Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – October 2020!

Hello all! I hope you all had a good month! Mine was… a bit up and down if I’m honest. I had some work-related-stress-that-is-now-resolved, but thankfully also managed to chill out…

Okay, maybe not the chilled, but I did get to go to the seaside for the day… 

And rather randomly, I went to Stonehenge as well…

So, I guess it’s swings and roundabouts! Here’s hoping Spooktober’s calmer than its name, because I think we’ve all had enough scares this year! 😉 But on that subject, I do have a couple of chilling things to review first…

Mr Jones- this is just a quick recommendation for people interested in historical movies. It’s a wonderfully shot, horrifying revelation of the Ukrainian Holodomor. I will say a quick warning that it is very graphic and disturbing– but worth watching if you can manage it.

Prussian Nights– sticking to dark and depressing (for the time being), this was actually darker and more depressing than I thought it would be. Told from the perspective of the Russians entering Prussia during WWI, this details their crimes, remarkably from the perspective of the war criminals themselves. For me, that makes it all the more worth reading if you’re at all interested in moral psychology and understand the importance of getting inside the heads of people that do evil things… If this is not a topic of interest, skip it. While not as hard to read as something like Ordinary Men, it’s not an easy read. I also found the verse-form, while making it more digestible, meant that it felt a bit jarring with the content.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


House of Blood and Earth– I said a few months ago I thought I’d outgrown this author… and unfortunately I was right. While I did like the opening and found the world somewhat intriguing, I never quite clicked with it. I also didn’t enjoy the romance- it was less Feyre/Rhys and more Aelin/Rowan. It didn’t help that the story was mostly a straightforward murder mystery crossed with a paranormal romance- which isn’t the kind of story I gravitate towards. Despite the setting, it felt a little too mundane at times. To be fair, there were some killer plot twists and I can see why people liked it… just not my thing.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


Blood and Honey– I’m afraid I was disappointed with this one too! It started off so sweet and tangy that I lapped it up, devouring page after page, until all I had to do was gulp down the final chapters. Unfortunately the joy had soured by that point, for the simple reason that the story didn’t need to exist. This is what happens when a story that could’ve been told in one book turns into two… and then three! Not only did this remind me of YA series of yesteryear, with its bloated middle book syndrome, the ending also left a bitter taste. Highlight for spoiler: we literally have the evil mother cackling madly and saying “this isn’t over!” as she leaves. I also wasn’t a fan of the gods intervening. It didn’t help that the plot was meandering and the romance already resolved in the first book- there just didn’t feel like there was as much at stake here… not when every single threat is resolved at the turn of a few pages. Other than the speed of the story, I’ve still no clue why this is marketed as YA, because the characters come across as being in their twenties… and very modern twenty year olds at that. It’s not the worst book in the world- but I can’t say I’d recommend it.

Rating: 3/5 bananas


The Switch– I went into this with pretty low expectations, as everyone seems to think this isn’t as good as the author’s debut Flatshare… and yet somehow I thought it was even better? As fun as Flatshare was, I think this had the some even sweeter notes. The grandma-granddaughter switch made for just as entertaining a setup and the story adorably charming. I didn’t realise quite how invested I would get in the twilit romance- which was partly thanks to the fact that Grandma Eileen was basically the best character. I did really like how this dealt with deeper topics and found its resolution touching.  This was the definition of *FEEL GOOD*- which was just the ticket!

Rating: 4½ /5 bananas

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How To Stop Time– speaking of lovely stories- it looks like I’ve discovered Matt Haig! (I know, me and every other person on the planet 😉). There was a lot to love about this. For a book about stopping time, it sure whizzed by fast. I loved the multi-timeline structure- I was impressed by how well it flowed and how much it packed in. I felt a little bit mixed about the characterisation. The main character’s melancholic tone added some melodrama. And I wasn’t a fan of him meeting famous people throughout history- especially writers- as it felt like they all adopted Haig’s voice (bearing in mind, they left behind quite a lot of work, so we have a vague sense of what they might sound like/believe/say). It threw me out of the story, because I never bought it was them. And while I felt there could have been more time developing the second romance, I did like the first romantic storyline and liked the way it handled the father-daughter relationship. Ultimately, I had a great time with this quick read.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


The Humans– I liked this even more than How to Stop Time. This is the story of an alien falling in love with humanity. It kept making me laugh out loud- which is rare for a book! Haig had such a clever use of voice here, I couldn’t help but sympathise with the narrator… even though logically there were reasons I shouldn’t have. That’s his genius. I also loved the characterisation here- even seemingly insignificant side characters gave the story so much heart. I can safely say this was *out of this world* 😉

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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The Other Woman– the author pulled a fast one on me with this one… and I loved her for it! That’s exactly what I want out of a thriller! What makes it even better is I had all the clues at the very beginning and guessed the direction it was going… only to be completely blindsided. Jones certainly knows how to toy with her readers. I’m not going to say anymore than that (thrillers are so hard to review without spoilers!) other than to say give it a spin if you fancy a quick romp.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month!

