Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by Victoria Schwab

20764879Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Pub Date: February 23, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 506
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★½
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Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My review:

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

This book just made me melt into a puddle. It is so good. So, so good. I think I need to start keeping notes while I’m reading so I can avoid situations like this! My mind (and feels) are all over the place.

There is so much I want to talk about. For one, you probably shouldn’t be reading any ACOMAF reviews until you’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses, but even then you run the risk of spoiling yourself. So I’ll try to be brief. Let’s just say that at the end of ACOTAR (during a certain balcony scene), I was under the impression that something happened, and my suspicions were confirmed in this book. Yes. However, I think it’s safe to say that Rhysand returns (and don’t we all love him for it) because none of the bloggers can conceal their excitement over him! And me neither, frankly. Rhysand, Rhysand, Rhysand.

In the beginning, we find Feyre quite traumatized after surviving Under the Mountain. She’s inherited an unknown amount of power, and yet, she’s weaker than ever. The character development was spot-on. We are introduced to a whole new crew, a whole new court, and a whole new Rhysand. Not to mention… a whole new Tamlin? Ew. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

We meet Mor, Amren, Cassian, and Azriel, also known as the Best Squad Ever. I sincerely apologize for sounding like the biggest fangirl alive, but it’s true. We also meet the hidden city of Velaris, which is literally what dreams are made of. I wish Velaris was real.

The worldbuilding was astounding. The descriptions for the Night Court are unreal. I felt like I was living inside of Rhysand’s townhouse. I am so, so impressed with Maas. I’ve enjoyed all of her books but her writing has seriously reached another level. I am incredibly proud of her. This book is massive, and yet, every page is so necessary.

I feel like it is also important to mention how steamy some parts in this book are. I see that it’s still categorized as Young Adult/Fantasy but it’s definitely walked over to New Adult territory.

In any case, there are old evils returning and it’s time to pick a side. You need to read this book. It will make you smile and scream and blush and laugh and cry.

★★★★★ (5 stars) because this is definitely going to be one of my all-time favourites. I bought a bicycle and name it Rhysand. The obsession is real.

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

My review:

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

I don’t know how to feel about things now that this is over. Or, sort of over. I’ll come back to this point later.

After reading other reviews, it’s easy to see that The Raven Cycle—but more accurately, the Raven lifestyle—is an acquired taste (although the majority of us are like Hungry Hungry Hippos when it comes to the ladies of 300 Fox Way and the boys of Aglionby). I wanted more, and I was prepared to take whatever I could get. I am so thankful for this book.

On that note, this final instalment was not perfect. It was everything I loved about every page of every other book in the cycle, and it was also not. It was Nino’s and Robobees, scrying and dying, dreamworlds and the real world, nobility and decomposition. It was always about the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. And in the end, it was still the boys, and Blue, and Cabeswater. I am so thankful for this world.

“Gansey just loved it, fearfully, awesomely, worshipfully.”

For me, The Raven Boys was love at first page. I don’t know how to put it into words. The writing style and character development and eerie thrill and magic that fills its pages is something you have to witness for yourself, from the very beginning. If you did not enjoy the first book, one can assume you would not enjoy the rest, but that’s irrelevant if you’ve already come this far on the journey to find Glendower. I am so thankful for this journey.

I need a separate paragraph just to note my appreciation of the creature/dreamer/warrior that is Ronan Lynch. “Half a dreamer, half a dream, maker of ravens and hoofed girls and entire lands.” He is something else. He is everything you could want from a character. Someone filled with so much good, bad, the ugly and beautiful, that their existence, to simply know them or know of them, is like a gift. I am so thankful for Ronan Lynch.

And can we talk about Pynch? <spoiler removed> Yes. Yes. Yes. They are everything, everything, everything. I am so thankful for this love.

Also, Henry Cheng grinds my gears. Whatever type of plot device he was intended to be, his insertion into this world, into Gansey’s life, felt forced upon me. And I did not like it. In my opinion, the only good thing that Cheng added to the story was his sage advice to Gansey: “If you can’t be unafraid, be afraid and happy.” I am so thankful for these words.

And thank you, Maggie Stiefvater. Reading this series has made me feel like there truly is something more out there. I couldn’t imagine giving this anything less than 5 stars because I truly feel like this series will always be a part of me. Not in the same way that Harry Potter was (and still is), but just as significant. Just as important. I am so thankful for this series.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) because one can never be satisfied with something so beautiful coming to an end. But at least there’s still the possibility of something more. It’s never over. Cabeswater will always exist in some shape, way, or form.

Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

My mini-review:

“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”

Me too, Blue. Me too.

Gansey is royalty and hideously-hued polo shirts.
Ronan is fire and dreams and drag races.
Adam is magic and inner turmoil.
Noah is life and death.
Blue is spirit.

But Gansey is also the glue that binds the Raven Boys together.

★★★★★ (5 stars) because I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and that’s what reading The Raven Cycle feels like. Like there’s something more.