A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – DISCUSSION

***SPOILER ALERT: THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, READ MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW HERE.

As I mentioned in my review, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. Not that it was bad. It was by no means bad. I loved it, of course. However, it did not live up to the awesomeness that was ACOMAF. And there were actually a few things that I didn’t like about it at all, that I felt were not executed very well. This is going to be both a rave and a rant in one. I have a feeling it will be very long. So prepare for gifs.

I’m going to fist start with things that bothered or annoyed me. Some are more significant than others, mostly it’s just me being an irascible old lady, but anyway. One thing that really annoyed me were the sex scenes. There were just so many of them particularly in the first half and I found them to be boring and unnecessary. Like, we get it. You two like doing the hanky panky. Can’t blame you. However, I do not need to know every single instance when the deed is done, or when you think about doing the deed. Especially that it’s so repetitive. Feyre’s toes always curl in her boots, her “core goes molten” all the time, Rhys’ ding dong is always proud and velvety and just ugh. WE GET IT. Now let’s talk about something more interesting please.

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The word “mate” was abused so much, it probably needs counselling. Can’t you just refer to people by name. “My mate” here, “my mate” there just… get a goddamn dictionary and find some other words.

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That’s about it in terms of writing. In terms of plot… I thought the book wasn’t very well paced. I feel like it would have done better as two 500 page books instead of one 700 page one. Some things were very rushed, particularly in the second half. Like… the whole ending with her dad and Drakon and the Phoenix queen was just dropped pretty much out of nowhere and just seemed like a convenient way out of the shit they were in. There wasn’t that build-up to it that Sarah can do so well. And I feel like that’s because there just wasn’t time. There was so much going on with Feyre and the squad, that there wasn’t time to focus on Lucien and what went on beyond Prythian. I would have really liked a few chapters from Lucien’s POV throughout to sort of learn what went on there properly, instead of having it explained in two pages at the end. The whole ending seemed very rushed and not that well executed, particularly knowing what Sarah is capable of.

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Her dad suddenly becoming useful and with enough foresight to go out and seek reinforcements before he even knew what had happened with Feyre… I didn’t really buy it. It didn’t seem very plausible to me and just… meh.

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I didn’t like Feyre as much in this one. I felt like she was becoming Aelin. And I like Aelin. But Feyre is not Aelin, you know. It felt like the two characters were sort of merging with each other and I didn’t like that. It’s like writing both series at the same time kinda took its toll and they’re bleeding into each other.

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I did like the scene with Feyre looking into the Ourobouros and accepting herself at last. That felt very empowering.

This is probably the thing that bothered me most in this book. Mor’s “secret”. Just no. It felt so wrong to me, so completely out of character. It made no sense. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was so angry reading that part. I mean… you’re telling me that Mor, who is so completely unapologetic, was afraid to tell the people who love her beyond everything for 500 fucking years that she was into girls more than guys? And why? So her family wouldn’t find out and make fun of her? What? What? Just… What?

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How the hell does that make any sense? First of all, she has free reign from Rhys to slaughter her entire family if she so chooses, so why the hell would she care if they don’t approve of her proclivities? Secondly, she lived in a city that had been hidden from the world for a thousand years. Her family would never have found out. Rhys and the others would sure as hell not have told anyone if she had asked. It just makes no sense and it’s so unlike Mor.

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What’s more… she strung poor Az along for 500 years because she didn’t want to tell people she was gay? What the fuck? I mean… okay… keep your secret, but don’t be an asshole and string along the poor guy. At least have the balls to tell him no. Instead of dangling shreds of hope in front of him for centuries, and then whenever he inches a bit towards you, sleep with another guy to remind him that you don’t want him? What. The. Fuck. That’s such a cruel, douchebag thing to do and I was so angry. That took down Mor in my eyes so much and I’m so pissed, because I really loved Mor.

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Also… I’m kind of confused about the whole Elain-Lucien-Az thing… is it even a thing? I can’t tell.

Okay, I think I’ve exhausted the things that I didn’t like about the book. Now let’s move on to some of the awesome things that happened.

