Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 5 on My Book List 2020


”Far beneath the surface of the earth, hidden from the sun and the moon, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories.”

There are stories that leave you with thousands of questions,
that cause you to topple under the sheer weight of their words.
And then there are stories that leave you with a million questions more,
but each and every single one of them feels like a soft caress.
Like a tender kiss on your longing skin. Like a shiver running through your craving mind.
You don’t want answers to those questions.
You just want to experience what they will do to you.
Which kind of emotions they will evoke, which sort of feelings they’ll drag to the surface.
You want to lose yourself in the story, dive deeper, be a part of it, touch it with your own fingertips…
Never let it go.

“The Starless Sea” is exactly this kind of story and it was an extraordinary pleasure to read it!

”A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun.”

The boy at the beginning of this particular story is Zachary Ezra Rawlins and he’s as relatable as a reader can be. He’s a student, has a TBR he’s trying to reduce, is more comfortable reading a book than being out with his friends and was sorted into Ravenclaw. And one day he meets a mysterious storyteller who draws him into a world of wonder and mystery. Into the world of the Starless Sea.

”You are here because you wish to sail the Starless Sea and breathe the haunted air.”

The mere idea of the Starless Sea was already so intriguing and I loved to explore the Harbour. I mean some sort of labyrinthine underground library that looks like an art museum and seems to go on forever? Show me only one bookworm that wouldn’t enjoy a place like that! Also there were cats everywhere which was such a nice touch because I love all sorts of cats. Moreover there even were mysterious locked rooms and I’m such a sucker for them. I always want to know what’s behind those locked doors and my curiosity knows no boundaries. *lol* In short: I lived and breathed this story!

”You had superior meet-cutes with the others, no wonder you like them both better. You’ve cast me as a villain.”

And of course, like every story, “The Starless Sea” had a villain as well. Allegra was pretty intriguing and I think she was one of those antagonists that fascinate you. She has her principles and methods (for instance “late-night intimidation tea” – I love that term btw ;-P) and she’s convinced that her way is the only right one. It’s hard to dislike a villain like that and I found myself more and more captivated by her character and presence. Speaking of which: Dorian was such a wonderful and complex character as well.

”You’re not wearing shoes.”
“I hate shoes.”
“Hate is a strong emotion for footwear,” Zachary observes.
“Most of my emotions are strong,” Dorian responds and again Zachary doesn’t know how to reply and Dorian saves him from having to.

I just loved that boy! And the moment he got introduced into the story is definitely among my favourite bookish moments ever! It was mysterious, amazing, intriguing and shiver-inducing. Gosh how I wish I could have heard that story right from Dorian’s lips. I probably would have died. XD He sounds like a man I could easily fall for and he was described so vividly that I could imagine myself listening to his stories while taking in his appearance and gestures. He’s a character that seduces with his voice and words and up until now I didn’t even know that I’ve a weakness for men like that but apparently I do. As does Zachary. *lol* But to everyone who thinks this is going to be a love story: Be warned! This is one hell of a slow-burn and a very unconventional one at that. 😉 Also it’s not the focus of the story. This tale is more intricate and multi-layered than you might expect.

”It is there, still,” he says and pauses for so long that Zachary thinks perhaps the story has concluded but then he leans closer. “This is where the moon goes when she cannot be seen in the sky,” Dorian slowly breathes each word against Zachary’s lips.

I think I don’t want to go into more detail because this is definitely a story you’ve to experience for yourself.  Just like “The Night Circus” it’s a tale I can’t describe. You just have to read it, feel it, get immersed in it. All those stories within stories, mesmerizing dreams turning into grotesque nightmares, little pieces that merge into one story and questions that might not always be answered. Succumb to the temptation and allow the narrative to drown you in the depths of the Starless Sea. If you give yourself to the story, I can guarantee the story will give you something back. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

ARC Review: Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love (Kim Fielding)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for approving me!**

First of all I’ve to say that this book was really cute and that Teddy and Romeo were just adorable. When I started to read this book I was in dire need of something sweet and fluffy and this was exactly what I got. So on that front “Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love” delivered exactly what I was looking for. It was a fast and very enjoyable read and it had me smiling while I read the book.

Secondly I’ve to mention that I loved the reps in this book. We have Teddy who is gay, Romeo who is black and pan and we even have a functioning polyamorous side-character relationship which truth be told, is a pretty rare treat to find in a contemporary romance book. This said I’ve to note that in my opinion the romance between the two MCs doesn’t fall into the category of the enemies to lovers trope. It’s pretty obvious that Teddy is attracted to Romeo and all their initial animosity is due to the fact that they don’t know each other and just assumed things. So it’s no wonder that once they hit it off they do it big time. 😉

I guess that’s the main reason why their relationship didn’t feel like insta-love for me and why it also didn’t feel like it was progressing too fast. They’ve been working in the same company for quite a while and they’ve been attracted to each other for months so to be head over heels when your feelings are finally reciprocated isn’t all that unrealistic. Plus we all know how fast you can fall in love.

As for Joyce Alexander and her crazy tasks that seemingly don’t have to do anything with either the two boys or their commitment to their product: She’s an elderly eccentric fashion icon that had enough years and especially enough freedom to develop her quirks so I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised by her actions. Quite the contrary, people like her actually DO exist and it felt pretty realistic she’d do something like that. *lol*

All things considered I thoroughly enjoyed “Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love” and even though the ending was kind of fast and felt slightly unrealistic I still found enjoyment in it. From the tasks they had to tackle up to their very fair and loyal boss at Reddyflora and right to the sleeping-in-one-bed trope this was super cute. Yes, there could have been more depth to the characters but since this is supposed to be a short and light rom-rom I didn’t really mind it. After all there’s only so much you can pack into a 250 pages book. All told, I liked it and I hope a lot of other people will enjoy it too! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Q, Reviews

Review: Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”When you shatter the chains of this world and forge the next, remember that art is as vital as food to a kingdom. Without it, a kingdom is nothing, and will be forgotten by time.”

If you read any of my updates I’m sure you’ll already know how I feel about this book. To say it was better than its predecessors would probably be the understatement of the century so all I’ll say is that Sarah once again surpassed herself. ❤

There were so many new characters that got introduced during the book and I’m not lying when I say that I loved them all. XD I think one of the most amazing things about Sarah’s books is that she has so many awesome and strong heroines! They do what they want to do, they are brave, they dare to dream, they dare to hope and they always make their way! It’s just so amazing to read! =)))

Of course not everything in “Queen of Shadows” is sunshine though and boy did it hit me with the feels sometimes! There were actually moments I was so frustrated that I felt like tearing the book apart (Don’t worry I did no such thing, I love my books too much to harm them. *lol*) and there were some chapters that killed me over and over again. I guess by now you all know which chapters I’m talking about. 😉

Well anyway, let’s not talk about the epic fights or the hopeful ending. WHAT a hopeful ending? YES!!! Jeez, I think this must be the first time I’m not destroyed after one of Sarah’s books. I’m actually h- … hopeful! I’m not licking my wounds or trying to deal with my emotions so knowing Sarah I have absolutely no doubt that she’s going to destroy me with “Empire of Storms”.

Ladies and Gentleman, this is the quiet before the storm and I’m so not ready for it! XD Which is probably the main reason I’m writing this review. I’m trying to stall for time. *lol* #SorryNotSorry

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Spoiler warning! My character section is so full of spoilers you won’t even have to read the book anymore. ;-P So if you still want to read this series and want to experience it all by yourself you better stop reading now! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! XD

Aelin:

”How can I take away somebody who means the world to someone else? Even if she’s my enemy.”

Boy, did I have mixed feelings about Aelin in this book! On the one hand I really loved her and could understand her decisions, but on the other hand all I wanted to do was to yell at her! *lol* I mean she sometimes really didn’t make it easy to like her in this book, knowing about her past and everything she’s been through I could see through her façade though. I mean it’s obvious she struggled with her new role as Queen and because of her insecurities and fears she sometimes made mistakes that got her into trouble. A crown is a heavy weight; I don’t blame her for not being perfect. Hell, I’m pretty sure I would have made plenty of mistakes as well. XD

”But now that she was here … everything was an effort not to say she was sorry. Sorry not for what she’d done to his face, but for the fact that her heart was healed – still fractured in spots, but healed – and he … he was not in it. Not as he’d once been.”

Chaol:

”Magic has saved your life a few times now, if I recall correctly.”
“Yes,” he breathed, “you and Dorian both – and I’m grateful, I am. But where are the checks against your kind? Iron? Not much of a deterrent, is it? Once magic is free, who is to stop the monsters from coming out again? Who is to stop you?”

And here is my second problem child! Chaol! Jeez, he said quite some nasty stuff! I mean I know where he’s coming from and I understand that he worries for his people and kingdom; I’m not okay with what he said about magic though. Before you go all like: “Oh don’t you dare to say anything against my baby!” now *raises eyebrow and looks at Gem and J.* I’ll tell you that despite all this I actually still love him. *lol* He did the best he could do and he’s just human. Of course he is afraid of magic and what it might do to his kingdom. I mean in spite of being the former captain of the king’s guard he’s still young. I’m sure he can’t even remember the world with magic and it’s no surprise he’s afraid of it. If he proved anything over those last 4 books then it is that he’s able to learn and to change though. So yes, I have faith in him and I’m sure as long as he follows his heart, he’ll always do the right thing. Plus: WHY DID YOU HAVE TO HURT HIM LIKE THAT, SARAH?! I think Chaol suffered enough over those last few books and now this too?! Not fair. T_T

Dorian:

”He deserved this darkness, and once the invisible boundary shattered and the waiting thing pounced, infiltrating and filling him … he’d have earned it.”

MY PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL!!! *sobs* Gosh, how much did I suffer with him, how much did I weep for his shattered and broken soul. The pain he went through, the torture he had to endure. T_T Every chapter was another stab into my heart and by the end of the book I almost lost hope that he’d be free again. I thought he was going to die, that nothing would be left of him, but then, then he broke his chains and OMG did I cry when he finally escaped!!! Still, he’s so broken and lonely and I’m not sure how he’s going to deal with everything that happened to him. I’m so worried about Dorian and I really hope he’ll be able to find happiness! #TeamDorian forever and for always!!! <333

”There were tears running down Aelin’s face as Dorian gripped the black stone encircling his throat. And bellowing his grief, his rage, his pain, he snapped the collar from his neck.”

”The sun would still rise and fall, the seasons would still change, heedless of whether he was free or enslaved, prince or king, heedless of who was alive and who was gone. The world would keep moving on. It didn’t seem right, somehow.”

Manon:

”I’m not in the habit of forcing my servants.”
“Only slaughtering men like pigs, correct?”
“Their deaths equate to their behavior in life,” Manon replied with a kind of calm that made Elide wonder whether she should start running.

Ahh Manon! My sexy relentless, fierce and ruthless witch! I love her! She’s one of those characters I can’t help but adore! I know she isn’t really a heroine, but she certainly is no villain either. In fact she’s such a complex character that I just can’t get enough of her! I FREAKIN LOVE THIS WITCH! And I’m so damn glad she finally decided to do what SHE thinks is right! YESH!!! Screw that old hag of a matron and do your thing Manon! Because you’re amazing and you could be so much more than just the monster others see in you! It’s time to disobey orders and to kick asses! Show them your iron fangs, baby! XD #GuessImTeamManonNowToo

Asterin let out another joyless laugh. “You would not have disobeyed even if it had been Blackbeaks down there, would you? Loyalty, obedience, brutality – that is what you are.”

”Do you believe monsters are born, or made?”

Rowan:

”You will make mistakes. You will make decisions, and sometimes you will regret those choices. Sometimes there won’t be a right choice, just the best of several bad options. I don’t need to tell you that you can do this – you know you can. I wouldn’t have sworn the oath to you if I didn’t think you could.”

I like Rowan but despite him becoming the main love interest for Aelin I still don’t love him as much as I love Dorian or Aedion. Hmm.. I dunno what it is but I think I’m kind of unhappy with his development. I mean in “Heir of Fire” he was this kickass, broody and fierce warrior that took no shit and now he’s almost become a purring kitty in Aelin’s arms. I mean I do get that he loves Aelin and would do everything for her, but I think his love for her made him less interesting somehow? Idk. It’s like he lost some part of himself now that he fell in love with his Queen and I really hope we’ll see the fierce warrior in “Empire of Storms” again. Please?

Aedion:

”Whatever you had to do to survive, whatever you did from spite or rage or selfishness … I don’t give a damn. You’re here – and you’re perfect. You always were, and you always will be.”

AEDION IS MY CUPCAKE! Seriously I think he’s one of the cutest guys ever and he definitely deserves the world! I love how fiercely loyal he is and that he always tries to see the good in people. He never wavered and he always did the right thing, even if it hurt him and was at his own expense. Like for instance accepting that Aelin let Rowan take the oath and didn’t even mention it! Gosh darn it! Aedion deserved better than that! I’ll personally pull Aelin’s long fae ears if she ever hurts him like that again!! Also is Aedion bi? I mean he commented on Rowan being handsome so I think that actually might be a possibility! Just one more reason to love him! <333

Lysandra:

“No. And what kills me is that I can’t remember what my real face was. That was the danger of shifting – that you would forget your real form, because it’s the memory of it that guides the shifting. I remember being plain as a dormouse, but … I don’t remember if my eyes were blue or gray or green; I can’t remember the shape of my nose or my chin. And it was a child’s body, too. I don’t know what I would look like now, as a woman.”

