The Assassin’s Blade Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything.” 

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Pages: 448

Rating – 4.5/5

GoodReads

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great day! Today I will be completing a relatively spoiler free review of The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

In regards to The Throne of Glass series, I was so determined to start it this year since so many people have already read this and with the overwhelming hype, I just couldn’t keep myself away from it. Now that the series has come to an end, I found it a perfect opportunity to binge read these novels without having to wait through the heartbreaking pain of waiting for the next book. (For those of you who have been reading the series as they were released, how did you manage with the ending of Heir of Fire????)

The Assassin’s Blade is a bind up of the novellas to the Throne of Glass series but it reads pretty much like a regular novel since it follows the story of 16-year-old Celaena in a chronological order. Having seen a couple of reviews on BookTube, some reviewers have stated that it would be best to read the novellas before starting Queen of Shadows. And since this was the next book I had to read, I took a trip down to Barnes and Noble and made sure to grab myself a copy of the novellas! AND I AM SO GLAD I DID!

Summary: 

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Characters:

Celaena Sardothien – I loved the many sides we got to see with Celaena in this book. in fact, that was my favorite part of this entire novel. I think there are certain details about her character we seem to miss when we first meet her in the series but it was great to have this novel shine a bit more light in that aspect. I loved that she stood my her morals – she knew her limits despite her profession – she had empathy, she valued friendship and she was so much more relatable!

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Sam Cortland – I feel as though my face has become the heart eye emoji just writing about his character! I loved literally all the scenes with Sam and Celaena. I felt that they complemented each other so well! There were scenes which made me laugh and there were scenes which made me tear up and get wrapped up in all the FEELS! But he brought in a beautiful element to the storyline and valued his role in the series a lot more with this backstory!

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Arobynn Hamel – So it should come as no surprise that I don’t really like Arobynn. I used to think that I despised him enough in the original series BUT I despise him even more with this one. Yes, I hate him with passion LOL

Final Thoughts: 

Where do I even start? First of all, I appreciated Celaena and Sam so much more in this book since we dive deeper into their minds and receive so much more backstory of what they had endured and I found it to be an amazing collection of stories to accompany the original series. There were moments where I found myself relating to Celaena which I found a bit hard to do with the original novels (other than the fact that she loves to read). The small moments where we see her gush over a pair of shoes, music, clothes, perfume and of course food HAHA We always see her to be a fierce and fiery assassin but these small moments really made her seem more human.

Sam. Oh Sam . . . if you have read the first book of the series, then you are aware of this character since he is mentioned but having read his backstory and his growth within these novellas made me appreciate him more as a character. He is clearly an essential part of Celaena’s growth as a character and I loved seeing the growth of their relationship. It really does warm your heart . . . I got wayyy too attached to him!

In regards to the writing, it was done really well. It was addictive and had the right amount of details needed to bring you into the fantasy world without being too overwhelming. I loved her use of Celaena’s iconic sharp and sarcastic commentary, her banters with other characters and the description of action sequences. It pretty much resembled the writing of the original series and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Besides the three main characters I listed here, I have a feeling that the secondary characters are going to show up in some form in the future novels. I felt that Sarah did leave some loose ends with a few characters and I hope I get to see some of them. (Ahem – I don’t really want to see Arobynn though)

In regards to the overall plot and THAT ENDING, I am not going to lie – it broke my heart. The tears just started flowing. I couldn’t help it. With the extent of challenges that Celaena faces, you only wish the best for her but it did not quite end that way as we see in the start of Throne of Glass. Despite this, I am honestly glad that I decided to pick up these novellas and I will for sure be jumping into the Queen of Shadows ASAP!

Have any of you read The Throne of Glass series and The Assassin’s Blade? What are your thoughts on it?

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

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

Hello everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! For this week’s prompt, we are going to explore the books on our TBR which we avoid reading. It could be for multiple reasons – they are intimidating, we fear it may not live up to the hype, it is not within our interest etc. As for me, I feel like it is a combination of the first two reasons.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list!

