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Book Review – King’s Cage

Title: King’s Cage [Red Queen 3]

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Length: 507

Rating: 5 Star

Book Series Reviews: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4

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Description/Synopsis:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Oh my god I don’t even know where to begin. If my heart wasn’t ripping in two I think I would have a better time at formulating sensible and understandable thoughts, but it is so I am sorry in advance if nothing makes sense and its just me yelling into the void.

The crushing weight of silence hangs heavy as always. For a moment it’s too difficult to breathe, and I wonder if this is how I die. Drowned in this bed of silk, burned by a king’s obsession, smothered by open air.

For those about to go into this book, the first half is almost unbearably slow. It starts off where the last book finished off, with Mare captured by Maven and we spend six months with her as she is being tortured in various ways. I both really liked and didn’t liek this part of the book. I found it was a bit repetitive in its slowness, and I can fully understand why because as we are in Mare’s head and nothing very much is happening to her other than being tortured, dealing with PTSD, and trying to stay alive as she learns as much about Maven and the court as possible while she is there. I did enjoy learning more about this real Maven we are presented without mother or him pretending to be a golden child to her. Their relationship is really interesting to me because of how alike but different they are, and how they both sort of end up relying on each other to keep each other sane but at the same time breaking each others mind.

I would like to go on record at this point that I do not get all the Maven love that is throughout most of the reviews on this book. Yes, I can understand Maven more now, I can sympathise with more knowing the full extent the job his mother did on him, and I find a lot of his parts interesting. However, he is completely fucked up. There is no fixing that level of fucked or really finding any redeeming qualities in no matter how much this series is about how people are not just good or evil. His mother literally removed all his good parts, he is basically not a real being at this point. He even thinks so. I am interested in seeing how his story ends, but if it doesn’t ed with his death I am going to very disappointed.

Maven Calore is not his own self. He told me as much. He is a construct, a creation of his mother’s additions and subtractions. A mechanical, a machine, soulless and lost. What a horror, to know that someone like this holds our fates in the palm of his quivering hand.

Through all her torture Mare sort of solidifies in her character. Instead of just going from moping about things to electrifying anyone who annoys her, she learns who she is through having to try and put herself back together after truly suffering. She realises where she was arrogant and becomes more likeable. She knows who she is.

The second part of this book basically doesn’t stop moving once it gets going. A lot of political things have been happening in the first half and once the ball of war starts moving it just kept smashing through things and people. The second half of this book is physically epic where the first half was very psychologically breaking.

A new thing we get in this book that I really really enjoyed was that we got two new points of view. In the first half we get Cameron’s point of view of what is happening with the other characters while Mare is with Maven. I really thought I wasn’t going to like being in her head at all considering how much she got on my nerves in the second book, but it actually made me warm up to her. She still isn’t my favourite character but some of the tension between her and Mare is smoothed out and he get more of her inner thoughts that different to just the dumb antagonistic things she says.  The other point of view we got in the second half was Evangeline. Now if I was surprised by how my mind was changed on Cam a bit, you can bet I was bloody surprised when I was excited to get inside her head. I don’t know if I can forgive her for how vile  she was in the first two books, but her points of view were some of my favourite parts of the book.

SPOILER – CAL HOW BLOODY COULD YOU?! I WAS BLOODY ROOTING FOR YOU! I THOUGHT YOU HAD GROWN MORE OF A BLOODY BRAIN! WHY CAN’T YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM YOUR DAMN MISTAKES?! YOU ARE KILLING ME! – END SPOILER

I kiss him for what could be, what might be, what will be—the last time. His lips feel strangely cold as we both turn to ice.

For those who are reading this reviews and the other very mixed ones online, if you liked the first two, you will most likely enjoy this one. Just get past the first half. Enjoy the emotional trauma knowing that everything starts moving once you get passed it. Just get passed it and you will be here sitting with me and my throbbing heart painfully waiting for the next book to come out.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Glass Sword

Title: Glass Sword [Red Queen 2]

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Length: 440

Rating: 4 Star

Series: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4

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Description/Synopsis:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I really enjoyed this story. Not as much as the first but it was still very enjoyable.

If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.

In this one Mare sets off to hunt down and save the other ‘new bloods’ as she started calling them. Plot wise this kept me entertained for awhile. She won some, she lost some, and the first few were interesting. This part of the story dragged a little bit for me though so I was glad when it started to move on. I don’t think this book was really supposed to be plot based for the most part. Obviously things do happen or it would be pointless but I think this one was more about character development and the introduction of all the new bloods that are going to hold key points in the story later on.

Oh Mare. I love you, but you tested my patience a bit. There were times in this book I just wanted to shake her because it seems as though as she just hadn’t really learnt anything from anything that happened on the previous book. I get the struggles she was going through, I really do. I also think that there was a lot of the ‘Mare is so evil’ agenda being pushed in our faces again, through fights that seemed a bit pointless and even her own thoughts. But for the love of god, its the same thing that gets her every single time. I am glad she at least she acknowledged just how dumb she was at these moments. I truly hated her a little though when it came to her first interaction with Cam. I just straight up hated Cam though so I can forgive her for it. . . I guess. There was also a part where she killed people who were surrendering that made me sad for the way she was turning.

