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My favourite books of 2016!

Well, 2016 is finally gone. Thank goodness! What a terrible, terrible year. 2016 was probably the worst reading year I have ever had (and the worst year in general?), I had a pretty terrible time last year, and I just couldn’t focus on reading because too much other crap was going on and distracting me with it’s awfulness. But I’ve decided that 2017 will be better (it better be or I WILL become an evil supervillain scientist and destroy the world with a super-mega death ray or something).

Anyway… I decided to just do five of my favourite books of the year, and I doubt any of them will be a surprise…. but they are all books released in 2016. Yay. These are in no particular order, except for number 1 which was my favourite, because these books were all phenomenal.

1 – Morning Star by Pierce Brown (review)

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2 – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (review)

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3 – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (review)

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4 – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (review)

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5 – Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (review)

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So those are my favourites of 2016. Probably not that surprising. Some runner ups would include: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, and You by Caroline Kepnes.

Reading goals for 2017?

I’m usually not one to make too many formal goals, because I am very good at not meeting them, so I now try to avoid the disappointment by not making goals to begin with. This year, however, I am definitely hoping to finish more books than in 2016. I started so many books in 2016, a lot of them really good, but with everything going on I just never stuck with anything, and kept starting new books hoping something would work. So this year I hope to finish some of those great books I started.


So those are my favourites of the year. Did any of these top your favourites list?


 

Book Review – Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Hello, everyone! So amid my flurry of writing job applications, I managed to squeeze in reading the latest installment in one of my FAVOURITE series. Goldenhand is the fifth book in this super awesome series. As normal, with this being a later book in the series, I want to avoid any spoilers of any of the books but you can go read my review on the first book, Sabriel, to find out more about the series, but in a few words it’s about: Magic, Necromancy (both good and bad), bells, and talking animals!

I really enjoyed this installment, although Sabriel does still remain my favourite of the series. We get to revisit some of our favourite characters in this book (although perhaps not a much of the talking animals as I would have liked), as well as meeting a new POV character. Some parts of the romance in the book felt just a little too rushed, and just a little out of character (but that could just be my non-romantic cold, cold heart). Unfortunately, this was a split-POV book, and I was also far more invested in one of the storylines. The other storyline wasn’t bad, but it was just a bit slower and didn’t quite grip me as much as the other.

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I was expecting this to be as fast-paced as the previous books in the series, and it was a bit slower. The ending was also less climactic, but that’s not really a criticism, as I still enjoyed it.

As expected for this series, the world-building is fantastic and remains one of the highlights. The world in this series is just so unique and so completely fleshed out that it will always stand out in my mind as one of my favourite worlds to retreat to when reality is being too much of a jerk.  If you’ve read this series, you’re sure to love this one as well.

I rate it 3.5/5 stars

After reading this I have a serious urge to go back and read the entire series. As I never posted reviews for Abhorsen and Clariel (lazy, lazy Tina) I have another reason to do so.

Just a note. You may want to read the short story, The Creature in the Case, before diving into this one.


Find it here:

Goodreads. The Book Depository. Amazon. Kobo.


Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $24.99


 

Halloween Reads!

Happy Halloween! So I am a lover of horror fiction! (I even helped write a horror novel which you can find here – but warning it’s super bloody – and it’s sequel, which I co-authored and had a bigger part in writing here ). Anyway… shameless self-promotion over, here are my top Halloween reads!

The literary horror – The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

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Yeah… I know, I talk about this book a lot, but that’s because it’s definitely one of my absolute favourites! A vampire who was turned as a 14 year old boy, tries to stop a group of crazy vampire children from ruining everyone’s fun. A vampire tale with a very Fitzgerald/Salinger-esque vibe; what more could you want? Review

The spooky-but-not-scary horror – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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This tale about the undead residences of a graveyard raising a toddler after his family is killed is super fun! And you know Neil Gaiman is always worth your time!

The actually-really-super-creepy horror book – Birdbox by Josh Malerman

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Another one I talk about ALL THE TIME is Birdbox. This has to be the most successful horror novel I’ve ever read. This is the story of a woman and two children in a world where  just seeing something can turn you into a monster. Imagine trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where any time you go outside you need to blindfold yourself. Yeah… super creepy. Review.

The Classic Horror – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Easily my favourite classic novel, Frankenstein is just so incredible, and Shelley is just proof that anything a man can do, a teenage girl can do better.

