Friday, 7 May 2021

Review: Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date:
March 2, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

*Possible spoilers for Chain of Gold*

Cassandra Clare strikes again and breaks my heart. Surprise surprise. Chain of Iron follows our main cast from where Chain of Gold leaves off. Cordelia is marrying James to cover up James' actions and save Cordelia's reputation in society. Cordelia has real feelings for James, but she knows he is in love with Grace. The Shadowhunter wedding in this book was EVERYTHING. Gold attire with the Herondale family in attendance? Why did I not get an invite?! The plot of this book thickens when there is a series of Shadowhunter murders on the streets of London and the gang of Merry Thieves attempt to find the killer. Lucy has been spending a lot of time on her own and with Grace attempting to resurrect Jesse. Sounds bad? It certainly is. Overall, I loved all the storylines and how they unfolded in this book. If you're looking for action, romance, a murder mystery, and ANGST you will love this.

My favourite part of this series is the characters. Each one has such a special place in my heart and I love them all more than I can describe. Chain of Gold introduces them all and I felt that some were not developed as much as I would have liked. However, COI fills in this gap and I was not disappointed. We learn a lot more about Matthew. Oh, Matthew. I hope he gets his happy ending at some point he does deserve one. If you loved Matthew's humour and wanted to give him a hug in COG, oh boy it does not get any easier here. 

What can I say about Cordelia and James' relationship? ANGST. PAIN. I want both of these characters to be happy and I hope they can find it in Chain of Thorns despite every lucky star being against them. We know that James is not actually in love with Grace, but instead is being influenced by the GODDAMN silver bracelet given to him with instruction from Tatiana. I do hate that lady. There are certain scenes that have my whole heart when James has glimpses of his love for Cordelia through the bracelet haze. 

The most painful part of this book was the last few pages. It put me in physical, emotional, and mental pain! If you remember CC's classic cliffhangers, this contains another one. However, completely worth it! You need to read this and experience it.

I am such a simp for the Shadowhunter series. I think this may also be my favourite so far. It has all the characters we loved in The Infernal Devices and as a bonus, they are the parents of the main characters? This is a fanfiction come true. I would 100% recommend you keep reading if you have read TID. I am so excited for Chain of Thorns. I am sure there will be more heartbreak, more angst, more pain, more pain, and erm, more pain?

Rating

5 Falling Books

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
Release Date:
May 4, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository


(US cover and UK cover)

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing…

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is a young adult contemporary with so much heart that I had to read this in one sitting. It deals with issues such as racism, bullying, dementia, and difficult family dynamics. It packed more of a punch than I was expected and I loved it.

Our main character Quinn is someone that loves to make lists for everything in her life, which she keeps in her notebook. The book acts as her diary and contains some of her most secret and personal lists. When she loses it and starts to be blackmailed by an anonymous account to do everything on her list of "Things that I would never admit out loud", Quinn doesn't even know where to start. 

Goffney handled the task of educating us about race in a way that was realistic and gave me things to think about along the way. I stepped away from this book feeling so empowered and in awe of how Quinn handles all the hurdles and struggles in her life. Not only handling cyberbullying but also navigating other aspects such as someone close in her life having dementia, her parents who are struggling internally with their marriage, and making big college decisions.  

In the midst of the fantasy hype at the moment, this contemporary story was such a breath of fresh air. There is a really sweet romance storyline, which I loved from beginning to end. Quinn and Carter made me laugh and smile so much. If you want an impactful story with fun and fully realised characters, I would recommend Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry endlessly! I am looking forward to more books by Joya Goffney.

Rating

4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an Edelweiss ARC!

Monday, 26 April 2021

Review: Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: May 4, 2021
A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army, unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed. 

Realm Breaker is the start of a high fantasy series led by a cast of delightful characters that form an unlikely team to save the realm. 

From page 1 there is a lot of detail and we are thrust into the world. Immediately we meet a lot of characters and we are in the middle of the action which becomes the plot of the entire book. I won't lie, I was confused. There is a lot of mention of "Spindles" without there being any full definition of what this is. It then becomes the root of many other words used in dialogue "Spindlerotten", "Spindleblessed", "Spindleborn", and I found myself having to guess and not dwell on it too much. I got the hang of it around 100 pages in but I would have liked a bit more explanation as there were other aspects of the worldbuilding that were described in such great detail I expected that to carry through. Even now I'm trying to remember what a Spindle is and I could not tell you confidently. Aveyard does however do a brilliant job at thrusting us into the world of Allward and taking us on an adventure through the different backdrops of the realm. If you're someone that enjoys high fantasy world-building you will enjoy what this story has to offer. We get to explore the palace, pirate ships, desert lands, and so many more unique places in this world. Definitely cross-check the map!

