Book of the Week Part Two-Seige and Storm

Oh you read that right, sickness I’m doing TWO Book of the Week reviews in ONE week.

I know, crazy, right? Its totally outside the box, breaking the rules. I’m such a rebel, you can’t handle how off the charts awesome I am right now.

So basically the plan had been to do the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm and then do an episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More, and a couple other books I had read. However, I did not finish Siege and Storm in time for the Book of the Week, which is always (mostly) posted on Thursdays, therefore I did a review on The  Moon and More.

Well I stayed up til 2 am to finish Siege and Storm tonight (yeah, its nearly 4 am while I’m writing this. Yay, insomnia!) and it was absolutely positively brilliant and I’m still kind of recovering from it and I decided I would write a review for it while it was fresh in my mind.

I mean, I could write it for the Book of the Week on Thursday BUT it won’t be as fresh in my mind as it is RIGHT NOW. So this week, you’re all treated to TWO book reviews in one week. How crazy for you guys.

I just want to warn you, since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers to Shadow and Bone in this review. There are very, very minimal to zero spoilers for Siege and Storm but in order to talk about this book, I have to spoil things from the first book. I’m warning you now, don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first book.

Whew, got that out of the way. Now enjoy the Book of the Week, Part Two!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
yes, it is the second book of the Grisha trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone, and followed by Rune and Rising, out in 2014

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Tamora Pierce, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson

Plot Summary: 

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone has left off: with Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling, trying to escape into another world, to be forgotten. Alina is forced to wear a scarf to hide her new amplifier that’ll identify her in a second, and to hold back her powers because let’s face it, they are one of a kind. But Alina can’t run forever, and its not long before the Darkling catches up to her and Mal and is prepared to bring her back to Ravka so he can take over and rule it, so he can have even more power than he already has.

But soon, Alina and Mal are meeting a new friend by the name of Sturmhond, a privateer who has a bigger background than Alina and Mal are prepared for. Suddenly, Alina is alive with new purpose and escaping and running away. She has purpose; there are more powerful amplifiers to help her gain more power and more control, now that the Darkling has scary and impossible new powers. But the further she pushes herself into the Grisha world, trying to save Ravka, trying to gain more power, the further away she gets from Mal. She has to choose whether to keep going in order to save her country or pull back to be with the person she loves.

The Bad:

I have literally nothing to say. I mean, usually, even if I absolutely adore the book, there’s always something kind of nit picky that bugged me but I can’t even think of anything. It was so insanely good. I can’t…I can’t think of anything bad. Maybe I’m on a book high right now and its impossible to get down so I can’t think of anything but its just left me going WHAT THE HELL, and I can’t…too much book happiness right now. I guess the only bad thing I can think of was that it left on kind of a cliffhanger, with SO much hanging in the balance, and I have to wait until 2014 for Rune and Rising. And I’m so bad at waiting.

The Good: 

There is SO much good in this novel, I can’t even begin to start to talk about it. This book held my captivated the entire time that I read it. Alina…is such an interesting character. She’s so real and raw, and such a strong female character. I love that she’s so addicted to her power. I love that the power of it, the strength it gives her, the command that it gives her, just the sheer feeling of pure power it gives her, is so addicting to her, its something that she can’t stop fighting for. She already has an incredibly strong amplifier but she’s not satisfied until she searches for others to make herself even stronger. And I do believe that is in part to be able to be on the same page as the Darkling, who has gained IMMENSE powers since she was on the run. But I also think a HUGE part of it comes from the fact that she feeds off the power, just as the Darkling does, even though she doesn’t want to admit it.

I also like the relationship dynamic in this book. There’s enough romance and kissing in this book to satisfy everyone but it doesn’t distract from the main story, it weaves in and is a major aspect of it without turning the book into a lovey dovey mushy mess. And you’ve got kind of a love…I don’t know, square? Pyramid? A slightly bigger love triangle going on? And I don’t even mind it. Because you have three people fighting for Alina for different reasons…and even though I was so strongly Mal since Shadow and Bone…I find myself rooting for the other two that are so interested in her as well, because all three of them have their perks, their values, and they all can do something for Alina, as she can do something for them. Because its not all about love, you know? Its not like, oh god Alina is the most beautiful person ever and all the boys just LOVE her. She’s powerful, she’s the Sun Summoner, and the people of Ravka worship her, and so some of these desires come from her powers and abilities or from political strategies. I love that. I can’t decide who I like the best because it all just fits and makes sense to me.