The weird-as-F*ck-horror – John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong

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This book is completely demented but also completely brilliant, if not just really juvenille at times (there are a lot of penis jokes. It’s just a hilarious cock-forest at times), and it is definitely not for everyone, but if you like really out-there absurd horror that is also hilarious – John Dies at the End is for you. And the sequel is even better! Review.

The fun horror – Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

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This is a book about a haunted Ikea (only it’s not called Ikea). What makes this book really special is the formatting. It’s set out like an Ikea catalogue, complete with store maps and product descriptions. Review. 

The YA-romance horror – The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

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Vampire apocalypse in Amish country? Yes please. But don’t let the YA-romance trick you into thinking this book is all batting eyelashes and canoodling. There are some serious blood and guts in this book.  Review.


So those are my go-to Halloween reads. I’ve also been reading The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantaro recently and I am really enjoying that. So what are some of your Halloween recommendations?


 

Book Review: GEMINA by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Hello, everyone! Today I will be reviewing on of my most anticipated reads of the entire year and perhaps ever. Gemina is the second book in the Illuminae Files series, and you can check out my (extremely eloquent) review of the first book, Illuminae here. Yeah… you could say I’m a fan of this series. So let’s get on with the review.

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What it’s about? Um… I’m not going to tell you. firstly, because it’s a sequel and I don’t want to give any spoilers for the first book. Secondly, this series is one where you absolutely want to go in completely blind, just trust me. Just know that it’s Sci-Fi, it’s YA, it’s absolutely hilarious, it’s got amazingly creative formatting (it’s all documents and chat logs etc.), there’s spaceships. Just read it okay? Promise? Good.

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What I thought: I think the best response to this is just an eternal standing ovation. It just deserves applause FOREVER. After a massive reading slump, I sat down and read this in a single sitting. This only arrived Friday morning, and I was finished it by Friday evening, and it’s not a small book. It’s one of those books that you would almost rather die from an exploded bladder than put it down for a single moment (I know… I only narrowly escaped with my life. Too much information?). I MISSED AN ENTIRE MEAL SO THAT I WOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT IT DOWN. And if that doesn’t tell you how good it is, nothing will.

I GIVE IT ALL THE STARS!!!!

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Find it here:

Goodreads. Amazon. The Book Depository.


 

Throne of Glass Colouring Book

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this awesome colouring book!

So, I’m definitely late to the adult colouring book thing, but when this arrived in the mail, I literally sat there for hours colouring in while watching stuff on Youtube. I’m one of those people who can’t just sit and watch something, I always need to be doing something at the same time (but it usually means I get distracted from what I’m watching), so this was perfect. Although, it turns out I’m pretty terrible at colouring (staying inside the lines is HARD!).

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I really think more book series need colouring books, because I love being able to see other people’s interpretations of what characters and settings look like. There are pictures of lots of different characters in the book, and I was obviously super excited to see some of Manon and Abraxos in there.

So, do you guys like colouring books? What other books would you love to see colouring books of?


Find it at Amazon or The Book Depository


Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia . RRP (AUD): $19.99 . Release date: 06.09.16

 

Book Review – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

First off, a big congratulations to ME because I submitted my PhD thesis this week! After four-years slaving away over a hot monkey brain (not really!) it’s finally done! YAY FOR ME!!!

Anyway… Empire of Storms…(Come for the review, stay for my self-congratulations!)

So as with most sequels, I won’t be giving out any spoilers for any of the other books in this series in this review, but I will STRONGLY encourage you to go read the first book, because this series is still A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-!

This is now the fifth book in this series (if you don’t count the book of prequel short stories) and this series is still awesome. Firstly, we are introduced to lots of new exciting places in this instalment of the series, which was pretty cool.

Like always there is plenty of our plucky young protagonist setting everything on fire (both figuratively and literally), and there are LOTS of ships in this book (both figuratively and literally – lots of fun, romantic times on the high seas to be had by all!).

This book is just another fantastic instalment of this series.

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However… It seemed too short…. I know this thing is clocking in at well over 700 pages, and making it much longer wouldn’t have really been practical… but honestly, it just wasn’t enough for me. I just wanted it to not end (I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. I would like a never-ending version of this book immediately please! Chop chop!). I was just watching the pages tick away and desperate for it to not end, and I am one of those people who loves finishing books (it makes me feel accomplished, okay?!), but I was just begging my book not to end… but it did. WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE ALREADY!!!???!!!! I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED!!! Okay, so I guess I can’t really count this as criticism.

