House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

First Lines: There was a wolf at the gallery door. Which meant it must be Thursday, which meant Bryce had to be really gods-damned tired if she relied on Danika’s comings and goings to figure out what day it was.

It was unintentional, but I kept putting off reading this Sarah J. Maas read because…well, copies at the library were always taken. And I wasn’t super excited about it. It wasn’t ACOTAR. So when I finally saw it on the shelves at the library, I decided it was time.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life–work during the day, party all night–until a demon murdered her best friend. Lost, wounded, and guilt-ridden, Bryce now has to pick up the pieces of what’s left of her life. When the accused murderer is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself as part of the investigation into what’s actually happening. And she’s determined to get justice. Hunt Athalar is a Fallen angel, now enslaved to the archangels he tried to overthrow in favor of a more democratic world. His skills and strength have now been given one purpose: assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with murders now happening throughout the city, Hunt has been given a deal he can’t turn down: help Bryce solve the murders and earn his freedom. As Bryce and Hunt go into the city’s underbelly and discover power and secrets that could ruin everything they hold dear, they also find a blazing passion between them. It could set them both free if only they let it…

OK, HEAR ME OUT. I have gone back and forth with my rating (between 4 and 5 stars) so many times now. So let me just call it 4.5 and be done.

Maas is Queen, fair and square. I am not denying that. This book was stunning at times in the best way. I think I spent 4 hours just trying to finish it because it was all so intense for so long and I had to know what happened.

Bryce is a wonderful lead female. As half-human, half-fae, Bryce is considered “weak” at best and “worthless” at worst by the other supernatural beings that live in Crescent City and belongs to a very rigid caste system. But Bryce doesn’t let that stop her from being the sassiest thing on two legs. When you’re at the bottom, what do you have to lose if you run your mouth to the most powerful people in the city? It’s brash, it’s stupid at times, but it is so entertaining. I love her.

And Hunt. I truly thought at first he was going to be a more “adult” version of Rhys from ACOTAR, but I was pleasantly surprised that, while there are certainly similarities, they are also two very different characters. Hunt is technically a slave, owned by the Governor of Valbara to do his dirty work. He’s been beaten and tortured for a couple centuries now, but he’s never truly been broken. Still, these things make him a bit more reserved a lot of the time, especially compared to Bryce’s impulsiveness and quick mouth. It was interesting to see how they balanced each other out.

I already alluded to it already, but the last…400? 500? pages of the book was really interesting. The story gripped me pretty well at that point and over a couple of days, I was grabbing for it whenever I had time to see what happened next.

BUT.

I know this is the first book in a series, but man, the first 100 pages or so were really slow. I legitimately didn’t know where the story was heading because nothing happened. Like, even the book jacket wasn’t helping me out at that point. And I kept getting lost in the terms. The multiple districts of Crescent City that are often referred to by nicknames (FiRo instead of Five Roses, if I remember right), the various creatures and demons, the hierarchy, etc. It was a lot to take in and there was just nothing driving the plot yet to really motivate me to figure it out. Honestly, I needed a glossary.

And I know I already made a fleeting comparison to ACOTAR, but I realized as I was reading this that it has a LOT in common with Throne of Glass. Like, they’re not the same story by any means, but there are multiple elements in common. I know Maas’s writing style at this point. I knew Bryce was going to be mouthy before I even picked up the book. I have a feeling there’s going to be a relationship curveball coming in the following books with someone. We’re building a Team of multiple friends and relatives to eventually (I’m assuming) overthrow the caste system. Like, this is all Maas’s writing to a T. I see the patterns now in what she does. So, for as much as I do absolutely love her writing, it’s not surprising anymore.

Still, I think this is absolutely a fabulous read and should at least get looked at by anyone with an interest in fantasy.

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7)

Image result for kingdom of ashFirst Lines: He had been hunting for her since the moment she was taken from him.

Alright, y’all, I finally did it.  This has been sitting on my shelf since August after months of putting it off prior to that.  Why did I wait so long?  Partly because I feared what would happen, partly because it had been 3 years since the last time I read about Aelin.  (I read Tower of Dawn like a year or two ago, but Aelin wasn’t in that book.)  I feared it had been too long since I’d followed her story.

