Taylor Swift + Books

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Oh hi, welcome to the Taylor Swift book tag! I don’t normally do tag videos because I either a) forget that I am tagged, b) don’t feel like the tag would really add something to my blog, or c) am too lazy to get my camera out and film anything. However, I’ve been seeing this one around BookTube and I’ve always loved it because Taylor Swift. One day, I decided to show one of the videos to Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, because I knew she loves Taylor Swift just as much as I do, and then Nicole from The Quiet Concert and Danielle from Love at First Page jumped in and one thing led to another, and now here we are! Four book bloggers trying our hand at this BookTube tag thingy. I’m very excited. The tag was created by Sarah at The Book Life, so make sure to check out her original video.

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Review: The Demon King

Review: The Demon KingTitle: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Genre/Age Group: Adventure, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

MY THOUGHTS

Welcome to the first instalment of the series that made me lose my shit so entirely that I locked myself into my room and completely disconnected from the world, save for the people who’d legit call the police if they didn’t hear from me, for six days. Things got intense, which is funny in hindsight, because while The Demon King sets up very solid beginnings for a truly epic series and has that certain thing that just makes you keep reading, it does take a while to get going. For the most part, this feels like an entertaining and excellently fluffy fantasy and there were some twists I definitely saw coming but those last 50 pages blew my mind and shattered my heart and from then on I was just a goner. The pay-off is just tremendous.

The Demon King is one of those situations where the two main characters don’t even meet for a large part of the book but I already shipped it on page twelve or something. (Like Manon and Aedion.) (I don’t care if this doesn’t make sense IT DOES TO ME.) Crown Princess Raisa is this mini-Isaboe, fully intent on preserving her queendom, which is a term I didn’t even invent because the world is seriously that awesome and cool with matriarchal societies on all levels, from the royal line of Gray Wolf Queens to clan hierarchy, that they live in a QUEENdom. Han is this reformed street king who considers getting back into the game so he can properly provide for his mother and sister because that’s the kind of characters this world is populated with. Nearly all off them – or at least the ones who are worth remembering (read: NOT the Bayars except for Fiona. I worship you Fiona Bayar.) – have this incredible loyalty to relatives, friends, and the people they meet and that have left an impression on them. It’s not even an exaggeration that they’d walk into a burning building to save their loved ones since this is something THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS (though not in this book, but the foundations for Ellis-ruining sacrifice are deeefinitely there).

I’m so heavily attached to most of these characters and I’m pretty sure at least half of them will die if they haven’t already. It might seem all fun and games on the surface, but Cinda Williams Chima is not playing. One of the characters I possibly fell in love with the most is Raisa ana’Marianna, which is why I’m going to dedicate the rest of this paragraph to her and her alone. Raisa is the crown princess and going through her royal training, but she realises she’s very unaware of what’s actually happening in her queendom and she wants to fix that. I’ve found that (future) queens going through this kind of development and wanting to be involved with their people is one of my favourite story lines when it comes to fantasy queens. Raisa doesn’t just want to be a queen who rules a queendom from a distance, sitting on her throne while her people suffer. She wants to defend and protect them. Especially with the threat of war looming in the south, she feels like the people are looking at the monarchy for a strong queen – A WARRIOR QUEEN – to arise, and she wants her subjects to have faith in her. Subjects isn’t even the right word, because she sees them as people. She knows she’s privileged, entitled, and stubborn but she wants to use qualities to help her people. AND DOES SHE EVER.

The whole way this story line unfolds is just trademark Demon King, by which I mean entertaining and fun but with some very intense emotions involved as well. Raisa pulls a Princess Jasmine and disguises herself as a maid. Through some shenanigans she runs into Han, which leads to them having amazing Aladdin adventures that are the best thing to happen to me ever. Meanwhile, her guard/best friend/current kissing partner Amon is looking for her. Allow me to stress the severity of the situation. Han, Raisa and Amon are the truest of OT3s. They are, respectively, the street king, the warrior queen, and their ever so loyal guard who’d protect them at all costs. And if you don’t ship Han and Amon from the moment they run into each other and Han gets into trouble because of his big mouth and Amon stands up for him TO HIS SUPERIOR when he doesn’t even know Han because they just have this INCREDIBLE attraction, well then I don’t know what to do with you and you should probably go to shipping reform school. (JK. You can ship whatever you want.)

