Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult Fantasy
In a world without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the vicious king who rules from his throne of glass but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she will be released from prison to serve as the King’s Champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her and a princess from a faraway land will befriend her. But something evil dwells in the castle – and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival – and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Personally I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, its simple plot and easy to like characters made for a fairly quick and enjoyable read. The plot is certainly not complicated and despite what I’ve seen other’s saying, I do not believe you need to read the ‘prequels’ to understand ‘Throne of Glass’ and the progression of this story.
I really enjoyed Sarah J. Mass’ writing style, throne of glass greatly reminded me of Graceling written by Kristin Cashore and I truly feel if you enjoyed that book you would also enjoy this one.
Celaena was very likeable despite the obvious flaws with her character that made me reduce my rating to a four star instead of a 5 star. She’s witty, intelligent, friendly, and very likeable. I did however find that her obsession with her appearance, and ridiculously feminine clothing to be unlikely as her position as an assassin would likely not allow her much of those privileges in the past. I find it extremely hard to believe that a woman who is almost unmatched in beauty (According to the author) would be able to go unnoticed for so long and I think it’s virtually impossible that no one would have known who she was. Beyond those flaws however, I found her to be a strong character and a fairly decent role model for young woman.
I also really enjoyed the characters of Prince Dorian and Chaol who is the Captain of the Guard. There were obviously a few character issues with them as well but understandably no person is perfect so expecting characters in novels to be perfect is probably like trying to breath under water and unless you’re a fish it’s very unlikely to go well.
I am looking forward to seeing how all the relationships develop, where things will go between Chaol and Dorian and if the triangle will destroy their friendship. I’m obviously also interested in knowing whom Celaena will end up with in the end as well; perhaps she will not end up with any of them.
In a land where magic is outlawed I’m very curious to see where that will take us as it’s quite obvious that by outlawing it there will be magic involved within this series. It’ll be neat to see what kind of magic the author introduces and how the magic will take place within this story line.
Overall a great introduction into a series I’m fairly certain I will greatly enjoy. Have you read Throne of glass? Let me know what you thought! It’d be great to discuss such an interesting piece of YA literature.
If you’re not interested in reading Throne of Glass I would also love to hear why, it’s great that everyone has so many different opinions! : )
This year I’ve read about 113 novels and they were all from a variety of genres. I’ve personally learnt a lot about my reading style and the books that I actually do enjoy and have discovered some interesting things, but perhaps I’ll do a separate post on that later.
So without further ado, these are the books or series I’ve read this year that I recommend highly to you. Please click on the title to learn more information about each posting <3
1. Across the Universe Series – Beth Revis (Young adult Science Fiction)
2. Easy – Tamara Webber (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
3. Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols (Young Adult Contemporary Romance)
4. Warm Bodies – Issac Marion (Adult Zombie Fantasy)
5. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (Adult Fantasy)
6. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Young Adult fantasy)
7. Omens – Kelly Armstrong (Adult Paranormal)
8. Magic Knight Rayearth – Clamp (Manga)
9. Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn Andersen (YA Fantasy)
10. The Witch’s Daughter – Paula Brackston (Adult Paranormal/fantasy/Historical)
11. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker (Adult Historical Fantasy)
12. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Adult Science Fiction)
13. Pride and Prejudice –Jane Austen
Magic Knight Rayearth 1 & 2
Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, Fuu Hououji are on a field trip to the Tokyo Tower with their respective schools. The girls are blinded by a flash of light and hear a voice calling for the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cephiro. They fall through the sky into another world, Cephiro. Once there, they meet Master Mage Clef. Clef explains, “In Cephiro, one’s will has the ability to change reality for better or worse. The dark fears in people’s hearts become monsters, while a well-intended wish can do miracles. One person, the Pillar, whose will is stronger than anyone else’s, is responsible for maintaining through her prayers the well-being of Cephiro.” In the first story arc, the current Pillar, Princess Emeraude, has been captured by her high priest, Zagato. The three girls are charged with the task of saving the Princess. Magic Knight Rayearth follows Hikaru, Fuu and Umi along with their friendly sidekick, Mokona, on their quest to save the mystical planet of Cephiro.
Hikarua, Umi, and Fuu are all from different walks of life and all attend different middle schools, however one fateful day each of their respective schools and classes take a school trip to Tokyo Tower where they are suddenly blinded by a great flash of light and a voice calling for the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cephiro.
