Thursday, September 26, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #11

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Favorite Wizarding Way to Travel

This week was a free week, where we get to chose the topic we want to feature.  Since I missed some good ones before I joined up to this MEME, I decided to go with my favorite wizarding way to travel.  JKR comes up with some really original and amazing ways of travel when you think about it.  Apparition is wicked convenient and saves a ton of time, but it also kind of makes you sick and apparently feels really weird.  Then there's Floo Powder which is brilliant when traveling to and from Wizarding houses but can get complicated when some crazy Muggles decide to board up their fireplace! But I have to be honest, my favorite magical way of travel is still by:

Broom


...maybe it's my love of all things related to Halloween, Witches & Wizard but I've always thought it would be beyond incredible to be able to fly all over the place on a broom.  Think of all the stuff you'd get to see, or how cool it sounds to fly by the light of the full moon around midnight...preferably on a night like Halloween!

I loved how Harry was so naturally good at flying on one of these in the series.  Especially when we get that glimpse into his past at Godric's Hollow, flying a little broom around the living room? Sigh :*) Plus, it's the only way to play Quidditch!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *50*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Since this week marks my 50th WoW post, I went with something very special:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Expected Publication: April 1st,2014 by Little, Brown & Company

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
This is the big one guys,  as soon as we had a cover I knew I needed to bump this one up the list to be featured - Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the third and final installment in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy!  I seriously, can not wait to get my hands on this one.  I need to know the rest of Karou & Akiva's journey and honestly I'm craving Laini Taylor's gorgeous prose ♥

Any other DoS&B addicts out there?
Don't forget to link me up to your WoW!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Reckoners #1
Published September 24th 2013 by Delacourte Press

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
**An ARC was provided by Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson's second new series launch this year, (I still need to read The Rithmatist), and both of those titles are the author's first YA offerings.  Being a HUGE fan of his adult high-fantasy series, Mistborn, I was especially curious to read his take on super heros, especially set in a futuristic dystopian world.  Needless to say, I've been very eager to start reading Steelheart and upon having finished it, I can safely say that there is nothing better that having your faith in an author rewarded.  Yep, this. was. awesome!

With Steelheart, Sanderson flips the traditional, and often formulaic world of super-heroes completely on it's head and offers up a world where the ones who have super-powers don't become heroes at all.  Instead their power seems to corrupt them and leave them with a desire to rule over humanity.  When The Epics, as they're called, came into power, it ushered in a terrible period of darkness for humans.  Many lives were lost, cities were completely destroyed; still other cities came under the fierce and tyrannical rule of especially powerful and fearsome Epics, like Steelheart.  No human stands a chance against an Epic, so no one ever fights back...except a shady underground group of regular humans known as The Reckoners, people who have spent years collecting information on the Epics, and their weaknesses.

Right from the start, I was pleased to find that Sanderson's world-building skills aren't limited to traditional high-fantasy worlds.  The world in Steelheart something else entirely.  It's amazingly well-constructed, especially considering it's about people with super-powers.  The premise is solid but also mysterious and ominous.  I felt the darkness of this world seeping into every single seen.  It never felt safe and I think this added a whole other layer to this already compulsively readable story. The plot sinks it's hooks into you right away, that prologue left me reeling and fully aware that I was in for the ride of my life.  Sanderson is never heavy-handed with the descriptions or details, but everything always ends up strikingly vivid and real.  It just never ceases to amaze me.

The characters are another area I have nothing but praise for.  It always feels fresh to read YA literature from a male's perspective.  And since I already knew Sanderson was brilliant at writing from female's POV (a.k.a. my beloved Vin from the Mistborn trilogy), it was especially great that Steelheart is told from David's perspective.  David is instantly relatable, as well as likeable. He's a nerd with a mission and I can't help but love that!  The cast of supporting characters really stood out as well though, each one of them was so unique and endearing.  Beyond being incredibly brave and kind of nuts for risking the wrath of the Epics.

Speaking of which: the Epics. They scared the crap out of me and I'm not even going to pretend like they didn't.  The sheer power some of them exhibited was truly mind-blowing, especially when you consider that none of them were using their power to help anyone.  It's like it made their powers seem worse somehow, definitely more threatening anyway.  The powers themselves were really cool - I was impressed how varied and original they all seemed to be.  I can't wait to learn more about the Epics, and how they got their powers!

