The Assassin & The Empire

I don’t have a review for this one, or much of a synopsis. Although anyone who started the series prior to reading the novellas will know what happens. As I felt it would be after reading the previous novella, The Assassin and the Empire is about how Sam died and Celaena ended up in Endovier.

I had to DNF this one.

Having heard time and time again about Sam being killed in the main books, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the details in this novella. I didn’t care that Arobynn was a dick, because we already knew that, and I didn’t care about how it broke Celaena.

Having really liked the previous novella, I was hoping for more, but I’m sad to say I was disappointed in how bored I was with this final one. Perhaps if I’d read the novellas before the actual books I would have gotten more out of it, but instead I found it repetitive.


Today’s photo prompt was ROYALTY but I forgot my crown is in storage (oops!) so here’s a beautiful dagger. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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And finally, be sure to check out the wonderful A.K. Lee over on her site! There would be no read-a-long without her support and she’s an incredible author and friend. 

The Assassin & The Underworld

In the fourth novella, The Assassin and the Underworld, we see Celaena put in a rough position as she needs to decide what she truly wants while also trying to break free of Arobynn’s hold on her. Faced with the slave trade once again, Celaena and Sam team up once more to see if they can solve her problems together.

I really enjoyed this one! We finally got to see Sam as more than just an annoying brat like Celaena which made me really like him because it made me see him as more than someone equally as annoying as Chaol. Plus the way his feelings and Celaena’s came out felt a lot more natural than the majority of the other flirtations Celaena has had.

Although thinking of Chaol, I legitimately squealed with joy when he and Dorian so obviously showed up at the party. The way Dorian and Celaena flirted was beautiful and – as much as I’ve come to love Rowan – I’m still sad that they aren’t together in the current timeline of the story.

Honestly, the only thing that made me uncomfortable in this story is how SJM conveys the consorts. The way these girls idolize having their virginity auctioned off and have no issue with old men falling over them makes my skin crawl. There’s nothing wrong with sex work, but in the YA context of the story and the way something so dangerous is held to such a high position feels wrong. But maybe that’s just me. Regardless, an aspect of this that I did like was that is accentuated how gross Arobynn is so that’s a plus because he’s gross. 

We have one more story left which I get the feeling will end up being about when Sam is killed and Celaena gets shipped off to Endovier. I hope I’m wrong because I honestly feel that that point in her life is brought up so often that to include it seems redundant. But we shall see.

In the meantime, The Assassin and the Underworld gets 5 out of 5 for me because the parts that made me uncomfortable were seriously outweighed and overshadowed by the cameo from Dorian.


Today’s photo prompt was DEATH. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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The next prompt is ROYALTY as we move into the final story, The Assassin and the Empire!


Also just want to say thank you to those who are following along for being patient with me this week! I’ve been trying really hard to stay on the schedule I made for myself but as I said on Twitter, life just gets in the way sometimes.

And finally, be sure to check out the wonderful A.K. Lee over on her site! There would be no read-a-long without her support and she’s an incredible author and friend. 

The Assassin & The Desert

The Assassin and the Desert follows Celaena on her trek through the desert to meet with the Mute Master and gain his approval or be disowned by Arobynn back in Rifthold. Put in close quarters with strangers for the first time in a long time, Celaena needs to learn what she really wants.

This story started out long and boring, Celaena being spoiled and full of complaints as usual. However, it picked up as Celaena got more and more comfortable with Ansel and Mikhail and even Ilias. This one was a story about patience, and what loss and pain can do to a person. It showed Celaena being given a real choice at how she chose to live her life as she was faced with Ancel, a girl who faced the same fate Celaena had as a child, and what that violence did to her. It made Celaena feel more human to me which is something that I’ve found rather laking in her character.

The only downside I found in this story was Celaena realizing she loves Sam after Ilias tries to kiss her. Maybe it’s just me but the romance plots are not great in this series. Things are getting better in the central plot now that Rowan is around, but still. There’s a lot to be desired there. I do look forward to the next story, and I hope we get to know what happened to Sam after Celaena got beaten (if only so she’ll stop moping about it) and give him a chance to be a person I can care about.

Overall, four and a half out of five!


Today’s photo prompt was VAST. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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The next prompt is DEATH as we move into the third story The Assassin and the Underworld!