My Hot Take on Kingdom of Ash

kingdom of ash book cover

It’s safe to say this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. As the long-anticipated finale in a 7 book series, my excitement to read this was sky high… so much so that I decided to go to a book event, got myself a signed copy and some other goodies beside- look how pretty!!

(no pics of the actual event sadly cos my camera is really crummy)

All of which begs the question: how could the book possibly live upto all the hype? Well, I’m pleased to say it did in a lot of ways it made me a very happy monkey. Although I won’t pretend it was everything I dreamed it would be (more on that later) I did come away pretty darn satisfied.


From the beginning, Maas’ writing walked the thin line between decadence and accessibility. In an exquisitely balanced fashion, she drew on her reader’s emotions and went for some gutsy manoeuvres. Each torture scene was measured and well executed. With plenty of tension, the stakes were high, and every tweak of the plot felt like another turn of the thumbscrew.

What I especially appreciated about these scenes was how it allowed for a more intimate view of the villainess. Maeve telling her side of the story was particularly rewarding. While I was left unsure after Empire of Storms why she would abduct, instead of kill, our heroine, it made perfect sense here. The one flaw that this did open up- unfortunately- was that it repeated the reveal for Maeve’s true identity… the same one that was allegedly the vital piece of information we needed to read Tower of Dawn to get.

Now this led to its own set of problems. Suddenly, this whole setup (one which became an entire book I might add) was suddenly redundant, because Aelin had figured it out all on her lonesome. Which, *yay, goodie for her* but sadly this meant a lot of characters lost their purpose. Given that the cast was too large anyway, I wondered why this unnecessary plot point wasn’t trimmed.

It didn’t help that there were a lot of characters I’d lost interest in. As much as I had previously liked Nesryn and Sartaq, they may as well have been cameos in the book, because they added nothing to the story. And, something which came as much as a shock to me as it will to you, was that previous favourites like Lysandra and Aedion no longer held my interest. Part of my falling out of love with them came from the pettiness of their scenes- their fallout felt manufactured and most of their scenes were needless drama that could have been streamlined. But the other issue was that I struggled to care for so many characters once they were reunited with the ones I actually loved- especially if I’d only recently managed a grudging respect for them (*coughs* Chaol *cough cough*). I personally found that some new characters hadn’t earned the amount of attention they received (to be frank: Yrene) while some older characters were given short shrift. It certainly didn’t help that the perspective shifted at regular intervals (something that didn’t happen earlier in the series). At the event, Maas said that this was to frustrate the reader a little… and frustrate me it did. In fact, I found it easier to put the book down because of it.

Nonetheless, there were always characters I was desperate to see more from. Most notably my favourite couples: Lorcan/Elide and Manon/Dorian. For me personally, the Manon and Dorian scenes (together and apart) stole the show. Practically every Manon moment made me *squeal* with glee and every Dorian part made my heart melt. I especially liked the progression of their stories. The scene with Abraxos and Petra was a culmination of *everything* (more so even than the one with the Thirteen- which is also pretty spectacular given that if you’ve read the book you know exactly what I’m talking about). And each of Dorian’s victories was *the best*. Highlight for spoiler: in the whole book, my pity panged most for Dorian seeing his father’s sacrifice. And I loved seeing the explanation for why the king had no name.

True to form, the plot was very exciting. There was a lot mastery in that no scenes were wasted. I can see what Maas meant about not skipping anything out. My one issue was that a lot of these events could have been reordered for a bit more oomph. Especially when it came to the point where the plot hinged: the wyrdkeys. In my opinion, this major showdown happened too early and easily could have been saved to coincide with the final battle. Highlight for spoilery section: It would have been fine to have Maeve see Aelin lose her powers and not have her just mysteriously *know* anyway. I also felt that the betrayal of the gods was shoehorned in to “surprise” the reader that they’d still have to defeat him. I’d have been happy if either Erawan had been blasted into outer space like planned or the gods had lied about being able to get rid of him in the first place.