I guess there are no big surprises from me here: Steelheart was an amazing read through and through!  This is a truly stellar start to an incredibly promising series....so...when can I get my hands on book two?!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: The Burning Sky


The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Elemental Trilogy #1
Published September 17th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
**An ARC was provided by Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review**

The Burning Sky was a book I immediately knew I wanted to read.  Elemental magic something I can never get enough of, so the promise of a female elemental prodigy was really a no-brainer for me.  With a fresh take on fantasy world-building and two memorable main characters, The Burning Sky proved entertaining and compelling enough to hold my interest from start to finish!  There are some bits that I wish would have been explained differently, or in more detail but all things considered, it was an enjoyable read.

The Burning Sky is told in dual narratives, alternating between Iolanthe, the prophecised elemental mage and Prince Titus.  I thought both were equally engaging as MC's and the dual narrative really worked well with this type of story.  It never felt repetitive, like dual POV's can sometimes when the characters relive the same moments and as readers we end up reading the same scenes, just from different perspectives...which can be frustrating sometimes.  Instead, the switch in narratives picked up right where it would leave off with the other character. Nice.  I did feel like we got to know Titus a bit more than we did Iolanthe and while I see why the story had to be so (Titus can seem a bit conflicting at times, so we need more input on his motives & thoughts), I still was hoping that Iolanthe would be the bigger focus of this story, because: elemental mage!!

The story reads pretty quick, especially considering it's size and I never found myself bored.  The world-building isn't all that extensive but enough to have an understanding of how things are and how the different kinds of magic work.  In fact, I found myself wishing there had been a bit more detail or background on magical items like the Crucible, a magical book that works as a portal and a gateway for alternate worlds that are kind of like our version of virtual reality!  It's something I hope we'll be getting more information on as the trilogy progresses.
As is usually the case with me, I enjoyed the fact that The Burning Sky allowed for a female MC to have most of the power...and to do some of the rescuing for herself.  I thought that both the male and the female characters were well balanced, there was both a male and female here as well as a male and female villain.  The heroes were equally courageous and bold, while the baddies were comparably terrifying and powerful.  There is a slight romantic storyline that peeks out early on but it's very slow to go anywhere from there.  Mostly, it was like a friendship developing with some romantic undertones.  I was expecting the romance so it didn't affect my impression of the book; I felt that it worked well with the plot but it never became the main focus.

I'd recommend The Burning Sky to fans of YA fantasy reads who enjoy a good story.  The plot isn't always as action oriented as I was expecting but it still held my interest.  I thought the non-magical bits were entertaining and even funny!  It's a solid start to a promising trilogy and while I did have a few minor issues, on the whole it was a fun and exciting read.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #10

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Favorite Book in the Series

Yikes, this is like asking people with kids to choose their favorite (I imagine?) - don't make me choose! O.O  The entire Harry Potter Series has been and will always be my favorite series of all times, so in a way, all the books are my favorites.  Out of the seven story parts, I do have certain ones that hold especially special places in my heart- Prisoner of Azkaban & Half-Blood Prince, but my absolute favorite out of the bunch has got to be:

Deathly Hallows

No big surprise here, right?  To me, JKR took her story to a whole other level in this one.  The added legend of the Three Brothers, the Hallows and the quest for the Horcruxes all added a certain mythical feel to the trio's adventure.  I mean, they broke into the Ministry, Gringotts AND Hogwarts in one book!


Harry has an amazing character arc in this one as well.  He's grown so much already at this point but in this specific book, he blew me away.  Christmas in Godric's Hallow brought on all the feels and the fiasco that followed was a game changer.  Then there's chapter 24, The Wandmaker, where Harry finally puts everything together.  That bit where he can picture Dumbledore nodding to him in his head, eyes twinkling...Sigh ♥


The Missing Mirror is another chapter that brings on the feels, but nothing could have prepared me for Chapter 34, The Forest Again.  Ugh, just thinking about it makes me want to cry and hug someone or something...like my copy of DH.  That entire chapter, from the first word to the last just kills me!


And then you get to the ending. As perfect as it is, I still never ever want it to end. You can't rip my heart out and expect me to move on like nothing ever happened!  That's probably why my first 3 re-reads began as soon as I'd read the last page in Deathly Hallows. >.<  I just couldn't let go and say goodbye...It's just so sad but happy at the same time. Gah!

I don't know about you guys, but I kind of want to re-read more than ever right now haha!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *49*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Death Sworn #1
Expected Publication : March 4th 2014

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
I'll admit that Death Sworn first caught my attention with it's striking cover BUT that was quickly overshadowed by talk of lost magic, assassins, murder mysteries & hopes of changing the world! This. Sounds. Awesome.  I can't wait to get my hands on it!

