Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Here's Why I Miss Celaena Sardothien

*Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Throne of Glass series up till the end of Empire of Storms.*

When I started to read Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien was a female YA character unlike any I had encountered before. Sure, YA literature does have its fair share of butt-kicking, sassy heroines. But Celaena was an assassin. An unapologetic one too, with a surprising taste for all things fancy and a love for pretty dresses, tacky romance novels, luxurious baths and chocolate cake. On one hand, she was this ruthless assassin and on the other, she was a surprisingly warm character with a big heart and a rather endearing romantic side. These were the things that made her the fun and complex character that she was. 

It's true though that we always knew that there had to be more to her than just her assassin persona. And by the time we had completed Crown of Midnight, we realized that what many of us had suspected for a long time was true. Celaena was none other than the heir to the throne of Terrasen. The long lost princess Aelin Galathynius. And most of us, I think, were happy about this revelation. I know I was. I mean, the series could only get even more exciting from this point onward, right? True, the series wasn't the best literary thing in the world, but it sure was super enjoyable.

For many people, Heir of Fire is when the series started to disappoint. I loved it though. In fact, Heir of Fire is my favorite installment in the series to date. I thought it was interesting to see our strong, and arguably arrogant, assassin dragged back to a point where she had to learn to get her strength back. To me, it only added to her character growth. I loved the platonic relationship that began to grow between her and Rowan. I had never seen something like that in YA before and it was refreshing. By the end of the book, I was rooting for her so hard. She was back to full strength and she was more than ready to kick some ass. The rest of the series would surely have to be pretty great, right?

Then Queen of Shadows happened. And it got to that point where it became clear that somehow along the way, the series had turned into something very, very different from what it had once been. Truth is that the series no more felt like the Throne of Glass series we had been introduced to at all. Sure, things evolve in series but here, the changes were so drastic they almost felt out of place. 

Chaol had been mercilessly vilified by Maas, Rowan, our stoic Fae prince was suddenly a love interest for Aelin (more on that in a moment), the story itself now felt like a completely different one but worse of all... Celaena was gone. Changing her name shouldn't have changed who she was as a character but it did. Look, most of us who love the series were reading it for her, badass assassin Celaena Sardothien. But somehow, along the way of coming into terms with her identity as Aelin, she had just become a completely different character.

Her personality felt forced in Queen of Shadows. Her beautiful platonic relationship with Rowan from Heir of Fire? Suddenly it had turned into a crazy romance that totally came out of nowhere, felt very out of character for both of them and was, in my opinion, executed very badly. I remember feeling increasingly frustrated as I read QoS and by the time I finished the book, I realized what was wrong. The old Celaena Sardothien was simply gone. 

Empire of Storms then happened and for me, and many other fans of the series, it was the worst installment yet. Around the time Maas started writing A Court of Thorns and Roses, her writing seemed to have taken a drastic turn from YA to adult fantasy and while there is nothing wrong with ACOTAR being for an older audience, in the Throne of Glass series, that change really felt super random and awkward.

If you've read adult fantasy, you've probably come across the numerous hilariously steamy sex scenes. They are part of the genre and while they are often laughable, they kind of go with the whole adult fantasy thing. To see those suddenly pop up in Throne of Glass though really felt jarring. 

Empire of Storms was the installment that showed that we really were not reading the same series anymore. Apart from the ridiculous love scenes and the jarring changes in the story, EoS was also the installment in which I connected with Aelin the least. It was when I finished it, and boy that took a long time, that I realized that my main complaint was that I missed the old Celaena. Hell, I missed the days when Celaena was her name. 

I'll be honest. I really think the series has taken a turn for the worst from which I don't really see it coming back. I hate how quickly Chaol was discarded. I hate that Maas felt like she had to make us dislike him to justify Celaena replacing him with another lover. Which I've come to realize is her go-to move when she wants her characters to get new love interests (Ahem, Tamlin the Tool, anyone??).

