A Book Review: A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro

———- 4 Stars ———-

Blurb

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

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Published on: 1st of March, 2016

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 321 (Hardcover)

Series: Charlotte Holmes #1

Find it on…

Amazon / Goodreads / B&N

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Review

I didn’t expect to like A Study in Charlotte as much as I did. Before reading this book, I scrolled through several reviews , and this book was often given three stars. Perhaps I liked this story more because I haven’t read or watched a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories, so I don’t have a strong impression of the characters. Anyway, this book was a great adventure.

Basically, in A Study in Charlotte, Sherlock and John are real people, and each of them have descendants. Charlotte is a Holmes, and James is a Watson, and they meet (surprise, surprise :D) in the novel. I found this idea to be really intriguing and it was what drew me to the novel in the first place.

According to the blurb, Charlotte is supposed to be pretty similar to Sherlock, and she is! I was rather impressed with Brittany Cavallaro’s portrayal of Charlotte. Cavallaro is very skilled at maintaining Charlotte’s air of mystery. The enigma that was her past and her secrets truly captivated me. Another aspect of her character that I liked was her development. Through the scarce glimpses into her past (to maintain that mystery), I could see concrete evidence of Charlotte’s maturation, which made her character more realistic.

James’ character is also just as interesting. Since he narrates the story, he doesn’t have quite the same aura of mystery as Charlotte does, but his frustrations, his worries- his troubling thoughts in general are realistic. Another bonus is that James is an aspiring writer so I had a chance to peer into the mindset of a writer which is not a type of mindset I often encounter. Also James is quite melodramatic which I personally found humorous.

All in all, the characterisation of the main characters is very skillfully done. As for the minor characters… I think they could’ve been portrayed better.

A large part of this book includes Charlotte’s Holmish (yep, I made Holmes into an adjective haha) deductions. The deductions were fascinating and exciting. However, the deductions were not always logical- the link between her observations and her deductions are sometimes very weak. For example:

 

“But how do you know it’s a woman?”
She snatched the page back. “All it took was a few minutes’ research for me to find the origin of this font—it’s called Hot Chocolate, how twee—along with a few hundred others on one of those design sites. Well and fine, but that was the ninth hit on Google. The first was a website that catered to ‘sorority life,’ and I found our Hot Chocolate on the page about creating invitations for parties.”
“So she’s a sorority girl,” I said.
“She’s someone who looks at sorority websites,” Holmes corrected me.

Haha, because only females look at sorority websites right? And she could have only discovered that font from the sorority website and not that ninth hit, which is a design site. (Righttt)

The plot held my interest up until the final reveal because I was pretty disappointed by who the culprit was.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book immensely and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Sherlock and mystery!

Also, this book cover is gorrrgeous!!

 

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Cheers,

Kellie xo

Reading Update: Mid-2016

Hello readers!

It’s now August- which is way past “mid-2016”- but I did plan to do a reading update beforehand and I’m determined to follow through with that plan haha. I’ve wanted to write these sort of posts to share with you guys what I’ve been loving and hopefully find out what you guys loved to read this year.❤

20160807_094606editedWhat I’m Currently Reading

Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel

This book is a science fiction novel that I recently discovered from stalking reading the reviews made by my friends on Goodreads. It was getting superb reviews, so naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I’ve just started the novel and things are seeming pretty interesting! The first few chapters are in an interview format, and I’m hoping that the book will revert back to the usual storytelling format later because I can’t stand reading books that are in an interview format the entire time.😛

 Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn ↦

I picked up Dark Places recently, when I went to the local book fair in July. I was planning to pick up Gone Girl, but I thought this book sounded more interesting so I bought this one instead haha.

This book immediately grabs your interest when you start reading it. Seriously. Libby is a great and undeniably dark narrator. Combined with the spooky premise of the book, Dark Places is a pretty successful thriller.

Unfortunately, I left this book at home, so now I can’t continue reading it. Also, I couldn’t take a picture of it since it’s not with me.😦

What I’ve Been Loving

(I’ve tried to choose books that I haven’t mentioned before/ a lot on this blog)

↤ Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

This is a lovely romance that had me in tears by the end of the novel. Highly recommended! Also, there’s a film based on this book that’s coming out this year (guilty note: that’s sort of why I read this novel) which stars Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke!!

