Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

March Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

Well, March was definitely not my month. *lol* I barely managed to read anything and my health was basically non-existent for about two weeks. Some of you might already know that I have asthma because I’m pretty certain I already wrote about it in one of my former blog posts and this year it was acting up big time again. In the middle of March I could barely breathe and every single breath was an effort, well and then I had some sort of anaphylactic shock because apparently I ate something wrong and from there on out things only got even worse. >_< I got a respiratory tract infection on top of everything else and was knocked out for two weeks straight.

It was so bad I actually didn’t leave my flat for those two mentioned weeks and spent my days just sleeping and doing nothing. At the end I could at least watch Netflix, but it took me really long to be healthy enough to read again. So yeah, my reading suffered and my new BookTube channel collected some dust. XD Thankfully the subscribers I already had didn’t desert me and just patiently waited for more content. *lol* If you’re one of them and reading this now: THANK YOU SO MUCH!! ❤  I think the only reason my blog didn’t suffer was because I always write my blog post at least 2 weeks in advance … I did struggle when I got back though. I had no more blog posts and still didn’t feel well enough to write new ones. Somehow it still worked out, don’t ask me how because I really don’t know! Haha!

I’m really sorry if I missed some of your blog posts and I’ll definitely make sure to catch up on everything! I’m currently taking my asthma spray each day so that it won’t act up again and I went back to work as well. Let’s hope it will never get this bad again. XD This said let’s talk about the 5 books I actually DID manage to read! *lol* ;-P

Books read: 5 (5 books & 0 webcomic, Considering the month I had 5 books is actually an achievement. *lol*)

Pages read:  2.527 (I finally finished „Darkdawn“ and „Crescent City“ so that’s why the page number is so high.)

Average rating: 4,4 (I’m not surprised about this rating because the books were all great!)

Books that were on my reading list:  3 (from 2020 and 3 from 2021. Finally a month in which I actually read books from my 2021 book list! *lol*)

March Reads:

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Darkdawn: 4 Pfoten
 
I really enjoyed the final book in this trilogy, especially because it was a buddy read with my Yoongi! ❤ Unfortunately the ending was a little bit too much for my taste and even though we finally got some answers „Darkdawn“ wasn’t as good as the other two books. I wasn’t happy about how things ended and after everything Mia went through I really wished for idk… more closure. A different kind of closure? *lol* I still can’t put my finger on it. All I know is that I didn’t like the ending and a certain someone! XD Yoongi, you know who I mean! Haha! ;-P
 
Heartstopper: 5 Pfoten
 
I love this comic series and I’ll always love it until the day I die. Am I exaggerating? Nope! Never! It’s really such a great series and Alice Oseman knows exactly what she’s doing. I love all the diversity, the relatable characters, the many LGBTQ+ reps, the strong friendships, the different troubles and the fact that the sibilings and parents actually care about the MCs! This is such a heartwarming comfort read and I can recommend it to everyone! If you crave to read something wholesome: This is the right choice for you! 
 
 
This book totally surprised me and definitely wasn’t what I expected it to be! It was really great though and despite the very serious topics that were tackled it was still an enjoyable read and I paged through it in no time. January and August were a great couple and I loved the little snippets we got of the real life of authors. XD Also I think Emily Henry named them January and August not only to give them both month names but also to emphasize how different they are. *lol* Smooth move! XD
 
House of Eart and Blood: 5 Pfoten
 
 
This book was one hell of a ride and even though the real action only started after page 500 it was still amazing! I loved to get to know this world and all the different houses and hierarchies within it. This was well thought-out and I adored all the strong friendships and bonds between the characters. ❤ Also the slow-burn that started as a friendship and with time turned into more was great! We definitely need more books like that! My full review will be up on here soon! 😉 
Dead Beat: 4 Pfoten
 
 
I think this was one of the best Dresden Files books so far! I mean there were necromancers, vampires, fallen angels, a little bit of faeries and of course Thomas, Harry’s dog and Bob the skull! XD What’s not to love? *lol* This series is definitely getting darker and darker with every new book though and I’m kind of curious where Butcher will go with Harry’s character. Considering this was only book 7 it seems like I’ve a lot to look forward to. And tell you what? I’m ready. *lol*
 
Rankenzeile
 

How was your March? Did you read many books and if yes were they good? 🙂 Are you allergic too or am I the only one who’s suffering in spring? What have you been up to in March? Were you able to go out and to enjoy the nice weather or is your country in another lockdown like mine? XD

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

 

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAIR WARNING: Mild spoilers lying ahead of you! 😉

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Juliette:

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

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

Adam:

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

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

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

Warner:

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

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

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

Kenji:

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

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

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

Enjoy! ;-P

A - E, Allgemein, D, Reviews

Review: Darkdawn (Jay Kristoff)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 19 on My Book List 2021

”Fear was Can’t.
Fear was Won’t.
But fear wasn’t ever a choice.”

In honour of this buddy read being with the Yoongi to my V, the one and only Paper Plane Nomad, a fellow BTS ARMY and the one who accepted me as the V to her Yoongi, I shall only be using Tae (aka V of BTS) gifs in this review! Let’s hope I can pull this off and won’t get bias wrecked every 3 seconds. *lol*

This said: Let’s start with the actual review!

As third books in a series go this was actually a good conclusion. Well, mostly at least. There were a lot of things I really enjoyed and a couple of new characters that got introduced which I immediately took to, but there were also some things I didn’t like and that made this final book a less enjoyable read than its predecessors. So what exactly were my issues? Well, for instance I missed a central theme throughout the entire book. In comparison to the other two (assassin academy & gladiatii) this one just seemed to be all over the place. Yes, there was finally the darkin story we’ve all been waiting for since “Nevernight”, but aside from that we just had too many other threads that played into the main plot.

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Plus the ending was certainly not what I expected and it sort of fell flat for me. I don’t even know what I expected but it was something totally different than what I got. *lol* It kind of felt surreal? Idk how to describe it but after everything Mia went through I would have expected something more… epic? Okay, maybe it’s just me being weird?! XD

Or maybe it was me getting “eye-rollitis” whenever a certain character entered the page. *lol* I didn’t like that character and I sort of got angry every single time she opened her mouth, so I think that sort of animosity might have been another reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I should have. ;-P And speaking of characters: I think it’s about time to head to my character’s section because as you can tell I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS and I really need to get them off my chest! Are you ready?

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Welcome to my spoilery spoiler section, gentlefriends! This is going to be juicy so if you’re not ready to face the bitter truth you better don’t continue to read this. ;-P Take your lemonade glass and make yourself comfortable, this is going to take a while. *lol*

Mia:

”I am a daughter of the dark between the stars,” she replied. “I am the thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. I am the vengeance of every orphaned daughter, every murdered mother, every bastard son.” Mia leaned forward and looked the man in the eye. “I am the war you cannot win.”

Mia sitting on that damn throne of the pirate king and later on telling Tric that to wear a shirt would ruin her “Murderous Bitch aesthetic” is my new aesthetic! *LOL* This girl!!! I never saw that one coming and I swear Mia is the embodiment of a badass heroine. I read about a lot of badass heroines over the years but none of them ever came close to Mia Corvere. XD Even more importantly: With Mia Jay Kristoff created a really unique character that has no equal. At least I never saw someone as compassionate, ruthless, stubborn, vulnerable and fierce as her. Mia doesn’t try to be a man, she makes use of her female assets and works with everything she got. So she’s a character that doesn’t try to be cool, she just is and that with such an effortless grace that you can’t help but admire her for it. I want to marry her so bugger off Ash! *lol* ;-P

”Two pices of the whole. One is just … darkness. Rage. She hates the world and everything in it. All she wants is to tear it down and laugh as it burns. And then there’s the me who thinks there might actually be something worth fighting for in all this. And maybe something to live for after.”

Ash:

”See there you go.” She gifted the boy a wink. “A little bit of spit and fire, that’s what I like to see. But I’m fierier than you, Tricky. I’m quicker and I’m prettier and the girl we both adore ended up in my bed, not yours.” She drummed her fingers on her sword hilt. “I won. You lost. So stay away from her, aye?”

I really can’t with Ash! I just can’t! I mean look at this gif! This is literally me whenever Ash said something in this book!

I don’t like this woman and I just can’t forgive her for killing Tric. I know Jay Kristoff wanted us to dig her and Mia together because they both have some ruthlessness to them and a soft side, but quite honestly I never saw that soft side of Ash. Where Mia had some compassion, Ash was just mean and had a downright cruel streak. The things she said to Tric in here… I could have punched her in the face and I wouldn’t have regretted it even though I’m a pacifist. *LOL* Jay, how was I supposed to like this girl? She’s a witch and I think Mia deserved better than her! Someone that rubs things in the way she did with Tric is not someone I’d like to ship. #SorryNotSorry

And that half-assed attempt at a redemption arc also didn’t do it for me. Once again #SorryNotSorry To say it with my Yoongi’s words: I’m done with this! So done! XD

Cloud Corleone:

”Well,” Cloud Corleone sighed. “As my dear old tutor Dona Elyse said the year I turned sixteen, “Fuck me very gently, then fuck me very hard.”

