The Assassin’s Blade

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Edition: Paperback

**DISCLAIMER: I read The Assassin’s Blade in the published order, so after Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. So, if you have not read those two books, this review may contain slight spoilers**

Goodreads summary: 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.

I decided to read this book after Crown of Midnight because I usually prefer to read series’ in their publication order. This book contains five novellas, and to be honest I didn’t have the highest expectations. I have loved all the other Throne of Glass books, but the idea of a bunch of short stories didn’t appeal to me. However, this book blew me away. It is a hundred percent my favorite book in the series so far!

Likes: I loved learning about Celaena’s past. The first two Throne of Glass books left so many mysteries about her and a lot of them were answered in this book. It made Celaena seem much more human, more relatable. Each story was so interesting that I ended up reading one a day, I just couldn’t make myself stop reading them. Her relationship with Sam was heartwarming and heartbreaking. I am glad that we are finally able to see more into that side of her past that wasn’t mentioned often in the first books. This view of her past shows how different of a person she is in in the main Throne of Glass series because of all the things that have happened to her. I also loved the characters in these stories. There were some great friendships and loves, as well as betrayal and heartbreak. I love the unexpected twists and turns that come along with these characters. I honestly wish some of them were in the main series.

Dislikes: Ummmm… I honestly don’t know. This was just such a good book. I can’t think of any.

Overall, this story just blew me away. For sure my favorite book in the Throne of Glass series so far. I wish there were more of these short stories because I loved seeing different aspects of Celaena’s past. The characters were wonderful, the plot twists shocking, and the plots themselves were phenomenal. I had such a great time reading this and I would recommend to everyone who has read the first two Throne of Glass books. (I know some people like to read it chronologically but for this book I find it important to read this one after Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. It creates an element of heartbreak and awe that I don’t think would be created if it was read first. Just my opinion though.)

January 2020| Reading Wrap Up

Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Throne of Glass is about an assassin who enters into a competition to become the King’s Champion. It is a story full of training, trails, secrets, and even some romance. The writing was incredible and kept me at the edge of my seat. I liked Sarah J. Maas’s descriptions and how well she paced the book. It didn’t seem to lull, and I enjoyed how well I was able to picture the story. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t deduct a star for that because I loved the rest of it so much.

Pros: had great pacing, a strong female main character who had other interests than just being an assassin (reading, fashion, etc).
Cons: did not appreciate how she treated the two male leads, ending was bizarre.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/03/throne-of-glass/

Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Shadow and Bone is the story of Alina, a “normal” girl who ends up finding out that she has powers of Light – a rare ability that could save the entire country. She is taken away to be trained with the Grisha – the magical elite – under the watchful eye of the Darkling. I did really enjoy this story. The magic system with the different types of Grisha was interesting, I loved hearing about all the different types of magic. There was great world building too, I liked learning about the Shadowfold and all the mysteries surrounding it. I didn’t care for the ending and the “plot twist”, nor did I enjoy the weird love scenario that was going on.

Pros: interesting classes of magic users, great world building, many enjoyable characters – some of her instructors were hilarious
Cons: her “insta-love” with a character that is supposed to literally be the Boogie Man and terrify her, the twist was relatively predictable and I didn’t believe a certain character would take the actions that they did, I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a negative to magic – there was no trade off besides becoming more beautiful and living longer…
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/14/shadow-and-bone/

Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Loveboat, Taipei is a story of Ever Wong who is sent to a summer program in Taipei against her will. Her parents sent her there thinking it was a prestigious program where she would study for college the whole time, however, it turns out that it is full of partying and very little supervision. This story is all about Ever trying to find herself and become more confident in who she is and who she wants to be. I will be honest and say that the first half or two thirds annoyed me to no end. The characters were unlikeable and I hated the romance. However, as the story went on and I learned more about character backstories, and as the characters themselves grew into stronger people, I started to love it. The character growth itself was so powerful that it completely turned around my views of this story and made me love it!

Pros: Extreme character growth for most of the characters, the culture and how well it was shown.
Cons: The characters were so unlikable at the beginning that I seriously thought about not finishing it.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/16/loveboat-taipei/

Warriors Fire and Ice
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

Warriors Fire and Ice is the second book in the Warriors series. It is about Fireheart – a warrior of ThunderClan – and his struggles becoming a warrior and keeping his clan safe. There are threats from other clans, and even within his own clan, that he has to worry about. I liked Fireheart’s loyalty and his tenaciousness when trying to help other cats. I like how much he cares about other cats and how he is so determined to prove that he is meant to be a part of ThunderClan. This book had more adventure than the first book, and I loved seeing more of the other Clans and the outside world. I did not really care for Greystripe in this book… I did not believe that his character would act so carelessly, no matter what the reason, because he has such respect and love for his clan and for Fireheart.

Pros: Fireheart’s character growth, expansion upon the world, the strong bond between Greystripe and Fireheart even when they are going through a tough time.
Cons: Greystripe’s character regression for most of the book was pretty unbelievable, Bluestar’s distrust of Fireheart.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/21/warriors-fire-and-ice/

House of Teeth
Author: Dan Jolley
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

House of Teeth is about a boy named Henry who is sent to the Louisiana bayou one summer to stay with his uncle and cousin. While he is there he learns that he is part of a long line of rootcrafters – people who can see memories of people whose teeth they touch. Throughout the story he learns there is so much more to rootcrafting than he could ever imagine. I did have fun listening to this story. The history of rootcrafting along with the abilities that it gives people was pretty unique and interesting to read about. However, the characters themselves and their actions weren’t as believable as I would have liked.

