Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert

The Assassin and the Desert

eBook
published: 2012
publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens

Blurb:

The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. Quiet suits her just fine – until she begins to suspect there’s a traitor in the fortress, and she must determine which of the mute and mysterious assassins is her deadly adversary. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ novella in the Throne of Glass series
+ short, quick, good
+ always entertaining to spend some time with Celaena

My Opinion:

This novella, set in the world of Celaena Sardothien, takes the reader into the time prior to the actions in the first novel Throne of Glass. We get to know how Celaena learned many of her skills – here with the silent assassins – and what has happened and turned her into the person that she was at the beginning of the book series.

I enjoy the glimpses into her past, the stories that were only hinted at in the books, and I still like her. The story was interesting, though not the fastest. It offered a great inside into Celaena’s emotions and the acts that influenced her life.

Bottom Line:

A good, quick and interesting read.

Rating:

rating 4

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My Reading Month June/July

Since I did not manage to write a monthly summary for June, I have combined both June and July this time and I was surprised how much I read and listened to in these months.

During the past months, I listened to more audiobooks than I read physical ones and I have to admit, that I did start to enjoy to watch an occasional TV series again – I have limited my TV watching due to my project worked which focused on TV series. But now, I spent some time with the good old Star Trek Next Gen – which I loved when I was younger and still love. Oh the good old times. But back to business.

In June, I read two books and I listened to six audiobooks – two of them being children’s stories about an hour long.

Books:

Octavia Butler – Parable of the Talents

This is the second book in a duology and it was a good and interesting read. I really enjoy Butler’s writing. I don’t want to spoil so I will refrain from summarizing and it is quite complicated to do anyway. As I said, the story was good, but I could not relate to either the protagonist nor her daughter.

Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

The last book in the series was as fast-paced and exiting as the ones before. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and their developing relationships and the new characters. I did not see some of it coming and I always waiting for some twists that never came. Great conclusion.

The Bitter KingdomStorm Glass

Audiobooks:

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Hexer und die Henkerstochter

The fourth book (or audiobook) in the series. A historic crime novel centering around murder and is solved by a grumpy executioner. It was interesting, fascinating (I really enjoy all the middle age day-to-day facts), thrilling, sometimes funny, and sometimes a little sad. Great book.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Die Schlacht ums Labyrinth

I have read the books several times and I came across this audiobook in German, so I picked it up. I wanted to see if I like the story translated into German and I enjoyed it. I have to say that I like the original a little better (at least the book version) but that is maybe due to my familiarity with it. Translations are always tricky. But it was done really well.

Bibi Blocksberg wird Prinzessin

Bibi is one of my childhood friends, and the audiobooks centering around this characters are the ones that I listened to repeatedly. This time the little witch (the main character Bibi) is suddenly turned into a princess and has to find her way back to her time line. Fun and entertaining.

Sabine Martin – Die Henkerin

Another historical novel: this time a young woman witnesses the murder of her family and in order save herself she hides as a boy living with and learning to be an executioner. But than she meets the person who murdered her family and she has sworn to avenge them. It was a good read, though it was a little jumpy between different perspectives and times, it was still good to follow and interesting.

Die Zeitdetektive – Freiheit für Richard Löwenherz

The story about 3 time traveling friends who visit different times in order to learn more but then get caught up in an adventure. This is always fun and filled with interesting historical facts that I have either learned in school and long forgotten or that I really did not know. Well done and I think really great for kids.

Kai Meyer – Die Wellenläufer

The last audiobook this month is a fantasy adventure about pirates and two children who can walk on water. This is again another wonderful story that is great for children and that was fast-paced and fascinating. Who does not love pirates and who wouldn’t want to walk on water. Really enjoyable.

Master of Crows Radiance

So, after a quite successful June I had an even better July. It took me a little to get into the swing of things. I did not start to read until well into the month and I managed to read most of the books within a little more than a week. A little time off is something really beautiful. Well, in July I managed to read 7 books (two of them novellas) and listened to 4 audiobooks. A great month.

Books:

Grace Draven – Radiance

I have been circling this book for a while as it had great reviews so far. I was in the mood for some fantasy and I really enjoyed the story. Two people of different species were married in order to ensure peace and trade agreements between their two courts and both think the others are extremely strange and hideous to look at. The story was nicely paced, entertaining and the characters were not flat, though not fully developed either. Towards the end it was quite sexually explicit (which surprised me a little since I did not read anything before going into this book) but it was only short and did not dominate nor hinder the stories fluidity.

Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass

I have loved the Study trilogy with Yelena and Valek. Now this trilogy focuses on Opal a character from the first trilogy. It was a good read, though it was a lot more annoying that Opal just seemed to stumble from one incident and accident into the next. She never saw things coming and her naivety was getting onto my nerves a little. Still, it was interesting and I am curious to see how it continues.

Grace Draven – Master of Crows

After Radiance was an enjoyable read and this e-book was quite a bargain, I started to read this. The story was OK, and the premise interesting. I liked the world creation, though I would have liked some more build up. However, this one was very explicit and centered a little too much around any form of procreation. If you are still under aged: don’t.

the assassin and the pirate lord The Assassin and the Desert

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert

I finally continued to read some Celaena Sardothien stories. Since the stories/novellas build on each other, I will not talk about the content. It was an interesting story with a few more or less surprising twist and turns. You could see them coming, but they were not obvious. It is interesting to see how she develops after what happened with the Pirate Lord and how things slowly change.

Nina Blazon – Laqua: Der Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

I needed some children’s adventure story and I picked up this gem by a German author. Two children have to spend time at their grandmothers in Venice and strange and evil things start to happen. An old force is trying to possess the children’s aunt. Can they stop worse from happening? A fun and entertaining read that made me want to go to Venice and start reading more adventure books set in Venice, yet I did not have any with me at the time.

Richard Stark – The Handle

This is a crime novel that was recommended and gifted to me by one of the members of my committee who attended the defense of my dissertation and since that was about crime series, we started to talk about crime fiction and the Parker novels. It was an interesting read from the perspective of the criminal. It was short, quick, entertaining, a little hard-boiled-esque, and a great in between novel. If you like the hard-boiled writers, give this one a try.

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Underworld

The next novella in the Throne of Glass series was as entertaining and again build up on the ones before. It was interesting to also see the emotional and personal struggle of Celaena to come to terms with who she has become and who Aborynn really is.

The Handle Nina Blazon - Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

Audiobooks:

Bastian Bielendorfer – Mutter ruft an

This book is somewhat of an experience report about the authors unique and yet sometimes surreal mother. It was a good book, although it took me some time to warm up to him. A nice audiobook for in between.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Gefangen in der Unterwelt

I have read the first books in physical form and now I have come across the third book as audiobook. The story was captivating and thrilling (even more than the previous ones), there was a lot of mystery that is not yet solved, and it is closely connected to the previous book. I only had some issues with the reading – the voices in which some of the characters were read, were quite annoying.

Iny Lorentz – Die Kastellanin

This is also a second book in a series written by a German author or better a duo. It is a historical novel focusing on adventure, political conspiracies and murder. It was beautifully read and thus captivating. Enjoyed it very much.

Sabine Weigand – Die Seelen im Feuer

Another historical novel that centers around the witch burning mania in the middle ages. It was interesting to see how and why they were accused and burned. Sometimes it was a little descriptive for me, but I am very sensitive. So it might not bother someone with a tougher skin or stomach 🙂

So this is or better was my very long monthly summary or summaries in this blog. I am quite happy. I hope the next one will be as successful and I hope that I finally manage to get my blog up to speed again. I am currently also working on another project and it is a lot more complicated to keep track of things.

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (A Throne of Glass Novella)

the assassin and the pirate lord

eBook
publisher: Bloomsbury Children
published 2012
Pages: apr. 100

Book (English)

Blurb:

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes – and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ a short novella in the Throne of Glass series
+ a prequel to Throne of Glass
+ we get to know Celaena when she is still the number of assassin of Arobynn Hamel
+ we meet Sam
+ short, entertaining, fun to read and to get back into the world

My Opinion:

I have read the first two books in the Throne of Glass series and I have the third already on my TBR though I have not picked it up yet. In order to get back into the world, the writing and the character, I picked up this short novella.

Celaena is sent to an island to collect payment from the Lord of the Pirates only to discover that the payment is not money but slaves. She is not only not happy about this but starts to develop a plan that can change the fate of the pirates, the slaves, the assassin’s guild, and her own life.

