BOOK REVIEW: Empire Of Storms – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Empire Of Storms
(Throne Of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 6th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Finished reading: October 7th 2016
Pages: 704
Rating 3qqq

“The fear of loss . . . it can destroy you as much as the loss itself.”

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WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead. Those who follow my blog will probably already know that I really enjoyed the first four books of the Throne Of Glass series in the past. The first book had it flaws, but the other three definitely made up for those little things that bothered me. And then I read Empire Of Storms, and I’m not sure what to think about this series anymore. I kept asking myself what on earth happened to the awesomeness I had grown used to… Because this fifth book has turned out to be a mayor disappointment. The story is overlong and most characters are basically a bunch of horny teenagers that want to sleep with each other all the time. What’s with all the romance?!?! It’s almost like Empire Of Storms is written by a different person, because the change is pretty drastic. I used to love Aelin and Manon as a character, but especially Aelin has lost my respect with all the blah romance scenes and Manon was absent for way too long. Sure, there are some pretty mindblowing action scenes and the general plot is interesting enough, but I felt like it missed the spark of the previous books. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that book 6 will be a huge improvement and that it will make up for Empire Of Storms; less romance and more epic battles and magic please! It’s going to be a long wait though, especially after that cliffhanger ending… Sigh.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first four books yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius… The kingdoms of Erilea are fracturing around her and enemies will have to become allies if Aelin is to protect those she loves from the dark forces that want to claim her world. War is looming everywhere and the only chance for survival lies in a desperate quest that might just destory it all. Will Aelin and her friends be able to find a way to stop the dark power on time?

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I’m not lying: I was expecting another mindblowing sequel when I picked up my copy of Empire Of Storms. Instead, I was faced with an overlong and romance-infested story that just didn’t meet the high standard of the previous sequels. The many many cliche romance scenes made me want to vomit and were basically a huge distraction from the otherwise quite interesting plot. I don’t mind long descriptions (especially since Sarah J. Maas always has excellent prose), but I kept having the feeling the story could have been a lot shorter. I will definitely still read the book 6 when it comes out next year, but I will be keeping my expectations low just to be safe…

BOOK REVIEW: Queen Of Shadows – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Queen Of Shadows
(Throne Of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 1st 2015
Finished reading: September 18th 2015
Pages: 648
Rating 4,5qqq

“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”

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It seems like everybody was reading Queen Of Shadows last month! So many posts about the latest installment of the Throne Of Glass series appeared during September that I was afraid to even look at my WordPress feed because of possible spoilers… The only solution being giving in and reading this Sarah J. Maas novel ASAP. Which is just what I did! I started reading it almost as soon as I got my copy, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Queen Of Shadows is full of action, magical and just as good as the previous sequels… I had some minor problems with some of the things that happened and the Blackbeak chapters weren’t my favorite, but all in all this fourth book proved to me this series still belongs to my list of favorite YA fantasy reads. The prose is as good as ever and both the fast pace and the plot twists made me almost angry every time I was forced to stop reading. Some of the romantical love ‘geometry‘ was a bit annoying and I was sad to let the Celaena character go, but I was more than satisfied by it anyway. A mayor bonus: the story doesn’t end with a noticeable cliffhanger, making the wait for the fifth book a whole lot less painful!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first three books yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Everything Celeana loves has been taken from her, but now she is back in the King’s empire to seek revenge. She wants to rescue her kingdom and save magic, but before she can reclaim her throne in Terrasen she will have to fight and embrace her identity as Aelin Galathynius. Her warrior cousin is currently being held prisoner by the King and Prince Dorian is under his influence as well. Her people are suffering because of the actions of the brutal King and she wants to free them as well… But things aren’t going to be easy, since her powers are not working in the country she has to confront her enemies.

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While I had some problems with the first book, I have loved all three sequels so far. Queen Of Shadows is just as good as the second and third book and while I did have some small problems with it, I wasn’t disappointed at all. The Blackbeak storyline still wasn’t my favorite, but it was better developed than in the previous book. I also think I prefer Celaena over Aelin as a character… But I like the fact that magic is playing an increasing role in the story. I won’t say much more because of spoilers, but what I can say is that I was more than satisfied and I will be waiting (im)patiently for the still untitled fifth book.

BOOK REVIEW: The Assassin’s Blade – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: The Assassin’s Blade
(Throne Of Glass #0.1-0.5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: March 4th 2014 
Finished reading: June 14th 2015
Pages: 448
Rating 4

“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”

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I loved reading the first three books in the Throne Of Glass series (especially the second and third book), but I’ve always wanted to learn more about Celaena’s previous partner Sam. And with the fourth book recently coming out in September, I thought reading The Assassin’s Blade was the perfect excuse to dive back into Celaena’s world. As always, Sarah J. Maas delivers. I love her writing style and even though The Assassin’s Blade is actually a collection of five novellas, I still enjoyed reading each single one. It’s nice to learn a little more about Celaena’s life before Throne Of Glass and how she ended up in Endovier in the first place. Learning more about Sam is a huge bonus; I think I actually like him better than Chaol or Dorian. Out of the five novellas, I think the third one set in the desert is my favorite, but I enjoyed all of them. The Assassin’s Blade is definitely recommended if you enjoyed reading the Throne Of Glass series and want to learn more about Celaena’s past!

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Celaena Sardothien is still a teenager, but not one to be underestimated. She is Adarlan’s most feared assassin and dangerous to those who try to undermine her. Celaena has to answer to her master Arobynn, but that doesn’t stop her from doing what she thinks is right. She only trusts her fellow assassin Sam… And together they have to face various complicated missions. When she finds out a pirate lord smuggles slaves she is determined to set them free, but not without consequences. She is punished and sent far away to the desert to train with the Silent Assassin’s, and soon she wonders if she will ever be truly free. And what happened to Sam?

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The Assassin’s Blade contains five entertaining novellas that will give you a better insight of Celaena’s past. Some are better than others, but each story is worth reading and the last will probably leave you in tears. If you enjoyed the Throne Of Glass series and want to learn more about the world Sarah J. Maas created, you will most likely enjoy reading The Assassin’s Blade. I do think it’s better to read at least the first book before reading the novellas, so it’s easier to understand what is happening during the stories. But I guess they could be read separately as well.

BOOK REVIEW: Heir Of Fire – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Heir Of Fire
(Throne Of Glass #3)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 2nd 2014
Finished reading: March 15th 2015
Pages: 562
Rating 4,5

“You do not have the right to wish she were not what she is. The only thing you have a right to do is decide whether you are her enemy or her friend.”

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Birthday review! 😀 When I finished the second book in the Throne Of Glass series, I just HAD to pick up the third book straight away. And now I’ve read it, I can say that Heir Of Fire is just as good as Crown Of Midnight, although the pace is a bit slower at some points. Sarah J. Maas introduces various new characters in the third book, and especially the subplot with the witch Manon Blackbeak was really entertaining. I quickly became a Manon fan even though she is belongs to the bad guys… Hopefully there will be more of her in the still unpublished Queen Of Shadows! The other important new character is Rowan Whitethorn; a character a lot of people seem to love and I can understand why. Fae, full of tattoos and a fierce warrior… Definitely an interesting character, although he does get a bit annoying at times. We see a lot of the new characters and less of the old ones as Celaena has to face new challenges. Heir Of Fire and the rest of the series are definitely recommended if you like the YA Fantasy genre!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read Throne Of Glass and/or Crown Of Midnight yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Celaena is heartbroken after what happened to her best friend, and the only thought in her mind is revenge. She wants the King of Adarlan to pay for what he did, but that is not as easy as it sounds without hurting the ones she cares about…  Chaol sacrificed his future to have Celaena sent away on a mission to protect her, but Wendlyn has other things in store for Celaena as well. Soon she meets Rowan and has to face yet another challenge to finally get what she wants. This one being more difficult than ever, as she has to learn and embrace her own true destiny… And meanwhile the King is still continuing with his evil plans. Will Celaena be able to face her challenges on time and rescue everybody she cares about?