Still, I did think there was too much going on in the last battle. For me, it would have made sense to put a number of players out of commission and not switch perspective at this crucial stage. Highlight for more spoilers: Elide saving Lorcan could have been early in this battle. Maeve could have consequently been torturing just Rowan, not three people at once. And, as well written as it was, I didn’t have a dog in the Erawan/Yrene fight scene if I’m honest. And as much as I liked Dorian getting his little victories- I’d have had him unconscious for the duration of the fight too. What I did like was Aelin riding in on the Lord of the North was wonderful. I liked that she was heroic as ever, that she retained her swagger and most of all her last words to Maeve. Basically, Aelin, Aelin, Aelin. There was one last flaw and that was that OF COURSE they killed the main villain and all the other enemies *run away*. Because this overused film trope isn’t overused

brave sir robin.gifenough.


After that, the ending was pretty much as expected. Highlight for lots of spoilers Happy happiness with a hint of happy-juice. Complete with that cliché that will piss off many fans of “oh I’m queen now, let’s have democracy”. Not to sound like a miserable bugger, but at the end of a saga like this, I think I could have handled a bit more loss. The thing is, whoever died would have annoyed fans, because let’s face it, the choice would have been between Dorian and Chaol. Now, as a lot of you may know, I’m totally biased, so you may think my choice of Chaol is tinged with that. NOT SO! (okay maybe a little) Hear me out- the reason why I’d have killed him off was because it would have been simultaneously tragic, what with the so much to live for, and yet also would have made sense since he’d reached a full character arc. Whereas Dorian is kind of needed to rule- because his useless brother would hardly be any good in his place, and he hadn’t yet fulfilled his romantic purpose (basically, if there was a half decent alternative ruler and he’d knocked Manon up, I’d have sobbed my little heart out, but agreed it was fair for him to go). So yeah, my main message is kill Chaol (#SorryNotSorry).

Other than that, I was amused to find that Maas was clearly on a Tolkien bender. The witches going to war was an amazing scene- but did anyone else find it reminiscent of “the beacons are lit”? Also “that’s no horn of Morath” felt like the arrival of the Rohirrim. Yet, even with some moments feeling derivative to me, I did like the fact that all the stories- the fae, the witches and the men- all tied into the theme of homecoming. That worked splendidly.

Ultimately, this was a tad too long and there were too many characters I wasn’t fussed about. There were some things I wish had been done slightly differently. That said, despite these kinks, I can’t deny I enjoyed a large proportion of this book. Plus I thought it was a massive improvement on book 5! Like many of the books in this series, it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a wild ride:

Rating: 4/5 bananas


So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Tower of Dawn Rose Above My Expectations

tower of dawn

Okay, I’m gonna start this review where I would normally end it:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Because to be abundantly clear, before I get into the nitty gritty, that I did actually have a lot of fun with this. Not entirely for the right reasons, but oh, we’ll get to that. All in all though, before I get into what I thought about this in depth, I do think this was definitely one of Maas’ better books.

As a spinoff from the Throne of Glass series, I feared it might be a bit of a waste of time. And worse still, this focused on Chaol, who (spoilers for Queen of Shadows) has had his back broken. Let’s be honest, I’ve never been a fan of this self-righteous twerp (I can’t even be bothered to be diplomatic), so a book centring on his mission for allies and a healer didn’t sound appealing.

Initially I thought I was going to be proved right. And this comes back to not liking Chaol, which meant it was a real struggle to get invested. Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a criticism of the writing– as a character he’s entirely believable- it’s only that the gift of writing realistic characters is a double edged sword and inevitably there will be characters we do not like. Sometimes certain types (the prissy, hypocritical, judgemental kind) rub me the wrong way.  And well, quite simply Chaol does a lot of Chaol like things here– so oh gosh my notes got snarky:

 “He was Lord of Nothing. Lord of Oath-Breakers. Lord of Liars

Me in notes: true- he was a wanker. He literally (spoilers for Queen of Shadows) supported a king possessed by a demonic Valg. Because he’s a schmock.

 “It should have been me. I had always planned for it to be me instead”

Me: ah Chaol’s infamous misplaced guilt. Not the reason he sucks though.

“It was a… rough period for me. Everything I knew was trampled. Everything. And she… I think I placed the blame for a great deal of it upon her. Began to see her as a monster

Me: yeah you were a prejudicial git.

