So August was a great reading month for me, I managed to read seven books though I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep that rate up for the rest of the year!
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge, Balzer & Bray (Harper Collins Imprint), 436pp, ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This was my first read of August and unfortunately it wasn’t great. It is a retelling of Red Riding Hood and I just didn’t like it. Set in Seventeenth Century France, Rachelle is a brave fifteen year old girl who wants to save her world from the Devourer, the legendary monster that stole the sun and the moon. Instead, she finds she has been turned into one of his Bloodbound, destined to become one of his subjects. There were legends intertwined with this story and I found that a few times things didn’t match up which left me confused and slightly irritated. Sentences didn’t always make sense or further the plot so it wasn’t the most enjoyable reading experience. Unfortunately, I just didn’t like the plot and found it a bit ridiculous towards the end. It did give me nightmares, and I did keep thinking about it for a long time after I’d finished it.
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, Orion, 694pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Next up I read this beauty! I loved this. I had been eyeing it up in bookshops for years as I am a bit wary about stories that are split across two time periods but I’m so glad I did. I thought it was fab. Labyrinth is a historical fiction novel, set in the Carcassonne region in France. The story is divided between Thirteenth Century France and modern day (2005), following the journey of Alais Pelletier du Mas and, later, Alice Tanner. Jam packed with secrets, betrayal, war and history Labyrinth really leaves you wanting to research the region. The writing is beautiful. It is so descriptive and really pulls the reader into the medieval world. I did a full review of this here.
The Assassin’s Blade: Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas, Bloomsbury, 430pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I’ve heard so much about the Throne of Glass series online, especially with the fourth book in the series, Queen of Shadows, being published September 1st. The Assassin’s Blade novellas are prequels to Throne of Glass series and I’m very glad I read them before I started the series. It gives an insight to the protagonist’s, Celaena Sardothien, past and how she ended up in the Salt Mines in Endovier, which is where the first novel starts. I am now onto the fourth book and there are lots of references throughout the series to events that occurred in these novellas. I really recommend reading this first.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Bloomsbury, 404pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent story. Celaena is the best assassin in the Kingdom of Adarlan. She was trained from the age of eight to kill, and she’s very, very good at it. Unfortunately, she was betrayed, caught and sent to the Salt Mines of Endovier to be a slave as punishment. After a year, the Crown Prince of Adarlan, Dorian, and his trusted Captain of the Guard, Chaol, travel to Endovier to offer her a deal; participate in the King’s contest to find a Champion and she will be free after four years of service to the crown. Only of course, if she wins the contest. With no other choice expect to die in the mines, she accepts and begins her training once back in Rifthold, the wealthy capital. This book was nothing at all like I expected and I loved it.
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas, Bloomsbury, 418pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the second installment of Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series and it did not disappoint. Not as action packed as the first, this novel certainly describes a lot of character growth and development and is quite emotional to be honest. Not in a soppy way, but after reading Assassin’s Blade first, I could understand why new betrayals cut her so deeply as they brought back memories of her life before Endovier. So that gave me all the feels. The ending was superb. Chaol learns the truth about her past and struggles with how to deal with it whilst also trying to protect Dorian from his own abilities. I don’t want to go into too much detail as it is a sequel but trust me when I say these books get better and better! (I’ve just finished the third book, Heir of Fire and it’s amazing. Look out for that in my September wrap up!)
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson, Henry Holt, 486pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Wow. I devoured this book in a day. It was so good! Princess Arabella wants to marry for love, not to unite two warring Kingdoms . She wants someone who loves her for her, not her title of First Daughter of Morrighan. On the morning of her wedding day she runs away with her handmaiden, Pauline, to live a normal life, far away from her father’s court. She finds work in a tavern and soon falls into the routine of a barmaid, until one day two gorgeous men walk in and seem to have an unusual interest in her. One is the jilted Prince of Dalbreck, come to see what all the fuss was about and meet the girl who was strong enough to defy two powerful Kingdoms. The other is an assassin, sent from the rival Kingdom of Venda to ensure that the Princess could not change her mind and decide to unite the other Kingdoms. Which is which, we do not know until the end. Intrigue! I have written a full review of this here.
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson, Henry Holt, 470pp, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As you may have guessed this is the sequel to the Kiss of Deception. I’m so glad this had just been released so once I’d finished the first I could start straight away on this. I don’t want to say here what the plot is as I don’t want to ruin the first story for you in case you read it but it is better than the Kiss of Deception. I wouldn’t have thought that possible but it is. More action packed and has more twists and turns. You see softer sides of the darker characters and it makes you rethink everything you thought you knew/felt about all the characters. Lia (Princess Arabella) is such a strong, kickass character and is weirdly relatable, although I can safely say have ever been in any of her predicaments. The world building is incredible and you get to explore a whole different Kingdom. Again, this book makes you question all the things you thought you learned in the first book as Lia discovers more about her world.
Wow okay, a lot of five stars for August, September has a lot to live up to! Not sure I’ll get through 7 books again but who knows. Life is a bit stressful at the moment as we’re getting closer to completing our flat purchase so I have a lot to do and think about, but reading, as always, is my escape. So maybe I’ll end up reading more! Happy reading!