Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

Fitz is born a bastard to the King-in-Waiting, and automatically, he can either become a threat or a tool to the royals. Without much of a choice, he becomes a tool, learning to become an assassin while growing up in a court surrounded by enemies.

Fantasy, 435 pages, published in 1995

Fitz is born a bastard to the King-in-Waiting, and automatically, he can either become a threat or a tool to the royals. Without much of a choice, he becomes a tool, learning to become an assassin while growing up in a court surrounded by enemies.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: animal cruelty, attempted suicide, child abandonment, bullying/abuse

I have to say, I went into this with a lot of preconceived notions. I don’t typically like older fantasy books, because I’m enjoying the trends and diversity of new fantasy. Also, this book and series are held in incredibly high regard, so that always makes me a little nervous.

For the first 100 or so pages, I was totally thinking that this book just wasn’t for me. It was boring and I could only read about 3 pages at a time, but then I hit a certain point, and I just couldn’t put it down! I ended up thoroughly enjoying it!

The book is from the point of view of an older Fitz telling his story from when he is 6 years old and freshly abandoned, to when he in his mid-teens. Another point this book has against it is that I typically don’t enjoy books that cover this much time, especially when told by the main character of their past. I can’t really judge if this was done well, but it certainly wasn’t done poorly.

Fitz’s story is so sad. He has pretty much no one he can trust, and as soon as he does, they get ripped away from him. He goes through so much in just the span of this book, and I know he survives it (because he’s telling the story), but I know he’ll go through even more throughout the series. I think this did a good job of endearing me to him. I just wanted to give him a warm drink and a hug and put a blanket around him, despite feeling like he doesn’t have a super distinct personality yet.

I really, really enjoyed the evolution of the relationships Fitz does have. They are kind of always in flux because of how precarious Fitz’s situation is.

There is one conflict at the center of this book that I actually really enjoyed. There is an external threat to the region and the way it was done was so cool! There were definitely parts that were genuinely scary if I thought about myself being in that situation.

My biggest negatives for this book were that the beginning was so slow and that there were hardly any female characters. I can understand this was kind of a product of it’s time, but I still would have loved to see more women in this.

There were a bunch of things left open-ended for the rest of the series, and I’m honestly really excited to hear more of Fitz’s story, as well as the rest of the series in the Realm of the Elderlings.

(Also, I got the illustrated editions with artwork by Magali Villeneuve and the art is stunning! Here are some of them (spoiler-ish), the one of the Fool is my favorite.)

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

Things I Would Love to See in Upcoming ACOTAR Books!

Since finishing A Court of Silver Flames, I’ve been thinking about what I want from the rest of the series. There are projected to be two more full length novels and possibly another novella (at least). I wouldn’t say these are predictions necessarily, so they won’t be backed up with facts from the series, but these are just some things I would like to see. As I was writing these points out, it really started to sound like I am dragging this series…which I’m totally not! It is still one of my favorites and SJM is one of my favorite writers, but no series is perfect.

*THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES SERIES, INCLUDING A COURT OF SILVER FLAMES*

Since finishing A Court of Silver Flames, I’ve been thinking about what I want from the rest of the series. There are projected to be two more full length novels and possibly another novella (at least). I wouldn’t say these are predictions necessarily, so they won’t be backed up with facts from the series, but these are just some things I would like to see. As I was writing these points out, it really started to sound like I am dragging this series…which I’m totally not! It is still one of my favorites and SJM is one of my favorite writers, but no series is perfect.

NO MORE MATES.

Please. PLEASE. I’m so tired of mates. It’s made out to be this super rare thing, but we already have three pairs of mates among the main characters. I really was hoping Nesta and Cassian wouldn’t be mates, but of course they were. SJM even mentioned that being mates doesn’t mean those characters have to be together, but she hasn’t shown that.

The single reason that I like Elain and Azriel as a couple is because they AREN’T mates. It would be a clear rejection of the finality of mates, but unfortunately, it looks like Azriel and Gwyn are going to end up being mates, or at least involved. Since SJM really doesn’t like to keep anyone single, I would assume that means that Elain and Lucien is kind of inevitable as well.

