A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

ARC Review: Cutting Your Teeth (Caylan MacRae)

Rating: 5 Pfoten

*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Caylan MacRae for giving me an opportunity to read this book.*

It’s very rare for me to find a book that hooks me right from the start and keeps me glued to the pages until the very end but this is exactly what happened when I started to read “Cutting Your Teeth”. This story just had everything I craved for and wanted to read about in a book. When I picked it up I hoped it would be similar to “All For the Game” and it actually was advertised for this target audience but the more I read, the more I realized that even though the story might have some AFTG vibes it could still stand on its own.

“Visited the Stag a while back. Been a long time since I’ve seen someone fight like you.”
“What’d that look like?”
“Like you got everything on the line and you’re ready to die for it,” Killian says.

Alone the way the book starts and how Ezra and Killian meet was interesting and it was exciting to dive into that underground fighting scene. Ezra is used to fight and survives by competing against other fighters in the ring. Of course, this is illegal but it’s the only thing he can do to gain money while he’s on the run from his family and as long as he keeps a low profile they won’t find him in those shady places. Well, until one night when everything goes to hell and Ezra’s past catches up to him and forces Killian to act.

”It doesn’t matter. It’s my problem, not yours.”
“Ezra, we’re family now, your problems are my problems.”
The word ‘vampire’ may have knocked the wind out of him, but family is a straight-up evisceration. Ezra held no faith in families, not after the one he’d survived.

And this is the moment we got to the supernatural element of the story which involved not only vampires but also other mythological creatures. I already said it and I’ll say it again: AFTG and “Cutting Your Teeth” might have some similarities when it comes to Ezra’s character. He’s on the run from his family which seems to be some sort of mafia clan, Killian gifts him clothes, it’s a slow burn romance and Ezra doesn’t trust anyone because he’s gone through literal hell. But this is already the moment where all the similarities end and I was so here for it, because I got something totally new and a great story that was amazing in its own right.

”For a year he lived like that, speaking to no one and completely alone. Even with the occasional word from his sister, the isolation had done its damage. He stopped talking for a long while after that, slowly finding his voice again once forced out into the world beyond the family.”

I hurt so much with Ezra, because this boy deserved so much better than he got and sometimes to read about his past and what happened to him in the book felt like a stab to my heart. I really loved his character so much and I just wanted him to be happy and safe. It was so nice to see him change and to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to be alone anymore and I really liked that his dog Piper was an active part of the entire book as well. Usually pets just casually appear in books and don’t get all too much attention, but the author made sure that Ezra’s dog was always there and included in the plot. It was so refreshing to see this and considering the influence and importance of Piper’s existence in Ez’s life this was done more than just well. Which brings me to Marigold who is also an important character in the story and I really liked her relationship with Killian. They had such a nice sibling bond and even when they were angry at each other, you could still feel their mutual love. Plus despite looking very innocent Mari is extremely badass and if push comes to shove you definitely would want to have her on your side.

”I’ll give you a good answer for that, promise, but I need you here. With me.” Killian presses their foreheads together to seal the sentiment. “Don’t let yourself drown, Ezra.”
“… I’m here,” Ezra says, halfway lucid.

As much as I enjoyed the AFTG vibes and the supernatural element, what really made this story for me was the found family trope and Killian and Ezra’s slow burn romance. I just loved that they had all those little soft moments together and how Ezra started to trust Killian. This arc was done so well and the way their relationship developed was extremely sweet, which only caused my heart to ache even more the closer I came to the ending. It made everything so much harder to bear and even more bittersweet and painful. I was in pain. I truly was.

”Wish you hadn’t made me like being ‘Ezra’ so much.”

I was in tears at that point and it still hurts to think about. Anyway! If there’s one thing I have to touch on and criticize, then it’s the time span in which the plot of the book unfolds and happens. If I remember it correctly and got it right the entire book plays in the span of about two weeks and this just felt too short for everything that happened. I mean there happens a lot and I personally think it would have been more realistic to let some time pass between all of those events. And if we’re already talking about some of the negative aspects of the book I also have to mention that a little bit more editing wouldn’t have hurt. Sometimes there were sentences that weren’t logical or conclusive and at times the way Killian spoke and acted felt slightly off for his experience and age. This however changed nothing about my enjoyment of the book and since I read an ARC the things I just mentioned might already have been changed in the final version.

Ezra clamps a hand over his mouth to muffle a sound of surprise. He hadn’t expected the sudden detour or the feather light kisses trailing up to the exposed vein. Lighting arcs down his spine, turning any thought he might’ve had into radio static.
“Mo stór,” Killian sights. He curls a hand over Ezra’s heart and sinks his fangs in deep.


All told, I enjoyed this book immensely and it was the perfect read for me. I know some people might see it differently and that’s okay, but for me personally, this story just hit the right spot. Well, maybe there’s another similarity to AFTG after all: This book won’t be for everyone. If you love a good found family trope, a lovely slow-burn romance, supernatural creatures, AFTG vibes and broken boys that learn to heal you’ll definitely enjoy this story though. And last but not least because I just can’t end this review without mentioning it: Killian’s Gaelic endearments killed me! No seriously, whenever he addressed Ezra with another term of endearment I died a little inside. I wish Ez would have understood them and I can only hope he will be able to in book two! I honestly can’t wait to read the sequel but since this was an ARC I’m afraid it’s going to be a long wait. I already know it will be worth it, though.

Trigger warnings:thoughts of suicide (on page), emotional and physical abuse, illegal fights, assault, attempted murder, violence, inebriation, oppression
A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Delilah Green Doesn’t Care (Ashley Herring Blake)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

„I’m very, very queer,“ Delilah whispered, releasing the words slowly while her bottom lip brushed the shell of Claire’s ear. The other woman inhaled softly, the sound fluttering low in Delilah’s stomach.

Now that’s how you build tension between two women! Honestly, I think I finally read an f/f book that delivered on that front, because so far the sapphic stories I read were either too tame or not as cute as the m/m books I usually read. I think that’s mostly due to the fact that it’s not easy to pull off a female romantic relationship. Women are just generally more touchy-feely and have a stronger connection to their friends than men. For once it’s actually a gender thing and in Europe you’d never see men kiss each other on the cheeks or cuddle. (Might depend on the country though. *shrugs*) Usually it’s just not done here and if men do it everyone automatically assumes they are queer and in some sort of relationship. (I don’t like it but it’s the way it is over here and it’s something that’s kinda ingrained into our social norms. Things like that are hard to fight because you’d have to fight them on a socio-cultural scale and that’s just… tough. XD)

Anyway!!! What I’m trying to say is: Women cuddling, hugging and holding hands is considered to be normal. No one would bat an eye in my country if they’d see two girls walking down the street holding hands. So whilst it’s fairly easy to write down tension when it comes to two boys or men, it’s extremely hard to do the same thing with two girls/women. I don’t make the rules, it’s just the way it is and a lot of authors who write sapphic stories seem to have a hard time to convey the sexual or romantic aspect of their MCs relationships. It’s not easy, but it obviously can be done because for me Ashley Herring Blake nailed it!

”Claire shifted. Closer. The finger on Delilah’s chin slid to her jaw, then Claire’s whole hand skated across her face, to her neck, and around to her nape. Delilah’s eyes fluttered closed, every inch of her skin covered in goose bumps.”

I mean, wow! The sexy times those two women spent together?! They were amazing! Also since this is a romance and everyone knows that the two MCs will eventually end up together I don’t think it’s a spoiler when I say that the sex scene was one of the best f/f sex scenes I’ve ever read. It was done so well and wasn’t only relatable but also felt extremely realistic! As did the entire book for that matter. From the struggles Claire has to face as a single mom right to Delilah’s troubled past and her career as a photographer. Everything about the story felt real and true-to-life.

”You’re what?” Delilah asked. “The mom? The woman? So that means you have to give up your whole life and he doesn’t?”

Also can we acknowledge how self-assured and strong all those women were? Not to mention them all being out and proud and secure in their sexuality. It was so refreshing to read about women that know exactly what they want and I totally appreciated this adult approach. Then again, Delilah is 30 if I remember it correctly and Claire is about the same age so this automatically makes them more mature than characters in a YA book. Still, I loved to read about characters that already had their coming-out and had figured themselves out years ago. They just lived their lives the way they wanted to and that was so nice to see. No questioning, just them being them and being content with it.

”She’d definitely feel more comfortable approaching a woman or someone nonbinary. Since coming out as bi when she was a junior in high school, she’d always felt more drawn to other queer people or femmes. Josh being one of the few, albeit huge, exceptions.”

The friendships in this book were so much fun as well and I couldn’t help but fall a little in love with Delilah and Iris. *lol* Those two were so funny together and I’m really glad there are two other books in this series because I can’t wait to see more of their shenanigans and antics. I’m especially looking forward to Iris’s story and hope the other characters will have cameos in it too. Iris might have only been a side-character in here, but boy did her interactions with Claire, Astrid and Delilah give me life. This woman is great and definitely deserves her own book! I’m very happy she got it. 😉

”Did we ever like him?” Claire asked. “Like, when Astrid first introduced us?”
“Hell no,” Iris said. “I mean, okay, he looks like a god with that hair and those biceps, so maybe we were a bit distracted by that at first. You know, beautiful people getting away with murder and all that.”
“God, I hope he’s not a murderer.”

Haha! Them bitching about Spence behind his back was just hilarious. And if I’m already talking about Spence: THIS MAN WAS SUCH A DOUCEBAG! Like seriously! How could Astrid even consider marrying him? If I would have been Claire and Iris I would have tried to get rid of him too. You probably couldn’t find a more misogynistic and macho numpty even if you tried. XD His actions and the way he behaved and treated Astrid. Oh boy, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut. I was really thankful Delilah didn’t take his shit and subtly but aggressively gave him in kind. *lol*

”And Delilah had gotten through life by putting herself first; only concerning herself with what she knew was true, because she’d learned a long time ago that she couldn’t control anyone but herself.”

Despite all the coven fun and the sexy times “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” could be pretty serious as well and the grief representation was something I didn’t expect. I was positively surprised to find one in this book and the fact it was done so well only added to my enjoyment of the story. It’s hard to lose your loved ones, especially when you’re as young as Delilah was and the way she shut herself off from the people around her was very realistic. If you grieve you’re in your own world and it’s not easy to break out of it because no one feels the way you do. Grief is an individual thing and Delilah, her step-mother and Astrid all grieved in their own way. They couldn’t comfort each other because they were all too preoccupied with their own feelings. Plus Delilah’s step-mother wanted to keep the perfect façade intact and therefore most definitely didn’t ask for help. Which makes her a pretty bad mom because not matter how hard it is and no matter how difficult it might be to accept help, if you’re suffering and your kids are suffering too, you should at least do everything you can to lessen the pain of your children. Adopted or not, Delilah and Astrid both would have needed someone to talk about their trauma and to sweep all their grief under the carpet obviously didn’t help. Could have told her that this would bite them all in their asses later on.

