Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Raven King (Nora Sakavic)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 23 on My Book List 2021

”He was their family. They were his. They were worth every cut and bruise and scream.”

trigger warnings: torture, sexual abuse, violence, emotional abuse, bullying, sexual assault, dysfunctional relationships

OH MY! I don’t even know where to start with this review! Like seriously! How am I supposed to put all those feelings into words?! T_T It’s been about 3 weeks I finished this book, or should I rather say it’s been three weeks since the book finished me? Because it definitely would be the truth! ARGH!! I’m still not over all the things that happened in here and I probably never will be! Don’t let yourself be deceived by the easy and simple writing style. This book, THIS SERIES, is packing such a punch I’m still gasping for air!

I just can’t with Neil and Andrew!!! They are my precious babies and I suffered so much with them when I read “The Raven King”. Like, so, so, so damn much my heart is still bleeding all over the place and I can’t seem to be able to staunch the wound. >_< There are so many things I need to get off my chest and when I began to write down the quotes for this review I realized that this is going to be one of my super long ones, because there is no way I’ll be able to keep this short. Absolutely no way!

I already said it and I’ll say it again: Nora Sakavic’s writing style might be rather simple and not all too elaborate but her characters!!! Oh, boy! Her characters are everything! Truth be told, I kinda like that Sakavic’s writing is so clean and straightforward. It suits the characters and the mood of the book and it makes it feel real?! So real that I would die for each and every single one of the Foxes. Okay, maybe not Kevin. *lol* I’m not his biggest fan, but the others? Yes, definitely. Jeez! My emotions are still all over the place and I haven’t even begun to write my actual review. So let’s not waste any more time and go straight for my character section! I HAVE THOUGHTS!!!! Oh, and just in case you want to hear them all, here’s the link to my blog post. 😉

2

Welcome to the dorm of the Foxes! Where we trade in punches, barbs and most importantly spoilers! So if you don’t want to purchase either of them you better don’t continue to read. For all the brave out there: Be my guest! ;-P

Neil Josten:

”He forgave himself for being jaded. At eighteen years old, he’d seen more people die than he could comfortably count. Death was unpleasant, but it was a familiar and tolerable ache in his chest.”

I love my precious cinnamon roll boy to bits and pieces and I want to hug him for the rest of my life!!! AADKFASKDFSFAK! I can’t with Neil! On the one hand it was so awesome to see him grow as a character and to see how he started to figure out things and found his place in the team but on the other hand the moments when his past caught up to him killed me! And I’m not only talking about the things that happened to him in the past but also about the new things that happened to him in this book! ARGH!!! I hate Riko so much for what he did to him and I want him to burn in hell!!! But we’re not talking about damn Riko here, we’re talking about my sweet boy and how broken he was by the end of the book. T_T My precious Neil that was so surprised to find out that he was happy with his team and did everything possible in order to keep Andrew and the others safe! My precious Neil that got tortured by freaking damn Riko!! T_T I can’t!!! That scene at the ending when he called Wymack and told him that he’s not okay?! IT FREAKING BROKE ME!!! I cried buckets of tears and almost choked on them. My “I’m fine” boy admitting that he isn’t fine… I’m dead. This was a knife to my heart…. T_T And now excuse me while I cry some more… T_T

”Neil liked outrunning and outsmarting the defense. He liked the rush of a perfect score. He liked the pressure and the triumph. The rest of his life was a frightening mess; Neil needed the power and control of a fierce game.”

”As he listened to them, Neil realized he was happy. It was such an unexpected und unfamiliar feeling he lost track of the conversation for a minute. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this included or safe.”

”I know it’s not entirely your fault that you are mentally unbalanced and infected with these delusions of grandeur, and I know you’re physically incapable of holding a decent conversation with anyone like every other normal human being can, but I don’t think any of us should have to put up with this much of your bullshit. Pity only gets you so many concessions, and you used yours up about six insults ago. So please, please, just shut the fuck up and leave us alone.”

”Would you want it back?” Betsy asked.
“Do you have any idea how much it cost?” Neil asked. “Yes, I want it back.”
“It wouldn’t bother you that it was used as a murder weapon?”
“It didn’t kill anyone important.”

Wymack answered on the fourth ring. “You have a good reason to be bothering me on a holiday?”
“I didn’t know who else to call,” Neil said. He barely recognized his own voice. The last time he’d spoken he’d been screaming; apparently his vocal cords still hadn’t recovered. Neil pressed his forehead to the wall and tried to breathe. He couldn’t remember when breathing wasn’t a chore.
“Neil?” All the gruff posturing left Wymack’s voice that sharp edge was all alarm. “Are you all right?”
Neil smiled. It felt like it tore his face open. “No. No, I’m not. I know it’s kind of sudden, but can you come get me? I’m at the airport.”
“Wait right there,” Wymack said. “I’m on my way.”

”Facing Riko like this went against everything his mother taught him. He’d been raised to run, to sacrifice everything and everyone to ensure his own survival. His mother had never given him ground to stand on. Maybe that was why he hadn’t been strong enough to save her in the end. A jumble of lies had nothing to fight for. But Neil Josten was a Fox. Andrew called this home; Nicky called him family. Neil wasn’t going to lose any of it. If two weeks with Riko was the price to keep his team safe, Neil would pay it.”

Andrew Minyard:

”I think I’m coming down with something. Cough, cough. Best I leave before I infect your team. There’s so few of them left. You can’t stand to lose anyone else.”

Ahh that sounds like my boy Andrew! XD I love Andrew as much as I love Neil and I’ll never get tired of defending him! Andrew is so savage and I love him for it! <333 He might give off the impression of being super tough and hard but the boy that’s underneath the rude attitude and all that bravado has a heart of gold. And he’s thoroughly broken. I never knew how broken he actually was until I read “The Raven King”, but now I know and my heart aches so much for him that I can’t even breathe. AND OH GODS the scene when he got raped by Drake… I felt so sick after reading it and I had to put the book aside for a day in order to digest it. I still feel sick when I think about it and I simultaneously want to cry and strangle the bastard that is (or was) Drake! This scene still has me shaking with anger and boiling with rage and crying angry tears for my boy. And I just… I can’t. I wrote in my update: <i>“I think I stopped breathing… my heart must have stopped beating while I read this. I’m still covering my mouth and I feel sick now…”</i> And I still feel the same way about it. No wonder Andrew didn’t want to get adopted by Cass if he suffered such abuse by her son and no wonder he was so furious Cass had 6 foster children after him. No wonder he hated Luther (Nicky’s dad) so much! My precious Andrew!!! And OH GODS!!! To know he was so drugged by his meds he didn’t even put up much of a fight… that he didn’t even care. I was so glad they decided to take him off his meds after that but I was absolutely horrified when Riko said he bought one of the docs at Andrew’s rehab centre! I’m so scared now… I’m so, so, so, so damn scared!!! T_T

”He was a little more cooperative than his brother in that he answered Dan or Matt if they asked him something, but his answers were lightning quick, borderline rude, and always followed by a redirect to someone else at the table.”

”I know you can’t understand this because you’ve never had a real family, but Nicky has to give his parents another try. If you’re lucky this dinner will be the breaking point. Nicky’s got his hopes up thinking his mother’s come around. If she lets him down again he might be ready to walk away for good.”

Andrew tilted forward as far as he dared. He started to sway, but Neil caught this shoulder to keep him from falling. “Looks like I was right about him after all. Or do you still think this is all a big misunderstanding? Go on, tell me again how I’m too unbalanced to understand normal brotherly affection and love. Tell me this is natural.”

”Better luck next time, Neil,” he said. “I warned you once already, didn’t I? I don’t feel anything.”
“Anymore,” Neil said, barely a whisper.
The old scars up and down Andrew’s wrists were evidence of how far Andrew had to fall to hit this point.

Coach Wymack:

”Wymack didn’t care if he had nine Foxes or twenty-five. He’d stand behind them until the bitter, bloody end.”

I still love this man and I know a lot of people judge him for how he handles his Foxes but I think he’s doing the best he can. He’s trying to give them a nurturing environment using pretty questionable methods but he’s taking good care of his Foxes and he knows exactly what they need! It was really good to hear some of his background story and considering his youth it’s no wonder he decided to start a team like the Foxes. All those broken teens need a place where they can be themselves, find themselves and Wymack is providing it. He’s the secret hero of this story and despite his gruff attitude he’s always there when they need him. The fact he didn’t even hesitate to pick Neil up from the airport says it all. And that he didn’t comment on his wounds and the state he found him in. He accepts and tries to help and I could kiss him for it! <333

”You don’t need me to tell you life isn’t fair. You’re here because you know it isn’t. Life doesn’t care what we want out of it; it’s up to us to fight for what we want with everything we’ve got.”

”Truth was Wymack picked them because he understood firsthand how much they needed another chance. He looked the other way because he knew how badly some of them needed their escapes to survive.”

”If – and that’s a big if, Neil – if Riko really was behind it somehow, the blame is all on him. He chose to take out his petty rage on Seth. He chose to cross a line. You didn’t. You hear me? You didn’t. Don’t ever blame yourself for Seth’s death. That is too dangerous a road to walk down. You keep your eyes on your own path and keep moving forward.”

Wymack looked amused by his tactlessness. “My mother OD’d almost ten years ago and my father lost a prison fight the first year I started here at Palmetto State. I hadn’t spoken to either of them since I left D.C.”

”Look,” Wymack said. “I know I’ve always told you all to take your personal problems up with Betsy or Abby. I’ve said it’s not my place to get into anything outside the court. I hope you’ve figured out by now I’m just blowing hot air. I’m not real good at being a shoulder, but I do have a working set of ears.”

Nicky:

„They’re all women,” Nicky said. “That doesn’t help us.”
“Nicky,” Neil started.
Nicky plucked the list from Neil’s fingers and crumpled it. “Your ignorance is endearing, Neil. You’re nineteen and you’ve never looked at Allison’s tits? There’s no way you’re straight. You and I really need to sit down and talk about this sometime.”

Jeez! Nicky cracked me up so much in this book. I know it’s totally wrong that he always calls out Neil on being gay or at least on the LGBTQ+ spectrum but he obviously isn’t entirely wrong? *lol* Also Nicky has that happy vibe about him and it’s such a nice contrast to all the gloomy sadness of his team mates. He’s like a sunray in the middle of the darkness that’s the Foxes so I’m really glad they have him in their team. Plus he has a heart of gold too! I loved how Neil killed him with being so thankful for everything the Foxes did for him. Also that moment when Neil realized Nicky is his friend. AEFKDAKSDFJSADKFJ! Plus Nicky is wise! Sometimes was totally thrown by his wisdom. Still, the scene with his parents killed me and I hate them for not accepting him the way he is. He deserves to be loved and to be accepted for who he is and the fact his parents don’t love him because he’s gay and want to change him. URGH! I hate them so much for hurting my sunshine! >_<

”Kid, you’re killing me,” Nicky said. “Why do you always get that deer-in-headlights look when someone does something nice for you?”

”That’s what love is about, see? That’s why Exy isn’t ever going to be enough, not for you or Andrew or anyone. It can’t hold you up, and it won’t make you a stronger or better person.”

3

Neil & Andrew:

”Why did you pay for stalls, Coach?”
Wymack lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Maybe I knew you’d need them one day.”
Andrew smiled around the mouth of his bottle. “Neil is a walking tragedy.”
“You’re a pretty pathetic sob story yourself,” Wymack said.

You know, just to write this review has me going through all those emotions again and I’m crying and I’m not okay! T_T But now that I started I can’t seem to be able to stop. So here I go: I LOVE THOSE TWO!!! I love them so much it’s breaking my freaking heart and gluing it together at the same time. They are among my favourite OTPs and they didn’t even kiss yet! But I’m sure they will because there is no way those two broken boys won’t end up together! All the things they are doing for each other, the little moments of trust they show, the infinitesimal gestures. GODS! They are on the same level as Pynch! <333 I adore them and I love how they learn to trust each other. That scene when Andrew convinced Neil to use his phone and the moment Neil allowed Andrew to touch him in order to show him he can trust Neil to take care of Kevin while he’s away! ALSO THAT ALMOST MOMENT WHEN THEY WERE SO CLOSE THEY COULD HAVE KISSED!!!! AHHHH! I’m going to die from this slow burn. Neil is slowly uncovering the true Andrew Minyard and I’m here for it!!! And as horrible as the scene with Drake was… Andrew allowed Neil to touch him and to help him so… as much as my heart breaks whenever I think about it, I still couldn’t help but notice that detail. Plus their team mates are noticing too because they always raise their eyebrows when Neil is getting away with something or allowed to drive Andrew’s car. They will end up together and it will be beautiful and I just wish them all the best and that their scars won’t get in their way. <333 My two precious boys deserve all the love and happiness in the world. T_T

”Who am I supposed to call?”
“Nicky, Coach, the suicide hotline, I don’t care.”
“I’m remembering why I don’t like you.”
“I’m surprised you forgot in the first place.”

”Your parents are dead, you are not fine, and nothing is going to be okay,” Andrew said. “This is not news to you. But from now until May you are still Neil Josten and I am still the man who said he would keep you alive. I don’t care if you use this phone tomorrow. I don’t care if you never use it again. But you are going to keep it on you because one day you might need it.” Andrew put a finger to the underside of Neil’s chin and forced Neil’s head up until they were looking at each other. “On that day you’re not going to run. You’re going to think about what I promised you and you’re going to make the call. Tell me you understand.”

When Neil started to argue, Andrew hooked a finger under his chin and forced his mouth closed again with an easy jerk of is hand. “Ask him, and then tell the busybodies to come along if they dare.”

”Guess she hit him one time too many. I warned her not to lay a hand on him, but she didn’t listen to me. She got what was coming to her. Does that frighten you, Neil?”
“My first memories are of people dying,” Neil said. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“That’s why you’re so interesting,” Andrew said. “How aggravating.”
He sounded amused, not annoyed, so Neil said, “I’ll try to be more boring in the future.”

”Why are you so special?” Matt asked.
“I’m not,” Neil said, confused.
“Andrew doesn’t give ground to anybody. Why does he keep saying yes to you?”

The smile he flashed Neil mocked them both at that near-miss. He withdrew completely, leaving just the memory of his heartbeat against Neil’s mouth, and spun away.”

”Hey,” Neil said, or thought he said. He didn’t recognize his own voice. “Andrew. Andrew, are you-“ He couldn’t ask if Andrew was okay. He wasn’t that cruel.

