Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses #3

SYNOPSIS: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.  – via Goodreads

Okay. Alright. Here we are. So I read the first and it wasn’t awful, and then I read the second and I outright hated that (I am so sorry bestie, I tried so hard to like these, but that last one was just… rough), and dreaded the concept of moving on to the third, but decided I best give it a shot. So. Here we go.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it, but it didn’t cause me as much upset as the last one, though it is still not great. I think the biggest issue with this series is that the books are excessively long for what they deal with. Like, I think the story would be tighter if we just had less pages to deal with. So in this one we get more of all the couples (cause Maas seems to buy into the concept of nobody being capable of being alone). We get more of Nesta and Cassian, some answers about Mor, Azriel, and Cassian, and Lucien is holding out for Elain and all that, and she is stumbling around like a mute. Rhys and Feyre don’t spend much time together in this, and when they do it is not nearly as bad as before.

Tamlin remains uber-dweeb of the century, and it really annoys me that Maas wrote one whole set of characters and introduces them to us, and in the second book changed everyone. Annoying but alright. I am still a fan of Lucien. He was the one of the things I liked the most about book one, and probably the only semi-redeeming thing in the second book, and he gets some time here, and I like that. A Court of Wings and Ruin also decides to deliver us some battle, some war, and I liked that. It might not be a ton of it, but it was enough to keep me breathing a bit more, not dealing with all sorts of wonky sex and reading about “my mate, my life, my love” the whole time.

I did enjoy reading about Amren, especially what with her covert little thing she has going on with Varian. Rhys is also a character I feel that Maas wants to make too perfect. I know, unpopular opinion, but it is just how I feel about it.

Anyway, I won’t be rushing to read the little filler books between this and (much to my horror to learn) the upcoming book. Natasha said I could skip it and be fine, anyway. There is also the question of whether or not I will return to the next one. A Court of Wings and Ruin is not nearly as offensive as A Court of Mist and Fury, but it is still far longer than strictly necessary.

Review: Pines – Blake Crouch

Wayward Pines #1

SYNOPISIS: Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive. – via Goodreads

I’ve always wondered about these books, and been interested in checking them out, and just never got to it until recently. Amazon had them on special, so figured I would get my hands on them and see. I have never read anything about them and I have not watched the show, but I see it cropping up all over the place, hence I thought it might just be time to look into it.

Reading this, the first thing that popped into my mind is that it read like a Koontz novel. The longer I read, the more it reminded me of Koontz’s The House of Thunder in specific.I have not read spoilers for this story (there are few things I abhor as much), but the twists and turns in this novel did not really keep me in suspense. Why? Because I felt it was really predictable, and nothing really shocked me.

So let’s start with this – the premise is interesting. It is. A special agent in an accident and suffering from amnesia in a creepy little Stepford style town? For sure. Soon after that though it becomes evident that our leading man is not a particularly likable character, and there is a lot of him running back and forth but nothing happening. That does not necessarily make for a boring read, and it helps in this regard that the writing is not particularly meaty – meaning you are really just going to run through this, there is nothing you are going to chew on and think over, to really get involved with. So it certainly scores in the way of a quick read with an interesting premise, even though the execution is a little weak and definitely leaves one wanting. The fragmented sentences littered throughout the book were a source of endless frustration for me though, seriously!

I feel that Pines is a messy book, but entertaining. There was enough mystery to keep me going, although I had pegged the majority of the outcomes and plot twists before they were delivered, and the reveals were no shocker, save one. I have also got to admit that the reasoning behind things as well as some of the logic is completely preposterous, something I struggled to buy into. I know it sounds like a lot of bitching, but the story flows fast and it does pull you in, even though a lot is left to be desired. All that being said, I will check out the next novel in this trilogy. The completist in me will have me read all three; for the sake of completion as well as the fact that I paid for them.

Review: Gone – Michael Grant

michael grant gone cover

Gone #1

One regular day gets upset like nobody could have dreamed of when every single person in Perdido Beach fifteen and over just ups and disappears. Gone, no question about it. There is no explanation, and soon kids go into panic states when they realise that all the adults are gone, they have no internet or cellular reception and they are truly alone. Sam Temple and his best friend Quinn Gaither seem to take on the role of figuring things out. Sam is holding things together much better than Quinn, and manages to have his crush, Astrid “The Genius” Ellison, become a part of his group. Astrid, however, is desperate to find her autistic little brother Little Pete, and the group looks everywhere for him. At a hotel, they come across Edilio , who joins their group, and has also seen the same thing that they discovered: there is a wall that surrounds Perdido Beach. The group heads up to the nuclear power plant where Astrid’s father worked to see if her brother is not there seeing as he may have gone to work with their father.

Astrid is awfully uncomfortable at the plant, though they find Little Pete rather quickly. Sam is desperate to hide something about himself: he has the mysterious powers to shoot balls of light from his hands, though he does not know how to do it or control it. He met another girl that tragically passed that seemed to have the ability to create fire. Sam and Quinn are fighting with each other terribly. Upon the return to Perdido Beach, they see that a motorcade has driven into town, and an exceptionally charismatic Caine Soren of Coates Academy soon talks the town into electing him their new leader. However, Sam is sure that something is off. Everything was far too staged, and the people that he has brought with him, particularly his enforcer Drake Merwin, are scary. Caine soon sets about changing the way the kids are living. Howard, one of the local bullies, termed the occurrence the FAYZ, which is to say the Fallout Alley Youth Zone.

Caine brings crazy measures into effect, and Bette, a young girl, dies when she is beat to death for showing her powers. Caine himself seems to have the strongest powers, and rules quickly and effectively due to fear. Another girl named Lana Arwen Lazar is stuck out in the desert after her grandfather’s truck overturns when he disappeared. After almost dying due to her injuries she makes the discovery that she is able to heal, and finds a nice little place out in the desert to hide. When making a trip to the mine to get a car to take her back to Perdido Beach, she is attacked by talking coyotes who take her to the Darkness, which mysterious presence wishes her to teach the coyotes how to hunt and kill humans.

Sam, Astrid, Edilio and Little Pete are on the run after Quinn betrayed them all, leaving the freaks to be taken care of. Sam manages to escape, and Astrid is miraculously still alive due to Little Pete having saved them after Drake smacked her around. He, too, has the powers, and awfully strong ones at that. Caine has discovered that Sam is his brother, and the two do not see eye to eye. It seems that after Sam’s escape that it will be inevitable that the two battle it out for the allegiance of the FAYZ children. The biggest issues though is that they are both so close to fifteen and disappearing, and Caine is putting all his resources into figuring out a way to prevent it. Lana runs into Sam and his group on the run, and they think they have it made now that they have a healer.

Sam intends to return to Perdido Beach and fight his brother for their freedom. Caine may have other bullies on his squad, such as the scary Diana and incredibly menacing Drake, but will they be able to continue if their fearless leader ups and leaves? What will happen when Sam and Caine come face to face? Are they both going to disappear like all the other kids the moment they turn fifteen? What exactly happened to have caused the FAYZ? Will Sam and his ex-best friend Quinn ever sort out the hell that they have been through and recover their friendship?

GRADE 3You know what? I don’t even care if that is too harsh. I read these specifically because I was told that if I enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies this would be right up my alley. People that make those statements must be on drugs. I knew we were off to a ridiculously bad start when everyone over the age of fifteen disappeared. What does that leave us with? A bunch of bloody rugrats. What am I supposed to do with that? Not only that, the story progresses at a silly pace, and the content is absurd. For instance, not only was I suffering through pages about a bunch of pubescent worms, there were freaking flying snakes and talking coyotes and seagulls with super talons and crap. I almost thought I could deal with it until these puny kids started throwing each other around like pinballs, shooting lights out of their hands, “scanning” other for powers… the town was taken over by a bully and later dethroned by a much more intelligent bully, who happens to (eeeek, plot twist!) be our leading Sam’s long lost brother and crap. None of these useless lumps could drive and they were all squeaky and spineless. If I have to read the word “brah” one more time I was going to fatally wound someone. Not even done yet. We have tiny kids looking after even smaller kids, there were more Potter references than you could shake a stick at (really making you wonder if this book wasn’t riding on the glory of someone else’s coattails) as well as Lord of the Rings, the lamest attempt at humour and nicknames, the most unrealistic settings, fourteen-year-olds declaring their absolute and undying love to one another… I don’t know, there was just nothing that I could take seriously. When I started I thought that the characters were just a wee bit too young for me to get on board with, and then this just went horribly wrong. I just… don’t do this to yourself, even if someone compares it to The Hunger Games or Divergent trilogies… damn.