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The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archives #1)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“My father used to say that there are two kinds of people in the world,” Kaladin whispered, voice raspy. “He said there are those who take lives. And there are those who save lives… I used to think he was wrong. I thought there was a third group. People who killed in order to save.” He shook his head. “I was a fool. There is a third group, a big one, but it isn’t what I thought…. The people who exist to be saved or to be killed. The group in the middle. The ones who can’t do anything but die or be protected. The victims. That’s all I am.”

This book… and the series as a whole can be easily considered the new face of the fantasy genre. Plotted so intricately, written so nicely, and overall so well done. My thoughts are in a jumble as I desperately try to make sense of them and write a review.
I am amazed that once I heard somewhere about Sanderson that his characterization is weak. Since I doubt those peoples have read Kaladin (or Kelsier for that matter). He is one of the most well-crafted and amazing characters I have ever stumbled upon.
He is broken, yes he does spend a lot of time being sulky over it. But it all fits the plot and the situation so well. And never does it compromise the pace.

He was a slave. But he didn’t need to think like one.

Aside from him, this book was filled with characters who will stay with me long after I have finished this book. Dalinar, Syl, Szeth, and Jasnah being among my favorites. This is going to be an almost ten book series, and each book will focus more on a single character. This one was about Kaladin. This might be the first time in a book where I found myself looking more forward to the backstory scenes. Those were done so well. Kaladin’s past has so much richness, his life as a whole is so amazingly crafted which makes us really think and be appreciative of our privileges and feel bad for making any sort of excuses regarding anything. If Kaladin could manage what he did if he didn’t give up than others are just being petty. I won’t apologize it is sounds like gushing since I loved his character so much.
The behemoth size served the story extremely well, only then did the ending had the impact it held. Every character got the due characterization.
The world-building just needs a moment of silence, from different grasses to the big historical events, everything was done just so perfectly.
I usually read two or three books at a time, switching between them. But I read this one almost in its entirety. Although its size is enormous and intimidating. The story just hooked me so much that I couldn’t stop.
The only minor con I had was a small romance aspect in this book, Dalinar’s. Although it got next to no coverage or page space, it did bug me considering how perfect the rest of the book was.
Overall, this is a definite must read and I believe Sanderson has yet again challenged the norms and raised the bars for not only the genre as a whole but for himself too. (Since I have definitely started expecting a lot from him)

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before review

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5/5 stars
I enjoyed this book way more than I care to admit. This book (and I feel like this is the case with Jenny Han’s other series too) never really caught my attention because, in my opinion, the title and the cover combined made it sound like a cringe-worthy romance. But luckily for me, someone whom I trust and has a similar taste in books recommended this to me and I ended up enjoying it so much. So as much as it looks like lovey-dovey romance novel about a girl who isn’t fit in her own skin, finding love and suddenly turning confident, it’s so not that kind of story.
The premise of this book is actually a girl who’s mother died when she was barely into her teens I presume, she had an elder sister Margot, who was always the motherly figure for her. Now Margot is leaving abroad for college, and Lara Jean is kind of in a fragile mood already. To add to her misery, her hatbox disappears. That isn’t an ordinary hatbox. Inside it, Lara Jean used to write love letters to all the boys she ever crushed on, and by writing letters to them is her way of exorcising those feelings out of her into the page. She doesn’t write it to send them, but to just take it out on the page and forget about it.
But one day, after Margot has left for the college, she starts finding out that those boys have started receiving her letters. And what follows afterward is, to put it simply, a ton of drama.
What I appreciated the most in this part was that most of the emphasis on Lara Jean’s personal growth was through her family. Like they were the channel through whom she discovered herself. I complain a lot about how in YA fantasies, we usually start with a girl who is not comfortable in her skin, has a lot of issues, and suddenly find her Mr.Right and her confidence along with him. Even with this being a romance book, I was so surprised how maturely the author tackled that issue. Like her love-life is way more awkward after the letters go out, she goes through a lot of ordeals, but it isn’t her love interests who are with her at her hour of need. It’s either one of her sister or her father. Sometimes even the memories of her mother.
Speaking of sisters, there were times when I found the character of Margot pretty annoying. Albeit believable. But can we just give a moment of silence to Katie, she is the most adorable character I have come across. She made me almost with to have a little sister of my own. Almost.
Since this is a romance book, so I feel obliged to tell that I am obviously shipping Peter. At first, I liked Josh a lot, but as the story progressed, he started annoying me out. He was one of that kind of characters who are just sore losers, in my opinion. Like to me, it felt he was just looking for a commitment, regardless of whom he might get it from. Which was weird. So I started despising him.
Overall this is a pretty fun book which I will highly recommend to anyone who is in the mood of sweet family drama.

