Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices | Book 1
Pages: 720 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (March 8, 2016)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

 

GoodReads Synopsis

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

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Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Title: Truthwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands | Book 1
Pages: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (January 5, 2016)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard describes a richly imagined world of witchery.

Hot headed and impulsive domna Safiya (Safi) fon Hasstrel is a Truthwitch and heiress to the Hasstrel lands. Although witchery is prevalent in the Truthlands, Safi must keep her witchery a secret lest she become a political pawn with her ability to discern truth from lie. Despite being a domna, Safi is far from proper and regards her title as a restraint to her freedom.

Isuelt Midenzi, a Threadwitch is scorned by many because of her Nomatsi heritage. After leaving the Midenzi settlement, she and Safi cross paths and become Threadsisters: a bond developed through a shared life-or-death experience.

But with the end of the treaty that keeps the several empires of the Witchlands from fighting approaching, Safi and Iseult’s peaceful lives will dissipate as they are both forced to run to stop Safi from becoming a political pawn.

With the help of Safi’s uncle’s arrangements, Safi and Iseult manage to make a wild escape and ride a ship to Nubrevna captined by Prince Merik, a Windwitch. However with secret political deals and a vengeful Bloodwitch on their trail, their fight for freedom to live their own lives will not end when they reach Nubrevna.

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Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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hypable.com

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes series | Book 1
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (September 15, 2015)
Rating: 2 stars (Leave It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch describes protagonist Meira and the other Winterian refugee’s journey to retrieve their fallen kingdom’s locket.

GoodReads Synopsis

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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barnesandnoble.com

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Pages: 181 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 3, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman weaves a psychological thriller about an ‘ocean’ at the end of a lane where a man (unnamed deliberately by the author) lived as a young boy.

GoodReads Synopsis

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Despite it’s relatively thin length for a novel (181 pages), The Ocean at the End of the Lane compacts a lot of meaning into those pages. And it left me still thinking after I’d finished it with the thought-provoking plotline. The author, Neil Gaiman, did a good job holding my interest through every page and generating intrigue.

A unique twist on the classic good vs. evil story with an adult tone to it, The Ocean at the End of the Lane took a little time to set up before fully launching into the story. I think what made this book fascinating was the surprise ending, and–highlight for spoiler– (the horridness of one Ursula Monkton), and how the author described memory and trauma.

One aspect of the novel that I found to be an interesting choice on the author’s part was the deliberate decision to keep the man (the main character) namelesss throughout the novel. In a way, I thought that it made sense.

Although the novel’s synopsis did not  intrigue me, I decided to give it a try and I’m glad that I did. Once you begin to read the book, it grips you and does not let you go until you finish. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel from the excellent writing, plot development, and character development.

I’d recommend this book to people who’ve read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s other novel Coraline or are looking for a good horror-psychological-suspense novel.

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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reinodemismediasverdades.blogspot.com

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 3
Pages: 592
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The third novel of the Throne of Glass series, Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas describes assassin Celaena Sardothien’s journey in Wendlyn with the Fae.

CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT if you’ve not read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, or The Assassin’s Blade.

After Chaol–the Captain of the Guard–sells his freedom to give Celaena safety in the continent across the ocean, she aimlessly roams the streets of Varese–Wendlyn’s capital–with a half-forgotten mission: assassinate the royal family of Wendlyn. But Celaena has other ideas. She needs to find out more about the mysterious wyrdkeys–the king of Adarlan’s source of power.

And there’s only one person, or rather Fae, on Wendlyn who can give her answers: Maeve, Queen of the Fae who is also her dreaded aunt. While she’s lounging on the rooftops, one of Maeve’s elite Fae warrior, Rowan, appears with orders to bring her to Maeve. However, nothing comes without a price. To receive answers about the wyrdkeys from Maeve, Celaena must complete training under the instruction of the apathetic Rowan.

As part of her training, Celaena must learn to master her fire magic. But her former master, Arobbyn Hamel, always taught her to fear her magic. Can Celaena conquer her fear?

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

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apageofheaven.wordpress.com

Title: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 0
Pages: 464
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (March 3, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The prequel to the Throne of Glass series, The Assassin’s Blade, by Sarah J. Maas describes Celaena’s life as an assassin of the Assassin’s Guild.

