Thursday, February 26, 2015

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Barnes and Noble

Rating 5/5 Stars

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

Synopsis: "From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.”

Review: Goodness gracious, I loved loved loved the end of this book. I love the fantasy. I love the characters. I love the complexity. I love everything.

Maas’s writing style is so great. I’m so absorbed into the world she creates. Celaena’s voice shines through and it’s just so clear and so Celaena.

Maas’s world is fantastic. I love the deception, the courts, the danger. I especially am enamored with the fantasy. It’s so well-written and beautiful. It’s weird saying that fantasy is beautiful, but Maas’s is. There is a back story that actually makes sense (Hallelujah!). Plus, the magic has evolved to fit the terms of the modern world, in comparison to the way that the old magic was used. A lot of what made this book for me was the amazing fantasy.

Another thing that was absolutely enthralling was the plot and characters. They were so great. I cried when Calaena cried. I laughed when she laughed. I felt the confusion and angst. I was totally able to empathizes with the characters and it was fantastic. The plot was a whole other beast. I kept getting shocked and surprised with the twists and turns it took! Poor Aneeqah got many texts from me saying that I wish I could tell her a thing about the book, but I couldn’t because she hadn’t read it yet.

The romance was better than the first book and detracted a little bit in some of its suddenness.

Overall, I loved almost everything about Crown of Midnight.

How many times did I type the word ‘love’? 9

Friday, February 13, 2015

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Historical Contemporary Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Eleanor and Park

Synopsis: "Two misfits. One extraordinary love.
... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try."

Review: Eleanor and Park was such a bittersweet book. Eleanor’s situation was so terrible and very sad. Rowell’s writing is so descriptive that I felt as if I was Eleanor and then that I was Park. I felt so much sympathy for each of the characters. I read this book a week ago and now that I’m sitting here writing this, I’m getting a nostalgic feeling like I would get if I think back to some of my old friends and old memories.

The characters, particularly Eleanor and Park, resound so much to me. Eleanor’s family home is so so sad and poignant. I just wanted to steal her, take her to my house, and give her a massive bear hug. The amount of sympathy I feel for Eleanor is very much like the sympathy I would feel for a friend; that’s how real Rowell is able to make her characters. For Park, I feel like although his family life is the stereotypical family, he has to live up to a lot of expectations which is something I can relate to. Rowell creates really real characters and I loved that about Eleanor and Park.

As for the plot, not so much. A lot of the book was just the same struggles, time just passed. Once Park and Eleanor fell in love, the book kind of fell into a rut and stayed there until around 30 pages until the end. After a major event, the book just stayed in the same aftereffects of the event for such a long time that it got quite redundant and boring.

Even though I disliked the plot, the romance was so sweet and similar to love in real life ( in some cases). Both were keeping secrets, but both were content in each other’s presence and the other person made them happy. Eleanor and Park didn’t have much in common, but I thought that this so realistic (at least in a multitude of high school relationships). They’re defining traits were contradictory, but in the end they just balanced each other out.

I’m very satisfied with Eleanor and Park and loved everything except for the somewhat repetitive plot.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Dystopian

Source: Library

Rating: 3/5 Stars

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis: “Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.”

Review: I have a lot of conflicted feelings about this book. I really liked multiple aspects of it, but I vehemently HATE the romance between Kestrel and Arin. I feel like it absolutely ruined a lot of the good things I felt about this book right after reading it.

To start off with the good things before I get into a rant about the romance, I really enjoyed Rutkoski’s writing style. It was expressive and quite beautiful at times. Rutkoski had the perfect balance of show and tell.

To say that the plot was great is simply not enough. The plot was utterly exhilarating. I read The Winner’s Curse in one sitting because I was constantly on the edge of my chair (well bed) waiting to see how everything would work out. I was surprised with a couple of twists and absolutely loved  it! One down side I had with the plot was that a big portion of the back half was pure action and for some reason I found myself either bored with redundancy or trying to rush back to what was happening with Kestrel with some parts of the near-constant action towards the end. That being said, I’m a person who likes action, but not really an in depth view of the fighting for long lengths of time.

I am completely in awe of how well-developed Kestrel was by the end. Rutkoski really blew me away by the fantastic character development. Kestrel was almost completely different by the end, in a good way. She possessed all of her previous positive qualities, but times 10. She also gained other great traits and will probably have more flaws develop as the series continues because it would be boring if she was perfect. I can’t express how much I want to meet Rutkoski, shake her hand, and tell her what a fantastic job she did with Kestrel.

I liked the friendships in the book, despite HOW TERRIBLE A FRIEND KESTREL WAS. I thought they were an accurate representation of some of the close friendships that I have.


I know y’all are all wondering how I could possibly have given 3 Stars to this book when I can’t stop raving about it. Here’s what really ruined this book for me: the romance. I can’t stand it. At all. It was horrid. Not that the romance was written terrible or anything. It was just that I can not possibly be persuaded to understand how in the heck Kestrel would still love Arin when he literally CAUSES the deaths of almost everyone she knows and the destruction of her country. It is unfathomable to me how she can even look him in the eye when he almost killed her best friend. I don’t get how she gets over her hate for him so fast and actually makes a deal to SAVE the bastard’s life. Basically, I just hate Arin and Kestrel’s love for him that I will NEVER understand.

Overall, I really loved The Winner’s Curse, but was so put off by the romance that I couldn’t like it as much as I wanted.