Heir of Fire – Book Review

heir of fire

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 562 pages
Published: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

I realize that I never reviewed Crown of Midnight but my memory of the first two books had smushed them both together. I can’t remember what happened at what part, so I’m just going to have to move on to Heir of Fire. 

So…I’m like 90% sure I’m not reading the same series anymore. Throne of Glass feels like The Hunger Games and virtually any other YA fantasy/dystopian novel you pick up. Crown of Midnight is the same sort of thing…but this third installment is something totally different.

I’m not complaining either; this book actually had some really decent plot twists in it. It was interesting enough to keep my attention…but there was so much fluff and filler. Books like this are what make me glad I’m a skimmer, because it would have taken me weeks  to finish this otherwise. Between all the unnecessary scenes however, we do have a pretty good book.

Also, I must admit, the world-building for this series is outstanding. It is rare that I find myself enjoying and understanding a fantasy world as much as I do this one. The mythology and geography and history all just…make sense. I can actually follow what is going on, which makes a change.

Celaena/Aelin did tip into the Mary-Sue area for me in this book. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a badass and everything, just…I don’t particularly care about her anymore. Like, you’ve spent the whole book humming and ahhing over who you are, and I do appreciate that she’s having a rough time, but just get on with it.

I’m going to have to go against majority here: I still really, strongly dislike Rowan. I don’t care if he hadn’t been told about Celaena’s stint in Endovier, there is absolutely no reason and I mean none to tell someone that they mean nothing and would be better off dead. I despised him when he said that, and I still do now. I don’t particularly care if he feels bad and has changed – don’t say it.

Chaol and Dorian were fairly absent in this book, all things considered. I did enjoy that we got to meet Aedion through them – he’s becoming one of my favourite characters. The sheer loyalty he has towards Aelin is just…slightly ridiculous, but honourable all the same.

We also get to meet Manon, who has virtually nothing to do with the rest of them, but I don’t care because her chapters were AWESOME. (Does anyone else picture Abraxos like Toothless? I do.) She’s a welcome breath of air from Celaena, and I’m so hoping we get more of her in the next book.

The plot has developed, and I gotta say that the last fifty pages or so took my breath away. Damn, I need to get my hands on the next book.

Thoughts?

Holly xx

(You know who also needs to show up again? Nox.)

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The Death Cure – Film Review

death cure film review

(Image via pexels)

Title: The Death Cure
Director: Wes Ball
Writers: T.S. Nowlin (screenplay), James Dashner (novel)
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario
My Rating: 4/5 stars

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

The Maze Runner series, despite its flaws, is one of my favourite book trilogies. I remember watching the first film back in 2014, and having a huge poster on my wall; I reckon there will always be a special place in my heart for these characters, which is why I finally dragged myself to see the last film.

What can I even say.

If you’re looking for a faithful adaptation of the book, you can forget it. We departed from the storyline in The Scorch Trials, and this final installment doesn’t even try to stay close.

Instead, it takes off on a gloriously different direction, which is far, far better suited for the big screen. As far as story-telling goes, the movie has a more cohesive plot, even if it is fairly simple. Yes, some of it doesn’t make sense, but hey, it’s better than the stuff about harvesting-Thomas’s-brain that happened in the book.

The third trial that makes up the beginning of the final book is completely scrapped in favour of an action sequence. As far as openings go, I like it, even if I had forgotten who some of the characters were, and there isn’t a chance to catch your breath and figure it out until well after the title card. To anyone who hasn’t seen the previous two films – good luck.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) are all present and accounted for, amongst a bigger cast than expected. In particular, we are reintroduced to Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), who both give stellar performances. I haven’t seen a father-daughter type relationship quite as engaging in any dystopian YA film (or book, for that matter).

Important parts from the book (namely character deaths) are still there, as you’ll either be delighted or saddened to know. I’m a fan of the way Newt’s demise was handled, in comparison to the book, even if it was far more gut-wrenching. I’m also a fan of the letter at the end of the film. It was a nice touch of closure.

Speaking of closure, Teresa’s (Kaya Scodelario) storyline was finally sorted out. In the films, she is so much worse than the books (betrayal wise, of course), and she was redeemed at long last. The romantic subplot was unnecessary, but hey, even I felt a pang when the inevitable happened.

