Review: The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson


The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson

The Hope of Elantris (Elantris, #1.5)

Title: The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: 2006

Publisher: Brandon Sanderson

Format: ebook

Page Number: 25

Source: Brandon Sanderson’s Website

The following is a short story I wrote in the Elantris world back in January of 2006. At that point, Elantris had only been out in stores for about seven or eight months, but I actually hadn’t written anything new on the story or world since 2000, when I’d finished the first draft of the original book. This story was originally posted for sale on Amazon.com; once the contract with them ran out, I posted it on my website.

There were always a few holes in the manuscript where I decided not to include viewpoints or sections of explanation in the name of streamlining, particularly at the end. In the back of my mind, I knew what happened. This story talks about one of those holes; it is meant to be read after you’ve finished the novel and takes place during the events of the climax. In the annotation, I’ve written a further explanation of why I wrote this piece. Some of you may find it interesting to read this ahead of time; I put it in the annotation, however, as I know others would rather enjoy the story without bias beforehand, then read my thoughts afterward. 

Either way, if you haven’t read the novel Elantris, this contains major spoilers. Might I suggest reading the book first? This story won’t work at all for you if you haven’t.

As always, thanks for reading!

4 out of 5 stars


Now I know it may seem backwards that I rated this short story 4 stars when I only rated the first book, Elantris, 3 stars, but it was just so cute!

This is a short story set in the world of Elantris, and Brandon Sanderson published this on his website as he just wanted to have the story out in the world living its literary life.

I loved that we got a little more backstory on some of the events at the climax of Elantris. I loved getting to see Sarene and Raoden again *even though I literally just finished Elantris yesterday morning….* They’re just so cute together and love each other so much. So sweet.

I think getting this story from the perspective of another character was really cool and added a unique twist, because in the book you get three main perspectives. There was also an annotation section from Brandon Sanderson and he named the girl Matisse because he wanted to impress one of his wife’s favorite students. CUTE.

This story made me really excited to read more by Brandon Sanderson!

Series:

Elantris (Elantris #1)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson


Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Elantris (Elantris, #1)

Title: Elantris (Elantris #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: May 30, 2006

Publisher: Tor Fantasy

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Page Number: 622

Source: Barnes and Noble

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

3 out of 5 stars


You guys. I finally finished this book after reading it for a month!

Elantris follows three main storylines of Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen. Raoden is the Prince of Arelon, Sarene is from Teod and is to get married to Raoden, and Hrathen is a Derethi priest sent to convert everyone in Arelon to the Derethi religion.

This book is really hard to explain because there’s so much going on at all times, it’s actually crazy. In short, there is a ton of politics, super cool magic, interesting characters, and a slowly developing plot that wraps up nicely at the end.

This is a typical high fantasy in the sense that it is mostly surrounding intricate politics. I really enjoyed this book and was debating between 3 and 4 stars. I would give the first 3/4 of the book a solid 3 stars, but the last 100ish pages would definitely be 4 stars. So I’m going with my gut and saying 3 stars is a solid way to describe the book.

It was such a slow read for me. This could be because I started reading it when I started backpacking around England, so I was a little preoccupied with… literally everything. I didn’t have a lot of time to read during the trip, so that could have also contributed to it feeling a little disjointed. I also just feel like this is a slow-paced book. It was a really good book, but you have to love reading in order to get through it.

I personally really enjoy “slow burn” books where it takes awhile to get everything sorted out and figure out what’s happening, but it’s also kind of exhausting. This book was 622 pages long, so when I was reading it, it felt like it took me forever to make any notable progress. That being said, I think it was a beautifully crafted book.

I really enjoyed the characters of this book, and the story was definitely character driven. There was a lot happening with the plot, but it mostly focused on the characters. I loved Raoden and how he developed this second life when he got sent to Elantris. I think it said a lot about his character and morals because he didn’t just give up or give into the pain he was feeling.

At the time of reading it I REALLY wanted him to tell Sarene who he was once she started going into Elantris, but after finishing the book, he told her at the perfect time. Any earlier and it would have disrupted the story, and any later it would have been too late. I love them together and seeing how much they love each other just makes my heart so happy.

The magic system was pretty cool, but it took so long to actually get to anything dealing with the magic. I honestly think this book could have been at least 150-200 pages shorter. There was a lot of this book that wasn’t necessary to the story to be able to understand and appreciate what was happening.

I’m looking forward to reading more Brandon Sanderson books because I’ve heard that the Mistborn trilogy is AMAZING. I enjoyed his writing style, so can’t wait to pick those up!!

