Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

14061957Genre: 

Young Adult, sales  Fantasy

Pages: 

417

Part of a Series?:

The finale book in the Grisha Trilogy

Release Date: 

June 17th, stuff 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (Exclusive Edition)

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, diagnosis a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Review:

While this review will not contain any spoilers from Ruin and Rising, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. 

Dear Ms. Leigh Bardugo,

I have been waiting over a year for this book to come out. When I first read Shadow and Bone, I could not believe that such a book could even exist. It was a beautiful blend of fantasy, power, politics, romance and so much awesome. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Siege and Storm and that book blew my mind anymore.

When I headed out to your release event for Ruin and Rising, I had high hopes, dreams, expectations, apprehension, and so much more when I picked up my copy. I’ve read finale books in series recently that have been disappointing, have left me wanting more. I had high faith in you, Ms Bardugo. I believed that you could do this.

I got home, wanting to crack up the book right away but you threw such an awesome launch party that I immediately crawled up into my comfy bed and went to sleep. When I awoke the next month, I immediately reached for my book and spent the next few hours wrapped up in the world of Grisha and Ravka.

The first thing I thought of when I finished the novel was, wow. The second thing was…this is how you finish a trilogy or a series. This is exactly the kind of feeling that I want to be left with when I finish a series that means as much to me as this one does. I felt sad, and happy and bittersweet and overwhelmed but satisfied. I was so utterly and perfectly satisfied with the way that this series ended. It literally could not have gone any different than it went.

What you did right was this: you wrote the ending that we both wanted and didn’t. There were things that I wanted so badly and it happened and it made me happy. There were things that happened that I wanted to curse at, but felt right in the story. You knew how to make the right sacrifices, knew each direction that the characters were going in. Each ending felt right, perfect. Nothing felt forced. It seemed like the natural ending for each person. It made sense. I was happy for some, heartbroken for other but I was so satisfied.

Did I mention how incredible you are at writing fantasy? It blows my mind how you can create this beautiful, complicated world and make it feel so real and so addicting. Every moment in Ravka is important to me, and everything feels like its this whole different world. That’s the beauty of really great fantasy. You believe it. There’s nothing about it that feels fake or forced. Ravka is real and every character in this book is so real. I care so much about all of them. You’re an incredible writer. I could only hope to write like you one day. You are such an inspiration.

You can write action, you can write tension, you write beautiful romance, and you write politics and you write scary scenes and you do it all so well. All of these weave so well together into 400 pages of pure awesome.

Basically, thank you. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the entire series. It is incredible from the very first page to the very last page. All three books make so much sense together, flow perfectly, and tell a beautiful story. You left us with an epic cliffhanger in Siege and Storm and brought us in, answered our questions, wrapped up our story, and left this reader feeling incredibly satisfied. Its hard to let go of these characters but I’m anxious for anything and everything you write in the future because if they are even a fragment of what the Grisha Trilogy, and Ruin and Rising is, I know they are going to be epic.

Sincerely,

One Super Stoked and Happy Reader :)

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising Launch Party at The Last Bookstore!

I’m just going to start off by saying this: Leigh Bardugo and her friends really know how to throw a party. A launch party that is.

The first “real” launch party that I ever attended was Leigh’s last year for the middle book of the Grisha trilogy series, treat Siege and Storm. It was a total blast so when Leigh told me about her party back at the Festival of Books, ambulance I knew that this was something that I could not miss.

I met up with my friends Sylvia and Alex, and we ate some delicious pizza and Slurpees that were literally perfect for the moment. We then drove to pick up my friend Cassandra and made our way to The Last Bookstore.

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If you’ve never been to The Last Bookstore in LA before, its an incredible place to go. There are books everywhere, and rooms that are like mazes, and tunnels and really cool doors and its just beautiful. Its one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen. Leigh could not have picked a better place to launch her final novel in the Grisha trilogy.

There was lots of food to eat, and drinks too called “The Ruin” and “The Rising.” They were delicious, both the non-alcoholic ones and the ones with a kick ;)

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The decorations were SUPER awesome. The entire bookstore was transformed to celebrate the series, and I just wanted to take pictures of everything.