My only other criticism was that there were a lot (and I mean A LOT) of references to stuff from the prequel short stories (otherwise known as The Assassin’s Blade), which I have not read. So sometimes I was a little lost. I didn’t realise that reading the sequels was so essential in this series. So if you have not read those, I think you would get more out of this book if you did go ahead and read those first.

But that minor little detail aside, I LOVED this book, just like I LOVED the last three (strangely I didn’t LOVE the first book, but the rest have thoroughly made up for it) books. What can I say, let’s just crown Sarah J. Maas as the Queen of Everything and be done with it.

I rate it 4.5/5 stars!

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Tea pairing: Firebird Song Zhong Dancong (say that ten times fast!) by Bitterleaf Teas.

This tea is a dancong oolong from Pheonix mountain in the Guangdong Provence in China. Dancong teas take on different flavours (despite not actually being flavoured), and this one has a sweet caramel, treacle taste with a burst of dried fruits and flowers. It’s completely unsubtle and decadent, just like this book.

Also, there is a super awesome new Throne of Glass colouring book which I will do a post on in the next couple of days (after I’ve brushed up on my colouring inside the lines), because it’s my first and favourite adult colouring book! Yay!


Find stuff here:

Empire of Storms:

Release date: 6th September, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury (here)
RRP (Aus): $17.99

Goodreads. The Book Depository. Amazon. Kobo.

Previous reviews:

Crown of Midnight. Heir of Fire. Queen of Shadows.


Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review.


 

The evil scientist trope, why it’s doing real world damage to scientists, and why authors need to stop.

I may be a book blogger by night, but by day I spend my time as a scientist, specifically a tumour immunologist. You may assume that due to my vocation, scientific inaccuracies in books would drive me crazy. Mostly, they don’t (Okay, sometimes they do, but within reason), but the one type of inaccuracy that I have thoroughly reached my tolerance level for is the portray of scientists as amoral, ethically bankrupt, animal-torturing jerkfaces.

You may think Why does it matter? It’s only fiction! or even, well yeah, scientists are amoral, ethically bankrupt, animal-torturing jerkfaces, but the problem is that it’s completely untrue, and this fictional view of scientists does shape peoples’ opinions of science and scientists in the real world.

Well, today, gentle book lovers, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to actually be a scientist. And I can tell you, it’s very different to how it’s portrayed in books (there’s generally a lot more crying). This will also be pretty specific to medical science, as that’s what I am familiar with, but as a scientist, you’re treated pretty shit, regardless of your field.

Now, while most people probably think that science is a super fun career that involves running around in lab coats, making things glow, and dreaming of one day having your own secret lair inside of a volcano, but that’s only a very tiny part of being a scientist. The majority of time we spend as scientists involves freaking out over funding and whether or not were going to lose out position in the near future.

So I am about to finish my PhD (for real this time, guys! I have my final draft in front of me!) and while I did some awesome stuff in my PhD (I developed a $5 cancer treatment that has none of the nasty side effects of chemotherapy, and which is now in clinical trials), my future is looking pretty bleak.

I have agreed to work 50% of my time voluntarily for the next year after handing in my PhD to continue working on my cancer treatment, while spending the other 50% of the time in a non-research job (that I only got on the provision that I do research for free when I’m not at work). And you know what, I’m actually pretty lucky to have this deal. There is no funding to pay me, because none of the large funding bodies or industry will fund a $5 cancer treatment or sponsor the clinical trial. Any money we do have is going into the research and running the clinical trial. We have not patented our work, because we want it to remain cheap, so there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to put money into it. You would think our university would be totally into it, but honestly, they would rather we were making money. So that’s what I’m facing after spending about a decade studying to become a scientist.

And you know what? I am not a unique case. 

Numerous PhD students extend their PhDs by years because their supervisors cant afford to pay them an actual salary. So even though they’ve done the work to be granted a PhD, they usually agree to continue working on a PhD scholarship (which is probably a quarter of what their salary would be otherwise). And most students are willing to do this for the sake of their research because: A) it’s very difficult to walk away from research you have spent years of your life on, and B) they know that actually getting a job in research is going to be incredibly difficult (because who is going to pay a scientists salary when you have limited funding and can get a PhD student for free?).

