Quick Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

a court of wings and ruinThis is a story of how people deal with abuse.  No seriously.  Yes, they are mostly fairies and there is magic and takes place in a land full of both of those things but deep down it’s about the effects of abuse and how we deal with it.  Almost every character has suffered some kind of abuse one way or another.  In A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book of the series, I talked about Feyre’s recovery from not only what happened to her at the end of the first book but emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of Tamlin but Feyre’s not the only one.  Maybe one of the reasons why she and Rhys get along so well, besides that they are mates, is because he also has been abused.  Mor, Cassian, and Azriel all have suffered through emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  They all continue to deal the invisible scars left from it.  On the outside they seem okay but in private with each other, they can share their pain. It’s this reason that this series is important because it doesn’t shy away from these uncomfortable topics but faces them head on.  We struggle through them as the characters struggle with them.  I also think that is why I love Rhys so much.  This is a guy who would do anything for his family, his friends.  Submit himself to such tortures.  Allow the world to see him as a monster.  All to protect his people but he still came out of with hope for a better future.  He took Feyre in knowing she was his mate but never pushed her.  Never forced it on her because he knew what she was going through.  Knew the pain that she was feeling.  Knew how important choices are and never wanted to take that away from her or anyone.  The compassion he shows to Feyre, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and to his people is remarkable.

As for the book itself, it is possible to love a series and book but also not really like it. I experience that with the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I originally felt it was too long and should have ended long before it did or at least be split in two books. It wasn’t until I read the sequel did I understand what I really didn’t like about it and why it was written the way that it was. A Court of Wings and Ruin, I thought it had the opposite problem.  It started off slowly for me and really didn’t pick up until more then halfway through.  I felt there was a lot of unnecessary maneuvering as they prepared for war with Hybern.  I will admit that in the end all of that turned out to be important to the finale of the book but it felt tedious at times.  However, when it got it groove back, it was unstoppable.  It one epic battle at the end and it also brought us more of Feyre’s sister, Nesta, who is the Ice Queen we have always wanted but didn’t know.  The ending felt more like a ending of a series then a transition to the next book.  It definitely tied up some loose ends but there are enough left for another book but I just not seeing how there could be a bigger threat then Hybern.  I guess I will have to read the next book to find out.

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

court mist fury**Spoilers**

I think I know what I really didn’t like about the last half of A Court of Thorns and Roses. The first half I liked but I felt that that second half was like a whole other book that just dragged. After reading A Court of Mist and Fury I think what I really bothered me was that deep down, I knew Tamlin wasn’t worth Feyre going through all the trials and tortures.  He may have loved her but not truly and that was only more evident as he allowed her to fade away while he tried to rebuild his court.  I get wanting to let things settle but she was clearly unhappy.  Unable to sleep through the night and he did nothing but promise once things settle down things will be better.  And worst of all trapped her in his home after she was trapped Under the Mountain.  When you compare Tamlin to Rhys, you can see how truly unworthy Tamlin is.  Rhys is not just in love with Feyre.  He understands her.  He is her equal. Rhys would have been a worthy person for Feyre to go through the trials and torture.

I’ve talked about how YA novels have treats PTSD or getting over traumatic experiences.   It’s infuriating how often they ignore it or have or other characters don’t acknowledge that the hero or heroine is suffering by making them feel worst for not getting over it fast enough.  Here we have two different reactions to Feyre’s ordeal Under the Mountain.  Tamlin seems so consumed with his own pain of what happened to him that he doesn’t see Feyre is wasting away right in front of him.  He’s too afraid of losing her again that he keeps her locked up and it’s stifling her to a point that she can’t recover.from her own trauma.  Rhys gives Feyre time to heal.  He gives her space and pushes her only when he needs too.  He encourages her to learn to read and to test out her new powers.  He does have the benefit of being connected to her through their bargain but he also has the power to read people’s minds.  He introduces her to his friends and lets her in on his plans and decision making. It’s exactly what Feyre needs.  It gives her not only time to recover from what happened to her but understand that the relationship with Tamlin was flawed and in the end unhealthy.  Of course, it also gives her time to realize that she is not only well suited for Rhys but is in love with him.  So to go back to my original point.  Tamlin wasn’t worth the torture that Feyre went through but it was for her to get to know Rhys though.  I’m glad I decided to read this book after only being so-so with the last one.

