sacrifices in her name were in vain. Going to the Fae for information, she has to prove her worth first – to Rowan, her magic instructor. The slow and beautiful build-up of the relationship between the two, and her coming out of her pit and the two of them healing each other is the major arc for Celaena. Their bond, their understanding of each other nearly made me worried over Chaolena. Rowan is himself a big mystery – the stoic, territorial alpha Fae, without the misogyny (I love you, Maas) who seems merciless but has the most honorable heart. I am very excited for how their friendship will be viewed by Aedion, (her cousin) who is also her biggest loyalist. Aedion, complex and mystery wrapped in a sassy shell – who has taken nearly the same path as Celaena after the fall of Terrasen. He would perhaps understand her situation the most, and his undying loyalty for her warms my heart.

The other major character is Manon Blackbeak, and the reason she is so interesting is that she is evil. Like, kill people and enjoy it evil. Now, Celaena was somewhat like that but Manon grew up in brutality and bloodshed, being told from birth that she and all other witches have no heart or soul. There is only carnage and conquests in their path, and throughout the book, Manon slowly incorporating humanity is a thing to behold. Even by the end of the book, she is still firmly evil but just acquires a hint of mercy. The scene when she and her wyvern claim each other – I had tears in my eyes. I never thought I could cheer for a negative character so much. Her journey was the highlight of the book and I can’t wait to see what that would mean for the upcoming war. I have a headcanon that she will give a big F-U to the King of Adarlan and join forces with Celaena.

Chaol – my sweet Chaol – it made my heart break seeing him pining over her. Celaena has a similar situation, and both are reluctant to face each other over guilt. Celaena’s decision over the ring in the end actually worries me over the future of these two. She loves him, but as Aelin, what place would Chaol have in her heart. Dorian – will this poor guy catch a break? I won’t say more (it would be spoilery) but please, someone save him, wrap him in a blanket and keep him safe from the cruel world.

So many storylines – some intersecting, some not and lot of things being built up for the upcoming war. This book was a saga, and I was enthralled by every page. It had slow pacing, but the depth Maas gave the characters more than made up for it. A few things seemed out of place though – like Celaena accusing Rowan of leaving her, when she had no reason to do so, Sorscha being careless enough to get caught when she was hiding for years, Elide (is she alive?). I am looking forward, though, to when Celaena will finally avenge Sam Cortland by slowly and methodically killing Arobynn Hamel (that has been three books overdue now) when she finally drops by for her ‘visit’. I honestly would find that more satisfying than her unseating the King of Adarlan.

View all my reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. This week’s topic is books that were difficult due to subject matter, cringeworthy, etc. For me, subject matter is usually not an issue – I have a thick skin when it comes to reading and besides, I don’t usually go for the hard-hitting subjects. But books that were cringeworthy? Yeah, more of those. Some of them I didn’t like, some of them didn’t interest me and some affected me hard.

1. Lord of the Rings

To be fair, I read this in 7th grade, when I was practically new to reading sagas. Moreover, it was an omnibus edition I was reading (I did not know until years later that it was actually a set of three books) which took me less than a week to finish but left me with a massive book hangover. There were parts when I got bored, particularly the poems and songs (I don’t have any interest in poetry) and keeping all the characters straight in my head was a challenge. If you ask me today to tell me what the story was about, I think I would mumble something along the lines of Frodo went to drop this evil ring in this big mountain. I never even saw the movies (deliberately) so this is a book that was difficult to get through and to even go back to.

2. Where Rainbows End

AKA Lose, Rosie. Okay, I know this is going to be a movie soon but this was a depressing book to get through. I was kind of frustrated by the time I reached the end and it almost made me scared about the future of my love life (I was a teen when I read this, okay? Everything is scary then). Looking back, I get what it meant to represent but me watching the movie is still doubtful since the book broke my heart.