I’m in love with Lysandra too! *lol* Yes, I can’t help it! She’s such an awesome woman as well and she’s a hell of a fighter! Gosh did I love her comments! That girl brought so much life into Aelin’s court and I lived for her remarks. She always tried to appear nonchalant and bitchy but deep down within her there’s a heart of gold and by the end of the book even Aelin was able to see it. To think they were enemies and rivals once… I’m so glad they finally became friends. Plus: How cool is it that Lysandra is a shape shifter?!! I mean OMG!!! I didn’t expect that and I was so surprised when I found out. XD

”The soldiers in the sewer were screaming as she tore into them – a death for every day in hell, a death for the childhood taken from her and from Evangeline. She was fury, she was wrath, she was vengeance.”

Elide & Nesryn:

”You told me Dorian would fix the world, make it better. Buf if he’s gone, if we made the mistake today in keeping him alive, then I will find another way to attain that future. And another one after that, if I have to. I will keep getting back up, no matter how many times those butchers shove me down.” – Nesryn

Those two were both strong women in their own way, but I feel like we didn’t get to see all too much of them. I just wish there would have been more scenes with Elide & Nesryn. I mean they both intrigued me and their characters sounded very interesting, in the end I don’t feel like I really got to know them though. *sigh* Well, there are so many characters in Sarah’s books, it’s no wonder some of them fall by the wayside. Let’s hope there will be more of them in Eos! 😉

Arobynn:

”Sam had been tortured in ways she hadn’t even known until she read Wesley’s letter. The worst of it had been requested by Arobynn. Requested, as punishment for Sam’s loving her – punishment for tampering with Arobynn’s belongings.”

That manipulative jerk eventually got what he deserved! But damn I wish it wouldn’t have happened the way it did in the end. To die in his sleep was a death too merciful for him. For all the horrible and atrocious things Arobynn did he should have at least been awake and aware of the fact that he died. I understand why Lysandra could only kill him in his sleep though. *sigh* My poor brave girl!

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Aelin & Chaol:

For a heartbeat, she pitied him, and part of her wished she could say it more kindly, more compassionately. “There’s no getting Dorian out. There’s no saving him.”
“Like hell there isn’t.”

THOSE TWO! Gosh, they constantly seemed to be at each other’s throat and they frustrated me immensely! I hated that Aelin thought she couldn’t save Dorian and loved Chaol for never giving up on him, yet at the same time I disliked Chaol for calling Aelin a monster! I swear their anger and the way they treated each other had me all like: No, NO, NO! You’re supposed to help each other!! You’re supposed to save Dorian! Pull yourself together and work it out! GODDAMMIT!!! Thankfully by the end of the book both of them finally realized that they need each other and they eventually made amends. Jeez! It was about time! *sighs deeply* Urgh they were so stressful.

”We do not look back, Chaol. It helps no one and nothing to look back. We can only go on.”
There she was, that queen looking out at him, a hint of the ruler she was becoming. And it knocked the breath out of him, because it made him feel so strangely young – when she now seemed so old.

Rowan & Aelin:

”I could still probably braid this,” she mused. “Very teensy-tiny braids, so – “ He growled, but leaned back against the tub, his eyes closed. “You’re no better than a house cat,” she said, massaging his head. He let out a low noise in his throat that might very well have been a purr.

Haha! I loved it when Rowan lost all common sense at seeing Aelin in a flimsy nightgown! *LOL* Such a mighty fae warrior and then he sees her like that and isn’t even capable to utter a single word. XD Fun times. ;-P Still, I really like their connection and that they are so close to each other, I kind of dislike the notion of Rowan disappearing as an individual though. I just hope that he’ll give her hell in “EoS” again. *lol* Because I lived for their easy banter and the fact that they always gave each other a run for their money! XD It would be boring if Rowan would end up as nothing more than the man at Aelin’s side.

”I spent centuries wandering the world, from empires to kingdoms to wastelands, never settling, never stopping – not for one moment. I was always looking toward the horizon, always wondering what waited across the next ocean, over the next mountain. But I think … I think that whole time, all those centuries, I was just looking for you.”

Manon & Dorian:

He cocked his head. “I’ve never been with a witch.”
Let her rip out his throat for that. End it.
A row of iron fangs snapped down over her teeth as her smile grew. “I’ve been with plenty of men. You’re all the same. Taste the same.” She looked him over as if he were her next meal.
“I dare you,” he managed to say.
Her eyes narrowed, the gold like living embers. He’d never seen anyone so beautiful. This witch had been crafted from the darkness between the stars.

I SHIP THEM SO HARD I CAN’T EVEN!!!! ADKFADSFASDJFKSDFJA! I love it that Manon was the only one who got that Dorian is still alive and I love that she was so drawn to him! And boy those two short conversations they had! THEY GAVE ME LIFE!!! I WANT MORE OF THEM!! Just more!! I want my fierce, ruthless witch and my precious cinnamon roll to be together!!! PLEASEEEEE!!!! *dies out of sheer excitement*

”And through the darkness of his memories, through the pain and despair and terror he’d tried to forget, a name echoed in his head.”

Manon & Asterin:

”That wildness, that untamed fierceness … They weren’t born of a free heart, but of one that had known despair so complete that living brightly, living violently, was the only way to outrun it.”

Asterin’s story broke my heart and I want her to be happy again!!! I hated it so much that they both were at odds with each other and that Asterin had to suffer so much even though she only wanted to help Manon. She loves her. It’s more than just obvious! As it seems Manon had to come a long way until she realized what truly matters, but I think now that she did, she’s finally ready to oppose her matron! I really can’t wait to see THAT fight! XD

”Things are changing,” Manon said.
“Good,” Asterin said. “We’re immortals. Things should change, and often, or they’ll get boring.”
Manon lifted her brows, and her Second grinnend. Manon shook her head and grinned back.

Lysandra & Aedion:

A strange, ever-changing female scent hit him, and Aedion found Lysandra leaning against the hallway door. Tears gleamed in her eyes even as she smiled.
She gazed at the closed bedroom door, as if she could still see the prince and queen inside. “That,” she said, more to herself than to him. “That is what I am going to find one day.”
“A gorgeous Fae warrior?” Aedion said, shifting a bit.
Lysandra chuckled, wiping away her tears, and gave him a knowing look before walking away.

Another ship I want to sail! I think Aedion and Lysandra would make such a great couple! *lol* Besides I’m sure Lysandra might actually be the only one who would be able to keep up with Aedion. Haha! I mean they tease each other so nicely and Aedion is even slightly unsettled when she’s turning into a ghost leopard which means he has a lot of respect for her and this is always important in a relationship! =) Let’s see if Aedion will be Lysandra’s gorgeous Fae warrior in ‘”Eos”! ;-P

Aelin & Dorian:

”It is going to take a while. And it might never be right again. Buy you …” She gripped his hand, as if he hadn’t used those hands to hurt and maim, to stab her. “You will learn to face it, and to endure it. What happened, Dorian, was not your fault.”

I still love their strong friendship, despite Aelin being willing to kill him of course. XD But I guess after meeting those Valg Princes at Wendlyn she was allowed to doubt his survival. Still, they both can change the world together and they are both so strong! I have faith in them and I’m sure if they help each other and stick together they can really shatter the chains of their world and make it right! =)

Dorian & Chaol:

”I didn’t realize I looked that bad,” Dorian said, his voice raw.
He knew then – that the demon inside the prince was gone. Chaol wept.
Dorian surged from the chair and dropped to his knees beside the bed. He grabbed Chaol’s hand, squeezing it as he pressed his brow against his. “You were dead,” the prince said, his voice breaking. “I thought you were dead.”

Those two had me in tears at the end. T_T I was so happy they both found each other again!!! Their friendship went through so much in those last four books and now they are finally together! I love them and I admit it, I even kinda ship them. XD I mean hello, Chaol told Dorian that he loves him! XD Can’t blame me for shipping them, can you?! ;-P Besides, it’s obvious they love each other. At least as friends they do. XD
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All told I really loved “Queen of Shadows” and I can’t wait to get to book five! I’m sure Sarah will have a lot in store for us and I’m kinda scared to start it. As long as my precious Gem continues this journey with me I shall be fine though! ;-P Thanks for reading this series with me! XD We just have to read two more books!!! Two more books Gem and we’ll be ready to read “Kingdom of Ash”. =)

Allgemein, P, P - T, Reviews

Review: Prodigy (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


“All it takes is one generation to brainwash a population and convince them that reality doesn’t exist.”

First of all I have to say: This was amazing!!!
I mean boy! I really thought I knew in which kind of direction this was heading but then Marie Lu apparently decided to throw me for a loop and after finishing “Prodigy” I don’t even know how to feel about … well, anything and everything! Seriously, I’m totally blown away by this ending because I DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING!!!! O_o

But then again there were a lot of things in this book I didn’t see coming and there were some chapters that had me put down the book in order to process what just happened. I mean I kind of felt like a hound: Certain I’d catch my prey but then thrown off the trail because aforementioned prey was clever and decided to walk into the river to cover its tracks. *lol*

So yes, there were a lot of things I never saw coming and there were some things I saw from miles away. XD It was the mixture of both that kept me engaged throughout the entire book and I really can’t wait to read the third and last book. Because I don’t know if I mentioned it already but I’M NOT OKAY WITH THAT FREAKING ENDING!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!! I need Marie Lu to rewrite that ending in the next book or to idk work miracles?! *lol* Just, do something Marie!!! Please!! Don’t let that ending stand! And no, you’re not witnessing a mental breakdown, just a person who’s having words with its sanity. ;-P

Anyway… I have thoughts! PLENTY of them so let’s get them all out of my system!

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Welcome to the Colonies where we treat strangers with kindness until we stab them with spoilers in their backs! ;-P So if you want to enjoy our marvellous land you better prepare yourself for the painful pleasure of being spoiled. XD

June Iparis:

”They act like I’m some sort of untamed weapon – and in a way, I guess that’s true. The irony of it all makes me want to laugh. Day is a Republic soldier on board the RS Dynasty, and I am the Republic’s most valuable captive. We’ve switched places.”

I think the most interesting thing about “Prodigy” was that June is totally out of her depth. XD  There’s only so much you can learn at a military academy and even though they taught her everything about weapons and war strategy they certainly missed out on teaching her about love and human interactions. *lol* This said, I had a lot of fun watching her squirm while she tried to navigate those dangerous waters she suddenly found herself in. ;-P Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a June fan: I mean she’s one of those cool tough people that know exactly with which kind of weapon they are threatened and she’s definitely one of those really rare kick-ass heroines! It was nice to see more of her human side though and I really enjoyed those moments. I think she grew a lot during this book and the hard decisions she had to make only shaped her even more as a person. So yeah, I’m really curious about the June in “Champion”.  =)

”The soldiers point their guns at me (Model XM-2500, 700m range, smart rounds, can shoot through two layers of cement), then haul me to my feet. During the train ride, I’d watched these two soldiers with such intensity that their nerves must be completely shot by now.”

”Love is illogical, love has consequences – I did this to myself, and I should be able to take it. So take it, June.”

”How could I possibly think that we’d never suffer the consequences of what I’d done to him? How could I be so arrogant to assume it would all work out for us in the end, that my doing a couple of good deeds could make up for all the pain I caused him?”

Daniel “Day” Altan Wing:

”He holds me with his gaze. It’s hard to describe Day to those who have never seen him before – exotic, unique, overwhelming.“

And this is the moment when I go all NOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO, NO, NO, NOOO!!! Like just NOOOO!!! How could you do this to my precious baby Marie??!!! I won’t accept that ending, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!!! ADKFASDFJASKDFAJS! *takes a deep breath* Okay, I’m fine now. *lol* So now that I got that out of my system I can finally concentrate on the important things like for instance why Marie Lu thought it a good idea to give MY Day a terminal disease!!! *holds in another scream* I’m so not okay with that ending and I really hope Marie will undo that in the next book, because I really can’t with this. I just can’t. Day already suffered enough! He lost his mother, his brother, his father, he can’t lose Tess, June and his life now too. >_< This broke my heart so much because he just deserves better. He’s the light and hope of so many people, yet he never gets some of that light and hope for himself. The irony is just too much. Also his self-doubts and fear of not being enough for June just about killed me. He’s the most precious, pure and beautiful soul and no one can compete with him! All I want is to see my precious snowflake happy. *sniff* T_T

”I suddenly feel so stupid for telling her that I love her, as if I’d be able to make her love me in return like some common girl from the streets. She didn’t say it back, anyway.
Why do I even care? It shouldn’t hurt this much. Should it? Don’t I have more important stuff to worry about?”

”I want to run. To do what I always do, have always done, for the last five years of my life. Escape, flee into the shadows. But this time, I stand my ground. I’m tired of running.”