Along the line of mates, I am sick of possessive males. This didn’t feel like an issue in Throne of Glass, but it feels like every male character in this series is a possessive bastard. Rhys in ACOSF drove me over the edge, and I’m sick of it.

MORE EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD.

I am getting a little sick of Prythian, especially the Night Court. I would love to see characters go to the regions in the east for more than a few pages. I also think it would cool to go to Hybern. Since the King was defeated, what’s going on over there? I just think there is a lot of potential for more cool stories or creatures, which actually brings me into my next point!

MORE CREATURES OR NON-HIGH FAE CHARACTERS.

One of the things I loved about the first book was all of the creatures in the Spring Court! I loved that there were characters like Alis, the Suriel, the Attor, and naga. I thought all of those were so cool. There were some others throughout the series, like Bryaxis, but I want more! Having all the main characters all be High Fae, or vaguely High Fae is getting boring. I want creatures and things I’ve never seen before, not an endless stream of perfect and beautiful High Fae.

I can see how SJM kind of tried to incorporate this with Gwyn’s quarter-water nymph heritage, but that’s not enough for me.

DIVERSITY.

None of the main characters are anything more than an ambiguous “tan”. Mor likes women, but that has only ever been discussed like once, in 4.5 books. SJM needs to step it up. It is unacceptable for a series that is still ongoing and an author with MANY books under her belt to still be writing such straight, white characters in this day and age.


Do you agree with any of these? What else would you like to see in the future ACOTAR books?

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

Fantasy, 336 pages, published in 2020

El must navigate Scholomance, the deadly school for those with magic. But in a setting where allies are key, El has always been an outsider with no one to rely on.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Before I say anything, I want to point you to this article about racism and representation in this book, as well as Naomi Novik’s response.

Okay, so this book gave me the weirdest feelings any book has ever given me. I didn’t like Novik’s Uprooted, but I wanted to give her another chance. This book is SO different from Uprooted, but I still don’t think I liked it.

The narrator is Galadriel (yes, named after the LOTR character), who goes by El for short. The story is told in first person, with many (many) interruptions from El. They are anything from memories, to rumors, to explanations of why the tray return in the cafeteria is dangerous. I found these explanations quite obnoxious and intrusive. It felt like took forever for any actual plot to start because the story is constantly being interrupted by whatever El feels the need to explain.

El is also super powerful, but can’t prove it because her power is mass destruction. This had me rolling my eyes a bit, honestly.

The setting was actually quite cool. Nowhere in this school is safe and there aren’t teachers. Students really do just have to fend for themselves, and many of them will die. There were lots of politics around who helps who out and what can be traded or sold.

I didn’t think this was a romance going in, but then about halfway through, it felt like it could be. It walked the line between a romance and not being one, so it felt like this book just didn’t know what it wanted to be.

I really just don’t know what to think of this book, even a week after finishing it. On one hand, it had an interesting setting and I did want to know what happened next, but on the other hand, most of the characters were so one dimensional, not to mention El’s constant interjections. I truly don’t know if I want to read the next book. The ending kind of dropped a bombshell, but I don’t know if I am curious enough to find out what it means.

If you’ve read this book, what did you think? I’m so curious! I’ve seen so many different reviews of this book.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

A retelling of Dracula’s brides that spans centuries and countries.

Fantasy, 248 pages, published in 2021

A retelling of Dracula’s brides that spans centuries and countries.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: blood, violence, abuse, toxic relationships, grooming

I saw this book described as a dark, polyamorous retelling of Dracula’s brides, and that had me sold. I actually don’t really know the original story well, but I previously read a different retelling (The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave) and I enjoyed that as well.

The book follows Dracula’s first wife, Constanta, who he saved from a gruesome death. They eventually move around Europe and add more people to their family.

This book is written as a diary addressed to Dracula, though he is never actually named. I always find letters or recollections that have scenes and exact conversations like a standard novel would have a little jarring. If you were telling someone a story, or recording it in a diary centuries later, you wouldn’t recall exact dialogue, so if I think too long about that format, it takes me out of the story. I do think the format served a purpose though, and I think my issue is pretty much unavoidable when it comes to telling stories that way.

I think this story did an excellent job of portraying the feeling of immortality. Constanta realizes that when you have forever to live, time kind of just passes without you noticing. The book takes place over the course of roughly 700 years, and as the reader, you can see the world change around these characters.