1-3) Serpent and Dove, Kingdom of Souls, There Will Come A Darkness

These three books might be the most anticipated releases of this year. Nearly all the early reviews have been positive and I think that is what is keeping me from reading it. I’m a little worried whether they will live up to the hype because there were cases where some books did not live up to the hype in the past and it was quite disappointing. Hmm . . . maybe I should just go into it with no expectations/ blank slate? LOL I feel that may be one way I can avoid running into this issue 🙂

4-6) Priory of the Orange Tree, The Name of the Wind, Kingdom of Ash

Have you seen how massive these books are? They are so intimidating! But I have heard nothing but great things about these books so I really want to try them out. I feel as though Kingdom of Ash I will have no choice to read because I am on the fourth book right now and it is so addicting!

7-10) Wicked King/Queen of Nothing, Children of Vice and Virtue, Escaping from Houdini 

Gahhhh sequels! I have such a love/hate relationship with them. I think one of the most intimidating aspects is answering the golden question – Will it be good or even better than the predecessor?  And this is probably why sometimes I avoid reading them unless I know for sure that it will be good based on other reviews or if it is a beloved series in the book community. Or I may end up reading it if there was a huge cliffhanger and I had to know what happens! 🙂

How about you? What books do you avoid reading?

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

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

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Looking back at the past posts on my blog, it does not come as a surprise to me of my profound love for YA Fantasy novels. In my opinion, I think that would be my Go-To choice on any occasion. I think my desire to escape into fantastical worlds filled with magic, royalty, knights, and sorcerers could be the main reason why I love it so much.

However, there were moments where I picked up books which were outside my comfort zone due to recommendations by other reviewers or due to the hype online. I am quite thankful to the books on my list below since many have introduced me to new genres which I have found a love for and others have surprised me with their unique story telling within a relatively known genre.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list!

1-2 ) Stalking Jack the Ripper and Prisoner of Night and Fog

 

I personally enjoyed both these two books since it introduced me to a new genre of books – Historical fiction! And now, I just can’t get enough of it!

3-4) Fangirl and Everything, Everything

 

This was another example where I found books which pleasantly surprised me. I usually do not pick up contemporary books but these two really changed my perspective on it and I am willing to pick up more of this genre.

5, 6,7) The Book of Ivy, Dark Inside, Angelfall

 

Although the Dystopian genre has become quite an overused setting in many YA novels, I found that these books approached the genre with an interesting perspective and I couldn’t help but fly through them. Along with the addicting writing style and captivating, yet diverse plot line, I was deeply engrossed in the story lines.

8) These Broken Stars

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I am very thankful for These Broken Stars since it was the first book which peaked my interest in the Sci-Fi genre and I became obsessed! After this, I reached out for novels like the Illuminae Files, Aurora Rising, The Lunar Chronicles, etc.

9-10) A Darker Shade of Magic/ Ella Enchanted

 

And finally, these two books made me appreciate books of all genre whether they are targeted towards Young Adults, New Adult, Adult, or Middle Grade. With each of these different categories, I find myself reading about different character dynamics and themes which I found very insightful.

Were there any books which you enjoyed that were out of your comfort zone?

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

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WWW Wednesday – August 7, 2019

Hello everyone! Hope you all are enjoying your week! I’m here to share with you my current reading status with another WWW Wednesday post which is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words. 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

What are you currently reading?

spin the dawn

I just started this one and it has been one of my highly anticipated reads of this year. I have not gotten too far into it but I do like the pacing and the writing. I really hope I enjoy since I heard nothing but great things about this book. Have any of you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

What did you recently finish reading?

the cruel prince

OMG!! OMG!!! I finally did it! I finally read the Cruel Prince!!! Whoohooo!

You know the kind of books that you finish and countless days later, you still think about it? Yep, this was one of them and it will probably be one of my favorite reads of this year. And please stay tuned for my book review because OMG we need to fangirl about this together!

