#BOOK REVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J. MAAS

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Amazingly beautiful cover! So many unexpected twists. An ending I had to read twice as more and more depth was revealed. Oh so good! That’s A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Maas is a master at storytelling. Period. And this book is even better than the first in this series.

I chose to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses to get back up to speed before reading this one. And I’m glad I did because I’d forgotten so many of the details Maas gave us. For instance, I’d forgotten just how broken Feyre is from her time “under the mountain.” This installment picks up with Feyre reeling from that trauma. She’s back with Tamlin and we’re breathing a sigh of relief…but not for long for he wants to put her in a glass box to protect her from every danger (to protect his fragile heart), while she withers from the stifling confinement…confinement not unlike what she experienced under the mountain, and she fractures.

As if that’s not a complex enough beginning, the Lord of the Night Court intervenes… I love how Maas uses characters she’s coached us to hate, just to reveal another side that explains why they behave as they do…and from motives we not only accept, but actually advocate, launching us in a whole new direction. As a side note, I loved the banter between Feyre and Rhys–It’s clear they both use it to protect themselves from being vulnerable and exposed, but at the same time in my head I’m thinking, just lay yourself open and bear, you won’t regret it. Oh feels…

Sarah introduces a host of five major new characters, an inner circle, that are each so different from each other, wounded and traumatized just like Feyre. I loved how they each grow and develop throughout the story helping Feyre sort through and begin to heal from her brokenness. What awesome friends.

In book two, we also discover what that “minor” detail in book one accomplished when all seven Lords gave a drop of their power to bring Feyre back to life.  Look out. Talk about power…I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Feyre masters these new abilities in book three because the story is just begging to go there, especially when the King of Hybern needs to be dealt with. And we already have forewarning that the dude plans to use Feyre, and not for good.

I have to add a plug for the world building as well. Maas added a lot more depth to several of the courts in book two–the political divisions between, the relative power of several, different races, and how betrayal can emerge without warning.

I must confess I JUST finished rereading the last five chapters of this book because the first time through I had to know how it ended, but Maas throws SO MANY details in those last chapters that my reread left my head spinning, it was so good.

CAVEAT: I need to mention that while this book is technically listed as “Teen,” there are several explicit sex scenes that had a purpose in the narrative, but if you are turned off by that kind of thing, you’ll probably want to steer clear.

I give this 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Mist and Fury on Amazon

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BOOK REVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J. MAAS

CourtofThornsandRaoses_CoverUnique in a way that makes you fall even more in in love with the characters–that’s how I summarize this Beauty and the Beast retelling by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): 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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

WHAT I THOUGHT: This is my second read of this book. I read it the first time when it came out a year ago in May 2015, but with the release of the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury days ago, I needed to reread it to remind myself what had happened. I found the second reading even better than the first, filling in details I hadn’t noticed before.

So, lets first touch on the amazing and beautiful world that Maas built. Humans live in fear of the powerful fae living north of an invisible, but magically strong wall. Fae who live forever and must manage the politics by and between seven courts: Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Dawn, Day, and Night. And then there’s Hybern, a monstrous island that is set up as a threat to the fae for later, in another book in the series. When I first saw the names of the courts, I remember rolling my eyes thinking how unoriginal, but Maas does a good job giving us enough detail and flavor for differences between that the lack of originality actually worked, although I’m looking for even more rich differences as the series progresses. I’m particularly looking to understand the different powers each of the High Lord’s of these courts wield.

And then there’s the characters…

Feyre is a nineteen year old who has been the provider for a family, formerly of means and status, who has fallen on very hard times as a result of her father getting greedy with his business dealings and losing everything. She’s the only one who is mobilized to hunt and do anything pragmatic to help her, her two sisters and father survive.  From the get go we see a character who is strong and who cares for others at her own expense, but whose heart is fragile after everything she’s been through. Such a great foundation.

