Fantasy

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn

Let’s start with a little bit of background first:

Tower of Dawn is about Chaol – a character that behaved somehow questionably in book 2, Crown of Midnight, of the Throne of Glass series (ToG). His side of the story was never told, his character forgotten for following two books. He was featured again in book 5, Empire of Storms, of this series but somehow was really ‘not in it’ so to speak.

Empire of Storms ended up very dramatically. It left me craving its sequel straight away.

Well guess what: we were told that Chaol would have a standalone book and we would have to wait for two more years for the sequel of Empire of Storms. I was not over the moon about it, that’s for sure.

I thought Tower of Dawn was just some form of filler, skipped it and started reading Kingdom of Ash – the final book of the ToG series. Only to realise I forgot majority of its characters’ names and that there were some characters I did not know about. 😉

This also happened to be during the time when I started buddy reading Kingdom of Ash with Leslie. Leslie was kind enough to tell me that Tower of Dawn is a part of this series and is kind of good to read… seriously, I am the worst buddy reader ever, consider yourself warned if you ever fancy buddy reading with me! 😉

Anyhow, off I went and grudgingly started reading about a character that I did not remember much of in order to finish the ToG series. What a great start, eh? 🙂


My thoughts?

It may be that I am just drifting away from Maas in general but I found her overused “manhood” and “maleness” slightly disturbing and it really bothered me how “beautiful” her main characters were. It was really getting on my nerves as it was completely unnecessary. I thought that the focus on characters’ appearances distracted us from their behaviour. I found that to be rather regretful as there were all interesting characters.

Chaol

Chaol is going through a tough inner battle – he is learning how to deal with his relatively new condition as well as his unresolved past. His hate aimed towards himself gets explored.

Yrene, a powerful healer, who is assigned to help him, is fighting her own battles and turns out to be a rather likeable new character. So why focus on how gorgeous she is rather than actually highlight even more her selflessness and her need to help others despite of how she feels about them?

I somehow felt that the purpose of this book is to redeem Chaol and to give him a new love interest. Sure, there was a bit of a side plot going on, but the main focus was on the tension between Chaol and Yrene.

I wanted more of Chaol. He was a soldier his entire life and due to a recently received severe injury, that identity was stripped away from him. That left him with facing a brand his new future, which was uncertain. Which automatically put him into a very vulnerable category. I felt that was a great opportunity to explore.

Yet I felt that it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked it to be. It only touched its surface. I was also not happy that he got somehow saved by love. Sure, love heals as it connects us with others. But the most important type of love is self-love. Self-acceptance was touched on but again, it did not get fully explored.

I got a sense that Chaol grew though and I really appreciated that. I just wanted a little bit more of that inner battle, exploration of one’s fears and perhaps even a slightly different, a bit more realistic, ending.

On the other hand, Maas has this ability to draw me in. I know she is overly dramatic, her beautification of characters annoys the heck out of me yet I cannot put her books down. And I keep on buying further instalments in her series.

There is something addictive that I always get hooked on. I am saying all of those things above yet I carry on reading her books. 🙂

So I am not judging anyone who enjoys these books because I do as well. I am just purely sharing my thoughts after I had time digest what I just read.

I felt Tower of Dawn was certainly a big improvement from her previous books as it included more diverse characters, started touching on what it means having to rethink our identities and minimised the amount of sex scenes that Maas likes to indulge in and I cannot help rolling my eyes about.

Despite 600+ pages, I finished this book fairly quickly and will definitely be reading its sequel, Kingdom of Ash shortly.


Over to you my friends.

Do you enjoy Sarah J. Maas’ books? 

And if so, what are your thoughts of Tower of Dawn?

