Book Review: The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle

Goodreads Synopsis:

The unicorn had lived since before memory in a forest where death could touch nothing. Maidens who caught a glimpse of her glory were blessed by enchantment they would never forget. But outside her wondrous realm, dark whispers and rumours carried a message she could not ignore: "Unicorns are gone from the world."

Aided by a bumbling magician and an indomitable spinster, she set out to learn the truth. but she feared even her immortal wisdom meant nothing in a world where a mad king's curse and terror incarnate lived only to stalk the last unicorn to her doom...

Review:

‘The Last Unicorn’ is a classical fairy tale – and the main characters even refer to themselves as being in a fairy tale. It’s all rather cute as they talk about how they can’t quit the quest because this isn’t the part in a story where the heroes get their happy ending or how they were wondering when the prince was going to come along. I know I saw the movie as a young girl but I really didn’t remember any of the details but I did remember loving it. And what little girl wouldn’t?…its about a unicorn! Although, I thought I remembered that the unicorn always sounded so sad. And in the book I think there is a little of that but as a grown up I did enjoy the personality that Beagle gives the unicorn. On one hand she’s very detached and unemotional, on the other she’s a little overwhelmed by everything. In short the story is whimsical – it’s creative and fanciful and sort of flitters a little here and a little there.

Book Review: Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Review:

Delightful and disturbing – those are the best two words that I can think of to describe this novel. A first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I don’t like reading books where the main character struggles with life and the whole plot is just the daily drama we all go through.  I can relate to that but why on earth would I want to read about it? If I were interested in those sorts of stories I would have been a therapist. ‘Sharp Objects’ had that sort of feel about it when it starts; I thought it was going to be one of those books. But it wasn’t!

You quickly head down a dark path into a small town where things just aren’t right. I’m not sure if Flynn is from a small town but she sure can portray the mentality, right down to the ingrained pecking orders, power dynamics and the desire to blame an ‘outsider’ for crimes clearly committed by someone in the community. Flynn also does an excellent job of creating the main character Camille. She’s completely messed up but you can’t help but like her. Somehow, Flynn lets you see inside her head by slowly revealing a deeper and dark psychosis all the while keeping her relatable. Instead of judging her you find yourself understanding why she is the way she is. Flynn offers a unique perspective on dark deeds by portraying them as human faults – not just pure acts of evil.

The story is very well written. Near the end you knew where the mystery was going to go but you still wanted to hear it for yourself. 

 

Book Review: The Princess Bride – William Goldman

Goodreads Synopsis:

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it's about everything.

Review:

‘The Princess Bride’ has held a very special place in my heart since I first saw the movie as a little girl. It’s just such a witty, fun twist on the classic princess needing rescuing theme. Who has watched it and not fallen in love! Or even better, not found themselves obscurely referencing quotes from the film at one point or another. I believe that the movie has become something of a cult classic but I’m not sure how many people have actually read the book as well. And I only recently found out that it was a book! If you have seen the movie the book will not disappoint. The two follow each other so closely that the reader will not be upset by any discrepancies. But with that said, the movie does follow the book so closely it can feel at times like you’re just reading the movie.

However, the book is not just the movie, or the movie not just the book. The book is more like two stories in one. The story of Buttercup and Westley is the one you know and love so well but there is another story in the book, the story of the young boy (Billy) whose grandfather read him the book when he was ill. The book actually starts when that young boy is a man and he rediscovers ‘The Princess Bride’. He takes you back in time to why he fell in love with the story in the first place and how when he rediscovers the story its not quite what he thought it was. I won’t say too much because it’s fun to find out on your own. I also really liked the short inserts about Florin history that isn’t portrayed in the movie. The whole book is darling and I’m so happy that I discovered it wasn’t only a movie.

Book Review: The Belles– Dhonielle Clayton

Goodreads Synopsis:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

Review:

The Belles is a story that I think most can relate to on some level. We all feel the injustice of how much weight our world puts on beauty and yet we’re all guilty of it at some level. We like pretty things and we like pretty people. If you could do anything to your body, where would you draw the line? And what would be the personal cost?

The Belles digs deep into those ugly human traits of ego, vanity, and greed in a page turning novel that I just couldn’t put down. I know, I know “a page turning novel” is such a cliché way to describe a book, but it’s true! Camellia, the main character, is a naïve sweet girl, which after being sheltered all her life, is thrown out into the real world. The real world is one where hideous monsters have complete control. It was fascinating to see how Camellia learned to navigate in a world that she didn’t understand.

