Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Wicked King – Holly Black (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Wicked’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘The Wicked King’ is the second novel of Holly’s Black’s ‘The Folk in the Air’ series about a world hidden from humans – a world of fairies and magic which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I was interested to read more about the fairy world and liked the additional guest appearance of the underwater world – but my concern is still that nothing is explained in too much detail, making how the kingdoms work a mystery to me. Which is annoying at times when the main plot revolves around political intrigue.

The plot of this book is better than the first but I was still reading primarily because of the Jude/Cardan interactions. I couldn’t bring myself to care at all about Balekin or Madoc’s concerns over who and how would rule and Jude’s grasp on it made me feel like I was reliving every Monday morning at work (I know I have to do something but not sure what, because Friday was ages ago and I feel like an impostor because of it but I fake it till I make it as I have to).

The characters in this novel are becoming more and more and there are still just a few of them which appear to hold any real personality. Cardan is love. I could easily tell he was Ms Black’s favourite – and probably the one who first appeared in her head before she started writing. His character development is miles away from everyone else’s.

Main Jude pales in comparison. Vivi, Taryn, Locke and basically everyone else are still there, still boring. I guess it’s really realistic in a way. Not everyone has interesting roles in this life.

The writing style is consistently good as in the first book. It’s clean and easy to read. The dialogue is getting better, particularly where Jude and Cardan are concerned. The chemistry between them is written really well and I commend Ms Black on that – especially after what I consider to be a shakier start in the first book.

I can’t wait for November and ‘Queen of Nothing’ because this ending was both heart-breaking and so awesome!

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Cruel’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘The Cruel Prince’ is the first novel of Holly’s Black’s ‘The Folk in the Air’ series about a world hidden from humans – a world of fairies and magic which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I liked the setting. There is something very macabre about how these majestic creatures who can’t lie hold so many secrets and are so frightening in their own way. It’s an intriguing, tantalizing concept which is right up my alley! Nothing is fully explained, however, so it left me wondering at times if Ms Black is pulling convenient things out of her sleeve depending on the scene.

The plot is okay. It follows a rather repetitive pattern of the main character going somewhere, being humiliated and then dealing with the consequences on her own. Would have liked a bit more genuine action to drive the story forward. The pace is, because of this, quite slow. It picks up at the end but there were definitely parts in the middle I was happy to skip ahead.

The characters in this novel are many but not all of them seem to be fleshed-out. While I found Madoc and Cardan very interesting and well developed, the main protagonist Jude and her equally boring sisters Taryn and Vivi didn’t quite cut it for me. I wasn’t sure what their role was at all. They felt like plot devices, put there to drive Jude forward. Same for the faceless Shadow Court.

The writing style is good. It’s clean and easy to read. There are some phrases which Ms Black obviously likes to use but they didn’t break the experience for me. I think I only noticed them because I write a lot too. But can we talk about THAT kiss? Easily the best scene in the book, so well written and so amazingly paced.

This book shines in its description of the fantastical world it’s set in while doesn’t much provide for invigorating conversation between characters. Nevertheless, it’s definitely one I would recommend. For a first book in a series, it set up the action well enough to make me pick up the sequel right away.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J Maas (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and a half ‘Forged’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Kingdom of Ash’ is the epic conclusion to the seven-piece fantasy series ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas. It follows the journey of Aelin and her impressive amount of allies. Can’t say much more without spoiling the story.

The world of Erilea is well-developed and the readers have a good idea of what the stakes are for each character; and how their story fits within this massive universe, which is no small feat considering how many POV characters there are.

The plot is nothing new – the end goal, as with many fantasy series, is to save the world. There is magic and war. What I found interesting is how the Gods were depicted – far from being angelic, their presence reminds the reader that not all that is supposed to be good and fair actually is. And with how our own world is, this point hits home.

I liked the pacing, which is one of Ms Maas’s strong points as a writer – there is good mix of action, romance and reflection time, all of which flow nicely from one to the next, making the story coherent and incredibly easy to read.

