roseunderfireTitle: Rose Under Fire

Code Name Verity #2

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Publish date: September 10th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Source: Received for review via NetGalley

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Review:

It is so hard trying to say what you mean.” -Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire

How very true that quote is and how very fitting for Elizabeth’s Wein’s work, which I could not possibly do justice with my own paltry words. I feel like it’s akin to tearing myself open to write this review.

Though Code Name Verity struck me more in the feels as I sobbed over its pages, I think Rose Under Fire is just as powerful and flawless. And perhaps– more important. Elizabeth Wein is a mastermind. That is an all-too-simplistic way of putting it. Rose Under Fire is an harrowing narrative of one girl’s time under unthinkable conditions. It’s mind-boggling and devastating.

In today’s day and age, it’s impossible to imagine that people once did not believe the accounts of torture and inhumanity that took place in Nazi-occupied Europe, behind the fences of concentration camps. That some people still don’t. Because, really: they’re unthinkable. They seem like fiction, like propaganda. It is heart-breaking to be with Rose as she realizes the truth.

Though fiction, Rose Under Fire is a testament to those people and those times. It’s an important read because, as Elizabeth Wein stresses in her afterword, she “didn’t make up anything about Ravensbruck [...] It was real. It really happened to 150,000 women.” These are the kinds of stories that are important to tell. To “tell the world.”

The characters in Rose Under Fire make me tear up just thinking about them, especially Roza, who’s been experimented on and in captivity since the age of 14, and copes with it all through her own particular brand of macabre humor. In fact, many of the characters deal with their horrific situation with that humor. Grasping at anything to lighten their horrible days. Making families from their comrades.

There is a part of me that want to talk about what a triumph of the human condition this story is. In a sense that’s true, but in a sense it could not be more false. It’s a story of how far humanity can fall. Of ordinary people moved to the worst and best of extremes, as some turn to evil and some struggle simply to survive, like clawing their way out of hell.

The fact that people made it out of camps like Ravensbruck is extraordinary. Poetry lovers will weep over the fragile, heartbreaking poems that Rose creates and recites. At first, as someone who is not a poetry aficionado, they took me out of the moment, but later I clung to them as a small beautiful thing among the desolate landscape of Elizabeth Wein’s words. I held fast to those crumbs of hope.

Hope. It’s one of the most powerful forces in the world. It can bolster or betray, but without hope, other people, and a degree of courage that seems impossible, Rose and some of her friends would not have made it through.

Rose Under Fire is just so important. I want to tie it up in a ribbon with Code Name Verity and deliver them to every teacher I know.

Hope is treacherous, but how can you live without it?” – Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire

Need a second opinion?

“It’s about heroism in its smallest, most difficult, most everyday forms, and sacrifice and love and perseverance and ahhhhh” -Writer of Wrongs

“I have to attempt to boil down 346 pages of heartbreak and horror and hope and victory into something informative and easy to read.” -Shae Has Left The Room

“Wein’s story is incredibly dark and daring, and with a powerful narrative voice.” -A Reader of Fictions

4 Comments

thissongwillsaveyourlifeTitle: This Song Will Save Your Life

Standalone

Author: Leila Sales

Publish date: September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Review:

I’ve started and restarted my review of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. My thoughts seem inadequate. I didn’t know it was possible to connect this strongly with a book. To see myself in its pages so vividly.

Elise and high school-me led very different lives. I had close friends and passions. I was involved in clubs and hobbies. But still, a great deal of the time… I felt alone in a crowd. Different. Too different. Like I always said the wrong things, wore the wrong things, did the wrong things. I missed social cues that other people picked up on immediately. In high school, where the message feels like “conform or die,” I very often felt too close to the wrong end of the spectrum. I clung to my friends and my passions and they are what saved my life.

If I’d been Elise, who, at the beginning of the novel, has neither, I shudder to think what my life would have been like. Elise is at once her own best friend and her own worst enemy.

It was almost scary to see myself there in the pages of This Song Will Save Your Life– it meant that I felt everything more keenly than usual. Elise’s fragile hopes were mine, her mistakes were mine. There are some books where I can’t connect with a character, but it would have been impossible for me not to connect with brave Elise, who becomes, over the course of the novel, so strong in her own identity.

It was amazing to read a novel with a such a fleshed-out transformation thread– one that isn’t about getting “made over” or thrust into high school royalty. Elise, essentially, transforms into herself. 

I think a lot of people are going to relate deeply to this one.

There is a boy, but swoons aren’t what this book are about. It’s about some of the most important relationships that you can have: Friends. Family. Your relationship with yourself. Each character and relationship is drawn with so much unflinching honesty, flaws and all. Toxicity and all. I’d venture to say that not a single character– even the most minor– is one dimensional.

This Song Will Save Your Life was a book that left me raw, with the feeling that I wasn’t reading it, so much as it had read me.

Need a second opinion?

“I think if you’ve ever been the awkward kid, which is a total possibility because maybe, like me, you like books more than you like most people, you’ll be able to relate to Elise.” – Good Books and Good Wine

“This is one of those books that simply must be read.” -I Swim For Oceans

“It took me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.” – Lili’s Reflections

4 Comments

piercefest
And with this, we round out my (admittedly HORRIBLY late) recaps of the Protector of the Small series! But fear not because I still have 1 more Kel post for you! Even if it’s abysmally late.

ladyknight

Title: Lady Knight

Series: Protector of the Small #4

Author: Tamora Pierce

Publish date: August 27th 2002 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Source: Library

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

In the final thrilling installment of Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series ( First Test, Page, and Squire), our sturdy young heroine, Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, “made of iron-coated giants’ bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail,” feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.

Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her… and then some.

Recap:

Kel’s won her shield, but she’s haunted by the vision shown to her by the Chamber of Ordeal. But TOO BAD, because Tortall’s off to WAR.

businessAnd Kel, despite feeling like mayyybe she should do what this scary omniscient Chamber of Doom Ordeal tells her to, has a duty to the crown. So the scary metal monsters that are powered by children’s souls will have to wait as she goes off to war.

On the way to receive her orders, she and several other newbie knights stop at an inn. As fate should have it, Cleon stops in during dinner time! And Kel very enjoyably gets real awkward as she realizes she doesn’t have the same feelings for him that she used to.

Mulan-s-war-face-disney-princess-27453028-1904-1071

I look like this when presented with awkward news and food at the same time too

Lucky Kel though– poor Cleon is there to awkwardly break the news that he has to go home and marry for money. He seems pretty upset about it, but Kel’s kind of relieved that she doesn’t have to worry about him trying to marry her or anything. They part as friends.

Also at the inn, Kel meets an indentured servant named Tobe who is 1) sorely mistreated by his employer and 2) has a touch of wild magic. If you haven’t already gotten the memo on Kel’s moniker “protector of the small,” this mistreatment obvi WILL NOT STAND. She goes all:

dishonor
And takes Tobe under her wing. When they leave the inn, they’re REALLY off to get their war posts. To her surprise, Lord Wyldon, her old training master deals Kel the task of running the refugee camp, Haven.

It’s not the job Kel really wants. She’d love to be right IN the action. But that’s not always what being a knight is about, so she heads off to Haven to get things under control there. At first, like most of Kel’s life, she’s not respected right away. But by being organized, fair, and listening to the people under her care, she wins most of them over. Plus, when Haven is attacked, it helps that she kicks butt.

While off on a mission delivering a report to Lord Wyldon at the fort, Haven is attacked and her people captured. Wyldon forbids Kel from following them into Scanran territory, but Kel is a PROTECTOR, dangnabbit! She defies his orders, risks death and losing her shield to try and save her people– most notably the children– from sacrificial slaughter. This scene made me all:

mushu
But she’s not going alone! Her friends join her and they NOT ONLY take down the lackey responsible for kidnapping the kids, but Kel goes on to defeat the mage behind the magic with sheer badassery alone.

And because she kicks so much ass, she gets to keep her shield. Her “punishment?” Build a new camp, since Haven was basically destroyed. Kel’s not mad. She names it New Hope.

Kel being awesome quote of the book:

“Mistresses, have you ever noticed that when we disagree with a male -I hesitate to say ‘man’ – or find ourselves in a position over males, the first comment they make is always about our reputations or our monthlies?”

One of the new women snorted. Others snickered.

Kel looked at the man, who was momentarily speechless. “If I disagree with you, should I place blame on the misworkings of your manhood?”

2 Comments

SO NO ONE TOLD YOU LIFE WAS GONNA BE THIS WAY.
*clap, clap, clap, clap, clap*
YOUR JOB’S A JOKE, YOU’RE BROKE, YOUR LOVE LIFE’S DOA.

(Is it possible the Rembrandts were secretly describing aspiring authors?)

Today, I talk about some basic writing rules-of-thumb… with the cast of Friends.

1. If you’re a pantser like me, beginning a new draft can feel like this:
excitedAnd that’s okay.

2. That can sometimes lead to a little of this:

wordsBut that’s what revisions are for.

3. Thesauruses are a WONDERFUL tool! But be sure not to overdo it.

aorticpump

4. PACING matters.friends

5. Get into your characters’ heads!

ifiwereaguy

6. GRAMMAR ALSO MATTERS.your7. For the love of God, don’t use quotation marks incorrectly. PLEASE.

tumblr_lktr7iKkZs1qen516o1_5008. I know naming things is hard. But make sure the name suits the character (because saying the wrong name is awkward for everyone).names

9. Don’t abandon your own work!

finishstories

10. Finally, a big revision goal should be:  revising

6 Comments

I wanted to do something a little different for Kel, but I can’t draw… and I’ve never written anything in the Tortall universe before. But I can read the hell out of some fanfics.

I used PierceFest as an excuse to comb through An Archive of Our Own for some quality Protector of the Small fics to share with you all. Now that we’ve gone through the entire quartet together, I hope you enjoy continuing on through ‘fic in Kel’s world. Here are my finds!

*Note: Fics rated for General Audiences, and/or Teens

piercefest
Your Note Underneath My Door by Tashlae- “Sometimes, you can see a relationship form through scraps of paper.” Kel/Dom

The Deepest Secret Nobody Knows by Tashlae- “It started almost by accident- they collided, like an apple hitting the ground after a fall or perhaps a punch to the face.” Kel/Dom

Every Room You Lay Your Head by Kudzita- “‘But that’s the thing – it’s not that simple, Kel, because people don’t work like that. It’s too easy to miss when you’re not thinking of someone that way.’ In which, as usual, Kel notices and Dom doesn’t.” Kel/Dom

Sacrifice by Thankyouturtle- “Their relationship is unusual. But it works for them.” Kel/Dom

The Commander’s Lady by Pennigirl- “A new recruit discusses the romance of the commander with the men of the Own.” Kel/Dom

Seasons by Tamari- “Sometimes, it just isn’t meant to last, and that should be okay. Kel/Dom, with no happy ending.”

Happily Ever After by Redcat512- “Pretty girls always find a prince to sweep them off their feet. Somehow Kel always knew she wasn’t one of them, and Cleon was never HER prince.” Kel/Dom

Weather the Storm by Lisafer- “Neal can’t help but explore the “what ifs” in life, and one of those is in regard to Kel.” Kel/Neal

Almost by Tamari- “Neal and Kel serve at a party during their squire years. An almost-romance.” Kel/Neal

Overheard Whispers by Lisafer- “Neal’s eavesdropping days might come to an end…” Humor. No pairing

Three Times is a Trend by TheSecondBatgirl- “Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. But three Lady Knights is a trend.” No pairing

Proof of Humanity by Journeycat- “One careless remark by Neal changes the course of Tobe’s life and finds a tentative hold in his impressionable young mind.” No pairing

Of Valor by Temaris- “Two small girls with big dreams.” No pairing

3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and allows book bloggers to spotlight releases that we are greatly anticipating.

This week, my Waiting on Wednesday pick is:

UVC
Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey

About Ultraviolet Catastrophe:

Quantum Electrodynamics. String Theory. Schrödinger’s cat. For sixteen-year-old Lexie Kepler, they’re just confusing terms in her science textbooks, until she finds out that her parents have been drugging her to suppress her outrageous IQ. Now Branston Academy, a school run by the world’s most powerful scientists, has tracked her down and is dying for her to attend – as a research subject.

She takes refuge at Quantum Technologies, a secret scientific community where her father works as a top-notch scientist, and begins her new life as girl genius at Quantum High. But the assignments at her new school make the Manhattan Project look like preschool – and Lexie barely survived freshman algebra.

Her first big assignment – creating an Einstein-Rosen bridge – is also her first chance to prove she can hold her own with the rest of QT’s prodigies. But while working with the infuriatingly hot Asher Rosen, QT’s teen wonder, Lexie uncovers a mistake in their master equation. Instead of a wormhole, the machine they’re building would produce deadly ultraviolet rays that could destroy the world. Now Lexie and Asher have to use their combined brainpower to uncover the truth behind the device. Before everyone at Quantum Technologies is caught in the ultraviolet catastrophe.

Why I’m Waiting on it:

Because I’ve been waiting on it for longer than you’d think. About a year ago, I took a YA Writing course online through LitReactor and Jamie was one of the other students.

Ultraviolet Catastrophe was one of the projects that I remembered after the class was over. Jamie’s first line and pages were killer and I loved her premise and sample query. I mean, a girl genius so deep in hiding that even she doesn’t know it? Yes. Yes, please.

I can’t wait for this book to be out in the wild!

Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey comes out September 24, 2013.

Add it to Goodreads

Follow Jamie Grey on Twitter | Facebook | Her blog

15 Comments

CoMTitle: Crown of Midnight

Series: Throne of Glass #2

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publish date: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Source: BEA

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Review:

OOPS, I read Crown of Midnight in like… JUNE. It was actually a book I read DURING BEA while I camped out in lines. Should I have reviewed it then? Probs, but I am a procrastinator, my dudes.

Here’s what you should know though: Crown of Midnight had me SCREAMING (not out loud of course– I imagine I would have garnered some LOOKS at BEA). I was caps lock texting Alexa much of the way through my reading.

Celaena is the king’s assassin now, and it’s REALLY interesting how it shifts her dynamic with others. The fact that she’s an assassin was obviously something that those closest to her knew, but the way their expectations and thoughts of her change with visceral reminders is fascinating.

Celaena’s changed as well, and she’s remained a character that I love. I love how she’s both kick-ass and a complete girly-girl who loves to shop. It’s something that I find fascinating– so often in fiction, women who like dresses or activities like shopping are written off as frivolous. It’s typically an easy way of stating that facet of their personality. But with Celaena, we have someone who is more than just one part of her personality. She can be soft, she can be hard, she can be frivolous and she can be serious. Just because she’s one way at one time doesn’t mean she’s that way all of the time. It makes her character incredibly dimensional and it’s one of the strongest things about Maas’s work.

Other characters are dimensional too, of course. This is one of the only series in which a love triangle (though that’s not an element that’s at play too much in this one… you’ll see) works for me. Why? Because I like both of the men involved. Of course I have a favorite, but I wouldn’t think Celaena was smoking something if she chose the other!

Naturally, Crown of Midnight is also filled with magic, intrigue, and action, and it’s an equation that equals an explosion of awesome. I’ll admit that I totally saw a twist at the end coming (from like… last book), but there are a MULTITUDE of other twists that I did not expect. Crown of Midnight is such a strong sequel… that it may have actually topped Throne of Glass.

Need a second opinion?

Crown of Midnight is an action-packed, rollercoaster ride of a book that will make mincemeat of your emotions” -Writer of Wrongs

“I have to say it…I truly think Maas has mastered the high fantasy genre.” -Lili’s Reflections

“WARNING: Reading this book will lead to frequent and overwhelming FEELS. ” -The Quiet Concert

4 Comments

piercefest
HEY GUYS! Remember that time I fell behind in PierceFest posts? Well, get ready for a PierceFest BLITZ this week while I finish out the month! Here’s your recap of Book #3 in the Protector of the Small quarter: Squire!
squire
Title: Squire

Series: Protector of the Small #3

Author: Tamora Pierce

Publish date: May 22nd 2001 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Source: Library

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

At the age of 14 and standing 5 foot 10, Keladry of Mindelan is a squire. A squire serves and learns from a seasoned knight for four years, then faces a final test. That final test is the Ordeal, which takes place in a magical room called the Chamber. There, a squire encounters the parts of him or herself that the Chamber deems to be the most difficult to face–be they fears, failings, or unrepented wicked deeds. Does Kel have what it takes to survive?

Recap:

Despite the odds being stacked against her, Kel has made it to being a squire and gotten some respect that’s been hard-won. But now, at the beginning of the book, she’s angsting– most of her friends have had knight-masters pick them to squire for them, but she remains at the castle, horrified by her own imaginings of squiring for a scholar knight like Sir Myles.

Glory, glory hallelujah though! The hilarious and respected Lord Raoul, commander of the King’s Own chooses Kel. Despite the fact that she’s a little bummed because Lady Alanna (Kel’s idol) picked Neal as her squire instead of Kel, it doesn’t matter.

hakunamatata

Except the world hasn’t changed all that much, as some people close to Raoul worry over his delicate reputation– that people will say he only picked Kel so they could hook up. TO WHICH I SAY EWEWEW, YOU DIRTY PERVS, HE IS SO MUCH OLDER THAN HER.

EWKel goes on tour with– I mean joins– the King’s Own as Raoul’s squire. The Own includes Neal’s cousin, the very pretty Domitan aka Dom. (insert inappropriate joke here– I MEAN WHAT I SAID NOTHING)

One of the highlights of Kel’s squiredom is that she winds up rescuing a baby griffin– who NOBODY FREAKING LIKES. Worst pet ever.

Raoul and the Own are required to join the Progress, which is really a tour and celebration around the kingdom, celebrating Prince Roald’s engagement to a princess of the Yamani Islands, which Kel is actually pretty happy to celebrate because she knows said princess and Roald is a friend from her page days! On the Progress, Raoul convinces Kel to participate in a lot of the tournaments and she does SO WELL, while simultaneously inspiring young girls to seek their shields.

pinnedya

On the road, Kel strikes up a romance with Cleon which is just fine, but doesn’t make me all “!!!” I care far more about Kel being awesome by her own bad self. Joren and co are put to trial for the events in Page when they had Kel’s maid Lalasa kidnapped. And hooray! They’re found guilty! NOT hooray: All they have to do since they’re nobles is pay a fine. This makes Kel all:

idiotsSo naturally she confronts the KING AND QUEEN about the unfair law, and they agree to look into changing it, because like… they’re reasonable people.

During Kel’s tenure as a squire, some of her older friends are having their Ordeal into knighthood. The Chamber of Ordeal is an enigma and a mystery, and every time Kel can, she tests herself against it in preparation for her own Ordeal which approaches ever so quickly.

i-was-just-trying-to-be-brave-like-you_325The Ordeal has several interesting results this year: one scumbag of a squire who admitted to assaulting women is driven mad by it. And remember awful Joren of Stone Mountain? DEAD. Just desserts.

The baby griffin’s parents finally catch up with Kel and their demon offspring and as a thanks for taking care of it, grant her some of their feathers, which make an arrow strike true, let her see through illusions, and get honesty from people.

FINALLY, Kel comes through the Chamber and passes her ordeal! She’s a LADY KNIGHT at long last. EVERYBODY DANCE NOW.

LUAU

Kel being awesome quote(s) of the book

“Do we say, Oh now I’m going to be nice to the weak and the small? Or do we do as we learned when we were pages?”

““I’m sick of this. Call me what you like, say I’m without honor, I don’t care. I’m not getting on any more horses to whack you people with a stick.”

Honorary mention for Lord Raoul being awesome

“When people say a knight’s job is all glory, I laugh and laugh and laugh. Often I can stop laughing before they edge away and talk about soothing drinks.”

3 Comments

bitterkingdomTitle: The Bitter Kingdom

Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #3

Author: Rae Carson

Publish date: August 27th 2013 by Greenwillow Books

Source: Received for review via Edelweiss

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Review:

*squeeeeeeeeee*

I got SO SUPER EXCITED when I was approved for The Bitter Kingdom and my excitement was more than warranted. I read and loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, so I was chomping at the bit for The Bitter Kingdom.

Guys, thinking about Elisa’s character arc almost brings a tear to my eye. Scratch that, forget the almost. I’ve fixated on it now and there are FEELINGS in me. She has come SO amazingly far from where we met her The Girl of Fire and Thorns. From an insecure princess who does what she’s told without demanding to know why to a freaking QUEEN– a confident one who’s learned to love herself. She considers other people’s advice, accepts allies but MAKES HER OWN DAMN DECISIONS. Even when they come from the main man in her life:

HECTOR. Oh Hector, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1) You don’t get your man parts in a major tangle over Elisa coming to your rescue.

2) You treat her as an EQUAL and let her do what she needs to– even if it means you’re not at her side CONSTANTLY.

3) You’re kick-ass yourself.

4) You have some of these LINES that make me all weak in the knees.

Okay, I must chill with the Hector love. Because yes, I love him, I love Elisa, and I love him and Elisa together, but I think you guys GET THE PICTURE NOW.

So onto other The Bitter Kingdom goodness. Like the world-building that continues in this book. I think world-building in general is a big challenge of writing fantasy, but I’m continually amazed at how well some authors are able to expand those worlds in ways that are realistic and amazing. You see the different cultures present in Elisa’s world in this book and it’s positively fascinating.

