Mask of Shadows

Author: Linsey Miller

Pages: 352

ISBN: 9781492647492

Series: Mask of Shadows #1

Genre: Fantasy

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. 
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.


When I hear of ‘assassin books’ I am automatically intrigued because they are my favourite stories. Yes, it’s probably because of playing too much Assassin’s Creed but I kind of find those stories to be fascinating. In a way it is bad to want to read about somebody that runs around and kills people - even for somewhat noble reasons. But if the story is good, I can look over this bad side living inside of me.

I generally liked the story but there were some drawbacks that I were too ‘big’ for me to overlook. When I feel invested in the characters or the world or the story, I can forgive the book any lack in one or more of those categories but sadly I found myself to be missing the connection to the characters and also the history of the world did not grip me.

Even though I liked Sal and the way he/she/they acted, I found it a little disbelieving what he/she/they and all the other competitors can to do their bodies and don’t feel a thing. Sure, some of them are trained in various physical activities and Sal was a street thief. Nevertheless, how can you go through rigorous training the whole day - which is described as painful and draining - and be completely fine the next day or even the coming night to try and complete your tasks. Sometimes they are even hurt (like having been treated with stitches) and everything is all ponies and unicorns?! Yes, they train to be deadly killers, but no matter the training you had, none of them should be able to achieve that goal within two weeks. Or the soldiers and guards and general population are just really pathetic in this world so that being the best is kind of really easy.

Also, there were some other elements that were even pointed out to the reader. Like the whole issue with the wearing of masks. Apparently the would be assassins are wearing wool mask where you can only see the eyes and the mouth. So eating should be fine. But the 3 actual assassins are wearing (metal/ceramic?) masks where you can only see the eyes. How does the eating work without taking of the mask. I would not care about that but the reader is made aware of that fact when even Sal is thinking about they eat without taking their masks of. I mean maybe they do it but there is no explanation and that bothers me. Sometimes, when the story is not really pulling me in or when something like that is specifically mentioned more than once, I get frustratingly annoyed…

Other than that, I did like the character interactions. They were witty and interesting and fun and I think it was mostly thanks to the characters. I think my favourite is Maud because I feel that Amethyst, Emerald and Ruby (the three assassins) were not always distinguishable in their behaviour (maybe that is not the worst thing for assassins though). Nevertheless, I liked how they behaved and how they interacted with the other characters, especially with Sal. Also Sal is a good character and I am quite intrigued what he/she/they will do in the next book after what happened at the end this one.

Overall, I think the most I was missing was the context for everything in a way. Sure, there are bits and pieces of information throughout the book why each person acts a certain way, but I did not get the hang of it. I am still a little confused but the history of this world. Especially because I can’t really bring them into a timeline or more accurate - I am missing actually numbers for when something happened or how much time lies between two events, even for the ages of the characters. I know there is somewhat of a chronological history of the world at the end but I find it hard to connect this with what I read in the book, especially because I only saw this after I was done with reading…

I am somewhat interested in how the story continues but not really excited. As I hardly ever not finish a series, I will probably read the second book as well which I hope will be better as it will most likely focus on other issues that this one.

The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Pages: 368

ISBN: 978-1405927079

Series: -

Genre: Contemporary

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life - husbands, children, work - has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?


Thank you NetGalley for this copy of the book. My opinion is not influenced by the fact that the book was given to me.

I think the concept of this book is interesting because it felt a lot like real life. Although everyone always hopes that everyone is perfect and the friends we chose are honest and would never lie and also don't keep secrets, I found real life to be more like it is depicted in the book.

Overall, I also found the story interesting enough but I had one major issue with it that made my reading experience a lot less fun. Technically, the book is for adults and it resolves around protagonists, that are in their 30ies - I think. Yet way too often it reads like those women are teenagers due to the way they behaved and talked.

Sure, adults by nature are not philosophers, but I would expect a book featuring grown ups would not read like a high school drama. Also I found the writing to be reflecting this issue as it was oftentimes a little to simple and girlish.

Sadly, there is nothing really remarkable about the book which at times made it hard to get through. Especially considering the points from above as well as the lack of really interesting storyline. Yes, few times during the book I got intrigued to know the secret(s) but most of the time I was not really invested in the story and did not care about the revelation whatsoever.