Which leads me into the other characters in the novel: all of them who are so built, so complex, so filled out. The thing with fantasy novels is that you tend to get a TON of characters involved; it just comes with the territory of building this new, fictional world. And sometimes you can get SO confused with all these characters, and sometimes there are so many that they just aren’t flushed out well enough, they just don’t have distinct personalities. Even the smallest of characters should have a defining personality. Even if you only see them for one scene, that scene will tell you something of their personality enough to recognize them. And Leigh accomplishes that completely with all her characters. Even the smallest characters, such as Nadia’s brother, have a personality and you’re able to recognize who they are, easily, without the reminder of who they are. I love that she can briefly mention a character and you remember who they are because they were established so well previously. Like I said, so many fantasy novels just fail to do this.

Speaking of fantasy worlds, Leigh creates an amazing, believable, well thought out world. Another issue with fantasy novels is that authors tend to kind of…make up things as they go along sometimes. Like, they don’t full flesh out their world, whether it be customs or culture or religion or just the locations of different places but there isn’t a problem in the SLIGHTEST in this book. Ravka, and the surrounding countries, and their ways, their towns, people, cultures, religion, etc. come so naturally as if it were all real. It reminds me of Tortall or the Fells, in Tamora Pierce or Cinda Williams Chima books because these places feel so real. I feel as if you were to ask Leigh a question about her fictional world, she would have an answer because she’s thought about it, she’s given it life. Its not just a fictional world in paper but its a real world to Alina and Mal and the Darkling and the readers. I don’t question anything about the world because it feels SO real. Everything comes so naturally and there isn’t anything forced.

One last thing, I loved the additional characters added to this novel, especially Sturmhond, who we find out is someone super important. I’m not going to reveal anything because that would just be plain mean, but let’s just say, I did NOT see that one coming. I love him a lot because he brings the humor, the sarcastic, cocky, okay I’ll say it-SEXINESS, to the book. You guys know me, I love those kind of characters (Han Solo, Sirius Black, Jace Wayland, etc) and I was so excited when I started to get to know Sturmhond. And I developed a crush on him ultra fast. Plus…once you figure out his secrets and his motivations, he becomes a complex character, despite his charms and his cockiness and his good looking face. There’s so much more to him, and I’m really hoping he appears in the third book because I’m interested in seeing where Leigh is going to take him.

I am SO not looking forward to waiting until 2014 though :(

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars. Its hard to get that but it earned it, completely.

Recommended or Not?

HELL YES. Honestly, if you’re a reader and you love young adult literature and you love the fantasy aspect that has been blowing up, this is a series for you. Even if you’re a fantasy lover period, and not into YA, you should still read it. Just read it. Leigh Bardugo has created a masterpiece in this series so far, and I’m going to be WAY too anxious waiting for Rune and Rising next year!

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If you liked this review, you should check out previous Book of the Week reviews as well :)

If you missed out on my recap of Leigh Bardugo‘s book release party for Siege and Storm, check it out HERE.

Also, if you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo and her books, you might also like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima. 

My Fandom Friday post yesterday as ALL about Tamora Pierce and her YA fantasy novels, so check that out HERE.

And come back later for a post about Cinda Williams Chima and an exclusive interview!

Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm Release Party!

So I feel like its been forever since I went to an author event. Its probably only been a couple weeks, sickness but it feels like SO much longer haha. I think the last one I went to was the Mission Viejo stop on the Summer Lovin’ Tour with Suzanne Young, ambulance Sarah Ockler, try Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby and Kimberly Derting.

You can read all about that here :)

So I was starving for some author interaction!

And luckily enough, my dear friend Perla told me all about Leigh Bardugo (who I met about a month ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest, which you can read about here) and how she was having a super cool release party for Siege and Storm, the second book in her Grisha Trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone and followed by Rune and Rising (coming sooooon).

I was SO excited about this.

I just recently read Shadow and Bone, probably about two weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I am a big fan of YA fantasy writers like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima, and this felt similar but also unique to these two, and she just created a great story. You can see me review for it here.

