The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Spoiler Free Book Review

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Spoiler Free Book Review

6547258Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Adult fantasy

First published: 2006

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: What if the prophesied hero had failed to defeat the Dark Lord?

For a thousand years the ash fell.

For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousend years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably.

Yet hope survives.

An new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a mistborn.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I don’t know why I put this book off for as long as I did. If you’re putting this series off as well, you are doing yourself a disservice. Go read it. I don’t even know where to begin reviewing this book.

The premise was so freaking cool and refreshing. The setting is a sort of post-apocalyptic one, a thousand years after the “chosen one” failed to defeat the Dark Lord. I thought that was so cool, because we all know that the Chosen One always wins. We’ve heard that story so many times. And it’s not a bad story. I love Chosen One stories, but still… what if? Well, if you want to find out, this is the book for you.

I loved the characters and the relationships between them so much, they didn’t so much tug as yanked at all of my heartstrings. They’re all precious and I love them. I loved the dynamics of the ‘team’, it reminded me a lot of the dynamics between Kaz and his band from Six of Crows. In fact, the whole thing reminded me of Six of Crows, what with a heist being planned and the magic system as well, where each person had a specific type of ability.

Speaking of the magic system though, it’s really cool. Basically, they draw their power from metals that they ingest and can then burn within their bodies and each metal does a specific thing. It’s really unique and cool and made for some really spectacular action scenes. They were so vivid and dynamic, it felt like I was watching them rather than reading about them. And there are a lot of action scenes. It is so gripping and captivating and it just sucks you in. It had been a long time since a book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, because I just could not put it down.

Another thing I really enjoyed were the paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter. They’re like little snippets of a different story that add on to the experience, and it almost feels like you’re getting two stories. And the way that those fit together with the main story and how they’re like little hints. It’s really cool. I can’t really describe it any better without spoilers (I will have a spoilerific rave review of this, for those of you who are interested), but it’s awesome. Just go read it and experience it for yourself.

The Who Am I Tag

I was tagged by Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books to do this tag. Thank you Sydney, this tag is really cool. This is a long tag, so let’s jump right into it.

What is the meaning of your name?

My first name is Romana. It means different things in different languages. In Arabic, it means ‘pomegranate’. It apparently also means ‘romantic’ and ‘fascinating’ in Urdu, I believe. In Latin and derived languages, it means ‘from Rome’, more specifically, a woman from Rome. And finally, in Aramaic or some similarly defunct language, it means ‘strong’.

My middle name is Tabita, which is a variant of Tabitha and it means ‘beauty’ or ‘grace’ in Hebrew. And it was derived from the Aramaic word for ‘gazelle’. So, in Aramaic it means ‘gazelle’.

What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

“THE LOGICIAN” INTP-A (Introvert, intuitive, thinking, prospecting, assertive)

I did this test ages and ages ago, and I don’t remember what I got back then. But I believe it was something similar. Anyway, I’ve been reading the profile for this and it is SO ME! I don’t think I have ever identified with a personality test more than I do with this one. Here are some of the cliffnotes:

The Logician personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent
of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s 
nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”. Logicians pride 
themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective 
and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, 
or the dreamy professor, Logicians have been responsible for many 
scientific discoveries throughout history.

Me, AF.

They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could 
almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to a Logician. 
This makes it ironic that Logicians’ word should always be taken with a 
grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the 
Logician personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully 
developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a 
debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

Yep.

When Logicians are particularly excited, the conversation can border on 
incoherence as they try to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions 
that led to the formation of their latest idea. Oftentimes, Logicians will 
opt to simply move on from a topic before it’s ever understood what they 
were trying to say, rather than try to lay things out in plain terms.

The reverse can also be true when people explain their thought processes 
to Logicians in terms of subjectivity and feeling.

Strengths:

  • Great Analysts and Abstract Thinkers
  • Imaginative and Original
  • Open-Minded
  • Enthusiastic
  • Objective
  • Honest and Straightforward

Weaknesses:

  • Very Private and Withdrawn
  • Insensitive
  • Absent-minded
  • Condescending
  • Loathe Rules and Guidelines
  • Second-Guess Themselves (so me!)

