Book Reviews: December 2018

This is my last monthly post of 2018! In December I read:

  • Edgedancer (Stormlight Archives #2.5) by Brandon Sanderson

  • The Star by Arthur C. Clarke

  • Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas

EDGEDANCER (STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES #2.5) BY BRANDON SANDERSON

After finishing up Words of Radiance at the end of November, I didn’t really feel like reading anything other than Sanderson, but I also wanted to save Oathbringer for later. That 2020 release date for the next book seems really, really far away so I’m forcing myself to take it slow.

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But! The novella Edgedancer was ready and waiting so I picked up my copy of Arcanum Unbounded. I liked this story. It made me really love Lift, who I was intrigued by in her WoR chapter but she didn’t become a favorite character until this story. SPOILER! I laughed at the shardfork moment.

Edgedancer won’t make much sense if you haven’t read books one and two. If you have, be sure to check this out at some point.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars


THE STAR BY ARTHUR C. CLARKE

It’s my own personal Christmas tradition to read this every year, ever since a professor of mine assigned it way back in college. It’s very short, only about four pages. I highly recommend.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

KINGDOM OF ASH (THRONE OF GLASS #7) BY SARAH J. MAAS

Kingdom of Ash is the final novel in the Throne of Glass series. This is going to be long and rant-y with abundant spoilers. You have been warned.

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I finished the first five books of the Throne of Glass series over two years ago, ending sometime in November of 2016. I read book 6, Tower of Dawn, in July 2018. So that one was not long ago, but it only focused on Chaol so it felt more like a stand alone novel than part of a series. Overall, it’s been about two years since I was in the Throne of Glass world.

When I started this series, I enjoyed it as a mentally unchallenging, sparkly-yet-shallow guilty pleasure read, even though each book had a few things that I didn’t like. My two biggest complaints were always: 1) How is everything so easy for Aelin and why is her perfection so annoying? And 2) Does EVERYONE have to have a mate? Kingdom of Ash is just like every other book in this series in that sense. I could really stop this review right here, but for some reason I’m more bothered by the flaws two years later. Maybe I’m more cynical after two years of Trump as president? Maybe global warming has made me permanently bitter? Whatever it is, the fun parts of this book weren’t enough to make me be generous toward its flaws. My apologies for any hurt feelings.

Before I start my review, here’s a summary of my previous ratings:

  • The Assassin's Blade (Prequel novellas): 3/5

  • Throne of Glass #1: 2.5/5

  • Crown of Midnight #2: 4/5

  • Heir of Fire #3: 5/5

  • Queen of Shadows #4: 3.5/5

  • Empire of Storms #5: 4/5

  • Tower of Dawn #6: 3.5/5

  • Kingdom of Ash #7: 2.5/5

For funsies, my ACOTAR ratings:

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: 2.5/5

  • A Court of Mist and Fury: 5/5

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin: 3/5

Notice a pattern? SJM’s books start out intriguing, but not perfect (Throne of Glass, A Crown of Midnight & A Court of Thorns and Roses). Then, they peak right in the middle (Heir of Fire & A Court of Mist and Fury, the latter of which is by far her best book). Then the ending is kind of a let down, everything is too happily-ever-after and all the couples you once rooted for are bland and exactly like the others (TOG #4-7 & A Court of Wings and Ruin).

Okay. Now onto my rants.

Aelin’s torture didn’t seem that bad. Hear me out! On page 304, Rowan tells Aelin she was captive for “two months, three days, and seven hours.” Aelin then confirms that Maeve had healers fix Aelin after every torture session, so that Aelin would be confused. Later, on page 482, Fenrys tells Rowan, “It took the healers two weeks to fix what he did to her hands and wrists. And when she woke up, there was nothing but healed skin.” (This is when Rowan is wondering why Aelin seems afraid of fire.) Do you see the issue here? Two weeks of two months is 25% of her total torture. And her scars were gone from her entire body, so her back and arms and probably legs had some work done. So, give it another week, maybe even two more for healing, and that’s a month! Half of her imprisonment dedicated to healing! Plus, it’s not like she was waking up during those two weeks because the text very much insinuates that she was always completely healed, so was that a solid two weeks of being unconscious? Aelin is supposed to be THE MOST BADASS EVER. She was the top assassin in a very violent country, trained by a sadist, she’s a Queen with magical fire powers that kill thousands in one blow, but...she couldn’t handle a month of torture? I mean, I know I couldn’t, I’d crack in about 15 minutes. But this is Aelin we’re talking about, Queen Mary Sue.

Kingdom of Ash was way too long and poorly written. It should’ve been 600 pages at the absolute max. Maas has this issue with trying to end every chapter on a cliffhanger. For example, she ended a Chaol chapter with Aelin dramatically walking in. Then, we saw what happened next. THEN, we got Aelin’s perspective of arriving. I might have those backwards, but you get the idea. The redundancy didn’t just happen in the POV switches, no! It also happened line by line. Here’s an example:

Pg. 891 - “Aelin didn’t dare to look. To take her attention away for that long.” (After Erawan looked at something on the castle.)

Pg. 893 - “Aelin didn’t dare look behind her to see where Erawan had gone.” (After Erawan flew to that spot at the castle.)

Ya’ll, it was 900 pages of that. Every other line was a line that I had read before. It was torture.

No major characters died. I’m not expecting Game of Thrones level death, but it’s just too perfect that the only named characters that were lost were Gavriel and the Thirteen.

Borderline plagiarism. Some of the battles felt very LOTR-y, same with the giant spiders. The Little Folk are GOT’s Children of the Forest; the wild men are basically the wildlings. As I write this, I’m remembering knock-off Finnick Odair from book two.

Mini rant on all the couples:

Dorian and Manon - NO. Just NO. I have hated this pairing since the beginning and I wasn’t any happier with it in this book. At least there wasn’t some happy reunion between them, but it was heavily implied they would end up married.

Lysandra and Aedion - Aedion was abusive to Lysandra in this book, period, and the relationship always felt forced to me. Lysandra deserves better. And I vaguely remember liking Aedion in earlier books, but in this one I just didn’t care about him at all.

Aelin and Rowan and Chaol and Yrene I’m neutral about in book 7.

The only couple I am genuinely here for is Elide and Lorcan. I kept reading for these two. And I have to say, I was extremely invested in the scene where Elide rescues him and Aelin stops the dam. THAT was a good scene, and a good example of how Maas’ writing can be very on point when she’s not getting lost up Rowan’s butt. If the book had ended similarly to that scene, I’d have been happy with it.

Random thoughts:

  • Fae males are way too possessive. Rowan once “snarled” at Lorcan just because he made an observation.

  • Did anyone ever find out what Maas means when she says “vulgar gesture?”

  • Every time Sorscha’s name appeared, I had to think for a second who she was and why Dorian was so sad about her.

  • Does Maas know any other way to describe shock outside of “legs buckling?” Seriously, someone received tragic news every chapter and their legs would almost fall apart and they would barely remain standing. Usually Rowan.

  • Why is Aelin so rude to people like Darrow and the other Lords? I remember being annoyed by that in a previous book. Aelin, you were running around killing people for years, it’s really not that weird that they were hesitant to name you queen.

  • That Rhysand spotting was one of my two favorite moments in the whole book, and it was only a paragraph. (The other favorite moment was Elide racing for Lorcan that I mentioned above.)

So. TOG is done, I’m done reviewing them, and now I own all the books. Would I read them again? Maaaaybe. My to-read list grows exponentially so I’m not sure when I would get back around to it. I don’t necessarily hate the series, but I like ACOTAR better anyway. That one I will be reading again at some point because Rhysand.

Rating: 2.5 of 5 (Rounded to 2 on Goodreads.)