”Neil waited, but Andrew didn’t let go. With so many people watching them Neil couldn’t lift his shirt. He did the next best thing and dragged one of Andrew’s hands under the hem. He pressed Andrew’s palm to the ugly scarring across his abdomen. Andrew’s eyes dropped to Neil’s shirt like he could see Neil’s marred skin through the dark cotton.
“Do you understand?” Neil asked. “Nothing Riko does will make me leave him. We will both be here when you get back.”
Andrew’s fingers twitched against Neil’s skin. “Someone lied to me. These ouches feel a little rough for a child on the run.”

Andrew & Kevin:

There was a heartbeat of silence, and then Andrew turned around with a wide, wicked smile on his lips. “I can’t, Kevin? I’ll show you what I can’t do. Try and put me on your court today and I’ll take myself off it permanently. Fuck your practice, your line-up, and your stupid fucking game.”

So Andrew and Kevin are still an enigma for me. I have no idea what’s their deal but I really hope I’ll find out the in the last book. Well, maybe they don’t have more of a deal than that Kevin transferred to the Foxes because Andrew promised him to play Exy for real?! I dunno. Their relationship is very dubious and I think there must be more to it than their obvious deal. Maybe I’m wrong though. Who knows? Kevin only seems to think about Exy though and he’s still a very bland character. I kinda hate him for wanting to wait another season before Andrew gets off his drugs. Because Andrew needs to get off them! It was so horrible what Drake did to him, yet he only laughed. How could Kevin want him to be on drugs after that?! *grrr* Also WHAT!? Kevin is Wymack’s son?! I can’t believe this was mentioned in passing! LIKE OMG!!!”

”So you’ll try,” Kevin said through gritted teeth, “because Coach asked you to.”
Andrew folded his arms across his knees, tilted his head back, and smiled up at Kevin. “Careful, Kevin. Your jealous streak is showing.”

”Kevin had spent the better part of a year trying to get through to Andrew. He wanted Exy to mean something; he wanted Andrew’s best performance like a dying man wanted one last breath of air. Andrew knew it, and he refused to play along.”

”What’s wrong?” Kevin asked.
“Oh, but you haven’t heard.” Andrew motioned for Kevin to lean closer but didn’t lower his voice. “Time’s up, off we go. She’s going to get rid of this for us.” He dragged a thumb across his manic smile and laughed. “Someone should warn the doctors what they’re in for! They’ll lock the door and throw away they keys by the time I’m done with them.”

Andrew & Wymack:

”They won’t be ready in a week. How long do you think you can keep this up?”
“As long as you can,” Wymack said. “So can you hold the line or can’t you?”
Andrew laughed. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Now the relationship between Wymack and Andrew is also more than meets the eye. I mean they obviously trust each other blindly and the fact Wymack allows Andrew to get off his drugs during the games shows how much he believes in him. I wonder if we’ll ever find out how those two bonded and if yes, I’m more than just ready to read about it. There seems to be an entirely piece of their past we’re missing and I want to know!!! XD

Neil thought about it and asked, “Is it respect of prudence?”
“We’ll go with the latter,” Wymack said. “Andrew likes me about as much as you do.”

Wymack let them get all the way to the door before calling. “Andrew. Don’t leave me alone with these morons for too long. I’m getting too old to deal with their drama.
“Oh, you and me both,” Andrew said.

Andrew & Aaron:

”The strangled noise Aaron made was his best attempt at Andrew’s name. It was barely intelligible but it was enough. Andrew, who’d barely acknowledged Aaron’s existence in the entire time Neil had known them, looked immediately to his brother. Andrew snaked a hand out from under the sheet and curled his fingers in a demand. Aaron clambered onto the bed and reached for Andrew.”

I hated that those two were so at odds and I’m glad Aaron finally discovered that Andrew only tried to protect him. I mean oh gods, he basically murdered their mother because she hit and abused Andrew. That’s a whole new level of f*cked up and brotherly affection but that’s exactly how Andrew works. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves and cares about and if it’s to save his brother’s life he obviously isn’t even stopping at murder. Guess that’s why everyone is afraid of him. The way Andrew was worried about Aaron while he himself was so injured and in pain killed me and I died about a thousand deaths when he made sure that Aaron was alright. He was so out of it, he didn’t even realize Aaron was okay and it was him who got hurt. T_T Also can we appreciate how Neil uncovered the truth for Aaron and showed him that Andrew did exactly the same when he got in that accident with their mother. Aaron killed Drake because he hurt his twin and Andrew killed their mother because she was hurting Aaron. I mean, oh my! This is problematic af on so many levels but it leaves no doubt that they love and care about each other! >_<

Andrew touched Aaron’s temple where he himself was injured as if he expected to find an identical injury there. “Did he touch you?”
“What did he-“
Andrew knotted his fingers in Aaron’s hair and yanked to shut him up. “Answer me. I said, did he touch you?”
“No,” Aaron said.
“I’m going to kill him,” Andrew said.

”I don’t care.” Aaron gave a savage jerk of his hand. “I don’t care if Andrew never speaks to me again. I don’t care about Cass or Drake or anyone. What Drake did – no. If I could bring him back from the dead and kill him again I would.”
“Good,” Neil said quietly. “So now you understand why Andrew killed your mother.”

Neil & Kevin:

”No, Kevin. Not here. You and I will talk tomorrow.”
Kevin hesitated. “Does Andrew know?”

Okay, Kevin is mostly a big oaf that only cares about Exy but for the first time I could see a little bit of his true personality get through in this book. He was worried about Neil and it was more than just obvious. For all his “I only care about the game” bravado he actually seems to care about Neil too. I don’t know how that happened but it did. Also that moment when Neil told him that he wants to be Neil and not Nathaniel and Kevin’s reaction was “You should be Court.” I know a lot of people might think he said it because Neil is the Butcher’s son and technically belongs to the Moriyamas (at least according to their logic) but I think Kevin actually meant it in the way of “You should be Court because you’re an amazing Exy player and you’re a good person who deserves to be happy and not to die”.  Well, that’s my interpretation anyway.

”Injuries are not a joke. They are not something to gloss over. If you get hurt out there, you do something about it. You take it easy, you have Coach pull you, you ask Abby for help – I don’t care. If you ever say ‘I’m fine’ about your health again I will make you rue the day you were born. Are we clear?”

”I don’t want to run. I don’t want to be a Raven. I don’t want to be Nathaniel. I want to be Neil Josten. I want to be a Fox. I want to play with you this year and I want us to make it to championships. And in spring when the Moriyamas come for me I’ll do what they’re so afraid I will. I’ll go to the FBI and tell them everything. Let them kill me. It’ll be too late by then.”
Kevin was silent for an endless minute, then said, “You should be Court.”

Neil & Riko:

”You were not running from your father, Nathaniel. You were running from his master.”

And this was another shocking moment! I can’t believe Neil’s father belongs to the Moriyamas! But it somehow made perfect sense. Urgh! I hate Riko so damn much and even though I loved that Neil refused to back down and was always ready to fight him I was so damn worried about what would happen if he took it one step too far. Guess I found out now and it made me sick to my stomach. T_T Riko is a MONSTER!!! And he needs to rot in the nine circles of hell! I can’t believe he is getting away with all of this!! Where is justice when you need it! I want him to get hurt as much as he hurt Neil and oh gods…. my poor Neil! My poor baby! T_T The way he was tortured and the condition in which Wymack found him at the airport… The fact Neil actually admitted that he is not fine. I’m crying just thinking of that scene. I want Riko to burn and I want Andrew and Neil to be the ones that give him back his own medicine. I can’t believe what that monster did to Neil and I wanted to punch him in the face when I found out what he did to Andrew! Andrew went to Easthaven to get off his medicine and to heal from the abuse Drake inflicted and YOU ARE TELLING ME THAT RIKO MADE SURE THERE WERE THERAPISTS WHO WOULD SEXUALLY ABUSE HIM… NOW THAT HE IS TRYING TO GET SOBER AND OFF HIS MEDICINE??!!! I CAN’T!!!! Someone hold me before I bury my fist in Riko’s despicable visage!! If you could fight a fictional character I would be pounding him into the ground right now! And I’m a pacifist who wouldn’t even hurt a fly, but he deserves it!!!! ARGH!!! I swear if I read book three and find out that Neil sacrificed himself for nothing and that they still continued to hurt Andrew I’m going to… I dunno! I’m going to SCREAM and throw that book against my wall. I don’t even care that it’s my e-reader. I’D BE SO ANGRY. =((( I swear if Riko doesn’t get his comeuppance in the next book I’m done with this series. So done.  So, so done!

”You set Andrew up.”
“That isn’t even the best part.” Riko smiled when Neil shook his head and continued. “Did you know I’ve bought one of the doctors at Easthaven, too? Unless you want these little therapy sessions of his to turn into therapeutic reenactments, you will be on a plane to West Virginia tomorrow morning. Jean will give your ticket to Kevin. Do you understand me?”

”I am not a dog, I’m a Fox.”
“You are nothing but what I tell you to be.”
“We talked about your delusions.”
“I warned you to learn your place.”

”No,” Neil said, with a ferocity that had even Matt eyeing him warily. “We’ve got to break him first. If Exy is the only thing he cares about we’re going to take it away from him. First we destroy his reputation, then we destroy him. I don’t want us to lose a single game this spring. Can we do that?”

Neil held up his free hand and showed Riko his steady fingers. “I’m shaking with fear.”
“You should be,” Riko said. “You think you can defy me because I am not your father, but you are forgetting one very important fact: I am the family your father was afraid of. And yes, Nathaniel, he was very afraid.”

”I am going to love hurting you,” Riko said, “like I loved hurting Kevin.”
“You are one seriously fucked-up individual,” Neil said.

”Every time he moved he felt Riko’s hands and blades and fire on his skin. He’d let Riko take him apart time and time again because it was the only way to survive, because bending should have kept him from breaking, but Neil didn’t know if he could pull himself back together one more time. He wasn’t strong enough for this. He never had been. His mother had held him up but she was gone now.”

The found family that is the Foxes:

”Don’t thank us, remember us,” Dan said. “We’re your teammates. We’re here to help you with whatever you need, whether it’s this or games or general stress. We’ve all got different experiences, but we’re used to needing help. We’re just not used to getting it. But you’ve got us now.”

I still don’t understand Renee’s relationship with Andrew but I guess they both have the same background and therefore can relate to each other and understand each other better than the rest? Anyway, the Foxes are so amazing and I loved every second of this found family trope! In their own way they are all special and don’t only contribute their part to the team but also help each other to get better. They are there for each other whenever times get rough and I loved that so much about them. You have this entire team of outcasts and abused kids and together they are strong enough to get through everything that’s thrown their way. Also I love the girls on the team. I mean Dan! *whistles* If she wouldn’t already have Matt as her bf I’d try my luck. I love a woman that can pack a decent punch. (pun totally intended *lol*) I’m sure that Raven couldn’t go to the toilet properly for a while. XD

”Hey,” Nicky said, soft and nice like the two of them hadn’t spent all summer cutting each other down on the court. “Is there anything we can do?”

”Yeah, Hennessey,” Dan said, sounding calmer than Neil thought she should in the face of such treatment. “Treats you right if you’re willing to pay and will fuck you over the morning after if you’re not nice enough to her. Sorry, but this bottle’s got a name on it. Hope you feel that one for a while, you lowlife asshole.”

”They’d never be perfect, but they were going to be all right. They’d come to the Foxhole Court as fractured messes but they were fixing each other one semester at a time.”

”Look, I know we have our differences, and I know we haven’t exactly had the easiest ride. But we’re all Foxes. We’re a team. What happens to one of us happens to all of us, and we’re going to get each other through this.”

4

I’m still so damn addicted to this series it’s not normal anymore. I gotta be honest here though, this book was super heavy and it broke me. T_T My heart is still aching and bleeding and I doubt I will ever get over the last 50% of “The Raven King”. So I already said it once and I can only repeat myself: “This is not a book to read with your mind, this is a book you’ll have to read following your gut instinct. So all told this book is problematic af, kind of unrealistic and definitely politically incorrect in so many different ways and on so many levels… but I still loved it!?” Something tells me this will hold true for the last book as well. >_<

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sawkill Girls (Claire Legrand)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home and won’t let you sleep.”

This sounds like the perfect horror book, right? Well, yes and no. “Sawkill Girls” is one of those books that have a rather deceiving blurb and when I read the summary I thought that I’d be in for a very creepy read. I mean yes, this book was creepy at times but it was also so much more than that. Quite honestly I never expected to get so invested and to love it that much when I picked it up. I thought it would be one of those books you read in between when you want something different but in the end it was the book that had all my attention. And this is no easy feat. 😉

”There was a magnetism to the Mortimer women, and they knew it, and they used it. It was their right, this witchery; they’d given up their souls for it.”

The sheer amount of topics that was tackled in here had my head spinning and I totally loved all the characters. Those three girls were amazing and even though they were all so different and didn’t always get along this was one of the things that really made me want to continue to read the book. There were a lot of moments when I couldn’t predict the story line and to say this was super intriguing would be putting it mildly! I love when an author manages to surprise me and Claire Legrand certainly did. Truth be told, this book is actually pretty dark at times and there were some scenes that creeped me out big time.

The three main characters were all very interesting as well and I loved how Legrand managed to make me pull for them even though they all had their flaws and were pretty morally grey. Especially Valerie and Zoey were two MCs that weren’t all too likable, yet I still loved them for just being who they were.

”Val swayed where she stood, her eyes falling shut. A fierce warmth expanded in her chest and slid down her belly, her thighs, her legs. Her traitorous body – groomed to serve him, birthed to anchor him – responded gleefully to his approval.”

Another thing that totally caught me off guard was the fact that “Sawkill Girls” was super diverse and even had LGBTQ+ reps. I mean we have Zoey who is black and asexual, Marion who is bisexual and has curves and Val who is pan or bi (at least I got the impression that she is). As someone who’s always watching out for LGBTQ+ books I was very surprised when I figured that this book actually has decent LGBTQ+ reps. I never read this in any of the other reviews so I decided to mention it in mine. 😉

Zoey’s laugh was bitter. “Oh, and we poor delicate girls are vulnerable and desperate, is that what you’re saying?”
“What I’m saying,” Marion said, now looking right at Zoey, her gray eyes bright, “is that girls hunger. And we’re taught, from the moment our brains can take it, that there isn’t enough food for us all.”

