It's been a long time since I read this. I'd actually forgotten about it, but someone in my feed just read it, and I was like, hey, I've read that, toIt's been a long time since I read this. I'd actually forgotten about it, but someone in my feed just read it, and I was like, hey, I've read that, too! Anyway, it was a fluffy read that felt more Middle Grade than YA, so I would not recommend this for anyone who has graduated high school. My middle sister read it when she was about thirteen and loved it....more
Anytime a Big Bad vamp bites through a pregnant angel's stomach and infects the baby with its venom in the first few pages ofReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Anytime a Big Bad vamp bites through a pregnant angel's stomach and infects the baby with its venom in the first few pages of a book, it's a pretty clear indicator of what you're in for. If that sounds awesome to you, then hey, you might love this book.
BUT . . . if you're like me, and think that's just about as cornball as it can get . . . you are not wrong.
Francesca doesn't know what she is. She only knows that she cannot die. But if she's injured badly enough, she can appear to be dead while her body shuts down to repair itself. When this happens, she wakes up with incomplete memories from her prior life that come to her in fits and starts, and sometimes while she sleeps. She has no idea how old she is, but she knows she's much older than her seventeen year old appearance.
The only thing she's sure about is the man whose face she's been seeing in her dreams throughout all her lives. The man who radiates light, the man whose beauty makes her heart ache, the man with a golden halo of blond curly hair . . . Gabriel. *rolls eyes*
But while Gabriel is the man of her dreams (HA), Jonah in the injured vamp in her backyard. And even though her last life ended when she came face-to-face with the darker nature of vampires (the more recent the past life, the more vivid the memories), Francesca has a "hunch" that Jonah is different, so despite knowing that he's been tortured, starved, and is grievously injured, she ignores his warnings to keep her distance, lest he drink her down, and cuts her own wrist, forcing him to drink.<------TSTL female alert.
The only reason she survives this idiocy is b/c Jonah's captors show up, distracting him from her blood, and then---OMG!---freshly fed, he somehow manages to take out ALL the bad guys.
Hmmm . . . I wonder if there's something different about Francesca's blood?
But while Jonah is busy with the vamps, Francesca hears/sees a silver bullet racing straight towards Jonah's heart, so she jumps in front of it, getting hit in the shoulder, and passes out.
When she comes to, none other then Gabriel himself is leaning over her. And not only is her dream man there---in the flesh---but would you believe that he's also the angelic leader of the motley band of good(ish) vamps that Jonah belongs to?
And what a cruel twist of fate. After spending countless lives alone, she had just found Jonah, with whom she shared an instant connection. Jonah, who bares a remarkable resemblance to Damon Salvatore, both in appearance and temperament.
But then there's Gabriel. Gabriel who she's longed for in all of her lives . . . it's just SO confusing. What's a girl to do?<------W-A-F-F-L-E.
So the plot's ridiculous. How about the writing?
He wasted no time scooping me up off the bark and thrusting my body against his. He clung to me, allowing no space between us, pushing his hand into my soaking hair. Eventually I removed my face from his chest and stared up into his eyes; they were enlarged with worry and brimming over with sadness.
He didn't hug or embrace her, he thrust her body against his. She didn't look up, she removed . . . her face . . . from his chest. *headdesk* His eyes weren't wide, they were . . . enlarged.
Then there was the single page in which Francesca was, "utterly perplexed," "bewildered," and "completely dumbfounded," in quick succession.
I also have this peeve about people using the word "literally" for emphasis: I literally walked out, he literally ignored her, she literally just got here, etc. STAHP. It's bad enough when I have endure its overuse by my sister, but in a book? NO.
And let's not forget about all the random and bizarre, yet technically correct, words that can be found on nearly every page. Like when the monster vamp slices off a lock of Francesca's hair, and instead of smelling it, or lifting it to his nose, he raised it to his "orifices."
*sing songs* Someone literally needs to have their thesaurus confiscated.
