Alanna: The First Adventure

Recently, my English teacher and I had a conversation about books. She had mentioned a book series she loved and wanted me to borrow. She couldn’t remember what it was called, or the name of the author, but once she found it she was going to bring it in for me. She found it a few weeks later and approached me at lunch with it in hand. It was called Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. It was a tiny thing, only about 275 pages. But although it was short, that book quickly became one of my favorites.

Alanna: the First Adventure, the first book in the Song of the Lioness series, follows Alanna: a girl pretending to be a boy in order to become a knight. The book starts off with one-year-old Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, complaining about the paths they were meant to take. Both siblings have the Gift, which gives them magical abilities. Since Alanna was the girl, she was to go to the Convent to learn to be a lady. Her brother was meant to go to the Castle to become a knight. But, there was a problem. Alanna wanted nothing to do with being a lady, and Thom wanted to become a sorcerer instead of a knight. The two decided to switch places. Thom would forge letters from his father, saying that instead of the twins being male and female, that they were two young boys. Alanna, now called Alan, would cut her hair and train to become a knight, hiding her true identity.

The book follows Alanna keeping her secret over the course of about five years. As a reader, you watch Alanna grow up as a woman. Alanna is a highly relatable and lovable character. She has a fiery personality and a short temper, which stays true to her red hair. During her journey, she learns to control her magic. She becomes such a good knight that she is made the Prince’s squire. But at the end, her powers are put to the test and she must battle some powerful beings, and her secret is revealed to a certain someone, but I’ll let you read the book to find out who.

Although I love this book, I was taken aback by how it goes by so fast. At some places, I was slightly confused. I would have enjoyed the book more if I had gotten a little more communication between Alanna and Prince Jonathan. I also felt as though people would have guessed that Alanna was a girl, but she could have just been good at hiding it. A connection I made to the next book was that Alanna suddenly falls in love with two of the characters in the second book, and there was no warning in the first one. I feel as though there would be some kind of clue that she would fall in love in the first book. But all in all, the book is structured and well written. I rate it four and a half out of five stars.

Buy the book here!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

For a while, Ky has been begging me to read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Finally, the wait was too much, and she bought it for me herself while we were brainstorming at the bookstore. (That was our first meeting regarding this blog, by the way.) But I didn’t start reading it until about a week ago. I finished reading it two days later. That book is now my favorite book in the world.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (or ACOTAR for short) follows Feyre (pronounced as Fey-ruh) through a troublesome time. At the beginning of the story, she kills a giant wolf with an ash arrow. The wolf is later revealed as a faerie when his friend crosses the wall separating faerie and mortal lands in order to either kill Feyre or bring her to his court, which she chose. From then on Feyre learns about the faeries and while trying to escape, she falls in love with Tamlin, the handsome faerie who is keeping her. She must break the curse among the Faerie lands by killing the mysterious Amarantha.

ACOTAR is a literary masterpiece. Usually, my logical brain is not a huge fan of fantasies. But this book stole my mortal heart. Instantaneously I fell in love with the characters, especially Lucien, whose fiery wit made me laugh out loud within five minutes of first reading his name. The characters are all believable and thoroughly described. I had to take mental notes throughout reading the book to improve my own writing skills.

Characters weren’t the only thing Sarah J. Maas described well; another aspect is imagery. I felt as though I was witnessing the book firsthand. The storytelling is marvelous. I was also impressed by the structure and vocabulary of the book—although not quite as impressed as I am with the rest of the story. But, it was still magnificent.

After I finished reading the first book, I begged my mother to let me buy the second on my kindle for $5.11. She allowed it, and now I am reading it nonstop. I had to peel my eyes away from the book just to write this review. I’m looking forward to reading more of Sarah J. Maas’s books, as I am to seeing pictures of her new baby!

All in all, this book was amazing. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a little intense romance. I rate it five out of five stars. I can’t wait to read more of Feyre’s sexy adventures.

Buy the book here!

Sky in the Deep

This weekend, in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, I found myself drawn to the beautiful cover of the book Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Now, I don’t ever only buy books just for their covers, so I proceeded to open the book and read the jacket cover. This cover featured a blurb about the story, promising war, romance, and a kick-ass female protagonist. I finished the book a few hours ago and I’m disappointed to say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

The first few chapters of the book were wonderful and fast moving. The main character, Eelyn, is in the middle of a fast-paced action scene when she spots her supposedly dead brother among the crowd. She goes after him, and this leads to the rest of the book. Once she is captured by her brother, now part of the rival clan, the Rikis, the pace of the story starts to drastically slow. Although I finished the book in one day, I found it easy to put it down and go to bed at a reasonable time.

While the author does a good job of explaining what’s going on and describing the surroundings, there is a clear lack of suspense building. Everything in this book is straightforward and to the point. There wasn’t any foreshadowing or plot twists, much to my dismay.

On the other hand, the main character and her thoughts are portrayed in a good way, making the protagonist easy to like. Eelyn, as a character, grows and develops in sync with the events in the book; her character arch is predictable but enjoyable to read.

But, the way Eelyn grew up was as a warrior: she was taught to never cry or show weakness. This is stressed and mentioned multiple times throughout the book. While I get that her journey is a hard one, I don’t understand how her upbringing of never showing weakness just crumbles and she starts crying all of the time. She is a fierce warrior, yet in a span of a few weeks, she throws away all she has grown up to believe and starts loving her enemies. For a girl with fire in her veins, as is said about her by other characters in the book, she seems awfully easy to get to comply as a dyr, a type of slave.

Now, I always love the idea of forbidden love, and I believe, though used a lot, this can still turn out good with its own twist. In this book, however, I find it hard to believe Eelyn is actually in love with Fiske, who shot her with an arrow, bought her as a slave, and said that it was all in the name of protecting her. I agree that these actions did help save her life, but were it not for him capturing her in the first place, the ENTIRE mess wouldn’t have happened. Although I believe it to be unnecessary, this was the first snowflake in the snowball effect that creates this story. The two supposed lovebirds (although the word love is never mentioned to each other, they do express strong feelings for each other) have barely spoken! I feel, as a reader, that I hardly know who Fiske is. I wish there were more dialogue to explain the feelings between the beloved Eelyn and this Fiske. Also, how exactly is Fiske able to kick Eelyn’s butt so easily? They have both trained as warriors, and Eelyn is out on the battlefield killing all of these other trained warriors like she could do it in her sleep. Then, Fiske comes along and her ass is handed to her in seconds.

I feel that overall this book was lacking in dialogue, and because of this, we don’t get to know any of the characters really well. For example, besides Fiske, there is Myra, Eelyn’s supposed best friend. We don’t really see this proven through their limited interactions. We hardly even get a glimpse of who Myra is to Eelyn.

My last wish for this book would be to have more dialogue between Eelyn and her brother. She has a lot of pent-up anger, and she’s described as being pretty furious at him. Over time they have one brief discussion and that’s it. I feel like Eelyn should’ve exploded, or there should’ve been some sort of fight; instead, the problem is just swept under the rug and never dealt with.

Despite all this, it was a lovely simple day read. It left me wanting more for character relationships because I liked the characters so much. The ending was sweet and a refreshing compared to the common cliffhanger endings. This book didn’t really ignite “the feels” in me, but it was not in any way a bad book. If you’re looking for a quick, simple read I hope you’ll take this into consideration. Through all of my nit-picky comments, I still rate the book four out of five stars.

But the book here!