I was at a talk the other day by a very esteemed scientist, who while discussing his career noted he had had over 60 PhD students, but only ever employed 5 scientists in his lab. And this isn’t really by choice, it’s by necessity. Because science funding is just so limited, and no one cares about the plight of scientists. Scientists would love to employ the people they have spent years teaching. No one wants to have to start from scratch every time a PhD student graduates. It’s completely counter productive.

So what do scientists do when they cant get funding?

1 – Leave science (what a waste right?). Why are we training people to be scientists if we don’t provide jobs for them? It’s not like there aren’t plenty of diseases out there to cure. So sadly, many PhD students don’t ever get jobs in science (and aren’t often informed before doing the PhD – because you don’t want to discourage your free labour force from doing the work!).

2 – Numerous scientists work without pay (living solely on their spouse’s pay) but continue doing research because they want to make a difference.

Science is maybe one of the only jobs out there where when you actually get a position, you don’t necessarily get a salary. You need to find that from grants. And that’s incredibly difficult. In Australia, for example, our grant success rate is around 10%.

So imagine, every year, you only had a 10% chance of keeping your job. How long would you stay in that career? It’s incredibly hard and requires a lot of personal sacrifice. And this is becoming worse every day as now even grants specify that the money cant be used to pay your salary, or will only pay a portion of it (the remainder of which, most scientists just do without).

And if you think, what about all those new scientific institutes popping up everywhere? They must be full of scientists! Think again. Because it happens time and time again that people spend millions on scientific institutes only for them to remain empty, because they just assumed that someone else would pay for the scientists to actually work there.

So I think from just a few of the things I’ve mentioned (which is only a few of the issues scientists face), you would probably agree that it’s not a job that’s suited to people without a serious altruistic streak.

And on top of scientists getting a really shit deal in terms of their career, they also get branded as the token evil villain almost every time they appear in any book/movie/TV show. And that does real-world damage, because people don’t give a shit about scientists, and they don’t trust scientists, and they don’t care whether or not scientists get the funding to do their research. They don’t believe scientists when they try to share their knowledge.

I had someone recently tell me that I didn’t have the capacity to make ethical decisions because I’m a scientist. Seriously. That is a thing that happened. And it’s total bullshit. But this is a wide-held view. And the amount of ethics applications we have to write because of it is staggering. And many of the ethical barriers we face, are not faced by people in other industries (even though other industries have comparably worse and less ethical practices), because people only to think that scientists above everyone else, need to be ethically babysat. And entire university departments are established based on the idea that scientists cant be trusted to act appropriately. And the mere fact that these exist, based on this idea, is pretty damn offensive. But the reason these departments exist is not because scientists actually lack ethical values, but because people think that they do based on the false but frequent portrayals of scientists as evil villains constantly doing despicable things.

Another issue is the all-doctors-are-scientists trope. This is definitely not true. A medical doctor could no sooner do the kind of research I do, than I could perform open-heart surgery. One might think that being a medical doctor, one would have an in depth knowledge of science, right? Wrong. There is a saying in science: “Never trust the research of an MD without a PhD”. Now this may seem elitist and snarky, but it’s really not overly different from saying that someone has the knowledge required to build a house because they sell home insurance. They both revolve around housing, but they aren’t exactly transferable skills. Well guess what! Science and medicine are TOTALLY different things that require totally different skill sets and totally different training. And while some MDs do have PhDs, this is not the norm.

And you might be thinking, how does this idea relate to how scientists/doctors are portrayed in the media?  Well, because a disproportional amount of science funding goes to medical doctors (especially philanthropic funding) who aren’t actually trained to do science (often with terrible results). And this is because people just have the perception that all doctors have all the skills of a scientist, without all the evil. People trust doctors, but they don’t trust scientists. And this also leads to people thinking that while we have doctors, we don’t need scientists. But scientists are the ones who make all those medicines that doctors distribute. And usually get none of the credit.

So in light of all this, can we just cut scientists some slack? We really have enough shit to deal with, and we get basically no credit for what we do, no empathy or understanding for just how difficult our jobs are, and what we personally sacrifice to try to cure horrible diseases and make the world a better place. We are out there just trying to make a difference, while dodging all the shit that’s constantly flying at us from every direction.