There’s also just enough humour to keep the film from spinning into Dreary Lane. I can’t lie, part of that is because I have a very dark sense of humour, and a bit of sarcasm is enough to put a smile on my face. Funnily enough, a stand-out for me comedy wise is Gally (Will Poulter), also known as that-guy-that-was-speared-in-film-one. It’s not laugh out loud hilarious – more subtle facial expressions and a couple of one-liners.

There’s plenty of swearing too, even if it is just “Shit!” repeated over and over again. Considering the hell they go through, I was expecting some more inventive curses. I guess we have to tone it down to meet the 12A rating. Sigh.
(That being said, we do get Thomas’s traditional one-fingered salute to Janson, after a stunt that would have killed the three protagonists had this not been a sci-fi-physics-don’t-apply film).

The cinematography is impressive, and there are plenty of action scenes and jump scares to keep you awake. What the film lacks in storyline, it more than makes up for with character relationships and sheer aesthetic.

Holly xx

For more information on the plot, see The Fever Code review

Throne of Glass – Book Review

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Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 404 pages
Published: August 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): “Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin.”

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

I figured I might as well hop on this bandwagon, since I’ve read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. My sister (and Pinterest) has been pestering me to read this one for well over a year now, and I’ve finally gotten round to it.

Guys, I think I may have found a new obsession.

Now, I can’t give this book five stars; it’s good, but the plot is nothing I haven’t read before. There’s a very Hunger Games ish vibe to it, and hey, I can’t complain. I love, love, love books with a competition theme to them – that being said, there were far too many Tests to keep up with. I get that they are all necessary for Celaena and the others to gain the title of Champion, but really?

Contrived plot aside, I found myself really enjoying the novel. I think that the stand out for Maas is her characters – you can’t help but find at least one to relate to.

Celaena, for example, is the epitome of ‘morally grey’. She’s Adarlan’s Assassin, for crying out loud; trained to kill from the age of eight. She’s witty, she’s badass; she’s like every other YA hero before her.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – after all, those heroines were popular for a reason. Every now and then though, she does teeter on the edge of ‘Mary-Sue’ (aka, suffers no consequences for anything and can do no wrong).

One quirk that I really really like is that she enjoys stereotypically feminine things whilst still being terrifying beyond all reason. Wearing pretty dresses and playing piano in her free time? Sign me up! She also braids her hair back and wears, y’know, decent clothing to fight, rather than the ridiculous ‘female’ armor that so many heroines seem to wear these days. *sigh*

There’s a hint of a love triangle in this book too – Dorian and Chaol are the two love interests, and I’ve gotta say, I am firmly on Team Chaol. (At this point, anyhow. I’m sure that’ll change with future books.)

Dorian for me seems…well, a bit of a wet blanket. I can’t really think of anything else to say, besides the fact that he likes reading as much as Celaena does. (For someone training to be an assassin for the past ten years, I’m unsure she would have had much time to read. However, I’ll let it go.) All I really get from his description is that he has bright blue eyes and is trying to avoid being bullied by his father.

Chaol seems overprotective, even if he does know that Celaena can take care of herself. I like him far more though; the Captain of the Guard really does look out for her and I like how their dynamic grows throughout the book. All we really get from Chaol at this point is that he has brown eyes and also has father issues.

I have to applaud how the love triangle is handled; both guys are honest with each other, and there’s not a load of sniping and possessive fights going on. I am so down for people actually being happy for each other, honestly.

We also have *drum-roll*…a female friendship!!! Celaena and Princess Nehemia hit it off, and I enjoyed their scenes together. Yes, it is unlikely that they would have been allowed to spend so much time together, but for a breath of fresh air that doesn’t reek of jealous court ladies or male posturing, I’ll take it.

There are a couple of minor characters that I’ve somehow become fond of, despite one of them being dead before the start of the book and one of them disappearing never to be heard from again. I can live in hope that at least one of them will return at some point, I guess. *shakes head at self* Why do I always fall for the ones that are absent?