And that's all I got. There were moments that were relatively painless, but overall . . . Lailah by Nikki Kelly was not for me. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes the sound of a Fallen + Twilight + Vampire Diaries mashup + a surplus of adverbs, and a questionable use of adjectives....more
Laini Taylor is a genius. No really. You know how “they” say that all myths and fairytales have an element of truth in them? How that element of truth is where the myths and fairytales originally came from? Well, in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor treats all the myths like they’re Athena—sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus. Greek, Middle Eastern, Egyptian, various and sundry Pagan belief systems, it doesn’t matter, it all combines to make one glorious whole. There are Mesopotamian Hamsa on the hands of resurrected Naga (Hinduism/Buddhism), Greek Minotaurs, Egyptian jackals, and a multitude of other mythological creatures. Hamsa that repel the mishmash of creatures’ enemy, the Seraphim. Seraphim who are wholly unconnected to Christian, Jewish, or Muslim ideologies.
And the magic that both sides utilize must be paid for in PAIN. This (IMO) is the best and cleverest part b/c in European folklore, both Eastern and Western, there are all kinds of pagan belief systems focused on witchcraft, earth worship, manipulation of the elements, etc. Almost all of those belief systems center on the principle of payback. Karma. The Golden Rule. Pick one. All variants of the same basic idea—if you put good in the world, it will come back to you, and if you put bad in the world, that will come back to you as well. Taylor takes this principle and transforms it into something with tangible, immediate results. In her world, you don’t have to look over your shoulder waiting for your bad deeds to catch up to you, you pay as you go. Or someone pays.
Right. So. Meet Karou. Karou is a blue-haired girl who lives in Prague, where she is in enrolled in a school of the arts. Before that she was somewhere else, and before that, yet another place—rootless, homeless, Karou. When she was a child, she lived in an other-place, surrounded by other-creatures who were her friends and family, but when she got older, Brimstone (the othercreature in charge of those who raised her) sent her out into the human world, to learn human things, and run human errands b/c Karou is human.
But if Karou is human, then how did she become a part of this otherworld? How did she acquire languages as birthday gifts, and why did her hair turn blue when she wished it? Why has she had tattoos of an eye on the palm of each hand for as long as she can remember, and why does she constantly feel like something is missing, that she should be doing something, being something, a part of something, that she is not?
Daughter of Smoke & Bone will make you ache. It will make you clench your hands and clutch your arms around your stomach in trepidation of what Karou will learn, must learn about herself, about the othercreatures she calls family, about the strange, burnt hand prints that show up on the doors that are the gateways to their otherworld, and about the beyond beautiful man with the shadow that has giant wings who put them there.
Inexplicably, I left these books off my list of Top 5 YA Series a few weeks ago. It somehow slipped my mind, though it has clearly earned its place there. It’s simply the most brilliant and unique story I’ve read in recent memory. I love the characters, both main and secondary, I love the world-building, and the romance is simply fantastical. Daughter of Smoke & Bone hits you straight in the feels, and you love every second of it, want more of it, are devastated when it ends.
So it’s a good thing Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the third (and final?) installment of this series will be released in only a few short weeks. Are you ready?
So y'all know I'm from the South, right? I've lived in North Carolina or Tennessee my whole life, and with theReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Oh, lordy . . .
So y'all know I'm from the South, right? I've lived in North Carolina or Tennessee my whole life, and with the exception of one uncle who relocated to California, all of my family lives in those two states or in Georgia or Alabama.
So when I hear about a book that is supposedly S-O-U-T-H-E-R-N, I get all excited, and I have to read it. Sometimes that works out for me . . .
And sometimes it doesn't.
I want to say up front, once again, the reasons this book didn't work well for me are personal preference issues, so unless we share the same quirks---a love of all things Fae and/or Native American and are S-O-U-T-H-E-R-N---you'll probably like it a lot more than I did, b/c the premise was actually really cool.
Three second sons (Watson, Beaufort, and Colesworth) became privateers to make their fortunes, and having made said fortune, go to South Carolina, seeking permission to settle. They receive it, but the land granted to Watson is haunted, so the three men stir up some swampy voodoo, the end result being Watson (and descendants) having the ability to find lost things, Beaufort (and descendants) having the ability to know what people want, and Colesworth (and descendants) being CURSED with . . . being less successful than the other two . . . ?
Whatever the curse is, the Colesworths are very, very bitter.
Fast forward to the present and things get complicated. (HA!)