And I know that there is no easy solution to the problems scientists face every day, but all I ask, dear readers, is that next time you come across the evil scientist character in a book, maybe you could try to not let it influence your opinions on us.

And now to all the authors out there who seem to think that using scientists as literary fodder is totally cool, maybe you might want to think a little harder about the consequences next time you decide to pull out the evil scientist trope.

After all, being a scientist is a lot like being an author. We both have to ‘publish or perish’, we both seem to be the most important people in our industry, and despite basically providing the product that is the actual purpose of that industry existing, people seem to think that if money is short, we’re the ones who should go without. Publishing houses, like universities, seem to have no issues paying for all the buildings and administration staff to support our industry, but seem to think we’re somehow not important, and should just feel privileged to be included, even though we’re the actual ones with the talent. They think that if we don’t like it, there are plenty of others out there willing to take our place. But while we never know who will write the next bestseller, we never know whether that PhD graduate who had to go get a job in admin despite a decade of training, just because replacing them with another PhD student is cheaper, would have gone on to cure cancer. We also both seem to have very limited rights over our own work. For authors, their work generally belongs to the publishers, like ours belongs to the universities and/or the biotech companies that take it to market. We both suffer having the quality of our work diminished for ‘marketing purposes’.   And even the consumers of our products often don’t give a crap about whether we are paid for the work we do, but at least when people steal your ebooks, it’s because they’re selfish. When people don’t care that we work for free, it’s because they don’t think we deserve any better.

So while I imagine that authors would be particularly shitty if scientists tried to release a bunch of studies saying “studies show authors have no hearts (although you do really seem to like crushing our hearts, don’t you?)” or “research demonstrates that authors lack basic ethical values”, you’d probably be pretty upset. You would run through the streets protesting about how unfair and false those claims were, and how dare scientists spread such filth about authors. But those claims aren’t very different to those you frequently make about us. And even though you might claim your work is fictional, the consequences are real. Those fictional characters get translated into real stigma. Real scientists suffer because you’re fictional characters have shaped people’s actual opinions.

So, I ask, I beg you, authors, before you next write that evil scientist character, perhaps just think about how that is affecting actual scientists. Think of all those climate scientists who nobody trusts, think about those immunologists and virologists making vaccines against deadly diseases that parents wont give their children because they don’t trust the scientists who made them. Think of all the damage being done because people don’t value the advice of scientists. Just think of how much greater the world would be if when scientists spoke about devastating issues like climate change, people actually trusted them and listened. So next time you’re trying to find a character to blame for the apocalypse, try not to just take the path of least resistance and blame the scientist. Do what you authors do best, and be creative. Come up with something original that wont further entrench the lack of trust in scientists.

And if you do that for us, as scientists, we wont get so snarky when you misuse scientific terms.


here are some articles on the plight of scientists if you are interested in reading more:

[x] [x] [x] [x]


This post, and the content within, is based on my personal experience with research over the past decade, and with people’s reactions to finding out I’m a scientist. Other people may have had different experiences, but I think these will probably be fairly familiar to most early-career scientists out there.


 

Book Review – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Thank you so much to Harper Voyager AU for sending me a copy of this amazing book for review.

This review is actually quite hard to write, without raving madly about specific aspects of the book and ruining everything for everyone, but I shall try!

What’s it about: Based a a world with three suns, where darkness only falls once every three years, a young girl’s father is killed, she decides to attend a secret school for assassins to get revenge with her awesome shadow-controlling powers.

What I thought: It’s one of my favourites of the year. This book is just so damn good. I wish I had never read it so I could read it again for the first time.

The stuff I loved:

The world-building is phenomenal and unique.

The characters are awesome. Every single one. Even the ones I hated.

The story is awesome.

It’s hilarious. There are footnotes throughout the book that are so clever and hilarious. There was one in particular that made me spit my tea all over the room it was so funny.

When the book claimed to be murdery and stabby it actually was! (what does that say about me?).

 
The stuff I didn’t love:

My ship sank…

Having to make the decision whether reading certain parts of this book on a plane while seated next to a stranger was… inappropriate. Yeah this book should be firmly placed in the New Adult category, and not YA.

The fact that I have to wait what already feels like an eternity for the next one.

but those are my only criticisms because it was seriously awesome and a new favourite!