World-building is pretty good too, the map at the front of the book helping enormously. It’s not quite as simple as the Courts in ACOTAR, but it’s easy enough to follow and understand after a few chapters. The lore and countries aren’t delved into in much depth, but since there are six more books, I’ll let it slide. The plot line for this book is more important than trying to explain what exactly happened to the fae and Otherworlds.

I’ve already finished reading the sequel, so I’ll try to post a review for that one at some point. Does anyone have thoughts on this series? How do you think it compares to ACOTAR?

Holly xx

Because You Love to Hate Me – Book Review

becauseyoulovetohateme

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon (In collaboration with 13 Booktubers)
Paperback: 339 pages
Published: July 24th 2017 by Bloomsbury Children’s
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Leave it to the heroes to save the world—villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” “Sherlock Holmes”, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage—and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

So in case you’ve skipped the summary, this is a collection of short stories rather than a full-length novel. I don’t tend to read many anthologies of stories, if I’m being honest. The last one was My True Love Gave to Me in…2015? Maybe?

It’s been a while.

The thing that dragged me in was the mention of villains.
I love villains.
As in, I-love-them-so-much-they’re-the-focus-of-my-media-coursework-research-essay.
I love them.

So imagine my absolute excitement at picking THIS up. (The excitement intensified tenfold when I actually recognized a couple of the author’s names). The format is interesting – we get the story, followed by the prompt given by the BookTuber to the author, followed by an essay by the BookTuber.

I’m just gonna jump in and do a mini-review on each one, so here goes!

The Blood of Imuriv
Renée Andieh
Rating: 2/5 stars
Prompt from Christine Riccio (PolandbananasBOOKS): The Grandson of an Evil, Matriarchal Dictator Who Tried to Rule over the Universe Wants to Follow in Her Footsteps and Accidentally Loses His Temper, Killing His Sibling in a Game of Chess

This was a fairly disappointing start to the anthology. I don’t know if it’s just that I didn’t get it. The worldbuilding was fairly good, given how short the story was. It just felt very two dimensional to me, and it was near impossible to connect with either character. Not my favourite contribution.

Jack
Ameriie
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Prompt from Tina Burke (The Lushables): “Jack and the Beanstalk” Meets Phalaris of Agrigento

This story was better than the first; it certainly held some level of shock factor for me. The protagonist was well-written, and I was stunned by the conclusion. Talk about unreliable narrator! It could be that Jack and the Beanstalk just doesn’t interest me – a decent story, but it doesn’t stand out as such.

Gwen and Art and Lance
Soman Chainani
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Prompt from Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes): A Modern Day Mash-Up of the King Arthur Legend and Persephone-Hades Myth

Okay, so I should probably start by admitting that Soman Chainani is one of my favourite authors. This story did not disappoint – the format is clever, and the plot line is good. My main issue was, with my tendency to skim read, that I missed which character was saying what. and had to re-read a few bits Aside from that, I did really enjoy this one.

Shirley and Jim
Susan Dennard
Rating: 5/5 stars
Prompt from Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia): A Young Moriarty

This was one of my favourite stories in the anthology. I’m not a huge fan of gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes, and to be honest, I think it may have worked better with a male Sherlock, but I just…really, really love teenage Moriarty. Villains with intellect are my favourite kind, even more so than the ones I can empathize with, so this story was right up my alley.

The Blessing of Little Wants
Sarah Enni
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Prompt from Sophia Lee (thebookbasement): A Dark Sorcerer’s Motives for Seeking Immortality or Omnipotence

I…don’t think I fully understood this one. I found myself having to go back and re-read the same passage to try and grasp what was actually going on. There was some shock factor, but if I’m being honest, I’d kinda figured out what was going on and it felt a little cliché.

The Sea Witch
Marissa Meyer
Rating: 4/5 stars
Prompt from Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe): What if the Sea Witch Had Previously Been in the Little Mermaid’s Shoes but Decided to Kill the Love Interest and Turn Back into a Mermaid Instead?

Yes. This was dark, it was passionate and it was full of betrayal. I could have read a whole book about this character, and a part of me kinda wants to know how many other mermaids she tricked after this story ends. This is another villain that you just understand. You can’t help but empathize with her.

