Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 3 on My Book List 2021

”I wanted to scream, but I closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe. Claire was dead. She was not in my bathroom, and there was nothing to be scared of. My mind was playing tricks on me. I was going to go to a party tonight, and I needed to get dressed. One thing at a time.”

I heard so much about the “Mara Dyer” series before I picked it up and because I’m always curious about books that seem to be so controversial I decided to satisfy my curiosity by just reading it. So what did I think about it? Well, the book was published in 2011 and obviously was on the hype train with all the other YA books that were released back then. The interesting thing about this book was that it might have been full of the typical clichés but it actually kinda made fun of them? For me this was a really refreshing approach and I found myself enjoying it even more because of that. I mean we have the “not like other girls” trope and Noah Shaw having that “bad-boy with a heart of gold” vibe going for him. *lol* Plus: Mara is the only girl he’s interested in even though he’s mysterious and drop-dead gorgeous. And of course Mara is the new girl at their school.

There was an edge to his voice that I didn’t like. „My God, you’re like the plague.“
„A masterfully crafted, powerfully understated, and epic parable of timeless moral resonance? Why, thank you. That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me,“ he said.
„The disease, Noah. Not the book.“

Still, there’s something disarming about Noah’s charm and I couldn’t help but love his character. We all know I love MCs that know their literature and it’s almost impossible to resist a character that has his own library and can quote books by heart. XD I know a lot of people think that Noah is very demanding, arrogant and full of himself. Which admittedly he is, but of course he is hiding his true self behind his attitude. 😉 So yeah, this is as stereotypical as it can get. *lol*

”Noah drove girls crazy, and I was already crazy. I needed to let it go. Let him go. As Jamie had so astutely said, I had enough problems.”

As for Mara: She’s one hell of an unreliable narrator and I really loved that! Mara has no idea what happened and why her friends died in an accident. She was the sole survivor of that night and the asylum they visited turned into dust while it took the lives of her friends. At first it seems like Mara lost her best friend, boyfriend and his sister, but the more she remembers and the more memories come to the surface, the more we realize that things weren’t as amicable and easy between them as we might have thought. So Mara Dyer isn’t only suffering from a severe memory loss and PTSD but also has flashbacks and sees her dead friends and things that aren’t real. Add a lot of strange happenings and sudden deaths into the mix and you get the basic idea of the plot. XD

”Dark thoughts swirled in my mind and time slowed to a crawl. I stood up from the chair, knocking it over, but my hands trembled too much to pick it up. This was – this whole thing was beyond unfair. And I was becoming unhinged.”

The mystery element in “Mara Dyer” is strong and I’m very curious what is going to happen next. The ending of the book kind of left me in shocked surprise because I certainly didn’t expect it to end like that. I have no idea how Noah fits into all of this and what is happening exactly but I’m definitely ready to find out by reading the next book.

”If you do this,” he said slowly, “you’ll become someone else.”
I looked up at Noah. “I already am someone else.”

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All told “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” was an interesting start to a new series and I’m intrigued enough to continue with it. There might be a lot of stereotypes and inconsistencies at the moment but I hope that as the series proceeds some of them will be addressed and challenged. Plus I want to know how Mara’s character arc is going to play out. The same goes for Noah of course! I have so many questions, let’s hope book two will be able to answer them. 😉

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Assassin’s Apprentice (Robin Hobb)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Most prisons are of our own making. A man makes his own freedom, too.”

So this was my first Robin Hobb and I’m positively surprised! =) I mean after reading all those raving reviews I already expected that “Assassin’s Apprentice” would be a good book, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the train of feels that occasionally hit me though. Well, truth be told, that’s actually a bold understatement.

For a book that started out so slowly there certainly were a lot of intense and awesome scenes that had me hooked almost right from the beginning and if you ask me, it’s as good as impossible to read them without being swept away! Hobb has an undeniable talent for the fine arts of building up an interesting storyline and as far as I could tell she never even hesitated to use it! ;-P

While you read the book you stumble over all those typical fantasy tropes (young boy, apprenticeship, relation to the royal family, hard life, etc.), yet the author still managed to make something intriguing and unique. It’s like she used those fantasy tropes as a scaffold in order to build her own world and ideas around it. And tell you what? It worked! XD

This was such a wonderful read and the fact I already borrowed book two from the library should be enough to persuade you to give it a try! 😉

Since the title of the book is kinda self-explanatory (Assassin’s Apprentice? I can’t help but wonder what it’s going to be about! *lol*) I won’t talk about the plot and will dive right into the characters section instead!

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WARNING! This is the danger zone! *lol* I’ll spoil in here and if you hate to be spoiled you better run in the other direction! ;-P Can’t say I didn’t warn you, can you? XD

FitzChivalry:

”I know he meant well. But I did not feel protected by him, but confined. He was the warden that ensured my isolation with fanatical fervour. Utter loneliness was planted in me then, and set its deep roots down into me.”

Aww Fitz! I love this Boy! (See what I did there?! XD) He’s so sweet and funny and I can already see him becoming a sassy and clever protagonist in the future! Unfortunately he still has to learn a lot about life and the dangerous world he’s living in so I mostly felt really sorry for him while reading this book. There were so many moments that broke my heart and there were times I was like: CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE THIS POOR BOY A BREAK?!! Plus some of the scenes were so damn amazing that they really stuck with me. For instance the “Silver Knife Scene”! Chade and King Shrewd wanted to test Fitz loyalty and they did it in a very cruel way. My poor Boy suffered so much but once the problem was resolved he didn’t back down. No! He made his point by stealing a silver knife right in front of his King and driving it into the wood of Chade’s shelf! *LOL* THAT WAS SO DAMN AWESOME!!!! The sass and defiance!!! Gosh I loved it so much! Plus can we acknowledge the wonderful atmosphere of the “Poison Scene”? It easily became one of my all-time favourite scenes and the twist was executed so well I could only gasp in disbelieve and awe! So cleverly done, Hobb! So cleverly done! *shakes head*

Chade:

”I’ll be teaching you the nasty, furtive, polite ways to kill people. You’ll either develop a taste for it, or not. That isn’t something I’m in charge of. But I’ll make sure you know how.”

Haha! Chade instantly became one of my favourites of this book! I mean he’s the Royal Assassin and he’s a wise and good man. He has principles, he knows his limits and he did his best to tap his full potential. It made me very sad he was so painfully aware of the fact that he was raising and educating the next generation and that his use was going to run out as soon as his replacement was ready. Yet he still knew that it wasn’t Fitz fault and taught him everything he needed in order to do his job. I have a very deep respect for Chade and I really hope he’ll live through the next two books.

”Sometimes,” grumbled Chade, “it is better to be defiantly wrong than silent.”

”You’re a bastard, Fitz. We’re always a risk and vulnerability. We’re always expendable. Except when we are an absolute necessity to their own security.”

Burrich:

”You failed? No, Fitz. I fialed. I was too soft-hearted to beat it out of you at the first sign of it.”

Gosh, I’m still so torn when I think of Burrich. I mean in some way he’s Fitz father figure and it’s clear he only meant well, but boy the way he tried to raise him was so damn wrong sometimes. *sighs* I mean every parent makes mistakes; we’re all human after all, but to punish Fitz so much? He and Nosy were everything Fitz had and that stubborn mule named Burrich just didn’t realise how much Fitz needed and loved him. He was just a little boy that needed a safe place and it should have been Burrich who provided it. I mean he didn’t even give him a chance to explain. He would have been dead without Fitz connection to Smithy, yet he refused to listen to him. ARGH!!! It makes me so angry. *lol* I know Anish has a different opinion about him, but I just can’t forgive Burrich for what he did. *sighs deeply*

”How you must have hated me.”
“And feared you.”
“All those years? And you never learned better of me, never thought to yourself, ‘He would not do such a thing’?”

Verity:

”I must have dozed, for I woke to his hand on my hair. “Do they tell you to watch over me so, boy, even when I sleep? What do they fear, then?”
“Naught that I know, Verity. They tell me only to bring you food, and see as best I can that you eat it. No more than that.”

I absolutely adored and loved Verity! He’s such an awesome character and he’s always true to his name. I really liked his relationship with Fitz and I hope he’ll feel a lot better in the next book. It hurt to see how much the Skill took from him and for a second near the end I really thought he wouldn’t make it. =( Gosh that was suspenseful! *lol* I’m just glad he’s fine now and I’m sure Princess Kettricken and him will make a wonderful couple. They are both on the more practical side of things and even though it’s no marriage of love, I’m sure Verity will win her heart. (Maybe she’ll win his too? XD)

Regal:

”Ruthlessness creates its own rules. So my mother taught me. People are intimidated by a man who acts with no apparent regard for consequences. Behave as if you cannot be touched and no one will dare to touch you.”

I hate Regal! I hate him so much! Such an arrogant, snobby, superior feeling little piece of s***! He’s a clever villain; I have to give him that but his obvious distaste for Fitz caused me to dislike him from the very start! I mean there are villains and then there are villains! Regal is one I just can’t help but hate! XD How he and Galen treated Fitz was so cruel that I wanted to bang their heads together multiple times! And don’t even get me started about the death of Nosy, if it wouldn’t have been for Nosy Fitz would have died at the end. =((( Oh my, poor Nosy. That last paragraph killed me. He saved him, He dragged him out of the water and then he died, trying to give him strength… I can’t even… *sobs violently*

King Shrewd:

”A bastard, Regal, is a unique thing. Put a signet ring on his hand and send him forth, and you have created a diplomat no foreign ruler will dare to turn away. He may safely be sent where a prince of the blood may not be risked. Imagine the uses for one who is and yet is not of the royal bloodline. Hostage exchanges. Marital alliances. Quiet work. The diplomacy of the knife.”

I still don’t know what to make out of King Shrewd. I mean at the moment he’s obviously on Fitz’s and Verity’s side, but I have no idea which side he’ll choose when we get a better grasp of the big picture. I have no doubt that he’s an opportunist and he’s certainly shrewd enough to use this to his advantage. Plus Regal and Verity are his sons. He might care for them both but I’m sure he’ll support whoever wins their dangerous game in the end. So yeah, I’m #TeamVerity and I really hope Regal won’t get a second chance. 😉

The Fool:

”Because your heart will be hammered against him, and your strength will be tempered in his fire.”