”I’ve been starved, beaten, and humiliated. I’ve been tortured, insulted, and suppressed. I’ve lived in the slums with you. I’ve risked my life for you. And you’ve risked your lives for me. We have risked our lives for our country – not the country we live in now, but the country we hope to have. You are all, every single one of you, a hero.“

”I can’t describe the emotions on his face – something lost, something ripped from his gaze and strewn across the floor. A deep, quiet sadness that tears me apart. What’s going through Day’s mind?”

Anden – The Elector:

”You and Day are the most celebrated people in the Republic. If I can form an alliance with you both, I can win the people. Then instead of quelling rebellions and trying to keep things from falling apart, I can concentrate on implementing the changes this country needs.”

Mhmm I still don’t know how to feel about Anden. He’s obviously either a really good guy or a remarkable actor. *lol* I have no doubt that his moves were all calculated, the question is if they were truly based on his beliefs or if he only did what he had to because he knew he couldn’t hold the country all by himself. For me his character is still a question mark and I hope to find out more about his real motivations in “Champion”. Considering that June will work so closely with him I’m pretty sure we’ll get to see a lot of Anden in the next book though. Let’s just hope it will be something good. XD

”Well, do you think your father’s policies worked?” I ask quietly.
Anden lowers his head. He searches for the right words. “How can I answer that? His policies did work. The Trials did make our armies stronger. Does that make what he did right, though? I think about it all the time.“

3

June & Day:

”We’re in this together, right?” he whispers. “You and me? You want to be here, yeah?”
There’s guilt in his questions. “Yes,” I reply. “I chose this.”
Day pulls me close enough for our noses to touch. “I love you.”

I can’t believe June never said it to him too!!! WHY JUNE!!?? I guess I should be happy for her being responsible and not acting on a whim but urgh, if a boy like Day confesses his love to you and you feel the same way then you should tell him! >_<  No wonder he thought she fancied Anden, especially after the thoughtless remark she made about Day’s ring. How is that poor boy to know how she feels if she doesn’t open her mouth and tells him? I could understand Day’s fears and frustrations… And I really didn’t like the kind of direction this book took, because Anden as a possible love interest for June made everything so much worse. Poor Day! My first thought when they parted ways was: No, don’t separate! It won’t be good for your love and I guess I was right. T_T Well, and there was still that huge “Sword of Damocles” – aka June being responsible for Day’s mum and brother dying – hanging over their heads. I’m glad they talked it out though and that it was addressed as an issue! It would have been unrealistic if it would have never become a problem between them so I have to give Marie kudos for that. There were so many things that killed me but one of the most memorable moments was June being so tender to sleeping and injured Day at the beginning of the book. I remember writing an update and thinking that it’s so sad he doesn’t know she’s so tender with him and then near the ending when June was ill he did the same for her because he actually noticed. I’m still not over it and my heart aches!!!! <333 Plus THAT ENDING!!! T_T *goes into a corner and cries*

Engagements? My heart flutters in my chest. I can’t help smiling. “With paper clip rings?”
Oh no. I’d meant it as an honest question of curiosity, but don’t realize I sound sarcastic until the words are already out of my mouth.
Day blushes a little; I’m immediately angry at myself for slipping up again. “With something handmade,” he corrects me after a beat.

”I’d almost forgotten how his touch makes me feel. I want to fall into the purity that is Day, soaking in his simple honesty, his heart that sits open and beating on his sleeve.”

”That’s not fair, Day. I didn’t choose to be born into this. I never wanted to hurt your family –“
“Well, you did.” I feel myself tremble and fall apart under his glare. “You led the soldiers right to my family’s door. You’re the reason they’re dead.“

”Don’t go, I plead wordlessly. But I can taste the good-bye on his lips and now I can no longer hold back my tears. He’s trembling. His face is wet. I hang on to him like he’ll disappear if I let go, like I’ll be left alone in this dark room, standing in the empty air. Day, the boy form the streets with nothing except of the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart.”

June & Anden:

”My initial distaste wavers – this new thought intrigues me. Anden must be very aware of his poor public reputation. Perhaps he’s hoping for the people’s support. If that’s the case, then he’s taking pains to do something that our last Elector cared little about.”

I don’t ship it. Not at all. Just look how June described kissing Day vs. Anden. I’d take Day over Anden any day! (pun totally not intended *lol*) Their relationship has something so sterile about it and I don’t want June to be with Anden. He’s too polished, too posh, too artificial and too composed. There’s no passion! So a definite nope from me! If they end up together it’s only because they both will gain political influence through their relationship and that’s the wrong reason to be with someone. >_< Enough said!

”With Day, there’s a fire and a hunger between us, even anger, some deep desperation and need. With Anden, though, the kiss is all delicacy and refined grace, aristocratic manners, power, and elegance. Pleasure and shame wash through me.”

Tess & Day:

”Trust me, Day. I’m saying this for your sake. June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces.”

And here’s another relationship development I hated. Not that I didn’t see that one coming, I actually did, I still wasn’t happy with it though. I suppose it’s just natural Tess fell in love with Day or developed some crush on him. He saved her life and helped her to survive so he’s automatically a hero in her eyes. Also let’s not forget that she’s 13 and he’s 15. The age difference isn’t as prominent as some people might think it to be. Still, Tess is like Day’s little sister and he can’t see her as anything else. I really hated Tess’s jealousy and I was so sad when they argued and parted ways. I just hope Tess will come around and realise her mistakes. >_< Day needs his little sister now! Badly!! T_T

”June can do anything she wants to the Republic, and they’ll take her back too.” Tess raises her voice. “Whenever June needs something, she gets results, but my needs aren’t worth a bucket of pig’s blood. Maybe if I were the Republic’s darling, you’d care about me too.”

Metias & Thomas:

”I’m a soldier of the Republic. When I joined the military I took an oath to obey my superiors’ orders at all costs. Metias took the same oath, and he broke it.”

Remember when I wondered about Thomas’s true motives in my review of “Legend”? Oh well, I can say that I’m shocked now. O_O He actually killed Metias because he was being a good soldier. I can’t believe he murdered him. Especially after the revelation that Metias was in love with him. I have no idea if Thomas reciprocated his feelings but OMG!!! I never saw that one coming and believe me when I say that Metias deserved so much better than THAT! To be killed by the person you love. IT. BREAKS. MY. HEART! T_T I think that makes Thomas the worst friend ever and I hope his vacation to hell is already booked! Poor precious Metias. *sniff*

”I did care for him, you know,” he says through my silence. He pretends bravado, some false professionalism. Still, I hear a tinge of sadness. “But I am also a soldier of the Republic. I did what I had to do.”

”I remember how patient and gentle Metias was when explaining things to Thomas. The way his hand would touch Thomas’s shoulder. The night when I’d eaten edame at that cafe with Thomas and Metias, when Metias first stopped shadowing Chian. The way Metias’s hand would sometimes rest on Thomas’s arm for a beat longer than it had to.”

4

“Prodigy” went in an entirely different direction than I expected, but it was still awesome! I guess I probably should have expected Marie Lu to pull such a stunt because she always manages to surprise me and loves to shake things up. XD Still, I’m not okay with that ending and I sincerely hope that it will be altered in the next book. Marie, please! Work your magic and throw me for another loop!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The School for Good And Evil (Soman Chainani)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


”Tonight she would be taken into the woods. Tonight she would begin a new life. Tonight she would live out her fairy tale.”

And what a fairy tale it would turn out to be! *lol* I wasn’t all too sure what to expect when I went into this, because all I knew was that one of my favourite bloggers loves this series to bits and pieces and has been raving about it for months. XD I dunno how you usually choose your next book, but for me this was the main reason to finally pick up “The School for Good and Evil”. If one of my fave bloggers loves it, it’s pretty likely I’ll enjoy it too. (Yes, I’m a simple soul when it comes to things like that. ;-P)

Turns out my gut feeling was right! *lol* I loved and enjoyed this so freaking much! I mean this is middle grade yet it still had that typical fairy tale vibe going on. Truth be told, Sophie’s and Agatha’s story is actually pretty cruel sometimes and the punishments they get for failing are quite harsh. Just like you’d expect it from a brothers Grimm fairy tale. It will never cease to amaze me how children hear those horrible stories and take everything for granted. I mean as a kid we were all okay with the witch from Hansel and Gretel burning in the stove, right?

”No matter how cruel children are to each other, nothing can prepare them for how cruel their stories can be.”

Anyway, I probably could write an essay about fairy tales and their meaning for children (actually did that at school *lol*) but I think I’ll leave it at that. 😉 Suffice it to say that the typical stereotypes of fairy tales are more than just strong in here. We have plenty of princesses who act like a damsel in distress, we get to know princes who are born to rule and to save those aforementioned damsels and we have evil witches and their henchmen. So just your ordinary fairy tale, or not? Not really, Agatha and Sophie are doing quite a thorough job at turning their world upside down and I just loved them for it! XD This was such a fun ride and I enjoyed every crazy minute of it.

This said, let’s get to my characters section so I can finally get all those thoughts out of my mind! 😉

2

As you all know by now this is my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled you better return to Gavaldon. If you’re naughty enough to actually want to be spoiled, well, welcome to the School for Evil! I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun! ;-P

Sophie:

”You’re lucky that someone would come see you when no one else will. You’re lucky that someone like me would be your friend. You’re lucky that someone like me is such a good person.”

I think statements like the one above were the reason why Sophie ended up in Evil. I mean if she would have truly been a good soul, she wouldn’t have befriended Agatha as part of her good deeds. It doesn’t matter that they became actual friends in the end, the reason why she started to hang out with her was a selfish one and I knew exactly why Sophie would have never made it into The School for Good. Sophie might have looked as pretty as a princess but her soul? Well, let’s just say it was as dark as the night. *lol* And tell you what?! I loved it! I mean there’s this girl that wants so desperately to be good that she’s actually turning out to be more than just a little evil. All the things she did, all her seemingly good intentions were no good intentions at all. And I’ve to agree with Lady Lesso here: What we do matters! Not what we are! Still, I felt really sorry for Sophie because some of the punishments were pretty harsh and her desperation to get in the right school was so palpable. Also to watch her metamorphosis into a witch was quite something. It started out with little things, like trying to get into the School for Good, talking Tedros into a bargain and trying to seduce him, cheating with Agatha’s help, etc. Well, and then it turned into bigger things, like killing the Beast when it cut her hair in the dungeons and I suppose from that moment on her way to Evil was paved into the ground. In the end Sophie became a witch and boy, she was a sight to behold! I loved her so much!! *LOL* She’s definitely one hell of a character and I can’t wait to read more about her in the next book! =)

”Sophie smoothed her hair and walked toward the light, swallowing the sickness in her throat.
The good forgive, said the rules.
But the rules were wrong. They had to be.
Because she hadn’t forgiven.
She hadn’t forgiven at all.”

”You see, it doesn’t matter what we are, Sophie.”
Lady Lesso leaned so close she just had to whisper.
“It’s what we do.”

”Sophie threw down the glass, threw back her head, and unleashed a horrible crackle that promised Evil, beautiful Evil too pure to fight.”

Agatha:

”At first Agatha found it dumb, but now it was scary. This was what Good souls craved? Boys they didn’t even know? Based on what!”

Haha! I agreed so much with Agatha’s POV! She was probably the only feminist in the entire School for Good and I could relate to her thoughts so much. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into lessons like that either. Funnily enough, all the “real princesses” that ever made it into storybooks were no damsels in distress at all. I mean just look at Arielle , Belle, Cinderella, Mulan… yes they were all very coy at the beginning of their tales, but in the end they all fought for what they believed in. And they fought for their freedom! So if you think about it like that Agatha was kind of a typical princess! *lol* The real princesses don’t wait for their princes to do something, they take things in their own hands and do it themselves! XD Which Agatha did! I really liked Agatha and I think she was one hell of a friend! I mean she studied both: The Good & the Evil lessons just to help Sophie out and she would have died for Sophie and her friends. Also by the end of the book she began to love Tedros but she still did everything possible to help Sophie to win him over. She put her friend before herself and that’s so altruistic that she could only end up in Good. XD I’m really looking forward to see more of her and how things are going to turn out. Especially after THAT ending!!!

”I wish I could help you,” she said. “I wish I could help us all go home.”
The gargoyle lay its head in her lap. As the burning menagerie closed in, a monster and a child wept in each other’s arms.

”I’d set them all free if I could, but his magic is too strong,” Agatha said, voice cracking. “I just wish my talent had a better ending.”

Tedros:

”Hair a halo of celestial gold, eyes blue as a cloudless sky, skin the color of hot desert sand, he glistened with a noble sheen, as if his blood ran purer than the rest.”

I’ve to admit I wasn’t a huge Tedros fan at the beginning of the book. He kind of gave me “Gaston vibes” and I hated Gaston! *lol* But the more I read about him, the more I could understand why he was that way. Tedros’s character is really complex and there is more to him than meets the eye. It was good to get an occasional glimpse at his thoughts and they were completely different to what he showed on the outside. Well, most of the time. When it came to Agatha and Sophie he disliked them both; at least at the beginning of the book. XD And yes I even felt sorry for him because to be between Agatha and Sophie couldn’t have been easy. Poor guy got really confused by them. >_< I’m sure we’ll get to see more of him in the other books and I’m pretty sure sooner or later he’ll show us his true self instead of what everyone expects him to be. =)

”The best villains make you doubt.”