However, the message of the story is a bit controversial, but I didn’t mind it.😛

Captive Prince Trilogy, by S. U. Pacat/ C. S. Pacat ↦

This is a great M/M romance series. It had me hooked in the very first book all the way until the last book. I had never read any books from the M/M genre before, and this series was a great introduction into that genre. Also highly recommended!

↤ Railhead, by Philip Reeve

This is a fantastic science fiction/fantasy novel. I have to admit I was drawn to this book because of its alluring cover. Railhead is so much more than just a pretty cover though. It’s an adventurous, fun, and emotional read. Loved this book!

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I hope you guys liked reading this post! If you’re in a reading slump, I definitely recommend these books. If you guys have any books you’d like to recommend to me or loved reading, do leave a comment! I love reading your comments- they always make my day.🙂

Cheers,

Kellie xo

A Tag: The Love Tag!

Thank you so much to Aldii @Perfection in Books for nominating me!! She has one of the most wonderful blogs.🙂

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Books Other People Love But You Haven’t Gotten Around to Reading

 

 

The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson: This has been getting awesome reviews from my friends (irl and on the internet haha) and my family!! It’s so long that reading it seems pretty daunting though.

 

 

A Book That You Love But No One Else Talks About

The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner: I feel like you guys already knew I’d choose this haha. I love this book so so much!! However, I haven’t really seen anyone talk about it.😛

Stand Alone Books You Love

Art by Viria (the link is in the picture)!

Favourite Book Couple

Ahhhh this is a hard one to answer. I’m going to say Percabeth. I have wholeheartedly shipped this couple since I finished the last book in the PJO series which was when I was about 11 or 12.

Series That You Love

+ many many more series!

The Perfect Song

Oh goodness, this is so subjective… I’m going to say “Style”, by Taylor Swift because I just really like her songs.😛


A Cute DIY

I found this on Pinterest a few months ago, and I thought it was pretty cute. It’s a DIY hanging thingy that consists of bucket like thingies where you can put stuff in! I haven’t figured out how to embed anything from Pinterest, so I’ll just put the link beneath this paragraph haha.🙂

link

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And that concludes the Love Tag! I really hope you guys enjoyed reading this post. If you have anything to say, please comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts.🙂

Without further ado, the nominations!

Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

Heather @ The Sassy Geek

Alice @ Arctic Books

Hope you guys enjoy doing this tag! If you’ve done it already, feel free to ignore this nomination!!🙂

Cheers,

Kellie xo🙂

A Book Review: Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

3.5 Stars

Blurb

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

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Publishing Company: Disney-Hyperion

Published on: 5th January 2016

Pages: 486 (Hardcover)

Series: Passenger #1

Find it on…

Amazon / Goodreads / B&N

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In all honesty, Passenger was a “meh” for me.

Passenger is a story about time travel (one of my favouuurite themes). I actually really liked this aspect because I thought Alexandra Bracken presented the idea of time travel in a very nice way. For example, time travellers in this book keep a log about their travels so that they don’t run into themselves, which is an idea that definitely makes sense and was unique to Passenger. Thinking about it now, I have never read a time travel novel that actually addresses this problem.

Also, there are passageways that travellers have to take to go back/forth in time, which meant that time travellers don’t actually possess that much power. If these passageways didn’t exist, they would be stuck in their own time regardless if they could travel or not. This idea is also something I have never encountered before. Pretty interesting, right?

For the time travelling aspect, Bracken incorporated a variety of dates and places/societies which was intriguing. Through Passenger, I was able to learn about old/recent civilisations which I didn’t actually recognise (such as Damascus- I didn’t know this was an actual city in the past!).

All of that is why I was initially enjoying the book a lot. However……..

