Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of CrowsI gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. This book definitely measures up to the hype and I quite enjoyed reading it.

Despite that, I must note that it took me quite a while to get into the story.
The reasons are:

a)I wasn’t particularly familiar with the Grisha world (I haven’t read the Grisha Trilogy) and,
b)There are just too many characters making an appearance at the early stage in the story and some of them turned out to be minnows who I didn’t necessarily have to keep track of.

What really drained me is b): the number of characters. As I previously mentioned, many of them ended up being of no importance thus I didn’t necessarily have to spend my time and energy in keeping track of.
However, I ended up doing a lot of re-read and skipping ahead to understand who is who and who the character is connected to, which drained a lot of energy out of me.

For those reasons, the first 40 pages, particularly the parley scene was really excruciating and mentally draining to me.
I didn’t find it info-dumpy, it was totally immersive and gripping once I picked up the book and started reading, it was really an exciting read. But once life got in the way and I put aside the book, the mental exhaustion that I had experienced in the first 40 pages actually made me a bit hesitant to pick it up again and I ended up dragging the hesitation the entire time until I finished the book.
Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Apart from the unfamiliar names and settings that come with the Grisha world, I think the writing is on point, brisk and very easy to get through. It’s also very descriptive and I could easily visualize each scene; some scenes actually made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I found the plot a bit predictable, particularly what was supposed to be a huge twist in the end, nevertheless, it didn’t make the story any less interesting. I really enjoyed it.

I gather this is a kind of book that you should go blindly knowing the bare minimum about the plot; even a brief mention about the heist seems to be quite spoilary to me. (So I wouldn’t.)

As far as the character goes, my absolute favorite will be Kaz Brekker and Nina. I assume Kaz will be a heartthrob to many, but I absolutely love Nina’s character. She is sexy, gentle and strong and capable. I particularly adore the romance between Matthais and Nina in the end… it made my heart swoon (not as much as it did for Cinder and Kai in The Lunar Chronicles, but it did).
But Nina, oh my gosh, Nina. What have you done?! It was actually one of my favorite scenes in the book. Some may see it as overly dramatic, but I just adore the scene. Love it.

Kaz’s feelings toward someone whose name I won’t name came as a bit of a surprise – I wouldn’t say I didn’t see it coming at all, nonetheless, it was a nice surprise. It actually made me a bit warmed up to Kaz.

The friendship built amongst the crews is also what I really liked about this book.
My favorite goes to the one between Inej and Nina and Jesper and Wylan.
The rest of the crews first disregard Wylan at the earlier stage of the heist, but as the story goes, as they go through a lot of predicaments together, they start to look at Wylan in a different light and think more of him. I liked the change A LOT.

Overall, I think Leigh Bardugo did an amazing job in weaving such an exciting, thrilling story by tactfully entwining each character’s background story with the main one with vital clues and revelations as to, for instance, why Kaz Brekker always wears gloves and things along those lines.
Despite the initial mental exhaustion that I experienced, I found the latter half is such a page-turner, a great read.

Although I’m yet to be ready to dive right into the sequel, ‘Crooked Kingdom,’ and I’ll be most likely to take a bit of a break, I highly recommend picking this up.
It is definitely worth your time and energy. It’s such a rewarding, exciting read. Definitely lived up to my expectations. I’m glad that I finally finished this book.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

scarlet
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


First thing first, I enjoyed this book so much. I really liked it.
However, I’m afraid I have to say that it did not move me as strongly as ‘Cinder’ and I think it’s because of the lack of character development of the new heroine, ‘Scarlet.’

Scarlet is sassy and feisty and rather STUBBORN – I do understand her concerns over her missing grandmother and how much her grandmother means to her, but then again, I can’t help being kind of fed up with her stubbornness; she tends to jump the gun and fixated to the wrong idea and adamantly believe she’s right, she has NO intention of listening to others. Her desperation over her grandma kind of clouds her fair judgment and makes her really headlong. And I didn’t like it.
On top of all that, other than her concerns over her grandma, very little of her personality is narrated in this book. I couldn’t see her inner struggles and her emotional process and that made me hard for me to relate to Scarlet completely like I did to Cinder in the last book.

Speaking of the characters, I adore the new character, Thorne so much. He is funny and a bit cocksure but not arrogant at all. He has some quality that makes him endearing to me. I liked him being a bit slow to connect all the clues and hints that suggest Cinder is Princess Selene. (Spoiler!)