Lula Watson, our heroine's mother, has just died, revealing to Barrie (heroine), who has lived in California her whole life, with no knowledge of any relatives, that she does indeed have family, and her aunt (her mother's TWIN sister) is now her guardian. Her aunt who also had no knowledge of Barrie's existence, b/c Lula was believed to have been killed in a fire 18 years ago.
Kind of convoluted, but it's YA, so it can get away with it.
What it couldn't get away with (for me) can be split into two parts:
Poor representation of Southern-isms.
1. FACT: every other person you meet in the South is NOT named Billy Joe or Beth Ann. 2. Southern women CAN have entire conversations without calling someone "sugar." 3. The truth is just the truth. It's not the "gospel" truth. Unless it's a Disney song . . . 4. "Higher than a treed raccoon." RACCOONS LIVE IN TREES.
And those are just representative of the kinds of things found on nearly every page. Yes, people from the South say strange things, but they MAKE SENSE, and are rarely just for embellishment. We talk s - l - o - w. If we added as many nonessential adjectives, metaphors, and similes as are implicated here, we'd never have time to do anything else. You aren't "stubborn as a cross-eyed mule," you're stubborn as a mule. The end. GAH.
Weird mashup of belief systems/folklore.
As is common with anything set in the colonies, a slave is the gateway to all things witchy. But . . . the spirit the slave helps the men trap is the bizarre amalgamation of voodoo and Native American folklore.
It came across as some kind of medicine man, but here's the thing . . . Native American gods aren't very flashy. In all the stories I've heard (and admittedly, it's a hobby---I'm not an expert), they're either in animal form, or they look just like any other person, but discerning people can tell there's something different about them.
They don't wear big, black feathered cloaks and set rivers on fire.
But that's exactly what the Fire Carrier does. And he's also the guardian of yunwi, which simultaneously sounds remarkably similar to the loa in voodoo and pissed-off brownies. Brownies as in the type of Fae that perform household tasks in exchange for . . . it varies, but the point is, if they don't feel appreciated, they start causing trouble.
I don't have a problem with mixing parts of various folklore traditions to create a new, unified whole. I've seen it done, and done well. Maybe I had such an issue with it this time b/c of the three mythologies, two are my favorite, and one is my most detested. I don't know. Regardless, it felt . . . lazy. There were parts, but no unified whole. It was just this kind of . . . hodgepodge.
BUT. Like I said, really cool premise, so seriously, if an exaggerated representation of Southern culture and/or combining elements of pre-existing and separate mythologies aren't a problem for you, give it a shot. I wouldn't recommend it for those of you who are already on the fence about YA, b/c this book is distinctly YA....more
So in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, we know that Zuze is mackin' on Mik, and we know that they're together *waggles eyebrows* when Karou gets back froSo in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, we know that Zuze is mackin' on Mik, and we know that they're together *waggles eyebrows* when Karou gets back from her gallivanting, but we don't know the details . . . here are the details . . .
It's told in dual POVs (which I love), and it opens with a (HILARIOUS) flashback into Zuzana and Karou's early friendship. This flashback establishes that Zuzana came by her insanity honestly, and involves an undead fox Cossack that her grandfather caught.
"Caught it," Karou repeated. "And where do grandfathers catch . . . undead fox Cossacks?"
"In Russia, of course."
This thing is positively RIFE with one-liners:
"My height triggers the puppy-kitten reflex--Must touch--and I've found that since you can't electrify yourself like a fence, the next best thing is to have murderer's eyes."
In reference to her grandfather's nickname for her:
It's for mucholapka podivna, or Venus flytrap, in honor of my 'quiet bloodthirst' and 'patient cunning' in my lifelong war with Tomas (her brother).
"Even if you're not miniature like me--four foot eleven in a good mood, as little as four foot eight when in despair . . . "
"for fun and evil"
"That's not my heartbeat pounding in my throat. That's confidence."
Getting the picture? I loved this novella.
I thought I was going to love, LOVE, L-O-V-E it, and now I'm thinking that maybe it seemed to meander in places b/c it's impossible to maintain the level of hilarity that was established at the beginning. It's 79 pages long, and I feel like it could have been cut down to 60-65.
Regardless of length though, it was pure awesomeness. READ IT!