A Court of Frost and Starlight

Rating: 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genres: Fantasy
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 3.5)
Pub Date: May 2018 (read May 2018)

Self indulgence at its finest. This is why you don’t write books about after the characters have ridden off into the sunset. Sure, I know the last book ended with the conclusion of a bloody war and that there was bound to be further conflict and a long healing time, but it’s not engaging and I don’t want to read about. What was the plot in this book? Does anyone know, because I sure don’t.

First off, I’m just going to say it, the sex scenes in this book are cringe-y. Especially anything from Rhys’ point of view. I know everyone was super excited to get some new POV’s, and I was too, but like from Mor, Amren, and Azriel. The Rhys in ACOMAF is like my one true love, but reading his POV was like reading Twilight from Edward’s point of view – his love is too perfect and all consuming – it felt fake, it made me cringe, and it was boring.

I do understand that Sarah wants to introduce a whole new storyline in subsequent books, focusing on more characters, and honestly this won’t deter me from those books because I trust they will have a plot, but this just felt unnecessary. Nothing about solstice was engaging. It kind of felt like fan fiction. I mean, you love thinking about your favourite books and characters and what might have happened to them after a beloved series ends, but this is why some things need to just end and why I appreciate authors who are able to walk away from a successful story. To decide they’ve said what needed to be said and move on. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, because I thought Deathly Hallows ended perfectly and that revisiting the story can sometimes just cheapen what came before.

I don’t think Sarah knows how to walk away from her characters. She’s literally never done it and always has to revisit them. I didn’t like Tower of Dawn either because I felt it was just way too overdone for a side story and that we didn’t need 700 pages on Chaol. He could have come back in Kingdom of Ash and I would have been fine just knowing that he healed himself and brought back a nice healer with him. Likewise I feel like 80% of what happened in this story is going to be totally irrelevant at the end of the day in the next book. I’ve also been very disappointed in Sarah’s editors for her last 3 books because I feel like they’ve stopped actually editing her now that she’s become so popular, but someone needs to cut out some of these extras. It’s just over-indulgent and I don’t want to read about it.

I don’t even really want to talk about the plot in this book. What’s the point. If you care at all about this series, you know what’s going on. If you haven’t read this series, it is worth your time just to read the second book in the series, A Court of Mist of Fury because it is in my opinion the best book Sarah J Maas has ever written and has the most wonderful blend of character development, plotting, and romance.

In conclusion, I did not like this book. The only real new POV in this book is Cassian’s and to be honest I didn’t really see the point, it didn’t seem to add that much to me. She did have a few random chapters from other POV’s, but it was mostly Feyre and Rhys, which really seemed counter-productive to me. I’ll still be here for the next book, but I really hope it’s better than this disappointment.

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Avenged

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: ⭐⭐.5
Author: Amy Tintera
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pub Date: May 2017 (read Mar. 2018)

Between my monthly challenges, my book club, Canada Reads, and Netgalley, I finally got a chance to read this sequel to Ruined. I’ve been trying to get to it for the last 2 months and I finally found some time. I shouldn’t have worried though because I devoured this book in a single day.

I LOVED Ruined. I know it’s not ground-breaking literature or anything, but it was just such a fast-paced and fun read! Avenged picks up right where Ruined left off, with the Ruined returning to their homeland after rescuing Olivia. This one has a bit more politics than the first one, but it’s still a fast paced read. I didn’t love it quite as much as Ruined, but I’d still give it a solid 3.5 stars.

Em and her sister Olivia have just returned to Ruina. Em is the oldest, but because she doesn’t have powers, the throne passes to her sister Olivia. The torture Olivia suffered at the hands of Lera has weakened her emotionally, but it has only strengthened her powers. She becomes incredibly powerful, but has little interest in politics and negotiations, so she proposes a diarchy with her sister whereby they will both be queen.

It’s a rough start for the Ruined. Their castle was destroyed by Lera and Vallos and the land in their country is dying. Em wants to continue their alliance with the Olso warriors because she fears the Ruined cannot survive without their aid and supplies at this time. Olivia doesn’t want their help and feels that her and Aren are strong enough to protect the rest of the Ruined and can teach them all how to be stronger.

At the same time, Cas struggles to take control of his own country in the wake of his parents death. He made a pact with Em that neither would attack each other, but his cousin (and only living relative) Jovita sees this as a huge sign of weakness and makes a coup to take control of Lera. She tries to attack the Ruined again and all hell breaks loose between the 4 kingdoms.

Like I said, I didn’t love this as much as Ruined, but it was still a solid second novel. Olivia is a 100% certified psychopath and she makes for an interesting and intense story. She had a pretty crazy introduction at the end of Ruined, but she was really only just getting started then.

I liked that this novel is still very morally grey. You definitely root for Em and Cas and their quest for peace, but you also couldn’t fault Olivia for how she felt about Lera. She was tortured by Lera for a year and even though Cas didn’t directly play a role, a simple ‘sorry’ isn’t enough for Olivia, especially when he’s done nothing meaningful to help the Ruined, like provide supplies or help them re-build their homeland.

“No. His regret was not enough for Olivia. Regret did not give her back her mother. It didn’t erase the year of torture she’s endured. No apology, no matter how sincere, was enough for her people.”

I also thought the dialogue was fantastic and I love how witty the characters are. Ruined had quite a bit of humour woven into it and Tintera continued that humour in this book. I can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy to come out in May!