While I adore Thorne a lot, I wasn’t particularly attracted by another new character, Wolf. In particular, the whole genetic transformation thing? It baffled me and I felt a bit thrown off. I know it’s all plausible that such crazy mutant-like characters do exist in such a crazy world-setting of Luna, but yet… it made me a bit cringe.

The plot and story line is as gorgeous and spectacular as Cinder; it’s action-packed and I was amazed by Marissa Meyer’s on-point writing. It just kept the momentum going and kept me on tenterhooks. I was really excited to see how two story lines between Scarlet and Cinder finally entwine later in the book. The marge of those two story lines is just beautiful and enthralling, even.
It was also good that we get to know Emperor Kai’s inner turmoil and how he feels about Cinder a lot more in this book. I know Prince (Emperor) Kai had some feelings for Cinder, but his true emotions were not narrated much in the last book. For that reason, I was so excited to read how he actually feels toward Cinder. It was so heart-wrenching, yet so sweet.

That aspect makes the decision Emperor Kai reaches in the end even more poignant and gut-wrenching –oh, that broke my heart yet again!
I was inwardly screaming, “No, you’re not thinking straight! You can’t do this, please, just re-think!!”
I just don’t want to see that happen, no, no. absolutely NOT. (and I believe I’m not the only one saying this, right?)

Although I enjoyed Scarlet and Wolf’s side of the story a lot, but I must say I enjoyed Cinder and Emperor Kai’s side of the story a lot MORE. I was actually looking forward to reading their side of the story rather than reading Scarlet and Wolf’s one. I’m afraid that speaks volumes that I didn’t think much of the new characters.

It seems that some reviewers say the insta-love between Scarlet and Wolf a bit of a turn-off, but it was actually totally fine with me.
I have to admit it does seem like a bit too fast for their love to blossom, yet in such crazy, frantic situation, such adrenaline-driven love can happen, it’s not far-fetched, I think.

Although I’ve still got a lot more to say about this book, but I’ll refrain myself and leave it to you readers to find out what it is all about!
I really adore this series and can’t wait to dive into Cress!

Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia Publication Order #2)

prince-caspian

I adore this book as much as ‘The Lion,’ probably even more – this grand story evoked a lot of emotions inside me and I just couldn’t process my feelings when I closed the book. The ending wrecked me in a good way; I just couldn’t think of anything else.

This is the second time I’ve picked up this book; the last time when I picked up this one, I gave up on continuing to read for some reason; probably from the lack of my vocabulary at the time.

After about 3 years, I now got to finish this book and – oh, my, I’m so glad that I read it!
Like I said, this book moved me much more than the last one (Lion) did.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish – it is just impeccable! The plot is well-crafted and I personally think the writing and descriptions are much more engaging than ‘The Lion.’
I must say I felt the story in the last one (The Lion) went in a flurry, but with this one, ‘Prince Caspian,’ the plot has a lot more depth to it and the dialogues are quite engaging and amazing. It touches on some political stuff – ugly conspiracies involving the throne and the war to take back the kingdom – I think that’s what makes this story more entertaining and just riveting.

All the characters are so likable and relatable; I particularly liked Reepicheep! Despite being a mouse, he is noble and is truly a knight. His remarks are pregnant with meaning which came as quite a surprise to me.

Just like the last time, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I got to understand the messages and teachings this book carries, but I enjoyed this book immensely for its great story-development. It’s action packed (particularly the combat part with Miraz) ,exciting, and I particularly liked the remark that Peter makes when he starts to doubt if he can pull off defeating the despicable Miraz – it is just poignant!

I was a bit thrown off when I realized how many alterations had been made when it was made into a movie. In addition to Prince Caspian being much older than the book, a love story between Susan and Caspian??  I would have liked the movie to be a faithful reflection of the book. Most of the great dialogues had been cut, many unnecessary scenes had been added,  I must say that I was a bit sorry about that.

I was so sad to know that Peter and Susan wouldn’t be able to come back to the world of Narnia any more because I love them both! They found a place which has a special place in their hearts but the fate has taken it away from them – how sad it is!
When they all come back to the real world from Narnia in the end, the poignant feel washed over me- I almost cried. (seriously)

That said, like I said, I enjoyed this amazing journey from start to finish. I can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens next! I’m loving the series so far!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1)

lion

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really, really adore this book.

