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!

Assassin’s Blade Read-a-Long

I meant to post this a few days ago but life has been getting in my way more than a little bit.

For this coming week, I’m returning to the Throne of Glass read-a-long brought to you by A.K. Lee! For this month, we’re doing the novella/short story collection, Assassin’s Blade. Because this is a collection rather than a full novel, the schedule is one story a week with a daily photo prompt to line up with each of the stories.

The Schedule & The Prompts

Below is the graphic (please feel free to share!) of the reading schedule as well as the photo prompts.

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Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to follow me (@WelshLucien / @lucieninthestars) as well as my co-host in this read-a-long A.K. Lee (@aklee_writes)!

 

Heir of Fire Endgame

After a hectic month of personal-life turmoil and this general vibe of this book taking forever to get through, we have finally reached the end of Heir of Fire. And boy howdy what a trip that was.

I’m going to start with what I liked about this book. And just the nice parts for right now.

I really got a kick out of all of the new faces, especially Rowan (finally) and Manon is definitely a raging bitch after my own heart. Even Aedion, who was introduced as a traitor, grew on me (it probably helped that he beat up Chaol, ha ha.) It’s nice to have a few more major players that are on Team Aelin even without knowing Celaena. Despite the pacing, I liked getting to know the real Aelin more as well. Hearing about her childhood and her trauma – that honestly reads very well in terms of her PTSD – was fascinating and help flesh her out a lot more. She’s felt really flat as a character but this book did help round her out in a more relatable and interesting way.

But let’s get to the issues I had with this book. Heir of Fire is an intermission in the story. It’s a learning point where the characters need to buck up and learn what it is that they’re really up against. Typically these intermission books are not 500 pages. Heir of Fire is 562 pages.

The pacing of this instalment is awful. There are so many POVs in it that the changing back and forth becomes dull and the changes don’t even seem to be in strategic points. I was bored with Chaol (ignoring the fact that I don’t like him anyway), Dorian and Sorscha’s plot line started out really cute but got dull quickly, Celaena’s training took waaaaay too long… The issues go on. Even Manon’s final chapters were boring because stuff had finally started happening to everyone else and made her seem boring by comparison. I was honestly ready to call it quits on this book several times over. But I’m glad I didn’t.

It’s time to talk about those last twenty pages that can be summed up in three, all-caps, foul-mouthed words

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]

Aedion, Chaol, Dorian and Sorscha are all brought into the King’s throne room and the whole vibe gave me chills even though I knew what was coming. I cheated out of boredom and knew who was going to die but a quick peak at “…killed by the King” on a wiki page didn’t prepare me for the bone-chillingly horrifying moment that was Dorian screaming as he held Sorscha’s severed head “as if he could put it back. As if he could piece her together.”

As a huge fan of intense drama brought on by horrific violence, this moment was utterly flawless. It was take notes worthy flawless.

As a huge fan of Dorian Havillard I am horrified, heartbroken, and irrationally angry for his loss.

I don’t know where things are going to go from here. I’m terrified for Dorian and just want Aelin to be able to swoop in and save him. He needs a mom friend. Aelin needs to be that mom friend for him because let’s be real, his safety matters so much more than Chaol’s.

That’s really all I have to say about this book. It dragged on and on for 500 pages and yet it still managed to impress me in the end. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5.


There will be no read-a-long for Throne of Glass in May as I am doing a binge read of the X-Wing Series for Star Wars Month. However this read-a-long will continue come June with Assassin’s Blade. Stay tuned for more details.

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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Heir of Fire Read-a-Long

Happy April, everyone! And welcome back to my #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long! This month we’ll be reading book three, Heir of Fire, and once again have a weekly checkpoint.

I will again be changing it up as I don’t believe my current following is large enough to get the participation I was hoping for and therefore there will not be any giveaway prizes. However, please feel free to read along and to take part in posting Heir of Fire related photos!

The Schedule & The Prompts

Below is the graphic (please feel free to share!) of the reading schedule as well as the photo prompts.

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Schedule Prompts
March 1st – 9th:

Beginning – Chapter 14
March 10th – 16th:Chapter 15 – 28
March 17th – 23rd:Chapter 29 – 42
March 24th – 30th:

Chapter 43 – End

Wild Card – meaning do what you want to!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to follow me (@WelshLucien / @lucieninthestars) as well as my co-host in this read-a-long A.K. Lee (@aklee_writes)!

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….

tenor

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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Crown of Midnight Read-a-Long

Happy March, everyone! And welcome back to my #TWOTOGCountdown read-a-long! This month we’ll be reading book two, Crown of Midnight, and changing things up a little bit.

Instead of one checkpoint, I’ll be posting a checkpoint once a week to better break up the book and have some fun discussions. Not only that, but the photo challenge will have FOUR challenge prompts instead of one and FOUR winners will receive either an enamel pin or a bookmark that is Throne of Glass related.

The Schedule & The Prompts

Below is the graphic (please feel free to share!) of the reading schedule as well as the photo prompts. Prompts may be done in any order!

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Schedule Prompts
March 1st – 9th:
Beginning – Chapter 14
March 10th – 16th:
Chapter 15 – 28
March 17th – 23rd:
Chapter 29 – 42
March 24th – 30th:
Chapter 43 – End
Fighting Tools
Book & Candles
Brave Heroines
Mini Review

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TWOTOGCountdown on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to follow me (@WelshLucien / @lucieninthestars) as well as my co-host in this read-a-long A.K. Lee (@aklee_writes)!