And this automatically brings me to all the other important topics that were addressed in here. I loved how the topic of misogyny wasn’t only addressed but also challenged. No matter if it’s Val, Marion or Zoey, they all have a “no bullshit” attitude when it comes to men telling women what to do. *lol* I totally loved that about them and I was so happy when they put those misogynistic men in their place and gave them a piece of their mind. It’s surprising how well it all fit with the horror element of the Collector abusing, violating and suppressing the Mortimer women for so many years and feasting on the pure souls of innocent girls. You really gotta give Legrand kudos for inventing such a multi-layered story around the initial horror element that started it all.

Also can we appreciate the fierce friendships in this book! I loved the strong friendship between Zoey and Marion and the closeness between Zoey and Greyson. Those characters would have done everything for each other and this even though they weren’t always on speaking terms. Still, true friends will stick with you no matter what and this was exactly the kind of message this book spread. =)

”Come for a while, reads the sign at Sawkill’s ferry dock, and stay forever.”

4
All told I really loved this and enjoyed the story immensely! I was pleasantly surprised by how attached I got to these characters and by how strongly I pulled for them. If you’re looking for a moderately creepy Halloween read, if you love books with strong female characters and decent LGBTQ+ reps, if you like atmospheric books, well I guess then you’ll enjoy this one as well. =)

Trigger warnings:emotional and physical abuse by a parent/ child abuse, aphobia, grief, racism, murder, violence, abuse, blood, gore, the death of an animal, self-harm, loss and trauma

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Restore Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

By now a few days have passed ever since I finished reading this book, yet my first reaction to “Restore Me” still remains the same.

WHAT THE FREAKING HELL??!!
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??!!
WHAT DID I JUST READ??!!
CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT I JUST READ?!!

And those were only four of the nicer things I thought when I closed the last page of this mind-blowing book! After reading this I’m shook to the core and my feelings are still all over the place! Tahereh Mafi SHATTERED, UNRAVELLED and DESTROYED me with every single line. To read this felt like someone was constantly punching me, hurting my body and my soul!!
Oh god, all those revelations! I can’t even… I’m still thinking about everything that happened in this book, I’m trying to wrap my head around it, I’m trying to understand it, but I just can’t.

This was just too much!!! My brain suffers from an overload of thoughts and feels and I’m desperately trying to recover from all the different blows. They came from every direction and boy did it hurt!! *cries*

TAHEREH HOW DARE YOU TO WRITE SUCH A BOOK AND THEN LET US WAIT FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR?!!!??

I wish I would have never bought this…
I wish I would have never read this…
I wish I wouldn’t have to wait for the next book…

This is pure torture…

“Restore Me”??!! *shakes head*
Are you kidding me Tahereh? You should have named it “Ruin Me”, “Devastate Me” or “Destruct Me”!
Not “Restore Me” why did you name this book like that?!!!

I can’t … I just can’t anymore… *sobs violently*

1
Juliette Ferrars is the new Supreme Commander of America and struggling to maintain a tight grip on her newfound powers and responsibility. There are a lot of things she hasn’t figured out yet and as the days go by she’s trying her best to take one step after the other forcing herself not to crumble under the sheer force of the new role that has been bestowed upon her. Will she be able to deal with the consequences of her actions or will her past cause her to falter?!

2
I’m so going to spoil the hell out of this section because FEELS!!! I can’t keep them in and if you don’t want to be captured in the midst of my raging emotions you better don’t continue to read! You’ve been warned! This is going to be a spoiler FEAST!!!

Juliette:

”I’m not proud that I’ve thought that.
Or that, in the quietest, loneliest hours of the morning I lie awake next to the son Anderson tortured nearly to death and wish that Anderson would return from the dead and take back the burden I stole from his shoulders.”


Where did the brave Juliette from “Ignite Me” go? I mean yeah, I knew she wouldn’t change overnight and that all her actions of the first three books would have some serious consequences, for some reason I really hoped that by now she would have developed more self-confidence though. I mean I get it! There’s a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and all those revelations were hitting her relentlessly, but despite all that some part of me still expected her to be stronger. She’s so powerful, why should she ever be afraid?! Plus even a blind person could see that Warner loves her more than anything else! How can she be so oblivious?! And that moment when she got drunk and shaved her head? This was such a 2007 Britney Spears move. I can understand why she was angry at Warner, I don’t get why she had to push him away so thoroughly though. It’s not like he knew the entire truth. I don’t like what happened to my independent and kick-ass Juliette from “Ignite Me” and I really hope that she’ll regain some of her self-assurance in the next book. Plus can we please talk about the fact that she killed an entire room full of people?! With nothing more than a scream?!! WTF?!!! O_o There’s a lot of explaining to do!!

”She steps forward. She looks suddenly terrifying. There’s a fire in her eyes. A murderous stillness in her movements. “If I ever catch you putting your hands on him again, I will tear open your chest,” she says, “and rip out your heart.”

”Getting angry and going to war, I understand. But patiently playing a confusing game of chess with a bunch of stranger from around the world?
God, I’d so much rather shoot someone.”


”Right now I can see her, this other version of myself, I can see her dragging her dirty fingernails against the chambers of my heart, drawing blood. And if I could reach inside myself and rip her out of me with my own two hands, I would.”

”I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that nothing is going to be the same for me, not ever again, and I have no idea who to trust or how to move forward. So yeah,” I say, nearly shouting the words, “right now I don’t care about anything. Because I don’t know what I’m fighting for anymore. And I don’t know who my friends are. Right now,” I say, “everyone is my enemy, including you.”

Warner:

”I feel old and unsettled, my heart and mind at war.”

My precious boy, my awesomeness on two legs!! Gosh, I love him so much!!! <333 He’s still my no.1 book husband (with Will of course!!!) and I couldn’t get enough of him! I loved that he had his own POV but his thoughts were so damn sad. I just wanted to hug him and tell him that he’s awesome and important and that he has a freaking damn right to grief!!!! Yes, I know everyone hated his father and Warner was certainly no exception to that rule, but this awful tyrant was still his father! No matter how much he hurt him and tortured him, no matter what he did to him, he was still his father and such bonds are hard to break. I hated that he was so alone in his grief and that no one except of Adam seemed to see and to understand it. Adam of all people! And Juliette! Girl, give that boy a break!!! I mean how much time passed after “Ignite Me”? Two weeks? How was Warner supposed to teach her everything he knew in two weeks? I mean it took him his entire life to master and understand the Reestablishment. And he didn’t even know the entire truth!!! He just wanted to protect Juliette, why is that so wrong?! My poor, poor baby!!! Warner didn’t deserve any of the shit he got in this book and I really hope Tahereh isn’t going to hurt him even more!! And what’s with that last Warner chapter?! An empty journal?!! AN EMPTY JOURNAL, TAHEREH???!!! If you put Warner into an asylum cell I’m going to RIOT!!! I’ll freaking riot!!! If he’s even more tortured and abused I’m going to die!!! Really!!! So you better don’t do anything mean to him!! AN EMPTY JOURNAL!!! *has a mental breakdown*

”And it is this, my unrequited affection for my father, that has always been my greatest weakness. So I lie here, marinating in a sorrow I can never speak of, while regret consumes my heart.”

”I have a great fear of drowning in the ocean of my own silence. In the steady thrum that accompanies quiet, my mind is unkind to me. I think too much. I feel, perhaps, far more than I should. It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that my goal in life is to outrun my mind, my memories.
So I have to keep moving.”


“I’m strangled into speechlessness, numb in my bones. I feel nothing but an immense, impossible pressure breaking apart my body. I fall backward, hard. My head is against the wall. I try to calm myself, calm my breathing. I try to be rational.”

”I’ve been undone by emotion, over and over. It was emotion that prompted me to take any job – at any cost – to be near to my mother. It was emotion that led me to find Juliette, to seek her out in search of a cure for my mother. It was emotion that prompted me to fall in love, to get shot and lose my mind, to become a broken boy all over again – one who’d fall to his knees and beg his worthless, monstrous father to spare the girl he loved. It was emotion, my flimsy emotions that cost me everything.
I have no peace. No purpose.
How I wish I’d ripped out this heart from my chest long ago.”


Kenji:

”I mean, I know she’s probably a sociopath. And, like, would definitely murder me in my sleep. But damn she’s, wow,” he says. “She’s, like, batshit pretty. The kind of pretty that makes a man think getting murdered in his sleep might not be a bad way to go.”

I still love and adore Kenji!!! He’s such an awesome best friend and he always brings some fun into the book. I swear if it wouldn’t have been for Kenji this entire book would have been a brooding feast, so thank you Tahereh for inventing that boy!!! *lol* The only thing I’m still missing is a Kenji POV so maybe we’ll finally get that in the next book? XD Ohh, I’d dig a Kenji POV so much!!! Haha! And since my wishes for a girlfriend/love interest were obviously heard the last time this wish might come true as well, right? XD *making huge puppy eyes*

Nazeera & Haider:

I still don’t know what to think about those two. Apparently Nazeera was a close friend of Juliette when they were kids and Haider seems to like Warner a lot, so I’m pretty certain there’ll be a lot of interesting revelations in the next book. Despite the general air of hostility I liked both of their characters though. I mean Nazeera is a strong female character and I always dig them and Haider … Well we didn’t get to see a lot of him but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some abilities too. ;-P Plus Nazeera and Kenji!!! GOSH! That would be a match made in heaven!!! <333

Castle:

WHO. ARE. YOU?! This Castle was so completely different to the Castle we got to know in the earlier books! Where did all this information come from? How did he know about all the things not even Warner knew about?! Why did he know that Juliette’s parents are still alive? Does he work for them? Is he related to Juliette?! Where is the connection? I don’t get anything anymore. Up until now Castle was always some sort of gentle guide who gave good advice but took a back seat when things got too intense. Not now! Now he was smack in the middle and seemed to know more than anyone else! I have so many questions my head is spinning!!! And I demand answers in the next book!!! I want to know who he is!!!

Adam:

”I was an asshole. I took everything out on her. Blamed her for everything. For walking away from what I thought was one of the few sure things in my life. It’s my own fault, really. My own baggage. I’ve still got a lot of shit to work out,” he says finally. “I’ve got issues with people leaving me behind.”

THIS!!! It took 3 books to finally get this statement out of his mouth but it eventually happened!!!! OMG!!! I never thought I’d live to see the day when Kent admits that he was wrong!!! Ohh that was balm for my soul! XD Thank you Tahereh! I needed to read this so badly! If you think I’ll forgive Kent for everything he did you’re wrong though. I’ll tolerate him from now on, but the things he said to Juliette and Warner… Nope he’ll never be redeemed for that! Sorry! #SorryNotSorry

3
Juliette & Kenji:

I slap his hand away. “I may not know much about being a supreme commander yet, but I do know that I’m not supposed to be cute.”
Just then, the elevator dings open.
“Who says you can’t be cute and kick ass at the same time?” Kenji winks at me. “I do it every day.”


I still love their friendship! They are so adorable together and they act like siblings would do! *lol* I love that Kenji always tries to help Juliette and that deep down he’s more than just a little protective of her. Not that he’d show it, but it’s obvious whenever they interact with each other. XD Plus I’m glad that there’s at least one person Juliette can trust completely. Kenji would never lie to her and that’s good the way it is! =))

Warner & Kenji:

I smile, big. Lightbulb bright.
Kenji’s eyes widen, surprised, and he laughs. He nods at my face and says, “Aw, you’ve got dimples. I didn’t know that. That’s cute.”


I. SHIP. IT!!! Haha! I know Tahereh might have never intended her fans to ship Kenji and Warner but how couldn’t you?! *lol* Once they actually started to talk and stopped to be so hostile towards each other they were damn freaking cute! XD I loved their honest conversations and it made me happy that Kenji was able to make Warner smile! I mean he made him smile!!! That’s such an accomplishment! *lol* So yeah, I totally dig them! Sorry Tahereh! I can’t help it! ;-P

”I don’t really know man,” Kenji says, and sighs. “I think, this time, you just have to deal with the consequences of your own stupidity.”
I look away, bite back a laugh, and nod several times as I say, “Go to hell, Kishimoto.”
“I’m right behind you, bro.” He winks at me. Just once. And disappears.


Juliette & Warner:

”I miss you,” she says. It’s a whisper I almost don’t catch.
“I’m right here,” I say, gently touching her cheek. “I’m right here, love.”
But she shakes her head. Even as I pull her closer, even as she falls back asleep, she shakes her head.


MY SHIP HAS SUNK!!! *sobs* WHY TAHEREH??!!! Why did you have to do this? This was so damn painful to read!! I mean I understand that both of them had a lot of baggage and that they couldn’t change the way they are, but this?! WHY? So much heartbreak and pain on both of their sides!!! I just wanted them to be happy, to overcome their pain together, but nothing of that happened. Instead they drifted apart and didn’t talk to each other!! What happened to their mutual, strong, respectful and understanding relationship?! I can’t even put into words how much this killed me! You better set this right in the next book! They are my OTP!!! They need to be happy together!!! AND WHAT THE FREAKING HELL WAS THIS LAST CHAPTER?!!! Are you telling me that Warner and Juliette already loved each other when they were children?! That they played together and liked each other?!!! OMG!!! This ending really messed with my mind! I NEED BOOK 5! NOW!!! *faints*

”You will be made to feel lonely. Lost. You will long for validation from those you once admired, agonizing between pleasing old friends and doing what is right.” I look up. I feel my heart swell with pride as I stare at her. “But you must never, ever let the idiots into your head. They will only lead you astray.”

”Haider looks Juliette up and down then, examining her outfit, her hair, her plain, worn tennis shoes; and though he says nothing, I can feel his disapproval, his scepticism and ultimately – his disappointment in her.
It makes me want to throw him in the ocean.”


”Love.
It hits me with a painful force, the reminder. Of just how much I love her. God, I love all of her. Her impossibilities, her exasperations. I love how gentle she is with me when we’re alone. How soft and kind she can be in our quiet moments. How she never hesitates to defend me.
I love her.”


”This, I think, is the way to die.
I could drown in this moment and I’d never regret it. I could catch fire from this kiss and happily turn to ash. I could live here, die here, right here, against his hips, his lips. In the emotion in his eyes as he sinks into me, his heartbeats indistinguishable from mine.
This. Forever. This.“


”It’s a picture of a little boy standing next to a little girl. She’s sitting in a stairwell. He looks at her as she eats a piece of cake.
I flip it over.