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead.  Dude, it’s the final book in the series.  Proceed at your own risk.*

Aelin has vowed to protect her people at all costs–and what a terrible cost it’s been.  Locked away in an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin will have to rely on her strength to get through the torture Maeve has in mind.  Because if Maeve learns anything at all that Aelin is hiding, it could mean the end of everything she loves.  But each day is getting harder and harder to withstand.  With Aelin captured, her friends are scattered across the lands, desperate to fight back in whatever way they can.  Bonds will grow deeper, some friendships will be tested.  And some will not make it.

Before anyone starts berating me for my rating, I just want to say that a lot of my issues with this book simply stem from the fact that it’s been so long since I read the previous books that I struggled to remember what happened. But I also had a few other minor issues.

But first, what was good. Obviously, as the last book in a series, there’s a lot that still had to happen. The last time we saw Aelin (two books ago), she was in some Pretty Serious Trouble, to put it mildly. So I was absolutely looking forward to seeing how that played out and I was pretty satisfied with that.

I also adore these characters. I reread my previous reviews before reading this and in most of the reviews, I had specific characters that I adored and wanted to see more of as time went on. First Chaol. Then Aelin and Rowan. Then Aedion. Then Elide and Lorcan. Then back to Chaol and Yrene. I mean, there isn’t a terribly written character anywhere in this series. One way or another, you come to love most of them. And that’s pretty awesome. (Until it isn’t. I mean, this is the last book in a series. Things happen…)

And now we start getting into what was a little dicey for me.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been so long since I read the other books (Empire of Storms was November 2016!) that I truly had a hard time remembering things. I relied heavily on Google during the early chapters to remember who some of the characters were. But the great thing about Maas’s writing is that once I saw what happened to those characters in previous books, I actually usually had a pretty vivid picture of something they did in my head.

Also, I’m still not over the fact that there are so many references to things that happened in Assassin’s Blade and it isn’t quite part of the series. At this point, I gave up on ever reading that and just dealt with not knowing who Captain Rolfe was beyond Empire of Storms and a few other characters.

But perhaps one of my strongest beefs with this story is the same issue I tend to have with a lot of final books in series: the Final Battle. I mean, look, I get it. We’ve been building up to a Standoff for the last six tomes in this series. We’ve got to have something epic to end on. But with this book being a monster 980 pages, I felt like 75% of this book was engaged in some sort of battle. And while that was fun and exciting in the beginning, it was starting to get a little old by page 600.

It didn’t exactly help matters that the story was told from about 12 different people’s perspectives. Yes, I wanted to see what they all had to say. I’m not exactly bemoaning the narrators. But it seemed a lot of the time like 6 of the characters were fighting all the time and we’d get a short reprieve with 1-2 of the others for a time, then we were back in the thick of it. And as dark as this story gets, it was hard to be stuck in those dark emotions for long enough to make any serious progress on the book.

In the end, the ending was pretty satisfying though.

Look, we all know Maas is amazing. I’m certainly not discrediting that. I just felt this was not one of her better books. And I discovered a few years ago that I adored A Court of Thorns and Roses series more than this one, so I could be a little biased in that regard.

Ten More Books To Try If You Like Sarah J. Maas

Hey everyone!  So my last list of books you might like if you like Sarah J. Maas is easily my #1 post on this blog.  And since I published it over two and a half years ago, I thought it was time to update the list a little.  I still 100% stand behind my previous books, but I’ve read a lot more since then (over 250 more books) and I’ve come across a number of them that I think you’ll love!

Now that Maas has more or less completed her two best-known series (ACOTAR and Throne of Glass), I think we definitely need something else we can sink out teeth (or souls) into.

Ten More Books To Try If You Like Sarah J. Maas

1. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Why: This book has one a number of awards for its outstanding storytelling.  (In fact, it was up for the Goodreads YA Science Fiction and Fantasy award in 2018, only to get beat by Maas.)  Like Maas typically does, this book has multiple narrators, sweeping landscapes, magic, abuses of that magic for nefarious purposes, and characters who don’t know they’re own strength until they’re tested.  It’s a wonderful read.

