Cassia: Know My Name by Juliet Pierce

Cassia Know My Name by Juliet Pierce

Title: Cassia: Know My Name
Author: Juliet Pierce
Series: The Cassia Trilogy, #1
**I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

Cassia Auticus has spent her entire life in the dungeons of the Balkan castle. Her people, once flourishing in the city of Regenesis, have become little more than prisoners of the ruthless kingdom. Fearing a fate worse than death, Cassia’s mother has disguised her daughter as a boy, hoping to save her. But when Cassia, along with the other boys her age, is called to the front lines, she must go or be forced to reveal her true identity. As Cassia is led into the mysterious concrete city of Regenesis, she’ll discover that her people are no ordinary prisoners and she is no ordinary girl.

“I manage a small scream before a rough hand is clamped over my mouth. I try to kick, but the man holding me is too strong. He starts backing me into the woods when I see Gildon crashing through the trees.

I dropped to the ground as Gildon rushes to the man with his sword drawn.”

Cassia: Know My Name has potential. The story is interesting and Cassia, the protagonist, is a blank-slate waiting to be made into something great. But the book needs some work. The sentence structure can be a little awkward at times and there were places where I felt as a reader, I was being told how someone felt rather being shown it.

I would like to know more about Jericho and Fina as both characters undergo shifts in temperament. Jericho starts off as someone sympathetic to Cassia’s plight, but as the story unfolds these generous feelings give way to anxiousness. Cassia, though quiet and unassuming, draws others to her, including Gildon, the Prince of Balka, and Jericho will do anything to sever this connection. Fina has a complicated history with Cassia’s family, but the motivation behind her resolve is unknown. I would have liked to have read more about her past.

Gildon is young and that youth is never more apparent than when he makes a decision that cost people’s lives. He is wholly unprepared for the consequences and one of the marks of a great leader is accepting that not every decision will end well for everyone. I for one am more intrigued by the character Dolph. He seems so determined to serve the mysterious Regents, but I want to know if this loyalty is based solely on his relationship with their leader. Does he too feel the sting of the current king’s reign or is he simply following orders? There were times when I felt Cassia was too passive and while I understand her upbringing to have something to do with this, I wanted to see more growth in her character. For example, I hoped that by the end of the book Cassia would be driven more by her need to help the people of Regenesis than the desire to be free.

Rating: 2/5

★★

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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #2

It’s been months since Celaena Sardothien won the competition that would make her the King’s Champion, his personal assassin tasked with dispatching those who would challenge his authority. With a rebellion brewing in Eyllwe and rumors of one in his own city, the King of Adarlan will do anything to hold on to power. Celaena plays a dangerous game, secretly undermining the orders of the King and lying to her friends in the process. And there is something else amiss in the castle and the further Celaena digs, the more she discovers that she isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Everyone has something to hide and everyone’s loyalty will be tested, and no one will be able to outrun their destiny.

“She didn’t know how she made it, or how long it took but suddenly she was on the ground and sprinting toward the open front gate.

The guards or footmen or servants started shouting. She was running–running as fast as she could, losing control of her body with each heartbeat that pumped the gloriella through her.”

Caleana would like nothing more than the chance to fight for her freedom and the first book is a prime example of the lengths she will go to to achieve this dream. Another side of Celaena emerges in this book, one fearful of what others expect from her and one who doesn’t believe happiness is a possibility because of these expectations. There is a greater cause calling her and her own happiness might have to be sacrificed. Everything that Celaena cares about can be used as a weapon against her and only time will tell if she will crumble entirely or embrace her fate.

Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall both continue to play a prominent role in Celaena’s life, but each have their own struggles they must face. Dorian feels like a less frivolous character this time around, who is just discovering his own influence. Chaol has worked hard to become Captain of the Guard and given up his inheritance. The loyalty he shows to the King correlates with this sacrifice and his own oath. In the end, Chaol will have to decide what is right rather than who he has sworn his allegiance to.

