Review | Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

4.5 cupcakes

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

Heir of Fire is quite different from its predecessors. For starters, it’s huge; at 565 pages, it was a bit of a workout carrying this book around. As a result, the pacing was rather slow at times, so I found it difficult to initially become absorbed into the story. While retrospect shows that every scene was important, some felt out of place and disjointed from the common narrative thread (especially those involving Manon, the witch who was heir to the Ironteeth clan). The last ~150 pages, though, were perfectly paced, taking me on an emotional roller coaster ride that I still haven’t recovered from.

A good portion of the book was devoted to further developing the stunning, magical world that Maas has created. I loved reading about Celaena’s training, the Fae and the demi-Fae, the folktales regarding Queen Maeve, and the creepy creatures that you could find in the dark. All of these were laid out in so much detail, prompting me to compare it to Game of Thrones on several occasions.

Celaena’s history is laid bare through flashbacks and dreams, lending a great deal of sympathy to her character. She undergoes a tremendous amount of growth as she contends with her many demons, and my heart broke so many times for all that she has been through.

All of our other beloved characters are just as broken and lost as she is: Chaol is struggling with the consequences of his actions, and Dorian is struggling to control his magic. Added to this mix are several new characters: the Fae prince, Rowan; a bloodthirsty Ironteeth witch named Manon; and Aedion, Aelin’s cousin and General in the North. While these additions made for many changes in perspective, it led to the perfect balance between magic and background information/politics.

There was very little romance present in Heir of Fire. While I would have liked my Chaolena ship to have been in full force, I appreciated that Celaena needed to be able to love herself before any romantic relationships could occur.

Overall, Heir of Fire was a very strong addition to the Throne of Glass series. It’s beautifully written and magical, and I’m excited (but also terrified) to see where the story goes from here.

Review | The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

5 cupcakes

“She was fire, she was darkness, she was dust and blood and shadow.”

The Assassin’s Blade is easily my favourite book in the Throne of Glass series. I had initially read the set of e-novellas before starting the series, which I definitely recommend doing; they lend so much depth to Celaena’s character. They’re just as powerful when you know the continuation of Celaena’s story in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, though, as you can see how the events in this collection shape her actions and the person that she is today.

Over the course of these novellas, which are set before the events in Throne of Glass, Celaena undergoes a tremendous amount of growth. It was thoroughly enjoyable watching her transformation from an arrogant assassin who blindly follows orders to someone who makes decisions based on her moral centre, placing her compassion for others fully on display. My favourite part, though, was watching her develop tentative relationships, especially her hate-to-love relationship with Sam Cortland, a rival assassin. Even though I knew it was going to completely crush my heart when I got to The Assassin and the Empire.

The Assassin’s Blade also gives readers a better feel for the world that Celaena inhabits. While much of Throne of Glass was spent in the castle, The Assassin’s Blade takes readers all across the continent: from Skull’s Bay to the Red Desert, so many elements of this world were open for exploration.

Overall, The Assassin’s Blade is a wonderfully written introduction to the world that Sarah J. Maas has created, and I highly, highly recommend giving it a read.

Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Crown of Midnight is the perfect example of how a second book should be written. It (thankfully) doesn’t fall victim to the dreaded “second book syndrome,” and manages to be even better than its predecessor, Throne of Glass.

In my review for Throne of Glass I mentioned that there were some aspects that could use improvement, namely that there should be more scenes showing Celeana as a kickass assassin. This issue was certainly addressed in Crown of Midnight. While Celeana does fawn over gorgeous dresses and read a lot of books, we also get to see more of her darker side — and it is certainly a sight to behold. Celeana isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and her dresses stained with blood, and by the end of the book you certainly understand why she’s a force to be reckoned with.

As with Throne of Glass the two leading men in Crown of Midnight continued to steal (and, at times, break) my heart. Unlike Throne of Glass there isn’t too much of a love triangle here; while both Dorian and Chaol have feelings for Celeana, she makes a choice and sticks with it. Of course, despite sweet pillow talk and a lovely broom cupboard scene, this relationship is not without complications, and I can’t wait to see where Maas takes it next.

The plot of the novel is a whirlwind from start to finish: between magic, political intrigue, death, and unexpected twists and turns, Crown of Midnight is incredibly difficult to put down. While I had guessed one of the major reveals early on, it still caused me to feel ALL the emotions – and that, my friends, is the mark of an excellent book.

