Throne Of Glass – Sarah J Maas

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Blurb:
“After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18 year old assassin Celaena Sardothein 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.”

I’ve started noticing a theme with the books I’m posting about on this blog. Yes, they are pretty much all Young Adult but not only that, they’re books I’ve been meaning to read for years. Throne of Glass is a book I’ve heard nothing but good things about and the cover art is just so beautiful. But I kept saying what I can only coin as my catchphrase: “I’ll get to it eventually.”

I finally did.

So firstly, I don’t know who at Bloomsbury agreed with the cover design for this book but it is unbelievably beautiful, and from what I’ve seen of the others via research, they are just wonderful covers. Kudos to Bloomsbury.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, as with all YA fantasy (mainly kingdom based) I tend to read. From the first page I was hooked. I may be an avid reader but it’s rare that I actually find myself pacing when reading a book because I want to savour it. I kept having to put the book down because it was 2am and I had things to do the next day (even though I’d much rather have stayed up reading it until finished).

I want to take a moment to applaud Sarah J Maas on the protagonist’s name: Celaena Sardothien. It may be the best character name I’ve come across. There seems to be this stigma among YA readers of what a “strong female character” should be. While I agree that we need more female characters that are strong but not horrifically emotionless to try and make them so, but in the case of this book, Celaena being a badass female character who’s an assassin? YES PLEASE!
I think her character really sold me on this book. She was just the right amount of kickass with the addition of sass. In comments she makes to her trainer Chaol and the prince Dorian I found myself actually smiling. If I could be friends with any fictional character it would be Celaena Sardothein…. Even if she’d probably spend our time together listing all the ways she could kill me.

The training scenes and overall competition element of this book reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games and Divergent. So, if you enjoyed either/both of those series, you’ll enjoy this (hate to be that cliche person who says you’ll like something because it’s similar, but in this case it’s true). Many YA readers have said that the competition aspect is becoming overdone in this genre and while I agree, if a book does have that element, sign me up because I will read it!

This book is unique in the sense of NO LULL PERIODS. The novel was smooth, consistent and literally no parts of this book felt like a chore to get through to the real action. When the championship eventually happens, it was so intense I had to put the book down several times to compose myself.

Throne of Glass has definitely made it onto the list of books that will stay with me for a long time, and from a writing point of view: Sarah J Maas is the kind of writer I can only aspire to be.

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Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

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Blurb:” I have a curse
           I have a gift
I am a monster
I’m more than human
My touch is lethal
         My touch is power
I am their weapon
         I will fight back.
No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time – and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.”

Shatter Me has been on my TBR for many years. I finally got around to reading it because a friend of mine recently did and demanded I read it (she’s not normally wrong with her book choices). All I can say is, I’m so glad she told me to read this book.

If anyone ever asks me why I love reading Young Adult fiction so much, I will direct them to this book. I don’t often read dystopian (aside from The Divergent Series) so I wasn’t sure how I would tackle this book. The format takes place as the opening few lines of the blurb: a mix of text and crossed out text. I think this was a very good move, it kept you hooked in the slow moving sections as you weren’t entirely sure whether to trust the narrator or not: Is she really locked up for having the power to kill with a single touch? Or is she in a mental institute and believes this to be true?

There’s was something so simple, yet so engaging with the writing and there were many brilliantly crafted lines that I had to take a moment and think I wish I could write something like that.

As I delved further into this book, I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. (I was aware going into it that it is a trilogy) But there is a nice twist that answered all the questions I’d been building up over the pages. When I’d put this book down for the final time, I wanted to run to my nearest book store and get the second installment. Sadly, I have too many books on my TBR to get through.

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The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly

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Blurb: “High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds the reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.”

I knew instantly from reading the blurb that I was going to love this book. However, I didn’t expect this book to stay with me as much as it has. I got lost completely in the beautiful description and elegant writing. I found myself reading at a slower pace than usual just to absorb the detail and work that went into making this book. Also, I didn’t want it to end.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the protagonist, David, at first. Taking that kind of typical, “protagonist loses a parents” trope feels really over-used to me, but this character was different. David, believes that it’s his fault because he didn’t keep up his tendencies such as hitting his head against things several times, and thus he didn’t save his mother. Following what he believes to be his mother’s voice, David finds himself in a fantasy world.

I simply cannot write enough words that will fully express my appreciation for this book. There were no lull periods you tend to come across, and the progression of not only the plot. but David’s character was just intoxicating to watch.

And the twist had the end quite frankly blew my mind. The adventure was so wonderful that I was genuinely upset when I reached the final line.

I can’t praise this book enough to do it justice. If you’re interested in Fantasy in any way (and more so fairy tale-esque fantasy) read this book!

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