Now there’s a character I loved! Cloud Corleone and BigJon were two amazing new additions to the cast and Cloud’s four-bastard smile really grew on me. *lol* I think after Sturmhond he’s my second favourite privateer. XD I just loved how he and BigJon flirted so shamelessly with Mia and Cloud’s serious backstory was quite something to take in. >_< I’m glad Jay invented him in this book and I would have loved to read even more about Cloud and his crew. Maybe one day Jay will indulge us with a novel or short story? You never know. 😉

Corleone tilted his head. “You mean to tell me you know who crews aboard my ship better than I, Hangman? When was the last time you set foot on my decks?”
“When I was ploughing your mother,” the captain growled.
“O, aye, she sends her regards, by the by,” Corleone replied without skipping a beat. “She told me to tell you she hopes you’re not still embarrassed. It happens even to the best of men, apparently.”

Mr. Kindly:

”… if you wish a dog who simply rolls over when you growl, bring eclipse with you. but i’ll speak my mind, if it please you …”
“And if it doesn’t please me?”
“… i’ll speak it anyway…”

This is actual footage of me when I read the scene in which Mia tells Mr. Kindly to go away. Like OMG!!! I couldn’t believe she told him to get lost and even though I understood why she was angry I really didn’t get why she blamed it all on Mr. Kindly. He was right to tell the gladiatii the truth and he was also right to let them decide themselves. The rift between Mr. Kindly and Mia hurt so much and if there’s one thing I didn’t like about Mia in this book then it was the fact that she turned on him. Despite everything Mr. Kindly was still loyal to her though and worked in the background so she could face Cleo and I really hope Mia appreciated what he did for her!!! Mr. Kindly is the best! ❤

”… i am a part of you, mia. before i met you, i was a formless nothing looking for a meaning. the shape i wear is born of you, the thing i became is because of you. and if i must do what you will not, so be it. at least you will be alive to hate me …”

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Mia & Ash:

”If you wanted a snog in the hallway you could’ve asked.”
“Not asking,” Ash shook her head. “Taking.”

And here we go with another actual footage of me. *LOL* I can’t believe Jay went for a HEA like that! Like WHAT??!!! Jay will probably never admit it but deep down he might be a romantic after all. XD I already said it in “Godsgrave” and I’ll say it again: I don’t ship the Mash ship! Urgh! Ash is just a selfish witch and she doesn’t deserve Mia! Period! Alone that quote above. Yep, that’s my problem with Ash she just takes without ever asking and she’s ruthless and doesn’t seem to have any sort of conscience… at all! How am I supposed to dig a character like that? Plus she’s petty and super jealous as well. Not the kind of woman I’d want to have by my side. I still think we need more sapphic romances in books but I can’t seem to be able to like this one because it’s actually sort of toxic. If Mia likes a girl that will kill everyone who just looks at her: Okay. I personally hate jealousy in relationships so Ash is a no for me. Also and someone has to say it – you’re allowed to take out your pitchforks now – I think a HEA in which Mia would have spent the rest of her days with Jonnen and Mercurio would have been more realistic. Yes, I would have even been okay if Ash would have been with them. But she basically fights the entire book for Mercurio and Jonnen’s freedom just to end up on that Threelakes shore with Ash? Of all people! Why? It beats me! *shakes head*

”And while the press of Ash’s lips left Mia feeling almost dizzy, the thought of her touch even now, laying senseless and sated, sending warm and delighted pulses up her thighs, a part of Mia – the part Mister Kindly would have filled, most likely – was still suspicious of the girl in her arms.”

Mia & Tric:

”She was losing herself in it. The feel of him, the taste, the familiar shapes, carved anew by the Mother of Night. Falling down into the need of him, aching from the touch of him, wanting to forget and remember and for a tiny moment, simply enjoy being lost inside it, with him inside her.”

Haha! This gotta be the first time I’d have preferred a straight pairing over a sapphic one. *lol* But seriously, there was way more chemistry between those two than there ever was between Ash and Mia. I mean Tric basically told her that he had to rip his way back through the walls of the abyss to get back to her and that he gave up his place by the hearth just to be with Mia. Tric is too good for their world and it made me really sad to see that he came back for nothing. Also: Why throw a possible love triangle at us, Jay, if you don’t follow through with it?! I always thought love triangles were one of my pet peeves, tell you what, my new pet peeve are love triangles that are brought into existence and never play out. *lol* #TricDeservedBetterThanThat

He took Mia’s hand, pressed it to his chest, and she was astonished to feel a heartbeat, strong and thudding beneath her palm. “BUT I WOULD STRIKE A THOUSAND BARGAINS WITH THE NIGHT FOR ONE MORE MOMENT WITH YOU. I’D DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS AND DEFY THEM ALL, JUST TO HOLD YOU IN MY ARMS ONE MORE TIME.”

Ash & Tric:

”I’m sorry you had to go, but that’s just how it is! And I stabbed you friendways, in case you’ve forgot. In the front, not the damned back. I can’t undo it, so what the fuck do you want from me?”
“A HINT OF REGRET? SOME SHRED OF REMORSE? FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND SOME SMALL PART OF WHAT YOU TOOK FROM ME?”
“Remorse is for the weak, Tricky,” Ash said. “And regret is for cowards.”

I loved that dinner scene in which Tric finally called out Ash! *lol* She deserved it and her excuse of “I killed you because it needed to be done” is so weak that it would need two crutches to stand on its own feet! She needed to? Hogwash!! She just couldn’t stand that Tric won Mia’s heart fairly and because of that he had to go. Every time she rubbed in that Tric was dead and she was the girl at Mia’s side I got so damn angry! She kicked at someone who was already lying on the ground and that is behaviour I just can’t accept. That half-assed redemption arc totally didn’t work for me because of course she knew that he was a way better person than she’d ever be! Am I supposed to feel sorry for her now? She killed Tric and yes, she might feel remorse over it but the knowledge she’d feel remorse over it still didn’t stop her from stabbing him in the first place! She knew exactly what she was doing! So: #SorryNotSorry. Tric was a way better person than Ash will ever be!

”In truth, she’d always known it.
She knew what shed taken from this boy. She knew why. Extinguishing all he was and could have ever been. She knew how hard it must be for him, returning to a world so changed. To see the girl he loved in the arms of the girl who murdered him. And though he had every reason under heaven to hate them, to lash out in his rage and break everything around him, he remained true. Loyal to his love. Loyal to the last. That was the kind of boy he was.
That was the kind of boy she’d killed.“

Mia & Mercurio:

”Once he’d been fire. Breathed it. Bled it. Spat it. But now, the only ember that remained was the one he kept burning for her – that snot-nosed, stuck-up little lordling’s bitch who’d wandered into his shop all those years ago, a silver brooch shaped like a crow in her hand.”

I’m not ashamed to admit it: Mia’s and Mercurio’s relationship caused me to tear up multiple times. The love those two felt for each other was so true and ahhh when they parted ways… Mia is truly Mercurio’s daughter and Scaeva can jump in a lake! *lol* I really wish they would have gotten a happy ending and that Mercurio would know she’s still alive. I guess he’ll just have to live with the memory of her though because Mia is busy with Ash in that house at the Threelake shore. Me being bitter? Nope, no way! *lol*

”When everything else had been taken away. He gave me a home and he kept me safe when he had no reason under the suns to do it.” Mia looked up at the girl, eyes shining. “He’s familia. More familia to me than almost anyone in this world.”

Mercurio scowled, his ice-blue eyes welling with tears.
“Never took a wife,” the old man said. “Never had a familia. Didn’t seem fair in my line of work. But … if I ever had a daughter –“
“You had a daughter,” Mia said. The girl threw her arms around the old man and squeezed hard as she could. “And she loves you,” she whispered.

Mia & the gladiatii:

”And then Sid was running, catching the girl up in his embrace, lifting her off the ground as she squealed. Bladesinger collided with the pair of them, wrapping them up in her arms, Butcher staggered over, Wavewaker arrived like an earthquake, grabbing all four of them and roaring as he lifted them off the ground and jumped in circles.
“You magnificent little bitch!” Sid cried.
“Let me go, you great fucking lumps!” Mia grinned.

It was really great to see that found family together again but unfortunately that moment of peace and happiness was gone pretty fast! I can’t believe almost all of the gladiatii except of Sid and Bladesinger died. =(( Sid and Singer hooking up was a little random but I guess after everything they went through it was kind of logical as well. *lol* Still, Jay is a devil for killing them off. The way they all died? OMG! Bryn and Wavewaker quite literally died while having sex and Butcher was betrayed by the person he wanted to protect. Ouch! You did quite a number on them Jay! >_<

”Mia, you risked your life for us,” Sidonius said. “Everything you’d worked for danced on the edge of a knife. And still you gambled it all to see us to freedom. And now you’d stand there and tell us what we can and can’t do with it?”
“Damn right I do,” she snarled. “You owe me your lives? Go fucking live them. You want to give me thanks? Do it when you tell your grandchildren about me.”

Mia, Jonnen & Scaeva:

”Our familia had a saying,” Mia said. “Before your father destroyed it. Neh diis lus’a, lus diis’a. Do you know what that means?”
“I do not speak Liisan,” the boy growled.
“When all is blood, blood is all.”