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The first pages of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising

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Leigh was introduced, in such a lovely way, and talked to us for a bit. She never fails to both make me laugh and inspire me. She read a bit from a diary that she had when she was about ten years old, and it was SO funny. Then she went through the basic plot line of Labyrinth. Yes, the David Bowie Labyrinth. It was, and has remained, a favorite movie of hers and she talks about why that is. We reach this pivotal moment of the film, where it goes from being a children’s movie to something a bit more, and she believes that it is YA. She talks passionately about YA, about reading it and writing it, and it was just plain beautiful. Leigh is incredibly inspiring.

She also read a very small bit of the beginning of Ruin and Rising, and then we all were dismissed for food, drinks and fun…oh and signing too.

My friends and I immediately departed for the photobooth. I had a TON of fun with it last year, and I was eager to get back into it again, with some of my most awesome friends :)

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I also had the guts to get into the booth by myself this time. I SO would not have done that a year ago!

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They also had a manicure station as well, but I’m a compulsive nail biter and I tend to stay away from that haha.

We finally decided to get in line to meet Leigh and it was a great time, as always. We talked a bit, and I told her I would see her in Vegas next week for the Fierce Reads stop and she signed my copy of Ruin and Rising. We also got lots of swag, which is always good. I love getting my hands on more bags, and bookmarks and pins.

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And I got my special launch party edition sticker too, which my Siege and Storm has, and was MUCH needed for my Ruin and Rising.

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As we were saying goodbye to everyone, and leaving the venue, there were two guys manning the front security desk. We had asked them early if there was a way to get our hands on the giant posters, the ones that I posted earlier, that had the first pages of each novel of Grisha trilogy. We were told that we couldn’t have them, because they were needed the next day at Leigh’s event down in San Diego. I know I was disappointed but it was okay. As we were leaving though, the two guys flagged us down and handed the posters over, making us SO incredibly happy. We ran back into the bookstore and made sure to get these posters signed by Leigh!

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All in all, it was a great night, full of a TON of fun, especially the book kind, which is my favorite :) It is always a blast hanging out with my friends and meet new ones, and to see Leigh Bardugo again. She’s brilliant, hilarious and inspiring.

I definitely can’t wait for more launch parties for Leigh in the future!

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Oh! I also got to talk to Leigh’s mom again, who remembered me from the last launch party, and a picture was totally necessary. I even put them back to back so you could see. What a sweetheart and so proud of her daughter. I love it!

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I have finished Ruin and Rising already so watch out for a review coming VERY VERY soon!

Happy Reading everyone!

Win an Autographed Copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo!

Hey guys! I’m here to announce the giveaway for the month of June/July!

This month, viagra dosage I’m partnering up with my fansite, The Grisha Army, to do a joint giveaway.

Tonight, I had an awesome time, heading down to the Grove in Los Angeles, to attend a panel that featured authors Leigh Bardugo and Marie Lu, Avatar: The Last Airbender creator, Michael DiMartino and Prison Break/Walking Dead writer, Seth Hoffman.

You can read more about the awesome experience here on The Grisha Army.

But on to the fun part!

I’m giving away TWO different prizes! The Grisha Army is a site I started to show my love and support for Leigh Bardugo and her Grisha Trilogy, Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and the upcoming, Ruin and Rising. Shadow and Bone has been optioned for a film, by Dreamworks with Harry Potter producer, David Heyman, at the helm.

Here are the prizes up for grabs!

Prize Option Number One 

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an autographed copy of Shadow and Bone!

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With this signed book, you’ll also receive a few Grisha buttons and a Siege and Storm bookmark!

Prize Option Number Two!

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an autographed First Army poster!

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The rules are easy!

First, its international, so anyone can enter!

Second, the giveaway is already started, and you have until July 5th to enter!

Thirdly, the contest winners will be contacted (after random pick) after the giveaway is ended. If they do not reply within 24 hours, I will randomly choose new winners.

Share, share, share and good luck!

