Tag Archives: fae

Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published on July 19, 2016 by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

Genre: paranormal NA romance.

My rating:

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

srcek

This is the review for the second part of A Wicked Saga, so there will definitely be some spoilers for the first book of the series. If you’re new to it, you can start by reading my notes on Wicked (it’s not exactly a review, but yeah).

I buddy-read Torn with Becky and Danya, which was my first experience of the kind and I enjoyed it A LOT. We read it in three relatively equal parts (first 10 chapters, then the next 10, then a sprint to the end) and vented after each one. Their comments made me snort-laugh, so you’d better go check out their reviews here and here!

So. Torn. I am in two minds about this book. I would have given it an even lower rating if it wasn’t for its readability and my weakness for Armentrout’s writing. I flew through each of the thirds and liked the tempo if nothing else. However, it’s also a pretty horrible book. If someone told me this was where the story would go, I honestly wouldn’t have started the series. That’s how annoyed I was.

The first issue I have is with Ivy. We find out she’s a halfling (half human, half fae) at the end of Wicked. This means that the fae prince will want to make a baby with her in order to open the gates to the Otherworld, allowing all the nasty fae to swarm into the human realm and take over. I was not okay with this “a woman’s womb is the possible source of the apocalypse” plotline, and I was even less impressed by how Armentrout dealt with it. I mean, I never expected Armentrout to write a feminist story but this was just plain awful.

There are several instances where Ivy is nearly raped, threatened with rape, and drugged by the prince and forced to do things she never would have done otherwise. AGAIN, I know some authors can write about such delicate issues and master them beautifully, however, Armentrout is not such a writer. She has Ivy feeling ashamed for her actions, even though she keeps telling herself she did nothing wrong, and feeling guilty, too. That is appalling. Okay. I’m changing my rating (from 2.5 hearts). This is pissing me off too much even as I write.

Ivy is also so damn cliché when it comes to her personal image. When she’s not thinking that she’s an abomination because she is half-fae (yawn), she’s thinking that she isn’t hot enough for Ren – because he is gorgeous and she is just this special, milk-skinned redhead that no one would look at twice. *facepalm*

Another problem I had was with Ren. The guy was really hot in Wicked and even though he subscribed to the Order’s weird mentality (they killed two innocent people in this part, for example, because their daughter was suspected of being a halfling – she wasn’t, so they were killed for nothing), he was strong and confident and, well, kind of mouth-watering. In Torn, however, he starts off by being an overprotective jackass and steadily progresses into being a controlling, judgmental asshole. Why this change? I have no idea, especially as he’s somewhat redeemed at the end of the book. But I can’t reconcile this last-chapter Ren with the unreasonable guy we meet in the first half of the book. I usually read Armentrout’s books for a good amount of sass and sex and now I couldn’t even enjoy those. Meh.

Armentrout also did a fantastic job of isolating Ivy from all her friends. She even can’t trust Tink properly now that he’s a man-sized brownie, not a tiny winged creature anymore (yeah, that happened…). There are also no significant women left around her – and unless one fae lady who helped her and another human one become much more prominent characters in the third book, Ivy is going to be the only woman around. Also, Armentrout calls women “females”. I just… wow.

Oh! Oh! And Ivy makes a deal that … wait, that’s a spoiler. *spoiler in white* Anyway, she makes a deal with the prince that goes like this: he will release Ren, who has been captured, beaten, and fed on, if she willingly submits to the prince in three weeks – aka sleeps with him in order to make the door-making baby. And she agrees to the deal because a) she feels guilty about Ren being captured, even though we later find out he’d been an asshole and went fae hunting without being ready; b) she doesn’t feel good enough because she’s a halfling anyway, and c) muses that she could still kill herself before sleeping with the prince if she doesn’t manage to escape in time. SHOOT. ME. NOW. *end spoiler* Okay, I feel better now.

I’m not even sure I’ll be reading the third part. Probably not, even though I’m on a mission to finish more series (doing… poorly) and I want to know if Armentrout is capable of redeeming herself. I kind of thought Torn might be the final part but I saw that we have one more book to go (or so it seems now). I was also shocked to see that Torn has a 4,3 rating on Goodreads! Were we even reading the same book?! I don’t think I’ll be picking up her next series, whatever it is, so this might just be the final goodbye. It’s sad and harsh but there are just so many better books out there.

srcek

Have you read Wicked and/or Torn? What did you think?

Do you have any good paranormal recs for me?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Published in May 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's Books.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: New Adult High Fantasy.

My rating:

Feyre is immortal. After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate. She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

zmaj-desno

So. I might be a black sheep again with this one. This review will be FULL OF SPOILERS because it’s very hard to talk about most of what’s happened in the story without spoiling you for something since a pivotal event occurs at about 10% of the book. If you’d like to see a nonspoilery review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in the series, you can read it here.