 

Series:

The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5)

Review: Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo


Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo

Up to This Pointe

Title: Up to This Pointe

Author: Jennifer Longo

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Publisher: Random House

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 361

Source: Thrift Store

Harper Scott is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. But while Kate is a naturally gifted dancer, Harper has had to fight for every step. And now it’s make-it-or-break-it time: if their auditions go wrong, their dreams are over. Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in her way, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.

Harper may not be a natural, but she is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the daring explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station…in Antarctica.

Extreme, but also somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.

3 out of 5 stars


This book was good, but I wasn’t blown away.

For some reason I decided to not finish the last 50 pages of this book before leaving for my 17 day England travels, so when I came back and finished it, it felt a little disjointed. That was all on me, though, because I just chose not to prioritize it…

Up to This Pointe follows a girl named Harper Scott who wants to be a professional ballet dancer. Her dream has always been to be in a ballet company, but something happens and her dreams are momentarily put on pause. She decides she needs to get some distance from San Francisco and finesses her way into going to Antarctica for researching for 6 months.

She jumps on a plane and heads out to the frozen tundra where she is finally able to be seen as herself and not just “the dancer.” She meets people and makes new friends who help her see she has other interests instead of just dancing.

I related to the whole “oh my gosh my life isn’t what I thought it would be right now and I have no idea what I want to do with my life” more than you will ever know lol. I have been having all these same feelings for a couple months, so I related so much to this! I also don’t know if I want to go into the professional dance world even though I’ve been dancing for almost 15 years of my life. Life is weird, guys.

I didn’t love the relationships or the ways they were portrayed throughout this book. Harper meets this super cute and sweet guy in San Francisco who really likes her, then she just leaves and goes to Antarctica. Fine. No worries, I guess, but then she meets another guy while she’s there. I don’t think she really likes him I just think that she’s “dating” him because it’s convenient and she wants attention. But then other times I think she actually does like him. I don’t know. But the original super sweet awesome cute boy from San Fran is sending her emails and letters and she just doesn’t read them.

?

What the heck. Why wouldn’t you read them and respond? She likes him. A lot. Or so she said before she left, so idk why she wouldn’t look at them. Plot device? I don’t know.

He also just keeps sending them even though she isn’t responding. I admire that his character has resilience, but that is totally not what would have happened. He would have emailed for maybe a month and then got the message that she wasn’t interested. Because that’s what she was portraying to him. Just seems a little fishy to me.

There was also LITERALLY NO WAY she would have gotten the opportunity to go to Antarctica.

  1. She’s not even a science student. She’s not going to college and she graduated school early.
  2. She has no skills that they would have possibly known would be useful to being there.
  3. She applied to go and knew she was going within such a short time.

Not realistic at all. People would be waiting to go and working for years and years to get a spot on the list. There literally no possible way that could have happened… but this is also just a book, so I’ll give it a little grace.

I know there was a lot of negative in this review, but I actually did enjoy a lot of this book. I love books about dance, even though it’s not always done in a way that makes a ton of sense.

The reality of dance is this: it’s a lot of hard work for not a super great reward all the time. You work for hours a day and might not get a part because you’re too tall or won’t fit into a costume. Dance is so subjective and that makes it so difficult. You could have amazing technique, but your body doesn’t fit the type they want. Again, a lot of work for not always a great reward.

I loved the family dynamic because everyone was so close; it reminded me a lot of my own. I’m so close with everyone in my family, so it’s nice to see a strong family unit that doesn’t have any disruptions in it.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that dances because there are some little tidbits of info that only a dancer would understand :)

December Wrapup


Read:

  1. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) – Cassandra Clare *REREAD review*
  2. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future – Ryder Carroll *review*
  3. The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta *review*
  4. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Cassandra Clare *REREAD review*
  5. My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows *review*
  6. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be – Rachel Hollis *review*
  7. Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (And Still Have Time to Enjoy Your Trip!) – Dave Fox

REREAD Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Cassandra Clare


City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

Title: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 725

Source: Barnes and Noble

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

5 out of 5 stars


THIS IS SUCH A GREAT FINALE.

Cassandra Clare is a genius, and I will fight you if you say otherwise… lol maybe not fight you, but strongly disagree.

The small connections made throughout the Shadowhunters Chronicles are insane, and must have taken and insane amount of careful planning. I can’t even imagine the time that has been spent on creating these books, but I’m so grateful for them.

I think this is my favorite Cassandra Clare book… or they just keep getting better and better every single time and the newest one will always be my favorite… either way. This was an amazing book; even better the second time!

