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 Girl with the Windup Heart – Title Not Relevant


I’ve finished The Girls with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

I’ve always had something good to say about Cross’ work, but I feel as if this “novel” was a cop-out. It was the final novel in her Steampunk Chronicles and it was the shortest. I’m sorry but in any good series the books get fatter, not thinner. My shelf is a testament to this fact.

Cross was too dependant on her reader already being invested in both her characters and the relationships the characters shared that she didn’t put much effort into them. Not to mention the whole Mila and Jack dynamic was just a way to force an end to the love triangle between Finnley, Jack, and Griffin. I mean, really.

Also, the title refers to Mila, who yes is a large part of the novel but at this point she has a real, blood pumping, fleshy heart. I do not like irrelevant titles. It irks me.

Cross still had her punchy writing style, which got me to finish, but clearly she’s done with the series and needed a way to end it. Cliches and predictability to sum up something she clearly no longer has interest in. I can’t blame her really, if you’re not passionate about it anymore, it’s really not worth it.

Anyways, my copy of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas finally arrived! I pre-ordered the paperback. My copy of Throne of Glass is paperback and I can’t have a series in different covers, it kills me. Yes, I have issues. I’m well aware. I’m so excited to read it, and look! This instalment is thicker than the last! Maas, you do it right.

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The Night Circus – Yeah, Okay.


I’ve just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I have mixed feelings about this one.

Normally, you’d find me rattling off the praise for the novel first off, but there’s something that truly had me struggling with this novel. The execution of the actual sentences was poor. So many times I had to stop and re-read a sentence or two because I honestly did not understand what Morgenstern was trying to convey. Many of the sentences were wordy and unnecessarily long. I’ve always found that great writing conveys exactly what is meant to be conveyed in as few words as possible. Yes, I know that we embellish and add words for flourish and style, but Morgenstern’s sentence structures felt fumbled and in disarray rather than stylistic.

That being said, I did enjoy the story as a whole, even though I felt that the organization of her multiple perspective structure could have used some more work. Some pieces didn’t seem to fit in the flow of things, others seemed obsolete nearing the end and didn’t need to be there.

However, despite all these technical flaws the story itself was well thought out. The characters were rich and vibrant, while the challenge surrounding the circus is what kept me reading.

My favourite characters, which will likely be everyone’s favourite characters, were Poppet and Widgets. Their mixture of brilliance and innocence made them so enchanting. Plus, I just love red-heads.

The concept of the circus itself was wonderful and well described. Each tent had it’s own individual personality that resinated well on the page. I found when I was reading the descriptions of each tent that I fumbled far less over the sentence structure.

My final verdict for this novel would be to read it, only for the general story idea, rather than the execution of it. I’m, of course, very picky when it comes to the execution of an idea and for me it needs to be done well so that I can immerse myself in a novel without tripping over awkward sentences. But, unlike me, a lot of people won’t notice these things that grind my gears.

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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 Fault in Our Stars… or Tears


I’ve been sitting on my bed for two days now, my left leg propped up on two pillows, recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Yesterday, I decided that, since I have two weeks off of work, it’s prime time to burn through a fraction of the stack of books I have sitting on my shelf waiting to be discovered. image

My best friend recommended The Fault in Our Stars by John Green some time ago and I bought that along with Looking for Alaska about a month ago.
I began The Fault in Our Stars yesterday afternoon, and while it was a relatively easy read, I had to put it down before the final 100 pages, What the hell had I gotten myself into? I had teared up twice before I put it down and about four more times when I finished it today.

My gods, what a roller coaster of pain, sadness, depression, grief, and beauty. It’s clearly a modern tragedy written in a style to appease and relate to the modern teenager, but it was still a decent read, and getting me to shed a tear is a big deal.

But it’s one of those books that you need to prepare yourself to be depressed after, just warning you.

Green is an excellent author, though. I’m debating on whether or not to delve into Looking for Alaska now or go for a fantasy novel to give myself a break from tireless teenage-type emotions.

I wouldn’t call The Fault in Our Stars a masterpiece or genius by any means, really. The thing that it does is really understand the struggle with grief and the struggle with consciousness and reality.

I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if you want to put yourself through some hard times and come out on the other side less damaged than Gabriel  Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago would leave you then go for it!

I don’t see how they’ll make it into a movie though, the majority of the story is Hazel’s thoughts, not the action of the plot that would be portrayed on screen, good luck Hollywood.

There Was Laughter, But There Will Be No Forgetting


First off, I apologize for my long absence. There is no excuse except that I have been distracted.

Moments ago I finished reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. It’s an excellent read, although I sometimes found myself getting lost between the myriad of characters and the bounces from plot to plot. 

Milan Kundera is the first Czech author that I have read and being of Czech heritage you would think I would know more about the country from which my family hails. Sadly, I know very little. However, through this book I learnt quite a bit about the Communist Revolution and the Russian take-over.

Despite the history lesson, Kundera provides great insight into the vast and unknown human condition. It’s odd how well and easily I related to so many of the occurrences in this novel, and yet I’m only in my early twenties and yet to experience most of them.

The novel is deep, light, comical, serious, erotic, humorous, delightful, heartbreaking, and questionable. It’s safe to say I really enjoyed it and that Kundera is climbing my top favourite authors list.

If you haven’t already experienced Kundera’s work, I urge you to do so. You’ll learn something about yourself.