I give it ALL THE STARS!!!


Find it here:

Goodreads. Amazon. The Book Depository. Kobo.


 

Books and Tea – ACOTAR!

Hello everyone, I’m sorry I’ve been a bit absent, but my thesis submission is looming (Due on the 1st of September, but I’m off to the International Congress of Immunology conference next week -terrible timing). During the plane rides I hope to finish Nevernight (which, so far, is insanely awesome), and I’ll be posting that while I’m away (wifi permitting), so stay tuned for that! I also wanted to take far more photos for today, but my thesis is taking up most of my time (urgh!), and I have a clinical trial meeting in about an hour, so I just snapped a few photos (forgive me?). But now, to some tea pairing!

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Feyre Archeron  – Blooming Tea

This beautiful jasmine tea is a work of art, which continues to awe everyone who encounters it. This tea starts off as a simple ball of tea, but once it’s steeped it unfurls to reveal a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The fact that the beautiful florals manage to hold themselves together is pretty impressive.(Unfortunately, I seem to have run out of these tea balls to show you, but they are truly spectacular to see).

Rhysand – Monkey King (Tai Ping Hou Kui)

The hand-pressed leaves of this green tea from China are stunning, making this tea a bit of a show off, much like our High Lord of the Night Court. But beneath it’s showy exterior, this tea cultivar is extremely strong, being resistant to the cold, and is picked in the morning, in misty conditions. Sadly, it’s strong branches often grow far apart from each other, and the large leaves often find themselves too far from their family. But this tea has a distinct sweetness and freshness and is perfext for Rhysand.

Amren f – Silver Needles

Delicate, yet so complex and full of floral and chocolate notes, this white tea is perfect for Amren.

Mor from  – Kotobuki by Lupicia

This is a Taiwanese Oolong flavoured with mirabelle, rose, marigold, and mallow. Now I don’t know what the hell mirabelle is, but it’s definitely something developed in some faery realm, and it’s definitely what Mor would drink, and probably smell like.

Cassian – Mi lan Dan Cong

The chinese Dancongs are truly amazing teas, as different cultivars take on different flavours. This Mi Lan Dan Cong has a strong deep woodiness, that’s followed by a burst of sweet fruitiness. Much like Cassian, this tea comes across as strong earthiness, but is full of sweetness underneath.

Azriel – Golden Buds (Dian Hong Jin Ya) 

This delicate black tea is made only from the early spring buds. It is incredibly smooth and complex with a delicate malty flavour.

Nesta – Brown Sugar Ripe Puerh (Huangpian) by White2Tea

I don’t even think I need to explain this one. This strong, dark puerh is in completely in your face. This tea is made from the large leaves that have been quite underappreciated until recently in favour of the prized delicate buds. The words inscribed on he packaging, ‘Shit, damn, motherfucker!’ are probably what most people find themselves exclaiming after an encounter with our little Nesta. This tea is made from huge leaves that in the past were largely underappreciated by tea makers in favour of the younger, smaller, and more delicate leaves. But these large leaves have a richness and smooth flavour, and people are now starting to wonder why they never realised how awesome it was to begin with. What can I say, first impressions can be deceiving. It also comes as a brick that you could beat someone over the head with.

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Elaine – White Delight by The Rabbit Hole

This mix of white tea, coconut flakes, and freeze-dried raspberries is so sweet and delicate.

Lucian – Milky Oolong

Not to be confused with the phenomenal Milk Oolong or Jin Xuan harvested in the misty Alishan mountains of Taiwan, this Milky oolong is a cheap alternative. Jin Xuan is harvested from a cultivar with high levels of lactones, which give the tea a distinct milky flavour, where as Milky oolong is just a common oolong with artificial milk flavouring added. And that is a bit like Lucien isn’t it? Milky oolong doesn’t necessarily taste bad, but it’s a far cry from the Alishan Jin Xuan that it could be. It could be something great, but instead it’s just unreliable and mediocre.

Tamlin – A Teabag.

Yep. A tea bag. That’s Tamlin. He is the sweepings of the floor of the tea room. Poor quality and bitter. And yet some people still seem to think he’s worth something.

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So those are my tea pairings for the characters of ACOTAR! If you have any questions about tea, or brewing tea, don’t be afraid to ask! I hope you enjoyed this. Sorry it’s all rushed etc. I will be back to normal after this beast of a thesis is done.


