Allgemein, K - O, N, Reviews

Review: Now I Rise (Kiersten White)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Secrets gave everything more power, more potential for devastation and destruction.”

And the secrets in here were huge, which is the reason why the destruction was so big at the ending of this book. >_< Both, figuratively and literally. I swear to read this was … quite an experience. I mean I already knew that this series is character driven and that the scheming and plotting never ends but I think “Now I Rise” raised this to the next level. If you know me, you know that I love this in my books though so to read this story was perfect for me. XD

What was very interesting was that we don’t only have two different POVs in the second book but also two different storylines that are a little bit delayed. We follow Lada who is in Wallachia and desperately tries to become the prince of her country and we are with Radu as he follows Mehmed’s order to infiltrate Constantinople as his trusted spy. Both siblings struggle with their tasks and with what is needed in order to achieve their goals. And while Lada continues to be the ruthless dragon that we know her to be, Radu’s heart seems to fissure under the constant weight of pressure.

I swear, the Dracul siblings couldn’t be any more different even if they tried but they still have such a strong connection and you can feel it on every page. Just like in the first book the longing in here is real, but whilst the main focus of this yearning was Mehmed in “And I Darken” it becomes something different in here. It turns into a longing for peace, for hope, for belonging and into a longing for knowing your place in the world, an almost palpable yearning for acceptance and better days. But before I write even more I’ll just get to my characters section and explain all my thoughts in there. 😉

2

You are now entering the lost city of Constantinople. Where people fight bravely against all odds and spoilers. If you don’t want to fight against a spoiler at every turn I strongly recommend you to leave this place. It isn’t too late; you can still make it out in time. 😉

Lada:

”Lada smiled. She knew that should not please her, but it did. The prince thought her a big enough threat to warrant an assassin. She still had a chance. Where there was fear, there was power.”

My fierce and reckless dragon child! Gosh, I love Lada. I really dislike a lot of her actions and I disagree with her methods but I still can’t help but love this girl. I think I rarely felt so torn about a fictional character but Lada Dracul is definitely something else. Just like in the first book she knows exactly what she wants and she’s still not afraid of doing whatever is necessary in order to achieve her goals. I just gotta admire her tenaciousness and intransigence. This woman knows the price she’ll pay and yet she’s still not afraid of going through with the bargain. Lada still wants Wallachia more than she wants anything else and I think her and Mehmed are pretty similar when it comes to the craving for a country/city. They would do anything to get it and no price would be too big to pay. Even if it took their souls as payment, they would still readily sacrifice them. Lada is already at the point where she’s crossing a line she’ll never be able to return from and I’m kind of worried what that will do to her in the last book. >_<

”Tonight, she felt the full weight of that loss. The loss of a brother who would have stood at her side and fought this battle of manners and politics for her. The loss of a man who would have laughed at her dress and her hair but also been desperate to be alone so he could undo it all for her.”

”For years Lada had nurtured only hatred for her father, to take away the pain that loving him had left her with. But that night in her tent as she drifted to sleep, she let some of it go. Because she, too, was grateful for who she was. She would not wish any part of herself away.”

”Running and abandoning those who needed her as the weakest, lowest thing possible. Lada would not do that. She could not. Whatever else she was, Lada was nothing like the class who could go on living after turning their backs on those who depended upon them.”

”Without a word she shifted and plunged it into the chest of Toma. The man who had used we to talk about their plans, when he meant himself and a foreign king. The man who had thought that through words and advice, he could take Lada’s soldiers, Lada’s power, Lada’s country without ever fighting her. She watched his face as he died, committing it to memory.”

Radu:

”Hope was an arrow that never ceased piercing his heart.”

My precious Radu! In my review of “And I Darken” I described him as “beauty with a sting” and that description still holds true, in “Now I Rise” his character changed a lot though. His armour started to crack and to hide his true feelings got more and more difficult. Mehmed asked him to go to Constantinople and to work as his spy and at first Radu is willing to do what he can in order to offer Mehmed Constantinople on a platter. The longer he stays at the city the more he gets involved in the community though. He makes friends and gets attached to Cyprian, Constantine and his family. He suffers alongside them in the siege and he fights against his own people that try to invade the city. Radu starts to question his role and his blind loyalty to Mehmed, but in the end is forced to realize that neither Mehmed nor Constantine deserve his faithfulness. Both of them would have been able to spare their people’s lives, but their pride didn’t allow them to do what would have been the best for their subjects. Radu is so torn by his own actions and the actions of Mehmed and Constantine that he’s breaking under the pressure. At the end of the book he’s a broken man and I was grieving his lost innocence. T_T I really just want my Radu to be happy! Is that too much to ask for?

”What did he hope his future would be? To stand forever at Mehmed’s side, beloved friend, trusted advisor? He had told Nazira it would be enough. It would never be enough.”

”Radu did not know which filled him with more despair – that everyone had heart this rumor except him, or that the mere suggestion of Mehmed loving women and men was seen as evil. His feelings for Mehmed had never felt evil or wicked. They had been the truest of his life, bordering on holy. To hear his love so casually profaned made him sick to his stomach.”

”Again you have never met my sister. She responded to our torments by getting harder, crueler, further away. It made her stronger, but it was breaking me. So when Mehmed – the sultan – offered me kindness, it was like someone had offered me the sun in the midst of the longest, coldest winter of my life.”

”Where was his heart? Where was his loyalty?”

”Radu had been wrong. There were no good men in this city.
And there were no good men outside of it, either.”

3

Lada & Mehmed:

„Mehmed moved from her lips to her neck, his hands in her hair. “When you left, you took my hear twith you. Kill me, Lada,”he said, with so much longing she could not keep her own hands off him.“

Okay, we legit only got one scene between those two and their sexy time ended rather abruptly when Lada found out that Mehmed could have supported her but didn’t because his own goals were once again more important than Lada’s. I honestly don’t blame Lada for leaving his tent in haste and hating him with a fierce passion. It’s not all hate though and I feel kind of sorry for her because she truly loves him but she can’t get out of her own skin. Those two are the epitome of star-crossed lovers and however their story will end. It won’t end well. >_<

”You could have trusted me and given me those forces instead. Were there ever any troops? Did you ever mean to help me?”
“I am helping you! You are destined for bigger things! With me.” He stepped toward her and she put her hands up.

”She closed her eyes, because she had worked so hard not to think of it. But as soon as she allowed the memories back in, she wanted to kill him. And she wanted to be with him again.
She did not know which impulse was stronger.”

Lada & Radu:

”I ask only what he is willing to do. Nothing more.”
“Then I do know him better, you fool. Radu would do anything for you.”
Mehmed looked away, a dark flush spreading across his cheeks.
“You know…” Lada’s eyes narrowed to thin slits, her fists clenched so tightly they ached. “You know that he is in love with you.”

I love Lada for hating Mehmed because of Radu! *lol* I blame it all on the Slytherin sleeping peacefully inside of me. ;-P But seriously, their sibling relationship is one of the best things about this series. Because they are true siblings in every sense of the word. I hate that Mehmed is still standing between them and I hope that one day they’ll realize that their relationship is more important than any man. Even if it’s the sultan! I really hope they’ll make amends once they meet each other and the Slytherin in me hopes that they’ll both tell Mehmed to go to hell! *lol* I can dream, right?! I guess if it wouldn’t have been for Mehmed their petty rivalry from their childhood would have already been a distant memory, but since they are still fighting for the attention of the same man they aren’t where they are supposed to be. At least not sibling relationship wise. I just hope they won’t realize their mistakes too late.

”Where was he? Was he safe? Of all the things she held against Mehmed, jeopardizing Radu’s safety was the greatest. If Radu was hurt, she would never forgive Mehmed. Radu was not an acceptable sacrifice, not for any city.”

Radu & Cyprian:

”Be careful,” Cyprian said, running a finger as soft as a whisper along Radu’s palm. “We need these hands.” Cyprian looked up and Radu found himself unable to bear the intensity of his gaze. Cyprian released his hands, laughing awkwardly. “We need all the hands we can get.”
“Yes,” Radu murmured, still feeling Cyprian’s finger tracing his palm.

Now that … oh my! Where do I even start?! Radu has got to be one of the most unfortunate book characters I ever came across. This boy has absolutely no luck when it comes to love. At first he fell for Mehmed who only uses him and then he falls for Cyprian whom he betrayed for Mehmed. I can’t with this ship! Honestly! Cyprian and Radu were such a lovely ship and slow burn but ARGH did it kill me to know that Radu was betraying Cyprian every step of the way. It killed Radu too. Obviously! Truth be told, Cyprian is too precious for this world. The mere fact he agreed to protect Nazira and to take care of her even though he was fully aware that Radu betrayed him and was responsible for the death of Constantine… I have no words! Cyprian is an angel! <333 And I really, really hope that he will find forgiveness for Radu in the next book because Radu needs someone like him in his life. But still, the betrayal!!! T_T GAH! Why is their relationship so doomed?!

”I feared for your safety.” Radu embraced Cyprian again, both because it was warm and comforting against the weariness of this long night, and because it was the only way he could hide how touched and sad he was that Cyprian’s first fear had been for Radu’s traitorous life.

”He will not kill me,” Radu repeated, waiting for Cyprian to understand. The foundation in Cyprian’s eyes crumbled like the walls around them.
Cyprian stumbled back, shaking his head. “All this time,” he whispered.

Radu & Nazira:

”You do not need to worry about me.”
“I do not worry because I need to. I worry because I care about you. I want to see you happy. And I do not think Edirne holds any happiness for your.” She emphasized Edirne, making it clear that it was not the capital she spoke of, but what – or rather, whom – that capital held.

Those two! They might only have a fictitious marriage but their friendship and their affection for each other is true and real. I love how deeply they care about each other and how they want each other to be happy! Radu is always watching out for Nazira and tries his best to keep her safe and Nazira has his back and tells him the things he needs to hear. They work so well together and even though their marriage is fake I still think they have a truly beautiful relationship. Nazira is such a precious character as well and I love her so much!! <333 Everyone should have a Nazira in their life. She’s such a nourishing, kind and caring character. XD I love her!