2. His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers

Why: This series is a favorite of mine.  It’s historical fiction (mostly), but it does deal with pagan gods and assassins who worship a death god named Mortain.  These assassins frequently get pulled into political games of chess where it’s a kill-or-be-killed world.  Like Maas, these girls are clever, dangerous, and deal a little in their own brand of magic.  The medieval setting does feel a little like a fantasy world, which helps too.

3. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Why: Only the first book out in this series, this book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, much like ACOTAR.  In it, Harper is taken from her hometown of Washington, D.C. and dropped into the fantasy world of Emberfall where a vicious beast is destroying the land and Prince Rhein needs Harper to help break the curse.  Since ACOTAR and ACSDAL are coming from the same source material, the stories do have quite a bit in common.  I had a hard time putting this book down when I read it.  Bonus?  Harper is an even stronger and more unconventional heroine for overcoming the limitations of her cerebral palsy.

4. Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Why: This series took the YA world by storm when it came out.  This fantasy about a kingdom where those with silver blood have magical powers and those with red blood don’t will surprise you every step of the way.  Mare is a Red, but when she discovers she has powers, it turns the entire kingdom on its head.  And there are many people who are not ok with this and want to see her dead.  You’ll get swept up into this story in no time.

5. The Diviners series by Libba Bray

Why: This is another historical fiction, this time set in the 1920s, but the Diviners are a group of people who have abilities.  These abilities all manifest themselves differently, but they all quickly see they have much in common.  Especially when people of the time start pushing back against them and monsters are lurking in the dark, waiting for them.  Seriously, these books are so good at letting off that creepy, unsettling vibe that I do no recommend reading the endings right before bed.  I have very clear, vivid memories of how the first book ended because of how haunting it was.

6. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Why: One of only two standalone novels in this list, this urban fantasy captured my attention from the very first sentence.  In this world, people can make deals with demons for anything–escaping a bad home life, getting the promotion, etc.  In exchange, they have to give up their hearts.  And when Dee, our main character, gets pulled into more supernatural incidents, it completely changes her world view.  I’m pretty sure I read this book in about one sitting because I just could not put it down.

7. Scythe series by Neal Shusterman

Why: This immersive dystopian series doubles as a scathing social commentary about where our world is headed.  This may not sound like something you’d enjoy if you’re looking for a Maas-esque fantasy, but this series is equally impossible to put down.  Teens are trained to be Reapers in a world where death no longer exists unless a Reaper kills them.  Like Maas, there are a lot of abuses of power, backstabbing, betrayals, and intricate plots you won’t see until it’s already happening.  It’s so good.

8. City of Bones and/or Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

Why: Well, I’m guessing many of you have already read these books, as City of Bones has been out for over a decade, but they’re worth putting on this list.  As urban fantasies, these books put demons and other creatures into otherwise normal locations to wreak havoc.  But we also have the very interesting world of the Shadowhunters, which plays by its own rules.  This was one of a few series that got me into fantasy enough to eventually build up to Maas.

9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Why: Perhaps the most unexpected choice of the list, this book is easily one of my favorites.  Judge Stephenie Meyer all you want, but this series beautifully created a world where Souls took over the human race, supposedly for the better of the world.  What I love most about this book is how I get sucked into it.  When Wanderer feels something, I feel it too.  I become the characters, feeling their pain and joy right along with them in a way that I don’t feel very often on my fourth or fifth reread.  It still gets me every time.

10. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Why: This dark series does feel a little dated at first.  It, like many mid-2000s books puts a cheerleader and a goth boy together to work on a class project and weird things ensue.  However, this series is based off of Edgar Allan Poe’s work, which is its own level of dark and messed up.  That leads to some time spent in a fantasy world where everything could be dangerous and death could be lurking in any corner.  With a healthy dose of humor, though, this story isn’t as depressing as you might expect, and it stars a heroine who really kicks butt.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)

Image result for a court of frost and starlightFirst Lines: The first snow of winter had begun whipping through Velaris an hour earlier.  The ground had finally frozen solid last week, and by the time I’d finished devouring my breakfast of toast and bacon, washed down with a heady cup of tea, the pale cobblestones were dusted with fine, white powder.

