Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) Review or That is an excessive amount of stabbing.

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

I recently finished this book and gave it five stars. But now, after giving it a few days, I think it actually deserves four stars.

The main reason being: not a huge amount happens in most of the book. There’s some relationship drama (romantic and friendship), a little bit of mystery, learning a new language, a murder, and some rush at the end to finish the book with a bang.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved what happened in the book, but the pace made it a bit too easy to put the book down and not need to get back to it in a hurry. There’s a lot of exposition and a bit more figured out about the King and the drama surrounding him, but nothing really gets resolved, and I felt like the riddles that Celaena solves only took so long in order to drag out the plot the book actually had in order to fill out a novel.

The book itself kind of gives off vibes of a sequel film – not quite as good as the first, less character building, and just feels like a filler till the next film comes along.

I don’t know if that’s partly because I’m a big fan of the structure of a competition in a book and how that forces the pacing and keeps me interested, and this book moved outside of that structure into a free-er style, but it just felt like it was meandering a bit.

Now that I’ve stomped on this book enough for one review, and of course – given the four star rating – you still know I really liked the book, I’ll move on to the positives!

Celaena is still one of my favourite characters in fantasy novels recently. She’s hot-headed and stubborn but also very confident and driven. She’s a three-dimensional character with even more hidden depths that get revealed in this book, and it’s nice to see more of those for women to look up to. (Yes, even with the whole ‘assassin’ thing!)

Also, the fight scenes are written really well in these books – which you’d hope given the main character does it for a living – they’re not easily rushed, they’re full of details but not boringly so, they’re dramatic and well-described. I know exactly who is stabbing who and where without reading it through 50 times to check.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book, and will be getting the sequels myself to continue the series, but make sure you push yourself through the slow bits, it’ll be worth it in the end!

(On a side note, I’m still waiting for more of the advertised characters to arrive like Manon and Rowan, but I’m told these only happen in Empire of Storms?? This feels like so far in the future, and I don’t know how they get into the books and are well-rounded enough given the speed of these books so far… maybe they speed up? Anywhoo, I’ll keep not-so-patiently waiting.)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands #3) Review or sand, sand everywhere, but not a drop to- yuck.

When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

[SPOILERS] potentially if you haven’t read the first two in the Rebel of the Sands series.

I usually find that the final book in a series is a risk. What if they don’t end like you want them to? What if they leave you wanting too much more that you just end up resenting the series for being over rather than enjoying it?

So when I started Hero I was both excited to finally read more about Armani’s universe and life, but also nervous that I’d built it up too much in my head and it wouldn’t live up to that.

But really, there was only one thing that I didn’t like about it, and so that’s why I’m dropping off half a star in my rating to 4.5 stars: the beginning was a tiny bit too slow for me.

And that’s it. That’s all I could find to dislike about Hero.

The rest was fast-paced and interesting and heartbreaking and all the feelings you’re supposed to feel when you read a good book.

People died, and others survived, and plenty of people were different at the end. And that was so good to read.

I also think the storytelling feel of these stories really adds so much to them and gives them a whole new level. You get to step back from the plot for a second and unravel a character and how they got to that point, then jump right back in. You get to read about how everything turns out in a fast pace but while also feeling like you’re still there with the characters.

It gives it a homeliness that I don’t usually get with the books I read. Like someone is reading it to me instead of me reading it in my own head.

Though I do remember struggling with Traitor to the Throne to get back into the characters and remember who was who, I can’t really say if this book would have had that issue too because I read it so much sooner after finishing the previous one. However, I think the characters were all so individual and clear that I don’t think I’d have struggled for long.

It was also nice to have a change of pace and scenery. From Traitor where Amani spends most of the book in one location to Hero where she roams almost the entire way across the desert again, it was an extreme shift that I loved. Both got to show a different side to Amani and the map in the front of the book helped so much in keeping track of her and the other members of the rebellion.

