Friday, 29 May 2015

Fire and Thorns - Book Review

The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Book Review
Rae Carson
YA Fantasy
Fire and Thorns Book #1
UK Publisher: Gollancz


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king - a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s saviour. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn't die young.

Most of the chosen do.


I absolutely adored this book! I’m a huge fan of fantasy and this story had the perfect balance of magic, romance and epic drama. Rae carson is definitely an author of amazing talent and one who will forever be on my watch list. An amazing start to what promises to be a fantastic trilogy, I loved each and every page of  A Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Sixteen year old Elisa is an over weight Princess, set to marry the King of a failing country. Now taken away from everything she knows and everyone she loves, her only comfort comes from the God stone, a living gem buried deep inside her navel.

For Elisa is God’s chosen, the first stone bearer in over a hundred years to be picked by God to carry out a great task… only what this task is, no one knows. But with war threatening the existence of her new country, Elisa finds herself in the centre of a centuries old power struggle, and everyone is relying on her to save them from the deadly sorcerers from across the mountains. Yet Elisa knows nothing of warfare. She is a scholar, not a warrior, but with the future of her country at stake, can she find the courage to do what’s right? Or will she run from her destiny, her husband and her people and become a Princess of the desert?

An epic read! With a unique plot and a desert setting, I devoured this book in mere days. Broken up into different parts, this book follows Elisa on her journey, from a princess, to a queen, to a desert nomad, to rebel leader.  She is such a diverse character and I loved watching her grow proportionately greater throughout the story. She is both selfless and strong of heart, finding the best in each and every person.

However,being regarded as overweight, she is self conscious of her figure and does not see her better qualities. I enjoyed reading the interactions between her and the King. Despite their arranged marriage a friendship is formed, however the real emotion in this story came from Elisa’s relationship with the simple desert nomad, Humberto. Despite their forbidden love I couldn't help but root for them, even knowing things would probably end tragically.

Yet all the characters play great parts in the story. Everyone comes with a hidden past and shoulders grief and secrets of their own. The plot meanders all over the place and is in no way predictable. Some scenes made me gasp, one made me cry while others made me laugh aloud. A true roller coaster of emotions.

I must admit though, I did think the start of the book was a little slow, but still interesting, and parts two and three really picked up in both action and pace. The world building is really amazing though, extremely detailed and descriptive. 

Words alone cannot do this book justice. For any fans of fantasy, I wholly recommend you try reading this book for yourself. 5 stars!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Book Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J Maas
YA Fantasy
Book #1 in A Court of Thorns and Roses Series
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury


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 treaties 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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it … or doom Tamlin - and his world - forever…


A twist on Beauty and the Beast - which just happens to be my favourite fairytale story - I have to say that A Court of Thorns and Roses was a magically gripping read and I loved, loved, loved it!

When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a giant wolf in the depths of the dark forrest, she has no idea of the consequences. For the beast was actually a faerie in animal form, and based on a treaty laid down by the lords of old, Feyres life is now forfeit. A debt the faeries are quick to collect upon.

But as Feyre is soon to learn, a Faerie Tamlin may be, but a beast he is not. Rather than spill her blood, he offers her life, providing she is willing to live out the rest of her days in the faerie realm. Yet Feyre is wary. It is said humans can lose their mind to the power of fae  magic, she never considers that the danger could lie in losing her heart to fae charms. 

But darker forces are at work and beings even more powerful than Tamlin are waking from the shadows. Soon they will overrun the faerie realms and turn their gaze to human lands. And Feyre is caught in the cross hairs, a single light in a world of darkness, bound to an unknown curse that she alone can break. But time is running out and the question in everyones mind is what will break first? The curse . . . or Feyres will to live . . . 

This book was truly astounding! Sarah J Maas remains a first class storyteller and I am so happy to see her branching out from the Throne of Glass series, yet retaining her spellbinding talent to keep readers glued to each and every page.

Feyre is a remarkable heroin. She is strong, resilient and far maturer than her years. I also loved that unlike in the other traditional Beuaty and the Beast retellings - Feyre can barely read or write. Instead her secret passion lies in art and her dream to paint all the colours of the world. 

Her love interest, Tamlin, his face hidden behind a cursed mask of gold, is another interesting character. A master of half truths, he bares a noble heart behind an icy facade that slowly thaws as the story progresses. I also liked how he embraces the more animalistic side of his nature while keeping true to his more human sense of honour and justice - he is also pretty hunky to boot!

Other amazing characters that I believe worth a mention are Feyre’s elder sister who his great depths of emotion behind a haughty countenance. Then there is Lucien, Tamlins greatest friend and confidant who brings a lot of comic relief to the story, yet even he too has horror in his past. 

There is also Rhys who is another fantastic character. With his own agenda, he had elements of both good and evil and he added an under current of mayhem to the story. However he and Feyres interaction seemed to be heading to an almost Hades/Persephone style sort of storyline and I'm looking forward to seeing how their unique (dare I say friendship?) will progress in the next book.

The plot itself is also fast paced with several plotlessness that keep you guessing. The romance is pretty steamy too, pushing this book to the higher end of YA, yet as Feyre is nineteen and far from immature, I felt that the saucier elements only added to the story. Its also nice to see that sex is no longer quite the forbidden topic it used to be in YA, so applause to Sarah J Maas for spicing things up!

So overall I thought this book was simply superb! Much like the ‘Throne of Glass’ series, I now can’t wait for the next book! Truly spelling binding, 5 stars!