Queen of Shadows – Yes! Yes! Yes!


Last night I finished Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas, well more like this morning at 2am. I have to say, this is the best one yet of the Throne of Glass Series. Maas has outdone herself both linguistically and through her plot. There was not one moment in the novel that I predicted, not one pause for me to catch my breath between incidences. I wish I had even half of Maas’ talent. 

I remember my review on her first novel, Throne of Glass was definitely harsh and cynical, but Maas has bloomed into an amazing author. The way she crafts a fight scene is unbelievable. I struggle with fight scenes myself, because how do you fit a flurry of movement that in reality would take 2 seconds into a description that will likely take the reader a minute to read without losing authenticity and the feeling of speed and chaos?

Usually when I read novels like this, I’m not really a fan of jumping between character perspectives. It tends to feel like a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario. But, Maas does this remarkably well. She utilizes this technique in order to enrich a scene, to show it from all angles and all eyes. She does this most effectively at the end of the novel where she has short snippets of the same scene viewed from multiple characters to show the chaos of the moment.

I can’t praise Maas enough. I dragged out the reading of Queen of Shadows because I honestly did not want it to end, then I finished the last 250 pages in one sitting last night. Maas’ next novel in the series, Empire of Storms is already out in hard cover, but being my OCD self I need to wait for the North American paperback version to buy it. I also don’t like not reading the copies of my own novels so I will be waiting until then to read Empire of Storms, so no spoilers!

I highly recommend to anyone, if you haven’t already started the Throne of Glass series, DO IT!

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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.

The Angel’s Game – Just, Wow.


This morning, as I sipped my tea and curled up under a soft blanket on what has to be one of the comfiest couches known to man, I finished another masterpiece by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

The first book that I’d ever read of his was The Shadow of the Wind. I fell madly in love with Zafon’s prose even as a teenager and I urged  anyone who would listen to read it. Zafon has such a poetic way with language that I can only dream about possessing.

This time, I read The Shadow of the Wind‘s predecessor, The Angel’s Game. Another book about an author writing a book, gee I wonder why I relate so much…

Anyways, The Angel’s Game took so many twists and turns that I honestly had no idea where I was headed, which in my opinion is the best kind of writing because it mimics how life unfolds.

This novel is dark, unfathomably dark both in visualization and emotion. Zafon tears at your heart strings while strumming a low frightful tune on them simultaneously. The characters whom my heart went out to were destroyed, those I disdained blackened me, those that I was unclear on never stopped surprising me… I had trouble putting it down.

There was a moment where I was ready to slap Zafon, however. It appeared that he was going to go with the “it’s all in your own head/schizophrenic” route and I was ready to scream… such an amazing novel, so beautifully articulated and put together and he was going to pull a Chuck Palahniuk?! But, then Zafon came through and made it all this own and I sighed one of the biggest sighs of relief. 

This novel is amazing, as is all the work I’ve read by Zafon. If you haven’t already picked his work up, do it.

There was one quote that literally brought me to tears. The main character, David is describing books to his assistant, Isabella as a farewell.

Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.”

That hit home for me, because it’s something that I’ve always believed but never been able to articulate. I suppose I am just like Senor Sempere in the novel, I live for the souls of books.

Do read Carlos Ruiz Zafon. There will be no regrets. So, keep reading dearest reader.

Only the Rain


There is no better sound, nothing more soothing to me, than the rain.

It starts slowly, a drip here, a drop there. Tiny overtures foretelling the coming of grander things. It’s as if the skies are tuning their instruments, waiting in anticipation to begin, allowing a whisper to escape. 

But then, all of a sudden it comes down flowing in torrents. The mass of little drops creating the most eloquent of sounds, it’s as if a symphony has begun to play outside my window. There’s even a crescendo that explodes into life, but then the sweet hum of the melody coos and wanes beyond it, slowly overtaking it. The crescendo withers and the soft melody of the percussive droplets blanket the world.  

It’s steady now, a slow beat of the drops, the tune so familiar, like velvet caressing the ears. A chill lingers in the air as the sound dips, drops, and splashes. Soothing but playful, gentle yet crisp, the rain speaks a language that few can hear. There’s an eery delight that fills the air, the same comfort found in a melancholy novel. It’s a tepid sweetness that encases the mind when hearing the pitter patter of raindrops.

A duality emerges from it’s symphonic call. It invites you to either drench yourself in it’s labours, to feel the last touch of the drops as they find their way onto your skin. Or you drawn to cradle yourself in comfort, protected by any means, and merely hear what the rain has to say from a distance, blanket-wrapped and tea in hand.

Their’s a fondness I feel for this ever-common precipitation. It feels like home.

Just a few words on my favourite kind of day. Be good to yourselves.

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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!

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht… Que?


Yes, I finally finished a book. I feel like it’s taken me a very long time to finish The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht. This was her debut novel. That being said, all of my opinions to come have that in mind, so keep that in mind.

What can I really say about this novel? Well, the praise from all those magazines and such that led me to believe I was going to enjoy myself where wrong, sorry Obreht. Whomever did your marketing deserves great praise.

While, there were moments that I enjoyed I had a few too many issues while reading to say I actually enjoyed the book as a whole. Obreht has great potential as a writer, but the “great story-teller” that the cover of her book claims she is, she is not. She goes into way too much description about the surrounding in which her characters reside. There’s a time and place in writing for in depth description and it’s not every page.

Many of the stories in the novel felt misplaced or irrelevant to the storyline. I honestly still don’t understand who the book is about. Is it about Natalia’s grandfather? Natalia? The tiger’s wife? The deathless man? Ok, so all the characters are associated to one degree or another, but apparently I’m six degrees away from Kevin Bacon, that doesn’t make his life’s story relevant to mine. The stories felt scattered, more like a book of short stories than a novel. I got lost between all the stories and how they connected. I kept waiting for the big connection at the end, that piece that I was missing that most author’s reveal in the end bringing about both a revelation in the main character and the reader. There was no such revelation. I found myself thinking, “Huh? That’s the end? That’s it? Wha?”

I liked the stories with the deathless man, but I feel like they lacked some deeper insight into the truth about death. Don’t ask me what that truth is, I couldn’t tell you but I felt like something was missing. Some stories I found completely unnecessary, like the story of the apothecary, his history was not relevant in ANY way to any of the other characters, not that I could tell anyways.

I felt like Obreht was trying too hard to be profound beyond her years. She’s still young and doesn’t understand a lot of the world. (I’m not saying I do. I know I understand so little of the world at my age that I need desperately to experience more of it.) The book wasn’t all bad, but it was difficult to get through. Maybe her next attempt will be better, who knows!