Book review: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, Book 7)

I’ve been waiting for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed. KINGDOM OF ASH was a great Epic Fantasy adventure!

51FqSFnsowL

I loved this story. Finally after 6 installments, the adventure concludes. And what a conclusion!

There’s everything here for those who love high fantasy adventure, battles, love-stories, and magic. It had all the elements I adore in fantasy, plus it brought three yet to be resolved romances to their emotional conclusion. Maas seamlessly includes ALL the major players from previous stories in for the grand finale, and she does so in the way that had me caring about all the threads, and all the characters. Quite an achievement!

The fantasy world is richly drawn, with sweeping settings. This story truly was epic in scale in every sense, and the battle scenes were fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the witch towers – terrifying!

It’s a big book (and the concluding chapters could have been shortened a tad, in my opinion, without losing any impact) that has a lot of questions to answer, and many subplots to tie up – but like I said, Maas does a great job of it. This is definitely a book I’d read again. Here were my highlights (hopefully none of these should be spoilers):

– Aelin’s imprisonment and torture … no I’m not ghoulish but I thought this section was incredibly well done.
– Dorian’s trip to Morath …. this section had me on the edge of my seat. Nail-biting!
– The conclusion of Aedion and Lysandra’s, and Elide and Lorcan’s love stories. These were highly emotional!
– Dorian and Manon’s developing relationship … two conflicted souls who are actually meant for each other.
– The final showdowns with the Valg, Erawan and Maeve. Great baddies in this series!

There were plenty of other parts of the story that I loved (too many to go into here) and the writing was fluid and engrossing. I can’t wait to see what new series Sarah J Maas has in store for us next!

Five stars!

Check out the book on Amazon.

Book review: RED SISTER by Mark Lawrence

It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

51lnAAPhJjLI really enjoyed RED SISTER, even though I don’t tend to go in for fantasy novels where the character spends large amounts of time training or studying. As such, I found the middle of the story a little slow. However, Mark Lawrence’s superb writing style more than makes up for this!

This novel follows the story of Nona, a girl ‘convicted of murder, guilty of worse’, who ends up training with the deadly nuns of ‘The Sisters of Mercy’. Along the way, Nona tries to hide a deadly secret about the past from her friends and the sisters of the order, while she hunts for the truth about who she really is.

The thing I loved the most about this book was the world building. This is a unique, gritty and beautifully drawn fantasy world – a land locked in an advancing ice-age under a dying sun, and a moon that will soon drop from the sky. The inhabitants have found ways to keep the ice back for the moment but they all know they live under the shadow of approaching doom. This knowledge colours their entire world. This was defnitely the most exciting element of RED SISTER for me, and I will pick up the sequel for this alone!

I also love the way Mark Lawrence writes, he has a lyrical, easy-to-read style that sucks you in.

The magic system and the Sisters of Mercy are credible and uniquely drawn, and I enjoyed Nona’s journey of discovery. The plot was good, with a few twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes, although as I mentioned earlier the long sections where we follow Nona during her training did slow the pace of the book (for me).

You’d think a story about a group of girls training to become killer nuns would place this novel in the YA category, but this novel most definitely is not Young Adult. Dark, edgy, violent, and compelling, RED SISTER is an absorbing read.

Check this novel out on Amazon.

Throne of Glass series – epic fantasy romance not to miss!

I’m a big fan of Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series. I’ve read all the books so far and am hanging out for the sixth book in the series!

throne-of-glass-series

Now… I’m not a big fan of the covers. In fact – the covers almost put me off reading the series. They’re too ‘young adult’ and comic book for my liking. The series gets very dark, has some steamy sex, is pretty violent and tackles some heavy issues. The covers don’t give you any of that – they are all wrong. That said, don’t let the covers put you off. This is a hugely epic, emotionally powerful series that gets better and better with each book.

I actually wrote reviews for each book as I read it, and thought I would share them here. I’ve also inserted in links to Amazon for each book, just in case my reviews inspire you to read the books!