Radu drew her close. “You know I will make certain you are taken care of. No matter what.”
Nazira laughed sadly against his chest. “There you go again, assuming I am worried for myself. You never account for others loving you for you, Radu, rather than what you can do for them. It is my greatest prayer that someday you will know enough of love to recognize when it is freely given.”

”You do not know him. Besides, I do not wish anything more from him than his friendship.”
“You are welcome to lie to me, but please stop lying to yourself. Whatever your hopes are with him, I promise they will never be realized.”
“You have found love.”
“Yes. With someone who could return it. But you refuse to let go of this festering love for a man who is incapable of loving you.”
Radu blinked back tears. “Do I not deserve love?”
She put her hand on Radu’s cheek. “Sweet Radu, you deserve the greatest love the world has ever seen. I simply do not think Mehmed is capable of loving anyone the way you love him.”

”When I am with Fatima, what I feel is pure and good. I cannot imagine a god who hates anything that is love, any way we find to take tender care of each other. I want you to find that same love, and I never want you to hate yourself for any love that is in you.”

”I know it is not rational. None of the people here were responsible for what happened to Fatima. But their mindless hatred of us, their demonizing of Islam, is what let those men do what they did. It was wicked of me to come here with so much hatred in my heart. Hatred makes monsters of us all.”

”You almost make me believe in fate, for how unfortunate yours is.”

Radu & Mehmed:

”I am glad you are here,” Mehmed said.
Radu smiled bitterly. “That makes one of us.”

I hate Mehmed so much for leading Radu on! I guess some part of me always knew that Mehmed was aware of Radu’s feelings for him but to actually get solid proof! To hear that Radu was just the means to an end he used in order to get Constantinople. ARGH! He used and abused Radu’s love and trust and I can’t with Mehmed anymore! Such a foul move! He knew Radu would do everything for him because he loves him and he shamelessly used that love to his advantage. How vile of a creature can you be? Honestly, at this point I just want Mehmed out of the picture so that Radu can finally get the love he deserves. I’m afraid as long as Mehmed is alive Radu will always return to him though. And IT. KILLS. ME.!!! Radu needs to be free of this man but he’s always drawn to him like a moth to a flame.  >_< I have no idea how the last book will end but I hope it will end with a happy Radu.

”I thought this would feel different,” Mehmed said, melancholy shaping his words like a song. He leaned against Radu, finally giving him the contact he had craved for so long.
“So did I,” Radu whispered.

”The ambassador, you mean? He quite liked you. I could see it at Edirne.”
Radu realized with a sickening lurch of his stomach that Mehmed was dancing around a question, trying to determine whether or not Radu cared for Cyprian in the same way. Which meant that Mehmed knew Radu had the feelings for men that he was supposed to have for women.
Which meant Mehmed could not possibly be unaware of the feelings Radu had nurtured for him all these years. Shame welled up in him, but a new feeling came, too. Radu felt … used.”

Lada & her men:

She had left behind love and ridden off to a future devoid of power. “I have nothing,” she whispered.
Nicolae nudged hi horse even closer to hers, until their legs brushed. “You still have us,” he said, his voice soft with understanding. “We will figure something out.”

Did I ever mention that I love Lada and her men? I’m so glad she has them with her and they are truly one hell of a nice company. *lol* Nicolae is definitely still my favourite and I really hope that he’ll survive the last book as well. As for Bogdan: I’m  afraid sooner or later he’ll realize that Lada is only using him and can’t return his feelings for her and I’m kind of worried how this will end. Love and hatred are two emotions that are close to each other and I just hope Bogdan’s unrequited love for Lada won’t kill her. XD Stefan is so precious too! ❤ Anyway, I’m sure Lada’s men will be loyal in the last book too, but I’m worried about Nicolae and Bogdan. >_<

Lada laughed, patting Bogdan’s knee. Then she tossed a handful of dirt and dry evergreen needles at Nicolae. “No one asked for your opinion.”
“My opinions are gifts I distribute freely, asking neither permission nor payment.”
“Take your gifts elsewhere,” Bogdan grumbled.

”What we do now, we do so that someday mercy will be able to survive here.”
“But the children.” Nicolae’s voice was as empty as a boyar’s promise.
“You said you would follow me to the ends of the earth.”
“Gods’s wounds, Lada,” he whispered, shaking his head. “Someday you will go further than I can follow.”

Lada & Hunyadi:

”Hunyadi’s love and trust was a valuable thing; it meant more to Lada than she had thought possible. But he could not get her the throne. And she did not feel the pull of Constantinople that all the men in her life seemed to. Hunyadi, she cared about. Constantinople was only a city.
Wallachia, though. Wallachia was everything.”

I never expected Hunyadi to become some sort of father figure for Lada but it actually happened and I really liked their relationship. It’s a shame Hunyadi died because he was one of the few people that saw Lada’s true self and accepted her the way she is. She would have needed him to stay at her side for a longer time, but unfortunately he died because of Mehmed’s war strategies. I think with Hunyadi’s guidance she would have never come to the point she is at now, but his influence on her is gone and without it I’m kind of worried of what will become of Lada. >_<

”That is how we are alike. We saw everything that was not ours, and we hungered. Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

4

I enjoyed the second book at least as much as I enjoyed the first one. Maybe even more because the pacing felt a little bit faster than in “And I Darken”. It was interesting to see how the characters developed and how they grew.  The character arc of Radu and Lada… chef’s kiss! Even though I suffered with them I still love how Kiersten White managed to let them grow. This said: If you already liked the first book I’m sure you’ll love this one as well! XD

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Gathering of Shadows (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 9 on My Book List 2021

”People could only hurt you if you cared enough to let them.”

I think this quote describes the vibe of the book in a nutshell. “A Gathering of Shadows” is all about the characters and their strong feelings for each other. Sometimes those feelings get in the way and make it impossible to grow and to be who they truly are and sometimes those feelings help them to realize what is important. At times to read this book felt like you’re staunching a wound and no matter what you do, it always starts to bleed anew.

The repercussions of what happened in the finale of “A Darker Shade of Magic” are perceptible in every single word of the story and I was hurting with the characters so much it wasn’t normal anymore. While Rhy and Kell are trying their best to ignore what happened to them, while they try to come to terms with their changed reality and their place in the grand scheme of things, Lila and Alucard are just trying to have the time of their lives. And I was thankful for it, because the Lila/Alucard Duo was a really good counterweight to Rhy and Kell.

As for the third plot line… gosh I was so anxious about what would happen. The knowledge that there was a new force at work in White London had me all kinds of worried and it felt like a looming presence above my head. Do you know the expression: “It hangs like a sword of Damocles above/over sth”? Well, I think that about nails the overall feeling of dread I experienced while reading the book. >_< This said I think I’ll head to my characters section now because I need to get rid of a lot of thoughts and they’ll be spoilery so consider yourself warned! 😉

2
Welcome to Red London! If you have magic running through your veins I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Essen Tasch! The finest of our finest will duel each other and not everyone is going to survive the spoilery fun! Tread carefully and try to stay out of trouble. The spoilers? Well, if you continue to read they’ll find you anyway.

Lila:

”People survived by being cautious, but they got ahead by being bold.”

I guess I got the answer to my question: Lila became a pirate, indeed. *lol* I personally liked her more in this book because she finally opened up and we got a good glimpse at her true personality. In the first book I could never get a grasp of her but this time around we were finally allowed to dive a little bit deeper into her personality. She doesn’t like to let anyone in because she is scared of her own feelings, but despite all her cool exterior and bravado she cares a lot about the people she spends her time with. Alucard and his crew grew on her and Rhy and Kell seem to own a special place in her heart as well. Lila’s determination to do whatever she wants is something I totally admire about her. She sets her eyes on a goal and she doesn’t cave until she made it. Her participation in the Essen Tasch was very reckless but I guess she’s one of those people that need to test their own limits and strength. And truth be told, if I would discover magic in myself I’d want to test and try it out too. *lol*I mean, who wouldn’t? ;-P

”Lila was a quick study, and she knew how to keep up a front; but behind the mask of disinterest, she took in everything. She was a sponge, soaking up the words and customs, training herself to see something once and be able to pretend she’d seen it a dozen – a hundred – times before.”

”She wanted to push away from the table and walk out, walk away, break the cords that tied her to this ship and this crew and this life, and start over. Whenever she felt the weight of those bonds, she wished she could take her sharpest knife and cut them free, carve out the part of her that wanted, that cared, that warmed at the feeling of Alucard’s hand on her shoulder, Tav’s smile, Stross’s nod.”

”The thing about freedom, Kell? It doesn’t come naturally. Almost no one has it handed to them. I’m free because I fought for it. You’re supposed to be the most powerful magician in all the worlds. If you don’t want to be here, then go.”

Kell:

” The truth was, Kell’s blood pulsed with a restless beat, while the thing that coursed within it longed for activity. Something had been roused in him, and it didn’t seem intent on going back to sleep.”

Okay, my hope that things would get better for Kell in “A Gathering of Shadows” was crushed the moment I first read his POV. My poor red-head suffered even more than he did in the first book and most of it was due to his connection with Rhy and the behaviour of his “parents”. I hated that they treated him like a criminal and even though I understood that they wanted to keep Rhy save I still detested them for the way they treated Kell. The fact that he could feel each and every single one of Rhy’s emotions and his pain certainly didn’t help to make him feel better and his slow but gradual suffocation was noticeable throughout the entire book. I bled with Kell and I could understand his need to be free. His entire life turned bitter and he realized that he was never truly a part of the Maresh family and only a means to an end. And then this horrible ending!!! ARGH!!! As if he hadn’t suffered enough already! I really hope my boy will be safe in the next book and that Lila will be able to rescue him.

”But that was the thing. Kell would never be free. No matter how far he fled. He’d given up freedom with is life, when he handed it to Rhy.”

”Rhy had always been fickle, but now Kell felt his brother’s ever-shifting temperament, the constant oscillation, and it was maddening. Space meant nothing. They could be standing side by side or Londons apart. There was no escape.
More and more, the bond felt like a chain.”

Rhy:

”He could feel it, whatever it was, hovering in the air around him, waiting until the sun went down and the world got quiet. Quiet enough to think. Thoughts, those were the waiting things, and once they started up, he couldn’t seem to silence them.
Saints, how he tried.”

