Audiobooks · Reread Review · Series Review

DISAPPOINTING Reread Review/Rant: Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo (Audiobooks)

SoC

Synopsis for SoC:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


My Thoughts:

So… I actually didn’t enjoy the series as much as the first time around. I much preferred reading the physical books than listening. I love audiobooks but these did not do it for me. I felt less interested in the story, the majority of the narrators weren’t good – which really makes or breaks an audiobook for me.

First things first: None of the narrators sound young enough to play teenagers, especially Matthias & Jespers!! Get actual teenagers?! It would be so much better that way. But honestly, the characters are aged way too young to have done/ achieved some of the stuff they have. If the characters had been in their mid-20s it’d be more believable.

Six of Crows – Found this pretty boring.
I struggled to get into the story at first. It was slower/more boring than I remembered – I barely remembered any of the plot so it wasn’t boring because I knew everything. I just didn’t connect to it this time around. Sadly.

Crooked Kingdom – This was, again, slow but I was more interested this time. Maybe because I got used to the narrators by the time I got to this? I’m not sure. This is really a 3 Star read but I basically gave it an extra star because I like the characters and the ending! The ending was heartbreaking in some places and lovely in others. ALL THE FEELS.

Since I read this the first time, I have read SO many other YA fantasy and honestly, this is so overrated. Leigh Bardugo is overrated. I’m not sure whether to read more of her stuff or not. I kind of want to try King of Scars but who knows.

Things I learned from this reread:

  • The story/plot is so unmemorable – it’s the characters that stick with you.
  • Even though Leigh Bardugo’s writing is clearly better in these than the Shadow and Bone trilogy; I don’t think Leigh Bardugo is for me.
  • The series is seriously overrated.
  • Matthias is underrated.
  • I still don’t think you NEED to read SaB before SoC – yes there are hints/ characters from the trilogy but it doesn’t add much.
  • I’m not sure I enjoy full-cast audiobooks.

Characters:
Kaz: I love Kaz. He’s a complete psychopath but I like him. He’s such an interesting character. I wish there were more of Kaz POV chapters because I feel he’s the best/ more interesting character.
HIS NARRATOR IS THE WORST. God, I hated the lack of Kaz because he’s a great character but I don’t think I could cope with any more of his narrator. He sounded like a middled-age smoker.

Inej: Inej is a babe. I like her but she’s no longer my favourite. I just feel there’s a lack of her, especially in CK. I wanted more!! Especially more Inej and Kaz – their interactions were amazing in SoC but it was seriously lacking in CK.
Her narrator wasn’t bad, one of the better ones on these audiobooks.

Nina: I LOVE NINA!!! I thought Inej was my favourite dreg but from this reread I actually prefer Nina. She’s sassy, funny and has a great personality. I really connected with her character this time around. She’s now my fave from SoC! I love her and Matthias so much, too. Such great banter between them.
Her narrator was actually good – I feel like she captured Nina perfectly and got her tones and personality through.

Matthias: WHY does everyone hate Matthias?!! Seriously underrated character. I find him so funny and entertaining. His interactions with EVERYONE are amazing. He’s clueless and oblivious to some things and it’s funny. I don’t see the hate for him at all. I really enjoyed his part. MATTHIAS DESERVED BETTER!
His narrator had such an amazing, deep voice. It was dreamy to listen to.

Jesper & Wylan: Grouping these two together because reasons.
I like these two but there isn’t enough of them. I was NOT a fan of their narrators!! Wylan’s narrator was awful – especially when he did Kaz. OMG. Cannot even deal with Wylan’s narrator doing Kaz; he sounded like a witchy old woman. It was laughable. Jesper’s narrator was bad per se but he didn’t capture his happy/excitable nature, in my opinion.

Ratings:
Six of Crows ★★★.5
Crooked Kingdom ★★★★

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Books · Reread Review

Reread Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

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“The world, will be saved and remade by the dreamers”


Synopsis:
The long path to the throne has just begun for Aelin Galathynius. As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?


Plot:
This book was amazing the first time around but managed to be even better the second time around!? I’m shook.
Despite remembering the majority of the plot; there were a few things I’d forgotten and it was so nice to rediscovering them.
The pacing, the action, the character, everything was just great.
I love the character interactions + the friendships. My heart.
The subplots were as good as the main plot; the side characters are SO great in this series.
It got me in such a great mood for KoA, I was both absolutely terrified and eager to get to it.
If you’ve read this you know it ends on a killer cliffhanger, then the next book is Tower of Dawn which is centred around Chaol. I wasn’t super keen on it, to be honest.
After finishing EOS I was desperate to pick up Kingdom of Ash, so I read a summary + the wiki page to remind of the stuff in ToD and jumped in KoA. (review for that soon)

Characters:
Aelin: I love Aelin. She’s so badass in this one and I feel so awful for her at the end, my heart breaks. AELIN DESERVES HAPPINESS.
I swear to god. I’m going to get my heart broken in KOA, aren’t I?