„Delilah Green didn’t care. Because they’d never once cared about her.“

Last, but not least, I’ve to mention Ruby, Claire’s daughter and a constant presence in the book! As it should be! Honestly, it happens way too often that adult MCs have kids in books and then they are barely even mentioned and always only appear when they are important for the plot. Or it seems like they are not important at all and therefore barely get any page time. Which is so unrealistic it hurts. If you write about a character that has a kid you have to allow the kid to be present on page because if you’re a parent you know that your kid is your life and everything you do revolves around it. (At least if you’re a good parent. ;-P) So it was really nice to see that Ruby was an active and important part of Claire’s life and that there existed some valid reasons if she wasn’t at home for a night. Like having a sleepover with her friend or spending time at her father’s place etc. Ruby was woven into the plot so effortlessly it was amazing! I can only give kudos to the author for pulling this off as well.

”Literally, for a few seconds as Ruby rested her head against Delilah’s chest, arms tight around her waist, she couldn’t find enough air, her eyes stinging with a swell of sudden tears.
But then she moved her arms around Ruby, pressed her cheek o the top of her hair. She exhaled what felt like a decade’s worth of anxiety, and accepted the girl’s love.”

This said “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” was an awesome story and I enjoyed every single moment I was able to spend with this book. It was a more mature narrative with a lot of humour, a good dose of serious topics and sexy times that restored my faith in great f/f romances again. So all in all just the right story for me. I’m very curious about book two and three now and I’ll make sure to pick them up soon. 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Court of Silver Flames (Sarah J. Maas)

Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

Rhys lifted his head. “This is a bad idea.”
Cassian winked. “That should be written on the Night Court crest.”

I’m honestly surprised it’s not written there already, because ever since I started to read about the Night Court they made great and horrible decisions. *lol* And yes, hi, it’s me finally writing my review for this book. It only took me a year to get to it, but to be honest the amount of quotes I tabbed in this story were kind of intimidating. Jello and I read this as a buddy read and since it took us an entire year to finish the book it’s okay that it also took me a year to write my review, right? ;-P I promise to improve. Or just not to tab the hell out of my books in future. Haha! Anyway! Let’s talk about “A Court of Silver Flames”!

This book wasn’t just different when it came to the title (ACOSF instead of ACOTAR etc.) but also very different in its structure. The focus was clearly on Nesta’s journey and her character/redemption arc but also on the relationships between the characters. Well, and yes, there were a lot of sex scenes. I usually don’t mind them but I think it would have helped the book if Sarah would have focused less on Nesta’s and Cassian’s mind-blowing sexual encounters and more on the storyline instead. The plot really took such a backseat in this story and I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean I was okay with exploring Nesta’s trauma and her redemption arc and with the introduction of so many new characters. It was interesting to see all those various dynamics and how they shaped the people involved but I really missed a stronger focus on the plot and this got even more pronounced near the ending.

The ending totally wasn’t my cup of tea. For one thing everything happened way too fast and the revelations were neither surprising nor explored? It’s kind of hard to pinpoint what didn’t work for me but it was just this huge agglomeration of all the plot threads and in the end it was all over and I still craved for more context. I have no idea if that explanation makes any sense but it’s the way I felt and I really hope Sarah J. Maas will get her focus back on the storyline in the next book. For me it felt like she sort of lost her way and once she realized she needed to resolve the plot line as well, she rushed it and everything came together way too conveniently. I think it speaks volumes that everything, literally everything the story worked towards to was solved in the last 50 pages or so. So yeah, the plot felt like an afterthought in ACOSF and I genuinely hope that Sarah will focus more on it in the next book. *fingers crossed*

This said let’s go right for my characters section because I have THOUGHTS (as always. *lol*) and I need to get them off my chest.


Welcome to Velaris, the home of the Night Court! We have a lot of amazing sights and places to explore, but we also have lots of spoilers! So if you don’t want to be spoiled you better turn in the other direction and leave our city asap! This is a fair warning and it’s your choice whether you enter or not. As the city’s guard my job here is done. 😉


”And the dark eternity around her shuddered. Bucked. Trashed.
She laughed as it recoiled. Laughed around the mouthful of raw power she ripped out and swallowed whole; laughed at the fistfuls of eternity she shoved into her heart, her veins.
The Cauldron struggled like a bird under a cat’s paw. She refused to relent.”

What to say about Nesta? She’s still not my favourite ACOTAR character and probably never will be, but I finally understand where she’s coming from and how she thinks and feels. Sarah did an amazing job with her redemption arc and I think if you still feel bitter towards Nesta after reading this book it might be out of sheer pettiness. It was good to be in her head because it helped to understand her better and even though I still don’t like a lot of the decisions she made I can’t help but respect her. She knows she hurt many people with her behaviour and she really tries to do better which is more than can be said for a lot of other people. Some never realize their failures or just refuse to recognize them, but Nesta? Nesta tackled them head-on and tried to become a better person. It’s never too late to make amends and to try to do better so I admire her for it. Plus her trauma was extremely severe and I genuinely doubt that a lot of people would have been able to deal with a trauma like that. The fact Nesta did and came out of it alive on the other side speaks of her strength and who knows maybe we’ll see more of this strong and stubborn woman in the next books. I really hope so because she’s definitely a person I’d love to be friends with. The way she charmed Eris so much with her dancing he probably would have died of cardiac arrest if the song wouldn’t have ended was amazing and by far one of my favourite dancing scenes in a book ever! It was marvellous! And the fact she and the sentient house bonded over smutty books was more than just relatable. *lol* I kinda love the idea that she might become the leader of the Valkyries in the next books and I’m so ready to see it. Nesta is no longer the victim and she can stand up for herself and her friends now. It was beautiful to see her character growth and even though she isn’t as powerful as she used to be after she saved Feyre and her son, she is still a force to be reckoned with. The mother is on her side too so this is pretty impressive and I’m sure we’ll see more of this in the books to come. =)

”Though she had fought back against Tomas, against the Cauldron, against the King of Hybern, they had all happened to her. She had survived, but she had been helpless and afraid.
Not today.
Today, she would happen to him.”

”She had been born wrong. Had been born with claws and fangs and had never been able to keep from using them, never been able to quell the part of her that roared at betrayal, that cold hate and love more violently than anyone ever understood. Elain had been the only one who perhaps grasped it, but now her sister loathed her.
She didn’t know how to fix it. How to make any of it right. How to stop being this way.”

”It was my punishment. Don’t you understand that?” She could barely see him through her tears. “From the moment I met you, I wanted you more than reason. From the moment I saw you in my house, you were all I could think about. And it terrified me. No one had ever held such power over me. And I am still terrified that if I let myself have you… it will be taken away. Someone will take it away, and if you’re dead…” She buried her face in her hands. “It doesn’t matter,” she whispered. “I do not deserve you, and I never, ever will.”

”She faced the city – the lovely, vibrant city. None of it seemed as vibrant as what waited above. The climb would be brutal, and almost without end, but at the top … Cassian would be waiting. As he had waited for her for years now.
Nesta smiled. And began the climb.”


His eyes shuttered in a way she had not witnessed before. “I was taken away from her when I was three. Thrown out into the snow and in her so-called disgraced state, she became prey to other monsters.”  Nesta’s stomach twisted with each word. “She did their backbreaking labor until she died, alone and…” His throat worked. “I was at Windhaven by then. I wasn’t strong enough to return to help her. To bring her somewhere safe.”

Ahh Cassian. It was so good to find out more about him and his past and it only made me love him even more. I already loved Cassian in the former books but this time around we got his POV and I was so happy to be able to dive into his mind. He’s really such a beautiful person inside and out and I totally get why Nesta thought that he would be too good for her. He’s such a generous and kind soul and he always tries to make the best decisions for everyone. Plus he’s good at putting himself in the position of someone else and I really loved that about him. While all the others didn’t get Nesta and Lucien and didn’t bother to understand them and their motives, Cassian fought for them and gave them the benefit of the doubt. It was really nice to see him care about Nesta and Lucien and that he acknowledged their pain. That’s more than can be said for all the others. I think if given the time Lucien and he might actually become friends. Also he’s humble and patient! Cassian is so powerful but he never abuses his power and always tries to use it for good instead. I just love this man, okay?! And I was so angry at Eris for making him feel inferior. But at the end when he notices the person Eris truly is he doesn’t make him feel worse, no he tells him that he sees him and hands him an olive branch instead and wow, if that isn’t altruistic and generous then I don’t know. (Yes, he also called him a coward in the same breath but honestly Eris deserved that one.) Cassian is awesome! Period.

”They were wrong.” his eyes glittered fiercely. “What they learned was that we love each other as true brothers. And there was nothing that we wouldn’t do, no one we wouldn’t kill, to reach each other. To save each other. We killed our way across the mountains, and made it through the Breaking – the worst of Ramiel’s three routes to the top – and we won the damn thing.”

Clotho huffed a laugh. She has a will of iron.
“Of steel.” He smiled. “Good seeing you, Clotho.”
You as well, Lord Cassian.
“Just Cassian,” he said, as he had said so many times now.
You are a lord in good deeds. It is not a title born, but earned.
He bowed his head as he said thickly, “Thank you.”

”Eris and his twisted word games and politics are an enemy I don’t know how to handle. Every time I meet with him, I feel like he’s got the upper hand. Like I can only catch up to him, and he sees through my every fumbling attempt at being clever. Maybe that makes me a stupid brute after all.”

”Cassian was good. In his soul, in his warrior’s heart, Cassian was good in a way Nesta knew most people were not. In a way she knew she was not and would never be.
He was not a warrior who killed on a whim, but a male who carefully considered every life he had to take. Who’d defend what he loved until death.”


Az chuckled, the wind shifting the strands of his dark hair. “You two need a chaperone up here?”
Yes. No. Yes. “I thought you were the chaperone.”
Az threw him a wicked smile. “I’m not entirely sure I’m enough.”
Cassian flipped him off.

Okay, but can we talk about Az in this book?! OMG! I was so glad we got to see more of his wicked, playful and fun side and I lived and breathed for those little snippets that were thrown our way! There is so much humour and teasing in this man and I really want to see more of it. Az is still such a mystery, though. We got a little bit more about him, but for me it still feels like he’s this huge big question mark hovering above my head. Can we please explore his character in the 5th book? XD Also I’d like an explanation for all his confusing behaviour. Like he’ll do done thing and I’ll think: “Okay, I’m back on track.” and then he’ll totally throw me off again and I JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO READ THIS MAN!!! Thank you Sarah for writing him that way. It’s fine, it only causes me sleepless nights every once in a while. *lol*

”Right,” Cassian panted through gritted teeth as he blocked Az’s kick and bounced a step back, circling again. “Whoever lands the next blow wins.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Az panted back. “We go until one of us eats dirt.” Az had a vicious competitive streak. It wasn’t boastful and arrogant, the way Cassian knew he himself was prone to be, or possessive and terrifying like Amren’s. No, it was quiet and cruel and utterly lethal.

”Give me some credit, Feyre,” Az said. “I can keep hidden well enough.”
“We take no risks,” Feyre said, voice flat with command. “Pull all your spies out.”
“Like hell I will.”


Lust glazed Eris’s eyes. Covetous, calculating lust. Cassian swallowed his growl. “I mean that whatever you want, I’ll give it to you in exchange for her. As my bride.” He jerked his chin to the box with the dagger at Rhys’s feet. “I’d rather have her than that.”
He danced three dances with her! Feyre squawked. Rhys’s lips seemed to be fighting a losing battle not to smile.