Aaron and Ella“

4
All told, there was a lot about “Restore Me” that I loved, but also so much I hated. I’m really conflicted now and I don’t know if I loved or if I hated the book. After reading the ending I had to supress the sudden urge to throw it against a wall, but I also wanted to cradle it and cry my heart out. Ahhh I just don’t know how to feel about his book. I’m drowning in my emotions here. >_<

All I know is that I’m devastated and that I want to read “Shatter Me 5” asap! Shatter Me 5… there isn’t even a title yet. URGH!!! *dies*

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Impossible Boy (Anna Martin)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”They’ll let me in,” Stan said confidently. “Do they not know who I am?”
“You’re a drunk Russian with the best legs in Britain,” Tone teased.
“Indeed. They should be honoured to have me in their establishment.”

After finishing “The Impossible Boy” I thought a lot about this book and why I liked it so much. It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for LGBTQ+ books and this might be the obvious reason why I enjoyed this so much. But to say I only loved this because it falls into a certain genre would neither do the book justice nor would it be right. I adored this book for so many different reasons and I thought long and hard about how to put this into words. When I began to read “The Impossible Boy” I basically just hoped to find a decent gender fluid rep and thought that this would become one of my shorter reviews. The more I read, the more I realized that I couldn’t go for just a short review though.

Why? Because this book was amazing and deserves a long kick-ass review that makes people aware of this little gem! So am I biased because this book features a gender fluid rep? HELL, YES I AM! It’s always good to feel represented and I think I finally understand why people are so happy when they find themselves in a book. The thing is, I couldn’t only relate to Stan but to all of the other characters as well. The band life and how they interacted when they made music, the humour, the strong friendships, Ben’s insomnia, Stan’s love for his blog and his choice of clothes! I could relate to this book on so many levels it was kind of astounding! It felt like this book was written for me and it’s really no surprise I ended up loving it so much!

I’m not gonna lie! There will be people who’ll read this book and say: “So what’s the big deal? I’ve read stories like that about a thousand times.” But there will also be people like me that will say: “Yes, but this book portrays life with its ups and downs and is relatable af!” Sometimes you just need books like that and for me this book came at exactly the right time. This said let’s head to my characters section and go into more detail!

2
If you already know my reviews, you know the drill! But if you’re new to them this is the perfect moment to mention that from here on you’ll be spoiled with bits and pieces of the storyline. So if you don’t want to be spoiled you better don’t continue to read! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Stan:

”Coming in early was a habit he’d picked up in Italy, one no one here seemed to share. Some people didn’t stumble in until ten. By that time, Stan was on his second coffee and well into his working day.”

Gods! This quote alone was already so relatable because it’s totally me! I’m one of the early birds too and my colleagues come in pretty late as well. I loved Stan’s work ethic and I found myself in it. Just like him my blog is a part of my daily life as well and yes, I also consider it to be work. Unpaid work you love to do in your spare time but work nevertheless. 😉 Also can we acknowledge how at peace Stan was with himself? I loved that he accepted himself the way he is and that he tried to explain it to other people when they asked. It’s not easy to explain being gender fluid but Stan did a pretty decent job of it and I loved him for being so open with everyone. Despite everything he had a dark past though and it was evident that he still struggled with it. >_< Still, just like me Stan is an eternal optimist and didn’t want to let things get him down. Which made him a very strong character in my opinion!

”For the most part, men didn’t like being flirted with by a man who looked more like a girl. A really hot, slightly confusing, slightly wrong girl. Stan knew what he looked like – he owned it.”

Ben:

”He’d gotten used to insomnia as a teenager, the result of a massive shift in his lifestyle and the stress of his parent’s divorce. These days he tried to meditate every night before going to sleep, although some nights he ended up crashing out and forgetting.”

Ben is the friendly bartender everyone needs in their life! I loved his character and I could relate to his life as well. He was working shifts in a pub and playing in a band whenever he had time and his insomnia as well as his band life resonated with me. I adored the bits and pieces of band life we got to see because the musician in me that played in a band a few years ago made exactly the same experiences. This band was a family and they got each other’s back whenever things got tough. Also they were a super chaotic bunch but once they took their instruments and started to play they easily found their rhythm and began to create something amazing! Ben was such a laid-back, easy and honest guy! It was so refreshing to see him interact with everyone!

Tone:

”Tone wasn’t short for Tony or Antony, as most people assumed. His given name was Daniel. He’d earned the nickname for his uncanny ability to lower the tone of a conversation, even when people assumed it was already at rock-bottom.”

Now that boy was incredible! Tone was the epitome of rough edges and a heart of gold! I adored that man so much! <33 His nickname was spot-on and his “I’m so blunt it hurts” attitude immediately won my heart! *lol* That’s exactly the kind of guy I’d love to be friends with! Direct, kind, accepting and painfully frank! XD Plus he was wise! There was more to him than initially met the eye and when he told Stan about Kat I hurt for him. I know how it feels to experience such a loss and I really wish I could have hugged that big oaf and given him some love! ❤ This guy would have done everything for his friends and even though he sometimes appeared to be completely thoughtless there was always a good reason for the way he acted! (cue: chocolate!!)

”I know what it’s like to feel you can’t get out of bed, you can’t wash yourself or feed yourself or even breathe without effort. I also know the only way you can get out of that absolute pit of depression is with the love of your friends.”

3
Stan & Ben:

”If you fancy a bit of rough, I’m sure you can figure out where to find me.”
“Fuck off, Tone,” Ben said with a weary sigh and threw his arm around Stan’s shoulder.
Stan laughed and turned his face against Ben’s chest for a moment, hoping to hide the heat in his cheeks.

Okay, and here comes the moment where I begin to fangirl like crazy and say how much I adored their relationship!! Those two were so grounded and flat out adorable! I loved how realistic their relationship was. I mean they got to know each other when Stan drank a beer at Ben’s bar then they got together and ultimately moved together as well. And they go out and have fun with their friends but when work is stressful and demanding they have no problem to sit in front of the TV and to spend a quiet evening at home! Which was amazing! This was such a normal and healthy way to deal with stress at work that I couldn’t help but love them for it! <33 Plus – and I know this might sound contradictory now because I’m usually a person that loves to address things directly – it made me so happy that Ben just accepted Stan the way he was and only asked him about his sexuality way later on in the book! For him it was no issue, nothing he needed to address because he loved and accepted Stan exactly the way he was. So those two were perfect for each other and I shipped them from the moment they met!

”He sees the girl and he likes her, and can touch the boy and like him too. He doesn’t try and make me `fit` into any tick-box category. He just lets me be me.”

Stan & Tone:

”Alright,” Tone said, obviously summoning bravado. “Are you a girl or a boy? Not your body, I mean. Like, your mind.”
Stan couldn’t help the rush of affection for this man who was trying so hard. He wasn’t the big, offensive oaf the others seemed to think he was. Okay, so his phrasing wasn’t great, but he cared enough to ask, and that mattered.

THIS WAS AN EPIC FRIENDSHIP MADE FOR ETERNITY!! I loved, loved, loved the way those two spoke so openly with each other! <33 And I loved that Tone had no qualms to ask the important questions! Stan knew exactly that he didn’t mean to be offensive and quite honestly I sometimes wish more people would be like Tone. Just say it straight to my head. Ask me and get it over with. It would make things so much easier if people would address those touchy subjects instead of whispering behind people’s backs. Tone might not have gotten it all but he liked Stan for the person he was and he supported him no matter what! Even when Ben and Stan had an argument he tried to understand both sides and sort of mediated between them. Plus he always knew exactly how to deal with his friend’s problems because he listened and paid attention! As I already said, there was more to him than met the eye and he was one of the best and most attentive friends I ever read about in a book!

”There isn’t going to be anyone who comes and asks if you want help, Stan. I’m going to barge right in and be here whether you want me or not.”

”Stan is good, Ben. He’s good. He needs help, he needs support, but he is a strong guy. The hardest thing for you to do now is not to be there for him, but to let him be strong for himself.”

The gender-fluid rep:

”I’m still a boy,” Stan said, tugging at the thick mop of dishevelled hair until Ben looked up at him. “I came to terms with that because it’s something I can’t change.”

Okay this might get pretty personal and very long now but I think it’s always important to write about a decent rep. Especially if you think that it’s done right and you could relate to it as much as I could. The gender-fluid rep in this might not have been a 100% spot-on for me, in fact it was probably about 50% because 1. Stan was physically male and I’m physically female and 2. Because the way I understood it Stan was a constant mixture of both genders and I’m either this or that (one side is always more dominant). At least when it comes to my “state of mind” like Tone put it. XD Still, regardless of those differences I felt totally understood when Stan spoke about being gender fluid and tried to explain it to Tone. The conversation they had about it was so amazing and I loved that Tone offered to call Stan “she” if he wanted it. That was so thoughtful and such a great reaction that I almost found myself weeping with joy. There were so many troubles Stan had to face during the book that sounded so familiar and when he ducked into the girl’s toilet because he wore a dress and was in “female mode” I actually had to smile. Some days the toilet confusion is a real thing, my friends! *lol* What I also liked was that at some point in the book Stan and Ben as well as Stan and Tone spoke about being gender fluid and/or about being transgender. Stan actually thought about changing his gender but he ultimately decided against it because he felt okay the way he was and realized that he didn’t want to go through with the process. He explained that being gender fluid was being stuck between two genders and if he would have changed into a woman there still would have been “male days” so he probably wouldn’t have felt any closer to his true gender than he felt as a boy (physically speaking of course). And he was right, it’s not a story you hear very often. Plus I loved that he said that to change gender is good and right for some people, but that it would have been no option for him. I’m totally with him when it comes to this. I know a few transgender people who changed their gender and who are more than just happy with it now, for me it would have never been an option though. There are days I love to wear dresses and enjoy doing my hair and make-up (just like Stan does) but there are also days I wear my jeans, t-shirts and hoodies and don’t even want to think about putting on some lipstick. And because I read it in some of the other reviews and felt like I needed to say something about it: Yes, Stan loves to choose his clothes and quite a bit of the book is about what he wears and how he presents himself. I don’t think that this is useless information though, for me it actually was additional and important information, because if you are gender fluid and you are in a – let’s say – “female state of mind” you want to be recognized as being a woman and therefore dress accordingly. For me this felt perfectly normal because as I said before I dress differently when I’m female or male too. 😉 I probably could go on and on but I think I’ll just leave it at that. For me this was an amazing rep and I really hope that in future more authors will tackle gender fluid representations and will include them in their books.

”Would you do it now? If you had the chance?”
“No,” Stan said softly. “I’m in a different place now. It was only a couple of years ago, but I’ve kind of learned to accept what I’ve got.”

”I’m a boy, Tone. My body is a male body and that’s okay. It’s more than being femme, though. I’m a boy with a lot of feminine traits, both in how I feel from day to day and how I like to dress, to present myself. I’m a boy and a girl both, in different ways. Some people call it gender-fluid.”

”I wasn’t born the wrong sex for my gender. There is no easy, fix-it success story for being stuck between two genders, so it’s not a story people hear very often. Gay men don’t like me because I look like a girl. Straight men don’t like me because I’m physically male.”

The anorexia rep:

”If just one person told me I needed to lose weight, I know that could send me back on that downward spiral, and fuck no, I’m not going there again.”

Okay so this is a trigger warning. I read a few books that dealt with anorexia but I have no idea if the rep in this book reflected reality. It only became a topic at around 60% of the book because Stan had a relapse when Ben was away on his tour. He ended up in hospital and needed to be tube-fed for quite a while. His recovery was pretty slow and he was told that if he didn’t take care and had another relapse it might easily be his death. Also it was mentioned that Stan had problems with his bones and back because they never really got a chance to develop properly. I only read books about the topic and from what I read this sounded like a pretty accurate rep, as always you might take my words with a grain of salt though.

4
I really loved this book to bits and pieces and for me it was everything! ❤ I loved the humour, the friendships, the band life and Stan and Ben’s relationship. The gender fluid rep was amazing and I really want to read more books like that! XD I’m so glad that there is a second book because I’m so going to read this soon!

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Royal Assassin (Robin Hobb)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Sometimes,” Chade observed, “It would be much easier to die for one’s king than to give one’s life to him.”

Well, if that isn’t the bitter truth then I don’t know! It’s been more than a week ever since I finished this book and my feelings are still all over the place. I swear the last time I felt as agitated as I am feeling right now was when I finished reading “The Kite Runner”. I’m sure by now you’re asking yourself what do “The Kite Runner” and “Royal Assassin” have in common? And the answer is easy: OUTRAGEOUS INJUSTICE!!! That’s what they have in common!!! *GRRRRR goes into grizzly bear mode*

If there is one thing that makes me really, really angry, one thing I just can’t stand than it is injustice! And this book was full of it! It oozed out of the pages, it dripped down into my heart, it poisoned me and made me so angry I hardly managed to refrain from throwing the book against a wall. I swear there were times my knuckles turned white because I was clutching that book so hard. ARGH!!!

My poor Fitz, my poor Verity!!! My poor King Shrewd and Fool!!! =(( It’s just not fair!!! IT’S. JUST. NOT. FAIR!!! I suffered with them throughout the entire book, I was frustrated, I was angry, I wanted to tear my hair out! I felt their pain and their helplessness and it killed me. So if you ever want to read a book that’s going to destroy you, just go ahead. “Royal Assassin” will leave you thoroughly broken and I’m sure somewhere in Washington State a woman named Robin Hobb is laughing her head off! Thank you Robin! Thank you for all the suffering and pain, can’t you at least give them a little break? No? Well, I tried and asked, can’t do more than that, right? T_T *sobs her heart out*

2
This section is going to be extremely spoilery and very ranty (is that even a word?), because I need to get all those feelings off my chest. So if you don’t want to be spoiled you better leave now and don’t return again. Well, at least not until you read the book. *lol* This is a fair warning so the rest is up to you. ;-P

FitzChivalry:

”The same angry cold twisted and churned inside me, switching from anger to hatred to frustration and back to anger again, building to an unbearable pressure. They had no right to do this to me. I had not been born to be their tool. I had a right to live my life freely, to be who I was born to be. Did they think they could bend me to their will, use me however they would, and I would never retaliate? No. A time would come. My time would come.”

