Archive for August, 2013

Q & A (Slumdog Millionaire) – Vikas Swarup

Q & ABefore I start reviewing this properly I would just like to say that I am calling this a “half-review” because I only read around “half” of it :O.

I know.

I am ashamed of myself.

Only kidding.

While there are some people in this world who would yell out and look down on me for leaving a book unfinished, I really don’t give a damn. Unless it’s a good book and I didn’t have time to finish it because it was from the library.

But anyway, I just don’t really see the point of forcing yourself to read a bad book, its like you are eating a plate full of, lets say peas, and then while you are eating it you discover that the taste is peculiar and then when you inspect it further you realize that the peas are moldy- you wouldn’t then just carry on eating!

Summary
It is nothing like the movie. The main/ only similarity is the “Who want to be a millionaire” aspect of it and the “slumdog”. The rest is just different- from what I have read anyway. But because I never finished this book I’m just going to take the summary from goodreads because I would feel like I was deceiving you.

Vikas Swarup’s spectacular debut novel opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, India, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all twelve questions on India’s biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.
Ram takes us on an amazing review of his own history – from the day he was found as a baby in the clothes donation box of a Delhi church to his employment by a faded Bollywood star to his adventure with a security-crazed Australian army colonel to his career as an overly creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal.
Vikas Swarup’s Q & A is a beguiling blend of high comedy, drama, and romance that reveals how we know what we know – not just about trivia, but about life itself. Cutting across humanity in all its squalor and glory,Vikas Swarup presents a kaleidoscopic vision of the struggle between good and evil – and what happens when one boy has no other choice in life but to survive

Cons
The main character
I just didn’t connect with him. I really didn’t like him- he just annoyed me.

The writing styleSlumdog Millionaire
It seemed childish and just poorly written. I felt as if it were just dictating what was going on rather then actually showing or telling me the story. It seemed just emotionless and flat. However having said that I did like the way that he set out the story- how Thomas’ story isn’t told in order and how they did it per question. But that just added more to the disappointment because it had so much potential.

Unrealistic
There was just too many things that happened that would be too coincidental to have actually happened. Like how his best friend loved that actor dude and just so happened to meet him in some poor district’s movie place- because really what is the chance of a famous, rich actor going to slum districts to watch his own movies. And also going along the same scene. How stupid really is his friend?! A creepy, weird, strange “old man” joins the movie in the middle and out of the basically empty theatre decides to sit next to him. If anything like that happened to me I would be out and running before the creepy guy had a freaking chance to do anything.

Too many issues were crammed into this one book
Religion. Child abuse. Murder. Theft. Homophobia. Corruption. Torture. Bullying. Violence. Prostitution. Pedophilia.

Pros
The movie was good!

Favourite Quotes (NB these are just some of the quotes that I found on the internet which I liked because to be honest I don’t really remember reading any of them)

  • “Love doesn’t happen in an instant. It creeps up on you and then it turns your life upside down. It colors your waking moments, and fills your dreams. You begin to walk on air and see life in brilliant new shades. But it also brings with it a sweet agony, a delicious torture”
  • “The one conclusion I have reached is that whiskey is a great leveler. You might be a hotshot advertising executive or a lowly foundry worker, but if you cannot hold your drink, you are just a drunkard”
  • “That dreams have power only over your own mind. But with money you can have power over the minds of others”

Overall
So now I am faced with a dilemma. I loved the movie and out of loyalty for it I really want to give this book a good rating. But then on the other hand I basically hated the book because it was nothing like the movie. I think overall though as a “professional” *inset string of laughter and coughing here* book reviewer I am going to have to judge this book on itself only and not let other factors such as how awesome the movie was to influence me. So here it is. Drum roll please. . . . . . 1 shuriken star. 😦

Like all book review though this is my opinion and there are probably some people in this world who would love it and if you can cope with my list of cons as I could not- you may as well give the book a chance 🙂

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Random Unrelated Reviews: Book-to-Movie Adaptations

I have a lot of opinions on things that aren’t just books. However, I don’t feel even slightly competent enough to do full reviews on them, so I’m going to use this as a massive dumping ground for my thoughts.