Good lord, what to say about Eris? I really disliked that asshole but at the same time I couldn’t help but admire him for the way he thinks. To be honest I got strong “TSoA Odysseus” vibes from him because as much as I disliked Odysseus I begrudgingly had to acknowledge his smart brain and intelligence as well. The way he lusted after Nesta was quite something, but I could understand why she was almost irresistible for him. I mean she certainly was able to keep up with his thoughts, wits and schemes and at the end of the day we all long for someone who gets us and understands our actions. I think Eris is very lonely and he really might have seen a future for himself and Nesta. AND (you’re allowed to unpack your pitchforks now) I believe that he saved Mor and that leaving her at the border to the Night Court was the only thing he was able to do for her. At this point I’m convinced he had no other choice and that all the things he’s done so far are because he wants to end Beron’s reign. I mean he tried to save his men from Koschei and Briallyn. Doesn’t strike me as something a truly bad person would do. I’m very curious how his character arc is going to develop in the next books.

Eris went on, “Always mix truth and lies, General. Didn’t those warrior-brutes teach you about how to withstand an enemy’s torture?”
Cassian knew. He’d been tortured and interrogated and never once broken. “Beron tortured you?”
Eris rose, tucking his book under an arm. “Who cares what my father does to me?”

”Get that pitying look off your face,” Eris snarled softly. “I know what sort of creature my father is. I don’t need your sympathy.”

So Cassian said, “I grew up surrounded by monsters. I’ve spent my existence fighting them. And I see you, Eris. You’re not one of them. Not even close. I think you might even be a good male.” Cassian opened the door, turning from Eris’s curled lip. “You’re just too much of a coward to act like one.”


”Even with Elain here, he’s become close with Jurian and Vassa. He’s voluntarily living with them these days, and not just as an emissary. As their friend.”

So what?! Lucien has finally made some friends that aren’t toxic for him and you blame him for it? Ugh! Honestly sometimes I really dislike the Night Court characters so much, because they just can’t seem to think beyond their family. I love Rhys and the Night Court, but damn they are testing my patience with their stance on Lucien. Was it wrong of him to hold on to Tamlin and to stay with him even though he knew how abusive and controlling he was towards Feyre: Yes. But it’s not like he had a choice. Tamlin was at least as abusive towards him and he did the best he could with what he had. And yes, Tam sure as hell knew how Ianthe stalked Lucien and did nothing about it. Unlike the Night Court Lucien never was part of a found family and all he ever had was his friendship with Tamlin. I think what all those characters forget is that he loves Tamlin like a brother and really cares about him because he was the only one to save him from his father’s clutches. And even if he wanted to his honour wouldn’t allow him to leave Tamlin alone. That’s not the person he is because he’s loyal to a fault. Lucien’s actions were misguided but never malicious and it’s about time the Night Court gets this in their thick heads! Honestly, if they aren’t more welcome to him in the next books I’m gonna riot. I mean they weren’t exactly welcoming and only use him for their own gain and I’m NOT surprised he is looking for people that are actually his friends. If you treat him like shit you can’t expect him to stick around and to be loyal to you. Period. Yes, I still have A LOT of strong thoughts about the way the Night Court treats Lucien. Anyway! I’m very curious when Sarah will finally tackle the elephant in the room, namely the fact that Lucien is Helion’s son! He deserves to know and I’m not okay with Feyre and the others keeping this a secret from him. There were some moments in ACOSF when his true parentage shone through and I’m ready for him to find out. Can the 5th book be about Lucien please?!

”Lucien’s gold eye clicked, reading Cassian’s rage while warning flashed in his remaining russet eye. The male had grown up alongside Eris. Had dealt with Eris’s and Beron’s cruelty. Had seen his lover slaughtered by his own father. But Lucien had learned to keep his cool.”

”Easy,” Lucien said.
Cassian snarled.
“Easy,” Lucien repeated, and flame sizzled in his russet eye.
The flame, the surprising dominance within it, hit Cassian like a stone to the head, knocking him from his need to kill and kill and kill whatever might threaten-“

”She’s not a carnival attraction,” Cassian said through his teeth.
“It’s not for entertainment.” Lucien’s red hair gleamed in the dimness of the rainy day. “I think Feyre wanted a progress assessment from someone who hasn’t seen her in a while.”
“And?” Cassian bit out.
Lucien threw him a withering look. “I’m not your enemy, you know. You can drop the aggressive brute act.”


”They say a beast prowls these lands now. A beast with keen green eyes and golden fur. Some people think the beast has forgotten his other shape, so long has he spent in his monstrous form. And though he roams these lands, he does not see or care for the neglect he passes, the lawlessness, the vulnerability. Even his manor has fallen into disrepair, half-eaten by thorns, though rumors fly that he himself destroyed it.”

At this point there seems to be nothing left of Tamlin and I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. He did so many wrong and horrible things and I still haven’t forgiven him for any of them, but I also think that it’s time someone gives him a chance to heal. It’s obvious he’s hurting and his entire court is suffering because of it. There’s barely anything left of the Spring Court as it is and the way it looks Tam won’t be able to get it together on his own. I think it’s about time Feyre and him have a talk and find closure and yeah I know Rhys won’t like this but all I can say to that is that he has to suck it up. Because quite honestly not to tell Feyre that the baby and her would die during birth was at least as f*cking wrong as what Tam did. I don’t think Tamlin can get better without closure and they wouldn’t just help him but basically every faerie that belongs to the Spring Court so it would be the right thing to do. He can only do better if he’s given a chance to prove it. I know I might have an unpopular opinion when it comes to Lucien and Tamlin but I don’t care. To give them a chance is the least the Night Court could do. Peace is worth it.


Nesta & Cassian:

”Until she’d been hunted by the King of Hybern and the Cauldron. Until she’d realized that everyone she cared for would be used to hurt her, break her, trap her. Until that last battle when she couldn’t stop one thousand Illyrians from dying, and had instead been able to save only one.
Him. She would do it again, if forced to. And knowing that … She couldn’t bear that truth, either.”

The banter between those two was legit one of the best things about this book. I really liked how they went back and forth and how they were able to hold their ground, but as I already said at the beginning of this review: I think it would have been better if Sarah wouldn’t have focused so much on the sex scenes. I get why she did it, but to be frank, after the 3rd time they said “It’s only sex, no feelings involved.” the reader already got that it’s not just sex and that there are plenty of feelings involved! You didn’t have to add even more “mind-blowing sex scenes” to show this, we already got it after the second time. I mean I’m the last to complain about sex scenes, I love good smut in my books but a couple less steamy scenes and a stronger focus on the plot instead definitely wouldn’t have hurt this book. You feel me? Aside of that I really liked the moments when Nesta and Cassian got closer and opened up to each other. Nesta had a severe trauma from being forced into the Cauldron and becoming fae but Cassian was very patient with her and understood her on a level no one else did. He was nourishing and pushy at the same time. Giving her enough space to grate on him whenever she needed it, but also offering her comfort when she was vulnerable. It was truly beautiful to watch those two find their way together and I think their dynamic was awesome. Nesta had a lot to work through in this book, the grief of losing her humanity and her father, the trauma of being made, the feeling of helplessness, of failing her sisters when they needed her the most, of almost being raped,. It was a whole can of worms to get through and with the help of her friends and Cassian she eventually made it. She’s still far from okay, but she’s on the right way and she can work on getting better now. Did I already mention how much I loved it that Sarah slowly but steadily let Nesta work through her trauma. It was very realistic and I’m glad we got to experience her character growth. And of course Nesta and Cassian are quite the formidable couple. *lol* I can’t wait to see more of them now that they are finally in tune. 😉

His grin was a slash of white. “The only thing that’s obvious is that you’re talking to yourself.”
“I’m talking to the House. Which is a considerable step up from talking to you.”
“It doesn’t talk back.”

”Everything about him had radiated that confident, arrogant masculinity. It had been heady and overwhelming, and all she’d wanted, all she’d wanted for so many months, was to touch him, smell him, taste him. Get close to that strength and throw everything she was against it because she knew he’d never break, never falter, never balk.”

”They clung to each other, and he tried to piece himself back together, to remember what the fuck his name was and where they were.
But there was only her. Only this female in his arms.
And the only name he could remember was hers.”

”You can keep that sharpness I like so much, that boldness and fearlessness. I don’t want you to ever lose those things, to cage yourself.”
“But I still don’t know how to fix myself.”
“There’s nothing broken to be fixed,” he said fiercely. “You are helping yourself. Healing the parts of you that hurt too much – and perhaps hurt others, too.”

”Cassian stood beside her through all of it. Not speaking, not touching. Just there, should she need him. Her friend – whom she’d asked to come her with her not because he was sharing her bed, but because she wanted him here. His steadiness and kindness and understanding.”

Nesta & Feyre:

”Nesta hated that word. The term Feyre used to describe her court. As if things had been so miserable with the Archeron family that Feyre had needed to find another one. Had chosen her own.”

Oh boy, that sibling relationship certainly wasn’t an easy one. Feyre tried to keep Nesta in the loop and really wanted to make amends but Nesta always shut that door right into her face and it was hard to watch. I finally get why she did it though and some part of me was relieved to find out that Nesta felt bad for not being able to take care of Feyre. I mean Feyre was the youngest, yet she still went out into the woods and hunted in order to keep her family alive. And yes, Nesta should have done something to help her but she was too scared to do anything and that kind of paralyzed her. I can’t say I understand their dynamic but I think Feyre was always more resilient, stronger and more curious than her sisters? So Nesta looked after Elain and her father because it was the only thing she felt capable of doing while Feyre went hunting. I suppose in their own way they both watched out for their family, only that it was Feyre who truly risked her life. But then again Nesta actually went after Feyre when she was taken by Tamlin and tried to find her, which is more than can be said for Elain. (I still hate Elain btw. *lol*) Sibling relationships are complicated and Nesta and Feyre, well they have a lot to work through. As long as they do it together there is hope though.

”She discovered the pregnancy. I wanted you to know this part before anyone else.”
“I hadn’t realized you were keeping score.”
Feyre gave her an exasperated look. “I’m not, Nesta. I just … Do I need an excuse to share things with you? You’re my sister. I wanted to tell you before anyone else. That’s it.”

”Hunting to keep them fed had taught Feyre that skill set. Hunting, while Nesta had stayed home, safe and warm, and let Feyre venture into that forest alone. Those skills Feyre had honed had allowed her to survive against the High Fae and all their terrors, but … Feyre only had them because of what she’d been forced to do. Because Nesta hadn’t been the on to do it. To step up.”

Feyre & Rhys:

Rhy’s throat bobbed. His next words cracked Cassian’s heart. “I didn’t realize how much hope I’d been holding on to until I saw the pity and fear in their faces. Until Drakon had to embrace me to keep me from falling apart.”