3. Tiger’s Saga series

This one probably makes me cringe due to the fact that it is Hindu mythology and I was born a Hindu (not one anymore). I was brought up on the stories of these Gods and having them retold makes me feel unsettled. I know, I know, it’s hypocritical since I loved mythological retellings, but I gotta be honest. Second reason is that there are a LOT of cliches, be it with dialogue or plot, in this book and in spite of that, I still follow this series.

4. Wuthering Heights

Never has a book’s characters irritated me as much as the protagonists of this ‘classic’ novel have. They are the most selfish, dramatic characters I have ever come across. I could probably rant over all this again but it would be better to check my review. This book was torture to complete and after this I lost most of my interest in ever reading classics. I don’t even get why Heathcliff is romanticized so much in media. Shouldn’t judge a genre by one book, but most ‘classics’ have left me unsatisfied, with the exception of Emma by Jane Austen.

 5. Stormbringer

Stormbringer was difficult to read, as a woman, because of rape in it. It wasn’t the first to deal with it but it was quite painful to read and the fact that Delany’s writing is so good, it brings out all the harsh emotions to the surface and you enter the character. It was one of those books that still haunts you after you have read it.


6. Princess

This is another difficult book when you read about how the women are treated, and this being non-fiction horrified me the most. It is impossible to imagine the horror that such a thing would exist in today’s ‘modern’ world and reading this during my teens shaped how I saw the world. Didn’t make it any easier to digest though and parts of the book still are etched into my brain.

7. Jenny Pox

I was cringing through most of the series and having secondhand embarrasment from the characters. I don’t even remember how I got through the entire four-book series.

8. Pegasus

The shifting narrative and ambiguous perspectives made this a very challenging read. It was confusing as to what was thought and what was said by whom. Also, some things were buried in subtext and I had to constantly go back and read pages over again to make sense of it. Nevertheless, it was fun to elucidate.

Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.
Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

The Scorpio Races is a very unique kind of book, in the way you can’t pin down the genre. It seems a bit fantasy, a bit historical, a bit of magic realism, and then you wonder if it’s comtemporary. The sea horses bit definitely puts it in the fantasy genre, and the setting seems our world but the era is hard to pin down. Anyway, onto the setting – I loved how the small town setting and age old traditions translated into the wishes of both the protagonists as well as other characters in the story. The town represents a different thing to each of them; for some a cage, for some a home, for some a haven.

Puck is a fiery girl, who wants to do something for her home’s financial condition and is ready to face her fears for it. The time setting is definitely misogynistic, making it even more difficult for her to stand up in a place where she is constantly underestimated. Her entry into the contest and on a unconventional mount itself is quite a big risk she takes. Sean, on the other hand, is a seasoned rider but wants his freedom and his horse; and until her entry into his life, he doesn’t care for anything else. It was heart-warming how he bonds with his horse, despite everyone else seeing monsters in the water horses. A great deal of the book chronicles the bond each of them have with their respective horses, and is a bonding point for them. Their relationship is also a slow build-up, which almost made me concerned about whether there was a future for it.

Along with these two, Stiefvater also gives good amount of focus to the other characters, like Puck’s brothers, Sean’s nemesis and people around town who are their family. It is characteristic of her writing, I guess, to delve into details and yet keep it under layers so the plot doesn’t veer too much from the intended. The backstories are weaved intermittently and seamlessly, in the form of memories and perhaps is the most beautiful aspect of her writing.

This book doesn’t really trump the Raven Cycle series, but is a good one in it’s own right. Loved it and hoping there is a sequel somewhere in the future for this cruel and wistful town.

View all my reviews

ARC Review: Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1
Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Release date: November 25, 2014

The Teen Titans never felt like normal kids… but they had no idea how right they were. Their seemingly idyllic Oregon upbringing hides a secret — one that will bring killers, shamans, and extraterrestrials down on their heads, and force them into an alliance that could shake the planet to its foundations!