(Side Note: Follow my friend, Perla, on Tumblr! She goes to author events ALL the time. In the last week, she’s met SO many. She’s meeting Richelle Mead tonight! She’s bombtastic :) You thought I met a lot of authors!)

I have never been to a book release party before. I’ve been to events where the book is released for the first time, but it was never termed a “party”, and I was never told to dress up!

And I totally didn’t dress up by the way, because I’m uberly lame and impossible when it comes to costumes and such. My version of a costume is making a tutu in a specific color, pairing it with a tshirt of that fandom and calling it a day :) I did wear a dress and some nifty high heeled boots so I felt pretty awesome.

So me, Tatiana, Sylvia, and my awesome friend Erin headed down to the Hemingways Lounge in Hollywood, California to go to this book release party.

Can I just say it was SO weird having my little beat up Honda valeted? The guy took my keys and looked at my car, completely with personalized Harry Potter license plate (and frame!), Harry Potter stickers, Star wars stickers, Hunger Games stickers,…and he just kind of sighed haha.

But anyway! What an awesome, awesome, awesome event! They went above and beyond for all of this! First off, there was a raffle for every single person who attended and the prizes were SO cool. There was this awesome grab bag of all sorts of cool Grisha swag, that my friend Sylvia won!

They also had a prize that was like 15-20 brand new books of various authors in Los Angeles. I wanted that one so bad. I didn’t win though :( Which was okay!

I was one of the first twenty five people to arrive, so I was able to get a tote bag, which I LOVE. I love me some tote bags!

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I was also able to grab a TON of swag, like buttons and all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping to have a Leigh Bardugo contest by the end of the month, so check back to see if you can grab yourself some of this swag, and who knows, maybe a signed copy of Shadow and Bone ;)

Book Swaaaaaaaag

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They also had a really cool photo booth set up as soon as you walk in where you could pile in with your friends, get some props and make some awesome faces.

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It was a seriously awesome time though. I had never been to a book release party so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it, but if book release parties are all like this, I want to go to more! There was all the free swag and the photo booth to begin with. There was an open bar that was serving this sparkling sweet wine and waiters and waitresses were going around, passing out little hors d’oeuvres, like mini burgers and mac n cheese and all sorts of yummy.

Leigh was mingling with the crowd, hanging out, looking like she was having a seriously fun time :) I ran into her once, and she totally remembered who I was, and knew who I was, which was pretty cool, I’m not going to lie. She is so funny, and she’s so down to earth too. I honestly really love that she is so available to her fans through social media. I’m friends with her on facebook and she nearly always replies to my tweets. She is SO available to her fans.

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And she’s so hilarious! For her presentation, she read some writing she did when she younger about the kind of abilities that she wished she could have. There were the usual, like flight and invisibility and being able to read people’s minds (though with an on/off switch haha, but the best one was the ability to write and publish a novel.

I’m not going to lie, I kind of teared up at that. Because the fact that when she was younger, she paired writing and publishing a novel with something impossible like being able to fly. But she did it, and she’s a fantastic writer, and so popular, and her book, Shadow and Bone, has been optioned to be a film. It really gives aspiring writers, like myself, a lot of hope. Writing and publishing a novel seems as impossible as becoming a Major League baseball pitcher, or a Grammy award winning musician. But its possible :)

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Sorry for the blurry pictures. It was all dark and funky lighting so it was SO hard to take good pictures.

Moving on though, Leigh also did a Q and A, which was fun because most of the questions, and all of the answers, were making people laugh. She also read a little excerpt from Siege and Storm, a scene between Alina and the Darkling, which was awesome, and which you see above. (And yes, that is Margaret Stohl holding her flashlight for Leigh to read).

There were so many authors there as well :) I saw Morgan Matson and Jessica Brody, both of who were SUPER excited to see us, and remembered us (Morgan told us we needed our own reality show, and Jessica said we were loud, but in a good way). Jennifer Bosworth was also there, as well as Melissa de la Cruz, Lissa Price, and Marie Lu. I’m sure there were more, but it was hard to tell. Its always fun to hang out with authors, especially when you look up to them so MUCH. Such a fun time :)

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Meeting Leigh again was REALLY cool, and she’s seriously a fun lady. Her remembering me was a nice little cherry on top to a super fun night, and I loved that she really took the time to talk to each and every person who came and take pictures with them, and sign their books and all of that. She really reached out to all of her fans, and it was awesome. She makes me laugh, and she wrote “I’m hilarious” in her books, when I had a word vomit moment and asked her to write something funny in my book, because I’m awkward like that.