Many, many chances to enter.

Click the link below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

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Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Cliffhangers

So I was hanging out with my girls yesterday, ed (that would be Tatiana, Sylvia and Paulina, my girls from iFandoms Collide) and of course, most of our conversations center around books. Books books books. I run a young adult book blog, as well as Sylvia, Tatiana runs a Mortal Instruments site and Paulina runs a Divergent site.

Anyway, we obviously were talking about all these books and how we absolutely cannot wait until the sequels or final books, like Allegiant and City of Heavenly Fire and books like that.

And its SO true. There are so many books out there that I just can’t wait for. I can’t wait for Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and House of Hades by Rick Riordan and Allegiant by Veronica Roth and Champion by Marie Lu, and SO so so so many more.

Because let’s face it, these authors? They know exactly how to torture us, how to leave us hanging, dying for the next book, counting down the days just to find out what happens next .

So this is the inspiration for this week’s Tuesday Top Ten: the top ten cliffhangers. These nine books (and one movie) leave us hanging, cursing the authors and lamenting over the fact that we have to wait days, months, years to find out what happens next.

So here it goes guys, my favorite cliffhangers…that both left me excited and pissed off. In good ways of course :)

I am going to warn you guys right now, I’m talking about cliffhangers. Which means if you haven’t read these books, it includes spoilers. Just deal with it. Haha. Skip the ones you haven’t read yet!

10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 

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Suzanne Collins is a brutal lady who is fully capable of breaking all of our hearts and she seriously did that with Catching Fire. Honestly, she is SO lucky that I picked up this series literally like a few days before Mockingjay came out. If I would have had to wait all that time like the original fans did…I’d probably die. What a ridiculous ending. Like HOW DARE YOU Suzanne Collins for ending Catching Fire with the words “District 12 is Gone!” Like, how could you do that? I knew that there were rumblings of a rebellion going on, but I honestly didn’t expect this plan that they had come up with to actually work, or to lead to what it did. One minute, they’re trying to eliminate opponents in the arena, the next thing you know, Katniss is basically blowing up the arena and being taken away. It was insane. All this action is suddenly happening and you don’t know what’s going on, and then it just ends. It ends with the line that District 12 is gone, Katniss’s home is gone. You don’t know if her mother or Prim or Madge or anyone is safe. You don’t know anything. It just ends. I swear, I almost threw the book across the room.

9. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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I like these books a lot. I think Jennifer Armentrout creates a really fun, sci-fi book, with a lot of epic sexiness in it too. But there’s a lot of awesome sci-fi in it. I think people might look at a cover like this and be deterred from it because it looks like a romance novel, but it is SO much more than that. That being said, in this book, there’s a lot built up to this moment where Katy, Daemon, and the rest break into a facility to get Beth back. And here’s the thing, you know its not going to go perfectly. What plan ever goes perfectly? I’ll tell you: none. Ever. Never. So I knew something was going to go down, and I knew I was getting close to the end so I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty epic ending. What I didn’t expect was for it to end with Daemon, safe, and Katy, stuck inside, facing the very people that she needs to stay very, very far away from. She’s stuck! She turns away from Daemon to face whats coming after them and then it just ends! How could you do that to me? I was like, NO WAY! And now I have to wait until August 27th to find out what happens next. Who knows what happened to Katy!

8. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson 

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I tend to throw my books across the room, either when I’m like “that book was TERRIBLE” or when a book makes you so mad but in a good way. That’s exactly what The Crown of Embers did…except I had to hold myself back because I was reading this book on my Kindle. Probably not a good idea to throw that. But damn, does Rae Carson create an amazing fantasy world and weave a great story. She’s talented writer, but oh was I SO angry when I read the end of this novel. There had been so much going on, Elisa was on this impossible quest to find something that she didn’t even really know exists, she nearly dies, escapes, and is finally going to head home and hopefully bring her kingdom back together…and then the love of her life, Hector, though he doesn’t know it yet, is taken from her. Yanked away from her and now she has to go and rescue him, before they hurt him or torture him or kill him. I was SO MAD. All I could think of was…no, Elisa has to bring her kingdom back together, and she needs to save her people, and there’s already been way too much drama for this book AND NOW YOU TOOK AWAY HECTOR! I was not pleased about having to wait until August 27th for that but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC so I know what happens :)

7. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 

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OHMYGOD Leigh Bardugo is AMAZING. I am so into her books and I only picked them up a month ago! But I am officially addicted. She gives us an intricate fantasy world with incredible characters and an addicting story. She has inspired me so much with her books, and her world that I just started a fansite for her trilogy called The Grisha Army, and you should totally check it out! Anyway, that being said, and taken care of, Siege and Storm came out one week ago today. And I am STILL reeling over what happened in this book. I’m not going to spoil too much on this one because it just came out and I really am pushing people to read this series, but what Leigh does to her main character, Alina, is incredible. The kind of power she gives her, the motivations, the situations. You don’t see that ending coming in the slightest and when it does, you’re left, jaw dropped, heart racing, hoping for more pages, and knowing that you aren’t going to get any more. Rune and Rising, the third book, has no cover, no release date, nothing, of course, since Siege and Storm came out just last week. But I don’t know if I’ll make it, I need to know what happens with Alina and Mal and the Darkling and Sturmhond and all of them.

6. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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Oh Veronica Roth, you sneaky talented lady you know. Actually I can’t call you lady because that’s weird; you’re six months younger than me haha. But oh how dare you! The thing you have to understand about the Divergent series is that I purchased the first book on my Kindle and stayed up until about…I think one a.m.-ish to read it. Insurgent had just come out THAT day and so I immediately downloaded Insurgent and read it in about 3 or 4 hours. I distinctly remember the sun coming up as I finished that book. And I couldn’t even believe it. I was exhausted and uncomfortable and my eyes were burning and I was like…you did NOT just do this. You did not just end it that way, Veronica Roth. How dare you? And like I said, I read this book the day it came out, which is May 1st, 2012. The release date for Allegiant is October 27th. I’ve been waiting FOREVER it seems like to find out what is going to happen next. The very last line of the book is “Then the shouting begins.” SERIOUSLY? I can’t even handle it. I need to know what is going on…and I’ll have waited a year and half by the time I know.

5. Prodigy by Marie Lu 

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This has major spoilers. Don’t read this if you’ve never read Prodigy before. Seriously.

Marie Lu, you are an absolute genius. In a world where we are constantly getting new young adult dystopian series, you are an author that stands out amongst them all and I truly believe this. I know so many people who are over the whole dystopian books thing but this is one series I will pressure you to try, even if you’re over it. Its totally worth it. Its an absolutely amazing, one-of-a-kind series :) But this book…it almost feels like it would be the last book of the series, in a way. A lot of things happen to make it seem like a conclusion but then it completely 180s on you! Sure, there’s a leader but its a shaky leader and a shaky government and a government that is NOT supported by outside governments. And yay, maybe June and Day can finally get to be together but June is offered a position that would keep her away from Day, permanently and she doesn’t want to do that but then Day tells her to do it, and you learn that he does it because he is DYING. Day, the MAIN CHARACTER OF THE NOVEL BESIDES JUNE, is dying. How…how…how…NO! There’s NO way this is happening right now. Luckily enough, Prodigy came out in January of this year, and we only have to wait until November, not even a full year. Because I NEED to find out what happens next. You can’t kill a main character, you just can’t!

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare 

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This is one of my favorite cliffhangers mostly because its absolutely hilarious. Seriously if you have not read these books yet, do not read this. Because it will kill the entire book series for you. You’re brought into the world of Shadowhunters, by Clary, a normal sixteen year old girl whose mom is kidnapped and she then finds out she’s a Shadowhunter and she meets super hot Jace Wayland and they’re trying to find a way to get her mom back and they learn she was once married to an evil guy named Valentine and he kidnapped her. All this fun, awesome, dramatic stuff is going on. And just when you think, there’s going to be this battle scene and things are going to mostly work out, and then you learn that Jace’s father is Valentine, and that Clary’s father is Valentine and that they’re brother and sister…and they’re falling in love. And you’re like…no, no way. No way is this happening right now. How, what, but, he’s and she’s and they…what?! I went out and bought City of Ashes the next morning, basically as soon as the bookstore opened because I was like…this can’t be right, this is NOT right. What a great way to get people to continue to read your books, Cassie, seriously.