The author has clearly developed a detailed image of this entire world in her head. The characters were so wonderfully developed and the background of the plot so intricate. My only criticism of the book is that some of the smaller things are thrown at you without any backstory or explanation. When I read its like I’m watching a movie and when I have to pause to work something out it pulls me out of the story. But they were big.

I can’t wait for the next one not just to see what happened next but to find out what’s going on!

 

Book Review: An Acceptable Time– Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

A flash of lightning, quivering ground, and, instead of her grandparents' farm, Polly sees mist and jagged mountains -- and coming toward her, a group of young men carrying spears. Why has a time gate opened and dropped Polly into a world that existed 3,000 years ago? Will she be able to get back to the present before the time gate closes -- and leaves her to face a group of people who believe in human sacrifice?

Review:

‘An Acceptable Time’ is the last book in the series and even though I am happy I’ve read them, I’m also happy there are not any more. In this book we again are taken on a journey back in time, about 3,000 years, to spend time with a native tribe called ‘People of the Wind’. Charles Wallace visited the ‘People of the Wind’ back in ‘A Swiftly Tilting Planet’; in this book Polly (Meg and Calvin’s daughter) is the one that goes back in time.

It’s a cute story but it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. In the first four books in the series, L’Engle has had a point she wanted to get across, some grand statement. In this book it feels like she is trying to reconcile Druidry with Christianity. If I were to allow myself to speculate I would probably say she has some newfound interest in Druidry and wants it to be compatible with her long-standing Christian beliefs. However, to do this it would appear she is trying to reshape it to fit her ideals. For example, in the book a young druid casts runes and the bishop in the story proclaims “…these are not fortune-telling stones?” Then the Druid replies “No, No…The stones do not tell us what is going to happen, or what we are to do…” Now, I’m by no means a 3,000-year-old Druid but from what I’ve read Druids were known for their gift of prophecy.  But hey, who am I to judge.

I am a little confused as to how this book is really part of the series – other than the fact that they have some of the same characters. In the first three books it’s all about the fight against the Echthroi. I thought ‘Many Waters’ was just a little fun side story and that we would be returning to this theme in ‘An Acceptable Time’ but that didn’t happen and the Echthroi were not even mentioned. Just when I was starting to get onboard with the whole idea of shadow creatures taking over the universe!

On the whole not bad, however there are about 100 pages that can probably be skipped – its just 100 pages of Polly and the Bishop trying to convince her grandparents that they really are going back in time. It isn’t a great grand finale to the series but rather a cute story that can be read just on its own.

Book Review: Many Waters – Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sandy and his twin brother, Dennys, are the practical, down-to-earth members of the Murry family. They have never paid much attention to their scientist parents' talk of highly theoretical things like tesseracts and farondalae. But now something has happened to Sandy and Dennys that drastically stretches their powers of belief. And, when disaster threatens the oasis where they have made their home, can they find a way back to their own time?

Review:

L’Engle’s writing is improving with each book that is for sure. And such strange little stories she writes! In this one she takes us back to a time when the Nephilim and Seraphim walked the Earth – when the sons of God slept with the daughters of man according to Genesis 6:1–4, New Revised Standard Version. And that is definitely a major theme throughout Many Waters. Lately we have seen the emergence of the Nephilim in popular YA books like the Fallen series by Lauren Kate and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. However, L’Engle’s storyline is one of a more biblical rendition, placing the story line before the flood when Noah is building the ark.  The twins, Dennys and Sandy – the often brushed aside siblings of Meg and Charles Wallace – go on an adventure all their own and find themselves back in time.

I did find myself at times wondering it was really all that appropriate for children with phrases like “…her breasts delicate and rosy…” and talk of another’s beauty for sale and the use of the word “slut”. I was a little taken back by this but then the story is also sprinkled with mythical creatures like unicorns and griffins and manticore. I have to say that I did become attached to the characters and felt invested in the story line. L’Engle also clearly put a great deal of thought into what an early Earth would have been like with active volcanoes and active plate tectonics. L'Engle's story telling continues to improve!

I am fascinated by L’Engle’s clear interest in science and belief in God. As a scientist, I am not of the opinion that these subjects need to be mutually exclusive. The more I learn about the world around us the more I know that I do not know. Did the atom not exist before we could measure it, simply because we did not have the tools to measure it? …maybe.

