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Book Review : A Court of Silver Flames

A Court of Silver Flames is the newest, steamiest book in Sarah J Maas‘ series A Court of Thorns and Roses. Nesta Archeron, the older sister of Feyre Acheron, is the heroine (or rather, antiheroine) of this book. Careful, spoilers ahead.

Nesta Archeron

Nesta was changed into a faerie when she was forcefully dipped into the cauldron by the evil King of Hybern. In the process, Nesta’s will of steel won. She made a pact with the cauldron, taking more from its dark powers than it wanted to give her.

As a result, Nesta has unimaginable powers which make even Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, shudder with fear. What would happen if Nesta turned all dark and decided to unleash her powers? Of course, it doesn’t help that Nesta is also emotionally traumatized over the death of the Acheron sisters’ father. She spirals down a pit of frustration, despair, turning to alcohol and sex to keep her body going. Here Feyre steps in and commands an intervention.

Nesta is moved to the House, a magical place on top of ten thousand stairs that could be reached only by climbing those stairs or flying. For those that do not have wings like Rhysand, Azriel, or handsome Cassian, then they had to be carried by one of those three hot guys. Not too difficult, considering Nesta and Cassian’s undeniable attraction for each other.

“Nessian” Steam

In addition to being relocated to a safer environment, Nesta is also required to do physical training. Guess who her trainer is? None other than the General of the Ilyrian army: Cassian himself.

Words of warning: A Court of Silver Flames has a lot of smut. Nesta and Cassian (or “Nessian” as the fandom calls it) are steamy hot. At some point they are friends-with-benefits with each other, which always makes for juicy relationship yumminess. I do like this, but A Court of Silver Flames was not branded as smut so some readers might have a problem with that, cuz really there was a lot of sex.

Another aspect that I liked was the Valkyries, an order of women warriors which Nesta reinstated with the help of some friends: Gwen and Emerie. This friendship was a pleasant surprise.

Overall I thought this book was long and to be frank boring plot wise, mostly because the author uses exactly the same twist devices as she did for the previous books. It did have some bright moments here and there though. I honestly kept going because of the delicious smut scenes. An author I would recommend if you like dark steamy books is Katee Robert.

Have you read A Court of Silver Flames? What did you think?

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Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury is the second novel in Sarah J Maas’ hit series: A Court of Thorns and Roses. My review of the first book can be found on my Goodreads here. With regards to A Court of Mist and Fury, I went through several stages. At first I was completely hooked, reading until 4 AM to keep seeing what would happen. How would the relationships play out? However, on second and third look, some things started to bug me.

Plot

A Court of Mist and Fury continues after Feyre broke Amarintha’s curse on the land, releasing all the High Lord’s powers. She returns with Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, back to his hillside castle to rebuild the court and prepare for their wedding ceremony. As we all know though, nothing can pull a couple apart as effectively as WEDDING PLANNING! It is the perfect time to get cold feet and to see all the bad sides of your partner. In this couple’s situation, Feyre finds out undercurrents of Tamlin’s possessive character which suffocates Feyre emotionally.

As their relationship breaks down, along comes Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court. This love triangle happens with the threat of the King of Hybern in the background, looming to destroy their lands with his massive army.

To be fair to the author, I am in love with Rhysand’s character. The friends he surrounds himself with ie the Inner Court: Amren, Azriel, Mor, and Cassian is a fun collection of characters that provides ample development in the future. Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship is probably now one of my favorite fantasy couples.

However…many of the readers of the first book cried out against the inconsistency of how Tamlin’s character gets broken down in A Court of Mist and Fury. All the while SJM lifts up Rhysand’s character despite the horrible things he did in the first book. I agree with this. It does feel like SJM got sidetracked developing Rhysand’s arc. As such, she decided Rhysand instead of Tamlin to be the ultimate love for our heroine.

Another protest is the word “mate” which gets thrown around quite an awful lot. Many reviewers didn’t like this. Again, I have to agree. It’s extremely cliche.

Too Humancentric

My last completely subjective disappointment is that everything feels too humancentric. The faeries and other creatures are all humanoid creatures, nothing of a different species flavor. The reason I like the dragon trope in fantasy books is that they remind us that humans aren’t really all as cool as we think we are. A complete world would have billions of crazy wild plants and organisms big and small which make the web of life so diverse. A series which does this very well is Nancy Springer’s Book of Isle.

A universe filled with just humans or human-ish characters ends up being too monotone for me.

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Book Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)

My oh my, I hear the screws of my head getting hooked on Marissa Meyer from now on! I completely blame my Mad Tea Book Club Co-Founders Krisandryka and Sherry H. Gosh where do I even begin. Let’s start by saying that I am biased towards fairy tale retellings. I love retellings with a fresh perspective and stronger female characters. The first Marissa Meyer book I read was Heartless, which was a retelling of Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. I gave that 3 stars because the heroine was just plain annoying at times. Cinder gets 5 stars though!

Synopsis

Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles. Taking place in New Beijing under the Eastern Commonwealth of Earth, Linh Cinder is a cyborg with a talent for fixing broken things. She has a reputation as the best mechanic in town. This brought Prince Kai (soon to be Emperor Kai) knocking on her booth asking if she could fix his android Nainsi. This first momentous meeting unfolds into a swooping inter-species romance! It’s complete with evil witch Queens, spaceships, and a metal foot in place of the traditional glass shoe.

If you can’t already guess, this is based on the classic Cinderella story crossed with the popular manga Sailor Moon. With that in mind, yes, everything is rather predictable. But the author spins a heck of a fun story anyway, especially if you are a fan of Usagi and her sailor armies. To be honest, this was one of the biggest pulls for me: the fact that it had oriental elements mixed into the narrative. So many fantasies are based on a western point of view, but Cinder had a good mix of eastern and western cultures.

Cinder and Kai

I think this is one of my favorite relationships in young adult fantasy! The two are on par with each other and they treat each other as best as they know how to. Their relationship develops naturally even though there was obvious attraction from the first moment. Cinder kept her level head around the hot young prince, while Kai did not show off his power or status. The young Prince is actually showing himself to be a promising leader with a very responsible mindset.

Supporting characters like Iko the android, Evil Queen Levana of Lunar (who is set out to marry Kai to get control of Earth), and the infamous stepmother Linh Adri were all well proportioned throughout. One of Marissa Meyer’s strongest traits is in creating protagonists that you actually want to hang out and be friends with. Keep your eyes open for the rest of reviews, plus a fanfiction that I decided to write!

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Book Review: Heartless

My fellow co-founders of the Mad Tea Book Club Sherry from The Cozy Library and Krisandryka Wijaya recommended Heartless. In fact, Marissa Meyer is Sherry’s favorite author! With such high recommendations, I thought I had to check it out. Spoiler Alerts!

Synopsis

Heartless is a delicious, flirtatious, and absolutely MAD retelling of how the Queen of Hearts (from Alice in Wonderland) became so angry, vengeful, and well…heartless all the time. Given the title and the subject of choice, we all know where the ending is going right?

Obviously, the relationship between the protagonist Lady Cath and the mysterious court Joker Jest was not going to go well, even before those two characters were ever conceived. Alas, a sad destiny. But oh, the build-up! Marissa Meyer is great at building up the chemistry between the two of them, and slow cooking them into each other’s lives.

All our favorite characters from Wonderland are here. The Hatter (who is not yet mad!), Cheshire the invisible-invincible-infuriating cat, and even the monster we all love to slay: the Jabberwock. Thinking about it, I wonder why no one has made a retelling of the Jabberwock’s story…a little ugly beast dejected by the other creatures, his environment destroyed as a result of the ever-pressing humans into his natural environment…okay there’s an idea for you writers!

Too Long?

As much as I enjoy Wonderland and all its loony characters, I felt like this book was rambling on a bit too long. Lady Cath is extremely indecisive in choosing her dreams over the expectations of her parents. She is equally as flimsy in choosing between the mysterious Jest or the silly but kind King. Several of the back and forth scenes also did not add anything to the plot, nor to the characters’ developments.

The ending still packed a punch despite being obvious (the creepy Three Sisters even prophesied it). However, I was so impatient that by the time I got to the ending, I was not as heart-broken as Cath.

All in all, 3 stars. Would I venture to read more Marissa Meyer’s stuff? YES, because I do love fairy tale retellings. I just hope the other protagonists are more decisive than this one!