Queen of Shadows

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 4
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

Note: This post reviews the fourth book of the Throne of Glass series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire before reading this review.

Celaena Sardothien has returned to Adarlan – and she is ready to do what needs to be done, no matter the cost. With both Prince Dorian and Aedion Ashryver, her long-lost cousin, imprisoned by the King of Adarlan, Celaena risks everything to save the people she cares about.

But that is only the beginning. The King of Adarlan will be brought down, his tyranny and corruption brought to an end. With the help of her friends, and the Fae Prince Rowan faithfully at her side, Celaena must embrace the truth of who and what she is if she is to save Dorian’s people, her people, and the rest of Erilea from the impending darkness ahead.

This fourth book of the Throne of Glass series was the best so far. Not only was it an action-packed page turner, but it was rich with character development. Maas definitely upped her game with this one.

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Heir of Fire

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 3
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014

Note: This post reviews the third book of the Throne of Glass series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, before reading this review.

Celaena Sardothien, the King’s Champion, has been sent on an errand to the distant continent of Wendlyn. But instead of doing the King of Adarlan’s bidding, she finds herself on a mission of her own: to find the powerful Queen of the Fae, Maeve, and learn more about the ancient weapons the King of Adarlan has come to possess.

But she has more to learn than this – so much more. Celaena has been running from the truth of who and what she is for ten years now; her past, too terrible to confront, her power, unimaginable. She trains with Rowan, a prince of the Fae, and is easily outmatched by him, despite her skill as an assassin. Rowan does not let her off easy, but instead pushes her, challenges her, and ultimately breaks her. It is at this time that she must make a decision: to crumble into worthless nothingness, or to rise up and become the person she was destined to be.

I enjoyed this third installment of the Throne of Glass series… after the first two hundred or so pages. It took me a long time to get into, but once I was into it, I didn’t want to put it down.

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Crown of Midnight

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 2
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: August 27th, 2013

Note: This post reviews the second book of the Throne of Glass series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Throne of Glass, before reading this review.

After winning the brutal contest and earning the position as the King’s Champion, assassin Celaena Sardothien only appears loyal to the king she serves. Celaena is pulled in different directions by the ones she cares about most: the Crown Prince of Adarlan, Dorian, the Captain of the Guard, Choal, and her best friend, Nehemia, Princess of the threatened kingdom of Eyllwe. Since each of them have their own expectations of her, she struggles to decide where her trust, her loyalties, and her heart truly lie.   

But as she uncovers more and more of the king’s dark and powerful secrets, it becomes harder for Celaena to do his bidding, especially with her own secrets about who she is, secrets so dangerous that she trusts no one with them; secrets that could affect the future of everyone.

Sarah J. Maas is becoming a new favorite author of mine. She drew me in first with her series A Court of Thorns and Roses, and is continuing to captivate me with her series, Throne of Glass.

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Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: August 7th, 2012

Celaena Sardothien is willing to do whatever it takes to buy back her freedom – even if it means selling herself to the same king who destroyed her family so many years ago. She accepts Prince Damian’s offer, agreeing to be his champion in a competition to become the king’s assassin. If she wins, she will serve the King of Adarlan for four years, after which she will be given her freedom.

What her competition does not know is that she is really Adarlan’s Assassin, her name widely known across the land. No one could have thought that the most feared assassin is an 18-year-old girl. The only ones who know the truth are the king, Dorian, and Chaol (the Captain of the guard). Celaena and Chaol eventually have an understanding between them, and even a friendship; Celaena and Dorian begin to have something, as well.

In this exciting first book of the series, we meet a strong heroine who is not afraid to fight for what she wants, a prince who wants to be more than what his father has become, and a guard who will protect, no matter the cost. This YA cross between Game of Thrones and Hunger Games drew me in immediately, and continued to hold my attention till the end.

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The Silent Songbird

Title: The Silent Songbird
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 7
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 8th, 2016

Note: Even though The Silent Songbird is the seventh in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Little Mermaid.

Evangeline, the ward of King Richard II, wants nothing more than to be free and to live her life outside the castle. And when the king decides that she will marry his closest advisor, a vile man at least twice her age, she knows she must seize whatever chance she has and flee the castle.