”That’s what makes us Good, Hester. We trust. We protect. We love. What do you have?”

Hort:

”So I definitely can’t love,” Hort said.
“Colder than you thought possible… Then say these words…”
“But if I could love, I’d love you.”

Okay, Hort might be at the School for Evil, but that boy is so damn precious!! *lol* I mean he’s a side-character but he’s still sweet and amazing! He helped Sophie even though she was really mean to him and his black pajamas with green frogs?! Cute as hell! Haha! Also I think there’s way more to him as well. He’s obviously a very sad soul and I think he deserves someone super nice! He seems to love Sophie but I’m afraid she’ll only use him and won’t reciprocate so I’m kind of worried about him. #PreciousHortDeservesLove !!! <333

The Three Witches:

Hester looked up at Agatha. “She flooded our floor.”
“To do her makeup,” said Anadil.
“Whoever heard of anything so evil?” Dot grimaced. “Song included.”

I absolutely adored those three witches! Anadil, Dot and Hester were awesome! I loved how they were obviously evil but still so compassionate! At first glance Dot seemed to be the only compassionate one but the more I read the more Anadil’s and Hester’s soft sides showed as well. They were great and I loved that they thought Sophie’s morning routine was evil! XD I really want to know more about all of them and I hope they’ll have bigger roles in the next few books.

Dot’s eyes misted. “You were so pretty.”
“It’ll grow back,” Sophie said, trying not to cry.

3

Sophie & Agatha:

”Agatha wanted her only friend back. But a friend wasn’t enough for Sophie. Sophie had always wanted more.
Sophie wanted a prince.”

The friendship of those two was quite something! It had a lot of ups and downs, but in the end they always found back to each other. Even when they ended up in different schools, even when everyone told them that a princess and a witch can’t be friends they still defied the rules and held on to their connection! I loved their friendship so much, even though I’ve to admit that Sophie really took advantage of dear Agatha! Their friendship had that one-sided dynamic and I think that was their problem all along. Sophie did quite a few awful things yet Agatha still stood by her, but the moment Agatha did something Sophie didn’t like she went all nemesis on her. Still, this was the goal of the book. Both, Sophie and Agatha had to learn what it means to be a true friend. They needed to find a balance and in the end they did. It’s kind of sad it had to end with Sophie turning into a witch but I suppose that was the price they had to pay in order to get their fairy tale ending. XD I really dig the fact that their fairy tale shows that a friendship is a lot of work and that you shouldn’t take it for granted! It’s a really realistic approach and I love it!

”You are Good,” Sophie panted, head on Agatha’s shoulder.
“I won’t let them hurt you,” Agatha whispered, holding Sophie tight.
Sophie touched her cheek. “I wish I could say the same.”

Sophie & Tedros:

”When I’m #1, you’ll ask me to forgive you.”
“You get to #1 and I’ll ask you anything you want,” he snorted.
Sophie turned to him. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“If you’re still awake.”

I always knew those two wouldn’t work out because Sophie only loved Tedros for what he represented. She didn’t really love him as a person, only his good looks and his status as the prince of princes. She was so set on the idea of him being her prince that she didn’t even bother to get to know him. All that mattered was that he fell in love with her and saved her from the School of Evil and this was such a selfish notion, that it’s really no surprise she didn’t succeed. Sophie didn’t want to put any real effort into winning him over so it was Agatha he actually fell in love with and of course his love for Sophie turned bitter as soon as he found out the truth. So by the end of the book there was no love lost between them and things took their course.

”Even if it means waiting for a lifetime for a kiss.” Tedros answered, taking her hand. Then he cocked his head. “I’m assuming this is a hypothetical question.”
Sophie laughed and buried her head in his shoulder in time to hide the tears. She’d explain one day. When their love was strong enough.

”Heart throbbing, Sophie smelled the bitter black thorns laced with a scent she knew so well.
So this was her reward for Love.
She crushed the rose, spitting Tedros’ words with blood.

”Tedros glared down at her form inside the glass castle. In the weak sun, his milky face had a glint of red.
Sophie met his eyes, steeling her heart.
He’d love her back. He’d have to.
Because she’d destroy him if he dared love anyone else.”

Agatha & Tedros:

”You think he’s your prince? He’s just a puffed-up windbag who can’t find anything better to do than prance around half naked and thrust his sword where it doesn’t belong!”

So I guess Agatha and Tedros were a really, really, really slow burn that kind of bordered on love at hundredth sight. *LOL* Still, you could feel that they were meant to be together by the animosity they felt. XD The enemies-to-lovers trope was strong with those two!!! Funnily enough it was exactly the other way around with Sophie. Tedros and she were a typical lovers-to-enemies trope. ;-P Anyway, I loved some of the conversations between Agatha and Tedros. *lol* When Agatha scared him with a made up curse I had to laugh so hard! I mean seriously the “Hopsocotl Spell”??! XD Plus they were really cute when they finally admitted their feelings. It breaks my heart that Agatha and Sophie vanished in the end and that Tedros never got to say goodbye to her and I really hope they’ll see each other again. I also hope that Tedros will share some of his testosterone in the next book though. The way he decided things over Agatha’s head was not okay and if he truly loves her he should have accepted her opinion. If they become a couple in the next few books he’ll have to change his attitude. XD

”Put me down!”
Tedros obeyed and Agatha pulled away.
“I’m not a princess!” she snapped, fixing her collar.
“If you say so,” the prince said, eyes drifting downward. Agatha followed them ot her grashed legs, waterfalls of brilliant blood. She saw blood bluring –
Tedros smiled. “One … two … three…”
She fainted in his arms.
“Definitely a princess,” he said.

4

This was one hell of a bookish surprise and I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much! Agatha’s and Sophie’s world totally won me over and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The mere fact that I read this book in the span of a week shows how much I enjoyed it! This modern fairy tale was such a wild ride! Cool, cruel and crazy with all the necessary ingredients to make it a truly remarkable read! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 33 on My Book List 2020
 

”Being a hero at home had its limitations; he needed a larger audience.”

So, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” made it into the “Goodreads Choice Awards 2020” and is probably one out of 3 books I actually managed to read this year. *lol* Taking a closer look at all the reviews that have been written about it, I have no idea how it ended up as a nominee in the awards but I suppose the main reason why it made its way in there is because it’s popular and provoked very conflicting emotions. I mean, all publicity is good publicity, right? 😉

I can see why so many people didn’t like it. The expectations for this were probably sky high and if you expected something similar like “The Hunger Games” it’s no wonder people ended up hating the book. As for me? Well, I went into this completely blind and all I knew was that it was going to be about President Snow. And tell you what?! I enjoyed it immensely! XD This book was right up my alley and the carefully hidden Slytherin/Dark Court faerie in me was a happy camper! ;-P (As was the part of me that loves to collect hints that are linked to the main trilogy.)

Yes, Coriolanus Snow is neither a hero nor an especially likable person but he’s cunning and knows how to use his strengths. I loved all the machinations and lies, the countless manipulations and the back-stabbing attitude of the tributes as well as their mentors. It kept the story going, it forced me to take a closer look at some of Coryo’s classmates and it helped me to understand Snow a little bit better. Mind you, I still hate him! *lol* But you can enjoy a book and still dislike its protagonist. 😉 So if you’re looking for a slow book whose focus is on the art of schemes, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this. If you’re looking for action and a good redemption arc, well, I’m sorry to say it, but you won’t get it in here. This is no story in which the heroes win; it’s a murky, morally grey and ambitious tale. And it ends with: “SNOW LANDS ON TOP. ;-P

2

You’re entering the Capitol! Make sure to leave all your good intentions at the front door because you certainly won’t need them in here. Be prepared to read some spoilers and to discuss them with our host Lucky Flickerman! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Once you enter this spoilery arena all bets are off!

Coriolanus Snow:

”A tendency toward obsession was hardwired into his brain and would likely be his undoing if he couldn’t learn to outsmart it.”

I have so many mixed feelings about this boy! On the one hand there were moments I could relate to him and on the other hand he did a lot of things I didn’t agree with. To say he’s a fascinating character would be the understatement of the century. Is he good? No! Is he bad? No. If anything Coryo is one hell of a multifaceted character and I’ve to give Suzanne kudos for managing to make him this way. So who is Coriolanus Snow while he’s the mentor of Lucy Gray Baird in the 10th Hunger Games? He’s a boy driven by the will to survive! The lengths he’s going to just to ensure that his family “stays on top” are kind of remarkable. I mean there’s a boy who knows hunger, who has nothing but his family, a fancy apartment and his good name. War hardened him, showed him his limits and taught him that sentimentality has no bearing once you’re faced with the decision to either burn your beloved books or to freeze to death. Still, while his cousin Tigris is working hard to keep food on their table, Coryo’s job is to attend the academy’s classes. All in the hope that he’ll become big and earn them enough money to keep them afloat. That’s the boy at the beginning of the book, but the longer I followed his journey, the more it became apparent that he’s also an exceptional egoist and opportunist. Everything he did was calculated, every move he made was deliberate. All of his actions had an ulterior motive, even if it was as simple as not to anger Dr. Gaul. This boy is trying to survive and as long as the end justifies the means everything is allowed! The most fascinating thing for me was the fact that Coriolanus knew Dr. Gaul was trying to manipulate him into a certain direction, but that he still decided to let himself be formed by her. It was way easier than to swim against the tide and to lose everything. There were so many road junctions, so many different routes he could have taken, yet he always, ALWAYS chose the one that made life easier for him. Even if it meant to betray his friends. In the end this led to him being the perfect pawn in Dr. Gaul’s game and it eventually culminated in the poisoning of Dean Highbottom. His first real and intentional murder; the very first cobblestone that paved the way for his cruel future. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think Dr. Gaul won in the end!

”He buried his head in his hands, confused, angry, and most of all afraid. Afraid of Dr. Gaul. Afraid of the Capitol. Afraid of everything. If the people who were supposed to protect you played so fast and loose with your life… then how did you survive? Not by trusting them, that was for sure. And if you couldn’t trust them, who could you trust? All bets were off.”

”I keep asking myself why you did it.”
Not much choice, really, thought Coriolanus. “He’s my friend,” he said.

”What awaited him farther down that slope if he was unable to stop his descent? What else might he be capable of? Well, that was it. It stopped now. If he didn’t have honor, he had nothing. No more deception. No more shady strategies. No more rationalization. From now on he’d live honestly, and if he ended up as a beggar, at least he would be a decent one.”

”He’d continue the Games, of course, when he ruled Panem. People would call him a tyrant, ironfisted and cruel. But at least he would ensure survival for survival’s sake, giving them a chance to evolve. What else could humanity hope for? Really, it should thank him.”

Lucy Gray Baird:

”You can’t take my sass.
You can’t take my talking.
You can kiss my ass
And then keep on walking.
Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”

I absolutely loved Lucy Gray Baird! She was one hell of a girl and I couldn’t help but admire her for her strength. She was scared and alone, but she still refused to back down. Some might say she’s a survivalist and that would be true. In contrast to Coryo she still has compassion and a good heart though. I think those two were pretty similar but what distinguished them were their different moral concepts and convictions. Coriolanus was like a wind chime always going in the direction of the least resistance without regretting (most of) his decisions while Lucy Gray had to do horrible things in order to survive and despised herself for them. She had to do those things to stay alive, but she neither enjoyed doing them nor did she accept her situation as an excuse. Quite the contrary, she didn’t excuse her actions; she lived with the harsh reality of them! Maybe it was her being a part of the Covey that helped her to get through the Hunger Games. I mean she was exceptionally resourceful and she knew how to work a crowd. Both qualities that worked in her favour. And let’s be honest here, the fact Coryo fell for her gave her an undeniable edge over the other tributes as well. He cared for her wellbeing, gave her food and helped her to avoid the deadly poison of the snakes. Guess Lucy Gray Baird might not only have been sassy and charming but also a little bit manipulative as well. ;-P

”Why? Are you asking?” said Lucy Gray seriously. He looked up in surprise. “Because I think this could work.”
Coriolanus felt himself blush a little at her teasing. “I’m pretty sure you could do better.”

Dr. Gaul:

”If you’re familiar, if they have pleasant associations with your scent – a warm tank, for instance – they’ll ignore you. A new scent, something foreign, that would be a threat,” said Dr. Gaul. “You’d be on your own, little girl.”

Dr. Gaul is one of those characters you can’t help but despise. She has no regard for life, or at least not as long as it isn’t useful for her purposes. This woman was ruthless and cruel, using her position in order to threaten, bully and hurt the people that got in her way. The handful of mentors she took an interest in all either ended up dead or were sent on their way to madness. For her the tributes were as much a part of the game as their mentors and she saw them all as tools. I don’t know why but for some reason the picture of Tilda Swinton in “Snowpiercer” always came to my mind when I thought of Dr. Gaul. *lol*It just seemed to fit her personality and the weirdness of her character. The thing that happened with Clemensia?! Oh boy! Dr. Gaul was one hell of a manipulative witch and it’s no surprise Snow turned out the way he is now after ending up under her tutelage. >_<

”How quickly civilization disappears. All your fine manners, education, family background, everything you pride yourself on, stripped away in the blink of an eye, revealing everything you actually are. A boy with a club who beats another boy to death. That’s mankind in its natural state.”

