Friday, September 23, 2016

Alexa's A-Z | Throne of Glass Series (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to the final stop of this blog tour! I seriously get excited about the blog tours we organize for the Throne of Glass series, simply because it is celebrated in creative ways. The participants are always enthusiastic and creative, and just in case you've missed it, here are all of this year's posts:

As the last stop on this tour, I debated for a long time about what I wanted to do for a post. I've already shared my ten reasons you should be on Team Celaena, and last year, I talked about where I wanted to travel with characters from the series. I finally set my heart on talking about the different reasons I love this series - twenty-six of them, to be exact. Without further ado, here's my official A-Z of why I love TOG! You can watch the video first, and then you can see more of my thoughts in the post below.




Aelin Ashryver Galathynius
Obviously, there is really no better way to begin this alphabet by talking about the irresistible, impossible true Queen of Terrasen – Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. I wrote an entire post dedicated to ten reasons you should be on her team, and these reasons all totally stand the test of two more additional books in this series. Aelin is the badass female that is the centerpiece of this epic saga. She is not a perfect heroine, by any means, but that just makes me love her all the more.

Battle Scenes
This series involves a lot of fight and battle scenes, and I just want to take a minute to talk about how some of these epic confrontations just blow my mind with how awesome they are. Whether it is a battle of swords, words or magic, I’ve found that Sarah has this magical ability to keep me on the edge of my seat and worrying repeatedly about what the outcome is going to be.

Chaol Westfall
Before anything else, I have to say this: I love Chaol Westfall with all of my heart, and that hasn’t changed over the course of the five books that have been released in this series. This Captain of the Guard won my heart easily, and my love just grows with every instance of character growth that I witness with his story. I truly believe that all that he has experienced has changed him in many ways, and that it was a necessary, natural way for him to grow as a person.

Dorian Havilliard
Speaking of experiences, Dorian Havilliard has certainly been through his fair share of ups and downs. I also have an incredible amount of love for him, ever since he revealed that he was more than just a devil-may-care prince, that he was in fact made of stronger, braver, better stuff than his father ever was or could be. It’s been so great to see Dorian coming into his own as the series progresses!

Elide Lochan
Say a big hello to my newfound favorite – Elide Lochan! I love this gal so, so much that it’s ridiculous, especially considering she’s only really been around for two of the books. I won’t tell you too much about who she is specifically, but I will say that I admire her personality. She’s brave, determined, clever and resilient, and she never lets suffering or circumstances define who she is.

Friendship
While I haven’t mentioned the entirety of the squad yet, I have to say that, in my mind, I’ve created this gigantic Throne of Glass squad featuring all of my wonderful, beloved favorites in one big group of friends. It’s really quite epic to see my favorites working together, helping each other out and just becoming a solid group of individuals who understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses and histories. I don’t only love the big group dynamic though; I also really enjoy the one-on-one relationships too!

Growth (Characters)
I alluded to this a little bit with Aelin, Chaol and Dorian, but I love seeing it play out with a lot of these characters as the series continues. It feels like you’re really getting an intimate look at their growth when you read this series from the very beginning, as by the fifth book, a lot of things – circumstances, relationships, the world – have changed. I love that it parallels a realistic human journey, where people are shaped by the things they go through, and the people they meet.

Heart + the Feels
Let’s just put it this way, friends – every single book in the Throne of Glass series has managed to make me laugh out loud, giggle like a schoolgirl, cry like I would never run out of tears, yell like I was personally attacked, hold my breath as the tension rises and just hug the book with a huge smile on my face when I finished. It’s no easy feat to get a reader to care so deeply for a story, and Sarah manages it perfectly.

Intricate Plotting
With every succeeding book in the series, Sarah just manages to make the plot even more complex and detailed than it was before. She really builds on the stories that have come before, including elements of the past novels in the later ones that you might not have expected to show up or that you might have had questions about. It is mind-blowing to me to see the way Sarah incorporates all of this in a way that ties it all together even better.

Just So Quotable
I have quite a few favorite quotes from this series on the whole. Sarah might phrase it in the simplest of ways, but the statements she includes in her stories can strike just the right chord. “Rattle the stars.” “She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.” Honestly, her one liners can be such a punch in the gut, and I will forever be quoting the series (especially these two quotes that I love)!

Kiss and Tell (aka Romance)
While romances are not necessary for my enjoyment of a tale, I love that Sarah makes it a part of this series. She really knows how to write swoony moments, and to build up the romantic tension between two characters until the reader almost can’t stand it. (The pay-off is worth it, by the way.) I still get silly grins because of certain romantic scenes in certain books in this series because they are that wonderful.

Lysandra
If I could be anyone in the Throne of Glass world, I would be Lysandra. I love her deeply and truly and unequivocally. She is one badass gal who can certainly hold her own in a world that threatens to level her otherwise, and I loved the combination of brawn and brains this gal possesses. She’s extremely loyal, and also possesses an intuitive wisdom when it comes to understanding the way other people happen to be.

Manon Blackbeak
Oh my Wyrd, I love Manon! She’s just as fierce and formidable a gal as Aelin happens to be, only she also happens to be one of the witches. Without spoiling anything at all, I can tell you that Manon has a backbone made of steel and really rises up to all of the challenges that stand in her way. She is seriously a force to be reckoned with, and I know I’d want her on my side in a heartbeat!

Not Just a Sidekick (Fleetfoot & Abraxos)
Let’s talk about the animals in this series, shall we? The two main ones to mention are, of course, Fleetfoot, Aelin’s puppy, and Abraxos, Manon’s wyvern, and they are wonderful. They are companions to their owners, they are stalwart friends in times of trouble and I just happen to want to have a Fleetfoot and Abraxos of my very own, thank you very much. I like that Sarah incorporated them into the story, and gave them their own personalities (though we definitely see more of Abraxos).

On the Writing
Personally, I really love Sarah’s writing style. I always find myself tabbing passages to return to, whether it’s because I think they’re funny or clever or memorable. Not only do I love revisiting my favorite bits, but I also find Sarah’s writing really easy to read through (as in, I can power through one of her books in about eight hours depending on their length). And, of course, I can’t forget to mention how much her writing always inspires and challenges me to keep at my own writing in the hopes of telling a story as epic as hers one day.

Perspectives
Sarah has employed multiple perspective to tell the stories in the Throne of Glass series from the very beginning. It provides a way for readers to get to know different characters intimately, for one thing. But it also aids in making the world and the story bigger than it was before, as well as giving you different views of fixed points in this story.

Queens
I absolutely love that there are so many strong female characters in this series. They are warriors of weapons and words, but they are also girls who enjoy the pleasure of fine clothing and dining. It’s the fact that they can be both girly and feminine, and yet still be such excellent warriors (that they can occasionally even shock and best the men) that really gets to me. When I grow up, I want to be like all of them.

Rowan Whitethorn
Oh, Rowan, oh Fae warrior, you are certainly something else. He was definitely intimidating upon the reader’s first encounter with him, but he gradually is revealed to be more than the first impression he leaves on us. He is still the fierce Fae fighter, sure. But he’s also got his own vulnerabilities, and a well of deep emotion behind that strength – and it just makes it all too easy to love him.

Sass + Humor
Did I mention how much this series amuses me? I love reading series that have my kind of humor blended into the narrative, and the Throne of Glass series has that in spades. I love the sass. I love all the sarcastic quips and the one-liners tossed out by these characters. It either makes me giggle uncontrollably whenever I come across one of them or makes me smirk like a knowing fool. It’s cleverly integrated humor, and I cannot get enough of it.

The Thirteen
First, let me link you to the post that Louisse puttogether for this tour introducing Manon and her Thirteen. Once you’re done checking that out, come back! Anyway, I love the Thirteen. They’re badass warrior gals who have pledged their loyalty and lives to Manon, which means they’re basically honed weapons that she can use when necessary. I think it’s so cool that these ladies all basically live, work, play and fight together, and it makes me wish for a Thirteen of my own.

Unexpected (Yet Clever) Twists
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Sarah is one of the few authors who manages to write stories that I honestly can’t predict anything about. I’ve tried (and there’s only been one instance which I actually got right) many times, and failed, and I’m totally okay with that. I never know what to expect next with each part of Aelin’s story… Well, that’s not true. I know to expect something epic, awesome and totally in sync with character and story development, but I can’t guess specifics!

Villains
I love a story with a good villain, and the Throne of Glass series boasts quite a few villainous characters. I love that Sarah makes them unapologetically evil and allows them to act accordingly. I also love that there always is just a hint of humanity or vulnerability in them. It’s not enough to pardon their actions, of course, but it’s enough to help readers get a better idea of who they are and not just what they do.

Wolf of the North, Aedion Ashryver
If I could pick a character to be my big brother (and let me tell you, I’ve always wanted one), I would choose Aedion. His loyalty, his love, his sacrifice – the combination just made me fall in love with him immediately. I really love that he’s always ready to face things (physical or emotional) head on, and that he is willing to work at it until he figures out the best approach to it. He is a fierce, wild warrior, and I love him so.

eXpanding World
Just like the characters and the story continues to grow, the world has also gotten so much bigger than what we first learn about in Throne of Glass. Erilea is a huge place, and there are so many different cities and villages and terrains and cultures spread out all over it. I love that we’ve gotten to know so much more about this place, and that there is definitely still more to it than we think we know.

Yes, Magic is Real
I was a little confused initially by the magic in this series. But after a couple of rereads, I’ve gotten a better sense of the different types and capacities that exist in this story. It’s an interesting mix, and potentially very confusing and unrestrained. Yet somehow, Sarah has managed to wrangle it all into something that’s marginally understandable (though never fully comprehensible because it’s magic) and definitely adds an enchanting aspect to this tale.

Zeal for a Series
And, for the very last reason I love this series, I wanted to mention the fans. I’ve been extremely lucky to get to interact with some of the most talented, passionate people who share my immense love for the Throne of Glass series. Whether it’s squealing over illustrations or swooning over quotes, musing about fan casts and playlists and possibilities, it’s such an honor to be a part of Sarah’s massive (and ever growing) fan base.



We have an international giveaway for our fellow Throne of Glass fans, and I'm super duper excited about it! One winner is going to win a signed copy of Empire of Storms, a Throne of Glass tote bag, one set of lip balms (Dorian, Chaol, Rowan) and one Celaena soap (c/o Behind the Pages) & Throne of Glass buttons (c/o ThroneofGlassPH). All you've got to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below:



Empire of Storms book cover
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Previous Books in the Series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, The Assassin's Blade, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Buy the Book: Amazon | Target | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository | WHSmith | Kobo | iBooks | Audible

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

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