 

Books and Tea (where I match Throne of Glass ladies to types of tea!)

I am an obsessive tea drinker, with a tea obsession that has on more than one occasion been described as a little bit excessive. And because tea goes so well with reading, I decided to match up the ladies from the Throne of Glass series with some teas that I think are perfect for them.


Throne of Glass Tea pairings

Caelena Sardothien from The Throne of Glass – Marron Chocolat

Marron Chocolat is, to me, the perfect tea for Caelena. The strong full-bodied black base flavoured with bittersweet chocolate and sweetened with candied chestnuts suits both her strength and insatiable sweet tooth. Caelena would sip this while curled up by the fire with a piece of chocolate cake.

Flavour profile: sweet, creamy, nutty

 

Manon Blackbeak – Snow Dragon Jasmine

Probably my favourite green tea, this jasmine tea is incredibly fragrant and has an otherworldly depth and a sense of mystery. It conjures up feelings of solitude and jasmine flowers in winter. And also dragons.

Flavour profile: Floral, fresh, vegetal

 

Nehemia Ytger – Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess)

Earthy and grounded, yet extremely fresh and calming, this oolong tea is the perfect embodiment of Nehemia. This tea has a regal, yet subtle quality that perfectly parallels Nehemia’s grace and wisdom.

Flavor profile: Velvety, Floral, nutty

 

Asterin – Autumn by T2

Green tea flavoured with orange peel, cinnamon, and meringue, this tea has the perfect mix of green tea for calm, spices for warmth, as well as sweetness, and is the perfect embodiment of Asterin.

Flavour profile: Fresh, spicy, sweet

 

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Lysandra – Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls (Mo Li Hua Long Zhu)

The ultimate in sophistication, these pearls of jasmine tea would be a must for Lysandra. It’s delicate, beautiful, and dignified, and a tea that Lysandra would love to be seen drinking.

Flavour profile: Fresh, sweet, spice

 

Nesryn Faliq – Houjicha 

This robust green tea from Japan is roasted over charcoal to give it a woodsy scent with green undertones. It’s strong and spicy, but also has a down-to-earth and homey fell to it.

Flavour profile: Earthy, nutty, vegetal

 

Kaltain Rompier – Fiery Temptress by The Rabbit Hole

Spicy and completely unsubtle, this tea, like Kaltain, will knock your socks off. Kaltain would relish the bold qualities of this tea. Described by The Rabbit Hole as “fiesty, warming, fearless” this tea should definitely be brewed with Kaltain in mind.

Flavour profile: Spicy, smooth, sweet 

Elide Lochan – Sakuranbo by Lupicia

Black tea flavoured with Japanese cherries, rosemary, and pink peppercorns, this tea, being simple on the surface, yet filled with hidden depths, this tea is perfect for Elide.

Flavour profile: Sweet, herbaceous, tart

 

Sorcha – Sencha

Calming and fresh, with a very grassy scent, this tea is simple yet fragrant and would be perfect for a healer to drink while making salves and tonics.

Flavour profile: Fresh, grassy, mineral

 

Fleetfoot – Strawberries and Cream 

This happy, warm bundle of love and furriness needs a bright happy tea (although not technically tea) to accompany her, and this Strawberries and Cream tisane is perfect. It’s sweet and creamy and just very comforting and summery.

Flavour profile: Fruity, Creamy, Sweet

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A note about the tea suppliers I’ve included. These teas are from Australian retailers (as that’s where I get my tea from), but some are general teas you can get anywhere, and I’m sure you could find analogues from many other tea places. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend all the teas from these places (T2 has some particularly awful teas, but these ones I do like). 

If you’re new to brewing tea: Never brew green tea at boiling temperature. It makes it very bitter and gross. Brew it at 80 degrees celsius (~180F). Oolong teas are best brewed between 90 and 95 degrees celsius (~195-200F). And although I haven’t mentioned any here, white teas (although often suggested to be brewed at 80 degrees, are actually better at about 90 degrees. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself). 

And don’t add milk. It’s gross and it ruins it. It’s just bad. Don’t do it. Promise? Okay good. 


Let me know if you guys liked this, because I do have an ACOTAR one lined up as well. And I would be happy to pair more books/characters with tea.

If you have any questions about tea. Don’t be afraid to ask.