Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Rating: 1/5 Stars


I'm going to be honest here, I wanted to read this book for the freaking awesome cover. I mean just look at that BLACK carved apple with the typography with The Shadow Queen. Doesn't it look amazing?! And I read in an interview that the apple was actually carved, not drawn over digitally. How more awesome can it get?

However, the book wasn't that great. Don't get me wrong, this book wasn't awful or anything of the sort, I just felt like I had read the story a thousand times before.

.The writing was simplistic, not purple prose or overly descriptive.
.The story was generic, imagine a Princess trying to regain her throne, yadda, yadda.
.The characters were boring. I'm sorry but there was nothing especial here, the one-dimensional villain, the "strong" princess who doesn't believe in politics or diplomacy (how the hell will she run the Kingdom? Why does she even want it if she's not going to do anything??), the laid-back Prince who does nothing but fool around until things "get serious", etc.
.The world building was inexistent, magic was... there? And some people could use it but others couldn't? Oh and there were several kingdoms, an Ogre war and... that's it.

When Lorelai's mother passes away, her father the King will marry her sister, Queen Irina. At first, it seems as if the new Queen is exactly what the family needs, her father and brother are happier and with Irina being a magic wielder like Lorelai herself, the two of them form a close bond. But soon things start to go wrong, and Lorelai discovers that farm from being caring, Irina is casting a spell over the entire Kingdom to do her bidden. With her magic she is able to free her people long enough to rescue her brother and escape her palace as Irina kills their father. Now after ten years, the powerful sorcerer is starving her Kingdom out of spite and Lorelai, her brother and a loyal guard pretend to be dead while they put together a revolution.

So, imagine OUAT's Snow White retelling without Regina fricken Mills.


As I said, I didn't hate the story it was just boring and predictable. Not to mention it didn't make much sense; Lorelai, her brother and guard are trying to start a revolution without Irina knowing about them, how will they do that you might wonder? Well, they steal the taxes the Queen makes the villagers pay, give it back to them and spread the rumors that Lorelai is alive and wants to take back her Kingdom… but not very strong rumours because if Irina finds out, she'll kill them all. So... basically they are basing the entire thing on a flimsy rumor that nobody will believe or support.

It just didn't make sense, Lorelai wants to save everybody from Irina, but she didn't know that things were so bad mothers were killing their children so they wouldn't have to starve. How much does she know of her own Kingdom and their situation? What is she even fighting for?

The story was divided between Lorelai's, Kol's (a dragon Prince of sorts) and Irina’s POV. I didn't like the love story between Kol, the Prince/King Irina manipulates into killing Lorelai (very snow white and the hunstman). It was too insta-love, the second they meet Kol can't kill her because "she's so beautiful and rebellious and devoid of any real personality!"

In the end, the beautiful cover once again didn't correspond with a beautiful book. It wasn't terrible, but I recommend for people who like "light" fantasy and generic stories.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Mass

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Rating: 1/5 Stars


*Sighs* Well... I guess it's time I write this review, otherwise it's just going to stay there unwritten forever and bother the hell out of me... I really don't want to though, just thinking about this book again and all the romantic drama, the snail-slow pace and the endless descriptions of cream-colored stuff bore me as if I were reading the book again.

If you have read my previews reviews, you'll know that I'm not the biggest fan of this series. Hell, I'm far from it but a lot of people love it so much that I just wanted to read it and see what it was like. Queen of Shadows was the book that most people love (it won the Goddreads choice award for crying out loud!) but for me, it was the first of this series in which I couldn't give the rating more than one star. Beware for spoilers and a short rant.

Now, I'm pretty sure that this review is going to be a short one unlike the rest, and that is because in 600 pages of content NOTHING HAPPENS. This is just something I can't stress enough, in all of the TOG books Mass writes 90% of introduction or dances, flirting, cakes and candies and just keeps us waiting until the actual plot is revealed at the very last minute only for readers to find out it wasn't worth the waiting.

Same thing happens here, Celaena wants to find the amulet of Orynth, bring magic back and defeat the King. Time spent doing those actual things? Forty pages. Time spent doing the most awkawrd and cringe worthy flirting in the history of the series, destroying Chaol's characterization for the sake of a ship with zero chemistry, pretending Aelin is on top of things when she is actually being manipulated, and describing people purring or doing things with "feline grace" when they are people and not f*cking cats? 600+ pages. That's it, that's all there is.

The romance:

Most fans of the series absolutely love the romance. I've seen people claim that, even though they had lost faith in the Young Adult genre thanks to its mindless love stories, Queen of Shadows and Mass' abilities creating compelling relationships is what restored it. However, the romance has always been one of my biggest problems in this series. For one, I don't understand why these relationships happen; I never see the chemistry between these couples and don't even know what they see in each other that makes it such an epic love story. I mean sure, Mass loves to write paragraphs on how those feelings affect the characters, but you never get to see them. The style here is more "tell not show" and so even though there is no chemistry or logic between the pair, we are thrown a romantic relationship nonetheless.

