Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: Review


The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.


"She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph."

If there's one thing Queen of Shadows taught me, it's that never, ever, EVER try to jump to conclusions. Queen of Shadows is such an incredibly complex book, the plot in this book alone can be fit into two books. This is one of those books that I have to take a break from time to time, so that I can digest it and get over the shock and emotional thrill. Sarah never fails to deliver the best content. It's easily my favorite in the series.

Why did I say not to jump to conclusions? A lot of things have changed since well before QoS begins. A lot of things change in this book. Aelin is back, making alliances with enemies, trying to defeat the two things that threatens her life, her rightful throne and her friend(s). No longer the uncertain assassin trying to discover her true destiny and her underlying powers, she's a force to be reckoned with. The "fire-breathing bitch queen" that will restore magic in the timeless gorgeous magical world (by the way, I am really fond of that title). She has to come to terms with past relationships and her own dark side. Let me assure you, this is no easy journey. Misunderstood and antagonized against, she emerges from the shadows and eventually tread into light. The details are too complicated to be described here. But know this: you will never get bored of it.

A better example to illustrate my point is Chaol. I have such mixed feelings about Chaol in the beginning of Queen of Shadows. His loyalty and fierceness towards Dorian is palpable. And yet he's stubborn to the point that I itch to slap some sense into him. His reunion with Aelin is... rocky, to put it mildly. It wasn't pretty. However, just when I thought my opinions about him were solidified, Sarah surprises me with a series of intricately written plots. I came to respect that guy. Not love, but pure respect. The amazing thing is that she did it in one single book. It's mind-blowing.

Despite my love for Aelin and possibly all the characters in the book, my fondness lies in Rowan and Manon. Manon plays a much bigger role in Queen of Shadows then she did in Heir of Fire. As the Wingleader, she's involved in a sinister plot that can potentially bring Aelin and her gang, and possibly the whole world down. Her fate is uniquely entwined with Aelin's, in the most unexpected way possible. She also meets someone that I would never dream of. That got me excited. Her thoughts also aren't as cold and cruel as it should be (because, well, she's an Ironteeth witch). It will be infinitely more interesting to read about her in the upcoming books.

Rowan is a sort of relief in this thrilling course of events. And boy, don't I love it. After Heir of Fire, I just want to see him again in this book. His passion and loyalty is even more obvious in this book. It makes me smile to read about the conversations between Aelin and him. Their relationship in the book has, well, evolved. A lot. They are the best partners. It's safe to say that the ship has sailed. Happily. 

Okay, there's just no way that I can cover every good bit in this book. I'm thoroughly impressed. It's possibly one of my favorite books of all time.

Rating: 10/10 (because 9.5 is too low of a score)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman: Review


Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


"Questions are answered not when you want an answer but when the time for answers is right."

I was beyond excited about this book. In the end, however, I couldn't help feeling disappointed. The thing about Legacy of Kings is that it has a lot of potential and it does have a decent background, but the chaotic plot and character development ruins it.

The potential lies in the complexity of this world. Set in an era of the ancient empires, magic hides in plain sight. Six teenagers are maneuvering their way to success. Secrets run deep in the book. If manipulated correctly, this book could be an epic masterpiece. Setting things in a brutal time of history does make things more interesting. You seriously can't complain about magic and cruelty blended into one. Despite my fondness towards these aspects, there's no way I can give this book a four or even a five out of five. There are just fundamental problems that cannot be mended.

Prioritizing characters is a big problem. The book actually reminds me of Falling Kingdoms in a messy way (because of the point of views). And Falling Kingdoms is nothing close to "messy" (It's definitely one of my favorite series of all time). Six plus narrators? In thirty-two chapters? There's practically no room to be familiar with one character! It's extremely hard to manage six "main" characters, and some of them have fallen out of my mind.

I have divided the six "main" characters into two groups. The first being Alex, Jacob and Zofia. These are the invisibles. I opened the book fully expecting Alex to be the main player of the story. But his chapters were so scattered that he barely even made an acquaintance in my opinion. Jacob is the same, except his perspective were even more scattered. Zofia shared more chapters. Except she's too impulsive for her own good, and nothing really intriguing happened to her. They barely made a bleep in my mind. Kat, Heph and Cyn are in the second group. They actually made an impact in my mind. But the only one I actually like is Heph. His loyalty and fierceness are certainly admirable. I really hate that there aren't enough chapters where he is at the center stage. Kat is the one I have no problem reading about. But I don't particularly like her either. Unlike the other five characters, she actually shows some traits of being the main girl in a YA novel. Cyn has made the biggest impact in my mind, but in a very bad way. I hate to say it, but she actually disgusts me. Her manipulative ways and heartlessness pisses me off. She also has a twisted sense of loyalty and a thirst of power that is just terrifying and repulsive. I understand her pain and her desire for revenge. But this is way too much. You see, there are characters that are left out of the story. Either create a story with characters having distinctive traits or just cut the numbers down. Don't create six "main" characters and neglect half of them.

But the one thing that truly angers me is how misleading the summary is. It focuses on things that aren't even important in the real book. Why was Jacob mentioned in the summary when he hardly made a presence in the book? And how is Cyn not there, when she actually shared more chapters than Alex did? What about the Spirit Eaters? They didn't even show up in the book! They were mentioned and that was it. It's like I'm reading a different book. If you want to write a detailed summary, put something at least marginally related, not something that gets out hopes up and diminishes it. Or write a general summary. Misleading synopsis is the true demise of the book.

I'm still going to read the second book because the ending is surprisingly not bad, after all the disappointment. I hope the second book will be better.

Rating: 5/10

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre: Review


Learn the rules of the game…and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian’s sacrifice, she’s operating under the mysterious Harbinger’s aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she’s terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers—mercenary monsters committed to her destruction—she’s not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months…unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can’t bear to lose.


Sorry I haven't been posting in a long time. Who would have thought summer vacation is even busier than normal school days?

Immortal Game is a little bit weird. The strangeness continues in Public Enemies. After the events and the sacrifice that is made at the end of the last book, Edie is trying to find a way to save her boyfriend. But with enemies - immortal, powerful, and public enemies, gunning her everywhere she goes, she has to choose wisely who she can trust. The secret organization that is trying to end the game? Previous enemies? Or an unwilling ally?

I like how everyone has an agenda other than helping the main protagonist, Edie. Other than her close friends and Kian, temporary alliances are made, and often come in a price. While you may be certain of their wanting Edie alive, you can never be 100% sure about their true intentions, and whether they may come back and haunt Edie. She herself is trying to find a way to end this game once and for all, but at a cost of humanity. Things get infinitely darker in this book. There's no air of innocence other than some certain moments. Its pace is kept at an excellent speed. No rush, but also no dragging. I love reading books like this.

Speaking of certain moments, you can see a lot of bonding sections between Edie and Kian. They remind me of normal couples in real life, which makes them relatable, but also fictional couples with fantastic chemistry. Even in dire situations like this, they can still joke and have cute conversations that never fail to make me giggle. Too bad that... okay, this is most likely a spoiler, but it seems like those moments may not appear again anytime soon. I will miss those.

The ending is most surprising. Not because Edie has discovered something that had been fermenting behind their backs and had to make an important decision, the events itself are something that you probably will never expect to read about. Edie will be on a new mission, to end this cruel game haunting her life once and for all. And I'm excited. Very excited.

Rating: 8.5/10

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas: Review


In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort....

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.


"A prayer of courage," murmured Kashkari, "the kind of courage for facing the end of the road." It was quite possibly the most beautiful song Iolanthe had ever heard, as haunting as it was stirring. "'For what is the Void but the beginning of Light?'" said Titus, quoting from the Adamantine aria. "'What is Light but the end of Fear?"'

Truly a nice conclusion to the series. While I actually really like reading and re-reading the previous two books, I'm not attached to this series like I do some other ones. But this is a book that I love, with all the turns and twists and an ending that is the most unexpected. 

Iolanthe and Titus has to defeat the Bane. But when an ultimatum is forced upon them, they have to take drastic measures as a last ditch effort. However, their methods are anything but safe. Old and new prophecies revealed failure that is inevitable. It's entirely up to them to turn the tables.

I like how there is no information dumping in this book. I guess it has to do with the fact that so many things are happening at once (partly). But it's okay. There is a lot of action involved and a lot of clever strategizing. Both Iolanthe and Titus has reached their darkest pits and innermost strengths in this book. No break time for you, just intense plots and twists. I love it.

It's kinda hard to write this review without wanting to reveal spoilers. However, to be more precise, there are certain moments that irritates me. Not because anyone or anything is being annoying. It's just that the author is good at keeping mysteries in the dark, so much so that there are times where Iolanthe and Fairfax are like separate people. Which is clearly not true. There are also moments when the truth is revealed so late that I thought I missed something from the plot. I don't like feeling stupid, after all. However, I have actually grown to like it, because it captures my attention perfectly. That can actually be classified as one of the special features of this book. 

And then there's the ending. Let's just say there are surprising details in it. I wouldn't say if it's a good or a bad ending for the characters [though it's pretty (mostly) obvious], because the book hasn't been officially released yet, but I like it. It's unexpected but natural. I'm happy that I read these three books.

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, August 2, 2015

TBR #27: August 2015

Whoops. I think I missed July.

1) Public Enemies (Immortal Game #2) by Ann Aguirre


In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian's sacrifice, she's operating under the mysterious Harbinger's aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she's terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers--mercenary monsters committed to her destruction--she's not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months...unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can't bear to lose. 

Expected Publication: August 4, 2015

2) Daughter of Dusk (Midnight Thief #2) by Livia Blackburne


After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.

Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.

Expected Publication: August 4, 2015

3) Court of Fives (Court of Fives #1) by Kate Elliot


In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy's life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom's best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes's family apart, she'll have to test Kal's loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Expected Publication: August 18, 2015

4) Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor Herman


Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

Expected Publication: August 25, 2015

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Review


Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…


The big bad is revealed in Every Last Breath. To be honest, I can't really believe I have already read the last book of the trilogy. It seems like yesterday when I read the very first one. It has been a fast-paced ride full of fun and hotness and danger. I enjoy the series very much and I think Jennifer is talented with gargoyles. But despite my fondness towards the series (and this book in particular), I'm still not completely satisfied with the last installment.

It is filled with good and sweet things though, and we definitely should talk about it first. After the earth-shattering reveal in Stone Cold Touch, you'd think that was it and we should tackle the Lilin right away. But nope, not even close. Jennifer had a whole bunch of surprise waiting to be launched. Layla's true heritage and unexpected journeys are just some of those things. The book doesn't have a downtime. Non-stop action and excitement filled the 400-paged book, and I devoured it in less than a day. It feels so good to thoroughly read through a book like this. The thrill, and the fact that it reminds me of the good ol' times of actually having moments to read books. 

Jennifer has given a fair chance for both Roth and Zayne. Decision is made in the final book of the trilogy. There's no doubt who Layla ends up with, but let's keep his anonymity just for the record. But oh man, aren't their intimate moments burning bright. Seriously, they are perfect for each other. I can't even begin to describe the awesomeness of this. Let's just say the level of their moments together doing... something (wink) is off the charts, almost treading away from YA territory. I love every single thing about them and I'm so glad they finally get together.

The best thing about this series is that it is a revolution in terms of our view towards evil or goodness. Sometimes people does the worst things for the noblest (twisted) reasons. And the guys that are doing "evil" deeds might not be all bad. Compassion is a tricky thing. And people's intentions are never truly known. I guess the lesson is that you should never have prejudices for people. Strip away the shell of goodness/badness and you might just get to know the core of their being.

Despite being entirely in love with this book - and gaining some sort of knowledge from it, there are actually holes in the story. Flaws that just nags at me. 

(The following paragraph may involve spoilers. If you haven't read the book, please Please PLEASE do not read that part)

It is the last book. While I get that she might be trying to leave some open area for imagination (*cough Morris cough*), I'm dying to know what Layla truly is. But she's something that cannot be defined by human words. That's not a very satisfactory answer. What the hell is Lilith anyway? The ending is also a little bit too rushed, even though it's still fantastic in its own way. There are just too many questions left unanswered, which makes the world-building part unstable. At least, nowhere as strong and vivid as the other books written by her (namely, both the Covenant and Lux series).

It is a nice ending after all, and I'm excited about her future projects.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Renegade by Kerry Wilkinson: Review


Silver Blackthorn is a fugitive from the law.
Silver Blackthorn has committed treason.
She is dangerous. Do NOT approach her.
A large reward is on offer. Report any sightings to your nearest Kingsman.
Long live the King.

Silver Blackthorn is on the run. She fled Windsor Castle with eleven other teenagers, taking with her something far more valuable than even she realises: knowledge.