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Oh Lord. . . my never ending TBR! It was difficult but I managed to narrow it down to these two – Queen of Shadows by Sarah. J Maas and Vicious by V.E Schwab and I am in a serious dilemma!!!

I hope you all find it easier to find your next read than me haha Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a fabulous day!

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

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Can you guys believe it is already July??? LIKE HOW?? I felt like the new year just began!! It’s crazy!!! Can time slow down for a second? Please have mercy on this poor soul . . .

Ahem. So since we are mid way through the year, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do this tag! Thank you so much to the lovely Jane @ BloggerBooks for tagging me! And please check out her blog, because it is absolutely amazing and I love all our bookish conversations!

This tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books. Without further ado, let’s jump into the questions!

1. Best Book You’ve Read so Far in 2019

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

OMG. This was so far the best read of 2019. I loved everything about it: the plot, the characters, the setting, the banter, the character dynamics/ growth, etc. It was all done so well! This series definitely made Kerri Maniscalco as one of my favorite authors of all time! She is absolutely brilliant and if you have not picked up the series yet, I highly recommend it!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

 2. Best Sequel You’ve Read so Far This Year

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Another stunning read of 2019. GAHHH It did not take long for the Caraval series to become one of my favorite series of all time. Each book just got better and better! The world was so different and magical from any other fantasy book I have read and I loved the journey the characters go through with each book. I loved that the plot focuses on the journey of two sisters since this is something I can relate to since I have a younger sister myself. Just Brilliant!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Really Want To

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

I am kind of bending the rules here since I am currently reading this but it still fits the category 🙂 The writing is exquisite!

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

There are so many upcoming releases for this year that its so hard to pick one. Even after attending BookCon, I was surprised to learn that there were so many new and upcoming titles so I have listed a couple here which I am eagerly anticipating!

 

5. Biggest Disappointment of the Year

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I don’t think I read anything this year which turned out to be a huge disappointment. The lowest I rated any of my books was probably a 3.5 out of 5. If I were to choose, I would probably say Girls with Sharp Sticks? While I did enjoy the plot, themes and twists, I was not a huge fan of the writing style and some of the characters. It was not a terrible read, but I thought it could use some improvements here and there.

6. Biggest Surprise

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Being a book in the mystery genre, I think this novel fits the question completely. I did see a few reviews for this book ever since its release and I never got around to reading it until early this year. I will say I was pleasantly surprised and it evoked my interest into the mystery genre. I can’t wait to read the next installment – I heard that one was even better than the first! AHHHH!!!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I recently just finished this novel and OMG it was absolutely brilliant. I was hesitant since I saw a couple of mixed reviews but I ended up loving it! I understand that Brigid Kemmerer might be an author that a lot of other book bloggers know, but I recently just discovered her with this novel. I am definitely looking forward to her next book in the series (especially with that ending!!)

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

8. Newest Fictional Crush

LET 2019 BE THE YEAR I DISCOVERED THOMAS CRESWELL!!!! MWAHAHA

(I’m totally sane I SWEAR!)

9. Newest Favorite Character

Audrey Wadsworth – This girl is epitome of strength, intelligence and empowerment!

10. Book That Made You Cry

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Can we talk about character growth? THIS WAS PHENOMENAL! I was absolutely stunned at how well Sarah was able to showcase emotion, pain and struggle with this installment. After reading this book, I am really looking forward to read the next one ASAP.

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

11. Book That Made You Happy

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

WAIT! I have my reasons for this one!

To be honest, I did not know which book to choose for this question. I have not read any comedic or light-hearted contemporary books this year so its difficult to answer. However, if I were to choose one book, I would most like go with the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The banter between the two leads always put a smile on my face!

If you would like to read my review of the first book, you can check it out HERE!

12. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received This Year

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

I mean take a look at this cover:

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13. What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

After marathoning the first three books (which were awesome), I had to step away from reading for awhile due to work/classes. I am finally at a state where I can read more books and spare more time diving back into this fantasy world so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

14. Favorite Book Community Member?

OMG! It’s really hard for me to choose one specific member within the book community as an answer. Ever since I joined, I met so many great bloggers who have been so supportive and inviting on this platform so I extremely thankful to each and everyone who have read my posts, shared their opinions and have showcased their support! Ya’ll are the best!! ❤

I tag these lovely bloggers:

Joanna @thegeekishbrunette

Becky @becky’sbookblog

Dini @dinipandareads

Kristi @Confessionsofayareader

Jennifer @sleepingsuburb

Jess @crowingaboutbooks

Macy @afictionreality

Grace @Sheheartsfiction

If I tagged you and you have already done this, so sorry! And if you do decide to do it, have fun! 🙂

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

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

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It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!!! And for this week’s prompt, its all about characters! So I decided to talk about my favorite female and male leads! This was a very hard list to create since I had to narrow it down to only 10. In addition, I wanted to create an even distribution so I decided to list my top 5 female leads and my top 5 male leads. Otherwise, we would have a pretty long list HAHA

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s move on towards the list!

Female Protagonist 

Laia An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I think Laia is a perfect example of a dynamic character. When reading the first book of the series, I was amazed at how her character grew from a scared, young girl to a strong and determined fighter. In addition, she grew to be more expressive of her feelings and I loved that aspect of her since it showcased a balance of strength and emotion.

KatnissThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss will forever be iconic in YA novels. I loved that even despite going through physical, emotional and mental challenges, she still remains strong. In addition,  I  loved reading about the immense care and love she had for her sister since that was something I could relate to since I have a younger sister as well. Although I do love Katniss, I also feel that a lot of the main characters in YA emulate her personality. Sometimes it feels so repetitive and becomes extreme that they seem strong but also void of emotion. In these cases, I can’t help but wish for something different and fresh.

Audrey WadsworthStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

Audrey was superior in many ways. I love that she did not fall into the typical YA warrior archetype. She was powerful in her own way through her knowledge and pursuit of studying forensic science. She also has a spark to her character and her banter with the male lead in this series is absolutely hilarious! 🙂

CressThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cress was simply adorable. I loved how she was a cute fangirl with her head full of fairy tale/ drama moments but at the same time she was a wiz when it came to computer tech. Her hacker skills were extraordinary as was her character growth. I loved reading from her perspective since I could relate to certain situations which she went through.

Delilah BardA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Well. Is there anything we can say about her? She is just amazing! The amount of tenacity, intelligence, strength is stunning to see in her character. While I did not appreciate her reasons for being a thief in the beginning of the novel, I do believe that she does act rationally and at the end, she matures to a fantastic character. It was honestly hard to say goodbye when the series ended 😦

Male Protagonist 

Thomas Creswell –  Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

OH. MY. GAWD. Thank the lord I started reading Stalking Jack the Ripper series this year or else I would have never discovered this man LOL Thomas is a character who captured me from the start. He bears a close resemblance to Captain Thorne (that’s probably why I adore him so much) but I really loved reading about his approach to solving issues in the book. He also has a great level of intelligence in criminal investigations and always supports the female lead in this series which loved seeing.

EliasAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

One of the main reasons why I love Elias is because he was able to discover where his faults lie and was willing to fix them. Moreover, he was open about it and was not afraid to discuss it and why is was important for him to correct it (more so in the first book). I also loved that as a soldier, he was brave yet had empathy unlike his other fellow companions within the training academy. GOALS!

Captain ThorneThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Captain Thorne is probably one of the best characters in the Lunar Chronicles series. Every time I would read one of scenes, I could not help but smile at his hilarious comments! I also think he had really great character arc in this series as well and it was great to see his growth. (Ahem . . Why is this almost turning into a Book Boyfriend tag . . .Focus ASH! FOCUS!)