I still remember my review of “Assassin’s Apprentice” when I asked if Robin could be so kind to give Fitz a little break. Well, she didn’t. And boy how much my wish was ignored! Fitz’s life was already so complicated and horrible in the first book, but in “Royal Assassin” it reached an entirely new level of helplessness and cruelty. I swear everything he did was a mistake, every moment he as much as dared to take a little breath made his life even harder, every little action had repercussions and no matter what he did, he never won. He managed to avoid the worst, yes, but in the end he never succeeded to turn the tide in his favour. Well, until the tide completely swept him away and left him nothing but a broken shell to content with. Fitz was so unhappy and desperate it hurt to read about his struggle and the little happiness he found was taken away from him as well. It’s just not fair, it’s not fair to let a young boy suffer so much and I hate Regal for everything he did. My poor Fitz, my poor boy, I don’t know if he’ll ever recover from this. T_T *cries*

”Fitz? What will you do?”
Tears stung my eyes. I blinked, and it passed. “What I am told,” I said heavily. “When have I ever done otherwise?”

Verity:

”Shame to me, not you, to have ignored how ill you have been.” He had arisen silently. He set his glass of wine before me. “The damage you took was taken for me. I am appalled by what I allowed to befall you.” I forced myself to meet Verity’s eyes. He knew all that I tried to conceal. Knew it, and was miserable with guilt.

I still adore Verity but he had to make a lot of tough decisions in this book and I’m not sure if all of them were wise. I understood his need to help his people and I could relate to him feeling incapable and weak, but he did what he had to do in order to save them and this was already more than Regal ever did!!! As it seems Verity will always be caught between a rock and a hard place and I definitely don’t envy him his position. To be King-in-Waiting must suck big time and in the end his options were more than just limited. Still, to go and search the Elderlings was probably the biggest mistake he ever made and if he doesn’t find them soon the Six Duchies will go to hell. I really hope he has a good plan B because if not they’ll all be doomed in the next book. >_< You better make this work, Verity!!!

”I thought only to bring her swiftly home, and hope not too many heard of it. As if such a thing could be! And so today I think to myself that if ever the crown does come to rest on my brow, it will be in a most unworthy place.”

”For a moment I shared his bafflement that anyone could wish harm on these people, and shared, too, his fierce determination that not one more life should be lost to the Red-Ships.”

Burrich:

”I don’t envy you, Fitz. Sometimes all a man needs is to growl about his problems to another man. They’ve denied you even that. But take heart, I have faith you can handle them even if you think you can’t.”

Hmm… I still don’t know how I feel about him, but I think I liked him more in this book. We learned a lot of things about his past and I think I can understand him better. Still, to have the Wit must be horrible for him. I mean just to think about how much he resented Fitz for using it in the first book and now we find out that Burrich always had it too but decided to ignore it. It’s so ironic that Nighteyes called him “heart of the pack” because he obviously never wanted to be the heart of the pack. It was nice to see that Fitz and him got along so well though and considering everything that happened between them, it was good to know that Burrich still supported him and watched his back! =) Fitz certainly needed that additional help!

Lady Patience:

”But it was not the deed, but the intention that moved me. She had given up her quiet life, her orchards and gardens and woods, to come here, to a damp castle of stone on the sea cliffs, to a court full of folk she cared nothing about, to watch over her husband’s bastard.”

Patience truly surprised me in this one. I mean I always knew that she had come to Buckkeep to protect the illegitimate son of her husband but I never would have expected her to be so close to Burrich. I had no idea that they were lovers before Chivalry fell in love with her and their love story was so bittersweet that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both of them. Burrich and his unfaltering belief in honour! *shakes head* They could have been happy together… *sighs* Lady Patience definitely deserved better than what she got and I have even more respect for her now. I really hope the end of “Royal Assassin” won’t have any repercussions for her. =S

”Burr?” she queried quietly. He did not even twitch. Very gently, she stroked his face. “You are so thin, so worn,” she grieved softly.

Regal:

”You who take the name to yourself of FitzChivalry Farseer need do no more than scratch yourself to find Nameless the dog boy. Be grateful I do not send you back to the stables, but suffer to let you abide in the Keep.”

I HATE HIM SO DAMN MUCH!!! I can’t even!!! That numpty, that tumshie, that huge and big FOOL!!! ASDFJKLMNÖ!!!! How is it even possible he’s still alive? And how is it possible that he’s so good at scheming and taking away the throne but doesn’t even think twice about his damn actions?!!? I mean WHAT NOW?!!! Awesome! You’re King-in-Waiting now, but what freaking kingdom are you going to reign?!! Your intrigues destroyed it and the Red Ships will do the rest!! How is it possible he got away with all this?!! HOW??!! URGH!!! This is so unfair! I swear by now I just have to read his name and I already see red and turn into a bull! If they ever manage to reveal his machinations, if they ever get a chance to catch that slippery eel, I’ll laugh my head off! I swear. So if you hear the laugh of a madwoman it most likely will be me! *lol* I’m waiting for his doom and I’ve got a lot of patience. *scratches hoof on the ground* XD

King Shrewd:

”I know how you serve me, even when you are brimming with anger at me. I could ask little more than what you have given me.”

Oh poor King Shrewd! There was nothing shrewd about him in the end. I hated to see how fast his health deteriorated and how much he suffered in this book. At some point I even started to share the Fools wish that he would have a peaceful and simple death. Unfortunately he had to suffer the entire book before he was finally allowed to go and the little that was left of his mind had to endure the betrayal of his own flesh and blood as well. No, King Shrewds life had a really bad end and no matter what he did, he didn’t deserve to die like that. >_<

Son of my son, blood of my blood. In my own way, I have loved you.
My king.
My young assassin. What have I made of you? How have I twisted my own flesh? You do not know how young you still are. Chivalry’s son, it is not too late to grow straight again. Lift up your head. See beyond all this.

The Fool:

”Batter away,” he suggested quietly. “New bruises will not show much atop the old ones. I can creep about unseen for a few more days.”

I think I love the Fool. ❤ He grew on me and he’s such a mysterious and intriguing character that I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the little scraps we got of his past. He lived in another kingdom? With a mother and two fathers? And he can see the future?! There’s so much about him I still don’t understand but I’m sure he’ll play a role in all those books that are yet to come. It was nice to see his more serious side in “Royal Assassin” yet I still wish we wouldn’t have seen it. I felt so sorry for him because it was more than just obvious that he truly loved King Shrewd. I still don’t know what kind of relationship those two had but I guess it might have been like father and son. For all I know it could have been romantic though. *lol* I guess I’ll never know. I still have so many questions and I’m afraid they will have to wait until the end of the series. XD So for now I just hope that he’s still alive somewhere and that he gets time to grief his beloved king. >_<

”You fog me, bastard. You multiply the futures a thousandfold, just by your existing. Catalyst. From some of those fogs go the blackest, twisted threads of damnation, and from others shining twines of gold. To the depths or the heights, it seems, are your paths. I long for a middle path. I long for a simple death for a master who was kind to a freakish, jeering servant.”

Kettricken:

”Let us clench our jaws, and remove that which infects us, with as much resolve and regret as if we severed a maimed limb from a body. For such is what we do. Not vengeance, my people, but surgery, to be followed by healing. Do as I say, now.”

That woman was kick-ass and yes she made mistakes but she always tried to do what was best for her husband and her people! I could understand her insecurity and the way Regal undermined her so thoroughly made me angry enough to chew nails! It was undeniable that she was in a difficult position though. *sighs* I mean she was a new queen in a kingdom that was raided and destroyed by the red ships and she’s still so very young. Without Verity’s and the king’s support it wasn’t easy to secure her position as Queen-in-Waiting and I think considering all the mean attacks she had to endure she actually did great! Maybe she’s with the Fool now? I really hope Verity will come back and find her and I pray that their child is going to live through that harsh winter!! =((

Chade:

”Did you think you could lead two lives?” Chade’s voice was soft but not gentle. “We belong to the King, boy, King’s Men. Our lives belong to him. Every moment, of every day, asleep or awake. You have no time for your own concerns. Only his.”

I don’t know what to think about Chade. He’s a king’s man yet he’s still somehow responsible for everything that went wrong. At least considering king Shrewd. I mean I understand why he gave him the strong medicine and why he tried to ease his king’s pain but in combination with Regal’s drugs it was just too much. Why didn’t he try to get rid of Regal’s drugs? Hell, why didn’t he try to get rid of Wall-ass? I know Regal is off-limits, sadly! But he could have gotten rid of Wallace and used one of his own spies instead. That way the king might have still been lucid enough to make the right decisions. *sigh* And why didn’t he help Fitz when he was in the dungeons? Was to help him die really the only option?! To poison him again? To destroy his body again?! When will it have an end?

3
FitzChivalry & Verity:

”Do you know how easy it is, Fitz, to follow a man you believe in?”
He looked up at last to meet my eyes.
“My prince,” I said quietly. “I believe I do.”

I still love their close relationship and I understand why Fitz follows Verity. Still, I really wish they would have been able to help each other more. I know Verity couldn’t do anything from the distance but poor Fitz had to pay for everything that went wrong and this just isn’t fair. =( He’s just a boy and was held responsible for every mistake Verity, Chade, Kettricken and Shrewd made. No matter what happened, Regal let him bleed and pay for it and I hated that Verity couldn’t help him. What also pains me is the fact that Fitz as well as Verity know that he’s using him for his own purposes but that they both have no other choice than to go with it. Verity feels so guilty for using Fitz and Fitz hates to be used like that but has no other choice than to do what Verity wants. In order to survive they both had to use each other and I think their strong and close relationship suffered under the onslaught of their needs. Let’s hope Verity survives his trip to the Elderlings, let’s hope Fitz will get a little peace. Let’s hope their friendship won’t die in the next book. >_<

Molly & FitzChivalry:

”Because on some nights threats are more obvious than others. Bad things happen, that make me take stock of what worse things could happen. On some nights, it is not the healthiest thing to be beloved of a bastard.”

Fitz and Molly… T_T Those two broke my heart! They love each other so deeply but they can’t be together because their circumstances won’t allow it. Fitz position was so horrible and I bled with him and Molly whenever they had another argument. I think the worst thing was that they both knew it wouldn’t work but they both still had hope and refused to give up. If Fitz would have taken her as his wife or would have acknowledged her as his lover, she would have been dead in a heartbeat. Urgh! Their situation was so awful! =(( I hated the way things ended between them and is it just me but is there actually a chance that Molly is pregnant? The way she spoke about her new “lover” almost sounded like she was talking about a baby and knowing Molly I’m pretty sure she would have never told Fitz that she’s pregnant. Not after their argument and certainly not if Regal could have ordered her death so easily. To move to the countryside would be her best option and I think a possible pregnancy would be the best reason for such a step. After all she has to ensure the survival of two lives if it’s really true. 😉 I guess only time will tell. XD

”How can I say I love you so much that I wish I did not love you, or at least could refrain from showing that I loved you, because my love puts you in such danger, and have those words be true?”

”Every time I think I have accepted it, I turn a corner and catch myself hoping again. But there’s never going to be anything for us, is there? Never going to be a time that belongs just to us, never going to be a place that is just ours.”

”I had no more right to her than she had to me. But I gave and took and I swear I shall never regret it. The memory of that night’s sweet awkwardness is the truest possession of my soul.”

Nighteyes & Fitz:

”Nighteyes, my brother. How do I thank you?
Stay alive. A pause. And bring me ginger cake.
You shall have it, I promised fiercely.”

Nighteyes and Fitz were the best!!! They are my new friendship OTP!! *lol* I loved their easy banter and Nighteyes was so clever and funny! Plus they were so close and I loved it! Nighteyes is the best friend ever and Fitz was very lucky to have him. Especially considering the ending. There is nothing Nighteyes wouldn’t do for him and this is true friendship! =) He didn’t even hesitate to adopt him into his mind. I love Nighteyes and I really hope we’ll see even more of him! XD

4
“Royal Assassin” was an amazing fantasy book and even though I suffered so much I still loved every second of it. (Haha! I sound like a masochist now. *lol*) This book was not only heartbreaking but also suspenseful and ultimately left me with even more questions than I had before. I can’t help but wonder if this will ever have an end. XD If you’re searching for a fantasy series that has an amazing world building, awesome characters and will hit you with the feels: Search no more! You already found it! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Queen of Nothing (Holly Black)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 13 on My Book List 2021

I’m on BookTube now! =)

”All power is cursed,” I say. “The most terrible among us will do anything to get it, and those who’d wield power best don’t want it thrust upon them. But that doesn’t mean they can avoid their responsibilities forever.”

While “The Wicked King” was kind of slow, “The Queen of Nothing” certainly stepped up the game. I mean there were already some twists and turns right at the beginning of the book and to say they left me reeling would be an understatement. *lol* I certainly didn’t expect the book to head into this kind of direction when I started to read it but of course it was great! Holly Black knows exactly what she’s doing and this book was no exception to the rule.

So yes, this book was more fast-paced than its predecessor and the plot twists always caught me off guard. Like seriously! I never saw some of them coming! Still, since there was a war brewing there were less conniving and well-thought-out interactions between the characters and a lot of their conversations were rather direct and straightforward. Which was logical and understandable but since I’m a sucker for backhanded compliments, puns, evasive comments and back-stabbing moments I kind of missed the faerie-esque vibe in here. (Is that even a word?! *lol*)

Don’t get me wrong, this was still amazing, but for some reason it didn’t persuade me as much as the two other books. XD Maybe I can chalk it up to the last book syndrome? Like the author tries to end a series properly and in a good way and it happens but it also loses some of its magic because all the loose ends are tied but the sudden seriousness takes away some of the enjoyment? Okay, I think I’ll just call it “finishing-touch syndrome” and be done with it. ;-P Anyway! I still love all the characters and you can bet I’ll talk about them extensively now.

2
One more time we’ll head to faerie,
a human like you, you must be weary.
Don’t fret or fear the power of magic,
okay, well maybe this is going to be tragic.
I could spare you the pain
and spoil you just to stay sane.
Some spoilery knowledge,
is it what you want to gain?
Well, then take my generous offer or refrain! ;-P

Jude:

”The wool beneath me is soaked through with blood. Way more blood than I am ready to believe came from me. And around the edges of the cloak, I spot tiny white flowers pushing through the snow, most of them still buds, but a few opening as I look. I stare, not sure what I am seeing.”

If you look at the Jude of the first book and compare her with the Jude in the last one you probably won’t find any similarities anymore. This girl grew so much throughout the series and I love the Queen she’s become! Of course she was always my Queen but to see her grow into the role was just amazing. Jude started out as a weak mortal, turned into the secret power behind the throne and then took a leap to become the Queen ON the throne! Like wow! What a character arc! Also I loved that she finally realized that her love and compassion are no weakness and can be some strength instead. Despite all her fears and troubles as the Queen Jude was still savage and I kinda loved that. *lol* Still, her despair when Cardan was a serpent was so tangible and heart-breaking. To see her like that hurt and I’m just glad that Cardan came back. Also I love the symbolism of this because if you analyse it Jude had to kill a part of herself in order to become a true Queen and to make Cardan a great king. You might say she slayed the vile parts of them. Quite literally. ;-P

”Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.
Maybe it was the shame that was the problem.”