The King of Adarlan reveals himself to be an even more wicked character than I gave him credit for in the first book. Him, along with the enigmatic Baba Yellowlegs, are both creatures bred out of nightmares who I will not soon forget. The second book in Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series, Crown of Midnight, is even more exciting and thrilling than its predecessor, with higher stakes not just for Celaena but potentially for the whole world. I freely admit that I held this book to my chest, both smiling and agonizing over it, feeling an overwhelming delight over the release of the next installment this September.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

The Friday 56, #14: Rot & Ruin

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join in every Friday, the rules are simple.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.

*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.

*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.

*Post it.

*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

“Tell me something, Benny,” said Tom. “What would you have done if one of your friends…had come to Aunt Cathy’s funeral and took a leak in her coffin?”

Benny was so startled by the question that his answer was unguarded. “I’d have jacked them up. I mean, jacked them up…What kind of question is that, though?”

“Indulge me. Why would you have freaked out on your friends?”

“Because they dissed Aunt Cathy, why do you think?”

“But she’s dead.”

In celebration of Friday the 13th (does one celebrate Friday the 13th?) I decided to spotlight one of my favorite zombie series, the Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry. Here I feature the first book, Rot & Ruin, in the four-book series. Here Tom tries to explain to his little brother why it isn’t okay to desecrate the dead, zombie or not.

From Goodreads:

“In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.”

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #1

Celaena Sardothien, the famed assassin, has been imprisoned for a year in the slave mines of Endovier. Freedom seems an impossible scenario until the Crown Prince of Adarlan pays her a visit. He offers her a deal on behalf of the King. The King of Adarlan is hosting a competition and whoever remains standing in the end will be his Champion, his personal assassin. If Celaena wins, she will serve the king for four years and then be set free. As the competition begins, Celaena finds herself caught in a battle of wills and not just with the other competitors. The contest takes a more dangerous turn when a contestant is found murdered and Celaena discovers there is something even more dangerous in the castle than herself.

“Aren’t you first going to show me the basics…I was in Endovier for a year, you realize. I could have easily forgotten.”

“From the amount of killing that went on in your section of the mines, I highly doubt you’ve forgotten a thing.”

Celaena Sardothien is a bit of a contradiction. Forced into a life of murder at a young age, all she has known is killing in order to survive. She is ruthless and cunning, with a brazen tongue to boot. But she is also sensitive with a painful past that continues to haunt her. She loves books and music, and dreams of one day being free. The relationships she develops with several characters bring out her vulnerable side, making it impossible for any of them not to care for her. And hurrah! Celaena is given a female friend in Princess Nehemia. I hate when a female character is surrounded only by men, making it feel like the only relationships in her life that matter are with the opposite sex. I’m really looking forward to discovering more about this rebel supporter in the next book.

Yes, this book has a bit of a love triangle. I mention this because I know some readers simply refuse to read books involving a protagonist torn between two guys. I found Prince Dorian to be a more compelling character not when he was with Celaena, but when he was interacting with his father. The young heir feels stifled by the man he is to succeed, and is often at odds with the King’s methods. But what Dorian lacks is a show of strength, that’s not to say he doesn’t have it. It is my hope that he will be challenged in the coming books and become a stronger leader. His relationship with Celaena is rather playful and flirtatious. He is very open and willing with her, which as a prince makes him extremely vulnerable to manipulation and not necessarily by Celaena herself.

I have a lot of love for Chaol Westfall, the young Captain of the Guard. He is a intelligent character with a lot more self-disciple than those around him. Unlike Dorian, he is immediately wary of Celaena and instead of giving her his trust, over time she actually earns it. This is indicative of their entire relationship. The playful exchanges between the two feel earned and thus feel more significant. I felt that his character was challenged more than either Celaena’s or Dorian’s, and in the end he make a significant choice that alters his life completely.

This is my second time reading Throne of Glass because I wanted a fresh look at it before starting Crown of Midnight. I am more impressed by Sarah J. Maas’s book this time around. The fact that Calaena is not invulnerable, but is made more human by her fear of the King, the struggles she has with her past, and the fact that though she may be an assassin, she is not a villain are all enriching elements in this first novel. There is a greater threat to the people of Erilea and I am looking forward to seeing Calaena enter this new battle.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★