KellA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Kell is a sweetheart. Yes, he is an Antari and wields powerful magic but he will always hold a special place in my heart. Throughout the series we see Kell grow from a lonely young man to one who discovers his true family had always been beside him. It was heartwarming to see the brotherhood between him and the future heir of Red London as well as the dynamics with the female lead Lila. I truly believe he is a character who showcases a perfect example of strength, vulnerability and compassion.

Kaz BrekkerSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Six of Crows duology is one of my favorite series of all time. One of the main points of interests in this novel are the characters and Kaz Brekker as the mastermind leader of the Dregs was phenomenal. I loved that you never really knew what he was thinking or planning to do and that made it even more interesting to read about him and where the story might go. Despite being criminals, I appreciated that the author provided glimpses to their pasts since it does help ground them and even help us as readers to relate to them. These are perfect cases where when you take away the labels and stereotypes, we see that at the end we are all human and we all feel the same way.

And this is my list! Who are your favorite characters? Did we have any similarities?

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

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Grace and Fury Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Tracy Banghart

Publication: July 31st 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Since I managed to get the ARC of the second book (Queen of Ruin) at BookCon, it’s about time I picked this one up! I was actually surprised on how this book turned out! While I do feel that there were some YA tropes which I recognized from previous books, I think author did a great job in moving the storyline in a different direction which overall delivers the main theme of feminism and strength. In addition, this is also a great novel to pick up if you are ever in a reading slump since its very fast paced and I ended up enjoying it! 

Summary (From GoodReads)

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Characters:

Serina – Patient, Submissive (at first) – Serina’s character growth is phenomenal and I think she was my favorite part of this entire novel. She is initially very accepting to all the societal rules around her and believes that as a woman, that’s how she is supposed to be but then later develops a boldness and courage which I really appreciated.

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Nomi – Strong, Determined, Outspoken – While Nomi’s story was not as dynamic as Serina’s, we still see developing tension and court politics moving into play. She faces a lot of struggles as well and takes a powerful blow to her inner strength with her experiences.

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Final Thoughts

While I do feel like there were similar tropes such as the Cinderella fairytale and the Hunger Games dystopia setting, I liked that it focused on feminism and the sister relationships which I love to see in books mostly because they remind me of me and my sister. At first,  I was not able to connect as deeply with these characters and it could be because it moved too fast but with the progression of the story and the character growth, I found myself developing a connection with them over time. I will also say that there was one instance which I found to be predictable but I think this is also because of the amount of YA novels I have read so it was not much of a surprise to me. 

But let’s talk about the positives! The main points of interest is that we follow these two sisters who are placed in situations which are completely out of their comfort zone and they endure serious challenges which overall contribute to their character growth.  We do have to two perspectives (one for each sister) and I ended up preferring to read Serina since her plot dynamic suddenly flips to the most extreme and I was so curious and interested to see how her journey would progress! I think she is faced with so much challenges which push her to her limits and she develops into a strong leader and I loved seeing that growth! Nomi is also a character I admired. She is already strong in her values and beliefs from the very beginning but she finds herself caught in a web of court politics and it is interesting to see her navigate through this web which she has never come across before.  

In terms of plot, I think the story only gets interesting about halfway through the novel. We see plot lines growing more intricate and dangerous. We see the stakes being raised even further. While the beginning does incorporate a lot previous YA tropes we have seen before, I do believe that the author only started to differentiate the storyline about midway through the novel. One of my favorite scenes (not a spoiler) is the cliff scene where we see a build up of a lot emotions and it was handled very well: “You fight back. Always.”

Overall, I definitely think this was a satisfying opening to a series. While there were some similar tropes used, we do end up receiving a different storyline by the end along with a dynamic character growth which I loved seeing unfold. BUT THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING THOUGH!!! 😦

Have any of you read Grace and Fury? What did you think of it? And stay tuned for my review of the second book coming soon!

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

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