 

Review: Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli

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This was a good follow up to Game. Set. Match. With the French Open now behind them, Penny, Indy, and Jasmine look to make the quick turn around of Wimbledon.  Probably the most underrated difficult thing to do in any sport, go from the super slow clay courts of Roland Garros to the lightning fast grass courts of Wimbledon.  True, over the years, The All England Club has slowed down their courts in an attempt to encourage more rallies but it’s still unbelievable achievement to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back.  Borg did it multiple times, Nadal has done it twice and Federer only once.  Ok, so you get the point.

All three girls are in very different places.  Indy had a successful French Open, in more ways than one.  She won the juniors and got Jack. Penny beat the World number 1 again but sprained her ankle in the process.  And poor Jasmine, crashed out the first round of the juniors and now is being pushed to play college instead of going pro.  All of their careers are going in different directions and the stakes are getting higher.  How does one balance friendships when your playing for thousands of dollars in the most prestigious tournament in the world?

Now, there are a few things I do have a problem with from a tennis fan perspective.  Indy and Jasmine have to qualify to make the women’s doubles field but when Indy is given a wildcard, she pulls out.  The reasoning is her coach and agent think that she can’t play qualifying and focus on her singles.  For someone who has followed tennis as long as I have I feel this in inaccurate, for lack of a better word.  Young players are often encouraged to play doubles when they are younger.  It gives them more match play, a chance to get real life experience of playing in tournaments.  It gives young players a chance to compete and learn how to compete on a more consistent basis while their singles game improves.  Winning is winning.  However, I understand from a drama point of view, why Miss Iacopelli would decide to go this way and really, I’m being nit picky here.

I do like the friendships.  I like that they are messy.  I like that for the most part, when they do fight, it’s not about boys but about their games.  They all may have dramatic love lives but for all three of them their tennis comes first.  I think it’s important to show that girls can be ambitious, that they can have drive but also have the love and respect of a man.  I hope that there are more of these because now that Wimbledon is over I can’t wait to see what happens at the US Open.

Review: Game Set Match by Jennifer Iacopelli

Featured imageI liked this a lot more then I thought I would and what a perfect time for me to read with just the French Open starting on Sunday.  The players of Outer Banks Tennis Academy are gearing up to play Roland Garros.  There is Penny Harrison, rising star on the WTA, who has just beat the number one player in the world.  Indy Gaffney, a natural talent who is getting back in the game after the death of her mother and Jasmine Randazzano, the daughter of two Grand Slam tennis.  They all of their sights set on tennis greatness and boys.  Despite being billed as a romance it’s pretty heavy on the tennis.  It actually has more tennis action then Monica Seles’ series, The Academy which is kinda surprising.

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So What is New Adult?

I just finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and it was good but I’m holding off posting my review until closer to it’s May 5 released date as request of the publisher. (If anyone is interested in, you can download the first four chapters on your Nook, Kindle or other devices for free. I would recommend it) However, that hasn’t stopped me from reading what other people are saying about it.  In some of the few reviews I have read, I was surprised to read that many people are calling this book a New Adult title instead of Young Adult.  I mean what’s the difference. According to good old Wikipedia.

New Adult (NA) fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–25 age bracket. St. Martin’s Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for “…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’.” New Adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices

Well that clears things up.  So, it’s YA but marketing to adults.  As for focus of issues of home, developing sexuality and education seem to be pretty normal topics for YA to me.  I’ll give them career choices though.  So is this a marketing ploy?  Is it an easier way for parents, librarians and booksellers to recommend books that are age appropriate?  For readers to find more books they like? Or just another way to put books into catergory?

As for A Court of Thorns and Roses the only difference between it and other YA fantasy novels is well sex.  This book contained some of the most detailed sex scenes I’ve read for a novel directed for young readers.  That being said, it also leaves a lot to the readers imagination but goes much farther then other authors have.  If I was still a bookseller, I wouldn’t recommend it for tweens or younger teens not because I don’t think they could handle it but I would be afraid of the parents reaction.  As for me, I’m also an adult who is not at least bit embarrassed to read YA or even children’s lit. It doesn’t bother me if people see me browsing the Teen aisle or reading Cassandra Clare on the train.  Let them think of me what they want.  I’ll read what I want, whether I was target audience or not. I guess that not many people feel the same about it as I do as there articles and articles about whether or not it’s ok for Adults to read YA or not.  I guess New Adult, might assuage some of the fears of people looking down on them because while New Adult may have my cover many of the same themes as YA is supposedly more sophisticated then YA.  RIght?

So I guess I go back to my original question, what really is New Adult Literature? Is it just YA for the college years and older? A new way for publishers to make money? A guilt free pass for adults to read YA? A legitimate new genre?  Sound off in the comments and tell me what you think.