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Posted in Wrap-ups and TBRs

My Overly-Ambitious July TBR!

This is that time of the month again. Where I feel like I am some superhero (The Flash to be specific) who can chug down gazillion books this very month if only I put my mind to it. Since I know 2017 has been a bad reading year this far, I really want to change that this month. The need is almost physical and painful guys, so get ready for a long TBR post.

Continue reading “My Overly-Ambitious July TBR!”

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The Alloy of Law (Mistborn 4) by Brandon Sanderson!

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“…I shot the guy who took your hat, though he lived. He’s probably gone by now.”
“you didn’t grab the hat for me?” Wayne asked, sounding offended.
“I was a little busy being shot at.”
“Busy? Aw, mate. It doesn’t take any effort at all to get shot at. I think you’re just makin’ excuses on account of being jealous of my lucky hat.”

I was kind of scared picking this one up just because of the nostalgia factor. Like I was just discussing with a friend, most books fall into second-book syndrome and yet this was the first book in the second series. How in the world would it live up to the place the original trilogy has in all of our hearts? But as the quote above suggested, I didn’t need to worry. If nothing else, this book is a promised fun ride.
For me, the selling factor of a book (or any work of fiction) is always its characters and their relationships. And I always appreciate when the author is thoughtful enough to understand that relationships don’t always fall in the romantic category. And that’s what Sanderson focused most on this book. Wax and Wayne are two friends, an adorable duo with tons of history and lots of wits. Their friendship just shines on the page. The way they seem to understand each other and the way they care for each other without showing it, that’s just plain beautiful.
And how could I forget to mention the brilliant Marasi? She is just so endearing of a character. The fact that she had queer interests but was still unapologetic of staying feminine was the selling factor. I am tired of girl characters who believe mimicking guys would make them more feminist. She was a breath of fresh air.
I also enjoyed the mention of previous characters. The funniest part was, though they used to be all friends and had worked together, nowadays the sects following them are so rigid and differentiated from each other. It’s fun to see how that branched out. The only problem was I was having a hard time understanding which religion was a follower of which character?
Elendel has become quite an interesting place as well. What with trains and the introduction of electricity. This whole book is just so brilliant and filled with nostalgia, it makes me want to cry.

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A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic 3) by V.E Schwab

