Tag: sarah j maas

Upcoming book releases Autumn 2017

Hello, now that summer is drawing to a close, we’re coming into prime book release time.  As usual, I have a metric tonne of books about whose release I am super excited.  Some of these are continuations of series in which I am already invested, some are new series from authors I love and some are reissues of old favourites.  So, let’s get into it, shall we?

To kick off, I was really excited by the recent news that Raymond E.Feist has managed to resolve the ebook rights issue for North America.  While most of his newer works have been released in ebook, his earlier novels have so far been unavailable in my preferred format.  This will all change on August 22nd when his Riftwar saga as well as his Empire trilogy with Janny Wurts will be released as ebooks.  I understand audiobook format will follow later this year.  Although I have read all of these, I am very happy to add them to my collection.  I consider Feist a true master storyteller and if you are not familiar with his work, this is a great opportunity to get started.  Be aware, though,that the series does have a somewhat slow start.  It just gets better and better.  Silverthorn remains one of my favourite books by this author.

Also in August, I will get to experience the mashup of one of my favourite authors with one of my favourite characters with the release of Leigh Bardugo’s take on Wonder Woman.  I’ve always adored this superhero and I can’t wait to read Bardugo’s take on her.  Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a coming-of-age story set before Diana of Themiscyra becomes Wonder Woman.  Sounds awesome.  Wonder Woman: Warbringer is released on August 29th.

On September 5th we have the release of Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, the next instalment in the Throne of Glass series.  I think I’m unusual amongst Maas fans in that I’m more invested in the Throne of Glass series than her Court of Thorns and Roses series.  In fact, I’ve not yet read the third book in the latter series.   Tower of Dawn focusses on Chaol Westfall.  I look forward to reading about the continuation of this story.

Moving onto October, and this is going to be a really painful month for my bank balance.  

At some point in October, date not yet specified, we have the release of Harry Potter in his 80th translation – Scots.  The title is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane.  Note this is isn’t Gaelic, but the lowland Scots dialect that I grew up hearing.  This will be a fascinating read, I’m sure. 

First off on October 3rd we have the release of the culmination of Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle, The Core.  I really love the wordbuidling in this series and am engaged in the stories of our protagonists  It takes a great deal of skill to write two characters who are both equally honourable, equally justified in their opposing beliefs and who both want the best for their world – and who are in direct conflict.  The previous instalment finished on a real cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Ian Doescher will publish the next installment in his William Shakespeare’s Star Wars saga with The Force Doth Awaken on October 3rd.  In this series he reworks the Star Wars screenplays as if they were written by Shakeapeare complete with iambic pentameter.  This time I was overjoyed to see that Random House Audio is once again producing a full cast audiobook production.  Do yourselves a favour and pick up the audiobook – Shakespeare (and Star Wars) are not meant to be read but to be experienced through performance, and if previous instalments are any guide, this will knock it out of the park.  These audiobooks are presented like a radio production and the production values are incredible.  I can’t recommend them highly enough and can’t wait to listen to this one.

Robert Langdon returns on October 3rd in Dan Brown’s latest novel, Origin.  While I wouldn’t call Brown’s writing great literature, they are very entertaining reads and I’m looking forward to this one.

Also on October 3rd we have the release of Ringer by Lauren Oliver.  This is the sequel to Replica.  While I didn’t find the characters or plot of Replica anything special, I was intrigued by the format;  the book can be read in multiple ways.  Either you can read Gemma’s story through first, or Lyra’s – or read them chapter by chapter.  This is enough to make make me want to read the second book.  

October 10th is the book birthday of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black’s The Silver Mask. This is the fourth in the Harry Potteresque Magisterium series.  The synopsis for this book is very vague about the magic and the mystery intesifying.  I have really enjoyed this series so far, and am looking forward to the continuation.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater is another book I’m anticipating.  This is a new series from the creator of the The Raven Cycle., which gave me such a book hangover.  I don’t know much about the new series, except that it’s set in Colorado.  Stiefvater’s name is enough for me to autobuy.  All the Crooked Saints is released on October 10th.

Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, has a new seriesstarting off entitled A Plague of Giants.  Unlike in the Iron Chronicles Hearne has created a completely new world for this series in addition to a new mythology.  The synopsis indicates that one of the main characters is a kickass warrior and mother.  I’m interested to see how Hearne handles a female protagonist.  A Plague of Giants is also released on October 10th.

After a break of nearly 17 years, Philip Pullman is returning to his Dark Materials world with a new trilogy entitled the La Belle Sauvage. He describes it as an “equel” rather than sequel or prequel.  It will return to Lyra’ story both before she came to Oxford and as a young woman in her twenties.  I note that Michael Sheen is narrating the audiobook.  I’m a little surprised we don’t have a female narrator, but I’m sure it’ll be great anyway.  The first book in the trilogy, The Book of Dust will be published on October 19.

Moving onto November we have the release of Renegades by Marissa Meyer.  This is a new superhero series from the writer of the Lunar Chronicles.  Again an auto buy for me.  Renegades will be published on November 7th.

Next up we have Oathbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. This is the third book in Sanderson’s epic fantasy The Stormlight Archive.  This is another bookstopper at 1200+ pages or 49 hours of listening.  I might consider listening to the Graphic Audio adaptations of the earlier books to get caught up.  Still, it’s another auto buy for me, despite the fact that I’m not reading much epic fantasy these days.  Oathbringer is released on November 14th.

The final book I have on my upcoming releases list is Artemis by Andy Weir, the writer of the Martian.  I LOVED the blend of science and character development in the Martian and I”m hoping for more from Artemis.  Artemis is also released on November 14th.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – Review

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – ReviewEmpire of Storms Series: The Throne of Glass #5
Also in this series: Throne of Glass, Heir of Fire
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 25 hrs and 23 mins
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Empire of Storms is the fifth and penultimate book in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass in which a former assassin uses her skills and her magic to save her kingdom.  Being the second to last book in the series, it focusses very much on getting our protagonists into the right place for the finale.

What I liked

The pacing.  Despite the fact that Empire of Storms is primarily focussed on getting the team into place for the final confrontation, Maas managed to keep the pacing brisk and the tension high.  There were several points where I feared for our characters’ lives.  There are several confrontations adding to the tension, even if the end result is moving the pieces across the chessboard.

The characters and their group dynamics.  This is clearly one of Maas’s real strengths as a writer.  I loved the relationships between the characters and their journeys.  It was wonderful that each of our characters has a unique skill set, developed over the course of the series, which will be vital in the cause to defeat Erawan.  If even one person fails to play his or her part, the world is doomed.  I personally have not read the novellas, but I enjoyed the “new” characters who made an appearance and who also must do their part.

Manon’s story.  Once again, as in Queen of Shadows I found myself more engaged with Manon’s chapters than with Aelin’s, at least until the ending.  It is noticeable that Manon’s arc mirrors Aelin’s.  Both start the series as cocksure employees of a leader whose moral bankruptcy does not sit well with our heroines.  A crisis ensues causing a break with said leader, a confrontation which leaves our heroines in a pretty dark place.  Both must now accept their heritage in order to claim their birthrights to aid the cause of freedom.  I really look forward to where Manon’s journey takes her, although I can’t help wishing she’d had as much page space to develop her character as Aelin.

The increase in scope.  In Empire of Storms we learn just how long the confrontation between Team Terrasen and Erawan has been brewing and how much has already been sacrificed.  The potential cost of the war is also laid out, and I have even more love for Aelin now.  I can’t wait to see how it plays out in the final book.

Setup for final book.  I really liked loved Maas has set the pieces for the final book.  Each character is faced with a task or a role to play and each must perform to have a hope of defeating Erawan.  It’s clear that the cost will be high.  She has achieved a wonderful balance between bringing existing plotlines to fruition while leaving a great deal of possibilities.

The narration.  I picked up Empire of Storms in audiobook format specifically for Elizabeth Evans’ narration.  She brings exactly the right amount of sass to Aelin, and her Manon voice is pitch perfect, too.  I would recommend this format.

What I didn’t like

Some modern phrasings.  Occasionally, Maas will use some modern phrases in her writing, such as “haul ass.”  While this probably fits in well with our sassy, modern heroine, the style of the novel is still epic fantasy and such expressions really, really bugged me.  Each time they threw me out of the story.  You may not have the same experience.

The number of romantic pairings.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I LOVED the individual pairings in the series.  They were beautifully developed, with each partner both giving and gaining something from the relationship.  What did frustrate me though was that almost every character seemed to be paired off in some way.  It came across as a little too neat for me.  Of course maybe the gods have put a perfect partner in each of their paths to make up for the hardships and pain they must endure!

Despite these minor quibbles I loved Empire of Storms and gave it five stars out of five.

Speculation on the sixth book

I liked that the story could still go in many different ways in this last book.  Maas could opt for a happy ending or it could be bittersweet.  In any case, I’m calling it now; Lysandra and Dorian won’t make it out alive :o(  The tasks ahead of them are simply too dangerous.  That is only my speculation though and I would be happy to be proven wrong. Let me know what you think in the comments.

five-stars

Heir of Fire/Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – Review

Heir of Fire/Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – ReviewHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Series: The Throne of Glass #3
Also in this series: Throne of Glass, Empire of Storms
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

OK confession time;  I couldn’t wait to start reading Queen of Shadows before writing my Heir of Fire review, so this is going to be a joint review of both books.

For those of you unaware, Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows are the third and fourth books respectively in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. It is  YA fantasy series with a kickass heroine and great worldbuilding.  If you’ve not yet started it, I highly recommend checking it out.

I listened to both books within a fairly short space of time and loved both of them.  Because Queen of Shadows builds upon and develops characters and plot points raised in Heir of Fire, they are excellent to read together.  Many of the cliffhangers in Heir of Fire are also resolved, which is very satisfying.

What I liked

Character development.  We see lots of wonderful character development in our main character, Celaena. When we rejoin Celaena at the beginning of Heir of Fire, she is in a pretty dark place emotionally, reeling from the events of previous book Crown of Midnight.  Throughout Heir she along with new character Rowan works to get her mojo back.  This is a significant chunk of the book.  Such a wonderful character arc.

Her success is expressed in the change of name from Celaena to Aelin in Queen – she has accepted her identity, her past and her powers and is going to use them to kick ass.  Incidentally, I had no issue whatsoever with the name change – Maas has written the character consistently and her “voice” remains the same whether she is “Celaena” or “Aelin.”

Given how much she has progressed in Heir, Aelin’s character development does stall a lot in Queen – the focus is more on kickassedness and achieving the goals she set for herself at the end of Heir.  Personally, I was actually far less engaged in Aelin’s story in Queen because of this.

In Queen, the character development is expressed far more through the character of Manon, and I absolutely LOVED her chapters.  Given the choice between reading about Manon or Aelin in Queen I was far more involved in Manon’s struggles.  I loved how her relationship with her wyvern, Abraxos and with her Thirteen and Elide, caused her to rethink the values and attitudes with which she has been raised.  The Manon we leave at the end of Queen is not the Manon we meet at the beginning of Heir and it was beautiful.  I fully expect to see Manon work to bring down the Matron in the next book.  

Strong female friendships.  There are some pretty cool female characters in the Throne of Glass world; Aelin, Manon, Lysandra, Elide, Asterin to name a few.  Each of these are strong women in their own right, but when they get together thrones will fall, names will be taken and asses will be kicked.  Our characters are stronger and are changed for the better (cue Wicked medley) because they knew each other.  Things would have turned out very differently if it weren’t for the bonds between these women and Maas writes these friendships beautifully.  

Promises delivered.  In Heir, Maas set out some very clear expectations about what was going to happen in Queen and she delivered.  What we expected to happen did happen, which adds up to a very satisfying book.  It didn’t always happen the way we expected, and often there were many unexpected obstacles in our protagonists’ path, but the expected confrontations took place, goals were achieved and people were saved.  

Intriguing minor characters.  We met some new and interesting minor characters.  I was particularly touched by Asterin’s story and I’m really interested to see where Elide’s path takes her.  I have very strong suspicions about young Evangeline and her “citrine” eyes.  It appears yellow eyes have some power over the Valg, so I’m curious to see what part she plays.

What I didn’t like

Promises delivered.  Yes, I know I had this in my what I liked list.  In some ways though, I felt too many loose ends were tied up.  Our characters, other than Dorian, are in pretty good shape.  I was almost left with the feeling that, if the series were to end here, I’d be quite content.  Certainly there are a few open plots for the next book, but nothing that had me thinking I have to have book five NOW.  I’m not certain that that’s altogether a good thing given there are two more books to go.

The Aelin/Manon confrontation.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved that Aelin and Manon finally met, and I loved the developments that came out of their confrontation, but I just didn’t buy how it ended.  Aelin’s thought processes just didn’t ring true. Sorry.

Despite these slight misgivings, I loved both Heir and Queen.  I gave them both 4.5 stars out of five.

five-stars

Upcoming releases in May 2015

There are three books being released in May about which I am very excited.  Some good books to have ready for my vacation in a couple of weeks!

A Court of Thorns and RosesThe one about which I am most excited is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas of Throne of Glass fame.  This is a retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast and tells the story of Feyre, a young woman who becomes entangled with the mysterious fey in order to save her loved ones.  I understand this will be the start of a series of books as well. I’ve loved the Throne of Glass series and the five chapter sample which has been released has only served to whet my appetite. A Court of Thorns and Roses is released on May 5th 2015.  I can’t wait!

The HeirThe next upcoming release I’m looking forward to is Keira Cass’s The Heir.  This is a new story set 20 years after the events of The Selection and deals with the attempts of America and Maxon’s daughter to find her partner in a Selection of her own.  I’m also really looking forward to this one.  The One, the final book in The Selection was one of my top reads of 2014 – if you remember, it’s The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.  I look forward to seeing what’s gone on in Ilea in the last 20 years and if Maxon and America have been able to achieve their aims.  It’s not often that you get to see the aftermath of a dystopian series 20 years later.  The Heir is also released on May 5th 2015.

The Sword of the NorthThe Sword of the North is the second in Luke Scull’s grimdark series The Grim Company.  It’s been a while since I read book one, so I can’t remember much about it.  I do remember though that I was very invested in the characters at the time.  Book two is on preorder and should hit my Kindle also on May 15th.

Are you planning to pick up any of these?  Let me know in the comments.

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