Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Empire of Storms

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Title: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 704

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 5

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 6, 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Format: Paperback

Review: My opinion of this book is very similar to my opinion of the last few books in this series.  The action throughout is thrilling and the ending is particularly strong.  Although this book is still categorized as Young Adult fiction like it’s predecessors, I would argue that it would more accurately be categorized as New Adult fiction.  Aelin is now 20 years old, and the romances depicted in this series have gotten increasingly steamy with each installment.  There is a whole lot of sex in book 5, so young readers be prepared if you are not expecting it!

My biggest gripe with this series in general is that Aelin’s elaborate scheming always seems to pan out just the way she envisions.  Of course there is a real wrench thrown in at the end to keep the series going, but overall, things just seem to always work out, no matter how great the odds are stacked against them.  A lot of it is rather far-fetched…for example, Aelin calls in a favor with one particular ally without actually communicating what it is she needs.  The ally just happens to glean exactly what Aelin wants by receiving cryptic reports from a spy.  Ohhhkkayyy.  Seems unlikely.  But I am going to move past it because I made it this far and I am still enjoying the series enough to finish two more lengthy books.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Queen of Shadows

18006496

Title: Queen of Shadows

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 648

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 4

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: I was so excited to start The Assassin’s Blade that I actually forgot to write a review for this book…oops.  I suppose this is a compliment to Maas, who continues to impress me with her epic sagas.

At the conclusion of this book, it seemed like the series had reached it’s climax, only for Maas to throw another curveball that completely changes the game.  I really appreciate this about Maas, because while some aspects of her story are predictable and formulaic, she somehow always manages to surprise me with the overall direction of the plot.  I would say that reading this book, it was the first time that I really contemplated whether this series takes place in the same world as her A Court of Thorns and Roses series.  For some reason I found this prospect to be thrilling, and I look forward to seeing new lands in the next three books.

As with the last book, Maas introduced new characters that I have grown very fond of, and I look forward to seeing how their storylines develop as well.

Also, revenge is sweet, and you get plenty of that in this particular installment.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Assassin’s Blade

18243700

Title: The Assassin’s Blade

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 448

Series: Throne of Glass, 0.1-0.5

Publishing Date/Publisher: March 4, 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: Truly my only regret in picking up this collection of novellas is that I didn’t do so sooner.  This collection is broken into five short stories that provide more context for Celaena’s backstory.  Maas artfully interweaves storylines and characters that later appear in the Throne of Glass series into heart-pounding and thrilling adventures.  The only novella that really had me struggling to get through it was the last one, and that was simply because I knew what devastating outcome awaited Celaena.

Maas is very formulaic in how she builds her romances – two people formerly at odds become passionate lovers – and the romance that ties together these short stories is no different.  I found this to be slightly annoying at first, however, Sam was just so lovable as a character that I couldn’t help but fall for him.  To be frank, the rest of Celaena’s romantic history really lost some of its sparkle after reading this because, well, I still wanted her to be with Sam.  Because he is not actually present in any of the Throne of Glass books, I did not realize how influential he was in shaping Celaena’s later decisions.  Celaena’s character has a certain naivety in these stories that no longer exists after the events that transpire in these novellas.

Now that I have picked up back where I left off in the Throne of Glass series, characters and events that are mentioned in passing suddenly make more sense and I am provided subtle clarity as I comb back through my memories of what has happened so far.  I look forward to seeing more connections as I continue forward with the series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Heir of Fire

20613470

Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 565

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 3

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 2, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Children

Format: eBook

Review: I personally found this to be the most exciting installment in the series so far.  We see entirely new settings, meet new characters, and get a deeper glimpse into Celaena’s past.  All these additions add more depth to Celaena’s character and make her a more inspiring heroine.

This book also introduced an entirely new character point of view, that of the witch Manon.  I LOVED her storyline, even though at this point it is hard to see how it will play into the larger plot.  Her chapters literally had my heart pounding and there were some scenes that literally gave me goosebumps.  I would finish the chapters feeling exhilarated and utterly disappointed to be moving back to another character perspective.  I had to strongly resist the urge to skip ahead to her next chapter.  I took a bit of a pause between reading books 2 and 3 in this series, but as soon as I turned the final page of this book I snapped up book 4 because I cannot wait to pick up her story again.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Crown of Midnight

17167166

Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 418

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 27, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: Sarah J. Maas is a truly an exceptional storyteller.  These days it seems most fantasy series are trilogies, but she manages to drag her stories into long sagas without becoming boring.  Her characters are engaging, her twists surprising, and her plot layering is superb.  The only reason this is not a 5 star book for me is because it reads very much like a second book in a trilogy (i.e. setting the stage for a final installment), at least at the beginning.  I have noticed this is a common trend in Maas’ writing.  She starts out slow and then hits you with a lot in the last 25% of the book.  Her ability to write strong endings is what keeps her readers chomping at the bit for more.  I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Heir of Fire.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Throne of Glass

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Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 404

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: Well I finally read it, and it did not disappoint.  I don’t know how this book stayed off my radar for so long.  It really had all the elements of everything I love in YA fantasy.  Admittedly, the storyline was predictable, but for the first book in a series, it had a surprising amount of action and I remained engaged the whole way through.  The main character of the story, Celaena, serves as both a heroine and an anti-heroine.  She manages to be both a total badass and a relatable young woman.  This is a difficult mix to achieve in YA fiction and I have rarely seen it done so well.

As I noted above, this book was relatively predictable, so I knocked a star off of my rating; however, after perusing reviews for the second book in the series, it seems that Maas’ character building and plot development improves dramatically in the next installment.  I am really looking forward to continuing with this series!

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold