BR: Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J. Maas

Queen-of-shadows-uk

Title: Queen of Shadows

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: High Fantasy

Published: 2015

Pages: 645

My Rating: 5/5 stars


Synopsis From Goodreads:

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.


Hello everyone,

welcome to my review of Queen of Shadows, fourth installment in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I warn you: this book was amazing, and there is not much I can say without spoiling the entire series. Therefore the non spoiler section will be quite short. I am loving this series more and more as the story goes on, and I cannot wait until September 6th when the fifth book, Empire of Storms, will be released. I gave this book 5/5 stars and without further ado let’s get into the review.

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

  • Plot: oh god. The plot of this book, just like the plot of the second and third books is mind-blowing. Some things I hoped for happened, and some major plot twists had me sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, swearing and yelling. Sarah has the great ability to conceal information from you just to then throw these plot revelations at your face. And you die. And then you stop. And then you keep reading. I devoured the last 300 pages of this book in one day. Just saying.
  • Characters: the characters in this book went through a major development. Old acquaintances that we met in the novellas appear once again, and our knowledge of the true nature of some other characters deepens. A masterpiece.
  • Writing: I don’t know what to add to my opinions on Sarah’s writing. I can just say that since Throne of Glass her writing style has improved so much, and when I read, all of my five senses are involved in the experience. I also love how she switches between points of view, it works perfectly for the story.

This is it for the spoiler-free section of this book. If you haven’t read the series yet, please do yourself a favor and read it. It is amazing and so human. Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments down below.

Until next time,

Keky

**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you don’t want to be spoiled!

Let’s start from one of the things that hurt most people: the fact that Chaol’s nature was truly shown in this novel. I have to admit, I was not surprised when Aelin got back to Adarlan and for the first few times that the two met up they fought. I always thought that Chaol was a bit closed-minded. I could not understand why, after seeing what the King was doing to his kingdom, he kept following him blindly. I understand that he was attached to Dorian, but did that mean that if Dorian turned out to be a tyrannical leader, that Chaol would have followed him regardless? Where is honor and dignity in that? This is the reason why I loved his character development. After calling Aelin a monster, Chaol re-discovered his values and was ready to put aside all of his prejudices for the greater good, and I really appreciated it.

Even though I thought it was rushed in the beginning, Lysandra and Aelin’s frienship was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Lysandra is a shape shifter and SO badass. I really hope she will get together with Aedion… Do any of you see that happening? I was really happy she was the one to kill Arobynn in the end. Also, the scene where the King of Assassins has Aelin bathe in his favorite scent… and then Rowan wears it too… YES! In your face! Arobynn is such an intriguing character, I could never understand if he really wanted to rule the world with Aelin because of his twisted interest in her or because he just wanted pure power. But now he’s dead, so that’s that.

I am a number one fan of Rowan and Aelin being together. I think he is the only one who can understand, truly and deeply understand her. Neither Chaol or Dorian could get through her as much as Rowan is able to, nor could anyone else reciprocate that to him but Aelin. I like how their relationship is slow burning, and I really want them to be together in the end. I feel like their bond is so deep that it is not easily breakable.

Manon, Asterin and Elide; I loved the scenes that involved them, and I can’t believe that Elide is the daughter of the maid that saved Aelin. I can’t wait for them to reunite. I hope that Manon will turn out to be a decent person, and I would love for her and Dorian to get together… Did you see that glimpse too? I have to admit, I was sure that the King was Erawan. I had predicted that Erawan had been already freed but I would have never imagined that it was Perrington. I have no idea what to expect in the next books and I have no idea how the series will end. Now that the King is dead, and Dorian is alone, I hope the new king will be able to believe in himself and reconstruct his kingdom form its ashes. And last but not least, Kaltain. Amazing. I loved her sacrifice, I thought it was so well done, and I hope I will get to know more about her story in some way or another. I can’t wait to read the next book!

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April Wrap-Up

IMG_4908.jpgHello Everyone,

and welcome to my third ever monthly wrap up! This month was very strange: busy school-wise (I am still working on my last final paper), it was a heavily packed Cassandra Clare month (as you might have realized by seeing my book reviews) and right now, because of that I am on a bit of a reading slump, ugh. This month I read eight things: 6 books, 1 audiobook and a graphic novel. Overall, this month turned out to be better than I thought, which is good! The books I read in the month of April are the following:

  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy, by Cassandra Clare. This trilogy is composed by Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess, and it has become one of my all-time favorite trilogies. I just loved the issues it explored, and the portrayal of love was just so inspiring. Plus, it is set in Victorian London, one of my favorite eras in history, so there you go. And don’t get me started on Will Herondale. Overall, I gave this trilogy an average of 4.7/5 stars.
  • City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. This book is the first installment in the Mortal Instrument series. I started this series in middle school, and I abandoned it on at the first book. I picked it up again, and I really enjoyed City of Bones, in fact, I gave it 4/5 stars. The problem is, now I am reading City of Ashes, the second book in the series and I am not particularly enjoying it… so it put me on a reading slump, meh.
  • Wuthering Heights: The Graphic Novel, by Emily Brontë and John Burns. This month I went to Haworth, Yorkshire, home of the Brontë sisters, and I decided to pick this one up. I never read graphic novels, only mangas, and I have to say I loved the drawings so much! I ended up giving this 2/5 stars because I have read and studied Wuthering Heights, without counting that this is one of my all-time favorite novels, that I have my own ideas about it and I did not like how some scenes were portrayed.
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I listened to this one on audiobook, and I highly recommend listening to it if you are not well acquainted with Austen or classics in general. I gave this one 5/5 stars: it was my first time reading it in the original language (I had only read it in Italian), and I loved it! Rosamund Pike narrated it, and it is quite funny how I listened to a book narrated by her, and only last month she sat by me at the theater here in London!
  • The History of Nourjahad, by Frances Sheridan. I read this book for class, and I have to say that I enjoyed it more than I expected: it is a so-called ‘oriental fable’, and it gives an interesting insight on the 18th century British literature and how it portrayed the exotic and the foreign. I gave this one 3/5 stars.
  • The Reflections of Queen Snow Whiteby David Meredith. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately I ended up giving it only 2/5 stars because of the love-hate relationship I developed with this story. If you want to know more about it, read the review!

This is it, these are all the things I read/listened to this month. For all the books I have discussed further with a review, I have attached the respective link to the title you see in this monthly wrap up. Let me know which books you have read in April and if you have read any of the ones I have listed.

Until next time,

Keky

BR: The Refections of Queen Snow White

Cover1cTitle: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

AuthorDavid Meredith

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Retelling

Published: 2013 – ebook form

Pages: 155

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 


Synopsis From Goodreads:

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.


Hello Everyone,

and welcome to my review of The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith. Before we start a little disclaimer: I want to thank the author for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! It was very kind. This book was a huge love and hate relationship for me. The first part was definitely a 5 stars read. The second part not so much, so I had to lower the rating, and I ended up giving it 2/5 stars. If you are curious to know what my thoughts are, please keep reading.

SPOILER-FREE SECTION

  • Plot: The idea of the story as a whole is extremely interesting and not seen before. The potential this novella had was huge: it featured an aging Snow White reflecting back on her past of abuse but also of love through the magic mirror her stepmother used. The first half of the story is very well developed and engrossing. Unfortunately I thought that the second half of the novel was composed by episodes that did not add to the plot or to the character at all, dragging on and on in describing the same scenes. The ending I found rushed and, even thought it solved at least one of the issues Snow White had gone through, I did not feel satisfied from it.
  • Characters: let’s start with my favorite character, Arglist, the stepmother. Even though the reader does not meet her too much in the book, her presence keeps lingering and I loved the characterization of this villain, I thought the author did a really good job in portraying her evil nature and jealousy. As long as Charming and Snow White are concerned, I found some issues in how they were portrayed and I will express my opinions in the spoilery section. Let’s say that I really liked young-before-meeting-Charming Snow White.
  • Writing: If there is one thing that Meredith is really good at doing is evoking the setting of the novel: his descriptions are admirably detailed, and also, he definitely knows how to use words well. However, the over-usage of exclamation points in parts where I did not think were necessary, or the repetitiveness of certain scenes mined my enjoyment of the reading process. In the end, I found myself struggling to finish this short story.

This is it, these are my main thoughts for the non spoiler section. Once again I want  to thank the author for sending a copy of this book my way I really appreciated it! If you have read this let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Until next time,

Keky

**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled.

Okay, let’s start with the things that I loved: the first speeches that the mirror made. I know what it means to lose a loved-one, and I found extremely inspiring what the mirror said to Snow White. Also, the whole idea of the queen looking at her reflection to get to know herself more, is very intriguing. I really enjoyed seeing Snow White deciding to run away from the castle in the night: the scenes where she was abused from her stepmother were an extremely good base on where to build a good characterization of Snow White as a victim of depression. Unfortunately, I think that after this point the quality of the story started lacking, for different reasons.

I am currently taking different classes on feminist literature, and being an advocate for gender equality, I found this book degrading the figure of the woman: Snow White was portrayed as a weak person, completely incapable of making decisions on her own, and when I say incapable, I really mean it: even for the smallest things, she has to have someone that tells her what to do. Charming happily supplies her with his ideas, taking over Snow White’s kingdom, and she wants him to take decisions for her.

There are a lot of parts that should be mentioned, but the point that saddened me the most was when she tried to commit suicide because, other than loathing herself for being part of the ‘weaker sex’ and having a huge lack of self-confidence, when she sees that she is having troubles becoming pregnant, she is convinced that she is completely worthless for this very reason. She keeps saying that ‘her womb is dead’ and that ‘she failed as a woman’ and you know what the prince answers? ‘I will put my baby in your belly on this very throne’. If this was supposed to be romantic, it had the opposite effect on me: it disgusted me. If a woman cannot have a child, that does not make her less human. I could go on and on saying in which ways the portrayal of female characters was so wrong (they were wether depressed and weak, or cruel), for example mentioning that Snow White cries in every single scene that features her. I understand that the author was trying to describe depression, which is an incredibly hard state to be in, but this does not excuse the behavior of the other characters in the book at all. It saddened me but most of all it angered me that females are still portrayed in such a way in certain stories. I feel very passionately about this subject, and I hope I have not been too harsh.