Now, I knew before starting QoS that Rowan and Aelin would be together. Just reading HoF made it clear; not because I thought that Rowan and Aelin had super-hot chemistry or because they understood each other like no one else did. It was because Mass can't put a hot male character near Celaena and not have him being in love with her. Plus, Rebeca confirmed it when I posted my thoughts on a status update.

                            funny arrested development eye lucille bluth winking

That being said, I know that there is a lot of controversy regarding Rowan and Chaol but my thoughts are divided. I ahve to say, I was never a huge fan of Celaena and Chaol together, I like them all single just because the romance always makes my eyes bleed, but apart from that Chaol and Celaena simply weren't a pairing that I liked. I understood that when they separated it wasn't that they hated each other or anything, only that things had happened and even though they still cared for each other, their romance just couldn't be.
I understood that, even though Celaena said "I will always choose you." she still went ahead with a different relationship. I'm not one who believes in "true love forever", I'm not cold-hearted... at least, I think I'm not? But anyway, I know that people change and so do relationships. Sometimes people can evolve together, and even though they are not the same as when they started, they are still together. Other times, people change and go different ways. Shit happens, and you can't control it no matter how much you want to.

So, am I mad that Chaolena didn't happen despite Celaena's promise? No, because a lot of stuff happened in the time they were apart, hell, a lot of stuff happened while they were together too. That led to the characters changing; Aelin accepted her fate as Queen and Chaol... didn't do much because his characterization is not important once he loses his status as love interest, I guess?

Anyway, I'm not mad about that. I'm sad to see that Chaol was completely annihilated to make the author feel better about Rowaelin happening.
Look, I've said it in Ignite Me and I'll say it again, if you need to destroy a character for the sake of a ship, then that couple doesn't really belong together. It's easy, when two characters make sense together, you don't need to force readers into seeing it your way. You want to have Rowan and Aelin together? Perfect! But why did Chaol had to go from a blushing virgin to an asshole sex machine who did nothing but snarl and tell Aelin the truth of all the things he had done wrong. Same as with Ignite Me, because Chaol suddenly realizes that Aelin is not absolutely perfect in everything that she does and actually recognizes the mistakes she makes, he is turned into the devil.

Not to mention how now it was all Chaol's fault. I'm curious about knowing if the author remembered what happened in the previous book? That could explain why there were so many plot holes too, like the King being possessed that was supossed to be a huge revelation when it was in fact said in the previous book!
In Heir of Fire, Celaena realized that Nehemia's death hadn’t been Chaol's fault. It was Nehemia the one who had convinced herself her death mattered more than her life, and if she had been saved that night, she would have gotten killed some other time.
What happens here?

"There were perhaps only three feet between them now-three feet and months and months of missing and hating him. Months of crawling out of that abyss he'd shoved her into."

How did that even happen? If anything it had been Nehemia's death what had caused that, now it's his fault too?
She even gets mad at Chaol for leaving Dorian behind when she had done the same thing. Aelin knew Dorian had magic and what his father might do to him once he found out, did she help him? Nope! But Chaol, unarmed and surrounded by guards, who had no idea of demons or how to fight them was supposed to rescue Dorian and Aedion?

Aelin never thinks of anything but herself and what she wants, everything else is only important if it can be useful to her.

"'Did it even occur to you to send us a warning? To let any of us know about the king's collars?'
It was like a bucket of water had been dumped on her. She blinked. She could have warned them-could have saved them- could have tried. Later-she'd think about that later."

Want to guess what happens? She doesn't think about it again, in fact Aelin only recognizes her mistakes part ways and then goes back to behaving like a petulant child and crying every time someone didn't do what she wanted. Some Queen she's gonna be.

Even though Chaol was a dick, I can't hate him because I know that his real character wasn't like that, he was turned into a spiteful and pitiful copy of himself only so that people would root for Aelin and Rowan together. And even when he was an asshole, he still had some good points:

"Magic makes people dangerous."

Even though taking away all the magic had been a bad move, Chaol has a reason to be afraid of it and magic wielders.

"'And what then?' Chaol asked.
'Will you hold Rifthold hostage the way you did with Doranelle? Burn anyone who doesn't agree with you? Or will you just incinerate our kingdom from spite? And what of others like you, who feel that they have a score to settle with Adarlan?"

Aelin cries injustice and that Chaol is being mean to her, but this is exactly what she wants to do.


Now when it comes to Rowan... I have to be honest, about halfway through I started skipping the descriptions in his chapters and reading only the dialogue. Seeing a hundred year old dude creepily describing how a teenager made him hard and how lovely her "slender-yet-muscular legs" were got creepy real fast.


I was looking forward to seeing more female friendships, but the Aelin/Lysandra relationship was a letdown for me. There was just no thought put into it, Lysandra showed up in Aelin's doorstep one day and said she wanted to work with her. Instead of investigating her old enemy and see if she could be plotting against her with the other old creep that wants into Aelin's pants, what does she do? She says that it would be very easy for Lysandra to deceive her... so she's going to trust her.