I loved the Fool! He’s so mysterious and such an intriguing character. I really would have liked to find out more about him, but Hobb kept us in the dark and I’m convinced she had her reasons to do so. I’m pretty sure the Fool knows about everything that happens at court and I’m also more than just certain that he’s an advisor of King Shrewd. I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to him though and that he might have even disobeyed some of the king’s commands in order to help Fitz. Hobb, I want more of the Fool in the next book! XD

The Wit and The Skill:

”The appetite for the Skill is one that devours a man, not one that nourishes him.”

Boy did it take long until we finally got a decent explanation what the Skill is about. *lol* I know Anish was getting impatient and so was I! Haha! Whilst it’s true that the Skill is an intriguing ability, I’m still fascinated with the Wit as well. I’m convinced that those two go hand in hand and could work together and if I’m correct it’s really remarkable Fitz has an aptitude for both! =) The quote above made me think there might be a connection and since the Skill devours a man and the Wit seems to nourish it, Fitz could be a more than just powerful man! Just think about all the possibilities! ;-P

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And with this thought I’m finally ending my rather long review. XD
“Assassin’s Apprentice” was an amazing and well-thought-out fantasy tale and I’m already curious about the next book! =)

Since this was a buddy read with The Sweet Manisha and The Amazing Anish I want to thank them both. I’m sorry Manisha had to drop out of our buddy read at some point but I’m still glad you guys were willing to read this book with me! Thank you for experiencing this with me and also thank you for your interesting thoughts and input! =) It definitely made this an even better read! ;-

Allgemein, K, K - O, Reviews

Review: King of Scars (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 22 of My Book List 2019
 

”I’d like nothing better than another opportunity to talk,” said Nikolai. “But I’m afraid I have more bad news.”
Genya slumped in her chair. “There’s more?”
“This is Ravka,” said Zoya. “There’s always more.”

I swear this quote is SUCH. A. MOOD!!! *lol* The entire book is nothing but bad news and well, yeah this is Ravka. There’s always more bad news to come. XD Leigh didn’t just nail it with those words; she also set the pace for this doulogy! To be honest I had no idea this was going to be a doulogy and after finishing “King of Scars” I have absolutely no clue how she wants to wrap this all up. There are so many things that need to be addressed and the mere idea of facing them all in the next book is already making me look like a copy of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”.  (Which is one of my favourite paintings btw ;-P)

Still, I trust Leigh and I know she’ll write a phenomenal sequel. She did with “Crooked Kingdom” and I have no doubt that she’ll do it with “Rule of Wolves” as well. This said, the pacing of this book was kind of surprising. I mean I certainly didn’t expect it to be so slow at the beginning. There was a lot of information we needed to get in order to understand the current situation of Ravka and to say it’s precarious wouldn’t even get close to the truth. I guess if you’d just say that they are screwed you’d strike home. *lol*

So yes, there’s a lot of build-up and all the new players are introduced and evenly spread on the chessboard. I think in a lot of ways this was a very serious book and even though Zoya’s and Nikolai’s banter was one of the highlights in “King of Scars” there were a lot of severe moments that ultimately forced our beloved characters to grow. Which is always a good thing in my book! You know I’m a sucker for character arcs and to see Nina, Zoya and Nikolai work things out was more than just amazing. Before I spoil anything I better just head over to my character section and write it all off my chest! 😉

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Welcome to Ravka where bad news are the standard and scary winged creatures turn into kings during the day! *lol* The good news is: There’s a lot to talk about! The bad news is that you’ll be spoiled like crazy if you continue to read. So whatever you do, keep in mind that it was your own choice! 😉

Nikolai:

”I’ll find a way. All his life, Nikolai had believed that. His will had been enough to shape not only his fate but his own identity. He had chosen what he wanted people to see – the obedient son, the feckless rogue, the able soldier, the confident politician. The monster threatened all of that. And they were no closer to finding a way to drive the thing out than they had been six months ago. What was there to do but keep moving? Lesser animals whined and struggled when they’d been caught in a snare. The fox found a way out.”

I know a lot of people said that Nikolai isn’t the charming Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy anymore and that they didn’t like this. In my opinion this was only realistic though. I mean how is he supposed to be his charming and carefree self if there is a monster living inside of him? He’s trying to save Ravka from hostile countries, he’s dealing with a lot of problems in his own country and he’s working really hard on uniting his people. And all this even though he turns into a monster at night. I can’t even imagine how exhausted he truly is. Yet he still keeps up appearances and gives Ravka his all. I love that about Nikolai. He’s a man of his people, his country always comes first and he’d do everything to protect his land and the people within it. So yes, Nikolai might not be as easy-going as he used to be but he has thousands of reasons to be the way he is. My poor boy deserves a break and whenever I read about how much he loves Ravka and how tired he is my heart broke for him. T_T Can we get a happy Nikolai in the next book, please?! <333

”Nikolai looked again at the old map of Ravka – violent, hopeless, unappeasable in its constant need. Ravka was his first love, an infatuation that had begun in his lonely boyhood and that had only deepened with age. Whatever it demanded, he knew he would give. He’d been reckless with this country he claimed to love, and he could no longer let his fear dictate Ravka’s future.”

”That’s what the job requires, Zoya. Ruling is not just about military victories. It’s not even about setting fair laws and seeing them enforced. It’s about these moments, the men and women who choose to put their lives and livelihoods in our hands.”

”I think I can fix it,” he said at last. “I’ve always known Ravka is broken, and I’ve seen the way it breaks people in return. The wars never cease. The trouble never stops. But I can’t help believing that somehow, I’ll find a way to outsmart all of the kings who came before and set this country right.” He shook his head and laughed. “It is the height of arrogance.”

”Nikolai had always understood that he and Ravka were the same. He just hadn’t understood how: He was not the crying child or even the drowning man. He was the forever soldier, eternally at war, unable to ever lay down his arms and heal.

Zoya:

”She intended to find a way to protect Grisha throughout the world so no one would ever have to live in fear or hide their gifts again – a governing body with representatives from every nation to hold their countries accountable, a guarantee of rights and of punishment for anyone who tried to imprison or harm her kind.

I already said it in one of my updates and I’ll say it again: Zoya is like a good wine that gets better with time. She’s an acquired taste and I love her for it! *lol* I kinda lived and breathed for the little snippets we got about her life and her background story was truly heart-breaking. Liliyana sounded like such a great person and it’s so sad that she died when the Darkling expanded the Fold. Also I can’t believe her parents wanted to marry off Zoya at the tender age of 9!!! Like WTH is wrong with you people?! *GRRR* I’m really glad she managed to escape that marriage and became a Grisha instead. I never thought I’d grow so fond of her insulting tongue but haha she really grew on me in this one. Also OMG! Now that she has Juris’s power will she be able to turn into a dragon too?! Because damn it, I’d be so down for a Zoya dragon in the next book! XD That way she couldn’t just spit fire with her sharp tongue but actually well, you know, SPIT FIRE!!! *lol* I’m ready for it Leigh! Just bring it on! 😉

”Zoya did not desire, she was desired. And that was the way she liked it. It was galling to admit that she wasn’t at all sure she could make Nikolai want her, and more galling to think that a part of her longed to try, to know if he was as impervious to her beauty as he seemed, to know if someone like him, full of hope and light and optimistic endeavor, could love someone like her.”

”What will I do with this? Look at my old face?” said Liliyana. “Send it to your mother as a peace offering.”
“It’s a gift for you,” Zoya replied. “So you can look into it each morning and see the most beautiful person I’ve ever known.”

”But the Darkling saw me clearly even then. ‘Is that really what you wish to say?” he asked.”
Zoya pushed a dark strand of her hair behind her ear. “So I told him the truth. I put my chin up and said, ‘They can all hang. It was my blood in the snow.”

Nina:

”Saints, she missed him. The ache of his absence felt like a hook lodged inside her heart. The hurt was always there, but in moments like these, it was as if someone had seized hold of the line and pulled.”

Ahhhhh!!! Nina was so savage in this! And I kinda liked it? XD What’s wrong with me? *lol* On the one hand Nina’s POV repeatedly ripped out my heart because the way her thoughts revolved around Matthias was just painful but on the other hand to see how strong she became also made me kind of proud? I mean Nina was always a very strong-willed character and did things her own way, but the Nina of “King of Scars” was on an entirely new level! I mean WOAH! The way she dealt with the Wellmother and basically everyone else who got in her way. Boy, that girl means business! Yet she’s still compassionate, gentle and kind. I think her experiences just made her a little more… I dunno ruthless? She knows none of the Fjerdans would show her mercy so she pays them back in kind. I’m very curious how she’ll develop and which kind of person she’ll be at the end of this trilogy. No matter what happens I’ll always love my Waffle Queen and that will never change! ❤ (Also to everyone who watched “Shadow and Bone”: I loved Nina in there! I’m totally besotted with Netflix Nina. *lol*)

”I don’t like that word,” Nina said, advancing. “Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.”
Birgir laughed. “Two guns are pointed at you. You think you can kill us both before one of us gets a shot off?”
“But you’re already dying, Captain,” she crooned gently.

”Of course,” she said. “Matthias, your country can kiss my fat Grisha ass.”

”Nina tucked two tiny quail eggs into her skirts in case Trassel had a taste for the finer things, and found herself wondering if they might finish with sugared almond cookies. One could plot violent espionage and still hope for dessert.”

”I told you I would pray for you,” said Nina as she closed the door and issued her final command to her soldiers: Give her the mercy she deserves.
Nina turned her back on the Wellmother’s screams.”

The Saints, Yuri and The Darkling:

”Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are mad of scars instead of wounds. The hive does not grant me the luxury of that lie. I cannot go on this way. None of us can.”

Okay, I admit it: I never saw that plot line coming! Not even in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that Leigh would introduce us to living saints and that we’d actually get to know some of them more closely. So that caught me totally off guard. I didn’t like Yuri right from the beginning because he was your typical religious fanatic and well as it turned out to have him around was a big mistake. I knew something was up with Elizaveta but I would have never expected her to go that far! Like OMG! Why??!! Juris’s and Zoya’s friendship was great and Grigori kind of grew on me too. It’s a shame both of them had to die because Elizaveta wanted to resurrect the Darkling and I can’t believe… I CAN’T BELIEVE she actually succeeded! I swear: The Darkling in Yuri’s body at the ending was… THE. DEATH. OF. ME!!! I can’t even!!! No, no I can’t! I mean I love the Darkling but OH GOSH!!! I think I might need a little time to digest this. *lol*

”Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself, just as you did with your training.”