Notable Logicians include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Blaise Pascal (yay! one of my favourite philosophers), Isaac Newton and Maester Aemon Targeryen lol

What is my Zodiac sign?

Libra, I believe. But I don’t really put any store in the Zodiac.

What is my Hogwarts House? (Link)

Ravenclaw, according to Pottermore. Also Slytherin, according also to Pottermore. Let’s see what this quiz says.

What are my learning styles? (Link)

I’ve actually done this exact test before a while back and I believe I got the same result then as well. I have multimodal learning preferences with stats as follows:

  • Visual 10
  • Aural 10
  • Read/Write 12
  • Kinesthetic 15

Am I More Right or Left Brain Dominant? (Link)

Left brained

What is My Blood Type?

Hell if I know. I know one of my parents is A and one is B and I know one of my grandmothers is O. So I literally could have any of the four. I can’t even narrow it down. I’ve actually never had it tested. Probably should.

What Career Am I Meant to Have? (Link)

This should be interesting.

Apparently writer. I will make no comments on that.

What Divergent Faction Do I Belong In? (Link)

Now this is a test I have never taken before. Let’s see.

Ahahahahahaha! Amity. Amity! Haha… oh… such a good joke. I would have fit in any of the other factions better than in Amity.

What Does My Birth Order Say About Me? (Link)

The Firstborn

Stereotype: Natural leader, ambitious, responsible.

I guess? I don’t know. Meh.

 


This was fun. The Myers-Briggs one was spot on. The Hogwarts one as well, I suppose. The rest of them… meh.

Down the TBR Hole #2

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #10-20

Last week’s final number: 337  | Current number: 355 | This week’s final number: 353 | Total books removed so far: 6 | Total books kept so far: 14


Monster Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa

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I still very much want to read this manga. I love the anime. I just need to buy it. That’s the problem. So many books to buy, so little money. Still, I will get it. Eventually.

Verdict: Stays

The Mosquite Coast by Paul Theroux

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This book has a sentimental significance for me. I still haven’t read it, but I do want to. I added it at someone’s recommendation years ago and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. It does sound like a great read. Hopefully, I’ll get to it soon.

Verdict: Stays

Lord of the Flies by William Gording

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I have wanted to read this book for so long. And every time I remember about it, I ask myself why I’ve not read it yet. So… yeah.

Verdict: This one stays as well

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Am I the only one who finds the author’s last name to be ironic? When I was a kid, I had this VHS with The Never Ending Story. It was an animated version. I adored it. I watched it on repeat every day, all day. It was crazy. Of course I want to read the book. I just need to. I can’t get rid of this!

Verdict: Stays

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

*sigh* I wonder if I will remove even one book from my TBR today. I adore the Princess Bride film. I really want to read the book. I can’t toss it away.

Verdict: Stays

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hmmm… I really enjoyed the film. I really liked the story. But I don’t feel any intense desire to read this book. I am satisfied with what the film provided. So I think at last, I will remove something!

Verdict: Goes

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

I love this story. And I do want to read it, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have it on my TBR. This is one of those books that I will see one day somewhere and read it in 15 minutes. So I will remove it for de-cluttering purposes.

Verdict: Goes

Perfume: The Story of a Murder by Patrick Suskind

I saw this film and it was so weird. I really liked it. And I’m really interested to read this book, because I enjoy stories that are just a little bit fucked up.

Verdict: Stays

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I love satire and I really enjoy Oscar Wilde as a writer. I am very interested in reading this play.

Verdict: Stays

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I don’t know what to do about this one. I really love the film. And I feel that I’m very content with what I got from it. And I’ve kind of heard mixed things about the book, so I don’t really want it to ruin the story for me. Then again… I do like forming my own opinions and I really love this story.

Verdict: Stays for now

 

 

Ten Unique Books – Top 10 Tuesday

Ten Unique Books – Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is 10 unique books you’ve read.

It’s not Tuesday, it’s Thursday, let’s move on. I think it’s become clear by now that it’s an event when I actually make a top 10 Tuesday post on a Tuesday.


The Graceling Series by Kristin Kashore

This companion series was so unique to me because for one, I believe it was the first companion series I had read. And the thing that links these three novels together is the villain, which I thought was really cool. Also, the relationships in this series are quite unique within the YA genre and I loved that aspect of it. It’s an amazing series that I feel does not get the hype it deserves.

