Tag: Sabaa Tahir

Top 5 Wednesday – Authors We’d Love to Meet

Posted May 2, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

Since Samantha – our delightfully bookish host – has a crazy month, we’re able to choose our own topics this month. And since we also have pretty crazy months, we’re kicking it off with something simple and fun that hopefully every one of you can relate to!

KATE

I’m doing six.

I’m a rebel.

Laini Taylor – As usual, it took me a while to jump on the bandwagon with Laini Taylor’s books, but now that I have, I’m in love. Strange the Dreamer made me weep (pun intended) it was so beautiful. Waiting for Must of Nightmares is slowly killing me, I swear. I recently started Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I’m enjoying it immensely. I just keep coming back to the fact that I can’t believe I put off reading all of these things for so long. I want to meet this woman and thank her for Lazlo Strange.

Marissa Meyer – I have very strong feelings about The Lunar Chronicles. I just think that series is fantastic, and it’s a world and a story I can return to and bask in. I love that experience. Admittedly, I’ve only listened to Heartless and I haven’t attempted Renegades yet, but even if I end up thinking they’re both terrible, I’ll still think Marissa Meyer and her world of Earthens and Lunars is damn near perfect, and I’d love to be able to tell her that.

Sarah J. Maas – I just….love her books. LOVE them. It’s borderline unhealthy, and I’ve got the blog posts (that’s right – two of them) and the tear stained pillow cases to prove it. I also like the way she talks about her writing and her process, and even though I’m terrible at asking questions at book events, I’d just like to be in the room when people who are better at it than me can pepper her with them. And then I want her to sign all the things and I’ll say thank you and I’ll die happy.

Sabaa Tahir – With every social media post I see from her, the more I want to meet her. Not only do I love An Ember in the Ashes, she just seems so relatable. I imagine meeting her would be like meeting Victoria Schwab (which I still can’t believe happened, by the way) – easy, fun, enlightening, and a complete and total fangirl moment.

Erin Morgenstern – Real talk: I want to ask her if she’s ever going to write anything else. And then I’d go home and chastise myself for being an ass and read The Night Circus again and bathe in the silvery light of its perfection.

Neil Gaiman – Everything I’ve ever read of his, I’ve loved. I also love the way he interacts with his fans and the way he cares about things and supports loved ones and tells me that dragons can be beaten. I just think that’s all really important, and I want to hear it (or at least something like it) in person.

PAIGE

Despite the fact that meeting people I admire really stresses me out, I still would absolutely be over the moon to meet some of my favorite authors. In the interest of full disclosure, I would also ABSOLUTELY go and meet everyone on Kate’s list as well!

Jay Kristoff – Ever since I read Illuminae  and Nevernight, I knew Jay would be at the top of the list if he ever made a stop close to me. I can’t blame the guy, being Australian and all. He’s absolutely hilarious, he’s written some amazing stuff, and he kinda looks like Dave Grohl. What’s not to love?

Leigh Bardugo – But I would only talk to her about the Six of Crows duology, Language of Thorns, and who her favorite character is and why it’s Nikolai. Unpopular opinions here on this blog regarding the original trilogy. You’ve been warned.

Seanan McGuire – Yet another case of me liking a book, following the author on twitter, and LOVING the author. Urban fantasy isn’t really my thing, but I’m willing to read anything Seanan writes while I wait anxiously for as many Wayward Children books as she is willing to give me.

Patrick Rothfuss – Not only has he written amazing books and done tons of philanthropic work, but he’s a big fuckin’ nerd and I love his guest appearances on the DnD stream done by Penny Arcade. He’s a truly hilarious individual, and I’d love the chance to thank him for his books since it seems like most people feel the need to give him crap about forthcoming books.

Margaret Rogerson – Margaret is a Cincinnati native, and that city will forever have my heart. I truly enjoyed her debut An Enchantment of Ravens, and I would love to meet her and pick her brain to see if she’s going to write more fae books. She seems DELIGHTFUL.

*****

Who are some authors you would like to meet? Let us know in the comments!

Until next week!

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Review – A Torch Against the Night

Posted January 2, 2018 by Kate in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – A Torch Against the NightA Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill on August 29th 2017
Pages: 452
Goodreads
five-stars

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

After devouring An Ember in the Ashes, I immediately dove into A Torch Against the Night. Usually I’m a little worried about the sophomore slump with series, but in this case, I think the sequel exceeded the original. Let’s dive in!

A Torch Against the Night follows Laia, Elias, and Helene, as they come to terms with and try to outsmart and outrun the new regime leading the Martial Empire. As they get closer to their goals and fulfilling their orders, they draw nearer to the danger that threatens to destroy not only their own lives, but the lives and communities of their families and of the Empire at large.

Like An Ember in the Ashes, it’s sequel is written in first person from multiple narrators. For those of you who saw my first review, you know that I struggled a lot with how short these different sections were and how choppy that made the reading experience at different. That problem was entirely alleviated in this book. Helene was added as a third narrator – which was EXCELLENT, and I will come back to it later – and it was still not too much. All the different characters and perspectives really fed off of each other in this installment, and it made the the world feel even bigger and brighter and more detailed than it did in the first volume.

Although this series started out as being explicitly about Laia and Elias, it’s clear that Helene is going to have a huge role going forward. She is a catalyst for so many different events – healing, the hunt for Laia and Elias, the fate of her family, the fate of the commandant and the Empire. The list is truly endless. Whatever Helene’s endgame is, and at this point she’s still very much shrouded in mystery, I have a sneaking suspicion that she is more at the center of it all than either Laia or Elias.

My favorite thing about this book has to be the intense loyalty that the characters display. They each have a cause or a person that motivates them so completely, and as those motivations evolve, the drive they create remains true to each character. It doesn’t feel contrived. No one changes path without explanation. Each character, good or very, very bad, is just so well fleshed out it’s like you can see into their brains and know who or what they care about and why those things matter to them at any given moment in time. It’s engrossing without giving too much away.

All of that being said, I was thrown for a loop three times in the last 70 pages, and it was AMAZING. Looking back, each of those surprises was set up within the story, but all the clues and innuendos blended so well into what I thought I should be paying attention to that it wasn’t until I went back that I realized they were there. The craft to pull it all together is just incredible.

I can’t believe that I now have to wait until June 12th to keep reading. It’s going to be a frustrating, and hopefully rewarding, five months. Hurry up, please! I have to know what happens!

five-stars

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Top 5 Wednesday – Top 5 Books of 2017

Posted December 20, 2017 by Kate in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

PAIGE

Well, I originally intended to rank these books from awesome to most awesome, and then I realized it would be like picking my favorite child or something. So! Here we are. The 5 books I read this year that made me feel the most feelings, for better or for worse.

1 – A Darker Shade of Magic

I mean…obviously we both really love this series. While all three are fantastic, I had to opt for ADSOM simply because of how it made me feel when I first read it. I got it really cheap on Kindle, and I remember flipping my Kindle case closed in the wee hours of the morning after finishing it and just basking in how refreshing it was to read a character like Lila Bard. She is my cutthroat beautiful snowflake, and I love her.

2 – A Court of Mist and Fury

Feysand trash until I DIE! I’ll be honest, I was super wary when I first started this trilogy. I borrow the first from the library, and proceeded to order the box set before I was even finished with the first. I almost decked my husband because I kept trying to talk to me during the last 100 pages or so of ACoWaR, which was so unacceptable. I just wanted to curl up around these books when I finished them and never get up or do anything productive ever again. SO GOOD.

3 – Eliza and Her Monsters

This is another book I bought because it was a sweet deal on Kindle, and I had seen it featured in an OwlCrate. About a day after starting it, I was feels-tweeting about it and one of our friends told me that Chessie Zappia was coming to an event near Indianapolis because, as it turns out, girl is a local! I was so happy! I immediately ordered both of her books in physical copy and got them signed at the event. If you suffer from anxiety, love fandom, or both, this book is NECESSARY. I love it like I love Fangirl.

4 – Every Heart a Doorway

This is a book I discovered by watching Sam from Thoughts on Tomes do a review. I had never heard of it, nor had I heard of Seanan McGuire, and now I am (im)patiently waiting for the 3rd book in the series to come out. It combines my love of all things portal fantasy with my need for the spooky and macabre. And what takes this book up that extra notch is the representation. In the first book alone, we have an Ace character, a trans character, and an implied non-straight character (which is confirmed in the sequel). LGBTQ+ people deserve representation in more than just coming-out books, and Seanan does a lovely job of making that dream come true in this series. I hope to get to some of her other books in the coming months!

5 – The Name of the Wind

So NORMALLY when my husband (aka Dwalin) recommends books, they’re things that he really loves, but maybe I’m lukewarm about them. Seriously, you know it’s love when a person binge-reads Dune for you in like, a week. When I was waffling about what I wanted to read next a few months ago, I told him to go pick something off of his shelf. He came back about 20 seconds later with TNotW. I devoured this book. Kvothe is the unreliable narrator I never knew I always wanted. I’m actually rationing the next book for myself because I KNOW I will get all sorts of impatient for the third if I read the second. Additionally, Pat Rothfuss has quickly become one of my favorite human beings. His charity work, the way he interacts with his kids, and his super-edgelord character he plays in Acquisition, Incorporated C Team (it’s a DnD campaign run by Jerry from PennyArcade. Yeah, I’m cool.) have really endeared him to me. I will wait until I am old and gray for The Door of Stone to be released.

So, uh, there’s my feelings. All out there. I feel so exposed…now it’s Kate’s turn!

***

KATE

I, like Paige, cannot even begin to actually rank these. If I tried, I would just be a crying mess on the floor of my office screaming something along the lines of, “They’re all just so beautiful!!” So I never even tried. It was hard enough to narrow it down to only five!

1 – A Court of Mist and Fury

So, about a year ago, I picked up Throne of Glass and proceeded to power through the entire series. When I went home for Christmas, I was with a friend of mine who is a fellow YA lover and insisted that I try A Court of Thorns and Roses immediately, because it was even better. I trust her judgment, so I did! OH MY GOD. I fell in love. But then I read ACoMaF and it was all over. My fangirling is usually reserved for soccer players, but I’ve made a rather embarrassing exception for Rhysand. I love him forever, and I’m emotionally invested in his relationship with Feyre in a way that is downright unhealthy. No regrets.

2 – A Conjuring of Light

This book made me weep. I am so in love with these characters and this world, that saying goodbye to them was one of the most difficult literary experiences I’ve had in recent memory. It’s incredible to read a story with a cast of characters that manage to stay so true to themselves, and it makes them so strong. I wish they were real so I could know them, especially Lila and Alucard. I don’t really know how to speak about this book constructively yet, and I finished it months ago. Just….read it, okay?

3 – Graceling

I just thought the concept of this book was cool. There was something very artistic, and more than a little ironic, about calling something society treats as a curse a “grace.” I thought it was fascinating to read about and how it affected different parts of the world. Then there were Katsa and Po. Katsa was such a badass, and I loved the relationship and the way she learned to trust and know herself through her adventure with Po and in facing down Leck. This book was a whirlwind, and I loved every second.

4 – Flame in the Mist

This book was hard for me, because it had some pretty damning mechanical issues, but I could not put it down. Mariko, the Black Clan, and the world they inhabited was lush and bright despite the dire circumstances they were facing. There were also some pretty great twists as you went along, so it wasn’t typical or predictable. I read this book in a day, and it’s left an impression on me even though I’m not as gushy about it as I have been about other things.

5 – An Ember in the Ashes

I just reviewed this, but I’m going to take a second to freak out about it. This book made me so. Freaking. Happy. The story itself wasn’t happy, but it was just so beautiful. The character trajectories were so beautiful and natural and the settings were fascinating and learning about how and why the different factions grew the way they did stoked the fire of the story perfectly. I was not ready for this book to be over. I’m excited to see how it continues, because this book did the rare thing of even getting me invested in the characters I hate. Lookin’ at you, Marcus. But really, I’m halfway through A Torch Against the Night, and it is delivering on everything I just mentioned. 

***

There ya have it! And we barely overlapped! Looking forward to squeezing a few more in between now and December 31st, and we can’t wait to see what next year has in store. Onward, dear readers!

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