Well, that was quite the familia. *lol* Jonnen was a really spoiled brat before he came to Mia so it was good to see that he changed for the better while being around her. Also that moment when she put him into his place when he was hostile towards Cloud and BigJon? It was such a typical thing an older sister would do. As for Scaeva? I hate that man! He actually had the gall to think he made Mia the person she is now??!! Also how he treated Jonnen! I mean he quite literally said “Obey me!” and killed Eclipse because she protected Jonnen. The fact Jonnen let it happen was a real betrayal but then again he was only a nine year old boy that was scared and Scaeva was his father after all… This said the ending was kind of … idk. It was supposed to be this epic battle but it kind of fell flat for me. It was just too much, you know? They were both too powerful and strong and that took away from the enjoyment. Like usually in a battle one side is always weaker and overcomes that weakness which makes for the suspense. In this case both of them were equal and so it got a little… boring? *lol* I dunno how to describe it but I hope you get what I mean. I’m glad Scaeva isn’t around anymore though. XD

”She had every reason in the world to be nothing but rage and hatred and misery. But he knew, as much as she tried to hide it, she hadn’t let life turn her cold. She loved with a heart as fierce as lions. Gave in a way that left her bleeding, but never broken. Because even with all she’d lost, all she’d sacrificed, all the hurt heaped upon her shoulders, she’d still come back.
She still came back for me.”

Scaeva gave a soft, bitter chuckle as he looked her in the eye.
“All you are? All you have become? I gave you. Mine is the seed that planted you. Mine are the hands that forged you. Mine is the blood that flows, cold as ice and black as pitch, in those veins of yours.”
He leaned back on the divan, black eyes burning into her own.
“In every possible sense, you are my daughter.”

”He’d been a hard man, no doubt. Never cruel, no. But heavy as iron. Merciless as the sea. Slow with praise, swift with rebuke, fashioning his boy into a man who might one turn rule an empire. Because always, his father had made it plain – despite his parentage, the throne would be something Jonnen must earn.”

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“Darkdawn” was a good conclusion to “The Nevernight Chronicle” but unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the other two books. It had a couple of issues that kept me from giving it that fifth paw but I guess it might be just another case of the “it’s me, not the book” syndrome. *lol* Either way it was a very enjoyable read and I’m glad I buddy read this with my Yoongi! ❤

I hope you enjoyed my rather untypical gif review and I’m already looking forward to read the next book Jay Kristoff will throw our way. 😉

Allgemein, K, K - O, Reviews

Review: Kingdom of Ash (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …”

And once upon a time there was a reviewer that loved this story and its characters so damn much that it broke her when it ended. Yes, believe me, it did. I was so thoroughly heartbroken that it took me TWO years to write this review.  Two entire years! This isn’t only a testimonial to how destroyed I was after finishing this series but also to how strongly I felt about it. For a while I didn’t even know if I wanted to write a review, but the more time passed and the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that I just had to get it out of my system. My heart and mind persisted that I write it down and who am I to deny my souls biggest desire?

So here I am, finally facing this review and no longer denying those words that craved to spill out of my fingers for such a long time. And the first thing I have to say is that “Kingdom of Ash” was a masterpiece that will probably never find its equal! Sarah outdid herself with this one and the conclusion to this series was incredibly breath-taking! I loved how all those loose ends were tied together, how she managed to give each and every single character not only the time to shine but also the necessary space to develop, to grow.

This is how the ending of a series should be done! This is how you write a stunning and harmonious ending! This is how you make your fans so happy they cry tears of joy! THIS IS IT! Period! I’ve never read such a brilliant ending to a series and I think I never will read anything like it ever again. Nothing will be able to be a match for it. I’m convinced of that. So before I continue to praise “Kingom of Ash” even more I’ll just jump right into my characters section and write it off my chest. I have so many thoughts and feelings… This is going to be a long, long review. *lol*

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I’ve had A LOT of time to think about those characters so people buckle up and get ready for the freaky ride! This is going to be another one of my long-ass reviews, probably the longest one you’ll ever read from me. (It might be book length, no kidding! *lol*) So you can either leave it at that or join me on this super long and spoilery journey! It’s up to you! 😉 Here goes nothing!

Aelin:

”You do not yield.”

I DIED at the beginning of this book!! I just died! To see Aelin so throughly broken and weak! I just couldn’t take it! I suffered with her and I just wanted Cairn to die! He was a monster and he deserved every bit of pain he got from Rowan! Every single bit! My poor Aelin! She didn’t deserve this… no one deserves this! >_< I hated Maeve for what she did to her and I was praying for Rowan to arrive at the camp. I really thought Aelin would be broken after this but even though she was, she somehow found the strength to move on. It was such a heart-breaking journey and I believed every single bit of it. Sarah made it so palpable and real. I could see Aelin fight through it. She struggled, she fell, she got back up again, fell again, dragged herself with the mere strength of her hands. It was so painful to watch. T_T But in the end she succeeded, she faked it until it became reality. Until the parts of her that had been broken were able to mend. ❤ Aelin is my heroine! <333

”She’d fight for it, claw her way back to it, who she’d been before. Remember to swagger and grin and wink. She’d fight against that lingering stain on her soul, fight to ignore it. Would use this journey into the dark to piece herself back together – just enough to make it convincing.”

”I wanted to die by the end, before she ever threatened me with the collar. And even now, I feel like someone has ripped me from myself. Like I’m at the bottom of the sea, and who I am, who I was, is far up at the surface, and I will never get back there again.”

Rowan:

”Every horizon he’d gazed toward, unable and unwilling to rest during those centuries, every mountain and ocean he’d seen and wondered what lay beyond… It had been her. It had been Aelin, the silent call of the mating bond driving him, even when he could not feel it.”

And here is another character that killed me… slowly. Rowan’s search for Aelin was so gut-wrenching. I wanted him to find her so badly and I could feel all his anger, despair and the little bit of hope he held on to. He craved to find her, to save her from her fate at the hands of Maeve and Cairn and the longer his search for her continued the less I could take it. It hurt so much to read his POV. T_T When he finally found her I cried tears of joy and I prayed that he would be able to mend what had been broken. His compassion and his faith in her were one of the best things about this book and I’m so glad he was there for Aelin when she needed him the most. ❤ Also: He had no pity to spare for Cairn and I was fine with that. Rowan was every bit the relentless and strong fae warrrior I wanted him to be and I’m glad he was an individual in this book too. =)

Dorian:

”Dorian’s sapphire eyes churned, the hand on his sword tightening. Manon tensed at that contemplative, cold stare. The hint of the calculating predator beneath the king’s handsome face.”

YESH!!! Dorian didn’t die and became a force to be reckoned with instead! And I was so HERE. FOR. IT.!! I absolutely LOVED to see him so strong and uncompromising!! THAT’S MY BOY!!! What Sarah did with him here was everything I ever wanted and I was so damn happy with his character arc! He finally became what I always knew him to be: A strong and powerful king who used his abilities and skills in order to save the people he loved and cared about! <333 YES! I absolutely adore this precious cinnamon roll and I’m so glad he was able to hold on to his playful and gentle side. Dorian turning into a witch was definitely among my highlights of this book. *lol* PLUS the way he dealt with Maeve? Perfection! Utter perfection! All the scheming and plotting ahead. I AM IN AWE!!! The deal he made with Maeve and then the betrayal when she thought she had won! Ahhh! I swear Dorian betraying Maeve by trapping her in his mind and crumbling Morath almost as an afterthought is my new aesthetic!!! Like seriously! That’s so kickass! I can’t even! <333 #TeamDorianForeverAndForAlways

Dorian gave the witch one of those charming smiles and sketched a bow. “Dorian Havilliard, at your service.”
“The king,” one of the Crochans murmured from near the wyverns.
Dorian winked. “That I am, too.”

”This is war,” he said simply. We’re past that sort of thing.”
And it wouldn’t matter, would it, when his eternal soul would be the asking price to staunch so much of the slaughter? He’d already had it wrecked enough. If crossing line after line would spare any others from harm, he’d do it. He didn’t know what manner of king that made him.

”A sword of truth, yes, but also a reminder of what Adarlan had once been. What it might become again. If he did not falter. Did not doubt himself. For whatever time he had left.
He could make it right. All of it. He could make it right.”

”Who do you wish to be?
A king worthy of his crown. A king who would rebuild what had been shattered, both within himself and in his lands.”

Manon:

”I care,” she hissed. “I care if we lose this war. I care if I fail to rally the Crochans. I care if you go into Morath and do not return, not as something worth living.”

It’s been two years I finished this book and I’m still weeping whenever I think about Manon’s character arc! It was so beautifully done and I loved to see her fall in love with her people and with Dorian. ❤ Boy, did it break my heart though! I ladored that she finally admitted that she cares about her people and friends and her relationship with Abraxos will always be perfect! Manon realizing that she has feelings and even pretty strong ones at that made me so damn happy! It came at a high price for her though. That scene when she fell on her knees in the ashes of the Thirteen. I still get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes whenever I think about it. T_T  My heart aches so much for her. So many lives … her Thirteen that stood by her until the end. Ahhh I’m weeping again. *sobs* I’ll never forget that scene… and all the people with their white flowers. T_T *cries uncontrollably* Two freaking years and it still feels like I read it just yesterday. <333 My heart is in pieces… >_<
#StillRidingWithManonANDDorianIntoTheSunsetThough

”There is a better world out there,” she said again. “And I will fight for it.” She turned Abraxos away, toward the plunge behind them. “Will you?”

”She would beg, she would crawl, if it bought him the chance to live.
Her warrior-hearted mount. Who had saved her far more than she had ever saved him. Who had saved her in the ways that counted most.”

”Not a trace of the Thirteen, or their brave, noble wyverns.
Manon fell to her knees.
Ashes rose, fluttering, soft as snow as they clung to the tears on her face.
Abraxos lay beside her, his tail curling around her while she bowed over her knees and wept.”