From the plot and the characters, I was hoping this would be a similar set-up to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. And to a certain extent, it was in terms of its multiple POVs. However, it did not match the level of epicness I was expecting. Maybe this will be built upon in the sequel? Our main characters are on a quest and to fulfill it they have to get out of some pretty sticky situations. They each bring something unique to the table and all-in-all had great voices in this story. We have a daughter of a ruthless pirate whose blood is crucial to saving the realm, a very lovable squire, a tough on the outside but soft on the inside immortal, a quickwitted assassin, and a young queen at the heart of the story who's actions I could never predict! There are other characters who are introduced later that were almost glossed over that I did not actually care about their whereabouts in the scenes. Even though the book swapped through a lot of POVs, I did not mind at all. Usually, with multiple POVs I find myself favoring certain characters over others, but I really enjoyed all of them in this book. The story was heavily plot-driven and there were points where I really wanted it to focus more on the characters. The result of this is characters with unclear motivations and stakes in the overall arching plot. I really hope this is something that is worked on more in the sequel as the author has set up a good foundation for her characters but they need to be fleshed out a bit more.

My main issue with this book is that I felt there was no real climax in the plotline. Realm Breaker acts as a set-up for the plot and just as things start to get interesting it is already the end of the book and we're left to wait for the sequel. About halfway through there was a major twist that had me gasping, but other than that I felt I was waiting for things to happen. Ayevard does put in a classic betrayal twist that she is so well known for from her Red Queen series.

For anyone who's wondering whether there are any underlying romance storylines in this book, yes however they are very subtle. Our characters are just getting to know each other here and are busy trying to save the realm so the romance storylines are very much muted. It could however mean we get a really awesome slow burn romance that picks up in the next book. 

I would recommend Realm Breaker to anyone that enjoys high-fantasy and a story told from multiple POVs. All of the characters are interesting with their own unique backstories which I hope is going to be explored in future books. Overall, Realm Breaker is a good start to the series and I will be reading the sequel to find out what happens next.

Rating
3.5 Falling Books

Thank you Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC.

Friday, 16 April 2021

My Current Reads and Book Giveaway

Happy Friday guys!

It really feels like April is flying by and there's no stopping it. I've been trying to juggle all the books I'm reading at the moment as I've come to find out that I am a mood reader. Meaning that I just read anything I'm in the mood for. This is how I have ended up reading more than 1 book at a time. Here are some I'm in the middle of at the moment.

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
I really loved Chain of Gold so I am so excited to have this in my hands. I'm about 100 pages in and I can't wait to see where this story is going. If you are thinking about reading this series definitely pick up The Infernal Devices beforehand because this series is set after that. I have fallen so hard for all of these characters that I know my heart will be broken while waiting for the last book Chain of Thorns.

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas
SPEAKING OF BROKEN HEARTS! I have been reading Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn so slowly because I was scared to get to this book. So scared. Because this story now feels so close to my heart that I don't know if I ever want it to end. 

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
Thank you Harper Teen for the ARC on Edelweiss! I am adoring this book. It is a YA contemporary about a girl who loves making lists about things in her life. However, when she loses her journal that contains all of her most private thoughts put into lists, she's willing to do about anything to get it back. Even cave into the wishes of the anonymous person blackmailing her. This book comes out on May 4, 2021.

Flock (The Ravenhood #1) By Kate Stewart
This is a new adult series that I have seen some buzz about on TikTok so I thought I would give it ago! I'm around 40% into the book and liking it so far. I don't know what to think just yet but I will put up a review soon after I finish it.

Have you read any of these books? Please let me know your thoughts!

Also, I am running a book giveaway over on my TikTok for hitting 1k followers! It closes tomorrow 17/04/21. For a chance to win a book from your wishlist!

You can enter HERE!

@samfallingbooks

Thank you guys I’m having a lot of fun 💕 ##booktok ##foryou ##fyp ##giveaway ##bookgiveaway ##amazonwishlist ##bookworm ##yareader

♬ deja vu - Olivia Rodrigo

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Review: The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni
Release Date:
April 13, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

The Prison Healer has surprised me in the best way and is one of my favourite reads of 2021. I was hooked from the very first page and Noni's writing is so enthralling it made this story a joy to read. A fantasy with trials, elemental magic, a mysterious disease sweeping the prison, and really awesome characters. It also had so many plot twists that I never saw coming.

