These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Review: Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel as though I need to recant some of my earlier statements regarding this series. Whilst it will never be my favourite series, I’ve certainly found myself enjoying it much more than I had anticipated. So very much more than I had ever imagined I would. Whilst I will never be able to label myself one of the diehard fans – I’m far too aware of the many flaws for such a thing to occur – I’m certainly able to admit to an addiction to the series, an interest and desire that goes beyond anything my earlier review would probably have people believing.

The Throne of Glass series is actually worth the hype. With an average rating on Goodreads that is almost terrifying, I can understand why so many people are obsessed with the story.

Book one pulled me in. I spent most of my time focusing upon the flaws, but I was gripped by the story. It was an introduction to the series that left me wanting more. It was enough to confirm my interest. It wasn’t the best first book in a series that I have ever read, yet it was better than quite a few out there. I wanted more, and that is all you can ever ask for.

Book two left me with some rather complex emotions. I loved it more than the first. I was more annoyed with it than I was the first. It was a very complex situation. I did enjoy it, though. It left me even more addicted to the series. I was fearful of where things would go, as everything was far too clichéd in that book, but I secretly had my fingers crossed that everything would turn out wonderful. Therefore, I did not let myself be put off by the aspects of book two that did not sit right with me. I continued to hold out for the amazing series that everyone was speaking about.

Book three hit me hard. Oh so very hard. Harder than I had ever imagined. Book three let me understand why everyone loved the series so much. Book three opened up my eyes to the wonderful world. I wanted more. No, I needed more. After working through book three at such a rapid pace, I was more than ready to jump straight into the fourth book. Honestly, words cannot begin to explain the beauty of book three. It was all I had hoped the series would be, and it left me eager for this fourth book.

Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the series, was another great read. It wasn’t quite the beauty and complexity of the third book, yet it was still wonderful. It continued on from book three, in terms of both the story and with how my emotions reacted. As with book three, it was a really strong addition to the series. By this point in the series, Maas has really worked out where she is going with the story. She knows who she is and what she wants. In retrospect, the first two books feel almost as though she was still trying to gain her footing. She had so much planned, you could see it from the very start with how everything is intricately connected, and yet it wasn’t until book three that we started to see everything smoothly flowing into one beautiful story. Book four continues with this progression.

In this one, so many aspects of the story are brought to a close. You know the ending is slowly looming in sight. Don’t worry, though, there is still plenty more to be dealt with. In fact, this book opens up even more questions in certain regards. It’s merely certain aspects of the overarching story that we see resolution for, aspects I will not go on to name for I hate being the type to give spoilers. Just know some things are brought to a close as new things come alight. It’s a wonderful mix of the two, the way any book in the middle of a series should work out.

Honestly, I want to say so much about the story progression but it’s so hard to do without spoilers. So much happens in this one. Every storyline moves in some way, every character shifts in one way or another. It is wonderful to see the story and characters developing in such a way. Things from the prior books can be seen in a new light. Things that may come to pass in the future books leave us expectant for what more is to come. There really was so much.

As always, though, there is that Maas signature storytelling whereby certain parts of the book seemed slow. I embrace large books, love them, and yet I felt as though certain scenes in this story could have been cut down. Some events dragged out, leaving me somewhat bored of storylines at some points. The end of the book was wonderful, as it always is, yet the earlier storytelling had the usual too many moments of slowness. As I’ve said, though, this is just a Maas trademark. I now embrace these, accept these, as being vital aspect of any story Maas decides to tell. Plus, I think a part of it may have been due to the fact that it took me a while to get my head around how we were using the other name for our main female character. I know this is all the progression of the story, but for a little while I was put out by the change.

Then there is the romance element. I’m finally on board with it! I know, I know, this is shocking. I’m not crazy obsessed, but I’m on board with this element of the story. For the first two books, I just didn’t care. In fact, I wanted the romantic element removed. I realise I’m in the minority when it comes to this, but I just couldn’t deal with it. Annoyed is not the word for how I was left feeling by the forced romance, it is too tame a word to be used to express my feelings about that part of the story. It just didn’t work. I simply could not deal with it. Then, book three brought us something new. There was focus on friendship, about developing as a person and connecting with those around you. It was refreshing. I think watching the friendships between the characters helped me to actually feel something when the romance became blindingly obvious. I mean, I knew it was coming. Book three was very much a beacon of foreshadowing romantic elements. Nevertheless, it was easier for me to accept the current romantic story than the story in the first two book. Whilst so many people are against this, whilst so many people want to go back to the way of the first two books, I say this is the romantic story that needs to keep moving forward.

Overall, it was another wonderful book. It wasn’t quite as hard hitting as the third book, yet it was wonderful in so many ways. It has worked to confirm my spot in the fandom, even if I’ll never be a super crazy fan. I’m more than curious to see what comes next, and book five is already being devoured.

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