Chaol:

”I don’t make bargains with bastards,” Chaol said, smiling again as he entered the hall beyond. “I’m certainly not going to start with you.”

Now that’s the Chaol I love and I’m so glad he found back to himself in “Tower of Dawn”. He’s become so much stronger than he ever was and he’s finally the person he should have always been. I loved that his father wasn’t able to get to him anymore and that he was so at peace with himself. Nothing could shake him and he was a firm and formidable force in the final war. ❤ We all know how much he suffered in ToD, but boy was it worth it! I love this new Chaol and I hope he’ll be happy with Yrene! =)

Yrene:

“Your son spent the last several months forging an alliance with the khaganate, and now all of the khagan’s armies sail to this continent to save your people. So while you sit here in your miserable keep, tossing insults at him, know that he has done what no other could do, and if your city survives, it will be because of him, not you.”

Ahhh I loved how the story of her became full circle in here! It all started with Yrene and Aelin meeting at an inn years ago and it turned into so much more than that! It shows how a little kindness can change the entire course of someone’s life and I lived and breathed for the moment those two met again! <333 I suppose in some way Aelin is the reason why Chaol is happy now because she helped Yrene find her way so many years ago. XD And this is just beautiful! ❤ Yrene has come such a long way from the young girl she was (truth be told, Aelin did too) and I adore the strong woman she has become. The way she put Chaol’s father in his place was marvellous and I’m sure she’ll be a great mom! =)

”I went to the Torre,” Yrene said, her voice cracking. “I took the money you gave me, and went to the Torre. And I became the heir apparent to the Healer on High. And now I have come back, to do what I can. I taught every healer I could the lessons you showed me that night, about self-defense. I didn’t waste it – not a coin you gave me, or a moment of the time, the life you bought me.” Tears were rolling and rolling down Yrene’s face. “I didn’t waste any of it.”

Yrene folded the queen’s fingers around the paper. “It is yours, as it always was. A piece of your bravery that helped me find my own.”
Aelin shook her head, as if to dismiss the claim.
But Yrene squeezed Aelin’s closed hand. “It gave me courage, the words you wrote. Every mile I travelled, every long hour I studied and worked, it gave me courage. I thank you for that, too.”

Lysandra:

“I was once forced to crawl before men. And gods above, I nearly crawled for you these months. And yet it takes me nearly dying for you to realize that you’ve been an ass? It takes me nearly dying for you to see me as human again?”

I’m still besotted with Lysandra! That woman is amazing! ❤ AND I’m glad she stood her ground and didn’t give into Aedion’s stupid bullying! Like seriously! What was he even thinking!? Lysandra risked so much for Aelin and her court and my heart broke for her when Aedion pushed her away. She really didn’t have it easy in this book and the mere fact she came out of it alive tells us everything we need to know. Lysandra is such a strong woman and she endured so much, yet she never broke! XD She’s my role model and I just love her! ❤ I was so glad that Falkan Ennar and her met at the end of the book and that she finally has an uncle that loves her as much as she deserves to be loved! The scene of their reunion was so heart-warming! =)))

”Whatever you wish,” Falkan said. “You shall never want for anything again.”
Lysandra was crying, and it was pure joy on her face as she flung her arms around Falkan and embraced him tightly.

Aedion:

”He’d said such horrible things to her that day she’d taken down the ilken. Where are our allies? he’d demanded. He was still trying to forgive himself for it. For any of it. All that he had was this one chance to make it right, to do as she’d asked and save their kingdom.”

AEDION YOU STUPID EEJIT!!!! I just couldn’t with Aedion in this! LIKE ARGH!!! That man made me so damn angry I can’t even!!! I get that he was worried and angry about Aelin that he was desperate to save his country and to survive, but none of it can justify how he behaved towards Lysandra! I mean he forced her to leave his tent when she was wounded and weak and she had to CRAWL in the snow to get out of it! CRAWL! In front of their men! WTF!? He humiliated her because she did what she had to do and that’s not okay! There is no excuse for his behaviour and if I would have been Lysandra I would have kicked him in his balls and served them for dinner! I really loved Aedion in the former books but in this one I hated him and if you ask me his redemption arc should have been more pronounced.  I can’t forgive him for what he did… actually I’m surprised Lysandra could. >_<

”You agreed to let Aelin go to her death, and leave us here to be slashed to bloody ribbons. You two told no one of this plan, told none of us who might have explained the realities of this war, and that we would need a gods-damned Fire-Bringer and not an untrained, useless shape-shifter against Morath.”

Fenrys:

”Let it kill him, wreck him. He would not serve. Not another heartbeat. He would not obey.
He would not obey.
And slowly, Fenrys got to his feet.”

MY PRECIOUS BABY!!!! <333 I love Fenry’s to bits and pieces! He deserves so much better than he got and what he had to go through in here was so horrible! Maeve didn’t just take his brother away from him, she also did it permanently by killing him and she even made him watch! Which was so wrong and cruel on so many different levels. T_T Fenry’s was at least as broken as Aelin but he continued to fight and against Maeve’s power over him. The pull to follow her and Cairn’s orders must have been so strong but he didn’t cave and I just about died when he got to his feet! Fenrys is precious he needs to be protected at all costs. ❤ With or without scars he’s my baby! Period!

Fenrys just nodded. “I haven’t been able to stomach it since then. I – I’m not even certain I can use it again,” he said, and repeated, “I’m sorry.”

3

Aelin & Rowan:

”He prayed that fire, that rage, had not broken. He knew how many days it had been, knew who Maeve had promised would oversee the torture. Knew the odds were stacked against her.”

Those two broke my heart! T_T Aelin prayed Rowan would find her and he was looking for her all over the world. I hate Maeve so much for taking Aelin from Rowan and for hurting both of them in such a cruel way! Aelin’s torture was awful and atrocious and just like her I wanted it to end. I hated that she was so broken by what Cairn did to her and I knew there was no way she would get out of something like this without having physical as well as mental scars. When Rowan finally found her and she wanted him to take off that mask I was crying along with her. It broke my heart! T_T To be in his presence eased some of her pain though and even though she barely spoke a word after what happened to her it was so good to see that slowly but deliberately she came back to him. Rowan was so damn gentle with her… and I was so glad he was there for her. ❤ Those two had a really amazing relationship and I hope they can finally be happy now. They deserve it! After everything they had to go through they deserve a peaceful life in Terassen! The more I think about it the more I’m sure Sarah only gave us that corny relationship in EoS so that we could hold on to something when bad things happened to Aelin in this book. XD They are together now though and I hope their HEA will last! ❤

Aelin sobbed, her body shuddering with the force of it. “Take it off.”
Rowan’s eyes flickered, panic and heartbreak and longing shining there. “I will. But you have to be still, Fireheart. Just for a few moments.”
“Take it off.” The sobs ebbed, tricking into something broken and raw. Rowan ran his thumbs over her wrists, over those iron shackles. As if it were nothing but her skin. Slowly, her shaking eased.

She didn’t bother arguing. Not as she admitted, “I want it to be over.”
He went wholly still, but granted her the space to think, to speak.
“I want it to be over and done with,” she said hoarsely. “This war, the gods and the Wyrdgate and the Lock. All of it.“ She rubbed her temples, pushing past the weight, the lingering stain that no fire might cleanse. “I want to go to Terrasen, to fight, and then I want it to be over.”

Dorian & Manon:

”Only with her did he not need to explain. Only with her did he not need to be a king, or anything but what he was. Only with her would there be no judgement for what he’d done, who he’d failed, what he might still have to do.”

Ohh those two had to work through a lot in this book! They both had scars from the former books in this series and it was really great to see them work through their issues. Especially because they tried to do it together. They didn’t give each other an inch and both of them didn’t shy away from pointing out the truth. I think their dynamic was good for both of them and being the stubborn people that they are they probably needed each other more than they were willing to admit. Still, when push came to shove they could always count on each other. I loved their relationship so much, like seriously! So, so damn much! Their respect and the fact that they are each other’s equal, that they knew exactly what the other thought and felt and that they didn’t want to turn the other into something he couldn’t be. Just amazing!  They’ll always be my OTP! My sexy and playful power couple! <333 I will go down with this ship!!! Enough said! <3333

”I care about more than I should. I even care about you.”
Another wrong thing to say.
Manon stood – as high as the tent would allow. “Then you’re a fool.” She shoved on her boots and stomped into the frigid night.

Dorian leaned in close, tipping his head back to stare into her eyes as he purred, “Because while you might be older, might be deadly in a thousand different ways, deep down, you’re afraid. You don’t know how to ask me to stay, because you’re afraid of admitting to yourself that you want it. You’re afraid. Of yourself more than anyone else in the world. You’re afraid.”

He could have sworn fear entered her eyes. Yet she didn’t rage at him, roar at him – didn’t so much as snarl. She only asked, “You’re not afraid to go alone?”
“Of course I’m afraid. Anyone in their right mind would be. But my task is more important than fear, I think.”

”Dorian twined a wave of her silver hair around his finger. For a heartbeat, he allowed himself to drink her in. She would be his wife, his queen. She was already his equal, his match, his mirror in so many ways. And with their union, the world would know it.
But he could see the bars of the cage that would creep closer, tighter, every day. And either break her wholly, or turn her into something neither of them wished her to ever be.”

Chaol & Yrene:

”Yrene is the finest healer of her generation,” Chaol said with deadly quiet. “Her worth is greater than any crown.” And in this war, it might very well be.
“You don’t need to bother proving my value to him,” Yrene said, her icy eyes pinned on his father. “I know precisely how talented I am. I don’t require his blessing.”
She meant every damn word.