”We’re meant to advise you,” says Nihuar in her syrupy voice. “We are thought to be very wise.”
“Are you?” I ask, and the voice that comes out is honeyed malice, the exact tone Cardan would have used. It spills out of me as though I am no longer in control of my mouth. “Because wisdom ought to urge you not to court my displeasure. Perhaps a stay in the Tower of Forgetting will recall you to your place.”

”I don’t know how to break the curse,” I say, all the tears I haven’t shed welling up in my eyes. “If I could, do you think I would be at this stupid banquet? Tell me what I must slay, what I must steal, tell me the riddle I must solve or the hag I must trick. Only tell me the way, and I will do it, no matter the danger, no matter the hardship, no matter the cost.” My voice breaks.

”And if the serpent grows in monstrousness and corruption, if it poisons the land of Elfhame itself, then let me be the queen of monsters. Let me rule over that blackened land with my redcap father as a puppet by my side. Let me be feared and never again afraid.”

Cardan:

Cardan glances toward me, as though for help. When I am silent, he frowns, annoyed with both of us. “Although I am wearing the cloak Mother Marrow made me, the one that will turn any blade, I still promise to run, tail between my legs. And since I have a tail, that should be amusing for everyone. Are you satisfied?”

I love Cardan so much and I will never get enough of him! This boy is just awesome! ❤ In “The Wicked King” he showed us his cunning and clever side and in “The Queen of Nothing” we were finally able to see his vulnerability. I just loved how he announced that Jude is his wife! *lol* The interesting thing about Cardan was that he might have shown his weaknesses to Jude but he was still strong on the outside. Maybe because he finally trusted someone and as we all know this can change a lot in the grand scheme of things. Still, for Cardan to admit that he loves Jude… it took a huge leap of faith to be so open with her and to admit his feelings. Also the foreshadowing was strong in this one and I should have known the moment Cardan told Jude that he believes she would be able to stop him. XD I’m gonna be honest here, I expected to happen a lot of things, but I certainly never expected Cardan to turn into a fully grown serpent! *lol* That was… unexpected and totally caught me off guard. I was like: WHAT??!!! Let’s hope Jude and Cardan will have a couple of quiet moments from now on.

”Whatever can you mean?” Randalin says. “She’s –“
“She is my wife,” Cardan says, his voice carrying over the crowd. “The rightful High Queen of Elfhame. And most definitely not in exile.”

”I never minded being a minor villain, but it’s possible I might have grown into something else, a High King as monstrous as Dain. And if I did – if I fulfilled that prophecy – I ought to be stopped. And I believe that you would stop me.”

”Seelie and Unseelie, Wild Folk and Shy Folk, I am glad to have you march under my banner, glad of your loyalty, grateful for your honor.” His gaze goes to me. “To you, I offer honey wine and the hospitality of my table. But to the traitors and oath breakers, I offer my queen’s hospitality instead. The hospitality of knives.”

”It’s you I love,” he says. “I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all. Even now, it is a shabby, worm-eaten, and scabrous thing. But it is yours.” He walks to the door to the royal chambers, as though to end the conversation. “You probably guessed as much,” he says. “But just in case you didn’t.”

3
Jude & Cardan:

”Cardan steps in front of me, pulling his cloak up. The metal needles glance off the fabric, falling to the floor. For a moment, we stare at each other, wide-eyed. He looks as surprised as I am that he protected me.”

Okay, but seriously: This is legit the best enemies-to-lovers and love-hate relationship I ever read in a book! Holly Black outdid herself with Jude and Cardan and I can’t help but ship them together! Like they are afraid of their love for each other but they also can’t be without each other and that makes it impossible to ignore their feelings! ADASDKFASDKFAJSFKASDFJK! The chemistry between those two is off the charts and I could spend the rest of my life just reading their conversations. *lol* I loved how much they trusted each other in here and that they finally realized what they mean to each other. They were fiercely protective and I lived and breathed for their brutal honesty. For once they put all their cards on the table and I was so ready for that to happen! And then when Cardan turned into a serpent, Jude couldn’t find it in herself to kill him. After all this time she wanted to be with Cardan so badly that it hurt. T_T I kinda loved her for deciding to respect his wishes and to try to kill him in the end. It certainly would have been better than to live his life as a bridled puppet by her side. Still, to decide to kill Cardan was no easy choice and my heart bled for her. And boy was I happy when he stepped out of the carcass of that huge serpent! *lol* I really hope those two will finally have some time to deepen their relationship and to live happily ever after! ;-P

”It was terrifying,” he says, “watching you fall. I mean, you’re generally terrifying, but I am unused to fearing for you. And then I was furious. I am not sure I have ever been that angry before.”
“Mortals are fragile,” I say.
“Not you,” he says in a way that sounds a little like a lament. “You never break.”

”I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He grabs my hand, possibly to keep me from hitting him again. Our fingers lace together. “No, it’s not that, not exactly. I didn’t think I could hurt you. And I never thought you would be afraid of me.”
“And did you like it?” I ask.

”Mock me all you like. Whatever I imagined then, now it is I who would beg and grovel for a kind word from your lips.” His eyes are black with desire. “By you, I am forever undone.”

”What was it like?” I ask. “Being a serpent.”
He hesitates. “It was like being trapped in the dark,” he says. “I was alone, and my instinct was to lash out. I was perhaps not entirely an animal, but neither was I myself. I could not reason. There were only feelings – hatred and terror and the desire to destroy.”
I start to speak, but he stops me with a gesture. “And you.” He looks at me, his lips curving in something that’s not quite a smile; it’s more and less than that. “I knew little else, but I always knew you.”

Jude & Madoc:

”I wonder what Taryn would ask for herself and the baby in her belly. Safety, I’d wager, the one thing Madoc believes he has already given us, the one thing he can never truly provide. No matter what promises he would make, he is too ruthless to ever keep anyone safe for long.”

This is still one of the most twisted father-daughter relationships I ever saw. I really didn’t expect Madoc would actually try to kill Jude but wow, he definitely wasn’t above hurting her so who knows what would have happened if the others wouldn’t have stopped him in time. Jude got almost killed by his sword blow so it’s easy to assume his rage and anger would have probably been sufficient enough to actually kill her. And this even if he would have regretted it afterwards. Even though Madoc is both, a person that thinks ahead and acts as well, I still think he might have gotten carried away and gone for the killing blow. At the end they seemed to have made their peace with each other but I doubt they’ll ever be close again. Heaven knows I wouldn’t trust a father that almost killed me because he wanted to seize the throne my husband and I are sitting on. XD

”And if I am particularly kind that evening, particularly deferential, if I laugh particularly loudly, it is because I know I will never do this again. I will never have him behave like this with me again. But for one final night, he’s the father I remember best, the one in whose shadow I have – for better or worse – become what I am.”

He gives me an incredulous look. “Will you defy me to the last? When I get ahold of you, I am going to keep you in chains.”
“I never wanted to be your enemy,” I say. “But I didn’t want to be in your power, either.” With that, I take off through the snow. I do the one thing I told myself I would never do.

Grabbing the cloak, he winds it around his hand, hauling me toward him. The ties choke me, then rip free. His sword sinks into my side, into my stomach.
I look up at him for a moment, eyes wide.
He seems as surprised as I feel.
Somehow, despite knowing better, part of me still believed he would pull a killing blow.”

Jude & Taryn:

”I know there are a lot of things I ought to have told her and a lot she ought to have told me. I know we haven’t been kind. I know she’s hurt me, more than she can guess. But for all that, she’s still my sister. My widowed, murderer sister with a baby on the way.”

Now that was a plot twist right at the beginning of the book that totally caught me off guard! When I read that Taryn killed Locke I was like: You gotta be kidding me!! Like OMG! I expected so many things to happen but Locke’s death definitely wasn’t one of them! We all knew Taryn wasn’t all too happy about Locke being unfaithful to her but OH WOW! I never pictured her actually killing him. So yep, still blown away by that revelation. It’s kinda weird that Locke’s death brought the two sisters together again but then again I suppose he was the only thing that truly stood between them during those last two books. Mhmm… I dunno if I would have forgiven Taryn as easily as Jude though. I mean Taryn wronged Jude in a lot of ways and I’m kind of bitter about the fact she gets away with it all because she killed Locke and is pregnant now. >_<

”While I walked the path of daggers and poison, she walked the no-less-fraught path of desire.”

4
This was a good ending for a great series! “The Queen of Nothing” might not have blown me away as much as the other two books of the series but it was still a great and suitable ending for “The Folk of the Air”! I really enjoyed the Jude and Cardan moments and if things would have gone my way I would have wanted even more of them. XD This said I’ll definitely watch out for Holly Black’s next book! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Near Witch (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.”

It’s no secret I’m a huge Victoria Schwab fan so I was very curious about her debut novel and how it would be written. It’s always interesting to see how your favourite authors started out and how their writing style developed and changed with time. This said I absolutely loved and adored the atmosphere in here! Schwab’s writing style in „The Near Witch” reminded me a lot of Maggie Stiefvater’s books and I’m so glad I finally decided to read this! There is something magical about the description of the moor and you can almost feel the wind pushing against the window pane, trying to make its way into the house.

”I catch my breath as the stranger’s eyes find mine. Eyes as dark as river stones and yet somehow shining, soaking up moonlight. Eyes that widen a fraction as they meet my own. A single, long, unblinking look. And then in an instant the stranger seems to break apart, a sharp gust of wind tears through, and the shutters slam closed against the glass.”

So what’s “The Near Witch” about? I suppose you could say it’s a tale as old as time. There is this close-knit community of Near and everyone knows everyone. There are no strangers in Near and if someone visits their quiet village the Council makes sure they don’t stay long. It’s the way Near has been run for centuries and it’s the only way they know. So once a stranger appears and children begin to vanish from their beds in the middle of the night everyone already knows who’s the culprit. Of course it’s the stranger and the Council is more than just ready to do what is necessary in order to get their children back.

”Fear is a strange thing,” he used to say. “It has the power to make people close their eyes, turn away. Nothing good grows out of fear.”

It’s that kind of fear that is palpable throughout the entire book and it covers the village like a suffocating coat of fog. The more children disappear, the thicker it gets and with every night, with every vanished child, the villagers get more and more restless and desperate to find the stranger. What I really liked about this book was the fact that Schwab didn’t only create a world you could imagine vividly but she also fabricated an environment that displayed a lot of important issues as well. The atmosphere in this is amazing, the plot might be slow but the characters are more complex than meets the eye and every character has its own story to tell. No matter if it’s Lexi’s uncle Otto who means well but only knows what he’s been taught for years, no matter if it’s Lexi’s mother who lost her husband way too soon, but still tries her best to help her daughters to survive in a world dominated by men. There are so many topics that are tackled it’s actually kind of astonishing. “The Near Witch” covers xenophobia, hostility towards women, prejudices, loss, grief and even some psychological themes like self-hatred and feelings of guilt. And yes, it doesn’t even shy away from ethical issues.

”I choose to believe, Miss Harris, that the Council did what they thought was – not right; right is the wrong word. What they thought was necessary.”
“She didn’t kill the boy.”
He finally looks at me. “I doubt it mattered.”

The quote above is so powerful because it’s the people of Near in a nutshell. Everything that’s foreign is bad and once people set their minds on something there’s no turning back. Their ignorance and prejudices made me so angry and just like Lexi I tried to fight them tooth and nail. Magda and Dreska were two of my favourite characters and their unfaltering wisdom as well as their slightly eerie presence made for a great atmosphere. Can I have a Magda and Deska in my life please? =)

”All Near knows.”
“All Near forgets.”
“Or tries.”
All Near tries to forget? Before I can make sense of it, the sisters’ voices begin to overlap, and the sound is haunting.
“But we remember.”

The Near witch was quite a formidable antagonist and some of the scenes actually caused me to get goose bumps. As for the love story between Lexi and Cole: Well, it was pretty insta-lovey but I didn’t mind because the focus of the book was clearly on other things. 😉 I loved the dynamic between those two though and it reminded me a lot of the relationship between Puck and Sean in Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Scorpio Races”. Lexi was a passionate wild child and Cole more the quiet and composed kind of boy. Guess opposites will always attract. Their gentleness sometimes almost killed me. *lol*

He looks out over my head to the east, eyes shining, but I can see the edge of his mouth quirk.
“Look at me,” I say, running my fingers along his jaw and turning his face back to mine. “I’m still here.”
Cole kisses me once, a quiet, desperate kiss. I can taste the pain on his lips, the hint of salt.

All told I loved to read this intriguing story! The early Victoria Schwab was already a great writer and the atmosphere of this book was amazing! By now I think there is nothing Schwab can’t write and I’m really looking forward to read all of her other books. If you enjoy books with a haunting and gloomy atmosphere, if you like tales of witches and are fond of the moor, if you dig a little dash of romance in your tales, then this one is for you! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

I seriously don’t know why it took me so long to dig my claws into this book, but I definitely know that I don’t regret doing it! 😉

“Shatter Me” was an awesome read and I enjoyed it immensely! There were so many things I loved about this book and whilst it is true that many people complained about the writing style, I have to admit that I actually loved it.

“Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I’m so delirious I actually dare to believe it.”

I think it was something new and extraordinary and I loved the way Juliette described her world. The repetitions, her thoughts, the things she thought and even the truths she vehemently refused to admit. It all gave me a very good picture of her character and her mind, the many things she must have gone through shaping her into a person that distrusts everyone and desperately tries not to feel anything. XD Of course she’s failing but this actually only made her even more likeable. *lol*

See where I’m getting at? Tahereh Mafi knows exactly what she’s doing and she really managed to drag me into her world. Yes, I confess! I’m officially hooked now and I’m soo going to read all of the other books! ;-P
So be prepared to read many reviews! *LOL*

Okay, enough of the threats and right back to the characters! Oh, the characters! There’s so much to tell! XD

FAIR WARNING: Mild spoilers lying ahead of you! 😉

2

Juliette:

At the beginning of the book you don’t even know her name. Everything you know is that she’s been imprisoned for ages and that she’s more than just a little insecure. Considering her ability this is no surprise though, the fact she can hurt and even kill people with just the touch of her fingertips making it kind of hard to be all too sociable. Juliette may not talk a lot but she sees everything and she’s more than just observant. She obviously also seems to have a knack for poetry and I really enjoyed the way she used her words.