One thing that stood out to me about this book was the prevalence of Emma and Julian from The Dark Artifices. At the time, Lady Midnight hadn’t come out yet, so I didn’t know them, but now that I’ve met them already I gained even more appreciation for them! Seeing them as their twelve-year-old selves made me so happy. I love them. They’re my favorites. Ugh everyone is my favorite lol.

Yay for relationship development! I love Clary and Jace. They love each other so much, and their little speeches are always perfect. I love Alec and Magnus. They’re my ALL TIME favorite couple because yay for that LGBTQ+ rep! I appreciate their relationship so much. I love Simon and Izzy even though it’s a little different at the end… no spoilers, but anyone who hasn’t read this series, get on top of it. It’s so good and you’re missing out.

The first time I read this I hadn’t read The Infernal Devices, so Tessa and Jem kind of just went over my head, but I’M HERE FOR IT NOW!!! They’re so precious and I love that we get to see them again. I just love them. I love all the characters. Redundant, I know.

I love picking up on so many little things I missed the first time. There are so many little things that just shows that Cassandra Clare is a queen wow.

Favorite quotes:

EMMA ABOUT JULIAN:

He was going to be so handsome, she thought; girls would be all over him and one of them would take him away from her forever, because Emma was his parabatai and that meant she could never be one of those girls now. She could never love him like that.

BOI. She knew that she loved him when she was 12 !!! Excuse me. Come on I know that being parabatai is what you’re “supposed” to do, but if you know you already love him don’t put either of you through that! So much foreshadowing. I love it I love it I love it.

MAGNUS TO SIMON:

Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. As long as you have a soul and free will, you can be anything, do anything, choose anything.

So true. So beautifully worded. Magnus, you always know best. I was almost in tears during this part because I kind of forgot what happened at the end of the book because I read it 4 years ago, and man a lot has happened since then.

CLARY TO JOCELYN:

F is for Fairchild, and the rest for Gray.

yes kill em with all these connections. I just. It’s just so good. I run out of words sometimes.

Also, Clary and Jocelyn have red hair because of Henry from The Infernal Devices. HOW DID I MISS THIS BEFORE NOW?

Amazing. Wonderful. Beautiful. Romantic. Perfect. I just love these books.

Series:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Review: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta


The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

Title: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

Author: Leo Babauta

Release Date: October 26, 2009

Publisher: Createspace

Format: Audiobook

Page Number: 105

Source: Scribd

3 out of 5 stars


I liked the concept written about in this book, but I feel like nothing was talked about deep enough to have a lasting impact.

I love learning about other people’s recipes for minimalism; it’s refreshing and nice, but I didn’t really relate to this book that much, honestly. I think there were some amazing points, but again, not enough depth.

Formatting, I think this book was effective. I listened to it on audiobook, but each new section started with a quote from someone talking about living more simply. I think this was a nice touch, and gave some more context to the book as a whole. I didn’t enjoy how short the chapter were, though. I wish that it had been longer and had gone into more detail.

I think some of the stuff Leo talked about was a little too hardcore for this being a “simple guide” to minimalism. He was saying that in some aspects of your life, what you’re currently doing is wrong and you should do it his way. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

I think the best part of this book were the sections on finances. I am 19 and am just starting my “adult life.” My parents are amazing and are providing my education for me, but I’m at the PERFECT point in life to start thinking about how I’m spending the money I’m earning.

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.

This was my favorite quote from the whole book, because it’s so true. My parents have always instilled in me to not leave beyond my means, and thats what this whole finance section was about. It’s so refreshing to read something in the EXACT way I’ve always thought about money. I don’t have a credit card, and don’t plan on getting one because my debit card will suffice. I don’t see it ending well for me to be given the opportunity to spend money I don’t have. I love this quote because it’s unbelievably true.

So many people have things that they don’t own. Be it financed cars, a super huge mortgage, thousands in student loan debt. A lot of people don’t own their things, and that’s something that honestly blows my mind. My parents have always been the ones to buy their cars by writing a check; they haven’t financed anything. They paid off their mortgage in a short amount of time. I’m so lucky to have grown up in an environment where actually owning your things has been a priority.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because I think there was plenty of information that was helpful and valid, but I wish it would have gone deeper into the ideas behind minimalism more.

November Wrapup


Read:

  1. Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich *review*
  2. Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson *review*
  3. BUSN10 – Introduction to Business – Marce Kelly and Chuck Williams
  4. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness – Donna Farhi
  5. City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) – Cassandra Clare *reread review*
  6. Zero Waste: Eliminate Your Trash, Simplify Your Life, and Heal the Earth – Shia Su *review*
  7. Van Life: Inspiration for Your Home on the Road – Foster Huntington *review*