With the entire country searching for the missing Offerings, Silver must keep them all from the vicious clutches of King Victor and the Minister Prime. Until now, no one has escaped the king and lived to tell the tale.

Or have they?

With expectations weighing heavily on the girl with the silver streak in her hair, will she ever find her way home?


Silver and her gang is on the run in Renegade. Evading the Kingsman, she's set on getting her revenge for her suffering in the Windsor castle. Now that she is the most wanted person in the whole country, her family is in danger as well. She has to find that one person that may hold to key to the origin of the Reckoning, and the solution. What she might face is betrayal and separation.

I remember liking Reckoning. Renegade is also not bad. I have been able to enjoy it for some time. But I'm afraid I have to say that this series is one of those that just can't hold my attention for long. It's a good thing that this book is not long, because the first bit is pretty boring to me. I mean, seriously. Rebel groups that are too good to be true? Again? I have spent enough time to read these kind of novels to say that I'm getting tired of this. However, this is just a small part of this book. The bigger part is much better, and with much more risks, which does more than balancing out the not-so-good things. 

Silver is not who I remember. Not exactly. I mean, she's still very smart and determined. And she's also a good leader. But some part of her has hardened, and not in the way I like. Like Imrin said, she's getting a little bit manipulative. She recognizes the problem and tries to correct it, which is a good thing and I admire her for her candor. But that streak of hers is getting on my nerves for some reason. She also spends a lot of time being indecisive about Opie and Imrin. Maybe not a lot of time, but definitely more than she should. It's annoying, but not because this is weak of her or what not. Rather, this is more a waste of time when she can spend more time thinking about her next move.

The whole thing is pretty straightforward, and with a clear goal, I think I will still be reading the last book.

Rating: 6.5/10

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: Review


In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…


"The reading of all good books is like the conversation with the finest men of the past centuries."

The Great Library of Alexandria some of the greatest wonders throughout the course of time. And it is destroyed ages ago in our world. In Jess' world however, the library is very much present -  and ruthless. Raised by book smugglers, Jess is ordered to be a spy in the library, and discovered cruelty that he might not be able to bear, and his actions might just be his demise.

The thing about this book is that it's great, but it lacks crucial elements. How is this book great? Well, I thoroughly enjoy reading it, at the very least. There are complex relationships and personalities between characters. Jess is brave and loyal, but also reckless and sometimes cynical. Khalia is very intelligent and calm, but can be a bit mysterious. Thomas is just a nice guy with legitimate ambitions. Wolfe... well, you just have to read about him to actually get to know him. Their relationships are filled with uncertainties, sometimes backstabbing (not in a very serious way), calculating, and suspicion. But there's no mistaking of interdependence, and possibly friendship between some of the major characters here. Their actions are unpredictable in their own way, which makes the book even more so. I also love the complex world originated from the Egyptian legend. Is the Library preserving knowledge - or simply preventing us from learning? What is the real intention of the Library's existence? The final answer is still unknown, but this is what makes the background so exhilarating. An air of exotic mystery.

But in my opinion, there's one big problem with this book. To be honest, I'm not sure if that is a problem or if it's just a very subtle way to plot the story. I usually rewind the course of things happened in a book immediately after I finished it. I couldn't do the same thing with this book. I feel like not much has happened in this book, other than Jess questioning his loyalty towards the library and a certain event at the end of Ink and Bone that marks a drastic twist of events (possibly) in the second book. Yes, the world is great. The characters are awesome. But the lack of plot (or the subtlety of the plot) is what makes me take off one star from my review on Goodreads.

I still like this book. A lot. And I would like to see Jess resolving the sticky situation in the second book.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson: Review


Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.


"The wind, time, it circles, repeats, some swaths cutting deeper than others."

Nothing is certain anymore in The Heart of Betrayal. Lia is a prisoner in Venda along with Rafe. Her safety is almost forfeit. Her former companions have other intentions. Her jailers are not as barbaric and easy to exploit as she once thought. This book is basically Lia's journey to find a way out of the enemy state - by weaving up lie after lie, whether for herself, or for those she cares, or has come to care about. 

Unlike its prequel, you don't really know what will happen next for certain, even though you probably have an idea of it. That's the beauty of this book. You know their intentions. You know their stances and loyalty. You also have a clear idea of their feelings. But there's no telling of their methods to achieve what they want. While the outcome might not be as epic as I visualized, the anticipation is definitely well-made. Enough to earn a 5/5 on Goodreads.