The Assassin’s Blade includes five novellas about Celaena’s life:

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: When Celaena defies Arobbyn Hamel’s business wishes with Sam, she learns how unforgiving her master can be.

The Assassin and the Healer: Traveling on her way to the Red Desert as punishment, Celaena meets an inn maid who dreams of being a maid. Despite her brutal upbringing, Celaena shows the maid kindness when she teaches the maid self defense and gives some of her money to her.

The Assassin and the Desert: Celaena trains with the Silent Assassins of the Red Desert so she can win their Master’s letter of approval, then she can leave. There she befriends Ansel, who has many secrets. In the desert, Celaena learns what pain turned to hate can do to people.

The Assassin and the Underworld: After Celaena returns from the Red Desert, Arobbyn Hamel expresses his regret over what he did, but Celaena realizes that she can never fully trust him again. When Celaena learns about the debt she owes to Sam, her rival in the Guild, her life slowly begins to change.

The Assassin and the Empire: Celaena continues her work as an assassin in the Guild. This novella describes the events that led up to Celaena’s time in Endovier.

Considering how much I love Sarah J. Maas’s writing and Celaena, I am surprised at how long I postponed reading this. As a prequel, this book far surpassed my expectations. This was a book of novellas about Celaena. It is a marvelous book of insight on Celaena’s character and why she acts the way she does in Throne of Glass. Although Celaena still isn’t very nice in this book, you learn about her fellow assassin, Sam Cortland and how Celaena’s master, Arrobyn Hamel played a part in her capture and enslavement in Endovier.

How do you think Celaena was similar before and after Endovier? How do you think Celaena was changed by Endovier? What do you think is the bravest act Celaena has done?

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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apageofheaven.wordpress.com

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series | Book 2
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 2, 2014)
Rating: 4.5 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The book, Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas continues the sage of assassin Celaena Sardothien.

SPOILER ALERT! Proceed with caution if you’ve not read Throne of Glass and plan to.

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Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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paperdroids.com

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series | Book 1
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 7, 2013)
Rating: 4.25 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas begins the saga of the eighteen-year old assassin, Celaena Sardothien.

Since she was apprehended in currently unknown circumstances, Celaena Sardothien has been slaving away in the salt mines of Endovier. In Endovier, she has endured savage conditions and has permanent scarring on her back to show for it.

After about a year, however, Chaol Westfall (Captain of the Guards) brings Celaena before Dorian Havilliard (Crown Prince of Adarlan). Dorian offers Celaena a proposition. If she fights in the Adarlan king’s competition to become his assassin as Dorian’s champion and wins, she will earn her freedom after four years of service.

At the castle in Rifthold, Celaena’s body recovers from its abuse and she accustoms to the luxuries of living in a palace. However, shortly before the competition’s first elimination trial, a contestant turns up dead and nearly indistinguishable.

Celaena finds herself fighting not only for her freedom, but for her survival too as the Champions’ (the contestants) deaths continue.

Will she be able to find and stop the mysterious killer and win the competition, all while concealing a deadly secret of her own?

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

nerdist.comTitle: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes series | Book 1
Pages: 464 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (February 9, 2016)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, An Ember in the Ashes, intertwines the stories of Laia, Elias, and Helene.

Laia is a Scholar, a part of the Scholar Empire, which the Martial Empire conquered. She lives with her grandparents and her brother on the Empire’s back streets and does not challenge the Empire because those who do quickly meet death. But when her brother comes home with his mysterious notebook with a Mask (an Empire soldier) behind him, she must seek out the Resistance (the rebel group) to rescue him.

Elias is a Mask-in-training who is about to graduate from Blackcliff Military Academy. Despite being the son of the Commandant, a ruthless women who runs Blackcliff, he is different from the other Masks because he shows mercy to others. Before being selected for a daunting competition, Elias prepares to flee the Empire so he can be free. He knows that being a soldier means doing whatever the Empire asks of him.

Helene is Elias’s friend and fellow Mask-in-training. She is Blackcliff’s only female student in Elias’s year, but she is a skilled warrior. She will do anything to save Elias who she knows is reluctant to serve the Empire.

GoodReads Synopsis

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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