You guys know I’m a Sarah J. Maas junkie, and I especially love this series.  But I tend to naturally stay away from novellas in a series just because.  However, I’ve learned my lesson with Maas: usually what happens in the novellas becomes big in the later books.  So I needed to read this.

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

Feyre, Rhys, and their friends are trying to rebuild the Winter Court.  It was destroyed in the wake of their last war, and everyone is ready to put the past behind them and continue on.  But the Winter Solstice is coming and with it a nice break from the stress of rebuilding a devastated city.  Still, a festive atmosphere isn’t enough to banish the shadows surrounding them all.  And soon, she learns that some of those nearest to her are still harboring some very real wounds.

Ok, maybe it’s just me, but this felt like a miss. Maas is usually top-notch, spot-on with nearly every book she writes. But this?

Nothing happened.

It was basically a fluff Christmas story (though they called it Solstice). Characters walked around, observing how their world has changed since the war. They love each other, they try to buy Solstice presents, and some of them fight/make life difficult. Other than that, literally nothing happens.

Oh sure, there’s some stuff here that’s absolutely going to pop up in later books. No doubt about it, if her other series is any indication, since that includes info from the novellas all the time. But oh my God, I just kept waiting for some action. And I don’t mean the sexy kind. I mean the fights, because these have been killer thus far.

But…nothing. Like, I can’t even tell you what the plot of this book is. I teach my students to write a story that builds to a certain point, a point where the conflict has been building to. I couldn’t identify plot, climax, none of it.

The only nice thing was that it was good to see these characters again. The bad thing is that it was all just snippets, like watching the trailer for the next movie in a saga. You see pieces of what’s to come, but not enough to really even entice you.

I’m really disappointed with this. And if the next book that comes out is a novella as well, then this could really start dragging.

Top Ten Best Fictional Couples

So Friday (7/6) was International Kissing Day or something like that, so I got thinking about the best fictional couples, the ones I adore reading about the most.  I feel like this is different from my favorite fictional crushes because there is different criteria for this.  For example, when it comes to my crushes, I’m looking for the characteristics that mesh the best with mine.  For the couples, I’m looking for the ones whose personality traits mesh well together.  I’m looking for couples that balance each other well, the ones that I fight for to stay together through every hardship.

Will there be some overlap?  Undoubtedly.  But I think it’s going to be enlightening nonetheless.

And if you’re not into series or if you’re looking for a standalone contemporary romance, I made sure to include those on my list as well.  Hopefully you can find something you haven’t read before!

Top Ten Best Fictional Couples

1. Henry and Kate, The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter

So, this is one of my favorites series to reread (in large part because of the Greek mythology, I won’t lie) but also because of the level of emotion I feel from Kate.  Kate is sweetness and despair, constantly intertwined.  Henry is completely closed off, seemingly emotionless, hopeless all because he lets fear rule his life.  I love that Kate never really gives up on him and that he has a lot more depth than he ever shows anyone else.  It’s awesome.

2. Rhys and Feyre, A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Y’all, let’s not even pretend to be surprised that these two are on the list.  Besides the fact that Rhys made it onto my swoon-worthy crush list AND I just did that spotlight on Maas books on Friday, it was pretty much certain that these two would show up at some point.  These two are the perfect counterpoints to each other.  They both have a lot of bravado and snark, but they feel pain deeply.  They both strive to protect others until their dying breath and they are utterly vicious toward anyone who wants to hurt them.  Their similar personalities also mean that arguments are explosive.  It’s delightful fun to watch them fight and make up.

3. Anna and Etienne, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I don’t think I give this book as much credit as it deserves.  I adore these two because when I first read this book, it was like they were speaking to me.  Anna was me. But what I like about these two together is that they’re encouraging.  They see what the other’s hopes and dreams are and they listen and push them to reach it.  It’s not an easy beginning to their relationship, but I think it makes them stronger for it.