Feyre learning how to fly! Loved that. Particularly that we got to see more of Az, and I love him to bits. Something that I really liked about this, and it seems insignificant, but I really liked that it was so hard for Feyre to learn how to fly. So many times in books, heroes learn of a new ability and then instantly master it and that just seems so unrealistic. But Feyre absolutely sucked. And Az volunteering to teach her because he knows what it’s like to learn how to fly later in life… just… GAH. My feels!

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Feyre stealing Ianthe’s moment at the Summer festival thing. Feyre undermining Ianthe and making her look like a fool. Feyre rescuing Lucien from Ianthe. Feyre making Ianthe smash her own hand. Feyre feeding Ianthe to The Weaver. SO MUCH YES!

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Lucien. Just Lucien. I would have been so pissed if he had not come with Feyre. Also, surprisingly… Tamlin. I actually thought he had a very good arc. Probably the best character development in this book. It just made sense and it felt right. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Cassian and Nesta. They were so fjhsgwepruijeknvdswfenvk PRECIOUS LITTLE UNICORNS I CAN’T JUST KISS ALREADY!!! Me every time they were in the same room vvv

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Cassian going all primal warrior and becoming a vortex of hotness and death. Rhys fully giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I wish we had gotten a better description of his beast form. I imagine a sort of black griffon type creature with bat wings). Helion giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I imagine him like a golden white griffon).

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Seeing all the other High Lords and learning more about them. Also learning more about Amren and the Weaver and Bone Carver. Just learning more about the world and characters in general. Amren and Varian. The Weaver, the Bone Carver and Bryaxix being released upon Hybern’s army and Feyre and Rhys watching them like

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Rhys dying and being brought back to life like Feyre was. I thought it was a nice circle. Very satisfying. I wonder if now he has all the different powers as well.

The Suriel. So many feels!

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Elain and Nesta killing the King of Hybern! The viciousness in Nesta decapitating him. So much win. Just Nesta in general, actually.

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Alright, well I think this is more or less what I have to say about it. This post is already gigantic, so I’ll leave it at that. Let me know what your thoughts were.

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Spoiler Free Review

22819449Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2014

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Book Depository | Goodreads


I can see why people love this series. It is really good, has a really cool world and magic system. It’s very Russian, which stands out among the plethora of Western European Middle Ages setting that a lot of fantasies have. I read this after reading Six of Crows and I have to say that it can’t compare. Which is reasonable, since SoC was written further along in the author’s career and she’s had time to grow as an author. However, I tend to rate books on a curve if I’ve read other books by an author, I have certain expectations. Which is why this book in all honesty was probably a 3 star book for me. I decided to give it 3.5 because had I read it before SoC, I probably would have been more impressed with it.

Still, this was by all means a very enjoyable read. I had some problems with it, namely the love triangle. I really do not like that trope and it’s very rare that I actually like a love triangle. So I didn’t really like that. I didn’t think that Alina and The Darkling had much chemistry and I thought Alina and Mal had even less chemistry. So yeah… wasn’t a fan of the romance. But I do think Alina and Mal makes more sense at least at this point in the story.

While I didn’t think The Darkling was very compelling as a love interest, I did really enjoy him as a character. He’s one of those amoral/morally ambiguous characters that are right up my alley and I really look forward to learning more about him. I think it’s safe to say he was one of my favourite things about the book.

My other favourite thing about the book was that it was so Russian. I really enjoyed that aspect of it, it felt authentic and refreshing. The magic system is also a very interesting one, and while I was somewhat acquainted to it from SoC, it was not the main focus in that series and I loved learning more about it.

I would say that the plot was fairly predictable. It didn’t really take me by surprise. It had some cool elements of folklore that I enjoyed, but other than that, it didn’t really feel new. In fact, I often got a strong sense of having read this before. And I’m not sure whether it’s because I actually have read this before or just because the plot had some very common elements. I may have read this ages ago, when I read a lot of ebooks, and not remember.

The characters, once again, were not bad or underdeveloped, they were just not incredibly unique. Other than The Darkling, I didn’t feel particularly intrigued by any of them, but I also didn’t hate them. They were solid characters, but again, after the amazing characters of Six of Crows, these just felt bland.