What are you waiting on?
Link me up :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #9

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Favorite Character

This week, we were given almost impossible task of picking one favorite character in the Harry Potter series.  One single choice among the sea of beloved characters from the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. O.O  Luckily for me, this question has an easy answer because as much as I adore so many of the characters of the series,  my favorite character of all is and has always been:




The Boy Who Lived himself, Harry James Potter. Throughout the series, Harry was always the one I felt the most connected to.  I really could relate to his feelings as he was going through whatever life threw at him.  Most of all though, he is my hero.  It's a simple as that.  I admire him so much that a motto of mine is : What Would Harry Do? His bravery, loyalty and determination make him not only my favorite character in the series, but my favorite hero of all time.

And I'm glad that Harry is my favorite because otherwise I would have to chose between Sirius, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Lupin, Luna, McGonagall, Fred & George...and that would really be impossible ♥

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *48*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Alienated by Melissa Landers
Alienated #1
Expected Publication: February 4th, 2014

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.
Yeah, I've been looking forward to this one ever since I first laid eyes on it - You guys know me and my love for sci-fi!  The premise sounds fresh and addictive too, so predictably, I'm very eager to dig into this one

What are you guys waiting on?
Link me up :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published September 3rd 2013 by Little Brown Books

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
**An ARC was provided by Little Brown  in exchange for an honest review.**

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was my very first Holly Black read and my first vampire book in quite a long time.  I 'd been looking forward to getting into this one for months because it sounded like a fresh take on vampires while avoiding the fluffy, clichéd take on your typical YA paranormal book.  While I do credit Holly Black on her no-holds-barred approach to vampirism -especially one that takes place in a dystopian setting, I simply failed to connect with the characters or their journey.  The plot seemed like one giant detour into it's inevitable outcome and I found myself wondering why it took us so long to get where we were going.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown starts off with an intensity that's hard to beat!  We're thrown right into a gory and frightening world and for the first few chapters, I figured I was in for one hell of a ride.  Holly Black is definitely skilled at setting up a macabre tone and maintaining it, even with the most simple details.  You never forget the horrible world that surrounds the characters and the imminent threat of danger is palpable throughout.  This is not your typical fluffy, vampire read.  There are true horrors to uncover and the blood, violence and death within these pages in on full display.  I was excited by this fearless story-telling and eagerly read on.

My issues with this book began when we begin to get a deeper look at the characters involved in this story.  Unfortunately I didn't find many of them to be particularly likeable or relatable.  Tana, the main-character was probably the one I had the most trouble with.  Don't get me wrong, she starts out likable enough; I appreciated her bravery and her kindness throughout the book as well.  My issue was with her motivations - mainly, the fact that she seemed to blindly decide a plan early on, without really having enough to follow through with it.  She decides to voluntarily journey into the worst vampire settlement in the world - which is quarantined by the way, with her ex-boyfriend who is infected and a strange and kind of crazy vampire she just met.  All because she has a tiny scratch on her leg, which means there's a minor chance she could be infected.  All the while, she flip-flops between her secret desire to want to be a vampire, and her unflinching hatred of all vampires.  It's hard to get behind and MC when her motivations, feelings and thought process seemed so continually jumbled.

The other characters in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn't fare much better for me I'm afraid.  Tana's ex-boyfriend Aiden was supposed to be charming and sweet but most of the time I just found him selfish and manipulative.  Winter & Midnight, two siblings we meet a little further in are no better.  In fact, they were decidedly worse, each one having next to no redeeming qualities.  Similarly, other characters were introduced throughout the story but very few of them seemed likeable in any way.  When you're a huge character reader like I am, no caring for most of the character's well-being in a book is never a good sign.

There were a few exceptions of course. Gavriel was easily the most compelling and intriguing character of the bunch.  Poetic tortured souls have always been a weakness of mine so it wasn't hard for him to get my attention.  Whenever the story turned to his perspective, or when there were flashbacks about his past, I wanted to know more.  Valentina and Jameson we also likeable enough, but neither got enough face-time to win me over completely.

I think one of my least favorite aspects of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was how everyone felt the need to film everything.  I get how reality television is in right now, but having never really gotten into the trend, I was endlessly annoyed by people facing death and danger and wanting to stop to make a vlog about it.  I don't know about you guys, but if the world is facing a vampire invasion, I'm not stopping to film the damn thing.  This is a personal gripe I know, but I needed to vent about it.  It probably won't bother every reader, but I think the story would have been better without that added element.  It does play in to the plot eventually (somewhat) but I don't think it was a necessary addition.

