A Light in the Darkness: A Review of Shadow and Bone


As my reading frenzy continues, I devoured yet another novel: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardvgo.

Final thoughts: Great story, weak ending.

I had the same problem with A Court of Thorns and Roses, I know there are second novels to come and unanswered questions but it ends in too much of a happy ending. Granted, you can’t really call the end of Shadow and Bone happy, but our main character prevailed and there is no immediate danger. I know this is just a personal preference, but at the end of the first novel there should be more problems than resolutions and more questions than answers. I have a very bittersweet relationship with cliffhanger endings, but I find I’m usually disappointed when they aren’t there.

Bradvgo does a good job of skirting that line between good and evil, but I wish the Darkling had a bit more of a human edge. I understand that it’s important to the story that he doesn’t and that the character itself has developed to be less humanly, but I think it would have been harder to dislike him, which would have made the read all the more thrilling.

My favourite character has to be Mal. No, not just because he has the same name as one of my all time favourite space captains, but he is the unwavering tree that you take shelter under during the storm. He seems like a real guy to me, which I don’t find very often in novels, as usually I find male characters the embodiment of what women expect, which is not even close to what they are. Mal, actually falters with his feelings, he’s slow to realize them and quick to act on his impulses. He’s actually a dude! He even develops like I expect a boy would in a circumstance like his. It’s safe to say I like Mal more than I like Alina.

I did really enjoy reading this novel. While, I didn’t order the next two novels just yet, you can rest accused that they are definitely on my to-buy list. If my other half has to keep his gaming purchases in check, it’s only fair I do the same with my book-buying obsession. But I digress…

Bardvgo has a great handle on character development and I find myself eager to find out how Alina develops further. Her handle on the psychological edge that Alina teetered along the whole book was spectacular. I do love it when main characters are damaged and have a fragile human core just like the rest of us…

(Cat interruptions – U////////////…..)
I love my furry baby, but she can’t keep her paws off my keyboard!

Excuse the interruption, I will now valiantly press on with the looming siege of kitty paw’s close at hand.

As I was saying, we all love when protagonists seem so bitterly human that we can relate, I mean that’s why we read don’t we? As Alina we want to feel less alone, no matter the amount of loneliness that holds it’s place within us.

This has evolved into more of review of the reader than the novel. Oops.

Anyhow, I do indeed recommend Shadow and Bone. It’s a good quick read. I look forward to seeing Alina’s progression, as well as Bardvgo’s.

Top of the Charts: A Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses


Literally, moments ago I read the last few pages of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and I’ve got to say, Maas has done it again. I’ve loved every single one of her Throne of Glass novels and now she’s got a new series I’m so excited about I pre-ordered the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury before I even finished reading the first book.

I’m sorry Snyder, just Maas has just beat you to the top of my favourites list.

A Court of Thorns and Roses seems to start off slow, building your understanding of the main character, Feyre. Also, I have to appreciate that within the first ten pages, Maas actually explains the pronunciation of Feyre so that I stupidly wasn’t reading it wrong through the whole book. It was very subtle and perfectly placed.

Some of the later plot points are kind of obvious and you can tell from which stories Maas has used these incidences, but we’re all guilty of that. I believe someone said there are only a finite amount of stories in the world and they’re all re-told in different ways.

Maas’ prose keep you captivated throughout the novel and her descriptive talents are intimidating to say the least. Rarely was I reading, but rather watching the story unfold in my mind’s eye.

The story flows very well, and while I sometimes struggled with the rather “quaint” intelligence of Feyre I really loved the novel. To be fair, her character is a minimally educated, young and impoverished girl so I can’t really blame her lack of knowledge on anything but her situation.

I highly recommend this to those looking for a great fantasy read. Especially if you’re into faerie lore. I absolutely devoured this book.

I don’t really recommended it to the guys though, despite some really great “steamy” scenes, this novel is really geared towards a female reader.

Back in the Saddle: A Review of Night Study by Maria V. Snyder


Last night, I did that thing we all do. I stayed up late, sitting up in my bed to finish an enticing novel.

I know I mentioned a review of Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins, but I finished that and felt like it was a lesson I’m going to need to mull over for a while.