Sejanus Plinth:

”They’re not animals, though,” said Sejanus. “They’re kids, like you and me.”
“They’re not like me!” the little girl protested. “They’re district. That’s why they belong in a cage!”

Sejanus Plinth was too precious for this world and that’s exactly what cost him his life in the end. He was too trusting, too compassionate; he saw the tributes as people and not as animals like everyone else. Sejanus was brave but also so very innocent and naive. I think he underestimated the power, wiliness and cruelty of the people he was dealing with. On the one hand that made him braver than any of his classmates but on the other hand it also painted a target on his head. Someone like Sejanus had no place in a world like the Capitol and I think the only three people to ever realize this were his mother, Coryo and yes, unfortunately also Dr. Gaul. I think Sejanus was an idealistic dreamer and I really liked him for it. But dreaming will only get you as far and he didn’t have the necessary slyness to go about things the right way. It pained me to see where his way was heading but as a reader there was nothing I could have done to stop it. Which is another reason why this book was so intriguing. It made me pull for him, but at the same time I knew he wouldn’t make it.

”The only thing I loved about the war was the fact that I still lived at home. If you’re asking me if it had any value beyond that, I would say that it was an opportunity to right some wrongs.”

”You never miss a beat, do you? I remember that from school. Watching you watch other people. Pretending you weren’t. And choosing the moments you weighed in so carefully.”

3

Coriolanus & Lucy:

”So you didn’t have a second thought about diving into a cage of tributes?” prompted the reporter.
“A second, a third, and I imagine the fourth and fifth will be hitting me sometime soon,” admitted Coriolanus. “But if she’s brave enough to be here, shouldn’t I be?”

I really think those two loved each other. The way they fell in love might have been pretty fast but considering their circumstances I think it was realistic. I mean Lucy could have died any second and Coryo’s life was dangerous as well.  Not to mention that they were both very young and at least for Coriolanus it was his first love. If he wouldn’t have harboured real feelings for her he would have never even considered giving her his mother’s compact. It was, after all, his most precious possession. This said they barely knew each other and never had the time to spend all too much time in each other’s company. It’s no surprise they didn’t work out in the end; I’ve to admit that I was sort of thrown by the events at the ending of the book though! I mean OMG!!! After everything they went through together he actually wanted to kill her… just like that?! O_o But that’s Snow for you. He was always way too practical for his own good and he saw an opportunity to get the life he dreamed of. Lucy was the only obstacle left in his way so his logical conclusion was that she had to go. I’m glad Lucy was so smart and figured it out before he got a chance to kill her, but I’ll always wonder what happened to her. Maybe Katniss is her descendant? Who knows?

”You matter to me, Lucy Gray,” he repeated. His words drew her eyes back to him, but she still seemed distant.

”You’re not alone.” He took her hand. “And you won’t be alone in the arena; we’ll be together. I’ll be there every moment. I won’t take my eyes off of you. We’ll win this thing together, Lucy Gray. I promise.”

”It really would be like having you with me, wouldn’t it?”
“Go on,” he urged her. “Take me with you. Take it.”

Coriolanus & Sejanus:

”That’s not your fault,” said Coriolanus.
“I know. I know. I’m so blameless I’m choking on it,” said Sejanus.

Was it friendship or not? I think everyone who read this book might have asked themselves this question at some point. I think it was and then it wasn’t. The only reason Coryo saved Sejanus so often was because he would have probably died if he didn’t. I mean it’s not like Dr. Gaul gave him any choice in that matter. For Sejanus it was definitely friendship, he trusted Snow and considered him to be his best friend. For Coryo? I think some part of him actually cared about Sejanus, but it just wasn’t enough to put his friend before himself. When faced with the choice between his or Sejanus’s life Snow would have always chosen himself. And he did it in the end. He knew exactly what he did when he sent Dr. Gaul that voice record and even though he tried to reason with himself he ultimately knew that he had made the wrong choice. He knew about the consequences, no matter how hard he tried to convince himself into believing that he didn’t and yet he still did it. What really struck me as tragic was that nothing would have happened if he would have let Sejanus disappear with the rebels. I mean all they planned was to run away and to seek refuge in another district. So why did he do it? An ingrained sense of duty? To curry favour with Dr. Gaul? Aside from that he had absolutely no reason to turn on his friend. So if you ask me it was some combination of stepping over his friend to get where he always wanted to be and some twisted kind of payback for all the times he got into trouble because of Sejanus. That’s just my opinion though. If you have another theory: Hit me! I’d love to discuss this! XD

”Thanks. You’re quite the rebel,” said Sejanus as they carried their trays to the conveyor belt that ran to the kitchen.
“I’m bad news , all right,” said Coriolanus.

”The one thing Coriolanus had never questioned was Sejanus’s honesty. If anything, he’d have welcomed a little less of it. But this was a bald-faced lie, delivered as naturally as the truth. Which meant that now anything he said was suspect.”

”Coriolanus buried his face in his hands. He had killed Sejanus as surely as if he’d bludgeoned him to death like Bobbin or gunned him down like Mayfair. He’d killed the person who considered him his brother. But even as the vileness of the act threatened to drown him, a tiny voice kept asking, What choice did you have? What choice? No choice.”

Dr. Gaul and Sejanus:

”Possibly on his way to freedom,” said Sejanus in a strained voice. “Possibly captured and under wraps. Possibly injured and hiding. Possibly dead. I’ve no idea. Do you?”

Honestly, I was kind of impressed that Sejanus was able to defy Dr. Gaul for so long. That boy had guts to stand up to her like that and to question her in front of his entire class. Truth be told I was surprised she didn’t shut him up immediately, but then again he probably was another one of her experiments. She enjoyed to be challenged by him and for a while it seemed to amuse her. Also she would have had plenty of opportunities to harm him but she chose a public execution AFTER the Hunger Games in a district that was so far off that no one even noticed. Talk about revenge. Dr. Gaul got her payback alight. >_<

”That’s our right,” Dr. Gaul countered.
“No, it isn’t! I don’t care what you say. You’ve no right to starve people, to punish them for no reason. No right to take away their life and freedom. Those are things everyone is born with, and they’re not yours for the taking.”

4

Since this was Snow’s story I didn’t expect to be all too invested in it, but the more I read the more I was intrigued by the book. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was definitely a surprise in this regard and I don’t regret picking it up. Backstabbing, cruelty, machinations and complex characters, this book has it all. I can recommend it to everyone who can’t help but appreciate a well-crafted and thought-provoking intrigue. ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Radio Silence (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 33 on My Book List 2019

”Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”

I think by now this quote made its way into the most epic quotes of all time and I can totally understand all the hype this book got. When I joined goodreads back in 2017 “Radio Silence” was all over my feed and people were raving about it like crazy. I had no idea what all the fuss was about but three years later and countless books in between I finally get it. XD Alice Oseman’s book is amazing, epic, brilliant and most of all it’s relatable af!

As an author it’s not easy to capture the voice of a generation but I think Oseman did it masterfully. Truth be told, it’s more than the voice of a generation, it’s the voice of many generations that all went through the same thing. Did I lose you already? What I’m trying to say is that this book is timeless because it speaks to every teenager and young adult that ever went through adolescence.

“Radio Silence” tackles the strong bonds of friendships you only seem to have as a teen, it addresses the insecurities of young adults, the urgency and intensity of emotions, it shows that our educational system is far from perfect and that good grades aren’t everything in life, it makes room for individualism and it demonstrates that parents can influence their children in the best but also in the worst way possible. It plays with the idea of the internet as a medium that can connect people all over the world but it also illustrates how easy it is to hurt people and their privacy.

Seriously, this book gives so many thought-provoking impulses it’s hard to write it all into a summary, which only seems to emphasise my earlier statement of Oseman’s skill to capture the voice of a generation. People are complex, relationships are complicated and the way to your true self is paved with plenty of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. So just another ordinary day in the life of a young adult, right? ;-P

trigger warnings: emotional parental abuse, depression (implied),  suicidal thoughts (heavily implied), online bullying, teens drinking alcohol

2

This is my spoilery spoiler section and if you haven’t already read the book: Well, pirates ye be warned! ;-P This said: Welcome to Universe City, I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time with Radio and his sidekicks!

Frances Janvier:

”Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.”

I really liked Frances! I mean I was never as good at school as her but I kind of admire her for getting good grades while following her obsession with “Radio Silence”. It’s no small feat and I really appreciated the idea of a character that’s good at school but also has a very creative streak. =) For some reason this is pretty rare in books and I don’t know why. XD Also the distinction between “School Frances” and “Normal Frances “ was amazing and very relatable. As a teen a lot of us are insecure and act differently when they are around their friends so this was such a great way to represent that sentiment. Also now is the moment I have to mention that I want Aled’s and France’s wardrobe! *lol* Seriously, their clothes are amazing! ❤ I would have loved to get my hands on them. Haha! Anyway, back to Frances as a character! I loved her compassion and that she always tried to do the right thing and was very responsible. Plus she was a really great friend! I hope we’ll see more of her in other books but I’m not sure she’s going to be in one of the others?! Guess I’ll have to find out.

”I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.”

Aled Last:

”it’s honestly fine!!!! what’s up?
if you’re feeling crap it’s always better to talk about it“

I really wish Aled would have taken his own advice! I know he’s the silent, withdrawn and broody kind of type but a lot of his problems could have been tackled if he would have just talked about them. Then again his mother certainly didn’t make it easy to develop some self-esteem, let alone to talk about his problems. (I’m so angry at his mom btw!!!) I felt so, so sorry for him and I was glad Frances and Daniel were able to see the true Aled. My heart really bled for this boy and it made me so sad that his mother couldn’t see how beautiful he was! ❤ I mean he made a podcast thousands of people followed and listened to, they even made fanart of it and yet his mother had nothing better to do than to destroy every little piece of him. >_< It killed me. Really. Aled suffered so much and I wish I could have jumped right into the book and saved him! He didn’t want to go to university and he was drowning in despair, which got more and more apparent with every episode he made. Those last few episodes? It just hurt… because they were a reflection of his true life and helplessness. T_T

”Sometimes I think if nobody spoke to me, I’d never speak again.”

”I can take a little beating now and then. I’m a tough one. I’m a star. I’m steel-chested and diamond-eyed. Cyborgs live and then they break, but I’ll never break. Even when my bone dust drifts over the City walls, I’ll be living and I’ll be flying, and I will wave and laugh.”

Daniel Jun:

”We were so important to each other. We’d tell each other everything and anything. We were each other’s first everything. First and only everything. He’s – he’s an angel.”

Daniel might have appeared to be a study machine but deep down he was a really nice guy and it was pretty obvious that he cared about Aled. With his neat appearance and orderly life he’s the complete opposite of Aled, yet he still enjoyed being with his friend. Daniel was so focused on school that it wasn’t easy to see his true self but the longer I read the more I began to warm to him. XD Guess I made the same experience like Frances. 😉

Carys:

Carol raised an eyebrow. “Well, it is how it is. I’m not here to see you and, frankly, I don’t want to. I want to talk to my real child.”
“I don’t think you deserve to,” said Carys, and I could feel the inaudible gasps of everyone in the room.

Okay, I admit it: There was a moment when I wanted to punch Carys in the face! I mean if it would have been my brother suffering so much I would have run to him in a heartbeat. But then again she thought that she was the problem and that Aled would be fine. Thankfully Frances could persuade her to seek him out and the moment she realized her mother was destroying Aled she became the lioness I wanted her to be! XD I loved how she defended Aled and that she gave her mother a run for her money because quite honestly this was what I wanted her to do the entire book! I’m so glad Aled and her reconciled and I was glad Frances and Carys got a chance to talk about the night she vanished.

3

Frances & Aled:

”So why have you been talking to me then?” he said. At the exact moment he said, “I’m so unimpressive,” I said, “Because you’re cool.”
We looked at each other.
Then he laughed softly and shook his head. “This is so weird.”

Boy their relationship was one hell of a rollercoaster! When they got to know each other and started to work on “Universe City” I was so happy for them but the more Aled’s mother and the fandom of Radio interfered, the more their friendship got under attack. I really would have loved for them just to do their own thing and not to be bothered by anything but of course life had other plans. I mean it’s no wonder Aled kind of broke under the pressure. Between the constant emotional abuse of his mother and the personal attacks of the fandom it would have been hard for anyone to keep on swimming. So bless Frances for always trying to reach out to him! Heaven knows Aled’s condition and his character didn’t make it easy to get through to him, but she never gave up on him and that’s what true friends do! Even though I’ve to admit that he said quite hurtful things to her and it’s no wonder she was insecure about their friendship. Still, at the end they found together again and I was very glad they did! =)

He laughed again and hid his face under the blanket.
“Why are you so nice to me?”
“Because I’m an angel.”
“You are.” He stretched out his arm and patted me on the head. “And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

He wrenched his hand back. “It’s fine. She’s always like this.”
“Does she hurt you?” I said. “Tell me if she hurts you. Right now. I’m serious.”
“No. I swear she doesn’t. He waved his injured hand. “This was an accident.”
“That’s not right. She can’t just – She just – What the fuck, I mean …”

”I’m just the replacement. You’re obsessed with me. Just the same as Carys, and you’ve managed to fuck up the only thing I had, the only good thing I fucking have, just like you managed to fuck up Carys’s. D’you fancy me as well?”