Fiction

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Wild Magic

Let’s start with GoodReads‘ summary:

Wildness is a kind of magic

Discover a land of enchantment, legend, and adventure in this first book of The Immortals series, featuring an updated cover – perfect for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

Daine has always had a special connection with animals, but only when she’s forced to leave home does she realize it’s more than a knack . . . it’s magic. With this wild magic, not only can Daine speak to animals, but she can also make them obey her. Daine takes a job handling horses for the Queen’s Riders, where she meets the master mage Numair and becomes his apprentice.

Under Numair’s guidance, Daine explores the scope of her magic. But she encounters other beings, too, who are not so gentle. These terrifying creatures, called Immortals, have been imprisoned in the Divine Realms for the past four hundred years – but now someone has broken the barrier. And it’s up to Daine and her friends to defend their world from an Immortal attack.


Do you remember that time when you read a book and it made your heart sing? That’s what Wild Magic did to me. I felt so wonderfully absorbed whilst reading it and all I wanted to know was what was going to happen next.

I fully agree with Saraj J Maas’ statement of Tamora Pierce‘s work: “Tamora is a pillar, an icon, and as inspiration“. There is something about Pierce‘s books that just makes me so happy.

I’ll start with a caveat– Wild Magic is not a Young Adult (YA) book anymore. It was written when YA was slightly differently classified than how it is today. I would classify it as Middle Grade (MG) as there’s a lot of innocence in it and it’s that coming-of-age story that grabbed me and stole my heart. The content is much less mature than what YA is these days but please don’t be put off by that by any means!

Wild Magic is wonderfully charming and utterly warmed my soul. For starters, our main character Daine talks to animals. How cool is that? Ever since I was a little child, I have always pretended I could understand animals and have always ‘voiced’ their opinions.

I notice a trend in YA fiction these days that delivers those ‘I can kick anyone’s butt and I don’t need anybody’s help’ heroines, which can become after a while rather tedious and bland. I suppose they are the response to those traditional damsels in distress and frankly, I am rather fed up with both of those types.

Daine is different because she fits neither category. I so wish I read this book whilst growing up as she could have been a brilliant role model for me then. I immediately warmed to Daine as she is my definition of strength. She is happy to think for herself, decides to face her fears, asks for help when needed and is also shy and modest. Her strength is this quiet quality that doesn’t scream ‘look at me, I’m so awesome’ but rather says ‘that didn’t work, I’ll try again tomorrow’. She grows and her, sometimes naïve opinions, get slowly questioned and shaped whilst she still stays in charge of those final decisions. She decides what she will think but is also willing to listen and learn. How beautiful would that be to share such message with our youngsters?

I also appreciate how Pierce dives into breaking stereotypes – her characters teach us that it’s absolutely OK not to be able to fit in. That belonging is much more than ticking certain boxes and that family, regardless if it’s our blood one or a chosen one, doesn’t care about what we are but rather who we are as people.

Daine is flawed but also likeable. She goes through many lessons – my favourite one was what to do, when someone wants to help us but we don’t want them to as ‘they may get hurt’. The lesson from this book tells us that it is the decision for them to make, not us, despite of how much that may pain us.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a charming and well-written story. There is so much wisdom and soul in Wild Magic. It’s a wonderful story full of magic that features brave and likeable characters, varying from humans, horses, dogs, cats, whales, dragons and many more.

I would like to thank to both the publisher, Pan Macmillan as well as the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


Now over to you.

Have you read Wild Magic?

If so, what did you think?

If not, have you read anything by Tamora Pierce yet?

As always, the fun part is the one when I get to talk to you. Thanks for being here! ❤️❤️❤️

Fiction

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before BookSeptember was full of contemporary YA novels. I found myself craving something to read that would relax me, bring me a bit of romance and take my mind away from work and doctor appointments.

Jenny Han’s books were a perfect fit. Side note: I read six of them in September. Clearly I was on a roll! 😊

I watched the movie version of ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ on Netflix in August (I talked about it a bit here) and become interested to learn more about Lara Jean.