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

I found this duology to be unique because generally in YA, the main characters are always so physically beautiful. And to have a main character who was not flawless, for a change, was really refreshing and quite unique at least within the YA genre. It also had some pretty cool mythology. Another really underrated series, in my opinion.

The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer

I feel like hardly a post goes by when I don’t talk about this series. I honestly love it so much and it’s so, freaking underrated (this is turning into an underrated books post). The blend of magic and technology and the spin it puts on fairies and just celtic folklore is amazing. The characters are quite unique, the titular character, Artemis, is one of my favourite characters ever. It’s just a great series guys. Read it.

Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

pale highway

This is not a book that I enjoyed that much. You can read my full review on it for my thoughts and opinions. But it was definitely unique. I have to give it that. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had me kinda cringing from its… uniqueness, but also kinda curious to see what the actual hell. So yeah, it definitely has a place on this list.

Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix

I’ve only read the first book in this series. I recently read it, and I enjoyed it. I should have a review of it soon. I thought it was pretty unique because it’s not every day you read a book with a necromancer as the protagonist. It has a cool mythology that reminds me a bit of Dante’s Inferno and a bit of the Greek mythology of the Underworld. It’s cool. It’s unique. At least I’ve not read anything quite like it before.

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

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This story is told through letters from Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew to guide him in his attempt to lead his assigned human into temptation and eventually to hell. I thought it was very unique and I loved this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a C. S. Lewis book I have not loved, to be honest. This is satire and I love satire. And it’s really good satire.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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I can’t really say why I think this is unique because spoilers. I mean, it’s been forever since the books came out, the movies are all out as well (though I don’t know whether they changed the ending or not, cause I haven’t watched the last ones), but I still don’t like outright spoiling things, particularly that this is such a major thing. Most of you probably know what I’m talking about.

The series in itself was not particularly unique. It stands out among YA dystopian as one of the better ones, but other than that… it’s not so unique. Except for the ending of this book. That’s not really something you see very often in YA. I don’t think I have ever seen it in any other book. So, it deserves a place on this list.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

This series has a pretty cool and unique take on dragons. I’ve only read the first book so far and I really enjoyed it. Particularly the dragons and how they work. I thought they were really cool and unique. I also enjoyed the very political nature of the plot. I know a lot of books have political plots, but this one stands out in my mind for some reason.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

and then there were none

I loved this book so much. I read it… easily 8 years ago and I still remember it so vividly. I think this was the first novel I ever finished in one day. I could not stop reading. So well written, so unique in its idea and construct and just… gah! This book is a masterpiece. And if you’ve not read it, you’re missing out.

The Tunnels Series by Rodrick Gordon and Brian Williams

I used to be obsessed with this series. I’m sad that I never finished it and that I’ve forgotten so much about it, that I would have to reread it in order to continue, which I doubt will happen. I think there are 6 books in the series. At the time I read it, there were 4 out and I’ve read those, but then I had to wait and I just never continued with it.

This series takes place mostly underground where an entire civilization lives. And it’s so cool, it’s quite dark and mysterious and kind of conspiracy theory-esque. It’s awesome and has a really unique plot and characters as well, and just the whole underground civilization is really cool and I’ve not seen anything quite like it.

A Noob’s Guide to High Fantasy

High fantasy books can be pretty scary. They’re usually massive and part of some massive series with an intricate world that is different from the real world. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like fantasy and I always ask… have you really tried? Are you sure you’re not just intimidated by it? Fantasy is not a genre you can just dive into. You have to ease your way into fantasy.

I think one of the most important things is not to jump right into high fantasy. If you’ve never read fantasy before. Or you’ve read like… Matilda when you were in elementary school, but nothing really beyond that, then the books that I’m about to talk about are not for you. Not yet. If that’s you, then go and read my other post A Noob’s Guide to Fantasy.

If however, you have read at least some of the books on that list, you’ve learnt how to swim in the shallows of fantasy and you kind of want to go off into deeper water, but you’re a little bit scared and you’re not really sure where to begin, then this post is for you. Grab some popcorn and allow me to ease you into the world of high fantasy.

In the interest of not making this post too long, I will not be talking about what the books are about, I’ll just leave a link to the Goodreads page so you can check them out for yourself.