”Do you want to be famous?”
“I just … want to be special.”
“You are special.”
He laughed and said, “Shut up.”

Frances & her mum:

”Don’t let him escape!” said Mum. “This could be your only chance at securing a spouse!”

I swear Frances’s mum is kick-ass! I strive to be as cool as her once my little one is in her teens! I mean that woman wore a unicorn onesie and was basically an angel! I loved that Frances could talk with her about everything and that she always listened to her daughter’s troubles. She didn’t judge and let Frances figure out things for herself and most importantly: She accepted her the way she was!!! Even when Frances told her that she didn’t want to go to university she was totally okay with it and respected her daughter’s decision! I just loved that she was so supportive! She was the total opposite of Aled’s mum and I really liked that parents weren’t just mentioned as a footnote in “Radio Silence” but actually were a part of their children’s lives! =) This is really rare in YA and I appreciated it immensely!

”I don’t think I want to go to university.”
“Oh, Frances.” She didn’t sound disappointed. “That’s okay.”
“Is it okay?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s okay.”

Aled & his mum:

”She looked terrifying, in that classic white, middle-class mum sort of way. Dyed cropped hair, slightly round physique, a smile that said ‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’ and eyes that said ‘I will burn everything you love.’

I really hated this woman! So, so much! GRRR!!! She stands for everything a parent shouldn’t do and be and URGH! I just couldn’t with her! I mean who ruins their children’s life? Who takes a scissor and cuts their son’s hair even though he said he doesn’t want to cut it?! Like seriously!?? And don’t even get me started on her changing Aled’s room! That was his personal space his safe haven and she destroyed it because she thought it was too messy?! WTF?! YOU. DON’T. INVADE. YOUR. CHILD’S. PRVIVATE. SPACE. EVER.!!! You let them put up posters, you let them scribble poetry on a white board, you idk give them room to breathe and to be who they are!! You don’t destroy their home! And then the thing with Aled’s dog Brian?! WTH?! Which mother does things like that?! I’m outraged and furious about this behaviour from a person that should lover her child unconditionally! The emotional abuse this woman put her children through isn’t normal and it’s extremely appalling! She might have never raised her hand against them but the emotional scars her actions left are at least as severe as if she would have hit them. All throughout the entire book I just wanted to call the youth welfare office! >_< I can’t with this woman. I just can’t! I’m so glad Carys and Aled aren’t with her anymore. They suffered enough! And this from a woman that birthed them and should have loved them… *shakes head*

”Aled was going to cry when he saw this.
She had taken his private space – his home – and destroyed it.
She took everything he loved and ruined it.”

”But we were sitting under the streetlamps and Aled was shaking in my arms and this was real, this was happening. She was taking everything Aled had and burning it. She was burning him, slowly, until he died.”

Daniel & Aled:

”I think we were so caught up in each other that we just… missed all the heteronormative propaganda that’s thrust at you when you’re that age.”

Ahh those two were actually kinda cute! Daniel broke my heart when he spoke about their relationship with Frances though. I think for him it must have been very difficult to deal with Aled. On the one hand he was his best friend and knew him better than anyone else but on the other hand he had no idea how he truly felt about him. I could understand why Aled was insecure about outing himself as demisexual. A lot of people never heard of it and he had only just begun to figure out what this meant for him as a person. I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt Daniel and so he rather pushed him away instead of talking things out. Anyway. It made me happy that they eventually managed to speak about it and I hope that one day they’ll reach the moment when they’ll both feel comfortable enough to show the world. =)

”It was all just for us in private, like we had to protect it, because we didn’t want the rest of the world to ruin it. I don’t really know why… I guess it didn’t feel like we were in a relationship at all. Because we were best friends, first and foremost. So we never knew how we’d explain it to people.”

”I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway,” he said. “I think the world’s had enough of those, to be honest.”

The reps and diversity:

This is an Alice Oseman book so the reps and the diversity were amazing! We have Frances who’s bisexual and English/Ethiopian; then there is Aled – the second MC – who is demisexual and his best friend/boyfriend Daniel who is South Korean and gay! Rain a friend of Frances is Indian and last but not least there’s Carys – Aled’s sister – who is a lesbian. So you just gotta love the diversity in this book! Also I think Aled is showing signs of depression but it’s never really verified. (though pretty much implied!)

4

This is probably the best contemporary book I ever read and considering it’s a genre I rarely dive into this should tell you enough! Alice Oseman is a genius and the characters she created, their struggles and friendships, their hopes and dreams, their fears and doubts; they all felt real and more than just a little relatable! “Radio Silence” is the accurate voice of numerous generations, describing the one thing every one of us has to experience in order to become who we truly are: Adolescence! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
 
Book 20 on My Book List 2020

”Bad fates do not always follow those who deserve them.”

I guess that’s a wisdom that sets the tone for this entire collection of dark fairy tales. If there is a recurrent theme that runs through all of those stories then it’s the fact that the bad guys don’t always get what they deserve. Which, quite honestly, made this even more intriguing for me. So what else did I love about Leigh’s stories? That they were as dark as the midnight hour. *lol* I mean if you’re familiar with fairy tales you know that all of them have a lesson you’re supposed to learn and that they are pretty cruel and wicked as well. So in that regard Leigh certainly delivered. XD Some of those stories gave me goose bumps and caused me to shake my head in disgust. And others made me wonder how different the story could have ended if the characters would have been a little bit more on guard. No matter the outcome of the stories they were all amazing though. As were the drawings around the pages! I loved them so much! There were so many little details and each and every single story turned out to be a flip book when you went through it fast enough. If you ask me a lot of thought went into this book and I really appreciated it.

This said let’s take a short look at the six stories themselves:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood: 4/5

”Then perhaps you might show mercy freely?“
“My father never taught me mercy.”
“And can you not learn?”

I really enjoyed that one even though it kind of reminded me of a combination of “The Beauty and the Beast” and “Arabian Nights”. Well, if the beauty would have been a plain girl instead of a beauty and if the stories wouldn’t have had an ending. *lol*

The Too-Clever Fox: 5/5

”If you like, you may have me as supper. I warn you, though, I am stringy and tough. Only my tongue holds savor. I make a bitter meal, but excellent company.”

Ahh I really loved that one!! Okay, I might be biased because I love foxes and cunning people/creatures but Koja was awesome! How he got out of the most delicate situations was great and that fox had all my respect! ❤ That ending though!!! I mean I kind of saw it coming but boy!!! O_o

The Witch of Duva: 5/5

”What is it you want?”
“I want to go home,” said Nadya.
“Well then,” said Magda. “You’d better start shoveling.”

This was a totally unique story and I never heard anything like it before. It plays with how people perceive others and it shows that you should never give into your prejudices. I really loved that one and the moral of the story was driven home with quite a punch. XD (That one actually cause me to feel a little sick. >_< )

Little Knife: 3/5

”Papa forgive me, but what way is this to find a husband? Soon I will have a fine mirror, but will I have good man?”

For some reason this was the story I enjoyed least. I don’t know why but maybe because it wasn’t all too shocking? I mean there is definitely a lesson to be learned and Semyon’s relationship as a tidemaker with the river was interesting, but the ending… I dunno. *shrugs* Maybe I didn’t like the fact that the beautiful girl always obeyed her father’s wishes. *lol*

The Soldier Prince: 4,5/5

”Are you mine?”

Okay! For me that one was super creepy because I’m kind of afraid of dolls and clowns. You might call it a mild coulrophobia and automatonophobia? >_< They just scare the bejesus out of me. (I know why I never read “It”.) So this story was kinda tough to read and gave me all sorts of anxiety. I somehow managed to get through it though and I’m glad I survived it. I have absolutely no idea how Clara and Frederik could play with the Soldier Prince, let alone love him, but oh well. Still, that ending…. *shudders and hides under a blanket*

When Water sang Fire: 3,5/5

”Magic doesn’t require beauty,” she said. “Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.”

I think we can all agree that this was some sort of “The Little Mermaid” retelling and the longest story out of those six. The relationship between Ulla and Signy was really interesting but if you ask me it was only friendship. I know some people thought they might have a relationship but I doubt it. They both just loved to sing and were connected through their magic and their love for music. The ending didn’t really surprise me and Roffe’s character and his intentions were obvious right from the start. The most interesting piece here was probably the apprentice, which apparently was the Darkling?! I dunno. He was a too little part of this story to actually make assumptions. 

4

This was the perfect Halloween read and if you love creepy and dark fairy tales this is definitely your kind of book! The cover, the illustrations and the flip book element only made this even more enjoyable and every time I picked up “The Language of Thorns” I had a smile on my face. I just loved to hold this in my hands! If you want to read those stories properly, I’d recommend going for a physical copy. You won’t regret it. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Toll (Neal Shusterman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”A successful lie is not fueled by the liar; it is fueled by the willingness of the listener to believe. You can’t expose a lie without first shattering the will to believe it.

I can’t believe it’s over but I can definitely say that I enjoyed every single moment of this journey! Three books and I read and reviewed them all in 9 months. Considering the fact that I’m a person who usually takes ages to finish a series this says A LOT about how deeply and thoroughly I got lost in this one! I loved all those books so much and every single one of them went in an entirely different direction and was something I didn’t expect.

Usually when you read a series you have some sort of golden thread that runs through it, but in this case every book was different, every plot was unexpected and something new and even up until the last book we get introduced to new and amazing characters. It never got boring and I never knew what to expect next! To say “Arc of a Scythe” was enthralling and surprising wouldn’t even come close to the truth. And if you ask me, Neal Shusterman did a more than just amazing job at tying up all the loose ends.

“The Toll” is the last and final book of this series and even though I never thought that I could be content with its ending I had to realize that I actually am?! I mean when it comes to the last book in a trilogy I always kind of tend to find a fly in the ointment and it’s pretty rare I like and accept an ending as it is. Well, not this time around. Neal Shusterman did a great job and the ending to this series was consistent and fitting. Was I happy with everything that happened? No. But it was realistic and it stood true to the critical essence of the series. So there’s that! But enough of my general opinion about “The Toll”, let’s get down to business and head directly to my characters section! XD

2

Welcome back to my characters section, because if you read this you must have come back to read my review about the last book in this series. ;-P So I guess you know the drill! Lots of spoilers, lots of feels, lots of crying and ranting, and last but not least: lots of enthusiasm. Guess that about sums it up. ;-P

Scythe Anastasia – Citra:

”You are an excellent ass, Your Excellency.”

It was so good to see that even after three years – EXCUSE ME THREE FREAKING YEARS!?? – in the deep blue sea Scythe Anastasia still didn’t change her attitude. There was so much to take in and she had to get used to so many changes that happened while she was deadish, but she still managed to process them and decided to do something about it. Her situation was very difficult because she was supposed to be dead and then woke up in a world that had nothing to do with the one she had left before she died. If I’d have woken up in a world in which Goddard is the leader I probably would have had a mental breakdown but Citra didn’t and that made all the difference. XD I guess to have friends like Scythe Possuelo, Jeri and Scythe Tenka at her side might have helped too, but I think it was mostly due to her own strength that she came out of this okay. Scythe Curie and Scythe Faraday were good teachers and it showed in every action Citra took. =) She’s a really great character and if anyone ever deserved a new start then it’s her and Rowan. ❤

”Meu anjo?” she said. “Sydney, I’m nobody’s angel.“
“Ah, but you are,” Possuelo said.  “Because an angel is what the world needs if we are to ever bring Goddard down.”

Rowan Damisch:

”He had died so many times, and in so many ways, he was used to it. It held no more terror for him than falling asleep – which was often worse, because when he slept, he had nightmares.”

*sighs deeply* Rowan, my precious and dear Rowan. I can’t even put into words how much it hurt to read what happened to him. I mean three years dead in the ocean, and then he wakes up in some sort of prison because everyone thinks he sunk Endura, then he ends up in Goddard’s clutches again only to get saved right before his execution just in order to be used as a pawn by the Scythes of Texas!! *takes a deep breath* AJLAASDFKAJSDKFSA! And I didn’t even mention the part at the end of the book when he had to endure – wait for it – 117 FREAKING YEARS before he could be with Citra again!!! JESUS!!! Neal you did a number on my poor boy and I hated it!!! By the end of this series Rowan was so broken it killed me. T_T The only thing that makes me happy is the knowledge that he and Citra will be together for hopefully a thousand years now!!! *dies*

Greyson Tolliver:

”It should have felt good to put the curate in his place, but it didn’t. Perhaps that was why the Thunderhead had chosen him over all others; while others were corrupted by power, Greyson didn’t even like the taste of it.”

When Greyson was introduced in the second book I never thought that I’d love him so much but I do. I really do! This boy is so pure and precious! He’s probably one of the most selfless characters I ever encountered and the way he managed to maintain his innocence is nothing but astounding. After everything he went through he’s still not corrupted by power, he still knows right from wrong, he still stands up for his ideals and does what is right for humanity. Yes, he was guided by the Thunderhead but he was still his own person and this boy was beautiful from the inside and outside. ❤ I just love him! Period! XD

Then he took a deep breath and said one more time with a voice that could make mountains bow, “WHO DO YOU SERVE?”