Beautiful Venom
Cindy Pon
Rating: 5/5 stars
Prompt from Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes): Medusa. Go!

Another favourite. I’ve long viewed Medusa as a victim, as opposed to a villain, and this story illustrated her story so beautifully. It also draws attention to victim blaming, and it is horrific in the story; but it’s applicable to our own society. I also like the fact that the author put an Asian twist on the tale; diversity is important!

Death Knell
Victoria Schwab
Rating: 5/5 stars
Prompt from Jesse George (JessetheReader): Hades Wakes Up after Being Unconscious at the Bottom of a Well in Ireland

Okay so I lied.
This one is my favourite. The writing is lyrical, it’s seductive, it embraces you. It’s the first time whilst reading this anthology that I had to put it down and whisper “Damn.” because it was just so beautiful. Check out the anthology for this story alone. (Also, I have to add, I love that prompt so much.)

Marigold
Samantha Shannon
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Prompt from Regan Perusse (PeruseProject): Erl-Queen Retelling in Nineteenth Century London

This one deals with how women were (and still are) made submissive. I did almost feel sorry for the narrator – then we hit the end of the story. It’s fair to say I want to punch him more than any other character in this anthology.

You, You, It’s All About You
Adam Silvera
Rating: 5/5 stars
Prompt from Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl): A Female Teen Crime Lord Concealed by a Mask

Again, very much up my alley, the protagonist reminded me in a sense of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. It’s dark, it’s twisted, and it makes the stomach churn just a smidge. I have no idea whether I want to root for the protagonist, but the amorality is just fascinating. (Also there is a plot twist. The twistiest twist. It’s great.)

Julian Breaks Every Rule
Andrew Smith
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Prompt from Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07): A Psychopath in a Futuristic Setting

Originally I rated this at a 2 out of 5 stars, mostly because my only lasting memory of this story is an image that legitimately made me want to throw up. Then I re-read it and remembered – this is possibly one of the wittiest contributions to the anthology. The narrative voice is distinctive and the very last line of the story made me go “Daaaaamn.”

Indigo and Shade
April Genevieve Tucholke
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Prompt from Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels): Beauty and the Beast: Suitor’s Revenge

Holy hell. A Gaston POV that doesn’t make me want to punch him? Yes please! (Okay, so maybe I wanted to slap him just a little bit because he is so narcissistic, but to be fair, it actually put a smile on my face). The plot twist was a tad obvious and it was kinda clear where the story was headed…but I enjoyed it all the same.

Sera
Nicola Yoon
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Prompt from Steph Sinclair and Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery): Gender-Flipped God of War

I do not remember much of this story. Probably because I was skimming by this point. I like the change over of POV; the story wouldn’t be complete without it. Good story all-round, just not exactly memorable.

The essays after each story were interesting enough – my favourite was definitely “Dear Sasha, the 411 for Villains” by Sasha Alsberg. They do add to the stories, I’ll agree, although they’re not essential to enjoy each piece on its own.

A strong collection! More pieces that I liked than those I didn’t! Check it out! Tell me what you thought! Woot!

Holly xx

King’s Cage – Book Review

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Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Paperback: 507 pages
Published: 9th February 2017 by Orion Publishing
My Rating: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

So you’re probably quite shocked that I continued with this series, despite my intense dislike of book two.

As much as I hate to admit it, I kinda want to read War Storm. Somehow, this book has drawn me back into Aveyard’s world and reignited an interest in the series. Now I’m not gonna lie – I would not have read this had my friend not lent it to me. Glass Sword was underwhelming at best and I would happily have never gone back to it.

But I’m glad she handed me the book.

It is a vast improvement on book two and I feel as though the author took criticisms from it into account when writing this one; namely Mare and the writing style of fight scenes.

Mare develops in this book. Yes, she is irritating and no, she’s not one of my favourite characters, but she is tolerable. In this book she finally discovers the power of actually forming friendships and not secluding herself. She begins to stand back on her own two feet, more like the Mare at the beginning of Red Queen.

We also get a treat in that there are multiple narrators. There are chapters from Cameron and Evangeline’s points of view, both of whom I love.

