Series Review: The Cruel Prince & The Wicked King

Hello, lovelies! I hope you are having a fantastic day!

I promised I would review The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, so in honor of Holly Black’s upcoming release of Queen of Nothing, I thought I’d do a mashup review of the first two books!

   

Also, this will be a spoiler-free review!

I should probably state off the bat that despite owning several of Holly Black’s novels, I had never read any of them. I know that’s crazy! I think so too. Sometimes I think I drive my husband crazy with the number of unread books I have…and then I go buy more.

First of all, If you haven’t read the series, it’s about a girl named Jude and her sisters who are stolen away as children to live in the land of faerie after seeing their parents murdered. Without giving away too much, Jude does not like Faerie. As with many faerie stories, the faeries are tricksters and they love games. Jude is trying to fit in as a mortal, knowing that she lives in a very dangerous place. It’s especially difficult for her because of her mistrust and dislike for the faerie prince. Cardan is cruel and seems to have a special dislike for Jude. When the game of faerie politics changes, Jude gets wrapped up in the game, with Cardan, in ways she might never have imagined playing.

I gave The Cruel Prince 5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the writing style, the characters and the world that Holly Black created. Jude was refreshing, she didn’t have powers, she was so utterly human and taking on the world and its politics and training herself to do the things she does but in such a human way was amazing to read.

The Wicked King I gave 4 out of 5 stars only because I wanted just a little bit more from the story than I got. Cardan and Jude grow so much as characters in this story it was amazing to read.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I cannot wait for The Queen of Nothing to be released!! If you haven’t read this series I highly recommend it. In the meantime, I’m going to look into some of Holly Black’s other novels!

Enjoy lovelies!

~mk

Trilogy Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Hey Everyone, I hope your weekend is staring of wonderfully. Mine is great, since I get to start it off with coffee and blogging. This morning I get to share with you my thoughts and opinions on, as I’m sure you gathered from the title: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. So let’s jump in!

This will be a trilogy review. So I will be going over each book. I will try to keep it simple and without spoilers for the first book, but if you have not read past the first book, don’t scroll down and read my thoughts and opinions on the second and third. Those will contain some spoilers while my thoughts on book one will remain spoiler free.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

This first book starts off kind of like a Beauty and the Beast retelling. That does not translate into the second and third book, but it really works for the first one. I really enjoy this book. I wasn’t sure that I was going to enjoy it as much as I did.  I like the other series by Sarah J. Maas called Throne of Glass, but I’ve only read the first three books in that series. Throne of Glass did not really start to grab me as intensely as ACOTAR did until book three.

In this book we are introduced to Feyre who is trying to provide for her family and care for them, despite being under appreciated by them. You can tell by her thoughts that despite the frustrated and angry feelings she feels towards them she cares for them very deeply and will go to immense lengths to care for them.

When Feyre kills a faery to help provide for her family, another faery, specifically a High Fae, shows up in a wolf-like form wanting revenge. He instead of killing her, he is somewhat merciful and tells her she must come with him to the faery lands to live out the rest of her days. Feyre agrees and goes with him. We learn his name is Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, and he along, with his people, are cursed by something that he cannot/will not explain. The Beauty and the Beast type story begins to unfold with the two characters and romance ensues.

About a third of the way through the story, there is a change. That change beings the truly amazing journey forward towards the second and third books. When I got to this point in the story, reading it for the first time, I was frustrated. I loved the beginning and middle of the story, despite some slow points, but the last third of the book, had begun to raise questions, frustrate me with characters, and why the author would make them behave the way she did. My only advice for you when you get to this point, is to keep going or you’ll miss out! In the end I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

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A Court of Mist and Fury

This is the second book in the trilogy…and it is so much better than the first book! I loved it, it’s my favorite and I love all the new characters!

🙂 (Remember possible spoilers ahead! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!) 🙂

After saving the day, Feyre is forever changed. She’s a High Fae now, but she’s not the same girl who killed the faery in the woods to save her family. That’s certainly still a part of her, but she’s grown now. She’s experienced torture, pain, and misery. She’s saved Tamlin and his people…but now, as her reward, she’s a caged bird. Tamlin says over and over that she’s “done enough” and doesn’t want her to do more. Feyre, now frustrated with doing nothing but things that are unimportant to her, is longing to help, to get away from the way her life is now. Despite this longing, she continues trying to be the person she was before. She tries to be the woman Tamlin fell in love with. Slowly she begins to have her life drained from the effort.

In the first book we are introduced to Rhysand, another High Fae and High Lord of the Night Court. He’s a sort of confusing character in the first book. He definitely comes off the way he ‘wants’ to as far as our opinions of him. His interaction with Feyre makes you wonder what he’s up to and what his end-game goals are.  ACOMAF introduces the real Rhysand, his court, and his world…which will change Feyre and what she believes to be true forever.

In the first book, Feyre had made a bargain with Rhysand. She must stay with him one week out of every month…no end to the bargain in sight. In book two, Rhysand calls in that bargain, and Feyre begins to experience another Court different than the Spring Court.

When I first read this portion of the story, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I was already unhappy with Tamlin’s character, and his lack of strength at the end of book one. Feyre had given everything for him, and I felt that he was no longer worthy of giving everything up for. He had not said a word, had not fought..he’d just sort of sat there. By the second book, he seemed to be over protective (probably because he did nothing at the end of book one)…but again, was not doing anything to help Feyre. When she had her nightmares, he didn’t check on her, he just let her get sick. He let her lose weight, he let her fall apart.

By the time Feyre has her break down, I was ready for her to leave the Spring Court and be brought back to the Night Court, and see where things go from there.

In the Night Court, we meet an entire new cast of characters. The world grows, and so does the truth about what we already know. We meet the Court of Dreams: Morrigan – Mor for short, Rhysand’s third in command, who rescued Feyre from the Spring Court, Cassian – who is the commander of Rhysand’s military, Azriel – Rhysand’s spymaster/shadowsinger, and Amren – Rhysand’s second in command, who appears to be High Fae, but might be something else. Feyre becomes caught up in their world, their amazing and beautiful court, and her new found friendships. She slowly heals from her experiences in the Spring Court, and decides not to return. Rhysand offers her a place in his court and Feyre begins to train to use her newfound Fae abilities.

I loved the interaction between Feyre and all of the new characters. I found them amazing and endearing. I also loved the interaction between Rhysand and Feyre. Only after she is over Tamlin, does she really start to see Rhysand as someone she might have feelings for. When Feyre discovers the truth of their relationship, Rhysand hardly has a chance to truly explain. She hides, overwhelmed, and gives herself time to think about it. I’m not sure if this portion of the story truly took me by surprise, or if I had just felt every possible emotion right along with our characters. Once Rhysand does explain, everything that we know, or thought we knew changes for ever.

Without going into much detail about the rest of the story, remember that Feyre has just saved the world, but it is in a small way. The world of Prythian is still preparing for war, is still about to experience something that could destroy them, and the human world. More surprises come our way through Feyre and Rhysand, but even more surprising is the ending of this book. Hybern wants control of Prythian, and will do anything to take that control. Feyre, will sacrifice her new found freedom and love, to protect Rhysand and her new court. When things don’t go the way she hopes for, she has to improvise to save her family, specifically her sisters, and her friends.

I really enjoyed Feyre’s character growth in this story. She is so different from book one, and it feels like this book is almost two books by itself. I definitely feel that this is my favorite book of the three. I gave it a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and it is one of my favorites of the year!

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A Court of Wings and Ruin

ACOWAR ties up a lot of lose ends, but leaves plenty open to make way for more stories from Sarah J. Maas.

🙂   (Spoiler warning ahead! Don’t read unless you want to be spoiled.)   🙂

ACOWAR picks up right where ACOMAF left off. Feyre has gone with Tamlin back to the Spring Court, appearing as though she was under a spell from Rhysand.  The King of Hybern was able to break the bargain Feyre had made with Rhysand during her time Under the Mountain, but was not able to actually break their mating bond. Feyre, now High Lady of the Night Court, pretends to be the girl she was before her time Under the Mountain. She spends a lot of time painting, relaxing and ‘healing from her time in the Night Court’. In reality, she’s plotting and planning all in effort to take down Tamlin and the Spring Court along with his alliance with Hybern.

I was really excited for this book since ACOMAF left off with such a cliffhanger. Being able to marathon all three books made it incredibly enjoyable. I was really glad I hadn’t started this one back when the first book had come out. Having to wait the time for the other two to be released would have been painful! (To all those out there who did wait, kiddos!)  I was incredibly proud of Feyre as a character and loved her growth even more now that we had seen that she was officially the High Lady of the Night Court. Her spying abilities were amazing as were her abilities in weaving plans together to do what needed to be done.

I have always liked Lucien’s character. I really enjoyed him in ACOTAR despite feeling he could have done more for her in the first book. I really felt like he came into his own more in ACOWAR and I enjoyed his relationship with Feyre and their trip back to the Night Court after escaping the Spring Court.

Lucien and Feyre have quite a journey to get back to the Night Court. I was really glad that he was going with her, even if it was because he was mated to Elain. I still felt some of it was because she was his friend, even if that wasn’t his primary reason at the time. My favorite part during the trip was at the end, when Azriel and Cassian show up to rescue them. I literally felt tears come into my eyes because I was so happy they were going to be rescued. I felt relief — even though I clearly had plenty more story to go though. :p

Another favorite part was the meeting with the High Lords. Seeing the Dawn Court and meeting each of the High Lords was amazing. Their meeting was so intense, and the constant fighting, especially since we knew that our band of heroes from the Court of Dreams had bets on who would fight first and when, it was just such a fun and interesting scene.

So much happens in this book, but really getting to see Nesta and Elain as High Fae, and how they respond to the others, especially seeing their relationship to Feyre change was enjoyable. I was never a fan of Feyre’s sisters. Especially seeing how they were in the first book and that they still came off as fairly selfish to me, I didn’t really know what to make of them. In ACOWAR, that changed. Nesta became a fastinating character to me. Her attitude all the way through the books seemed so emotionless, outside of her caring for Elain. She either came off as having no emotion, or was constantly angry, and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure which it was. Her interaction with Feyre, changed through the course of this book, almost like she grew to trust her sister more than she had before. Nesta’s interaction with Cassian was also interesting. I am very much on board the Nesta/Cassian relationship train. Cassian seemed like he would be the only one who could stand up to Nesta’s attitude, and get away with it. I almost wondered, even though they never said it, if they already had a mating bond, and Cassian just kept it to himself. (Just my own speculation.)

Tamlin constantly surprised me in this book. I was never sure where he stood and whose side he was really on. Even in the end, I was surprised. Tamlin’s time Under the Mountain only made his already volatile behavior worse. He did redeem himself, but he still has a long way to go.

The battles in this book were intense too. Not in the way that some of the other books that I’ve read have been (certainly not on the Game of Thrones level) but they were about the level I would expect to go with the story. I am sure they could have been more detailed, since I’ve heard some people say they had wished for that, but I personally feel that if they had been too much more intense, I would have lost interest. I’m not sure it would have fit with the flow of the rest of the story. Again, just in my opinion.

I was surprised that both Feyre and Rhysand were able to get the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and Bryaxis to fight for them. I was even more surprised by Amren’s behavior in the end. I didn’t expect a full on betrayal, so as I was reading that part, I still couldn’t quite believe it. Once she actually told Feyre what she was planning, I wasn’t surprised it wasn’t a real betrayal. Amren knew she was the only thing that could really stop the King of Hybern’s army. So yeah, that had me almost in tears too. (not really but it was intense.)

Nesta and Elain taking on the King of Hybern…can I just say…wow. Especially Elain just coming up and doing what she did and then saying not to harm her sister…just wow. Poor Cassian being unable to fight back any longer, Nesta preparing to die with him and then Elain just showing up out of the blue and taking the King of Hybern out. Nesta finishing him off. I just had no words for this scene. Like I said, this book came in as a close second favorite to ACOMAF.

The last thing I am going to mention, is the Cauldron scene, where Feyre and Rhysand attempt to repair it. Feyre manages to repair it, saving the world again, but the cost is Rhysand. I was so mad. All I could think was that this had better not be how this ends! (if you can think of another very popular [*cough*dystopian*cough*] series that kills off one of the two main characters at the end, comment below.) Then all the High Lords and our High Lady after begging them are able to bring him back. I did cry at this point. I completely bawled my eyes out so glad that Sarah J. Maas didn’t kill off Rhysand permanently. I was just very happy about that. (Anyone else get this emotional with books? Let me know in the comments!)

I know this wasn’t the true ending of the book but this is where I will leave you. The rest of the rebuilding, of course I was interested in, and glad that it went the way it did. I gave ACOWAR a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

So that’s a wrap! Let me know if you have read this trilogy, if you are excited to see what else Sarah J. Maas has in store for us with this series, and yeah, any comments you have.

See you in my next post!

~mk