Me, I ship it all. I have inappropriate levels of feelings over Han dreaming of Amon’s face. The fact that Raisa yearns for kisses in general and has no problem getting them without having pesky strings attached makes me so happy about life that you’ll have to invent an entirely new vocabulary. Han and Raisa both have past hook-ups and datemates and it’s occasionally awkward when they run into those but they also still get along with them because sometimes kids hook up and it doesn’t lead to grand anythings but they still can be friends and I’m so in love with this entire set-up. It is literally part of Raisa’s legacy to have lovers. The Gray Wolf Queens are sexual beasts and no one bats an eye because just because they have urges and know how to satisfy them doesn’t mean they can’t rule a country like the complete bosses that they are. TRUE QUEENS.

Even with all these amazing, ass-kicking ladies, there’s one thing I’d like to see more of. Women are often shown in power roles but I wish they were more often shown as companions. Many if not all of them are shown as strong, but ultimately still isolated individuals, whereas the guys have best friends and trusted companions while also still having their own unique personalities. Having binged the series in a possibly unhealthy timespan, I can tell you that this is something that definitely happens in the sequels and that some of these alliances are so tremendous and tremendously tear-inducing that I need a moment just thinking about them and the personal sacrifices they lead to.

Bottom line, you should all just follow my ridiculously unhealthy example. The Demon King might be quite predictable in places and not as high-stakes as some other fantasies out there, but it’s imaginative, entertaining, shippy and sucks you right in. The entire book has this atmosphere that something is brewing. Cinda Williams Chima holds back a little but there’s the promise that all of that will rise to the surface in the next instalments, and if the last 50 pages are any indication (they really are) I don’t think I’m ready (I wasn’t). It’s not super heavy on the world-building and the clues that are given are often related in conversation or come in the shape of the directions characters need when they’re hunting or on the run. Another thing is that a lot of what’s in the synopsis happens quite late in the book, so there’s a lot of build-up. Nevertheless, I found all of it very easy to picture and got such a kick out of reading this book, though love yourselves and be aware at all times that Cinda Williams Chima has a mean streak.

MEMORABLE QUOTES

The Gray Wolf queens were famous for their dalliances. The most famous of all, of course, was Hanalea. There was even a book about Hanalea’s conquests.

“I am not your dear girl. I am the princess heir to the queendom of the Fells, and I’ll thank you to remember it.”

“Well, I believe she went in to rescue some Raggers from the pits,” Cuffs said. “She wasn’t all that specific.”
“She went in to rescue — why would she do that?” Amon gripped the ironwork, studying the streetlord’s face. Was he lying? And if so, what was the purpose?
“Guess she’s kind of taken with us,” Cuffs said. “You know, the glamor of the gang life and all. Getting beat up every other day, arrested for crimes you didn’t commit, long nights in gaol, sleeping in the cold and wet. It’s…seductive.” He raised an eyebrow.”

OT-FUCKING-3

Top Ten Favorite Quotes

tttTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie topic, which means we can do whatever the hell we want (bonus points if you got that reference). Ellice came up with the brilliant idea to do favorite quotes and we all loved the idea. We feature our favorite quotes with every review, of course, but it’s fun to see the ones that really stand out to us.

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Fairest Blog Tour: A Playlist for the Evil Queen + Giveaway

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The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite YA series. It is also one of the most solid ones. Each installment is just so enjoyable and I can’t get enough of Marissa Meyer’s insanely creative universe. Even though Fairest is a prequel instead of the so highly anticipated final installment, Winter, I can’t describe in words how excited I am for it. I am so here for a book written from Queen Levana’s point of view because 1) QUEENS and 2) ANTAGONIST STORIES. There aren’t enough female villains in books.. And have you SEEN that cover? Plus, it has FULL COLOR ART. Basically, I need it.

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Visual Effects: If You Find Me + The Fosters

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Visual Effects is a feature that is basically just our excuse for talking about TV shows on a book blog. It’s also a feature dedicated to comparing shows and books, because both ruin our lives equally. Some books and shows might be very similar (we will draw parellels to show you) but some may just give us a similar feeling or have some aspects that are alike. Either way, you should watch these shows and read these books, because they are both epic. This time: if you like If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, you might like ABC Family’s The Fosters.

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