A Court of Wings and Ruin

Here we are, at the end of another series.

Or is it?


It’s been a few weeks since Feyre returned to the Spring Court, pretending to have broken through Rhysand’s influence and back to Tamlin. She has spent her time playing the obedient yet traumatized lady in an effort to get into both Tamlin and Hybern’s good graces. She attempts to gather as much information as possible to send to the Night Court about what the King of Hybern is planning while simultaneously dismantling the Spring Court from the inside.Plans, even the best laid ones, don’t always go right and Feyre soon finds herself journeying back north and to her family – only this time with an unexpected ally in tow. Feyre, once reunited with her family, combines her information with that Rhys and the others have gathered to find Hybern’s true plan: to take over the human lands.

It becomes a race to gather as many allies as possible, which is difficult to do considering the Night Court’s reputation in Prythian. Will all of the High Lords side with the Night Court against Hybern? Or will they side with the Spring Court instead? Even if the High Lords rally together, their numbers might not be enough. Perhaps they will have the strength to defeat Hybern if they can find the missing human queen and convince her to side with them – along with the entire race of fae that disappeared after the last war. Even then, Hybern has the Cauldron; unless Feyre’s sisters can master their own mysterious gifts, but would that even be enough?

I really enjoyed A Court of Wings and Ruin. Being the concluding volume of this particular story, there were a lot of characters introduced. If you were waiting to finally meet all of the other High Lords, this is the book for you. A lot of action goes on, but I felt unsatisfied with some of the story. There were times I felt certain scenes dragged a bit or were truncated before their time. I think this is largely due to the huge cast and it being difficult to devote enough time to each group without having a book become too large (I wouldn’t have minded an extra 200 pages to flesh out certain scenes, but that’s just me).

I really can’t say much about this book without spoiling any of it. I will say that Azriel has always been a favorite, but he definitely outpaced everyone. He gets more screen time in this volume. I’ve also really grown to love Nesta and the complexity of her character.

I’m sad that this particular story in Prythian has ended. But Sarah has promised 3 more volumes so I’m eager to see what she has planned next.

My rating: 4.5/5

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Siege and Storm

The second of the Grisha series, Siege and Storm continues the story of Alina Starkov, the Grisha known as the Sun Summoner. She and Mal Osterev have gotten away from the Darkling and made their way Noyvi Zem to restart their lives, although Alina is constantly looking over her shoulder. After all, she still wears the amplifier from Morozova and there is no news of the Darkling’s death.


Soon, the Darkling catches up with them and he has a new, terrifying power. Weakened from non-use of her powers, Alina and Mal are soon captured and on their way back across the sea. Before they return to Ravka, the Darkling commands Mal to track the legendary Sea Whip, a creature of Morozova’s making that may be another powerful amplifier – but for whom? To aid in the tracking, the Darkling has employed the privateer Sturmhond. Much to his surprise, the privateer betrays the Darkling and steals Alina, Mal, and the sea whip from the Grisha.

Eventually Alina returns to Ravka and, through a series of events, is given command of the remaining Grisha in the Second Army. Together with the royal family they prepare to face the Darkling while attempting to rebuild Ravka. At the same time, Alina discovers the presence of a possible third of Morozova’s amplifiers and is determined to find it before the Darkling does. While commanding an army of magic users is no walk in the park, Alina does her best to bring the different factions together.But the more Alina leads the Second Army, the more she finds herself changing and a rift forming between her and Mal. Is she changing for the better…or the worst? And will it help her against the Darkling as his terrifying new power?

I felt lukewarm regarding Shadow and Bone. I absolutely adore Leigh Bardugo’s work, but Shadow and Bone didn’t stick with me. However, Siege and Storm was a delight – and I think that was mostly because I really liked Sturmhond’s character. Not only that, I feel like the story has really progressed; Shadow and Bone introduced the story and characters, but Siege and Storm really took off. I can’t wait to see what Ruin and Rising has in store.

My rating: 4/5

Uprooted

Uprooted is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while. I had heard so many good things about it but had other books I wanted to read. Since it is a stand alone, I didn’t have to worry about playing catch up with a series. Since I promised myself this year I would stop buying books and read the huge pile I was accumulating, it was time to pull this book out.


Agnieszka lives in the village of Dvernik, in a valley deep in the heart of Polyna. Her home borders the Wood, a place filled with ill magic that takes people and changes them – if they return at all. The people of Dvernik and the other villages are protected by a court magician known only as the Dragon. Every ten years, the Dragon chooses a girl of seventeen from the villages to serve him. This year, as they have for the last seventeen years, everyone thinks the girl the Dragon will choose is Kasia; Agnieszka can’t help but agree as Kasia is beautiful and good at everything. But when the Dragon arrives, he chooses Agnieszka instead.

Finding herself suddenly trapped in a tower and fulfilling the Dragon’s whim, Agnieszka’s only comfort is in the little notes left by previous girls and the library. One day, she reads a book that she can’t seem to remember once her eyes stray from the page. The Dragon bursts into her room and they both discover that Agnieszka may have a power all of her own – if only they could figure it out and harness it.All the while, the Wood is growing more bold, stealing away more people. Even stealing Kasia. Agnieszka is determined to get her best friend back, but the results lead to the capital and the royal family. Soon, Agnieszka finds herself pulled into a war between two countries and the Wood itself. Will her unknown powers be what is needed to save her people? Or will it cause the Wood to consume everything?

Uprooted is – there is no other word for it – spellbinding. Naomi Novik has woven a spectacular story full of intrigue and mystery and, above all, magic. The story is rich in Polish mythos; the characters are unique and complex. I just loved it from page one. It’s full of everything I love about fantasy stories and then some. Best of all, especially for those of you who don’t like series, it is a one-shot novel (though I think there is enough story for at least one more novel). A definite must-read and one of my top favorites for this year.

My rating: 5/5
 

March vol. 1-3

Hey everyone! I haven’t posted in a while and I don’t really have an excuse. I’ve just needed some time away from work, school, and blogging. To make up for missed time, I’ll be posting four reviews over the next week before I return to normal life.

For this first post, it didn’t seem right to split the volumes apart so I will re reviewing March volumes 1-3. Because much of Mr. Lewis’ story is known, this won’t be an extensive retelling but an overview of each volume.


March is the semi-autobiographical story of Representive John Lewis, told in his and aide Andrew Aydin’s words, illustrated by Nate Powell. Volume 1 begins in Mr. Lewis’s early years, when segregation was still strong in the South. It follows him through his youth and how the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education affected him. It continues as Mr. Lewis as he begins college and meets Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and finishes with the peaceful sit-ins that organizes by students.

Volume 2 turns grittier as it follows the Freedom Riders, a group of men and women, white and black, as they ride public buses throughout the South the protest segregation. While many incidents ended in tension, there was also a great deal of animosity towards the Riders; most did not end their rides uninjured.

While the sit-ins and freedom rides seem to be making a difference, there is tension amongst the activists. Volume 3 focuses more on these tensions as activists are divided between those wanting to continue their work through peaceful means and those who are willing to take more action. The culmination of it all is the events of Blood Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

The entire story is interspersed with events of the 2008 Obama inauguration. The scenes create a nice counterbalance to the grittier past but also highlight how things have changed for the better.

Mr. Lewis’ story combined with Aydin’s knack of smoothing the story and Powell’s art make for a compelling series. I highly recommend this series to all Americans. It is our history, bloody, real, and all. I enjoyed the history lesson as it is not something you learn in schools. It is a story everyone should read and be aware of.

My (overall) rating: 4.5/5