It was so beautiful to see their relationship thrive! To see how content they were around each other and how bravely they tackled every challenge that was thrown their way. It made me kind of sad to realize that they didn’t get all too much page time in KoA but I guess after they got an entire book for their relationship to develop and grow Sarah figured she could let them be happy with the way they are. She certainly wasn’t wrong with that because the little moments we got were all precious and I adored seeing them on page. XD Also Yrene is pregnant with Chaol’s child!!!! YESH!! Finally a ToG baby! *lol* They’ll have one hell of a fierce and stubborn child! <333

Chaol turned to where Dorian sat with Elide atop the shifter, the love on her husband’s face hardening to something fierce and determined.
“Keep her safe,” was all Chaol said. Perhaps the only order, Yrene realized, he would ever give his king. Their king.
It was why she loved him. Why she knew that the child in her womb would never spend a single moment wondering if it was loved.

Lysandra & Aedion:

”She had lied to him. Deceived him so thoroughly that any moment between them, any conversation… he didn’t know what had been real. Didn’t want to know. Didn’t want to know if she’d meant any of it, when he’d so stupidly left everything laid out before her.”

My heart was bleeding on the pages whenever I read about them. I swear, every word from Aedion’s lips was poison, every accusation thrown at Lysandra another twist with the knife that seemed to be stuck in my chest. I felt so bitter about my second favourite ship drowning or… well, tbh it rather crashed and burned without the sexy parts. T_T I never got my sexy scene, all I got was heartbreak and pain and I hated Aedion for it! I still can’t believe Sarah wrecked my ship so thoroughly. I know she tried to redeem him in the end but it was too little too late and I can’t really ship them anymore. At 60% of the book I would have been totally fine with – little kids, please don’t read this – Lysandra ripping out his balls and eating them for breakfast! How could he hurt her so much when he knew how she felt about him??!! And it wasn’t even like he wouldn’t have had her in the end. Sure she would have looked like Aelin but she still would have been Lysandra underneath. So if he wanted to blame anyone he should have blamed Aelin or Maeve or stupid Cairn. But certainly not Lysandra! She was ready to give up her life for his country and that’s how he repaid her for it? Not okay! I’m happy Lysandra is happy now but I don’t think I can truly ship them again. >_<

”After Wesley, after all of it, I wanted it to be you. What Aelin asked me to do had no bearing on that. What she asked me to do never felt like a burden, because I wanted it to be you in the end anyway.” She didn’t wipe away the tears that slipped down her cheeks. “And you threw me into the snow.”

Aedion’s grin turned predatory. “May I ask something of you, then?”
“I don’t think you’re in a position to make requests, but fine.”
That wolfish grin remained as he whispered in her ear, “If I don’t die tomorrow, may I kiss you when the day is done?”

Elide & Lorcan:

”I didn’t crawl after Maeve.”
She halted, hair swaying. Slowly, she glanced over her shoulder. Imperious and cold as the stars overhead.
“I crawled…” His throat bobbed. “I crawled after Aelin.”

I think we can all agree that those two had one of the most epic scenes in the entire book! I mean OMG! Them outrunning the flood was so damn suspenseful!!! Farasha was carrying them both and I was quite literally holding my breath for all of those pages!!! I had to know how it ended!!! XD And thankfully it ended good! I’m so glad they managed to sort things out and yes, Lorcan had to go through a lot to make up for his actions but in their case I could forgive him and Elide for being stupid for a little while. *lol* Their love story was such a nice slow burn and Elide riding like the wind in order to rescue her fae warrior will always be one of my favourite parts of this book! I can’t help but laugh about his title though. Lord Lorcan Lochan! *LOL* It’s epic! XD Ahh my heart feels all warm and fuzzy just thinking about them. ❤

”I love you,” he whispered in Elide’s ear. “I have loved you form the moment you picked up that axe to slay the ilken.” Her tears flowed past him in the wind. “And I will be with you…” His voice broke, but he made himself say the words, the truth in his heart. “I will be with you always.”

”I will marry you, Elide Lochan. And proudly call myself Lord Lorcan Lochan, even when the whole kingdom laughs to hear it.” He kissed her, gently and lovingly. “And when we are wed,” he whispered, “I will bind my life to yours. So we will never know a day apart. Never be alone, ever again.”
Elide covered her face with her hands and sobbed, at the heart he offered, at the immortality he was willing to part with for her. For them.

Aelin & Fenrys:

”Beyond words, unsure her throat would even work, Aelin blinked three times. Are you all right?
Two blinks answered. No.”

Their friendship was so pure and deep it almost broke me! <333 Even though they were in the clutches of Maeve and Cairn they still had each other and I loved Fenry’s for being there for Aelin and for Aelin trying to give him at least a little bit of comfort. They went through so much… through so, so, so, so damn much together and it forged a bond that will never be broken. The moment when Fenrys broke his oath to save Aelin I was crying. He gave his life for her and she sobbed his name until they finally got him out of Cairn’s camp and brought him to her! I was so relieved when he took the blood oath and she commanded him back to life because I probably would have died if he wouldn’t have come out of it alive! The moment he hugged her… ahh my heart!!! <333 I love them and their friendship. Such a deep and meaningful bond.

”A small sigh broke from Fenrys before he folded Aelin into his arms, a shudder rippling through him. Rowan couldn’t see her face, perhaps he didn’t need to, as her hands gripped Fenrys’s jacket, so tightly they were white-knuckled.
A good sign – a small miracle, that either of them wished, could be touched.”

Aelin, Chaol & Dorian:

”But Aelin was only staring at him. Staring and staring at him.
No one spoke as tears began sliding down her face.
Not at his being here, Chaol realized as he took up his cane and limped towards Aelin.
But at him. Standing. Walking.
The young queen let out a broken laugh of joy and flung her arms around his neck.”

Okay, I admit it I’m still a weeping and crying mess!! Those THREE! THOSE THREE!!! AHHH! I cried an ocean when they met again and I cried even more when they had to part at the end of the book! Their friendship was everything and even more and it was so good to see them all together again. After everything they went through, after everything they survived, after everything that happened, their friendship is still going strong. <333 They’re the original trio that started it all and to see them together on one page reduced me to being an emotional and babbling mess! I’ll never get over the love those three feel for each other and I’ll love them forever! <333 And now excuse me while I weep some more! T_T

”But Dorian stared at the rider before him. At the posture of the body, the commanding seat he possessed.
And as Chaol Westfall dismounted and ran the last few feet toward Dorian, the King of Adarlan wept.”

Aelin looked at Chaol and Dorian and sobbed. Opened her arms to them, and wept as they held each other.
“I love you both,” she whispered. “And no matter what may happen, no matter how far we may be, that will never change.”
“We will see you again,” Chaol said, but even his voice was thick with tears.
“Together,” Dorian breathed, shaking. “We’ll rebuild this world together.”

Nesryn & Sartaq:

”We’ve a battle to launch tomorrow. Again.”
“And a day of death has made me want to hold you,” the prince said, giving her that disarming grin she had no defenses against. Especially as he added, “And do other things with you.”

Nesryn and Sartaq is another couple I would have loved to see more of but unfortunately they were just side-characters in this one. As I already said with Yrene and Chaol I understand Sarah’s decision to let them be in the background though. Still, I love Sartaq! ❤ He’s still his disarming flirty self and Nestryn and he got at least a few moments together. So I’ll count my blessings and be happy that this super, super slow burn finally turned into a solid and good relationship! *lol* I can’t picture Nesryn as an Empress but I know she’ll be a great one. Just like Sartaq will be an awesome Khagan! XD

”Empress? Really?”
Sartaq’s dark eyes glittered. “We won the war, Nesryn Faliq.” He tugged her close. “And now we shall go home.” She’d never heard such beautiful words.

4

Just in case those last 5.598 words didn’t already make it abundantly clear: I LOVED “Kingdom of Ash”!! It’s one of the best endings of a series I ever read and I’m in awe of Sarah’s genius! She managed to do something not many authors are capable of doing and actually tied up all her loose ends. Her impeccable writing style leaves noting to be desired and after two years I can still say: This is a masterpiece! <333 So read it, enjoy it, cry over it, laugh and weep with your favourite characters and know they’ll always have a special place in your heart – even if you close the final page of this book! <333

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: I Was Born for This (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 40 on My Book List 2021

”Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don’t understand much, while they’re the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times.”

It’s kind of funny how much this quote resonates with me even though I’m an adult in every sense of the word. I go to work, I pay my rent, I buy groceries for my family, I have a kid, … So how come this book was such a perfect read for me? Well, the truth is, I am an adult but that doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love (for instance writing poetry and reviews) and maybe this has kept me kind of young? I dunno. XD I think I might not be your typical adult but then again who is?

I guess you can already tell that this book made me think a lot and I have so many thoughts and feelings it’s quite a challenge to put them all into words. There were so many topics and situations that spoke to me and no matter if it was Jimmy’s POV as a musician, Angel’s POV as part of the fandom, the diversity and reps or the relationships between all of those lovely characters, I could relate to all of them! *lol* This book reminded me so much of my own youth and my life in general that it almost felt like Alice Oseman wrote it just for me. Like seriously! Alice how do you do this?