To be fair, there were random parts where he wasn’t even doing anything that I’d blurt that out “yeah but you’re still a shit”. I couldn’t even understand why other characters described him as: “This man, this noble and selfless and remarkable man”. Because he also said things to someone who’d had their family murdered like:

“I knew another woman who lost as much as you. And do you know what she did with it- that loss?… She hunted down the people responsible and obliterated them. What the hell have you bothered to do these years?”

It’s not just that it’s insensitive and cruel- it’s that he has *zero consistency*- especially cos he previously criticised the woman who hunted down her enemies… so what’s his problem?  This is why I don’t like the judgy bastard- he’s always been the worst hypocrite. He’s very good at wounding people, acting morally superior, yet he can’t seem to make up his mind over what is right and wrong. So no, unlike a lot of people, this book didn’t suddenly make me a Chaol convert.

HOWEVER (and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to get to the positive side) I really liked the other characters. Sartaq in particular was completely gorgeous. I will say, initially whenever I read Nesryn’s name, I thought “who?” Her relationship with Chaol was totally meh and shoehorned in– still highlight for spoiler: I ended up loving her romance with Sartuq, even if it was weird for her to jump ship and to brush the other unnecessary relationship under the rug in order for it to happen.

Since this was set in a new location, I personally felt like there was a lot of infodumping in the opening, which made it tough to get into, but once it got going, there was plenty to keep me entertained. By the end the number of times I’d said “wow” was ridiculous. It was simply so SPECTACULAR my notes devolved into “oohs” and “ahhs”. Plotwise, this also had HUGE implications for the series. There were some predictable moments- for instance, highlight for spoiler: she has a tendency to repeat stories, so it was no surprise when Chaol’s back got broken again,but I really did not see that finale coming. Because, like I said, wow.

Tower of Dawn also overcame a lot of the problems I had with Empire of Storms. Maas toned down the somewhat cringey sexual content. It was still corny, but there was less of it THANK GOODESS. Moreover, the moralising I’d complained of was mostly gone. When it did turn up, the messaging was simple and less cheesy, so I didn’t have a problem with it this time round (in fact, it was pretty quotable). And as always, I appreciated a lot of the writing:

“Her magic had been a pulsing star that flared against the wall that the darkness had crafted between the top of his spine and the rest of it.”

“You must enter where you fear to tread”

All in all, I got a lot out of it than I’d hoped. So have you read this? Do you plan to? And- dare I ask- what do you think about Chaol? Let me know in the comments!

Court of Wings and a Teensy Bit of Ruin

*Minor spoilers and snark*

court of wings and ruinSuperfans of the series look away- actually- on second thoughts- come back!- what with the spoiler warning there’s probably no one left. Ah well, I guess I can say what I want then…

So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start…) At first, I have to say I was a little… disappointed. It was slow to start and there was not much ruin in the opening section– at least not as much as I’d hoped. Call me old fashioned, but I was hoping for some grim and gritty revenge fantasies. Instead we got some minor punking. Not really what I had in mind.

Okay, so now that we have established that my soul is as black as the night, we can move onto the action. Oh no, wait we couldn’t. Because the pace was slooow. I wrote in my notes that it started speeding up around 45%- 45%?!?- in a book this long??? You’ve got to be kidding me.

What gets me more than anything though is that on paper (obviously not the paper this was written on) this should have been good stuff. I mean revenge and planning for war- that’s dramatic, right?! WRONG! They spend *so long* planning for war, plotting who’s gonna be involved, where it’s gonna be at- never mind that going to war was a foregone conclusion. Add some posturing, where the strong masculine manly males show off with their “look how strong I am” poses, and it felt like reading the bickerings of a high school prom committee.

Okay- so not a great start- but now I’ve got to talk something else that bothered me (I swear after this, we’ll get to the good bits- probably…): the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Maas writing in general. Still as you may be able to tell with how long it took to get to the action, this book felt bloated and like it could have done with a bit of a trim– I usually try not to complain when an author lets their freak flag fly and really goes for it with the word count, but there’s no way of getting round this one: sometimes less is more! Ultimately, while there were some gorgeous points to the writing, I’m kind of bored with being given “what I want” in the form of unnecessarily chunky books and would rather someone took an axe to the boring bits. Plus, even though there were some truly lovely, inspiring parts, there was the occasional corny line that can get under my skin when I’m in a crankier mood:

“Leave this world… a better place than how you found it.”