I really enjoyed the story, it was fast-paced, not too predictable, funny, and entertaining. Though some people complained that they did not like Celaena, I personally did. I did not see a great difference between the Celaena back than and the one in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. You could already see that she follows her own code. I enjoyed meeting Sam and I am really looking forward to learning more about him and their relationship.

The writing was fluent, the characters well-developed for such a short story – should this, however, be your first introduction into the world of Celaena, you might not be as happy about this story as I am. Read Throne of Glass instead. You will enjoy that a lot more.

Bottom Line:

A good short, fast-paced, entertaining novella. Great for reintroduction, maybe not for the first introduction into this world.

Rating:

rating 4

December/January Book Haul

Since I did not manage to post a haul for December, I decided to combine my December and January hauls. I have accumulated quite a few books over the past two months. But it was Christmas and there was my birthday and then I was stressed and needed some treats 🙂

Sarah J. Maas – Heir of Fire

This is the third book in the trilogy (which is now turned into a series; maybe kinda like Trudi Canavan’s Black Magicians Trilogy which continued with the Traitor Spy Trilogy; I am not sure). I am looking forward to continue and/or finish the trilogy, yet I am reluctant to start. It took me a while to get into the second book and I did not enjoy it as much as the first. I just hope this one is better and has some form of closure.

Rae Carson – The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom

These are books 2 and 3 in the trilogy, which I have read over a year ago (I think even 1 1/2 years ago). I gifted them to myself for my birthday. I really enjoyed the first book because it was a different to other fantasy series, but I am not sure if I should reread the first one since it’s been a while.

Terry Pratchett – Dodger

I have never read a Pratchett novel. I don’t know why, maybe because I am not sure whether they are a series or just set in the same world without being dependent on each other. They were just to many of them and I was confused. However, I found this one as a bargain and thought I might give it a try.

Renee Holler – Das Geheimnis des Goldenen Salamanders

I stumbled upon this adventure novel for children or maybe young adults, which is set in England in the 1670s (I think). It is a historical adventure story and I am currently in the mood for either reading or listening to them. They are primarily fun and exiting without the whole teenage angst all the time. I hope this one will not disappoint.

Walter Moers – Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher

Like Pratchett an author that is widely famous in Germany and I have not yet read a book. I found this in a bargain bin because it had a few scratches, but I had to give it a new home. It is a later book in the series and again I am not sure whether I need to read the others before in order to understand or if they are somewhat stand alone only set in the same world. But I will figure that out.

december 2015 haul

Wolfram Hänel – Ein Fall für die Weihnachtsdetektive

I could not walk past this book: a Christmas story told in 24 chapters and of course a crime story for children. It is illustrated and in order to get to each chapter, I have to separate the pages. They are “stuck” together and I have to open each chapter. The book is also illustrated and the writing is in red. I just really like the design.

Marliese Arold – Dem Pharao Versprochen

I have read some books by this author and enjoyed her writing and her stories. This is set in Egypt (I like) and tells the story of a young woman who has to marry the Pharaoh but likes someone else. Sounds a little mushy, but there are times when one really is in the mood for mush.

Vicky Alvear Shecter – Mondmädchen/ Cleopatra’s Moon

Another book set in Egypt about Cleopatra’s daughter. Well, I really like the old myths and stories about Egypt, so I took it home.

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Hieronymus Frosch: Das hat die Welt noch nicht gesehen

I have read and some and own quite a few books by the author and I love them. The stories are cute and entertaining. Great for reading to your kids and short as well. The illustrations are wonderful and since this book is about an inventor frog, the writing is in green and some of the illustrations are also in green, while others are in color.

Patrick Carman – Strengstens Verboten: Willkommen im Hotel Whippet/ Floors

Another kids book which sounded quirky and fun. The Whippet is a hotel in which Leo lives with his dad, who is the maintenance man. He stumbles into an adventure when he discovers boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles and ducks. Sounds good and fun, so I took it with me.

Nina Balzon – Lagua: Der Fluch der Schwarzen Gondel

I listened to a time travel novel set in Venice when I came across this book also set in Venice. This book seems to also have a supernatural touch. A coursed gondola, two warring families, and four kids who try to discover the truth. Sounds like a good adventure story.