Pretending to be mute to keep herself unknown, she joins Wesley le Wyse and his small band of servants, heading back to their own village. She wishes she did not have to deceive Wesley, especially as she begins to form a friendship with him. But too much is at stake for her to reveal her identity now. Will she win her freedom, and find happiness with the man she loves, or will her ruse not be worth the all the deceit in the end?

I really enjoyed this retelling of The Little Mermaid! I haven’t actually read many retellings of the mute redhead with a fiery spirit, so this was a fun read.

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The Golden Braid

Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 6
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 17th, 2015

Note: Even though The Golden Braid is the sixth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Rapunzel. 

Hagenheim, 1413

When Rapunzel receives another marriage proposal, her controlling and over-protective mother moves them to a new city, one where she hopes to better hide Rapunzel from unwelcome suitors. Rapunzel and her mother meet some trouble on the road, and are rescued by a knight, Sir Gerek, who is later rescued by Rapunzel, who knows a thing or two about knife throwing.

Wanting nothing more than to learn to read and write, Rapunzel begs Sir Gerek to teach her. Reluctantly, Sir Gerek agrees, despite the fact that they each find the other to be difficult. That is, until they realize that their feelings for each other are beginning to deepen. But will Rapunzel’s mother once again get in the way of her daughter’s happiness?

This book is an imaginative retelling of Rapunzel that felt new and fresh. If you are a fan of fairytales, this one is a must-read!

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The Princess Spy

Title: The Princess Spy
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 5
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 4th, 2014

Note: Even though The Princess Spy is the fifth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Frog Prince. 

Hagenheim, 1413

A romantic at heart, Margaretha has high hopes for her suitor, Lord Claybrook. But when Colin, an injured Englishman, arrives in Hagenheim claiming to be attacked by none other than Claybrook himself, Margaretha begins to doubt that her suitor’s motives are true. Because of Colin’s language barrier, he is unable to explain himself to anyone other than Margaretha, who alone speaks english.

As Margaretha befriends Colin and helps him recover, she decides to take a closer look at Claybrook. She begins to uncover his secret plot to overthrow her father, the Duke of Hagenheim, and realizes that the future of her family’s kingdom – and her own future with the man she truly loves – depend on her own stealth and resourcefulness.

I really enjoyed this book, though it was not obvious that it was a Frog Prince retelling. I thought it was fun getting to know Margaretha more, after reading stories about her mother and her brothers, too!

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The Fairest Beauty

Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: January 21st, 2013

Note: Even though The Fairest Beauty is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Snow White.

Sophie is held captive by her evil stepmother, the duchess, after the death of her father. Assumed to be dead all these years, she has been forced to live the life of a lowly servant. When Gabe gets word that his older brother’s betrothed is not only alive but held captive by a cruel duchess, he immediately sets out to help rescue her, since his injured brother cannot go himself.

Gabe does everything he can to rescue Sophie and bring her back to his home in Hagenheim. He wants to keep her safe and protect her, but as they spend more and more time together, he begins to see that what truly needs protecting is his own heart. Even though they both know that Sophie must marry his older brother, they find themselves deeply attracted to one another.

Let me just say how much I love this book! The story is a classic fairytale story of rescue and romance, and the characters are hard not to love. I did read this book out of order (oops, again), so I have to admit that I favor the older brother over the younger… who we get to follow in the next book, The Captive Maiden.

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The Merchant’s Daughter

Title: The Merchant’s Daughter
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 2
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: December 4th, 2011

Note: Even though The Merchant’s Daughter is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

England, 1352 

After the downfall and death of her once wealthy father, Annabel finds herself working as a servant to Lord Ranulf, as a way of helping her struggling family. She has no idea what to expect of her new master, since she has heard rumors of his beastliness. But underneath his gruff exterior, she discovers a man she did not expect, one who is kind and fiercely protective.

Annabel is continuously threatened by the bailiff, a man with no good intentions. She does not want to involve Ranulf in the situation, but he may be the only one who can make everything right in the end. The two of them find themselves not only in physical danger, but also the danger of the heart as they wrestle with feelings that should not exist between a servant and her master.

This was the first Melanie Dickerson book I ever read! (Out of order, yet it didn’t matter one bit.) After I read this book, I immediately looked up the other books in the series, which I found that I liked even better!

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