The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen

the-ascendance-trilogy-the-false-prince-35473004-935-475

This is probably the best series to get you into high fantasy. Particularly if you’re really apprehensive about reading a book that takes place in a different world. This is perfect. It’s classed as a middle grade series, but it is really good. It’s really clever and witty and quite dark for middle grade, I would say it reads a lot more like YA.

It’s an amazing series, really underrated in my opinion. It’s super fast paced, it’s not too long, the world is not that complex. It’s very similar to just… the real world but with a medieval setting. As far as I can remember, there isn’t any magic in it and if there is, it’s really not prominent. So it’s perfect for people who aren’t used to high fantasy and are perhaps a bit apprehensive about it. Although it’s also amazing for senior high fantasy consumers, like myself. It’s just a great series.

Goodreads

The Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder

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This is another excellent series to ease you into high fantasy. This one does have a magic system, but it doesn’t thrust you right into it, I think it only really becomes part of the story towards the end of the first book. It’s really easy to get into, it’s really fast paced. Maria V. Snyder has a great writing style, I really enjoyed this series. I think most of her novels take place in the same world and I think there are 2 or 3 series known as The Chronicles of Ixia. I’ve only read I think 7 of them, but to begin with, I would recommend the first 6 books, which follow the same characters, because I believe the next ones focus more on other characters.

Goodreads

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Another pretty light one, as far as fantasy goes. It has a slightly more complex world than the previous two. It takes place in a desert, Roman-like society and it has some elements of magic and mythology that are a little bit more prominent that in the previous books I mentioned, but it’s still not too dense, you don’t get thrust into it, it’s really not difficult to understand and get into.

I’ve only read the first book so far, but I really enjoyed it and I think it’s a good series for beginners. It’s not too long, it’s not too complicated, and it has a really cool setting and some nice mythology to it. I also have a spoiler-free review of this, if you’re interested to read that.

Goodreads

The Assassin’s Curse series by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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If you like pirates and assassins, this book is it. This is a duology, the books are quite short and while there is quite a heavy element of magic and mythology, it’s not dense or difficult to understand. I really enjoyed this series, it’s got quite unique characters as far as the YA genre goes. And I think it’s perfect if you’ve maybe read one of the previous books I talked about in this post and are ready for the next step. It’s a bit more complex a fantasy world, but it’s not too bad.

The Graceling Series by Kristin Kashore

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This one is a bit more complex. This is the graduation series of this guide to high fantasy. If you’ve read this, you’ll probably be ready to take on some of the more hardcore fantasy series. The world is more complex, the magic system is more complex and the books are longer, closer to your standard high-fantasy book, around 500 pages. It’s not that fast paced. Some people find it slow, I personally really loved the series and I think the fact that it isn’t very fast paced, is good for people who are not as used to high-fantasy. Because it gives you time to digest the world and how the magic works and so on.

This is a companion series. They can either be read in chronological order, or publication order. I recommend publication order, so start with Graceling, then Fire, then Bitterblue. 

Goodreads


So, yeah these 5 books/series I think are a very good way to get into high fantasy. I hope this list helps someone get into high fantasy, because it’s an amazing genre and there are so many good stories that people may be missing out on because they’re intimidated by the genre. Let me know if this did help you, or if you’re already a veteran fantasy reader, what books would you recommend for noobs? Also, for fellow veterans, because I’m always on the lookout for some good fantasy recs.

A Noob’s Guide To Fantasy

I’ve heard so many people saying that they don’t like fantasy, they only like realistic books. And to those people I say… give it a chance. You’ll probably end up loving it. I know it can be an intimidating genre. There’s usually so many books in those fantasy series and there’s so much you need to understand and it can get pretty intense. So I don’t blame you for being a little bit scared.

You can’t just jump into fantasy. You need to ease yourself into it. And that’s what I’m here for. Sit back, relax and let me take you on a short guide to getting into fantasy. The trick is not diving straight into high fantasy. Start a bit closer to home.

In the interest of not making this post too long, I will not be talking about what each book is about, instead I’ll just link the Goodreads page so you can check them out for yourself.