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This third book is called the Heir Of Fire for a reason, and when you read it you instantly understand why. New facts about Celaena’s past and inheritance are revealed that change everything. She now has to face new challenges, and together with the new characters they form an interesting, although slightly different read than the sequel. Heir Of Fire is more about discovering once’s true destiny and learning to control emotions than pure battle scenes (although there are a few of those as well), and that’s mostly why this is a worthy sequel of the Throne Of Glass series. I can’t wait for the fourth book Queen Of Shadows to be published! Supposedly this September; hopefully the publish date won’t be posponed!

BOOK REVIEW: Crown Of Midnight – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Crown Of Midnight
(Throne Of Glass #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: August 27th 2013
Finished reading: March 10th 2015
Pages: 448
Rating 4,5

“Why are you crying?”
“Because,” she whispered, her voice shaking, “you remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.”

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I read Throne Of Glass quite a few months ago and somehow I never came around continuing the series. The funny part is that a copy of book number two and three have been collecting dust on my TBR shelf for quite some time now… I guess that in a way I was afraid that the love triangle I didn’t particularly like in book one would become even more important in the sequels. Plus, sequels in other YA Fantasy series have let me down lately, so that could have held me back as well. I’m glad I finally did decide to start reading Crown Of Midnight, because I enjoyed the sequel way better than the first book. Sarah J. Maas was able to introduce a lot of new information about the past and Celaena has new difficult tasks to deal with. Not to mention the surprises the author has in store for her readers! I won’t be going into details to avoid spoilers, but Crown Of Midnight was good enough for me to pick up the third book straight away even though I had planned to read another book next. Definitely recommended for YA Fantasy fans who like a strong female heroine who seriously kicks ass!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read Throne Of Glass yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Celaena is now officially the King’s Champion and has to do as he wishes in order to free herself, but the King is planning something evil and Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. Since he has treatened to kill the people close to her if she doesn’t do as he asks, Celaena has to hide the fact that she isn’t actually killing the men the King has ordered dead… And that secret becomes increasingly harder to hide from her best friend and foreign princess Nehemia and above all from the Captain of the Guard Chaol as their relationship grows more intense. Celaena isn’t the only one with secrets though, and those secrets have terrible consequences… Soon the King’s Champion doesn’t know who to trust anymore and she starts planning revenge. Is there really a rebel organization that is planning to fight against the King, and what is their role in the recent terrible events? And what about the Wyrd marks and secret passages showing up everywhere?

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Crown Of Midnight is one of those sequels that is actually better than the first book. Less romance, more action and intriguing new facts about the main characters and the world they live in… Things are about to get a lot more complicated, and Sarah J. Maas takes us on a very interesting ride. The pace is fast and the prose easy to read… Making this novel hard to put down before it’s finished. Not all characters are to my liking, but Celaena seriously kicks ass and her past is definitely interesting. This series is without doubt recommended for those who like YA Fantasy and a strong female main character! I myself couldn’t stop reading Crown Of Midnight and started the next book Heir Of Fire right after finishing this one. That says enough right?

Top Ten Tuesday #7 – September 16th: Top Authors I NEED To Read More

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The Broke And The Bookish presents us every week a new top ten with a different theme. And this Tuesday’s theme is the Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED To Read More. There are quite a few authors I would like to read more books of… Some are authors of series I need to continue. Of others I’ve enjoyed my first experience with their work and would like to read more. They are listed below in no particular order:

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  • Leigh Bardugo: I´ve read Shadow And Bone of the The Grisha series and absolutely loved it. I really need to start reading the other two books soon… (I actually own a copy of Siege And Storm, but it is in Spanish and I prefer trying to get the English version first before I start reading… I prefer reading books in the original language they were written in.)
  • James Dashner: I’ve read The Maze Runner, and even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have thought before reading, I still want to read the first of the series. Plus, I already own a copy of book number two and three, so there is no holding back… Except for the fact that my copy of The Scorch Trials is in Spanish, and I prefer reading it in English as I explained above.
  • Sarah J. Maas: I’ve read Throne Of Glass en I enjoyed it. Since the last book just came out, I really need to read book number two and three soon… I have Crown Of Midnight already, but it is in Spanish… (This is getting repititive, I know.)

