The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

28260402 The Song Rising
Samantha Shannon
Goodreads

The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…

Review:

This is the third book in a planned seven book series and it’s certainly reads like a middle book as well.  It’s very, very much a book that’s going to set up the last half of the series and that’s okay!  Considering the breadth and reach that Samantha Shannon seems to want to reach with this series, there needs to be a book of setting things up, moving things into place and making sure everything is ready to go for a final four books.

It had been awhile since I’d read book two so it took me a few pages to settle back in with these characters and the world.  This is a book about clairvoyants, the unnaturals of Scion London who just want to be allowed to live their lives but due to their abilities, find that hard.  The regular folks want them eliminated, taken out and killed or sent to penal colonies away from them.

Paige Mahoney is the Underqueen, the leader of all the unnaturals and a greatly sympathetic character.  The girl takes a beating and gets up to keep going.  She is mentally and physically pushed to her limits and she’s still standing by the book’s end.  I think that were Paige a less well written character, the books would suffer because a lot of the story relies on her.  She’s very flawed, makes mistakes, and does all of this while she’s only nineteen!  I need to rethink some of my life choices.

My only minor quibble with this book and this series is the romance between Paige and Warden.  It’s so off and on that I’ve gotten bored with the will they/won’t they.  I know the point is to create tension but I’ve become far more interested in Paige separately and Warden separately than when they come together. Hopefully the author decides what to do with them in the next book or I fear this will get worse.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

7896527Throne of Glass

Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads

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.

Review:

There are two different covers to this book. One is here: rather badass, to be honest. The other is the one I used. I think this one is more accurate. Very pretty girl with unnatural eyes that you can only tell is a warrior by a dainty knife strapped to her arm. To me, this is Celaena Sardothien. Why? Because she’s a conceited pain in the ass who only barely resembles an assassin.

The Bad:

  • OH MY GOD THE INTRODUCTION. The first five or so chapters were painful to me. They included everything I hate in a fantasy novel: UTTERLY unpronounceable names/names that are simple but are spelled in the most ridiculous/fantastical fashion; a truly stupid and ridiculous male authority figure; a protagonist who can’t stop talking about how great she is; a protagonist who can’t stop talking about how pretty she once was; and an immediate love interest that gains the lustful attention of someone who should have better things on her mind.
  • For being the greatest badass that ever lived (supposedly), Celaena is given no opportunity to show off how great she is  until the last two or three chapters of the novel. That’s A LOT of listening to how great she is, from both herself and others, without any proof. It gets tiring to listen to that kind of stuff.

The Middling:

  • I do like and appreciate the two male/romantic options. She has good and interesting interactions with both. I also appreciate that there’s some rightful conflict in Celaena as to being attracted to the son of her greatest enemy.
  • There’s a lot of things mentioned that don’t always pan out. For example, there’s this whole fae focus at one point that hasn’t been developed. I’m 99% sure that it will show up in the rest of the series, but I would have made more subtle mentions.
  • I knew every twist before it happened.

The Good:

  • When I finally got through those first few chapters, I enjoyed the story. It’s not fairly well-written, well-paced, and the characters are interesting. Even Celaena I grew to appreciate. She is conceited, but that’s part of her character, not something that the narrative tries to combat.
  • There’s a lot going on that I’m interested in. I will be checking out the rest of the series, but in my own time. I’m not particularly eager, just interested.
  • The audiobook, I think, saved me. The narrator has great inflection and brings the characters to life, probably better than the book itself does with simple print on paper. The one thing that bothered me however was that sometimes Chaol sounded constipated.

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

30226723King’s Cage
Victoria Aveyard
Goodreads

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

 

Review:

The third installment in Aveyard’s Red Queen series, King’s Cage starts fast and never stops.  I’m pretty much biased because I’ve really enjoyed this series since book one but this was a tense, violent, heartbreaking edition to the series.  While I really do like the characters of Mare and Cal, I was so so so excited to see my favorite character, Evangeline Samos, getting a much expanded part in this book.  With the way the book ended, it looks like she might be an even bigger part of the fourth book which is, sadly, set to be released in 2018.  That’s such a long, long wait.

I really enjoyed the exploration of Mare and Maven’s relationship.  It’s an awful, horrible, codependent thing (more so on Maven’s side than Mare’s) but there are also those very, very brief flashes of softness and, strangely enough, love that makes me want them to kiss and make up before realizing what I’m hoping for and slapping myself in the face.

The battle scenes were vivid and visceral, putting me in the midst of the chaos at Corvium.  My only quibble there was that it ended very abruptly as I would have liked to see the effect House Samos, House Iral, and House Lerolan had on the battle.

But, there’s another book coming so I’ll hope for more there.  More Evangeline too.  And hopefully much more of Maven getting his comeuppance.

 

 

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

32051572Dividing Eden
Joelle Charbonneau
Goodreads

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

Review:

Codependent relationship between twins disintegrates into fratricide in a matter of three fucking days when they are subjected to a series of trials for the throne. The boy twin, Andreus, has a panic disorder. Which is to say he has one proper panic attack which results in him blacking out and another that’s like, just genuine panic. The girl twin, Carys, has a opioid addiction.

Things that bothered me:

  • THREE FUCKING DAYS
  • Can’t tell all these Elder council members apart. They all look vaguely like Lord Frey in my head.
  • Supposedly these trials are supposed to be based upon the Seven Virtues that guide the kingdom, but these virtues are apparently: Archery, Hitting Each Other With Sticks, Steeple Chase, Socializing, Not Seeing Through an Obvious Setup, and Horse Racing
  • Constantly had to remind my brain to rhyme Andreus with Carys, because they’re twins and they should, right???
  • Nothing really good or interesting happens until the end. And then the book ends.

Things that I enjoyed:

  • Girl’s romance was minimal/lowkey on her side
  • Nothing really good or interesting happens until the end. And then the book ends.