Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles, #1)Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
Fantasy
494 pages
Read Sept 2 – Sept 29, 2018
Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 1
Realm of the Elderlings, Book 10

Spoiler-free blabber

I buddy-read this book with Zezee! This is what feels like our millionth Robin Hobb buddy-read, and it was just as enjoyable as all it’s predecessors. 😀

I think that I would have enjoyed this book more if the previous Hobb books in the Realm of the Elderlings series weren’t The Tawny Man trilogy. I say this because to me, Tawny Man is her best works so far. I loved that series. So coming down off that and going into this one, I think my expectations were a bit too high, or I was still not over the previous one.

Overall, I did rather like this book. It was very enjoyable, and I feel like it’s a strong set-up to what could be a really, really good quartet. But, with my mindset still partially on The Fool and Fitz, my heart was still a bit distracted, so I feel like I couldn’t give as much affection to this one because Fitz and The Fool weren’t in it.

The characters that were in it though, were nice and gray and complicated, just how Hobb loves to write and them and I love to read them. Each one within the first book developed distinct personalities and motivations. Some of them I very much like, others I started with disliking and ended up liking and some I started with liking and ended up disliking.

Alise. Probably my favorite character in the series at this point. In the beginning of the book, she enters into a marriage contract with Hest, a prominent trader in Bingtown, which would allow her to pursue her study of dragons in earnest. Alise starts as a character that has never really been the center of attention but by the end of the novel, becomes more confident in herself and her skills and what attention she does receive from the other characters, she revels in. There’s a gray area with her in this though, but saying what it is would be a spoiler, I think. Overall, her character growth in this first book was good to read, and while she is my favorite character, she’s toying a very fine line in morals. It’ll be interesting to see which way she ultimately slides.

Hest. Easily my most hated character. Alise’s husband, he’s a bit of a jerk. I think his character arc was the most easily predictable for me. I was able to guess ahead of time why he acts the way he was acting, and to have to play out almost exactly as I predicted kinda let out some of the steam I had had going for this book. There was only a small detail about it that I had not predicted, but man, that detail is coloring other characters more complicated and makes interactions between others more hypocritical. AUGH I LOVE IT. I don’t like Hest, but as far as his part to play in the story, his actions are going to cause a lot of waves, man.

Sedric. This is the character I started with liking and ended up disliking. In the beginning, I saw him more as a pure and innocent and overall good influence in Alise’s life. But as the story progressed and we got to read from his point of view, we get to see that all is not well in Oz. He’s gray man, his moral compass is all over the place. He’s righteous in some areas and a hypocrite in others. He’s a very interesting one to read from for sure. I feel like his character arc has a lot of room for growth. I hope he becomes even more complicated.

Leftrin. This is the one that I started with disliking and ended up liking. Leftrin original struck me as a sly, manipulative individual, with his actions in the beginning of the book. And he might still be and is just good at hiding it, but seeing him interact with Alise and others, he’s warmed to me. He seems like he genuinely wants to be better, despite wanting to gain a profit along the way. I feel like this character is another one that could surprise me with his growth.

Thymara. I know this character got a lot of screen time, but she is one I’m still the least connected to. I like her overall, but I feel like I haven’t really gotten to read deep enough into her yet. I know her motivations, and I know her personality, but nothing has really struck me about her character yet, if that makes sense. I hope in the next book that she gets more POV time so I can read more from her and hopefully grow to like her as much as I like Alise.


Plot-wise, this book was rather slow. The reading wasn’t slow, I blew through it, but the speed at which things were happening was slow. This book, about half way through it, Zezee and I realized was just set up for the next books. Not saying that it was bad, but nothing really happened until towards the end of the book.

Most of the book was taken up by world-building and character development, both of which were really neat. I feel like Robin Hobb’s ability to build her world in the book with so much depth and distinction without it feeling like an info-dump is one of her best talents. At no point did I feel overwhelmed with trivia, nor did I get bored reading. Everything flowed really nicely and I found myself being able to open the book and read 100 or 200 pages in a single sitting. Her writing was compelling even though, as I said, I felt like nothing super major happened plot-wise. I think it was the anticipation of the next book that kept me going – with everything that was built up in this book, the next book sounds like it’s going to be even more wonderful.

So overall – I liked this book. The character development was good, the world-building was good. I just was hoping for a bit more plot, I guess. Plus, Fitz and the Fool – I want them back, man. MY HEART, IT YEARNS.

3.75/5 stars

Konmari-ing my bookshelves – Part 2

Coffee Time

Hello! Last month, I made a post called Konmari-ing my bookshelves – Part 1 where I pulled all my books off the shelves and sorted them into ‘keep’, ‘maybe toss’ and ‘toss’. Today I’ll be going into the end result of that, starting with how I divide the ‘maybe toss’ books, and then going to what my books and book room look like now.


Dividing the ‘Maybe Toss’ books

These were the books I was unsure of. This is how they were finally divided:

Kept:

  • Wolves Rain vols 1 and 2
  • Mushishi vols 1-4
  • Monster vols 1-4
  • Remnant Chronicles trilogy
  • Airhead

Tossed:

  • Days of Blood and Starlight
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters
  • Bonman’s Daughters
  • Scryed vol 1
  • Tsubasa vol 1
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here
  • Little Women

Many of the books I ended up tossing from this pile and in my ‘Toss’ pile have been picked over my friends, who took whatever they wanted. The remaining ones will be donated.

Putting the books back on the shelves

I kept it organized more or less how it was beforehand. I ended up switching the nonfiction and the manga shelves though, and I put the graphic novels above the sci-fi instead of after the classics. And hey, I actually have open shelf space for more books now. After Christmas peeps, still holding out.

I have a small video clip of the shelves – not going to do a closeup for the sake of a bookshelf tour post in December. 😛

Sprucing up the room

Now that the books were done, I decided to finish my long-term bucket list of actually getting a reading chair. So, I bought one! And I’ve bought a lamp since, as well. Well, I bought four lamps, because the one I wanted came in a four pack. Now I need to figure out what to do with three lamps.

But.

The chair!

https://embuhleeliest.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/cdc86-40851265_232258554302984_1535123371241856453_n.jpg

I’m smitten, guys.


And that’s it! Books are now cleaned up, remaining ones that need to be donated will be soon-ish. Until then, they’re sitting in a pile on the floor.

Happy reading!

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Blabber

(I’ve decided to change the review titles from ‘yapping’ to ‘blabber’, just because that’s the catch-phrase of my blog as is. So there. :P)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha Trilogy, Book 3
Read Jan 12th (the whole thing)
422 pages
YA Fantasy

-Spoilery blabbing-
Dun read unless you’ve read the book or don’t care about being spoiled out your ass.

I started this book this morning around 4am and stopped only for about 30 minutes at 7:30am so I could drive to work, where I promptly started reading again because it was dead as hell. It’s now 1:30pm and I’ve just finished this thing.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a complete series so quickly before. I started The Grisha trilogy on Jan 5th. The first two books took me two days each to read, then I read a different book for a day while I waited for this one to arrive in the mail, then I buzzed through this one in about 9 hours. I feel like the speed at which I read these makes my opinions on them different than they would be if I would have taken them slower, but who knows.

This third book, the final in the series, was a very bittersweet read for me. Overall, I really liked it, but it left me feeling bleak, I guess. The story picks up in the caves where the characters had escaped to at the end of the second book – the setting stayed there for a few chapters or so while Alina recovered got worse under the Apparat’s care. Honestly at this point in the book, I was under the impression that Alina’s powers were gone, kaput, nada. I reasoned this much from her saying just that at the end of the second book. But hey, low and behold, it was just because she was out of direct sunlight. Which in itself is fine, but she seemed to know as much – she actively sought sunlight so she could use her summoning abilities again. It just confused me – why have her state her powers were gone if she knew that weren’t? Not a huge deal, but I feel it was unnecessary. Image result for jaimie alexander

The book itself has a bit of a slow pace during the cave scenes but picks up fairly quickly
once they escape from it. One of my favorite parts
about this book is the character development, particularly Zoya’s. In book one (and part of two) she was a very one-dimensional stereotypical mean girl. She still kinda holds onto that persona, but at the same time, we get to see a bit more into her personality and sense of humor, which was a refreshing change. I keep picturing Jaimie Alexander, who played Sif in Thor, in my mind as I read for her, too. So she’s totally and completely cast in my mind and any other choice if they make a movie or tv show will pale in comparison, hawhaw.

But anyways, the meat of the book: The ending. I both loved and hated the ending. When I was reading and when Mal was killed, I got upset. And then when the Darkling was killed I got really upset. Like, that almost ruined the book for me – Alina sitting in the sand with the two deadies on either side of her. Like really. It would have been awful to end it that way. But Mal ended up living, which saved the book for me. If she would have ended up alone and mourning both of them, I feel like I would have cast this book away and never looked back.

But Mal lived and Alina is happy. And Nikolai lived as well, though I feel like I wanted to read more about him.

