Written by Beth Winters
There is always some hesitation when reading the sequel to a great book, but not one worry should cross your mind if you choose to read “Crown of Midnight,” Sarah J. Maas's fantastic sequel to “Throne of Glass.”
Picking up right where “Throne of Glass” ends, “Crown of Midnight” throws you into the first book’s world. The main character, Celaena, goes to one of the king’s targets and assassinates him. After that point, there is no clear direction in terms of where the book is headed. With so many twists and turns and dark passageways, “Crown of Midnight” is a hard book to put down.
The book is much deeper than an assassin-killing-her-target tale. “Crown of Midnight” has a little bit of everything. Adventure, love, betrayal, death, heartache, you name it—it is likely in this book. I found Maas’s early alluding to the big revelation most interesting. Unfortunately, I picked up on her foreshadowing, so I knew what was coming, but I suppose this means the foreshadowing is executed well. There are small hints throughout the book, but nothing screams “this is what happens next.”
Written by Beth Winters
I was not sure what to expect when I began reading "Soundless," as it is considered a stand-alone fantasy, but for the most part, I ended up enjoying it. I have read almost everything written by Richelle Mead, so I found it unusual that "Soundless" is a one-off book rather than a series. Regardless, Mead successfully packs an interesting story into only 272 pages.
At first I was skeptical about how the premise of "Soundless" would work. A whole book in which all main characters are deaf? How can the dialogue be portrayed if everyone can only communicate using sign language? A one-off story plus a very pared down page count, at least for Mead? Mead was able to address these questions throughout her book.
"Soundless" started off slowly, granted Mead’s books usually do. Since "Soundless" presents a completely new world (as opposed to the "Vampire Academy" and "Bloodline" world), there is some serious building of the setting in the first 50 pages. It is a little hard to follow the description of the town the main character lives in. More than once, I wished the book included a map of the village to help with visualization.
Written by Lauryn Smith
If you are unsure whether to read classics by Robert Louis Stevenson, such as "Treasure Island" or "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," pick up a copy of Nancy Horan’s "Under the Wide and Starry Sky" to garner a decision. After reading her novel, you will want to jump into Stevenson’s stories straight away.
In "Under the Wide and Starry Sky," another woman-behind-the-man story and Horan’s second novel, Horan captures the charismatic character who is Robert Louis Stevenson, known by his friends simply as Louis, by introducing readers to his American wife, Fanny Osbourne. Following Fanny’s story, Horan exposes the intricacies of life as an artist.
Fanny leaves her adulterous first husband at the age of 35, taking her three children with her from San Fransisco to Belgium and later, after tragedy hits the family, to Paris. With the goals of recuperating, studying art and establishing a new and better life for herself and her children, Fanny finds herself at a quiet artists’ colony, where she meets her eventual second husband. Louis, who is 10 years Fanny’s junior and has a personality Horan describes as being a “theater of emotion,” becomes enamored by the down-to-earth, self-sufficient Fanny and pursues her reciprocal desire. Fanny does not take to Louis right away, but after some time succumbs to the charms of the Scottish lawyer turned writer. Louis’s lifelong sicknesses, Fanny’s personal troubles and their expansive travels around the globe cause their relationship to be an adventure full of both high highs and low lows.
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