Book review | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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rating-4-stars

Three Black Witches are born in a glen,

Sweet little triplets

Will never be friends.

 

Three Black Witches, all fair to be seen.

Two to devour,

And one to be queen (267).

After reading Anna Dressed in Blood, I could not resist trying another book by Kendare Blake. My opinion of Three Dark Crowns does not differ much from that of Anna Dressed in Blood. Both books are fast-paced, action-packed and in terms of reading level quite easy. They might be more suitable for the slightly younger young adults. Still it does not mean that Kendare Blake’s novels are not uncannily addictive for somewhat older readers as well. Also it makes this novel an excellent mother/teen daughter buddy read.

Three Dark Crowns is best described as a grim, original fairy tale (pun intended J). In every generation the reigning queen gives birth to triplets. Three sisters, raised separately and all heirs to the throne, have one year from the night of their sixteenth birthday to battle each other till only one remains. The one left standing will be queen. Each sister is said to have her own magic: Mirabella rules the elements, Katherine can survive the deadliest poisons and Arsinoe can make nature do her bidding.

I was immediately gripped by this dark, bewitching story and finished it in a day. I was almost late for a dinner with friends, because I could not put it down. Though some of the plot twists were predictable, such as Arsinoe’s discovery at the end of the novel, it did not make it a less thrilling read. Kendare Blake makes it hard to pick a side in this brutal world, since the reader gets insight into the thoughts of all three sisters.

Although the story is highly entertaining, Kendare Blake’s writing might lack depth for those who are no longer part of the young adult age group. The sisters are brought up with the notion that they will have to murder their sisters in order to be queen. You would expect the sisters to rebel in some way or at least question their fate. However only one of the sisters tries to escape this gruesome future and even she is quickly guided back to her initial path.

The expected publication date of One Dark Throne, the sequel to Three Dark Crowns, is September 19th 2017. Write it down in your diaries, people! I will. Despite it being a little too easy to read, I can’t wait spending another day in my PJs totally immersed in this book.

Blake, Kendare. Three Dark Crowns. New York: HarperTeen, 2016.

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Book review | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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rating-5-stars

“I peered into the dark, gleaming interior of the can I’d opened: blue. […] I painted all day. And when the sun vanished, I painted all through the night” (507).

I love Sarah J. Maas’ storytelling. She paints this amazing world. A world I don’t want to live in, because let’s face it I’m not brave enough to survive in it. But it is a world that I love to dream about while safely tucked in my bed.

A Court of Mist and Fury might be my favourite book of 2016. Although I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas just seems to hit one right note after the other in the second novel of the series. To all of you who have not read A Court of Thorns and Roses yet, please beware this review contains spoilers. If you are looking for a spoiler-free review of the first instalment, check it out here.

A Court of Mist and Fury opens with Feyre trying to come to terms with what happened Under the Mountain where she made a deal with Rhysand to spend one week a month with him at his court, was forced to kill two High Fae, almost died and finally became High Fae herself. It is not a surprise that Feyre is not able to forgive herself for what happened. The Spring Court slowly seems to turn into a prison and the time she spends at Rhysand’s court is her only escape.

This short intro might convince you it is a quite dark novel, but to me this couldn’t be further from the truth which this quote perfectly demonstrates (my favourite quote of the book by the way and I guess everybody else’s fav too):

“To the people who look at the stars and wish […] To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered” (337).

Quite a few new characters are introduced in A Court of Mist and Fury. I absolutely love all the characters who form Feyre’s new family. Another treat is we learn a lot more about Rhysand. Who doesn’t love a tall, dark and mysterious guy? Feyre’s character development in this novel is amazing. She starts off as an insecure girl forced into the damsel role and transforms into one fierce woman who can defend herself and the people she loves. Tamlin is not as present in this book. Although I admit to liking Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses, I almost despise him in A Court of Mist and Fury. When rereading the first book, all those flaws that are so evident in the second novel were already present in the first.

I don’t want to give anything (else) away, but what I will tell you is: if you haven’t already read this book, you definitely should. It is a book about self-discovery, friendship and true love. It is full of drama, funny scenes, ooh and aah moments and I literally clapped my hands after reading certain sections. Hence my most anticipated book of 2017 will be ACOTAR3!

Maas, Sarah J. A Court of Mist and Fury. London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi and Sydney: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

Book review | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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rating-4-stars

‘I knew I was headed down a path that would likely end in my mortal heart being left in pieces, and yet … And yet I couldn’t stop myself’ (221).

On an incredible amount of book blogs, I found reviews of Sarah J. Maas’ novels. The reviews of A Court of Thorns and Roses were written with such enthusiasm that I bought this book instead of the first installment of the Throne of Glass series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a variation on ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but fiercer, darker and more enchanting. Feyre hunts in order to provide food for her family. One night she kills an animal that is part of the Fairie Realms behind The Wall. When a stranger comes knocking at her family’s cabin, he tells her the price for killing the fairie animal is ‘a human life in exchange’ (37). In order to keep her family safe, she accepts his offer to live behind The Wall in a magical, strange and dangerous land.

The first page of the book instantly pulled me into Feyre’s world and I could barely stop reading. Luckily I had a few days off! So my advice: clear your schedule before even thinking of opening this book. A Court of Thorns and Roses is more on the adult side of young adult which I like. It contains romance, a huge inferiority complex, magical creatures, evil lurking and an action-packed ending. I however couldn’t give this book a five-star rating, because the second book in the series is even better and I do not have a six-star rating system.

Find out more on: www.sarahjmaas.com

Maas, Sarah J. A Court of Thorns and Roses. London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi and Sydney: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Book review | Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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rating-5-stars

Love, love, love this book! It took me under two days to finish it and I wanted to read it again at once. Thankfully I could control myself and wrote this book review instead. I have not been able to stop talking about this story and I am thrilled to share it with you.

A dark forest, a high tower, tons of magic and a young heroine taken prisoner by a mysterious wizard. Isn’t that just awesome and very much like a fairy tale? Although this story contains some elements of familiar fairy tales, such as Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel, it is incredibly fresh and exciting.

I don’t want to spoil anything by giving you some kind of summary, so here is a quote from Uprooted that convinced me to read the book:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. […] He takes a girl to his tower, and ten years later he lets her go, but by then she’s someone different” (3).

Where other writers might have devoted entire chapters on what readers most likely consider to be major events in the novel, Naomi Novik barely spends a paragraph on; it works though. Uprooted is fast paced and written in such a way that you can almost feel the magic. Novik’s storytelling makes it very easy to imagine a world where people battle a corrupted wood and find magic in everyday life. This dark wood does not only imprison characters in the story, it totally captures me. This book goes on my favourites-shelf without a doubt and I would recommend it to everyone who loves a magical story.

Nice detail: the metal ornament in the photograph was once the headboard of a four-poster bed my dad made and now decorates my parents’ garden as a frame for blossoming climbers. In the centre of the frame is a heart with my parents initials. A recycled happily-ever-after for their symbol of love. Too corny? Lol. Go and find out if Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is a happily-ever-after for you.

Want to know more about Naomi Novik? Check out her website: www.naominovik.com

Novik, Naomi. Uprooted. New York: Del Rey, (2015) 2016.