He looked at her wistfully. “Funny, but it was never easy for me to talk to you before. Now it’s easier than talking with anyone else. I think we’ve become alike in a lot of ways.”

”The problem with painting a mural of my accomplishments,” the Toll said, “is that I haven’t actually accomplished anything.”

Jerico Soberanis:

Jeri laughed. “Yes, it can be inconvenient, but I’ve gotten used to it – embraced it, even. That unpredictability has become part of who I am.”

JERICO SOBERANIS IS THE BEST!!! Gods!!! How I wish Jeri would have been introduced way earlier in this series!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Jeri so damn much!! <333 How do I even talk about Jeri without mentioning that she/he is gender fluid?! The answer is easy: I don’t!  Because it’s such an integral part of Jeri that I just have to speak about it! XD I think I was a goner the moment Jeri appeared on page and the more I read about her/him the more I adored her/him. It’s so rare, so damn rare to find an honourable, wise, beautiful, gentle and kind gender fluid MC in a book but Neal Shusterman gave Jeri room to be who she/he truly is and I’ll always be thankful for that! In a lot of ways Jeri reminded me of myself – scratch the beautiful and wise part *lol* – so I was more than just happy to have Jeri in this book! XD I just …  I loved the way Jeri thought because it’s so similar to how I think and feel and I loved her/him even more for being so content with herself/himself. It’s like Neal Shusterman got to know me and created a better version of myself on page. If that makes any sense? *lol* So yeah, Jeri’s presence alone would have made this an awesome book for me. ;-P

”People are vessels,” Jeri had said to her. “They hold whatever’s poured into them.”

”All children in Madagascar were raised genderless and forbidden to choose a gender until reaching adulthood. Even then, many didn’t choose a single state of being. Some, like Jerico, found fluidity to be their nature.”

Possuelo cursed himself for having said anything at all. “You’re too clever for your own good.”
“That,” Jeri said, “has always been my problem.”

”One of the benefits of being Madagascan is that we see people as people. When it comes to attraction, gender is never part of the equation.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Come now, I’m sure you’ve all thought about it,” he prompted. “You can’t tell me that you haven’t fantasized about doing away with one pesky group or another. And don’t say Tonists, because that’s already my choice.”

I HATE HIM WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS! *grrr* Like seriously, I couldn’t believe all those Scythes let him do what he did! He’s vain, he’s pretentious, blood-thirsty, cruel, and overall just a horrible, HORRIBLE person!!! Serves him right that he got totally paranoid and expected everyone to kill him in his sleep. The sheer nonchalance he showed when they discussed to eradicate entire ethnicities just because he didn’t like them?!! His arrogance and insolence! It’s outrageous!! I really thought I’d die when he launched those missiles at the spaceships and I was so damn glad Ayn stopped him. Boy, I don’t know what I would have done if he would have gotten away with this too. But Goddard is finally dead now and all I can say to that is: Good riddance! May he be tortured for eternity in hell.

”I want him gleaned just as much as you do. But gleaning should not be entertainment.”
To which Goddard said with an infuriating grin, “It’s entertaining to me.”

The Thunderhead:

”Painful for them, or for you?”
“Both,” the Thunderhead replied. “But my pain must not prevent me from doing the right thing.”

I’m the first one to admit that I was wrong when it came to the Thunderhead. Yes, the Thunderhead had feelings for Greyson and loved him but despite everything it never lost its way. I was so scared that it would turn against humanity but it never happened and this was something I didn’t expect?! *lol* I was so ready for everything to go to hell and for the second voice to triumph over the Thunderhead but in fact the Thunderhead only made a better version of itself. It’s as pure as Greyson and I’m glad everyone who went into space has “Cirrus” now. Still, my heart broke so much for the Thunderhead at the ending. It would have deserved better than that, yet I still understand Greyson’s decision. T_T

”The Thunderhead had no arms to embrace. Even so, it could feel the beat of Greyson’s heart and the precise temperature of his body as if it were right beside him. To lose that would be a cause of immeasurable sorrow. And so night after night, the Thunderhead silently monitored Greyson in every way it could. Because monitoring was the closest it could come to embracing.”

3

Citra & Rowan:

”No,” she said. “That’s what he does, Rowan; he draws us in, over and over – but now we have a chance to show the world not just that we don’t need the scythedom, but that we never did. This could have been our destiny, if the scythedom hadn’t prevented it – and it still can be. That’s the fight I want. Not sparring endlessly with Goddard.”

I really hoped that Neal Shusterman would be done with his star-crossed lovers trope but nopedy nope! He wasn’t! Citra and Rowan might not have had a lot of page time together in “The Toll” but the little they had made me so damn happy! I really wish they would have gotten even more time and I just wanted them to be happy, but alas Goddard had to find them and threw a monkey wrench in their plans. A HUGE one I may add. Gods, I think I died a thousand deaths with Rowan when Citra died in his arms and Cirrus told him that she would only be revived when they reached their final destination.  117 years without the person he loved and waited for his entire life. 117 freaking years… T_T That ending… Rowan’s words. I’m still a sobbing mess whenever I think about it. But they will be happy together now and to be honest that’s the only thing that makes me feel a little bit better about their cruel destiny. >_<

His smile broadens. Tears fill his eyes. They drop slowly, as if gravity itself has become less adamant, less demanding.
“When was that?” Citra asks.
“Only a moment ago,” Rowan tells her. “Only a moment ago.”

Scythe Anastasia & Jeri:

”You won’t tell me because there’s nothing I can do,” she said, anticipating the reasons Jeri would give, “and it would distract me from what I need to do.”
“Do you hate me for it?” Jeri asked.

I really adored their strong friendship!! There was so much mutual respect and understanding. Jeri guided Anastasia and helped her whenever she got lost on her way and there could have been no better friend at her side. I loved that Jeri chose to stay with Citra because she/he enjoyed her company and appreciated her as a person. She/he didn’t have to stay with her but she/he decided to do it nevertheless because Jeri could feel that Citra needed her/him. Citra needed a friend and Jeri was that friend! And that moment when Jeri died so Citra could live?!! That scene was everything! ❤ Such a precious and noble soul! To see this duo on page made me happy and even though both of them went in different directions I’m pretty sure they left a mark on each other’s souls.

”For you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia, I would die a thousand deaths at my own hand. But one will be sufficient.”

”Did you fall in love with her?” he asked.
“No,” Jeri told him. “I fell in love with the idea of falling in love with her.”

”There is opportunity in every disaster,” Jeri told her. “A ship goes down, that’s when I get excited. Because I know there are always treasures in the wreckage. Look what I found at the bottom of the sea. I found you.”

Greyson & Jerico:

”Take me, for instance; I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s … Greyson.”
Jeri smiled with the warmth of the Madagascan sun.
“Hello, Greyson.”

Okay, I know, the romance between those two was just implied but I LOVE THE IDEA OF THEM BECOMING A COUPLE!!! <333 Those two would be so perfect for each other. Like seriously! There was a moment when I was about at the middle of the book and I thought: “Hey, I really wish those two would meet! I’m sure they would hit it off.” And hit it off they did. *lol* The conversations they had!! I was such a sucker for them. So playful and funny, but also serious and gentle. XD But hey, they held hands at the end of the book so I like to believe that they became a couple in the end. Ahh! I swear I’d read an entire book just about them and their relationship! XD

”I will never understand how you binaries are so attached to your birth plumbing. Why should it matter whether a person has ovaries, or testicles, or both?”
“It doesn’t,” Greyson said, feeling a little flustered. “I mean … it does matter for some things … doesn’t it?”
“You tell me.”

”I’m sorry,” Jeri said, trying to regain some semblance of composure. “Did I hurt you?”
Greyson offered his usual guileless grin. “Not nearly enough,” he said, which made Jeri laugh.
“My, but you do have a wicked side!”

Greyson & The Thunderhead:

”I wasn’t lying; I was giving him advice.”
“Yet you didn’t wait for my input. Why?”
Greyson leaned back in his chair. “You know me better than anyone. In fact, you know everyone better than anyone, and you can’t figure out why I did it?“

Boy, to say the relationship between Greyson and the Thunderhead was complicated would be putting it mildly and I’m still not sure whether the Thunderhead loved Greyson like a mother/father or like a lover. I think the only one who could give us an answer to that would be Greyson and judging by how he reacted after the Thunderhead touched him as Jeri I think it’s safe to assume that its feelings were of a romantic nature. I mean it collapsed into his arms because it touched his cheek. Such a simple and pure gesture but all the feelings that came along with it… I could understand Jeri’s anger at being used by the Thunderhead and I could relate to Greyson’s feelings afterwards, but I still can’t help but feel devastated for the Thunderhead. And for Greyson… because no matter how right it was to cut that line, to stop being that one exception for the Thunderhead it still hurt so much! T_T Their connection was something special and because it was special they had to sever it. =(( It still breaks my heart and fills me with grief. >_<

”You are a terrible person,” the Thunderhead said. “You are a wonderful person.”
“Well, which is it?” Greyson demanded.
And the response, as faint as faint could be, came back to him – not as an answer, but as another question.
“Why can’t you see that the answer is both?”

“I broke none of my laws…”
“No … but you broke mine.”
A sudden surge of emotion welled up in Greyson. Tears began to could his eyes, reminding him how much the Thunderhead had meant, and still did mean, to him. But he could not let that stop him.
If there was anything he’d learned from the Thunderhead, it was that consequences could not be ignored.
“Therefore,” he said through his tears, “I can no longer speak to you. You are … unsavory to me.”

Rowan & Scythe Goddard:

”I have so missed these conversations with you!”
“You mean the ones where you gloat, and I’m tied up?”
“You see? The way you get to the heart of the matter is always so refreshing. So entertaining. I’d keep you as a house pet, if I didn’t fear you’d somehow escape and burn me to a crisp in my sleep.”

I think after three books in which Goddard did nothing but torture Rowan we can all agree that they are archenemies, yet I still think that Goddard appreciates Rowan somehow. Whilst Rowan would most certainly love nothing more than to finally end Goddard’s life, the same can’t be said about Goddard. He loves to gloat, he needs a purpose and for so many years to catch Rowan and to make his life miserable was his sole purpose. He antagonized Goddard more than anyone ever did and I think in a weird kind of way Goddard loved him for it. He almost seemed to be relieved when he captured him again and even though he wanted him to die, some part of him still enjoyed to toy with him and would have loved to torment him even more. They have a weird dynamic and a super dysfunctional relationship and it could only end with one of them dying. So I’m glad it was Goddard and not Rowan, because Rowan deserved so much better than he ever got!

”If only I had ignored my conscience.”
Goddard shook his head in pity. “Conscience is a tool, just like any other. If you don’t wield it, it wields you – and from what I can see, it has bludgeoned you senseless.”

Scythe Rand, Scythe Goddard & Tyger:

”Tyger,” she said, “I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
“Wow,” said the Tyger construct. “That sucks.”
“Yes,” said Scythe Rand. “It does.”

I would have been so ready to pay Goddard’s and Rand’s tickets to hell but apparently Neal Shusterman had other plans. I was right with my assumption that Scythe Rand would be the death of Goddard but I really didn’t expect the kind of direction it all took in the end. I mean I’m glad that Tyger is back now and even though he has Goddard’s face he still has his old body so there’s that. I really don’t know how I feel about the possibility of Ayn starting to date him and to be his future love interest though. I mean I really don’t like that woman and I loved Tyger and he deserved so much better than her!!! She killed him for crying out loud!! Yes, she’s aware that it was a mistake but she still did it and for a long time she hoped that Goddard would reciprocate her feelings which he never did. So umm… not happy with how things turned out for those two but I guess I’ll have to live with it. As long as Tyger is happy I shall be fine. >_<

”Why must I always be the victim? Why must people make it their mission to tear me down? Have I not honored the commandments and done all a scythe is sworn to do? Have I not been a unifier in troubled times?”
“Yes, Robert,” she agreed. “But we’re the ones who made the times troubled.”

”Is that how you solve every problem now?” Ayn asked. “Glean it away?”

”But she absolutely refuses to hate herself, because that would crush her, and she will never allow herself to be crushed.”

Scythe Faraday & Munira:

There were few things that truly frightened Scythe Michael Faraday. But the prospect of an incalculable unknown was high on his list of personal fears. Especially when it was presented in a particular tone of voice. The kind that usually preceded the phrase “You’d better sit down.”

Was it just me who hoped that those two would become a thing? I could have sworn that there was something between them but whatever it was; it died the moment Scythe Faraday found out about Scythe Curie and Anastasia. =( I really didn’t like the development of their relationship in here and it made me so sad to see Faraday so broken, but then again I suppose it was just too much to take. It’s kind of ironic that his two apprentices where the ones that were able to break him in the end. Still, I’m glad that he met Rowan and Citra for one last time and even more glad that he found back to his old ways. The world changed drastically after he pushed the button and it needed compassionate and kind Scythes that would help to end the suffering of people. So by the end of the book Scythe Faraday is exactly where he was always supposed to be and it helped me to make peace with him and Munira. =)

”Pouting is a passing thing,” he told her dismissively. “What I have is a mind-set. I will not suffer this world again. It has done me no good.”
“But you’ve done much good for it,” she reminded him.