The Cruel Prince

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Author: Holly Black
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Read: Jan. 2018

First off, I definitely liked this. It was an intriguing story with some pretty interesting characters. But I didn’t love it quite as much as I was hoping. This may be a good example of a book where the hype gave me unrealistic expectations. The Cruel Prince only came out the first week of January, but I’ve been seeing so much buzz about it everywhere and pretty much everyone seems to have totally loved it. Like I said, I did actually quite enjoy this book and I will definitely be reading the next one, but it’s one of those 3 stars reads that I liked not loved.

This was my first Holly Black book. I know she’s written a ton of stuff and that she’s quite popular, which surprised me because I didn’t love her writing style. Her writing is very simple and I honestly had to go back to goodreads to check what genres this was listed under because, with the exception of the opening scene (which is gruesome), I felt like I was reading a middle grade novel for the first half of this book. Between Jude’s bullying at school, her boy woes, and the simple writing, I didn’t feel like I was reading a YA fantasy novel.

Anyways, to give you a quick summary, The Cruel Prince is set in the world of the high fae, which is closely linked with the mortal world. The first chapter is stellar and starts off with a brutal double murder and the faerie general, Madoc, dragging Jude and her two sisters back to Faerie to be their surrogate father. Jude and her sister Taryn are both humans and suffer a lot at the hands of the fae. Humans are often enchanted and used as servants by the fae and it’s only Madoc’s status as the general that protects them. They are bullied at school, but Faerie is really all they’ve ever known and they are both desperate to fit in.

Jude wants to prove herself by besting the fae and becoming a knight to the royal family. But she is at odds with the young prince Cardan, who’s in her class at school and it unbelievably cruel. When rumours fly that the high king is going to be abdicating his position to one of his 6 children, Jude gets caught up in the drama and the secret scheming for the crown.

Okay, what did I like about this book? I liked Jude as the narrator. She had spunk and she was quite stubborn, but also ballsy. I also liked Cardan – the book is called ‘the cruel prince’ so you know there’s going to be more to Cardan than meets the eye and I was really intrigued as to what his deal is. I also thought Madoc was a fascinating character, even though I HATED him. I liked Vivi too, so I guess the strongest part of this novel for me was the characters, which is a pretty good because in my opinion, characterization is key.

Things I didn’t like – apparently there’s a few of them. Firstly, I did not like the pacing, which I thought was all over the place. The novel starts off strong with the double murder and then gets ridiculously boring for the first third. Things get super intense again two thirds in with the coronation scene, but then they inexplicably slow down during the last third when the novel should be at its climax! I like a good planner, but I didn’t really like having to read about all the planning in lieu of just reading about the action.

I also thought this book was king of predictable. There was a side mystery going on throughout the course of the book, but I didn’t find it particularly compelling and I found it kind of hard to follow, so I was never really that intrigued in trying to solve the mystery because I never felt like I even really knew what the point was. There were definitely some surprising scenes in the book, but overall I could kind of guess where things were going and I was never really surprised by betrayals because I never trusted any of the characters to begin with.

I can’t decide if I liked the relationship between Jude and Taryn or not. They were really all each other had in the world and I found it hard to believe they would be so at odds with one another.

I’ll give Black props though, this book had a lot of characters and I never had any trouble following along with them all (with the exception of the side mystery element). I love when minor characters matter and I love when they have depth, and Holly Black had both in this novel. The Cruel Prince has the perfect kind of cliffhanger. Black has closed off all her loose ends, but she’s still left a wide up open space for the story to move into. I am genuinely excited to see what’s going to happen with Jude and Cardan in the next book and I really like the dynamic between the two of them. The most disappointing part is that I’m going to have to wait a whole year for the next installment!

The Star-Touched Queen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: ⭐⭐
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Read: Jan. 2018

Well, apparently 2018 is off to a disappointing start book-wise. I know the blog-o-sphere has mixed feelings on this book, people seems to either love it or hate it, so I decided to give it a try in the hopes I would love it, but I did not.

Even though I just finished this book yesterday, I’m hard pressed to even really describe what happened in it. The writing was so flowery, to the point that the story felt really disjointed and I had a really hard time following it. Random events kept happening and characters would show up out of nowhere and I just really had no clue who half the people were.

The Star-Touched Queen is a young adult fantasy novel that takes place in this Indian-type fantasy world, which sounded super appealing. Maya is a princess who has unfortunately been cursed with a horrible horoscope that said her future would be paired with death and as such, everyone hates and avoids her. Her kingdom is at war and so her father decides to try and marry her off in an attempt to lure his enemies into a trap. Maya chooses to marry Amar and is whisked away into a world she didn’t know existed and struggles to move on from the life she’s left behind.

Amar is really mysterious and we don’t really know who he is or why he claims to have such a devoted love for Maya, who he only just met. This book has a lot of mythology in it, but a lot of it was over my head. I don’t have a problem with mythology, but the author gave me no context. She never explains how anything works in the world she’s created, as if I’m just supposed to know all about this supposed underworld and transition world and all these random mythological beings. I found it all very confusing and the writing felt really disjointed.

I struggled with the writing a lot. I love beautiful writing, but in my opinion Chokshi’s writing took away from the story instead of complimenting it. I felt a degree removed from the story and the characters throughout the entirety of the novel because I couldn’t get beyond the fancy writing to what was actually happening and what the characters were actually feeling. The writing was pretty, but it lacked any meaning for me.

I’m really sad I didn’t like this though because the cover art is beautiful and the cover art for the sequel, Crown of Wishes, is even more gorgeous and I really want it on my bookshelf, but alas, I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next book. I’m planning to work on my January reading challenge next (read 3 books about immigration) and I’ve picked out several critically acclaimed novels, so I’m hoping for some better books in the near future!