Tower of Dawn Book Review (Spoiler Free)

“You would be surprised by how closely the healing of physical wounds is tied to the healing of emotional ones.”

Author – Sarah J. Maas

Publication – September 5th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages – 680

GoodReads

Rating – 4.5/5

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Like a couple of other readers, I was pretty hesitant going into this book. And this was partially due to the fact that we were away from the main storyline/ crew with Aelin/Dorian and also because we follow Chaol who I was pretty much on the fence about especially after the events of Queen of Shadows.

But WOW. This book surprised me. And I have come to appreciate Chaol as a character and his growth within this novel. We also have the opportunity to meet a new amazing characters as well such as Yrene and Falkan who are both from The Assassin’s Blade. I highly suggest that you read the novella bind up if you have not done so already since it will provide you the backstory before diving into this novel.

While I will admit the first half of the novel was pretty slow, it definitely did pick up the pace during the end and MAN, do we discover some major news before the big finale! I’m so excited but also a bit nervous LOL

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Please note that there will be spoilers for the previous books if you have not read them:

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.

In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . . 

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Chaol – Stubborn; Brooding; Prideful; While initially I was not a huge fan of Chaol in the novels, I did like that we were able to see more from his character’s POV in this novel. It really did transform my own view of him too. We dive into his inner thoughts and how he feels about himself and his life and there were moments which were heartbreaking to read. Sarah truly delivered on his character arc and it was wonderful to see his progression through this novel and how he was able to fight against his inner demons.

Yrene – Level-Headed; Driven; Smart; Sympathetic; I personally loved Yrene and I think she is one of the best female characters in this entire series. We initially saw her in Assasin’s Blade and while she did not have too much of an impact there, it is amazing to see her character development in this novel. We can see that her initial meeting with Celeana truly transformed her in the way she carries herself in the world today. I love that we are able to witness a female character with an immense fervor for knowledge and helping others. 

Nesryn – Strong sense of honor and courage; While initially Nesryn’s chapters were not my favorite to read in this novel, her plot quickly takes an interesting turn at the end and I could not put it down. We see her searching for adventure and action in this novel and it was interesting to see where her journey takes her. In previous novels, she was conflicted on where her “home” truly was and it was nice to see her character’s progression to finding the group of people who embrace and welcome her.

Sartaq – Kind; Charming; Prince of Antica; Ok, I really liked his character! I think everything about him and the way he carried himself was so down to earth and natural that you can’t help but adore him. In addition, it was also interesting to see his perspective on his homeland and political system vs. his siblings since that really puts interesting twist on the perspective of his character against the royal family.

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In this novel, we are in a completely new setting from the previous books within the land of Antica and I was pleasantly surprised with the new characters and change in setting. It was definitely interesting to learn about the new culture, politics and the royal family. I found it so surprising that their laws were completely different from Adarlan and because of that we see much more of prosperity within the society. Maybe is can be something that both Aelin and Dorian can learn from in order to create a better world for the future!

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If I can describe this book in one word I think it would be: Healing. The major themes within this novel manly circles around the disability representation, loving oneself and emotional healing and I believe Sarah did a decent job conveying these messages. I really did appreciate the fact that Sarah was able to bring in a character with disability into the fantasy world and even have one entire novel focused on him and his growth since there is a lack of this representation in YA fantasy. I also understand that there is a lot of controversy surrounding on how well she carried out this representation. Therefore, I also wanted to gain perspective and understanding of this fully so I have looked into both positive and negative own voices reviews. While reading their criticism, I do understand their POV and where there are moments in the book which can be problematic.

For me personally, when I see this book as a whole, I feel that the central message is clear – You are not less. No matter who you are or what you are capable of doing, You are valuable. And Sarah really worked to ensure that Chaol is able to go on this emotional journey to discover this and in my opinion, she did deliver on that aspect. These demons and darkness that Chaol is suffering from can be demons which people are battling against everyday. Everyone can make mistakes throughout their lives but that is what being human is about. We are not perfect. However, it is how we go about facing the future that is important. Through Chaol’s journey, I was able to sympathize with him and understand why he feels the way he does and I think this is what helped me change my POV of his character as a whole.

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When compared to the first novels of this series, I will say that Sarah’s writing has improved tremendously. She is able to describe the surroundings with just the right amount of detail that you feel that you are with the characters. In addition to the setting descriptions, the way she delineates a scene of tension and suspense is so well done (specifically Chapter 10 – I had major goosebumps in that scene!). She was able to cultivate such an eerie aura within that entire chapter which can send a chill down one’s spine! 

Overall, I thought this was a very gripping read since Sarah was able to tackle some heavy themes within this novel. Despite having a slow start, it definitely improved from the midpoint onwards where we have a series of revelations and twists thrown our way which made this such an entertaining ride!