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I’m having SUCH a blast lately, with all these author events, and making author friends, and getting to meet the people whose books are so amazing, and inspire me so much. Its been SUCH a blast.

I just started Siege and Storm today (I had to read The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen first, and I finished that in less than a day), and I’m already loving it, and I’m only 50 pages in. I hope, hope, hope, and should be done with it by tomorrow and I’ll have an AWESOME review for you guys!

I’m going to see her again (and Marie Lu, and a couple other cool people) on June 26th at the Grove in Los Angeles so I hope to get a pretty copy of Shadow and Bone signed for you guys! You guys love giveaways, don’t ya? I know you do! And then I can throw some of those buttons in there too!

Hope you enjoyed my recap of Leigh’s party!

And come back tomorrow for the Book of the Week, and keep an eye out for Sara’s Quick PicksEpisode Three, and an interview with the AMAZING Cinda Williams Chima!

Happy Reading!

Sara’s Quick Picks-Episode Two!

Hey guys, viagra 60mg welcome to the newest episode of my vlog, buy Sara’s Quick Picks! Now, more about if you read my blog, at all, you will notice that I talk a lot about books and that I do my weekly book review “Book of the Week”.

Well, the thing is, I read a LOT and I often times read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a week. But I can only choose one for Book of the Week obviously and its a really hard choice actually.

And some people ask, “well, why don’t you just do more book reviews?” Which, admittedly, I could do. But then I wouldn’t have time to do Blogger Spotlights, Tuesday Top Tens, Fandom Fridays, interviews and reports on all the cool events that I do.

So I came up with a compromise: a weekly (hopefully) video where I review other books that I read that week, a quick way to tell you all about the other books that I read.

So check out episode two, where I talk about Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson‘s The Runaway Queen from The Bane Chronicles and Leigh Bardugos Shadow and Bone!

Hope you enjoyed episode two!

You can purchase The Runaway Queen for any e-reader device!

You can purchase Shadow and Bone here!

Check out the band, Howlin Winds, featured in episode two HERE on Facebook!

And stay tuned next week for a new episode!

Book of the Week-Shatter Me

Today, check I’m posting two book reviews. First off will be the Book of the Week which is the post that you are reading right now. I will post later today the second episode of Sara’s Quick Picks. I have been reading like crazy and have been overloaded with so many books.

And the best part is, dosage I keep getting books recommended to me, which is amazing. Keep that coming. I love to hear what you all are reading. It keeps me all excited and happy to feel like I have a never ending “to-read” list.

And I am SO excited because I received my first ever ARC (advance reading copy). Since I’m a blogger, and I blog mostly about books, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some ARCs for awhile now, with some limited success. By limited success, I mean that I’ve gotten my name out there, sent my address to some publishers but that’s about it.

So I was so excited to receive, by surprise, an advanced copy of The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson today. I hope to read that VERY soon and have a review up. Just keep in mind that this book isn’t actually released until August 27th so maybe reading the review is a bad idea :)

But in the meantime, here is this week’s Book of the Week!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 

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Genre:
young adult, dystopian, romance, science fiction

Part of a Series:
Yes, it is followed by Unravel Me (published this year), and an untitled third book releasing in 2014. There is also an e-novella entitled Destroy Me available.

You May Like if You Liked:
Divergent by Veronica Roth and Legend by Marie Lu

Plot Summary: 

The world has changed. We abused the earth too much and she’s feeling the pain. The climate has changed, the animals are gone, food is nearly impossible to grow. There is a new boss in town, the Reestablishment, and the way of life as we know it is flipped upside down in this heavily regulated, militaristic world.

Juliette is the main character of this novel and you first meet her in her prison room. She hasn’t spoken to anyone in years, hasn’t touched anymore and her own comfort is a makeshift notebook and her one leaky pen in which she writes. She can’t touch anyone. Anyone she touches loses strength extremely quickly, experiences terrible pain and dies. Her touch equals death. Her parents despise and society practically mobs against her very existence. She is teased, bullied, ridiculed, told that she’s better off killing herself. She’s poked and prodded, sent to hospitals and put under a million tests. When it just seems like too much, her parents send her away, to an “establishment” (read: prison), wiping their hands clean of her.