His pain was like a hot poker in a block of ice, but rather than comforting him, Munira found herself hardening. And when she spoke, it was like leveling an accusation. “I expected more from you, Your Honor.”
Faraday looked away, unable to meet her gaze. “That was your mistake.”

”We are imperfect beings,” Munira said. “How could we ever fit in a perfect world?”

4

I might not have been happy with all the developments in this book but they were realistic and Neal Shusterman managed to write a great ending for an even greater series! I loved the diversity in this, all the different and new characters and everything they stood for and believed in. It was an amazing ride and I’m really sad this series is over! Let’s hope Neal will write another great series soon! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Foxhole Court (Nora Sakavic)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 15 on My Book List 2020

„Easy, easy.” Andrew lifted his hands in a careless shrug. “Why bother? It’s a cruel world, right Neil? You wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.”
“It’s not the world that’s cruel,” Neil said. “It’s the people in it.“

trigger warnings:drug abuse, a character being drugged against his will, physical child abuse, violence, emotional abuse, bullying, dysfunctional relationships, sexual assault

I don’t know why I waited three freaking years to read this, but I could really kick myself for procrastinating so long! Then again maybe it’s good I waited so long because I’m pretty sure my younger self would have gobbled this book down like nobody’s business and then would have regretted not giving it the attention it deserves! *lol*

So yes, I’m three years wiser now and even though I learned to savour books I still had a really tough time trying not to rush through this, because people! THIS IS SO GOOD!!!!  Yes, I know, I know! It’s no Shakespear or Wilde, but even though there isn’t a lot of plot or background to go with this fictional world there is something it definitely has going for itself! Its amazing characters and Exy!!! And boy did I love both! XD It’s been a long time I got so consumed by a book and I think it’s mostly due to the super intriguing characters.

“The Foxhole Court” is nothing but character driven and ahh do I love books like that! *lol* I mean if you’re looking for logic or sophisticated words this most definitely isn’t the right book for you, but if you decide to leave your logic at the front door and dive into this without overthinking it too much instead: Well, then you’re in for a real treat! I guess to some degree you should actually read this book like it’s a game. Enjoy the rush of the moment, follow your instincts, trust your heart and thoroughly ignore the voice at the back of your mind.  ;-P If you follow those instructions you might be able to enjoy it as much as I did. *lol*

And since I can’t wait to gush about all those lovely characters I’ll call it a day now and just jump into my character’s section instead! XD

2

You are now a student at Palmetto State University, so tread carefully and don’t enter the Foxes dorms. If you don’t head this well-intentioned advice you’ll be confronted with a bunch of spoilers that might ruin the fun for you! Coach Wymack says: Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

Neil Josten:

”This was the only thing he had left that was real. Now that he’d had a taste of it again, he didn’t know how to walk away from it.”

I swear Neil Josten is a precious baby bean and everyone who wants to hurt him will have to go through me first! <333 I mean it! This boy is so sweet and innocent and this even though so many horrible things happened to him. He needs to be protected at all costs and I’m ready to defend him with my life! I love Neil so, so much and I hated that he was so down and broken at the beginning of the book. I mean that boy didn’t even have any hope and then the Foxes found him and BAM his life took a 180 degree spin and never stopped moving ever since. Also his character development was amazing! At first he’s so very careful and guarded, he’s so afraid of taking a wrong step that he doesn’t even allow himself to breath. Well, and then he joins the Foxes and his true character gets a chance to come out. And boy, did I love the boy he hid inside!! Neil can be so sassy and vigorous! I had no idea! ❤ I want more of this Neil and to be entirely honest I can’t wait to pick up the next book! 😉 My kicked puppy is turning into a true lion  fox and I need that new Neil like I need air to breath! XD

”Keys meant Neil had explicit permission to be here and do what he liked. They meant he belonged.”

”Neil stepped over it and went to stand in front of Wymack: within arm’s reach but just barely. He’d perfected that trick as a kid. He could look at anyone’s arms and judge the safe distance from them in a heartbeat. If they had to move to hit him, he had enough time to dodge. Either way he wouldn’t catch the full intended force of their blow.”

Riko’s smile could have frozen hell. „I am not scared of Kevin. I know him.“
„You’re going to eat those words,“ Neil said. „You’re going to choke on them.“

Andrew Minyard:

”Oh,” Andrew said. “Oh, you might actually turn out to be interesting. For a little while, at least. I don’t think the amusement will last. It never does.”

I know about half of the people who will read this will be like WTH?! But I’ll still say it anyway: I LOVE AND ADORE ANDREW MINYARD THAT LITTLE SHIT!!!! *lol* Yes, his character is problematic and shady af but I don’t care! XD That controlling, bitchy and crazy bastard won over my heart the moment he appeared on page and even though I hated that he drugged Neil I still kind of get why he did it?! Most people will say he’s a psycho and even though that might be true, he’s still a psycho with a big heart. Andrew loves his family and he would do anything for them! Yes, he’d even go to the length of drugging a person he sees as a threat just to make sure that she/he isn’t. Andrew is fiercely protective of the people he loves and cares about and I can relate to that. So you might say I understand the person that’s hidden behind all those carefully crafted layers of craziness. His character is very intriguing and I’m sure there is so much more to him than initially meets the eye. Is it totally illogical and unrealistic that a person that’s so small (5ft, we’re talking 5ft here, people) is as intimidating and dangerous as Andrew? Yes, but it’s fun nevertheless and we all know that even the smallest person can pack a punch. ;-P I want more of him. Period!!! ❤

”Let Andrew give you things if he wants to. He’s not normally the gifting type, so it’s kind of fun.”

„Oh, he made it,“ Andrew said. „That’s interesting.“
He pressed two fingers to Neil’s throat,checking his pulse. When Neil tried to bat him away, Andrew caught his wrist with his free hand. His smile was small and fierce as he leaned forward into Neil’s space.
„Remember this feeling. This is the moment you stop being the rabbit.“

Coach Wymack:

”Did you think I made the team the way it is because I thought it would be a good publicity stunt? It’s about second chances, Neil. Second, third, fourth, whatever, as long as you get at least one more than what anyone else wanted to give you.”

I really liked Coach Wymack because even though his players don’t seem to see it, it’s obvious that he has a big heart! This man cares for his team and he’s providing them with a safe environment to spread their wings. Something tells me that someone gave him a second, third or even fourth chance when he was younger and that he’s trying to do the same for the members of his team. I hope we’ll find out more about his past in the other books and I’m definitely ready to dive into his background story. =) Coach Wymack is the best!

Kevin Day:

”Tetsuji took Kevin in and took over his training, but he also gave Kevin to Riko – literally. Kevin isn’t human to them. He’s a project. He’s a pet, and it’s Riko’s name on his leash. The fact he ran away is a miracle. If Tetsuji called tomorrow and told him to come home, Keven would. He knows what Tetsuji would do to him if he refused. He’d be too afraid to say no.”

I’m going to be honest here: Kevin is still an enigma to me and even though he’s an integral part of the story because of his connection to Neil I still didn’t get a feel for his character. If you ask me that’s mostly due to the fact that he rarely talks and that he lives in his own world. Exy is everything for him and everything else that’s around him isn’t important if it doesn’t have to do with the sport. *lol* So yep, all I know is that Exy is Kevin’s life and that he was raised as Riko’s peronal toy. Maybe that’s even the reason why his character is so bland. He never got a chance to do what HE wanted to do and therefore never was able to develop his own character. Guess I’ll have to continue with the series to see some of his true self. 😉

”If you won’t play with me, you’ll play for me,” Kevin said. “You’re never going to get there on your own, so give your game to me.”

Riko Moriyama:

Riko jerked back a bit in surprise, started to school his expression into something more civil, and gave up when he realized who had joined them.
„We were just talking about you,“ Riko said.
„With your fists, it seems,“ Andrew said. „Don’t touch my things, Riko, I don’t share.“

Now here’s a character I instantly disliked! XD Riko is so smug and full of himself that I just wanted to punch him in his face! Thankfully Neil already did that for me. Verbally but still! *lol* I can’t believe Kevin was raised with Riko and I feel very sorry for him. To be in the shadow of such a guy must have hurt and the fact that he broke his hand… *shakes head* Some part of me really hopes that Riko will be put in his place and I’m about a 100% sure we’ll say way more of him in those other books than we actually want to. >_<

3

Neil & Andrew:

„Your loose ends aren’t adding up.“
„I’m not a math problem.“
„But I’ll still solve you.“

THOSE TWO!!!! I SHIP THEM SO HARD AND I SHIP THEM LIKE THERE’LL BE NO TOMORROW!! *lol* I mean honestly!! Their chemistry! The way they interact, all those little subtle nuances in their conversations, those seemingly insignificant and infinitesimal touches. I saw it between Ronan and Adam and I’m seeing it here!!! This ship is going to sail and BURNNN BRIGHT!!! And I’m so here to see it! <333 Also I kind of love how Andrew always seems to be pulled towards Neil when he’s in his orbit!! Did anyone realize how often he’s leaning closer to him because I certainly did!!! I want those two to give into their feelings … badly… very badly! *lol* And I hope that Andrew will let Neil in as much as Neil let him in. I mean at the end of the book he basically entrusted him with his life and I want … no actually I NEED Andrew to open up to Neil! Gosh I just need more of them and I’m beginning to realize that I’m total Neil & Andrew trash! *LOL*

Neil tensed as Andrew’s fingers wrapped around the back of his neck, but Andrew only wanted to pull Neil’s head down. Neil focused on Andrew’s cheekbone so as not to go cross-eyed and let Andrew study his eyes.
“Another bit of unexpected honesty,” Andrew said. “Any particular reason?”
“Nicky asked nicely. You might try it sometime.”
“We already talked about this. I don’t ask.” Andrew gave Neil another slow once-over and let go.

”What would it take to make you stay?”
The question was so unexpected Neil had to turn back. “What?”
Andrew laughed quietly at his shock and leaned forward. “Name it and it’s yours. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you stand your ground here with us.”
“I can’t.”
“You can. You have everything you need to survive. You’re just too afraid to see it.“

”He knows what it’s like to hate every day of his life, to wake up afraid every day, but he’s got you at his back telling him everything’s going to be okay. He has everything, even when he’s lost everything, and I’m – “ Neil didn’t want to say it, but the word was already there, broken and pathetic between them, “nothing. I’ll always have and be nothing.”
Andrew reached up and forcibly uncurled Neil’s fingers from his mouth. He pushed Neil’s hand out of the way and stared Neil down with nothing between them. Neil didn’t understand the look on his face. There was no censure over Neil’s crooked parents or pity for their deaths, no triumph over having backed Neil into admitting so much, and no obvious skepticism for such an outlandish story. Whatever this look was, it was dark and intense enough to swallow Neil whole.

”A group of people shouldered their way up to the bar counter at Neil’s back, pushing him into Andrew. Andrew didn’t budge beneath his weight. He was something solid to lean against, something violent and fierce and unmoving. Neil couldn’t remember what it felt like to have someone hold him up. It was terrifying and liberating all at once. His life was out of his control now; he was giving it to Andrew and hoping Andrew would keep it safe.”

Kevin & Andrew:

”Help me,” Kevin said, almost a whisper.
Andrew clucked his tongue and cocked his head to one side. “Help you? Help a man who lies to my face for a month? How?”
“I want to stay,” Kevin said. “I’ll ask you again: don’t let him take me away.”
“You’re the one who would tell him yes,” Andrew said. “Maybe you forgot.”

Those two have such an intriguing dynamic! I really don’t know what’s going on between them and why Kevin trusts Andrew so much but I’m more than just ready to solve that mystery! Also I hope one day it will be explained why everyone has so much respect of Andrew. Even Riko has respect and considering he’s the baddie of the story this is interesting! What did Andrew do??!! And what exactly is his deal with Kevin?! Because they definitely made some sort of deal, I just have no idea what it might entail. I need answers. XD

Neil & Riko:

”I will ask you only once to tone down that animosity.”
“I can’t,” Neil said. “I have a bit of an attitude problem.”
Riko’s smile was all ice. “A bit?”

And here comes my favourite part of the entire book! I LOVED how Neil put Riko into his place during the TV interview!!! GOSH! That scene was EVERYTHING and if that’s Neil’s true self I’m really desperate to see more of him! ❤ I swear Neil giving Riko a run for his money is my new aesthetic! *lol* I, for my part, wouldn’t mind to read more about Neil’s “attitude problem”, yet at the same time I’m kind of afraid what Riko will do. He won’t accept this and some part of me is worried that he’ll hurt my precious baby bean. >_< Ahh! I really need to read book two!

4

I never expected to love this so much but right from the very first sentence this world drew me in, locked the door and threw the key away. In short: I’ve been a goner the moment I started to read this and I’m afraid my addiction will only get even worse. XD Yes, this sometimes reads like fan fiction and yes, the mental health rep in this is more than just a little sketchy (if not completely unrealistic, weird and – I’m no expert – wrong) but as I already pointed out earlier in my review: 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!? O_o On to the next one! *lol*