Overall, Crown of Midnight is a captivating, emotional ride that will leave you breathless and wanting more. I’m so excited to see where the series will go from here!

Top Ten Books That Should Be Turned Into Movies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books that should be turned into movies.” I’m quite wary when books that I love are about to become movies, since theyre usually fairly disappointing. In an ideal world, though, these are some of the ones that I’d love to see.

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events
I love these books, but unfortunately the movie that combined the first three books was slightly disappointing. I’d eventually love to see all thirteen books turned into a movie (or tv series) since I would love to see the Carnivorous Carnival and all of the other spots the Baudelaire orphans travelled to.

2. Shadow and Bone
I’ll admit that part of this is because I love the Darkling. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see him on the big screen? The world of Ravka is so wonderfully imaginative, and it would be so neat to see the Fold, the volcra, the stag, the Grisha… the list goes on! It’d be an instant box-office hit, I assure you.

3. Throne of Glass
The world needs more movies with kickass female assassins, which Throne of Glass certainly possesses! It’s the perfect mix of action, romance, suspense, and supernatural occurrences, which seem to be requirements for most movies. And the gruff yet loveable Captain of the Guard is also a point in its favour.

4. Looking For Alaska
This is one of my favourite John Green novels. Each time I read it, I fall more and more in love with the characters, and I would love to see them brought to life on the big screen. I would probably spend the entire movie crying, but that’s okay!

5. The Night Circus
I feel like this book always makes my top ten lists, but that’s because it’s absolutely amazing! Imagine a maze of clouds, an ice garden, a wishing tree… Now picture adorable red headed children who train kittens to jump through hoops, and two duelling magicians. It sounds like perfection, and I would gladly line up for hours to see it on opening night.

6. Angelfall
This was the book that redeemed angels (of the book variety) for me. It’s home to a horrifying post-apocalyptic world, compelling characters, and the occasional cannibal. And brutal, destructive angels that aren’t anything like their cherubic counterparts. What’s not to like?

7. The Infernal Devices
It’s no secret that I love Will Herondale. The clockwork creatures are neat, the banter is beautiful and sarcastic, and the story is better than The Mortal Instruments (in my opinion). As long as it doesn’t turn out like City of Bones, I’m happy.

8. The Archived
The idea behind The Archived is so neat: there’s a library of the dead, but sometimes they wake up, forget that they’re dead, and wander around, occasionally killing people. It fits into both the paranormal and zombie genres, so Hollywood should get on it ASAP.

9. Anna and the French Kiss
This would be the most adorable movie. Etienne and Anna’s relationship is realistic yet cute, and is quite high on my list of favourite book relationships. Swooning over Etienne and marvelling over Paris for a few hours sounds quite nice.

10. The Golden Compass
I know that this already is a movie, but I’d love for it to be remade since I was disappointed by it. I love Lyra’s Oxford and her daemon, and would love to see how a filmmaker envisions it.

What books would you love to see as movies? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post below.
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Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

1After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Rating:  4 cupcakes

Before reading Throne of Glass, I highly recommend reading the prequel novellas (which are wonderful!) as they’re referenced throughout the book and will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of Celaena’s character.

Celaena is easily one of my favourite female protagonists. As Adarlan’s assassin, she is strong, sarcastic, willful, and can easily plan a successful escape or murder without a second thought. However, she’s also incredibly vain, loves to dress up and attend parties, and is a voracious reader. This contradiction of sorts underscores one of my favourite points, that being feminine doesn’t make you weak, and made me love Celaena even more.

Following the current trend in YA books, there is a love triangle in Throne of Glass featuring Chaol, the stoic Captain of the Guard, and the flirtatious Crown Prince Dorian. Normally I dislike love triangles, but this case proved to be an exception. Both Chaol and Dorian are loyal companions with likeable qualities who are determined to see Celaena emerge victorious in the competition. The third-person narrative shifts between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian’s perspectives, allowing us to objectively see the romance from all sides and giving us a better understanding of their personalities and motivations. (That being said, I do have my favourite love interest, though I won’t mention who, so hopefully the odds will be in my favour on that count).

Alongside the action-filled contest to find the King’s Champion, mentions of magic, the Fae, murder, court politics and empire building helped create a gripping plot filled with mystery and intrigue. My only complaint is that there were many points where the events of the competition were glossed over in favour of scenes that involved either the love triangle or Celaena reading in the library; it would have been nice to see more of her skills as opposed to just hearing about them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, and will be waiting (not so) patiently for Crown of Midnight to be released.