By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Kingdom of Ash 

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page Count: 980
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: YA Fantasy
Keywords: War, Fae, Gods
Kid Appropriate: Teen 

I have never been so satisfied with a book finale! Sarah J. Maas has written a masterpiece that hits every note absolutely perfectly ranging from the despair of war, hope of found love, and courage in the face of fear. 

The first half of this book is incredibly tense, slowly building the anxiety of whether or not our favorite characters will survive what seems like certain doom. And the entire time I was terrified that this finale would end similarly to Breaking Dawn in which there is a great deal of build up for a lackluster ending. There is no need to worry in this regard. The war is grittier than I had expected and a great balance of fear and hope that does not lean too far in either direction. There is a level of reality often missing from other fantasy war scenes in YA. 

This installment in the Throne of Glass series proved to me that this series is not simply what many book skeptics sneer at when they say something is only YA, meaning it is not as grand as the adult side of the bookstore’s high fantasy section. As a fan of both genres, this is absolutely in my top three fantasy series of all times. 

Some readers skipped Tower of Dawn, what was originally supposed to be a novella following Chaol, and intend to jump straight into the Kingdom of Ash following Empire of Storms. I absolutely do not recommend this! Tower of Dawn happens concurrently with the Empire of Storms and is basically book six in this series. If you skip it there will be an entire component of the army from the Southern Continent that joins the battle you will have no background on. Even the magic systems of that kingdom are different from what we are familiar with following Aelin’s crew. And if neither of these aspects entice you, there are a many new characters that we see in the Kingdom of Ash that you will only know if you read Tower of Dawn. 

Overall, I cherish this book far more than I could have anticipated and cannot believe the growth of this series from book one to book seven. 

I hope you give this one a chance and if you have already read this amazing book, check back in to see more of my spoiler-filled discussions coming up in the coming weeks! 

The Black Tower 

Author: Louis Bayard
Page Count: 368
Rating: B
Format Read: Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery
Keywords: Medicine, Disguise, Identity
Kid Appropriate: No 

If you’ve ever just had a hankering to read about a foul-mouthed, French Sherlock then this is definitely the book for you. 

Yes, this is based off of the real Vidocq who was indeed a French criminal that inspired many of our most beloved fictional detectives. This fictionalized version of his life was a good mix of adventure, humor, and mystery that kept me reading as well as adding the comfortable familiarity of the relationship between a brilliant detective and his sidekick who is just a bit slower on his comrade’s plans. I also found the twist on history a bit fun. Due to language and sexual content, I would recommend not giving this to kiddos. Stick with Sherlock for them. 

I primarily picked this up during an Audible sale because I saw that one of my favorite narrators, Simon Vance, was reading. 

If you are looking for a new mystery that will give the nostalgia of Sherlock Holmes with a touch less refinement then I absolutely recommend this enjoyable read. 

About the Author of Adventures In Obsessive Reading 

Ms. Winkle is an author and book blogger. Bleeding Heart is the first installment in her Guardian Chronicles series and her first novel. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana, an MA in International Security from the University of Arizona. When she isn’t studying she can usually be found with a dog and a book.