First of all: Feyre is still the strong woman I love and the way she tackled the revelation about her pregnancy was… Well, she dealt with it like a boss! But Rhys?! I can understand that he was worried sick about her and didn’t want to endanger Feyre’s and the child’s health, but the mother help me, WHY THE HELL DIDN’T HE TELL HER!!!?? Honestly, if I would have been Feyre I’d have chewed that man and spit him out! Honestly, the fact he didn’t tell her made me so damn angry, I can’t even put it into words. Like how did he think it would be okay not to tell her?! How can it be okay to let your wife, the woman that carries your child, go into childbirth without letting her know about the danger she is in?! Yes, they made that stupid bargain that both of them would die, but Feyre is the one who was pregnant and carried that child in her body! It’s her body!!! It’s the child living in HER body! I can’t emphasize that enough. You don’t make decisions for pregnant women! You tell THEM and let THEM decide because THEY are the ones that have to live with the consequences and the ones that have to make a decision! Or that have to deal with the knowledge in that case. Honestly, the more Sarah writes about Rhys since Feyre and him mated, the more I start to dislike him. Where is the Rhys that wasn’t possessive and gave Feyre room to form her own opinion and to come to her own conclusions? Where is the Rhys that would have never lied to Feyre and would have supported her through all of her troubles? Where is nourishing and gentle Rhys? I don’t see him anymore. All I see is an alpha hole that is possessive of his mate and thinks it’s wise to keep her in the dark. Feyre is no mimosa, she can handle every shit that is thrown her way. He of all people should have known that, but since they mated he totally lost himself. And I hate that about Sarah’s characters. The moment they have a mate they get stupid, possessive and the individual characters don’t exist anymore. Yes, you can use your pitchforks but it won’t change my opinion. I hate it that Sarah always makes her characters mates and then sacrifices their individuality. It’s not healthy. It’s not how a relationship should be. They should be equal and make decisions together. To romanticize unhealthy possessiveness and jealousy is NOT healthy. Period. You can be part of a couple and still be an individual, it doesn’t have to be this all-consuming, no compromise thing. Sorry for that long rant but it’s one of those things I absolutely hate about Sarah’s books and I just can’t overlook it anymore. It literally happens in every single one of her books and I just can’t. Also where the hell did that talk about Rhys becoming the leader of all fae from? That was at least one thing Rhys and I agreed about. Just because he has power that doesn’t mean he needs to become a leader. Uff. Honestly, at this point I’m scared that in one of those next books I’ll actually start to hate Rhys for real. And that’s such a shame. Sarah isn’t doing her characters any favour by writing them that way. >_< Okay, end of my rant. Or this review will never end.

Cassian squeezed Rhy’s shoulder. “Why won’t you tell her?”
Rhys throat worked. “Because I can’t bring myself to give her that fear. To take away one bit of the joy in her eyes every time she puts a hand on her belly.” His voice shook. “It is fucking eating me alive, this terror. I keep myself busy, but … there is no one to bargain with for her life, no amount of wealth to buy it, nothing that I can do to save her.”

”Yours is a terrible and beautiful power, Rhysand,” Amren said, sighing. “You have three magic blades before you, each a kingmaker in its own right, and yet you would rather share that power. Keep to your borders. Why?”
Rhys demanded, “Why do you want me to turn conqueror?”
Amren shot back, “Why do you shy from the power that is your birthright?”
“I did nothing to earn that power,” Rhys said. “I was born with it. It is a tool to defend my people, not to attack others.” He surveyed them. “Where is this talk coming from?”

”“Rhys knew?” Tears spilled down Feyre’s cheeks, smearing the paint splattered there. “About the threat to our lives?” She peered down at herself, at the tattooed hand cradling her abdomen.

”How can you be so calm about this?
The alternative is fear and panic. I will not let my son feel those things. I will fight for him, for us, until I no longer can.
Cassian’s throat tightened. We’ll fight for you, too.”

Nesta & Rhys:

”Rhysand might be an arrogant, vain bastard, but he was honorable.  He fought like hell to protect innocents. Her dislike of him had nothing to do with what he’d proved so many times: he was a fair, just ruler, who put his people before himself. No, she just found his personality – that slick smugness – grating.”

Well, what can I say about those two? I’m glad they finally worked through their differences and started to trust each other. Also I kinda agree with Nesta, Rhys can be a lot sometimes. *lol* They are both strong characters so it’s no wonder they were at each other’s throats more often than not. I just hope Rhys won’t pamper Nesta all too much now that she saved his wife and child. I understand why he’s thankful but if he overdoes it she’ll lose all her respect for him. XD Just saying. At least they seem to get along now and that’s a huge step up from where they were before. Still, makes me wonder why Rhys never argued with Elain because let’s face it, this woman didn’t do anything for her sister, yet he never despised her for it. Only Nesta. *sighs*

His throat worked, as if he’d heave, but he held it down. “She was dreaming of the Cauldron. Of… of when she went in.” Cassian had never seen Rhys at such a loss of words.
“I saw it,” Rhys whispered. “Felt it. Everything that happened within the Cauldron. Saw her take its power with her teeth and claws and rage. And I saw… felt … what it took from her.”
Rhys rubbed his face, and slowly straightened. He met Cassian’s stare unflinchingly, his eyes full of remorse and agony. “Her trauma is …” Rhy’s throat bobbed.
“I know,” Cassian whispered.

Nesta buried her face in the cold sweat of Feyre’s neck. She opened that place within herself, and said to the Mother, to the Cauldron, “I’ll give back what I took from you. Just show me how to save them – her and Rhysand and the baby.” Rhysand – her brother. That’s what he was, wasn’t he? Her brother, who had offered her kindness even when she knew he wanted to throttle her. And she him. And the baby… her nephew. Blood of her blood. She would save him, save them, even if it took everything. “Show me,” she pleaded.

Then Rhys fell to his knees and took Nesta’s hands in his, pressing his mouth to her fingers. “Thank you,” he wept, head bowed. Cassian knew it wasn’t in gratitude for Rhys’s own life that he knelt upon the sacred tattoos inked upon his knees.
Nesta dropped to the carpet. Lifted Rhys’s face in her hands, studied what lay in it. Then she threw her arms around the High Lord of the Night Court and held him tightly.

Nesta & Elain:

”I went into the Cauldron, too, you know. And it captured me. And yet somehow all you think of is what my trauma did to you.”

Uff those two. I can’t with Elain, I just can’t. Instead of realizing that Nesta was worried about her and cares about her, Elain made everything about herself. Yes, she was in the Cauldron too, but she didn’t fight it like Nesta did. And yes, she has a trauma too, but everything Nesta ever did was to try to protect Elain. Elain was her entire world and basically the sister Nesta always focused all her energy and attention on, and now she’s kicking that with her feet? I hate Elain so much, I think at this point not even a redemption arc like the one with Nesta would make me like her more and I don’t get why everyone seems to love her. Pff… #IHateElainAndI’mNotSorryAboutIt

”Absolutely not,” Nesta spat, fingers curling at her sides. “Absolutely not.”
“Why?” Elain demanded. “Shall I tend to my little garden forever?” When Nesta flinched, Elain said, “You can’t have it both ways. You cannot resent my decision to lead a small, quiet life while also refusing to let me do anything greater.”

Nesta & Azriel:

Azriel said coolly, “I don’t need to resort to threats.” The shadows coiled around him, snakes ready to strike.
Nesta gave him a smile, holding his stare. “Neither do I.”
She leaned back in her chair and said to Cassian, who was frowning at both of them, “I want to train with him instead.”

One of my favourite things about ACOSF was definitely their blooming friendship. It was unexpected but I really loved their interactions and I’m glad Az and Nesta got along so well. I think they both needed someone who understood them and they both came to some sort of mutual understanding. I loved that so much because they didn’t even need words, they just got each other. Also Azriel’s present for Nesta was so thoughtful and ahh the way she hugged him warmed my heart so much. ❤ I totally ship their friendship and I hope we’ll see more of it in the next books. Their mutual respect and the way they deal with boundaries is just EVERYTHING. Also I genuinely hope we’ll get more of Az’s background because he’s still such a mystery.

”Even Feyre had been hesitant around Az initially, but Nesta considered him with the same unflinching assessment she laid upon everyone. Maybe that was why Azriel had never said a bad word about Nesta. Never seemed inclined to start a fight with her. She saw him, and was not afraid of him. There weren’t many people who fit that bill.”

”I’d be careful when you’re fucking her,” Amren added, lips curling in a sneer. “Who knows what she might tansform you into when her emotions are high?”
“That’s enough,” Azriel said, and Cassian turned grateful eyes to his brother. Az continued, “I’m with Cassian on this. It’s not right to keep the knowledge from Nesta.”

Shadows darkend his eyes, full of enough pain that she couldn’t stop herself from touching his shoulder. Letting him see that she understood why he stood in the doorway, why he wouldn’t go near the fire.
His secret to tell, never hers.
Azriel’s face remained neutral.

Nesta touched the glass ball, no bigger than her thumbnail, and faelight flickered within, casting a bright, easy glow upon her lap. She tapped it again and it turned off. And then she jumped to her feet and flung her arms around Azriel. The room went silent for a beat.
But Azriel chuckled and squeezed her gently. Cassian smiled to see it – to see them. “Thank you,” Nesta said, quickly pulling away to marvel at the device. “It’s brilliant.”

Amren & Nesta:

”It landed like a physical blow. Rhys came as no surprise. But Amren, who had always understood her more than the others; Amren who’d been unafraid of her; Amren with whom she’d quarrelled so badly… Some small part of her had hoped Amren wouldn’t hate her forever.”

Now that was weird and kinda anticlimactic. The way those two argued and were at each other’s throat all of the time I expected there to have happened something huge and horrible between them, but then we find out what actually happened at that night and I was like: Huh, that’s it?! The way Amren spoke about Nesta and despised her I would have thought something truly extreme happened but nope. Just wow. Was Nesta wrong for acting the way she did? Sure, but some of the things Amren said?! Either she’s extremely petty or I dunno. Not gonna lie, it made her shine a little bit less in my eyes. I mean alone that comment about Cassian better being careful when he f*cks her?! WTH? You don’t say that about a friend even if you’re mad at them. That was such a low blow and uncalled-for. *shakes head* I’ll keep a close look at Amren’s character from now on. Why is Sarah J. Maas making me dislike so many of my favourites with this continuation of the original trilogy?

”How dare you assume you know what is best for me?”
When Amren didn’t answer, Nesta hissed, “You were my friend.”
Amren’s teeth flashed. “Was I? I don’t think you know what that word means.”

Nesta couldn’t imagine spending a day in this place. A year. She didn’t know how Amren hadn’t gone mad. How she’d found the strength to survive.
She’d treated Amren badly. The small thought wedged into her mind. She had sued her, exactly as Amren said, as a shield against everyone.

Elain & Lucien & Az & Gwyn:

”Nesta met the shadowsinger’s stare and he gave her a nod. Then his gaze shifted to Elain, and though it was utterly neutral, something charged went through it. Between them. Elain’s breath caught slightly, and she gave him a shallow nod of greeting before brushing past, leading Nesta into the room.”