The characters are definitely my favourite thing about this book and the series as a whole. I had so many favourite ships I could build a whole armada. Elide and Lorcan – yes, please. Aedion and Lysandra? Please just be together already. Dorian and Manon? HOT. Despite the relationships following a rather repetitive cycle of ‘like-get together for a bit-fight-dislike-like again-be super happy-have a baby’, I still found them enjoyable to read.

Aelin herself is an interesting character, who was both strong and refreshingly weak and anxious at times, showing readers that even super powerful queens with a thousand titles can have a bad day and need a warm bath to make it a bit better.

The only issue I have with this book, and the others in the series, is the writing. It is repetitive (how many times can one cringe??) and too overdramatic sometimes. There is lots of purple prose in the descriptions and while I enjoyed some of them, I found myself scanning paragraphs and skipping ahead, which is never good. The language is conversational and easy to read. YA readers would have no problem with this book. Their parents, however, might not approve of some of the graphic sex scenes inside.

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Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Healing’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Tower of Dawn’ is the sixth book in the seven-piece fantasy series ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas. It follows the journey of Chaol and Nesryn as they set off to heal Chaol’s injury and obtain an army to follow them home.

The Southern Continent is a good addition to the world of Erilea and provides an interesting focus on diversity which was strongly lacking in the previous books.

The plot is weaved with care, placing the characters’ journey to each other in the centre. I could see the twist coming from pages away but it did not ruin my experience because as with all other books of Ms Maas’, you’re in it for the banter and the ships blossoming left, right and centre.

I liked the pacing, which is one of Ms Maas’s strong points as a writer – there is good mix of action, romance and reflection time, all of which flow nicely from one to the next, making the story coherent and incredibly easy to read.

‘Tower of Dawn’ does not follow any other of the main characters from books 1-5 which I thought would be a minus but was actually a surprisingly nice change of scenery. Having fallen out of love with Chaol, and never liking Nesryn, I actually adored them both towards the end of this book. It happens rarely with me, so well done, Ms Maas.

The whole plot line about Chaol’s healing process is magnificently written – it is a great description of dealing with trauma and the ending to that storyline is painfully realistic. I will not spoil more but as someone battling with mental health on the daily, I appreciated the care in the depiction of something which could have been easily glossed over for a hearty HEA.

The only issue I have with this book, and the others in the series, is the writing. It is repetitive and too overdramatic sometimes. There is lots of purple prose in the descriptions and while I enjoyed some of them, I found myself scanning paragraphs and skipping ahead, which is never good. The language is conversational and easy to read. YA readers would have no problem with this book. Their parents, however, might not approve of some of the graphic sex scenes inside.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J Maas (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and a half ‘Assassin’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘The Assassin’s Blade’ is the collection of five prequel novellas to the seven-piece fantasy series ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas. It follows the journey of Celeana before the events of any of the other books unfold and gives insight into some of her personality and reasoning, together with expanding on and introducing some other relevant side characters.

The world of Erilea is well-developed if you look at the series as a whole but if you read the prequels first, it appears scattered and disjointed. These are definitely not standalone novellas. A good addition to the series nonetheless.

The plot and pacing of each novella are well-developed. Those are some tight stories; and compared to the novels are much better in how they were built as a piece of writing. Each having a specific purpose to explain a certain thing, they work really well without wasting too many words on unnecessary descriptions or world-building.

The characters are well-written and well-placed to provide Celaena with a bouquet of life experiences that made her the fearless warrior queen that she is. When reading the series, I did think there were times Calaena behaved oddly, without any good reason backing her actions. This book provides that additional insight into who this character really is.

The side characters are really strong. My favourites were Yrene and Sam – well done, Ms Maas. In contrast to the more explicit love scenes in the other books, the innocent love between Sam and Caleana was refreshing – both beautiful and sad, as the readers know the outcome. I felt genuinely heartbroken every time they would talk about the future.

The writing is good. It made me turn the pages without thinking too much about sentences and word choice despite some repetitions. The language is conversational and easy to read. YA readers would have no problem with this book.

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