Book Review: A Swiftly Tilting Planet – Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this companion volume to "A Wrinkle In Time" (Newbery Award winner) and "A Wind In The Door" fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace's sister, Meg--grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother's thoughts and emotions by "kything"--goes with him in spirit. But in overcoming the challenges, Charles Wallace must face the ultimate test of his faith and will, as he is sent within four people from another time, there to search for a way to avert the tragedy threatening them all.

Review:

Surprisingly wonderful! I’m not sure what has changed… maybe L’Engle switched editors? I have no idea but “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” is a great story. Yes, an actual honest to goodness story. It is not just a choppy assortment of events, which is how the first two books seemed to me. I found myself interested in what was going to happen next and becoming emotionally invested in the characters. Plus, any book that has the phrase “I am a mere unicorn” can’t be all bad. Now, this is not to say that L’Engle hasn’t included a larger message in the story. She stays true to form on that but instead of trying to beat you over the head with it, you learn the lesson through reading about how the actions of the characters affect the world around them. It is both delightful and fascinating. The Echthroi have developed into the true villain of the story. They are evil entities bent on conquering the universe as young Charles Wallace sets out on a quest to stop them. What I loved about this story is how the quest takes you back in time and you follow a family generation after generation. The decisions of each generation effect the outcome of, not only the subsequent generation, but the world and then ultimately the universe. Also, I was tickled at how she dropped herself into the narrative for a quick cameo. As you read L’Engles describes a character that is an author, Matthew Maddox. Mathew has written a book, with a story line resembling “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”, going as far as to say, “There was also a unicorn in the story, who was a time traveler.” L’Engle refers to Mathew as a writer who “…had an uncanny intuition about the theories of space, time, and relativity…” Clearly describing, I think, how she feels about herself. A bold move, I liked it :-)

With “A Swiftly Titling Planet” she has redeemed herself in my eyes. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Book Review: A Wind in the Door – Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

A Wind in the Door is a fantastic adventure story involving Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe, the chief characters of A Wrinkle in Time. The seed from which the story grows is a rather ordinary situation of Charles Wallace's having difficulty in adapting to school. He is extremely bright, so much so that he gets punched around a lot for being "different". He is also strangely, seriously ill (mitochondritis - the destruction of farandolae, minute creatures of the mitochondria in the blood). Determined to help Charles Wallace in school, Meg pays a visit to his principal, Mr. Jenkins, a dry, cold man with whom Meg herself has had unfortunate run-ins. The interview with Mr. Jenkins goes badly and Meg worriedly returns home to find Charles Wallace waiting for her. "There are," he announces, "dragons in the twins' vegetable garden. Or there were. They've moved to the north pasture now."

Dragons? Not really, but an entity, a being stranger by far than dragons; and the encounter with this alien creature is only the first step that leads Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Jenkins out into galactic space, and then into the unimaginable small world of a mitochondrion. And, at last, safely, triumphantly, home.

Review:

And I thought the first book was a little odd! Wow, was I in for a surprise. OK, I'm getting more and more perplexed as to how this is a children's book? Warning - You might want to stop reading now if you don't want to read any spoilers. First, when the book started I was really excited. Meg and the family seemed familiar and I couldn't wait to start on another adventure with these characters that now felt like friends. I love how sweet and caring all the characters are and I love how the theme of science is woven throughout the book. However, when L'Engle introduces Blajeny the Teacher you just KNOW that there is some bigger message lurking around the next page. But ok you keep reading... and then what the hell?!! Mr. Jenkins, her brother’s principle, splits into 3 people while Meg and the Proginoskes (which by the way still have no idea how to picture him. I've settled on something that looks like a Shetland pony covered in eyes and feathers) have about a 7 page philosophical discussion about knowing who you really are and evil and love. All the while, the 3 Mr. Jenkins are just running around in front of a school with kids being unloaded off the bus. Then the real Mr. Jenkins says to Meg, you have to pick me as the real Mr. Jenkins and I don't know why but I know its important. My feeling is that the situations in the book are only props for L'Engle to get across some bigger message she wants to convey. I'm just saying if 2 people came to my place of business and started impersonating me I would call the police immediately, not debate with a young girl to prove that I'm the real version of myself. And don't get me wrong, I not against L'Engle’s bigger picture...or at least I don't think I am based on what I think she is trying to say. I'm all for teaching kids morals through stories. Like in every good fairy tale there is a lesson to be learned. That's great, but it’s also wrapped and packaged in a more fluid story...something you can follow. Anyway, by the time I got through that scene I needed to take a mental health day.