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”

Adam:

That boy is hot as hell and Juliette’s new cell mate! Could a girl ask for more? Dark hair, blue eyes, awesome and muscular body! *drools* Okay, okay! I’m back on track! *lol* Yeah, as you can see Adam is just awesome boyfriend material and it’s no wonder that they kind of hit it off! He’s caring and gentle and he always tries to understand Juliette’s thoughts. I liked him from the beginning and I’m really curious to find out how things are going to proceed in the next books. =)

Sidenote: Is it just me or does he never tell Juliette that he loves her? O_o I thought this was kind of odd. Juliette told him she loved him but as far as I could read he never returned it…. Did I miss anything? xD

God, Juliette, I’d follow you anywhere. You’re the only good thing left in this world.”

Warner:

Oh my god! Warner! Gosh! Warner! Argh! Warner! *babbling mess* That boy, that boy gave me all the feels! Good and bad! Happy and angry! Disgusted and longing for more! *lol* I wanted him to touch Juliette and I wanted her to touch him! I just couldn’t decide if I wanted it because I wanted him to hurt or because I wanted them to make out! *LOL* What is it with me and the villains? Why do I love them so much!? XD First Maven and now Warner, I think I’m going to die! >_< Oh, well I think I’m supposed to say something about his character as well so here I go: He’s ruthless when he is with his soldiers but he is gentle whenever he is with Juliette. He seems to care about her a LOT and he even admitted that he loved her! But why does he hurt her so much? Warner is a big question mark and some sort of mystery I’m determined to solve. So yesh, I’m so going to read “Destroy me” after I wrote this review! XD

His smile is laced with dynamite. „Go to sleep.“
„Go to hell.“
He works his jaw. Walks to the door. „I’m working on it.”

„I’m nineteen years old.“ He clarifies. „I’m a fairly impressive specimen for my age, I know.“

Kenji:

I loved Kenji! That boy is so funny and I really enjoyed his sassy demeanour. He’s constantly hitting on Juliette and his character gives the book a hilarious edge. I want more of him and actually can’t wait to meet him again! =)

His grin is crooked. „I don’t know why, but I kind of like it when you threaten me.“
„That’s because you’re an idiot.“
„Nah.“ He shakes his head. „You’ve got a sexy voice makes everything sound naughty.“

So, if you haven’t already figured it out:
YES I liked “Shatter me” and I can easily recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a nice and short-lived page turner! =)

Enjoy! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating:4 Pfoten

Book 15 on My Book List 2021

”Your mom never made you eat your vegetables, did she?”
Their gazes clashed and the awkwardness was immediate.

Well, nope?! He’s the big bad wolf after all and I found it kind of hilarious that he loved tomatoes. *lol* This said, “Scarlet” was another great addition to “The Lunar Chronicles” and even though the Star Wars vibes weren’t as strong in this one as in the first book I still enjoyed it a lot and was very intrigued by Scarlet’s and Wolf’s story.

Interestingly this book picked up where the first one left off. So we didn’t only get Scarlet’s story that played in France, but also continued our journey with Cinder that still (mostly) took place in New Beijing. For me both plot lines were very interesting and the fast pacing of Scarlet’s chapters was a nice counterweight to the rather slow chapters of Cinder and Emperor Kai. Still, the fact they had a slow pace definitely didn’t mean that they weren’t super intriguing and suspenseful as well, because they definitely were. 😉

I guess we can all agree that Queen Levana is quite a formidable antagonist so the Kai chapters had me clasping my fingers and hoping that she wouldn’t do something unforgivable to him. He’s too precious and I don’t want to see him hurt. And speaking of precious characters: The new addition of Thorne and the return of Iko made this even more fun. *lol* We finally got some answers in “Scarlet” and I can’t wait to read the next book! I’m sure there’s even more to come and I’m looking forward to see where Marissa Meyer will take this series. =) For now we’ll talk about “Scarlet” though and as always I have thoughts. (I always do, don’t I? ;-P)

2

Bonjour, my fellow readers! You are now entering the spoilery territory of my review and if you haven’t read “Scarlet” already I’d recommend leaving this review. If you’re too curious… Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. We all know: Curiosity kills the cat! ;-P

Scarlet:

”I just think we shouldn’t judge her, or anyone, without trying to understand them first. That maybe we should get the full story before jumping to conclusions. Crazy notion, I know.”

Ahh Scarlet and her shotgun! I really liked that girl! *lol* She’s super independent, can stand her ground and is very down-to-earth, which are all good traits. And she’s very compassionate and always thinks of others first. I loved how much she cared about her grandmother and how determined she was to find her and to get her back to safety. When Scarlet finally reached her grandma it broke my heart though. They only had a couple of pages together and when she died I was so sad. You could feel their strong bond and their love for each other and if Scarlet now feels like eliminating Queen Levana’s soldiers with her shotgun for what they did to her grandma… well go ahead girl! XD The poor old lady deserved so much better than to be tortured by those Lunars. T_T I really hope Scarlet will get over the loss of her grandmother and that she’ll come out of it even stronger than before. Give my girl a shotgun in “Cress” and let’s see what will happen next! ;-P

”I suspect you would shoot me all over again if you thought it would help your grandmother.”
She blinked up at him, almost surprised to discover how close they were standing. “I would,” she said, “But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be sorry about it afterward.”

”Mademoiselle Benoit retrieved,” she said, planting her heel on the back of the dazed, blank-faced soldier and shoving him off the ramp. “And don’t worry, we’ll take Alpha Kesley off your hands.”

Wolf:

”The only way to prevent becoming an omega is to fight. And to win. That’s why I do it. That’s why I’m good at it.”

Wolf was such an enigma! From the very first moment he appeared on page I wondered about his motives and why he helped Scarlet. His heightened senses, the predatory actions and his appearance, it all had me wondering if he would turn on Scarlet and in the end he actually did. Despite all that I’m pretty certain that we got to see the real Wolf. Beneath the animal there’s still a person and it’s struggling for control. I always wondered why he was so scared around Scarlet and I finally realized that he was afraid of her because she made him feel like a human being, like a person and not an animal. So that kind of made me wonder about how he was raised and how he became one of Levana’s soldiers. He’s certainly no normal Lunar and it was hinted that Levana sort of “breeds” them, whatever that means. The last scene showed her soldiers in some sort of boot camp so I guess she trains them? I really hope we’ll find out more about this in the next books or that “The Queen’s Army” will be able to answer some of my questions. XD For now I’ll give Wolf the benefit of the doubt.

His hands hastily brushed the curls from her face, gripped her shoulders, rubbed her bruised wrist, every ounce of his frenetic energy devoted to checking that she was there. That she was all right. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I lost focus, I slipped – I’m sorry. Scarlet. Are you all right?”

”His jaw worked as if to take in a bigger gulp of hair.
She could see his fight. His struggle. As clearly as she could see the animal – the wolf – in him. As clearly as she could still see the man.

”I appreciated everything you gave me.” He picked up the can of olives and sniffed at them, wary of being tricked again. “Although I didn’t deserve any of it.”

Cinder:

”What are they doing?”
“Obeying,” she said heavily, hating herself for making the command. Hating the hums that filled her ears. Hating this gift that was too unnatural, too powerful, too unfair.

Cinder had quite a lot to digest in this book and it’s no wonder she’s kind of insecure about what to do and how to proceed. I guess to find out that you’re a long lost princess that was almost killed by your own evil aunt would be tough for everyone. XD She’s still trying to make sense of everything that happened and with Levana’s henchmen and every citizen of earth looking for her she didn’t even get a break to come to terms with her new status as a princess and fugitive. Not to mention that she still has feelings for Kai and must feel pretty betrayed by his actions. Considering what Levana did to her I’m kind of glad she has no conscious memory of what happened when she was a little kid though. >_< I wonder if Cinder will accept her powers in “Cress” or if she’ll still feel conflicted about them. Let’s hope she’ll make peace with them. I mean it’s not like the entire world depends on that, right? *lol*

”Levana had tried to kill her when she was only three years old.
Her operation had been completed when she was eleven.
Eight years. In a tank, sleeping and dreaming and growing.
Not dead, but not alive either.”

Kai:

”What he didn’t know was how many times she’d glamoured him before that. How many times she’d tricked him. How many times she’d made him out to be a complete fool.”

POOR KAI!!! To read his POV was pure torture! I felt so sorry for him because he doesn’t know about Cinder’s connection to Levana and has no idea what’s actually at stake. Not that he would need any more pressure. He’s basically holding his country together by sheer force of will. To say he’s between a rock and a hard place would be putting it more than just mildly. If you ask me it’s admirable that he even tries to defy Queen Levana! A lot of people would have cowered before her if she’d taken away their voice, but Kai? He still uses every single one of his breaths to annoy the hell out of her. It’s the only way he can defy her and boy does he give her a run for her money. *lol* Still, the pressure was too much and I hated to see him crumble. ARGH! I hated every single moment he had to wait for Levana to stop her attack. The price was too high and Kai basically gave his life for his people by agreeing to marry her. T_T Kai deserves so much better than that… so, so much better.

”Sensation returned to his tongue and Kai threw a thankless smile at Aimery. He then proceeded to do the most disrespectful thing he could think of – he pulled his chair back from his desk and sat down. Tripping back, he folded his hands over his stomach.”

”With the click of the latch, Kai let himself crumble into his chair. His entire body was shaking. It was suddenly so clear that he wasn’t ready for this. He wasn’t strong enough or smart enough to fill his father’s shoes. He couldn’t even keep Levana out of his own office – how was he going to protect an entire country from her – an entire planet?”

Thorne:

Then, “You’re … rather handsome, Captain Thorne.”
Cinder groaned.
“And you, my fine lady, are the most gorgeous ship in these skies, and don’t let anyone ever tell you different.”

Don’t you love a guy that calls himself Captain and is afraid of cockroaches? *lol* I’m not gonna lie, my first impression of Thorne wasn’t really a favourable one. XD To be honest my exact words were: He’s not the brightest candle on the cake. *lol* Which still holds true but the more I got to know him the more I realized that he’s like an adorable puppy. He has no idea what he’s doing but his heart is in the right place and sometimes he’s even downright reasonable. Haha! I think that makes him a great addition to the cast and I’m definitely looking forward to more of his dumb genius moments. In short: He’s super goofy and his rakish attitude makes him very entertaining. XD Considering the next book is “Cress” I’m pretty sure we didn’t see the last of him and that my wish to see more of him will come true soon. ;-P

”I get that you feel like it was your fault, but let’s try to put some of the blame where it belongs here.”

Queen Levana:

”Your Majesty,” Kai said, addressing the queen with, he thought, an admirable lack of contempt. “What a pleasant surprise.”
“One more patronizing comment and I will have you slice off and nail your own tongue to the palace gate.”

Isn’t Levana a sunshine? *lol* No, honestly, I hate that witch! With a fierce passion and the power of a thousand suns. This woman is horrible and I refuse to call her Queen. From now on I’ll only call her Levana because she certainly doesn’t deserve the title. Every once in a while you stumble upon a villain you can’t like because it’s such a horrible person and well, that would be Levana in my case. Guess there’s nothing that could redeem her in my eyes. I hate what she did to Wolf and all her other subjects and I hate her even more for using her power in order to bully Kai into a marriage with her. That cold and calculating, conniving, cruel WITCH! ARGH! I swear if she really marries Kai I’m going to throw that book against a wall. >_<

3

Scarlet & Wolf:

Scarlet’s brow was ceased as she inched toward him. “Do that again.”
He took half a step back, eyes glinting with sudden nerves. “Do what?”
“Smile.”

This was insta-love par excellence, but I still kind of shipped them? I guess we can cut them some slack because they got to know under really dire circumstances and if you take Wolf’s nature into consideration it’s kind of logical that he’d fall for someone hard and fast. Love seems to be connected to his instincts and since he’s such an instinct driven boy it’s no wonder he loves Scarlet. As for Scarlet… I have no explanation for her insta-love other than that she obviously digs broody handsome boys… don’t we all somehow? *lol* I don’t know how I feel about his betrayal though. From a logical perspective he’s as free as Kai is, so not free at all because his free will has been manipulated for years, but still. If I’d be Scarlet I would feel bitter about my grandmother’s death. I guess it works in his favour that he wasn’t around when they captured and tortured her. =( Ahh what a complicated mess… let’s hope that now he’s out of their reach he’ll be his own master and make his own decisions.

”Don’t come near me. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to listen to you. I would rather die than ever be touched by you again.”
She saw a gulp straining against his throat. Hurt flashed across his face but it only served to make her angrier.

”I know you don’t want to hurt me, Wolf.”
His nose bumped against her jaw. His breath caressed her collarbone.
“You helped me. You rescued me.”

”I know we met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance … all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.”

Cinder & Kai:

”But Kai wasn’t his father. He wasn’t that selfless.
Knowing it was wrong, he couldn’t help but wish that wherever Cinder had gone, they would never find her.”

So we basically didn’t get any “Cinder & Kai” moments in “Scarlet” but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t think about each other because they did. Kai still cares about her and this even though he doesn’t even know the entire truth. And Cinder basically went ballistic when she heard of his engagement with Levana, which most definitely had nothing to do with him being foolish but everything with him agreeing to marry that despicable person. *lol* Ahh I really want those two to meet and to talk things out. Can’t Cinder idk… kidnap Kai before he marries Levana? XD Throw me a bone here Marissa! ;-P

Cinder & Thorne:

”You opened my control panel?” she said, her words a little clearer with anger behind them.
He scowled. “I didn’t want to.”

Hahaha!!! What an accusation! It almost sounded like they were intimate which I suppose they actually were? Control panels are tricky things like that. *lol* Anyway, I really appreciated the blooming friendship between Thorne and Cinder and I was so there for their moments. I think without Thorne Cinder wouldn’t even have come as far as she did because in his own way he supported her and helped her to continue. I was really glad she had him at her side and wasn’t all alone with her problems. Even though Thorne only found out about her real identity at the ending of the book. *lol* Their friendship is still precious and I hope we’ll have more Cinder/Thorne moments in “Cress”.

”Yeah, because we’re famous.” He sang the word with a certain measure of pride. When Cinder rolled her eyes, he nudged her in the arm. “Oh, come on, it could be worse.”
She quirked an eyebrow at him and his grin broadened.
“At least we have each other.” He held out his arms, like he would have given her a huge hug if they hadn’t been strapped into their seats.