Nevertheless, it was not all bad and there were a few plot twists which were not all plainly obvious. But you had to get to that part first. I would not buy this book for myself or anyone I know.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 512

ISBN: 9781408889565

Series: -

Genre: Mystery

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed--again. She's been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden's only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle's murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend - but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

While trying to prevent the murder of Evelyn, he also discovers the dark pasts and secrets of the people that are present at the dinner party where the murder takes place. With each day going by that Aiden can’t prevent the murder, more and more is revealed and just when he is about to solve the mystery things take an unexpected turn nobody was expecting.


This book was basically my first mystery/crime book and overall I really enjoyed it.

I think it started a bit slow for my taste and it took my a while to get invested in the book. Especially because I was a little confused at the beginning as I did not know what to make of the way the book started. I think in a way I did not really like the first character we get to meet in the book because he is so bland. In the later stages of the book though it makes sense yet it did make it a little bit harder for me at the start.

After the first day is over though and the second character gets introduced I found myself to be quite invested as the plot became more and more intricate and complex.

From all the protagonists in the book, I think I liked the character on day six the most, personality wise, but before I think there were some really interesting characters in the days before as they were an essential part in building up the suspense.

Also some of the side characters made it a lot of fun to read as they were kind of scary and I really got the ‘I have to look over my shoulder’-feeling while reading. With those figures, it was hard to put the book away because you never knew when they’d show up and mess with the main characters.

A vital point in the book is the writing as each character is distinguishable from the others in the way he speaks, thinks and acts and the writing actually transports that really well.

This would actually be an easy favourite but unfortunately I did not enjoy the ending that much. With the many little threads that played a part in the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, and how everything was entwined it was impossible for me to guess the killer (although I rather enjoy it more to not try to guess what happens in books if it’s not completely obvious) even if I wanted to. Though this was really well done, the ending was a little to unspectacular. After the build-up suspense I expected a little more.

Nevertheless I think this is a very good read and I want to recognise the map in the front and back, it adds so much to the mood of the book, as well as the cover and it’s colours.

Empress of a Thousand Skies

Author: Rhoda Belleza

Pages: 314

ISBN: 978-1-101-99910-3

Series: Empress of a Thousand Skies #1

Genre: SciFi

Rhee is the last member of the ruling Ta’an after her family got killed in an accident years ago. And now she wants to take back the throne. Living a life away from the palace because her protectors wanted her to stay safe, she now is ready to face the past and not just become empress but also take revenge on the people responsible for the ‘accident’.

But it does not go according to plan and she just barely survives an assassination attempt on her life, with some unexpected help. Meanwhile, the rest of the galaxy is falsely informed that the heir to the throne has been killed by one of the stars of a DroneVision show, Aly.

An easy target because of the not so distant war in the galaxy, the Wreatan sets out on a mission to save his name and reputation. He discovers that nothing is the way he was always told and the trust in his old friends is tested on multiple occasions. On his journey he uncovers well-hidden secrets that could mean the end of life as it is known in the solar system.

Driven by different motives and on different journeys, Aly and Rhee each find themselves in the middle of a new war and the fate of millions of lives in their hands.


I am so happy this book was featured in the February FairyLoot box as I was really looking forward to read this book.

This book has so many great elements that I rarely see in other stuff I read that it was a welcome difference. Nevertheless, there were moments where I caught myself more or less skipping over paragraphs or at least I was not paying full attention to what I read and had to re-read those sections.

First of all, I really liked that the universe was described somewhat realistic, meaning that not all races and creatures are humanoid or look human. I think this is a big flaw in many other books as scientifically it does not make sense at all that the universe is populated by humans. This also means that in the world that the author created, the skin colour and other characteristics are diverse. This book features a lot of issues that are occurring on our planet. The advancement of new technology can bring unexpected problems with it and there are always going to be bad people that will take advantage for their own gain. It also depicts a war that happened basically because of racism, well if that is not why there are wars here, I don’t know what is, especially because racism can be disguised in many ways. I think that it is important to actually have those elements in a book to give the reader something to think about in the best case scenario.