The dynamics of the relationships in this book were so interesting. Dracula and Constanta are joined by another woman and a man, and whole they are all Dracula’s “brides”, they are all in a polyamorous relationship. I have been absolutely craving any sort of poly relationships in books, and even though this one definitely wasn’t healthy, it was nice to see. A lot of this book focuses on how manipulative and controlling Dracula is and how he uses fear and dependency to keep his family controlled.

I just really liked this book! It is short, but I think it was the right length for the story it was trying to tell.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

Lightbringer (The Empirium Trilogy #3) by Claire Legrand

The conclusion of the story of the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen.

Fantasy, 592 pages, published in 2020

The conclusion of the story of the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Content Warnings: coercion/drugging, psychological torture, suicidal thoughts/attempts, violence

Ah, where to even start with this book? I enjoyed the first two books in this series because they were exactly what I like about older-leaning YA fantasy: fun, sexy, dramatic, while still having tons of fantastical elements. This finale…didn’t really have those elements.

The plot of this book was extremely slow going. The first half (at least) was what felt like the same chapters over and over. The characters are going through some stuff, so I think it was done to show how dire their situations are, but it was just a slog.

One major gripe I have is about the POVs. In the first book, chapters are only from either Eliana or Rielle’s POVs because they are the main character. In the second book, other POVs were introduced and there were even more in this book. Normally, that is fine, but the side characters with the POVs ended being pretty much irrelevant to the plot. There are quite a few characters in this series and only a small handful ended up being relevant.

I never really understood why Rielle did the things she did. As this book went along, it was harder and harder to care about her because she was making bad decisions for what felt like no reason. The villain also felt a little flat, like he was just being evil for evil’s sake. There is a loose reason, but again, I don’t feel like it was believable. He does a lot of stuff in this book that is absolutely terrible, so it just felt a little too much like torture porn to me.

I feel like this whole world is built up and there’s lots of lore and layers and things to be explore, but it just felt a little wasted on this story.

I thought the ending made sense with the story, but there was an element to it that was just so unsatisfying. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but I feel very lukewarm about it.

I’m not sure if this book was particularly bad, or if it was me that changed. I started this series in 2018 and my reading taste has definitely evolved since then, but there were still elements of this book I would have found frustrating no matter what.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

Review Catchup – Five Mini Book Reviews!

I have been skipping some reviews lately, especially on books I don’t have a ton of thoughts on. I don’t like leaving books unreviewed, so here are some quick reviews for books I’ve read since the beginning of the year!

I have been skipping some reviews lately, especially on books I don’t have a ton of thoughts on. I don’t like leaving books unreviewed, so here are some quick reviews for books I’ve read since the beginning of the year!

Realm of Ash (The Books of Ambha #2) by Tasha Suri

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I LOVED this book! The main reason why I didn’t review it was because I read it in about a day, so my memory of it is hazy. This series has some of the loveliest romances in fantasy because the way Tasha Suri writes slow burn relationships is just so good. I highly recommend both books in this series!

The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I keep absolutely devouring these books. While they are so filled with interesting conflicts of emotion that I love, the worldbuilding still confuses me a bit, which is why I haven’t given any of them five stars. The slow evolution of the main relationship in this series absolutely kills me and I am so excited that I caught up just in time for the next book to come out! I am very excited to see where this series goes as we enter the second half.

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thought the beginning of this book was really slow, but the second half really picked up! Combined with the abrupt ending and mixed feelings on the POVs, I felt like this was a solid start to a series, but not necessarily the best book by itself. There were certainly characters that I liked though! The world also was super cool and a breath of fresh air.

A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have a lot of feelings about this one. I overall enjoyed it and thought it was a good conclusion to the series, and even though things happened that I wanted to happen, I still felt a little disappointed. It’s a hard feeling to explain, but it felt a little predictable and I wanted to be a little surprised. It was still a great series though!

A Thief Among the Trees (An Ember in the Ashes #0.5) by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Apparently, there are going to be three of these prequel graphic novels. I’m not quite sure they are necessary, but I did really enjoy seeing little Elias and Helene.