4

I think in a lot of ways “Scarlet” is such a typical second book. The world expands; new characters are introduced and old ones continue on their journey. Some questions are answered, new ones appear and the stage is set. 😉 All things considered this was a worthy sequel and I’m excited to read book 3. Apparently it’s even better than the first two and I’m ready to be blown away! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Tower of Dawn (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”There are choices in my past,” he said tightly, “that I have come to regret. But I can only move on – and attempt to fix them. Fight to make sure they do not occur again.”

Where do I even start with this review?
It was different. Different than all the books that came before because the pacing wasn’t as fast as in the former books and Sarah actually took her time to support the development of her characters and the plot. I know some people might think that an entire book about Chaol would be boring or that such a slow pacing would be detrimental for the overall storyline of the series but for me it wasn’t! Quite the contrary!

I think this book was necessary and needed and if you didn’t read “Tower of Dawn” because you don’t like Chaol and think you can ignore his story, it’s your choice, but I think you’re missing out on a lot of fun and important information that is vital to understand the events in “Kingdom of Ash”. 😉

Yes, this is a book about healing and recovering from injuries, it’s a book about guilt and redemption, it’s a story about a broken man who fights his way back into life, it’s about acknowledging the darkness that lives within all of us and about embracing it in order to learn how to move on. It’s about acceptance! Acceptance of the past, the present, the future, about recognizing your fears and faults, about making amends, but most of all it’s a story about a man who fights his inner demons and learns to love himself.

It’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read so far and even though the slow burns and pacing killed me I can still say that it fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly. This was a harmonious masterpiece and I can only speak for myself but from me Sarah gets all the stars and even more!!! <333

I loved this and thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope many other people will read and love it too! =))

2

You are now entering my “Spoilery Spoiler Section” and if you want to be spoiled take a seat, grab something to eat and drink and enjoy another one of my endless ToG essays. *lol* If you haven’t read this book yet and plan to dive into it soon you better leg it though. XD Consider yourself warned! ;-P

Chaol:

”Lord Chaol Westfall, Hand of the King.
He hated it. More than the sound of wheels. More than the body he now could not feel beneath his hips, the body whose stillness still surprised him, even after all these weeks later.
He was Lord of Nothing, Lord of Oath-Breakers. Lord of Liars.”

Oh Chaol!!! How much I suffered with him throughout the course of this entire book!!! He was so broken and loathed himself so much. To read his POV was more than just painful and to see how all his actions gnawed on him made me infinitely sad. He was practically flagellating himself and his self-hatred knew no boundaries. >_< This poor, poor man!!! Trapped in a broken body and left with a shattered soul. There were so many things he never worked through and if you ask me, it was about time he confronted his inner demons. (Quite literally I may add) And boy how he did it! I AM SO DAMN PROUD OF MY BOY!!! I CAN’T EVEN PUT IT INTO WORDS!!! Chaol’s journey was worth every second of my time! I finally saw the boy I liked so much in those first two books and it was so good to have him back again! To see his journey, to see how he grew in this book, how he accepted his mistakes and learned from them, how he became a stronger person! Gosh, this was everything I ever wanted and more! ❤ Hands down one of the best character arcs I ever had the pleasure to read about! =)) Thank you Queen Maas!!! *bows*

”A man used to being obeyed, yes, but a man also inclined to care for others. Look after them. Driven to do it by a compulsion he couldn’t leash, couldn’t train out of him. Couldn’t have broken out of him.”

”He’d been sinking and drowning since. Long before his spine.
He wasn’t certain if he’d even tried to swim. Not since that sword had gone into the river. Not since he’d left Dorian in that room with his father and told his friend – his brother – that he loved him, and knew it was good-bye. He’d … left. In every sense of the word.”

”A body on a bed. A dagger poised above his heart. A head rolling on stone. A collar around a neck. A sword sinking to the bottom of the Avery.”

”Life. He had life to savor, to fight for.
And the breaking that had started and ended here … Yes, it belonged to him. He was allowed to break, so that this forging might begin.
So that he might begin again.”

Yrene:

”The day I reached these shores, I cast aside that girl. And I will be damned if I let her reemerge. Or let someone tell me what to do with my life, my choices again.”

Haha! Boy, was I angry at Yrene!!! That horrible behaviour!! *lol* Seriously, the way she treated Chaol at the beginning of the book was so appalling! I mean I understand why she did it and why she hated him so much, but she didn’t even know him and never even gave him the benefit of the doubt. So I was basically bristling with indignation when she treated him that bad. XD Once she started to heal him she realized how wrong she was though and to see how she started to care for Chaol, how she realized that he was a good man. Well, let’s just say it was worth all the trouble they had at the beginning. ;-P Plus I loved that Yrene was so stubborn and headstrong and that she never backed down! That woman had guts! *lol* Especially when she threw Hasar into the water because she insulted Chaol. It takes quite some courage to go to such lengths and if there is one thing Yrene has in abundance then it’s certainly bravery. XD

Nesryn:

”So she’d figured it was better to remain, to be passed over, not for mere pay, but for the fact that there were so few other guards like her, helping those who needed it most. It was for them she stayed on, kept her head down while lesser men were appointed.”

And here I go with another woman that received my anger at the beginning of the book. *lol* Once again I understand why Nesryn acted the way she did and decided to leave with Sartaq, but damn did it bother me that she didn’t even tell Chaol in person. Yes, they had to leave quickly and were pressed for time, but still. She basically left him to deal with this huge pile of crap and that poor boy was already unable to cope with anything that happened. She should have known better than that and shouldn’t have left him to his own devices. Promises or not this was a shitty move and she knew it. 😉 Despite all that I still like her though. I mean Nesryn is a woman who’s self-confident and knows her weaknesses and strengths. She’s comfortable in her own skin and goes her own way. I have to admire that even though it made me angry at the beginning. *lol*

Sartaq:

”There is beauty in my father’s lands,” the prince went on while Kadara ripped into that monstrous carcass, “but there is much lurking beneath the surface, too.”

I LOVE SARTAQ!!! Of all the new characters that were introduced in this book this man definitely was the best!!! GAH! I don’t even know where to start! I loved everything about him! I mean he’s the khagan’s son and he’s a ruk rider and he’s charming, funny, sweet, eloquent, down-to-earth and never hesitates to voice his opinion. He is so honest, honourable, compassionate, caring, courageous and attentive it’s impossible not to love him. <333 Of all the khagan’s children I liked him the most and this right from the very first page he was introduced. XD I really hope we’ll see more of him in “Kingdom of Ash” and I can’t wait to see how all the other characters are going to react to him! =))

”I am sorry – for your loss. As long ago as it was. I … As a warrior, I grew up walking hand-in-hand with Death. And yet this one … It has been harder to endure than others. And my mother’s grief perhaps even harder to face than my own.”

Hasar:

”Hasar was many things, but she was loyal. To her core. To the few, few people whom she favoured. It had always warmed something in Yrene. To have someone who actually meant what they said. Hasar would behead the killer if they were unfortunate to encounter her. She would ask no questions, either.”

I still don’t know if I should like her or if I should dislike her. *lol* On the one hand I admired her brutal honesty and ruthlessness but on the other hand I didn’t like her attitude towards Chaol and Nesryn. Well, truth be told, even towards Yrene. I mean Yrene is her best friend, yet she didn’t even hesitate to use her in order to get some information from Chaol. She didn’t care if her best friend felt threatened by her and she didn’t give a damn about Yrene’s feelings when she basically forced her on Chaol. Right after the motto: The end justifies the means. She seems to be an intriguing character but I didn’t see all too much of her so I’m still undecided. Mhmm… maybe KoA will help me to get to know her better? =)

3

Yrene & Chaol:

”So you may look at me with resentment Yrene Towers, and I will not blame you for it. But believe me when I say that there is no one in Erilea who loathes me more than I do myself.”

To say those two had a bad start would be putting it more than just mildly! *LOL* They were at each other’s throat right from the moment Yrene walked into Chaol’s room, but they both had to go a long way and it was so nice to see them grow. Not just character-wise but also in the sense of growing together. I think that describes it really well. Over time their initial distrust turned into hesitant acceptance, a solid friendship and then into something more. And I LIVE for relationships like that! <333 Those two were so amazing together and there were so many moments that caused me to gasp. For instance the intense scene at the dinner party of the khagan’s children! I swear the air was burning between them! And the moment when Yrene coaxed him into walking towards her? Gosh, such a beautiful chapter and so typical for Chaol. He only started to walk because he wanted to apologize to her. *shakes head* Sweet boy! I have to admit that the ending kind of threw me though. I mean he went all this way, Yrene healed him fully and then he gave his life for her and once again was almost killed in the process. It’s just not fair that he had to suffer again, that he’ll suffer for the rest of his life now that Yrene made that deal with the goddess, but it still … idk it fits?! Their lives are connected now, not just by their love but also by the bond that was forged when Yrene saved him. And considering how deep their love is, this is kind of perfect and suitable? I mean, they probably couldn’t imagine a life without each other anyway so I guess it’s good they are tethered to each other? *lol* I’m making no sense, but I hope everyone who read this book knows what I mean! XD And I really, really, really hope they’ll both survive KoA! >_<

”Everything I thought, everything I had planned and wanted … It’s gone. All I have left is my king, and this ridiculous, slim scrap of hope that we survive this war and I can find a way to make something of it.”
“Of what?”
“Of everything that crumbled in my hands. Everything.”

”I don’t share a bed with patients. And you’re with Captain Faliq,” she added quickly. “And you’re –“
“Not in fit form to pleasure a woman?”
He was shocked he said it. But again more than a tad smug to see her eyes flare.
“No,” Yrene said, somehow going redder. “Certainly not that. But you’re… you.”
“I’m trying not to be insulted.”

Yet Yrene wrapped her arms around herself and said, “I feel safer here.”
Chaol tried not to blink at her. At the words.
With him. She felt safer here with him.

”He didn’t understand – how she could be so delicate, so small, when she had overturned his life entirely. Worked miracles with those hands and that soul, this woman who had crossed mountains and seas.”

Nesryn & Sartaq:

”After last night’s party, I had thought you would be … preoccupied.”
With Chaol. Her brows rose. “All day?”
The prince gave her a roguish smile, finishing off his long braid and picking up his spear once more. “I certainly would take all day.”

BLESS SARTAQ and his unapologetic flirting!!! *lol* I loved him so much and it was so funny to see self-confident Nesryn blush! Those two killed me! Throughout the entire book I may add! GAH! I swear I rarely came across such a slow burn (the only other example that instantly comes to mind is “The Raven Cycle”) and up until almost the last page I was like: “KISS GODDAMIT!! KISS!!! WHY WON’T YOU FINALLY KISS??!!! ADKASDLFSJAJKLMNÖ!” I swear, I was constantly complaining to Gem about them not even holding hands (Thank you for enduring my rants btw! *lol*) and I couldn’t believe that Sarah actually went for such a slow burn! XD I mean when I think about EoS… well you get the idea. Haha! Anyway, those two were so cute together, especially Sartaq, that I just wanted this ship to sail. Badly! And OMG was it a relief when they FINALLY kissed in the end! I hope they’ll have a few tender moments in KoA as well and that this isn’t all we get because ARGH I might actually die if a chaste kiss is everything they are going for. Look at me complaining about all those sexy scenes in EoS and now begging for some with Sartaq and Nesryn. *lmao* Sarah, you clearly messed me up big time… *shakes head*

”It took her another minute to stop trembling. Sartaq patiently waited, stroking her hair, fingers rippling over the ridges of Borte’s braid. She let him, leaned into the touch while she studied the gap they’d now have to jump, the stairs still beyond.”

”But even as the night moved on, as Nesryn sang in that beautiful mountain-hall, she felt Sartaq’s stare. Different from any he’d given before. And though she told herself she should, Nesryn did not look away.”

Sartaq smiled at her – gently. Sweetly. In a way she had not yet seen.
“I loved you before I even set eyes on you,” he said.
“Please,” Nesryn wept.
Sartaq’s hand tightened on hers. “I wish we’d had time.”

Nesryn left her body. Could only manage to breathe.
And when she tried to bow, Sartaq gripped her shoulders tightly. Stopped her before her head could even lower. “Never from you,” he said quietly.

Dorian & Chaol:

”Even as boys, I knew he was not his father’s son. I knew a better future lay with him, if I could make sure Dorian lived long enough. If he not only lived, but also survived – emotionally. If he had an ally, a true friend, in that court of vipers. Neither of us was old enough, strong enough to challenge his father. We saw what happened to those who whispered of rebellion. I knew that if I, if he set one foot out of line, his father would kill him, heir or no. So I craved the stability, the safety of the status quo.”

Those moments when Chaol thought about Dorian were the death of me. So much pain on both sides and Dorian never even blamed Chaol for leaving him in the castle. I can’t wait until those two are reunited again and I’m sure I’ll cry like a baby when they face each other after everything that happened. I just want them to hug and to be happy! <333 This friendship survived so much, I hope it will survive that final war too! They deserve it! *sobs* T_T

”I don’t know. He is free – he is alive. But is he fine? He suffered. Greatly. In ways I can’t begin to…” His throat tightened to the point of pain. “It should have been me. I had always planned for it to be me instead.”

Aelin & Chaol:

”Chaol?”
For wherever you need to go – and then some. The world needs more healers.
There, in her handwriting…
Chaol looked up at last, blinking away tears as he scanned his wife’s face. Every beautiful line, those golden eyes.
A gift.
A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand. With no thought of it ever being returned. A moment of kindness, a tug on a thread…

THIS MOMENT!!! I cried so freaking much when Chaol discovered that Aelin was the woman who helped Yrene all those years ago. This scene was so moving I’m having tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Precious Chaol crying. T_T Ahh, I swear there are so many different feels when I think about this revelation and they make me a crying mess, so I better stop talking about them now. XD

4

All told, I enjoyed this book even more than I expected and to say I loved every single second of it would probably be the understatement of the century. There was never a dull or boring moment and after reading five books (6 if you count “The Assassin’s Blade”) I was actually surprised that I’m still able to fall for newly introduced characters. Thank you, Sarah! ❤

And of course special thanks also go to my precious Gem! I wouldn’t have survived this book (and the slow burns) without you and I’m so glad we’re already reading the last book together! =) I can’t believe we actually buddy read this entire series!!! *lol* What’s going to come next?! We need another long series like that! XD