I also like that different planets in the solar system have different gravity which only makes sense when planets, moons and asteroids have a different size and mass. And while the changing gravity is mentioned regularly, the effects on the characters or the equipment is not always making sense. Oftentimes it is attempted to show different movements in different environments but they are lacking in description. Maybe this is because this is a debut and the writing will get better in future works or because it is deliberate I don’t know. I think I just give her credit for trying what others don’t even attempt or think about.

What I liked a lot after accepting the fact that the blurb is somewhat misleading is that the main characters don’t actually meet and there is no romance between them. It is nice to read a book where two main characters don’t just meet through favourable circumstances and together they rescue the planet, galaxy or universe. I had to get to that point though because from the synopsis I actually thought they would set out on a journey together and from that expectation I was waiting for them to meet. Yet I found myself really enjoying that even thought their story is connected to each other, they have separate paths (which will definitely change in the second book, I am sure).

Even though the main characters are no love interests, there is a little romance in the book. And that it is only a little is great because it shows that a book does not need romance as a plot advancer. And this is portrayed not nearly enough.

In the end though, there are many things I did not like. I do like the characters to some extent but especially Rhee is a little too revenge driven and decides less rational and more emotional. Which does not necessarily cause problems, unless you want to become the empress of the galaxy. She does not really seem fit to be a ruler in my eyes and she also does not grow to be one in the course of the book. I like Aly’s character more as he is a bit older and more reasonable at times but he started out really naïve as well. What I really did not like about him was the constant use of swear words in a made up language. It felt in every context, the same word meant a different thing and it drove me crazy.

The world building could have been a lot more detailed but I guess this would have proved to be a massive problem as the protagonists journeyed around the solar system in such a pace, it would have been impossible to describe something like ten or so planets very thoroughly. Story building also lacked a bit as a lot of time the twists were predictable without having to put too much effort into it and on many occasions, the chapters ended with the characters in a deadly situation. As it is unlikely that the main protagonists would die, the tension became forced towards the end of the book.

The major plot twists are, as already mentioned, very predictable. One of them has something to do with the name Nero, and for those who know a little Roman history, it will tell you everything you need to know. Also, the biggest reveal towards the end of the book was hinted at from the about the middle of the book. Not really shocking then anymore when finally getting the confirmation on the last pages.

In the end, I still enjoyed the book but it could have been so much more with the prospects and initial ideas yet it lacked in the execution, maybe due to the fact that this is a debut.

Traitor to the Throne

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Pages: 592

ISBN: 978-0571325412

Series: Rebel of the Sands #2

Genre: Fantasy

The rebellion is growing and becoming more and more attention after the win in Falahi but with the reputation come new challenges and dangers. Trying to free more cities from the influence of the sultan and also recruiting more Demji for their cause, Amani also has to deal with the fact that Jin is gone after she wakes up from a serious injury. And then, she is kidnapped and finds herself in the palace, more precisely in the harem with all the other wives and children of the sultan and the sultim and everybody’s own secrets and intrigues.

But being in enemy territory is not the only thing that Amani has to worry about, she is also being stripped of her power so she has to find a different way to escape. And with no word from the rebellion, she has to fend for herself without drawing too much attention to herself. Nevertheless, she soon meets people from her past in the palace and spying gets more and more difficult with more eyes watching.

While gathering all possible information for when she sees her friends again, Amani also has to admit that the fight for the throne and the country is not as black and white as she thought it was.


This book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is great. Really, I don’t know how to describe what I feel, there is just so much I adore about it even though I know it is not without its flaws. What is standing out for me though and therefore I can look over some minor details is the story. I just love the plot and that there is so much happening and still, everything makes sense and there is enough room for character development or world building.

Yes, this story is really something and I love how you can never be sure of anything because it may happen, that the next page is going to rip your heart out. Especially some developments in the last third of the book were really tough on my emotions and I had to keep myself from going totally crazy. I like that the history of the countries is being told as well as explaining the politics and why everything is the way it is. A lot of thought has been put into this, which counts as world building to me, so I don’t mind too much that actual descriptions of places are sometimes not as distinct as they could be.