”The Darkling could have killed either of them, but he had wanted to punish them instead. He might have been an ancient power, but he certainly had a petty streak.”

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Zoya & Nikolai:

Zoya batted Nikolai’s quaking hands away from his buttons and took up the work herself. Through the thin cotton, she could feel the chill the night had left on his skin.
“What an excellent valet you make,” he murmured. But she knew he hated submitting to these small attentions, hated that he was weak enough to require them.

I SHIP IT! Badly! I never thought I’d say this but Zoya and Nikolai are made for each other. They both know how to deal with court problems, they are strong and independent and they obviously have a soft spot for each other! ❤ I loved the level of trust that is between them and they had so many little moments together. Their love is something that grows slowly like a delicate flower and I can’t wait for them to realize how much they mean to each other. Nikolai comparing her to a strong drink was everything! *lol* We all know Nikolai could handle her and I want them to kiss and confess their love for each other! Also their banter!!! It’s superior! I think Zoya might be exactly what Ravka needs and who knows, now that she’ll be some sort of saint people will probably accept her at his side? I really hope those two will have a HEA because they both deserve it! Nikolai needs a woman like Zoya and I’m convinced Zoya needs a man like Nikolai. So can they already kiss, please?! *lol*

”He’d come to recognize the bizarre phenomenon of Zoya’s beauty, the way men loved to create stories around it. They said she was cruel because she’d been harmed in the past. They claimed she was cold because she just hadn’t met the right fellow to warm her. Anything to soften her edges and sweeten her disposition – and what was the fun in that? Zoya’s company was like strong drink. Bracing – and best to abstain if you couldn’t handle the kick.”

”But when he thought of choosing a wife, the branches crowded in on him and he found himself glad to be left alone in the dark. Perhaps not alone, precisely. He very much enjoyed the quiet of this room, the warmth of the fire, and the steel-spined harpy seated across from him.”

”Zoya, say something spiteful.”
“Why?” she asked faintly.
“Because I’m fairly certain I’m hallucinating, and in my dreams you’re much nicer.”
“You’re an idiot, Nikolai.”
“Not your best work.”

”In that moment, he wished things might have been different. That he might not die tomorrow. That he could be led by his heart instead of duty.
Because Zoya was not kind and she was not easy.
But she was already a queen.”

”Of course I’ll come back,” he said. “I don’t trust anyone else to deliver my eulogy.”
A smile curled her lips. “You’ve written it already?”
“It’s very good. You’d be surprised how many synonyms there are for handsome.”
Zoya closed her eyes. She turned her face, letting her cheek rest against this palm. “Nikolai –“

Nina & Hanne:

”Nina studied her. There was something relentless in her features – the cheekbones sharp, the nose rigorously straight. Only the full thrust of her lips gave any hint of softness. It was a challenging face, stubborn in its lines. Beautiful.”

Mhmm… To be frank I don’t know how I feel about this new ship. I mean we all know I love a good f/f rep in my books and Nina deserves someone who will lover her the way she is. I’m just not sure that person is Hanne. I wasn’t convinced by their chemistry and it came out of nowhere. Like suddenly there is Hanne and Nina thinks she’s beautiful but she’s still grieving for Matthias so idk. *shrugs* And then she’s Jarl Brum’s child?! I mean I’m currently very fond of K-Dramas but Nina having a relationship with Brum’s child? I’ve a tough time imagining it. Guess only time will tell if I’ll be persuaded by this ship or not.

”If I had just been a boy. If I had been the son my father wanted …”
Nina gripped Hanne’s shouders. “You are perfect, Hanne. That your father can’t value your strength speaks only to his weakness.“

Ehri & Isaak:

”A reasonable gambit, but not one I was prepared to make.”
He studied her. “Not when you could simply wait for a pensive king to amble by and find you looking like a painting in green silk with flower in your hair?” Her golden eyes shifted away guiltily. “How long were you waiting, hoping I might stroll by?”
She bit her lip. “Two hours and twelve minutes. Give or take.”
He was both annoyed and pleased that she’d actually been frank.”

This was straight out of a Greek tragedy and I was really shook by this turn of events! Isaak grew on me and I really liked that boy and then BAM! Leigh killed him through Princess Ehri who wasn’t even Princess Ehri to begin with. They were both posing as someone they were not and actually fell in love. This love story was nothing but tragic and I’m still sad about it. They both deserved better and at another place and at another time they might have even been able to become lovers. T_T It’s so heart-breaking. It’s on the same level as Romeo and Juliet and ahhh my heart is still bleeding for those two. RIP Isaak! You did well, you were a great king and you could have been so much more! <333

”The things I imagine, the things I would hope for are not the musings of a queen.”
“A princess, then.”
Ehri smiled. “More like an artless girl. And end to war. A chance for the common people to choose their own futures. A world in which families aren’t torn apart by hardship … or duty. I must sound very foolish to you.”
“Not at all,” said Isaak. “If we don’t dream, who will?”

She pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “My only comfort is that you never could have been mine. But know that I would have gladly been yours.”
“Ehri,” he moaned as the world began to go dark.
“Not Ehri.”

”I’m not the king of Ravka, just a lowly grunt trying not to perspire in his fancy clothes. No, that was definitely not the right reply. Isaak supposed he should say something flirtatious, but he wasn’t sure which secrets belonged to him and which belonged to the king.”

4

“King of Scars” started out way more slowly than I thought it would, but the last couple of chapters totally made up for the slow beginning! My mind is still reeling from all those revelations and it might take a couple of days until I digested this ending. All told, I enjoyed this immensely and I can’t wait to dive into the next book. Now that the stage is set I expect an epic finale in “Rule of Wolves” and tell you what? I’m ready! 😉

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Wicked Lovely (Melissa Marr)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 30 on My Book List 2020

“Faeries could make themselves seen or not seen at will. And when they took people they took body and soul together.”

Before I start this review I’ve to be honest and tell you that I’m super biased when it comes to this series. *lol* It was the first faerie book series I ever read and I loved it so much that I bought all five books and even the accompanying novellas. XD Funnily enough I started this series all wrong and actually read “Ink Exchange” – the second book – first. Back then I found it in my library, was intrigued by the cover and after reading the blurb I just borrowed it, completely unaware that it was already the second book in a series.

Well, after reading the first couple of chapters I realized that I was right smack in the middle of a series but I was already way too hooked to stop reading. And looking at it in retrospective this was actually a good thing! “Ink Exchange” made me WANT to read this series and if I’d have picked up “Wicked Lovely” first I’m not sure if I’d have continued. Not that “Wicked Lovely” isn’t good. It’s great in its own way, but it’s definitely a really slow start. After reading it for the third time I can appreciate its beauty and recognize what a nice job Melissa Marr did. There is just a lot of info in this first book and most of it only starts to make sense when you continue with the series and get to know the world better.

This said, I think “Wicked Lovely” is some sort of series that slowly grows on you. If you make it through the technicalities of the first book you’ll most likely enjoy the rest as well! Plus if you read it once and reread it again, you’ll find so many interesting hints you missed the first time. XD Like for instance the brief appearances of Irial and Niall. 😉 I really can’t wait to review this properly so I’ll jump right into my characters section and relish that I’m finally able to gush about this!

2

You asked for the Sight and I’ll grant you your wish! Be aware that everything I do has its price though. If you consent you won’t only be able to see through the glamour of faeries but you’ll also see a lot of spoilers! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s your choice, so I’d recommend choosing wisely. ;-P

Aislinn:

”She leaned against him, needing his comfort, his support. She was afraid, but she couldn’t just sit around waiting for someone to save her. She had to try to save herself, try to figure it out.”

I have no idea why I never liked Aislinn. *lol* I mean considering it all she’s actually a great character and I love that she isn’t just accepting everything fate is throwing at her. She might have no choice when it comes to her being the Summer Queen but I think it’s really amazing that she decided to do it on her own terms. She isn’t giving in because Keenan seduced her; she’s giving in because she knows she has no other choice than to do what is best for her and her people. Maybe that’s exactly what made her the Summer Queen. She’s the only one that didn’t fall for Keenan and his charms and decided to take up the staff because she actually wanted to. She wanted to help him and she didn’t want to be a summer girl or a wraith so she chose the only choice she could live with. And just as a side note: There are worse things than being the Summer Queen. *lol* ;-P

”Simply willing it away had never worked with the Sight, and she was beginning to believe that this was much the same. She knew she was changing, despite how much she’d been trying to deny it.
I’m one of them.”

”While he stood there, fighting not to falter under the chill Beira had released, Aislinn pulled him down and kissed each of his bruised cheeks, her lips soft as balm on the painful bruises. “I can’t stand a bully.”

Seth:

”He was lovely, tempting in ways so different than Keenan: dark and still, shadows and paleness.”

I LOVE Seth!! I mean I always loved Seth but when I read this series for the first time I only realized how amazing he was when I read “Fragile Eternity”. This time around I already appreciated him in the first book and I realized that I adore him. I mean this boy is basically the embodiment of a bad boy with a heart of gold. He has lots of piercings and the respect of a lot of people, he loves to read and he listens to great music so OMG! He’s like perfect! Plus he never pushes Ash! He always lets HER decide what to do and this is just awesome. The world needs more guys like Seth! I mean who wouldn’t want to date a gorgeous, caring, selfless and intelligent boy? =))

”He didn’t move any farther, didn’t close the distance between them. He might tease, flirt, but he didn’t pursue her. It was her choice. In a world where so many choices weren’t hers, it was a wonderful feeling.”

Keenan:

”He glowed faintly all the time, as if hot coals burned inside him. His collar-length hair shimmered like strands of copper that would slice her skin if Aislinn were to slide her fingers through it – not that she would.”

I think in many ways Keenan is exactly the opposite of Seth. He pushes Ash and wants to sway her in his favour. He tries to score with his charms and good looks and yes, he’s kind of selfish. Or at least he seems to appear like that. There’s more to Keenan than initially meets the eye and everything he does, he’s doing because he doesn’t have a choice. For him there’s no grey. He either finds his Summer Queen or his people die and the world is going to drown in endless winter. With all those responsibilities it’s really no wonder he’s so pushy. Keenan is desperate and when he said that hope is all he lives on I really felt sorry for him. He is a good and nice person, but Beira definitely didn’t make it easy for him to show his sweet side.

”What makes you think I won’t resent it today?”
“Hope. It’s what I live on …”

”I wish it didn’t trouble you. But I’m begging you to accept me. Simply tell me what you want, and I’ll try.”