You know, I’m kinda sad I never got to see more of the carefree and funny Rhy because the ending of “A Darker Shade of Magic” obviously left its traces on his personality as well. The Rhy in this book was very serious and haunted by his past. Then again I suppose to die and to come back to life will do that to a person. His life force is bound to Kell and what one of them does is felt by the other so it’s no wonder the Rhy in this book was more mature and intense. He feels responsible for everything that happened to his people and Kell and he just can’t seem to be able to live with what he did. I really hope someone is going to tell him that it wasn’t his fault and that him wanting to be a better prince and worthy was the thing that caused him to use the necklace. His fault wasn’t to fall for Holland’s trick because he wanted to be stronger; his fault was to try to please his parents and to think that the power he already has wouldn’t be enough. All that self-hatred… it will destroy him from the inside out. I really hope someone (hopefully Alucard) will be able to get through to him.

”Kell. My greatest fear in life isn’t dying. It’s being the source of someone else’s suffering. I know you feel trapped. I know I’m your cage. And I can’t –“ His voice broke, and Kell could feel his brother’s pain, everything he tried to smother until dark and drown until morning. “You will do this,” said Rhy. “For me. For both of us.”

”Every day. I wake up wanting to be a stronger person. A better prince. A worthy king. That want, it’s like a fire in my chest. And then, there are these moments, these horrible, icy moments when I remember what I did …” His hand drifted to his heart. “To myself. To you. To my kingdom. And it hurts…” His voice trembled. “More than dying ever did. There are days when I don’t feel like I deserve this.”

”He’d always envied his brother’s strength.
And now, in a horrible way, it was his.
He was immortal.
And he hated it.
And he hated that he hated it. Hated that he’d become the thing he never wanted to be, a burden to his brother, a source of pain and suffering, a prison. Hated that if he’d had a choice, he would have said no. Hated that he was grateful he hadn’t had a choice, because he wanted to live, even if he didn’t deserve to.”

3
Lila & Kell:

”Oh yes, your relationship with Miss Bard is positively ordinary.”
“Be quiet.”
“Crossing worlds, killing royals, saving cities. The marks of every good courtship.”
“We weren’t courting,” snapped Kell. “In case you forgot, she left.”

I really like those two and I definitely want more of them! I mean their kiss was … for lack of a better word hot and I think we deserve to see more of this ship. It’s a really slow burn but I actually like that about it. It probably comes with the nature of both of them. While Kell is all restraint and the brooding kind of type, Lila is all recklessness and bravado. Their personalities are quite a contrast but we all know opposites attract. ;-P I guess before we can find out if their ship is going to work out Lila will have to save her man first though! And I really hope she’ll do it fast because my boys are suffering and I need them to survive this!!! T_T

”They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. This kiss as Lila pressed into a single gesture. Her brazen pride and her stubborn resolve, her recklessness and her daring and her hunger for freedom. It was all those things, and it took Kell’s breath away.”

Rhy & Kell:

To his surprise, Rhy shot him a scowl. “I’m invested in my kingdom, Brother,” he snapped. “You should be, too.”
“I’m not their prince,” observed Kell. He was in no mood for Rhy’s attitude. “I’m just the one who has to clean up his messes.”

I love their brotherly bond so much but it definitely suffered in this book. Both of them didn’t know how to cope with the situation they found themselves in and both of them tried to atone for what they did in their own way. I wish they would have done it together, that they would have addressed all those things that stood between them more directly. Their relationship was so strained and it hurt to see them together. They were both bleeding and I think the only ones who could stop it are Kell and Rhy themselves. I really hope they’ll talk it out in the last book and that their relationship will be more relaxed again. I mean yes, their fate is bound together but if they are on the same page they could do so many great things. I want them to find peace in the next book and I genuinely hope they will.

”These days, Rhy always seemed to be the source of Kell’s suffering, while Kell himself walked around as if the world were suddenly made of glass, all because of Rhy. It wasn’t even in the end, wasn’t balanced, wasn’t fair. Rhy held Kell’s pain in his hands, while Kell held Rhy’s life in his.”

”Kell.” Rhy sat forward, elbows on his knees. “I was dead.”
The words hung in the air between them.
“I was dead,” he said again, “and you brought me back. You have already given me something I shouldn’t have.” A shadow flashed across his face when he said it, there and then gone. “If it were lost again,” he went on, “I would still have lived twice. This is all borrowed.”

Alucard & Rhy:

Rhy turned to say something, but Alucard’s mouth was already there on his. Hands tangled in hair, clutched at coats. They were a collision, spurred by the force of three years apart.
“You missed me,” said Alucard. It was not a question, but there was a confession in it, because everything about Alucard – the tension in his back, the ways his hips pressed into Rhy’s, the race of his heart and the tremor of his voice – said that the missing had been mutal.

Now that came as a surprise! I knew there was something between them by the way they acted around each other but woah their romance totally caught me off guard. I guess this is mostly due to the fact that Alucard is a newly introduced character and that we didn’t know much about his past before his ship docked at London. I’m all aboard the Rhylucard/Alurhy?! ship though so please let more of those scenes come way! *lol* It’s so obvious Alucard is totally besotted with Rhy and I’m ready to see more of Rhy’s true feelings for the rakish captain as well. More, please?! XD

Alucard & Lila:

”There was a measure of theatre to everything Alucard did. She wondered how many other parts he could play. Wondered which, if any, were not a part, but the actor beneath.”

”Lila really should have killed him, back when they first met. Back before she could know him. Back before she could like him so much.”

I’m a huge fan of their friendship and I think they should continue to be just friends. Not gonna lie, the chemistry between them was amazing but they are both too reckless and probably would get each other killed. Their flame would burn bright and then blow out. *lol* I can’t blame Lila for giving into Alucard’s advances though. I mean that man is a really nice package! ;-P A deceitful and cunning package but a nice package nevertheless. XD

”Tell me,” he whispered, “was that better than winning a bet?”
She was breathless. “You make a valid argument.”
“I’d love to press the point,” he said, “but first …” He cleared his throat, and looked down at the knife she had resting against the inside of his leg.
“Reflex,” she said with a smirk, returning the weapon to its sheath.”

Lila & Rhy:

Lila’s expression hardened. “Whatever he feels for me, it isn’t love.”
“Because it isn’t soft and sweet and doting?” Rhy rocked back, stretching against the pillar. “Do you know how many times he’s nearly beat me senseless out of love? How many times I’ve done the same? I’ve seen the way he looks at those he hates…” He shook his head. “There are very few things my brother cares about, and even fewer people.”

The bond between those two surprised me as well. Lila and Rhy really seem to care about each other and I loved their tiny interactions. I’m glad Rhy kind of seems to function as a translator between Kell and Lila because I think otherwise those two would always talk past each other. XD Also can we appreciate how Lila’s first reaction, when she saw an upset Rhy, was to ask him who she needed to kill? I loved this so much because ARGH! Coming from Lila this means the world! <33 Lila and Rhy give me a Blue and Ronan vibe and I’m so here for it! I can’t wait to see more of their interactions in the next book and I hope there will be many.

He ducked his head and let out a shuddering sigh. Lila hesitated. She knew she should probably bow, kiss his hand, or swoon – at the very least explain what she was doing there, in the private palace halls, as close to the prison as anyone would let her – but instead she flicked her fingers, producing a small blade. “Who do I need to kill?”
Rhy let out a stifled sound, half sob, half laugh, and sank onto his haunches, still gripping the wooden edge of the table.”

The King & Queen and Kell:

Kell swallowed. “Will they never forgive me?”
“Which would you rather have? Their forgiveness, or Rhy’s life?”
“I shouldn’t have to choose,” he snapped.

I absolutely hated Rhy’s parents in this. His mum didn’t do anything and King Maxim was so unfair to Kell that I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. I think Kell suffered enough and he did it all to save their son because Rhy got himself into a sticky situation that almost killed him. How is that Kell’s fault? They can blame him for dark magic finding its way into their kingdom and for being a smuggler but they can’t blame him for saving their son’s life. The Dane Twins plot would have fruited no matter what Kell did. It wasn’t his fault that Rhy felt a need to be stronger for his people. Plus Holland could have easily caused trouble without involving Kell. After all he’s an Antari too and can travel between the worlds. If King Maxim would have been fair to Kell and would have trusted him the ending of this book would have never happened. So everything that happens now is on him. I hope he’ll realize this before everything goes to hell. >_<

He stilled. “No. But we both know this isn’t about what’s good for me.”
“You’re right. It’s about what’s good for our kingdom. And if you are loyal to this crown, and to this family, you will confine yourself to this palace until the tournament is over. Am I understood?”

”I can’t keep atoning,” Kell whispered into the king’s shoulder. “I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.”

4
I really enjoyed “A Gathering of Shadows” and I can’t wait to read the last book of the series. Since the Essen Tasch was a huge part of this story I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Jay Kristoff’s “Godsgrave” though. Both books were the second book of a series and focused on a deadly tournament while the main plot was still running in the background. My weird brain is probably the only one that saw those similarities… Anyway! I absolutely loved the world and the characters Schwab created and I’m very curious where this series will end. I’m definitely more than just willing to find out. 😉

Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

When it comes to Lord of Shadows I really don’t even know where to start! I loved the book! I loved it so much I found myself rereading certain passages just because I couldn’t help myself but had to experience them again and again. =)

Cassie has always been one of my favourite authors and the more I read from her, the more I get captured in her world. It’s not just the world of the Shadowhunters though, it’s the entire package Cassandra Clare is giving to us. There were so many details and things I loved about this book and even though I will never have the time to list them all, I’m still going to try to write a proper review.

First of all I have to say that I love the world Cassandra Clare has built and even though it sometimes seems to be more than just cruel (“Sed lex dura lex”) it never fails to captivate me. Well, truth be told most of the time it’s even this kind of harshness that makes it so interesting, the obstacles and problems every single one of the Blackthorns has to overcome making the entire story line even more intoxicating and exciting. Thinking about it in retrospective the plot isn’t even that amazing and if I had to pinpoint why I still loved every line of the book, I would say that it’s the details and the love I found in every single word.

