Yay or Nay: Pairing Off All the Characters

A while back, I read The Lunar Chronicles, a series that I absolutely loved and enjoyed, but something I couldn’t help noticing, was how each of the main female protagonists were paired-up with the male protagonists. This isn’t specific to this series either. In Throne of Glass, all the main characters get together – and don’t even get me started with The Mortal Instruments.

After noticing this trend, and seeing as it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided I wanted to explore whether I actually enjoyed this trope in YA by highlighting the pros and cons. So without further ado…

Pros

  • Give Me All the Ships! – When all the leading characters get paired-up, you get the opportunity to obsess over a bunch of new ships in the story. Personally, I enjoyed all the couples in The Lunar Chronicles, for different reasons.
  • And They All Lived Happily Ever After – When you reach the end of a novel and find that all the characters have actually survived the mayhem, it can be heart-warming to see all them all happily together, plus, it adds a sense of closure to the story.
  • Diversity – Having multiple couples in a novel offers the chance to see a variety of relationships in one book. A great example of this is Six Of Crows; we get to see a relationship with a same-sex couple, a relationship of mixed ethnicities, and relationships with different body types. This helps to normalise diversity within couples.
  • Drama! – Let’s be honest; when your protagonists are dating each other, that brings a lot of tension and drama to the story, which can be really fun if it’s done right. Without the drama, we wouldn’t have had amazing ships like Malec!

Cons

  • Convenient, Much? – It can feel a little too convenient when all the leading characters develop feelings for each other and pair up.
  • Too Much Drama? – I know I said I love the drama of pairing up characters in romantic relationships, but if this overshadows the main plot, this can become very infuriating. I don’t want to feel like I’m reading a romance novel if I’m reading something else.
  • Unnecessary – There’s no need for all the characters to get together. In real life, many social groups are a mixture of couples and singles. Characters in books can be the same.
  • Mismatched – If the characters put together are not a match, this can be very annoying to read. I know there’s a lot of divided opinions in Throne of Glass with regards to certain pairings, and I have to admit that when two characters are put together that I don’t like, it can make me enjoy the book less.

My Final Verdict: YAY!

I don’t mind a little romance in novels, even if it is a little convenient when all the characters get together. As long as it’s done right, it can enhance the story, and allows you to become invested in the characters even more.

What are your thoughts on pairing off all the main characters? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Top Ten Books of 2017!

Happy New Year everyone! As we begin 2018, I’m in a reflective mood, so I’ll be listing my 10 favourite reads of 2017 (I am including a series as one spot). So, without further ado…

10. Legend – Marie Lu

legend

9. Illuminae/Gemina – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

8. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

percy

7. The Call – Peadar O’Guilin

the call

6. The Darker Shades Trilogy – V.E. Schwab

5. History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

history

4. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

3. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

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2. Lord of Shadows – Cassandra Clare

lord of shadows

1. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

How about you? What’s your top ten reads of 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Book review: A Court of Wings and Ruin – By Sarah J. Maas

kTitle: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Date: 2nd May 2017 – Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Pages: 699
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Links to purchase: Amazon UK, Waterstones

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

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.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. (Goodreads)

Initial Thoughts

I’m always really excited to see how a series is going to end, and this one didn’t disappoint. I do feel as though we didn’t get full closure with everyone, but Sarah J. Maas managed to conclude what was a really enjoyable series in an action-packed and well-developed way.

Characters

I’ve always liked how Feyre’s mental health was addressed in the series, and that continued in this book as she slowly got stronger, both physically and mentally.  She developed so many relationships throughout the series that it would be impossible to talk about all of them, but I love how she found a family with Rhysand and his court, especially when the one she had in her mortal life was…difficult, to say the least.  In terms of her family from the mortal realm, the dynamic between her and Elain and Nesta was so tense since they were all so different, and I think Maas managed to blend these different personalities together well. The sisters didn’t always get along – especially with the shade Nesta was constantly throwing at everyone – but in the end they were all loyal to one another.

Rhysand, hands-down was the most complex character in the series, my opinion of him being drastically different from the first novel. He was self-sacrificial, which at times could be frustrating, but I think he and Feyre made a perfect pairing since he allowed her to make her own decisions while still trying to protect her, unlike certain people *cough* Tamlin *cough*. In terms of Rhysand’s court – I so badly wanted Cassian and Nesta to get together! Every interaction they had just made me go ‘gaaah kiss already!’ The only characters who didn’t really develop for me was Azriel, and Mor’s reveal in this novel kind of came out of nowhere for me.

Tamlin. I still couldn’t stand him. Nuff said.

Amren. Loved her, always have. Nuff said.

Lucien. Slightly redeemed, don’t want him to get with Elain though. His realisation that Rhysand wasn’t the villain he painted himself out to be was really interesting, and I’m curious to see where Lucien’s character would go from here.

Plot

This book made me very bloodthirsty for revenge – especially on Ianthe – but what this book actually does is show how war is not a glamorous, beautiful thing, and that killing your enemies doesn’t just ease all your pain (deep, I know).  I’ve said this a million times now, but Maas’ strongest skill is her character relationships. Even with people I didn’t like *cough* Tamlin *cough* or Hybern or Ianthe, I was still fascinated to see what course of action they’d take, or learn about their motivations. The book opens up in a fun way – Feyre playing mind games with the Spring Court and working cleverly against Ianthe, so right from the off-set I had a good time.

