Category Archives: non-stop action

Review {21} Throne of Glass

AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
SERIES: Throne of Glass #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord #0.1, The Assassin and the Desert #0.2, The Assassin and the Underworld #0.3, The Assassin and the Empire #0.4, Crown of Midnight #2 (Releases 8/27/13)
PUBLISHED: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
ACQUIRED: Own 
EDITION: Hardcover, 404 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Adventure, Mystery, Paranormal, First Book in Series, 5 Star Rating, Kick-Ass Heroine, Love Triangle, Suspense.
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.14/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she is bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigares, her search leads her to discover a greater desitny than she could possibly have imagined.
MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book from page one, and have given it the coveted Five Star rating… so you know not only did I absolutely LOVE it – but it’s also on my ‘Re-Read Shelf’ and my ‘Must Recommend to Everyone I Know Shelf’ as well!
I’ve only recently gotten into reading high fantasy, which if you follow my blog you’re probably well aware of. It’s also the disclaimer I usually start off any reviews for a fantasy novel with. An important part of a good fantasy novel for me, is the world-building. Maas has created an absolutely realistic, visual world that Celaena lives in and that the novel takes place in. She seamlessly weaves magic into the mix to create a world where it is forbidden to use. 
Too many factors bound up into one story can also create a sense of chaos, but Maas is able to combine themes of magic, fantasy, assassins, fairies, and duels into a story that is action-packed and completely unputdownable (even if that is technically not a word!)! 
I found myself thrilled at the mystery in who was killing the competitors, and was very happy to find it wasn’t predictable at all! Each turn of the page kept me guessing and guessing, and in the end I was quite happy with the way the story closed. It left enough loose ends while managing to also give enough closure to the first book in the series.
The characters in the book also make it a joy to lose a few hours within it’s pages. Celaena is one of the strongest, bravest heroines that I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. Celaena’s definitely met her match in Captain Chaol Westfall; who isn’t immune to fleeting moments of jealousies when Prince Dorian begins spending lots of time with Celaena. And a friendship is formed when Nehemia, the Princess of Eyllwe meets her and prefers Celaena’s honest company to that of the girls of the court – as in Lady Kaltain. 
There are many sub-stories interwoven into the plot, including Celaena learning that she is much more than she ever thought she was, or would be! I have a very big spot in my heart for fairies, so when it’s learned that the first Queen of Adarlan was of fairy descent, I was so excited, and hoping to find out even more in future books about Queen and her connection to Celaena.
SIMILAR READS: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke | The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | False Memory by Dan Krokos
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas lives in Southern California, and over the years she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much coffee, and watches absolutely rubbish TV shows. When she’s not busy writing YA fantasy novels, she can be found exploring the California coastline.
Happy Reading!
Laura

Review {18} Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
SERIES: Divergent #2 | Other Books in the Series: Divergent
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2012 by HarperTeen
ACQUIRED: Own
EDITION: Hardcover, 525 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, 2nd book in series, Dystopian, Romance, Betrayal, Non-Stop Action
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.30/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


“New York Times” bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian “Divergent” series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

*Contains Spoilers*

MY THOUGHTS: I cracked open Insurgent at midnight, saying that I’d only read one chapter. As expected, that wasn’t possible and I was immediately fully engrossed in the story. There is something about Roth’s writing that grabs me and doesn’t let me go. I think I would read anything that she writes because I love her style that much. She doesn’t give superficial thoughts and emotions from her characters. Several times in the book it is referenced that people have ‘layers’ to them. I completely agree, and with her writing she peels layer upon layer away, giving you an in depth, personal look into their minds, their lives, and their very essence. This gives us the ability to relate and understand the characters like I’ve never before experienced. It’s absolutely incredible and on a scale of 1-10 for writing, I would give Roth an 11!
While I still desperately adore Tris and Four, I really did not like their interactions and relationship in the second installment of the series. Let me clarify. Both characters go through intense emotional experiences in Insurgent. Tris is reeling from the death of her parents and dealing with the guilt of shooting Will. Four is still holding a grudge against his abusive father, and finding himself trusting his mother, whom he believed had abandoned him as a child. Four had told Tris that his mother was dead, and so begins the first in a line of lies and betrayals between the two. Both are harboring secrets, and half-truths are told, leaving each of them wary of the other. This eventually leads them to two different goals in the end; with Tris teaming up with Four’s father, Marcus, to help reveal the information that Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews was so desperate to keep hidden; and Four teaming up with his estranged mother, Evelyn, who has formed a union between the Factionless and the loyal Dauntless to storm Erudite headquarters, kill Jeanine, and form a new Factionless society, with her as the leader; unbeknownst to Tori, who’s hand kills Jeanine. I also feel that the resolution of their relationship at the end will not last. I believe that part of the first half of book three is still going to be dealing with Tris and Four figuring out exactly what they want from each other, what they will need to keep their relationship strong and continuing into the future, and they will need to figure out if they can put past hurts and betrayals behind them. If not, there may not be a Tris and Four in the future.
This book, to me, fit perfectly as a second novel in the series. It slams you with information and action from page one and never really gives you a break. There were nights where my eyes were literally half-closed, my body begging me to put the book down and go to sleep; but I couldn’t. I had to keep reading.
The ending leaves you with one ginormous cliff-hanger, and I believe that the final book will give us all the answers to questions that were left over from both Divergent and Insurgent. I think I figured out what was going on, after thinking, ‘wait a minute, why is there no “history” to the factions? It’s the characters we are reading about now, and their parents. That is as far back as the lineage goes”. After viewing the video that the Erudite were so desperate to keep hidden, more questions are left hanging in the balance, and leaves Tris wondering just what her part (and her family’s part) is in all of this. Luckily there is nothing more that she can keep hidden from Four at this point, since everything is public knowledge.
There is a lot more than just Tris and Four’s relationship that will need resolution in book three. We will need to see Four deal with his parents – either working with or against one or both (assuming he’ll team up with one of them, since they both have different views of the future of the factions) We will need to see all of the characters deal with the loss of loved ones – whether it be friends or family, because Roth takes no liberties in killing people off.
I believe that Roth has an incredibly talented and successful writing career ahead of her, and I am eagerly anticipating the release of book three next year. Overall, the series so far is absolutely mesmerizingly incredible!
[Book read 5/19-5/25/2012 and review originally posted at My Enchanted Bookshelf.]
Happy Reading!