Dorian:
My favourite!! Will forever love my selfless Dorian.
Praying, that Dorian survives the series. Literally, please SJM…
Dorian deserves better.

Manon: More tolerable in this book. Didn’t despise her presence. However, I love the Thirteen. They’re so amazing!! Manon is so much better with them.
However, I am not a fan of her ship. #Sorrynotsorry

Rowan:
I officially love Rowan. I didn’t like him in Heir of Fire, he became likeable in Queen of Shadows but now I love him. Rowaelin is goals.

Elide & Lorcan: This duo. Oh my god. I live for them. I was constantly wanting more of them and couldn’t wait to get back to their chapters.

Rating: 5 Stars


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Books · Reread Review

Reread Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

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Synopsis:
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world…


Plot:
This book is probably my favourite in the series. I inhale read this, I managed to read 410 pages in one day and finished the rest the next day. I read over 600 pages in less than 48 hours. I need help. 
The story is fast pace, so much going and non-stop action. So much happens in this book, it’s insane. After rereading Heir of Fire and not liking it as much as the first time, I was worried this would disappoint. It didn’t. It was epic and everything I love.

Characters:
Celaena/Aelin: 
She’s so much better in this book! This is the character I love, not the mopey person she was in Heir of Fire. I love her friendships with everyone.
Her reunion’s with Aedion and Rowan, the feels. So adorable.

Chaol: *sigh* 


Manon: 
I still hate Manon. I’ll never like her, I just can’t warm to her. I like her when she’s with Elide and she definitely improves character-wise in this book.

Elide: 
I LOVE ELIDE! She’s one of my favourites from the whole series, so I have been waiting for her to show up! She makes Manon so much more tolerable and I think their friendship is cute.

Aedion:
I’m so neutral about Aedion that I’m not sure what to say. I don’t love him but I don’t dislike him either. He and Rowan’s ‘territorial’ ways with Aelin are so funny to read, I love that there’s a slight rivalry.

Rowan: 
I love Rowan in this book, after forgetting he was an ass in Heir of Fire it was such a shock for me to dislike him when I reread it. However, he is so so so much better in this one. I love his and Aelin’s relationship, adorable.

Dorian: 
So sad Dorian was barely apart of the story due to wearing a collar and the Valg Prince trying to take over him. It was SO sad to read, even though I knew what happened.


Rating: 5 AMAZING Stars!

 


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Books · Reread Review

Reread Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

 

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Synopsis:
She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.


Plot:
Okay, so. This was probably the most disappointing reread, it was so slow. I don’t remember this book being to slow and boring the first time I read it. It was so hard to get into and it took me so long to read, which is not like me with SJM’s books.
The first 200 pages were so painful to get through, the majority of the book felt like filler and definitely needed cutting down. I am all for big books but this just had too much of nothing. I kept putting down this book, I felt really unmotivated and disinterested, which made me not want to read on.

It didn’t help that this book introduced new characters, who I didn’t like the first time around and certainly didn’t like this time either.
The last 200 pages were the best part of the story, it had better pacing and more going on than the majority of the rest of the book. The ending was so much more enjoyable and that’s when I found myself gripped the most. I am actually shocked by my dislike of 50% or more of this book. I even changed my rating because I was that disappointed.

Characters:
Celaena:
I get that this book was about Celaena finding herself and training to use and control her powers and being able to shift but it was boring. She wasn’t as exciting or interesting in this book, maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t get into her story in this one.

Manon: Unpopular opinion: Manon is OVERRATED! I have literally never been able to figure out what everyone loves about Manon. She’s horrible and not in an entertaining, fun way. She’s just crap. I don’t like her. I like Abraxos though, which makes her chapters more bearable.

Dorian: As I keep saying; I love him. His character development is great, he’s such a genuinely good person and I am so sad for him after this book. His chapters were the most enjoyable in this book.

Chaol:
As much as I don’t like Chaol, his friendship and love for Dorian is great. They have a great bromance. Even though they’re struggling with their friendship it is so nice to see Chaol doing whatever he can to help Dorian.

Rowan: 
He starts off as an intolerable asshole, for about 50% of the book I hated him. He does start to get better throughout the book and eventually realises what Celaena has been through and understands her better and vice versa.

