Sunday, October 26, 2014

[Review] Heir of Fire (#3) by Sarah J. Maas

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(#3, Throne of Glass)
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 11/09/2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 560
Source: Bought
Genre: YA (16+) - Fantasy

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity


Book Tunes
Evanescence - Bring Me To Life

My Rating: 

THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING!!!

My thoughts

Warning! Spoilers if you have not read Crown of Midnight!

This book. Man, this book was DEEP. Maas pulls so many powerful punches in Heir of Fire; without question, even more than she did in Crown of Midnight (and that's saying something because that book was flipping intense!). I feel so strongly about this book, and my thoughts are kind of all over the place, so I'm glad that I did write notes right after I finished reading it initially. I've since read another book in between to try and gather my thoughts, but still I don't know.

Heir of Fire is written in a few different perspectives where we follow various important characters: Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, Manon (heir of the Blackbeaks, of the Ironteeth clan), and a few others. It picks up directly after the events of Crown of Midnight, as far as I remember. Celaena has discovered that she is Aelin, the lost heir of Terrasen, and of Fae heritage; she can also summon fire. Prince Dorian has also unlocked magical powers of his own. Chaol is torn by these new discoveries.

First, let's talk about Celaena. I just felt so much for her... seriously, she just goes through hell and back, yet again. In Crown of Midnight you see more sides to her but in Heir of Fire ALL of her is exposed, all is revealed. Her past, her future... She goes through even more hell. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally and spiritually. Her journey is grueling and heart-rending and difficult--she has been taken away to Doranelle and the land of Queen Maeve of the Fae (sorry if these are incorrect, it's been a long time since I read it!) to harness and control her powers and eventually, become Queen. There's a lot of internal and external struggle throughout.


I could talk about Celaena forever, but let's move on to Rowan. Rowan! The chemistry and tension between him and Celaena... I LOVE Celaena x Chaol but there's something so beautiful about the relationship between these two. They start out similarly to CxC, but their ending is vastly different and their implications and expectations of one another and futures... Rowan is a dream; usually that bothers me but this time, I don't mind. He's something else. There's something so incredibly glorious and gorgeous about him, and he's got those rough edges, and it just works. I can't wait to learn even more about him and watch the development of their companionship unfurl even further. The Celaena and Chaol thing was one thing; this one is another thing entirely, on a completely different level.

As for Chaol, Dorian and the others we have met previously... The demons and challenges they were faced with from the ending of CoM continue and escalate in this book. Where they're left at the end of this one makes me impatient for the next book, but we must wait. :S I don't want to go into too many details, but I was glad that each character was given some focus, space and time to have further character development. Maas pays so much respect to her characters in that manner: her characters breathe life.


The relationship that develops between Dorian and the healer, Sorscha. It felt slightly forced or rushed, but it was incredibly beautiful and opened up another side of Dorian that I feel is going to be important for the next books. The fact that he can open up to and be with another woman means that he is finally okay with being just friends with Celaena. Maybe this will change in the future, but this is what is the case at the moment. Sorscha also becomes his driving force for action, meaning he will act and be even more motivated in the next book. (If you've read HoF you know what I mean!)

There is a major build-up for the next book. This book was epic and action-packed and well planned and brilliant. We learn more of Celaena's other self, and the other world and other people, other Fae. I feel like the people she has met in this other world will bear significance for the next novel. I hope that when we do finally get our hands on it that Maas will do a good job of re-introducing us to all of them. (Because my memory sucks and I forget names.)

One more thing that I need to address: I feel like the arc with the Ironteeth clan wasn't... complete. Or maybe I just wanted more connection with the "main story" because I felt like it was just taking away from the main story. Like when this part came up all I wanted to do was race through it so I could get back to Celaena, or Rowan or Aedion or Dorian or Chaol, etc. Manon is like a Blackbeak Celaena in a way, and it'll be interesting to see how they finally meet, because they WILL meet, it's just a matter of when and how. I loved the sort of How to Train Your Dragon feel to the story arc though (with Abraxos).

There is no question of whether or not you should buy this book. Yes, buy this book now! The Throne of Glass series is otherworldly; if you have enjoyed the previous books (or even tolerated them or thought they were just okay) then don't even hesitate. The previous books were good; this one is even better. Heir of Fire was rich in detail, character development, emotion, action, world building... this book just had everything and I was wonderstruck and glued to the pages from beginning to end. This book had me from the word, 'Gods'.


Quotes

First line: Gods, it was boiling in this useless excuse for a kingdom.

Favourites: 

"Each of the scars, the chipped teeth and broken claws, the mutilated tail--they weren't the markings of a victim. Oh, no. They were the trophies of a survivor. Abraxos was a warrior who'd had all the odds stacked against him and survived. Learned from it. Triumphed." (227)

"She tapped a foot, bobbing her head, eyes on the three smokeless fires and the silhouettes dancing around them. She did want to dance. Not from joy, but because she felt her fire and the music meld and pulse against her bones. The music was a tapestry woven of light and dark and colour, building delicate links in a chain that latched on to her heart and spread out into the world, binding her to it, connecting everything." (358)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.