Donia:

”Donia still wasn’t sure whom she resented more: Keenan, for convincing her he loved her, or Beira, for killing that dream. If he’d truly loved her enough, wouldn’t she be the one? Wouldn’t she be his queen?”

Ahhh Donia! My fierce, stubborn and upright winter girl! ❤ I hated how much she doubted herself because of Beira and her bitter fate still gnaws at me. She was the only one who had the guts to take up that staff and in the end the cold claimed her. What happened to her wasn’t fair and I really would have wished things would have turned out differently. Donia is such a great character and even though she could have been corrupted by Beira’s blackmail she didn’t even think about betraying Keenan. I’m kind of glad she’s the Winter Queen now. It will make things between her and Keenan even more complicated but I’m sure she’ll be strong enough to handle it. 😉

The words came to her from the white world, sliding through her lips like a winter wind, “I am the Winter Queen. As those before me, I will carry the wind and ice.”

Beira:

Beira let go of the staff and wrapped her arm around Donia, holding her up, and whispered, “If you fail me, it’s well within my power to take away this body of yours. He can’t stop me. You can’t stop me. You’ll be a shade, wandering, colder than even you can imagine. Think about it.” Then she let go.

Beira is such a WITCH!! I swear that woman is as cold as her icy exterior. How a person like her got a son like Keenan is beyond me. Also Beira’s relationship with Keenan was super abusive and I really felt for him. The worst thing about her was that she relished hurting others and abused her powers. She even turned against her own people and tried to cheat. The rules of how Aislinn would become the new Summer Queen were pretty exact, yet Beira still tried to interfere. It’s good that she died and that Donia is the new Winter Queen now. I’m sure she will be a way better monarch than Beira ever was. XD

”Mortals are such fragile things. Just tender feelings walking around exposed in their delicate shells … Easy to crush.”

3

Ash & Seth:

”Talk to me.”
She stood up, but he caught her hand before she could walk away again. He pulled her closer.
“I’m here. I’ll be here. Whatever it is.”

I really liked the chemistry between those two! Seth is one hell of a guy and the fact he wasn’t jealous when Aislinn told him that Keenan wants her to be his Summer Queen is actually quite amazing! All he said was that Keenan has bad timing! *lol* Like seriously!!! Find yourself a Seth! Also I’m still not over the fact that he waited 7 months!!! for Ash to finally admit to her feelings for him! That boy is PATIENT!!! If I’d have been Ash nothing would have been able to keep me away from Seth. XD I really love that boy! <333 So yeah, those two had quite a lot of sizzling moments and I can’t wait for more of them. Totally on board of this ship. 😉

”He lifted her onto the counter where she’d sat and talked to him countless times. But this time her hands were in his hair, wrapping her fingers in it, pulling him closer.
It was the most perfect kiss she’d ever had until she realized, Seth. This is Seth.”

”Since you don’t seem the jealous sort, I’m guessing she was a faery.”
“Wings and all.” She went over, pulled him down to her, and kissed him. “But I might be a bit more the jealous sort than I realized.”
He grinned. “Works for me.”

She shook her head. “No. But when he, it’s not him, it’s some faery thing ….”
He tipped her head up. “Don’t give up. Don’t leave me before you’re even here.”

Ash & Keenan:

”You’d be surprised at what I know about you. And you know what? None of it impresses me. Not one little bit.”
He laughed then – joyous and free, like the anger that’d flared in his eyes hadn’t existed. “Then I shall try harder.”

Aislinn definitely didn’t make it easy for Keenan to win her over. Sometimes she was just downright rude and I felt really sorry for him. I mean that boy is trying really hard and it’s not like he could do anything against it. His hands were bound and Ash giving him hell for it must have been tough. I guess they both tried to deal with the situation as best as they could and considering both of them are already in love with someone else will only make it even harder to cope with their new roles. Keenan is trying to play the long game with Ash though so this is going to be interesting. After all Seth is a mortal still. 😉 I think it’s good that Keenan accepted Seth at Ash’s side and that her happiness is more important to him than forcing a relationship. They are both fey though and their chemistry is there even if they don’t want it… Mhmm… XD

”I thought you’d be angry if you woke up with me, and” – he paused, mouth curled in a sardonic half-smile – “and I don’t want you angry.”
“I don’t want you at all. Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

”Keenan looked at Aislinn, curled up against Seth, seeming happy. It was what he wanted for her, happiness. There was little she could ask that he’d deny – even if that meant she would be in another’s arms for now.”

Donia & Keenan:

”Go away, Keenan. I don’t like you any more today than I did yesterday, or the day before that, or the –“ He interrupted, “But I still like you. That’s the beauty of this, isn’t it? I still miss you. Every single time we do this, Don.” He lowered his voice to try and hide how close it was to raw. “I miss you.”

The epitome of star-crossed lovers! I’ve to say that I felt really, really sorry for Keenan this time around. It’s obvious he loves Donia and the fact that she turned into the Winter Girl had nothing to do with his love for her. I know Donia thought that he just didn’t love her enough but as we could see with Ash love had nothing to do with becoming the Summer Queen. Keenan loved Donia for decades and she hated and resented him because she thought it was his fault that she turned into the Winter Girl. I certainly didn’t envy him his position as the Summer King. Poor boy! Despite of their new roles I can’t wait to see more of this power couple and I’m so ready to read the other books! =)))

He moved farther away from her – crouched on the floor, head bowed – where they couldn’t touch. He sounded as broken as he looked. “If you stop Aislinn, I lose everything. If you don’t, you die. What am I to do?”
“Hope I lose,” she suggested softly.

”He stroked her face, gently, as if she were something delicate and precious. Tears ran down his cheeks and dripped onto her face, melting the ice that still clung to her. “I thought I’d lost you. I thought we were too late.”

Ruling the Winter Court had come easily; she could be just, fair, to her fey. But having power over Keenan – that was a dangerous thing. She wanted him to sway to her wishes as she’d done so long to his. She licked her lips and was rewarded by a flash of darkness in those summer eyes.
He moved closer, hesitantly, but the look in his eyes was hopeful. “Why are you here?”
“For you.”

4

I still love this series with every fibre of my heart and I’ll continue to love it until I die. It was the first faerie series I ever read and therefore will always hold a special place in my heart. Yes, the first book is slow-paced but it’s still great and I’ll never get tired of recommending this series. <333

I can’t wait to read “Ink Exchange” and to be reunited with Irial, Niall and Leslie! XD

Allgemein, F - J, H, Reviews

Review: House of Earth and Blood (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 24 on My Book List 2021

“Through love, all is possible.”

To be honest I don’t even know where to start with this review. This book was great in so many different ways that I’m having a really tough time to sort my thoughts and feelings. What I can definitely tell you is that this book is one of the slower ones. It has 803 pages and up to page 500 every single one of them is used to build up the plot and to introduce all the characters. I know a lot of other people who reviewed “House of Earth and Blood” actually didn’t like this long build up and saw it as a huge flaw but personally I think that it was important for the storyline.

Are 500 pages to introduce the characters and the world setting too long? Maybe. But in this book it worked for me.  I guess everyone who ever read high fantasy knows that plenty of pages go into the history of the MCs and the world building. (Quite honestly sometimes you’d even get pages of descriptions of the surroundings. I’m looking at you LOTR!!! *lol*) Every info I got in HOEAB was interesting and important for the plot though so I’m definitely not complaining. 😉

Even the least important characters and side-characters had history and I was living and breathing for it. Sure, there are some characters like Tharion, Aidas and Queen Hypaxia I’d love to hear more about (and I’m sure I will in the next book) but considering the many different groups and the complexity of the world Sarah actually did a great job. This said the last 300 pages just about killed me and I couldn’t have stopped reading even if my life would have depended on it. *lol* Yes, it was THAT suspenseful. Quite honestly I have no idea how Sarah wants to top this book!!?? I mean this was book one in a series and my expectations for book two are so high they are scratching the sky. XD Before I think about the next book let’s speak about this one first, okay?! ;-P

2

Welcome to Crescent City! The city of many possibilities and ALL the spoilers! *lol* So if you don’t want to be spoiled and haven’t read the book yet, I’d recommend to take the next bus out of town because this is going to be a spoiler festival! XD You’ve been warned! 😉

Bryce Quinlan:

Hunt’s stare lifted to her own again. “Do you own any weapons?” The purely male gleam in his eye told her that he assumed she didn’t.
“Bother me again,” she said sweetly, just before she shut the window in his face, “and you’ll find out.”

I love Bryce so freaking much, I can’t even! This girl is the BEST! I love as good as everything about her and her many flaws only made her even more likable in my eyes! This is a character I could totally relate to and she felt very real! I mean she’s stubborn, clever, resilient, funny, loyal and compassionate. Yes, at times she’s even reckless but it’s all just limited to pushing her boundaries. She never really goes overboard unlike some of Sarah’s other characters and that was really refreshing. Bryce is a very self-confident character and knows exactly what she wants and she’s not only working hard but also has both feet on the ground. The way she dealt with Micah?! OMG!!! That’s a fierce woman right there! *lol* I respect her character and I hope we’ll get to see even more of it in the next book!

”It’s easier for me – when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are.”

Hunt Athalar:

”In the harsh bathroom firstlights, his light brown skin was pallid under the black band of thorns across his brow. The tattoo, he’d learned to live with. But he shrank from the look in his dark eyes. Glazed. Empty. Like staring into Hel.”

I kinda liked his nickname. Umbra Mortis definitely has some ring to it. *lol* This said I also think in many ways Hunt was the broken, powerful “alphahole” Sarah J. Maas has written about so often. Just like with Rowan and Rhysand his background story is heavy and quite violent which was no surprise because obviously Sarah likes to write about men with baggage. ;-P Of course I still liked him and rooted for his character he just reminded me a lot of all the other men Sarah wrote about. What I certainly didn’t expect was his betrayal and the fact that he knew about the drugs all along! This came as such a surprise and his involvement totally threw me. XD Then again it probably shouldn’t have surprised me. After all he didn’t regret any of his actions and said so multiple times. I wonder where Sarah will go with his character in future.

”By the time Ramuel decided to let me serve as his assassin, it had been nine years since I’d seen sunlight. Since I’d heard the wind or smelled the rain. Since I’d seen grass, or a river, or a mountain. Since I’d flown.”

”There were some of the Fallen who accepted the halo and slave tattoo, you know. After a few decades, they accepted it. Stopped fighting it.”
“Why have you never stopped?”
“Because we were right then, and we’re still right now. Shahar was only the spear point. I followed her blindly into a battle we could never have won, but I believed in what she stood for.”