Suddenly, after hundreds of days of solitude, Juliette gets a roommate in the form of a very handsome boy who doesn’t seem crazy in the slightest and is someone she recognizes from her past on the outside. His name is Adam and he wants to be her friend, even in the deep and dismal place that they both inhabit. But Juliette’s never had a friend before and has never been able to get close to anyone before, due to her deadly power, especially after the mistake she made, the secret she keeps. But there is more to Adam that she knows and soon she is recruited as a weapon, to use the power that binds her and frightens her.

The Bad:

It’s another young adult dystopian romance. I know, this is the kind of books that I generally tend to gravitate toward, along with fantasy and science fiction. But there is a lot of it out there, especially in this golden age of YA literature. I think this is something that could really hold Tahereh back. I know quite a few of my book buddies that are like “oh god, please no more dystopian” when I try to recommend them books. Not exactly a good sign for those hoping to get their dystopian novels out there, and noticed. People are getting tired of them. I’m not, really, but I will admit, I don’t go out of my way to find them. I usually read dystopian books when they are recommended to me by people whose opinion I trust.

I only took notice of “Shatter Me” because Tahereh was popping up everywhere. She was at the Festival of Books and she’s been Ransom Riggs (who, by the way, is an absolutely beautiful man), Marie Lu, Kami Garcia, Alyson Noel and Margaret Stohl. She’s been EVERYWHERE. I was basically like, who is this author anyway? So I bought Shatter Me. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise.

The Good: 

That all being said, I absolutely loved this book. I told myself that I would try and reach a goal of 200 books read this year and I am so behind because I am SO busy. I picked this book up and everything else flew out of my head. Finals? Pssh. Writing for the blog? Psssh. Life in general? Pssh. I read this book in about four or five hours because it was SO good. It was so impressively good. I hope more people are talking about this book than just me because I really enjoyed it. I had to know what happened next and she just released the sequel, Unravel Me, earlier this year which means its only out in hardback, which means its going to be fairly expensive. But you know what? I enjoyed the book so much that I caved in and bought the hardback yesterday.

I loved Juliette. Juliette is wary of all people, wary of the world, but she’s such a good person and still cares about the world. She has this power, this crazy, intense power that is frightening. All she has to do is simply touch someone to cause the pain, the suffering, the death. That is absolutely frightening and I’m sure incredibly difficult to understand. And Juliette didn’t have anyone there to help her, to explain, to do anything. Her parents immediately tried to fix her, and when that didn’t work, they gave on her. There was no affection, no love, no warmth. She hasn’t known anything but hate and despise and ignorance, wherever she goes. But despite that, she’s still an inherently good person. She doesn’t trust people, she doesn’t trust Adam, or Warner, the man who wants to use her as a weapon, she doesn’t trust most people, but she still doesn’t want to fight people, doesn’t want to kill people, no matter what they’ve done to her.

I also like the dynamic between Adam and Juliette, especially the relationship that starts building between them. Everything like this is new to Juliette, she literally has never had a relationship of any kind: not a parental, friendship, anything. She doesn’t know what its like to hold someone’s hand. She doesn’t know what its like to have someone smile at her, genuinely smile. She doesn’t know what a hug feels like, the warmth and happiness and comfort it can provide. So when she finds someone who is able to share that with her, its beautiful, and the way Mafi writes it is beautiful. She really creates the newness of the feelings and sensations so well. I’ve been in a relationship for five years, I’ve been in relationships before. I’ve been hugged my whole life from family and friends. I love the touch of affection and I can only imagine how it would feel, experiencing it for the first time.

I also like that the world that Tahereh creates. It is familiar to us, not only because it is a world not entirely different from our own but also because we’ve all read various different dystopian books before. We have a society that broke down, and had to be reestablished, and in being reestablished, a group of people come into power, and come up with militaristic ways, and heavy rules and regulations. This is not new to us. However, the way that they got us there is a lot different than I have seen before. So many of the dystopian novels are post-apocalyptic or after war, especially of the nuclear variety. Its a society that has emerged from the aftermath of war. In “Shatter Me”, its an entirely different source of trouble. The Reestablishment comes out of a global warming crisis, a breakdown of the actual planet, not the society and its structure. I really liked that. People don’t tend to explore that kind of thing and I really admired it.

