Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Graceling, by Kristen Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)"In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even shedespises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone."  -Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR list forever. Finally, I was able to read it.

I have been wanting to read this book for the simple reason being that it is a medieval fantasy. Since I was a little kid, I have always loved books set in the medieval times. Don't know why.

Anyways, on to the review. I had a love-hate relationship with this book. The beginning was great, the middle was unpleasant, and towards the end of the book, it got much better.

I hate to admit this, but in the middle of reading Graceling, I got so bored. I just couldn't read it any longer. I literally threw it under my bed, fed up with the long, endless paragraphs of descriptions, and started reading another book. I got through two more books, and finally convinced myself that I needed to finish this book. Against my will, I read it.

Like I said, the middle was torturous. Then, after 200 pages of torturing myself, I found that I was beginning to enjoy reading it. The plot was moving faster, there was more action, and the paragraphs were filled with things other than describing Katsa's grace and how perfect it made her. I was satisfied with how the book ended, surprisingly.

I will not hesitate to say that the writing was bothersome. The scenes were way too descriptive, and I found myself dozing off, thinking of other things while reading these paragraphs.

Another thing that irritated me: the characters in the beginning of the novel, whom I thought were very important, were basically just thrown away and weren't brought up again. Yeah, some of them showed up three pages before the Epilogue, but the author didn't seem to be giving any thought to characters such as Giddon and King Randa. This is one of the major things that makes me dislike a book.

Now that I got the bad things out of the way, I will say what was pleasing about this book. I love, love, loved the scenes when Po and Katsa would have training sessions. I thought that they were so entertaining to read about and made it easier to imagine Po and Katsa as a couple. At first, I was doubting whether they would be good together, but now I see that they really are perfect for each other.

Another part that I was fond of was the ending. I had a lot of sympathy for Po, and my respect for him increased because he stayed strong.

Katsa is the image of what every girl wants to be; independent, fearless, and bold. I didn't see her as a dynamic character; she didn't change much throughout the book, and to me, this is a bad thing. She was still unable to control her anger, and I was hoping that by the end of the book, she wouldn't be so reckless.   

While there were some aspects that made me like the book, the cons stand out much more than the pros. Therefore, I will give this book three stars. I'm thinking about reading the next book, Fire, but I am still unsure.

Publication date: October 1st, 2008
Page count: 471 pages
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Review: The Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

"After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom... Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined." -Goodreads

I read this book back in October (or November?) but I didn't have a blog at the time, so I'm posting it now.

When I first read the summary of this book, I was so enthusiastic and had very high hopes for it. If the main character is an assassin, who wouldn't want to read it?

So, I started reading it, and I was interested from start to finish. I loved the part about the Wyrdmarks. Personally, for me Nehemia was the best character in this novel. The secondary characters - Chaol, Dorian- were very likable. It was obvious that a love triangle was forming between Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol, which I am not that excited about.

A downside of this book was Celaena's character. She's supposed to be an assassin, right? Well, she certainly didn't act like one.

I get that the author tried to make her easier to relate to, and make her seem "ordinary", but I think that she tried way too hard. At times, I actually FORGOT that Celaena was an actual assassin. She felt like a normal teenage girl who just happened to end up in a castle. It's not that she wasn't tough or strong, but for a girl that was taught to be an assassin for most of her life, you'd expect a badass warrior who defied the king every chance she got. I would expect her to be more like Nehemia, not a girl who gets giddy over candy, or can't handle period cramps (okay, maybe I'm going too hard on her). Nonetheless, I admired Celaena for her determination, and she was a pretty good female heroine. 

My disappointment with Celaena's character didn't greatly affect how I viewed the rest of the book. Overall, this book kept me turning the pages and was a very enjoyable read. The characters were well-developed and I understood them perfectly. The writing did get a bit too descriptive and repetitive at times, but it wasn't overly annoying. This series has great potential, and I look forward to reading more of Sarah J. Maas's books in the future.

Publication date: August 7th, 2012
Page Count: 404 pages
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 5 Books I Read in 2012

Since it almost the end of 2012, I thought it would be a good idea to list my favorite books I read this year. Not all of these books came out in 2012, I just read them this year. Drum roll, please... Here are the winners!

5. Uncommon Criminals, by Ally Carter (Heist Society #2)
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)
Teen thieves? Lots of action? An Egyptian curse? Romance? How could you not love this book?
I was constantly on the edge my seat while reading this, and there was so much twists in the plot, my mind couldn't keep up with it. I have to admit that I am very jealous of the main character, Katarina Bishop. After I finished this book, I had the strange urge to become a teen thief.
Opal (Lux, #3)
I have always been a fan of JLA. She definitely knows how to make us girls swoon. Personally, I think Opal was better than Onyx. And that ending! Ugh.. that huge cliffhanger killed me.

3. Tiger's Destiny, by Colleen Houck (The Tiger Saga #4)
Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga, #4)
This book is the fourth in the Tiger Saga. It's probably the book that I was most eagerly anticipating. Basically, there are two Indian princes, falling for the same girl, and are both cursed into becoming tigers. Need I say more?

The Book Thief
Oh, God. This book was so... beautiful. It fills my eyes with tears, it tears my heart into a million pieces, it gives me goosebumps. I cared deeply for all the characters and the writing was exquisite. The Book Thief taught me about the horrors of living a life of war and constant fear.

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)
After finishing Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I needed this book. I needed it as much as a fish needs water; that's the extent of need I was feeling. And this book did not disappoint. The writing is still perfect, but it got much more depressing. Laini is a master storyteller, no doubt about that.

What was your favorite book in 2012? Comment!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Very First Post!

So this is my first post, on my very first blog. I am so excited!

I will try to post 2 reviews every week, but if school takes over my life, I will do at least one. Also, I'll be participating in challenges, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Since I am new to the blogging world, I'll probably make lots of beginner's mistakes. If you guys have any tips to give me, or can tell me how to improve my blog, please comment!