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4 stars to City of Heavenly Fire (Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

Published June 2, 2014 by katheryn13

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last instalment of the internationally bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Erchomai, Sebastian had said. I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance?

Review:

Let me just clear this up: I was going to rate this book 3.5 stars. That was before the epilogue. I’ll just call this my “disclaimer” :P

So the end has come, and I guess we all knew it would happen. Would Sebastian aka Jonathan Morgenstern win the war? Would he rule all of hell and earth and whatever else he was planning?

A little part of me hoped he’d redeem himself. But alas it was not to be. I won’t say any spoilers, though that is going to make reviewing damned difficult because SO much happened.

I’ll get the negatives out of the way. I felt for the first half or three quarters of the book not a lot actually HAPPENED. Oh don’t get me wrong, lot’s went on, people did stuff and said stuff that were both bad and good, but the phrase “you say a lot without actually saying anything” comes to mind. Lots went on but not a lot actually happened. As in, I felt like I was being dragged around a playground for hours until suddenly there was a bump in the road. I dunno, bad analogy. Edit: I just remembered to add there were a couple of continuity problems and also the pacing…I don’t know if it was just me, but it felt off.

Then about half way, things started to get real. The ‘gang’ as I like to call them, travel into an unknown realm, which is basically…hell. They roam hills and vast desert, and encounter demons. This was the most interesting bit in this section for me, when they first arrive, and they each fall into a dream where their hearts desire come true. Although it’s not really their desire, as they each find out. I thought that added a nice twist, as opposed to just entering hell and it being a bit anti climactic.

As much as I hated Sebastian…I still kind of liked him. I understood (although not in a personal way) that he just, ultimately, wanted to be loved. The problem was, he didn’t understand that that other person needs a good reason to love back and it can’t be forced. He thought by threatening and practically forcing Clary to love him, it would happen. Which is what made me like him, despite the crazy shit he did, he was deep down lonely.

Now, we all knew that two new characters (well a whole family, really) would be introduced into this book. Emma and Julian being the centre pair. I understood why Cassie did this, because of her releasing a new Shadowhunter series in 2015. But…now here’s where my opinion might be unpopular. I didn’t particularly like how much they were in it. I get that you can introduce them, maybe have them in a couple of scenes, but in my view, that should have been it. They took up too much room and imo were quite boring. I felt zero feelings towards them, and it really bugged me. More because I had to drag myself through the long chapters they were in just to get to good stuff. I realise that I don’t have to read the next series, and I may not, but for an end of series book for the characters we already know and love, adding these new people for as much as she did, was a bit unnecessary.

Shoot pellets at me if you like.

Magnus as always was someone I hoped survived. Although in contrast to other books in the series, his part wasn’t that big. The wolves seemed to be more of a focus, which I guess yeah is okay, but I’ve never been a big lover of werewolves (long story) and so this put me off, but I was sad when a certain thing happened. Actually, two certain things, but that’s unrelated to the pack. *remembers not to spoil*

Onto the epilogue and this is where the dull parts of the book are redeemed because what happened at the end of the book broke me. I was sad, no tears though. Just…sad. Until epilogue and dammit, you got reminders of the Herondale family and a certain blue eyed boy and I’m like “WILLLLLLL I MISS YOU!!!” but yknow, that’s another story. Literally. hehe.

I just loved (and hated) all the references to the characters in TID and especially mentions of  certain ghost in the London Institute. (if you’ve read that series, you’ll understand.) but this is what made me cry. In some ways, I felt a stronger attachment to them than the Mortal Instruments crew.

I guess there’s not much else I can say. I enjoyed this book…well, most of it. Despite the whines and complaints, it was a good ending to a very good series. I’m glad nothing major happened, although some things were pretty scary. There were so many laughs, which was nice, it lightened the tension, and many twists and turns.

Looking forward to what Cassie next has in store for us…

Kat

4 stars to Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Published May 15, 2014 by katheryn13

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.