4. Penryn and Raffe, Angelfall series by Susan Ee

I debated a little with this one.  Like, were they actually a couple of epic proportions?  But considering the story involves explosions, death, and dismemberment, I’d say it’s pretty epic.  We’re talking angels, so everything is on a massive scale.  The danger level is high, which means the emotions run that much stronger.  They’re both bitter about the life they now lead, but they find someone who understands in each other.  And while that maybe doesn’t lead to a perfect life, it does show exactly how far they’ll go to save the other.

5. Scarlet and Robin, Scarlet series by A.C. Gaughen

Ok, this couple right here needs to stop being so freaking adorable.  The life Scarlet’s running from is absolutely awful, so awful that she’d rather live dressed as a boy than let anyone even guess who she really is.  The fact that she trusts Robin means a lot because she no longer trusts anyone.  And Robin, while being understanding and sweet, is undeniably fierce when it comes to protecting her.  I really enjoy reading about these two.

6. Kate and Matt, Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Do you ever have a book that you read and you just can’t get it out of your head, no matter how much time has gone by?  That’s this book for me.  This couple is different from many other couples.  Kate is religious and quiet.  Matt is silly and a nerd who grew up into all his delicious glory.  It was so much fun to watch these two try to understand each other, to learn from their mistakes, and to finally acknowledge their feelings.

7. Charlie and Braden, On The Fence by Kasie West

I think this is easily my favorite Kasie West book.  Charlie is a tomboy.  She hangs out with her brothers and plays all the sports.  Braden is her neighbor and best friend of her brothers.  They’ve known each other forever, so when the feelings start becoming more than that, it runs the risk of making everything awkward.  But I loved that Charlie really doesn’t fit the mold of a typical romantic lead and that there is this that friendship between them before it becomes something more.  It’s sweet.

8. Christian and Elyse, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

When we’re talking about two characters that balance each other out, I don’t think there are two better characters than these.  Elyse is from the Caribbean, a talented singer who lost her voice in a freak accident.  Christian is a rich boy who lives on the coast with his family and is pretty much spoiled.  They’re complete opposites in so many ways, but Christian sees Elyse in ways that no one else does.  He’s the only one who treats her normally, not like she’s broken.  She’s the only one who sees the pressure being piled on Christian’s shoulders.  I adored that balance.

9. Ali and Cole, the Alice in Zombieland series by Gena Showalter

Again, this is a couple that balances each other well.  When Ali and Cole meet, she’s almost afraid of her shadow because of what happened to her family.  Cole is tough as nails and definitely someone Ali should be running from.  But he gives her confidence and treats her like a person.  And Ali softens his edges.  Again, it’s a very cute couple, even though they’re quite terrifying at the same time.

10. Sydney and Adrian, the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

I have a very hard time deciding between Sydney and Adrian or Rose and Dimitri, from the companion Richelle Mead series, Vampire Academy.  But I ended up going with Sydney and Adrian because of their amazing character development.  And it’s not just that Adrian grows up–it’s Sydney too.  She finally starts to realize how important other things are in life, starts to question what she’s seeing.  But together, these two are magical.  There’s just something so compelling about how Adrian can pull out Sydney’s sillier side as well as see her in a way that she doesn’t feel like anyone else has seen her.  And there’s something wonderful about the way Sydney saw a spark of promise beneath Adrian’s sarcastic, self-destructive exterior.  They understand each other in a way that is simply beautiful.

Compare This! Throne of Glass vs. A Court of Thorns and Roses

Hey guys!  So like, I have a short attention span sometimes and my Weekly Obsessions posts…yeah, I’m bored with them.  And while I was driving the other day, I got an idea for a new type of post called Compare This!

So here’s the deal.  I’ll take 2-3 books, books with movies, works by the same author, etc., and I’ll compare them to pick which one I thought was better.  (You are free to disagree with me.)  I like to think of it as a Face Off/Boxing Match, if you will, where these two are duke-ing it out for my favor.  And this first match isn’t pulling its punches.  Let’s get started!