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Take all the stars from me, Schwab, you deserve them for creating this masterpiece for us. It’s always good to see a writer growing with each book, and for Schwab, the change is more prominent. The first book in this trilogy had so much promise, yet turned so little stones. Ever since being introduced to this world (by a booktube channel btw) I had been in awe from the concept and the premise. When I found the book and started reading it, the magical world and her amazing writing style pulled me in so much, I forgot everything else that was happening in my life and finished that one in a single sitting.
But once done, I felt so frustrated. I needed more of Red London and Kell. As if Schwab had read my mind, the second book came which had nothing but Red London–not as much Kell as I would like, though.
And I finished that again with feeling that so many stones were left unturned. While hyping over the release of this book, I feared I will end up finishing this one the same way. But turned out I shouldn’t have worried.
Every character, from major to minor, were given their due time. All the backstories unraveled. While keeping the pace thrilling, I am in awe how the author managed that.
Kell had always been my favorite, from the moment he was introduced. Lila had a tendency to keep getting better and better by each scene. Alucard was a cool character when introduce, but turned out to have so much depth in him. I was close to tears at one point for him. And for Rhy, and unpopular opinion here. I was annoyyed by him in the first book, but then he kept growing on me. Until by the climax, he was the one I was most pained for. Most rooting for.
And a moment of silence for the king and queen please. I mean, I haven’t seen a single YA book putting so much weight on the parental characters. Previous book in this series also had merely touch on the corners of their character. Kind of decoration pieces just for display. But in this one, I can’t even begin to describe how happy and in awe I am by the justice done to their character.
This is the kind of book where a reader is pained at the death of even trivial characters. Because the death was carved out from the ones left living. The emptiness always left inside them, a hollow that kept ringing in every word so that a reader had to feel it.
The plot was amazingly built. Without missing a beat. From the moment the book started, it felt like a climatic sequence. That was the measure of intensity. The climax was epic. The action scenes was thrilling to the bone. The adventurous feel was just amazing.
As you can all see, the whole review has been me madly gushing over the book. Some might be even rolling their eyes– surely there has to be some weakness in the book. And certainly there is, one tiny one.
IT ENDED!
Gosh I don’t want it to end. Don’t know what to do with my life anymore. Please Schwab, fill the void soon or my life will be left miserable forever.
Okay now I have turned into rambling so should take my leave.
P.S a full spoilery thought post is cooming soon in my blog. Shameless marketing over, time to leave the review for those brave enough to read it.

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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir!

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had read the last book quite a while ago. It ended in a cliffhanger and I was weary of picking this one up without a reread. Fearing that the story might get confusing, but Tahir took off where she left the last book without missing a beat. While recounting the events from last one in a manner that didn’t fall either in confusing or boring zone. So kudos for that achievement.
I have to say, though, that the middle was slightly sagging. Not the pace, it was a thrilling ride until the end. But if felt slightly off the mark, as compared to the awesomeness of overall series. It was a tightrope battle of 3-4 stars. But then, the third act happened, and all hell broke loose. I was literally at the edge of my seat the whole while reading that part. And might have been slightly snappy towards anyone who tried to drag me out of the magical world I was in and back to the reality.
I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling anything. What I can say is the character development was on point. I really like even the coolest characters in this series are so grounded in reality. So prone to mistakes, so vulnerable. At the middle though, I had gotten really frustrated from all the love-triangle drama. All I wanted was one action sequence where Keenan and Elias worked as allies, both of them are such cool fighters. Was it too much to ask?
I also appreciated Tahir’s teasing with the topics of pain and death. The overall tone of this story is bleak and dark. And the way death is approached feels too real, it’s painful yet wonderful to read.
There was a huge build-up towards one plot-twist. I saw it coming miles away, though, but somehow it managed to pack a surprising punch.
This book didn’t end on a cliffhanger like the last one, but still had enough going on that I just can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. I need it, now!
Especially considering the point it ended. Filled with so much hope, yet so much hopelessness at the same time. I am not sure how the author manages it, creating so many conflicting emotions in a reader in the same time.

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson!

Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1)Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always, Sanderson proved himself master of characterization and plot twists. So many remarkable memorable characters popped up throughout the story to count. From Vasher to Lightsong, each and every one of them had a unique voice and added an interesting flavor to the pot.
The story follows two kingdoms at the brink of war. A shaky peace treaty keeping the war at bay, but a single mistake from one of the king starts the spiral of events that is the whole novel. The treaty was to marry his eldest daughter to the other king when she came of age, but the king sends his other daughter instead. I kept waiting for a more plausible explanation as to why the king made the decision, sadly that never happened.
But from then, the spiral of events kept me hooked and breathless with their brilliance.
The story followed multiple POVs and all the elements of fantasy a fan would enjoy, yet the colorful magic system made it a breath of fresh air. To add icing on the cake, a huge chunk of the story was filled with politics and court drama. With the unique style of Sanderson, it felt way fresher and more interesting.
I didn’t personally enjoyed Blushweaver’s character, though her contribution to making Lightsong as beloved as he was can’t be denied. Their maturish bickering was the highlight of the show.

“Lightsong!” she said. “One could say you begin to sound jealous!”
“One could also say that my feet smell like guava fruit,” he said. “Just because could say it doesn’t mean it’s relevant.”