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  • Patrick Rothfuss: I’ve read and loved The Name Of The Wind, and now I want to get my hands on book number two as soon as possible… Although the wait for Rothfuss to finish the third book will probably become unbearable.
  • Ian McEwan: I’ve heard many great things about this author, but I’ve only read Atonement so far. I really need to buy more of his books (like Saturday and Sweet Tooth) soon…
  • Rainbow Rowell: I’ve finally read Eleanor & Park not so long ago, and I really have to check out more of her work! Landline, Fangirl, Attachments… They all sound interesting.

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  • Jonathan Safran Foer: I’ve read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and liked his writing style… I’m looking forward to read more of his work. (Like Everything Is Illuminated.)
  • Jeannette Walls: I´ve read The Glass Castle and was truly impressed by it. Now I would like to read Half Broke Horses and The Silver Star to continue reading about Jeannette and her family…
  • Lee Childs: I’ve read Killing Floor and even though it’s a bit too Rambo/Die Hard for me, I would like to see how the main character develops.
  • Ismael Beah: I’ve read A Long Way Gone some time ago and it is really an impressive memoir… I would like to read Radiance Of Tomorrow as well.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Throne Of Glass – by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Throne Of Glass
(Throne Of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Paranormal
First published: August 2nd 2012
Finished reading: August 19th 2014
Pages: 406
Rating 4

“Something wild and foreign issued a cry within her, shattering through the pain in her head, and thoughts of poppies and cages faded away.
She must do what was necessary to save the crown – and her future.”

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This book has been mentioned quite a lot lately, and after some false starts, I finally came around reading this one during the Bout Of Books read-a-thon. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the main character Celaena wasn’t just the typical girl heroine. Although the ‘flirting’ with Prince Dorian was a bit annoying (why do the girls always have to fall for the prince?), in general she was definitely a cold and kick-ass assassin. She is focused on her goal to reach freedom and it’s hard to distract her from reaching it… Although dark powers might be involved that are working against her. I enjoyed the overall storyline and characters, but there were some parts that bothered me and were on the edge of cliche. I already mentioned the part of the beautiful ‘low-born’ girl falling for the prince; and what about naming the bad guy Cain? Only Abel was missing for the full Bible reference. Those and other little annoyances made me give Throne Of Glass only four stars, which still means you should read it if you have the chance.

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At eighteen, Celaena is probably the youngest assassin around, and the best at her job. Unfortunately she got caught last year and was sent to the mines of Endovier… A place where rebels are enslaved and are forced to work to death. Against all odds Celaena survives a full year, and one day Prince Dorian comes to visit her with a proposition. If she wins a tournament held among thieves and assassins and afterwards accepts being the King’s personal assassin for a few years, she will win her freedom back. Celaena sees there is no other way out of Endovier, and even though accepting the job goes against everything she believes in, she still agrees with the conditions of her freedom. Dorian takes her back to the glass castle and his father, where the preparations for the tournament already are taking place.

Celaena is given a different name so others don’t know she is actually the most famous assassin of the bunch, and is left under the care of Captain Chaol. Her year in Endovier has weakened her, but with the help of Chaol she is able to train and get back into shape. Soon the tournament starts, and the competition is tougher than Celaena was expecting. The main threat is Cain, a nasty big fellow and favorite of the King, and Celeana soon finds out his size is not the only thing threatening about him. Meanwhile, both Prince Dorian and Chaol seem interested in her although both deny that fact, and Celaena doesn’t seem interested in either of them… For now. She also makes friends with Princess Nehemia, known for her contacts with rebels, and the girl becomes really important to her. In fact she might become lifesaving in the future…

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Like I said before, I loved the story in general, but some of the cliches made me decide not to give the full five stars. It is still a great read and I’m looking forward to be reading the rest of the series… And I would definitely recommend it those who enjoy fantasy YA and like reading about a strong female heroine!