Book-to-Movie Adaptations

The Great Gatsby:

Wasn’t so great. The music was awesome, the actors were great, and the tone of the movie was what I had in mind, it just felt very superficial. Maybe that was the point, but it definitely felt like a movie told from Gatsby’s perspective rather than that of Nick’s. The entire thing felt very over-romanticised and Daisy was held up as this perfect, lovable character, whereas when I read the book, I absolutely despised her. And the entire lurking corruption through this broken façade of the American Dream never really came through to me, though maybe that was the director’s intention.

Also, the visuals really weren’t my type of movie. They were pretty, but far too loud and in-your-face, that after a while, it actually got tiring. I found myself checking the time halfway through.

On the plus side, I have found that I could quote most of the movie. They stayed quite true in terms of dialogue, usually having it word-for-word, and you can’t dismiss the poetry of F Scott Fitzgerald’s writing.

I don’t think I can really give these ratings, because I have no idea what I’m doing right now. I’ll say, watch it if you want, because it’s fun and bright and colourful and the soundtrack is awesome, but just remember it might feel slightly off as an interpretation.

Beautiful Creatures:

Surprisingly good. I liked the book, but was not a huge fan, and I didn’t remember most of it, which might be why I didn’t mind all the changes they made. In the book, I never felt that I could connect with any of the characters (though that might be my fault, as I had WAY too high expectations, going in), whereas Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich really brought these characters to life. They made them loveable and I actually rooted for their relationship, which is quite a new thing for me. I usually hate the relationship in every book-to-movie adaptation, no matter how much I love the movie. (Yes, this includes Harry Potter. I did not care one bit about Harry and Ginny.)

The script was a lot better than I expected it to be, the acting was very good, and I really enjoyed it.

If you liked Beautiful Creatures, you will love this, so you should watch it. And if you aren’t, you should watch it anyway because it’s a really enjoyable film.

The Host

And this is where YA Fiction goes to die.

Saoirse Ronan is a good actress. I have not seen much with her in it, but what I have seen, I’ve liked. I know she can act. I’m sure everyone in this cast can act. The problem is, the script is abysmal. And her role, in particular, is hard as all hell.

The reason I really liked The Host by Stephenie Meyer is not because I swooned at the romance. It’s not because I fell in love with all the characters and I wanted to marry all the guys and just wished that I could have a Jared for myself.  In the book it questioned morality, the violence of humanity, survival of the fittest, loyalty to your  own kind, and above all: the importance of family and friends. My favourite relationship was the friendship of Melanie and Wanda.

But the movie took out all the parts I liked about The Host, and left all the Cons that I would have been happy without. They took out all the backstories of the different planets, including the people gradually becoming closer and closer to Wanda through their curiosity. They got rid of Wanda becoming more sarcastic and cynical due to spending too much time with Melanie. No Walter. No football match. Nothing but the overbearing love triangle, which might have pleased other fans, but made me groan in despair.

Also, separate point: when showcasing Melanie and Jared’s relationship, they never had a conversation that didn’t lead to making out. That’s fine watching it the first time, but after that it becomes tiresome and makes their relationship seem oh so very empty.

And oh the characterisation was bland. And the dialogue was awkward. And the internal conversations were not done well.

Sea of Monsters

I enjoyed it most of the time. Though I’m not sure whether I was just forcing myself to like it or not. Or maybe it’s because I’ve forgotten most of what happens in the book, and the more I remember, the more I realise they left out.

The acting was a lot more awkward than I expected it to be, though I think that may be the fault of the extremely cheesy script. The visuals were pretty, and the humour was pretty fun, but they did forget a lot. And if you’ve seen it, you’ll know. The characters had very little personality, they cut out a lot of interactions with minor characters at the camp, and the voice overs felt unnecessary.

Also, the battle at the end. With Kronos.

I do not remember that happening. Ever.

All of this would be fine if I didn’t know there were 3 more books, and that these scenes and interactions would be very important later. It means they might have to cut the whole Silena & Beckendorf arc in the Last Olympian, because she was on the ship and they saw her. Plus Beckendorf doesn’t actually exist yet. The romance between Annabeth and Luke has no weight, because all that was cut, and the Percabeth romance is kind of pathetic at the moment.