In this book, there is not as much action as there was in book one but it is not necessary at all as the action here is coming from story elements and plot twists. Some of them are somewhat predictable but others are not. At least for me, but I realised that a sign of a great book for me is when I have no desire to figure out what is going to happen. Tis is normally the case when the story completely captures me and I don’t want to spend precious time not reading to see what is actually happening.

Just like in the Rebel of the Sands, I adore Amani. Yes, she is still a little naïve in some situations but throughout the book she is learning more and more and in the end she is even taking on big responsibilities. She has not lost any wit or sassiness but she is gaining more character traits in the process of being held captive in the palace. She is growing on the tasks and difficulties at hand.

I really like that because much of the book plays in the capital, the reader is confronted with new characters and their behaviour. They are all distinguishable from each other and it just rounds the story even further. Something that I always enjoy as it comes so much closer to a real person is the fact that all characters have done good things as well as bad ones.

This is become especially clear in the exchanges between Amani and the sultan. With everything he tells her and what she finds out, she can find some redeeming qualities about the ruler she and her friends want to dethrone. But not just this relationship is very well developed, all other interactions are done so great, various protagonists bring out a different side of Amani.

And of course, there is still Jin and he is as amazing as he was in Rebel of the Sands but what I love even more is the fact that the story works really well without the romance between him and Amani playing a big part. This might be quite contradicting as I really like his character and enjoy him a great deal in the story. But the story works perfectly fine without the relationship taking up a lot of space and time in the book. I like that there is no need for any of the main characters to define themselves through a relationship or a person they love.

There is so much more to this book but I just don’t know how to express myself, that is why I am a reader and not an author… I can only say that this book is easily one of my favourites and I can’t wait to read the next book. I hope it is going to be huge because I don’t want the story to end because I adore this world and what the author is doing with it.

More from Alwyn Hamilton

The Food of Love

Author: Amanda Prowse

Pages: 350

ISBN: 978-1503940048

Series: -

Genre: Contemporary

Freya has the perfect family, two beautiful daughters and a loving husband. Everything is fine until her youngest starts having issues with weight. At the beginning, Freya is convinced that Lexi’s problems can be cured if she only gives her as much love and care as possible but the situation is getting worse and worse.

When nothing is as it has been before, the whole family struggles and tensions rise among the family members. The Braithwaites have to fight to keep their family together and they soon realise that everything they took for granted is not so self-evident at all.

When Lexi is getting worse instead of better, drastic measures have to be taken and the life of Freya’s daughter is very much hanging by a thread.


I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that this is not really a genre I pick up very often and this book kind of showed me why. It took me forever to get to about half of the book and once I was there, I actually only finished it in only a couple more days because I forced myself to read it and not pick up another book instead.

I think the premise of the book is interesting and it is important to want to raise the awareness for anorexia and how it can affect a family’s life but I was really not a fan of this story. I have to say that I have no idea how anorexia patients are treated and how the relatives and friends are supposed to react but I found the way it was handled in the book to be kind of unrealistic. And if it is done that way, I think that something has to happen because this does not seem right…

The thing I liked about the book was how it depicted the life of the Braithwaites and how their whole life changed with the knowledge of their daughter being ill and how it changed the whole dynamic of their interactions and everyday life. Nevertheless, I could not enjoy this read about 90% of the time because of the following points:

My first issue, and this is one that I come back to every time I think about the book, is the fact that Freya just somehow does not want to take the advice of experts on eating disorders. She always says that she knows what’s best for her daughter. I don’t know how it is being a mother and I guess I can understand and empathize with her to a certain point and this is when Lexi is obviously getting worse and worse. Do you really not want to take the advice of a professional who might have a little more experience and knowledge on the matter and could actually help get you child better? If so, I don’t want to read about something like this because I can’t comprehend this behaviour and it is annoying to me. It felt like every time Freya tried to help her daughter by giving her everything she wanted I had to roll my eyes. Just because your child has an illness does not mean you can’t say no, you don’t have to please the kid all the time, this is certainly not making it better.