(Yeah sometimes I’m not into that level of cheese)

Okay *deep breath* that’s over- let’s hope I never have to critique Maas again, cos that was not fun. Let’s get onto what I liked- the characters! Now unlike Throne of Glass I’ve always found the characters in this to be a mixed bag– some I love, some I’m meh about. I’ve often found I’m a bit uncertain about Nesta and Elain, cos let’s face it, they can be whiny and difficult. Funnily enough Nesta, for all her prickliness, is growing on me more. On the upside, I’ve forgotten why I disliked Feyre in the first book, cos I really liked her in this. Of course a lot of my babies from the Night Court were back and some magnificent new additions from the other courts. And, major plus, I have a new favourite in Helion.

I have seen criticism from people that she shoehorned in the LGBT part- but I will say that I disagree cos it makes sense for the character she spent a book building up. Although I didn’t guess it, I had been wondering about what was up with them. To be honest when people complain about stuff like that, it just feels like a no-win situation for a lot of authors- damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (And for the record I never would have even thought of this non-issue, if not for seeing it in a ton of other reviews).

In terms of world building- well the aforementioned additions in terms of characters, and consequently courts, were some of the best parts about this book. Not only did Dawn and Day add an interesting dynamic to the story, we also got hints of things going on beyond the realms of the story. I felt like details such as the the Nephelle Philosophy added interesting layers and, while Nephilim are old hat for a lot of people, this will be a slight change for Maas. Plus despite the fact I’m not usually a fan of off-topic myth building, I did thoroughly enjoyed all the little Easter eggs for the rest of the series and I like the sound of where it’s going (possibly swan lake?).

In terms of the conclusion, however, I don’t want to hold too much stock in this being the first Maas ending I’ve read. It was good and shit went down, but it was only an ending of sorts and a lot was left hanging. I’m going to hold onto that feeling that it’s not really over- because to be honest, the ending was not as dramatic as I wanted, because *spoiler warning* it was a mirror image of the ending to book 1. And because of that, it didn’t feel like there were any real stakes and was far too predictable. As exciting as it got, I was never too worried about what would happen. It was just not the hammer blow I wanted it to be.

At this point it probably sounds like I didn’t like it, but I did. I know, I know, I’ve just spent this entire post moaning. There were some really exciting bits and I couldn’t fault it for grabbing my attention at times. Yet… looking back on this “trilogy” as a whole, I still feel like Throne of Glass is the more cohesive story and I find the twists more convincing. And yes, I shouldn’t really be comparing this so much to throne of Glass, but ah well. I guess I may only ever be a TOG Superfan…

Rating: 3½/5 bananas


Hope you enjoyed that- even if I did peeve some of Maas’ fans :/ This actually turned out to be an appropriate book to review tonight, given that it’s the summer solstice and magic is in the air, so my question tonight is- WHAT’S THE MEANING OF STONEHENGE?

Court of Mist and Fury Appealed to my Dark Side

*Some spoilers for book 1*

court of wings and ruinWell hello again! I cannot believe it’s already May!! And because it’s May, we all know that means the release of Sarah J Maas’ next novel, Court of Wings and Ruin.


court of mists and furyNow if you saw my review of Court of Thorns and Roses, you’ll know, I really wasn’t sold on the first one. BUT boy, did this book change my mind. Though it was not without its faults, it was an *astronomically* better book.

One of the first differences I noticed in this book was that the remaking of Feyre, the main character, had given her a spine- and thank goodness for that! Sure, she was still a little whiny, but this time she had a reason to be *and*, what’s more, she grew out of it by the end of the book!!

And oh-my-days did I prefer the love interest in this one! I know I am far from the first person to say this, but Rhys is just *the best*. In fact he’s definitely my favourite of Maas’ love interests to date (admittedly I am a total sucker for secretly-a-sweetheart characters). Also, I really liked his Circle- not only were they so much better as secondary characters, but the relationships between them reinforced my impression of Rhys and endeared me to him all the more. And EVEN BETTER, this book leaves me free to hate Tamlin as a part of me has always wanted to.

I also preferred the setting in this one. Perhaps it was just on a subconscious level, but I found spring court a little sickly, but *loved* the court of dreams and nightmares. It was far more immersive, interesting and lent much more to the plot.