Ok, good points: Nathan Fillion (Hermes)  & Stanley Tucci (Dionysus).

So watch it if you like Percy Jackson, and if you can stand a lot of major plot changes.

Well, that was fun! There are so many book-to-movie adaptations coming out soon, that this may just be the first of many. But who knows. We’ll see.

 

Insignia- S.J. Kincaid

So picking up this book my first thought was that it sounded a little like Ender’s Game.

It is nothing like Ender’s Game.

Aside from the space war thing, but they aren’t even really in space, and the war isn’t against aliens.

So nothing like Ender’s Game.

Insignia (Insignia, #1)Summary
You know the idea that WW3 will end humanity as we know it? This is a book about WW3. But it’s not going to end humanity because instead of the war being fought on Earth and with Nuclear weapons, the war is happening in space and with space fighter ships. But for this to be possible there must be super smart teenagers who are willing to have a computer put into their head and to work their way up the ranks to control ships.
So we follow this guy called Tom who before being selected was living on gambling money. So then he gets selected and then tries to progress up the ranks but by doing so he has to undergo surgery to put a computer in his head.

Cons

Other parts of the plot
Some areas of the plot could have easily been cut down as they weren’t really part of the main plot line. But while I am saying this, at the same time I did love those parts. A virus war is epic. And the “viruses” that Tom and Vik made were awesome: pretending you are sheep, farting mania, Nigal Harrison (face spazm), etc.

Tom
Some aspects of his personality were just weird. Like his sense of humour. Or when he starts feeling himself up when Elliot sets him up as a girl.
Even though it could be a realistic “approach” it still feels weird to be reading stuff like that even when it’s supposed to be humourous, because it just felt as if the book was too much of a branded “book for boys” even though I don’t really believe in those sort of gender segregation for books.

Pros

Changing Perspectives on characters
We developed as Tom developed on our perspectives on the other characters. It was creepy and cool at the same time how easy it was for the author to mutate our feelings towards them.
For example at the beginning I disliked Elliot loads, but by the end of it I actually decided he was one of my favourite characters. Heather too, I liked her at the beginning, then half way I just hated her.

Medusa
I can’t be bothered to dance around the borders this time hinting at one thing while trying to making it seem like another reason. So yeah. Spoilers to follow. I loved how he was “in love with” Medusa. Also creepy though because he’s never actually met her, only just stalked her in all her battles. However I loved how he was actually almost in love with her, or at least was good enough a friend to her to not care about her looks (she is a Medusa- so ugly that people “die” (not really) when people look at her) because there are just so many ya novels out there which just focus on the looks rather than the personality. So this time when I finally discovered a book where the characters don’t fall in love with each other based on looks, but because of their personalities and how they smash and kill each other in video games.

Romance
It was good that it was there, but at the same time didn’t overwhelm the book. Also at times it became quite comedic. Like when Wyatt was being asked out by Yuri and Tom was like “if some girl was interested in me I would be automatically in love with her” with Wyatt standing right next to him 😛

Dream come trueDie Weltenspieler (Insignia, #1)
Everyone has had that dream. As a kid. As an adult. (NB not talking about the american dream) the dream to be like a computer. To take in everything thrown at you and remember it all. To know all the answers in a test because you can just download the information and retain it. Or to access internet (not true in this instance) when you’re in this remote place in the middle of nowhere. But while we fantisize about this reality we only really see the good side.
How creepy would it be to have a computer in your head. To be just as robotic and unfeeling. Would it influence you? Does it make you somehow less human? And being part computer also has its weaknesses. What if people infiltrate your head with viruses or make you their blind obedient robot?- e.g. turning you into thinking you are sheep? (as I so learnt from this book)
It’s just a wonderful (and creepy) idea that has the potential to go far; beyond our world even. (note the reference 😛 )

And then some other ones which I don’t have to explain:
Comedy
Characters
Nerdy idea

Favourite Quotes

  • “Come on, Beamer! I beheaded you for your own good.”
  • “What’s being crazy like?” Wyatt blurted.
    “That depends, Enslow. What’s being tactless and completely inappropriate like?”
  • “Those are some of the most powerful people in the world, and you swamped them in sewage! If you had real friends, they’d have told you that you’re an idiot for even thinking about doing that!”
    Tom bristled, indignant. “My friends do tell me I’m an idiot. All the time!”
  • “There’s a dead guy on our floor,” Tom pointed out.
    “Yeah, that’s Beamer, our neighbor.” Vik stepped over Tom’s bed, and kicked open a drawer beneath the mattress. He swept down and yanked out a bundle of fabric. “Here’s your uniform.”
    “There’s a dead Beamer on our floor,” Tom said again.”