To sum it up, fans of Holly Black's ambient writing-style and/or fans of vampire books will probably want to check out The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for themselves.  Personally, while I do still want to check out Black's other books, this one just didn't do it for me.  There were some good things about the story as a whole and it certainly gets points for originality and world-building but in the end, my indifference towards the characters and their journey really affected my overall reading experience. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Harry Potter MotW # 8

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Teaching at Hogwarts

This week, we're speculating about Teaching at Hogwarts. Specifically, what subject we'd go for if we were teachers at Hogwarts! I had an especially hard time narrowing it down this week (surprise, surprise) but I think I'd be most likely to teach:

 Transfiguration


How cool is it to be able to change something into something else?!  More than that though, how brilliant would it be to be able to change yourself into an animal.  I'd want to learn how to change myself into some kind of feline so fast!  It sounds pretty complex and a little scary but man, I think it would be beyond awesome!

I've always had a soft spot for Charms too, all of the stuff you can do seems brilliant, a lot of it dead useful and some other stuff, just plain impressive *blinks* Then again, I can easily see the Muggle-born in me become completely obsessed with the rich History of Magic and wanting to learn everything that ever happened in the magical world.  I'd hopefully be more interesting to listen to than Professor Binns...but then again, I doubt we'll ever get rid of him >.<

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *47*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Starbound #1
Expected Publication: December 10th 2013

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
It would have been hard for me to ignore this one even if it didn't have such an eye-catching cover.  I mean, it's sci-fi guys!!  Outer-space, aliens, other planets = win.  I was a bit hesitant about the whole romance element but from the early reviews I've read it seems that more or less everything about These Broken Stars is incredibly well done and compelling.  This is one of the debuts I'm most excited about this year so I'm pumped that the release date is getting closer...so I can finally start reading :D

Don't forget to link me up to your WoW post!
Happy Hump Day ;)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass # 2
Published August 27, 2013 by Bloomsbury

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.


After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
*An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.*

Crown of Midnight is a stellar sequel to Throne of Glass, and is just as compulsively readable!  I read the better part of this book in a day and was left with one of the worst book hangovers I've had all year.  If anything, Crown of Midnight, surpasses it's predecessor in the gut-wrenching feels department which leads me to wonder how any of us will ever survive the rest of the books in this series...

Crown of Midnight picks up more or less where Throne of Glass left off and it sets the mood perfectly within that first chapter for the rest of the book.  Celaena is now the King's Champion but things are not quite as they appear to be and it's clear that it won't be long before things start getting very complicated. And deadly.

Whew, where to begin?  This is essentially a case where every single thing I enjoyed about Throne of Glass was stepped up a notch for the sequel.  The characters grew; they became more complex and so did their relationships with one another.  The story arc became darker and more intricate, setting up new elements, while also bringing in themes or plot points referenced in book 1.  The mythology, which I was already a BIG fan of, grew, twisted and changed, all while keeping in perfect sync with what had already been established.  Absolutely everything about Crown of Midnight was done masterfully by author Sarah J. Mass - so much so that I literally sat in awe once I read the final page at her sheer brilliance and epic storytelling skills.

The narrative in Crown of Midnight is still mostly told from Celaena's point-of-view, but we also are treated to paragraphs and chapters told from Prince Dorian and Chaol's perspective.  This is a perfect example of alternating POV's done right. The story never looses it's flow during a switch and it's always clear who's mind where reading into at any given time.  Celaena once again delivered for me as a main character.  She goes through some truly unbelievable things in this one - both good and bad, but she still managed to continually impress me.  Not to mention the crushing feels she brought on! Gah!  I couldn't help but see some similarities between her and my beloved Vin from the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, which was all kinds of awesome.  They're both deadly, highly skilled and they can both easily hold their own (and best) any male counterpart in battle! ♥

Prince Dorian, Chaol and Nehemia all displayed similar character growth but in vastly different ways, which made each of of their journeys that much more satisfying and engaging.  Their relationships with one another also flourish in a satisfying and layered way.  Sometimes it was surprising,  times it was exciting...and then there were those times when it was gut-wrenchingly sad and earth-shattering.  I just have so much love for all of these characters that I could easily imagine them all having their own solo adventures and me gobbling up every single one. 

Overall, Crown of Midnight was a stunning and impressive follow-up to Throne of Glass.  All the things I loved about the first book came back full force, and then some.  If you're looking for a sequel that not only holds up to to it's predecessor but manages to step every element up a notch, then you need Crown of Midnight in your life. Right now!  That ending though...that ending just might kill you O.O  it was a close call for me *whew* but if you're lucky enough to survive, I can guarantee you'll be willing to crawl over your own mother just to get your hands on book 3. Sorry mom!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars