Tag Archive | audiobook

Crown of Midnight Review

Wanna hear something horrible? I don’t even remember actually finishing this book.

I did finish, though. So that definitely says more about the book than me. (Right?)

ttrIt wasn’t horrible. I just lost interest in it somewhere towards the supposedly most exciting part of the story, and didn’t even care to finish it until a month later when I came home from school. I also did what I said I wouldn’t and read it as an audiobook. (It was free, okay!) I’m sure a physical copy would have made the story flow better, would have forced me into world of the fae, would have me somewhat worried about Celaena when she fights monsters.

Because boy did she fight a lot of monsters.

Those parts were cool, but a lot of them were like, “oh crap I didn’t see that coming!” or, “oh no I have to save the world again I hope I don’t die!” or even better, “oh my goodness I have MAGIC? Where did THAT come from?!” Like with the first book, I just didn’t like Celaena and Maas’s groundbreaking(ly predictable) logic. It felt juvenile.

To be fair, though, not everything was obnoxious or predictable. There were a couple parts where I was shocked, freaked out, on the edge of the seat in my car. Some of the best bits that Celaena didn’t see coming, I didn’t expect either.

(I’m not going to spoil anything of course, but even if I tried I wouldn’t know how to spell their names.)

So it was exciting and exciting book. No revolutionary literature here, but exciting nonetheless. If you loved the first book, I’ve heard that this one is better, from much more enthusiastic readers and bigger fans than me. It just wasn’t for me. (That cliche applies here, I think. I also think that it was used in the actual book somewhere.)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


IMG_4006Let’s talk Throne of Glass.

I think this was the fastest I’ve ever read (listened to) an audiobook. I picked it up (not literally) because everyone online raves about it, has been raving about it. They go on and on about the love triangle and“awesome” fantasy elements. They fangirl over their “favorite bad*ss female heroine,” Celaena Sardothien. I’ve been curious about it all for a while.

I finally started it…and read it…and was swept into the messy sea of drama and magic…and yelled and groaned at it…and finished it. It was nothing like what I thought it would be, but I really liked it. It was entertaining, exciting. I couldn’t stop listening—I had to know what became of Celaena, where Chaol was, what the wyrdmarks meant.

Throne of Glass was fast-paced and amusing, but oftentimes unbearably confusing and, well, predictable and irritating. I’m still confused about the wrydmarks, to be honest. It took Celaena entirely too long to figure out what they sort-of meant. And why was she so unconcerned? Sure, she did research, but if evil forces are after someone so used to fighting, why didn’t she get more involved?

For a kick*ss assassin, Celaena also spent an awful lot of time threatening people but not doing anything early on. That is, anything other than going back and forth between Dorian and Chaol and puppies and music  and not liking to kill people and dresses and jewels and wanting blood. She was well-rounded; she had a “soft, kind-hearted girlish side” to balance out literally being an assassin. This made her more relatable, more human, but for a while it was like Maas was trying to make her everything, every heroine she could, wrapped into one.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t like Celaena, though. In fact, she was great—sometimes annoying, but always brave and sassy and strong. She stood out in this way from the very first page. I immediately liked her, cheered her on, felt pain for her, wanted her to win. She definitely grew on me throughout the book. She was my second favorite character. Chaol was my first, but more on that in a bit.

Another issue I had with Throne of Glass was the world. I have absolutely concept of it. I don’t even know what it’s called. Eralia? I know that magic was outlawed, and could imagine the grounds really well due to the beautiful imagery. But the names were so similar, and the politics were so shaky. It didn’t seem very well-developed. Why there are death camps? Why was Celaena captured? Why were there rebellions? The king—what? Who? He has a PLAN? What’s his plan? I have no idea. The king and so many of the characters seemed just as flimsy as the political atmosphere, just as one-dimensional.

And the fae, the MAGIC. I’ve never really read anything about fae before, and this book didn’t help me out at all. It didn’t help that I wasn’t even expecting magic. I was getting a really strong Hunger Games vibe, so I was pretty surprised (startled) halfway through the story when fairies and magic rune things began appearing, casually. And the demons and characters that like…don’t go away, just come and go?

Speaking of characters, where was Chaol for half of the book? His POV was SO underrepresented. Who cares about Dorian that much, anyway?

Oh, and what was the court doing? I loved the ball, I wanted more to happen at the ball! Where was the Queen? And Kaltain? Her POV in particular was shown so infrequently that it seemed as though her plotting never led to anything. At some points I forgot that she was a problem.

There were several problems, conflicts faced by the characters, though, that I was completely blindsided by. (Not by Cain, he was obvious. I rolled my eyes at him. OH, and the hidden passageway. That was so obvious too.) But the PLOT TWISTS! Those were excellently executed. They took me by surprise, twisted the story at just the right moment. 

I really did like Throne of Glass, don’t let my confusion and numerous complaints throw you. I enjoyed the action, the plot twists, the sass. I loved the tests, especially the wall-climbing and poison testing scenes. The main characters were so interesting, and had great chemistry. And the BANTER! So cute.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like YA magic and fantasy and love triangles. I would not recommend it if you are used to Game of Thrones politics and intrigue. I would also not recommend reading it as an audiobook. (At all. Usually I’m fine with them, but all of the quick magic scenes and world-building was completely lost on me. I might reread it at some point, but goodness.)

Despite this…print copy of Crown of Midnight, here I come.

Similar to: The Hunger Games (the characters, action, and competition), The Selection (the setting and castle vibe, the competition), Graceling (the magic)

Rating: 3.5…ok 4/5 stars

Me Before You

I don’t usually read what all of the BookTubers and Bookstagrammers are reading—at least not when they’re currently raving about and reading it. This isn’t on general principal, I just rarely have time, and am usually already reading something else anyway. But when I needed a new audiobook, I ran to the supposedly special and uber hyped-up little red book with swirly white letters on the cover. Especially since I had heard there was a movie coming out “sometime soon”—a movie starring none other than Daenerys Targaryen and Finnick Odair themselves.

