Thursday, 21 August 2014

Book Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Title: The Assassins Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Blurb (from Goodreads): 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.

What I thought: I absolutely loved this book so much! There's romance and combat and action throughout. There's never a dull moment.

So, our main character is of course the fearless Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series that I've come to love so much this summer. I loved getting to know her more in this set of novellas. The novellas show us how and why Celaena is such a formidable warrior. I love her even more after reading this book.

In The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, Celaena and her fellow assassin Sam are sent on what seems like an easy enough mission to pay a visit to the Pirate Lord, but they soon discover that everything is not as it seems. When Celaena discovers that she would be involved in the slave trade, she must battle with her conscience as she decides what the right thing to do is.

I loved this novella. It has a great plot that always kept me interested. The banter between Celaena and Sam was very entertaining. The fight scenes were really well done. In fact, so was everything else. Brilliant.

In The Assassin and the Healer, Celaena encounters a barmaid named Yrene. I can't say anything more about it as it would be spoilery.

In this novella I learned a lot more about Celaena's personality and also the world of the Throne of Glass series. I loved the fight scenes and I really enjoyed learning more about magic.

In The Assassin and the Desert, Celaena is sent far into the Red Desert to learn the ways of the Silent Assassins. She expects it to be easy in, easy out but she finds that she must work hard to earn her right to train with the Master.

This novella is one of my favourites. I really enjoyed it from start to finish. I liked how it interconnected with the Throne of Glass books, such as how we learned the story of how Celaena came to acquire an Asterion Mare.

In The Assassin and the Underworld, Celaena returns to the Assassin's Keep and is given an assignment to help fight slavery in Ardarlan.

I loved the relationship between Celaena and Sam in this book. I really enjoyed the conversations they had and I enjoyed getting to know Sam more. He is now one of my favourite characters. I was interested in getting to see more of Arobynn Hamel. I learned a lot about him and the connection he has with Celaena. The plotline is flawless. It has plenty of twists and turns and always kept me guessing.

In The Assassin and the Empire, Celaena and Sam have a very dangerous contract that could cost them everything they have, including each other. Again, I can't say anything more as I don't want to spoil the book.

Again, Sarah J. Maas shows us what a brilliant author she is. Yes, I loved it. Yes, I cried.

The Assassin's Blade is incredible and I would encourage readers old and new to the series to read this book. I'd recommend reading this book first and then reading the series, as I think you'd enjoy it more, but you don't have to. Enjoy it. I certainly did.

Rating: 10/10



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review: Die for Me by Amy Plum

Title: Die for Me

Author: Amy Plum

Publisher: Atom

Blurb (from Goodreads): In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life -- and memoires -- behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way tp survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant -- an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries - old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realises that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

What I thought: I've been meaning to get this book for years, and so when I saw it on sale for four euro I just had to get it. I was absolutely enchanted by this book. I loved it. I loved how Amy Plum wrote about Paris, which is one of my favourite cities to read about. The romance had me swooning from start to finish.

Our female protagonist, Kate Mercier, felt very real. She's a girl you could know in real life. I could identify with her personality and her love of books. I loved how she reacted like a normal person would to the challenges she came up against.

I really liked our male protagonist, Vincent. I feel that he was very well written. He's very alluring and sweet and kind, yet mysterious and I wanted to find out more about him and the secrets he was hiding.

The plotline of this book is very good. The book is very well paced. The information about the revenants is spaced out throughout the book so there aren't any information dumps.  I  hadn't  actually  read  a  "zombie"  book  before,  so  that  was  really  interesting.

The romance is to die for. I'm happy to say that there isn't any insta - love. It's very well written and I was just... and then I just.... Let me tell you, the feels in this book are unreal.

I'm really excited to continue on with the series. Beyond excited actually. I love it!

Rating: 10/10

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Life of a Banana by PP Wong

Title: The Life of a Banana

Author: PP Wong

Publisher: Legend Press

Release Date: 1 September 2014

Blurb (from Goodreads): Xing Li is what some Chinese people call a banana - yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although born and raised in London, she never feels like she fits in. When her mother dies, she moves with her older brother to live with venemous Grandma, strange Uncle Ho and Hollywood actress Auntie Mei. Her only friend is Jay - a mixed raced Jamaican boy with a passion for classical music,

Then Xing Li's life takes an even harsher turn: the school bullying escalates and her uncle requests she assists him in an unthinkable favour. Her happy childhood becomes a distant memory as her new life is infiltrated with the harsh reality of being an ethnic minority.

Consumed by secrets, violence and confusing family relations, Xing Li tries to find hope wherever she can. In order to find her own identity, she must first discover what it means to be both Chinese and British.

What I thought: I adore this book. The plot is excellent, delievering plenty of twists and turns, some of which hit me like a punch in the gut. I always wanted to know more about the lives of the characters and I was interested as to what was going to happen for the entire book.

The characters in this book are brilliant. Our protagonist, Xing Li, just felt so real to me. I wanted to protect her from the horrible things she went through, but there was nothing I could do and I watched as the bullying went from bad to worse and I just felt really sad because even though I know what it feels like to be an outsider at school, I never went through anything like this. It saddens me to think that a lot of people go through this every day. I loved her mispronunciation of the musical greats. Xing Li's voice felt so real and the whole time I was reading this book I felt like I was listening to the voice of a thirteen year old, which was awesome. I loved watching her grow.

I really liked her brother, and he made me laugh through his funny antics and his endearing personality. I cared very much about Auntie Mei and she made me think about the stereotypical roles given to Chinese actors, and how very hard it must be to break down those walls.

Xing Li's Grandmother is a complicated and deeply flawed character who we get to learn more about as the book progresses. I can't say anything more about her, as I don't want to spoil anything.

This book made me think a lot about racism. I fail to understand how people can be rude to others just by the colour of their skin or what nationality they are. It's an absolute disgrace and those people should be very ashamed of themselves. I also thought a lot about stereotype. It was mentioned in this book that if you are part of an ethnic minority in a foreign country, the way you behave affects how people see others of your nationality. For example, if a Chinese person is rude then people will think that all Chinese people are rude. This really struck me and I'm still thinking about it now.

There are a couple of very sensitive issues discussed in this book, and I think that PP Wong handled these issues very well. The bullying in this book was extremely well handled and well written. There was one particular seen that I found very harrowing and I was reading the words with tears in my eyes, making my vision blurry.

This is Xing Li's story, and I loved following her on her journey towards finding herself. I hope that many others will read it too as it is a tale that deserves to be told. I loved it so much. It truly is excellent.

Rating: 10/10. Yeah. This is now the benchmark for the contemporary novels I read.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where you post about an upcoming book that you are excited for.

Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Blurb (from Goodreads): Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien's only thought is to avenge the death of her dearest friend: as the King of Ardarlan's Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendyln. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King's Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Ardarlan's biggest threat - and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?



Monday, 4 August 2014

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: MIRA Books

Blurb (from Goodreads): Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Megan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guesses the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

What I thought: I didn't really know what to expect from this book, as the last time I read a book about faeries, I was nine years old. However, I fell in love with this book.

The Iron King reminds me of one of my favourite books, City of Bones by the brilliant Cassandra Clare. In both books, a teenage girl discovers that the world is not like she thought it was and goes on a quest to save a kidnapped relative from a sinister villain. I had the same feeling reading this book as I did when I read City of Bones. That feeling of excitement and magic and just being so caught up in the world that it's all you want to talk about and all that you want to read about.

The main character in this book, Meghan Chase, is very well written. She's very believable. Her "voice" sounds exactly like that of a sixteen year old girl. She's the kind of girl that I'd be friends with. She's brave, kind, smart and honest. Although some of her decisions annoyed me at times, I couldn't help but care about her.

Then we have her best friend, Robbie or "Puck", her loyal sidekick who looks out for her, and by my best guess, want to be more than just friends.

Then we have the lovely Prince Ash. Oh, Ash, how I adore thee, even though you did make some questionable decisions. He's charming and sweet, yet he wouldn't hesitate to kill you. He's very mysterious and I really want to learn more about him as the series goes on.

Then we have Grimalkin, the Caith Sith who helps you out if you give him a favour in return. I loved him. I thought he was funny and added a lot of lightness and humour to the book.

And last but not least in my character introduction, we have Meghan's little half brother Ethan, who is adorable and so cute. Awww. He's the one that Meghan has to rescue after he's kidnapped and taken to faeryland.

The plotline of this book is very enjoyable, although there isn't that many twists and turns. It's still great.

I loved the world that Julie Kagawa created in this book. I knew a few things about the faery court from Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments, but I really enjoyed reading about it in greater detail and it was really interesting to me.

As you can see, I absolutely loved this book and I can't wait to get the next book, The Iron Daughter.

Rating:  9/10