I’m not even counting this one towards my Retelling Challenge because there’s no clear source of inspiration that I can see, unlike with the first book, which was loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and also Tam Lin.

Let’s do the positives first, shall we? This is a very fast read. It has more than 600 pages and yet I read it in 3 or 4 days despite my rather hectic schedule these days. Sarah J. Maas is the queen of bingeable books and I can see why they’re extremely popular. The story is quick and the writing good enough to pull you in.

And, uh, it’s… um… yeah. I have nothing more. *sigh*

What you have to know is that this is the second time I’ve been seriously disappointed with how Maas handled her relationships in her series. In my (spoilery!) review of Queen of Shadows, I complained about how she spent two books developing a relationship between two characters, only to drop it like a hot potato in favor of a new, shiny one. It ticked me off. Why did I bother getting invested in that couple when she was going to break them up anyway? So you can imagine my surprise when she did it again! Tamlin and Feyre are no more and now we have Rhys and Feyre to root for. Ugh.

This is not to say that I don’t prefer Feyre with Rhys. Because I do. I never particularly liked Tamlin but that doesn’t mean I wanted him to become this horrible creature that he is in this second book! Seriously, you guys, can anyone explain this shift to me? I complained about how Maas changed Chaol’s nature in Queen of Shadows but this change here was extreme. I know Tamlin was an overbearing ass from the start but he’s gone completely crazy here. Oh and Lucian? The one character I liked from A Court of Thorns and Roses? He’s a spineless worm, that’s what he is.

I also wanted to smack Feyre a couple of times. Look, I get it, she got through a horrible ordeal and is suffering from PTSD, but her actions – or rather non-actions – were painful to read about. Maas made her relationship with Tamlin seem abusive – and I’m not talking just about the part where he locked up like an animal, I’m talking about the sex where she feels nothing and yet allows Tamlin to come to her bed every night. This is a very problematic attitude, especially in a book that’s geared towards a young audience.

Which brings me to my next point. This is NOT a young adult book! I have no idea why the series was picked up by a children’s publisher because this clearly falls into new adult category. I’m not going to say it’s an adult fantasy because Feyre is too naive to exist as a proper adult character and some of the topics are simply too “young” to be counted as adult (am I even making sense right now?) but there is killing and sex and I can’t say I would like my 17-year-old future kid reading this stuff. I mean, people, you know I’m not a prude, but this wall-banging, body-licking, scream-inducing sex is hardly something that should be in books for teenagers – if nothing else, it sets up unrealistic expectations. :)

Okay, so I do like Rhys. I like how he is with Feyre, he doesn’t take her decisions away from her, he doesn’t speak for her and she’s a better person all around when she’s with him. So there you go, another positive thing I have to say about this book.

BUT PEOPLE, why does EVERYONE have to have a tragic story here? Like there’s Mor who was beaten (and probably raped) by her own family because she refused to be bartered off like a prize mare. There are Feyre’s sisters who get turned into Fae against their will (hello, have we learned nothing from the first book? Changing people without their consent is bad!). There are the two badass warriors (um, their names escape me) and each of them has gone through hell to become the great man that he is. Why can’t we have someone who is a good person despite having had a very nice childhood? I can assure you, it is possible to know about sacrifice and hardships without actually having been beaten half to death. Promise. It’s also possible to be a good lead character if you’re human! Imagine that.

And the similarities between her two series!! Gah! Both Celaena and Feyre are very beautiful and skinny and everyone loves them and wants to be with them. They make ancient, immortal males swoon and follow them around like puppies. Said males are protective and gruff but really have hearts of gold. Their crews of other badass males are all damaged and scary but they have their reasons for looking like they’re going to rip your throat out. Save me, please.

Yeah, if you’re still reading this, you deserve a hug. *hug* 

Anyway, I wasn’t even a fan of the ending. Nope. Feyre has gone to spy at Tamlin’s court and will basically sell her body for information if I understand things correctly. But you know, as long as she knows she really loves Rhys. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

So many things! But you know what? I’m almost a 100% sure I’ll be reading the sequel anyway because a) I want to finish the series and b) I want to see where she takes it. I just hope (I really hope) it will be a trilogy. If it gets stretched into a longer series, I might not bother after all.

zmaj-levo

*long exhale*

So. Now it’s your turn. What did you think about this one?

Has a series (or an author) ever disappointed you like this?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Published in September 2015 by Bloomsbury UK.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: high fantasy.