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest here so WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WEIRD LOVE QUADRANGLE?! I don’t get it and I have absolutely no idea where Sarah wants to go with this. Like is there something going on between Az and Elain? In ACOFAS it looked like they were attracted to each other and we got some hints in ACOSF too. (see quote above) But then Gwyn is introduced and there obviously is some chemistry between her and Az too. That quote about him being her new ribbon, her teasing him and him being amused by it. Plus he saved her and is the only man she seems to trust. And let’s not forget about the fact that Elain is actually Lucien’s mate. Uff! So let’s speak some truth here: I would totally board the Gywn/Az ship and I’d ship them both so much you’d never see the end of it. *lol* But that would leave Lucien with Elain and I just CAN’T ship him with her because she’s so damn horrible to him it even hurts Cassian and Az when they see how she treats him. And that says a lot because he isn’t exactly their favourite person either, but at least they seem to have more sympathy for Lucien than Elain ever will. She treats him so badly it always causes me to wince when I read about their interactions. Small as they might be. My Lucien deserves so much better than that and I’ll never ship Elain with Lucien. NEVER! Sarah can try to come up with the most genius character arc for Elain but she won’t be able to save that ship. Period. For a while I actually thought there might be something going on between Lucien and Vassa but as it seems Jurian and Vassa are more likely to end up together? I got the impression Lucien is sort of third-wheeling with those two? I swear if Sarah doesn’t create a worthy love interest for Lucien in her next book I’ll riot! To be honest the only two people I’d ship Lucien with right now are actually Vassa or Az. Yes, you read right. *LOL* I’d ship Lucien with Az because I think they would work well together, but knowing Sarah she won’t go for an m/m couple. Her LGBTQIA+ characters are always side-characters that have a couple of lines. I mean just look at Mor. She made her bi, just to NOT explore her character even more. We’ve known Mor is bi since the third book, but nothing ever happened ever since. No love interest, nothing. Pff… The day has yet to come when Sarah J. Maas actually goes for a queer main character representation in her books. I mean if she doesn’t want to write them, okay, but please don’t lead us on. It’s not fair. Anyway! I really don’t know where Sarah wants to go with this love quadrangle, but I guess we’ll find out one day…

”He and Lucien did not exchange gifts, though the male had brought a gift for Feyre and one for his mate, who barely thanked him after opening the pearl earrings. Cassian’s heart strained at the pain etching deep into Lucien’s face as he tried to hide his disappointment and longing. Elain only shrank further into herself, no trace of that newfound boldness to be seen.”

Gwyn threw Azriel a withering stare as she strode past him. “See you tomorrow, Shadowsinger,” she tossed over a shoulder.
Az stared after her, brows high with amusement. When he turned back, Nesta grinned. “You have no idea what you just started,” she said. Az angled his head, hazel eyes narrowing as Gwyn reached the archway.
“Remember how Gwyn was with the ribbon?” Nesta winked and clapped the shadowsinger on the shoulder. “You’re the new ribbon, Az.”

”Azriel slaughtered all of them within moments. He didn’t hesitate. But I could barely move, and when I tried to get up… He gave me his cloak and wrapped me in it.”

Nesta, Gwyn & Emerie:

Cassian’s eyes softened. “Which of the healers clipped you?”
Emerie’s chin lifted, color stealing across her face. She met his eyes though – with a level of directness that Nesta could only admire. “My father did it himself.”
Cassian swore, low and nasty.
Emerie said, voice cold, “I fought him, so his work became even sloppier.”

The friendship bond between those three was so amazing and I’m very glad we finally have a female counterpart to the Rhys/Cassian/Az trio. It was about time Sarah tackled the topic of a strong crew of girls and I was totally ready to explore their friendship. I’m sure they will bring the Valkyries back to glory and each and every single one of those women is a force to be reckoned with. They are strong and feisty and they will never ever back down again. They all had their own trauma, whether it was Nesta’s Cauldron experience, Emerie’s abuse through her father or Gwyn getting raped after witnessing her sister’s death… I hurt so much with those women, because knowing what they had to go through, what caused them to hide from the world was so heart-breaking and horrible. To see them fight back and make room for themselves, the way they got through their trauma and tackled every challenge head-on, it was truly inspiring and I loved all of them so much. They totally grew on me and them talking about smutty books and men was so much fun. *lol* I really hope Emerie and Gwyn will both find true love one day, because they deserve it and I want nothing but happiness for them. Plus them going through the rite and fighting against all those brutes, actually winning the thing despite all the odds, WOW! Talk about strength! They kicked those men’s butts and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do in the next book. =) They’ve come such a long way and they haven’t reached their limits yet. Also is it just me or did anyone else also catch some queer vibes from Emerie when she spoke about Mor? *lol* Just saying… Anyway! Sarah did well with those three and their character arcs. They fought for their place in the world and I expect great things to happen! There were so many moments I had goose bumps and I’m ready to see them change the world! The Valkyries are back! And they are ready to kick some butts! XD

”Tell me you at least had a week’s worth of sex,” Emerie muttered.
Nesta choked on a laugh as Cassian stiffened across the ring – but he didn’t turn. “There might have been some.”

Nesta read a line at random on the fifth page. Whether the sun beat hot on their brows or freezing rain turned their bones to ice, Nesta, Emerie, and Gwyneth arrived at practice each morning, ready to…
The back of her throat ached; her eyes stung. “We’re in a book.”
Gwyn’s fingers slid into hers, squeezing tight. Nesta looked up to find her holding Emerie’s free hand as well. Gwyn smiled again, her eyes bright. “Our stories are worth telling.”

”I wish for us to have the courage to go out into the world when we are ready, but to always be able to find our way back to each other. No matter what.”

Gwyn whispered, “I am the rock against which the surf crashes.” Nesta straightened at the words, as if they were a prayer and a summons. Gwyn lifted the blade. “Nothing can break me.”
Cassian’s throat tightened, and even from across the ring, he could see Nesta’s eyes gleaming with pride and pain.
Emerie said, “Nothing can break us.” The world seemed to pause at the words.

Gwyn said hoarsely as they moved into the wilderness, the snow mercifully lightening, “You two came looking for me.”
“Of course we did,” Emerie said, interlacing her hand with Gwyn’s, then Nesta’s, and squeezing tightly. “It’s what sisters do.”


In some ways “A Court of Silver Flames” was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read, but in other respects it wasn’t. I’m having a hard time to rate this book because there were so many things I loved and enjoyed to read about like for instance Nesta’s character arc, the strong friendships and family bonds, the character growth of Gwyn and Emerie, the Valkyries etc. There were so many good things in this story, but unfortunately there also were some things and situations that didn’t sit well with me. Some character developments are getting more and more detrimental the longer the series continues and sometimes I just can’t help but wonder if the author is aware of what she’s doing to our beloved characters. The fact the plot was as thin as paper and didn’t add a lot to the overall storyline was clearly something I didn’t like as well so I’m feeling a little bit conflicted about how to rate this. I think at the end of the day the good outweighed the bad and I’ll go for 3,5 stars rounded up to 4. I just hope Maas will be able to turn the tide with book five and will focus a little more on the plot again. All told I still enjoyed “A Court of Silver Flames” and I’m ready for the next book. Fingers crossed it will be a good one.

A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Adib Khorram)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 27 on My Book List 2022

For Fariba Bahrami, love was an opportunity, not a burden.
I swallowed away the lump in my throat. „I love you, Mamou.“

I thought long and hard about how to start my review of “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” because it’s not easy to put everything I thought and felt into words. It’s actually pretty challenging but I’ll try to do it anyway because I really enjoyed this book and had a great, interesting, educational or all of the above(?) time with this story. I guess you can already see that I’m struggling to put my reading experience into words and this is mostly due to the fact that Adib Khorram addressed so many important topics in this book yet still managed to pull it off somehow. I think if you’re set on it you could describe the story with one sentence: Darius visits his Persian grandparents in Iran and makes a friend named Sohrab. But what this sentence won’t be able to convey are all the different layers this story actually entails.

„Did you ever think that you wouldn’t get picked on so much if you weren’t so…”
Dad worked his jaw back and forth.
“So what, Dad?”
But he didn’t answer. What could he possibly say?

One of the main topics in this coming-of-age novel is definitely the rocky relationship between Darius and his dad Stephen Kellner. The mere fact our MC always thinks of his father as the Übermensch and even uses his full name instead of just “dad” gives the reader a very good impression of how distant those two actually are. It really made me extremely sad to read about their interactions and to see how Darius’s dad didn’t get that he was hurting his son with every single word he uttered and with every action he took. The worst thing about their situation is that as a reader you get that Stephen only wants to protect his son from harm but apparently is incapable of telling Darius how he feels. Those two are clearly not the best at communicating and this leads to a lot of hurtful moments and misunderstandings between Darius and his father. Though admittedly some of the things like Stephen’s constant criticism of Darius’s weight clearly were no misunderstanding and only added to their already existing tensions.  

”Maybe Dad was right. Maybe I would always be a target.
Even for things I couldn’t help. Like being from America. Like having a foreskin.
Those things were normal back home, but not in Iran.
I would never fit in. Not anywhere.“

Another theme of this book is the bullying Darius is subjected to at home and even in Iran. In America there’s a boy named Trent Bolger who’s a bully and makes his life even harder than it is and in Iran there are two boys Sohrab and Darius play football with that pick on him at first. Add to that Darius’s constant feeling of being in the middle of two cultures and not belonging to either of them and you can see that Adib Khorram truly did his best to tackle a lot of serious topics. The interesting thing is that they all complete each other and work together so well. Darius exploring his roots and identity as a Persian who lives in America are at least as vital to his development as him spending some time with his grandparents and the rest of his family.

”I had never been surrounded by my family before. Not really. When Dayi Jamsheed started herding us together into a big group photo, my eyes started burning. I couldn’t help it.
I loved them.”

But that’s not all. The reason why Darius and his family are even visiting Iran is because his grandfather is very ill and will most likely die soon. So this adds another layer to the story and a very well done and bittersweet grief rep I couldn’t help but notice. And yes, you can already grief for a person even if the person is still alive. Take it from a graduate grief counsellor.  Illnesses and diseases can take away the people you love long before they actually die. In Darius’s case it’s even worse because he’s only getting to know his grandfather and knows that he will be gone soon. The author tackled this topic in a very sensitive and careful manner and I think he did it more than just well.

”Standing in that temple, staring into the fire that had been burning for hundreds of years, I felt the ghosts of my family all around me. Their soft presence raised the hair on my arms and tickled at my eyelashes.
I wiped my eyes and stood there, lost in the fire.
I knew that Babou was going to be one of those ghosts soon too.
No one had to say it out loud.”

Yet another theme he addressed was Persian culture with all its little and bigger cultural quirks and I absolutely loved to learn about it! Honestly, the way Persian food was explained and described caused my mouth to water and it was very interesting to read about cultural habits and Persian history. I kinda had to laugh when the reader was introduced to taarofing because I realized that Persian and Romanian culture aren’t all that different after all, at least not when it comes to this. My in-laws are masters at taarofing and it took me a while to get the hang of it. *lol* By now I can taarof the hell out of everybody as well, though, so beware of me and my taarofing skils. ;-P

”Darioush. You remember what I told you? Your place was empty?”
“Your place was empty for me too,” he said. “I never had a friend either.”

Anyway! Let’s continue to talk about the book and the strong focus on Darius’s friendship with Sohrab instead. And let me tell you, I adored the fact that there was such a strong friendship representation in this story without it turning into anything romantic in the end. I think the potential was definitely there but it didn’t happen and I appreciated that the author decided to focus on all the other topics first. It rounded the entire story off and made room for a potential exploration of Darius’s sexuality in the next book. So kudos to Adib Khorram for tying up all the loose ends in the first book while still giving Darius time and room to explore this important part of himself in the second instalment. And I’m convinced this will happen in book two!

”You really love Sohrab. Huh?”
“He’s the best friend I ever had.”
Dad looked at me for a long moment. Like he knew there was more. But he didn’t ask.