And now with everything that we learned from the ending of this novel, I am really excited but also very anxious going into the final book. From taking a quick glance at other reviews, it looks like the last novel will be quite an emotional one and I don’t know whether I would be able to say goodbye to all these characters! At this moment, I am not sure when I will get to it, since there are a couple of other books on my TBR (plus the book is massive – roughly 980 pages) but I am sure I will be picking it up within the next few months. Especially after that last chapter! Sarah – How could you do this to me???

Kingdom of Ash – Here I come!!!!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Heir of Fire Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“She was the heir of ash and fire and she would bow to no one.” 

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 565

Rating: 4.5/5

GoodReads

I will advise that there are minor spoilers in the description for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight so you have been warned! 🙂

Summary (GoodReads):

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight. 

Review:

How can someone make your heart SOAR and CRUSH it at the same?? Well, Sarah J. Maas can! GAHHHHH!!!

Characters:

Celaena  – Or should I say Aelin? Wow. The character growth here was absolutely stunning. We are finally able to explore deep into Celaena’s mind and understand her turmoils, deepest despairs and what is truly holding her back from accepting her past. Sarah was able to deliver this in such a heart wrenching and beautiful way that you were able to relate with her character. And yes, it got to me! I teared up! IT WENT DEEP!  I did like Celaena as a character in the previous books but I found that she had many flaws. She seemed to operate on a gray line so I couldn’t fully embrace her. That was until Heir of Fire. Finally, I was able to connect with her and I have to say that she growing to be one of my favorite characters of all time. ALL HAIL THE QUEEN.

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Dorian – Oh GAWD. My precious prince Dorian. You are the sweetest little cinnamon roll and if I could give you the world I would AND . . AND I JUST WANT HIM TO BE HAPPY!!! GAHHHH! And I appreciated those flashback scenes – thank you Sarah J. Maas 🙂 I think Dorian had the most character growth in Crown of Midnight; yet, he still showcases a more mature side to him in this book and I loved watching him grow and displaying his  courage.

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Chaol – From the previous book, it was clear that Chaol’s priority was to serve the King. Throughout this novel, you see him struggle to face the imminent threat posed on the world and whether he should do something about it or return to Anielle as urged by his father.

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Rowan – Sarah, couldn’t you have at least given a little warning here. Cause dayumm I did not see this coming. Ok, Rowan is Bae! Yes, I will admit; it took him a while to grow on me but at the end of novel, he won me over. He does build a barrier so its difficult to see through to his raw character; however, I loved how he slowly begins to lower the walls and work together with Celeana. And his actions at the end . . . gawd my heart! Who doesn’t love a bad boy with a dark past?

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Manon – Oooo the witch chapters . . . yes, they were the ones which I was on the border about. I loved how Sarah gives life to the clans of witches, giving them their own background and laws in which the operate under. Manon herself undergoes a journey of her own within her Witch Clan, the Blackbeaks, determined to achieve her title of Wing Leader although her decisions may not be in line with the views of her clan.

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Aedion – I will be honest, I was not prepared for this entry haha All I can say is that it will be interesting to see how Aedion’s story interconnects with Celeana’s and I am looking forward to it!

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Final Thoughts:

The world of Throne of Glass just keeps getting better and better with Sarah’s intricate yet superior world building. I am amazed at how much Sarah’s writing has improved since the first Throne of Glass novel. And along with the world building and introduction of different groups of people, characters and settings, she did a phenomenal job of expanding the world that you almost believe the Kingdoms you travel to. Not only does she define a new group, she also gives them their own characterizations, needs/wants, and where they exist in the societal hierarchy. Developing a fantasy world and adding depth is extremely difficult but Sarah seems to have done it with such as ease!

In terms of plot, I believe the best way to describe this book would be “Celaena’s Journey” as she travels from Adarlan to Wendyln and discovers her heritage, and  evaluates her fears while simultaneously learning about the threats to come in the future. Honestly, there were some moments in the book that was just beautifully captured that it almost flows like a cinematic masterpiece. AND I WAS LIVING FOR THOSE MOMENTS!!

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Sarah also incorporates a lot of relatable themes into the plot on how we are never truly alone despite what we might think and that the only way to truly move forward is to overcome your fears. It is true that everyone has scars and it shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward in our lives. I think that was the reason why I really enjoyed the third installment of this series since it captures the complexity of life and the importance of perseverance and determination.