And its snap split the world in two.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

 

Review:

I was completely blown away with how GREAT this book is. In fact, I’d go as far as say it trumps the first book by miles. I read it faster, that’s for sure. And that usually only happens when the story flows well, the writing is great and I get sucked into the world of angels and whatever else there are.

I instantly felt bad for Karou. She’d lost her family, the only people she loved and could trust and after finding out Akiva was connected to destroying their world, she couldn’t bare to be in his presence. I wanted to hug her and also…maybe slap her? I mean, come on! Give the guy a break.

He didn’t single handedly destroy Karou’s former home.

Of course, now she’s run away. She discovers other chimaera that she thought were gone. Karou goes on a mission to build back an army and avenge Brimstone, whom had been killed.

This…not such a good idea.

I loved how the chapters didn’t seem to struggle, and I didn’t find myself pausing on the edge of boredom. Akiva and Karou are probably two of my favourite characters ever, and their strength and determination is one of the reasons.

We also see a LOT more of Mik and Zuze. I love these guys. They’re great.

I look forward to book three, and hope things work out. Because that was one hell of a set up for a battle at the end.

-Kat

4 stars to What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Published May 2, 2014 by katheryn13

Imagine that you have two minds, sharing one body. You and your other self are closer than twins, better than friends. You have known each other forever.

Then imagine that people like you are hated and feared. That the government want to hunt you down and tear out your second soul, separating you from the person you love most in the world.

Now meet Eva and Addie.

They don’t have to imagine.

Review:

In a world where everyone is born as twins (2 souls in one body), but come their 7th year one of the souls/twins has to become dominant and the other dies.  When both souls remain, they’re classified as Hybrids. Addie and Eva are Hybrids though they hide away,  scared of what might happen if found out. After coming in contact with another girl (Hally/Lissa, who they find out is also Hybrid), Eva decides she wants go learn to share control of the body again. Unfortunately Hally gets caught and in turn, so do Eva/Addie.

There’s so much going on in this book that it was so hard to put it down, and page to page of drama. I really liked Ryan/Devon, although Ryan more. The two guys (souls) were very different in personality and so it was easy to tell them apart, although it was usually Eva telling us which one it was. With all the different souls, I did, admittedly, get a bit lost on who was who. It seemed to me there were double the amount of characters. Haha.

So yes, I loved this story. As I said, lots going on, which made it hard to process everything sometimes, but that didn’t mean I had time to stop. Oh no. It was a rollercoaster.

On a side note, going through other reviews, why does no one ever mention other characters names? Occasionally I forget the names and have to google, and sometimes I on Goodreads to see reviews and all I see are the main two names but no others. I’m screaming WHY IS NOBODY ELSE MENTIONED?! Sorry, had to mention that. Back to the review.

There’s an aspect of survival’s instincts in this, and certain times when Addie/Eva would do something extreme, it made me want to cry out and hug them.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say. It’s just so good that I WILL be reading the sequel. I want to know what happened next. I NEED to know. I haven’t read anything this engrossing in such a long time.

Kat

4 stars to Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Published March 17, 2014 by katheryn13

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

 

Review:

I love high fantasy, and especially the kind that isn’t overly complicated, although to say this was easy to understand would be pushing it. It wasn’t.

The characters were engaging and I found I liked Celaena a lot more than I expected to. She’s an assassin but she has a heart and you see that throughout the book. I was expecting all hard edges and and no time to be nice, but with the Prince Dorian continued to beat down her walls, it was hard not to see that she is indeed a human being and she isn’t a complete monster.

Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, is as mysterious as they come and at first I quite liked him. I could see a love triangle coming from a mile away, though. Not that I don’t like them, because I do. But I’d already decided I liked Dorian; charming, witty, sly, sarcastic, sexy…Yes I wanted him. More precisely, I wanted him and Celaena to be one. But that was difficult with the assassin taking part in a challenge to become the Kings Assassin. Several trials would put 20 odd assassins down to four, and she would be expected to defeat them all.