The novel kind of splits into two halves; the half with Cameron’s points of view, and the half with Evangeline’s points of view. Or, the half where Mare is in Maven’s ‘cage’, and the half where she is back with the Scarlet Guard. The multiple narrators provide a window to where Mare isn’t and what’s going on on the other end.

Cameron, despite being impulsive and hot-headed, is likable (And she angsts a lot less than Mare, thank the lord). She has powers and a brother to save, even if she fixates on it more than anything else. As a character she grows throughout her chapters, growing up a lot and gaining control of herself.

Evangeline might just be my favourite character. She has her flaws, and is inherently selfish, but she is human. She has emotions and I caught myself sympathizing with her towards the end of the novel.

Aside from the three narrators, a lot of other characters evolved in this book, and I am hugely relieved that Farley has come back to herself. She faded a lot in book two, but she’s back to being the badass we know and love. (Even whilst heavily pregnant. God, I love this woman.)

We got more Maven in this book too. Far more than in Glass Sword. And I still prefer him to his royal highness Prince Tiberias Calore, despite the fact that he’s a twisted prat. I have a feeling that he’ll develop much further in the next book.

Cal…was slightly more tolerable. And I felt a smidge of chemistry between him and Mare. Alas, I still don’t like him.
Pity.

Predictably, a ton more characters were introduced in this book. I remember about five of them (the other lightning users stick out for me). The Silver houses just get muddled in my head so I tend to skip over them.

Away from characters and onto plot, however, as I seem to have gotten sidetracked. It dragged far less than book two and was more reminiscent of Red Queen, the book that was decent. I actually engaged with this one, and I have to say real quick – this has such potential as a TV show. Just sayin’.

Writing wise, the fight scenes were such an improvement. Far clearer than whatever that prison scene in the last book was. I was absolutely captivated by the final battle, as in, I could just SEE it. Perhaps a little disappointed that we didn’t see the end of it, but what we got was well-written.

Has anyone got any thoughts? Did you like this? Or not?

Holly xx

(On a personal note, I am in straight up denial over Shade. He’s gonna come back. I can feel it.)

Glass Sword – Book Review

glass sword cover

Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Paperback: 464 pages
Published: February 11th 2016 by Orion
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

*THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS. CONTINUE AT OWN RISK.*

What.
Happened.

The first book was so good? I know I gave it a fairly mediocre review, but it was actually somewhat riveting.

This here.
This book.

There was nothing. I am so incredibly bored of Mare. She’s bland. She monologues. She angsts. The amorality of her would be fascinating if she wasn’t so flipping dumb. The novel consists of her walking into trap after trap and I am so done with her INCESSANT WHINGING.

It doesn’t help that my favourite character got killed off. For good, too. Although, that’s perhaps for the best, considering the very slim amount of page time he was getting.
That can be said for a lot of the characters though – all are background to Mare’s Monologues. She’s so self-centered it’s a wonder she notices anyone around her at all.

Her “romance” with Cal? Forced, without a spark of emotion. She dedicates so much time to her contemplation of her own morality that he feels like an afterthought. The part that stunned me was when they started sharing a bedchamber every night, because there was literally no indication that there were feeling between them. At all.
Like.
What?
Honestly, there is still more chemistry between Mare and Maven, hell, even Mare and Kilorn would’ve been better. But Cal? As a character I feel nothing from him except his presence every time Mare remembers that he’s there. Even Shade and Farley, two minor characters, have better chemistry that Mare and Cal, and their relationship is mentioned far, far less.

But enough of relationships.
My main issue with the book – Shade.
Okay, I’ll admit, I’m biased. He’s my favourite character, has been since the beginning of book one. You know when you’re reading and you kinda just get drawn to one character?
He got literally no development.
Mare refers to him so many times as her favourite, most understanding brother, but they barely speak. I can count the amount of actual conversations they have on my fingers.
But, it was redeemable – there’s another two books, right?

Well.
Well.

We reached the point where I could have easily hurled the book across the library and knocked out some poor year seven.

Who remembers Dobby?
Or, more importantly:
Who remembers his death?