Over all, I would say this was a very enjoyable, quick read. I do intend to continue with the series. I really love the world and I am curious about the plot as well, as I do feel the ending left a lot of potential for a super cool plot in the next two ones.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – Spoiler Free Book Review

acowarRating: 4/5

Genre: Fantasy, new adult

First published: 2017

Author: Sarah J. Maas

***SPOILER ALERT*** THIS IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES. THEREFORE, THE SYNOPSIS AND FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS

Synopsis: Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I have to say… I was a bit disappointed by this one. It wasn’t by any means bad, but it failed to live up to ACOMAF and there were some things that I didn’t really like, that I thought weren’t done well or were too rushed.

That’s one thing actually, there were a lot of things that felt rushed, despite this being a 700 page book. I’m generally against unnecessarily dragging out series just to sell more books, but I feel like this could have been two 4-500 page books instead of one 700 page one.

But, first, let’s talk about the things I loved. I still loved the Night Court, of course. They were as fun as ever and I loved learning more about them. I loved seeing more of Prythian and meeting all the High Lords. One of the most surprising things that I loved was Tamlin’s character arc. I think in terms of character development, Tamlin’s was the best and most subtly done in this book. I loved learning about some of the more mysterious creatures, such as Amren and the Bone Carver.

I didn’t quite like Feyre as much in this one as I did before. I felt like she started sounding a lot like Aelin. I love Aelin, but Feyre is not Aelin. I feel like writing the two stories at the same time got Sarah to confuse the two voices a bit and I felt at times like I was reading Throne of Glass instead. Still, I did really like the completion of Feyre’s acceptance and forgiveness of herself that started out in ACOMAF.

One thing that really annoyed me, especially in the first half of the book were the sex scenes. I feel like there was an unnecessary amount of them. Like… we already know that Rhys is a hot hunk of fae High Lord and it’s hard to resist the urge to climb him like a tree, but we don’t need to be told every time it happens, especially not in so much detail. It was repetitive and it just got boring and I found myself skimming over those scenes. Also, the word “mate” was abused beyond reason.

I thought the pacing towards the end wasn’t very good. Everything felt so rushed. It just sort of happened all at once and there was often very little explanation and it felt like those things just happened because they were convenient for the story. And that’s why I think if this were two books, there would have been time to pace it better and properly explain and explore things. There were a lot of elements that were brought in, presumably as a sort of entré for the companions, but it just made it feel very rushed and sometimes confusing. There was just too much happening too quickly. I felt that some of the main cast’s stories were left hanging. And I know there will be subsequent books, but as far as the information we have now, those will not be a continuation of this story.

There are many other things that I enjoyed or disliked, but I can’t really go into them without spoilers. I have a spoilerific discussion  where I will be discussing those in more depth. Overall, I obviously loved the book, but it just wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. It was mainly due to the execution, I feel like it could have been done better, particularly knowing the kind of writing that Sarah is capable of.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Spoiler Free Book Review

10860047Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Genre: YA, historical fiction, magical realism

First published: 2011

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis: In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. At the heart of the circus is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This is a weird book for me to review. I had a hard time deciding what rating to give it. Sometimes it felt like a 5 star book, other times like a 4 star book. I think my main problem with it was that it had a very fragmented timeline and it was difficult at times to tell where in time you were.

This is a very slow-burn book. I personally didn’t mind that much because I enjoy these type of stories, but it does require patience. You as the reader sort of have an idea of what’s going on, but the characters don’t and it takes them forever to figure it out, which can be a bit frustrating.

Now on to the things that I loved about this book and which truly make it a book worth reading. The atmosphere. That is the best thing about this book. The way that it’s written is so magical and atmospheric and it just transports you into this wonderful, magical circus. It’s beautiful. There are little interludes from time to time that are told from the perspective of someone attending the circus and it just really transports you there and you get to experience the circus.

The characters. It’s so interesting to see the dynamics between the people who know what’s going on, those who have no idea what’s going on and those who have some idea of what’s going on. I thought that was so well done and so interesting to read about. Also, the two main… antagonists, I suppose, are so morally grey. I love those types of characters who are not quite entirely aware of how warped their worldview is. I find them so interesting to read about. It explores the idea of losing one’s humanity as time goes by, which I found really interesting and I thought it was very well done.