Overall
I loved the book. The concept, the plot, the comedy. But having said that, I still can’t give it 5 stars, or even 4.5. Why you ask? Because, however much I hate to say it, but it is missing the extra zang that a 5 or 4.5 star has to have.
It would be a book that I would be reading to cheer myself up, or as an easy read to make me happy that I’m progressing on my goodreads reading challenge, but it wouldn’t be a book that will change my perception on the world or change me personally. So yeah. 4 shuriken stars.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Around mid-May, I went on a reading binge. I hadn’t been reading any YA fiction by choice for months, and so the first free day I had, I read one novel and six novellas. My sprinting pace of reading abruptly came to stop when I reached Requiem by Lauren Oliver, but the 24th of May was a black hole of endless reading, consuming as much fiction as I could get my hands on.

The first book that started this all was Thirteen Reasons Why. It makes me wish that I’d read thirteen books on that day, for a more symbolic resolution but alas, was not to be. (Wow, did I really just use alas? Oh dear lord, what is happening to me…?)

The ONE reason why I picked this book up was it’s absolutely MASSIVE hype. Everyone praises this book as eye-opening and life-changing and thought-provoking, so I went in with skyscraper-high expectations. Expectations that very few books would be able to meet, and that did not bode well.

Summary

Hannah Baker’s last, vengeful act before committing suicide is to leave a series of hateful tapes to the thirteen people who drove her to kill herself (well, that’s technically not true, but that’s a bit of a spoiler, so we’ll leave it there).

Clay is one of the thirteen on the list, and receives the tapes, listens to them all, and reminisces. And not much else happens, which explains why this book is mega short.

Cons

The Writing Style

The narrative is interspliced between Hannah’s commentary, and Clay’s commentary on her commentary. However, it read very awkwardly. Hannah’s is one-sided dialogue to whoever she’s talking to, which makes the blunt and direct style very realistic, however Clay, who’s commenting, in his head, about her commentary, feels very out of place. It’s like someone is listening to two songs at the same time by alternating between them, a few lines at the time. Sometimes Clay would narrate to us some parts of the story that seemed completely unconnected but tied together in the end, and other times he would be reacting directly to whatever Hannah said. The problem is, Clay’s narration had the exact same tone as Hannah’s, a direct I’m-telling-this-to-someone-else kind of voice, which felt very opposing to Hannah’s conversation.

Clay’s direct reactions could have been taken out of. I knew we had to see the way he felt about these things, but I felt that a lot of the reactions were unnecessary, as we were being told everything instead of being shown anything. Plus, this very direct writing style felt incredibly juvenile and unpolished. It made it a very fast read, definitely, but it just wasn’t to my tastes.

There felt to be a very preachy, overbearing author presence in Hannah’s narrative. It felt more like a self-help book for kids explaining why you shouldn’t be mean to people, and a lot of her narrative was so cold and factual, explaining all the details of what people did wrong, that it took me out of the story. It’s a very good message, and should be preached, but it was done in the wrong way in this book. It was not subtle at all, and was told far too directly.

Characters

Because of the extremely short time space, there was no time for any character development at all. Throughout the book, Hannah’s narrative is when she is on the edge, angry and hateful and vengeful and accusative, but we never really get much of a look at how she was before. This makes her quite a one-dimensional character, because there’s really no chance to develop her. Clay spends far too much time telling us flashbacks, instead of showing us flashbacks, which I would have preferred.

And now here come the SPOILERS.

SCROLL DOWN TO AVOID THE SPOILERS.

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Clay’s tape was like a complete letdown. I was getting very excited for Clay’s tape, as he kept portraying himself as this completely nice and perfectly lovely guy. I wanted to see this hidden dark side of himself that even he didn’t know about. I wanted him to find out this one dark and horrible deed that drove the girl he loved over the brink, and sit back and try to re-evaluate his own life, everything he knew about himself, and either carry on, or embrace his negativity.