I could see how much Chaol was starting to like Celeana more, however, and this concerned me. I just…didn’t connect with him like that. He was more “friend zone” than “love interest” in my opinion and I kept on hoping for Dorian. At first I saw some light at the end of the rhetorical tunnel, but it was not to last. I won’t say much more, because this is definitely worth the read and I want you all to see for yourself just how well written and captivating the world is.

I found the intricacies within the story, the tunnels and the secrecy with which the Kings Castle kept, and the magic that is contained within. Celeana discovering new things made me feel like I was experiencing the wonder with her, and I didn’t want to stop reading.

This isn’t just a story about letting down defences and finding reasons to love,  it’s ultimately  a story about a girl who endured a childhood full of heartache and torture, and is finally finding a  life for herself, and a way to escape the pain in what ever way possible.

 

-Kat

4.5 stars to Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Published January 10, 2014 by katheryn13

That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family. For her country. For her future. For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose . . . Will hope keep Lina alive?

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

Review:

I’m not sure how to write this review. I only finished the book a couple hours ago but it’s planted itself in my mind like a rock that doesn’t want to budge.

Yes, I know I’m terrible at poetry and analogies. So sue me.

Between Shades of Gray has to be one of the most depressingly sad books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read John Green’s books. So that’s saying something.

Now I know why I’d avoided this for so long. I was recommended it once and when I saw it in the library I thought, oh why not? Why not indeed!

The description was phenomenal, and the horrifying living conditions that these poor people had to endure made me feel like I was watching them all, a birds eye view. Because it’s based on  real events from survivors and family members, this made it twice has hard to read. Sure, the chapters were short and the writing flowed well so I didn’t find it difficult in that sense, but understanding that these people were treated like animals, spat on and kicked and made to live like slaves, was just too much for me.

And I’m supposedly part Russian, so this made me mad. Really mad. How could they do that?

But yes, I know these were different times, and most of Europe suffered because of high rulers who got out of control.

Lina’s journey is powerful, heartbreaking and at the same time, uplifting. To know that even with her family and friends dying around her, she is still determined to keep on living, to make it home, however long it may take. This made me want to keep reading. The strength and the positivity.

The illnesses kinda grossed me out though, and how obviously real it all was. It made me want to reach into the book and save them all. Knowing this actually happened…well, it’s just so sad. Yknow?

This was powerful, for sure, and I hope others find it to be the same.

Kat

4 stars to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 20, 2013 by katheryn13

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The not

e was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.”

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

 

Review:

I’d been meaning to read this for years, and I’m so glad I did. The writing is fantastic, so in-depth and really brings the story to life.

Most of the book was set in Prague, and that excited me because not often do you get books set in another country outside of the USA or even Britain for that matter. Some parts were even in Morocco.

Karou was an interesting and humbling character. She wasn’t irritating in the way some heroines in books can be, and she didn’t just sit back and wait for anyone to save her. She fought her own battles. But for her whole life she’s been kept in the dark about who she is and where she comes from, and after a while that would start to grate on your nerves, so when the intriguing Akiva finds his way to Karou by accident, they spark some kind of attraction.

Unfortunately, they’re enemies.

And with the portals that can transport anyone from Brimstone’s workplace to the human world  being tagged one by one, something bad is going to happen. The angels are planning a war.

Over the coming chapters, you get more of an insight into who Akiva really is, and why he’s so interested into Karou. He has a secret. Actually he has several, but only one really makes a difference and finally he realises he’ll need to tell her.

I daren’t say anything else because some of it gets really spoilery.

My only comment is that I found some of the flash back/alternate character POV chapters a bit…dull. Not to mean the writing was bad, because really, oh my god, it was not. But because I’d become so attached to Karou’s POV that when it changed for so long, I missed her. In the end, I forced myself to read it. The worst part about it is that this was the last few chapters. I knew I couldn’t give up this close. I found to enjoy it and got used to the change.

That ending. Wow. I just…I can understand why it happened, why that character did what they did, and I can understand the other’s feelings, but dammit. >_<

So I highly HIGHLY recommend you read this, because the romance, the action, the intense thrill of the ride, will keep you on your toes.