 

Rating: 3 Stars – Knocked off a Star from my previous rating. 


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Books · Reread Review

Reread Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

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Synopsis:
“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


Plot:
I really love the plot of Crown of Midnight, it definitely picks up the pace from the first book, which I found a bit slow, to begin with. I, again, had forgotten much of the plot and it was nice to rediscover everything I’d forgotten!
There was definitely a lot more excitement going on in this book, more twists and turns and generally just better than the last.
Again, SJM has trapped me with captivating, addictive worlds and characters. I don’t know how she writes books that are so gripping and I end up so invested in the plot and characters that I cannot stop reading.

I realise now, this might be one of my favourites in the whole series? I’ll have to wait and see after I get to Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms, as they were my favourite when I first read the series.

Characters:

Celaena: She can’t kill for the man who killed her own family and people, she’s taking a big risk when defying the king. This is where Celaena’s good character development really starts and also a big reveal about who she really is.

Dorian:
Still in love with Dorian. He’s such a sweetheart. Always will be my favourite character in this series! I love his character development, him learning new things about himself that kick-start his journey is really interesting to reread.

Chaol:
He’s so meh?! I never liked him and I definitely don’t like him after this book. Still, don’t ship Choal + Celaena, I just can’t.

Honourable mention to Fleetfoot and Mort, I love those guys.

 

Rating: 4.5 Stars


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Books · Reread Review

Reread Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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Synopsis:
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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. 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.


Plot:
I am actually so surprised at how much of the plot I had forgotten. The best part of rereading is rediscovering the parts you have forgotten and loved the first time around.
In terms of the rest of the series, this is definitely my least favourite of them all. I see now this one is the slowest, it took me a while to get back into the story.
Its plot is nothing super original, in my opinion; the later books are better. I think the first time around my favourite was Queen of Shadows followed by Empire of Storms, I’m interested to see whether I’ll still feel the same.

This was a typical YA Fantasy, full of tropes – a love triangle starts but it is a bit of fun and I can’t hate it, despite its flaws. SJM’s writing definitely improves with every book, this is probably one of the weakest but it still isn’t bad.

I do feel the plot was a bit dragged out, it took too long to get to the competition – which is what the whole thing is about and then the competition was over in a chapter or so. I didn’t really care for the side plots, other than Dorian, the characters were pretty bland in this one.
I also realised I never liked Chaol. He’s just an ass and always has been? Can’t relate to the people who ship Chaol with Celaena at all.

Characters:
Celaena: I like Celaena, I don’t love her – in this series I am far more attached to certain side characters.
Dorian: I LOVE DORIAN. He is such a babe. He’s so charming, swoon-worthy and lovely!! He’s adorable and I am so sad he and Celaena weren’t a think, like who picks Chaol over Dorian??!
Chaol: I have never liked Chaol. I have always found him so annoying, literally, don’t see what anyone ever saw in him. He had a few good moments and his friendship with Dorian is nice.

Rating: Still 4 Stars


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Books · Reread Review

Mini Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

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Synopsis:
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free?


Plot:
Firstly, this is the last Throne of Glass I read, when I initially read the whole series last year, I somehow missed this. Completely forgot?? Like a moron. However, I don’t think it took any enjoyment or understanding away. I’m not hugely fond of short stories and only read it because it’s SJM. They actually were entertaining.

It’s hard to explain the ‘plot’ when it’s a compilation of novellas.
It’s basically set before Celaena is sent to Endovier, it’s the lead up to how she ended up there and her life as an assassin. This was a fun, quick read and I really liked each story, my favourite being The Assassin and the Desert, that was so cool!

As with every other SJM book, it was a quick read and I absolutely devoured it. I read something like 75% of it in one go, it was fun and engaging from start until finish. It is probably the best place to start if you’re new to Throne of Glass but I don’t think it is necessary to start here.

Characters:
Celaena:
This was the Celaena I expected in ToG, badass, merciless killer. I like her a whole lot better here. I mean she’s still the headstrong, snarky girl we love but it’s cool to see her as a proper assassin. When I first read ToG I assumed it was going to be all about an assassin and that kind of life but obviously, it wasn’t and took a different turn.

Sam: I fully expected to love Sam because everyone loves him and cries over him. But he was just okay? I personally, don’t see all the fuss. What happened to him was awful and he didn’t deserve it at all. I was a tad upset but mostly for Celaena.

Individual Ratings:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: 4 Stars
The Assassin and the Healer: 4 Stars
The Assassin and the Desert: 5 Stars
The Assassin and the Underworld: 4 Stars
The Assassin and the Empire: 4 Stars

Overall Rating: 4 Stars


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