What it this book about? According to Goodreads:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

The book version of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before did not disappoint. Despite thinking the movie was super cute, I preferred the book to its movie version as there is more of Lara Jean in it.

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”

There is something about this book that made me happy. It might have been that that bittersweet struggle of being a teenager again, that uncertainty of who I was becoming, that obsession about certain boys and worrying about them not finding about my secret crushes… and that horror that my secret letters may have been posted to certain someone… it was a perfect emotional read.

What I liked:

Emotions!!!  Dear emotions, you are cordially invited to come to this party. 😊😊😊 There are plenty of those in this book. They range from laughter, joy, love, embarrassment, anxiety, sadness… it’s all there.

John Lennon once famously sang: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. Lara Jean’s dreaming nature is something I definitely related to. I am a dreamer. I enjoy day dreaming, visualising, pretending.. you name it. And I really appreciated that side of Lara Jean’s character.😊

What I wasn’t so sure about:

There was a certain character maturity flag that I just cannot shake off. I felt Lara Jean’s character didn’t grow as much as I would have liked her to. That especially started irritating me during the second book and completely annoyed me by the end of the third book. I think this book would have been probably the best suited for a standalone book as somehow, those two follow up books didn’t resonate with me – mind you that’s my opinion only, others may wholeheartedly disagree! 😊

I also felt there was a certain lack of female friendships – I know that Lara Jean has an extremely close relationship with her sisters and has a female best friend called Chris but somehow, that relationship felt a bit off.

Overall, it was a fun and quick read and I would recommend it.

I enjoyed the emotional aspect of it and despite Lara Jean something acting quite childish for her age; I could relate to her and ended up reading the entire trilogy. 😊


Now over to you!

Have you read this book?

  • If so, what do you think?
  • If not, do you want to read it?
Bookish

T5W – Auto-Buy Sci-fi & Fantasy Authors

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

In this week’s topic, let’s talk about my auto-buy Scifi and Fantasy Authors.


Firstly, let’s start with a caveat:

I tend not to auto-buy much these days. 🙂 I am quite a moody reader and like to choose / pick books depending on the mood I am currently experiencing.

With that said, there are a few fantasy writers, whose books I would gladly auto-buy.

Leigh Bardugo

six of crowsOh Leigh, her books really speak to me.

I enjoy both her skilled writing as well as her deep understanding of human nature.

She creates complex characters and certainly knows how to spin a highly addictive story whilst building wonderful worlds.

I also appreciate her Russian spin on most of her books even though I also loved her take on Wonderwoman.

Her books are my auto-buy books without a shadow of a doubt.

Katherine Arden

bear and nightingaleI discovered her books during the end of last year and promptly declared her one of my favourite authors.

Her writing is poetic and I need more of it. 😊

Her books are inspired by Russian folklore and have a medieval feel to them.

I enjoy her story telling, world building and that her focus is on the plot rather than romance.

Sarah J Maas

empire of stormFast-paced stories, many complex, not entirely likable characters and lots of humour = I am a fan of this author.

One second, I am laughing out loud whilst reading some banter between characters and the next one I am biting my nails as suspense is building up.

Holly Black

cruel princeAfter I finished The Cruel Prince, I started reading the Curse Workers series and found another favourite author.

Again, her characters are complex, not entirely likeable and I enjoy her writing style as well as her craftily built worlds full of scheming and politics.


I am aware that those are four, not five authors.

As this topic relates to fantasy and sci-fi, that’s it my friends.

There are many other fantasy writers, whose books I enjoy, but equally, whose books I would never auto-buy.

I would gladly auto-buy anything from Brené Brown but that’s non-fiction.

After discovering Liane Moriarty last month, I would also consider buying anything from her but that’s fiction.

Tolkien or Pratchett no longer write so I am sticking with my list of four my friends.


What about you?

Are you a loyal fan and auto-buy or do you prefer to do a bit of research first?

And if you do auto-buy, who is your favourite author?