Monday, June 15, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Read from May 12 to 15, 2015
Published: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 446 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: An Ember in the Ashes, #1

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

CANNOT COMPUTE HOW FANTASTIC THIS WAS. I'm an absolute sucker for a good fantasy novel, but woah, this novel absolutely blew me away. Thrilling and un-put-down-able, An Ember in the Ashes is truly one of a kind. I've never read anything like this; it's been weeks since I've finished this and it's still on my mind. I absolutely loved this.

Whenever there is major hype surrounding a book, it's easy to have expectations and be disappointed when they're not met. However, I can fully say that An Ember in the Ashes lives up to and deserves all the hype and praise surrounding it. What I loved most about this novel was that every time I put it down, I always looked forward to picking it back up. I can't believe that this is Tahir's debut novel. Her writing was marvelous. She intertwined two completely different stories and characters to make it one incredible arc of a novel. I am completely blown away by An Ember in the Ashes. An absolute must-read!

The world-building was fantastic. From the slums of Laia's home to the vast, mysterious academy where Elias is, An Ember in the Ashes creates a world that is dark and imaginative, and I loved every second of it. I'm ecstatic to see more of this world in the sequel. Speaking of which, Thank. God. there is a sequel. And the action in this book! There's so many twists and turns throughout An Ember in the Ashes and I couldn't put it down.

Laia is such a wonderful heroine. She starts off as a weak, broken character in the beginning, but as the novel progresses, she morphs into a force to be reckoned with. I really loved seeing her character development; she definitely did a complete 180ยบ, and I'm ecstatic to see where her story goes in the sequel. And Elias was such an awesome lead too. I thought that he would be the typical "perfect soldier" who changes his mind after meeting the female protagonist, but Tahir made him really unique and strayed away from the norm, and I really appreciate it. They were a fire duo; definitely one of my new favorite power couples in YA.

Overall, An Ember in the Ashes is a radiant read that grabs you from page one and doesn't let you go. One of my new favorite fantasies of all-time.

M Y   R A T I N G

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Read from May 23 to June 2, 2015
Published: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 416 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

You know that feeling when you are so ecstatic for a book you can hardly stand it? And even better, when that book exceeds all of your expectations? I'm so pleased to say that A Court of Thorns and Roses was wonderful in every sense of the word. Brimming with magic between the pages, ACOTAR is a spectacular start to a very promising series. Sarah J. Maas is easily one of my new favorite fantasy writers.

I've been looking forward to ACOTAR ever since it was first announced. Not only was I excited to see a new series from Maas (I adored Throne of Glass), but the concept for this one was so intriguing: a re-interpretation of Beauty and the Beast with fae and hunters; sign me up! ACOTAR did not disappoint whatsoever. Maas perfectly blended together this new fae world with Beauty and the Beast. Feyre was such an awesome heroine to follow around. She was headstrong, determined, and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself; I can always count on Maas to give me a hero that doesn't need anyone else to save them, and it's so refreshing to see that in YA. Tamlin's two personalities were really stunning: you have his calm, good-natured side and you have his wild, beastly (literally) side. Even though they both have their flaws, I never once stopped rooting for Feyre and Tamlin. These characters were wonderful to follow, but then again, this is Sarah J. Maas book, so I didn't expect anything less.

My favorite part of any novel is the world-building, and ACOTAR's world was incredible. I loved seeing two sides to this world: there's the harsh, winter landscape of the mortal world that is crumbling to pieces, and then you have the lavish, rich world of the fae. Both sides are vast opposites, but Maas does a spectacular job entwining them together. And there's so many layers to this world! From dark, creepy forests to marvelous castles to mountains that will scare the heck out of you, ACOTAR has everything you could possibly want in a fantasy novel.

Maas can write a storm of a novel. I was hooked from page one, and it was nearly impossible to put down ACOTAR. The action sequences were thrilling, the romance was realistic and wasn't forced, and I loved the drops of foreshadowing that Mass included throughout the book. The ending! Mind = literally blown. No spoilers here, but seriously, I was so pleased with this ending; I didn't see it coming, and it made the story 10x better. Book two, please!

Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses lives up to all the hype it has garnered. Burning bright with magical elements and nail-biting sequences, ACOTAR is a true gem. I can't wait for the sequel!

M Y   R A T I N G