I think I'm letting it all get to me so much because I really like the story and I just wish she would have spent a little more time on scene development and the character interaction.  Well, off to A Swiftly Tilting Planet!

 

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Review:

What an odd little book! I have to say I did love it, even as strange and out there as it may be. There were a few things that were just a little bit odd but I made the decision early on to just go with it. Why not, right? For example, I was a little confused as to why the Mother would bring Mrs. Whatsit, a complete stranger, into the house with no questions asked, feed her and then let her just go on her way. A bit strange if you ask me.

As I continued reading – glazing over the questionable parental involvement - L'Engle's imagination really comes out and the story started to take on a tone similar to that of The Chronicles of Narnia. The Chronicles of Narnia seems much more developed and sophisticated however both seem to have a deeper meaning embedded in the story that the author is trying to get across. Also, I love how L'Engle is not afraid to introduce difficult science concepts to children! The concepts in this book can be hard for adults to get but L'Engle does a beautiful job making them accessible to all age groups.

What a strange book. The deeper message in this book feels very Ayn Rand-ish to me. Its like a social or even political statement wrapped up in a story that is just an afterthought. It has my attention…I’m curious to see what other messages L'Engle has to convey. I will continue on with the series and report back.

Book Review: And I Darken - Kiersten White

Goodreads Synopsis:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Review:

Kiersten White’s novel “And I Darken” is a solid young adult novel. The writing style, flow and character development are done in a rhythm very typical of the YA style – and I mean that in a good way. I’m not sure how else to put it other than it is very representative of the genre. Young, strong female lead struggles when her world is turned upside down. Personally, I found her very easy to relate to having been a bit of a tomboy myself when growing up, also having a strong will of my own.

Now, there were two aspects of the book that do, at least in my mind, set it apart.

One…and I don’t want to say any spoilers or say something the wrong way, so please don’t judge my words too harshly. The sexual orientation of one of the characters is first presented from a naïve character’s perceptive and then they are have to deal with the daily challenges that come with being different then their cultural norm. It felt refreshing to have this struggle not be the entire theme but still represented. I feel like now a day there are many people who go though something similar. Having it as apart of the character development without defining the narrative is a fresh inclusion in touch with the current reader base.

And two, it’s a YA historical fiction!! Ok, I have read quite a bit of YA and quite a bit of historical fiction but I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever read a YA historical fiction. Kiersten White does take quite a bit creative license when telling the story but, never the less, it was really fun to read about the character’s drama taking place in an actual place and time in the past.  After reading this book I was so curious to know if there are more books like this (although I knew that there must be) that I actually posted my very first ever Reddit comment asking for recommendation in this ‘new to me’ genre. The Reddit community is wonderful! Who knew?!!! I asked the question in the subreddit YAlit and now I have enough recommendations to keep me busy for the rest of the year. The people there are truly wonderful and such a wealth of information! If you’re looking for suggestion’s check out the thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/YAlit/comments/8317kn/ya_historical_fiction_books_are_there_any_out/

This book was not only a fun read but has exposed me to a new genre AND a whole new community. Amazing!

 

Book Review: Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

Goodreads Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review:

Outlander is absolutely wonderful and overwhelming. What stands out most about this book is the impact it had on me by the time I’d made your way through it. When I finished reading Outlander I had an overwhelming sense that I did indeed get my money’s worth.  Normally, even if I’m not entirely thrilled with the book, I'm still fairly satisfied with the monetary to entertainment exchange – that it has been a fair and reasonable transaction. But with Outlander I felt like I had truly received the better end of the deal. It’s about 20 bucks for the hardback on amazon. $20! for such an in depth tale of love and passion and hardship, not to mention the historical education I feel I have obtained. I might as well have paid for a college course on Scottish history; however, this was way more fun. There is so much going on in this book I was emotionally exhausted by the time it was over.   Reading about a few years in the life of Claire (the main character) feels like a lifetime! I almost feel like I should send Diana Gabaldon a check for more money…almost. But I will support her by continuing to read the series. I can’t believe there are seven more!!! How does she do it?!!  Her writing has such a level of depth and detail that the reader is completely immersed into the story. Not to mention the amount of scheming and plotting is almost on par with the Game of Thrones series. 