Set mainly in the walls of the prison Zalindov, Kiva is the prison healer treating the sick throughout her ten years stuck there. During this time, her family sneaks her notes telling her to hold on and that they will help her. Outside the prison, there is unrest involving rebels against the crown, so when the next prisoner brought in is the rebel queen alongside a note to keep her alive Kiva must do everything she can to protect her. This includes putting herself forward for the trial by Ordeal instead of the rebel queen. If she survives she walks free, if she fails she dies and so does the rebel queen. While this is happening there is also a mysterious disease hitting the inmates and Kiva must figure out what it is before it gets to those close to her. 

This story is predominantly focused on the prison but I hope that in the sequel we get to learn even more about the world and magic system. The elemental magic is touched on briefly and plays an interesting role in the story but there is definitely more that can be expanded with it. I enjoyed that this installment allows the set up of key characters, explores unrest within the prison, and builds on core relationships. The character relationships were one of the aspects I loved most. There is a light romance plot that runs through the story which I really enjoyed. I hope that this is also explored further in the sequel. The relationship between Kiva and Tipp was also so heartwarming. Tipp is a young child that Kiva took under her wing and their relationship is so pure.

The author's writing style is so easy to fall into that I was engrossed from the first chapter. Noni weaves her fantasy world flawlessly. I am itching to explore it further. If you are in a reading slump and find high fantasy too much to get your head around, pick this up! It is such an enjoyable read and the different storylines within the prison are pulled together so well and you won't even see the (many) plot twists coming. I haven't been shocked like this with a book for a long time. I would pitch this to anyone who enjoyed Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas but imagine if the story focuses on Celaena while she was in the Salt Mines in Endovier, and instead of being an assassin, she's a kindhearted and fierce healer.

There are themes touched upon in this book that I thought were handled well and with care. This includes themes of self-harm, drug abuse, and domestic abuse.

The Prison Healer is an unmissable fantasy. If you enjoy elemental magic systems, healing magic, slow-burn romance, and elements of found family you will love this book. It surprised me in the best way and I am so excited to read the sequel The Gilded Cage (release date: October 12th 2021).

Rating
4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Kate at Hodder & Stoughton for providing a Netgalley ARC.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Tandem Reading: Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn

Hello there!

I am currently tandem reading Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas. A tandem read involves reading both books at the same time. I am using the Telle Reads guide to follow which chapters to read while switching between them. Normally I am someone that likes to stick to the publication order and any flipping around the order makes me feel uncomfortable. For example, the Shadowhunter books. The correct way in my mind will always be The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, and then The Last Hours. It's a no to the idea of the chronological read for me. 

However, I may call this a special case. The events of EOS and TOD are happening at the same time with our main characters in two different places. EOS focuses on Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Elide, etc. While TOD focuses mainly on Chaol and Nesryn in the Southern isles. I was not sure how I felt about reading a whole book just about Chaol as he was not my absolute favourite character in previous books. I also struggled a lot reading Heir of Fire then Assassin's Blade then going back to Queen of Shadows because I didn't want an "in-between" book I just wanted to keep powering through with the story. (I did end up loving TAB so much - it was just the initial struggle of getting into a prequel story, while all my heart wanted was more Rowan). THEREFORE, my solution to avoiding the feeling of annoyance to read TOD while all I will probably want to do after EOS is read KOA, is the tandem read.

My update so far (I am about 100 pages into each). I AM LOVING IT. I do feel that the story is flowing really nicely despite all of the POVs. If you enjoyed Heir of Fire, which has a lot of switching POVs between a LOT of characters in different places. Then you may really enjoy doing the tandem read. My initial worries of not enjoying TOD have gone out the window, especially after meeting the lovely character Yrene. As I read if I feel that I am more on a roll with EOS then I think I will swap switching between the books and just finish EOS before continuing TOD and stopping the tandem read. I will keep you all updated!

Have you thought about doing a tandem read? What were your thoughts on the books?

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

 King of Scars (King of Scars #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Face your demons... or feed them.

The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country's bloody civil war--and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka's coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren't meant to stay buried--and some wounds aren't meant to heal.

King of Scars is a fantastic addition to the Grishaverse. It feels a lot more connected to the events in Shadow and Bone than Six of Crows was. One of the main reasons for this is that the narrators of this book are Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina. Nikolai and Zoya are battling to keep Ravka afloat after the events in Ruin and Rising. Even though time has passed the wounds in the lands are still present and King Nikolai is still fighting the beast inside of him that threatens to engulf his mind each night. These characters are still struggling with the trauma that the Darkling's reign left behind.