I just loved every second of “I Was Born for This” and I never wanted it to end! If you ask me it could have had a 1.000 pages and it still wouldn’t have been enough. XD I have so many thoughts it feels almost impossible to get them all down on paper screen but as always I’ll try my best. 😉 I think I’ll just go with the flow and see where this review is heading. So if you want to read my personal take on fandoms, the characters, music and relationships feel free to join me on this ride. If not, you better don’t continue to read.

2

This is my spoilery spoiler warning and if you haven’t read the book yet, I’d recommend to turn around and to head in the other direction. *lol* Far be it from me to let my fellow readers jump into this unprepared. 😉

Fereshteh “Angel” Rahimi:

”And I know they’re both worried about my future. They don’t ever say it, but I know they know I’m average and average is disappointing for them. Especially compared to my brother. The pinnacle of ambition and success.”

First of all I have to say how much I loved Angel’s true name! Fereshteh is such a beautiful name and if you ask me I’d have preferred her to go with her real name instead of Angel. ❤ This said I really liked Angel and how she always tried to help everyone. She was such a kind and gentle soul and even though she had no idea what she wanted to do in life she was still a very strong character and able to stand up for herself. That argument she had with her parents broke my heart because I was about the same age when I had a similar conflict with my parents and I think they only just realized that I became a person who had its own opinion about things. XD I’m sure one day my kid and I will have such an argument too and I can only hope that she’ll know that I love her no matter what. I’m pretty sure that’s something every child and parent will have to go through. They grow up so fast and they steal your heart the moment you see them. Why am I getting all sappy now? *lol* Never mind! Let’s continue! I kinda liked the scene when Mac confronted Angel about being a “fandom celebrity” because *lol* that’s me whenever some of my GR friends claim that I’m popular on here. (Like what?!) And just for the record: I don’t think I am. I just write my reviews. That’s it. 😉 Or to say it with Angel’s words: “It’s just the internet.” *shrugs* Also I could relate to her feeling average. It’s hard to have an older sibling that is perfect in every sense of the way. Been there, done that, got the freaking t-shirt. *lol* So yeah Angel’s POV really hit home. XD

”Well, I didn’t realise you were some sort of fandom celebrity,” he says with the fakest smile I’ve ever seen.
I laugh at him. “That’s a massive overstatement.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You joking? Literally everyone here knows who you are. People keep coming up to you to take selfies.”
I shrug. “It’s just the internet.”

”Are you still angry with me?”
“I was never angry, my darling. Only scared.”
“Why … were you scared?”
There’s a pause.
“Because I felt that I suddenly didn’t know you,” she says.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci:

”Everything’s sort of changing and happening and I feel excited and scared, and my brain doesn’t know how to deal with it all.”

Jimmy’s struggle is so real! I really liked Jimmy because he felt and thought so much about everything! His anxiety was tough to witness and even though I have no experience with anxiety in the way Jimmy feels it I know exactly how it feels to have a panic attack or a mental breakdown. Jimmy is a truly beautiful person inside and out but I think he had to go through a lot of shit when he came out as transgender and I’m pretty sure that only increased his anxiety. If you’re a public person to come out can be so much worse because everyone and their grandma knows it.  And there will always be haters… no matter if you’re a nobody like me or a public person. Shitstorms can be so much worse when you’re the latter though. So it’s no wonder Jimmy almost broke under the pressure and I’m glad he decided to pull in the reins. The Ark came so far, they are popular enough to do what THEY want to do. 😉 I can’t help but wonder if idols or stars really feel like they’re living a lie. I mean there happens a lot that’s off screen and we never get to see it but if they really feel like they’re a fraud that would make me kind of sad. =S Guess we’ll never know.

”I can’t breathe, shaking, probably going to die, something’s going to kill me, someone’s going to kill me, how am I going to save myself? How am I going to save myself? How am I going to save myself?”

”I don’t know who I am. Everything I do feels like a lie. I wake up every day and I have to be Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, this famous guy, and I have to smile at the camera and say hi to people but … I don’t even know who I am underneath that.”

”No, you don’t fucking know that, Rowan.” I raise my voice. “I’m not going to just sit and wait for things to change any more. I’m changing things. I’m doing what I want for once.“

Lister Bird:

”Why else would anyone want to be around me?” he says. “I’m Lister Bird. Why else would anyone want to be around me other than to get with me?”

Ahh poor Lister! He’s definitely the visual of the group and apparently has many fangirls. It’s no surprise that he’s obviously feeling very lonely though. Jimmy’s and Rowan’s friendship is very strong and he only ended up in the band because he could play drums. So I can totally see why he’d feel left out and not as much a part of the group as the other two. He basically had no one to talk to so it’s no wonder he became a party boy and got drunk. It was his escape from the things he had to deal with but it certainly wasn’t a healthy way to handle the pressure. Many stars seem to go down that road and it makes me really sad whenever I hear that they ended up in rehab. Lister is aware of his problems though so I hope Rowan and Jimmy will help him to find his way back into a life without alcohol.

”Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’m just tired.” He puts the near-empty bottle down on the sink next to me, and then pats me gently on the cheek. “Hey. Jimmy. Sorry.” Then he wraps his arms around my shoulders and hugs me tightly. “Sorry for always being shit.”

3

Angel & Jimmy:

”As we’re forcing our way out of the crowd, Jimmy clutches onto my hoodie with one hand, like a scared toddler. Is this weird? Probably. I love him more than my own fucking life.“

When I visualized their first meeting I definitely didn’t imagine them being scared shitless in a public toilet/bathroom. And I certainly didn’t see Jimmy with a knife in his hands, yet this is exactly what happened. *lol* Oh boy! Whenever I think about that scene I imagine myself meeting BTS in a toilet like that and haha to say it would make me super uncomfortable would be putting it mildly. XD What I know for certain is that I would try to speak with them and to ease their tension though. Angel did a great job considering the circumstances and I really loved her for helping Jimmy the way she did. Because quite honestly, if I would have no kid and no adult life I would help BTS like that too. Or well, even with my kid I’d probably invite them over to my flat and give them a safe space to crash and to calm down. (As long as they don’t tidy up my flat… *lol* Come to think of it 7 pairs of helping hands would be welcome though. ;-P) I know Jimmy’s grandfather would think we only do this because we have no life but I assure you: I have a life and I love and respect myself. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be kind to celebrities I never saw in person though. They are only human and if they are scared I will help them. Period. Angel and Jimmy might have a strange kind of friendship but they are there for each other and this is what counts in the end. The conversation they had about being a part of each other’s truth was really well written and I loved this scene so much. Music is a part of me and the people that make the music I adore are ultimately a part of me as well. So in that sense we’re all connected with our idols somehow. =) It’s a beautiful thought.

”You are … the damn light of my life,” I tell him. “When everything is bad, when I wake up and want to go back to sleep and never wake up, you’re there for me.”
“I’m not,” he whispers.
“You are.” I swallow nervously. “If you want it to end … I understand.” I pat my chest. “But … I guess … you’re ending a part of me too.”
“Part of you?”
“Without you … without The Ark … all I have is my dull life. You’re one of the few things I had in my life that was good and true. You’re part of my truth.”
He blinks. “You’re part of mine too.”

Jimmy & Lister:

”No one’s like us, Jimmy,” he says. “I think we’re your only dating options.”
“Rowan’s straight.”
“Oh. Just me, then.”
I whack him on the arm and we both laugh.

I don’t get how the fandom didn’t see that one coming! *lol* I mean Rowan is straight, Jimmy is openly gay and Lister openly bi. So it’s only logical to ship them together, right? *lol* Their ship name could be Jister or Limmy!? XD I know I’m being silly! Still, I really liked those two together and even though there is really nothing happening between them aside from a few hugs and one kiss I think that they might end up being a couple in the future. Also I can’t get over the fact that Lister quite literally accidentally stabbed himself because he was worried Jimmy might hurt himself and therefore stole his knife! I mean AHHHH!!! Those two… *shakes head* I wonder if Alice will ever write another book about those two. Probably not, so we can all enjoy our own imagination. ;-P

”You don’t have to … like me back,” he says, and his voice breaks but I can’t tell whether he’s laughing or trying not to cry. “But please don’t hate me.”

”He finishes drying my face, throws the paper towel into the bin, and then before I know what’s happening, he wraps me into a warm hug. He squeezes his arms around my shoulders and brushes his temple against my head.
“You know I love you, right?” he says, his voice sounding different, low, right next to my ear. “I know you and Rowan have always been a team, but … I love you too … okay?”

For a moment I think he might want to kiss me again, but instead he just presses his head into the crook of my neck, nestling his cheek on my shoulder, and wraps his arms round my shoulders. He smells vaguely smoky, and a little of alcohol, but he feels so warm.
“I want to change too,” he says.

Jimmy & Rowan:

”How you doing, Jimjam?”
“What?” I ask, not understanding the question.
He squeezes my arms, then rubs them soothingly. “Are you calm?”

Now let’s talk about the pic of Rowan and Jimmy sleeping together in their bed. *lol* OR let’s just talk about how close they are as friends! I mean it’s so obvious that they love each other a lot, just not in the way the fandom wants them to. There’s no Jowan, but I really adored their interactions and how much they seemed to care about each other. You can see that they are really close and that they are super comfortable around each other. I’m like that with my besties too and a very cuddly person. (Do whatever you want with that random info. *lol*) So for me to see their strong bond was really nice and even though they argued quite a lot in the ending it was only because they cared so much about each other. =)

”The photo does indeed show Jimmy and Rowan sleeping next to each other on a bed. Rowan is on his front, one arm slung over Jimmy’s chest. Jimmy’s head is tilted ever so slightly towards Rowan.”