The Throne of Glass series

VS.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series

(Both series are written by the incomparable Sarah J. Maas)

Image result for throne of glass series

Throne of Glass

The Pros:

  • This series has a number of rock stars for main characters, characters that just get under your skin and then you can’t get them out of your head.
  • The necessity for cleverness means you never quite know what’s going to happen next because it’s just a master chess game.
  • Suspense.  Oh my God, the suspense this series creates!  Once you start these books, you need to plan your days around your reading time because you aren’t going to feel capable of putting them down.
  • The world building is excellent.  Even returning to this book after a year (while I wait for the next book), I can pretty easily fall back into the world of Adarlan.

The Cons:

  • Sometimes the plot is too convoluted.  Later in the series, there are almost too many characters in too many different places.  You have to keep track of a large number of plot lines all at once and, with a year between books, it’s complicated to do that with a series that’s still not finished.  I can only hope there’s a massive payoff at the end.
  • There’s usually a portion of each book that seems so slow.  In almost every review I write, I talk about how it took me a while to get through because something bogged me down.
  • The jumping between all the narrators can feel jarring.  I know that I have struggled with that throughout a number of these books, especially as it gets later in the series.
  • Six books in this series (so far) means that this series almost feels like it’s been going on forever.  It can be hard to keep a reader’s attention on the same series for 6+ years.

Image result for a court of thorns and roses

A Court of Thrones and Roses

The Pros:

  • I adore that the first two books seems to be almost retellings of classic stories.  (The first truly has a Beauty and the Beast vibe, and we all know how I feel about that.)
  • The characters are fantastic, from the ones you root for to the lowest of villains.  Every single one of them is magnificently written.  Ask anyone who’s read this series and they will all have different favorites and–if they do like the same character–it will be for a completely different reason.  They’re so multi-dimensional.  It’s been a long time since I’ve fangirled this hard over characters.  (My computer is telling me I’ve invented a new word there, but it’s the truth.)  Like, it will be decades before I stop thinking about how much I love these characters.
  • The world building.  I feel like this gets bonus points for writing two worlds, the human world and the fey world.  Each one has its own characteristics.
  • So much cleverness in the plotting.  Little hints are dropped in the previous books that come back, little moments earlier in the book you didn’t notice, etc.  It all comes back.
  • THERE ARE THREE MORE BOOKS PLANNED.  I JUST LEARNED THIS.

The Cons:

  • The fact that there are three more books planned.  When a series is supposed to end as a trilogy, everything pretty much gets wrapped up, and this one did.  So…um…I’m nervous about what these books could do next.  Maybe they’re more of a spin-off?  Because I think Feyre’s story has been told.
  • I felt that the last book lacked the same energy as the first books.  The first two were emotional roller coasters that grabbed you by the heart and didn’t let go.  But the last one, because Feyre was more grounded by then, didn’t engage me the same way.
  • For as much as I adored the characters (and I so did), there were times I felt disconnected from them.  And I can’t tell if that’s indicative of their characters (which, some of them are more closed-off/introverted/tight-lipped) or if that’s something with Maas’s writing style.
  • If you’re not prepared for it, the level of romance in the books can surprise you.  For all of their marketing as YA, these are New Adult at the very least.  Keep these books away from the youngest of readers, please.  It’s very…descriptive.
  • You may have to invent new curse word to deal with the feels you get from this series.  Rereading my previous reviews, mine included: fudgenuggets, Jerusalem’s Ghost, Holy Profanity Batman, Saints alive, and so help me Zeus.

 

My Winner: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Why?  Overall, I found this series hit more of the right notes with me.  I’m a very character-driven reader.  I crave the emotional connections with the characters and this did it for me.  The narration focuses almost exclusively on Feyre rather than bouncing from character to character like Throne of Glass does.  That helps me stay more in the zone with the emotions and the plot.  We’re learning everything just as Feyre is.  I like that many of these characters rise in ranks not because of any powers, but because of their merit, which isn’t always quite the case in the other series.  I also liked the pacing of this series, being wrapped up in three books (give or take) rather than how the other one is still going and going.

Both of these series are absolutely phenomenal and win Goodreads Choice Awards every single year there’s a new book.  So really, no matter which one you decide to read, you’re going on an incredible journey to a fantasy world where strong characters fight against evil and darkness.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What do you think?  Did I make the right decision?  Did I leave out anything?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!