Nikolai and Zoya venture to find answers about how to rid Nikolai of the monster inhabiting him. While Nina is on a mission in Fjerda to find Grisha and bring them to Ravka. I really enjoyed that Nina was in Fjerda on her mission, especially as she works through the grief of losing Matthias. She was one of my favourites to read about as I was so invested in her goal to help those suffering. We also learn more about her altered Heartrender powers as a result of the jurda parem in Crooked Kingdom. There are little mentions of the crows in Nina'a chapters as she recounts her time with them, sadly however they don't ever appear. I hope they make an appearance in Rule of Wolves (KOS #2) that would be AMAZING. Oh how I miss all of them.

What let this book down was how it underutilised Nikolai's chapters. I felt that a heavier emphasis was put on Zoya and exploring her story, whereas I really thought Nikolai would take the center stage a bit more. I do really enjoy Zoya's character and her development in this book was great to read about. I just wanted a bit more Nikolai. I feel like he was there but we didn't get enough of him! I hope that this is something that changes in the next installment.

One aspect of this book that I love is how it develops on the background of Grisha magic. There is a pivotal character in this who blows everything we know about Grisha out the window and allows us to think of them in a completely different way. It was only touched on, but I suspect this will play an even larger role in the sequel which is very exciting.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read and loved the Grishaverse books in the past and want to expand on this world with new stories. Ideally, it would be good to have read Shadow and Bone as well as Six of Crows before reading this book as this book follows chronologically and the main characters are also from those two separate series. However, if you are like me and haven't read the Shadow and Bone series since it came out (many years ago) and you read Six of Crows recently, you should be okay without a re-read. There were times when I was a bit lost when they mentioned previous events in S&B that I could not for the life of me remember, but I could still engage with this story. Perhaps if you have time re-read Shadow and Bone beforehand just so your mind is fresh with all those details. 

I am very excited for Rule of Wolves. I am hoping that Bardugo was holding back with us in King of Scars to give us an explosive sequel. From the ending of this book, I think this next installment will be one crazy ride and I cannot wait to see what happens. 

Rating

4 Falling Books

Previous reviews:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Chain of Gold is a spin-off series I have been waiting for for years. Ever since Clockwork Princess left my heart shattered and soul in tatters, I knew that a series essentially following the children of my favourite characters would hit the spot. 

Set in the 1900s, this book gave me Bridgerton vibes. If you watched the show and loved the balls, courting, etiquette, cute walks in the park, then you will love this. It was the perfect backdrop for these characters and the plot. This book does follow the usual Cassie Clare/Shadowhunter recipe: there are demons, a larger sinister overarching plot, and amazing character relationships that you can't help but feel so invested in. 

The characters we follow include James and Lucie Herondale, Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia Carstairs, Thomas Lightwood, Christopher Lightwood, Thomas Lightwood, to name a few. So as you can see we are following the children of the characters we met in The Infernal Devices. Seeing our favourite characters as parents was so special and made me love the book before I even started. However, despite enjoying the large cast of main characters who took turns in the spotlight of this book, it did mean that we did not get the full depth of character development for all of them. This left me with the feeling that I knew I liked them, but there was still a lot I didn't know about them. There was a disconnect in some way. I hope this is an issue that solves itself in the sequel Chain of Iron. This book was chunky so it is a shame that we couldn't get to know them more in just the first book.

Speaking of CC's recipe, starting this book was so easy. It was so smooth slipping into this world, understanding the dynamics between characters, and just falling back into the Shadowhunter world. I initially thought maybe it would take me a few chapters to be hooked, but by the end of the first chapter, I knew I was going to love it. If you enjoyed the previous books, I do not see why you would fall back easily in love with this story as it is like a continuation of TID. The writing style is easy to follow and even if you may not have read the complete full series there is enough background in this book for you to read this straight away. However, I would recommend you at least read TID before as it helps you understand a lot of the backstories.

I also felt that the plot in this book is not the strongest. Things don't get going until the end, but I did not necessarily mind this as it left a lot of the story open to slowly introducing characters. If you're looking for a whirlwind of action, this may not be the book for you. But if you like the Shadowhunter world and just so happen to have enjoyed Bridgerton just as much as I have, then I think you will appreciate this series!

Overall, I would recommend this book for those who love the Shadowhunter world and especially The Infernal Devices. I can't wait to see where this series goes as the ending to this book had one of my favorite tropes. Hehe. 
Rating
4.5 Falling Books

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

My Current Reads

Happy Tuesday!