I didn’t the like the characters much. Etta was interesting enough, but I feel like her character could be developed more. At the moment, she isn’t exactly memorable for me. There is nothing unique about her personality that pops out since I’ve seen many different versions of her personality in other books: the “I-don’t-know-anything-about-this-new-world-I’ve-been-thrust-into-and-I-cbb-to-completely-understand-it-bc-I-only-want-to-save-a-relative-or-friend” person.

Her love interest really annoyed me because he elongated a period of needless romantic angst. I’m fine with his personality and his over-protectiveness, but good gracious! This dude made the romance- which is a pretty big aspect in this novel- so unbearable. As a result, I stopped reading this novel for a while.

Seriously:

He would not surrender to the disaster of loving her.
In time, the pain would pass.
But… he would regret the loss. The simplicity.

Oh my goodness. STaHp.

The plot was well paced but it was not spectacular. There weren’t many twists and turns, so there was no thrill but it was easy to follow. Etta and her partner’s journey to obtain an important object was so smooth that it became a little unbelievable. Despite that, the plot was better than the romance and her love interest.

Passenger was a cool novel, but I think it just wasn’t for me. If you liked it/want to read it, please don’t be put off/offended by my review! This review only includes my personal thoughts.

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A Book Review: I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga 

4.5 Stars

Blurb

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

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Publishing Company: Little, Brown and Company

Published on: 3rd of April 2012

Pages: 359 (Hardcover)

Series: Jasper Dent #1

Get it on…

Amazon / Goodreads / B&N

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People matter. People are real.

Wow, this book was a thriller! I hunt Killers is a consistently suspenseful and engaging book that had me engrossed until the very end.

What I absolutely loved about this book was how it provided an in-depth look into the mind of a serial killer. Although the main character, Jasper, isn’t actually a serial killer, he can certainly think like one. This allowed me to sort-of understand the psyche of a serial killer. Barry Lyga’s ability to illustrate the mind of Billy Dent (a serial killers in the novel who is also Jazz’s father) through a character who isn’t a serial killer (although I think Jazz is a little sociopathic) is definitely impressive.

His mouth was twisted in a wry grin, his eyes wide and alight with what some people- none of them in this room- might mistake for an impish glee.

In a lot of books, the psychopath or sociopath is presented wonderfully, but you never actually see inside their mind or look at things from their perspective. One thing I definitely understand after finishing this book, is that serial killers are really, really possessive over their victims (or prospects).

I hunt Killers also had a great cast of characters. Of course, since we see these characters from Jazz’s perspective who can spot a lot of telltales we’d usually miss. Hence, our understanding of the characters in this book deepens to a considerable degree.

The characters also complement each other very well. Connie’s fiery personality was refreshing and it enhanced (whilst also being enhanced by) other characters such as Howie, a loyal sidekick who can’t get into the thick of the fighting because of his low blood clotting factor. This means that the relationships between the characters were also quite interesting.

One thing I didn’t really like Jazz’s constant pity for himself. It was tolerable the first few times since Jazz’s worry about becoming his father is understandable, but it eventually got on my nerves. Also, it was really clear to me all along that Jazz’s primary suspects weren’t the culprits. The identity of the impressionist did surprise me though. The plot of this book was great, but not spectacular.

But aRGH that cliff-hanger at the end. I seriously can’t wait to find out what’s next!

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A Tag: The Get to Know Me Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Mariana @Book is Glee! Thank you so much for nominating me for this fantastic tag, Mariana, I’m so excited to do it!

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VITAL STATS

  • Name: Kellie
  • Nicknames: Kells, Bookworm, Ellie, Kellzy, Koala, Flamingo… (I’ve accumulated some interesting nicknames over the years haha)
  • Birthday: July 3rd
  • Star Sign: Cancer (I’m not as emotionally turbulent as those horoscopes alwaaays say…. except when it comes to books)
  • Occupation: Still a student!

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APPEARANCE

  • Hair Colour: Blacky-brownish because my hair is unhealthy😦
  • Hair Length: Long hair
  • Eye Colour: Very dark brown
  • Best Feature: Eyes? (not sure :P)
  • Braces: Nope
  • Piercings: Nopeee
  • Tattoos: Nopeee
  • Right or Left: I’m a righty!