Once the girls are transported to Cephiro they find themselves falling through the sky and somehow they land on a giant flying fish that takes them safely to land where they meet the Master Mage whose name is Clef.
Clef explains to Hikarua, Umi, and Fuu how the world of Cephiro works, how one’s ‘will’ has the ability to change the reality and even the landscape of the world forever, and that it can be changed for the greater good, or it could be used selfishly for dark intentions.
The Pillar whose will is stronger than anyone else’s and who is responsible for maintaining through her prayers the well-being of Cephiro, however she has been compromised and has been taken captive and it’s up to the Magic Knights to save her and restore peace to the planet Cephiro.
This is a fantastical tale, it moves very quickly and your attention is definitely needed for every page and picture screen otherwise it would be easy to miss information and quickly become confused. I think this series had a lot of offer and I found it very disappointing that it didn’t have more details than what was given to the reader; there are a lot of unanswered questions and plot holes that could have been easily resolved with even one more omnibus I believe. There were also some fillers that I found were unneeded as the story progressed so quickly and it would have been considerably more enjoyable to have solid story line instead.
The artwork contained in this series is beautiful and your mouth will water in your desire for more. You’ll not be disappointed with a single panel. I really wish this series had continued on for longer so I could have continued to be immersed in the strange and lovely world of Cephiro.
Magic Knight Rayearth is one of my favourite Manga’s that I’ve read so far, and it’s a story from my childhood that I’ll treasure for a long time.
What’s your favourite manga series? Would you recommend it to me, if so, why?
Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: May 1st 2012
One Choice can transform you… Or destroy you
Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’ initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in the times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable – and even more powerful.
Transformed by her own decisions but also by her haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so
Divergent ended with such a fantastic bang, that I knew despite already having purchased Insurgent I was going to be waiting to read it until Allegiant come out. I was really excited when I could escape back into the fictional world that Veronica Roth created. The world building and back story that she has created came through flawlessly in Insurgent, a book that was considerably more action packed than Divergent.
Insurgent runs high on emotions as politics, family loyalties and friendships are called into question and tough choices have to made. The overall emotional intensity of this books sets it apart from other Young Adult fiction novels that I’ve read and I found that refreshing. Veronica Roth has a way of exploring more mature themes but in a way that regardless of your age you’re able to identify and relate too.
The relationship between Four and Tris is constantly tested throughout this book, and despite their differences, personal issues and their young age they deal with them maturely, with unconditional love and compassionate understanding once they allow each other in. They’re both hurting for different reasons and together they are stronger than they ever would be apart. Together, they are an unbreakable force, they are a team and one that I certainly wouldn’t want to tangle with.
Four’s family background and beliefs are called into attention quite a few times in this book and we learn a lot more about him, mostly why he is the way he is today. He had very strong character development through out this novel. His loyalty to Tris is unwavering, he is heartwarming to read.
Over all Insurgent was a good read. It left you waiting for the next and final installment in the series.
Fire (Graceling Realm #2)
Young Adult Fantasy
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, the royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
I really enjoyed Fire. Despite complaints that I’ve seen in regards to Fire character I found her engaging and believable because I know firsthand that beauty can be a curse. Beauty can also leave you feeling entitled and considering Fire is so very desirable I find her to fit the role quite well.
Fire is sweet, sensitive and trying to figure out how to deal with her past while forging a happy future, the sins of our past can really detour us from the potential we all hold and I believe Fire does a fantastic job bringing that to light. I was very pleased that she did out use her powers for selfish gain and that her uses of power were to either defend her-self or help defend the kingdom.
I really enjoyed the character developments and how the relationships between characters evolved and changed throughout the course of the book. I found all the characters had a strong voice, strong personalities and were all easily imaginable as I read through the book. They all blended in nicely. My only issue with character development was with Leck, since he is mentioned in the prologue I figured he would have a more definitive role in ‘Fire’ however, he was hardly mentioned at all and I found that part of the novel to fall flat, which is why I’ve given Fire four stars instead of five. I was really looking forward to his development and the issues he’d bring so I was very disappointed in that regard.
Thought that Kristin Cashore did a great job describing grief; grief is a dark, depressing, and horrible feeling, it was written truthfully and in a way that you identify with.
I really enjoyed this novel and I am very much looking forward to reading BitterBlue.
Have you read Fire? What did you think about it?
Doctor Sleep (The Shinning #2)
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs but as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shinning and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King Canon.