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

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Okay, you probably saw this coming. But seriously, it’s one of the best series to get you into fantasy. It’s funny and well written and just so epic, but it still takes place in the ‘real world’ and it does a very good job of introducing all the magical elements. Besides… it’s like a massive cultural thing. If you haven’t read it, you need to read it. Just give it a couple books. It gets better and better and better. Just read Harry Potter.

Goodreads

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

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Another one you probably saw coming. It’s so funny and witty and easy to read. The books are pretty short and they’re just so, laugh-out-loud funny. They’re brilliant. So easy to get through, so much fun. You’ll probably love them. If you’ve seen the film and think it’s shit, forget what you saw and read the books, because the film really was shit.

Goodreads

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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This is a beautiful book. I would almost call it magical realism. It’s very much a realistic book. It does have magical elements that are incredibly significant, but it’s very realistic. For those people who think “Eh, I don’t like fantasy, I like realistic stories that I can relate to.” If you think fantasy is fanciful or whatever, read A Monster Calls. It’s short, you can read it in a couple hours, just read it.

I also have a review of it, if you are interested.

Goodreads

The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer

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I adore this series. It’s so underrated. It’s so much fun. I love the characters, I love the story and the magic is so well woven together with the mundane, it’s great. It’s great for getting into fantasy and it’s great if you’re already a fantasy reader. It’s just a great series all around. So witty and well written, it’s awesome.  It’s a long series, but the books are quite short and fast paced and easy to read and you’ll have a blast with them.

Goodreads

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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Cassandra Clare is sort of the graduation of this guide. She’s a very good bridge between sort of regular, low fantasy and high fantasy. All her books, really, although I do strongly recommend reading her books in publication order for the best experience. Technically, you can read each series as a standalone series, even though it takes place within the same world, but you get a lot more out of them if you read them in publication order, because Cassie has a way of weaving stories together and the easter eggs are so satisfying.

You might find City of Bones, the first book, a bit boring, but it’s not difficult to read or get into and Cassandra really does get better with every book and every series. So I recommend, if you’re not a really big fan of City of Bones, try the next one. I would say, the end of book two is where the series starts getting really good. If you can get through the first two books, you’ll probably end up hooked on Cassie Clare.

Goodreads


These are 5 books/series that I think are great for getting you into fantasy. I hope if you were unsure about fantasy, that this post has provided some guidance. Fantasy is such a wonderful and diverse genre, there’s really something for everyone within it, so don’t dismiss it. Just give it a chance. Also, if you’ve already taken your first steps into the world of fantasy and would like to move to intense fantasy, but maybe you’re a bit intimidated, check out my guide about getting into high fantasy.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – Spoiler Free Book Review

caravalRating: 1/5

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2017

Author: Stephanie Garber

Synopsis: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I have not been this frustrated with a book since I read Glass Sword.

Another book with an absolutely GORGEOUS cover (especially the UK edition that I have) that is painfully disappointing. It just had so much potential and it failed to deliver on every. single. level.

Characters? What characters? They’re so one dimensional, a cardboard cutout has more depth. The only character I felt anything about was Scarlett and the only thing I felt about her was frustration. There was a ridiculous insta-romance and all the characters had the stupidest motivations ever. It was just lazy writing. Everything was just convenient, without really being explained.

The plot? It was so lame and predictable. Like I said, everything was oh, so convenient. And it ended in a stupid, lame cliffhanger and I was just like… I don’t care. I really don’t care. It was advertised as being a book about some magical circus-like performance. Nope. Nope. it felt nothing like a magical performance. It was more like a scavenger hunt on a magical island. Which would also have been a cool premise… but it’s not what the book was advertised to be.

The worldbuilding was almost nonexistent. Whenever something was convenient, it would just be there. Like oh, the main character needs something, well here it is. It’s part of the world. No explanation. Doesn’t really have any impact on anything other than that specific thing that it’s convenient for. Lazy, sloppy storytelling.

Also, the writing was just… it tried to hard. And it was weird. The descriptions were so… awkward. You could tell that the author was trying to write very beautifully and poetically, but it wasn’t. Not everyone can pull off beautiful, magical, poetical writing. And that’s okay. But they shouldn’t try to force it.

I can’t really say more than this without spoilers, so if you’re interested in my full thoughts on the book, check out my rant post about it. I will definitely not be continuing with this series.