3. Empire Strikes Back-Star Wars by George Lucas 

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The one movie on the list. I was trying to keep it all books but…I had to put it on there because it is one of the BEST cliffhangers of ALL time. The only reason its number 3 and not number 1 is because this movie and the following movie, both came up before I was even born so it wasn’t a huge cliffhanger for me, personally. I watched this movie for the first time when I was about five years old so it probably didn’t have the same impact on me as it would have if I had seen it for the first time, in theaters, at an older age. But its an amazing cliffhanger. Literally everything has gone to CRAP! Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and taken away to Jabba’s palace. The rebellion is feeling less than spectacular. Yoda and Obi Wan are hinting that there is “another” that could save the galaxy from the Empire and the Sith influence. And Luke! Luke has just found out that the person he must take down, the person he has to face and get rid of….is his FATHER! What an amazing moment in movie history. George Lucas kept this a secret from pretty much EVERYONE, and it was the most shocking moment, and the best cliffhanger. I’ve never felt more defeated at the end of a movie, ever. I don’t know how people waited to find out what happened next, I don’t think I could have handled that.

2. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

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This book. This book KILLED me. There were so many feels, yanking you in about a hundred different directions. The biggest thing that I just loved about this book is that we finally get the whole gang, both old characters and new characters of the Heroes of Olympus all together in one book. Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, Frank, Percy, Annabeth, they’re all together now. And Percy and Annabeth are finally back together and they’re so cute and in love and I’m shipping them so hard, and then they get separated because Annabeth has to go on her own little separate quest for the Mark of Athena. But then they end up back together, he comes for her and you think, everything is going to be okay! We’re all going to get this statue out of this big ol’ hole in the ground and we’re going to restore peace between the Romans and the Greeks and we’re going to save the world! Yeah, of course, that wouldn’t be the way it happened. Percy and Annabeth get themselves into an impossible situation and they literally FALL INTO TARTARUS! They fall into the inescapable part of the Underworld…and then the book ends. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. I thought for sure it was a joke. I kept turning the pages, hoping there was more. I am seriously counting down the days for The House of Hades this fall. I need my Percabeth back!

1. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

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Of course this is number one. This isn’t so much as a single cliffhanger; its more of a….how dare you leave us with such a defeated feeling and now we have to wait for the last book? The Half Blood Prince was released in July of 2006 and we didn’t get Deathly Hallows until July of 2007. A whole year of utter pain and agony, waiting to find out what happened next. And J.K. Rowling is amazing; she doesn’t reveal ANYTHING. No spoilers, no snippets, no sneak peeks. She just releases the title and the title doesn’t tell us anything. Half Blood Prince ends Dumbledore’s death, Hogwarts torn apart, the revelation that Snape is still a Death Eater (I mean, as far as we know) and just KILLED Dumbledore, and that Harry has to find these Horcruxes, which can be anywhere in the entire world, and its just…its like Empire Strikes Back all over again. You just feel so defeated. Dumbledore is dead, and he’s the head of the Order of the Phoenix…and the Horcrux they just went to go and find is a fake, and Snape…Snape is a BAD guy and everyone is just so sad and Harry just broke up with Ginny, and its just sad, sad, sad feelings all around. But its also excited and anxious feelings too because Harry isn’t coming back, and he’s going to go hunting for these Horcruxes and he’s going to go hunting for Snape and Voldemort and its just SO EPIC.

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So I hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten, and I hope I didn’t ruin too many books for you, because I would NEVER want to do that.

And don’t forget to check out some previous Top Ten Tuesdays!

If you guys have any ideas for some Top Ten lists, please contact me :) I am running out of ideas!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE CLIFFHANGERS? AS ALWAYS, SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!

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!