I waited the entire book for Lysandra to betray her but no, they became BFFs right away and problem solved. Meh.

Manon was, again, the only bright star for me. Her and Asterin were brilliant, and I cried when her cousin confessed what had happened to her. Why can't the entire series be about them?

Saying that Queen of Shadows was a disappointment for me is an understatement. Purple-prose with endless descriptions does not equal story in the same way that forced interaction doesn't equal romance. I don't really look forward to the next book.

PS: If Manon and Dorian hook up, I'll f*cking riot.

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

I have around 600 books in my “To be read” list, and instead of reading the ones I have I always keep adding new ones without giving it a second thought. However, I decided to try and keep the new books to a minimum, instead focusing on the ones I wanted to read but never got around to do so (unless I can’t get them, of course).

Masque of the Red Death sounded like an interesting book with a plague ravaging a city and a Prince who doesn’t care about the future of his citizens. This novel is a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Mask of the Red Death”, I haven’t read it myself so I can’t say if it’s a good adaptation or not, all I know is how this story stood on its own, and it didn’t do a good job.

I couldn’t find anything that I would like in this book, although the synopsis sounded interesting, the execution wasn’t. The characters, especially our main one, were shallow; you couldn’t see their feelings or motives behind their actions. Why did they do the things that they did? Beats me, the characters just went around doing stuff to move the plot along, but I hardly ever saw why they took certain choices or what were their thoughts behind them.


Araby was our main character, she was just a child when the plague broke loose, and she survived it when her twin brother, Finn didn’t. As a result Araby swore she’ll never experience things Finn didn’t, such as falling in love… but not doing drugs, parties or friends. Basically, just something to keep the “tension” in the love story and give the reader a half-assed reason on why two characters can’t be together.

Araby never expresses a single feeling in the entire story, and her motivations are unclear. She never seemed to have thought about poor people not having masks to breathe fresh air, even though she went through it with Finn. But the minute she meets Will’s siblings (the hot guy who attended the club) she gets a little concerned and tries to get them masks and talk about how unfair it is that people are dying because they can’t afford them. Suddenly that becomes her main plot and her only reason to move forward. Her relationship with Will is complete insta-love, when she passes out in the club from drug consumption, the guy pulls a Christian Grey and takes her to his home and sleeps with her.

“’I don’t know what else to call you. The person I hoped wouldn’t die in my bed? I found you unconscious behind one of the curtains when I was locking up.’
My shame is followed by a cold wave of anger.
‘You didn’t think you should have taken me to the hospital?’
‘I didn’t have time.’
He didn’t have time? He found me unconscious, brought me home, but couldn’t be bothered to stop at a hospital or to get me to my father, who could have administered appropriate medical care?”

Oh, but she still develops a deep connection with him!

“I’ve never told anyone about the day my twin brother died. I think I could tell Will.”

After sharing just five freaking sentences! So much connection!!!


 The girl just lacked common sense, she comes across with Elliot, a guy she barely knows (and that when she met him he gave her drugs that almost killed her and left her passed out in a club full of strangers) but when he asks her to steal the super-secret designs for the masks from her father’s desk, she does it without hesitation. Even though those masks were the only thing keeping her family safe (because his father is the only one who knows how to make them, so the Prince can’t kill him or his family), Araby never hesitates in giving those papers to Elliot, a complete stranger who could be working with the Prince!

“Father loves me. Elliot does not. And I’ve betrayed Father at Elliot’s request.”

You would think this realization would bring some sense into her, right? WRONG! She keeps doing dumb things that put her entire family in danger.

When Araby’s “friend” goes missing and discovers she’s been taken by the Prince, she decides to go to the castle to find her and I was like “Oh... wait, you care about her?” because not once had Araby expressed that she felt anything toward the girl. In fact, she insists that they have nothing in common besides getting dressed to go to parties and that she is not even sure why they hang out together, but suddenly she is willing to risk everything for her?

Probably another thing that didn’t work in the book’s favor was the love triangle. I actually don’t mind them when they are done right but let’s face it, in 96% off the novels they are used to create unnecessary drama and it was no exception here. Perhaps the most disappointing thing was that neither of the guys and the romances managed to evoke any feelings from me besides mild annoyance. I don’t even understand why it is supposed to be love, when both guys treat Araby like crap, just look at Elliot:

"And I'm falling in love with you," he whispers. "But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals. Do. Not. Trust. Anyone. Especially me." 


“’Will can do it.’ I sigh.
‘Let’s go below and ask him. I don’t want you to die.’
That’s the nicest thing you have ever said to me.
His eyes meet mine, and I remember that he told me once that he was falling in love with me. I might finally believe him.

Because the nicest thing he ever said was that he didn’t want her to die, he’s clearly in love with her? TRUE LOVE Y’ALL


Overall, this book was a disappointment for me. I recommend it to fans of romance who don’t mind the stuff I mentioned above.