My rating:

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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

zmaj-desno

This review is for the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series. You can read my reviews for the first three books here and here – and I’m warning you right now that THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL FOUR BOOKS. There. I just assume that anybody reading a review for the fourth book without reading the first three is asking to be spoiled (I avoided all reviews for this reason) but I’d also like to discuss some spoilery stuff in this part, so you’ve been warned.

First of all, you may have noticed (probably not but still) that I classified this as “high fantasy” without the “YA”. I don’t think Queen of Shadows is a young adult bookHeir of Fire wasn’t, either, but I didn’t really focus on that in my review. But I think it’s worth mentioning now because Aelin’s story is no longer the story of a girl but the story of a woman, a young queen. If you think about it, this whole series is classifiable as YA only because Celaena is 17 at the beginning of the first book – her problems are huge and her responsibilities even bigger, even then. I’m not saying young readers shouldn’t read this series (I read “adult” books almost exclusively when I was in high school) but it begs the question as to why it’s being marketed as YA if it’s not, really. It’s not like adult books can’t feature teenage protagonists.

And then … I have to say that I liked the book but didn’t love it like I did with Heir of Fire. I was a wreck when I finished that one – but now, though I flew through the 600-page monstrosity in two days, I still feel like it could have gone better.

First of all, the first 200 pages dragged. I stopped counting the times Aelin just slaughtered the Valg-infested guards and kept plotting stuff that nobody else knew about. I disliked how Chaol interacted with her. I loved Chaol as a character and I think that this change to a bitter, foul-mouthed rebel is just too jarring to be believable. Yes, I know he was disenchanted and all but hey, he was a really good guy so I have trouble believing he’d act like that. Also, while I’m glad Aedion got more spotlight, I can’t really say his character brought anything new to the table. Another large, muscled male man who feels the need to piss circles around his favourite cousin (her words, not mine). I’m hoping both of them will get a chance to liven up a bit in the last two books of the series.

Then there’s Aelin herself. I really liked how she changed in Heir of Fire, she really grew into her potential (I like to see character development over the arc of a series). And now she fell back into her routine of secrets and killing and snark that did nothing to disguise the fact that she didn’t really trust anyone. Eh. By the way, did anyone notice the body count she (and the others) managed to rack up? I know those soldiers were all infested by demons and the humans “begged to be killed” but does that diminish the fact that they destroyed hundreds of the King’s guard?

And then there’s Rowan. Okay so I think he’s pretty majestic (still liked him better in Heir of Fire!) and I liked seeing his composure crumble, but what is it with 300-year-old men and 20-year-old women?! I keep complaining about this and I know everyone thinks it’s terribly romantic but hell, I can’t help but be creeped out by it, especially if one of the pair is immortal and the other “merely” human.

Also – and this is going to sound weird, but I think you can handle my weird, can’t you? – there is no way Rowan and Aelin would have been able to keep their hands off each other in real life. NO WAY. I’d buy it up until that first kiss. Possibly. Because they had their misgivings and they knew everything would change, yadda yadda. (But also not – sleeping in the same bed, hugging each other, almost naked, with that attraction between them? Nope.) I’m not saying people – human or Fae – are just animals, unable to contain their instincts. But I felt like Maas was just dragging this thing along to make their final connection in a later book. Ugh. I don’t know. I just felt like the whole “I don’t want an audience when I make you moan” thing was a bit silly. They’re fantastic warriors and they can’t figure out how to be alone together for a night? Right.

That said, I really enjoyed the friendship part(s) of this book. Both Aelin and Lysandra and Manon and Asterin made me feel all warm-hearted and happy. I did have my doubts about the A&L friendship at first (too sudden?) but hey, I won’t complain, they’re pretty great. Lysandra is a really cool character and I liked how she put an end to her tormentor. I liked that Aelin let go of the past so her friend could put her own demons to rest.

And the Ironteeth witches in general are awesome. They’re brutal and gruesome but also not the worst monsters that exist in this weird world. And their wyverns? So cool. I hope the Thirteen end up on the “right” side of the war in the end because I’d hate for Manon and Aelin NOT to be allies – they’d really be amazing together on the battlefield, don’t you think? I’m also curious about the rest of Rowan’s cadre, the other Fae warriors that served with him in the Fae Queen’s army. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of them soon.

Whew, this is longer that I expected. Anyway, I liked this book but not as much as Heir of Fire. I really hope the other two books will get even better because I’d hate for the third book to be the climax of the series. I’m impatiently waiting for the announcement of the title for the fifth book and hoping it comes in 2016! (Probably not, but still.)

zmaj-levo

Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think?

Which part of the series is the most important for you – the beginning, the middle or the end?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Published May 2015 by Bloomsbury.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon.

Source: Purchased (paperback).

Genre: YA fantasy.