Any who, I finished  Night Study by Maria V. Snyder, one of my favourite fantasy authors. Now, when I read Shadow Study, Snyder’s first attempt to revive the Study Series I was not impressed. Shadow Study felt forced. It was as if I was being spoon-fed one “oh shit!” scenario after another without much plot in between. Snyder relied too heavily on her reader’s former investment in the majority of her characters to really have them rounded out this time around. The only character in Shadow Study I thought had any real plot to handle was Valek, and that’s only because he had multiple flash-backs.

Night Study is a completely different experience.

The best way I can describe the two novels is that moment when you stumble over your own feet while walking and you break into a run so no one notices. Shadow Study is the stumble and the panic, Night Study is the lurch forward and the run that exhilarates and redeems you.

Snyder, to quote a 90’s cliche, got her groove back with Night Study. My favourite characters felt rich and alive again, the plot ran a twisted course which kept me going, and the “Eureka!” moments I had about the plot before the characters just made me feel that much more satisfied.

All in all, Snyder has found her way back into my heart. When I started reading yesterday I was on page 140, the novel ends on page 444. I feel like that says it all. My only two pet peeves are that the new Study Series titles don’t feel anywhere as relevant to the plot as the first three did. Also, the covers of my first three don’t match my fourth and fifth novels because they stopped making the covers I have! Which really pisses me off because they are the best looking covers, in my opinion, and my bookshelf OCD is now going insane. Also Shadow Study has different cover measurements than Night Study. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT MIRA NOVELS?!?!? I feel as if the publishers are trolling me.

If you haven’t yet read all of Snyder’s Study Series, I suggest you get to it! Poison Study, the first in the series is still one of my favourite reads and I blew through Magic Study, the second in the series, in 48 hours and I was going to school then. Go, go dear readers and experience the heart-breaks and the triumphs of the Study Series. I can’t wait for Dawn Study, which I have to wait another year for!

The Assassin’s Blade


Just before my own journeys begin, I’ve finished The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. This collection of novellas is a prequel to Maas’ debut novel Throne of Glass, which I reviewed not too long ago.

I really enjoyed learning the origins of Celaena Sardothien, Maas’ main character. While a lot of her first novel’s plot seemed almost borrowed from many other stories these novellas felt far more original. I feel as if these novellas were written after the original manuscript.

It was a quick and relatively lax read. I did like it though, despite my minimal judgements.

One thing about Celaena that bothers me is her inability to accept the obvious truths in front of her. Now, normally that would be an acceptable character flaw for most, but considering her past it doesn’t work for this character… the one who betrays her in the end was so obvious from the get go, through EVERYTHING and yet this world-remound assassin can’t see it? Denial can only blind any person so much. That’s one thing in Maas’ character logic that just doesn’t make sense to me.

I do recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade before Throne of Glass if only to give yourself some background on Celaena. I do have a different outlook on the character than I did when I first read Throne of Glass.

My first travel post will be coming in a matter of days, however it will be relatively mundane as it will mostly be me trying to figure out what the heck I’m getting myself into by traveling to distant countries with little to no planning. It’ll be interesting to see how I hold up alone, far away, with my only wits and sense to depend on. If anything, it should produce an interesting narrative.

Cheers and keep reading.

Grave Mercy… Pun Intended?


So I finished Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers today. The title is clearly a pun on the work, which normally I would like, but I didn’t like the book all that much.

Sorry LaFevers, I realize that a lot of research must have poured into this book to get dates and historical accuracy all balanced out, but I had no real feel for the main character Ismae Rienne. She just seemed so feeble to me. She was a novice assassin and all, but she still feared men after all of it.

And her kills! Seriously, could you make death less scary and justified and just plain bland? I felt like being an assassin and killing people would be more exciting less… well there’s no better word than bland.

I didn’t care for the writing style either, but that is just a personal preference. If I’m reading first person and I don’t feel for the main character then something is definitely wrong. But the archaic style in which it was written is relevant to the plot’s setting but I had so much trouble getting into it. Not to mention the plot only picked up in the last 30 or so pages.