51egs3mf22l-_sx166_sy265_Throne of Glass (Book #1)

An exciting start to a well-written series (I’m now into the third book and loving it). Maas creates a believable fantasy world and the main character – Celaena – is fantastic. I’m always a bit cautious when reading novels where the heroine appears to have superhuman abilities but Celaena is completely believable as the tough-as-nails teenage assassin. I highly recommend this character-driven fantasy series.

Crown of Midnight (Book #2)51nyjnp7ktl-_sx166_sy265_

The second installment to the Throne of Glass series was even better than the first. The character development was more exciting, the themes darker. There’s more at stake – and the twist half-way through was fantastic. I love it when an author surprises me with a twist I never saw coming!

Celaena really develops in this novel. She matures and we start to discover more about her heritage, which sheds light on parts of her character. I also enjoyed Chaol and Dorian’s character development as they embark on subplots of their own. This novel really is a roller-coaster, Maas packs in a lot into it but everything works. A fantastic series!

Heir of Fire (Book #3)519kgyzi9rl-_sx166_sy265_

The best of the series so far!

Each novel is getting darker and more complex, which I love. I also enjoyed the various subplots – especially the one about the witches. The Yellowlegs, Bluebloods and Blackbeaks all vie for dominance as they strike a bargain with a human king and train wyverns for the battle ahead. These witches are unlike any I’ve ever read about – worthy of a series all of their own!

Maas creates a truly believable fantasy world populated by richly drawn characters. We learn more about Dorian and Chaol, with a twist at the end I never saw coming (unusual for me!). The creatures Maas creates – the Skinwalkers for example – are excellent. They reminded me a little of George R. R. Martin’s White Walkers, with a creepy twist of their own.

Well-written, gripping epic fantasy. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series!

Queen of Shadows (Book #4)51frdjedgl-_sx166_sy265_

Another wonderful installment in this series. Maas’s world building is great – and I love the supporting characters as much as the heroine. I particularly like the witch Manon Blackbeak and can’t wait to see how her character develops in the next book. The fact that I’m four books in and still want to keep reading says it all really. I don’t usually have the patience for long series but I’ll make an exception here. A real page turner – highly recommend!

Empire of Storms (Book #5)51qvjmwvsxl-_sx166_sy265_

A fantastic book – this series just keeps getting better and better!

It’s epic too – huge in its scope – and Maas manages to pull everything together. She has subplots, a massive cast of characters and a overarching theme that has been on a slow-burn since Book #1.

I really felt it all works.

This story surprised me, not just because of twists and turns, and the shock ending I didn’t see coming – but also because of the way the characters developed. For me, Aelin and Rowan were the least interesting characters in this novel. Sadly, Chaol disappears in this book but instead we have some great subplots with Dorian and Manon (I adore Manon – this woman deserves a series of her own!), Aedion and Lysandra, and Lorcan and Elide.

I think these three ‘secondary’ romances are actually more interesting than that of Rowan and Aelin (which I found a bit overplayed). There’s more grit, tension and realism in the developing relationships.

However, the best thing about this book is that it’s a sheer emotional roller-coaster. This is what makes epic fantasy such an incredible genre. Maas makes us feel as if we’re right there, as if it’s our world on the brink – as if Aelin is our queen. Long series often aren’t my thing; I tend to get bored. It shows real writing talent to be able to develop stories and characters over five books and still keep readers on their edge of their seats. Maas does this brilliantly.

Absolutely loved this book, and now have to sit on my hands and wait for the next installment.


So there you have it, my thoughts on this amazing series so far. As a writer of fantasy romance these novels really inspire me!

The stories are not without their faults (a slightly overplayed central love story, superhuman heroes and heroines instead of men and women we can relate to were my two main gripes) but the storytelling is so strong, the writing so seamless and the emotional connection so strong that I can forgive these – and that’s the test of a great story.