Doctor Sleep is a great work of fiction, Stephan King did a fantastic job bringing to life the rest of Danny Torrance’s reality. How he develops and who he becomes, how his past circumstances helped and hindered him in his development in his formative years and how that crossed over into adult hood where he was a struggling alcoholic was all very believable and made perfect sense. One thing of note, this is not a sequel in the traditional sense and in my opinion it comes across as more of a companion novel which made this all the more fun to read.
Dan Torrance’s character was soft, gentle, but he was also hard, and kept to himself. It was interesting to read how he would spiral, then build himself back up again only to spiral out of control once again. I was definitely happy when he finally got sober and was very happy to see that he stayed sober throughout the novel. I was disappointed however that Dan lost some of his ability in regards to his supernatural powers and was happy to find that eventually they came back. It was surprising to me that as a main character that Dan wasn’t the strongest character however, I believe that made the story more engaging and believable.
Doctor Sleep wasn’t as scary as ‘The Shinning’ and I found ‘The True Knot’ not nearly as scary as I had been hoping they would be. Beyond the odd scene here of there, the focus on their power and what they were was more lackluster than I would have hoped. They weren’t nearly as scary as the cover flap would have led me to believe. I was hoping for more of a ‘coven’ feel in terms of their group but they seemed a little disorderly and for some reason I kept imagining them as people with poor hygiene and broken down RVs although it was clear that wasn’t what they were like.
I found Abra’s character engaging, she was spunky and head strong. She is a twelve year old girl with terrifyingly strong powers and she was aware of them. She also struggles with trying to be normal in a world where she can never be just like everyone else. She’s unique, talented and beautiful and stronger than anyone else in this universe that Stephan King has created with ‘Doctor Sleep and the Shinning’. I found it refreshing however that she had flaws because as we all know a perfect character isn’t interesting to read at all. Characters need strengths and weaknesses to make them relatable and more realized.
Over all, I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep. It was a fantastic addition to my Stephan King collection and I’m very much looking forward to all of the books that he writes in the future though I am not sure if I’ll ever anticipate a book the way I anticipated ‘Doctor Sleep’.
Doctor Sleep was a great way to start my October reading month.
If you’ve read Doctor Sleep what did you think of it? Or perhaps if you’re not interested in reading Doctor Sleep why not? Interested in what you all are thinking!
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
April Genevieve Tucholke
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-something liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight and that’s just how River likes it.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a captivating gothic paranormal romance, set in a sleepy town full of interesting, lively characters with bizarre names. With a gorgeous cover and captivating blurb it would be hard to pass by this delicious book without the urge to pick it up.
Like with most wildly popular books there are two sides. There are those who are going to love the book, there are those who are going to severely dislike the book. As with everything else in life, there is no such thing as a perfect book. They’re all flawed because we are all flawed and no one ever will be able to please everyone.
For me personally this book had a lot of elements that make an engaging, enjoyable young adult novel. I’ve noticed recently that Young Adult fiction isn’t often doing it for me, the more I pick up the more I am putting down and I’m okay with that, fiction tastes change as you change and what you liked last month or last year doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it in this moment.
I wouldn’t say that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is necessarily a case of insta-love as I’m often not a fan of those, but at the same time realise that insta-love does happen, in real life and in fiction. I knew that my Husband was the one within a week of dating him. It happens and when magic, and paranormal elements are involved I’m more likely to go with the flow of the story than stand there and judge it. I thought that April did a great job with the paranormal, fantasy elements of the book and that she wrote a story line that was both believable in their universe and a joy to read.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue sea was very fast paced and I really wish it were double the size, largely in part of the fact that I didn’t want it to end so quickly and because I felt that the story could have used more back story, more pages of explanations and more time to develop the plot and the twists. This is the first book in either a trilogy or a series so I’m willing to let that go and allow myself to be filled with anticipation for the next books.
This story is not complicated, it’s simple, it’s dark at times and light in other times and though a few questionable things happened I still felt myself suckered into it enough to sit down for 2.3-3 hours and finish the whole book in the same sitting despite having a super serious lack of free time right now.
What Story have you read where those who read it either strongly enjoy or dislike the novel? How did you feel about the story in particular?
1. Black Creek Crossing – John Saul
Thirteen-year-old Angel Sullivan has been on the outside looking in, enduring the taunts of cruel schoolmates and the angry abuse of a bitter father. Then Angel’s family moves to a quaint town of Roundtree, Massachusetts – where a charming house is available, a chance to make a new start beckons to the shy, hopeful teenager. When she is shunned by her new classmates, Angel falls deeper into despair. Until she meets Seth Baker, a fellow outcast – and a fateful kinship is forged.