If you don’t like spoilers you should stop to read now, if you’re a sucker for spoilers: please feel free to continue! ;-P

Love, I think that’s actually the word that sums it up. There is love everywhere and all of the characters have plenty of it to give. There are Julian and Emma who try to fight their feelings, there are Ty and Kit who slowly but steadily seem to fall in love and there is the love triangle between Mark, Kieran and Cristina that left me almost breathless and broken. God I can’t even say how much I loved all of those relationships! I had to laugh, I had to cry, I wanted to tear the book apart and throw it against a wall. The ending literally killed me and even though I finished the book about a month ago I’m still far from being over it. Cassie how dare you to make such an ending!?!? I can’t wait to read the next book and the mere thought to wait two years is already enough to leave me in anguish! How could you do this to your follow readers?!?!?!

Well, enough of the ranting and back to the good stuff! Relationships are definitely something Cassandra Clare truly excels at and the more I read from her, the better her books seem to become. It’s obvious that she put a lot of effort into her characters and their world and the little hints at some of the other books never cease to amuse me.

“There were valuable first editions of books in the enormous library, most of them had been scribbled in by some idiot named Will H.”

Just to mention one of them. ;-P

So yes, since I liked the love relationships the most I’m going to get into detail now:

3
Emma & Julian:

I adore Julian, I really do! He has the soul of an artist and he’s so complex that I can’t help but have to love him for it. I never met another character that was so driven by his love for his family, the fact he would do everything in order to protect his loved ones something that sometimes even gave me the chills. He is neither black nor white and his love for Emma only seems to emphasise his inner conflict. The tension between those two is almost tangible in the air and whenever I read about them I was reduced to a squealing fan girl. I really hope that they manage to find a way to break their parabatai bond and I don’t even want think about what will happen now that Livvy died…

“Why all these paintings of you? Because I’m an artist, Emma. These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.” – Julian Blackthorn

Ty and Kit:

I love, love, love and love those two!! Every time they interacted I had a smile on my face and felt oddly peaceful. Ty is such a gentle boy and Kit understands him so well. It’s so obvious that the two of them care about each other deeply and even though Cassie is careful never to give us a palpable proof of their love, I was still able to read it in every single line. I liked all the parts that were from Kit’s POV and since he’s a Herondale I automatically loved him! *lol* I really hope there is going to be more of those two in the next book and I can’t even say how much I ship them! =)

“He let the shirt fall and grabbed a Tupperware container of cookies out of the fridge. Maybe he could frustrate the Shadowhunters by refusing to work out and sitting around eating carbs. I defy you, Shadowhunters, he thought, thumbing the top off the container and popping a cookie in his mouth. I mock you with my sugar cravings.” – Kit Herondale

“He grinned, and the grin changed his face completely. Ty when he was still and expressionless had an intensity that fascinated Kit; when he was smiling, he was extraordinary.” Kit about Ty

Mark/Cristina and Kieran:

Oh my god! I don’t even know how I should put their love triangle into words! I guess first of all I have to say that I’m usually no fan of love triangles and don’t like them because they always seem to be so cheesy and tedious. This time however I wanted them to be together so badly that it almost hurt! XD I can understand why Christina is kind of falling for both of them and even though I initially shipped Mark and Kieran in LM I have to admit that I’m all on the new ship right now! Of all the three of them I somehow loved Kieran the most and therefore truly hope that Mark will be able to forgive him for what he’s done. Since Kieran was taken to the Scholomance at the end of the book I don’t know how their love triangle is going to work out, I certainly hope that I will read a lot of them in the next book though!!! XD

“I do not love you as I love Cristina. I love you as I love you,” said Mark. He bent his head. “I wish that you could see my heart. Then you would understand.”

4
I probably could go on and on about all the other awesome couples and their relationships! Dru’s friendship with Jaime, Diana and Gwyn (I loved how Gwyn reacted to her outing!!!), Jace and Clary, Alec and Magnus, they all were so awesome! For the sake of the poor person that actually decided to read through this review I’m going to end it now though! ;-P

All told I relished and loved every single moment of this book and I really, really, really would appreciate it if Cassandra Clare would write just a little bit faster! *LOL*

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Railhead (Philip Reeve)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The trouble with friends was, sooner or later he’d have to tell them about Ma’s troubles and his life on Bridge Street, and those were sadnesses which he preferred to hold close and secret. It fitted the image he had of himself, too – the lone thief, all stray-cat-cool, walking solitary down some midnight street.”

So the first thing I have to say about “Railhead” is that it’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read, which is pretty rare and definitely an accomplishment. I mean I read a lot of books and to find something unique that still surprises me is like winning the lottery jackpot. But the world Philip Reeve built? It’s amazing! I don’t know why so many people put this into the genre of “young adult” because I think it’s actually middle grade, but I guess this is a discussion for another day. 😉 Right now I just want to speak about the awesome world Reeve built and how cool it was to dive into it.

”I will not leave without Zen Starling,” said the Damask Rose.
“But you have the painter,” said Uncle Bugs. “Zen Starling means nothing to you.”
“He is brave,” said the train. “He came all this way to save his friend. I will not leave without him.”

I absolutely loved the idea of portals and railways that exist between different worlds and I adored the concept of sentient locos! Like OMG! This is ingenious! Every single loco that was mentioned in this book had its own voice and I loved to discover how different they were. They were very human and some of them even were in love like the “Time of Gifts” and “The Wildfire”.

”They tease each other, and sing, and talk about old times, other worlds they’ve seen. I don’t think they know I’m listening. It’s sweet. People say they’re twins, but they aren’t. They’re lovers. They come from different engine shops. They met on the Network. And they love each other so much…”

Okay, go ahead, tell me that feeling and speaking locomotives aren’t one of the coolest things ever. *lol* Also there are motoriks in this world as well and they are basically very human looking robots (I suppose you could say they are humanoids). One of my favourite characters was Flex! She/He wasn’t just a really sweet character but also some sort of gender fluid motorik and if you think I’m biased now: Well, yes, I am. XD I can’t help it though, I mean how often do you find gender fluid reps in a book and how many of them are cute and talented motoriks?

”Why do you keep switching?” he asked. “Male to female, female to male…”
Flex looked up at him and smiled. “Wouldn’t you, if you could?”

And if that isn’t enough to persuade you to read this book: We also have Hive Monks which are basically bodies that are made of a million bugs and somehow gain a conscience once they are enough to form a body. I know a lot of people might be repelled or horrified by the mere idea of creatures like that but for me they added a really nice sci-fi element to the story and I actually found it very interesting to read about them. They acted very human and Nova the motorik girl that helped Zen with every task that was given to him by Raven was an amazing character as well.

”Her face was very beautiful, he thought. He hadn’t been sure before, but he was now. The mind that lived behind it made it beautiful, the same way that the flame inside a lantern makes the lantern beautiful.“

Truth be told, the slow romance that formed between Nova and Zen was probably one of the most intriguing things about “Railhead”. Nova is a motorik but if you compare her to the other human beings that appear in this book she seems to be the most human of them all. She is compassionate, she is kind and she feels more deeply than most of the people that made an appearance in this book. Which brings me right to Raven. I can’t say I liked him, but I kinda understood where he came from and what he wanted to achieve. The way he went about it was wrong though and I think I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Nova.

”Things need shaking up, Zen. Everything keeps repeating itself, century after century. Empires rise up and grow old, and there’s always some new would-be Emperor waiting in the wings to take their turn. Dark ages come and go. People are born and people die. It’s so pointless. The Guardians mean well, but they have shunted the whole human race onto a branch line of history, and we keep trundling round in circles. It’s time someone changed that.”

Malik, Zen’s and Raven’s antagonist was a super interesting character as well. I loved to find out more about him and his complexity added a lot to the storyline. I mean he’s a man on a mission and he has his own codex of right and wrong. He is confident and knows exactly where he stands and he stands firm in his convictions. I had to admire that about him and I kind of hope that he’ll make an appearance in book two. (Him and his husband, because wow, that tidbit of information was just mentioned in passing and I loved it!!) As for Zen Sterling: He made for an interesting MC and even though I didn’t agree with all of his actions I was still able to see the good in him. In fact Zen is a very complicated character too and I can’t wait to find out how he’s going to change in book two. There is a lot of potential for character growth and I’m so here for it. 😉

4
“Railhead” was such an amazing read and I enjoyed it immensely. Mind you this is someone speaking who isn’t even moderately close to the age of middle grade. *lol* This however didn’t take away any of my enjoyment and I still loved to dive into this world. So if you want something different, if you want sci-fi and unique locos that travel through worlds and wormholes, if you want a young hero and his amazing side-kicks. Well, then this book is for you! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: To Kill a Kingdom (Alexandra Christo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”You are a little heartless today, aren’t you?”
“Never,” I say. “There are seventeen under my bed.”

I asked for a blood thirsty, dark and twisted siren that lures princes and collects their still warm and dripping hearts. And I wanted a strong human prince that hunts wicked sirens and sea witches for sport. Well, I guess “To Kill a Kingdom” did a great job at delivering all this and even more. ;-P

”Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

I went into this book expecting a fast and enjoyable read and if you’re looking for a story like that this book definitely is the right choice for you. I know the reviews for this are about 50:50 when it comes to the ratings but I think that’s mostly due to the expectations you have when you go into a book. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing reading experience you might be disappointed because this story is a lot of things but certainly nothing that will cause you to rethink your life choices. It’s fun, it’s easy, it has plenty of snark, banter and a really great character cast. In short it has everything you need when you want to escape your own world for a little while.

”Lies aren’t answers.”
“But they sound so much better than the truth.”

This said I really liked our two MCs and I was a huge fan of their interactions. Those two were both confident in their own skin and it was really refreshing to have two characters that know exactly what they want. Lira wants Elian’s heart and Elian wants to destroy all sirens. The best makings of a good partnership, right? XD Well, almost! If their attraction wouldn’t have gotten into their way things certainly might have been a lot easier. 😉 But I AM a sucker for the “enemies to lovers trope” and it was done really nicely in here so I have nothing to complain about. *lol*

”They’re eyes of lost innocence, greener than seaweed and constantly searching. Even the empty ocean is prey to him, and he regards it with a mix of suspicion and wonder.”