This is a telling of angels and demons  in a fun, enticing, original way.

Kat

 

4 stars to Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

Published August 18, 2013 by katheryn13

If Night falls, all fall . . .

In the far north of the world of Haarth lies the bitter mountain range known as the Wall of Night. Garrisoned by the Nine Houses of the Derai, the Wall is the final bastion between the peoples of Haarth and the Swarm of Dark–which the Derai have been fighting across worlds and time.

Malian, Heir to the House of Night, knows the history of her people: the unending war with the Darkswarm; the legendary heroes, blazing with long-lost power; the internal strife that has fractured the Derai’s former strength. But now the Darkswarm is rising again, and Malian’s destiny as Heir of Night is bound inextricably to both ancient legend and any future the Derai–or Haarth–may have

 

Review:

Warning this  review may get complicated. 

I have not read fantasy, true fantasy, for years. Not since Garth Nix’s Sabriel, etc. I was a little wary because for years I’ve been reading YA paranormal/supernatural/dystopian, and real fantasy is heavy. And wow did I get a shock. Definitely not a light read. This book needed concentration from start to finish, and despite being ill for part of the time, I took stock of the situation and battled through. Much like the characters in this story, I did not give in.

And I actually enjoyed this. I have to admit, although I can’t skip over anything, I don’t think every word sunk in. I tended to just “get the gist” because some of the language used was…well…fantasy. Oldy-worldy language that used in complex cases was a bit hard to take in. That’s not to say there weren’t chapters that sucked me in and made me not want to stop reading, because many of the intense, plotting scenes were so good. I found myself emerged in the world and could easily imagine it clearly in my head. Which is hard sometimes when it’s so…complex.

There are soooo many characters in this that deserve their own credit, because they each contribute their own part. There are the occasional guards that you see but don’t necessarily see, but they still have their own background. And for this part, I’m afraid I need to consult the book for names because wow the writer of this must have had fun coming up with them:

Malian and Kalan, two of my favourite teens that despite their age, are far more mature than most 16/17 yr olds in general YA books. They’ve had to grow up so fast, and they’re only 13. It was actually quite sad how much responsibility was on Malian’s shoulders; she didn’t want it. But as Heir of Night, she was duty bound, and not only that, she is…I guess you could say “the chosen one” to defeat the darkness and bring back peace. Kalan I liked because he was a fairly unknown boy, and he was forced into something he probably still doesn’t understand, but he’s stuck by Malian, seeing past her title and supporting her through thick and thin. I wonder if they’ll fall in love….*wistful thoughts*

Nhairin and Asantir: two of the more prominent characters that will always stick with me. They had their battles, and they continued to fight. In the end Nhairin had issues, and she was one of those people I went back and forth on, wondering if she was good or bad. Asantir was strong, reliable, but determined. She took  “crap from no-one” as you might say.

Haimyr the Golden was probably my favourite, of all the individual people, he was certainly the comic relief from all the tension and fear that shrouded the House of Night (not to be confused with the series by P.C Cast. :P ) and I got excited when he appeared on the page.

Jehane Mor & Tarathan: These two were Heralds of the Guild but so much more. I just….*fangirls*

Then you have the Earl of Night. What an ass.

Anyway, this book is, despite being not all that long but still quite heavy in content (I could not imagine reading Game of Thrones now, knowing it’s twice the length and double the complexity) it was certainly worth the read. The worlds…the land that was imagined and created…so detailed. I admire anyone who can do that and have it make sense (most of the time, although admittedly I did get a little lost on certain details). So much goes on, and I mean SO much. There’s always something coming and you’re holding your breath because you just don’t know…what! The difference with a lot of books I’ve read: there was no holding back on deaths. This might be about two young teenagers on an adventure, but so many lives are lost and some I did not see coming. The action is great, and the powers that some wield…just extraordinary.

So overall a great read, and I look forward to the sequel, whenever that may be. If you want to know more, I say buy it! It’s definitely worth it if you love made up lands, imaginative scenery, in-depth characters and a story come to life.

 

Kat