Just about had a heart attack at the end there before I realized this isn't a stand-alone book! Whew, the story will continue.
I has a pretty hard timeJust about had a heart attack at the end there before I realized this isn't a stand-alone book! Whew, the story will continue.
I has a pretty hard time getting into this book, though. Besides having a lot of distractions around me, the first few chapters were just a confusing jumble of names and descriptions as the setup for the story was laid out.
However, having read several versions of the Arabian Nights story, this is by far my favorite. It sticks to the basics well, but not rigidly so, and I think that's what makes the difference....more
Thank goodness that ended well. After the disaster of Lady Thief, I wasn't sure this could be saved, but now I think I understand what changed for meThank goodness that ended well. After the disaster of Lady Thief, I wasn't sure this could be saved, but now I think I understand what changed for me throughout the series.
See, Scarlet was all about the alternate explanation for the Robin Hood story, but after reading the acknowledgements, and how much actual history she tried to weave into it to make a complete story, things make a little more sense.
Lion Heart is more like Scarlet because it is again based on a pre-existing tale that the author then shaped into an adventure.
Lady Thief is just the unfortunate bridge between the legend and the reality, and was more largely of the author's imagination--some of which seemed to serve no purpose. What happened to Rob's nightmares, hmm?
Given that Gaughen seems more adept at reinterpreting stories than actually making up her own, I'd love to see her tackle some other tales. I saw an opening for Arthur and Guinevere back there...
At any rate, I'm leaving the series happy, and that counts for a lot. ...more
I really liked this book! Unfortunately, there were a couple of racier scenes that move this from a great YA fantasy into New Adult territory. It's reI really liked this book! Unfortunately, there were a couple of racier scenes that move this from a great YA fantasy into New Adult territory. It's really too bad we can't get "radio edit" type versions of books :/...more
Better than I had expected, with a couple of unforeseen developments, and a satisfactory ending.
And while the deus ex machinations weren't so blatantBetter than I had expected, with a couple of unforeseen developments, and a satisfactory ending.
And while the deus ex machinations weren't so blatant in this book, another issue came to the forefront: the rules were inconsistent.
Sometimes they can transport across faerie land in a blink, and other times they have to ride to and fro for days on end. Why can't they transport themselves in to get a prisoner and then whisk them out again? Why can't they transport right up to an enemy, stab them really fast, then transport away again? And for that matter, how come Tiki isn't just wielding her lightening left and right?
And earlier in the series, Reiker would disappear for weeks because time ran different in the Otherworld, but as events escalate, there seems to be no unnatural passing of time between worlds.
Another thing- I assume the royals were getting all their info from Mamie, but who was she, exactly? And who's her cryptic visitor there at the end?
And wait, what happened to Larkin?
Also, why is there a set-up for a Tiki/Dain romance, but nothing ever happens? I totally expected there would be the classic love triangle set-up where she and Wills fight and break up in book 2, she gets with Dain in book 3, and has to choose between them in book 4. I'm not saying I would have preferred that, I'm just saying that it was a plot line that sort of fizzled out without explanation.
And, on the subject of romance, there was practically nothing besides hand-holding, virtuous kisses, and occasionally, their tongues touched (!). Then randomly, I can't remember if it was book 2 or 3, they're kissing a little more passionately than usual, and then, he cups her breast! Whoa! Where did that come from? And then back to the chastity for the rest of the series. It's just so random, and maybe it's because this author is British and things are a little different there, but I can't recall a single YA book I've read (from any country) that puts it that specifically. Usually it's more about 'hands being everywhere' with emphasis on curves and soft skin. I guess the casual bluntness just caught me off guard.
Welp, I suppose that's it. I still think stopping after the first one is the way to go.
My feelings for this book are about as blasé as I felt for the second.
After the magic of the first book, these subsequent books have been like trudgiMy feelings for this book are about as blasé as I felt for the second.
After the magic of the first book, these subsequent books have been like trudging through all the necessary plot developments in order to reach the forgone conclusion. It's rather lack-luster.
My only real complaints are about how stupid Tiki and Reiker keep going off on little quests which they've been warned against, while also ditching her guards. It annoyed me.
Also aggravating was the insane amount of deus ex machina moments conveniently popping up every five minutes. Sometimes they'd be baffled for a while first, but ultimately, everything is miraculously solved. How boring....more
Wow. Ok, Georgette Heyer has finally impressed me.
Despite the unfortunate name of the title character, Sylvester is a brilliant cross of Jane Austen aWow. Ok, Georgette Heyer has finally impressed me.
Despite the unfortunate name of the title character, Sylvester is a brilliant cross of Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde: witty, comical, plenty of misunderstanding, and a variety of social disasters. In short, a comedy of manners.
Sylvester is aptly compared to Pride and Prejudice, but I saw a lot of the silliness of Northanger Abbey as well. And frankly, I think I like Phoebe and Sylvester better than Darcy and Elizabeth! Darcy and Elizabeth seem stiff and cold in comparison to the palpable frustration of Phoebe and Sylvester.
As a writer, Heyer is at the top of her game. I love how she puts you in the mind of so many characters to illuminate various perspectives, building such a solid cast that you can't help but be consumed by the story. And you know what? I laughed out loud! That practically never happens for me!
And seriously, all the way through, I couldn't stop picturing Ian Somerhalder's eyebrows.
Oh man, this really needs to be made into a movie....more
My second attempt at Heyer was no good. She can be quite entertaining, but good grief, sometimes sooo tedious!
It is unfortunate that her opening info-My second attempt at Heyer was no good. She can be quite entertaining, but good grief, sometimes sooo tedious!
It is unfortunate that her opening info-dumps are painfully long and so thick in Regency stylization because it requires quite a but of effort to wade into and get absorbed by the story.
Once the action and dialogue finally begin, it's much easier to get sucked into the lives of her characters, which as I said before, are clearly the strongest feature of her writing.
The story of Frederica was likewise interesting and well paced, but Frederica herself was kind of annoying. She would not stop jabbering! Rather aimlessly, too.
And as for romance, Heyer is severely obtuse about it. Both books of hers I've read wait until literally the last page to show any spark of affection between the main character and the love interest, but that's the ridiculous part: it's almost entirely begrudging for both of them! While its nice that her couples establish strong foundations of friendship and dependability for their relationships, it irritates me that one or the other has to be almost violently forced into conceding to the match. It's a very unsatisfactory way to end a story.
Finally, I feel likes there needs to be a glossary for all the Regency slang that is used. It's not hard to figure out most of it, but thank goodness for ebook readers with dictionaries, because I look up a lot of words! Clearly, Heyer has a vast store of knowledge on the period, so footnotes and even pictures would be extremely helpful, as well, if not adding to the story itself.
Despite my lukewarm feelings, I'll probably end up reading more from her....more
Apparently I've been living under a rock, since I'd somehow never heard of Georgette Heyer and her 50+ regency books (that have been around for 40+ yeApparently I've been living under a rock, since I'd somehow never heard of Georgette Heyer and her 50+ regency books (that have been around for 40+ years) until now.
The Grand Sophy seems to be a fan favorite, and it was nice enough (though not stellar) so I'm not sure if everything else will be downhill from here.
What I really enjoyed most were the characters; Sophy in particular. In fact, im quite jealous of her. She is so authentically charming and self-confident that you realize how misused these terms have become. It's been a long time since I've seen someone described as such without being more than a little selfish and egotistical as well. The difference seems to be that rather than acquiring these traits through parental fawning and indulgence, she has come by them through significant trust and responsibility. She was treated as capable and fulfilled that expectation. And her many years of living amid a wide variety of cultures, and mainly interacting with adults skilled at diplomacy and political savvy surely contributed to her ease of manner as well.
I feel like I'm reading way too far into this, but it really makes perfect sense, and I totally appreciate an author that can back up their character's personality like that.
But coming back to the story, it wasn't until the end when all of Sophy's machinations seemed to turn reckless and chaotic, that she was the least likable. And the way her part of the story ended was just as off-putting.
Whoa. All other aspects of the story aside, this book has a crazy big thing going on that I almost missed. I really wish I had a reason to write a criWhoa. All other aspects of the story aside, this book has a crazy big thing going on that I almost missed. I really wish I had a reason to write a critical essay about it, even, because now it's bugging me big time (not sounding very scholarly at the moment, though, am I?).
Fairy tales are like comfort food for me-- the themes, the characters, the plot devices, are familiar and trusted. I actually crave the predictabilityFairy tales are like comfort food for me-- the themes, the characters, the plot devices, are familiar and trusted. I actually crave the predictability.
And this book totally delivered.
Except for one thing: God was used as the fairy-godmother and it really bugged me. Like, everything gets conveniently works out, and it's all because of their faith and prayers, like, instantly! God is himself the deus ex machina!
Though a Christian myself, I'm confused by "Christian" fiction. What exactly are the authors trying to convey?
Personally, I appreciate the element of Christianity in historical fiction because it's historically relevant. The church was an enormous part of the western world for hundreds and hundreds of years and omitting or discounting its influence for "political correctness" is like pretending the wheel hadn't been invented because somebody in our day doesn't like circles.
Whenever I stumble into a Christian story (because I don't actively seek them), what alerts me to the fact is usually prayers said aloud and pondering on God's will. That's all well and good, but the problem is that it becomes excessive and overused. Then I'm trying to figure out if God is actually a main character, or maybe perhaps the plot itself, and is the story simply a vehicle for doctrine? Is it a morality tale? A commentary? A missionary tool? Or just enough inclusion to make Christian readers feel like they're not totally wasting their time with a book but are still keeping God in their thoughts? Could it simply be catering to a niche audience?
The point is, without knowing what the intention is, my guard is up. Too often, the religious aspect feels forced. Very rarely do I find books that seamlessly integrate Christianity into the characters and the story (The River of Time series, for one) without making it seem like there's an underlying agenda.
I don't know what the author was going for in The Healer's Apprentice, but using God as the cure-all seems to romanticize His influence almost to the point of debasement. It trivializes a miracle when there are several in a row. And for crying out loud, completely unrealistic.
But like I said, it's a fairytale, and it's cute and clean and happily-ever-after, so I guess I shouldn't expect anything more complicated than an easy fix. ...more