Prince Elian was quite something and to me he was the perfect embodiment of a lost boy. There was no way I wouldn’t love him and his easy nature as well as his love for his crew and ship immediately made him my favourite. Yes, I admit it, I’m a sucker for handsome, sassy and broken pirate boys. They are as much my kryptonite as redheads are so I wasn’t really surprised I ended up liking him so much. Lira on the other hand was pretty awesome too! That girl might have been turned into a human but that did nothing to disguise the feral and deadly siren inside of her. And this brings me to another thing I really enjoyed about this book: Lira and Elian might have been deadly enemies but they still had mutual respect for each other and acknowledged their weaknesses and strengths.

”How wicked this one is, stripped of the innocence I’ve seen in all the others. This is not a prince of inexperience and anxious potential, but one of war and savagery. His heart will be a wonder to behold.”

”I could have killed her, but I didn’t, because she’s a wonder. A creature that has eluded me for so long and then, finally, appeared. Let me be privy to a face few men live to speak about.”

They were fascinated with each other and it showed throughout the entire book. Also can we take a second to appreciate how self-aware they were? Both of them knew exactly what they were capable of and where they would draw the line and even though they questioned themselves and their own decisions they always knew who they were. And the banter!!! Did I already mention the delicious sarcasm and banter? *lol*

”Lira,” I say. “I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to translate?”
“I’ve never been accused of kindness before.”

”What would you be losing?” he asks.
“If I married you?” I stand to tower above him, pushing away the unraveling thing inside me. “I suppose it would be my mind.”

I loved that they didn’t give each other an inch. They were equals and it wasn’t only easy to see but also palpable. I don’t know how to describe this but there are a lot of books out there that make it seem like the couples in them are equipollent when in fact they are not. Even with kick-ass heroines the male MCs are always stronger somehow. It’s something I noticed in many books and I hate that those amazing women can’t stand on their own feet once they fall in love with their “true love”. It’s something that didn’t happen in here and I was very grateful for it! Lira might have fallen in love with Elian but that didn’t make her go all mushy and lovey-dovey. In fact it only made her even more adamant and relentless, which was AWESOME to behold! XD

4
All told “To Kill a Kingdom” was exactly the kind of quick and entertaining reading experience I needed and I’m glad I finally decided to give it a shot. It took me long enough to get here but it definitely was worth the wait. And just in case you wondered: Yes, I rediscovered my love for “Ariel – The Little Mermaid” once again. *hums under the sea and leaves the room* ;-P

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.”

4
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 - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Cress (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Kiss her, she thought. Isn’t that what people did after they survived thrilling, near-death experiences together? She was sure it wasn’t an appropriate suggestion, but this close, it was all she could think about.”

Ahh, Cress is such a romantic! ❤ The way she swooned over Thorne was just adorable! But let’s not get off topic here and focus on the overall review instead! This said “Cress” was already the third book in “The Lunar Chronicles” and basically everybody and their grandma told me that it’s the best book in the series. Of course there were also a couple of voices that said it’s the weakest book in the series so I decided to just read it and form my own opinion. (As always. Did you expect anything different from me? ;-P)

So did “Cress” live up to my expectations or not? Well, the answer is: Yes, I think it did. It was very entertaining and I loved to see how the story of all those different characters came together in the end. What I really liked about this book was that we got some background info about all the characters and that some of them finally got a chance to confront not only each other but also their personal problems as well. No matter if it’s Cinder, Thorne, Cress or Wolf, they all experience things that force them to act and ultimately lead them to finding themselves and their own path in this (by now very) huge storyline.

Interestingly enough Queen Levana didn’t have an all too big part in this instalment but I’m actually glad she had a secondary role. It gave our protagonists room to plan their next moves and to come to terms with their destiny and their individual parts in the game. The introduction of Princess Winter and Jacin was interesting as well and I can’t wait to read their story. Considering Winter’s mental state I’m sure it’s going to be quite something though. XD For now let’s get down to business and talk about the MCs of “Cress”!

2

If you dare to take a trip to the Sahara be my guest! It’s wise to be careful though, there are many dangers that can be found in the desert and mirages and spoilers are just two of them. ;-P Consider yourself properly warned. That’s all I can do for you, my friend!

Cress:

Cress glanced up, and though his expression was sympathetic, she thought he was probably mocking her. ”I’m not crazy. I know she’s just a computer. It’s just … I programmed her myself, and she was the only friend I had. That’s all.“

Okay, Cress is probably one of the most innocent characters I ever came across in a book but considering she spent almost her entire life on an isolated satellite this doesn’t really come as a surprise. (On a side note: You just gotta love how Meyer turned the initial tower into a satellite. ;-P) She is definitely a cinnamon roll and it’s no wonder she had troubles to adapt to the life on earth. I suppose everyone would have troubles to adapt to life in a desert though so I think she actually did pretty well! Also I kinda liked the contrast of her being a hacker wizard on the keyboard and knowing nothing about the real world. XD I’m very curious where her character arc will head. Still, to find out Dr. Erland was her father was really quite the plot twist. It makes me sad that he died before they could get to know each other. T_T

”She tried to swallow down the rising panic, this sensation that her existence was as small and unimportant as the tiniest fleck of sand blowing against her shins. There was a whole world – a whole planet. And she was stuck somewhere in the middle of it, away from everything. There were no walls, no boundaries, nothing to hide behind. A shudder swept over her, goose bumps crawling across her bare arms.”

Thorne:

”Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said, squeezing. “Maybe there’s a little bit of a hero in me after all. But … really, Cress. Only a little.”

Poor boy had it really rough in here. He lost his sight due to the satellite crashing and I was really worried about him. I think it was amazing that he never gave up though. You could tell that he was struggling with his fate and had trouble to adjust to a life without his eye sight but he did what needed to be done and he helped Cress as best as he could. Some might say Thorne is arrogant and self-assertive but I know he isn’t. It’s just a way to hide his insecurities and he is indeed the misunderstood hero Cress thought him to be. I loved to get a glimpse at his true thoughts and to see his character arc was really amazing. ❤ Thorne came a long way and I think his journey isn’t over yet.

”She was a girl. A living girl, smart and sweet and awkward and unusual, and she was worth far more than they could ever realize.”

”It seemed like hours since he’d so flippantly said good-bye to Cress, when she was still in the bath, when her singing was still echoing in his ears. And he’d left her. He’d just left her – and why? To show off his gambling skills? To prove that he was still self-sufficient? To prove that he didn’t need anyone, not even her?“

Cinder:

”Of course I will. I’m the rightful heir!”
She drew back, stunned by her own words. She didn’t think she’d ever felt so invested in her identity, and determined to claim her place. It was a strange feeling, bordering on pride.

Cinder actually accepted her powers, but she still feels conflicted about them and I think that’s a good thing! I loved to see how she got stronger and started to see the Lunars as her people and came to terms with her identity. She had to make a lot of difficult choices though and I was really afraid that she might break under the pressure. To think you’re just a cyborg that works as a mechanic and to realize you’re the rightful heir to Luna… I can’t even fathom how tough this must have been. It’s no wonder she’s so insecure, but she has a lot of people that love and support her so I’m sure she’ll make her way. =)

”Standing on the hotel step, with sixty guns trained on her, Cinder realized she was no better than that thaumaturge. This really was war, and she really was in the middle of it.
If she had to make sacrifices, she would.”

“News flash: I have never manipulated you. And I hope I never have to. But you aren’t the only one with responsibilities and an entire country of people who are relying on you. So I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but you are coming with me, and you’re just going to have to figure out whether or not you can trust me when we’re not so pressed for time.”

”You want to know another secret? The biggest secret?” She sat, splaying her legs like a broken doll in front of her. “I’m scared, Kai. I’m so scared.” She thought it might feel better, to say the words out loud, but instead they only made her feel pathetic and weak.

Kai:

”Excellent. And have you given any thought to your wedding vows?”
Kai snorted. “Delete anything that has to do with love, respect, or joy, and I’ll sign on the dotted line.”

Seriously whenever I read about Kai’s and Levana’s upcoming wedding I felt dread! >_< I really, really, really didn’t want him to marry her and ahhh the mere idea of their wedding was already enough to cause me to scream and tear at my hair! He still defied her though and I’ll never get tired of this boys defiance! *lol* Kai is the best and I love him so much! <333 The things he did for his country and people were amazing and I hated to see his self-doubt and insecurity. He did everything he could and it’s not his fault Levana was cunning enough to plan this invasion for years or even decades. It could have happened to his father if he wouldn’t have died of the plague so I really hope he stops blaming himself for everything that happened. It’s not his fault. T_T

”He hated Levana. He hated himself for giving in to her. He hated that his father had managed to keep her and her threats of war at bay for years and years, and within weeks of Kai taking the throne, he’d let everything fall apart.”

”Maybe she’s trying to help me. Cinder knows that if she finds the princess, it could be the end of Levana’s rule. I wouldn’t have to marry her. She would probably be executed for treason. Cinder risked her life going to that farm, and she did it … she may have done it for me.”

”He would never tell Torin that a part of him hoped Cinder would be safe. And he would never tell a single living soul how terrified he was, every moment of every day. How afraid he was that he was making an enormous mistake.”

Iko:

”Aaaaw,” squealed Iko. “Did Wolf just say that he loves Scarlet? That’s so cute!”

Iko fangirling over Scarlet and Wolf was one of the best things in this book! *lol* She’s basically the embodiment of every shipper and the comical relief of this series. XD Also I almost choked when she spoke about Adri and Pearl. Haha! I just adore Iko and I’m so glad she got a new body now. Thorne really picked the perfect robot. It’s a shame she got hurt when she tried to help them, but I’m sure Cinder will find a way to fix her. =)

”See? Injustice. Here we are, risking out lives to rescue Kai and this whole planet, and Adri and Pearl get to go to the royal wedding. I’m disgusted. I hope they spill soy sauce on their fancy dresses.”

Jacin:

”Because Thaumaturge Mira was preoccupied with your operative. Otherwise, I would have been the same brainless mannequin that I usually am.” His tone was self-deprecating, but Cinder could detect bitterness beneath it. Nobody liked to be controlled, and she didn’t think anyone ever got used to it.

