Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass #1
Sarah J. Maas
YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis
Eighteen year old Celaena is a highly skilled assassin serving a life sentence in the salt mines of Endovier.  The Crown Prince makes a deal to sponsor her in a tournament to find a champion for the King.  Celaena despises the King, but the opportunity to gain her freedom is too tempting to resist.

But defeating her opposition in the tournament is not Celaena’s only challenge.  An evil is lurking within the castle, traces of magic have been found, and there are also matters of the heart.

 

Characters
I really enjoyed Celaena’s character.  She was interesting, amusing and just entertaining to read.  Her character is the best part of the book and she is the reason why I continued to look forward to my limited reading time.

Some of the other characters in the book seem a bit predictable and stereotypical.  I found this to be disappointing, but it did not interfere with my overall enjoyment.

 

Plot
I was quite interested in the plot until magic started to play a larger role.  I felt as though it was a little too convenient and more explanation about its use was definitely needed.  There were times when something happened that made sense to those who understood magic, but not to those who did not, but they did not appear to react in any way.

The love triangle theme also seemed a little unnecessary and I felt as though it was a little unrealistic.

 

World
I liked the set up of the world and the background about the wars and what the King had done to the other regions.  It made sense and it was a good foundation for certain feelings and character impressions.

The description of the castle, especially Celaena’s rooms, gave me the impression that the castle itself was actually the size of a city.  This was another thing I found unrealistic.

 

Writing
There were a few errors and typos and, without going back and actually checking, there was one point where I was certain the number of other potential champions was mistaken.

There was also a lot of focus on what the characters were wearing, and not so much on the description of the areas they were in.

 

Overall
I enjoyed the book, but mostly due to Celaena’s character and not necessarily for the plot.  I am curious to know what happens next, so I will probably still read the rest of the series, but there are so many other things that I want to read so I think I will just come back to it another time.

It is a very easy book to read and quite typically Young Adult, so if you enjoy that sort of book then I would recommend giving it a go.

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Wondering Writers #9

WonderingWriters

What is your writing background?

I started writing children’s stories when I was about seven years old.  I wrote about a boy and his pet dog as they went on life adventures.  I still have some of those stories tucked away in my cupboards somewhere!

Since then, I had an interest in writing but never really went anywhere with it.  I was introduced to a fantasy roleplay website when I was seventeen (that has since closed down) and I spent a lot of time on there.  I definitely think it helped to improve my writing skills and I really enjoyed sharing my characters with others and coming across unusual situations that I never would have thought of by myself.

I often tried to start a book.  I had several plans for different plots and I found world building to be fairly easy as I let my imagination roam free.  However, I never actually started writing.  That was always the hardest part for me.

I eventually created a family and race that I wanted to write stories about, and I used the roleplay website to flesh out my ideas.  I created the descendants of the books I had planned on writing and this helped me with building on my history and other characters.  It still took me a long time to actually start writing a book though.  I had a trilogy planned first, but scrapped that idea in favour of a different, stand alone story.  That leads me to my current WiP, The Power of Whispers, currently (slowly) going through the second draft process.

 

What is your writing background?

TBR: Wormwood

Wormwood
Wormwood: Book 1
D. H. Nevins
Author’s Site
Goodreads

I first came across this book yesterday when I saw the announcement for the cover reveal of Book 2 on Twitter (that linked to a blog).  I’m not going to include the picture of Book 2’s cover in this post because there was an official release for it, but you should definitely click the link and have a look.  It’s really something special!

So, since I am one of those people who gets excited by awesome book covers, I naturally looked into the series and I was not disappointed!  It sounds quite interesting!  And if that is not enough, Book 1 is free on Amazon!

Check out the above links to find out more information and let me know what you think!

 

Click the link for more information about my WordPress TBR list and how to get your book on it!