That’s basically the end that Shade got and I could have cried. It wasn’t even a shock. The page prior, I sat there and said aloud “He’s going to die”.
It’s a poorly disguised plot device that gives Mare yet another thing to angst over. She literally just got him back! Surely there are better ways to progress a plot than by killing an underdeveloped character?

Ranting aside, I understand that characters do have to die sometimes. And if the death is done well, I wouldn’t be so irritated.
Alas.
No.

The plot has veered from The Hunger Games mixed with The Selection right into X-Men territory. Midway through the book, a whole bunch of new characters with no development are suddenly introduced, and a few chapters later, a bunch are killed off. No connection to them at all. Perhaps fewer characters would work better?

My other issue is the way that the action scenes are written, although that might just be the way that I read. I have a tendency to skim scenes, and details blur together, especially in action sequences.
It was the prison fight in particular that I found myself having to go back and re-read, because there were so many random changes and people present that I just couldn’t keep track.

The thing is though; I think that this would translate REALLY well into film or TV. A TV show would work with the storyline; it gives more room for character development, for plot arcs. It’s something that I could see myself watching and enjoying.

Thoughts?

Holly xx

Red Queen – Book Review

redqueen

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Paperback: 388
Published: February 12th 2015 by Orion
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

*THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS ON CHARACTER DEATH AND PLOT – READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL*

Summary (from Goodreads): This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

(Fair warning, I am now reading Glass Sword, and my opinions have changed drastically – I’m trying to keep this review as close to my first impressions as I can!)

Despite the terrible reviews I’ve read, I actually really enjoyed this book.

It’s not original.
Not in the slightest.
But it was compulsive reading.

The front cover literally says “A combination of The Hunger Games, The Selection, Graceling and Divergent” and it’s not wrong. I’d say that The Selection and Graceling are the closest, with maybe a hint of The Winner’s Curse.

So  to begin, a checklist of tropes in YA fiction that I hate:
– Main character with special powers
– Love triangle
– Dystopia split into classes

There are others, but that is what sticks out for me. And the author somehow spun them all into something positive, a novel that I struggled to put down. The book did have an actual plot, despite the Mean Girls aspects of it. I say “plot” like there’s one; there are so many subplots that weave together, it’s impressive.

Due to these plots, there is a large cast of characters to keep track of too, and if I’ve got to be honest, some of them I just don’t care about.

By that I mean Cal.

Dear lord, was that the most forced romance I’ve ever read. My mind was mostly taken up with Maven, so I didn’t linger too much on Cal’s character. Mare either loved him or hated him, but I found myself just skipping pages about him. Not interested, y’know?

The book changes pace and tone when she falls into the court; I barely noticed at the time, but the beginning reads more like how I remember The Hunger Games – a girl and her best friend are in town, avoiding guards and pick-pocketing. There is some real chemistry between the two of them, and I loved it.

Then we pitch into The Selection territory, which is far shakier. I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong; the mood change is kind of expected. I just feel that the start betrays the end a little, because the pay off isn’t what I was expecting. Who knows.

One thing I absolutely LOVED was the sarcasm. It’s something that I can’t help. Just…give me a sarcastic narrator, or a sarcastic friend (or a sarcastic brother *squints at Shade*) and I’m yours.
Ugh.

*SPOILERS ABOUND. LAST CHANCE*

Okay, not even gonna lie, the thing that got me through this book was sheer denial that Shade was dead. That is what kept me reading. You know when you read something and go, “oh yeah, this one is my favourite”?
That’s what happened on reading his letter.

Dear family, I am still alive. Obviously.

*shakes head at self*
I’m a sucker for sarcasm.
That is all.

And now.
The other thing, the main thing that everyone screams about:
MAVEN.

What the actual heck was that?

I was rooting for this guy, all the way through. I was rooting for him over Cal, over Kilorn, over anyone else who could possibly be considered a love interest, and I was betrayed.

That’s right, dear readers.

Betrayed.

That is all. Again.

I would highly recommend checking the first book out, as it is interesting and fast paced enough to forgive its flaws.

The sequel however?
That…remains to be seen.

Thoughts?

Holly xx

P.s. Yes, I will probably be posting a rant about Glass Sword because…let’s face it, this is not going well
*scurries away*