I'll still be reading everything she puts out, for a time at least, and I'll still be reading the Throne of Glass series. Not gonna lie though, I am super skeptical about the next two installments. Book 6, Tower of Dawn doesn't particularly excite me. But perhaps having a book that has a main character other than Aelin might be a bit refreshing. I don't know though. At this point, I'm just hoping the series will end on a satisfying note that will be true to the heart of the story and the characters.

Yes, I miss the old Celaena but I'm still hopeful that Aelin will get a fantastic character arc in book 7. I still have hope for the end of the story too. After all, even as Aelin, she remains a cool character. And despite her jarringly changing writing style and storytelling, Sarah J. Maas remains an author who can put out amazing and super enjoyable books. So I guess, we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the two final entries in the series.

What are your thoughts on the Celeana/Aelin thing? Or even just the series in general? Let me know down in the comments below :)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop

Hey guys! This month I'm again participating in the monthly New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by Shannon over at It Starts at Midnight.

So I'll be giving away a book of your choice released in August 2017, worth $20 or less. The giveaway is open internationally, so long the Book Depository ships to your country.

The Giveaway

Enter here to win one of the new books released this month. This giveaway ends August 31st. Good luck!

Now you can go ahead and hop on to the other blogs which are also participating in this giveaway hop 😊

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Is this the end of book tags??

Hey guys ^^ So, I was sitting in front of my computer, trying to come up with something for today's post when I started to think about book tags. Because usually, when you don't know what post to write, a book tag is pretty much a fail safe idea. They are fun and easy to put together and they are usually rather popular... right??

That's the thing though. I can't help but feel that lately, the popularity of book tags has dwindled a little bit. And it's not hard to see why. My main problem with them, which many of you can probably relate to if you've also been thinking about it, is that book tags are repetitive. 

You always get those same questions where you have to pick certain books or characters that fit a particular criteria or another. And since, let's face it, a lot of us is reading pretty much the same books (Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas, any other YA writer of your choice), book tags tend to feature a lot of the same answers. Plus, I think that by now we all know that everyone's favorite childhood book is Harry Potter. Which is kinda normal actually. I mean, Harry Potter is awesome ^_^ 

That being said though, the thought that people just might stop making them altogether is a little sad. Earlier before writing this post, I quickly took a look at the book tags I've made in the past and they are all posts I remember having a blast putting together. I even made a few original tags of my own since I enjoyed doing them so much.

So... Where exactly am I going with this, you might be thinking. Well, I thought that rather than putting a total ban on book tags on my blog (which I did consider for like, half a second), I'm going to start doing book tags that are a little bit more creative. I'm going to try to find tags, or make some of my own, that feature more creative questions. More importantly though, for the answers, I'm going to try to include books that don't normally get a lot of attention in the online book community. I mean, it can't always be all about the popular kids, right? XD. 

And so, to kick off this little project of mine, today I'm bringing you a super short book tag (Yes, I totally just created it on the spot to have a nice way of ending this post XD).

The Super Short Book Tag

Name the shortest book on your TBR pile.
At 192 pages, the shortest book on my TBR is Black Butler Volume 1 by Yana Toboso. It's a manga, which is why it's under 200 pages. I'm a huge fan of the anime so I know I'm going to enjoy reading the manga as well.

Name a short story that you really like.
I don't read a lot of those but one that does come to mind is The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (yes, I know that technically it's a fairy tale...). The Little Mermaid is by far my favorite story of all time. It's beautifully written, it's tragic and the mermaid is such a sweet and innocent character that you can't help but feel for her. Plus, I love mermaids. 

Name a series that could have been shorter!
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. I have a love-hate relationship with this series. On one hand, I'll keep picking up the books so long Chainani keeps writing them. On the other hand though, the unintentional sexism, the oversimplified explanation for goodness and evil and the stupid decisions made by the characters keep making me super frustrated. I feel that the story at the heart of the series was a cool one but that it has since been unnecessarily dragged over a trilogy. As if that wasn't bad enough, a fourth book is now being released this year. The first of a second trilogy no less... 

Write a story in less than 20 words!
Feeling hungry, I went to the kitchen for a cookie. And saw my sister eating the last one. The end. XD

So, what are your thoughts on book tags? Do you think they are still fun to do or not? Let me know in the comments :)