Pros: The story building and history behind rootcrafting, the abilities that are discovered throughout the book.
Cons: Certain characters choices were out of character which made a lot of the story unbelievable.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/27/house-of-teeth/

Interview with the Robot
Author: Lee Bacon
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Interview with the Robot is a middle grade sci-fi book about a robot named Eve, who discovers some crazy things about the place that she grew up in, and therefore runs away. She is caught shoplifting and is inverviewed by a woman from the Child Protective Services. This is where the story starts – her being interviewed. While being interviewed, we learn about her life and what caused her to run away. I really liked the interview format, it is something that I don’t see often in books and it made it interesting to listen to. The full cast of characters added some enjoyment to the story and they all did a great job narrating. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the character growth that happened, as well as the way in which the author slowly unraveled secrets. I was so surprised by most of the plot twists and information that was uncovered, I definitelly did not see most of it coming. Even though I loved the mystery of this novel, the ending was not the best. The story was short so I understand that the author did not have much time to wrap things up, however, I did not like how the ending was so abrupt and we didn’t get any closure. I would have loved to see where Eve’s relationship with some of the characters went.

Pros: character development, surprising plot twists, slow reveal of shocking information, cute relationship between main characters.
Cons: abrupt ending with no closure, character relationship regression.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/24/interview-with-the-robot/

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

The Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone series are two of my most anticipated series to read of the year. Since I can’t choose between the two, I am planning on going back and forth between the two. I loved Throne of Glass, but the ending was odd and therefore I didn’t have the highest expectations for Crown of Midnight. I was unexpectedly surprised with how incredible it was!

Likes: I had no clue where this book was going to be going with how Throne of Glass ended. However, I really liked it! The mysteries, the secrets, and the new discoveries kept me on the edge of my seat. The entire book Celaena is trying to figure out a certain mystery, and I loved getting snippets of information continuously throughout the story. This is one of the only books that made me cry and cry and cry, want to throw it on the ground, and yet, still love it. There were parts that had me crushed, wanting to hate the book, and somehow I don’t. There are few stories that I have found that can make me feel this way, and though I want to put it in the dislikes – because this story broke me – I won’t, because that is a sign of beautiful writing.

Dislikes: There are so many secrets between characters and honestly there is no point to a lot of them. This frustrated me throughout the whole book, and made me honestly angry with one of the actions a character took that completely changed the story. If the characters would have just talked then so many horrific things wouldn’t have happened and that was annoying. There was so much trust between many of the characters so it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t share information.

Overall, I did love this story. It had added elements that the first book didn’t have, and though I thought I wasn’t going to like that, I ended up really enjoying it! There was more political intrigue in this book, more insight into Celaena’s background, and more POVs in this story which I loved. The only dislike was the catastrophes that could have been easily avoided if characters would have just talked with each other. However, I loved it so much and it ripped emotions out of me that most books can’t. Because of this I rated it five stars and can’t wait for the next one!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: After 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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.

I have been meaning to read this book series for SO LONG. One of my new year’s resolutions for 2020 is to read the entire series, and so I have finally started it! The series is still daunting to me because those last few books are enormous, but I feel ready to tackle them!

Likes: I love how the main character is this bad-*** woman who everyone is terrified off and who can kick anyone’s butt, but at the same time she is witty and for the lack of better words – human. In so many fantasies, if the main character is an assassin or fighter of some sort, they tend to take themselves too seriously. They seem to just be all about being strong and scary, and it can seem unrealistic. Celaena, however, has hobbies and likes that have nothing to do with killing and that is so refreshing. She loves reading and fashion, she cares about animals and people, and she has a sense of humor that leaves me laughing out loud. I also like the trials that she goes through to become the King’s Assassin. I won’t give any of them away, but there are quite a few of them and they truly seem like a test of a skills that assassins should have – I enjoyed how realistic it was. The build up and tease of magic makes me want to read the second book immediately to see if there will be more in it. Also, very little was told about Celaena’s backstory and though that was frustrating, it also made me excited to read the next in the hopes that they will explain more. Lastly, Captain Westfall (Chaol) was so adorable! I love his personality and how he can be so soft sometimes when most of the time he tries to be the tough Captain that he is supposed to be.

Dislikes: I know I just talked about how I love Chaol, but I really don’t really care for the love triangle in this story. How Celaena treats both of the men is annoying. Especially at the very end, I was just so confused. I also had problems with how un-assassin-like she was. I know that I discussed how I liked how she had hobbies and she was down to earth, and that is all great, but she didn’t exhibit qualities I would expect her to have as an assassin. For example, people would just go into her room all the time while she was sleeping without her realizing it. They wouldn’t even be quiet about it! I’m not a light sleeper and even I wake up most times if someone comes into my room! I just expected her to exhibit more skills. Also, after a year in one of the worst jails in the world; after a year of being whipped and tortured; I expected her to have some type of sign that all this had happened to her. Sure, she had scars, but I expected her to mentally have some sort of sign that it had happened to her. I understand she is strong willed, however, no matter how strong willed you are, I feel like after an experience like that she would exhibit some sort of symptoms.

Overall, this was an incredible book. It had quite a few strong female characters which was refreshing, the character’s personalities were fun and creative, and the storyline itself was enjoyable. I love the style of writing, it is easy to read and yet really descriptive and fun. Though there were some negatives in regards to the love triangle and her assassin abilities, I still had a great time reading this book! I honestly think that all of the positives overshadow the negatives and that is why I am still giving it five stars. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!