Can you see why I didn’t write full reviews on these? I just had a couple of sentences to say about each! Sometimes I just don’t have much to say about a book, even if I really enjoyed it.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J. Maas

The latest installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Fantasy, 768 pages, published in 2021

The latest installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: trauma, mentions of sexual assault, depression, graphic sex

*There will be spoilers for the previous books in this review!!* Normally my reviews tend to be as spoiler free as I can get them, but I don’t want to waste the energy trying to be vague about certain things because I have a lot to say.

Where do I even start with this? It felt so weird to me to actually another ACOTAR book in my hands! Going in, I really didn’t have any feelings about Nesta. I realized as I started that I kind of skimmed over all of the Nesta and Cassian parts of the previous books in the series.

I definitely enjoyed this book – to a certain degree, I think I will enjoy any SJM book – but there were definitely some issues I had with this one.

I thought the pacing and set up of the story was so off. Not a ton happens in the first half, then there are two pretty major plotlines that happen in the second half. I feel like neither of those plotlines got the time they deserved. Both would have been really interesting if there had been time to fully explore them both, but there wasn’t, so they both fell flat for me.

I enjoyed being able to see some of these characters from a perspective that wasn’t Feyre’s, specifically Rhys. My opinion of him changed quite a bit in this book, and I don’t think it would have had I been seeing these events through Feyre’s mate-tinted perspective.

There was a whole plotline with Feyre and Rhys that I could not stand. The idea itself was not bad, but every part of how it was executed made me so angry. I don’t want to say more because spoilers and also I could rant about this aspect of the book for days. It definitely affected how much I enjoyed this book.

I’m not sure if it is just because I’ve read some books with great worldbuilding since I first read this series, but I felt like this book had particularly convenient worldbuilding. Every time an obscure thing was brought up, one of the 500+ year old characters just so happened to know the whole history of that thing, without it ever being mentioned before in the series. It just felt kind of lazy and also left me very uninvested in how it related to the plot.

On to the things I did like! There are a couple new characters in this book that Nesta befriends and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the book. One of the things that I think this series lacks in general so far has been female friendships, so it was nice to see it and also nice to get to know some characters outside of the Inner Circle.

Also, I have to say, I think SJM has improved on her sex scenes. There were definitely still parts that were silly to me, but overall, better than before. There is definitely a reason this book is adult, not YA, and it’s mostly these scenes.

Even though Nesta’s journey as a person was at the core of this book, with the romance, multiple plots, and random Feysand sideplots taking up time, I do wish there was more of it because I liked what we got.

Overall, this was definitely a fun read! I could read like 100 pages and not even notice time passing, but I don’t think it is perfect or SJM’s best work.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

Set in modern day Seoul, the lives of four young women are examined.

Contemporary, 288 pages, published in 2020

Set in modern day Seoul, the lives of four young women are examined.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: abuse, suicide, predatory behavior, mental health, fertility problems, cheating, misogyny

I overall liked this book and I think it definitely dove into some dark topics, but there were definitely a few glaring issues I had with it as well.

This felt less like a novel, with a beginning, middle, and end, and more like a collection of moments from these girls’ lives. There were four POV characters, so each chapter was devoted to their past and current situation. The four characters are:

  • Ara, a hairdresser who lost the ability to speak because of an incident in her past and is obsessed with a singer from a K-Pop band
  • Kyuri, who has fought her way to the top to work at one of the top room salons in the country
  • Miho, a poor art student who was able to study in America with the South Korean elite
  • Wonna, a newlywed struggling to get pregnant, despite not knowing how she will be able to afford a child

There is also a fifth character, Sujin, who is pretty prominent, but doesn’t get a POV. All five women live in the same apartment building. Ara and Sujin live down the hall from Kyuri and Miho, while Wonna lives downstairs with her husband. One of my main issues was that Wonna just felt a little too disconnected from the other girls. The rest are “friends”, while Wonna doesn’t really know them, so I think it would have made more sense for Sujin to have a POV. Wonna’s story felt like something that still needed to be told, but maybe not in this book.

I did also think that the POVs didn’t have distinct enough voices. They all had vaguely similar childhoods, to the point where I can’t really distinguish them now.