Now here’s a new character that has me intrigued. Mostly because he’s still one big question mark and we all know how much I love question marks. XD But please, Jacin! I don’t believe you a single second that you’re not in love with Princess Winter! He so is! It was pretty obvious. After what I saw from Winter I can’t help but wonder about their relationship though. Is his love one-sided, does she reciprocate? I need answers and since the last book is named “Winter” I’m sure I’ll get them soon. 😉

”Do you … do you love her?”
He glared at her, disgusted. “Don’t try to push your swoony psychodrama on me. I’m sworn to protect her. Can’t very well do that from down here, can I?”

3

Cress & Thorne:

”Carswell Thorne wasn’t a heartless scoundrel at all. If anyone bothered to get to know him, they would see that he was compassionate and chivalrous.
He was exactly the kind of hero Cress had been dreaming about her entire life.”

Those two are such an unlikely pair but they still worked somehow. XD I loved them together and they were pretty cute. I mean Cress is super innocent and Thorne well, let’s just say he has a lot of experience with women and all sorts of crimes. *lol* Despite everything they are still kind of perfect for each other. I loved that Cress brought out the compassionate and chivalrous side of Thorne and that he didn’t care about who she was or how she looked like. The fact that he couldn’t see her might have helped to see her inner values more clearly but that was exactly what it was supposed to do so yeah. Also Thorne protecting Cress and taking care of her was legit the cutest thing! She saw his true self long before he saw it and I think her believing that he’s a good person might have helped to actually make him one. Plus can we appreciate that Thorne is super gentle and caring with her. He’s kind of a rake but he got all protective and considerate with her. So, nope, I don’t agree with Dr. Erland. I think Thorne is exactly what Cress needs! <333

”But you’re a prisoner,” said Thorne.
“I prefer damsel in distress,” she murmured.
One side of Thorne’s mouth quirked up, into that perfect half smile he’d had in his graduation photo. A look that was a little bit devious, and all sorts of charming.

He rubbed her shoulder. It was the kind of touch that would have filled her with giddiness and yearning if she hadn’t been too tired to feel anything. “You have to trust me, Cress. I’m going to get us out of this.”

”Good idea,” he said, wrapping an arm around her waist. “How could they not think that we’re in love?”
“How couldn’t they?” she murmured. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to memorize the exact feel of him.

Knees suddenly weak, she reached for his forearms to stabilize herself. “You came for me.”
He beamed, looking for all the world like a selfless, daring hero.
“Don’t sound so surprised.” Dropping the cane, he pulled her into a crushing embrace that tore her away from Wolf and lifted her clean off the floor.

”While Cress’s thoughts continued to churn through the horrible things that could happen to her, she felt herself being suddenly sprung around and dipped backward, a supportive arm scooping beneath her back. She yelped and caught herself on Thorne’s shoulder.
Then he was kissing her.”

Cinder & Kai:

”Right. And what if I’d said, oh, sure, Your Highness, I’d love to go to the ball with you, but first you should probably know that I’m cyborg. And then what?”
Kai looked away.
“You never would have talked to me again,” she answered for him. “You would have been mortified.”
“So you were just going to keep it hidden forever?”
“Forever?” Cinder waved her arm toward the window. “You are the emperor of an entire country. There was never going to be a forever.”
He was surprised how much the words stung. She was right.

I was so glad they finally got a chance to talk!!! This conversation was so overdue and I was damn happy when they eventually had their confrontation! Also I remember wishing that Cinder would kidnap Kai before he marries Levana when I wrote my Scarlet review and well, it happened! *lol* Marissa Meyer actually threw me a bone here! YAY! XD I guess now that Cinder cleared things up and Kai knows that she’s Princess Selene they got closer to getting their happily ever after and I can’t wait for it to happen!!! <333 I ship them, HARD! Both on their own couldn’t do a lot against Levana but Cinder and Kai together? They’ll crush her! I know they will because they have the potential to be a power couple! 😉 And it definitely helps that they both know how it feels to be responsible for an entire nation. They can support each other and push through their doubts together and I’m so ready to see that!!! ❤

He lifted his gaze. “Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?”
She blinked. “Of course not.”
“Just checking.”
Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her.

”Arms wrapped around her. Cinder pressed her face against his silk shirt. There was some sort of cologne or maybe soap there – so faint she hadn’t picked up on it before.
“I know exactly how you feel,” Kai said.
She squeezed her eyes shut. “Not exactly.”
“I think pretty close.”

Scarlet & Wolf:

Cupping his chin, Scarlet tilted Wolf’s face away from her and pressed a kiss against the wound. He inhaled sharply, but otherwise became as still as a rock – an unusual feat for him.”

They broke my freaking heart!!! T_T I can’t believe Scarlet got kidnapped by Sybil and ended up as a prisoner on Luna. I felt so sorry for both of them because Wolf knew exactly what they’d do to her and Scarlet suffered so damn much. >_< Poor girl!!! I could understand why Wolf considered her to be dead because the torture she went through physically as well as mentally will leave its scars and make her a different person than she used to be. Ahhh! I feel so damn sorry for Scarlet! To lose her grandmother was already horrible enough but now this?! T_T I really hope Meyer gives my girl a break in the next book! Wolf and her deserve to be happy and neither of them are right now and it’s just not fair. =(((

”She suppressed the voice out of nervous panic that her mistress would sense her confusion. She did not want that. There was no confusion.
She knew precisely where she wanted to be. Precisely who she wished to be serving.”

”But then Wolf’s breath hitched and all the fury drained out of him with a shudder. Like a man shot fatally through the heart, he collapsed over his knees, covering his head with his good arm like he wanted to block out the world.”

”The illusion and the pain vanished, but the horror lingered. The rawness of her throat. The damp salt on her face. Scarlet rolled onto her side, sobbing in the middle of the playroom floor, grateful that the boy couldn’t maintain the brainwashing while he was distracted.”

4

All told “Cress” was one of those sequels in which most of the plotlines come together and finally turn into one central theme. The only loose thread that’s still left is Winter’s and Jacin’s story and I’m already very curious about it. I really liked that some of the character’s problems were addressed, resolved and smoothed out. This lays a good foundation for the final book and I’m ready to read it soon! =)

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Assassin’s Quest (Robin Hobb)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Death is always at the edge of now. Nighteyes’ thought was gentle. Death stalks us, and he is ever sure of his kill. It is not a thing to dwell on, but it is something we all know, in our guts and bones. All save humans.”

Sometimes I think that Nighteyes actually is the wisest character of them all. >_< He has a way to see the truth in the world and he’s never hesitant to voice it which certainly is a trait many of us humans lack. XD Well anyway, let’s not get philosophical right at the beginning of my review. *lol* Let’s focus on the third book of this awesome series instead. 😉

I know many of my goodreads friends gave “Assassin’s Quest” a rather low rating and weren’t happy with the ending and even though I understand their reasoning I still feel the need to declare that I liked it! Yes, you read right! I liked it and enjoyed to read this 700+ pages book! So how come that I ended up relishing this book even though about 70% of my friends didn’t? I guess the answer to this is simple: I had no expectations! *lol* After the ending of book two I had no idea where Robin Hobb wanted to go with this so you could either say that I was blissfully oblivious to every possible outcome or you could go with the theory that there were so many possibilities that I didn’t care in which direction it would head. XD

No matter how you prefer to look at it, it definitely made it easier to cope with the huge changes that happened in this book. And truth be told, there were quite a lot, which probably is the reason why so many of my friends didn’t enjoy this last book. For instance the story line is no longer bound to Buckkeep but plays in the Six Dutchies instead and unlike in the first two books skilling is taking a huge part as well. Some parts of the plot are even played out through skilling alone and if we wouldn’t have been with Fitz we might have never known about those details. So yes, the surroundings are different, the tone of the book is different, the interactions between the cast of characters are different and the ending is so very different to everything everyone imagined that it is kind of hard to wrap your head around it. *lol*

It’s different, yes, but in my humble opinion “Assassin’s Quest” isn’t only a great book but also worth reading. 😉 And because I still have so many other things to say I’ll head directly to my characters section now!

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You are entering my character section, which is also widely known as my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled and still want to experience this book on your own, you better don’t continue to read now. XD This is a fair warning! Don’t say I didn’t give you a choice because unlike Fitz you actually have one. ;-P

FitzChivalry:

”No choice, no choice, no choice. Never any choice about anything. Fate had made me a killer, a liar, and a thief. And the harder I tried to avoid those roles, the more firmly I was pushed into them.”

My poor Fitz!!! I don’t know how often I said this already, but no matter how often I say it, it still holds true! If you ask me Fitz is Robin Hobb’s personal scapegoat and when she wrote his character she probably was like: Mhmm how else could I destroy him?! Because seriously, that boy went through so much already and he JUST DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT!!!! Plus the injustice that happened in those three books is outrageous!!! I mean, he died for his king and then he was forced back into his body!!! The peace he had once again ripped away from him because other people decided that his work wasn’t done!!! Believe me when I say that I understood every single one of Fitz emotions!!! I mean he gave them everything, his youth, his love, his life and yet it still wasn’t enough?! What else could they possibly want from him?! It’s no surprise he wanted Regal and his coterie dead and I don’t even blame him for his stupid actions. For him they were justified! Also DAMN THEM ALL FOR PLANNING TO USE HIS DAUGHTER WITH MOLLY AS WELL!!!! He did everything for them and that’s the way they repay him for it?! By being willing to use his only daughter as a tool and pawn as well?! AADFASKDFASFDJSAKDFAJSDKFA! That made me so angry I can’t even!!! *breathes fire* And yet, still despite everything that happened, despite all the things they would have done to him without even batting an eye, Fitz still would have given his LIFE for Verity’s dragon!!! Because he is precious and pure and he loved Verity!!!! GAH!!! As for the ending, I saw the thing with Molly and Burrich coming from miles away, so it was no surprise for me. Poor Fitz obviously didn’t anticipate it though. =(( I feel so heartbroken for him! T_T And Regal… I can’t believe Fitz let him live! He actually LET HIM LIVE and turned him good by implanting fanatic loyalty in his mind!!! OMG!! Of course Regal died in the end, but it was not through the hands of Fitz!!! My precious, precious destroyed boy… T_T

”That debilitating fear was a cowering presence inside me. I knew, with a sick certainty, that if I were pressed I would become it. I was no longer FitzChivalry. I was what was left after fear had driven him from his body.”

