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Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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Hi, my name is Mary and I am a middle-aged woman who occasionally reads YA fantasy series and *gasps* enjoys them.

There really are three age groups in fantasy literature.  There are books/series that are clearly Young Adult.  The characters are teenage or younger, the subject matter isn’t quite as advanced (violence, sexual content, etc.) and it’s typically a little easier to read (see: Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, etc.).  Adult fantasy has primarily adult characters in adult situations and can be a more difficult read for those that aren’t longtime fantasy readers (see: Game of Thrones).

Then there is the third category of ‘somewhere in the middle’.  And, I guess, my question is who decides which category a book fits into?  Hear me out.  In Throne of Glass, the female protagonist is 18 years old.  She is an assassin and has been in prison for over a year.  She was beaten and barely survived. Book one, Throne of Glass, is fairly violent with Celaena beating the crap out of someone or someone beating the crap out of Celaena in many scenes.  I know that in future books she has sex with several different characters.  This is categorized by everyone as YA.  (I’m not questioning this; just making a point.)

In Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, the female protagonist is a teenager (I can’t recall her exact age but I believe she was younger in book one than Celaena is here.)  She is a street urchin with special powers but isn’t a killer.  Spoiler alert: she does have sex in the books but only after she is married and it all happens off the page.  While I have in rare cases seen someone classify Mistborn as YA, it is almost always considered an adult fantasy and the bookstores shelve it as such.

Then, what makes Throne of Glass fit YA and Mistborn fit Adult?  I honestly don’t know.  But I have a guess.  Let’s talk world building first.  Brandon Sanderson is a genius world builder and the world he created in the Mistborn series is unbelievable.  Exceptional.  Unsurpassed.  Maas’ world in TOG isn’t as well built.  But, you know what?  There are a lot of ‘adult’ fantasy series that cannot touch Sanderson’s world building and Maas does at least as well as many of them.  So, I don’t think it’s the world building.

Also in Mistborn, there also isn’t a love triangle in sight.  Pretty much from the start it’s clear that Vin and Elend will be together eventually and there are no other real viable love interests for her.  TOG has a pretty clear love triangle beginning to form.  Does this make it YA – the dreaded love triangle trope?  Maybe.  I do think it has something to do with this but let’s be fair and honest.  Many adult books also have love triangles.  It is a tried and true method of drawing in a certain readership.

So, why is TOG classified as YA?  I’m still left in the dark.  My guess is that it’s a combination of the love triangle, the young female lead character and the female author.  But maybe I’m wrong. Tell me what you think in the comments below.  I’d love to understand.

(P.S. I gave Throne of Glass 4/5 stars.  While I can see the problems some people had with a few things, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found Celaena to be an interesting character.  I’ve already ordered book two.)

Christmas Reading Review 2016

Every year I look forward to reading several books over the Christmas holiday.  This year, I was able to read:

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Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie.  4/5 stars.  See my review here.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz.  The book is simply the written form of the beloved Christmas TV special.  While good, it doesn’t quite capture the magic from the screen.  4/5 stars.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.  The well-known story is one that I think we should share with children every year.  Christmas isn’t about the presents, food or other material things.  It’s about friends, family and love.  The book is a wonderful presentation but it’s the animated show that made my heart grow three sizes.  4/5 stars.

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2016 is my first annual reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. At some point I will write a proper review for this but it is a classic for a reason.  The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future teach us that we have to look outside of ourselves to find happiness and fulfillment.  5/5 stars.
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This is my fourth annual reading of A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd.  I love the movie and I love the book.  You can find my review here.

 

Merry Christmas everyone.

Audiobook Review: 4:50 From Paddington (Miss Marple #8) by Agatha Christie

Written by: Agatha Christie

Read by: Emilia Fox

Run time: 8 hours 9 minutes

This is my first audiobook that I’m listening to before reading the actual book.  And, I have to say that I was able to follow the story and enjoy much more than I expected.

Emilia Fox did an outstanding job – both with her voice (inflections, etc. that hold a listener’s interest) and with the different characters.

And, Mrs. Christie got me again.  I thought I knew whodunit but I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

5/5 stars and my favorite audiobook so far.

Review – The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

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Yeah, well, hmmmm…..

How do you review The Well of Ascension? In my case, you simply don’t. I will leave just a few words to describe my feelings:

Confusion
Heartbreak
Love
Exhaustion
Hope

As with book one, this wasn’t a perfect read for me. There was a lot of political maneuvering and backstabbing. I hate that in real life and I hate it in books. So, I was fully prepared to give this 4/5 stars. But then…things…switched my rating back to 5-stars. Honestly, less than 5 would be an insult to the exceptional worldbuilding and character development. I’m not sure any other fantasy series I’ve read has reached this level.

And, yes, I’ve already pulled out book three. (Which I’ve been told is “epic” so my expectations are through the roof. Don’t let me down Sanderson.)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Romance is not my strong suit in real life or my reading preferences. But, I do have a favorite bookish romantic quote. Enjoy!

“When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.” 

― Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross

   

Mini-Review – The First Four Years (Little House #9) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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The final book in the Little House series is my least favorite.  The focus is on the first four years of married life for Almanzo and Laura.  But, it isn’t written to the same standards as the prior installments and seemed to be an outline of a book versus one that was intended for publication.

It also paints a somewhat different picture of both characters.  Laura isn’t quite the spitfire hard worker that we had come to love.  And Almanzo never saw a loan he wasn’t willing to take.  They both made some monumentally bad decisions and paid for them.

Just didn’t feel the love for this one.  3/5 stars.