Coloring book

The fantasy story set in Sarah J. Maas’ latest series A Court of Thorns and Roses got my extremely caught. She was amazing with the environment descriptions, described vivid colors and fantastics scenarios. When I enjoy something and have a beautiful picture in my head of what it looks like, I always wish there will be a movie or TV show where I can see this on screen instead of just in my head. In a majority of the cases I am very certain that I would be dissapointed… However, I feel like a coloring book could work! The pictures look really good, and when I get to decide colors I think the picture in my head will be even clearer. So therefore I bought my very first coloring book as an adult. I also bought new pencils, the ones I have are probably a hundred and thirtyseven years old and I wanted to give this book a fair chance. If I feel like it I can also add water and make the colors float into each other or mix. Cool pencils.

Reading of a non-finished script

This was a new experience for me, and I have to say that I learned a lot from it. And also found som personal motivations. A couple of months back I signed up for the test-reading of a non-finished script for a book by a young Swedish author, Gabriella P. Kjeilen. I have heard of her main series before, Mellody Looh, but haven’t read them. This new novel she is writing is a stand alone novel set in the same universe and she wanted test-readers who both read the Mellody Looh series and not. I thought it would be a cool experience so I had no expectations at all. Except that I had a hard time figuring out how fantasy would sound in Swedish.

It is not high fantasy which I am used to reading, and since the setting of the book was Sweden, ca 80 years in the future, and mostly in Gothenburg, Swedish worked perfectly (like with Stjärnklart by Lars Wilderäng where he gives detailed descriptions of the city of Gothenburg set in a spaced-out sci-fi scenario). The fantasy part was also a bit hidden and the main focus was on the main character’s personal revenge which reminded me of one of my favorite series Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

I am not going to go into detail what I thought, that’s up to the author to work with, but I will definitely put a final review up after I have read the final version.

But while critically reading (since I normally enjoy-read) I realized what I myself should think about when I am writing my book. Oh, right, I haven’t made that announcement yet, or have I? Eh, well, I have decided that I will finally realize one of my oldest dreams, I am going to write a book. During the past few months, I have been thinking about the story, the setting, and written down a lot of notes so far. The next step I guess (which I will start with any day now since I am now done with everything: my MSc degree is done and all my students’ grades are set) is to start the actual writing. After thinking hard about this, and making pros and cons lists in my head, I have decided that I will actually try to write it in English. I have a very hard time even imagining a high fantasy world in Swedish. And honestly, for the past 4 years I have written approximately 95% more in English than Swedish. So I don’t think there will be any issues, and if it will, I guess I will just switch to Swedish or ask for help.

It is too early to reveal the plot yet, but I think it will be interesting and I hope original. Thoughts and ideas have been drawn from many of my favorites, but I will of course try my best and make it my own. Stay tuned for updates!

Review of “The Crown of Ptolemy” by Rick Riordan

Title: The Crown of Ptolemy
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 63
Published: 2015, Disney-Hyperion
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 hats

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In their first encounter, demigod Percy Jackson and magician Carter Kane had to battle a giant crocodile on Long Island. A month later, Annabeth Chase ran into Carter’s sister, Sadie, on the A train to Rockaway, where the pair fought a god named Serapis. Now trouble is brewing again, this time on Governor’s Island. An ancient Egyptian magician named Setne has come back from the dead and is experimenting with Egyptian and Greek magic, trying to become a god himself. He’s so powerful and tricky that all four-Percy, Annabeth, Carter, and Sadie-have to team up against him. But their usual weapons and spells aren’t going to cut it this time. Will the heroes be taken down by a wannabe god who looks like Elvis, or will they rise to the challenge?

MY REVIEW

As a small side-project right now, this was a fun story seen from Percy Jackson’s point of view. This is the third crossover story between Percy Jackson (Greek demigod) and Carter Kane (Egyptian magician) and it is very much like the first two (which I read a long time ago) and also very much like the main Percy Jackson series. Riordan writes with a lot of humor and after have read more “serious” books lately, it felt a little bit childish. But I am still a huge fan of Rick Riordan!

I give this book a 3.5 because it was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t go as far as to encourage everyone to read it. Sure, it is a short story, so if you have an hour to spare somewhere and if you are a big fan of Riordan’s world full of ancient mythology, definitely have a go at it, you won’t be dissapointed!

Review of “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 699
Published: 2017, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 tattoos

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

MY REVIEW

I am starting this review with the same phrase as my last one, but perhaps not with two exclamation marks: Oh my god!

The third book in this series is both similar and nothing at all like the third book about Feyre. Similar in style, and I have to admit that the first one is still in one category of itself in some sense that I can’t really explain. It is similar with the types of feelings that exists, the characters are the same. It differs in events. A Court of Mist and Fury is a well-knit together story of how Feyre finds her place in the world, whereas A Court of Wings and Ruin is what happens to her when she is faced with challenges and how to deal with situations with her newfound place.