Instead, it turns out, he’s the exception. He’s just there because she wanted him to hear the story. Goodbye, potential character development, hello, one-dimensional character with no meaning.

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AND I HAVE NOW VANQUISHED THE SPOILERS. VANISHUS SPOILERSUS. HUZZAH. YER A WIZARD, HUMBLE BOOK REVIEWER.

Shortness

I’m not saying that short books are bad, on the contrary, I read six novellas that day, remember? I think stories should always be as long as they need to be, and this book suffered from missing a good 50-100 pages of something else. Possibly more.

I needed flashbacks. I needed scenes of Clay not listening to the tapes. I understand that the tapes consumed him, and that he needed to obsessively listen to them, but some insight on what he was like when he wasn’t listening to them would have made some nice character development. Or flashbacks to their lives, because I barely know anything about these characters. And in a book like this, which kind of relies on it’s characters, it’s important that we come to care for them more than we want to.

Pros

Interesting

It certainly never let me get bored. It’s the type of book that somehow sucks you in with it’s ease to read, and it’s simple yet interesting premise. And I had a very satisfied feeling after reading the book, the type you get after investing so much of your time into one thing so addictively. When bad things happened to Hannah, they made me feel sad, but more because they were horrible, not because I cared for her anymore than I would any other character. God this is turning back into a Con.

It’s good I promise!

It wasn’t Bad

It really wasn’t, I just expected far too much from it. I’m sure if you went into it open-minded, you would really enjoy it, as I did, though not as much as I should have.

Quotes

  • “A lot of you cared, just not enough.”
  • “But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”
  • “You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is…now.”
  • “I sat. And I thought. And the more I thought, connecting the events in my life, the more my heart collapsed.”

Overall

It wasn’t bad, no, it really wasn’t. But somehow, though I’ve never read any other books in this specific genre, it felt cliché. It felt like the bare bones of what a book about suicide needed to achieve. It relied to heavily on the initial reader reaction of anyone committing suicide, and hoped that would illicit emotion instead of a connection to these characters. The book was too short and the writing style needs to mature.

I would say that the author just needs some time to develop his style and characterisation, as the entire novel just doesn’t seem… finished. It reads like a draft rather than a novel. I would say that Jay Asher’s later novel is probably a lot better, but I don’t know, I’ve never read it, I’m just speculating.

So… rating? Um… 3 1/2 shuriken stars seems about right.

Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC!

So let’s get straight down to what everyone is thinking: will the sequel live up to the first?

Short answer = :(. It wasn’t as good as the first – maybe even by far.

The strange thing was, while I was reading this book, I was loving it, but I also saw many flaws and problems which I didn’t like as much. Nevertheless, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book.

Warning, may contain slight spoilers/ spoiler hints!

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Summary (from goodreads)

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Cons

Love Triangle

The first half of the book was good, in this sense, because Celaena had ended things with Dorian and had stuck to Chaol without wavering. Having said that, it did frustrate me when we were in Dorian’s perspective and all he could do was act like a lovebird and constantly groan when he saw Celaena and Chaol together. As if the only reason it was happening was to make him a contender in the love triangle. But really – in a book like this advertising gore and blood – how many people would be that interested in love triangles?

Then moving onto the second half of the book. Suddenly Celaena is crawling back to Dorian and forgetting Chaol even though they had spent “quality time” together.

Celaena’s Victims

At the end of the last book I clearly remember the king telling Celaena that, if she didn’t do everything as planned, he would kill Chaol, then Nehemia, and finally the rest of Nehemia’s family.
So what I don’t understand is why wasn’t she killing her victims? Yeah, I understand that she wants to have a clean conscience, but she is an assassin. If she can’t do her job then what is her purpose?

“Plot Twist” (NB this is the plot twist which has to do with who Celaena is)

When I was first introduced to some of the information in the plot twist these were my thoughts:
“That would be too predictable, and so I won’t predict it.”

So by being too predictable it became unpredictable and when it happened for sure, I was groaning inside. The plot was already complicated enough and the “twist” was unneeded and annoying.