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FIRSTS

  • Real holiday: When I was two, I was lucky enough to visit California in the US. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything about it.😦
  • Best friend: She is super super smart and awesome!
  • Award: Music award for coming third in a piano competition yay!
  • Sport: Running/Cross country, although I’m super unfit now (since I haven’t been running much now :/)
  • Concert: I’ve never been to a concert, but I’d love to go to one in Carnegie Hall some time!

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FAVOURITES

  • Film: This is hard >.< Maybe The Martian or Mulan?
  • TV Show: Teen Wolf (Season 5 is soo intensee), (I did like but never continued watching) How to get away with Murder…
  • Colour: Blueee!
  • Song: Probably something by Taylor Swift tbh😀
  • Restaurant: Ahh I don’t have one.
  • Shop: Page One! (a local bookstore)
  • Books: Oh no it’s the favourite books question again >.<
  • Shoes: Trainers (I practically live in them)

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CURRENTLY

  • Feeling: Tired (as always hahah)
  • Single or Taken: Sadly, I’ve never acted in any of the Taken films.
  • Eating: Apples
  • Thinking about: This post😀
  • Watching: Teen Wolf (Season 5)
    Wearing: I’m actually wearing pyjamas rn too haha. Highfive Mariana!

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FUTURE

  • Want children: Haven’t really thought about it tbh
  • Want to be married: I guess
  • Careers in mind: I’m just as direction-less as a scalar quantity. (yay for science references :P)
  • Where you want to live: A cool house/large apartment with bookshelf walls!

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DO YOU BELIEVE IN…

  • God: Not really😛 (I really hope I didn’t offend you. If I did, sorry!)
  • Miracles: Sometimes
  • Love at first sight: I’m a romantic, so yes haha
  • Ghosts: Sort of.
  • Aliens: Yes
  • Soul Mates: I wish!
  • Heaven: Not really
  • Hell: Not really, but it does provide a good basis for most swear words!
  • Kissing on the first date: Depends on the person, I guess
  • Yourself: Yepp

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Nominations: The amazing…

Anjie @Love Thy Shelf

Alice @Arctic Books

Bookspoils

I really hoped you guys enjoyed learning more about this, and if you’d like to do this tag, please do, because I’d love to learn more about you guys!!❤

Cheers,

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A Tag: The Playlist Shuffle Tag!

Thank you so much to Mariana @ Book is Glee for nominating. I’ve seen this tag around for a while, and wanted to do it, because it seems like a lot of fun, so thank you for nominating me!

What to do:

  1. Set your music to shuffle
  2. Write down the first 15 songs you hear!

Lastly, cheating is not allowed because then the list will no longer be random.😦

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Without further ado, here is the list!

  1. Love me Like That (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen) – The Knocks
  2. Make Up Your Mind – Florence + The Machine
  3. Wild Things – Alessia Cara
  4. Somebody Else – The 1975
  5. Hands to Myself – Selena Gomez
  6. Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood
  7. Colors – Halsey
  8. Set Fire to the Rain – Adele
  9. Photograph – Ed Sheeran
  10. Style – Taylor Swift
  11. Break Up In A Small Town – Sam Hunt
  12. Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey
  13. Love Story – Taylor Swift
  14. Telephone (ft. Beyoncé) – Lady Gaga
  15. Satisfied – Renee Elise Goldsberry, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

There’s my list (I have to admit, now looking at this list, I realise my music taste is all over the place haha)! Do you have any song recommendations? If you do, please share them with me!❤ The lovely nominees are…

Alicia @ #lovebooks

Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

Ali @ Arctic Books

Fatima @ Noteable Pad

If you’ve already done the tag, feel free not to do the tag! But if you do decide to do it, I hope you enjoy doing it as much as I have. :) Thank you to Mariana again!!