The Assassin & The Healer

The story of The Assassin and the Healer is set almost immediately after The Assassin and the Pirate Lord. After having returned to Arobynn and revealed that she freed 200 slaves, a beaten and bruised Celaena has been banished to train with The Mute Master in the Red Desert. On her way there, she stops in a hellish hovel of a town called Innish where she meets an interesting young healer.

I liked this story a lot more than the previous one. Sure, Celaena is still miserable so there is nothing new in that regard, but Yrene Towers is a darling. I liked her character and her sense of doing what’s right even if she isn’t happy with the outcome of her life so far. I especially enjoyed Celaena taking time to teach the other girl how to defend herself around the aggressive drunks and hooligans of Innish so she knows how to get out of trouble should someone attack her.

I honestly don’t think Celaena has enough female friends, and the lack of a lot of female characters in general is disappointing, so I really liked this story showing two gals being pals, even if it was just brief.

I give this one four out of five stars.


Today’s photo prompt was FIRST AID. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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The next prompt is VAST as we move into the third story The Assassin and the Desert!

The Assassin & The Pirate Lord

The story of The Assassin and the Pirate Lord follows Celaena and her companion, Sam, in a moment set before the series begins. Sent away after the death of some of Arobynn’s best, Celaena and Sam are charged with doing business with Pirate Lord, Captain Rolfe, and end up in a situation neither of them particularly likes… The slave trade.

While I enjoyed the story and it’s nice to see that even when she was being ruthless, Celaena cared for people in need, I was annoyed with a lot of it too. Celaena feels spoiled and brattish in this story and her rivalry with Sam feels unnecessary to her character as she literally fights with every boy she’s ever met in the same way. She picked fights like this with Chaol, with Rowan, and also was constantly calling Dorian out for things. It feels boring and repetitive to be entirely honest.

I want to like Sam, knowing how much he comes to mean to Celaena, but as of right now, he’s honestly falling flatter than Chaol. Which is saying a lot coming from me… I hope I get to learn a little bit more about him in the next story so I can care more.

Overall I give this a 3 out of 5. I dig pirates and while she annoyed me, it was nice to see Celaena actually doing things instead of complaining about the things she needed to do (like how she was in Heir of Fire).


Today’s photo prompt was PIRATES so I went to the local boating club and grabbed a few shots of the boats down there. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at @lucieninthestars and use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown so I can see all of you’re beautiful photos!

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Tomorrow’s prompt is FIRST AID as we move into the next story The Assassin and the Healer!

Heir of Fire: First Checkpoint

I apologize once again for a delayed checkpoint, but here is the first one for the #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long of Heir of Fire! By now I hope that everyone participating has had the time to get up to the end of Chapter 17!


Wow! So a lot has happened so far and it’s only the first quarter of the book!

It was a bit of a slow start with Celaena moping on the rooftops of the Wendlyn capital, but I kinda get it after what she’s been through. However, she very quickly got on my nerves with her drunken nonsense so when Rowan (*insert some kind of party gif here*) finally showed up, I was pretty happy. But more on Rowan in a moment.

We got some quick glances of Dorian and Chaol now that they are without Celaena. I’ve gotta say that by book three we should be done with this love triangle and — despite my love for Dorian — it needs to stop before I strangle both of them myself. At least we have Aedion, Celaena’s douchey cousin, to spice things up a little bit. I have been told by the friend my real-time updates go to that Aedion is a good boy to be respected but after he shoved Dorian into a bush and his super sneaky shenanigans at the moment, I think he’ll need to earn his trust.

Another new character I’ve become fond of is Sorscha, the nameless healer from the previous books, rather quickly. It’s nice to have a little sprinkle of innocence in the mix and her little crush on Dorian is adorable and while it’s been hinted to me that her fate isn’t great, I still like her and root for her survival. I mean, we’re basically half-way through the series if you don’t include Assassin’s Blade (which we will be reading next month!), so I’m expecting a body count of main characters to increase as we meet them.

But let’s get to His Royal Highness, Prince Rowan of Doranelle!