Have any of you read Heir of Fire? What were your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

And on a side note, I also have some mental preparation before BTS’s comeback tomorrow. MY SOUL AIN’T READY FOR THIS!!! Ahem. . . I’m totally fine, I swear. LOL

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Crown of Midnight Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 418

Rating: 4.5/5

GoodReads

MY EMOTIONS ARE A WRECK. R U KIDDING ME????? SARAH, WHY MUST YOU DO THIS?? I will admit when I started this book, I was a bit hesitant since I didn’t want to run into a case of Second Book Syndrome but OMG was I completely wrong! I feel as if my heart has been ripped out. MY GAWD I CAN’T.

I will advise that there are minor spoilers in the description for Throne of Glass so you have been warned! 🙂

Summary (From GoodReads):

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Characters:

Celaena – From the previous novel, we know that despite her strong exterior, Celaena has some internal burdens and monsters of her own. Though we do see a glimpse of it in Throne of Glass, it is interesting to see how everything is handled in the second novel. There are times when I can’t quite identify what side she is on since she typically operates on a Gray Line so her intentions and reasons are quite obscure. Again, this is a quality which is interesting to see in a character since it is not typical in YA fiction; however, it does set the playing field for more potential character growth in the future and I cannot wait to see how it will play out. Slay Gurl Slayyyyy

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Chaol – We definitely learn a lot more about Chaol in this novel and I liked that we were able to finally see a little more into his background. The way in which his mind operates is different from the other characters and I appreciate that the author added the various character POVs so we clearly see that differentiation.

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Dorien – Wow. Just Wow. I didn’t expect to see this much of a character growth with Dorian but he definitely was the one who surprised me the most and it is amazing to see how he progressed from the first book to the end of the second.

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Nehemia – OMG I honestly love Nehemia. She has such a level of maturity, intelligence and class which is worth admiring. GOALS GUYS! ABSOLUTE GOALS! There are some scenes which her words are truly inspiring and I love how dedicated she is to helping her people and even those around her.

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Final Thoughts:

What originally starts off a character driven novel soon takes a dramatic shift to political intrigue and world building. There is definitely an addicting quality to Sarah’s writing.  The pacing is well developed due to the small length chapters which you can’t help but devour one after the other. It was no surprise that I basically flew through this book. And let’s not forget the amount of plot twists with this book. WOW. It took some unexpected turns that I did not see coming.

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As characters deal with the outcomes of the previous novel, Sarah continues to expand on their development and it was really well done. While it is true that Celaena is the main character of the series, Sarah does take time to venture into the lives of the other characters and show how they mature. This was an aspect I really enjoyed reading about since this unveiled themes of individualism and inner strength and ultimately showcased where their allegiances lie.

Did this book cause me to drown in emotional turmoil? Yes it did. About halfway through the novel, the atmosphere shifts to a darker tone and you can’t help but drown into the void. The ambiance is far different from the first novel with the heightened level of mystery and secrets among the characters. Hence, it is clear that the author’s plans for the direction of the rest of the series will be phenomenal.

Have any of you read Crown of Midnight? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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Throne of Glass Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Sarah J. Mass

Published: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Pages: 406

Genre: YA Fiction; Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if you only dared.” 

I am so late this series, it’s really SAD hahaha I do believe that this was originally a loose Cinderella re-telling that eventually took flight with it’s own unique storyline in the future books. Overall, I did find this book to be a great start to the series despite some minor flaws. Regardless, I am positive that I will continue with the series and I cannot wait to learn more about our characters and the adventures to come 🙂

Summary (From GoodReads):

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Characters:

CelaenaStrong, Determined, and Quite Hilarious – As soon as I read the first few pages of Celaena’s introduction, I knew I was going to enjoy her character. While it is true, she can be a bit rash and arrogant, I found it refreshing to see these qualities in a female lead. I think these characteristics add to her personality and make her more interesting to learn more about. Sarah definitely incorporated a lot of layers to Celaena’s character which gave her more depth. While being feared in a country for being a ruthless assassin, there were moments which she surprised you. For example, she was pretty much a book nerd and I found myself fangirling! Sorry but I just love it when our characters love to read! I honestly found myself to grow more curious about her and I hope to see more of her growth in the future novels.

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DorianCharming, Playful, Jovial – Another character who I loved to read about! Plus, he likes to read too! Hoorayyy! I loved how his relationship with Celaena grows throughout the novel. All of his witty moments were a pleasure to read about as well! One thing I did appreciate with Dorian was seeing a bit of character growth by the end of the novel and I hope to see more of his strength in the next book.

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ChaolBlunt, Skilled, Professional – I wish we had more scenes with Chaol since we couldn’t see much of his personality or backstory since he remained professional throughout the novel since he was Captain of the Guard. I felt that he was a bit restrained and was not in a position to share more information about him or his past/experiences with Celaena. Due to this issue, there was not much layers to his character so it was difficult for me to relate to him. I hope we can learn more about him in the future novels.