Josephine Angelini – Goddess

The final book in the Starcrossed Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first two books. They were entertaining and easy to read. I really like to know how that whole situation unfolds and concludes. I looking forward to meeting old friends.

My Reading Month January

My reading year did start a little turbulent. I have put my back out and could not move very well. I finally finished my project and handed that in and ever since that I am not the same anymore. Everybody always said that you will fall into a hole and I always believed that I will be so relieved to have time to read and will do nothing else. But I haven’t finished a book since I am done. I cannot sit down and concentrate. I feel restless most of the time. Thankfully, I still enjoy and can concentrate on audiobooks but only because I am constantly on the move while doing that. Hence my reading month was not successful at all.

Thomas Hermanns – Das Tomatensaft-Mysterium: Fliegen in der Comedy Class

This was the first book that I finished in 2015 and it was a nice read. A German comedian wrote about his endless experiences flying in Germany. We accompany him from booking to flying and he points out the weird, the funny, and the plain crazy about the flight experience. It was entertaining and it made me laugh a few times. Entertaining read but not breath-taking.

the assassin and the pirate lord

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This is the first novella set in the Throne of Glass series and it shows how Celaena Sardothien, now the kings assassin, has lived before she was captured and “won” her place at the palace. I enjoyed the story because it connected me back to the world and I thought it was interesting to see what kind of person she was and what she did prior to the Throne of Glass novel where we met her. Good read.

Sadly this was it concerning my reading month, but since I don’t want this post to be super short, I just add the audiobooks that I listened to this month. All of them were read in German. Three were written by German authors and two where written by English-speaking authors. I will also add the English title below.

Alison Goodman – Eona: Drachentochter/ Eon – The Rise of the Dragoneye

I have already read this book some time ago and really enjoyed it. I wanted to know what it would be like in German and it did not disappoint. Eon is a potential candidate to become the next Dragoneye, but he is crippled and he is really a girl. Eona. But it is forbidden for girls to be a Dragoneye. When the Mirror Dragon, who has disappeared 500 years ago, suddenly returns and chooses Eon as its Dragoneye, plans, intrigues, and secret plots take on a live of its own. Wonderful story, still trying to get my hands on the next part.

Sarah Lark – Die Zeit der Feuerblüten

A historical novel set in New Zealand and combining the narrative strands of many characters that slowly intertwine. It was very entertaining. Something about Sarah Larks writing and story telling hooks me and I have to know how it continues. Really good.

Eva Völler – Zeitenzauber: Die Magische Gondel

A young adult time travel story. I really enjoyed the premise and the story. Young girl travels in time, cannot go back because of some weird rule, has to stop a horrible event from happening to save the future, has to uncover some conspiracy to do all that and be allowed back into her own time. It might sound cliché or a little convoluted, but it was a great story. I really liked it.

Hilke Rosenboom – Die Teeprinzessin

A young adult historical novel about a young girl, who knows and loves tea, but is not allowed to work as anything else than a maid. After many trials and tribulations, she finally gets her chance to travel to China and India to buy tea and is entangled in even more adventure. Although I was a little annoyed with the protagonist at times, it was again entertaining and interesting. I surely appreciate my tea a lot more now.

Jessica Khoury – Die Einzige/ Origin

The last audio book is again a young adult novel. I must have been on a roll since it was again really good. Somewhere in the Amazon lives a girl who cannot die. She has never left the compound she was born in, she was bred to withstand disease and even death and she is lonely. After she has to chance to escape for a little bit, she learns a lot more about the world, herself, and the people who have created her and how she was created. The story started a little slow but picked up pace in the second half. I really liked the protagonist and I was able to understand why she acted the way she did. Again a very good audio book.

Sarah J. Maas – Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight

paperback
publisher: Bloomsbury
published 2013
pages: 418

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

Crowned By Evil.

Bound By Duty.

Divided By Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the Kind of Ardalan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood – but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, puts those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of the kingdom…

In (Very) Short:

+ 2nd installment in the Throne of Glass trilogy
+ entertaining and exiting, ever-increasing narrative pace
+ so many unforseen twists and turns that I am as unsure who to trust
+ fluent writing, beautiful cover, fantastic story world

My Opinion:

This books caught me right in the early stages of my reading slump. I have been reading on this for a long time, not because it was bad, but because I knew I needed to read this in as few sittings as possible. This is not a book where I could read a couple of pages at the doctor’s office and then put it away. So I needed time that I didn’t have and then there was my reading slump.