This dull grumpy pants very quickly earned my love by decking Celaena right in the face (especially since she 10000000% deserved it for half a dozen reasons). He is rude and snarky and cut-throat and I am so happy to have someone who is just done with Celaena and not also struggling with “””feelings””” like someone we know (*cough* Chaol *cough*). Obviously I know the outcome of his role in this series (and will not spoil it for those who have successfully avoided major plot points from this series) but for the time being I am really loving his no-nonsense attitude and look forward to him finally being the one to get through to Celaena.

And lastly, the best character to be introduced in this book: Manon! With a rather gruesome introduction to the witches of this world in Crown of Midnight, we finally get to meet the rest of them! Manon is introduced when she murders three farmers out to get her but she obviously gets to them first. She is violent, dangerous, and most importantly: ambitious. I’ve been itching for a character like this who isn’t super watered down and I’m so happy to have Manon in my roster of badass female characters because she’s honestly so cool. I seriously look forward to more of her now that the King’s dragon breeding plant (honestly, how cool is that?) has been revealed and the witches will be the ones riding them into battle, I just know it’ll be intense!

I do feel bad about all that’s going on with Celaena but considering who she is, I was hoping she’d be just a little bit more right now. Super excited to see where all of this goes. I predict her magic reacting very nicely with the presence of the dragons.


Next up we’re reading until chapter 34, but don’t worry you have until April 14th to get there! As for the photo challenge this month, it’s only for fun and the theme of WILD CARD can be taken however you please!

 

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Crown of Midnight Endgame

At last we have come to the conclusion of Crown of Midnight! If you haven’t finished the book yet, beware of the spoilers below!


Given my thoughts on Throne of Glass, the main thing that struck me with this sequel is that writing. Compared to book one, Crown of Midnight is significantly better in terms of world building and even character building. I felt that those in the background had a little more weight to them and I felt like I got to know some of them a bit better than the background characters in the previous book.

I really liked Celaena being a cut-throat monster and get some real bloodshed from the Adarlan’s Assassin. I also enjoyed the magic of this book and the mystery of what’s going on. While Throne of Glass had a “bad guy” (Cain) to be defeated, there wasn’t really a main big bad in this book. Sure, Archer was totally not cool and obviously the King needs to be killed, but we knew these things from the get-go. Having more mystery about Dorian’s power and Celaena’s family origins really made this for me and provided a strong reason to continue with the series.

Points were taken from this book for the love triangle attempt and for Chaol in general (sorry to his fans). As we have learned from the last two checkpoints (here and here for those who skipped ahead), I can’t stand Chaol. I want to punch him in his stupid face and take up where Celaena left off and rip the whole thing away. His actions were just so unwarrented and considering how an assassin is technically part of his team when he does security at parties, it would make sense to tell Celaena of any threats to literally anyone in the castle, let alone Nehemia. This was a fictional death that I won’t soon get over because of how easily it could have been prevented by these morons.

And then the love triangle thing with Dorian and Chaol being constantly jealous and/or mad at each other just got tedious. I get it, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt that this time could have been spent elsewhere and honestly Dorian being magical would have been a stronger reason to keep these two separate rather than just fighting over a girl. If anything, all of this nonsense only goes to show how untrustworthy Chaol is.

But enough complaining from me.

Over all I give this a solid and well earned four out of five and I’m more interested in continuing the series now that we’re set to meet some of the Fae (and thank the gods it’s finally out that Celaena is Aelin) and we’re out of Rifthold. A change of scenery is definitely needed as well as a split in the party. Celaena needs better friends, Dorian needs to take a breather, and Chaol needs to smarten the hell up.


Don’t forget to follow @lucieninthestars on Instagram and participate in the photo challenge! There will be prizes! And stay tuned for the Heir of Fire schedule coming tomorrow!

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Crown of Midnight: Third Checkpoint

Coming at you a little behind schedule, it’s the third checkpoint for the #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long! By now I hope that everyone participating has had the time to get up to the end of Chapter 42. If you haven’t, beware of the spoilers below!


When we left off last week, Chaol had just revealed that he had been keeping information from Nehemia and Celaena regarding threats on the Eyllweian (did I spell that right?) princess’s life.

Rushing back to the castle as if she had magic running through her veins, Celaena does not make it back in time to save her friend but goes into such a blind rage she physically threatens Dorian as well as comes within an inch of murdering Chaol – after scratching his face off, that is.