When she kills a fae in disguise on the human side of the wall, we meet Tamlin who claims Feyre and drags her north to the Spring court. Tamlin is set up as a mysterious character who only after conversation with his second in command do we come to learn his name, and only after conversation with a creature who Feyre ensnares and must tell the truth, that he is High Lord of the Spring court. This unveiling does a good job at building the secrecy that is prevalent among the fae. And based upon how Tamlin treats Feyre, protecting, caring for, and more, when she deeply understands she is nothing in Fae society as a human, I found myself rooting for the pair.

And then there’s Lucien, Tamlin’s second in command who has a gold fake eye, replacing the one someone or something dug from his head. The detail sets up the mystery of his background. We observe his indifference of Feyre and only later come to understand and appreciate  all the trauma he has endured as a member of the Autumn court now living in Spring court.

The details of these main characters and their flaws make them relatable and endearing.

And then there’s the plot. I feel like there should be ominous music playing LOL. Wow, Maas’s amazing imagination is fully on display and satisfies the need for gripping suspense, rooting for the underdog, and hoping the best for lovers pining but separated by a powerful, evil villainness, Amarantha. As you might imagine, Feyre is the target as the weak human, used as a tool to get at Tamlin who has fallen madly in love with her.  Oh goodness… what a series of conflicts that has you cheering the whole way.

I won’t spoil the ending but will just say that Maas sets up book two in a satisfying, but not in-your-face announcement kind of way, giving Feyre more powers than she started with.

This is a must read! I give it 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Thorns and Roses on Amazon

NOTE: I would call this New Adult, not YA based on the mature situations detailing torture and some explicit sexual content.

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Queen of Shadows

QueenofShadowsQueen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, Book 4) by Sarah J. Maas

Wow! How’d she do that? These seem the only words befitting this book…It’s that good. A true ride for the emotions…

SUMMARY FROM BACK: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

WHAT I THOUGHT: The first three books in the series have been excellent, but in this fourth installment of six, Sarah J. Maas steps up her character-development game for the characters grow and develop throughout the 600+ pages of this adventure in a masterful, believable way. The world-building that existed in the first three books continued and I was blown away as the characters became even more real, grappling with real problems in ways that are so human.

Aelin’s storyline revisits her painful past as she must once more face her master, Abromyn, the king of thieves, who has inflicted so much pain in her life. While I despised him for his cunning and scheming, he stoops to new lows. I have to say though that the very fact that I have such negative emotion for this man, speaks volumes to the artistry with which this character developed. Aelin confronts him once more and comes away stronger for it.

We again see Manon, the Blackbeak witch, whose character is forced to question militant authority and come to terms with the conflict between that and what she believes. While situations differ, her story is so relatable for most readers.

We also see Lysandra and Kaltain reappear, each woman coming to terms with and finally acting out of the inner strength we suspected they held. And a new female is introduced, Elide, who I suspect will be pivotal in the final book.

Love is also a central theme in this book.

Romantic passions ebb and flow between Aelan and Rowan, her fae prince, in such a way that I found myself routing for love to triumph and overwhelm as they resist and struggle at points. Oh, what a great romance continues.

Aelin’s relationships with both Chaol and Dorian change and grow as well, but way beyond passion. I loved how it deepened into strong and enduring friendships – friendships that are ‘to the death.’

One point I thought particularly well written: Love causes Aelin to save the life of a mortal enemy – What? Yes. It was a pivotal plot point and while I would not have thought it possible, it happened in a believable way. Because so many of Aelin’s loved ones have been killed (her family, Sam, Nemeniah) and because she has felt the irreparable pain of those losses, she has come to believe she must spare the life of someone, even an enemy, who is deeply loved by another. We see this when Aelin hears the gut-wrenching cry and sees the pain in the friend of her enemy, and without a second thought, Aelin throws herself in harms way so the friend of her enemy never has to know the pain of losing the one they so deeply love. So moving…

Setup to the next book – I loved the long denouement of this book for I wasn’t ready to be done and Maas didn’t make me. Longer than many, I appreciated the length for it allowed me to recover from so many emotionally charged experiences.The resolution for all the various characters was well done and set up the next book without giving anything away.

Overall, I found myself experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. I shrieked at a few of the the plot twists, oohed at the play between Aelin and Rowen, and find myself a bit exhausted in the end. Well done!

Get Queen of Shadows (Amazon)

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Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.