Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy,
Reviewed by: Cassie
Summary (from

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Well, I have to first state that I was very confused and misinformed when I read this, so perhaps my review is flawed.
Nevertheless, I shall march on!
To elaborate, I thought this was like the prequel series to Throne of Glass. So, um. Yeah. I thought Feyre was like the mom or something. I also thought it was Young Adult, so I was raising my eyebrows at the bedroom scenes, thinking to myself, "My my, how YA has progressed!"

WEIRD. Messed with my mind.

Despite this, A Court of Thorns and Roses was still entertaining. Steamy, too, if you didn't already guess. I like to categorize this kind of book as guilty pleasure reading. The kind you blaze through (somewhat skimming), enjoying like you would a delicious cookie, and in the end kind of forgetting it.

Because, while it was enjoyable, in no way was it fantastic or extraordinary.

Woefully underdeveloped. And Feyre had some kind of personality disorder, I might add. She went from strong/icy/hateful to playful/light/happy to confused/weak/sad. Alright, yes you can have mood swings. But you can't just change personalities for weeks at a time! I understand some people have a cold exterior that melts as you get to know them (seeing as I am one of those dastardly people) but you don't just LOSE it! You don't! It goes right back up when you're thrust into a new situation and even if you have a moment of weakness, it still lingers in the recesses of your mind, waiting for the right time to rise.
Trust me. I KNOW THIS. Therefore, Feyre has a serious personality issue, seeing as she kept morphing from person to person.
Tamlin was boring. Too pretty and good. Not even a hint of malice or ill-will. Let me shudder for us all, because that's just disturbing.
Even the one promising character, Rhysand, turned out to be disappointing. He was first portrayed as evil and shadowy and deliciously despicable and awesome, and THEN. And then he turned out to be "deep" and sorrowful and not even a proper villain/tyrant. Because obviously, no one can be evil just because he feels like it. He has to have a "reason".

No, that's rather extreme. But it was predictable and somewhat boring. Also, that riddle?

The one that lamely determines the fate of basically the entire world? EASY. GOD. I figured it out within a minute of reading it, because it was so obvious. It was in no way difficult, and it made me roll my eyes (while one of them twitched in annoyance).

Questionable? Indeed.
Hot? Indeed.
Some scenes actually made me put down my phone and take a little breather, because the writing was chock full of STEAM. Like, wowzers. And it was a nice, seductive steam.
But as for the romance behind it?
Uhhhh. I didn't feel the spark.
It wasn't instalove or that disgusting mess, but I couldn't get in the groove of Feyre/Tamlin.

As many already know, Maas has fantastic writing skills that draw you in. Yet even the most gifted writer will struggle to keep her audience ensnared when she writes scenes that aren't her strong-suit or have a weak plot. This book is a prime example of that: Maas, as other readers have pointed out, excels in constructing action scenes and fierce, breathtaking battles/fights. A Court of Thorns and Roses has a glaring lack of these instances; most of the narrative is wasted describing the beauty of the fae, their courts, or the terror of it all.
Meh. Boring. Please.

Read at your own peril. (Although, it is fun, so . . . )

Hugs and kisses~

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Cassie
Summary (from

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


There. I said it.

You know Those Books, where the writing is perfection, the characters are perfection, and you love basically everything about it? This was one of Those Books for me.

How can I describe it? The story was beautiful. It gave me tingles. You know, happy tingles! 

One of the greatest accomplishments this book achieves is its characters. Shazi and Khalid are fantastic. Shazi goes from despising Khalid, King of Kings, to slowly but surely learning to love him, and hating herself for doing so. If that ain't poetic, I don't know what is. Shazi is bold and "silver-tongued", and could probably bluff or charm her way out of anything. She was sassy, passionate, and all-together a character that made you want to root for her.

Khalid? God, what a character! I loved him! If beautiful angst had a physical embodiment, Khalid would be it. His dark, mysterious past makes him a serious and aloof boy-king who is- in many peoples' eyes- a murderous tyrant with no heart. Personally, I would have been entirely satisfied with such a character left at that (hello, Darkling #2. I love you already.) buuuuut Renee Ahdieh brings in the angst here. Because Khalid is not what he appears; he is a tortured boy of 18, who laments every wife he kills and has a terrible secret as to why he does it.