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NehemiaIntelligent, Brave, Strong – Besides having a great story line, relatable characters, and relevant themes/morals, an aspect I also enjoy seeing in books are strong female friendships. In the case with Celaena and Nehemia, their connection and growth over the novel is worth noting.

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Final Thoughts: 

In terms of the story line, it does resemble previous YA fiction, such as the Hunger Games with engaging in a competition, but I noticed that it did not focus too much on that aspect. The author did add an element of mystery to the story when she mentions the disappearance/slaying of the other competitors and it tends to peak your curiosity. This is where the story gains momentum, builds on the world and really pulls you into the novel. In addition, there is a bit of a love triangle but it was not overbearing as with other YA literature.

The writing was well done that everything flowed together and Sarah did her best to create cinematic images where you can visualize the scenes in your head. I also loved the playful banter between the characters which helped to lighten the atmosphere amidst the dark moments within the novel. In addition, Sarah also did a great job in adding complexity to the different relationships as the story progressed and it will be intriguing to see how these relationships grow in the upcoming novels.

Have any of you read Throne of Glass? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you soon with another bookish post!

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A Court of Thorns And Roses Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 416

Rating: 4/5

Genre: YA/New Adult Fantasy (few mature content)

GoodReads

I finally did it guys! I picked up my first ever Sarah J. Maas book – A Court of Thorns and Roses! I am pretty new to the book community and ever since I started, I always hear about Sarah’s books whether it be the Throne of Glass series or the ACOTAR series and almost every booktuber or blogger I know had given them stellar reviews. I just had to know what all the hype was about so I decided to take this novel with me on vacation and during those long hours on the flight, I began to read away!

In summary, ACOTAR is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and it starts off with a girl named Feyre who is hunting in the woods to feed her impoverished family and ends up killing a wolf who is actually a faerie. In order to seek justice for this innocent death, the High Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin arrives to her home and forces her to spend her life in the faerie realm as punishment for her crime. When she first arrives to the estate, Feyre wants nothing but to escape from her captor. Due to their history, she despises the faeries since she knows they are responsible for the enslavement and torture of innocent humans. However, during her time in the Spring Court, she realizes that the faerie realm is at a very delicate state since there is a form of darkness sweeping their lands. Through her relationship with the other faeries, she realizes that they may not all be as cruel as she once thought they were. Her bond with Tamlin begins to grow in something more deep and meaningful but it also faces potential destruction. Within time, she discovers that she must find a way to fight back against the darkness in these lands or else it would bring the downfall of all faerie lands and even the annihilation of the human world as well.

Characters:

  1. Feyre – Cold, Hard-working, Independent. When I first started reading this book, I did not completely love her character. It was only in the second half of the book, where we see her character being tested and this was when I began to like her a little more. She was able to break through the walls she had built around her and began to showcase her feelings. By doing so, her character began to grow. I also did appreciate how she took care of her family 🙂
  2. Tamlin – Brooding yet gentle, kind. I did enjoy some bits of Tamlin’s character throughout the novel but I did not completely adore him to the point where I ultimately shipped Feyre/Tamlin as the ultimate OTP lol There were times when he would try to be kind to Feyre or try to awkwardly offer her assistance in any way but being the apathetic person she is, she would usually just shrug him off. You could tell that beneath the brooding appearance, he is quite sweet.

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  1. Lucien – Snarky, loyal. One of my favorite parts of this book was the friendship between Feyre and Lucien. I absolutely loved his character and also liked seeing the relationship between him and Feyre grow. Loyalty is one of the best qualities he has and I truly admired him for that.
  2. Rhysand – Mysterious, Clever, Playful. At this point I would say that I do not have a definite, clear stance on his character since I feel like he does certain good things but other times I am not sure as to what his motives are for the other actions he does. I will say that I did look forward to his scenes in the book since he was an interesting character to read about. And his dialogues were quite amusing at times!

“Humans all look alike to me.”

lol k Rhysand . . .

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My Thoughts: 

From the start, I already fell in love with Sarah J. Maas’s writing. She has the ability to completely captivate you and draw you into the fantastical world she builds. What I also found interesting was how the faerie political system was organized into the different courts. Sarah also further builds on her world by providing the different species of faeries and how different they are from one another which added to creating a rich and realistic world.

I will say that more than half the book moved very slow due to the world building and romance development. It was only around the 250-300 page range when the story started to pick up the pace. Most of the thrilling aspect of the book was towards the end and this was the time where it became quite an addictive read which is why as a whole, I gave this book a 4/5 rating.

Have any of you lovelies read ACOTAR? What did you all think of it? Also . . . have you all seen the cover for the third book? It is gorgeous!! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading everyone!

~Ash~

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