Oh, and speaking of plot twists, I also saw the plot twist with Archer coming. I’m not sure why, but this time the plot twists were a lot more obvious, or maybe I’ve just gotten used to the style.

Future books

I saw on goodreads (so it may not be 100% true) that this is going to be a six book series. While I know I will probably read the first three, I don’t know about the rest. A long book series is always risky, and more often than not it ends up going downhill, or losing its plot. So I’m just sitting here now waiting to be proven wrong because I really don’t want to see this series, with such awesome potential, go downhill.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Celaena’s threats:

I know it’s part of her character, but I really just despise her threats of “cutting ears off,” or “eating those cut off ears,” etc. It would be okay if I knew she would actually do them, but each time she does it, it’s so obvious a bluff and everyone keeps falling for it. It’s so frustrating.

Pros

World

I loved it. I loved the magic, the mythical creatures, the royalty, the setting. It all seems to blend together and just work.

Pace

It kept me completely hooked, pretty much all my spare time was put into reading this and I don’t regret it. It started with a fast pace and since the beginning it never slowed down.

Characters

Loved the character development of basically everyone. I especially loved Celaena, Chaol and Nehemia. I also loved it after the second half when Celaena was back to hating Chaol, It was like old times again, as well as making character development interesting. I’m also eager to see though what will happen in the next book because I’m sure (ish)  that somehow Celaena will forgive and trust Chaol again.

Nehemia

I know she kinda counts as a character, but really I think she is too awesome and devious to not have a whole paragraph dedicated to her!
From the start of the first book when we first met her I loved her. Her deviousness and cleverness made her just the character that the book needed. I both liked and hated how she was smart enough to influence Celaena and I loved her “hidden life” that she kept secret from Celaena. She would be the Sherlock of this book: capable of mass destruction but decided to be “on the side of the angels”.

Second Half

I personally preferred the second half just because there is less lovey dovey stuff going on and Dorain acting like a heartbroken kid. I also loved how the sudden change, changed everyone. For Celaena it meant trying to kill everyone who stood in her way. For Dorain it meant he had another chance with Celaena. And for Chaol it meant he was dead inside.
One part in this half though that really got me was when Chaol found Celaena’s will. It was written perfectly and when I thought of myself in Chaol’s position it just made me want to melt from the inside out.

Overall
So while my review is half filled with cons, it doesn’t actually reflect properly what I felt about the book: I actually loved it! It was awesome. It’s like a cake – if I take the ingredients separately then I will have a long list of food which I don’t like – but all together it just works and becomes one of the best tasting things in the world!
So aside from my cake baking fantasies, overall I would give this book 4 shuriken stars because I loved it, but it just missed the zang of the 5 stars which the previous book had.

The Book Thief (Film Photos) – Markus Zusak

While scouring goodreads, I found these perfect photos of the current movie, which, from my understanding is supposed to be out November 15th. Yes. This year. Please tell me you are just as excited as I am.

I’m not sure what it is about her but I think the actress is just PERFECT. There is just something about her that I can’t put my finger on – she is just Liesel. And these photos – they capture the reeling movie that was going on in my mind perfectly. They are just all so full of life, real life, not just the life of a book.

Well only 3 months, 9 days, 2 hours and 53 minutes till the release date!

The Assassin and the… – Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass short stories)

Because I’m lazy, I’m going to do all four prequel short stories in one quick post!

So these short stories are in the world of Throne of Glass, which is the first book in a series, and I personally really enjoyed reading that book!

Summary (I’m just going to do it book by book, and because they’re short stories I’m not going to actively try to avoid spoilers- just warning!)

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Celeana and her rival Sam went to negotiate a deal with the Pirate Lord as compensation for him killing some of their assassins (I think). But then she realizes that the compensation is actually in slaves, everything changes (without trying to sound cliché). She then does everything to try to free them with the help of Sam. (note. If you have read Throne of Glass before at this point she isn’t in love with Sam. In fact she hates him. Him on the other hand…). And so it ends with them freeing the slaves and killing the pirate lord and then going back to Arobynn, who is going to be very very angry at having lost so much money.