Oftentimes, this concoction is a heady but ultimately failing one. But what does Ahdieh do? She says, SCREW THAT. I'll write it so well that you can't hate it! In fact, you'll LOVE it. HA! BEHOLD MY AWESOMENESS.

Okay, maybe not. But there's something about him that's so un-ridiculous that it works. He's quiet and observant, unassuming and confident, conflicted and sweet.
Sigh. How nice.
The rest of the characters aren't as developed as these two, although I believe Tariq, Shazi's first love deserves a mention. Him and his beautiful blue-gray eyes, and his unmatched determination to get Shazi back. Sigh numero dos.

A lot of people had issues with the story, as in, it wasn't spectacular enough for them. Admittedly, it was a bit slow and it was mainly focused around the romance. So for a lot of readers going in who didn't want that, I can see why it was a disappointment. But me? I love romance. I'm a romantic at heart (I'll deny it 90% of the time) and I love a good romance story. Which this was.

Other people had issues with the romance, which I never understood. They say it was underdeveloped and lacked depth- for example, why was Shazi so special? What about her made Khalid spare her life, night after night? And what about the draw between the two? That sort of thing.
Perhaps it is because I'm inexperienced at love, but I found the romance enjoyable. I didn't get stuck on the logistics or the details, I saw what it was: a tragic love story doomed to fail, yet struggling to bloom.

As for the writing: I believe everyone has a different preference for styles, and so it's up to the reader to really decide. I might say that it was beautiful and lovely, but others may find it lacking.

I shall now leave you with models who resemble the characters!


Also, that took me a super long time to find, so I hope you enjoyed that.

To end: this book is a re-read and on my favorites shelf. BOOYAH

Hugs and kisses~

Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Reviewed by: Cassie
Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance
Summary (from

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.

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.

I wasn't too sold by the summary and cover, and went in skeptical. But then the chapters hooked me in and I was shocked by the quality of the writing!

An Ember in the Ashes is a riveting read, one thy I could not put down. Seriously, I finished it in a day. 

Is it without its flaws? No. The characters are somewhat predictable and lack depth at times. The scenery and world building could have used more details and work. The storyline was a bit cliche.

Yet despite all that, Tahir's writing pulls you in with instances of strangely alluring beauty- it gave me some shivers at times. Her style has a darkly romantic, slightly haunting feel to it at the best moments, and adds an intriguing trait to the more evil characters. 

Not only that, but her characters - though at times dull and predictable- often were enjoyable. Elias was a mystery- he had moments of stark cruelty, where his tyrant genes showed true- and other moments of shocking vulnerability and gentleness. He doesn't want to be evil or a killer, but realizes some part of him will always be that way. (Please become a Darkling, Elias. Please please please become deliciously evil.)

(You're welcome.)

Laia was more frustrating. She was shortsighted and ignorant... Or rather, she wanted oblivion and wouldn't face the facts. Sometimes she was so stupid my eye twitched, but all in all she was honest and a real person. If a bit cliche. The whole "I'm such a good sister I'm sacrificing myself to save my brother it's so hard and oh I'm gorgeous I have two fantastic lads vying for my attention" bugged me. Just... Something about her bothered me.

As for everyone else? Eh. Not very noteworthy. I should mention Keenan, Laia's other suitor, and Helene, Elias's best friend who's in love with him... But I didn't feel they were worth the effort. (AKA unspectacular.)

WAIT. I forgot!
The Augurs. They were like all-knowing and immortal Viseryses (from GOT) because they were always pulling strings, watching, and made you just a tad concerned for your safety. FANTASTIC. Even with their odd red eyes.

The world:
A bit underdeveloped but still fascinating, in a sense. I'm not sure I got "Ancient Rome" from the whole thing, but definitely some ancient civilization, what with the wars and emperors and enslavement. Could have used some backstory, maybe? 

The plot:
GOD. Cliche? Perhaps. So many young adult novels about rebellions that all the stories seem to blend together and I can never quite tell what's original and what's been used in  ten different books. Since I can't really tell with this one, I'm going to say it's not super original. But I mean, I really enjoyed the Trials. 

They were psychological and dark and made me so happy at times . . . And then other times they didn't, because something stupid would interrupt a pivotal moment. 

But all in all, I'm happy! Try it out. Even if it's just for Elias.

Kisses and hugs~