Plus the whole  powers thing, it felt very X-Men to me. I mean, sure Juliette’s power is seriously deadly and easy to misunderstand be absolutely scared of, but I do think that a lot of it comes from just ignorance and the inability to accept and try to understand something that is new and foreign to them. But I like that we eventually see more acceptance, and its really awesome. Its interesting to watch Juliette’s progress through the book, and watching her as she deals with her power.

I also liked the actual way she formatted the book. I liked that we are so in Juliette’s head, so much that its almost like she’s writing the book herself. I like that some phrases and words are crossed out. We get to see what she’s really thinking, or what she really wants to say before we get the amended version. Its really hard to describe so I took a picture of a page toward the beginning of the book so you could see.

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I really get a kick out of this. We get all of Juliette, both her thoughts, her words, and her amended words. And you can also see her own self doubting in such a real, raw way. I really loved this technique.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not: 

Yes, definitely. It was an absolutely brilliant book and I seriously blew through it. It was a very fast paced and emotional book, lots of really deep and emotional turmoil and all of that. Plus the relationship between Juliette and Adam is really really fun and super juicy.

Now I’m off to go read Unravel Me, because I’m just dying to find out what happens next!

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Do you have a book that you would like me to review for Book of the Week? If so, please contact me for details!

And check out previous Book of the Week reviews here!

Sara’s Quick Picks-Episode One!

Hey everyone.

Welcome to the very first episode of “Sara’s Quick Picks”. Now, cheap if you read my blog, capsule at all, story you will notice that I talk a lot about books and that I do my weekly book review “Book of the Week”.

Well, the thing is, I read a LOT and I often times read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a week. But I can only choose one for Book of the Week obviously and its a really hard choice actually.

And some people ask, “well, why don’t you just do more book reviews?” Which, admittedly, I could do. But then I wouldn’t have time to do Blogger Spotlights, Tuesday Top Tens, Fandom Fridays, interviews and reports on all the cool events that I do.

So I came up with a compromise: a weekly (hopefully) video where I review other books that I read that week, a quick way to tell you all about the other books that I read.

So check out episode one!

and please be honest on what you think! Too boring, too long, too…I don’t know, let me know!

And stay tuned for episode Two next week!

Book of the Week-Throne of Glass

Hello everyone :) Welcome to this week’s Book of the Week. I have to tell you, I read three new books this week and it was kind of hard to narrow it down to just one to review for this week. I chose this one because it most fits what I usually review and its awesome but I’m thinking…

Should I maybe do a video blog occasionally? Maybe like, “Sara’s Quick Picks“, and I’ll profile the other books I read that week that don’t make it to the Book of the Week? It’d be like…quick reviews of the other books? What do you guys think? Let me know!

Anyway, I saw this book all over GoodReads and people were talking about it and Im like, I need to get on this train and I added it to my “to-read” list. Then I went shopping at Barnes and Noble last week to pick up some books to get signed at the Ontario Teen Book Fest and I saw this sitting on the shelf and was like “LOOK AT THAT COOL COVER!” and immediately grabbed it off the shelf.

And read in a couple days, as per usual. Its a very good book, but I’ll tell you all about it below :) Check out this week’s Book of the Week!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
The first book in the Throne of Glass series. The second, Crown of Midnight, will be released this summer!

You May Like if You Liked:
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling

Plot Summary:

Celaena was trained from the age of 8 to become an assassin, and she becomes the most feared assassin of them, until she is caught and sent to Endovier, to the salt mines, where most criminals do not survive very long with the hard labor. However, Celaena continues to survive until the Crown Prince of Erilea, Dorian, comes to fetch her. He has has a bargain for her: if she participates in a contest of sorts as his Champion, a competition where former criminals battle it out to become the King’s Champion, a coveted role. Dorian wants Calaena as his Champion, so that she can win, serve his father for four years and then earn her freedom. Celaena immediately agrees, though she doesn’t have much of a choice. She comes from a country that no longer exists, taken over by Dorian’s father, and has worked against him her whole life. But this means her freedom.