No one is born a monster. But I wish some people were. It would make it easier to hate them, to kill them, to forget their dead faces.

I really liked the way the new characters changed all the interactions between our old characters, and some of them stood out in their own right as well. Be it because I hated or loved them it didn’t really matter. Shade is by far my favourite side character I think. He is just a lovely person always trying to do his best and he really knew how to speak to Mare when she was taking things too far or being stupid. I really liked his and Farley’s relationship too. I didn’t find Farley very interesting going into this book but I liked the things we learnt about her in this book, it gave her more depth and made her interesting and I want more on her. Kilorn just made me angry most of the book.

SPOILER – Maven popped up in this book more than I expected. I hate him and wish he would die but his popping up certainly kept parts of this book from becoming dull. The first time we see him again and he attacks Mare with the sounder device that pretty much turned her own electricity against her and burnt her up from the inside out was both amazing and horrifying. I was so scared for her and I could almost feel her pain, but I felt so bad for all the people around her who had to watch this happen and then have her beg for death before basically going into a coma for awhile. END SPOILER

The most boring character development person was probably Cal. I feel so bad for him though. He just lost his whole family and his kingdom, the thing he was raised to rule and look after. I think he is completely wrong in thinking its not worth starting a war over change, but he is just stuck between a rock and a hard place. Without turning his back on people who can’t really move on. He has to decide to kill the silver people he loves, or turn against the girl he loves and be an enemy of the people he is staying with. I would probably be just as annoying and mopey if I were in his place. His and Mares relationship annoyed me a bit in this book, the least the both of them could do is decided on their feelings for each other. And Maven. So frustrating to read.

“I’m starting to think you like prisons,” he says, idling knocking his knuckles against the wall. “And that you have the worst taste in men.”

I think I am going to leave this review here. I know it was sort of just a character check in, and it wasn’t even every character, but I cannot really talk about the plot for this one. There are still some unoriginal things going through this book, and to me is seemed slower than the other book. There are things that happen scattered throughout the book, some that make me happy, some that make my heart hurt, but they are all hugely spoilery so I can’t go into them at all. If you liked the first book I think you will like this one and it is definitely worth picking up this book!

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Red Queen

Title: Red Queen [Red Queen 1]

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 352

Rating: 5 Star

Book Series Reviews: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4

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Description/Synopsis:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This review comes after my second time of reading the book. I thought I reviewed it in the past but apparently not! I did it in audiobook form for the second time around and I really enjoyed the audiobook. Lets move on.

I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.

I want to say going into this book knowing how other people feel about it, saying that it wasn’t original and predictable, I was sad. I was so looking forward to the book and then I see all these really negative reviews, I had to drastically lower my expectations. Coming out of the book I can see what they were talking about, the story in a written world filled with dystopian books or hard done by characters who sort of become a chosen one, it was not original and yes at times predictable. But in a way now I am grateful for the reviews I saw going into this book because if I had gone into it thinking how new it was going to be I might feel the same way as everyone else, except I loved it.

The unoriginalness didn’t really bother me, specially the second time around. I decided to reread because I had not read the rest of the series and I am planning on meeting the author this month so now was the time to re-enter the world. Part of me expected to like it less and I think I ended up liking it more. I cannot believe how much I was enjoying being back in the world.

I loved the characters, even when I hated them. They were for the most part really well written and developed. The only ones I think could have used some more flushing out were the King, and maybe Mare’s parents. But that is a tiny gripe in a see of characters I liked.

I loved Mare. She was a flawed human being, but nothing she did in this book that ended up badly for other people was intentionally bad for those people. She is pushed as a very manipulative character a lot, and yes she is but she doesn’t really want to be. She doesn’t start her interactions with people with the mindset of stuffing them over most the time. Something will happen, and then a situation she is already in becomes a solution or involved in something else she is doing. I worry for the way things will go for her. I love the imagery of her power coursing through her, but she is surrounded by people who act first without really thinking about how using that power may affect them or anyone else later on. She is in a world were winning is really the goal in anyones minds and I worry about how that will affect her.

They trained me for this. It’s their own fault. They helped make their own doom.

I liked both princes’ for the majority of the book. Cal and Maven are very different people but I thought they were both very similar at the same time. They are both very moody, dramatic, and powerful. But all these things come out in different ways and it makes them sort of at odd with each other. I felt bad for Maven at times because being compared to the golden child that is Cal, and then also having a whisper for a mother would really mess with his head. I loved and didn’t love Cal. He seemed so good to Mare and wanted to help her but had no interest in helping of the millions of other people like her. I can see why, he didn’t want war, but I couldn’t really get over that.