After Christmas I had the time and the patience to sit down and read again and suddenly I was done in 2 days. This is the second book in the trilogy and continues with Celaena’s life as the kings assassin. She has so far faked the deaths of the people the king sends her out to kill. That arrangement works fine as she is send into distant parts of the kingdom to do her job. Now she has to work within the city walls. Can she keep up the pretense and who is gonna get hurt?

Just like the first book the cover and the back of the book are amazing and beautiful. The writing again is fluid and vivid and draws you deep into the story. The world building continues to amaze and fascinate me and only with a few but precise hints and glimpses here and there can the reader put the secret of Celaena’s origin together before the characters in the book do. The past history of the protagonist is not completely revealed and I hope it will be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in the final installment.

Though the start of the book was a little slow and lengthy for my taste and the lovey-dovey stuff a little too much, it was necessary for the later part of the story. The pace of the narration slowly increased and towards the end of the book I was breathless. The betrayal that Celaena felt was more evident because of the lengthy and love filled beginning.

Maas is able to create twists and turns that I did not see coming and that keep the series so interesting. Like Celaena I am not sure who to trust and at times I am not even sure whether to trust Celaena or not. Since the story is told from the point of view of Celaena, Chao,l and Dorian, the reader is able to perceive the situation within the kingdom as a whole. But there are still so many things unsaid and unexplained. I still need to know more about the Fae, the other kingdoms, Elena, what happened to Kaltain and Dorian’s cousin, and what happened to Sam and why.

Bottom Line:

A wonderfully exiting book with an ever-increasing narrative pace and a story world that I need to know more about.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Month December

My November reading slump continued way into December and picked up again towards the end. During the Christmas days I finally found the leisure and peace to sit down and read a little more and I did read five books this month.

December Haul

Alan Bradley – I am Half Sick of Shadows

My first book this month was the fourth Flavia de Luce mystery. I enjoyed this one as much as the previous books. It is funny, entertaining, I really like the dynamic between Falvia and Dogger, and the crime itself gives the book a nice whodunit touch. If you, however, intend to read the book as a crime story, you might be a little disappointed because it takes quite a while for the crime to take place and the investigation to start. But I read the books because of Flavia, so I wasn’t disappointed but enjoyed my crime free time with her as well as her investigation.

Petra Schier – Vier Pfoten unterm Weihnachtsbaum

I have read my first Christmas novel and I honestly did not know what to expect. I have watched my fair share of soppy Christmas movies, so I thought when in the right mood… The story itself (as most other Christmas story) was fairly predictable, but I wanted a happy end and all that. It was a good and light read that made a rainy day a little easier to endure.

William Shakespeare – Julius Caesar

Since I have so many classic authors on my shelfs because of my studies, I though I’ll try to pick up one of those every once in a while and the first one was Julius Caesar. I don’t feel like I am ready to write a good review about it yet because I will have to read a few more of his works (for comparison). I know I did not enjoy this as much as The Tempest, but Shakespeare has always been good so far.

Sarah J. Maas – Crown of Midnight

I finally finished this book after a long break. I knew that I needed to read Crown of Midnight in as few sittings as possible. This is not one of those books where I read a couple of pages and put it down again. In the first pages I was a little disappointed because it was quite soppy. The focus was on the relationship which was nice but a little too much. That’s another reason it lay for a while on my nightstand. I just wasn’t in the mood. However, the pace of the narration and the story itself increased soon and in hindsight this (for me) prolonged love thingy was necessary to understand the later actions. I was riveted throughout the rest of the book. Not as good as the first, but good.

Pauline Francis – Rabenlady

This was a young adult historic novel that I stumbled upon short before Christmas break and my mother (sneaky as always) secretly bought it for me. It’s about the young Lady Jane Grey (the Queen of England for nine days before Mary Tudor reclaimed the throne) and her life and way to the throne. While she was a historic figure, her potential love interest was imagined, but the story itself was beautiful, somewhat tranquil, and sad. Though the pace of the story was slow, it was an interesting take on a time in which England was midst religious uncertainty – a good read.