”Jesus fucking Christ, I thought you’d been kidnapped. Thank God I still remember your fucking home phone number. God, look at you, sleeping in this tiny bed with a knife on your bedside table. Like, you could hurt yourself. God.”

The fandom rep:

”Neither of us have any friends in real life who like The Ark, but that doesn’t matter, because we have each other. I used to try to get people to talk about The Ark with me – my school friends, my parents, my older brother – but no one really cared.“

I loved the interview they gave when they said “the fans like to overthink everything we do” and I had to agree so much! *lol* I mean JK shows his eye tattoo in an episode of RUN and ARMYs be like: OMG!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!!?? I’m ARMY myself so I can laugh about this and say that we’re all clowns. *lol* Anyway, what I want to say with this is that the fandom rep was so damn on spot I can’t even! Haha! Alice Oseman captured it so well and I loved that by inventing Juliet and Angel she also gave room to the fandom side that’s not just screaming and fainting fangirls/boys. You’d be surprised about how many of us are actually normal people that just love our boys and their music. XD If I’d get a chance to spend a day with BTS I’d probably just hang out with them, eat good food, play silly games and talk about God and the world. Maybe I could even persuade them to play guitar or e-bass with me? *lol* So yeah, pretty normal stuff. Also since my kid is so little she’d probably be the star in the room and they’d play and goof around with her. XD Because no matter how famous they are, they are still normal (okay, they are perfect!) people and I totally agree with the sentiment that they feel like they are my friends. In difficult times their music helps me to get through the day and they always make me smile which is pretty amazing. =) So if you ever come to Austria and read this BTS, write me and I’ll invite you over for a schnitzel and potato salad. Considering the dumpling incident I better don’t invite you for roast pork and dumplings though. *lol* ;-P

”They’re not like normal musicians. It feels like they’re our friends and they understand us and care about us.”

”I know he asked you for help,” says Piero, “but the trouble is, while asking for help is always good, it’s impossible to keep relying on others to solve your problems for you. There comes a point where you have to help yourself. Believe in yourself.”

The musician rep:

”A lot of them only like us because we have nice faces. But as long as we are here, the three of us, and we get to make music, and we get to live this life – playing our music in a new city every week, bringing smiles to millions of faces, leaving our mark upon the world – then everything is good, and fine, and okay.”

As a former member of a band to read this rep made me very happy. It was so accurate and I think in the end we all just want to make music and to hang out together. A band is like a family. You spend so much time with your members that you know each other’s habits, hopes and fears. Sometimes you’ll be stuck together for weeks but you don’t care because as long as you’re together and making music everything is alright. You hug, you cry, you comfort each other, you hang out together, you cuddle, you laugh and joke. And you’re very close to each other and have a unique bond which many fans will ship because they think there has to be more to it. *lol* I don’t even know how many people shipped my bestie and me during band times but since even one of our teachers shipped us… well you get the idea. *lol* He was always just my bestie though. Like a brother. We went through thick and thin and even tough our band doesn’t exist anymore (he moved to Germany) and we both have a family and lives that keep us busy, we’re still close and stay in contact. This said the musician rep of “I Was Born for This” was perfect and felt really personal. ❤ So thank you Alice for writing it in this book! =)

”And Jimmy here,” Rowan continues, clapping me on the shoulder in a manly fashion, “Jimmy’s like my brother, you know? The fans know that. The world knows that. I think that’s what’s so special about being in The Ark. We might not be related but the three of us are brothers, yeah?”

”The three of us … we were born to be together,” I say. “And I can’t leave that. I don’t want to leave that.”

4

This book was made for me! I loved it so much and I’m sure it will always be one of my all-time favourites. =) The way Alice Oseman captured fandoms, showed the lives of musicians and represented anxiety was amazing and as always her character cast was super diverse. I’m so glad Alice writes books and I’ll continue to read everything she publishes. She has a rare gift and I’m thankful she shares it with the world. XD

”Everyone’s normal, really, aren’t they?” Bliss says. “I mean, everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something that’ll keep them going.”

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating:4 Pfoten

Book 15 on My Book List 2021

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

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

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

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

2

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

Scarlet:

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

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

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

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

Wolf:

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

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

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

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

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

Cinder:

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

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

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

Kai:

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

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

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

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

Thorne:

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

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

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

Queen Levana:

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

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

3

Scarlet & Wolf:

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

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

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

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

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

Cinder & Kai:

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

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

Cinder & Thorne:

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Tower of Dawn (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

2

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

Chaol:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yrene:

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

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

Nesryn:

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

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

Sartaq:

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

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

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

Hasar:

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

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

3

Yrene & Chaol:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nesryn & Sartaq:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorian & Chaol:

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

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

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

Aelin & Chaol:

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

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

4

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

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

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 17 on My Book List 2020
 

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

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

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

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

2

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

Lada:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radu:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mehmed:

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

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

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

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

3

Radu & Lada:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lada & Mehmed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radu & Mehmed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

 
 

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

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

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 11 on My Book List 2020


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

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

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

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

2

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

Harper:

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

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

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

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

Rhen:

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

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

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

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

Grey:

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

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

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

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

3

Harper & Rhen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harper & Grey:

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

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

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

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

Harper & Jake:

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

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

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

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

Lilith & Rhen:

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

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

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

Rhen & Grey:

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Wicked King (Holly Black)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 9 on My Book List 2020

”The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”

I wish I could disagree with Cardan but he’s right! *lol* All this book is about are intrigues, machinations, power games and murder and tell you what? I’m so here for it! Like SO here for it! XD Holly Black knows how to write her faeries and I’ll never get tired of her books. There’s just something about them that keeps me on my toes and forces me to be on my guard. ;-P It’s rare to find this is a book and I appreciate her even more for it.

This said, I’ve to admit that for some people this book might seem to be pretty slow. There is a lot of build-up and it takes a while until the storyline gets into motion. Or rather it’s set into motion right at the start of the book but it kind of trickles in the background. You know something is brewing but you can’t put your finger on it and the more the story unfolds the more you get that feeling of uneasiness. The feeling that something is wrong and the awareness that you’re missing something crucial. 😉

I think this made for a super intriguing atmosphere and my urge to continue to read fought a constant battle against the connoisseur within me that wanted nothing more than to savour this book. XD Especially the Jude/Cardan scenes almost caused me to throw all caution to the wind. *lol* I didn’t give into the temptation though and considering THAT ending I’m glad I took my time to analyse every single sentence. I have theories! A BUNCH of them and I’ll make sure to go into detail in my characters section. 😉

2

Take my hand and follow me,
To the land of faerie,
Where I will spoiler thee.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance,
Come enjoy the revel and let us dance.
You and I, we shall have some fun,
And if you’re scared,
Well, now is your last chance to run! ;-P

Jude:

”Watching his fear ripen fills me with an almost voluptuous satisfaction. I, who have had little power in my life, must be on guard against that feeling. Power goes to my head too quickly, like faerie wine.”

Jude Duarte is one of those characters I can’t help but adore. I love this girl so much! She’s cunning and intelligent which is always a dangerous combination, but she’s also compassionate and even though she tries to hide it, it always shows. Like for instance when she tried to prepare Heather for what would happen in Faerie. Still, Jude has become a force to be reckoned with and I’m in awe of all the strings she pulled. She’s become a formidable faerie which is probably the biggest compliment you can pay her and by running an entire kingdom in the background she’s grown as well. It’s not about gaining power anymore but about holding it (like Madoc pointed out so nicely) and considering it all she’s doing a great job. Or she did until she got betrayed by the Ghost and was spirited away to the Sea. >_<  I couldn’t believe it went into this kind of direction and I think her month as a captive of queen Orlagh changed her profoundly. She was reminded of her limits and she was willing to play along in order to save herself. I guess in some way it made her realize that she’s still so very powerless when it comes to the machinations of the courts. And for our reckless Jude this must have been quite a damper. Cardan at her disposal or not, they could have killed her easily. I think what it will always come down to is that she craves the power to be her own master and as long as she hasn’t achieved that she won’t be able to rest. Speaking of which: OMG!!! That ending! She’s the Queen of Faerie now but no one knows and she’s exiled!!!! WTF??!!!  Jude better come back because I need a happy ending! T_T

”You want to know what I did to make him raise me up?” I ask, leaning toward her, close enough that she can feel the warmth of my breath. “I kissed him on the mouth, and then I threatened to kiss him some more if he didn’t do exactly what I wanted.”

”I hate the way I cling to him, the nails of one hand digging into his back, my thoughts splintering, and the single last thing in my head: that I like him better than I’ve ever liked anyone and that of all the things he’s ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst.“

”Sometimes, when lying on the cold stone floor, I wonder if there’s a limit to what I will let them do, if there is something that would make me fight back, even if it dooms me.
If there is, that makes me a fool.
But maybe if there isn’t, that makes me a monster.”

”I imagine what it would be like to have my own crown, my own power. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be afraid to love him. Maybe it would be okay. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be scared of all the things I’ve been scared of my whole life, of being diminished and weak and lesser. Maybe I would become a little bit of magic.”

Cardan:

Cardan leans forward as though they are sharing a jest. “Oh, tell me the rest. I like tricks and snares. Even ones I was nearly caught in.”