My rating:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin – and his world – forever.

srcek

I’ve been tracking some of the reviews for A Court of Thorns and Roses these past few weeks and it seems that readers either absolutely adored this book or felt rather “meh” about it. I fall into the second category, unfortunately, and here’s why:

I liked Feyre. She’s the provider of her family, a huntress, and has some pretty cool skills. But I didn’t connect with her and consequently, I didn’t feel her attraction to Tamlin (another fairytale reference; I don’t know the legend of Tam Lin well but here he is!). So their romance fell flat for me – which is BAD because this is mostly a book about their romance. I knew there was the obligatory hook-up coming up but I was still surprised when we went from “I don’t trust you and you’re evil” to “hello, we’re naked”.

I’m also not a huge fan of the Beauty and the Beast retelling without a twist to the original story (Cruel Beauty was pretty original in this regard and I’ve just finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a wonderful, magical book); Stockholm Syndrome aside, it seemed like Feyre did nothing really interesting in her time at Tamlin’s court.

The second half (or so) of the book is more interesting; I can’t get into details because of spoilers but there’s a definite change of pace. At certain points the graphic violence seemed a bit over the top – please don’t call me a prude for saying this, I read books that feature violence quite often (they’re hard to avoid if you like high fantasy, in fact) and I can handle my guts and gore, but there’s a time and place for torture and gruesomeness and this didn’t feel like it. It’s a matter of personal preference. *slight spoiler in white* I also disliked the fact that Feyre spent half her time of that second part drugged out (hello, Mockingjay!). *end spoiler*

BUT! Don’t despair yet!

While I didn’t particularly care for Feyre and Tamlin, I really liked some of the other characters. It’s a recurring “problem” I have with Maas’s books, apparently – her Throne of Glass series appealed to me because I found her side characters so great (especially in Heir of Fire). Here, I enjoyed Lucien, Rhysand (both fae) and Nesta (Feyre’s “evil” sister) and I really hope they get more significant roles in the sequel(s). Both Lucien and Rhys were much more interesting than Tamlin in terms of romance! :)

Maas also writes stories that pull you in and refuse to let go – I think I read this book in two days and the writing’s cool. I like her language and imagery and she can always be counted on to provide fun banter and gorgeous dresses!

All in all, I’ll buy and read the next book in the series, that’s for sure. Especially because my love for Throne of Glass grew with each instalment and while I didn’t really like Celaena in books 1 and 2, she grew on me in Heir of Fire. I’m hoping the same will happen with A Court of Thorns and Roses and Feyre.

See what other bloggers thought: Paper Fury – Oh, the Books!The Daily Prophecy.

srcek

Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What did you think?

Do you have a favourite Beauty and the Beast retelling? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Tough Travels: Fae

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week, we’re looking for the elusive FAE. Err. Let’s just say that they’re somehow different than elves (think Tolkien), and keep it at that. They come from the realm called Faerie (or however you like to write it) and are known to be tricky, if not downright hostile in their relations with humans.

  1. wise-mans-fearFelurian from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. She’s the pretty Fae lady who lures Kvothe into the land of the Fae, singing her seductive song. What follows is… uhm… well, Kvothe definitely gains an education there, that’s for sure.
  2. Rowan Whitethorn from Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire. Oooh, a swoony Fae warrior? Yes, please. He made a blood promise to his queen so he’s bound to serve her. He’s the one who trains Celaena in magic. He also turns into a bird, which is cool (review).
  3. Tink from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s WickedHe’s actually a brownie and is a friend to Ivy, but the Fae in this series are heartless bastards set on destroying humanity, while Tink is a Harry Potter addict and bakes chocolate cakes. Waaaay cooler (review).
  4. The Fae warriors from Kevin Hearne’s HoundedThey’re working for the Celtic god of love and they get their asses handed to them by Atticus the druid when they try to kill him. Not that important, but hey, they’re there (review).
  5. falconer2Derrick, the pixie from Elizabeth May’s The Falconer. I didn’t particularly enjoy this novel (reasons here) but Derrick was one of the best features of the story. He’s hooked on honey and a real friend to Aielana (he’s similar to Tink in this regard). The other Fae in the story are really dangerous and Aielana spends her days killing them off.
  6. Oberon, Titania & crew from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Yes, I actually read this thing. It’s my favourite Shakespeare play and I really wish to see it on stage some day but Slovenian theatres insist on 4-hour, horrible renditions of King Lear for some reason.
  7. Cornish pixies from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsI don’t know whether they count as Fae, but this is a wonderful scene, I love Kenneth Branagh in that role (even if I can’t pronounce his surname).

And that’s it for tonight, it’s 11.30 pm on Wednesday and I desperately need sleep! :)

* * *

Which fae have I forgotten to add to this list? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and read about your choices! :)