BONUS BOOK: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

“Elain, to her credit, did not faint. And Nesta, to hers, did not hiss at them.”

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Fiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be the key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world torn apart.”

Review: It’s no secret that I was extremely disappointed in A Court of Thorns and Roses. My main grievances stemmed from the fact that the ENTIRE plot was driven by the lackluster Tamlin/Feyre romance. I didn’t find Feyre to be a particularly compelling heroine and was disappointed in Maas’ world-building. When I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I had no desire to read A Court of Mist and Fury. However, I decided to eventually give the second book a chance after a coworker (whose literary tastes I trust) told me that it was miles and miles better than its predecessor. That being said, it still took me almost six months before I felt even remotely inclined to return to Feyre’s story. If I’ve learned anything over the past couple months (from reading both A Court of Mist and Fury and Queen of Shadows), it is this: never count Sarah Maas out. I’m certainly making no claim that she is a particularly dependable writer but, as it turns out, not-so-stellar feelings towards some of her earlier books are no indication of what she can do in future installments. A Court of Mist and Fury was leaps and bounds better than I expected. I really appreciated the fact that Feyre did not come out of the harrowing events of A Court of Thorns and Roses perfectly whole and happy. Instead, she spends a majority of this second novel coming to terms with what she was forced to do and witness to free Tamlin’s people from Amarantha’s rule. The secondary characters in this book (particularly Amren and Morrigan) are so, so, so much better than any comparable characters in the first book. You’ll still never hear me claim that Maas is an amazingly talented writer (which is why, despite the leaps and bounds of improvement over A Court of Thorns and Roses, this book only gets three stars). But she is a great storyteller and I’m excited for the third book in the series to come out this spring.




BONUS BOOK: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

“Sorry, always sorry. What in the world can you buy with an apology?”

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, and abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars – they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites and destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of the Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers discover Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side and that Teren is her true enemy. However, the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that don’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

Review: I went into The Young Elites with relatively neutral hopes. I had read Legend by Marie Lu four years ago and was unimpressed, but had heard good things about The Young Elites. In the end, however, I was once again unimpressed. There’s no denying that Lu is a strong writer. She creates, on the surface, unique characters who resist classification into easy good/bad categories and I certainly appreciate the diversity of her characters as well. Overall, however, I found it impossible to get pulled into this story. I like a good antihero as much as the next person, but I found myself increasingly bored with Adelina. Teren’s “dark secret” was extremely easy to predict and Enzo wasn’t nearly as interesting or multifaceted as Lu wanted him to be. In the ends, I think The Young Elites suffered from poor character development (beyond the surface level) and a slow-paced plot.