Except I didn't give that score. While complexity among characters is something I always appreciate, the way it is done in The Heart of Betrayal is not the most appealing thing. Sometimes I think Lia, Rafe and Kaden are a bit... bipolar. Some of their actions and thoughts are so separated from their feelings that it is as if I'm reading about some other people. Well, it's not all bad. After all, human actions are mysteries to be resolved. It can be interpreted as a sign of complexity, and that's partly what I did. The real problem is that this phenomenon spirals into an unending cycle. Bipolar, sane, bipolar, sane... it gets tiresome after a while. This is why, despite the book being unpredictable and therefore, exciting to read, I still can't give it a full mark.

Despite their more-than-weird behavior, I still find myself loving all three of them. Lia has gotten mature. She has evolved from a runaway princess yearning for freedom to a royal willing to lay down her life to save those she cares about and those who deserve to live. She can still be a bit reckless, but the two sides of her have been well-balanced in this book. Rafe's faith and feelings for Lia is pretty admirable, more so than in the last book. After all, he's willing to risk his life to get her out of Venda. The sad thing is that there's not much of his point of view in this book, because I'm desperate to know more about his nature. Kaden is the one I do not expect to like. He has told many great lies for his benefit. He has been pretty cruel to Lia in the previous book. His soft spot for Lia and strength is endearing, though. That is not something I'd miss. I've grown to like all three of them. They are great in their own ways.

It's almost impossible to wait for the third book. Goddamn those cliffhangers! The authors cannot expect us to read about cliffhangers and wait for an entire year (sometimes more) for the next book.

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes: Review


Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.


When I looked at the summary of A Book of Spirits and Thieves, I wondered how exactly this was going to work out. I mean, it's not some alternative universe that you can travel to (even though it's kind of, well, many-worlds). I have finished this book for quite some time now, and can still hardly believe that the whole thing works out so well. No messiness, no confusion. Just plain awesomeness. Good job, Morgan Rhodes. You have managed to outshine all imaginations.

Crystal was a typical teenager in Toronto. Suffering from the mysterious departure of her father, she had been distant and detached from her family, until her little sister Becca fell into a coma after touching the book. Crys was determined to find the answers and save her sister. What she got though wasn't exactly the answer she wanted. Someone was hunting her (sort of) and wanted something she had. Throughout the chase and the battle of wits, I'm quite astonished that she was very smart. I didn't expect her to be an inane blonde at all. But putting two and two together in record time is very impressive. Of course, she did make mistakes, some could get her killed. Her street-smart personality and quick-thinking, though, is still something that I thoroughly enjoy. Especially when she squeeze the hell out of a certain someone's tattoo.

And that certain someone is, well, Farrell Grayson. My feelings are divided. He's quite a complex character, with polar-opposite personalities (just like Magnus). I feel sympathy and hatred and admiration and despise and whole bunch of contradictory emotions for him. At the start of the book, he was trying to deal with his grief for his older brother. But throughout the course of the events, he fell deeper and deeper into the abyss, to the point where I'm afraid there was no return. His actions were questionable, to put it mildly. He was cruel, arrogant and cold. But there were moments of vulnerability and care that couldn't be concealed. And that's why I have such contradictory feelings for this guy. His dark side will become a problem in the next book, and I'm excited and terrified to find out.

Maddox was more innocent. Of course, he came from an entirely different world and he was slightly younger than both Crys and Farrell. His presence in Mytica was like fresh air to the intense war in the modern world. His side of story linked with the events happening in Toronto, and I wonder if he will ever meet Crys and/or Farrell. His story was mainly about self-discovery and defying everything he knew about himself and his world, as well as helping a spirit girl name, surprise, surprise, Becca Hatcher. The interactions between Maddox and Beccan was quite humorous and endearing, because of the good-natured culture shock. I look forward to seeing more of that again.

If you have read Falling Kingdoms, Mytica is divided. In this book however, the author takes us way back before the three kingdoms, way before the political struggle, to the point of history where everything starts to fall apart slowly. The times of the two goddesses, Cleiona and Valoria. The world is every bit as brutal and dangerous as that in Falling Kingdoms. It is also every bit as gorgeous. This book has gotten me hooked in possibly every aspect.

It's unimaginable that the two series haven't gotten worldwide attention. The epicness is simply awe-inspiring.

Rating: 9.5/10 (Oh yeah)