Danika Fendry:

”It was unheard of, for a shifter to have that sort of power, yet all the standard childhood tests had confirmed it: once Danika Dropped, she’d become a considerable power among the wolves, the likes of which had not been seen since the elder days across the sea.“

If I’m completely honest I probably would have married Danika before dating Bryce! *lol* I loved her character so much and I really wish there would have been even more of her. I mean I already knew Danika was going to die, but I wasn’t prepared of how fast I’d grow fond of her and her pack! She was such an amazing person and her death was horrible. >_< At least as horrible as her own mother! I swear, Sabine certainly didn’t make it easy to like her. If there is even the slightest possibility that Danika gets reborn and reappears in the next book I’d be so here for it. XD Is it possible, Sarah? Please! *makes huge puppy eyes*

”Her goal was to protect you. Always. Even from yourself.“

Sandriel:

”She and the commander of her triarii, Pollux, take cruelty and punishment to new levels.” He clenched his jaw, shaking off the blood-soaked memories. “They’re not stories to tell on a busy street.” Or at all.”

That angel most definitely was no angel at all and should have burned in Hel. I hated Sandriel with a fierce passion and I really wish she would have died in the rebellion! It’s not right that a cruel person like her was that powerful and even though she got what she deserved I still think that her death was too quick. She should have gone to prison for eternity and not died that quickly. >_< Well, she’s dead now and won’t cause any more trouble. XD

Tharion, Queen Hypaxia & Aidas:

Aidas had nearly vanished into nothing when he added, the words a ghost slithering through the room, “The Oracle did not see. But I did.”

Okay, those three were just side characters but each one of them was super intriguing and I would have loved to get more of their background story!!! Like seriously! Just give me more! Aidas the Prince of the Chasm was one hell of an interesting character and Tharion as well as Queen Hypaxia easily won me over as well. I always knew that med witch was suspicious but I didn’t even think about the possibility that she might be Ruhn’s betrothed. *lol* Let’s hope all of them will be a part of the next book! ❤

Tharion crossed his arms, muscles rippling beneath his black long-sleeved T-shirt. After the initial parade and that first day of endless meetings, most of them had donned far less formal wear for the rest of the talks. “I know the costs of war, Governor.” Bold male, to say that, to look Sandriel dead in the eye.

3

Bryce & Hunt:

”Hey.” Hunt knelt at Bryce’s side. He reached for her shoulder, but lowered his hand. How many people ever saw the hands of the Umbra Mortis reach for them with no hint of violence?

What I really loved about their relationship is that it grew steadily. There was no insta-love or some unnecessary drama. They started out as two strangers that both knew about the other’s reputation and didn’t trust each other. The more they got to know each other and the more time they spent together, the more they started to see the true person behind all their bravado though. It was so refreshing to see them develop a really close friendship. Sure, there was attraction but it was just a part of their friendship and didn’t define it. I adored how they started to take pictures of each other to make new memories and how just to be around each other helped them to deal with their problems. They both had a lot on their plate but together they managed to pull through it. I still can’t believe that Hunt was in on the dugs though. That was quite a shocker and I’m kind of worried Sarah will pull a typical Maas and make us dislike Hunt in the next book. So far all her books started out with a love interest the MC would die for and then she ended up with someone completely different. *lol* It would be such a shame if that happened in here too. I guess only time will tell. XD

”Only sorrow lay here. And something like understanding. Like she saw him, as he’d seen her in that shooting gallery, marked every broken shard and didn’t mind the jagged bits. Under the table, the toe of her high hell brushed against his boot. A little confirmation that yes – she saw his guilt, the pain, and she wouldn’t shy from it. His chest tightened.”

”And she tried not to look too shocked when he laid his head on her thigh, his arm coming across her to rest on the pillow. A child laying his head on his mother’s lap. A friend looking for any sort of reassuring contact to remind him that he was a living being. A good person, no matter what they made him do.”

”We don’t take that risk,” Hunt snarled. “We’ll figure out how to get the venom another way.”
“I can handle myself – “
“I can’t fucking handle myself, Quinlan. Not if you might be in danger.”

”You’re my friend. Who watches trashy TV with me and puts up with my shit. You’re the person I don’t need to explain myself to – not when it matters. You see everything I am, and you don’t run away from it.”
He smiled at her, let it convey everything that glowed inside him at her words. “I like that.”

Bryce & Ruhn:

”He’d wounded her, and it had scared the Hel out of her that he held such power. That she had wanted so many things from him, imagined so many things with her brother – adventures and holidays and ordinary moments – and he had the ability to rip it all away.”

Ahhh I absolutely loved this sibling bond! I mean yes, at the beginning of the book Bryce is keeping her distance to Ruhn and doesn’t want to have to do anything with him, but to be honest the reason for that was pretty shady if you ask me. I mean yes, they had a fight, but it’s no reason to avoid your brother for years. XD The explanation why she brushed him off was pretty lame but then again there are siblings in real life that don’t talk with each other for ages because of one silly thing. Believe me I’ve seen it – siblings that didn’t talk to each other for 30 years because of some minor matter and died without reconciling – so I suppose it might be realistic after all. I’m just glad Ruhn and Bryce are talking again and I definitely want to find out more about Ruhn in the next book. He was just a small part in here and I’m very curious about him and his life. Also I really thought Ruhn might be bi or pan but then Queen Hypaxia appeared and I guess that’s it. >_< I’m pretty certain my queer ass won’t see a real LGBTQ+ pairing in this series as well. Which is a shame but then again it’s probably better if Sarah doesn’t write them. I mean not every straight author can pull off a realistic queer rep so I respect her for steering clear of it. It takes guts to say “no” and to know your own limits. 😉

From the pure devastation on Ruhn’s face, her brother hadn’t known, either.
“Tell Ruhn I forgive him,” Bryce said, shaking again. Tears streamed down the prince’s face.
“I forgave him a long time ago,” Bryce said. “I just didn’t know how to tell him. Tell him I’m sorry I hid the truth, and that I only did it because I love him and didn’t want to take anything away from him. He’ll always be the better one of us.”

”His blue eyes gleamed in the streetlights, dawn still far off. A breeze off the Istros ruffled his black hair. And it was the tears that filled his eyes, the wonder in them, that had Bryce launching forward. Had her throwing her arms around her brother and holding him tightly.
Ruhn didn’t hesitate before his arms came around her. He shook so badly that she knew he was crying.”

Bryce & Syrinx & Lehabah:

”My friends are with me and I am not afraid.”

THOSE THREE BROKE MY FREAKING HEART!!!! AHHHH!! I’m still crying for Lehabah!!! This little precious fire sprite!!! I can’t!!! T_T I loved Lehabah so much! She was so fierce and compassionate and had quite an attitude but ahh that only made her even more likeable! I loved that she always called out Bryce on her coldness and unfriendly behaviour and that she was such a gossip. *lol* I can’t believe she died and the scene when she fought to give Bryce those precious seconds had me in tears. I was SOBBING reading that scene!!! SOBBING! T_T I’m still not over it. I guess I’ll never be. Also Syrinx is such a precious creature! <333 I want a Syrinx as well!

The words rippled through the library as Bryce wept. “I traded with Jesiba for your freedom last week. I have the papers in my desk. I wanted to throw a party for it – to surprise you.” The bathroom door began warping, bending. Bryce sobbed, “I bought you, and now I set you free, Lehabah.”
Lehabah’s smile didn’t falter. “I know,” she said. “I peeked in your drawer.”
And despite the monster trying to break loose behind them, Bryce chocked on a laugh before she begged, “You are a free person – you do not have to do this. You are free, Lehabah.”
Yet Lehabah remained at the foot of the stairs. “Then let the world know that my first act of freedom was to help my friends.”

Bryce & Danika:

”Bryce patted Danika’s silken head as she passed. Danika nipped her fingers, teeth flashing.
Bryce chuckled, entering the narrow kitchen.”

The bond between Danika and Bryce was so amazing!!! <333 I’m such a sucker for close friendships and found family and Danika and Bryce were like the embodiment of this trope! They had a friendship you rarely find and I count myself lucky to have the same kind of closeness with my bestie. The tender gestures, cuddling, hugging, all those physical gestures of affection but also the strong mental bond and spiritual closeness, it was all there with Bryce and Danika, which is the reason why I loved them both so much! <333 Ahh how I wish Danika wouldn’t have had to die. But that moment when Danika answered and told Bryce to “light it up”. OMG!!! She made the drop with her, from the other side she still helped Bryce and helped her to make the Drop!!! I can’t! I just can’t!!! Those two are killing me! <333 *weeps in a corner* I really wish Danika wouldn’t have died. T_T

”I know people don’t get it. It’s just … a light went out inside me when it happened. Danika wasn’t my sister, or my lover. But she was the one person that I knew would always pick up the phone, or call me back. She was the one person who made me feel brave because no matter what happened, no matter how bad or embarrassing or shitty it was, I knew that I had her in my corner. That if it all went to Hel, I could talk to her and it would be fine.”

She whispered. “I’m scared.”
Danika grabbed her hand again. “That’s the point of it, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious.” She took Bryce’s face in her hands and pressed their brows together.

Bryce, Juniper & Fury:

”They’d never spoken of it. But Bryce wondered if Juniper had later told Fury how close it had been, how hard she’d worked to keep that phone call going while she raced over without alerting Bryce, sensing that something was wrong-wrong-wrong.
Bryce didn’t like to think about that winter. That night. But she would never stop being grateful for Juniper for that sense – that love that had kept her from making such a terrible, stupid mistake.

And here is the obligatory LGBTQ+ side character couple I kind of expected to appear in this book. Juniper and Fury are barely mentioned and then their relationship is dropped out of nowhere and even Bryce has a tough time to comprehend where it came from. *lol* Then again Sarah is probably steering clear of making an LGBTQ+ relationship the main focus because she might be worried she couldn’t pull it off. Idk. *shrugs* I really liked Bryce’s friendship with Juniper but Fury is a mystery to me and I kinda wish we would have seen more of both! They were so out of the plot they probably don’t even deserve the description “side character”. XD I genuinely hope well get to see more of them in the second book.

Fury hissed, “Juniper and I have something that is none of your fucking business.” Bryce refrained from gaping. Juniper had never hinted, never suggested – “I could no sooner stop talking to her than I could rip out my own fucking heart, okay?”