I liked the different perspectives of the different characters on the circus. I can’t say much without spoilers, but I like the idea of how the same thing can mean such monumentally different things to different people. And also how those people interacted with each other and with the circus. Again, I thought it was so well done.

I don’t really know what else to say without giving too much away. It’s a difficult book to review. You have to experience it for yourself and I don’t think it really can be explained without ruining it. So I recommend just going into it and enjoying the experience.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Spoiler Free Book Review

2568817Rating: 4/5 stars

First published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Author: Garth Nix

Synopsis: Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a pretty unique book. It was published quite a while ago (it’s older than I am!), when YA wasn’t quite the big thing that it is now. I really enjoyed this book, for the most part. The story was really cool, it has to do with necromancers and traveling between life and death. I got an Underworld/ Dante’s Inferno vibe from it, which was really cool and not something that’s explored that often in YA.

I really enjoyed the magic system. It’s very rigorous and strict. Usually, you see magic as a sort of free, raw power that just manifests itself. But here, it’s very strict. It’s strictly tied to music, which I thought was really cool, and also to these symbols and runes and to magical objects as well. I found that really interesting to read about and I really look forward to exploring more of it.

I did enjoy the characters. I didn’t connect to them as much as I would have liked, but they were good characters. I love Mogget. Mogget is my favourite, he’s the only one that I actually connected with.

The world was pretty interesting. There’s this wall that separates the magical Old Kingdom from a version of the real world. I don’t think it takes place in our world, per se, but one side of the wall is like our world. They have cars and electricity and the same sort of societal structure that we do. I loved Abhorsen’s house in the Old Kingdom and I really hope we get to see more of it in future books. I also loved Death, which reminds me of the Underworld in Greek Mythology, but also of hell as depicted in Dante’s Inferno, with the nine circles. It’s really cool and interesting and I really enjoyed that aspect.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the writing. It’s not bad writing, it’s just not to my taste. I had a hard time connecting to it. It didn’t involve me enough in the story, or with the characters and as a result, I cared a lot less about them than I would have otherwise. Still I will be continuing with the series.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – RANT

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, CHECK OUT MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

This is my second one star review in as many months. To be fair, I started reading this book AGES ago. Like, 6 months ago. Yes. I hated it that much! I actually have the perfect gif to sum up my feelings about this book.

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I was promised a Snow Queen retelling. This wasn’t no snow queen retelling. I mean, it had some elements, but it had elements of so many different things that it’s irrelevant. It was all over the place. What’s more, to me the Snow Queen was always quite dark and the magic in it was really dark. Especially the mirror. That is the best pat in the story and it was completely ruined in this book. Instead of being a mirror that reflected only ugliness and its shards taking away love and joy from people and all that, it was some weird weapony thing that wasn’t really explained, but everyone wanted it. I just… ugh, I hated it.

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When I first started the book and saw it was set in a mental asylum I was so excited. I thought it was going to be this dark, psychological type of story. And then a pretty boy came to our heroine in a dream and convinced her to go through a magical tree by promising to help her find another pretty boy who had been kidnapped and dragged through said magical tree. Or through a mirror? I think it was a mirror? (Yeah, I’m confused too)

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And that is when I knew there was going to be a love triangle. But I was wrong. Oh, I was so wrong. No, this wasn’t a love triangle. This was nymphomania. Our dear Snow was attracted to every. single. male. she. met. I wanted them all to die, just so I would not have to read one more agonizing second of her basically being like “Oh, Kai is so hot. But no! Bale, what about Bale?! But he’s so hot. I’ll kiss him, Bale won’t mind.” and then while kissing him “Oh, but Jagger had much softer looking lips.” UGHHHHHHH!

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This book made no sense. At all. So, you’re telling me that doctors with a medical license and like… any common sense… lock up a child in an asylum for over 10 years and put her on full blown medication BECAUSE SHE CRASHED INTO A MIRROR ONE TIME WHEN SHE WAS 6? Because fuck logic, right?

