Mini-Reviews: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, No Virgin & The Sky is Everywhere

Yay mini-reviews! This is most definitely a stylistic choice and absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am very behind on my reviewing and also a little bit lazy. Nothing at all. Nuh-uh.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1)

throne-of-glassWhere do I even start with such a bloody enormous series? This behemoth saga is so popular it’s hard not to get swept away in the hype. We meet eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien in the dark and filthy salt mines of Endovier, where she’s serving a life sentence for being Adarlan’s most notorious assassin. That’s where she’s supposed to spend the rest of her days, that is until the Crown Prince offers her a deal. If she fights to become the King’s Champion in a tournament and wins, the Prince will set her free after four years.

Sounds pretty epic, right? I would be inclined to agree. I loved the premise and with the constant chatter surrounding this series, it was only a matter of time until I picked it up to see what all the fuss was about for myself. Despite weird contradictions in Celaena’s personality (worrying about dirty hands and unwashed hair when she’s the country’s most feared assassin, for example), I thought she was a mostly smart and tenacious heroine and I enjoyed following her on the first part of her journey.

The love interests (yup, there are two) are a little bit on the bland side, but the inclusion of a complex and meaningful friendship between Celaena and Nehemia; two female characters who are both powerful and interesting in their own right, just about made up for it. Say what you want about Sarah J. Maas, but she writes brilliant women.

Overall, the plot was slightly slower than I would have liked, but first books are often the building blocks of character development so I can forgive the lack of adrenaline. I’m intrigued by some of the magic systems and elements of the world that Maas has created, so I’ll definitely be picking up Crown of Midnight to find out what happens to Celaena next.

In Summary…

  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
  • Pages: 404
  • Publication Date: 7th August 2012

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)

And so we come to the second instalment in the ToG series by Sarah J. Maas. After finding crown-of-midnight-cover.jpgToG a little bit slow in places, I was excited to see what Crown of Midnight would bring to the table. Like lots of clever people told me, this one certainly rolls a bit faster than its predecessor. Celaena’s story continued in a blur of assassinations, angst, romance and mortal peril: just the way I like ’em.

The plot is gripping, if a little confusing in places, and Maas’ world building continues to shine. I really like the magic systems and mythology included in this book and I’m really excited to see where the author will take us next in this sprawling world.

I feel like Celaena gets a lot more development in this book and I really enjoyed seeing both her ruthless and vulnerable sides showcased at different points in the book. To me, she felt much more like a feared assassin in this novel than she did in the previous one and she definitely had a host of bad ass moments. There was also a bit more development of the male characters, most notably Chaol. I feel like there’s a lot more lurking beneath the surface of the Captain of the Guard and after THAT omg-worthy ending, I’m super curious about what other secrets he might be hiding and where his choices will take him.

This is a fun book with a lot going for it, and the action has certainly been ratcheted up. I still don’t feel as emotionally attached to the main characters as I would like, but I have a feeling that’ll come as I gobble up the rest of the series. Heir of Fire is on Amazon order as I type.

In Summary…

  • Rating: 4/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
  • Pages: 418
  • Publication Date: 27th August 2013.

No Virgin by Anne Cassidy

no-virginThis is a short and powerful novella about sexual assault and how people view what rape actually is. Newsflash: you don’t have to be penetrated to be raped, you don’t have to be a virgin to be raped and you could have slept with someone else half an hour before and it’d still be rape.

This is a quick and absorbing read and considering it only took me about 45 minutes to read, the development of Stacey, the protagonist, was surprisingly good. She was consistently relatable in her thoughts and behaviour and it was impossible not to root for her as she struggled to come to terms with her emotions in the aftermath of her assault.

The language the teen characters used in texts and in conversation felt slightly off-kilter to me, which meant that I didn’t connect with the relationship between Stacey and her best friend Patrice as much as I would have liked to. I also thought that Stacey’s relationship with her Mother came off as a bit disconnected, but I did think that her relationship with her father and the struggle of spending time with a parent who is starting a new relationship was well-portrayed considering the limited page time.