SPOILER – I knew how the book was going to end the second time obviously, but towards the the last third of the book I was really starting to doubt if I remember right. I remembered from the first time round that you are lead to believe that Cal is actually the more ‘evil’ brother and Maven is sweet and pure, but then Maven is the one that betrays Mare in the end. I knew this, but as I was reading I started questioning this knowledge. Is Maven actually going to betray her? Or did I get them muddled up in my head and its actually going to be Cal? I really loved that about the second time round. Aveyard had written it well enough that after some time between the two reads and already knowing what was going to happen, I had to question my own memory. – END SPOILER

Side character wise I wasn’t too interested what everyone else was doing, but I can appreciate the characters the same. I thought Kilorn was so damn stupid. A well written stupid but oh my god I just wanted to smack him. Stop making bad decisions because you are sulking that Mare in an attempt to save you from being conscripted is now in a life and death situation that isn’t all about you! I can see myself liking Farley more as I get to know her and she doesn’t just seem like a pushy person. She has some guts though, I would have broken for sure going through what she did in the book. Queen Elara was just scary, Julian was lovely and I pray that he is as lovely as I think he is, and just thinking about Lucas breaks my heart.

Anyone can betray anyone.

I know this review ended up being more about the characters, and thats because I liked that development the most. I really liked the world building and the idea of what is going on in this world and why everyone is at odds is so good, but the plot isn’t anything new that we need to talk about here. Despite that though I loved this book, and I cannot wait to dive into the next book in the series. Go into this one with lowered expectations and you may come out like me, a huge fan. If you are looking for something ground breaking then this isn’t the book for you.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Mini Mondays – Cruel Crown, Hush Hush, Zenith

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Title: Cruel Crown [Red Queen 0.5]

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Length: 208

Rating: 3 Star

Series Reviews: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I both liked and didn’t like the two separate stories in this book about things that happened before Red Queen. I liked learning about queen Coriane in Queen Song. It was really interesting learning about the events that set up the whole of the series. I did feel that we rushed through lots of it though. Yes it was a short story and it wasn’t supposed to be a full length book but I think it could have been longer than it was.

Now Farley’s story in Steel Scars was a bit less interesting. It really bored me up until Shade started appearing in the story. I liked hearing about how he was spending his time while Mare was off doing her thing. I didn’t get nearly enough of it because I would have really liked to know the moment he worked out he was different. I think that would have been great. In terms of parts I really didn’t like about this part of the book though would be the letters back and forth. I don’t know if it was because I was doing the audiobook I couldn’t really keep up with who was talking to who and I tended to zone out when they did it quite a bit.

Title: Hush, Hush [Hush Hush 1]

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Young Adult

Length: 391

Rating: 3 Star

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

There were times in this book when I was into it. I liked some of the romance and the story was interesting enough at some parts. The thing that really killed this story for me was the writing in general.

I found myself getting really angry when the characters were speaking. The dialogue was so grating and forced and to me it was all very predictable. I was more into it at the end, but getting to the end was hard. I was posting in my bookish groups on facebook asking people what they had thought, if they had felt the same way as me, and if so is it worth continuing. Despite the fact that I was getting physically angry listening to the audiobook while driving because the writing and the dialogue, I got enough positive feedback to continue on. I did it, its done and I didn’t want to bash my brain in at the end, but right now I have no intention of ever doing the rest of the series and have infact unhauled my physical copies after listening to the first one.

Title: Zenith [The Androma Saga 1]

Author: Sasha Alsberg, Lindsay Cummings

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Length: 534

Rating: 3 Star

Series Reviews: 1, 2

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I really wanted to do a full review on this book as I received the ARC from the publishers for my honest review, but I just can’t do it. I don’t have enough words to do a full review and I think I would be doing more damage to my review and just the book in general if I tried to push myself to do the full one so I am just going to let it be in my Mini Mondays. Thank you Harlequin Teen.

I went into this book with very mixed emotions. I was so looking forward to reading this book that one of my favourite youtubers had been working on for so long, and that I had watched work on it for so long. But then the negative reviews started just gushing in. I don’t think anyone that I really follow in the bookish community gave it a good review, and most of them just didn’t review it at all so I don’t know if they actually read it or didn’t want to hurt their friends feelings. Either way though, to me it seemed like the community in general was not impressed with what was put out. My expectations had dropped to the point where I nearly just didn’t pick it up at all.

But I did. I am glad I had seen all the negative reviews before I entered because it probably saved what there was for me to enjoy in the book because I prepared for the bits that I was just not going to like. You can tell this is Sasha’s first book. She really could have spent a lot more time editing and doing more drafts as you can see just the inexperienceness she was bringing to the table. The dialogue was just so hard to listen to at times, and the plot was at time very predictable, and some of the characters characteristics and ‘roles’ in the story were very forced. There were parts of the plot I enjoyed or got swept up in, but for the most part the main thing I enjoyed were the characters and their relationship to each other. Not all the time mind you, but the majority of the time.

I am going to pick up the next one and I look forward to seeing where it goes and just how much they may or not progress in terms of just ‘quality.’ It was not the worst thing I have ever read, but it was far from being a breakthrough debut.

 

Till Next Time. . .