The grief rep:

”It’s not fine. I will never talk to her again. I think people expect me to be over it by now. but I can’t. Anytime I get anywhere close to the truth of my new reality, I want to space out again. To not have to be me. I can’t fucking dance anymore because it reminds me of her – of all the dancing we did together in clubs or on the streets or in  our apartment or dorm. I don’t let myself dance anymore because it brought me joy, and … And I didn’t, I don’t, want to feel those things.”

I had to give the grief rep its own space because I think it was done really well! As someone who’s unfortunately quite familiar with grief this really hit close to home. The way Bryce mourned for Danika was so damn relatable… When you’re so close to someone, when you love someone as much as Bryce loved Danika to get through that grief seems to be impossible. The worst thing is that others grieve too but they move on faster than you do. It’s because their bond wasn’t as strong as yours and they can’t comprehend why you’re still in mourning after two years. They don’t understand… but I do. I’ve been there, done that and got the freaking t-shirt so this really hit me on a personal level. Sarah nailed it and I want to thank her for this realistic portrayal!

She said quietly, “I need to find who did this, Hunt.”
He met her raw, aching stare. “I know.”
“No,” she said hoarsely. “You don’t. I don’t care what Micah’s motives are – if I don’t find this fucking person, it is going to eat me alive.” Not the murderer or the demon, but the pain and grief that he was only starting to realize dwelled inside her.

”Hunt opened his mouth to tell Quinlan he understood. Not just the complicated relationship thing, but the loss. To wake up one morning surrounded by friends and his lover – and then to end the day with all of them dead. He understood how it gnawed on bones and blood and the very soul of a person. How nothing could ever make it right.”

4

“House of Earth and Blood” was quite something and I loved to read this book! Sarah tackled so many important and interesting topics and she did it in a very sensitive manner. It might have seemed to be a slow paced book up to the 500 pages mark but I think it was necessary to build up the story like that. I have absolutely no idea how Sarah J. Maas wants to top this book but I’m more than just willing to find out! *lol* Let’s hope the wait for “Crescent City 2” won’t be all too long. XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAIR WARNING: Mild spoilers lying ahead of you! 😉

2

Juliette:

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

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

Adam:

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

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

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

Warner:

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

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

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

Kenji:

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

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

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

Enjoy! ;-P

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 17 on My Book List 2020
 

She sat beside his bed for a long while. Finally, she put a hand on his shoulder and whispered, “You are mine.”

If you’re looking for a fast paced book with lots of action and historical accuracy you better turn around and leave this review, because I can guarantee that you won’t get either of those two things if you start to read “And I Darken”. If you’re looking for a slow paced and very character driven story that has quite a unique setting and lives and breathes intrigues and machinations… Well, you’re welcome to stay! 😉

I really enjoyed this story because it was something different and even though there were some things you could argue about – for instance Lada’s full name being Ladislav which is definitely a male name that could have easily been changed into a female one – Kiersten White never claimed historical accuracy or well, I suppose just accuracy in that particular case. *lol* This book is placed in the genre of historical fiction after all and even though it borrows a few names and facts every now and then the story and the characters in it are clearly fictional. Just to put it out there as information for the people that might take offence when they read this. XD

And speaking of historical facts: Yes, Vlad II had two sons named Vlad (equivalent of Lada) and Radu who served as bargaining chips and were captives of Sultan Murad II. Funnily enough Mircea was actually Vlad’s elder brother and Radu (who was indeed called “Radu the handsome” or “Radu the fair”) was his half-brother. According to historical facts Vlad and his half-brother weren’t able to stand each other. Also Mehmed II (named Mohammed before he became the sultan) was actually Murad’s and Huma’s son. So there you go with the historical facts. History geek that I am, I probably could go into even more detail, but I’ll just leave it at that and talk about the fictional book instead. ;-P The history lesson is officially over now! You can breathe again. *lol*

2

So this is the moment when I welcome you to Edirne where machinations and plots are brewing as thickly as a Mercimek Çorbası. If you don’t want to be spoiled you better leave now! If not: Be my guest and eat soup with me. 😉

Lada:

”Lada had a sense for power – the fine threads that connected everyone around her, the way those threads could be pulled, tightened, wrapped around someone until they cut off the blood supply. Or snapped entirely.”

This girl is fierce, relentless, unapologetic and tenacious. And she’s driven! Driven by her love for Wallachia, her brother and yes, even Mehmed. I think I rarely met a bookish character that was so self-assured and knew exactly what it wanted. Lada wants to go back to her homeland and her deep love for Wallachia trumps everything else. I think she’s kind of similar to Aelin when it comes to this, only that Aelin’s Terrasen is more like a vague idea of something that used to be and Lada’s Wallachia is everything that’s out of her reach. She’s longing for her country and her people and she’s ready to do whatever is needed in order to get back there. But she’s also conflicted. So very conflicted. She refuses to give up on her religion, she doesn’t want to adapt to Ottoman customs and she fights against her tutor, yet there is one thing or rather one person she can’t seem to be able to refuse and his name is Mehmed. Throughout the entire book it felt like she was torn inside and I suppose she was. Between what she wanted and what she needed or craved for. I’m not sure the ending solved that problem but she made a choice and she’ll have to live with it. For better or for worse. >_<

”She had to be the smartest, constantly surprising and delighting him. She was terrified that the day she stopped amusing him would be the day he remembered he had no use for a daughter.”

”She kept a pleasant smile on her own, kept her hands loosely folded in her lap, kept control. Control was power. No one would make her lose it. And eventually the tutor would realize that she would let him hit Radu over, and over, and over.
And only then would Radu be safe.“

”On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”

”Why was she still here? What had become of the girl who was the daughter of a dragon? Was this it, then? Had she reached the pinnacle of her potential? A command of fifty men in service of a man she loved, who ruled an empire she loathed?”

Radu:

”Radu had gotten all the beauty their father had wished on his daughter. His eyes were framed by thick lashes, his lips full, his gentle curls kissed with a hint of Saxon gold.”

To say Radu is a precious cinnamon roll would be kind of insulting because even though he is, the Slytherin in him is still strong! *lol* I really loved that about his character because it made him so much more intriguing. There is this beautiful and sweet boy that knows exactly how to use his good looks and charisma to his advantage and he never even hesitates to do just that. As long as it helps him to protect Lada and Mehmed he won’t have any qualms about his actions. If I’d have to describe Radu in a brief sentence I’d say that he is: Beauty with a sting. XD But despite all his good cheer and easy nature he’s also a very lonely and insecure character which is easy to see whenever he’s around Mehmed. At first he doesn’t even realize that what he feels for Mehmed is love and once he figures it out he’s trying to suppress it. Because of his good looks and friendly nature he was always teased and I think the fact that he harboured feelings for his best friend only made it even harder to come to terms with himself. His father basically thought he was soft and worthless so it’s no wonder he’s super insecure about his feelings. Especially at a time like that and in a country where the Sultan has an entire harem of women. It’s no wonder poor Radu is lost and I’m kind of afraid of what will happen to him in book two. =S

”And then, seeing the relief shining in Mehmed’s black eyes, Radu knew what he hoped for: He hoped for the best for his friend. Regardless of what that meant for himself.“

”What had Lazar seen? What did he suspect? Could he tell simply by watching Radu that something was very wrong with him, when even Radu did not understand what it was? All he knew was that there was some light, some pull, some fire that Mehmed carried, and Radu only felt truly alive when he was nearby.”

”You have both been so busy learning tactics and studying battles, you have failed to see the truth of where thrones are won and lost. It is in the gossip, the words and letters passed in dark corners, the shadow alliances and the secret payments. You think I am worthless? I can do things you could never dream of.”

”I know it would help you, to have someone you could trust on that throne. And I want to serve you, to do whatever I can to help you gain Constantinople and be the sultan your empire has waited for. I will do whatever I can. But please, I beg you, do not ask this of me.”

Mehmed:

”The more I pushed, the more they looked the other way. My father never saw me, my mother could not be bothered to take so much as a meal with me. No one cared who I was or what I became.”

Dare I say it? Yes, yes I do. Don’t kill me but I think in comparison to the complexity of Lada and Radu’s characters, Mehmed was actually pretty… bland? *lol* Ahh it feels good to get that off my chest. XD I really don’t know why both of them fell for him because aside of his occasional kindness there is actually not a lot that speaks for him. He’s as spoiled as you’d expect the son of a sultan to be and even though there was an obvious effort to show that he was never loved by his father he still had it so much better than anyone else. Mehmed might not have been happy about his role but he still played it and used his harem to father children. I guess in some way he was as torn about this as Lada and Radu were about their allegiances, but this certainly didn’t stop him from seeking out his harem and for using his power as he saw fit. So yes, underneath it all he’s still spoiled and carries some sort of entitled arrogance with him. Which ultimately didn’t make him all too likeable in my opinion. I DID appreciate his efforts to protect his infant brother though and I was as heartbroken as he was when Huma arranged for him to be killed. T_T

”I want you to think of an amount you feel is fair but generous. It is important to me that your soldiers – and you – know that no one values you or can take care of you as much as I can.” Mehmed’s smile dropped off, his eyes becoming as shard as his tone. “No one can offer you what I can, and if anyone tried, it would be treason.”

”He knew then that his posterity, his wandering, homeless people, would rule the world. Is how far we have come not a testament to the truth of his vision? I have inherited that, Lada. It is a calling and a dream I cannot deny. The tree is mine to spread, and I must.”

3

Radu & Lada:

Radu nodded, snuggling into her shoulder. “Will you protect me?”
“Until the day I kill you.” She jabbed a finger into his side, where he was most ticklish, and he squealed with pained laughter.