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And I’m not even going to go into the topic of how mental illness was treated in this book because… let’s just not go there. I will say only this… it was a disgrace. A fucking disgrace. All the patients in that hospital were basically a cardboard cutout of their illness. As if the only relevant thing about them was their illness, and to add grievance to injury, it wasn’t even a particularly accurate portrayal. I mean, I have very little experience with most of those conditions, but even I could tell they were inaccurately portrayed. Just… a disgrace.

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But the asylum thing wasn’t the only thing that made no sense. Just the whole book felt so discordant. I have so many questions. It was like Paige wasn’t really sure what she was trying to write. Like she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to do like a magical coming of age, training thing or a heist thing or what? Was her dad evil or not? I guess her mum was evil for sure? Bale was… I don’t know who Bale was, really? He ended up being the Enforcer, but what  does that have to do with him liking to set things on fire? And was he evil or being controlled? Greta was a werewolf? I guess? Why? Don’t know. Who exactly was Jagger? What about the witches? If hr mum was a witch, did the other witches know she was evil? What exactly was that prophecy thing? What exactly is it with the tree? I don’t know, it was just all over the place.

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There was no world building. I can sum up the whole world into one word: snow. There was a lot of snow. And the world building wasn’t the only lazy piece of writing in this book. Everything was. There is nothing in this book that is in any way original or interesting, or not a copy paste cliche. Lost princess? Check? Special, special, special snowflake? Check. Convenient family members? Check. Incredibly convoluted, but utterly predictable ‘plot twists’? Check. Insta-love? Check. I feel exhausted just writing this review. It drains me of life and joy.

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I hated Snow. Snow was such an entitled, special little snowflake, I could not even. She was supposed to be badass, but she was just a whiny, horny teenage girl who did nothing but throw temper tantrums and think about boys. Also, how exactly she went from having zero knowledge or control over her magic, to conjuring a pack of snow wolves in like a week?

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The writing was clumsy and bland and just… bad. It was bad. It felt like a first draft, rather than a finished novel. I don’t understand how this book got published. Honestly, what publisher bought this? What editor let this go through? It had no substance whatsoever. It was just an all around awful book. I was so disappointed. I’d heard only amazing things about Dorothy Must Die. And I have read so many reviews from fans of that series who were just shocked at how appallingly bad this book was. I still might give Dorothy Must Die a shot, but this was a hot mess of a book.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – Spoiler Free Book Review

stealing snowRating: 1/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2016

Author: Danielle Paige

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate

Book Depository | Goodreads


I requested this book from NetGalley way back in September 2016. And I received it way back in September 2016. And I started reading it then as well. It was so bad, it took me until now to complete.

Where do I even begin. This was advertised as a Snow Queen retelling. But it was more like a weird mongrel retelling of 5 different stories. It was just all over the place. But okay, let’s say I can live with that. It wasn’t very seamlessly done, but okay. Whatever.

But this book has the ABSOLUTE WORST love… can’t even call it a triangle. It’s a freaking polygon. And not only that, but it’s got one of the worst cases of insta love ever… twice. I just wanted to puke.

And then we have Snow. She is so annoying, and whiny, and inconsistent and stupid and I hate her. Mare Barrow from Red Queen, Scarlett from Caraval and Snow from this book…. I want to tie them all together in a nice bundle and throw them in the ocean with a stone tied to them. I hate them so much. As for the other characters… I just could not care less. They were bland and boring and had exactly one personality trait that was basically their entire identity.

I didn’t care about the story either. I didn’t find it compelling at all. I didn’t find it clever or creative or interesting. It was predictable and tried too hard to have many twists and turns and be surprising, but it just ended up sounding like a soap opera except without the paternity discussions. It was confusing and predictable at the same time.

I can sum up the worldbuilding in one word: snow. Basically, the only thing I remember vividly about the world is that there’s a lot of snow. And a tree. It was just nonexistent. So, yeah… there was nothing to redeem this book. I liked nothing about it. Not even one small detail that I enjoyed. I’m really disappointed. I’ve heard Dorothy Must Die is actually good, so I might give that a shot, but I was really disappointed by this. I’ll have a rant about it, if you want to know more details about exactly what I didn’t like, go read that.