I re-read this book for the first time in about 3 years.
I was a bit worried if all my senses and emotions had gone numb after a major book hangover stemming from reading NOS4A2. Although I picked up a different book prior to this one but the book didn’t speak to my heart as much and I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me.

It was when I decided to pick up this book; I remember enjoying it so much the last time and I figured I would be in trouble if I didn’t.

You can’t imagine how glad and relieved I was to say this out loud – I enjoyed this book immensely!

First thing first – the plot; I adore the story line! How fantastic and exciting it is to step into a completely different world and eventually ascend to the throne!  I think this is everybody’s dream come true and I love it!

Being such a short book which has got only 206 pages or so, the story goes pretty fast.
I still can’t believe so many events take place in such a short book.
The writing comes across rather simple (it is also natural considering it’s for children) and some scenes feel overly simplified and concise compared to the movie adaptation, but the power that his writing has held me in thrall throughout the book. I couldn’t put it down.

The dialogues are so vibrant and sound quite natural. In particular, whatever that comes out of Aslan’s mouth does speak to me; his remarks are literally words of wisdom and they naturally come into me.

The Pevensie siblings are all so adorable, but I found a bit difficult to see why Edmund is being so spiteful in the early part of the book. I wish there were some more explanations or descriptions of a rift or two particularly between Peter and Edmund as there was in the movie.

Putting all the metaphors and messages of Christianity this book carries aside (for me not being a Christian), I believe this book does impart some messages that each and every one of us should bear in mind; put others before you, there may be some people who need as much help as you or your loved one needs.
And the messages are conveyed in a masterful, beautiful writing. Just amazing.

This story has got somewhat a warm vibe and hope keeps running through the entire book.
It is a bit sad and poignant when the Pevensie siblings come back to the real life through the magical wardrobe, but I love the Professor’s very last remark before the story ends.

Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it.

Keep your eyes open.

Ahhh, another word of wisdom… I love the Professor!!

This is a perfect example that showcases a great book doesn’t need to be way too long.
Short and sweet yet full of wisdom. I now desperately want to get the box set so that I can always go back to the Narnia world!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

deathly-hallowsTitle: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: J.K. Rowling

Length: 759 pages

Phew! As I promised, I finally finished ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ last Sunday! 😀

Initially, I wasn’t inclined to write a post on this one – it felt it was kind of presumptuous of me to mention ANYTHING about such a grand book.

Nevertheless, I’ve obviously changed my mind and now I am writing this blog.
Rather than me talking about this book itself, I think I’m going to talk about what I think are pros and cons of a book made into a movie.

As I was reading this book, I put it down every now and then and watched some snippets of the movie (‘The Deathly Hallows’) on YouTube.
I did so solely out of my curiosity; I just wanted to see how the book was actually made into the movie, how the production team visualized each high-profile scene.

I regret having done that. It actually took some fun out of the book.
I’m in no way saying the book pales in comparison to the movie, though, as far as how the battle scenes go at the end of the book, I must say the movie seems to have outdone the book to some extent.
The descriptions in the book are absolutely strong and spectacular – the pacing is just perfect and action-packed, it was a real page-turner, that’s for sure – but when it comes to actually seeing how those scenes were visualized, the movie was better than the book in my personal opinion.

Having said that, the movie can’t even hold a candle when it comes to the character dynamics and the emotional conflicts between the characters.
Reading the book did complement what I fail to understand when I watched the movie and gave me a much deeper insight into Harry’s emotional upheaval, despair and setbacks.
I particularly liked the scene where Harry finds out what his future holds for him and what must be done to defeat Voldemort in the true sense of the word; how his realization which is kind of akin to despair gets closer to home with each step he takes when he makes his way to confront Voldemort. The scene literally wrecked me in a good way.

Although I still think the book is a bit too long particularly for children, it’s got an incredibly strong vibe and I just couldn’t put it down – I ended up dedicating the whole weekend solely for the purpose of finishing this book and I truly am glad that I did it.

I wouldn’t say that I got to make sense everything that’s written in the book, especially regarding ‘the deathly hallows,’ there are still some things I can’t get my head around to be honest. So I think I’ll definitely go back to this book again, better yet, I will re-read the whole series at some point!

This is a no brainer; do pick up this book. You won’t regret it!