It is a lot of politics, battles, and surprises that literally made me gasp at some points and had to lay down the book for a short while and think about what actually happened. Crazy intense story with an ending, which could work as the end to the series. Still many things that will happen, but they seem minor compared to the big war that was fought throughout this book. Fortunately, I don’t have to speculate on what will happen, because there will be three more books to come! Unfortunately, I will have to wait a full year for the fourth installment in A Court of Thorns and Roses…

When it comes to grading books, I only go after my general feeling of the book after finishing it. I wasn’t as satisfied as after Mist and Fury, but I don’t feel like it is a 4.5 either. So I give it a 5 as well!

Review of “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 624
Published: 2016, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

MY REVIEW

Oh my god!! How is it possible for a book to be this good? I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. This is Maas at her absolutely very best, it almost make you wonder what kind of doping she took after the first one, which was quite frankly, not much compared to this one.

First of all, the characters felt more real, they were way more intriguing and it was so much easier to relate to them. The relationships between the people were more fun, not  necessarily real, or at least those are not the kind of relationships with friends and partners I have experienced previously, but so interesting and entertaining and you wish you had those kind of relationships. The story-telling and environmental descriptions are still amazing and you almost get surprised when you look up from the book and realize that this is the reality.

I can’t write much more if I want to stay away from plot reveals. So I will wrap up with the grade. I would easily give it more than 5 if possible, it is just that good! It took me 9 hours to finish and sometimes i couldn’t put the book down, I would literally walk and read simultaneously! I would also promise myself to just finish the chapter before doing something productive (like writing my master thesis), but I ended up reading 3.5 chapters and then falling asleep with the ereader in my face on the couch. It is just that good! If you felt a little bit hesitant after A Court of Thorns and Roses, forget that feeling, read A Court of Mist and Fury. There will be zero regrets whatsoever!!

I am really glad A Court of Wings and Ruin (#3 was released today). I bought the book before work, finished #2 on my way to work and started #3 on the way home.

Review of “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 421
Published: 2015, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 4 out of 5 flowers

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

MY REVIEW

I haven’t read this series yet because I was filled with scepticism. I LOVE Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas’ first book series) and I found it rather unbelievable that such a young author (she is 31 now) could produce two amazing book series simultaneously (because Throne of Glass is truly one of the best series I have read). I wondered if she could write anything as good. She could! Well, almost. A Court of Thorns and Roses only got a 4 from me, while every book in Throne of Glass series got a 5.

My first thought while reading was that I was unused to reading first person stories. I have read them and I do feel that they tend to be easier to relate to. However, I found it a little bit hard to relate to Feyre, the main character. Mostly I think because she was so unlike me and acted very differently than I would have in the same situation.

My second thought was that this book has drawn influences from several other stories. First of all, Beauty and the Beast. She gets taken away by a beast whom she very quickly falls in love with. It is an intriguing story and you kind of secretly wish it to happen to you, that your life would be like a fairytale. It was obvious beyond doubt that she would fall in love with him (I hadn’t really read the backcover so I actually didn’t know the story at all before reading it). It was obvious that he eventually would push her away and that she couldn’t stand to be away for too long, only to return shortly after and find everything in chaos. But at the same time, parts where surprising, like for example the character Rhysand and the actual end of the book also was surprising. While at the same time no I guess. That doesn’t make any sense but that is how I felt.

The world this book takes place in is gorgeously painted by Maas, exactly like Throne of Glass, or even more so perhaps. But the reason why it doesn’t get a full 5, is partly because of the sex scenes, which bothered me in the latest Throne of Glass book too (Empire of Storms). They fit well with this story compared to Empire of Storms, but it is a young adult fantasy book, sex doesn’t really have to be a part of it. It is possible to write about passion without descriptions of the act itself. The main reason It doesn’t really reach a 5 is because I don’t feel like it should get a 5. It is not quite up there as my favorite book series which have gotten 5’s (like Harry Potter for example), they are in different categories and therefore it gets a 4. I think I can say that if you enjoyed Throne of Glass, you might enjoy this too, which feels like a faster version of it with more fantasy.

Review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J. K. Rowling

harry-potter-07-the-deathly-hallows-j-k-rowling-2Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 784
Published: 2007, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 horcruxes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

It’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry’s Wizarding life began: at Hogwarts. The satisfying conclusion offers shocking last-minute twists, incredible acts of courage, powerful new forms of magic, and the resolution of many mysteries.

Above all, this intense, cathartic book serves as a clear statement of the message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: that choice matters much more than destiny, and that love will always triumph over death.

MY REVIEW

These past months have come to an end, all the Harry Potter books are read and I feel a little bit empty. Will the next book I take on be as good? Rereading these books was a really good choice and now I kind of feel like rereading other books I truly enjoyed when I was younger, like His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

I have written before that there were so many things I forgot from the books and was constantly surprised. In the first four books there were small things here and there, but as the story progressed, I remembered fewer and fewer things and when it came to The Deathly Hallows, I remembered probably no more than 5 things. I couldn’t remember why one of the chapters were called The Malfoy Manor for example. I also had no idea what the last three horcruxes where until it was written out in the book. It was like reading it for the first time, being on the edge of the chair or wherever I was sitting, all the time.

Everything is explained so well, and everything makes sense, and as before, Rowling is excellent at making everything coherent. The red thread is present. And The Deathly Hallows is the perfect ending to the story about Harry Potter. I can’t wait for the next time I will reread them. (Do I really have to write out the grade?)