But the Darkling man, the Darkling. WHY did he have to die. I feel like his death is what caused this book to bump down to a four star rating for me. Until that point, it had been a solid 5 stars easy. There were so many ways he could have lived and the plot would still make sense. But ugh man. Ugh. I’m so mad about that. Honestly it’s mostly because I’m team Darklina all the way. (I fully understand that he’s awful and in no way suitable, but like I said since the first book, I was fascinated and was rooting for him hahah). So now I need to go find my non-canonical fanfiction and just stew in there for a bit, thank you. But even with my ship not happening aside, the character still could have lived. Buh. BUH.

Happy-sad-frustrated ending to the book. It was a really good ending – a really solid ending and honestly probably the most logical one for all the plotlines that had been set up and needed completed. It was good. But it wasn’t what I wanted. 😛

Rating: 4/5 stars

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | Spoilery Yapping

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha Trilogy, Book 2
Read Jan 7-Jan 10
432 pages
YA Fantasy

– Spoilery Yapping –

Don’t read the following unless you’ve already read the book or don’t care about being spoiled out your ass.

And the award for the most insecure couple goes to! I swear, I’m getting so tired of reading about two people that can’t effing talk to each other when they’re mad. That’s like… the foundation of a relationship, yo. You need to be able to talk to the person you love even when you’re mad at them. Goodness. And not to mention the exchanges they do have are super unhealthy. Both go out of their way to say things to hurt the other. You don’t do that in a relationship either. You be nice.

So aside from Alina and Mal’s super frustrating interactions or lack thereof, I rather enjoyed this book. I’ve decided to drop the review bit for this one, just because it’s book two and it’s hard to do a review for a sequel without spoilers anyways. So here we are.

This book is a rather solid sequel I think, buuut I’m thinking I liked the first one a tad better, mostly because Alina and Mal aren’t being dramatic all over the place in it. And the Darkling in this one definitely wins the creeper award. Yes, let’s sneak into people’s bedrooms and smooch them all over in their sleep. Totally not creepy. (And yet I’m still fascinated with the guy. I should despise him but I don’t and I don’t know why).

I think one of the best parts of this book is Nikolai. He’s just too cute. He’s the one character that got me laughing out loud during this thing when everyone else was either brooding, crying, bleeding or a combination of all three. Nikolai is definitely a strong character and I hope he has a big part in the third book (which I can’t start right away because my shipment from amazon hasn’t arrived yet SIGH).

The pacing of this book is a lot better than in the first book, so there’s a strength that this one has. I didn’t feel like the book was stalling and then dumped everything on me at once this time. But I’m noticing the use of ‘convenient plot devices’ more and more in this series and I gotta say I’m not digging it. And by convenient plot devices, I mean the entire end of the book occurring because it was sprung on the read that ‘oh hey the older prince was dumb, by the way’. No build up, nothing. Just ‘here’s the reason why I’m going to write these next three chapters’. It was all tell and no show. I mean I guess it worked because it fit the prince’s character, but at the same time, it was mentioned in the past tense which rubbed me in a way that suggested to me the author didn’t want to write out earlier what could have caused the end events. Maybe I’m alone in this, but ew.

And now instead of the dreaded love triangle I was sensing in book one, now I think I’m picking up on a love square. Alina, who feels she’s unattractive and dull and plain and whatever… apparently has the attention of three, count’em three male super handsome suitors that range in alignment from chaotic good to lawful evil. I’m sure you can tell who belongs where. But really, for someone who is supposedly so plain, she’s sure good at rounding up the dudes, regardless of their actual intentions.

I don’t know man. Maybe this trope is actually starting to bug me. It’s probably because Alina’s character is starting to bug me – I’m losing patience with her actions and reactions when interacting with other people. I feel like she’s not actually pausing to think about what she’s saying or the possible outcomes. More than once I read the line ‘as soon as I said it, I regretted it’. Then why did you say it. There are checkpoints in your brain, you know. You have a frontal lobe. Control that shit. I’m getting tired of plot happening because Alina said something stupid and then ‘immediately regretted it’. Yucky. At this point, I’m kinda rooting for the Darkling to win.

And from what I wrote above, it probably doesn’t sound like I enjoyed the book, but I totally did. The main character is just aggravating. :”D The plot and setting and all sorts of stuff though are still pretty great.

Can’t wait for book three! I’ve heard it’s rather polarizing as far as opinions on it go. So I’m sure I’ll have a lot to yap about afterwards.

4/5 stars


Happy reading!