”The choice was simple. Be a wolf, with no past, no future, only today. Or a man, twisted by his past, whose heart pumped fear with his blood.”

”You can’t even imagine what you’ve taken away from me. I should be dead, but you wouldn’t let me die. All with the best of intentions, always believing you were doing what was right, no matter how it hurt me. But who gave you that right over me? Who decreed you could do this to me?”

Verity:

”You. He has refused to allow you to be put into the dragon. He could do it, you know, whether you willed it or not. He could simply reach out and pull you into him. But he refuses. He says you love your life too much, he will not take it from you. That you have already laid down too much of it for a king who has returned you only pain and hardship.”

*sighs deeply* Verity… it made me so sad to see what has become of him. I mean I always hoped that Verity would come to their rescue bringing the Elderlings with him and then we find him carving a dragon out of stone. =( Gosh, what it cost Verity to make that dragon! He lost his memories, his humanity; he gave everything into that dragon just to bring him to life. It was painful and sad to see Verity like that, especially because he was one of my favourite characters and I always hoped that he’d actually become the king of the Six Duchies and would live a long and nice life with Kettricken. Robin Hobb wouldn’t be Robin Hobb if she wouldn’t have spoilt things for me though. *lol* Plus even in those last moments of his life he used Fitz and it was something that rankled me big time. I mean I understand why he used his body to sleep with Kettricken but damn, Fitz deserved better than that and Kettricken too. So yes, I definitely was no happy camper when it came to that turn of events. >_<

The Fool:

”I am glad, glad that you are alive. To see you take breath puts the breath back in my lungs. If there must be another my fate is twined around, I am glad it is you.”

I think now is the moment to scream: I LOVE THE FOOL!!! His character is soo damn amazing that I can’t help but adore him!!! The Fool was always one of my favourites and that he played such a huge role in this book made me more than just a little happy! I always wanted to know more about him and his roots and my wish was finally granted! XD Also I loved that Starling believed him to be a woman who is in love with Fitz. *lol* I mean yes, he’s definitely in love with Fitz but I’m pretty sure he’s no woman, or at least not all of the time. ;-P If you ask me the Fool was initially born as a man but is gender fluid and considering that this book was written about 20 years ago I have to give Robin Hobb kudos for being brave enough to invent his character!!! <333 Still, there is so much I don’t know about him and I hope that one of the other trilogies will provide me with even more information about his origins and background story. I can’t get enough of him and I want MORE!!!!

”That is one thing that in all my years among your folk I have never become accustomed to. The great importance that you attach to what gender one is.”
“Well, it is important …” I began.
“Rubbish!” he exclaimed. “Mere plumbing, when all is said and done. Why is it important?”

Chade:

”Over and over and over again, you forget your place. You are not a prince, you are an assassin. You are not the player, you are the game-piece.”

What can I say about Chade? I’m glad he and Fitz sorted things out and that he mourned him when he thought him to be dead, but still. I hate that Fitz was always some sort of tool for him. I’m sure Chade didn’t know any better because he was raised being a tool himself, but damn I can’t forgive him for everything he did. Especially not for trying to use Nettle as a pawn as well!!! It was wrong and he should have known that!!!

Starling:

”Honor and courtesy and justice … they are not real, Fitz. We all pretend to them, and hold them up like shields. But they guard only against folk who carry the same shields. Against those who have discarded them, they are no shields at all, but only additional weapons to use against their victims.”

I still don’t know if I liked her or not. I mean she was as likeable as they come, but I didn’t feel anything for her. In fact I was as indifferent to her as Fitz and I’m not okay with them being occasional lovers. Fitz deserves so much better than that and I really hope that one of the other books will finally give him the happy life he longed for! He deserves it!

3
Fitz & Nighteyes:

You will pay for this. I promise you.
In answer I leaned down to pat his shoulder and then scratch his ears. Wag your tail, Nighteyes. “He’s a loyal old dog. I should have known he wouldn’t be left behind.”
The things I endure for you. He wagged his tail. Once.

I have so much love for those two!! Their friendship is everything and it made me so sad when Nighteyes decided to go his own way for a while. I mean, I know why he did it and what he wanted to achieve with it but it was really sad to see them separated. By now their bond is so strong that Nighteyes is no longer just a wolf though. He has human features and this certainly doesn’t make it easy to live among the wild wolves. Also can we take a second and appreciate the joining of the Fool, Fitz and Nighteyes?! I love those three together!!! Bless Nighteyes for accepting the Fool into their pack! <333

Fitz & The Fool:

His cool fingers moved tentatively down my face, tracing the scar and the broken nose. He leaned down suddenly to rest his brow against mine. “When I recall how beautiful you were,” he whispered brokenly, and then fell silent. The warm drip of his tear against my face felt scalding.

I LOVE THIS SHIP AND I WILL GO DOWN WITH IT!!! You can say what you want but I adore those two!! They fit together so perfectly and if anyone should be at Fitz’s side then it’s the Fool!! I mean seriously their chemistry is amazing and I ship them harder than I ever shipped Molly and Fitz. Plus it’s not one-sided!!! No matter how much Fitz tries to deny it, it’s still obvious that he cares for the Fool deeply and even loves him!!! He was so worried when the Fool had a fever and he knows him better than anyone else!! OH AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FOOL KISSED HIM!!!??? He freaking kissed him!!! AHHHHHHH!!! *runs around hyper* I will ship them forever and for always and I genuinely hope they’ll be reunited in one of those following trilogies. XD <333

”There was a naiveté to you that none of the ugliness could stain, as if you never truly believed in evil. It was what I liked best about you.” The Fool swayed slightly where he sat, but righted himself. “It was what I missed the most, when you were dead.”

”Ah, Fitz,” he said quietly a moment later. “You do not know how much it means to me that I can still make you laugh. If I can stir you to laughter, I can laugh myself.”

”There, now you have said it,” the Fool replied as if I had proven his point for him. “And I love you, and all that is a part of you.” He cocked his head and the next words held a challenge. “And do you not return that to me?”
He waited. I desperately wished I had never started this discussion. “You know I love you,” I said at last, grudgingly. “After all that has been between us, how can you even ask? But I love you as a man loves another man …”

Chade & Fitz:

“Oh, my boy, my boy, I believed you were dead. When Burrich sent me word he had found your body, I thought my heart would break. The words we had when last we parted … but here you are, alive if not well.”

Curse Chade for being willing to use Fitz’s only daughter!!! No matter how much he seems to love Fitz, as long as it would serve his purpose and his king, he would still sacrifice my boy in the blink of an eye! That’s not right! Where is his conscience? How can he do such a thing to a person he loves? I don’t understand it and I think I never will. I could relate to Fitz’s anger and I don’t blame him for being furious with Chade. In fact I understand him way too well! >_<

”You can have me,” I told him quietly. “And I will do my best to bring Verity back, and do all I can to restore him his throne. You can have my death, if that is what it takes. More than that, you can have my life, Chade. But not my child’s. Not my daughter’s.”

Verity & Fitz:

”I knelt on the rise, looking down at the town, knowing clearly what I wished with all my heart to do. And I could not do it. Nothing held me back, no man lifted a hand or sword to me and bid me turn aside. Only the small insistent voice in my mind, battering at me. Come to me, come to me, come to me.
And I could not do otherwise.”

Okay, I admit it. As much as I love Verity I was still slightly angry at him for forcing Fitz to come to him. I mean, that boy endured enough and now he even had to go on a quest because Verity told him to. I know Verity didn’t do it on purpose but still, it left a bad aftertaste especially because Verity of all people should have known how powerful a skill command is. Also I didn’t like how Verity’s life ended. Sure, he saved the Six Dutchies but he would have deserved better than to end up as a stone dragon. Plus that unfeeling Verity had nothing to do with the Verity I came to love. Poor Kettricken, to go all that way only to discover that her husband has no feelings for her anymore because he put everything he is into a dragon. *sighs* I guess when it comes to this ending I’m totally with the 70% of my friends that didn’t like it. *lol*

”It would be a poor courtesy to Hod’s skill to pass this on with a blunted blade. Take better care of it than I did, Fitz.” He resheathed it and handed it to me. His eyes met mine as I took it. “And better care of yourself than I did. I did love you, you know,” he said brusquely. “Despite all I’ve done to you, I loved you.”
At first I could think of no answer to that. Then, as he reached his dragon and placed his hands on its brow, I told him, “I never doubted it. Never doubt I loved you.”

4
There were many things I didn’t like about “Assassin’s Quest” but despite everything that happened the positive things still outweighed the negative aspects of the book. It was not the ending I expected and if things would have gone my way I would have gone for a nicer conclusion, considering that Robin Hobb wrote other books that feature Fitz and the Fool, I can’t be all too unhappy about it though. *lol* A solid and unexpected ending for a great trilogy.

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Royal Assassin (Robin Hobb)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

FitzChivalry:

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

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

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

Verity:

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

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

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

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

Burrich:

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

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

Lady Patience:

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

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

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

Regal:

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

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

King Shrewd:

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

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

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

The Fool:

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

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

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

Kettricken:

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

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

Chade:

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

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

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FitzChivalry & Verity:

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

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

Molly & FitzChivalry:

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

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

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

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

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

Nighteyes & Fitz:

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

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

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

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Caraval (Stephanie Garber)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 12 on My Book List 2021

”Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

I think I’ll just go with this quote and add: “Whatever you’ve heard about ‘Caraval’, it’s nothing like ‘The Night Circus’. “ 😉 When I went into this book a lot of reviews compared it to “The Night Circus” but I think that simile is misleading. In my opinion those two books have nothing in common except of the magical aspect and the atmospheric and poetic writing style. This said, I really enjoyed reading this and I was more than just happy to follow Scarlett on her journey!