I’m not saying that every single book necessarily has to be diverse, but it was good to see an array of races and sexualities in the novel. Without getting too heavy, I know that there are certain issues – like a certain character’s sexuality in this book that seems to come out of nowhere, or certain tropes, like all the bisexual characters sleeping around – nevertheless, I was really surprised to see such a diverse amount of characters in the novel – even a High Lord with a male partner!

From start to finish I was fully gripped – the battles were intense, and just when it looked like our group were winning, Hybern would do something else to thwart the main group’s plans. There were so many twists and turns that I could never really tell what was happening or how Hybern was going to be stopped, but I couldn’t wait to see how things were resolved (which I was very satisfied with). The novel does end with the world being a changed place, which I think will lead right on to the companion novels, especially as some of the character relationships weren’t given complete closure – like Cassian and Nesta, or Lucien and Elain.

Overall…

This was a great conclusion to the series, but still allows for more novels to follow and expand this wonderful world that Maas has created. I’ve really enjoyed reading about these characters, and I can’t wait to see what Maas comes up with next!

My rating:

five of five

Book review: A Court of Mist and Fury – By Sarah J. Maas

17927395Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Date: 3rd May 2016 – Bloomsbury
Pages: 626
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy

Links to purchase: Amazon UK, Waterstones

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.  (Goodreads)

I wanted to review this book as soon as I finished it, but life got in the way! Before I even started this book, everyone told me how great it was, and they weren’t wrong! This was so much fun to read, and really expanded the world. Plus, it was a great set-up to the final book in the series.

I’ll be honest when I say that I wasn’t a massive fan of Feyre in the first book, but she got a lot of development here. One of the things I always found strange about fantasy books, was that the characters seem to adapt to things really quickly, i.e. killing people and fighting monsters. It was refreshing to see that after her ordeal, Feyre really struggled with the things she did Under the Mountain, and the exploration of her PTSD was handled strongly. As for Tamlin… I wanted to strangle him! I got the hint of him being controlling in the previous book, but he took it to a new level in this one. Sarah J. Maas is great with her characterisation because every time his name was mentioned, I wanted to throw my book, especially with what he does at the end of the book (which I won’t spoil). All I’ll say, is that I hope he gets taken down in the next book! Ianthe and Lucien need to suffer some consequences too – more so Ianthe, since Lucien was just trying to be loyal, even if his actions were wrong. And can I take a moment to say how much I hated the mortal queens!

Rhysand. Pure perfection. I loved his chemistry with Feyre – he is such a complicated character with multiple layers, and every time he was in danger I couldn’t breathe, there were so many tense moments involving his character, and this book almost gave me a heart attack on multiple occasions. I loved the introduction of his court as well, particularly Amren, as I think her character has a lot of potential for the next book. Each of them were well-crafted, and I thought the group dynamics were really well done.

Despite being longer than the first book, I read this one a lot faster, simply because there is so much at stake. Feyre has so many enemies in this book – Tamlin being one of them – and there were so many times where I wasn’t sure who she could trust. I’m constantly saying how I don’t like romance, but the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand was beautiful to read. Feyre’s powers were also cleverly explored, and watching her use her new abilities to complete certain goals was fun. The main plot to do with the cauldron and the books did remind me a little bit of the Throne of Glass series, but not enough that it bothered me.

Overall, I loved this book, and I think it is a massive improvement on the first one. I am so pumped for the final book in this trilogy!

My rating:

five of five

Book review: A Court of Thorns and Roses – By Sarah J. Maas

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author:
Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Date:
May 5th 2015 – Bloomsbury
Pages:
416
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Links to purchase: Amazon UK, Waterstones

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. (Goodreads)

I absolutely love the Throne of Glass series, so when I heard that Sarah J. Maas had started a new series, I was really excited. As a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, this book introduces us to a brand new world, and a new set of interesting characters that I overall enjoyed.

In terms of characters, I wasn’t personally invested in Feyre a lot of the time – I did sympathise with her situation, and I think her family dynamic was really interesting, but a lot of the time I did find that I couldn’t really connect with her. As for her relationship with Tamlin, I was intrigued to see how their relationship would develop – I figured that they’d have to fall in love eventually, but the journey of getting there was exciting (and frustrating at times!). I did get the sense that Tamlin could be a little controlling, so we’ll have to see how that plays out in the rest of the series.

 By the end of the book, I have to say that my two favourite characters were Lucien and Rhysand. Lucien, because of his loyalty and comedic timing, and Rhysand, because of how complex he seemed. I think Rhysand’s character will play a large role in the  rest of the series, and I liked not knowing whose side he was on.

As for the plot, I really enjoyed the mystery element of the curse – we were told many things at the beginning of the story that later on turn out to be untrue or a distorted version of the truth, and I liked those twists.  The masks in particular were really fascinating. The reason why I love reading fantasy books is because I love exploring new worlds, and I think the world building was done really well here, I just hope in the next two books we get to see more of this world.

For me, the ending was the most enjoyable, as we learn about the character Amarantha, and the threat she poses. Everything to do with the trials and Rhysand was the most interesting, as this had the most intense scenes, and like I said, I was really curious about Rhysand’s character, especially after the deal he made with Feyre. I will say that the riddle Feyre had to solve at the end was really obvious, but the story reached a satisfying conclusion for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book as an introduction to this new world, and I think the characters have a lot of potential, especially the way things ended. For me, this is a great set up for the next book, which I can’t wait to start. I’m torn between giving this book a 3 or a 4, but…

My rating:

four of five