Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review: "Kingsbane" by Claire Legrand

Title: Kingsbane
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: "The Empirium Trilogy" #2
Genre: Fantasy
Page Length: 608 pages
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Date Started: May 15, 2019
Date Finished: May 18, 2019
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Goodreads
Book 1 Review

My initial thought after finishing this book is "WHAT?!" I honestly just don't even know how to start this review because I have so many feelings, so many thoughts, and the urge to just immediately reread the entire book.

My heart hurts. I feel so betrayed and confused and I'm just scrambling for theories to explain everything that happened. I'm honestly choking up right now thinking about the ending of this book. Of the two major things that happened, I was expecting one, because I accidentally spoiled myself a little, but the other one completely took me by surprise. If I'd seen it coming, it wouldn't have had as much of an impact on me but because Claire was able to completely blindside me with what happened, I am just in pieces over here.

The plot is important but what really drives this story and my love of these books is the characters. This book does an even better job than Furyborn in showing the gray areas in life. These characters are all morally ambiguous and there's so many times where our main characters are conflicted. They make mistakes, they chose the "wrong" option, they aren't always perfect, and I love it. These character arcs in this book were just amazing. The character journeys were so good in this book and I can't even think of a book right now that did it better.

Rielle's journey was just great. At the very, very beginning of Furyborn we know that Rielle is the Blood Queen. Seeing her journey from thinking she's the Sun Queen and slowly moving towards Blood Queen was amazing. This book really shows how not everything is black and white and the idea of being defined as either "Good Queen" or "Bad Queen" can be damaging. I can't support every one of Rielle's actions, but I understand them. I can see why she did them, I can see her reasoning, I can see the outside effects on her that influence her. I feel for her. No one around her can completely understand her because she's alone in what she can do. My heart just aches for her.

Eliana. Oh Eliana. My favorite character. Again, her storyline also goes to show how being forced to define yourself as Good vs Bad can be good. No one is wholly good or bad. Seeing her struggles with this made me want to wrap her up in a blanket and give her a giant hug and protect her from everything in this cruel world. There were certain chapters with her and another character that I absolutely loved and had to go back and reread multiple times because they were phenomenal together. Honestly, Eliana just deserves the world and I really, really, really hope she gets a happy ending at the end of the final book. I don't think my heart could handle anything else. 

I really don't know how I can talk any more about the characters without spoiling anything. I don't think I can even keep talking in an eloquent way because I can feel myself wanting to descend into three word sentences like "Oh my god" and "what the f*c*" and "need next book" and "AHHH." 

I've said it before but I'll say it again...I have no idea how I'm going to wait a year for the next book. Considering that there most likely won't be ARCs printed, there's no chance of reading it early so I really am stuck waiting an entire year. I will say it was a good idea, no matter how badly I wanted to read it during the school year, to wait until closer to release date so that the wait for the resolution is less. I am so scared for the final book. I honestly am terrified. The last time I felt like this was finishing Empire of Storms and having to wait over two years before heading into Kingdom of Ash (the final book in the Throne of Glass series). I don't think an ending has shook me that much in so long. A year just feels like so long to me. A year is after an entire summer of lifeguarding, four months studying abroad, and finishing my junior year of college. There's so much between now and the next book and while I'm excited for all of these things, at the moment I just want all of it to be over so I can have the next book in my hands!

This book was just phenomenal. I already want to reread this book so badly. I cannot wait to reread Furyborn and Kingsbane next year in preparation for the third book. I'm so excited for my two finished copies and my audiobook to arrive. My Claire collection is growing larger every day and I cannot wait to have a whole shelf dedicated to her one day because her writing, not just in Kingsbane, is phenomenal.

Overall, this book was so GREAT. It didn't suffer from second-book slump and it just raised the bar on the entire series. The character arcs were the best thing ever and there were some relationships that evolved in great ways. My heart hurts.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: "The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller 
Genre: Historical Fiction Retelling
Page Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Date Started: May 6, 2019
Date Finished: May 9, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

I first was introduced to this book by one of my bookstagram friends. I had started hearing about it from her and then slowly saw more and more people reading it. When I decided to pick up a copy, it was after I had finished reading The Iliad for my Ancient Lit class last fall. Ever since then, I've been excited to read this book but have kept putting it off. 

That has finally changed! I'm currently in a huge motivational streak for reading and one of my other bookstagram friends just read this for the first time and loved it. After seeing him finish it, I put it on my TBR for May and here we are!

The only reason it took me so long to finish this book was because I had finals and my last work shifts going on while I was trying to read this book. But if I'd had the time to just sit and read it, I would have finished it so much sooner. The writing style made it easy to get sucked into and read quickly. I will definitely have to try out Madeline Miller's other book because if it's written anything like this one, I know I will enjoy it.

Discussing the actual book, it's a retelling of The Iliad. Surprisingly, I hadn't read The Iliad until last fall around the same time I discovered this book. I enjoyed The Iliad a lot more than some of the other pieces we read in that literature class and I always wanted to explore it more. This book focuses specifically on Achilles and Patroclus and I loved getting to see their relationship and past explored in more depth.

Something I really loved about this was how readers saw Achilles and Patroclus from very young ages. Patroclus is narrating the book as if he's looking back on his life and telling us his story. We follow him throughout his whole life and him meeting Achilles for the first time and the beginnings of their friendship.

Following Achilles and Patroclus was wonderful. Seeing the little things between them from eating plums and racing to journeying days and weeks to find each other made me really fall in love with them. I loved that their relationship was fleshed out and explored in more depth than in The Iliad.

Of course, if you've read The Iliad then you know how this book ends. I won't say how for those who haven't read either, but even going into this book knowing how it ended didn't prepare me at all. You think you'll be fine because you know the ending already but that's just not the case.

Overall, it's hard for me to discuss books I really enjoy because I generally just want to go "ahhh" for three pages. This book was so different than anything I've been reading lately and I'm so happy I finally read it after having it for months. It was unique and different and wonderful and tugged at my heart in all the right ways. I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of Greek mythology, retellings, historical fiction, and other genres I'm sure to be missing.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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