In some way this is such a typical sibling relationship and then again it isn’t. I think everyone who has a brother or a sister can relate to the rivalry between those two and sometimes even to the animosity they feel at the beginning of the book. Lada realizing that she loves and cares about her brother deeply is something very typical for siblings. When you’re little they are always there and steal the attention from you, so you try to get some of your parents attention too, but the older you get the more you realize that the person you took for granted is very dear to you and that you wouldn’t want to miss them for the world. So regarding their early years this felt very relatable. Their relationship as they grow older is something entirely different though. Where normal siblings would have gotten along by then, Lada and Radu are still struggling. It’s obvious they love each other but at the same time they also kind of hate what they’ve become. Lada can’t forgive Radu for embracing their new home and Islam and Radu doesn’t understand why Lada is holding on to their old ways. This by itself is a pretty interesting dynamic and if you add Mehmed into the mix it gets even more complicated. At first it was their father that sowed the seed of discord and later on it’s Mehmed. Lada knows about Radu’s feelings yet she also knows that Mehmed has only eyes for her, and Radu is painfully aware that Mehmed only wants his sister and not him. Despite all that their bond is strong and when push comes to shove it’s Lada, Radu rescues. XD I really wish those two siblings would have talked more and that Lada would have explained why she let their teacher hurt Radu. *sighs* What being apart will do to their already strained relationship I dunno, but you bet I’m ready to find out. 😉

”But they were both silent in the shared secret of their escape, the truth that Mehmed could never know. Their secret was deeper and darker than the pool in the woods. Lada took her brother’s hand and squeezed it, a grip as painful as their new bond. They had betrayed Mehmed.”

”You – It does not seem like you. I never thought you could do something like this.”
Radu stiffened. “You may have been the one who stopped the dagger last time, but I am the one who will know before the dagger ever comes close to Mehmed.”

”You saved me,” she said.
“Of course I did.”
She shook her head. “Not when I was falling. When Ilyas had us both on the floor. You chose me over Mehmed.”
“You are my family,” he whispered. Lazar had been right, after all.

”She did not acknowledge it or the immense gratitude welling in his eyes. She owed him a debt. Nothing was more important to him than Mehmed’s trust. Perhaps it would have been kinder to break that trust and force a removal. Maybe then Radu could be free of the impossible love he carried. But she could not do that to him, not when it was so easy to take this blow on her own shoulders.”

Lada & Mehmed:

”Would you command me to stay? And if I refuse? Will you have me beaten? Whipped? All that and more I have faced in your father’s courts. I did not bow before your god or your sultan then, and I will not now. Why did you bring me here, Mehmed? I will not be ruled.”
Mehmed’s face fell. He lowered his hand, and the line of his back – so straight – curved. “I have never wanted to be your master. I have servants. And teachers, and guards, and a father who despises me. I want you … to be my friend.”

I think this relationship was doomed from the beginning because neither Lada nor Mehmed are able to change the way they are. Lada’s first and only true love is Wallachia and Mehmed is the sultan of the Ottoman Empire and has responsibilities he’ll never be able to escape. If Lada would have given in they might have had a chance but she’s too independent and stubborn to give up her dreams. Also I probably would have disliked her if she would have chosen Mehmed over everything she loves. If you break it down to the basics all Mehmed can give her is being one of many women to bear him children, always standing on the sidelines, designated to be nothing more than the shadow of the sultan. Lada has to go her own way and even though she had to rip out her heart in order to do so, she made the sacrifice willingly because she knew it was necessary. She’ll never be a docile wife and Mehmed should have realized this way earlier than he did. Their cultures and stances just clash too much. So I think this ship has sunk even though I doubt that we’ll have seen the last of them together. *lol* There’s still book 2 and 3 after all so I’m sure they’ll meet again eventually.

”And the harem, I – It is not real, Lada. I visit, and they flit about like phantoms, like paintings. None of them are real to me.” He paused again, placing a hand flat against the door. “You are the only real thing in my life.”

Mehmed blinked rapidly, then shook his head. “Lada, I was not talking about my son. Do you think he is the only thing here I value?”
“Then what?”
“You! I will not take you into battle! You have no idea what the conditions are like, no idea how many ways there are to die.”

”Say you are mine.” He trailed his lips down her neck. She arched into him, digging her fingers into his back.
“I am yours,” she whispered. The words cut like knives, barely out of her mouth before he stole them, sealing them with his own lips.

“Because thinking like that is the only way to keep from losing our minds.”
“What about our souls?” Mehmed whispered.
Before Lada walked out, she paused at the door. “Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”

Radu & Mehmed:

Mehmed put a hand on his shoulder, his smile healing the hurt of Lada’s mocking. “I know what you meant. This pool is as old and as pure as that story, I think.”
“It will be ours, then.” Radu beamed.
“Our secret,” Mehmed agreed.

First of all I’ve to say: DAMN IT!!! How could Mehmed not realize that Radu didn’t come along with them?!!?? Like seriously!! He’s his best friend and he didn’t realize his absence until about an hour or so has passed?! WTH??  Poor Radu! T_T It broke my heart! As did Radu being in love with Mehmed. I was constantly wondering if Mehmed is even aware of it but considering that he didn’t even notice Radu was missing he obviously only has eyes for Lada. It’s like Radu is some sort of afterthought and I hurt for Radu because he deserves so much better than that. I still don’t know how I feel about Radu’s marriage with Nazira but I suppose in some way it will be good for them both. I mean Nazira can be with her maid Fatima and be happy and maybe she’ll be a good companion for Radu. Someone he can confide in when he feels lonely and lost. That he had to kill Lazar because he betrayed Mehmed made me very sad but I understand why he did it. >_< Still, Lazar was an old and trusted friend that only tried to protect Radu so that he died at his own hands was a cruel twist. =(( I wish I would have gotten Mehmed’s POV because I think some part of him is aware that Radu loves him and even uses it to bind him to his side… His POV certainly would have been helpful in that regard. *lol* And I don’t even know who that guard from Constantinople was that held Radu’s gaze for such a long time but I’m pretty sure he would have been way more healthy for Radu than Mehmed. XD I’m kinda disappointed nothing happened between those two. *lol* But I’m pretty sure sooner or later Radu will meet a guy that will reciprocate his feelings and hopefully he’ll be ready to take the leap. =) He deserves to be loved and I hope it will happen in book two. XD

”He wanted Mehmed to look at him the way he had looked at Lada.
He wanted Mehmed to kiss him the way he had kissed Lada.
He wanted to be Lada.
No, he did not. He wanted to be himself, and he wanted Mehmed to love him for being himself.

„Radu knelt beside Mehmed, putting a hand on his shoulder. Mehmed looked up in surprise, but whatever he was about to say died on his lips as he squinted at Radu. Without a word, he threw himself forward. He wrapped his arms around Radu’s torso and buried his face in his shoulder.”

”She is lovely and a good match. And you will still be here.” He stopped and looked up. A hint of fear mingled with the trouble behind his eyes. “You will still be here.”
“Of course.”
“I depend on you. I trust you as I trust no one else.”
Radu smiled, lifting a hand to his heart. “And I you.”

After she was gone, Radu held Mehmed as he wept, Radu’s joy at cradling Mehmed was like a kick to the stomach, overpowering and destined to linger with bruises long after it was over.
“Never leave me.” Mehmed’s grief-choked voice still rang with command.
Radu closed his eyes. “I will never leave you.” Mehmed was in his arms, but he knew Lada was the only thing in Mehmed’s heart.

4

Kiersten White took historical names and spun her own story around them and what a marvellous tale it turned out to be! If you like historical fiction and books with a slow plot and multifaceted, independent characters this one certainly will be for you. Add a little bit of love, jealousy, an LGBTQ rep and lots of intrigues and you’re all set for a while. ;-P

 
 

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Brigid Kemmerer)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 11 on My Book List 2020


”My father once said we are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”

So after reading “A Curse so Dark and Lonely” I was actually kind of surprised to discover that a lot of my favourite bloggers only rated this book 3 or 2 stars. I get that they are tired of “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings but I don’t get the low ratings. O_o In short: Yours truly is confused! *lol* Sure, there are a lot of retellings at the market right now and yes, ACOTAR is among them, but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t good. Quite the contrary, in its own way it had quite a unique spin. Well, at least in my humble opinion it did. 😉

For instance Harper, the love interest, has cerebral palsy, the beast is no beast right away but slowly turns into one the more time passes, and even more interesting Rhen actually has a (best) friend. XD (Though I’m pretty sure a lot of people might disagree with me, when it comes to that last part.) Also there’s an evil sorceress that apparently has nothing better to do than to torment our MCs. Who doesn’t love a wicked witch? *lol*

Joking aside this was a lot of fun to read and it definitely kept me reading. Sure, you might argue that the jump from modern DC to Emberfall was quite sudden and jarring and yes, I’m the first one to admit that Grey (the side-character) was my favourite character in this book. Still, I might have not been as attached to Harper and Rhen as I was to Grey, this doesn’t mean that the book or its characters were bad though. Sometimes you just like the side-characters more and this is certainly one of those particular cases. (Come to think of it this seems to be a recurring thing when it comes to “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings. After all I loved Lucien and Rhys way more than Tam too. XD) Anyway, if you’re looking for a fast and entertaining TBATB retelling I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too. 😉 And now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right to my characters section!

2

Welcome to Emberfall where we always have autumn and it never gets cold. But that’s not all!  We also have a lot of amazing sights like for instance lots of spoilers, a beast, enemy troops and a super evil enchantress. Just like the spoilers you might want to avoid the enchantress though. *lol* This is a fair warning! If they get their hands on you I’m not responsible. ;-P

Harper:

”She wasn’t conscious. She wasn’t going willingly.” Her words are fierce. “And for the record, I’m not either.”

Ahh that fire! I really liked Harper right from the beginning. This is a girl that thinks on her feet and stands by her opinion! She is certainly no damsel in distress and I was happy to see such an independent character. Harper is ready to fight for her life and for what she thinks is right and she won’t back down just because of an evil enchantress and a curse. I think in some way that made her the perfect match for Rhen because she’s not broken and he actually needed a strong willed person like her. This said, I don’t know a lot about cerebral palsy but for me the rep was done really well. I liked that Harper was honest about it and that she considered herself to be lucky. Just like epilepsy, cerebral palsy seems to come with different characteristics and with a different severity for every person that’s affected by it and I could really relate to that. I’m really curious where Harper’s character will go in the next book and I can’t wait to see more of her relationship with Rhen.

”It affects everyone differently,” she says. “Some people can’t walk, or they can’t speak, or they have to use a wheelchair. I was a lot worse off when I was younger, so I had to have surgery to correct my left leg. I still have trouble with balance, and I walk with a limp, but I’m really lucky.”

”You are not angry about what Lilith has done?”
“Oh, I’m furious. But not about my face.”
“Then what?”
Her voice fills with steel. “I’m mad I missed.”

Rhen:

”I remember a time when my people feared the day I would come to lead – because I was seen as spoiled and selfish and not half the man my father was.
Now I am spoiled and selfish in another way, and no better fit to rule.”