Now, it’s no secret I was bored in a lot of the last book, but this was a complete change of pace. There was never a dull moment and I was always left wanting more. Highly addictive, so fast I constantly had to catch my breath- I barely even noticed the flaws in the plotting. Of course, it was not perfect, and had I been more in love with the story going in, I probably would not have noticed the issues. But it was blindingly obvious to me that some of the plot devices- like there’s this magical thing that can destroy the universe, but don’t worry there’s this other magical thing that can stop it– were just lazy. Plus, it didn’t help that Feyre went from being a minor thorn in the side for setting the story in motion, to *SUPER SPECIAL-SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE*. There are always some plot points I can do without, because nothing takes the tension of a story out more than “oh don’t worry, the protagonist can do all the things now”.

As for other issues, I’ve said this about Maas before, but she’s not the best at erotic scenes. Admittedly this was better than whatever that weird scene that shall not be named in Empire of Storms was… but I still could have done without a lot of it. But I have to be fair that, while there’s a lot of people annoyed at pornographic elements, there are warnings for mature content on the blurb. If that kind of thing bothers you, then don’t read this series. And even if you do like it- well, don’t expect too much.

But when all’s said and done I am now- finally– looking forward to the finale. Despite all the gut-wrenching chaos and calamity of the ending, I actually enjoyed how it setup for the next book. I seriously cannot wait to see what happens next.

Rating: 4/5 bananas


Alright, enough fangirling for today! Have you read this book? Did you like it? And what book are you looking forward to getting released this month?

Empire of Storms Was A Tempestuous Read

*Spoiler free for this book- though may be spoilery for series as a whole!*

empire of stormsHello all! In case you don’t already know, I am a *massive* Throne of Glass fan. Naturally I had to read this as soon as possible- and naturally this is going to be a ridiculously gushy post (look away now if you’re not a fan of the series!) So let’s get to the review, shall we?

As I’ve come to expect from Maas, this book was a complete rollercoaster ride. It made me breathless with excitement. Part of that was from the pure thrill of the wickedly woven, complex plot; part of that was from how it made my emotions squirm and scrambled my brain with its sheer awesomeness. But like always, the thing that got to me the most was how much the characters have developed.

I already adore the characters- but every book I just get more and more invested in them. Manon’s story just keeps getting better and better. My beautiful Dorian’s gone a little dark- and I like it. And even Lorcan has become one of my favourites! (Seriously- Maas knows how to work her magic to make me like just about anyone!) A small bonus for me (although a lot of people won’t like me for saying it) was that my least favourite character- Chaol- was not in it. The only downside to that was that there had to be a character criticising Aelin- and for some reason that task had to fall to the adorable Aedion. This was a little annoying, to be honest, because I could see why Maas felt like she needed someone to fill that role, but it felt a little out of character for Aedion, who hero-worshipped Aelin in the last two books, to be the one to do it.

In terms of plot, this one felt a bit like an extended subplot to the main finale. Not that that’s a bad thing- stories advance slowly in all epics and sometimes the subplot can be the most entertaining bit. But one thing I did see coming was the massive cliff-hanger. My friend and I have a theory that all the Throne of Glass books go in pairs- which means there’s a cliff-hanger between books 1 & 2, 3 & 4 and now 5 & 6. And boy was I right- because I am massively stressed out by how it ended.  Honestly- I don’t know how I’m going to make it a year before the last one comes out- what am I gonna do?!?

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Alright I think it’s safe to say I am going to have a massive book hangover…. So tell me in the comments how am I going to last a year waiting for the last one to come out? Any tips? (Aside from curling up in a ball and crying)

And are any of you a fan of this series or have read this one? Commiserate with me in the comments!

Court of Thorns and Roses Left Me Feeling Prickly

*Warning! Avert your eyes if you’re a fan of this book!*

court of thorns and rosesSo I mentioned in my last post that Court of Thorns and Roses was my biggest disappointment of the year so far and I feel like I should explain why. In the past, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Maas. So while this is in no way a criticism of her work in general, I did not end up being a fan of this book.

Ninety percent of that was down to the main character. Sure, I didn’t really connect to any of the other characters either- I mean  it didn’t make sense to me that any of the faerie characters could possibly warm to Feyre- considering that she killed their friend at the start of the book. Add to that the very unsympathetic cast of minor characters and I was pretty unimpressed. But worst of all was Feyre herself. I am not, and never have been, a fan of whiny characters- and to me she epitomised that. A huge amount of her narration was dedicated to whinging- about her circumstances, about her family, even about the fact that they didn’t like her for killing someone. I mean- seriously- how could she manage to see herself as the victim after she literally killed someone in cold blood? It’s pretty hard to sympathise with someone who directs so much self-pity towards themselves- especially when that self-pity is misplaced. And I know that sounds harsh (because it is harsh) but I really believe that there are better ways of making someone sympathetic than making them a total misery.

Now when I wasn’t groaning at the main character’s down-beat attitude, I found myself focusing on the inconsequential romance- which fell a little flat for me. As I said, I’m a fan of Maas. And after reading so much of her work I know she can do romance well. So why was I left shrugging my shoulders at it? Why didn’t I feel at all invested in a book that is primarily about a love affair? Well the answer to that is simple: the love triangle set up. By putting a love triangle at the centre of the book, before Tamlin had even had a chance to win over Feyre, let alone the reader, Maas introduced another contender for her affections. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this is to set up a love triangle in the next book- and because I knew a love triangle was endgame, I couldn’t really buy into the romance that was supposed to be taking place in this book. I felt like there was more work done in setting up a future romance, than focusing on the love the reader was supposed to be invested in right there and then.

My last major issue was the plot. As I said already, I didn’t get the fact that they could all be so sympathetic to a murderer- especially when said murderer felt so little compassion for them- and this was an issue the whole plot hinged on. Add to that the fact that huge chunks of the story really dragged and I was a bit bored with it all. And if that wasn’t enough, we had the whole bit under the mountain at the end, which felt like poorly constructed imitation of “faerie” lore. That whole structure was plonked in at the end and felt disjointed from the rest of the plot, and to be brutally honest, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t manage to get the answer to the riddle in under three seconds flat! Am I supposed to be sympathetic to a complete moron? (Again, this comes back to not liking Feyre much). I did like the catch 22 at the end (don’t worry, no spoilers) but she still did some highly questionable things as a character to get to that point, so I found I was too annoyed with her to be overly impressed.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still enjoyable aspects to the story, and the world building was solid, but overall I wasn’t even nearly as sold on it as other works by Maas. I do hope that the series can get better- I mean, while I enjoyed Throne of Glass, it wasn’t till Crown of Midnight that I fell in love with the series as a whole. So I definitely will be reading the next one- partly in hope that it gets better but mostly because I expect it will. (I think…)

Rating 2½/5 bananas

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What did you think of this book? Did you like it more than me? Do you think I should persevere with this series? Let me know your thoughts!

Assassin’s Blade and Why I Will Go Down With This Ship

assassin's blade*With Spoilers*

Alright, so for everyone that doesn’t know, I am a massive fangirl and *love* the Throne of Glass series. For that reason I’m kind of duty-bound to write this (perhaps superfluous) post about Assassin’s Blade, even if I’ve covered a lot of this ground before and even if I will basically just be discussing ships… lots and lots of ships.

But I just had to discuss this book anyway. Because it was full of surprises! Let’s talk about what I liked, shall we? Firstly, I was impressed with the fact that the stories all connected and it practically read like a single story- even though it was a collection of novellas. Secondly, I liked how Maas kept Celaena’s thoughts veiled, so it was more consistent with her earlier character. But, undoubtedly, the best thing about this was Sam.

Now, at this stage, I know Maas can create great characters and wonderful love interests- but even so, I was taken aback by just how convincing Sam was. He was such a well-drawn, intriguing character- I only wish there was more of him! In fact, I found myself lamenting the fact that he can’t be in the rest of the series. I mean- what??? How could Maas create the *perfect* love interest and then go and take him away? It just seems too cruel.

And he *is* the perfect love interest. Their relationship, of all the relationships in the books, seems the most natural and organic. Honestly, it made me evaluate all the other guys she’s been with. After this, it feels like her current guy is simply with her because they both understand the pain of losing their true love- and not because they are actually right for each other. The guy before that was all wrong for her because he didn’t understand her and was scared of her (and I don’t even like him- there I said it!- although it’s not much of a secret at this stage). And the first guy she’s interested in is clearly all wrong for her (even though I love him). But Sam is just right!!

Now, having read this and seen how perfect it was, I refuse to believe this ship has sailed. Basically, I want Maas to resurrect Sam. If that’s even possible in this universe?!? (Ok it isn’t- but I can dream- right?)

So, at the risk of sounding a little silly, that is why I will go down with this ship- even though Maas has made that ship sink already and it’s lying at the bottom of the ocean like the Titanic. But I refuse to let that stop me- even if I have to go deep sea diving to drag Sam back from the depths of the ocean myself!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Anyone else picturing Rose from Titanic right now…

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5 Books That Beat Middle Book Syndrome

After my post yesterday, I decided to do talk more positively about the books that managed to beat middle book syndrome. Actually, these books didn’t just defeat middle book syndrome, cos I’m not gonna include books that were as good as their predecessors (we’d be here all day!). Instead I’m gonna talk about the books that brought something new to the series they belonged to, raised the stakes and just knocked it out of the park! So buckle up and enjoy the ride.

  1. Crown of Midnight

crown of midnightI could easily use this post just to rant and rave about how much I *loved* this series. And, surprisingly, that love did not begin with book 1. Unusually, I started loving this series only after book 2 and then was completely blown away by book 3. Every book since the first one Maas has upped the stakes, made me love the characters more and developed the world in incredible ways! So yeah it’s safe to say this beat middle book syndrome!


  1. The Novice

the noviceWith the Novice, Trudi Canavan didn’t just build on the first one, she made *everything* so much better. In all honestly, I hadn’t actually enjoyed two thirds of Magician’s Guild- but the last section of the book got me wanting to read more. And I’m so glad it did! Because the second book (and the third) took everything to a whole other level- the characters came to life, the world went from generic to intriguing and the plot was phenomenally gripping. After the slow world-building of the first one, I had not expected to like, let alone love the rest of the series- but somehow Canavan pulled it off, and this is now one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.

  1. Fractured

fracturedThis is a bit more of an unusual one for me to pick. Honestly, I did not think much of Slated– I wasn’t crazy about the idea, the characters and the pacing was all off- so I really don’t get how the sequel managed to impress me. But Fractured was a massive improvement on the series and because of this book I actually became invested in the story. The stakes were higher and the characters were more complex. And unusually for a YA dystopia- I actually liked how it turned out!!

  1. The Rose Society

rose societyThe Young Elites was definitely up there as one of my favourite books of last year- I just loved how dark and unexpected it was. So naturally, I picked up this book with high expectations- and not only did it not disappoint, but it actually built on the success of the first one and made me even more excited about the potential directions this series might take. I loved the twists and turns of the second book even more than the first one! You can read more in my review here.

  1. Cress

cressHaving read the whole series now, I can safely say this one was my favourite! I rated it higher than all the others- and for that reason it had to be on this list! I’m a sucker for cute romances- so I just loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship. Those characters were just gorgeous! Throw in the awesome direction the plot took and the general character development and I was all for it!


Bonus: Catching Fire

catching fireSome people believe this book is firmly in the Middle Syndrome category- but I disagree- which is one of the main reasons why it had to be in this post. Admittedly, it is really similar to the first one, yet as I said in my last post, it had wonderful character development and really advanced the plot to set up the finale- so it definitely deserves an honorary mention.


Hope you enjoyed that! Have you read these books? Anyone have any other books that beat middle book syndrome? Let me know in the comments below!

Queen of Shadows- Flash Review

queen of shadowsI literally could not be more excited about this series! So even though my reading list is impossibly long, I had to read this right away when it came out. And I was not disappointed. (Bear with me as I no doubt rave about things I’ve most definitely raved about before).

I absolutely love how the characters and romance are developing. With every new book, I am astounded with how many great new characters Maas manages to add. On top of that, the love interests are getting even better. Maas has managed to skilfully divert the story away from falling into the silly love-triangle trap that so many YA books fall into and established some really solid foundations for some future love interests. I am particularly looking forward to what will become of Manon and Dorian’s connection! And I’m delighted that Aelin’s no longer interested in the sanctimonious hypocritical prig Chaol. I desperately want to see my new favourite character Aedion end up with Lysandra- or have an unbelievable romance with someone equally cool. Like everything else with this book, I can’t wait to see where Maas takes it.

What I love about the plot is that Maas always takes risks. The twist at the end with the king was fantastic. For a split second, I worried that they would leave him alive, but I was glad they didn’t. It was a good decision by the author, because not only did it make for a satisfying conclusion, but I love what it will mean for Dorian’s character. There is so much potential for his character development after that and I am super excited for it. On top of that, the witch’s story is becoming even more exciting. I love the depth it brings to the overall plot and how Maas is using it to bring even more characters into the fold. Like- whatever is going to become of Elodie… We shall have to wait and see! Now I just have to wait on tenterhooks for the next one. I swear, at this point, the only bad thing about this series is waiting 6 whole months for the next one!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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