I normally never read DC comics (or Marvel) because I am more into manga. But the fact that this was Teen Titans got me interested. It was my favorite animation series when I was younger and I was intrigued by the reboot. It’s kind of like an origin story for each of the Titans, but the story has been changed considerably (well, reboot) and the plot-line was pretty good.

The teens who would become the Titans are living in a small town, unaware of the latent alien grafts in them, which get activated when Starfire increases the extent of her powers and reaches out to them telepathically. Raven, living somewhere in the Navajo desert, is also aware of her call. The other kids start changing, experiencing the new terror that their powers bring and band together to go help Starfire. In the process, they learn the truths about their past and their ‘parents’. Quite heart-breaking, that one, especially for Beast Boy. Jericho was an unexpected surprise.

As far as the plotlines go, this one was pretty interesting. As for the art, well, I felt it a bit exaggerated. They were drawn to look older than teens, in my opinion. Raven and Starfire, particularly, look older than 16. Besides the characters, the other elements like background were well done, and it makes for an impressive artwork. Will be following this series.

Received an ARC from DC comics via Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinion or review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Wow. I mean – I don’t have thoughts figured out to describe what this book did to me. It was a surreal experience, and I’m still in a hangover from it. Where the Raven Boys was grim, The Dream Thieves got progressively darker, and I LOVED it. There is just something about Stiefvater’s writing that is addictive, makes me come back for more. The biggest surprise for me myself was the fact that even for a leisurely paced book which I usually tire of, I wasn’t bored for even one second of this book. The aura of mystery was so intense I couldn’t even think anything else other than the plot and the subtext. There were layers onto sentences, and beautifully hidden plot points. It wasn’t easy even guessing at events and I gave up soon enough, and just enjoyed the ride.

So, this book focuses on Ronan’s and Adam’s journey – Ronan delving into his ability to be a Greywaren and Adam figuring out the terms of his sacrifice. Meanwhile, Blue is figuring out her feelings, Gansey is trying hard to not lose his friends and Noah is, well, focusing on being here. The creepy element comes majorly from the psychics of the book – and the whole time is circular thing gave me chills. Actually, goosebumps was a constant companion to my reading. At times it was the quotes, at times it was the writing. Stiefvater turned mundane sentences into something magical – she doesn’t write out certain things explicitly and figuring out what it really meant and what it meant for the story was quite fun. I could give examples but that would be too spoilery for this review and I don’t do that.

Moments I loved in the book – the kiss that was shared, the unexpected change of heart, Ronan’s secrets (each one of them). I particularly loved how the dreamscape was described, and Ronan’s nightmares were so beautiful etched into the writing. Kavinsky – what to say about this complex character! You hate him and then you kind of understand where he comes from. Gansey was kind of right about him but I feel Ronan could very well be like him, if we go by Gansey’s theory of ‘rich in affection’. All the characters are going through so much, and the author does a wonderful job of weaving their struggles into the plot.

In the simplest words, all I can say is I adored this book and want to read it all over again. And that happens rarely for me, with my burgeoning pile of books to be read that threaten any such notion. But basically I am so eager for Blue Lily, Lily Blue!

View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: The Green Dagger by Kelly Hess

 

The Green Dagger (BlackMyst Trilogy) by Kelly Hess

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 2, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Green-Dagger

Tensions rise between Delvengard and Sorak as the Sorak queen demands the return of the Blade of Torrill. As Delvengard scrambles to locate the mythical weapon, many fear war is inevitable. Fritz, who secretly possesses the dagger, is tormented by its evil. Eager to take control of its power, he journeys in search of a mysterious being who may be able to help. The Green Dagger, Book Two of the BlackMyst Trilogy, continues the adventure, five years after the events of Book One, Eyes of the Enemy.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

KellyHessAuthorPhoto

Kelly Hess grew up with a love of reading science fiction and fantasy that inspired him to write his own fantasy trilogy. He lives in Vacaville, California with his wife and son, and is putting the final details on the last two books of his BlackMyst Trilogy: The Green Dagger and The Third Power.