As someone who is not a fan of Chaol, I was happy to see Celaena beat him up. However, I believe that Nehemia was taken from us too soon. There was so much depth and mystery in her character that I think her death would have been more impactful if she had died either at the end of this book or even just later in the series. At the very least, I’m hoping to be introduced to some more ladies for Celaena to befriend if only to try and fill the whole left my Nehemia’s death.

Of course her death prompts some pretty awesome violence from Celaena as she tracks down our old pal, Grave – one of the finalists of the King’s competition in the previous book. Recognizing his style of murder, Celaena goes full assassin mode and get some answers by treating Grave as brutally as he treated the princess.

I loooooved seeing Celaena get truly cut-throat and since I don’t enjoy Chaol, I’m pleased to see that they’re done. (A friend of mine is actually dying over my live commentary to her in which I’ve decided that Chaol’s dad is actually my new best friend because he just showed up and dissed Chaol for an hour.)

But while this section of the book got to the level of violence I was expecting and then some, I also enjoyed learning more about the Fae’s disappearance and the riddles. Although I will say, everyone spent half of the first book commenting on the black rings the King and his goon, Pennington, were wearing and yet Celaena can’t figure out what the riddle means when it mentions three things made of obsidian? Like….

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But then again, the rebel uprising everyone is so focused on keep’s mentioning that they’re working with the lost princess of Terrasen, Princess Aelin, and yet no one has figured out who Celaena is.

This is why we don’t let 19-year-olds run a castle, my friends. They’re too busy banging or just being dumb teenagers to focus on the facts that are literally right in front of them.

But with all of that, Celaena is now probably cursed by legit the creepiest witch in the damn world so things are bound to get interesting really fast. Although it would have been neat to know if Baba Yellowlegs (even her name is creepy as hell) could tell who Celaena really was and I would have really liked to know what Celaena’s reaction to Dorian’s questions about magic would have been. But c’est la vie.

Anyway, I look forward to Chaol’s continued downfall while Dorian rises and figures out that he’s probably part demon. Ooh, and I’d itching to know how the King will react when it gets out that Celaena is Princess Aelin, unless she kills him first which would also be a wonderful moment.

What are your predictions for how this one will end? Let me know in the comments below!


Don’t forget to follow @lucieninthestars on Instagram and participate in the photo challenge! There will be prizes!

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Crown of Midnight: Second Checkpoint

It’s the second checkpoint for the #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long! By now I hope that everyone participating has had the time to get up to the end of Chapter 28. If you haven’t, beware of the spoilers below!


Hello everyone, and welcome to the Roast of Chaol Westfall!

Ugh. Okay. I don’t even know where to start on this one if I’m being 100% honest. I told a friend of mine that I was reading Throne of Glass for the first time and she’s been teasing me with her wondering of how much I’ll have Chaol by the end of this book (and apparently it’s only going to get worse from here) so I knew something was going to happen during this chunk, but I wasn’t sure when it was going to happen.

First off, Chaol just sets off so many red flags for me in this book. He’s too clingy, too invasive, and just otherwise so careless about what Celaena might want that it’s legitimately starting to bug me. I mean, he’s lucky that Celaena is just as incapable of keeping her hands to herself, because if it was me I’d have stabbed him by now. Not to mention that it’s very Edward vs Jacob or Peeta vs Gale in terms of how tacky the love triangle is right now and I just want it to stop!

But the bigger issue with Chaol is that he’s trusting when he shouldn’t be and concerned when he shouldn’t be. Celaena and Nehemia are best friends at this point (and I would honestly rather hear more about that relationship than the hetero-straight romance). If Dorian was getting threats and Celaena was the first one to hear about it, the first person she would tell other than Dorian, himself, would be Chaol. So the fact that he isn’t respecting that friendship is really not cool.

He definitely deserved to be punched in the face by the rebels and I can’t wait to see what Celaena does to him now that she knows her friend might have been killed by the king.

Aside from Chaol and his nonsense, I liked hearing more about Celaena killing everyone in Endovier and even the action sequence of her coming to save Chaol was really awesome. I spent the entire first book waiting for her to be this amazing assassin everyone claims her to be so to even get a glimpse of that in this book made me happy. And also hungry for more.