The Assassin and the DesertThe Assassin and the Desert (Throne of Glass, #0.2)
After going back to Arobynn having freed the slaves with Sam she is sent to the Desert to train as a punishment for a month. At the desert she is trying to get a letter of approval from the head guy to prove that she didn’t just run off. While there she makes friends with this girl called Ansel who then in turn betrays her and the locals- she comes with them with an army because the guy with the army promised her an army to regain her homeland. But while this was all happening Celeana was also having flashbacks of what happened when she got back. Once she got back from the Pirate Lord Arobynn was very angry and therefore beat her up in front of Sam, and throughout the whole short story she was trying to remember what she heard him saying while Arobynn was beating her up. In the end it was “I will kill you”, showing that he suddenly is on her side rather than the guy who basically acted  as a very bad father towards them.

The Assassin and the Underworld (Throne of Glass, #0.3)The Assassin and the Underworld
To try to make up beating her up Arobynn lets her have a mission to kill someone who is supposedly with the slave trade. But Shock. Horror. He isn’t. He was actually against the slave trade and was trying to work a path of safe houses and a route for escaped slaves. So in this book Celeana actually becomes the villain. This book also progresses her relationship with Sam as they were on the mission together.

The Assassin and the EmpireThe Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass, #0.4)
This was probably my favourite out of the short stories. Celeana and Sam have broken away from Arobynn because he is just evil, but he doesn’t want them to leave. So they struck a deal with him saying that if he allowed them to leave they would pay him a great sum of money. But the slight problem is, they are unable to get that sort of money, until this assassination comes up which involves killing their old clan’s rival; a seemly impossible task which many have attempted and failed. Sam eventually after much persuasion goes alone to deliver the final blow, but he then goes missing for a night and doesn’t return on time. The morning after Arobynn turns up uninvited at their apartment and delivers the note that Sam is dead. Celeana obviously angry goes to seek revenge and tries to kill all of the people who lead to the death of Sam. But it turns out to be a trap and she then gets captured. The book then ends with Arobynn standing and looking over her prison cart as it drove away, and being questioned by someone why he did it. His reply was “Because I don’t like sharing my belongings”

Cons

The length of the titles
It just take me so much effort to type out but at the same time I’m too lazy to copy and paste letters and words.

Celaena
For some reason, I’m not sure what, she just seems different in these short stories than in the actual book. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is. Maybe I just imagined it.

Pros

Backstory vs Present
I liked how in these books it kinda explained the personality of Celaena and why she is like that. For example when she goes “I will not be afraid”  because it was what Sam used to do and why she won’t trust any girls because of Ansel (sexist. I know.)

Backstory
I always feel that once you know someone’s backstory you end up knowing them better and I did feel this was true for Celeana. It made us understand her more and why she is so icy and steely.

Arobynn
He was a good hero/ villain. Even at the end he was still a “hero”ish in Celeana’s eyes. Even in Throne of Glass she was refusing to admit to herself that Arobynn was the one who sold her out even though there was no other good suspect. I just kinda liked/ hated their relationship.

Favourite Quotes

  • “She lifted her chin. “I’ve been shouting for you.”
    Sam shrugged, sauntering over to her. “I figured you could wait a few minutes, given that I saved the day and all.” His brows rose high on his ash-covered face.
    “Some hero.” She gestured to the ruin of the tower around them. “I’ve never seen such sloppy work”
  • “Well she’d kill him if he was dead”
  • “Words could be just as deadly as steel.”
  • “If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it—to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger. But Ansel let her pain become hate, and let it consume her until she became something else entirely—a person I don’t think she ever wished to be”
  • “When we die,” she said, “I don’t think the gods will even know what to do with us.”
  • “Now that Sam was dead, there wasn’t anything left outside of the dungeons worth fighting for, anyway. Not when Adarlan’s Assassin was crumbling apart, and her world with her”

Overall
So yeah. These stories were good. I personally read these after Throne of Glass but I don’t think it really matters. It might be better to read before just so you know all the characters and stuff, but then reading it after would intensify the mystery of who sold her out and who is Sam, but I’ve basically just gone and told you the plot anyway so too late now 😉
I would probably still give these 5 shuriken stars overall as a short story series, but I felt that some of them were clearly much better than others.