Book Reviews

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and ShadowTitle: Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Rating: ★★★

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Ever read every trilogy and the second book is the fluffer for the dynamic ending? Well, this won’t disappoint that generalization. I absolutely loved Girls of Paper and Fire, but Ngan left me high and dry on this sequel. I wanted more action, more deception, and what I got was everyone falling in love. Just didn’t seem believable to me.

Nothing is worth losing yourself.

As I said in my Girls of Paper and Fire review, Girls of Storm and Shadow brings to life the same problems still present in today’s culture: We have the Paper Caste (fully human), the Steel Caste (part human, part demon), and the Moon Caste (fully demon). We see the oppression imposed on by the upper castes and the prejudice present. That hasn’t changed. But what we are now seeing is a possibly revolution taking place. But just like with The Hunger Games, sometimes the revolution has some of the same issues that the threat they’re trying to abolish has.

You’re not the same. I see you, the way you fight. The way you are towards others. You’re soft where they are hard. You have love when they only have hate. Hold on to that as tightly as you can, Lei. Because war will do everything it can to take that good from you. I think sometimes people forget there will be a time after all of this — for the lucky ones, at least. And when that time comes, we’ll all have to live with what we have done. And what we have left of ourselves.

There was so much buildup to the climax, but we never got to see any of that, so it was a little frustrating. Lei just got way too soft for me. She used to be this strong woman that I could admire, but she so easily forgives and is losing herself by being blinded by love. Everything just seems so one-sided. Either she is neglecting the demons she is leading by choosing Wren, or she neglects them by welcoming betrayers so easily back. She isn’t reliable and completely did a 180 on me. Maybe it is because most of the characters seem selfish or whatever, but this wasn’t the most enjoyable read and I found myself somewhat sympathetic to the Demon King. I wanted to hear more from him.

I’ve found you.

I’m hoping to get more action in the next novel, maybe some more deception, and maybe a not-so-happy ending.

Girls of Storm and Shadow is a story of love conquering all, overcoming oppression, and keeping true to oneself.

Book Reviews

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing]Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★★

The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

So, I’m probably in the minority here. I did enjoy this novel…a lot. While this was predictable, the main reason I liked this novel so much because for once, we see a healthy relationship. There wasn’t as many tricks or deceptions. The brooding and banter is fun, but it is tiresome after a while knowing that they actually do truly love one another. But I guess everyone wants the bad boy, so they’re disappointed. I always prefer the direct, nice ones, but oh well.

Girls, you really want someone like this?!

Image result for joffrey

I mean, give me this kind of guy any day…I know you all love him more…

Image result for jon snow on throne

That boy is your weakness.

I loved the adventure side this time around. Grima Mog was a fearful, fun creature as opposed to the hateful, deceptive Madoc. Nothing came easily for Jude and we experienced her struggles with her. She was adaptive and realistic, and quick to forgive. Those are some great qualities.

By you, I am forever undone.

Guys, I’m a sucker for a happy ending this time around. I think I’m getting soft with old age. I think readers wanted a different ending, but realistically, this was a great ending. It was tied together really well. There was no question of what would happen to each character in the future. I thought it was well put-together in a healthy way that brought out the best (and worst) characteristics of our beloved protagonist.

I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all. Even now, it is a shabby, worm-eaten, and scabrous thing. But it is yours.

Book Reviews, Food

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

The Wicked King

Title: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air, #2)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★

The Cruel Prince: ★★★★
The Wicked King: ★★★★

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

This was not a boring, fluffer second book!

Image result for yay gif

I love Jude! Although, I think she gives people the benefit of the doubt WAY too often. She is a realistic heroine and what is nice is that she does have flaws. Always looking to do the best for the ones she loves, she is selfless and clever in her actions. 

Dang, Cardan! Oh how much he grew in this novel. I’m destined to love him as a character knowing all of his flaws and treachery. Playing into the foolish king role, he took everyone for a spin. 

Like before, Taryn and Locke are annoying. Vivi, too (she is so immature).

I remember what it was to hate him with the whole of my heart, but I’ve remembered too late.

Everyone is really surprised by the ending, but I wasn’t. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Human nature of the characters point directly to that, so I wasn’t really surprised by the action. I was, however, completely surprised by one of the betrayals. This is why you can’t trust anyone. 

Does anyone else get emotionally drained from all of the lies, deceit, and betrayals in this series?! Why can’t anything good just happen?! haha

This is how I imagine Holly Black being to everyone who read The Wicked King (queue Wicked Witch laugh):

Image result for funny gif

The Wicked King gives readers the debauchery and treachery similar to that of George R.R. Martin’s works. The character development is phenomenal. I am pleasantly surprised by this second novel not being a fluffer and actually having a plot line. The last third of the book is sure to give readers a ride and leave them wanting more.

What more destruction can Holly Black cause readers next?!

Book Reviews

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

The Cruel PrinceTitle: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★

So, naturally, I hope to dislike the books that everyone else dotes on. However, this was not the case this time 😦 At the beginning, it slightly reminded me of the Wintersong series (which don’t seem like anything special to me and I kind of find annoying).

At a young age, Jude (our heroine), Taryn (her twin), and Vivi (her oldest sister) experience the death of their mother and Jude and Taryn’s father by none other than Vivi’s very own father (Madoc, who also happens to be the Fae general). Forced to live in Faerie, Jude and Taryn stick out like a sore thumb. 

What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything?If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

Ten years later, Jude’s lifelong goal was to become a knight in the High Court. Cardan, the swoon-worthy youngest prince is wicked, yet charming…oh yeah, and likes to make Jude’s life hell. After constantly being bullied by Prince Cardan (who I believe happens to be our Cruel Prince) and his friends one too many times, she decides to stand up for herself. 

That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down.

Probably what I like best about Jude is that she is not the typical heroine. We see her flaws upfront and she doesn’t try to be this perfect person. At the climax of the story, we see her willing to do anything to overthrow the crown.

But Jude has a secret that she must keep from all but the ones in on it. Will she betray the ones she loves? Will this new secret put not only herself in danger, but those she loves, as well? What is she willing to lose in order to stay true to her heart?

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Cardan is the typical bad boy, so it is no wonder that all of the girls swoon over him. But, somehow he also happens to be my favorite character. At the beginning of the story, we see this drunk, selfish guy who is set upon making everyone else’s lives miserable. However, as the story progresses, we see that every action Cardan performed was strictly to defend people he cared for. So, in fact, he is quite selfless.

Ahhh!! The feeling of this quote resides in me all too familiar. Ever get the feeling that you wish you never thought about one specific person ever again, but they seem to delve into every thought? So frustrating!

We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.

Betrayal, murder, and deceit are common themes in Faerie. By betraying people Jude has known most of her life, she is convinced that the future of Faerie can be made more “just” from its current state. Is she willing to compromise her morals for a better future?

I’m surprised by how much of a page-turner this novel was. I’m so excited for the next installment and what Black has in store for us next!

Who will be crowned king? Who is Taryn’s love? Who will be murdered on the rise to the crown? Is anyone safe?