When she arrives, things don’t go the way she expects them to. She is gaining a lot of attention from both Dorian and the captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol. She’s forming a close friendship with a princess from a nearby land. And she’s having to hide her skills so as not to gain too much attention. But then weird things start happening. Marks called Wyrdmarks start appearing, in a kingdom that has absolutely forbidden magic, and Champions are turning up dead, in seriously gruesome ways. Celaena now has to worry about making it past all the Tests and not ending up dead like the other Champions…

The Bad:

The love triangle. I’m sorry. I mean that in the best way possible. But I am so tired of the love triangle. I am so insanely over it. Please make it go away. I understand it makes for a more interesting story, blah blah blah. I was so excited in Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Obsidian because there’s no love triangle. Not in the slightest. It was amazing. And I will say that the love triangle in this novel…its very, very subtle. Its not in your face, so there is that. I’ll also add that its subtle enough, on both sides, that you’re not really rooting for either one. At the end of the novel, I’m left going “OHMYGOD, who do I ship?” Haha. But this a very slight love triangle, and honestly, more of an annoyance than anything.

The Good:

Celaena is such a badass. She is up there with all the super badass heroines that we’ve been getting. At first she really reminded me of Katsa from Graceling. They both are kind of trained at a young age to become an assassin. I do think there is a difference between them. I love Katsa and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling but I did have some issues with Katsa; she’s very…unemotional and lacking of humanity sometimes. Sometimes its hard to relate to her. Celaena is trained as an assassin but has such a deep personality and human feelings and emotions. I love that she has a ton of humor and sarcasm. I love that she is this badass assassin with the power to kill people fairly easily and yet she loves to curl up with a book and enjoy a story. I love that she loves dogs and doesn’t want the grumpy runt of the pack to be killed.

I love the sort of repertoire she builds with the different characters in the novel. She spends the most time with Dorian, Chaol and the princess and she is Celaena with all of them, but she has a different relationship with each of them and while reading, I get eager to see what sort of interaction she will have with each character. She plays all these different parts and she doesn’t hold back. I think that’s what really attracts both Dorian and Chaol to Celaena. She is this beautiful fighter, talented warrior, gifted and brilliant and everyone knows who she is, has heard whispers of her. But I think once this famed assassin is given a name, a personality, a face…Dorian and Chaol are able to really see her as a person. And the princess, Nehemia, is really able to see what Celaena is like because she doesn’t know her true identity or her reason for being there.

I also really love the conflict that goes on within Celaena. She’s an assassin from a country that was brutally taken over by the king, and she’s spend much of her “career”, fighting and killing and working against him. And she is sent to the salt mines, where she isn’t fed well, and she’s fighting off would-be attackers and doing extreme hard labor. Of course this isn’t a place that she wants to be at. She’s given the chance of freedom, but at the cost of working for someone whom she despises. Its a very strange internal struggle for her, as she fights to win the King’s Champion position, knowing it’ll both mean her freedom, but preceded by four years of killing for a man that she definitely does not see as her king. I love that we don’t just get to see her physical fight, but we get to see her fight internally as well.

I loved the ending to this book as well, but as I’m trying to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible because before, I just spoiled things like crazy, I won’t say too much. I loved how everything was wrapped and yet completely not wrapped up at the same time. You had a conclusion, an ending but there are so many loose ends, especially toward the end when you start getting different points of view and you see sort of the inner workings of this kingdom and what could possibly go wrong. So it leaves you both happy and frustrated which is the mark of a good ending.

And it makes me absolutely can’t WAIT til August to read the sequel. Maas has created a very realistic, fantastical world. She said it started out as kind of a throwback to Cinderella but I think the story kind of had a mind of its own and took on its own life form. She builds a world as real as Tortall or Fellsmarch or Middle Earth. You believe its real and you believe all these characters are real and it sucks you into the story. I very much enjoyed this book.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. If you like fantasies with girls that kick ass, this is the book for you. Celaena is a badass character with the right emotions and personality for you to both love her and hate her, and follow her story eagerly. I literally inhaled this book because I just had to find out what happened next.

As always, the book title above will take you to the Amazon page and the author’s name will take you to their website.

Definitely check this book out!

Last little note: I hope she comes to California soon because I would adore meeting her!

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If you missed it yesterday, here is my interview with best selling author, Eoin Colfer!

And check back soon for my post all about the Star Trek Into Darkness red carpet premiere!