Also, Freya is a food blogger and her full time job is writing about food. I get that this shows that even when you know a lot about food and this is your daily life, an eating disorder can still happen in the family and you don’t necessarily know more than other people. However, I felt that main protagonist – the story is told from the mother’s point of view – could have done a little more research on the topic of anorexia as she was able to put her deadline for her next project on hold. I would really want to get as much information about this illness as possible, maybe even ask doctors... Maybe she did it but it did not seem to be a main focus as there was not much written about it in the story.

All in all, I really did not like Freya because the way the book is written, if felt awfully like her daughter only got to the point she ended up because the mother did not want to make her uncomfortable. Seriously?! I feel like this is a book of how not to behave in a situation like this more than it is to show how the family is almost breaking apart by this.

The other characters in this book were not as bad as Freya but then again, we only got the story from her point of view, so the things the reader is told is narrated through her eyes. In any way, I don’t have any strong opinions about them, whether positive or negative.

Another thing I despise is that the family is not really informed about the disease and how to handle it properly. The doctors don’t make it clear how desperate the situation is already in the middle of the book. Or Freya just does not want to believe it. And the psychologist, or whatever she is, who is visiting the family once a week somehow does not notice Lexi’s condition. Again, if this is really the case, I truly don’t want to read about it because it makes me sick. And if this is only portrayed like that in the book, it is even worse because if you want to make people aware of this illness, at least show a better way. This is common sense, right?

I have to say that the writing was not particularly bad but it also was not noteworthy for me. In general, it was just so slow to read, especially in the beginning and it could not capture my interest at all, it was more a forced read than a pleasure read which is never a good sign. I did not have any connection with the protagonists whatsoever and I really did not care what would happen to any of them.

Nevertheless, I know that this disorder is a very serious matter and it should not be taken lightly and I like that the author writes about this topic.

But honestly, I have a hard time liking or even loving contemporary books, especially when I can’t bring myself to care for any character. The time I actually read them is when the synopsis is totally engaging me. I usually don’t pick them up because I want books to transport me into a different world that has little to do with the real world to forget about real life problems.

Rebel of the Sands

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Pages: 358

ISBN: 978-0571325252

Series: Rebel of the Sands #1

Genre: Fantasy

Amani has had enough of Dustwalk, a tiny place in the middle of the desert which has nothing to offer to her. She wants adventures. And a better life in the capital, away from the lousy, boring and unsatisfying nothing of her birth place.

Not fitting in, she decides to take fate into her own hands and flee. But she needs money so she uses the one skill she has to get as much as possible to be on her way. But the sharp shooting contest does not go as planned and instead of more, she returns with less then she came with. When all hell breaks loose the next day though, she has no other choice and flees with the boy that is responsible for all this mess.

On her way through the desert, secrets are revealed, plans change and the girl and the boy start to fall in love.


This book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not prepared for this but I absolutely loved this book. I loved the story, the setting, the characters, the writing, just all of it.

The world is so different from anything I read before, it has the typical western elements of shooting in the desert cities and long trains connecting the places, combined with an overall middle eastern setting and some magic. It was fantastic to read out of the comfort zone and the author was able to make me get totally lost in the world. I devoured this story within one day, I just did not want to leave this world. Nevertheless, I think the places would have benefitted from more descriptions and world building. I hope there is more of that in the sequel. The same does for the magical beings and the magic system. I feel that sometimes it is a little underdeveloped and could have needed some more explaining.

Leaving that aside, the characters are a major reason why this book is so enjoyable for me. I think the main character Amani is so well developed and has so many facets to her, it’s a pleasure to read about her. She is strong, determined and brave and she learned her skill to shoot over many, many years which makes it so much more realistic. This goes for all of the characters, they don’t just wake up and are masters in what they do but they have to learn and grow into it.

The trait I adore the most about Amani though is her sassiness and her retorts. And this is even more developed in the relationship with Jin, although he is able to silence her from time to time. Jin is remaining mysterious throughout the book even though more and more is revealed over time.

The relationship between Jin and Amani is so refreshing, not only because there is no love triangle. It is a relationship that is growing over time and they don’t fall in love because the other person is beautiful and gorgeous and nothing they ever laid eyes onto. In fact, I cannot think of a place where Amani’s features are described to a great extent other than her eyes. There are no ‘I looked into her eyes and melted away’ moments and I am so grateful for that.