Whether it will happen with Sohrab or another boy/girl/non-binary person, etc. I don’t know but I’m definitely ready to accompany Darius on this journey. His friendship with Sohrab made me cry near the ending and broke my heart into tiny little pieces and I don’t know how they’ll come out of everything that happened in those last couple of chapters. I really hope they’ll find a way to stay in contact and to continue to be best friends. This said the last topic I have to talk about is the depression representation we experience first-hand through Darius’s POV and I think just like any other serious topic that was tackled in here, it was also done very well.

„Suicide isn’t the only way you can lose someone to depression.”
Dad looked at me again. There were no walls between us.
“And it kills me that I gave it to you, Darius. It kills me.”

I was so relieved when this subject was finally addressed and though the relationship with his father might still be strained for a while I think them talking about it will help them in the long-run. Depression is a mood disorder that accompanies you your entire life and sometimes it will be extremely strong and sometimes it will feel like it’s not even there or entirely gone. Darius and his father both take medicine to keep it in check and apparently this is frowned upon in Persian culture.

I’ve never explored depression from a Persian POV before but it was very interesting to hear how it is viewed in this culture. I can only speak about what I read in this book and what I found out when I did my online research (yes, this book actually made me look up depression in Persian culture!) but as it seems mental illnesses are viewed as a familial flaw because familial reputation and relationships are very important aspects of Iranian culture. So if you’re unhappy and depressed it reflects negatively on your family which seems to be the reason they don’t even want to acknowledge its existence. I found this to be a pretty tough stance because it’s not in a depressed person’s power to be “happy”. I couldn’t help but wonder how high the suicide rate might be if mental illnesses like depression don’t get the right treatment. I mean as we all know untreated depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. So I looked up the statistics and according to wiki suicide it’s a growing concern in Iran and “mental disorders” are actually stated as the main reason for men (41%!) attempting to end their lives! For women it’s on second place with 31% – And to give you an even better picture: In 27% of the cases the person concerned already had a long medical record. (compare Wikipedia on “Suicide in Iran”, just in case you also want to dig deeper.)

”You’re okay,” he murmured.
“No. I’m not.”
“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”


Sorry for that long excursion but I really like it when books make me think and force me to do some digging and “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” obviously caused me to do both. All told, I really enjoyed this story. Adib Khorram has a way of telling a tale while including a lot of intriguing topics and explaining Persian culture throughout the entire book without it ever getting boring or feeling like a chore. You might say he effortlessly included it in his story and gave it room to be explored. Add to that Darius’s struggles, his friendship with Sohrab and the way he connected with his family and roots and you have a wonderful coming-of-age story that even caused me to cry at the ending. “Darius the Great Is Not Okay” is a beautifully crafted book and I’m already very excited to pick up the sequel!

trigger warnings: depression, racist comments, bullying, grief, fatphobic comments, depression being criticized (challenged)
A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson)


Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.”

The thing with poetry books is that they always leave up a lot of things for interpretation. You cannot go into them expecting them to make a distinct point. Poetry meanders, comes back to its originals just to leave them again and to throw another question at your feet. It challenges and forces you to deal with everything that’s mentioned and hinted at. No, to read poetry is definitely no easy feat, yet I still love to do it every once in a while. It keeps me on my toes and causes me to think outside of the box and that’s always a good thing in my book.

”The red world And corresponding red breezes
Went on Geryon did not”

This said I really enjoyed reading “Autobiography of Red”. Carson has a unique way to tell her story and to follow Geryon’s character was extremely intriguing. It takes a while to get into the story but once you found the rhythm and flow of the tale you can’t help but wonder where it will take you. I found Carson’s choice to take Greek mythology and to put it into our modern world pretty impressive and bold. It’s a noteworthy choice and gave the entire story an edge I would have never been able to anticipate, yet the themes that are tackled could be found in ancient mythology as well.

”The world poured back and forth between their eyes once or twice.”

“Autobiography of Red” follows Geryon and his life on earth. In Greek mythology Geryon was a red winged monster that was slain by Herakles, in this poetry novel he’s a person who is trying to figure out his life and sexuality. There are many different topics that are tackled in this short book, sexual abuse, bullying, sexual identity and disfigurement just to mention some of them. If you read between the lines there are plenty of things to discuss, for instance the relationship between Geryon and Herakles as well as their relationship with Ancash a mutual friend.

„The effort it took to pull himself
away from Herakles‘ eyes
could have been measured on the scale devised by Richter.”

As I already said poetry leaves a lot of room for subjective interpretation but what I could gather from the story and how I interpret it is that Geryon is a very lonely person. His mother is affectionate but doesn’t know how to support her son. She’s not only unaware of the bullying at school but also doesn’t notice the ongoing sexual abuse by Geryon’s own brother. Geryon’s world is pretty dark and the atmosphere of the book makes sure to convey this feeling every step of the way. When Geryon meets Herakles and falls in love with him he begins to question his sexuality and this starts his process of finding himself. The relationship between Geryon and Herakles feels kind of toxic because even though their feelings seem to be mutual at first Herakles leaves him with a broken heart and this ultimately causes Geryon to fall into a depression.

„He saw the doorway
the house the night the world and
on the other side of the world somewhere Herakles laughing drinking getting into a car and Geryon’s
whole body formed one arch of a cry – upcast to that custom, the human custom of wrong love.

Years later they meet in Peru and Geryon’s conflicting feelings begin to overwhelm him once again. Geryon is aware of all the prying eyes and tries to keep his distance, but Herakles won’t let him be, taking the role of a predator that wants to seduce him. Ultimately Geryon is too weak to push him away. This was a really interesting shift in their dynamic because in the original myth Herakles is the hero that kills Geryon. Carson reverses their roles and makes “the monster” the victim which forces her readers to think outside of the box. I personally think it’s also a nod to the original Greek myth, because in fact Geryon was Herakles’s victim in the tale as well. Geryon was only killed by Herakles because it was his tenth task to steal Geryon’s herd of red bulls and after Herakles slayed Orthos and Eurytion Geryon challenged him to a duel which ended with his death.

„Aren’t you cold?“ said Geryon to Ancash who had no coat on. No, said Ancash.
Then he looked sideways at Geryon.
Well actually yes. He smiled. Geryon would have liked to wrap his coat around
this feather man. They walked on.”

As for the role of Ancash, their mutual friend in Peru? I’m still not all too sure what to make of his character, but I think Carson created him to point out Herakles’ abuse. Ancash doesn’t approve of Herakles’ advances and Geryon’s feelings for him, but I also got the feeling that he was jealous?! His character certainly acted as some sort of catalyst and pushed the story along. Honestly, if any of you read “Autobiography of Red” I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ancash. I still don’t know how to place him. XD


All told, to read “Autobiography of Red” was a very weird, yet at the same time intriguing experience. I still don’t know what to make of the ending but I guess Carson left it that way on purpose. It’s the reader’s choice how to interpret it and I think that’s good the way it is. 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: All Systems Red (Martha Wells)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

”I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”

Haha! Honestly, to read this quote was extremely relatable! I mean it are Murderbot’s thoughts but I can totally understand their enjoyment of tv shows. *lol* And to be completely honest I always wondered how Muderbot would like k-dramas. I bet they’d be hooked and totally forget about their mission, but that’s beside the point so let’s stop thinking about it and get this review back on track. ;-P

I really didn’t think I’d enjoy this short story so much because if we look at it from an objective perspective this sort of plot must have been part of countless science fiction books already. I mean a group of scientists that explores a new planet and gets into trouble with the inhabitants of that new world is nothing new. We’ve had that in about a gazillion of books and movies so this was definitely familiar territory. What was new was the fact that the narration of the story was told through Murderbot’s eyes who isn’t exactly part of the science team because it’s a security android and its only order is to protect the people it accompanies.

Well, that is until Murderbot develops a mind of its own and cuts off the governor module in order to be free. So we have a self-aware SecUnit that decides to stay with its humans because it still wants to protect them and watch tv shows. *lol* For a while the mission actually goes well and nothing happens. Well, that is until there happens something and the scientists don’t only discover that someone wants to kill them but also that Murderbot isn’t attached to the governor module anymore. Fun times!

„At least Mensah and Arada had overruled the ones who wanted to talk to me about it. Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency. I’d rather climb back into Hostile One’s mouth.“

Murderbot was quite something and I really liked to listen to its thoughts. If you ask me it was more human than some of the humans it encountered and sometimes it made me smile with its observations. The characters I liked the most were definitely the captain of the crew and Ratthi because they saw Murderbot as a person and not as an android and I really liked that. I think the feeling was mutual as well because Murderbot was actually fiercely protective of its human crew and once they got attacked it did everything possible to make sure they survived. 😉

”Maybe these clients had been terrible and abusive, maybe they had deserved it. I didn’t care. Nobody was touching my humans.”

All told “All Systems Red” was a quick and enjoyable read and after the ending I really want to know what happens next. I can see this series becoming one of those series I pick up whenever I want to read something short and fun so I’m pretty certain I’ll read book two soon. This said: If you want to read a typical sci-fi story with a rather untypical and unique POV this one might be the right choice for you.

A - E, Allgemein, B, Reviews

Review: Blackout (Dhonielle Clayton)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

What can I say about this collection of short stories? Well, I might just start with the basics and take it from there. 😉 For me this was a really nice collection and I enjoyed reading a different story each night. I loved that there were stories with LGBTQIA+ reps as well and that all of the stories were pretty diverse and varied. They all played during a blackout in NYC that was caused by an extreme heatwave and it was very interesting to follow the characters around while they all tried to make their way to a party in Brooklyn. I suppose NYC truly never sleeps, even when it’s dark. *lol*Anyway, considering the format I decided to talk a little bit about every story so without further ado let’s just jump into them:

“The Long Walk” by Tiffany D. Jackson

”That’s the thing about finding the right person to love. When someone loves you, all their hang-ups don’t really mean much. Because loving that person is a choice you have to make every day, even when that day isn’t what you expect.”

This was a nice tale about Kareem and Tammi who are exes and meet rather unexpectedly before the Blackout begins and throws everything into darkness. Throughout the entire book they try to make their way to the party in Brooklyn and their story kinda functions as the glue between all the other stories. 😉

“Mask Off” by Nic Stone

Tremaine and JJ meet again on the subway train that is stuck in the tunnels during the blackout. They haven’t spoken with each other for years but they went to the same school and JJ knows about Tremaine’s problems. Should he help him or keep his distance?
A really sweet love story about two boys that find each other in the dark. 😉

“Made to Fit” by Ashley Woodfolk

Nella is visiting her grandfather in Althea House, a senior living facility, when the Blackout starts. But she isn’t the only teen. Soon after the Blackout begins Joss and her dog Ziggy arrive in Althea House as well and Nella is forced to spend some time with a girl that is too gorgeous to be true and might be able to steal her heart if only given the chance.

“All the Great Love Stories … And Dust” by Dhonielle Clayton

”The truth: Everything we do together is a memory I never want to forget. Each joke, each touch, each experience. My notebooks spill over. Too big to hold all that is him … all that is me … all that is us together.”

Lana and Tristán have been best friends for ages always teasing each other and trying to win a bet. This time however their bet might turn out to be more than they bargained for. Skimming through the bookshelves of the NY public library during a blackout while looking for the best love story ever written turns out to be quite the challenge, especially with long harboured feelings getting in the way…

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by Angie Thomas

”Your heart will never lead you wrong, but it can be hard to hear it. You have to give it space to speak. That’s a form of love, too.”