To be honest I loved everything about “Caraval” and the characters were great and interesting. I enjoyed exploring this world alongside Scarlett and I wish this book would have been even longer. Thankfully book two and three are already out so I guess my wish of reading more about this world was already granted. XD What really hooked me was the storyline, the constant guessing, following all the hints and the unexpected plot twists. I never saw some of those coming so the author did a great job!

Not to mention the amazing magical atmosphere! You all know I’m a sucker for magical things and of course this immediately drew me into the world of “Caraval”. In some way this actually reminded me of the old school magic performances. We’re constantly deceived and no matter how hard we look and how desperately we’re trying not to fall for the trick, in the end we still do. XD And I loved it!!!
But before I go on and on I’ll just let this speak for itself and head right to my characters section. 😉

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Welcome to Caraval! ”Remember it’s only a game.” A game that feels very realistic and that will spoil you like no other! So if you don’t want to gamble for knowledge and would rather prefer to remain ignorant you better don’t enter this show! This is all the warning you’ll get so make your choice and accept the consequences! 😉

Scarlett:

”Scarlett had always seen her own emotions in color, but she’d never seen another person’s. She didn’t know what shocked her more, that she could now see the color of Julian’s feelings, or that those feelings were so wounded.”

Scarlett or Crimson like Julian liked to call her wasn’t really a character I could relate to. I mean I got where she was coming from but she was definitely a person that was totally prude and never took any risks. She was playing it safe and to say this stood in her way would be putting it more than just mildly. To discover the world of Caraval through her eyes was definitely a one-sided view but I think Stephanie Garber wrote her like that for a reason. We’re supposed to discover this new world through her eyes and if Scarlett would have been more open-minded we as the readers couldn’t have been as immersed in this experience as we were while reading it. 😉 I don’t think Scarlett had a huge character arc but I think she had one that fitted her personality. A person like her can’t change overnight and old habits die hard, so I think her rebelling against her father in the end was already a huge step. I can’t help but wonder how she’s going to change in the next book and I’m very curious about her “powers”. I mean she obviously can see people’s emotions, so where does this ability come from? I’ve a lot of questions and they need to be answered. XD

”This was wrong too. When she’d kissed Julian, it had felt right. Two people choosing to give tiny vulnerable parts of themselves to each other. That’s what Scarlett wanted. That’s what she deserved. No one else had the right to decide this for her. Yes, her father had always treated her like a possession, but she was not a thing to be bought or sold.”

”It pained her to breathe and it took effort to speak. But she was still alive. She was still breathing and speaking and feeling. Most of what she felt was agony, but she also didn’t feel afraid of anything.
And for the first time, her father looked afraid of her.”

Julian:

”She tried not to stare. Every inch of it was muscled, just as his torso had been, but that wasn’t the only part that captivated her attention. A thick scar disfigured the space between his shoulder blades. Two more crossed his lower back. As if someone had stabbed him multiple times.”

And here we go with mystery boy! *lol* Despite being a very active part in the entire game Julian is still one huge question mark for me. He started out as a sailor and then turned out to know more about Caraval than he let on just to be revealed as one of the performers at the end of the game. Plus he seems to know Legend personally and I can’t help but be curious about their relationship! What is Julian to Legend? He seems to be one of the few people who even know how he looks like so their connection must be strong. Also what’s with those scars on his back?! We never got an explanation for them and I am CURIOUS af! *lol* I definitely want more of Julian in the next book and I hope some things will make sense after reading book two.

”That girl gave a performance, meant to make you drop your guard. They say they don’t want us to get too carried away, but that is the point of this game. Legend likes to – play.”

”I know you want to find your sister, but on this isle secrets are valuable. Be careful about giving yours away too freely. If people know what you want the most, it can be used against you.”

Legend:

”Legend was as prideful as he was handsome, and he believed she was wrong. He told himself if he were famous it would allow him to marry Annalise. So he wished for that. He said he wanted his performances to be legendary. Magical.”

Enter the most interesting character of the entire game: Legend! I am so damn intrigued by him and I just want to find out more! Who is he? How did he become the person he is now? Why is he a villain? Is there some truth to the story of Annalise? Did he get carried away by his own game and therefore become the person he is now?! AHHHHH!!! I just need more info! And scenes with him! Judging by the letters he wrote he’s such an interesting character and we all know that I can’t resist a well done villain or a good mystery for that matter. 😉 So I’m definitely ready to find out more about Legend and since book two is named “Legendary” I really hope it will be about him! Throw me some breadcrumbs, please?!

”Oh yes.” Caspar laughed, as faint as his smile, seasoned with something bitter. “Legend is very real, but most people have no idea if they have met him – including many of his performers. The master of Caraval doesn’t go around introducing himself as Legend. He’s almost always pretending to be someone else.”

”Legend had changed over the years, and not for the better. He takes on a part of whatever roles he plays, and he’d been playing the role of a villain for too long, he’d become one in real life. Finally, a few months back, I decided to leave, but Legend convinced me to give him another chance and stay.”

”I am beyond redemption. However, depending on how far you’re willing to go, I’ve thought about it, and I may be able to work with you.”

Dante:

”Dressed entirely in sleek black, he was the type of boy Tella would have called uselessly pretty, while secretly thinking of ways to gain his attention. She noticed all the ink covering his hands and moving up his arms. Tattoos, carnal and intricate, arcanists’ symbols, a mourning mask, lips curved into an alluring pout, bird talons and black roses. Each of them was at odds with the rest of his refined appearance, which made Scarlett more curious than she ought to have been.”

Who is Dante?!! Obviously one of the performers but damn that boy had such a mysterious vibe going on! Next to Legend he’s one of the characters I’m the most curious about! *lol* His appearance and all the tattoos. Ahhh!!! I already have a picture in my mind. He doesn’t seem to be all too friendly though and is definitely a bad boy so I don’t know where that leaves me. I never shipped him with Scarlett but Tella… mhmm… that could work. XD I really need more of that boy with a non-existing moral compass! Haha! ;-P Hopefully he’ll be a part of book two.

”He won Caraval last time I played. Remember what I said about this game costing people? Even winning comes with a price, and his triumph cost him, a lot. My bet is he’ll do anything to win the wish and try to get back everything he lost. If you think my moral compass is damaged, his doesn’t exist.”

3
Scarlett & Julian:

Inside the house, violin music, richer than the darkest chocolate, started playing. It seeped outside and whispered to Scarlett as Julian’s smile turned seductive, all shameless curves and immoral promises. And invitation to places that proper young ladies didn’t think about, let alone visit. Scarlett didn’t want to imagine what sorts of things this smile had convinced other girls to do.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Scarlett said. “It doesn’t work on me.”
“That’s why it’s so fun.”

I really liked the chemistry between those two and they were obviously made for each other. I guess as stereotypes go they both fit the bill of the geek and the bad boy. *lol* At least they both gave off those vibes whenever they were around each other. Scarlett the very guarded and careful character and Julian the daredevil. It worked for me. XD Julian must have fallen really hard for Scarlett in order to stay in the game for so long. And he even got mutilated by her father and still decided to stay by her side. He seems to be a very loyal character and that really caused him to grow on me. He couldn’t leave Scarlett’s side and he obviously can’t leave Legend’s either. Whatever their connection may be. I guess Scarlett is the same when it comes to Tella. So I’m kind of worried this might lead to problems between them in the next book. I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out.

”He’d never stared at her like this before. Sometimes he gazed at her as if he wanted to be her undoing, but just then it was as if he wanted her to undo him.”

”Dimly, she knew she tasted his blood. It was like no other gift she’d ever received. Strangely beautiful, alarmingly intimate. And she wanted more of it. More of him.”

”His steady gaze was even softer than his voice. It reached out to the broken parts of her like a caress. The type of touch that moves through damaged flesh, past fractured bones and into a person’s wounded soul. Scarlett felt her blood go hot as he watched her. She could have been wearing a dress that covered every inch of her skin and she would have still felt exposed to Julian’s eyes. It was as if all her shame, her guilt, the awful secret memories she tried to bury, were laid bare for him to see.”

Scarlett & Tella:

”Her sister had always been wilder; Tella liked the taste of trouble. But it wasn’t the wildness that hurt Scarlett. Tella was the most important person in the world to Scarlett, but it always broke Scarlett to know her sister did not feel the same way.”

We only got Scarlett’s POV so it’s really hard to say if Tella truly doesn’t care as much about Scarlett as she thinks. They most definitely couldn’t be any more different though. Tella seems to be the daredevil while Scarlett never risks anything and if the next book is really from Tella’s POV things will most certainly get even more interesting than they were in “Caraval”. *lol* I can’t wait to see the world of “Caraval” through Tella’s eyes and to hear her thoughts about her sister. We only got a one-sided not all too positive impression of her in here and I’m curious if it will be rectified. The fact she was absent for most of the book didn’t really work in her favour either so I guess we’ll see what “Legendary” will bring.

”Please, trust me.” Scarlett held out a hand. No longer stained in blood, she hoped she could save Tella in the way she hadn’t been albe to save Julian in the tunnels. “I will find a way to take care of you. I love you so much.”
“Oh, Scar.” Tella said. Tears streamed down her pink cheeks. “I love you, too. And I wish I was strong like you. Strong enough to hope it could be better, but I can’t do this anymore.”

Tella & Legend:

”She practically fell into the arms of her newest partner. He pulled her closer than the others had. His large hands snaked determinedly around her, bringing with them a new surge of pleasure. Tella liked the confident way he touched her. As he tugged her toward the edge of the party and farther from the crowd, she imagined feeling his hands on places besides her waist.

I’m convinced this was Legend and I’m sooo damn ready to read about their love story!!! Because I’m about 99,99% sure that there will be one between those two! ❤ Alone the way she reacted to him touching her!! Can I have more of this chemistry, please?! Also I’m pretty certain Legend had his reasons to play with Tella. He wouldn’t have answered everyone and there seems to be something that attracted him. I’m so READY to read more about those two, I can’t even! ❤

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I loved “Caraval” and for me it was one of those books that had me super intrigued. The idea of Caraval was so fascinating and I adored the magical atmosphere. There was always an undercurrent of danger and mystery accompanying the MCs actions and I lived and breathed for it. =) I can’t wait to read “Legendary”! Let’s hope I’ll get my hands on a copy soon!