Writing Update: Editing Chapter 1

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I started editing the other day and when I got to the end of chapter 2 I realised I had not even added in the things I wanted to add.  I had only really worked on sentence structure and the flow of the story…

So, today I went back over my prologue and chapter 1 and spent a lot more time on them.  I think, maybe, I am finally happy with those…? (probably until I read them again and decide they are still not ready…)

I am still finding editing a lot more time consuming and difficult than the first draft, but I am hoping I will get the hang of it soon…

Book Review: Zephyra

Zephyra
Book One of The Elemental Diaries
Andrea B. Lamoureux
High Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis
Experience the growth of Zephyra as she struggles with living as a royal.  Being the cousin to Adelaide, the heir to the throne, she feels as though she is unimportant and that everyone is out to get her.  The difficult relationship she has with her mother distances her from the rest of the court, and there are very few people she can trust.

Life changes drastically once Adelaide becomes Queen, and Zephyra must make a difficult choice in order to keep her cousin safe.  This leads her into dangerous situations, as she comes to realise that life outside of the palace is not as pleasant as it had seemed.

The plot thickens as Zephyra learns new information, and she must find other ways to help Queen Adelaide, while also discovering the burning power within.

Characters
This book contains well developed characters that are consistent and relatable.  Their growth relies heavily on their backgrounds and past experiences and we are given a lot of information.

Zephyra starts as a girl who just wants to feel included, but she learns that life is not fair and she closes herself off from the rest of the world.  She has good intentions, but she has been hurt too many times, and her pain is clearly expressed.  Zephyra is a realistic and interesting character.  The relationship she has with her mother is intriguing and her actions were understandable, considering her past experiences.

Adelaide comes across as the pretty girl who has everything going for her, at least on the outside.  Deep down, she struggles with maintaining a strong appearance and everything is not as easy as it seems.  She is a kind character and I liked reading about her.

Plot
The book starts slowly, explaining the early life of Zephyra in detail.  I was a bit lost at first, unsure where the story was leading, but I soon became absorbed in what was happening and the slow pace was actually enjoyable.

The pace quickens suddenly, but it was easy to keep up.  I found the dangers a little repetitive, as Zephyra seemed to keep running into the same type of people, but it also remained consistent with the world and so it did not bother me much.  I also thought the control of power came on too easily and it should have been explained more.

This book appears to be suitable for Young Adults for the first several chapters, but the later plot is clearly written for mature audiences.  I did not have any issues with what happened but some people might disagree and have trouble reading about some of the experiences.

World
I loved the world.  There was a good amount of detail in the world building.  Different regions had their own colours, symbols and even different hair.  Looking back on it now, I wish I knew more about it, but enough information was provided while reading and I am sure we will be given more details in the future books.

Writing
This book is well written and I noticed very few errors.  There is a consistent use of language that suits the world, and I found this really enjoyable.

I also found the small paragraph written just before chapter one to be very interesting and it was a good inclusion.

Overall
I really enjoyed becoming lost in Zephyra’s world and I felt involved in her life as she grew.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series when it is released.  I look forward to it!

Wondering Writers #8

WonderingWriters

How deeply do you plan your characters?

I’ve given my world a lot of thought and I have even used it and some of the characters that appear in my WiP during roleplaying.  It was a great way to get to know the race that I had developed and what the main family was like.  Of course, I set the roleplaying at a different time frame and the person who replied to me knew my intentions of using the race and characters for books.  I won’t be including any of their material.

Anyway, getting off topic.  I have some characters that I have developed quite a lot.  I know their history, what their personalities are like, what they are capable of.  I generally even know at least something to do with their future.  I find these characters really easy to write and I hardly have to think about what I am doing.

Then there are the times when I have a gap that needs filling.  My WiP is a heroic fantasy and there were heaps of people to meet along the way.  I did not plan a single one of the non-essential characters in advance, and I really enjoyed coming up with them as I went along.  I tried to add detail into their lives during the short space of time they were in the book, and it really gave me something to think about.

It’s these characters that I enjoyed writing the most.  In fact, one of these “space filling” characters is my favourite for the whole book.  I’ve mentioned before that I am thinking of doing some short stories about characters that other people like, I might need to start with this particular one 😉

I definitely think it is important to know your protagonist very well before you start.  I remember realising that I did not know mine enough when I was six chapters in and I went back and thought about things more and edited what I had done.  He was boring and I realised I was focusing too much on the story, and not enough on him. But the other characters, I don’t feel like they need every detail written down first.  I enjoyed their growth as I went along.

How deeply do you plan your characters?