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A Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas

3.5 Stars | Warning: There may be minor spoilers (a.k.a. Quotes).

Blurb

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.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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Publishing Company: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Published on: 3rd of May 2016

Pages: 640 (Kindle edition)

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2

Get it on…

Amazon / Goodreads / B&N

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I loved the prequel to A Court of Mist and Fury, so naturally, I had high hopes for this book. Before ACOMAF’s publication, I thought of all the amazing possibilities there were for this series, and find myself a little disappointed by the direction this book is headed in. However, I did enjoy reading this book.

The plot of this novel was not remarkable. The first quarter of the book is essentially stagnant and Feyre is melancholic most of the time. Feyre’s broken state came across really clear, perhaps too clear (it was emphasised so much), to the point where I almost lost interest in continuing the story. Thankfully, the pace picked up soon after that. Like Maas’ other books, there is wonderful action contained within these pages… but all of the action is near the end, making the last third of the book extremely action heavy, and the ending chaotic. There are also some twists, but none of them were really shocking.

Even though I talk about being really bored when Feyre got so detached, I still think that part is important, because it paves the steps for Feyre’s eventual rediscovery of her true self. This meaningful, well written character development is definitely what won me over.

As usual, the main cast of characters in this book is utterly amazing. By the end of the book, I pretty much became emotionally attached to Rhys, his gang, and Feyre. Their friendship chemistry is simply awesome and the occasional witty banter made me enjoy their exchanges.

Her eyes fell on the open threshold to the bedroom hallway, and she grimaced. “Why,” she said, “are Amren’s eyes there?”

Indeed, right above the door, in the center of the archway, I’d painted a pair of glowing silver eyes. “Because she’s always watching.”

Mor snorted. “That simply won’t do. Paint my eyes next to hers. So the males of this family will know we’re both watching them the next time they come up here to get drunk for a week straight.”

Each and everyone of Rhys’ gang has a hidden part of their personality that makes them interesting, three dimensional. More about Rhys himself is also revealed and it allowed me to empathize with him at a level I could not before. Another character I liked was Tarquin, and… I hope he survives the next book.

On the other hand, there were other characters who were poorly neglected. For example, Lucien’s fiery personality which I had loved so much in the first book is now nothing more than a few embers, a remnant of what he was before. It was super disappointing. Tamlin, who was also one of my favourite characters from Book 1 just became nothing more than a flat character who had an overwhelming obsession with protection (his “wry humour” has all but disappeared). A lot of characters were sort of… trampled upon just to make way for the main gang.

Velaris was a lovely setting. I’d love to visit Velaris if it existed. *Sigh*, the troubles of a reader.

The Rainbow of Velaris glowed like a fistful of jewels, as if the paint they used on their houses came alive in the moonlight.

In general, the night court proved to be more complex than the spring court and thus, it captivated me a lot more easily. Outside of Velaris, there are also tribes of Illyrians. The traditions of the Illyrians were really interesting. Although the traditions are brutal and unjust (clipping their wings is just cruel beyond measure), it did show me another side to this world.

Before the events in A Court of Thorns and Roses, there was a war between the King of Hybern and the courts of Prythian. The characters who had a part in this war were often mentioned, and I really wanted to know more about them but it was not talked about much in ACOMAF. Hopefully, more parts of that particular story will be revealed in the next instalment since the war sounded pretty epic. In all seriousness though, a brief but informative history would make ACOTAR’s world much more believable.

Finally, the romance. The romantic arc in this book was a little frustrating. So much attention was placed upon the romance, that some attention was taken away from the plot, which is equally important. Also, why does Maas mess with my shipper heart all the time. In this book, my favoured ship sunk, but it’s ok, because I also love the ship that did survive. The romance between Feyre and her love interest is developed in a way that is simply beautiful. But let’s be honest here, all of the possible love interests for Feyre are 100% hot and also awesome.

And he’d be here during the summer, flying over the meadow, chasing me across the little streams and up the sloped, grassy mountainside. He would sit with me under the stars, feeding me fat summer berries. And he would be at that table in the town house, roaring with laughter— never again cold and cruel and solemn.

The romantic arc is a little similar to the overarching romantic arc in Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, so if you didn’t like the romance in those books, you might not like it in this book. Nonetheless, I do urge you to try out this book though, because there are definitely some great parts.🙂

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