This month I have read 8 novels, 1 collection of novellas and 1 play : my favorite read was Fuel The Fire, and my least favorite was My Heart and Other Black Holes.
1. “The Assassin’s Blade” by S. J. Maas
“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it—to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”
The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of 5 prequel novellas in the Throne of Glass series, about Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s assassin, set before Throne of Glass.
Last summer, I read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, and I really wanted to know more about Celaena’s past. (I recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade after the first book in the series).
I was surprised at how much I loved these novellas. In this book, Sam Cortland, whom is mentioned in the series a large number of times, is introduced, and I’ll admit I would’ve liked to see his character in more depth. We also get to see Celaena before her imprisonment : really, she was just arrogant and spoiled. But we see the goodness in her too, and the fierceness, which actually made me like her a lot more in this book. The plots were interesting, the stories were pretty fast-paced and as usually I admired Sarah J Maas’ writing, which fits perfectly for high fantasy.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars!
2. “Fuel The Fire” by K. and B. Ritchie
“I am attracted to people, to the actions they take, to their full-bodied mannerism and soulful gaits. I am attracted to people. To impassioned hearts that beat out of sync, the ones that skip a measure, heard in hushed places and violent spaces—I am attracted to people.”
Fuel The Fire is book 3 in the Calloway Sisters NA series, a spin-off of the Addicted series, and focuses on Rose and Connor’s story.
Once again, I am in awe with the Ritchie sisters. This book plays on a completely different level than Kiss The Sky. In fact, it was one of the Ritchies’ best books yet, and I love seeing their writing grow more confident, better with each book. I love these characters. I loved this story. The only thing I could possibly complain about (other than that one French sentence that wasn’t correct) is how Rose and Connor’s intelligence is supposed to be this thing that makes them superior to all human beings, and that is not what intelligence is.
My rating cannot be anything else than 5 out of 5 stars.
3. “Captive Prince” by C. S. Pacat
“He felt no new rush of warmth for Laurent. He was not inclined to believe that cruelty delivered with one hand was redeemed by a caress from the other.”
Captive Prince is the first book in a trilogy about a prince, betrayed by his half-brother at the death of the King. He is then sent to the kingdom where he would be hated the most if his identity was known, and given as a pleasure to the other kingdom’s arrogant, cruel prince. This book was quite surprising. Also, addicting and a bit disturbing. In Vere, the kingdom where the story takes place, heterosexuality is a taboo and a shame for the men of court, which I thought was an interesting change. The world itself made me think of The Winner’s Trilogy, and the fact that the story revolves around a slave and a master; but the similarities stop there. Besides, I’m not sure what this trilogy’s genre is, but I’m practically sure it’s not YA.
There is no romance in this novel, it’s more something like hate at first sight. It was strange to imagine that these two would fall in love in the beginning. Still, at the end of it. This book is anything but cute : it is violent and shocking, but beautiful in its toxic way. And pretty captivating, believe me.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
4. “Prince’s Gambit” by C. S. Pacat
“Never had he wanted something this badly, and held it in his hands knowing that tomorrow it would be gone, traded for the high cliffs of Ios, and the uncertain future across the border, the chance to stand before his brother, to ask him for all the answers that no longer seemed important. A kingdom, or this.”
If I liked book 1, it is nothing, nothing, compared to this one. This second book was brilliant, with everything I was waiting for and more : character development. Relationship development. World building. An exhilarating story. A very intense writing style that sucks you into the story.
But, the true asset of this series is : the plot twists. The subjective truths, too. I love it when a book has well-planned plot-twists that take you by surprise, and yet when you come back and re-read you see that there were definitely some hints. I love this feeling. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. C. S. Pacat manages to write these kinds of brilliant twists planned in advance which I crave for in contemporary literature.
I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. So insanely good.
5. “The Demon King” by C. W. Chima
“Just a rat, she repeated to herself. After all, there were rats in the palace. Human and otherwise. Could be worse.”
The Demon King is the first book in the Seven Realms Young Adult fantasy series. It follows the perspectives of Hans, a thief and Raisa, the kingdoms’s princess, and takes place in a kingdom in which magic exists, and some people live in clans.
I had high expectations for this book, and sadly they weren’t met. The characters did not interest me, the story didn’t stand out in the fantasy genre, and to cut short, I wasn’t fascinated.
I gave The Demon King 3 out of 5 stars.
6. “My Heart and Other Black Holes” by J. Warga
“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.”
A book that speaks realistically of depression?!? Count me in! And once again… Big disappointment. The story started out well. But I should’ve seen it coming : girl meets boy on the internet (on a suicide website, because where else could you find people who understand the darkness inside?); girl and boy are determined to kill themselves and not fall in love… I’ll let you guess the rest of the story.
So, the romance kind of ruined everything for me. But the protagonist’s voice felt real and her thoughts within reason, so it wasn’t all bad.
My rating is 2.5 out of 5 stars.
7. “Romeo and Juliet” by W. Shakespeare
“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder
Which, as they kiss, consume”
I finally read the most famous of Shakespeare’s plays. And although I had some difficulties with the text in general, some lines stood out and some characters were really interesting. Romeo and Juliet is a classical tragedy everyone should read if only to know the basis of tragedy.
I gave the play 3 out of 5 stars.
8. “Falling Kingdoms” by M. Rhodes
“Even paradise could become a prison if one had enough time to take notice of the walls.”
Falling Kingdoms is the first book in a high-fantasy 6-books series taking place in Mytica, a land divided into three kingdoms : Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros. We follow four different characters, as the story progress and their story-lines intertwine : Cleo, princess in Auranos; Jonas, rebel in Paelsia; Lucia, princess in Limeros and Magnus, prince and heir of Limeros.
Weirdly, this was exactly what I expected from The Demon King. And these were high expectations, believe me. The story was fast-paced, and for once, I had no difficulty remembering the characters and found the switch between perspectives refreshing, and not frustrating. What made the story so unique was the characters : flawed, strong, passionate and (usually) smart. In this first book, we got only a peak of it, but they do have potential for amazing relationship developments. And I really liked the writing : really fitting for this genre.
My only complaint is that the love story in this first book, which thankfully isn’t the main focus, was rushed and left me feeling nothing at all. It seemed to me like a trigger for action more than anything else, which bugged me a bit.
My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars!
9. “Rebel Spring” by M. Rhodes
“They tell me it’s not evil. It doesn’t feel evil, really. But there is a darkness taking hold, as if the night itself wraps me in an embrace that grows tighter every moment.”
Rebel Spring is the sequel to Falling Kingdoms. It had everything I wished for : character development as well as relationship development, more action, more amazing characters, more world-building… I was once again impressed, which doesn’t happen too often with sequels. It’s so far, in my opinion, the best installment in the series. Yet there is this one thig that prevented me from giving this book a perfect rating : the constant climax. I like when a story builds up to a climax, but this book was just an avalanche of action and twists, so much I almost didn’t have time to breathe.
4.5 out of 5 stars to this amazing sequel!
10. “Gathering Darkness” by M. Rhodes
“Fear and intimidation are tactics that work very well on those who allow themselves to be afraid and intimidated.”
Gathering Darkness is the third book in the Falling Kingdoms series. Although I liked it a bit less than the previous one, there were certain points that improved : starting with the romance. The pairings finally felt right, and I’m hoping these relationships will be developed in the next book. I still love the main characters, fierce and strong, whom I admire and love. To me, it’s this series’ main asset. This book was a bit slower than the previous one, and I can’t decide if it’s for the better or worst…
My final rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.