Tag: Young-adult fiction

Sarah J. Maas - Throne of Glass

Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass

I think the fact that I started this book 3 weeks ago probably gives you a good idea what I thought of it. It was only 400ish pages long, but it felt like a long hard slog to get to the end. The plot was just really slow and it felt like there was a lot of emphasis placed on certain areas and others were just skipped over entirely.

To say that the main plot line was a series of tests to determine the new King’s Champion, there were too many times where the entire test was skipped over in a single sentence telling you who had been eliminated, which felt like a bit of a cop-out – give me some action please!

That, of course, left much more time for the stupid love-triangle slash will-they won’t-they series of events which seriously dragged the book down in my estimation. I prefer my female leads to be a bit more kick-ass and a bit less doey-eyed than Celaena was, and more than once I just wanted to give her a kick up the backside and tell her to pull herself together.

It also felt like it took way too long into the book before any ‘real action’ started, it must have been over halfway before I felt it pick up – this is probably the main reason it took 3 weeks to read.

When I started reading, I reserved the next 3 books in the series on my library e-reading app so that I could go straight on to the next ones without waiting, but after 2 weeks of reading and not even getting to 50% through, I returned the others so someone else could have a go. I may come back to them at a later date and see if book two can pick up the pace somewhat, but for now I want to read something more compelling!

My rating: 2/5Average rating: 4.23
416 pages. Published in: 2012
Read in E-bookon 6th-26th December 2017

Lisa Williamson – The Art of Being Normal

After such a terrible last book, I needed something to perk me up. And this book was brilliant. Not the kind of book I usually read, but something about it just made me pick it up in the supermarket and I’m so glad I did.

The book runs from two parallel perspectives; David, who longs to be a girl; and Leo, who longs to be invisible. They’re both hiding secrets from their families and the world in general, but may have more in common than they think.

When Leo sticks up for David when he’s being picked on yet again (‘Oi, Freakshow’ is a familiar theme tune to his school life), they strike up what seems to be an unlikely (and reluctant) friendship.

But as the story evolves, it turns out that their friendship is not quite so unlikely after all, and each of them could be just what the other needs to achieve what they want in life (even if what they get is not exactly what they originally thought they wanted).

If you’re looking for an easy read, this isn’t it. It packed an emotional punch, heart warming yet jarring. The book was gripping the entire way through, evidenced by the fact I read it in one sitting, sat on the sofa for four hours unable to let Leo and David go and with a powerful need to know how their lives would turn out.

Williamson did a great job of creating characters who you could instantly relate to, even if their situation is not relatable to you. The topic of gender binaries is not something that I’ve had much to do with, and I’m still not sure where I stand with it, but Williamson has done a great job of handling the subject matter with sensitivity and kindness.

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.24
353 pages. Published in: 2015
Read in Paperbackon 11th September 2016

Review: Kristin Cashore – Graceling

kristin-cashore-gracelingMy best friend Abi bought me this book for my birthday with the promise that I’d love it. She’s really into Fantasy books, and I’m always looking to discover genres that I’ve never tried before, so I was looking forward to this. The quote on the front which said it was an “exquisitely drawn romance that would slake the thirst of Twilight fans” had me a bit worried about the writing, because as much as I liked the Twilight books the first time I read them, Stephanie Meyer isn’t exactly the highlight of young adult fiction.

But I knew I should never have doubted Abi, because this book was great. The main character is a young girl called Katsa, who possess a skill called a grace, hers seems to be a grace for fighting. She discovered this at 8 years old when she accidentally killed a man. Obviously, people treat her a little differently after this happens, none more so than her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, one of the 7 regions. Even though he is her Uncle, he’s not a nice man, and decides to use her to punish those of his subjects that have wronged him, one example being a man who chopped down more trees than he should have. Katsa is sent to break his arm or remove one of his fingers as payment, but she can’t do it, she no longer wants to use her grace to do her Uncle’s bidding.

Katsa has decided that she can’t do it anymore and she’s formed a ‘council’ determined to do right. The book opened with Katsa on a council mission to rescue an old man kidnapped by the King of one of the other regions. While she’s rescuing this man (and using her grace to fight off all the soldiers and guards), she meets a young man named Po who she realises also has a powerful grace.

He turns up at Katsa’s castle looking for his grandfather, who just so happens to be the old man that Katsa has rescued. She eventually comes to trust Po and they leave the castle in an attempt to find out why Prince Tealiff was kidnapped. On this journey, they figure out that the truth is more horrible than they thought, and there are many dramatic points in the story when you’re not sure exactly how they are going to escape from the trouble they’ve landed themselves in, especially when they run into King Leck, who they have realised has a grace for making people believe whatever he wants. He has killed his wife in front of his daughter’s eyes and she is running away from him when Katsa is almost pulled under by his grace. Thankfully, Po is immune to Leck’s grace due to his own and he manages to get them both away from danger, but they now have charge of a young Princess and need to get her to safety.

Throughout their journey, they realise that their graces may not have been entirely what they thought, both helping each other to discover their full potential. They also can’t deny the romance between them, especially with Katsa falling into his silver and gold eyes every time he looks at her. But the strength of their relationship helps them on their journey, until Po is gravely hurt and they realise that Katsa will have to go on without him to save Princess Bitterblue and keep her safe from her evil Father.

My favourite part of the book was the ending. A lot of the time with stories like this where the drama builds up and the tension increases, the ending often seems quite rushed. But without giving away too many spoilers, the ending of the book was perfectly written. Katsa wraps up her mission and then returns to try and find Po. And while the ending may be happy, its also bittersweet as we learn about the terrible things that have happened while Katsa has been away.

I loved the romance in the book, but the best part was that it wasn’t overdone. There wasn’t any of the “I can’t live without him“, “I can’t stop thinking about him“, “My life has ended because he’s not here” type of thinking like there is in other books (*ahem* Twilight *ahem*), but Katsa remains independent and strong and free-willed. And she doesn’t fall immediately into his arms when she meets him either. She’s wary of him until she knows who he is,why he’s there, and that she can trust him with his grace for reading her mind. It was nice to have a strong female lead character capable of holding herself up and who was actually (because of her grace) stronger than her leading man. And for Po to be completely okay with the fact that he can be beaten was brilliant, not just a typical ‘macho strong man’, he complemented Katsa perfectly.

I thought this was a brilliant debut novel by Kristin Cashore, and I’m very glad that Abi bought me her next book too –  I can’t wait to read it!


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