Writing Update: Started Editing

TheWritingProcess3

I finally started editing my WiP, after finishing my first draft last week.  I had spent so much time on writing during November that I really wanted to catch up with some other things first.  Though, now I realise that this was also just an excuse.  I find that I have very little motivation for editing.  I really enjoyed doing the first draft and letting the story flow, but I know what happens now.. now I need to go and make everything.. better…

I feel like there is a lot more pressure for the second draft.  The first one was easy for me (once I finally got started, for the second time…). I followed the characters and enjoyed their surprises.  Whenever I came across something that did not seem to be quite right, I knew I could just get my idea out there and fix it up later.

I have just gone through my prologue and chapters 1 and 2.  I added another 100 words while changing sentences and explaining things a little more.  Once I reached the end of chapter 2 I realised I had hardly touched my to do list.  There were things I wanted to add that I still have not added… so I guess I will be going back over it again…

Does anyone else find that the second draft has more pressure?  What do you do to increase your motivation?

November Overview

I thought October was a good month, so I guess that makes November just awesome!  I must say, I am pretty pleased with my progress this month!  I did decide to put my poetry on hold for the time being so I had more time to focus on other things, but I am enjoying the discussions with Wondering Writers!

Writing
After giving it a lot of thought, I decided not to sign up for NaNo because I thought the pressure of writing would reduce my enjoyment, especially since I do not have a lot of time to write.  However, at the start of the month I decided that I would keep track of my progress anyway, just to see how I would have done.  It was a good motivator (as well as the writing challenges with Ian!)

During November I wrote 53.6k words!  Considering I only added 15.5k words to my novel last month, I am over the moon by this progress.  But, that’s not all!  If you have been keeping up to date with my blog then you would have seen that I also finished my first draft!  It’s only been a few days since then, and I can still hardly believe it…

The Power of Whispers currently sits at just under 90k words, and I have a very long to do list to keep me occupied with my second draft…

Reading
Reading has been a lot slower this month since I have spent more time writing and I have also been doing more things with my daughter (playgym, etc).  She had her first cold too.  I only managed to read and review two books this month.

Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson
The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson

I am currently doing a beta read for a fantasy novel and I started to read Zephyra by Andrea B. Lamoureux, which I will be getting back to after I finish the beta read.

 

Overall, I am definitely happy with the month.  Reading reduced quite a lot, but I progressed so far with my writing.  More importantly, I enjoyed every moment of it, even when I felt like I hit a roadblock.  It did not take long to overcome and I felt as though the story just flowed out.

Wondering Writers #7

WonderingWriters

How do you define writing success?

I’ve wanted to write a novel for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always had so many ideas and I would probably consider my imagination to be my strongest quality.  I think I am good at world building too.  However, even with so many ideas and my own created world, it took me a really long time to actually start writing a novel.  And then I took about two years break when I got pregnant and had a baby….

So, now that I am finally back into things, I’ve started to think about how I would describe success for my writing.  For a long time, the answer to that has been fairly simple:  Publish a book.  I didn’t really care how well it did (well, I probably did care a little…), I just wanted my work to be out there.

Now though, I am so close to finishing my first draft and my progress has increased rapidly this month.  I have started considering the possibilities of furthering my goals and trying to make something of myself.  Obviously, it will all depend on how others view my writing (it could be terrible!), but if they like it I would really love to give it more focus in my life and perhaps actually make a little money from it.

My current definition of writing success is: having a small, but steady, following of people who are really interested in my published work, minor income and, most importantly, continued enjoyment of writing.  That is my new goal.

How do you define writing success?

Writing Update: What?!

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So, here I was, cruising along with my writing, enjoying my pace and coming to the realisation that I was getting close to the end.. and then wham! Today I managed to put in a lot of effort and there we go! I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT!

I’m kind of sitting here at the moment in a state of confusion, wondering what just happened.  I mean, I had a feeling I was going to finish it soon, maybe by tomorrow or in a few days.  I knew it was coming.. but that does not prepare you for when the time actually comes.

I’m not really sure how I feel at the moment.. How is one meant to feel after this?  I’m a little overwhelmed!  It’s been a long time coming.. and I know I still have a long way to go, but wow… I finished the first draft of a novel!

The Power of Whispers currently sits at just shy of 90k words!