The Noble Servant


Title: The Noble Servant

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 9th, 2017

Note: Even though The Noble Servant is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (book 1) and The Beautiful Pretender (book 2). However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Goose Girl.

Barony of Mallin, 1365.

Lady Magdalen is summoned to Wolfberg Castle after being informed that the Duke wishes to marry her. Two years have passed since Magdalen and Steffan have spoken, and even then, they had only spent a few hours together at a dance. It seems too good to be true for him to be requesting her hand now, after hearing nothing for so long.

During the two-day journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen is betrayed by her own servant and her father. They force her to switch places with the servant, believing their treachery will go unnoticed since Magdalen and the Duke have not seen each other in years. But they have a surprise waiting for them at the castle – the Duke has secrets of his own.

Magdalen goes along with the guise, hoping to keep those she cares about from harm. As she works as a goose girl, she befriends a shepherd, who is strangely familiar. Together, they risk everything as they begin a plan of their own to save Wolfberg and themselves from the devious plot from within the castle.

I liked getting to see Magdalen have a story all her own, after meeting her as Avelina’s friend in the last book. However, it sort of dragged on. And on. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, as I do all of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings, but the middle of the book was a lot of talking, and not much actually happening. Things picked up toward the end, but it wasn’t as action-packed as some of her other books that I can’t put down!

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A Court of Wings and Ruin


Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 3
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s 
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Note: This post reviews the third book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre is back in the hands of Tamlin, after an encounter with the King of Hybern that went horribly wrong. Tamlin, in his rage and desperation, made a deal with the King in exchange for Feyre, as if she were a possession he was trying to get back. What Tamlin didn’t know was that Nesta and Elain, Feyre’s sisters, would be dragged into it. During the encounter, the cauldron is brought forth and, to Feyre’s horror, used on her own sisters. They are Made, as she was, Fae. In the end, Feyre willingly agrees to go with Tamlin and Rhysand leaves with Nesta and Elain, both playing a part. (This is where book two left us.)

While Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin, she plays the part of the submissive female at Tamlin’s side, all the while working as a spy. She does everything she can to bring him down, including turning his own people against him. She cannot stomach how he stooped so low as to work with the King of Hybern, and then used her family. Any trace of the love they shared in the first book is long gone.

Thankfully, Feyre does not have to spend much time deceiving Tamlin, and is back at the Night Court with Rhys before long. Much of the book is spent in preparation for war – Hybern is coming to Prythian. Feyre continues to train with Cassian, and to learn to fly with Azriel, but her sisters refuse to join in. They hate what has been done to them, hate that they are now Fae. We see more of them in this book than the other two, and we also see the budding romance develop between Cassian and Nesta (in between their verbal sparring) and the could-be romance between Elain and Lucien (her mate). As we reach the end of book, the Archeron sisters become more important than ever in the war against Hybern.

Let me say again how much I love this series as a whole! (I did give it 5 roses, after all.) But even with such a high rating, there are a just a few things I want to mention to really give it an honest review:

  1. WHY IS THIS NOT A TRILOGY?! Sorry, but why is this not a trilogy? I think it is absolutely perfect the way it is. There are no loose ends, everything has been wrapped up beautifully, and the ending is so satisfying. So again, why is there another book coming in 2018? Not everything has to be a long series, and I for one think Maas wrote a very strong trilogy. I don’t even know what the next book will be about, unless it focuses on different characters. The story of Feyre and Rhysand has already been wrapped up so…?
  2. The love scenes. Does anyone else feel that if you have read one of the love scenes in this series, you have read them all? Seriously. As intense as they are, Maas definitely has her favorite words that she likes to go back to when she writes a descriptive love scene. If you can’t find different ways to express what the characters are feeling and experiencing, then it does start to feel like I have read it before. (And let me say that I absolutely love Feyre and Rhysand and their relationship, which I believe is healthy and full of mutual respect and focused on empowering the other person.)
  3. The ellipses. Maybe I’m getting too picky now, but… what is up with all the ellipses? I just randomly opened to a page in the book and I counted… five of them. I get that Maas is trying to make the writing conversational… so that it is like we see into the mind of Feyre… but don’t they start to lose their punch when you use them so… regularly? They should be used… more sparingly, in my opinion. Otherwise, they become… tiresome.
  4. The fragmented sentence structure. Again, this probably ties into the conversational way of writing, meant for us to feel close to Feyre. Like we are reading her thoughts. As if we were experiencing what she is experiencing. I have had to reread sentences several times because I don’t understand what she is trying to say. Before I realize that it is a fragmented sentence. I think incomplete sentences are fine sprinkled here and there, but Maas does it all the time. And when it becomes distracting to the reader, it slows the story down.

