Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Huge thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review

This review is spoiler free!

Published: 11th September 2014

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

When I got my hands on an early copy of ‘Heir of Fire’ I couldn’t wait to get started. It was just a shame that around five pages in I realized that most of the events of the previous book was nothing but a hazy memory and if I wanted any clue what was happening I needed to go back and start at the beginning.

So I’ve spent and otherwise stressful few weeks happily ensconced in Celaena’s world, reliving her battle to become the King’s Champion, her slow uncovering of the rebels plots, the devastation and loss and the shock of revelations at the end of ‘Crown of Midnight’. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster, and I was expecting that pace to be maintained, thinking that this was the last book in the series. Thankfully I was wrong, and there are plenty of stories waiting for another book to tell them, but it meant that I spent a good portion of the book waiting for the pace to kick up a notch as it would in the final book in a series, and being disappointed.

Once I got around the fact that I was being an idiot and doing myself out of more books (Sarah has stated on her website that she’s always seen the series as a 6 book one.) I settled in and enjoyed the book.

This book was much slower than the first two, Celaena has taken quite the emotional beating by this point and it takes a long, long time for her to try and piece herself back together. There were a few points where her constant misery and self blame became a little bit much, but on the whole it was handled really well and it was so good to watch her try and reconcile all the parts of herself into one flawed whole.

Whilst Celaena is off learning and growing away from Rifthold, we still get peaks back to how everyone left behind is faring. Short answer? Terribly. The events of the last book have shaken everyone and their various relationships beyond repair, so it was a much darker book, no one trusting anyone and everyone feeling lost and isolated. The good part is that the treachery of the King is finally being recognised and more people are figuring out what he’s done, so there is a better chance of managing to right all the wrong’s. But watching everyone stumble around trying to deal with things on their own was truly heart breaking.

We are also introduced to a host of new characters which fleshed out the book and really gave more meat to what was once solely Celaena’s story. Rowan, a fae prince was one of my particular favourites, as was Manon another Ironteeth witch, and oh boy the witches. They were a fantastic addition to the story. I really loved all of Manon’s sections, which tie in beautifully with showing us what the King is planning next and pick up the thread that was introduced in the last book with Baba Yellowlegs. They are incredible, and I am so excited to see where that story takes us in the next book.

A lot of holes and questions that were raised are now being filled in, we’re given a lot of back story, particularly Celaena’s which was great to have. Maas has left it just long enough to really whet our appetites without drawing it so long that we’re frustrated, and she really should be commended for the brilliant pacing of each book, but also the series as a whole.

All in all this latest installment is a fantastic addition to the series. It expands the world, raises the stakes, and sets the bar even higher with a brilliant climax of an ending for the next book. Fans of the series will be thrilled with this book, and those who haven’t yet found the series, go out and get yourself a copy of ‘Throne of Glass’ and get on board.

A Book Blogger Ties the Knot (Or: How I managed to get as many books into my wedding as possible...)

When my other half proposed in February I knew that somehow we were going to get our two favourite passions into our wedding day – bicycles and books.
Which started, in amongst all the other stressing and panicking, a slow, careful deliberation about which of my many many favourite books I wanted to include in the day. Because when you read as much as I do, you inevitably amass a fairly huge pile of favourites.

I wanted to include favourite books from my childhood, recent favourites, classics I return to again and again, and books we both loved. And unfortunately there was a limit to how many books we could get in their various guises into the marquee. But we were creative…

So when we got married at the end of last month there were an absolute plethora of books in amongst the celebrations.

The tables had books wrapped around the vases on the tables, both to serve as names for each table, but also reading material if anyone got bored and to take away at the end of the night. There were book pages suspended from the bike wheels (of course there were bike wheels, he’s a cycling fanatic!) and the crowning glory? Miniature books decorating the cake. A labour of love done between me, my mother, and my long suffering Boy.

There were favourite cycling books, Terry Pratchett’s and Redwall as his
contribution, but other than that I was granted free reign. And I loved it.

Tamora Pierce, Gerald Durell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and ‘The Princess Bride’ by William Goldman stood for my childhood loves. Harry Potter made an obvious appearance, in amongst more recent favourites like ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green, ‘Seraphina’ by Rachel Hartman and ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. We had classics like ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, ‘American Gods’ and ‘Neverwhere’ and of course the books I cannot live without like the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, ‘The Scorpio Races’ by Maggie Stiefvater and ‘Unspoken’ by Sarah Rees Brennan. And right at the top, a novel yet to grace the shelves until early next year, the debut by a very great friend, ‘The Last Leaves Falling’ by Sarah Benwell.

They were a talking point, a communal love that had people come racing over to me to tell me how thrilled they were that I loved this particular book and they loved it too. They sparked conversations about books people loved and if you like that you should try this. They forged beginnings of new friendships and I have loved hearing about books that people took away with them and what they thought of them. It was exactly what I wished for as part of my wedding day. A way to celebrate my love of books and sharing them with others, and also to celebrate the books that have brought me and the Boy together over the years.