It’s Seth who tells Angel the unspoken truth about the legacy of murder that hangs over her family’s home – and the whispered rumors that something supernatural still dwells there. Uncertain whether the stories are true and desperate to escape the torment of their daily lives, Seth and Angel devote themselves to contacting whatever restless soul haunts the dark recesses of Black Creek Crossing. But once they have begun, there is no turning back.
They uncover the shocking events and centuries-old horrors that lay buried beneath the placid veneer of Roundtree. Along with the ghastly revelations comes a terrifying power – one that feeds upon the rage of the victimized, turning the basset impulses and most dangerous desires into devastating weapons.
2. Full Dark, No Stars – Stephan King
A Collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephan King
1922 – The Story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed Arlette by her father.
Big Driver - Following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.
Fair Extension- Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but as always there is a price to pay.
A Good Marriage – Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.
3. I am Legend – Richard Matheson
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood.
By Day he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.
4. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it’s gray. The Sky is dark; their destination is the coast and although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing, just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.
5. The Shinning – Stephan King
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…
6. Cold Skin – Albert Sanchez Pinol, Translated by: Cheryl Leah Morgan
After WW1, a troubled man accepts a solitary assignment as a “weather Official” on a tiny, remote island on the edges of the Antarctic. When he arrives his predecessor he is meant to replace is missing and a deeply disturbed stranger is barricaded in a heavily fortified lighthouse. At first adversaries, the two find that their tenuous partnership may be the only way to survive the unspeakably horrific reptilian creatures that ravage the island at night, attacking the lighthouse in their organized effort to find warm-blooded food. Armed with a battery of ammunition and explosives, the weather official and his new ally must confront their increasingly murderous mentality and when the possibility of a kind of truce presents itself, decide what kind of island they will inhabit.
7. Cell – Stephan King
In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without Cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival and their journey to find Claytons estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.
8. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
It is a story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House; Dr. Montague, an occult scholar is looking for solid evidence of a ‘haunting’; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
9. We have always lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possible murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.
The Witches Daughter
Publisher: Thomas Dune Books
In the spring of 1628, the witch finder of Wessex finds himself a true witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree, she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, surviving plagues, wars and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her own better judgement, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan. But will she soon be able to stand against Gideon – who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul – in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?
I really enjoyed reading ‘The Witches Daughter’. I thought it was extremely well written, though I found it tended to drag at some moments, however over all it was an engaging and lively read.
Elizabeth’s history was fascinating, and it was so interesting to learn about her life, or lives rather throughout the book. She is strong, and deep inside is good though she is flawed and at times selfish. She’s wanted her whole life to be loved, to have a family and despite the years she’s lived she’s never attained any of these things until she meets Tegan. She adopts Tagen in kind of a surrogate manner, teaching her the craft, helping her develop and become more strong in who she is and independent. In Tegan she finds someone who speaks to her soul and she hasn’t experienced anything like it since her sister passed away.
Tegan is also an interesting character; she’s bratty, doesn’t listen and clearly is in desperate need for a friendship. It’s not clear why she is so drawn to Elizabeth, or why she keeps coming back when Elizabeth is clearly trying to push her away but she perseveres anyways, looking for someone to build her up when the world seems to be cruelly tearing her apart.
Gideon is evil, wow is he evil. He literally dances and consorts with the devil. He’s so obsessed with Elizabeth that he literally follows her throughout time. Tracking her and tricking her all in a vain effort to convince and capture Elizabeth’s affections, desires and to claim what he deems is rightfully his and I must daresay perhaps he has in a way. The poor woman has spent the majority of her life trying to escape from him and the darkness that shrouds him.
I will be quite honest with you; there is almost zero romance in this novel which is highly disappointing as the synopsis clearly indicates that there is a romantic story line. Unless you count Gideon’s creepy obsession with Elizabeth, which I for obvious reasons don’t. However, I suppose they could be talking about the kind of love that is found between two friends, the kind of love that a family holds for each other or even perhaps the love a mother has for her child. Elizabeth’s mother literally did everything she could have possibly done to save her daughter, even things I’m sure, she’s ashamed to admit.
Overall, The Witches Daughter is a great read and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more novels by Paula Brackston. She clearly enjoys writing about witches and I clearly love reading about them!