Facebook | Website

Book Blogger Hop: September 26-Oct 2

 

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

How will be reading in 100 year’s time? Will there be any printed books left? How about e-readers? What might they look like?

My Answer:

I think printed books are as threatened by ereaders as stairs are by elevators. Seriously, even 100 years in the future we will have adorable bookworms who will swear by the smell of a fresh book (or an old one). So, printed books will be there but I guess the majority of the population will convert to e-readers for convenience. Hardcore book addicts would probably still have a bookshelf or two, provided the Earth isn’t destroyed by humanity by then. As for e-readers, maybe we might have holographic screens by then,

which would probably project from some wrist device or something? We might also have virtual book-like holograms for those who love to see a printed book…who knows? Or maybe contacts in the eyes which double as screens for reading too?

The possibilities are endless!

 

Review: The Zodiac Collector

The Zodiac Collector
The Zodiac Collector by Laura Diamond
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance
Faire means three things—her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she’s going to do things her way.

On the eve of the Faire, Anne (along with a reluctant Mary) conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event.Little do they know that it’s a literal request.

After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they’ve invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That’s the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac—and the world—will be hers.

Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they’ll get a 16th birthday they’ll never forget.

The Zodiac Collector in short – doesn’t live up to expectations. The concept was really good – star-sign based magic, which I have never come across. Having a passing interest in the Zodiac, I thought this would be a magical read. It started off well – Anne is a little rebellious and cute teen but as I went on reading, I found myself getting distracted. It was the writing – it gets lost in details, especially in excessive use of metaphors and similes by a 16 yr old girl whose perspective it is written from. The voice just didn’t match the character!

The storyline starts off well and then goes downhill. I was somewhere at 3 stars by the middle and by the time I came to the end, I was too frustrated to even write this review (which is why it is a day late). Anne keeps creating trouble, Mary is inconsistent as a character, Will is a cardboard cutout for a best friend, Evan is extra space, and the villain, Zeena is hopeless. I was so done by the end of the book that I would have thrown it across the room if it wasn’t an ecopy (and that I love my ereader too much). Even her mother’s condition and the dysfunctional family situation didn’t add some meaning to the plot – it seemed like they lived in a foster home, that’s all. The whole reason for which Anne does it is so flimsy that you can’t even empathize with her. And a book in which you can’t like a single character is truly tragic.

Received an ARC from Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion or review in any way

View all my reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. This week’s meme is the top ten books on my fall 2014 TBR list, and there are so many great books releasing. So, here are my Fall TBR top ten: [click on covers to go to Goodreads pages]

Last in series

 

Sequels, yay!

 

 

New series!

 

Standalone

So, which of these are you excited for?

New releases: Sep 21-26

The Gifted Dead (#1 in Gifted)

Release date: September 23, 2014

Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.

Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.

Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn’t be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.

What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile.

The Gifted Dead (Gifted, #1)

 Rooms

Release date: September 23, 2014

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Rooms

Messenger of Fear (#1 in Messenger of Fear)

Release date: September 23, 2014
I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out .

Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear, #1)

 In a Handful of Dust (#2 in Not a Drop to Drink)

Release date: September 23, 2014
The only thing bigger than the world is fear.
Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2)

 Silvern (#2 in Gilded)

Release date: September 23, 2014
Jae Hwa Lee has destroyed Haemosu, the dangerous demi-god that held her ancestors captive, and now she’s ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Then the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it.
But Kud is stronger and more devious than Haemosu ever was. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.

Silvern (Gilded #2)

Unmade (#3 in The Lynburn Legacy)

Release date: September 23, 2014
Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice? Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town. Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

Unmade (Lynburn Legacy, #3)

 

Shopaholic to the Stars (#7 in Shopaholic)

Release date: September 25, 2014
Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most?

Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic, #7)

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,022 other followers

%d bloggers like this: