Monday, 26 February 2018

3 Mini Book Reviews!

ROAR - Cora Carmack
Published: 2017 by Tor Teen
Pages: 380.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Advisory: Sexual innuendo / mild fantasy violence
Format: eBook.
Source: Borrowed.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters. Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I buddy read this book with my amazing squad: Di and Uma. We enjoyed some interesting chats about this book, and you can check out their reviews here and here!
I didn't know much about Roar before I started reading, and I was looking forward to it. The cover is gorgeous.

But despite liking the book at the start, I soon got tired of it. Carmack's writing is plain and uninspired, and even the concept of storms (which is awesome, just BTW) can't quite redeem it. I do like the descriptions though; however the writing soon turned me against those, too.

I got to a point where I didn't care about the plot. It's just boring and tedious. Some parts are marginally exciting, but since I didn't love the characters or writing I simply wasn't invested enough. I lost interest too quickly.

The characters are stereotypes. Roar actually does get decent character development, but everyone else is boring and predictable. As for Locke, he's a bully and a toxic alpha male. His relationship with Roar is extremely unhealthy, and a number of times he manhandles her against her will. THAT'S NOT SEXY. And Cassius is another example of toxic masculinity that's passed off as hot.
(I’ll be mentioning my issues with these toxic relationships in further detail in a Romanticised Abuse post sometime soon, so keep a look-out for that ;)
Roar isn't a great heroine. She's a Mary Sue who follows a predictable character arc, and I found her irritating.

Roar lacks that addictive spark fantasy needs. The characters are stereotypes, the writing is dull, and the romance is toxic. 

Published: 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Pages: 693.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Adviory: Explicit violence / explicit sex scenes / frequent bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't. With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

I just slogged through a mess of 600+ pages. Gosh did it feel like it.
(Note to self: Amy, don't rant).

I am so over Maas' writing. It's gotten repetitive and melodramatic, and is 600+ pages really, like really, necessary? I was so bored most of the time. Everything's dragged out and it's so tedious.

The only character I like is Dorian, but even his character is treated insultingly. As soon as Manon joins them on the ship it's like Dorian gets a personality change, and his character goes downhill from there. I also don't ship him and Manon's relationship, and I think it's ridiculously forced.

The other characters all need a good jolly spanking and their egos wretched down like a dozen notches. I cannot stand all this toxic masculinity reeking off the guys, and all this "romantic" talk of wanting to "claim" you, "devour" you, "ravish" you, isn't what I personally call love. It's sick, possessive, and crude.  Not to mention how everyone is overtly sexualised like every few pages.

Which reminds me. Is all this gratuitous sexual perversity and violence really essential? Do all the villains have to be sexual abusers? Is it really essential to talk about women in this way: "She was delicately built, small enough that he might have thought her barely past her first bleed were it not for the full breasts beneath her close fitting leathers." Oh, and Lorcan actually mentions the "first bleed" thing more than once.
Like HELLO? I don't know if all this attention being drawn to women's bodies and how all this sexual violence in their pasts has made them into badass women is Maas trying to be empowering, but honestly I find it crude, offensive, and unnecessary. It's like she doesn't know how to write "strong women" without them having been sexually abused and violated in their past.

Empire of Storms is a tedious trudge through a dark world with the company of a huge cast. 
It just made me roll my eyes. 

Published: 2016 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Pages: 699
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Triggers/Content Advisory: Explicit violence / explicit sex scenes / frequent bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.

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.


Yes, there are parts of this book I actually like. Which I was not expecting. But here we have it.
 - I love Mor. Just love love love her character so freaking much. She's so three dimensional and definitely my favourite character in the series.
 - I like all the relationship dynamics. Not romances, per say, but I love how close the Inner Circle is and how they all have each other's backs #squadgoals
 - I ship Aziel and Mor which isn't gonna happen, I KNOW, but still. I ship them hardcore.
- The story is entertaining. Not always, but most of the time.


- The writing. Ugh it is so repetitive, melodramatic, and flowery. And I think it desperately needs another round of editing polish because most of the sentences are awkward and stilted.
- The sex scenes. This is not me saying I don't like explicit sex scenes in books, it's me saying that I hate the way Maas writes them. All her bright purple prose and meandering around actually naming body parts makes for utterly ludicrous scenes. It's laughable. Not to mention all the "claim you", "feast on you", "ravish you" IS DISGUSTING AND TOXIC AND NOT TRUE LOVE.
- The world. Like I said above in my EoS review, is all the gratuitous violence against women and the general misogyny against women really necessary? Seeing the women turn into badasses despite such horrific pasts doesn't actually feel empowering to me; I just can't ignore Maas' sexist world and the amount of sexual violence she includes (or eludes to).  
- The feminism honestly feels like propaganda. It is so forced, especially with all Rhys's constant feministic pampering of Feyre.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is an entertaining fantasy with strong characters. But the writing is melodramatic and flowery and the sexual content is ridiculous. 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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