How do you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone? Kayla and Tre’Shawn have been long-term sweethearts for ages and are happy together, but Kayla can’t help but feel an attraction towards Micah, another boy in her class. Feeling conflicted by her own heart Kayla has one hell of a bus ride ahead of her.

“Seymour and Grace” by Nicola Yoon

What do you do if you’re on your way to a party and your taxi driver turns out to be a handsome philosopher? Grace has no idea especially because she actually wanted to get to Brooklyn in order to make her ex jealous. To spend some time with her attractive Ryde driver Seymour definitely wasn’t part of the plan, but it might actually turn out to be exactly what she needed. 😉

This said: I really enjoyed all of those six love stories and they all had their own voice. The ones I liked the most were definitely “Mask Off”“All the Great Love Stories … And Dust” and “Seymour and Grace”. The writing style in “All the Great Love Stories… and Dust” was so beautiful and the other two stories were super cute! =) Also I usually love Angie Thomas’s books but this time around her short story just didn’t work for me. All told I liked reading this short stories collection and had a very good time! Happy reading! =)

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 31 on My Book List 2021

”Why bother to make music when the silence and wind are so much larger? Why light lamps when the darkness will inevitably snuff them?”

This book was a dark, dark book, but then again it were extremely dark times and all our two main characters Marie-Laure and Werner were trying to do, was to survive them. To be honest I really don’t know how I feel about “All the Light We Cannot See”. It was a good and thought-provoking book and the story was written beautifully. Still, after all the reviews I read I thought this story would hit me harder and that it would be one of those books that would leave me crying in the end. None of that happened though and even though the plot was well-crafted and the prose was lyrical I still couldn’t help but feel a little detached from the characters and their fate.

I think I’m just not used to historical fiction anymore. The writing style in books like this one is very different to what I usually read and even though you follow the characters, you’re not exactly in their heads which is probably one of the main reasons  why I didn’t connect all too much with them. Also I was in a huge reading slump when I started to read the book in April and only picked it up in August again. I did finish it in a couple of days then though so yeah. It definitely had me engaged and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, I just wasn’t as attached to the characters as I usually am when I read other books.

”I want to be an engineer. And you want to study birds. Be like that American painter in the swamps. Why else do any of this if not to become who we want to be?”
A stillness in the room. Out there in the trees beyond Frederick’s window hangs an alien light.
“Your problem, Werner,” says Frederick, “is that you still believe you own your life.”

I however will admit that some scenes in this book hurt. Badly. No matter if it was Marie-Laure who struggled to survive in a world that was ever-changing and had no room for people with disabilities or Werner who just wanted to become an engineer and was forced to go to war instead. Their stories were so different, yet they both were connected somehow. Werner’s childhood and his very brutal education in one of the German military schools, Marie-Laure’s life as a blind person in times that made it even harder to navigate through them because nothing ever stayed the same. Two different sides of a coin but both connected in ways you could only grasp if you closed your eyes and let yourself sink into the story. The older they got the harder their lives became and the stronger the war around them raged. To see the world through Werner’s eyes and Marie-Laure’s ears was at least as fascinating and unique as it was heart-breaking.

”Frederick said we don’t have choices, don’t own our lives, but in the end it was Werner who pretended there were no choices, Werner who watched Frederick dump the pail of water at his feet – I will not – Werner who stood by as the consequences came raining down. Werner who watched Volkheimer wade into house after house, the same ravening nightmare recurring over and over and over.”

But it wasn’t just about Marie-Laure and Werner. There were so many other side-characters that stuck with me but I think Frederick and Volkheimer were the two people I still think about the most. It’s kinda funny how sometimes the side-characters actually leave a deeper impact on the reader than the main characters themselves.

I mean Frederick… oh Frederick. His story moved me the most and I still feel anger boiling deep in my stomach whenever I think about it. In Germany of World War II there was no room for honourable people like Frederick and it still hurts to think about this precious boy. I suppose there was no room for boys like Volkheimer or Werner as well. Volkheimer who was the best soldier because he was burly and did exactly what he was told, but still was so gentle with Werner whenever he was ill. Their friendship was everything and I couldn’t help but like Volkheimer even though he did what he did. Talk about conflicting feelings. >_<

Volkheimer definitely saw the potential in Werner and appreciated his talent and gifts. Truth be told, I think Werner was a genius that never got a chance to shine because all his talent went into the war machine and for me this makes him an even more tragic character than he would have been already.

”Go,”  says Volkheimer again. Werner looks at him a last time: his torn jacket and shovel jaw. The tenderness of his big hands. What you could be.
Did he know? All along?

I think this quote emphasizes it pretty well. Anyway, there’s one thing I still need to address before I wrap up my review and this is the supposed love story in this book. When you read the blurb you automatically think that there will be a love story between Marie-Laure and Werner but this is not the case. There is no love story between them and they only meet once in the entire book. So if you’re going into this book because you expect a romance you better be aware of this. I totally expected there to be a love story between them and was pretty disappointed when I discovered that there was none. Maybe I would have enjoyed the book even more if I would have known that from the get-go.

”Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”


This said “All the Light We Cannot See” was a very good and thought-provoking book. It’s a slow story that takes time to unfold and to grow which is in total contrast to the fast-paced world and the time it plays in, but I think this was actually a big part of its charm. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction book that plays in World War II and packs a subtle yet strong punch you definitely should pick it up.

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Tomi Adeyemi)

trigger warnings:war, violence, genocide, loss, trauma, abusive parents

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Rating: 2 Pfoten,5

”Just tell Zélie what you want,” he says. “She’ll listen.”
“No, she won’t.” I shake my head. “None of them will.”

And if that isn’t the entire mood of this book, then I really don’t know! People, buckle up because today I’m going to serve some hot tea and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I’m not here to please though so you either read my honest opinion or you don’t. It’s up to you. ;-P Okay, this out of the way let’s talk about why I didn’t enjoy “Children of Virtue and Vengeance”. To cut it down to the basics there was absolutely no “virtue” in this book and if anything the “vengeance” part was extremely pronounced! Like so extremely distinctive I just couldn’t enjoy the book anymore. Honestly after the about hundredth time these “children” (that is actually a very suitable description for the childish behaviour they showed) couldn’t decide whether to make war or not I kinda lost my patience. And I’m a very patient person…

Don’t get me wrong, the first book was great. I mean I had my issues with it but I was really looking forward to read book two because I believed that the author would learn from the mistakes of the first book. Unfortunately what I got was something totally different than I expected. There was so much potential! We had the tîtáns that suddenly appeared after the ritual and we could have had such great character arcs and a really solid and good story line but this wasn’t what we got. No.

”Marked by white streaks, the tîtáns appeared in the nobility and military after the ritual, displaying magic similar to one of the ten maji clans. But unlike us, their powers require no incantation to come forth. Like Inan, their raw abilities are quite strong.”

What we got were immature protagonists that fought amongst themselves at every opportunity. MCs that were incapable of listening to each other and that were so stubborn and stuck in their way of thinking that they didn’t even ponder the idea of peace. I mean honestly, who needs peace if you can make war and kill each other? Why save millions of lives if you can just send them to death? The maji and tîtáns don’t need peace, no, it’s way easier to annihilate each other and to destroy everything. Way to go! Totally good solution! I hope you notice my sarcasm because urgh, I just couldn’t with them. With all of them!! Every single character! It was so frustrating!! And before I go on and on I’ll just head to my characters section and vent my anger over there! Just in case you didn’t notice: I’m still salty. *lol*

Welcome to the land of doom aka Orïsha, where we all want to kill each other because happy endings are overrated! Who needs peace when you can have war? Oh yeah, and because we’re nice like that we’ll hand you lots of spoilers to deal with! Be prepared to be drowned in them. ;-P


Who is this girl and where did the real Zélie go?! It’s like her character turned around by 180 degrees and I don’t recognize her anymore. I mean she went through a lot in the first book, really A LOT but by the end of the first book she still was nothing like that! I so couldn’t with this new Zélie and I think fame got to her head. Everyone telling her what a special snowflake she is definitely didn’t do her any good and I wish she would have listened to the people that were close to her before she turned into the “Soldier of Death”. I don’t even have a single quote that would describe Zélie’s character because it was all over the place and there was nothing left of the girl we got to know in “Children of Blood and Bone”. I’m so disappointed by her character, I have no words.


”I pick up a navy tunic, squeezing the silk to keep the tears in. What right do I have to grieve when the sins of my family have caused this kingdom so much pain?”

And here we go with the second lead character I didn’t recognize anymore. Amari changed at least as much as Zélie did and I hated to see her blame herself for everything. Where is my strong and determined queen? Where is the girl that always tried her best and never gave up? It’s like Adeyemi set her up for failure from the very first page and the ending was so convenient because by then Amari really became the person every single one of the maji expected her to be. If Adeyemi wanted to destroy Amari’s character she did really well. I’m sure no one likes her after the ending of this book which doesn’t sit right with me because up until the halfway mark Amari tried to prevent a war and then suddenly changed direction just because she felt betrayed by her brother. It was like: I was betrayed by him. I need to answer to violence with violence, it’s the only way. No talk of peace anymore. Sure I mean if I tried to prevent a war for about 1,5 books I totally would change direction from one moment to the next. Wouldn’t we all?! Sorry, I’m getting salty again. But I JUST CAN’T!!

”I don’t care what you’ve done.” Ramaya’s attacks subside, a brief reprieve as she catches her breath. “If you want to help the maji, kill your vile family. Kill yourself.“


”Thes idiots bleed for you. They die for you. And all you want is to run away and lick your scars –“
“What right do you have?” I whip around. “You left your home!”
“Because I had nothing!” he yells at me. “I had no one. You’re going to win and you still have so many of the people you love! I don’t feel sorry for you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”

Roën was legit THE ONLY voice of reason in this book! Honestly, even Mama Agba was such a disappointment. She saw everything that went wrong and didn’t do anything against it?! WTF?! Oh gosh, I loved Roën so much for giving Zélie a piece of his mind! And he was totally right: At first she goaded everyone into war and then she suddenly didn’t want to be a part of it anymore?! I think Roën was the only reason I read this book until the end, because he was the only sane and reasonable character among a flood of stupid and stubborn warmongers. I really wish we would have gotten so much more of him because he seemed to be the only character that was worth my reading time.


”One victor shall stand at the end of this war. One ruler shall sit on my throne. I can’t hold back anymore. I have to take out the Iyika no matter what it does to Amari and Zélie.
This war ends with me.”

Good lord give me patience! There was so much potential for Inan’s character and… it all went to waste! Instead of forming his own opinion and doing the right thing he let himself be influenced by his mother and the people around him. Inan had absolutely no – I repeat – no character growth and even though he tried to find a peaceful solution for everyone and wanted to avoid a war it felt like he never really wanted to stop it. If you want to stop a war you take the risk and go through with it no matter the cost. No wonder Inan wasn’t successful; all his attempts at peace were just half-hearted and half-assed! You do things properly or not at all. Period! His stance of “I want peace but I still want to be king” was so illogical and it was no surprise the maji didn’t trust someone who held on to his crown like that. Uff…

Zélie & Amari:

„Don’t compare your scars to mine, Princess. You’ll lose every time.“
“I’ll lose?” I charge forward. “I’ll lose? You had two parents who loved you till their dying breath. A brother who stands by your side. Both my parents tried to kill me with their own hands! I took the life of my own father to protect you and the maji!”