Lord Vincent Aldrhen, Prince of Emberfall, son of Broderick, King of the Eastern Lands. Wow! That’s quite a long title, no wonder he goes by Rhen. *lol* Rhen was a very difficult character to gauge. I guess this is mostly due to him having to endure not only the curse but also the company of Lilith. At first I thought he was just reserved and cautious but the more I found out about him, the more I realized that he was thoroughly broken. He didn’t dare to hope that the curse could be broken and after so many years he was demoralized and resigned. Not even desperate, just done with the world and the curse. Well, and then Harper came along and gave him hope. I really liked that he always did what was best for his people and it’s no surprise Grey was so loyal to him. What Karis Luran told him at the end was quite a revelation though and I’m more than just ready to find out if it’s true. XD

”My lady, please – please know I meant you no harm. I meant your family no harm. I have tried everything I can think of to break this curse. I have tried to destroy myself. I would undo it if I could. I promise you.”

”This was my father’s kingdom,” he says. “This is now my kingdom. I may not be able to save myself – but I may be able to save my people.”

Grey:

Grey sights and gather up the cards. “You asked how I got her to play with me. As if there were some trick to it.” He wraps up the stack. “My lord, I did nothing. I sat down and asked.”

Ahhh my precious Grey! I haven’t been as enamoured by a side-character ever since I read ACOTAR and this says quite something! Lucien was/is so intriguing and Grey is too! XD For me he was legit the best thing about this book and I can’t wait to read “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” because I’ll finally get his POV! I loved that he was such a complex character yet at the same time he was so easy to be around. He took everything in stride and his loyalty to Rhen and Harper was amazing. ❤ This said I think that he suffered at least as much from the curse as Rhen did because he is a good person and to stand aside while Rhen was tortured by Lilith must have been pure hell for him. He’s compassionate and kind and he has some special brand of dark humour that was especially endearing. (at least for me it was. *lol*) In short: He’s an angel and an honourable soul and I really hope that he won’t suffer even more in the next book. I hate that Lilith and Karis Luran drove a wedge between him and Rhen and I really hope they’ll be able to talk things out in book two. >_<

”If His Highness allowed it, I would take her provocation by tenfold. I would fight her until I had no breath left to breathe.” His voice turns almost lethal, and in the dim light of the hallway, Grey’s eyes seem to darken. “My duty is to bleed so he does not. And now,” he says, “my duty is to bleed so you do not.”

”I speak too freely. This cursed drink has bewitched my thoughts.”

3

Harper & Rhen:

”Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says.
Her words are not a surprise. I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

Mhmm… I know they are the two MCs that were supposed to fall in love but I didn’t really feel their relationship. If anything it was more some sort of friendship that formed between them and even though they were attracted to each other I never had the feeling that they were I dunno, head over heels? Truly, madly, deeply? *lol* But then again this was the same problem I had with ACOTAR. Only attraction just isn’t working for me and considering that they apparently fell in love by the end of the book their relationship was actually pretty chaste. I think the most outrageous thing they did was hold hands and brush lips. XD What a scandal! *lol* Sorry, my sarcasm is surfacing. ;-P I think what it comes down to, is that I missed the passion between those two. But maybe I’ll get more of it in the next book? *shrugs* One thing is for certain though, for the main MC couple their love story was pretty lukewarm and probably the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Let’s hope I’ll be persuaded and swept of my feet by them in the next instalment.

She studies me. “I never know when to trust you. Everything always sounds so calculated.”
I jerk back, stung.
“Until you said all that.”

”What will you offer to stop it? What will you offer for passage home?”
“Anything.” She draws a hitching breath. “God, Rhen. Any –“
“No!” My voice is sharp, and she jumps. I put a finger over her lips. “Never offer blindly, my lady. Not for your family. Not even for yourself. Certainly not for me.”

”I want so desperately to turn it into more, to see where this blossoming attraction will lead. But I have come close before. I have found this moment before. The only difference is that I have never wanted it so badly. I draw back, then press my lips to her forehead.
“I want to know it’s real, too,” I say.

”I’m sorry,” Harper whispers. “I’m sorry I didn’t break the curse.”
I lift a hand to brush the tears off her cheeks. Oh, Harper. I wish she had. Not because of the curse, or because of Karis Luran, or because of Emberfall.
Because I have fallen in love with her.”

Harper & Grey:

”I’m finding that Grey has a dark sense of humor hidden under the formality. It’s subversive. I like it.”

Haha! I really liked those two! And yes, in my opinion they had more chemistry than Harper and Rhen. Might have been due to Grey’s intensity though. *lol* Either way I enjoyed their friendship and it was such a natural thing. Like they were just honest with each other and appreciated each other’s company. Nothing about them was complicated and it was the easiness and their companionship that made their scenes together so nice to read. =) Also that scene at the inn! *lol* I loved that Grey just followed Harpers order and how surprised she was at what he did. Haha! One of the best scenes in the entire book. XD I’m not sure I like the insinuation of Grey being romantically interested in Harper though. For me they had nothing but a great friendship and that conversation between Grey and Rhen when they drank together didn’t sit well with me. It came out of nowhere and sure Harper is great but we all know she’s Rhen’s love interest so why insinuate a love triangle that will lead nowhere? Just for the sake of it? Nope. Not buying it. They will be friends and that’s it. ;-P

I look at Grey, remembering how he made faces at the children in the snow. “You’re good with kids,” I say. “That’s like the most … incongruous thing about you.”
“Is it?” he says, his voice dry. “Truly, my lady?”

I hold his gaze and refuse to look away. “Commander Grey. Prove how serious I am.”
Grey’s hand flicks out. The man shouts and drops to the ground. The hilt of a knife protrudes from his knee. Whoa. I have no idea what I expected him to do, but that’s even better.

Harper & Jake:

”You think I’m going to sit upstairs eating cake with Noah while you’re out risking your life?” he snaps. “Quit staring at me. I’m coming with you.”

Harper and Jake gave me all the sibling vibes! ❤ I loved their relationship and that they were so close. We might have only gotten them together near the end of the book but the few scenes they had were really wholesome and typical for siblings. The bickering, the conversations, the wish to take care of each other, their protectiveness, it was on point. Also I kind of liked that Jake had a bf and that no one was bothered by this. *lol* In fact Grey’s reaction was hilarious! The healer’s concubine. I’m still not over it. XD I can’t help but wonder what they’ll do now that they are stuck in Emberfall though. Harper was always supposed to end up with Rhen, but her brother and Noah came there by accident and I’m curious if they’ll stay in Emberfall or if Grey will return them to DC one day. Guess I’ll have to find out by continuing with the series. 😉

”No,” says Jake, speaking for the first time in a while. “Harper, you didn’t do this.”
“But I could have stopped it. I couldn’t get out of my own way –“
“No,” he snaps. “And damn it, for once would you listen to me? You didn’t curse him. You didn’t bring yourself here.” He takes a long breath. “You didn’t – you didn’t give Mom cancer. You didn’t force Dad to borrow money from the wrong people –“
“You didn’t, either,” I say to him. “But you still went to work for Lawrence.”
“I did what I had to do,” he says. “To give Mom time. To protect you.”
“Me too,” I say.

Then he smiles, a shadow of the old Jake, before life clobbered us all. “Mom would be really proud of you, Princess Harper.” He kisses me on the forehead, then heads back through the doors into the castle.

Lilith & Rhen:

„I cannot wait to see how your monster manifests this season,” she says. “Perhaps I will keep you on a chain and put you on display for my enemies.”
A sudden chill grips my spine. This is an outcome I have never considered.
“Would you like that?” she says, moving closer again. “Mine for all eternity, Prince Rhen?”

I rarely witnessed such an abusive relationship in a book and whilst Harper’s and Rhen’s relationship was super chaste the same couldn’t be said about Lilith and Rhen. That woman tortured him in every way possible, manipulated him, enslaved him, sexually and emotionally abused him, humiliated him and did everything in her power to make him submissive. >_< I felt so sorry for Rhen and it’s no wonder he gave up hope and was broken. Seriously, Lilith’s relationship with Rhen was such a harsh contrast to his relationship with Harper and the differences couldn’t have been even more pronounced. Which was most likely Brigid Kemmerer’s intention. An abusive relationship vs. a wholesome one. Still, I hated Lilith for what she did to Rhen and Grey and I really hope Grey managed to end her. Hopefully she won’t appear in the next book. Good riddance!

”Humiliation burns my eyes, my throat. When she breaks the kiss, relief nearly breaks me. I want to shove her away, but I am pinned to the wall. My breathing is rough and ragged. I cannot look at her. I can barely move. My hands are still in fists, my muscles so tense I am trembling. And hope that bloomed in my chest has now withered and died.”

Rhen & Grey:

”Are you prepared to die, Grey?” I demand. “Because that is all that exists at the end of this path. I am sure of it. This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.”

What they both endured and what they went through together… I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t just friends but actually brothers. (no pun intended, I swear. *lol*) They tried to keep it professional for so long but the longer the season proceeded the more they gave up on their formality. And I think that was good the way it was. After so many seasons it was about time they admitted that they are friends. You can’t survive things like they did without forging a bond and theirs is strong. I’m confident that whatever Karis Luran and Lilith threw their way … they’ll overcome it in the next book. They have too much history together and I believe in them. Grey might think he won’t be welcome at Emberfall but we all know that Rhen misses him sorely! So there’s that! I really hope they’ll meet in “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” and that they’ll finally be able to have the friendship they were supposed to have all along. =)

”I do speak freely, my lord.”
His loyalty should inspire me. It does not. I have done nothing to earn it. I find that I regret his oath.
“Leave me,” I say.
The door whispers shut. Grey has always been good at following orders. And for the first time, I wish he wasn’t.

”Your first order was to seal the borders. You sent word to each city to govern from within.”
I do not understand how he can speak of my failures as if they are victories. “It was all I could do.”
“You asked why I keep my oath. In that moment, I never meant it more.”
“I do not deserve your loyalty, Grey.”
“Deserved or not, you have it.“

”You are incorrigible. I have no idea how I put up with you for so long.”
I raise an eyebrow, more amused than anything else. “Is that the drink talking?”
The shadow of a wicked smile finds his lips. “You told me to speak my mind.”

4

“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” definitely lived up to its title. Some scenes were truly dark and I felt really sorry for the lonely MCs! XD In this case I’ve to admit that I loved the side-character more than the MCs though. Grey just stole them both the show and I was quite fine with that. ;-P Still, for another TBATB retelling this was as good as they come and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book. I’ve been told there will be Grey’s POV so I’m already pumped! *lol*