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But then I actually started reading Me Before You. And I fell in love. And there is nothing fleeting or flippant about it.

Me Before You tells the story of a young woman named Louisa Clark who needs to find a job—and herself. She finds the former as a carer for quadriplegic Will Traynor, a man who has lived and loved and lost. He teaches her to embrace everything she has, everything she could have, and everything she could be.

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This sounds super cheesy—like, almost worthy of being photographed for social media but ripped apart in reviews. But it’s really worthy of so much more.

Yes, Louisa and Will fall in love. Spoiler alert. But the book doesn’t focus on this aspect of their relationship. It focuses on them as people, helping one another, living together and caring for one another in the limited ways that they can. It also focuses on their clever banter, which absolutely killed me. Louisa is hysterical—so awkward, so adorable, so relatable. Will is smart, sharp. Moyes’ characterization of them was impeccable. By the end of the story I felt like both characters were part of me. Or at least my children or something.

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Anyway, I absolutely adored the book. I loved the conflicts, the jokes, the message to live boldly. I easily forgave the pointless perspective changes, the sometimes annoying excess of sister drama (I hated Trina so this was amplified). I cried while listening to it. In my car. While driving down the road. Yeah. It was that good.

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So you can see why I was a little surprised when I didn’t shed a single tear when I saw the movie last night. I went to the screening at the Regal Theater in Atlantic Station, hosted by Warner Brothers and Harper’s Bazaar (thank you so, so much!). It was a good movie, but was nothing compared to the movie in my head, nothing compared to the book.

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Want some, Lou?

My main disappointment was due to how much of the story was omitted in the film. The backstory about why Lou isn’t as daring as she once was, why she hates the castle? Nope. Moving in with Patrick, fighting with the Traynors about taking Will places? Nothing. The freaking BUMBLEBEE TATTOO? NADA. Too many crucial, interesting, and character-bonding conflicts are smoothed over and erased.

Other than this, the movie was great. In fact, it was probably great to anyone who hadn’t read the book. Why so great? I don’t know, ask the Mother of Dragons and the darling of the Capitol. They were brilliant. Emilia WAS Louisa, and Sam WAS Will. She was so bubbly, so happy, so Lou. He was so rough and quick-mouthed, but later so kind. They were exactly what I imagined the characters to be like, right down to the facial expressions and costumes.

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This was the best part of the movie to me. Despite the simplified plot, despite everything happening so quickly, despite the imperceptible but pointless tweaks here and there, the movie Me Before You was mostly true to the book. But more importantly, it was true to the characters. Right down to the sparkly Wellies and bumblebee tights.

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Live boldly, all. “Just…live.”

Book: 5/5 stars

Movie: 7/10 stars

The Martian

the-martian-reviewWhen the Oscar nominees were announced, my mother and I set to work watching the Best Picture films. We struggled through The Revenant and sat enthralled by Spotlight and squirmed throughout Room. We watched them all—all, that is, except for The Martian.

We deftly avoided The Martian because—you can probably see this coming—I wanted to read the book.

And the only problem with this was that…I was reading four other books at the time. Four! Oh school.

While sitting boredoutofmymind in traffic one day, however, the solution was painfully clear: I should try an audiobook. Youtubers praise them, bloggers are mad about them.

So I tried it. And I am oh so glad that I did. The 300+ page book, of course, became a ten hour long story, but this is my only complaint. For I truly enjoyed hearing about Mark’s adventure from his own perspective, and the narrator’s voice became his voice to me.

So yeah, the audiobook, my first actual novel audiobook, was excellent. But I’m also pretty sure it was so great because the story and characters themselves were too. Bravo, Andy Weir.

rs_560x415-150608110132-1024-the-martian-cm-6815_copyThe Martian is such a good story—no matter what form it is told in or read from.

For those who don’t know, The Martian in a nutshell: really funny spaceman and crew travels to Mars, something goes wrong, crew leaves funny spaceman on Mars because they think he’s dead but spaceman really survives keeps surviving until he almost dies like five times and finally Earth realizes he’s alive and then they communicate and—Okay that’s all you get. No spoilers, right?

I loved Mark. I liked his optimism, his sarcastic sense of humor, his love of duct tape. I admired his “I better get to work so I don’t die on a planet by myself” attitude. I enjoyed every joke about disco, every panic-filled stream of curse words.

The story was constantly exciting—something kept going wrong, a canvas kept tearing, things kept depressurizing. And yet Mark never gave up.

The scienceaustronautchemistbotanist lingo and tech speak were plentiful, sure. A lot of people who reviewed the book thought that it was “so boring” because of this. However, I didn’t think that it was too much. I appreciated the fact that all of the science and math was accurate. The author? Yeah, he’s like a legitimate computer programming math wiz. I thought all of this information, in fields so foreign to me, was truly fascinating. I think I learned a little bit too.

the-martian4-1940x1289I made it through the book in a couple of weeks, diligently and eagerly listening to Mark’s misadventures as I drove to and from work and school. I watched the movie the very next night. It too was excellent: well-paced, great characters and casting, exciting, funny. And very, very Oscar worthy. I would know, I’ve seen all of this year’s Best Picture noms now!

Anyway, I genuinely enjoyed the book and the movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone who asks (or doesn’t).

Book: 4/5 stars

Movie: 8/10 stars

(Side note, I completely ship Johannsen and Beck and want to read the story from solely their POV. They literally fall in love in space and everything. Bless you Hollywood for adding the ending where they are happily married and have a baby but oh my goodness.)