I have seen a lot of mixed opinions about Vivenna, the princess who was supposed to marry the king but her sister got sacrificed instead. I personally really loved her character development. To be honest, I used to roll my eyes at the beginning at the description of her perfection. Thankfully, as the story unfolded she became getting more and more grounded. Making mistakes and trying to redeem them.
I really enjoyed and will always miss her time with the mercenaries.
I pat myself on the back for always seeing Vasher as a nice gray character instead of bad-guy. :3
I updated a status right when I started this book that I was loving this guy and stood true until the end.

Vasher had always found it interesting that the men who watched dungeons tended to be as bad as, or worse than, the men they guarded. Perhaps that was deliberate. Society didn’t seem to care if such men were outside the cells or in them, so long as they were kept away from honest men.

Seriously, what’s there not to like?
Other than him, all the plot-twists and betrayals left be flabbergasted.
This is the first book by Sanderson I finished after the masterpiece: the original Mistborn trilogy. Though this book is far behind the brilliance of that book, I’ve got to say, the characters were way more well-rounded and gray in this one.
The villain’s and hero’s motivations overlapped more and the thematic questions were stronger.
Overall this one is a strong read which I will always miss. 😀

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Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton!

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the book I have the most mixed feelings about in recent past. While I enjoyed the setting, it felt too forcefully dark. I liked the character, but again the female lead felt too much cliched. The plot was fast-paced, but also cliche ridden.
The magic system was something new, and I adored it. But the final battle felt too rushed. I still haven’t understood much of what happened in the end.
All in all, it’s a good light read, but the author has potential and I am curious to see where she will take it in future installments.

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Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastian de Castell

Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats, #1)Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Greatcoats are the magisters by the king’s law. His personal army of sorts. Their job is to travel all around the nation and pass on judgements based on the laws. Falcio, the protagonist, is one of the greatest and closest to the king.
When one day, the kingdom is sieged and the king is assassinated. Now, the world is being ruled by the Dukes and the law is in tatters, and the greatcoats are considered traitors.
Falcio, among the others in the army, has been given by a final order from the king. To find a chariot and somehow that will help the nation get it’s footing back.
Along with his two greatcoat companions, Kest and Bastri, he’s in a journey at the beginning of the novel. To find the glory that has lost to their kingdom. Great adventures await in this book after that.
The best part about this novel is characterization. Falcio has a dark past and is haunted by that, but that doesn’t let his spot on humor fade. The different personalities of the three main characters, and the amusing first person lenses with which we get to see the world in. The story was a delight to read even in all its dark story.

The three of us invented ‘punch-pull-slap’ some time ago. One of the things you discover after you’ve been wounded enough times is that the body really only keeps track of one source of pain at a time. So, for example, if your tooth hurts and someone pokes you ine the stomach, your body momentarily forgets about the tooth.
So, the way this is supposed to work is like this: Brasti punches me in the face, Kest pulls the arrow out of my legand then Brasti slaps me so hard my brain never has time to register the bolt and therefore I don’t scream at the top of my lungs.

The story is packed with beat-by-beat fight scenes. And the action is too much fun to read. The characters have a really dark humor, making it even more amusing.

“I’m bored.” Brasti said. ‘Is there any way I could possibly just kill you now and then we could go and– I don’t know– play games with your head?’
‘I don’t think you would have much fun tossing my head around like a ball, Trattari. Trust me, I’ve triedit more than once and even a traitor’s head just gets soggy after a while.”

The one problem I did had with the book was the rushed ending. Too many things happened too quickly to even digest, that’s why it took me so long to review. I just didn’t understood all that happened all at once in the end.
The story overall had an extremely fast pace as well. We don’t get to see much of the world, and the glimpses at the backstory are sparse as well. Though the whole picture of Falcio’s journey to where he is now gets clear with time, the world still remains vague and felt unexplored.
But all in all, it’s a great start in a great new fantasy series. And I am definitely going to continue on with this one and will highly recommend it to others as well.
Here’s too hoping that the world get more screen time in the next book. (since I read digital copies, this metaphor turns out to fit perfectly. 😉 )

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