Monday, September 29, 2014

[Review] The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 22/10/2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 370
Source: Publisher for review
Genre: YA (14+) - Dystopian

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
My Rating: 

Intense

My thoughts

Thank you so, so, so much Alesha @ Scholastic for sending me a review copy! I have been so excited to watch the movie (huge dystopian fan!), only that I hadn't yet read the book. (And I make it a general rule to read the book before the movie.) I went into this book feeling a bit hesitant and anxious to pick up and read other books that I NEEDED-TO-READ-RIGHT-NOW, but since this book was for review and kind of urgent (as I wanted to read it before watching the movie) I pushed forward. By about 50 pages in I was hooked. Dashner throws you into this freaky world where teenage boys have had to build a society in a place surrounded by the Maze. And he kept unleashing mystery after mystery, bringing about such an intense and fast-paced read that I couldn't stay away for long--for the past few days if I wasn't at work or busy socialising, my nose was stuck in this book.

The Maze Runner follows a teenage boy called Thomas, who doesn't know anything other than his name, who wakes up in a lift (known as the Box) that opens up and reveals to him the Glade, a society run by and operated by other teenage boys called Gladers. They are surrounded by the Maze, which is mapped and navigated by the Runners to try and find escape. They must return at sunset before the Door closes, otherwise they will get stung by deadly creatures called the Grivers. Quickly he learns that he may not be like all the others; shortly after his arrival, another Glader arrives—a girl. Never before have they had two new Greenies (newbies) in a month, much less a girl. "Everything is going to change." Thomas finds that this place is actually FAMILIAR, that maybe he's been here before. One thing that he knows above anything else is this: he MUST become a Runner.


This book was just so interesting. The Maze Runner is an exceptional first book in a series. I was so intrigued by everything that was happening within the society and became really invested in some of the characters and how they interacted with one another. In particular I really liked Minho, Newt (to an extent) and Chuck (but more for what he represents to Thomas). As with most dystopian YA fiction, I found the character development to be lacking but I feel like that can be excused. These people have NO memory of their past, and the ones who do—the ones who have gone through the Changing—are haunted by it. So I’ll just expect more in the next books where character development in concerned.


As for the main character, Thomas… I suppose my opinions about him are neutral. I thought he was a great protagonist and at times I felt like he was sort of a Harry Potter, famous (or infamous) for things that are out of his control and that which he cannot understand. He’s compassionate and shows real human emotions, loyal and courageous and modest and quite a relatable character. I think the characteristic that stuck with me most was that he just wanted to get out, no matter what was waiting for them outside, because nothing could be worse than the Glade and the Grievers and the Maze. He just wouldn’t give up.


The bond that he forms with Chuck was so bittersweet. I felt like Chuck himself was a boring character, however. What he represents, though, resonates deeply within me. Thomas promises Chuck that he will get him home to his parents. Chuck becomes a beacon of hope for Thomas; through everything Chuck doesn’t ever lose hope that the outside world will become paradise for the two of them and that they will find their loving, nurturing parents that they were taken away from. There are times when Thomas doesn’t believe that kind of world exists, but Chuck doesn’t give up hope and for that I loved him.


The girl Glader... I feel kind of neutral about her, but I think my opinion of her will become stronger and change when I continue the series. The interactions between her and Thomas were nice. I’m glad that their past is still left kind of vague and there are still mysteries to be solved in the next book. I really want to know how they can talk to each other like that and I just hope that Dashner does explain it somehow, eventually. I don’t think it’s something I can just accept and move on with!


The writing was decent. The vocabulary is relatively simple and suitable for younger audiences. Swear words are replaced by Glader slang. The world building and description was also pretty good. It wasn’t lush and in abundance but I was still able to imagine this world with ease; it was made very obvious in the writing that this world was unlike our own.


Above all, I’m extremely pumped to watch the movie now (though I’ve heard the book is better!). I will definitely be continuing the series in the future. I am so curious to learn more about this twisted world that Dashner has created. If you’re a fan of dystopia, I recommend you to read The Maze Runner. It is in no way perfect but it was an incredibly intense, entertaining and engrossing read!


Quotes

First line: He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.


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AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | The Nile | A&R | Bookworld

INTERNATIONAL: Book Depository




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.




Top Ten Tuesday (9): Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. I, however, will just pick and choose which ones I want to answer because I play by my own rules. #rebel


Top Ten Book Covers I Almost Put Down But Didn't

  1. Game On (#1) by Monica Seles
  2. Falling Kingdoms (#1) by Morgan Rhodes
  3. Cinnamon Rain by Emma Cameron
  4. Born Wicked (#1) by Jessica Spotswood
  5. Emerald by Karen Wallace
  6. Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia
  7. Wood Angel by Erin Bow *
  8. Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom
  9. Matched (#1) by Ally Condie
  10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
* I am extremely, extremely glad that I didn't put this book down because I would have missed out on one of my absolute favourite books ever! <3 It's a bit slow in the beginning, but it picks up and it's just beautiful.


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