Also, the subterfuge amongst the nobles and counts and what have you was just boring to me. I never felt a sense of urgency or danger reading this book. The whole thing was just too polite for backstabbing nobility. I guess I’m used to Game of Thrones where everyone is ruthless when it comes to achieving their plans, I feel like that is true human nature. It’s not so black and white as this novel puts it. (Something I’m trying desperately to incorporate in my own works, it’s all a grey area people!)

The book was well researched and well executed for sure, but it really isn’t my thing. It’s far too harlequin romance for my taste. I feel like it needs a shirtless man baring his nipples on the cover with a woman draped over him touching his taut muscles.

I can see how some may like it and if you do, then good on yah. Either way, I’m not going to continue with the series, just not for me.

Throne of Glass, More Epic Than It Sounds


I’d like to preface this review by saying I devoured this 406 page novel in 48 hours, less if you don’t count the hours I spent sleeping.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas was definitely a whirl wind of excitement, intrigue, turmoil, lust, emotions, and just old fashioned will power. It was definitely a fun and good read. Maas has a way with balancing description, action, and dialogue that I strive for in my own work. Her novel reminded me of Maria V. Snyder’s style, yet with a touch more brutality, I loved it.

That all being said, the praise being dolled out in spades, I’ve got to put in my two or five or ten cents regarding criticism. Now, I realize that coming up with an original plot is difficult, and while Maas’s plot was in fact relatively original I found many concepts or scenes were, let’s call it “borrowed.” I found that Throne of Glass, if completely broken down was an amalgamation of The Hunger Games (twenty-four “champions” fighting for their right to survive), Poison Study (a young girl trapped between death and working for a king she loathes, as well as a world overtaken by a ruler who has banned and destroyed magic), The Chamber of Secrets (fighting a giant scary monster in a secret room under a castle summoned by a dark magic wielder), Cinderella (a girl forbidden to attend a ball does so and dances the night away with a Prince), Game of Thrones (every person in any political standing is out to destroy anyone for power, including the king), True Blood (the whole Fae/Faerie ancient magic deal), and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (the power to jump through to other worlds with deadly monsters and creatures of light).

I love all these books/movies/shows, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I know it can be hard to reduce the influence reading can have on your work. I know my own work can be compared to many other works and have many similarities.

Bottom line, it’s a great book. Of course, it was recommended, and by “recommended” I mean she gave it to me as a Christmas present and said I must read it, by my very best gal, writer of Lea At Sea. She always gives me the best recommendations and I then pass on these glowing reviews to you.

Read Throne of Glassit’s a good read and the first fantasy I’ve read in a while that’s actually written well! Maas knows her prose and the english language. She’s a good writer, I’m excited to read more of her work.

Looking for Alaska, Spoiler, I didn’t Find Her


I promptly decided, after reading The Fault in Our Stars, that I better get through Looking for Alaska before moving on to anything that may cheer me up and sway me from going back to the depressing honesty of life that is John Green’s prose.image

For such a positive, well spoken, and brilliant mind, Green is serious obsessed with the grief, guilt, morbidity, and anguish of teenage death. I realize that many “youth oriented” books do not address this issue truthfully or have any inclination as to how they may approach it, so in that sense Green is actually providing a service to the masses.

Considering all Green’s talent, skill, and insight I do wish he would write something that wouldn’t depress me! Yes, life is depressing, people die, we live on, etc, etc, and it’s not all the end of the world, we forgive and we move on and we even forget. I get it. I was looking for more philosophical insight into my soul… sorry, but I was.

Looking for Alaska is a good read. It portrays the teenage mind accurately, as did The Fault in Our Stars. It’s not as dismal as the later and it even threw in a chuckle now and again. But, Green’s obsession with teenage death really doesn’t sit the best with me. I’ve lived through grief, it’s not fun, and while I can see why Green wants to bring these issues to the present mind I don’t really enjoy delving into it all that often. I guess reading these books as I recover from minor surgery with a few complications isn’t really the best time to read books about death.

Anywho, it’s very well written and worth a read if you want to get a sad, sinking, mortal feeling in your gut. Best left for a sad rainy day where you’re not particularly sad, but don’t want something happy-go-lucky to read.

I think I’m going to delving into some fantasy reading for a bit, or at least some Tom Robbins to tickle my funny bone.

Cheers and be well!