This was a stark read that really brought the injustice of rape and the self-condemnation that many victims feel to the surface. With sexual assault amongst students on the rise, this frank and straight-to-the-point novel is exactly the sort of thing that should be being read, discussed and absorbed in classrooms across the country.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy from the publisher on a read to review basis. If you’d like to check out my review policy, click here.

In summary…

  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books
  • Pages: 192
  • Publication Date: Due 3rd November 2016

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

I devoured  Jandy Nelson’s second novel; I’ll Give You The Sun, earlier this year and I knew the-sky-is-everywhere-coverthat I’d be picking up her debut sooner or later. The Sky Is Everywhere is about seventeen year old Lennie Walker, who is struggling to cope with the sudden loss of her older sister, Bailey.

As always, Nelson’s writing in b-e-a-utiful. I just can’t help but be sucked into her prose, and the addition of the poetry and stories written by Lennie and left around her town to be discovered were a poignant addition to the story. Lennie’s family are also written wonderfully, which is another area that Nelson excels in. Lennie’s eccentric Gram and larger-than-life Uncle Big are exactly the sort of characters I’d expect from a Jandy Nelson story and the relationships created between them are so full of warmth, eccentricity and bittersweet emotion that it’s impossible not to feel involved.

Strangely for me though (y’all know I love a good ship to cry about) I just could not feel connected to either Joe or Toby. Joe is basically the ultimate YA crush: a musician from France whose curls have been carved by the angels and has eyes the colour of cloudless blue skies on a hot summer day…blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to hear about it because unfortunately, perfect don’t exist. Unless we’re talking Cillian Murphy here, but that’s a different story. Joe’s character was so cardboard cut-out that it stopped me from being able to connect with his and Lennie’s relationship, which is central to much of the book. Considering the circumstances, he was also a bit of a self-centred arse and his possessive behaviour was made into a glamorous thing, which made me a bit uncomfortable. Let’s not make unhealthy behavior sexy, pls.

Being a teenager is difficult and confusing, but it’s even more precarious to navigate when you’re trying to come to terms with an insurmountable loss. This book demonstrates that struggle really well and in Lennie, Nelson has created a wonderfully complex portrayal of a seventeen year old girl trying to juggle raging hormones alongside guilt, grief, loneliness and shame. This book, although not perfect, is a touching ode losing someone.

In summary…

  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Dial Books
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 9th March 2010

Have you read any of these babies yet? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, No Virgin & The Sky is Everywhere

  1. Great reviews Sammie, I’ve read all of these except No Virgin.
    I really enjoyed Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I saw a lot of negative reviews for Throne of Glass which put me off at first but when I actually got around to read it it wasn’t that bad, I think it helped that my expectations were so low. Either way I thought the series got better and better so I hope you enjoy the rest of the books in this series even more.
    I loved The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson is definitely one of my all-time favourite YA contemporary authors and this book is my favourite of hers! It’s a shame you weren’t a fan of either of the ships in this book but I’m glad you enjoyed the relationships Lennie has with her family. 🙂

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  2. Great review. I haven’t read these books but after reading this may be I will add them to my TBR. I really like the idea of mini reviews. It is exactly a resort for lazy bones like me. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I finished ToG a few days ago and I also thought the plot lagged in places, and then the ending was rushed, but overall I liked the book more than I would’ve thought. I still need to read the second one. I’m glad it’s faster paced.

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  4. Excellent mini-reviews! I’m glad to see it’s commonly agreed that Crown of Midnight has a more solid plot and character development than Throne of Glass. There’s so much potential in ToG, and I want to see it all realized.

    The other two books aren’t my thing, but I’m taking note of No Virgin for other people who might be interested in its topic. Thanks for pointing it out. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers, Liam! I totally agree. It’s an enormous world with some really intriguing characters. I’m reading Heir of Fire at the moment and really enjoying it! My pleasure! I’m glad that you’ll keep it on hand to recommend – it’s not the sort of book I would read often but it’s definitely one that deserves to be read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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