I’m not sure how to talk about the book without spoiling any of the twists and turns that are a part of it… I’ll try and be very careful. The final traumatic moment in Paris made me cry like a baby. There are so many awful things that happen in this book but for some reason this one event just killed me. Maybe, the story had slowly eaten away at my emotional fortitude without me noticing and that by the time I was nearing the end of the book I was just a wreck. That could have been it, but either way my heart just crumpled and I could take it no longer! I closed the book for the evening and told myself I would take a break before finishing it. Right! The next afternoon it was in my hands again and I was back on the roller coaster ride. As I’m writing this I’m realizing Diana Gabaldon doesn’t just abuse her characters but also her readers!! Is it wrong to say that I'll be back for more?

I might need therapy now…or at least a good nap.

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

Goodreads Synopsis:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks, but her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries--and she's the only creature who can break its spell.

Review:

Oh boy! Where to begin… How about with the good?

 As a lover of science and fiction (I don’t think anyone who reads my bio will deny that) I was excited when I picked up this book and saw that it was about an enchanted alchemical manuscript – how exciting! The alchemist was not only a hardcore scientist, who often gave their life (quite literally) to the pursuit of knowledge but they were also theologians, mystics, inventors, healers and eccentric esoterics. Admittedly, I haven’t undertaken the pursuit of delving deeply enough to be an expert on the matter (that just seems like too much work and I assure you my life is full enough as it is!) but from the odds and ends I’ve picked up over the years I do find them truly fascinating. So, back to the book…

The author has clearly done her historical research. And not just on alchemy but also on the places and events encountered along the way.  She clearly knows her stuff. Her depth of knowledge seems so detailed that I was motivated to do a quick search about her and I learned, from reading her website (http://deborahharkness.com/about-deborah-harkness/), that she is a professor of European history and the history of science. Her academic career is truly impressive and her expertise is wonderfully sprinkled throughout the book.

There were, however, a few points I found disturbing and just couldn’t get past.

1) There seems to be undertones of a misanthropic nature throughout the book – and it is not just from one character. The author continuously belittles the human race (e.g. calls them “pathetic’’ amongst other things) and the overall tone whenever humans are mentioned seems to be encroaching on an attitude of internalized ‘human’ racism. This attitude surprised me since in the beginning the main character, Diana, proclaims that she wanted a “simple, ordinary life…like humans enjoy.”

2) The love affair.  It was choppy, underdeveloped and unrealistic. And seriously, its not like I’m a tough critic; I was whole-heartily sold by Bella and Edward (even though I’m totally on team Jacob).

3) One other point that just rubbed me the wrong way was how Diana treated her aunt Sarah. Diana seems self –absorbed and self-righteous in this relationship even though Sarah raised her after her parents died. Ok fine, a lot of people might treat their family this way but Diana was even ready to attack Sarah with witchfire and possibly kill her for, as far as I can tell, no reason.

The author has clear talent and skill when writing about history and science but relationships and interactions feel forced. Will I read the next one in the trilogy? Most likely. Mainly because I hate not knowing how things end but I’ll need a little time to get the taste of what bothered me out of my mouth. 

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah Maas

Goodreads Synopsis:

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review:

Sarah Maas was recommended to me by the very first person I became friends with on Goodreads and I have to say I was not disappointed! I’ve seen ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ on the shelves but for some reason have never really been interested in picking it up…. I can now say that was a mistake.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a refreshing new twist on a world where faeries, mankind and magic all overlap. The faerie world, Prythian, is beautifully painted through the eyes of the main character Feyre, a human girl. Maas keeps you well distracted in this novel as you learn about the faerie culture. Some aspects of their nature are not a surprise. They are sneaky, clever things that like to make bargains (which typically don’t end up well for the person needing to make the bargain…all very typical faerie behavior). But Maas also describes a different side of their nature, one that is personal and empathetic.

It is a simple story where love must conquer all to set everyone free. A very familiar theme that is done over and over again and yet, the depth of the characters and the novelty of the setting are more than enough to keep the reader flipping pages to find out what happens next. The true villain in the book is not introduced until close to the end, which makes this book more of a mystery novel and adds to the reader’s curiosity, hence page flipping.

Towards the end of the book you start to get a sense that there is a lot more history behind the character’s and events than was disclosed at the beginning of the book. Personally, I would like to have learned more about the past, which seems to be an integral part of the present (remember faeries live forever!). Of course, not any detail that would spoil the end of the story. But what about myths or legends of their gods? Or maybe a bit more detail about the history of the rivalries between courts.

The only part in the book that really snapped me back to reality was the level of detail behind what had to be done to get rid of the blight on Prythian. It was so detailed and specific that it just felt forced but I’ll leave it at that so as to not give anything away.

On the whole I loved the book and can’t wait to read the next one in the series!!!