All I can say to those two is: WTF?! I mean what happened to their amazing friendship?!!! Did I miss a memo? How did we get from respect, mutual understanding and trust to the sentence above?! I have no idea what I was reading but it definitely wasn’t the kind of friendship I signed up for. I hate what became of those two and I think if Zélie would have just listened to Amari and trusted her they could have found a way to peace. But nope, Zélie decided to be a b*tch and treated Amari like shit. I mean she didn’t even defend her against Ramaya and the things Ramaya said… if someone would say something like that to my friend I’d give them hell for it! And what did Zélie do? Nothing! She let the maji treat Amari like dirt and didn’t care. You know what makes me even more angry is the fact that they all treated Amari so badly and it was so, SO WRONG! And in the end after Amari really steps out of line and does something totally extreme and horrible it’s like: Oh, we were all right and it wasn’t our fault, it was Amari’s because she was wrong from the beginning. Never mind Amari tried to prevent the war from ever happening for about 3 quarters of the book. Never mind that Zélie was a total b*tch and sent so many of her own people to death and actually wanted to abandon them near the ending. Zélie is our precious heroine and she can do nothing wrong. URGH!

”You keep pretending all you want is to kill my brother, but I saw the way you two looked at each other at Chândomblé. I know there’s more in your heart than rage!” I point at her chest. “If you want to lie to yourself about how you really feel, fine. But if you damn us to this warpath, you’re putting innocent lives on the line!”

Zélie, Inan & Roën:

The pit of guilt in my stomach hardens, squashing my fantasy. But that same pit turns to a flutter when Roën slides a hand around my waist.
“Besides, what soul could be better off that far away from me?”
“You have three seconds before I cut off your arm.”
“Three whole seconds?” Roën smiles as the cart swings to a stop.

This was the most unnecessary love triangle I ever came across and I read so many books with unnecessary love triangles you have no idea. I mean seriously, what was the point of this?! We all know there’s no way Zélie and Inan will ever get together because they hate each other with a fierce passion. And that’s all the passion that will ever be between them. And after reading this book I can honestly say that Roën is way too good for Zélie. Just to think that he believes he isn’t good enough for her. Like excuse me: WHAT?! But you know: Having read so many love triangles I can already guess how this one might end: Zélie will get together with Inan despite all logic and Roën will most certainly die somehow. Because that is how you solve a love triangle like that. One person has to die. If anyone of you reads the third book please let me know with whom Zélie ends up with. I’d really love to hear about that one. *lol* Am I bitter about this love triangle, yes, yes I am.

Roën’s steps slow as he exhales, pressing his fingers to his forehead. I watch bewildered as he turns back to help her; metal drifting towards its magnet.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, tears brimming in her silver eyes. One spills out and Roën wipes it with his thumb, his unbandaged hand lingering on the side of her face.
They stare at each other, and it’s as if we all disappear. Unspoken words pass between their eyes. Roën’s shoulders slump when he rises to his feet. “Me too.”

”Your mistake wasn’t falling for a monster, Zïtsõl. It was falling for the wrong one.”
“Are you supposed to be the right one?”
Roën smiles, but it doesn’t hold any joy. “I’ve never been the right anything.”

Amari & Zane:

”Of course.” Tzain grins. “I live to serve, my queen.”
Though he jokes, his words heat my skin. He’s the only one who looks at me like I deserve that title. The one person who believes I can lead.”

I said it after reading the first book and I’ll say it again: Their love story came out of nowhere and it’s still irritating af. *lol* Amari clearly was in love with Binta and no one can persuade me otherwise. I find it weird that she would fall for Zane like that and that he’d become her safe haven in such a short time. Also their love ended as abruptly as it started, which only causes me to be even more irritated by their relationship. At first she is everything for him and the moment she does something horrible and stupid he drops her like a hot potato because that is EXACTYLY what we do with the people we love! We can turn our feelings on and off like a light switch, don’t you know?! It must have been true love! Oh jeez, my sarcasm is showing today. I just can’t with this book! I can’t!

Amari & Inan:

”I only asked for one thing when I joined this fight,” she cuts me off. “All I wanted was to end Inan.”
“He’s my blood.” I narrow my eyes. “You know I could never agree to that.”

I really liked their sibling relationship … well up until the moment Amari didn’t even give her brother a chance to explain himself and decided to go into full war mode. What happened to the benefit of the doubt? I mean of course we wouldn’t even listen to our sibling. Why should we? We want war, so we’ll throw all caution and every reasonable and sensible thought out of the window and just go for it! Despite us trying to find a peaceful solution for 3 quarters of the book! Sure. Totally logical, right?! Can you still follow me? Nope? Well, I guess that might be because I couldn’t follow that logic as well. But here we go!

”Everything that’s passed between us flashes behind my eyes as I run. I see every way we’ve been hurt. Every face that we have lost. Binta. Admiral Kaea. Father. But worst of all, each other.
the moment I place my head against his chest, I don’t know who weeps harder. Me, or him.”

I hate to say it but “Children of Virtue and Vengeance” so wasn’t for me and it was a real struggle to get through the book. I just couldn’t with the constant back and forth between making war or making peace and the fact that the characters themselves just couldn’t seem to be able to decide for a clear path made this impossible to enjoy. The MCs were so inconsistent in their decisions and they were nothing like the characters from the first book. Characters I may add that had a lot of potential and could have had great arcs. I’m sorry but this book really wasn’t for me. I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy it and that’s totally okay. I really wish I would have enjoyed it too, but I just didn’t and I guess that has to be okay as well.

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Almond (Won-Pyung Sohn)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. One of the monsters is me.”

It’s been ages I buddy read “Almond” with my friend Katja but I really wanted to write a review about the book. Unfortunately my life got in the way and I neither read as much as I wanted to nor did I manage to write reviews about the books I finished. I’m going to rectify that now though and after I wrote this review there will follow a couple of other reviews as well. So watch out for them. It’s about time I write them down. 😉 This said, let’s head right back to the actual review and speak about “Almond”.

”Granny, why do people call me weird?”
Her lips loosened.
“Maybe it’s because you’re special. People just can’t stand it when something is different, eigoo, my adorable little monster.”
Granny hugged me so tight my ribs hurt. She always called me a monster. To her, that wasn’t a bad thing.

I wanted to read this book for a while and when my dear friend Katja asked me to read it together for the #Koreadathon I immediately said yes. We picked it for the “read a book recommended by a Korean celebrity” prompt and the fact that RM as well as SUGA of BTS read it and enjoyed it was enough reason to go for it as well. I trust my boys taste in books and I’m really glad I decided to go for “Almond” because it was an intriguing read and very thought-provoking. The plot of the book is easily described: It’s about a boy named Yunjae who was born with a brain condition named alexithymia which basically means that he can’t feel emotions. The part of his brain that is responsible for our feelings (and formed like an almond, hence the book title) isn’t fully developed and that causes him to have troubles to understand human emotions. Our MCs mother and his grandmother tried their best to teach him how to cope with his lack of emotions but then one day tragedy hits and Yunjae is left to fend for himself.

”People sometimes say how cool it’d be to be fearless, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. Fear is an instinctive defense mechanism necessary for survival. Not knowing fear doesn’t mean that you’re brave; it means you’re stupid enough to stay standing on the road when a car is charging towards you.”

I had so many thoughts when I read this book and a lot of them had to do with the way Yunjae was raised. I know his mother and grandmother only had the best intentions and wanted him to blend in with everyone, but I think to some extent their constant efforts made it even more difficult for him to deal with his condition. Emotions are something you can’t learn because human feelings are very complex and some people will cry because they are happy while others will laugh even though they are sad. You might be able to explain the general reasons behind behaviour like crying but every person is an individual and we all react differently when we’re overwhelmed by our feelings. The fine nuances of emotions… well they are something you can’t learn. So even though I understood where Yunjae’s mother was coming from I still didn’t agree with her methods. It felt like Yunjae was under a lot of pressure to learn “the proper reactions” and I kinda felt sorry for him.

”Dr. Shim was right – being ordinary was the trickiest path. Everyone thinks “ordinary” is easy and all, but how many of them would actually fit into the so-called smooth road the word implied?”

Well, and then his grandma died and his mother was out of the picture as well, leaving him to fight through all the troubles on his own. Okay, almost all on his own because Dr. Shim was amazing and I loved that he helped him out! Honestly, bless his soul because he just accepted Yunjae the way he was and tried to help him as best as he could. ❤ But Dr. Shim isn’t the only one that helped him to find his way and Gon as well as Dora had an impact on the MCs character development.

”Dora. Dora was exactly the polar opposite of Gon. If Gon tried to teach me pain, guilt and agony, Dora taught me flowers and scents, breezes and dreams.”

I loved the way this was put, because it sums up their different personalities and essence so well. With Dora Yunjae discovered the soft feelings of first love and attraction and with Gon he learned about true friendship and hardships. Some might say Gon was a catalyst and I’m inclined to agree with that, but I also think that Dora’s appearance was at least as vital to Yunjae’s development as Gon’s. Both played a very important part in the MCs life and contributed to his experiences.

”About what?”
“About destiny and time.”
“What a surprise to hear those words from you.”
“Sheesh, did you know that even when you say the simplest things, you sound like a dick?”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Now you know.”
“Yes, thanks.”

I really loved the bluntness between Gon and Yunjae! They took each other the way they were and they didn’t try to pretend to be someone else when they were in each other’s company. I think this might have actually been the main reason their friendship could bloom and evolve because the way they met definitely wasn’t the best start. (And that’s an understatement right there.) I’m not going to spoil anything here though. 😉 Despite being unable to feel emotions the same way other people do Yunjae was quite a wise person sometimes and could look through people’s disguises with surprising ease. I suppose you could also say that because of his disability to feel emotions he was probably more perceptive than others?

”She said families walk hand in hand. Granny would hold my other hand. I have never been abandoned by anyone. Even though my brain was a mess, what kept my soul whole was the warmth of the hands holding mine on both sides.”

I’m pretty sure it was due to this that he was able to see who Gon truly was. The way Yunjae described Gon was simple yet beautiful and I guess this is also how I would describe Won-Pyung Sohn’s writing style: Beautiful simplicity with many layers. The author never beats about the bush or hides information. It’s all there and you get exactly what you read which was a very refreshing approach and even though the conversations between the characters are pretty unexcited, they still have some sort of beauty to them. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the writing style so much but I did. =)

”I said, shut the fuck up.”
“You are not that kind of person.”
“Fuck,” he shouted, half crying. A nail on the wall must’ve pricked my leg, because it was bleeding. Gon saw and started weeping like a child. Yes, this was who he was. The kind of person who tears up at a drop of blood, who feels pain for other’s pain.

As for the ending of the book: I liked it but it almost felt too smooth? I don’t know if I’d have done anything differently but I’ve to admit that I still don’t know how I feel about it. I thought a lot about my final reaction to Yunjae’s story but all I can come up with is that the ending felt too convenient. Still, I really enjoyed “Almond” and I can recommend reading it if you want to go for something different and thought-provoking. I still think about the book and in my book this is always a good thing. 😉