Apart from the main protagonist, the side characters are also very well rounded and they all have a purpose and reason to be in the story.

All in all, I personally could enjoy this book immensely although it is obviously not perfect in every regard. The plot was predictable to a point but there were enough occasions where I was genuinely surprised by what happened.

I can’t wait to dive into the world again and see what happens next. I hope for equal greatness.

More from Alwyn Hamilton


Author: Marissa Meyer

Pages: 453

ISBN: 978-1250044655

Series: -

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Cath has a dream, and it is not to marry the king as many would love to, she wants to open a bakery, the best in the kingdom of Hearts. And yet, as the daughter of the marchioness and the marquees, having a baking shop with her maid and best friend Mary-Ann is not deemed appropriate.

Having gained the affections of the king, her mother is all too eager to make her the Queen of Hearts but when the new court joker Jest appears, Cath finds new hope for the life she always wanted. Cath and Jest start flirting behind everyone’s backs and experience various adventures together like the mad hatter’s tea party.

Cath starts to live two lives, one where she is courted by the king and one where she is dreaming of a simple life baking the most delicious pastries in all the kingdoms. But then, all her dreams and hopes for a happy live with Jest start to crumble because of one little decision.


I was given this book in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley and the publisher which does not influence my opinion.

I was twisted in anticipation for this book because at the one hand it is written by Marissa Meyer and I love the Lunar Chronicles, hoping I would love this just as much. But on the other hand, it’s a story where the end and the faith of the main character is already known and I didn’t know if I wanted to see how Cath developed into a heartless queen.

In the end, I can say that I liked the book a lot because of the characters and the world and also because I was satisfied how the author created a backstory for the Queen of Hearts. I think I had an advantage going into the story without ever reading Alice in Wonderland or watching any adoption on TV. I can’t compare any of the world building to something so if there is anything that does not fit between the original and this story, I am unaware of it and therefore, I did not find anything wrong. I really enjoyed the world and how Marissa Meyer introduced me to it.  I was able to imagine everything needed and only had minor issues with hoe the different places in the story are connected or where they are in the world.

But the main reason I liked this book so much were the characters and their development. I liked the main character Cath even though at times, she was a little naïve, but it made her even more relatable because who doesn’t want their dreams to come true, no matter how unlikely they seem. I liked that until the very end she was somewhat believing that everything will turn out alright. I dreaded her transformation into the Queen of Hearts but I am actually pleased with the authors ideas and development of the story. Nevertheless, I had moments where I wanted to turn the pages and desperately wanted the last paragraphs not to have happened. I wished for a ‘Star Trek’ moment where the new films are in a different timeline then the original series, I wanted for Cath to be happy and live a happy life and not become the heartless queen.

Apart from Cath, Jest was a really well developed character. Even though there is not so much depth to his story, I liked him and especially his interactions with Cath. Their relationship is just so cute.

But I think, every character is really nicely crafted and they are all very different, the weak king, the mad hatter, the three sisters, it’s easy to distinguish between them.

To conclude, the writing was beautiful with lots of well thought, fitting and creative descriptions. All in all, it was a very good book, I just didn’t adore it as I did Marissa Meyer’s other works.

The Rose Society

Author: Marie Lu

Pages: 397

ISBN: 978-0-141-36183-3

Series: The Young Elites

Genre: Fantasy

Being cast out by the Daggers after the disaster in the arena, Adelina is recruiting her own Elites to take revenge on all who betrayed her. With her sister by her side, Adelina searches for other Elites and convince them of her cause so they will join her in fighting against the queen, the Inquisition and her old allies. Know widely known as the White Wolf, she founds the Rose Society and within a short amount of time, they become more than just a rumour.

Trying to make her plans come true, Adelina is growing stronger and stronger and with that, her thoughts become darker and darker. Not trusting her new friends completely, she slowly loses control over her power which is purely fed by hate and fear. Getting closer to her goals, the fight with the Inquisition and all other enemies, the greatest danger might be her own mind. Can she find goodness in herself and not let the power of her dark side take over completely?


I definitely like this book better than the first one even though it got only really good in the end for me. Although I sometime was not necessarily gripped and glued to the pages, I think it was still easier to read through than the Young Elites.

A clear improvement in this sequel was the character development. I think that all the main characters got more and more layers to their personality, especially Adelina. The path she is going down is so well written and I enjoyed it so much that the main protagonist is not a heroin but she in some way is truly evil. I love how Marie Lu is writing her continuous fall and how the reader is experiencing every step of the way into the darkness in Adelina’s own imagination and mind. That she ends this way is just so realistic after everything that happened and because she is gradually become more and more ruthless and determined of her cause. It is also great to see that every other character brings out a different side in her which makes her such a well-rounded character and this is not something that is done in other books to nearly this extent.

Apart from that, I still find Teren to be my favourite character although the reader does not really get to hear his side and he actually is a somewhat horrible person. But Adelina is on the way to be one as well, so… It’s just something that remains from the first book because I was way more interested in Teren’s story then the others.

Another thing that definitely improved for me was the pace of the book. When I sometimes did not know what the purpose of the story in The Young Elites was, I feel that there is a clear path in this book. Although at times the plot was progressing rather slowly and I was desperate to get to the real action but in the end, there was a lot of action that made up for those pages. I also really liked the idea of the story as a whole and I felt more attachment to the characters and the world.

I still think that the world building is not what stands out in the book and I am again sometimes left without an idea how the surroundings look like but as the character were developed so nicely, I  did not pay attention to this fact quite as much as before.

I think in the end, this absolutely is an improvement over the first book for me as it further improves on the good aspects and gets other issues right or at least makes them convincing. And, I really don’t have a good idea of how this series is going to resolve even though I have some clue of at least one thing that will probably be further developed. I think this is a rare circumstance as most of the time, there is ultimately only one way how a series or book will wrap up and it this pretty clear at one point in the story.

I am glad that after my initial disappointment for The Young Elites, this book could convince me otherwise.

More from Marie Lu

Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 689

ISBN: 978-1-4088-7289-5

Series: Throne of Glass

Genre: Fantasy

After defeating the king of Adarlan, Aelin can finally go back home to Terrasen, bring her people together, and find an army to fight against Erawan. Even with the throne as her birth right, she has to convince the lords and generals that she is the rightful ruler of Terrasen. Only, some are not so supportive of her so she and her court set out to get an army together that could eventually have a chance.

On their journey, Aelin also gets more and more information from Elena about how to banish the Dark King from this world. Fighting with her, apart from Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra, is Dorian, after he had to flee his city following an attack by the witches. Together they travel through the empire to find allies for their cause while some of them come from unlikely places.

With their attention on the dark forces from Morath, another enemy is gaining on the group and she is not willing to lose. It’s up to Aelin to use all the power she has to stand a chance against either of them.


This review contains spoilers because there is no other way for me to make my opinion valid. And this is an unpopular opinion…

Let’s start with the things I liked about the book: the overall idea of the story.

What I did not like: Everything else. Yes, I did not find anything else working for me although some things only went bad after half of the book or so. There is so much I actually kind of hated, that I don’t really know where to start.

So maybe I rant about the characters first as this is destroying most of the book for me.

Aelin. This person is probably one of the characters I hate the most in any book I ever read. I like heroines and strong female characters that are not without their faults and maybe she was that in the first 2½ books for me but now it changed finally completely. She is just so full of herself and thinks she is the most beautiful, most amazing, most intelligent, most powerful, and cleverest person to ever walk the earth. And on top of that, she is the queen of Terrasen which apparently makes her believe that she and her opinion is more important than anybody else’s. And to make it even worse, her court is not even thinking about challenging her because she is the queen who was promised or because she is the heir of fire or because she lost her kingdom when she was young or because she had to endure so many horrible things. Just pick one, the other characters do the same. And then, when somebody is actually not agreeing with the almighty Aelin, she is reacting in the most despicable ways possible.

“When you don’t like someone, you‘ll threaten them?”

I don’t know why it is a good character trait of a queen to just threaten people when they don’t act or react the way she wants them to. Or maybe she just schemes behind their backs because that’s how you want to rule. Just because you can wield fire does not mean that only her way is the right way. I can maybe say it with the words of another person later on in the books.

“People other than you can solve things, you know.”

But sadly, this is not all that is totally annoying me about her, she also is the master of schemes and plots and she does not deem it important to tell other people about it, even if they are her lover or her cousin who was looking for her for 10 years or another one of the close companions.

Unfortunately enough, there is no other character that I like either. They might start out ok for me when they are introduced but they all are making decisions that make me shake my head even though I could live with some of them for a good amount of time.

For example Rowan, who only seems to be the love interest of Aelin as all he does is wanting to kiss her, have sex with her, touch her or get angry at the men that look at her. And his ear lobe fetish is really being overused throughout the whole book. Aedion is always agreeing with Her Majesty, Lysandra could be cool but her shapeshifter abilities are way to poorly written for me (see more later). Dorian is degraded to be a worthless side character, Manon starts out to be fierce but it only becoming the love interest of another character, Elide is somewhat bland in my eyes, Lorcan has been ruthless for the last 500 years but looks at his love interest for five minutes and now he only wants be there for her and protect her and kiss her and whatnot.

Fenrys had potential but he ends up on Aelin’s side just because she is so amazing or for whatever reason, because I still don’t know why. And Gavriel has left such a lasting impression that I don’t even know if there is anything I like or dislike about him.

Oh, and Chaol, who I never actually liked before, does not even appear in the story and is only mentioned by name.

But wait, I guess I like one character after all. Meave. Yes, for what she does, at least she still has the same goal and does not become soft and a worshipper of Aelin.

Another thing why I wanted to rip the pages out of the book was because literally every main protagonist is paired up. I mean I guess it makes sense when the only thing this worlds produces is stunningly beautiful people which the reader is reminded of every second page. But seriously, why is everybody falling in love with each other?

I think the ‘love story’ of Elide and Lorcan is just pathetic, I don’t understand why the author feels the need to try to redeem a protagonist, that never cared about how bad and ruthless he was for centuries but when he sees this ‘strong, gorgeous girl’, he falls head over heels for her…

I did not like the other pairings either as there always was a part that disturbed me about the way they became interested in each other or how they acted around each other or how they acted because of their significant other. And I don’t want to even start with the sex scenes, I mean, is this book not declared as Young Adult?! I think detailed descriptions of sex have no place in a book of this category…

But now I will leave the characters be and continue with the plot and the writing. As I said at the very beginning, I think the whole story idea has potential but what the author is doing with it is weak. From the almost 700 pages, not really much is used for plot advancement and if it would have been used for character development I would not complain but I already gave my opinion on that. So I think in the end it was somewhat unavoidable that the author used the deus ex machina device like I have not seen before in any other book. Again, I don’t have an issue with this plot device if it is used occasionally but if this is the only way to make your story work, I feel the plotting was not done well enough.

Like when at the end, an army appears at the exact location where the final action takes place because Aelin has already sent a message a while ago. At least this is the only way it makes sense because the army needs time to get there, although the reader is never told when she did sent it. The problem now is just, that it was not clear to anyone ever during the story, where this place was going to be… This is only one of many moments where through some unexpected happening, the whole story is saved.

But if one can live with this, I feel there are a lot of mistakes in the writing or plot. For example Lysandra’s shapeshifting, which is a cool feature in itself, but throughout the book there are different explanations given for how fast she can shift and how much energy is used in the process. On the one hand, she can’t change her form from small to large animals within a short period of time, but then on other occasions she kind of does it anyway because it’s just what the story needs.

Major spoiler ahead:

Another example is the marrying thing at the end. Again, Aelin knew the end before everybody else so she married Rowan just in time before the final battle to make him the king of Terrasen and so he could rule in her absence/death. But to make sure nobody notices that is actually gone, Lysandra will change into Aelin’s body and pretend to be the queen. And Lysandra could then produce heirs with Aedion as they would look the part then. If nobody would find out that Aelin is gone, the whole marrying thing is redundant in my eyes. And if you just want to make the characters get married because they love each other, then just do it that way and don’t find some stupid explanation that is not making sense at all.

There is way more I did not like about the book but this will get out of hand if I don’t stop now…