Okay, Cardan lounging on his throne is my new aesthetic! XD Also that one earring dangling from his ear! Ahh, did anyone else imagine him as the 8th member of BTS? *LOL* Anyway! Let’s talk about my precious boy who became more and more intriguing! I never thought I could be even more obsessed or besotted with him but “The Wicked King” certainly proved me wrong. I love this new calculating Cardan and I was kind of happy to see that he grew into his power. He played them all! And he did it masterly! Every gesture, every move he made, and every single word that left his lips, it was calculated and deliberate. The sings were all there and they became even more pronounced after Jude returned from the Sea. The way he commanded the situation with Queen Orlagh was amazing and it was really surprising to see how clever and skilled he is. I could see it from miles away but what truly gave his game away was the moment when he held council about how to proceed with Queen Orlagh. Cardan acting reasonable and making sense was such a dead giveaway. *lol* I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do now but I’m also kind of worried about him. Without Jude by his side things will get even trickier. >_<

”When he becomes drunk, his subjects become tipsy without knowing why. When his blood falls, things grow. Why, High Queen Mab called Insmire, Insmoor, and Insweal from the sea. All the isles of Elfhame, formed in a single hour.”

”Now, Queen of the Undersea, we will have a truce as you had with Eldred, as you had with Mab. We will have a truce or we will have a war, and if we fight, I will be unsparing. Nothing and no one you love will be safe.”

”When my father sent me away, at first I tried to prove that I was nothing like he thought me. But when that didn’t work, I tried to be exactly what he believed I was instead. If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying. I would live down to his every expectation. If I couldn’t have his favor, then I would have his wrath.”

”I wasn’t kind, Jude. Not to many people. Not to you. I wasn’t sure if I wanted you or if I wanted you gone from my sight so that I would stop feeling as I did, which made me even more unkind. But when you were gone – truly gone beneath the waves – I hated myself as I never have before.”

Cardan shakes his head and drinks another cup of tea. “We show her that I am no feckless High King.”
“And how do we do that?” I ask.
“With great difficulty,” he says. “Since I fear she is right.”

Vivi:

”Revenge is sweet, but ice cream is sweeter.” She goes to the freezer and removes a tub of mint chocolate chip. She brings that and two spoons back to the sofa. “For now, accept this delight, unworthy though it is for the Queen of Faerie in exile.”

I can’t believe Vivi truly thought that Heather would come out of Faerie unscathed and I really disliked her for her actions. At first she didn’t tell her the truth and then she added insult to injury by glamouring her after things went downhill. No wonder Heather moved out of their apartment. If someone would have done the same to me I would have moved out as well. I think Jude was right with everything she said about Vivi not being able to understand what it means to be a human in Faerie. She’s a faerie and she never seemed to care all too much about Taryn and Jude’s struggles. So I don’t know if Heather will come back again but if Vivi wants her back she’ll have to do so much better than she did before.

3

Jude & Cardan:

”I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide I wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”

ADKASDLFKAsDJFASKDFJASDFLKASJDFAKLSDFJASLKDFJSDfH!!! Okay, sorry, but that just needed to get out! *lol* Now I feel better and can write about it! XD So first things first: I love them! Their love-hate relationship is legit one of the best things about this series and I ship them so hard it almost kills me to read their scenes! <333 Their chemistry is off the charts and I just can’t get enough of them. This said: I guess in some way Cardan finally got his revenge for Jude forcing him on the throne. *lol* Well, he certainly did a number on her by exiling her from Faerie! I don’t think it was about revenge though. I don’t even think it was about power. I’m sure he had completely different motives so hear me out and let me explain! I DO believe that he meant every single word he said before he married her and he wasn’t lying because faeries can’t lie. So I think his main reason to exile her was to keep her safe. When she was abducted and imprisoned in the Sea he realized how much he truly loves her and that changed everything. She’s his weakness, the only thing that could be able to hurt him and he’s not holding on to power for himself but for her sake. I mean he trusted her so much that he gave Taryn what she wanted because he thought it was her. His love and trust for Jude will be his downfall and it was the reason why he exiled her even though he loves her. So he tricked her out of her hold over him and now he’s free to do what needs to be done in order to protect her. Which was a pretty clever move on his part. Still, I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY MARRIED AND THAT JUDE IS THE QUEEN OF FAERIE NOW!!! OMG! That totally caught me by surprise and I was speechless! *lol* So whatever happens between those two in the final book, I’m so ready to read it! <333 Give me all that love and hate, because apparently it’s both in their case. ;-P

Cardan steps close to me, his gaze devouring. I am not sure I can bear his cutting me down again. Luckily, he seems at a loss for words.
”I hate you,” I whisper before he can speak.
He tilts my face to his.
“Say it again,” he says as the imps comb my hair and place the ugly stinking crown on my head.

”You believe I planned your humiliation?” He laughs. “Me? That sounds like work.”
“I don’t care if you did or not,” I tell him, too angry to make sense of my feelings. “I just care that you enjoyed it.”
“And why shouldn’t I delight to see you squirm? You tricked me,” Cardan says. “You played me for a fool, and now I am the King of Fools.”

He shucks his cuffed white shirt over his head in a single elegant gesture, revealing bare skin and scars. My hands are shaking. He captures them and kisses my knuckles with a kind of reverence.
“I want to tell you so many lies,” he says.

”But how did she make you agree?” I demand. “She has no power. She could pretend to be me, but she couldn’t force you –“
He puts his head in his long-fingered hands. “She didn’t have to command me, Jude. She didn’t have to use any magic. I trust you. I trusted you.”

”Faerie suffered with us at each other’s throats. You attempted to make me do what you thought needed to be done, and if we disagreed, we could do nothing but manipulate each other. That wasn’t working, but simply giving in is no solution. We cannot continue like this. Tonight is proof of that. I need to make my own decisions.”

Taryn & Locke:

”But you know me too well to bother.” She shakes her head. “When I’m with him, I feel like the hero of a story. Of my story. It’s when he’s not there that things don’t feel right.”

I said it once and I’ll say it again: Those two were conspicuously inconspicuous in. I always waited for their involvement but they made sure to act in the background and not to show their true motives. To be honest I didn’t expect anything different. I knew sooner or later they’d make their move and I was right! XD The way Taryn betrayed her sister. Just WOW! I’m curious if we’ll see more of them in the next book because I kind of missed Locke’s machinations. Yes, he made Jude the Queen of Mirth but that was about everything he did (aside from trying to get her killed) and it certainly wasn’t enough. He can do better than that and I really hope I’ll get more of the cunning fox in the next book.

”I am done with being polite. We’re not going to play word games or make up riddles. Humiliating the High King is a bad idea. Humiliating me is a terrible idea. Running around my sister is just dumb. Maybe you thought I was too busy to take my revenge? Well, Locke, I want you to understand that for you, I will make time.”
His face pales. He’s obviously not sure what to make of me right now.

Nicasia & Cardan:

”Would you marry me, then? Tie the sea to the land and bind us together in misery?” Cardan gazes at her with all the scorn he once reserved for me. It feels as though the world has been turned upside down. But Nicasia does not back down. Instead, she takes a step closer.
“We would be legends,” she tells him. “Legends need not concern themselves with something as small as happiness.”

As it seems Nicasia is still in love with Cardan, but unfortunately (or fortunately, always depends on your POV) he doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings. I guess her try to force him into a marriage only made him dislike her even more and those two definitely won’t become a couple anytime soon. That horse is definitely out of the barn. *lol* I think Cardan wants love and the fact he chose Jude tells us everything we need to know. So I’m sorry Nicasia, but you’ve lost the game. 😉 #SorryNotSorry

Jude & Madoc:

”You don’t believe that I could care about you, even after you betrayed me?” He watches me with his cat eyes. “I’m still your father.”
“You’re my father’s murderer,” I blurt out.
“I can be both,” Madoc says, smiling, showing those teeth.

I know this might sound weird but I’m still down for this twisted father-daughter relationship! *lol* They have such an interesting dynamic and the fact they both seem to care about each other yet still don’t give each other an inch is just awesome. When an opportunity arises it is seized no matter the consequences or what kind of repercussion it might entail for the other.  They obviously respect each other though so I wonder if there actually might be a happy ending for those two. As opaque as Madoc is, the genuinely seems to care about Jude and I’m pretty sure she considers him to be her father too, no matter what she tells him. XD Ahh I like them. Guess we’ll find out what will happen in “The Queen of Nothing”.

”I’ve been glamoured and carried into a revel, weeping and alone. As far as I can tell, the only difference between tonight and all the other nights when I endured indignities without complaint is that those benefited you, and when I endure this, it benefits me.”
Madoc looks shaken. “I didn’t know.”
“You didn’t want to know,” I return.

”Does he know?” Madoc asks, grinning in a slightly terrifying yet paternal fashion. “Does our High King have any idea how good you are at running his kingdom for him?”
“Keep hoping he doesn’t,” I say, trying for a breezy confidence that I don’t feel when it comes to anything to do with Cardan or our arrangement.

”Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

”Orlag and the Undersea we will vanquish together. But when they are gone, it will be us staring across a chessboard at each other. And when I best you, I will make sure I do it as thoroughly as I would any opponent who has shown themselves to be my equal.”

4

This was perfection and I enjoyed “The Wicked King” even more than I thought I would, which is no easy thing to accomplish! I lived and breathed for all the backstabbing and cunning in this book and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next one. Considering all the scheming and plot twists we witnessed in here (oh what a pleasure!) I’m pretty certain Holly Black will have no mercy in the final book as well! I’m ready, Holly! Destroy me! 😉