There was a ton of social commentary in this book. One constant throughout is the pressure of being beautiful. Kyuri spends enormous amounts of time and money on skincare and cosmetic surgery. It is important to her job that she looks beautiful, but that pressure is reinforced by men who visit room salons and will pay more, depending on how beautiful the women are.

Miho is surrounded by extremely rich kids when she is studying in America. While they are friends with her, it is in an almost superficial way. It is clear that they are uncomfortable when Miho’s poorness shows in a way that they can’t ignore, so she does many things in order to make them comfortable.

I think the common ground that a lot of these issues have is that societal norms are so rigid and exact that anyone who falls outside of them is left to struggle. Kyuri is beautiful, but works in a room salon. Miho is talented, but comes from nothing. Wonna gets treated terribly at work for taking maternity leave, even though it is expected of her to have a child.

I felt like the book ended kind of abruptly. There wasn’t any real “plot” necessarily, so nothing really got resolved. I did really enjoy the messages that this book was trying to get across, so I was able to put aside some of my disappointment. It feels a little unfinished and not totally cohesive, but I definitely look forward to what Frances Cha writes next!

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

ACMC Readathon TBR!

I never do readathons, mostly because I find them stressful and I’m a mood reader, but this one is a whole month and most of the books I already want to read fit the categories! Also, it is hosted by one of my faves, Elliot Brooks, so I’m in. Check out her announcement video here!

I never do readathons (or TBRs for that matter), mostly because I find them stressful and I’m a mood reader, but this one is a whole month and most of the books I already want to read fit the categories! Also, it is hosted by one of my faves, Elliot Brooks, so I’m in. Check out her announcement video here!

The theme of the readathon is animal companions and mythological creatures, even if they aren’t a super prominent part of the plot. There are some different categories that serve as prompts:
– Type of animal/creature (land, sky, sea, beyond)
– Age range (adult, YA/middle grade)
– Area of inspiration (African, European, Asian, Indigenous, and South American)
– Representation (mental health, disability, and LGBTQ+)

These are all sorted onto “MAGIC” cards (Bingo, basically), so if you complete a row, you’ve completed the readathon. Here is the MAGIC card I am going for:

On to the books! I have three different tiers of books, based on priority to complete the readathon.

Highest Priority

Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle #2) by Rosaria Munda
– YA
– LGBTQ+ rep
– sky

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb
– adult
– mental health rep
– European
– land

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (The Singing Hills Cycle #2) by Nghi Vo
– adult
– LGBTQ+ rep
– Asian
– land

Medium Priority

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #2) by Jen Williams
– adult
– LGBTQ+ rep
– sky

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart
– adult
– LGBTQ+ rep
– Asian

Lowest Priority

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
– adult
– LGBTQ+ rep
– beyond

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda (reread)
– sky
– YA

Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain (reread)
– adult
– land
– European

The Deep by Rivers Solomon
– African
– sea
– LGBTQ+ rep
– adult

Here’s is what my goal is for my MAGIC card:

The pink boxes are my primary goals, while blue is a secondary goal. You can double up on prompts for this readathon, which is why I could technically just read my highest priority books and still complete that pink column.

I think this is a totally reasonable goal for me! Three of the books are short and two are rereads. Also, given that it is an entire month, it gives me the flexibility to still mood read and even read books outside of this list, while still leaving time to get these done.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!

February Wrap Up, Haul, & Update!

I have been doing an absolutely awful job at keeping up with reviews and posts that I want to write. I’ve missed 5 or 6 reviews over the past couple months, so I am going to do a mini review post, including all of those. That way, I don’t have to stress myself out that they still aren’t done, and I can move onto reviews that are fresh in my mind! I want to keep on top of my writing schedule better, so I think this will help.

I have been doing an absolutely awful job at keeping up with reviews and posts that I want to write. I’ve missed 5 or 6 reviews over the past couple months, so I am going to do a mini review post, including all of those. That way, I don’t have to stress myself out that they still aren’t done, and I can move onto reviews that are fresh in my mind! I want to keep on top of my writing schedule better, so I think this will help.

Wrap Up

* these will be in the mini review post I mentioned! The rest that aren’t linked will (hopefully) be getting full reviews

Book Haul

I bought some highly anticipated sequels, as well as some starts to series and some standalones! I really can’t pick which I am most excited to read!

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest for more book updates and pictures!