Overall, I loved this story and the characters, and I’ll miss them all so much. This book made me actually cry at points, which takes a lot for me, and at other times I found myself smiling just because of one particular paragraph.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions and a lovely read. I’ve never been more satisfied at the end of a trilogy before. Alwyn Hamilton has an amazing and unique voice and I hope to read a lot more from her in the future.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Determined to read my TBR – a promise to myself

I’ve spent far too long recently thinking “oh god I can’t wait to read that book, and that book, and that book…”

Well finally, I’m actually going to do it! And to show myself that I will, I’m going to list some books that I’ve been saying I’ll read for far too long. I’m going to make a promise to myself to actually get around to reading them.

To be fair, one or two of these are more modern releases that I put on this list just so they don’t become one of those “oh I meant to read that!” books and thus continue my cycle.

Anywhoo, without further ado, here is my list: (click on the titles to go to the goodreads page for each book.)

Invictus – Ryan Graudin

This will be a common theme in this TBR list, but I actually started reading this book and then just…never finished it. I only reached around page 100 and then couldn’t go any further and honestly, I couldn’t say why.

I was in a book slump and a not so happy period of my life, so just couldn’t get in to much, but then I never picked the books I dropped during that time back up afterwards and I’ve been meaning to for so long.

Besides, a book about time travel?? That just sounds like something I’d love!

Before She Ignites – Jodi Meadows

You’ve guessed it, this is another book that I started during a book slump and never went back to.

Now seems like a great time to pick this on back up, especially since I read The Last Namsara recently and it got me into such a dragon obsession for a while. What better to keep that going than another book about dragons?

I loved the Incarnate series by Jodi Meadows, so I’m sure that I’ll love this book just as much. Now I just need to read the thing!

Golden Son – Pierce Brown

This is the first book on my list that isn’t one I gave up on! Instead, this book is the second in a series that I’ve been “meaning to buy” for a while after completely loving Red Rising, the first in the series.

I do this a fair bit, but with this series I actually managed to find the next two books after Red Rising in a charity book sale recently, so of course I bought them!

Therefore, I’ve got no excuse to finally continue this awesome series. Bring it on!

Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody

This book is one I got in a book subscription box, FairyLoot’s July 2017 box, thought sounded so cool, and then just never picked up.

I mean, I love circus or carnival based books so much, and this has that and powers and mystery and so much more, why wouldn’t I love it?

So I’m finally going to get to this, and then Amanda Foody has a new book coming out this year called Ace of Shades so I’ll be looking forward to that even more I’m sure!

Solitaire – Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman is one of my sister’s absolute favourite authors. Not only because her writing is so good, but also because she has so much representation in her books, races, sexualities, personalities, they’re so full!

So of course, since she’s bringing out another book this year that sounds so great, I can’t let myself stay so behind on her books!

To be honest though, this book sort of scared me when it first came out. I struggle with anxiety and depression, so reading about someone having so much stress/depression around the same time I was having the same felt a bit too much for me at the time. And ever since then that residual fear has kind of stuck to this book and made me hesitate when picking it up.

Well I refuse to be scared any more, and I’m putting it on my list!

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

This is slightly unique in this list. I recently got The Cruel Prince in my January Fairyloot box and also from a Goodreads giveaway so… I have two copies! But also, it’s a much newer book than any other one on the list, not one I’ve been meaning to get to.

Even so, I think this deserves to be on here just so it doesn’t get left behind, because it’s a faerie book and by Holly Black who I absolutely love. Besides, it’s my list, I can do what I want! (So there.)

I’m looking forward to this.

Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. Maas

And finally! Drumroll… Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas.

I read Throne of Glass, the first in this series, a while ago and re-read it recently with the sole purpose of starting Crown of Midnight.

Unfortunately I was in a bad book slump at the time and I just couldn’t get past around page 90 before I admitted defeat and put it back on the shelf.

Well now I’m trying again! Out of my book slump and determined to finish this and get on to the later books in this series.

I’ve heard so much about this series and the characters in it that I can’t wait to get to know them all and understand everything I see on the internet about this series finally!

And that wraps up my TBR list. I’m thinking I’ll give myself a couple of months to get through these to really make sure I have time, barring anything dramatic happening it should be fine.

So… wish me luck! Let me know if you’ll be reading any of these alongside me, I might need fellow people to obsess with.