I have been trying to tackle my huge TBR in this lovely month of March. This includes finally getting to some of my books that have been waiting on my shelf a long time and the sequels are now coming out. Woops.
This was my first read of the month and I loved it. After the hangover that ACOSF by Sarah J Maas left me with, this book was perfect. Lovely cast of characters and such warm family vibes! I cannot wait for Chain of Iron to arrive at my doorstep. I will be posting a full review soon.
I am 75% through this beauty and I am really enjoying it. It's refreshing to have POVs of Zoya and Nikolai. I found it slightly difficult to get into at the beginning but once the story and plotline picked up I was hooked! I will be finishing this hopefully in the next 24 hours and then the count down to Rule of Wolves begins.


What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J Maas
Release Date:
February 16, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.


The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.

*No spoilers for ACOSF, possible spoilers for the previous ACOTAR books*

ACOSF stole my heart. After finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin a few years ago, I knew that whatever Maas wrote in her next books in the series would also be the death of me. I was definitely correct on that. I initially was not too excited about this book being about Nesta as she was not one of my favourite characters previously. She's cold and can be extremely cruel and her character was never really developed past that. But oh how that changes in this book. Nesta really said "oh so you want character development? Let me shove that in your face!"

This installment follows the Nesta and the inner circle months after the war in ACOWAR. Prythian is healing from the horrors that hit their home and the human queens are beginning to scheme again. While Feyre and Rhysand are busy looking after the Night court and building their own home, Elain is tending to the gardens around Velaris, Nesta on the other hand is fighting a string of inner demons that have haunted her since she was thrust into the cauldron. She lives on the not-so-nice side of Velaris and aims to distract and destroy herself by any means possible. As a form of intervention, Feyre gives her two options: stay at the House of Wind and train with Cassian each morning while working in the bottomless library beneath. Or pack up and be dumped in the human lands. Thankfully she picks the more exciting option.

The story is told from Nesta and Cassian's perspectives which I really, really enjoyed. Previous books were told from Feyre's first-person POV and it did get tiresome at some points. I cannot put into words how much this book touched me. The themes that were explored include mental health as a broad topic, depression, trauma, and fighting with your inner demons. The themes were incorporated and unraveled with characters who will truly touch your heart. These new characters Emerie and Gwyn are women who have survived horrors and have the courage to tell their stories and fight each day to remember who they are past the trauma that they have experienced. These two characters are so important in Nesta's journey and are now some of my favorite characters. 

The library of priestesses played a large role in this book and was important to Nesta's growth as well. I enjoyed learning more about the priestesses here and what they do as this was touched on in previous books but this installment focuses on it as one of the main set scenes. Half-way through ACOSF you will start asking yourself whether you are in love with the House of Wind. Literally. Am I in love with the House? This may have something to do with how the magic of the house enjoys smut and regularly gives Nesta its recommendations.

Nesta's journey itself was what pushed me through this book so fast (okay, fine, and all the steamy scenes). It was so inspiring. I found myself relating to the inner war that she has with herself. A lot of what Nesta is dealing with is something that a lot of people might be able to connect with. She is angry, she is struggling, and she is drowning in her own mind. For her in this story to find her way out of that and find a way to accept who she is with the help of those close to her. That. Was. Everything.

We all knew that this book would be filled with steam. I mean, it's Nesta and Cassian as our main characters how could it possibly not be? But the level of spicy-ness... I was NOT ready for that. This installment is aimed at all of the older readers of ACOTAR that loved the series a few years back and therefore are more mature now. And I like how Maas matured this story to reflect that. You really thought chapter 55 was hot? Okay, speak to me after reading this, please.

I think that because I was so focused on the romance and Nesta's personal journey of "finding her self" (essentially), I did not mind that the overarching plot of the story was slightly weaker. I remember hitting the last hundred pages of this 750-page book and thinking, how in the hell is everything getting wrapped up in such a short space of time. The answer to this is that the ending to this plot was slightly less impactful, and Maas ties everything up quickly within the inner circle at the end to give us a happy ending. It was a solid end to the book but it did leave me wanting a bit more. However, knowing that there will be more books definitely makes me feel a lot better.

A few complaints: there is no Lucien, no Lucien at all. Well, he made like two appearances but if you're looking for your Lucien fix you will not find it here. There is no Mor either, she spends the books dealing with some political conflict across the seas, so don't expect to see her much either. This I found very sad as I love her character and I felt I forget it a little in this book. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend ACOSF to any lovers of new-adult/adult high fantasy. The world is crafted beautifully and the characters are so developed at this point in the ACOTAR series that they all just feel like family. Here's how I'll try to sum up the best bits of this book: steamy romance, Nessian, the amazing handling of important themes, impactful strong female characters, the beauty of friendship, the importance of reaching out your hand to someone struggling, Cassian being amazing, Cassian being everything I could ever want, Cassian and Azriel.

Rating

5 Falling Books