I liked getting more insight into what Nehemia is going through and even if her being behind the rebel uprising in Rifthold was pretty obvious from the get-go, it was nice to finally learn that she is honestly doing everything she can to not only free her people, but others as well. Her fight with Celaena was brilliant. I love these kind of moral struggles in fantasy and it’s a nice look at the reluctant hero. Nehemia is desperate for help while Celaena is tired of doing everyone else’s bidding. For once in her life, Celaena wants to do what she wants to do without being ordered around or threatened. It’s honestly because of this fight that I really hope Nehemia hasn’t been killed (even if there’s a “yet” that goes with that sentiment) because I want more of that. I want more of the both of them trying to get the other to see their point of view. It’s a thing that I truly love about reluctant heroes in fantasy.

So while the love story is getting on my nerves for the time being (and I look forward to it crumbling apart), and there’s a lot of things happening in the background that I want to know more about now, I’m still enjoying this one a lot more than the first book. The writing so far is a lot tighter and I’m dying to know what’s going to happen to Chaol when Celaena is done with his moronic behind.

How are you liking things so far? Let me know in the comments below!


Don’t forget to follow @lucieninthestars on Instagram and participate in the photo challenge! There will be prizes!

 

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Crown of Midnight: First Checkpoint

It’s the first checkpoint for the #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long! By now I hope that everyone participating has had the time to get up to the end of Chapter 14. If you haven’t, beware of the spoilers below!


Crown of Midnight starts off with a bit more of a bang than how I felt Throne of Glass started, and for that I’m thankful. It’s nice for Celaena to have a bit more free-reign and to see her outside of the castle, but it’s nicer to start off the book with her being an assassin.

Or… sort of…

Given her friendship with Nehemia, I’m not surprised that Celaena is playing by her own set of rules, and saving the lives of the people the King wants dead if they’re willing to play her game. At the same time though, parts of her inner thoughts feel a bit soft. She’s a hardened assassin who was/is known as the best in the lands, so why does she have such a hard time with her job all of a sudden?

Not surprisingly, Chaol and Dorian have been acting like children, being not-so-subtly mad at each other (and Celaena) just because they are boys who like the same girl. It’s a plot point I look forward to being done with quickly since it’s really juvenile considering both of them are supposed to be rather mature. I mean, Dorian is the heir to the throne and on the council, while Chaol is the captain of the guard! While Dorian’s upset make at least a little bit of sense, to me, Chaol needs to get over himself. He killed a bad man and is in a position where that is his job and he should have had to kill many men to get it.

Which honestly leads me to the King. What kind of king has children running his court? The council seems to be old men and Dorian, his personal guard is the same age as his son but is also unaware of half of what goes, and his personal assassin is younger than both his son and his guard! I honestly don’t understand this reasoning.

Now, all that being said, I am actually enjoying this book. The writing feels a lot more solid and I’m liking our new friend Archer so far (even if he is a bit of a coward). I look forward to seeing more of the politics game being played outside of the castle as well as inside with the introduction of Dorian’s skeezy cousin, Rolland. I want to know more about who everyone thinks Aelin is (my money’s on Celaena) and what this rebellion is about. I want Nehemia to spill some beans that I know she’s keeping secret. But I think most of all, I want to know if the eyes at the end of our stopping point belong to a certain someone that the fandom is obsessed with.

What are your thoughts so far? Leave a comment!


Don’t forget to follow @lucieninthestars on Instagram and participate in the photo challenge! There will be prizes!

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Have you been taking part in my #twotogcountdown?! Today is the first checkpoint for #crownofmidnight and I am hyped as hell for it! Be sure to check out the blog for the write-up and let me know what you’re thoughts are! 🧡 👑 🧡 Today’s theme is BATTLE TOOLS and while many of my props are in storage, I still have my wrist wraps. Did you know I used to do martial arts? I was quite good but after a concussion during a sparring class I gave it up. I miss it sometimes. What tools would you bring in to battle? 🧡 👑 🧡 #booklr #bookstagram #bookgram #bookstagrammer #bookgrammer #bookphotography #bookphoto #readersofinstagram #reviewersofinstagram #books #book #bibliophile #igreads #igbooks #booklover #throneofglass #sarahjmaas #twotogcountdown #wristwraps #readalong

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