Sorry if I am being too harsh, but these were some things I kept thinking about as I was reading the series. My opinions may be unpopular, but I’m trying to give it a real review. Still, my rating of 5 roses stands, because these books really have become a new favorite! Sarah J. Maas is a captivating writer and I look forward to reading any other book she ever writes.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

The Ship Beyond Time

 
Title: The Ship Beyond Time
Author: Heidi Heilig 
Series: The Girl From Everywhere Series, book 2/2
Genre: Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 28th, 2017

 

Note: This post reviews the second book of The Girl From Everywhere Series. You may like to read the first book in the series, The Girl From Everywhere, before reading this review. 

After spending sixteen years following her father on his never-ending search to get her mother back, Nix decides to take her life and the Temptation, their time-traveling ship, into her own hands. But when she learns that she is to lose the one she loves to the sea, she sets off on her own quest to change the past – and hopefully the future. She cannot bear the thought of losing Kashmir, her crewmate, her best friend, and love of her life, without first trying to save him.

Nix receives a map to a mythical island from a stranger who promises her knowledge about changing the past. She decides to sail with her crew to this island, Ker-Y’s, and there she begins to unravel mystery upon mystery concerning Crowhurst, a man who has manipulated time and made himself king of the island, and his daughter Dahut, who cannot remember her own past. Nix is familiar with the myth of Ker-Y’s – how the daughter of the king opened the sea gates at high tide, causing the flood and destruction of the island. Hoping there is a way to rewrite the ending of this legend, Nix, Kash, and Blake, the boy who joined them back in Hawaii, do everything they can to prevent Crowhurst from endangering the lives of many. But as they slowly uncover the truth, they realize that history may just be beyond anyone’s control.

This second and final book of The Girl From Everywhere Series was everything I had hoped it would be and more. It held my attention even more than the first book, and kept me turning pages to see how it would all end. The blend of history and myth was fascinating, and the blend of adventure and romance was just right. This two-book series is one that I would recommend to fans of adventure, travel, and love, and I know I will come back to read it again.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

 

King’s Cage

Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, book 3/4
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: February 7th, 2017

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

After willingly offering herself in exchange for the safety of her friends, Mare is a prisoner of the boy king, Maven. She suffers inside his palace, this king’s cage, though not by his own hand. Maven, messed up as he is, has an obsession with Mare. In his own broken way, he wants her, and even needs her with him. But that does not keep her from suffering. Forced to live with her powers stripped from her, Mare lives in isolation, used as a mouthpiece to deliver false information to the kingdom of Norta concerning the Scarlet Guard. She also has to face the torment of whispers, Silvers who are able to see your memories and make you relive them and experience them in a tormenting way. 

Meanwhile, Cal, the exiled prince still stuck within the Scarlet Guard, is trying desperately to find a way to rescue Mare. Finally, after months and months (and hundreds of pages into the book), the Scarlet Guard succeeds, and Mare does not have to suffer Maven any longer. But the damage he has inflicted on her is not easily forgotten, and Mare knows that she still has a part to play in Maven’s downfall. 

The great Silver houses are now in opposition. Some still stand with King Maven, others are ready to see an end to his reign. The Scarlet Guard, having won a few victories already, are stronger than ever. These Reds and newbloods will see the boy king destroyed. 

This book is not all hardship and suffering. We do get to enjoy a few happy moments with Mare and Cal, both desperately in love with each other. But honestly, in a book with over 500 pages, it didn’t seem like there was quite enough love and happiness to make up for the said hardship and suffering. On top of that, the book leaves us with Cal, forced to make an incredibly difficult decision that will impact Mare most of all, in much the same way that the last book, Glass Sword, ended with Mare making a decision that deeply affected Cal. Maybe the author did this kind of paralleling on purpose, but I as the reader did not appreciate having to deal with the same kind of heaviness more than once. It almost seems like a cruel joke to play on your characters and your readers alike. 

All I have to say now is this: after investing two years in this series, thinking all along that it was a trilogy only to reach the end and find out that there is at least one more installment to wait anxiously for, Victoria Aveyard had better be ready to deliver a finale that will wrap up these devastatingly loose ends in a masterful and satisfying way; or else these books may unfortunately become part of the subtitle, All Will Burn

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