I also love how DIMENSIONAL even secondary characters are. You see what their motivations are and understand their flaws and WHY they do the things they do.

In short, The Bitter Kingdom was an incredible book and a phenomenal conclusion to a beloved trilogy. I’ll miss Elisa, Hector, and their world like whoa.

Need a second opinion?

“This series has it all. Strong characters. Hector. A well-defined heroine who’s easy to root for. Hector. Tremendous world building, tremendous Hector, a full cast of Hectors characters, spellbinding romance.” -Writer of Wrongs

“Rae Carson is a force to be reckoned with, no questions asked.” – Lili’s Reflections

The Bitter Kingdom is a lovely, satisfying ending to one of my favorite series of all time.” -Bookshelvers Anonymous

4 Comments

piercefest
We are on to our recap of book #2 of Protector of the Small for PierceFest, my friends!

pageTitle: Page

Series: Protector of the Small #2

Author: Tamora Pierce

Published: May 23rd 2000 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Source: Library

Buy it from: Amazon| Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

As the only female page in history to last beyond the first year of formal training to become a knight, 11-year-old Keladry of Mindelan has an uphill battle to fight. In addition to proving herself worthy of being a page, Kel spends her time defending first-year pages from bullies, staying on top of homework, conquering her paralyzing fear of heights, and keeping up with Lord Wyldon’s grueling physical training schedule. Kel’s detractors do everything in their power to thwart her progress, from tormenting her friends to sabotaging the Midwinter Festivities to kidnapping her maid and dog on the day of final examinations. The tide of resistance begins to turn slightly during the summer between Kel’s second and third years, when she leads a team of pages in defensive maneuvers against renegade bandits–coincidentally on the same day that she gets her first period.

Recap:

Kel returns to the Corus pretty dang pumped about the fact that she gets to return. Things are still tough not only because some of the boys still refuse to accept that a girl has a place there, but because the training’s getting tougher. Joren and his cronies attempt to start their bullying up again, but Kel hasn’t forgotten them and they give that up pretty quickly when she and her friends confront them again. Joren pretends to turn over a new leaf after that and he’s all smiley and nice, but –DON’T TRUST HIM, KEL, HE’S AWFUL.

elephant

Kel also hires a servant at the behest of one of the other servants– Lalasa. Lalasa is timid beyond all words and Kel is frustrated with her lack of assertion from time to time. They’re extremely different people and don’t “click.” But when she finds out that Lalasa is frequently sexually harrassed, she demands that Lalasa learn some defense maneuvers. Among Kel’s other “adoptions” this year: a scruffy-looking dog named Jump, who is kind of awesome and smart. Just like Kel’s horse, Peachblossom! It has to do with the fact that Daine, who we all love and adore lives in the castle now– it makes the animals smarter.

And remember how we like Neal? Well Kel likes him too. LIKE likes him. But he’s her best friend, Neal is always pining after other girls, and Kel decides to keep her crush to herself.

relationships

Honestly this year is relatively tame– well as tame as things get in Corus anyway. UNTIL the day when Kel’s hard work is about to pay off: her final page examinations. She’ll fail if she doesn’t attend, but someone’s kidnapped Lalasa and Kel has to save her. SO NATURALLY, knowing her fear of heights, the bastards who kidnapped Lalasa stashed her at the top of Balor’s needle, this crazy high tower that she avoids at all costs. And if that wasn’t ENOUGH, once she (and Jump) find Lalasa, the assholes block the indoor staircase so that they have to climb down the outdoor staircase, which is ummm… RISKY. Said staircase is quite rickety.

But they make it because you know what?

bitchesgetstuffdone

Kel is all despondent, thinking she’ll never be a knight now, but because of extenuating circumstance and Wyldon is not a total douchenozzle, he makes an exception for Kel and she HANDLES that biz-nass. ONTO SQUIREDOM!

Kel being awesome quote(s) of the book:

‘“If we pick a fight, then we’re just as bad as them. Combat should be used just to help people who can’t defend themselves, period.”
“Well, if I don’t fight back and they pound on me, then I’m one of the people I should be defending.”’

“‘Gods curse it, Kel, you heard what he said!’
‘I heard a fart,’ Kel said grimly. ‘You know where those come from. Let it go.’”

“To her astonishment, Lord Wyldon clasped her shoulder warmly. “Gods, Mindelan,” he said, “I would you had been born a boy.”
When he walked on, Kel followed, thinking, But I like being a girl.”

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