We are all complicit in this, you know. We all know this series is total fluff and yet here I am reviewing it, and here you are reading my review.
KileWe are all complicit in this, you know. We all know this series is total fluff and yet here I am reviewing it, and here you are reading my review.
Kile pretty much sums it up when he tells Eadlyn, “You are so spoiled, and you are so obnoxious . . . but I’m here.”
I can't decide if it's more of a love-to-hate or hate-to-love kind of situation, but in any case, I feel a certain amount of shame that I'm still interested in this series.
I mean, as if the plot holes weren't bad enough in the first three books, number four is almost scandalously so. I notice, but I keep reading.
And Eadlyn is truly one of the brattiest mc's ever, but I keep reading.
And wow, just like we knew America would eventually win that Selection, it's pretty obvious who will win this one. How am I still reading?
Well, I'm still reading because who doesn't get some smug satisfaction watching snotty girls get their come-uppence?
At the same time, who doesn't get warm fuzzies around their shameful, jealous heart when said snotty girls actually start realizing that they aren't the center of the universe and begin to make positive, productive changes?
And gosh, how often does a series move on to the next generation, even if they are working the same gimmick to death?
I ask you, does literature get any better than this?
I think not. (And you can choose to interpret that however you wish ;)...more
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
Within, maybe, two pages, this book made me want to ralph.
So many elements were directly pulled out of Austen books, and then the thinly veiled OklahWithin, maybe, two pages, this book made me want to ralph.
So many elements were directly pulled out of Austen books, and then the thinly veiled Oklahoma! line? Give me a break!
I am not a fan of Austen fan-fic on almost any level (there are exceptions), and this seemed to be the worst: oh look, there's Mr. Collins; hey, isn't that Mr. Elliott?; didn't that happen in Emma? etc. It was absolutely shameless.
Luckily, the plagiarism stopped being quite so obvious after the first chapter, and although many uncanny similarities remained, the book did take its own path.
And really, I have to admit I kind of liked it, in that fluffy, chic-lit sort of way. Most of all, I liked the two main characters and their silliness (the cow song! Heehee).
Anyway, in the end I was won over, but oh wow, it was cheesy....more
It totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? UnbeIt totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? Unbelievable! Plus, I feel swindled, because Love Lies Bleeding is one of my favorite flowers and so under-appreciated as it is. It's a travesty, I tell you!...more
Only hours after writing a hateful review of Obsidian, my curiosity got the better of me and I started Onyx.
And while my opinion on the first book s
Only hours after writing a hateful review of Obsidian, my curiosity got the better of me and I started Onyx.
And while my opinion on the first book still stands, I can honestly say the second book is much, much better. Onyx manages to salvage the series from the depths of mediocrity with a more engaging and complex storyline.
The characters did grow on me a little, too: Daemon (ugh, hate that spelling) is not so one dimensional and Katy's sense of humor kinda cracked me up a little.
Armentrout still plays her readers with Katy's book obsession, working it in fairly regularly with mentions of the blog, reviews, ARC's, Amazon and media mail deliveries, and book boyfriends. And because all this is completely unrelated to the story, worse yet, not even an integral part of Katy's character (in between the book love parts I completely forget that about her), the sole purpose seems to be flattering the audience's egos with some shrewd boot-licking. The blatantness of it is insulting.
Clearly Armentrout is aware that she is sucking up to her audience, but I can't decide if she is conscious of how suggestively manipulative she is being. By overly validating her readers', for example, she's not just making our connection to the main character stronger, she's putting us in the story itself. We're important and appreciated by someone famous, immortalized in print, and best of all, we are no longer faceless observers of the realm of fantasy, but vainly aware of our inclusion in it. She cleverly maneuvers us into feeling invested to the story, and through her attentions we are more loyal, more forgiving, more eager to please. It's goes beyond just the power of suggestion: it's a sneaky way to tap into the loop of positive reflexivity no matter it's legitimacy.
It also makes us susceptive to the almost omnipotent influence an author is capable of wielding. Part of the magic of fiction is that a book can be widely appealing and still intimately personal; our individual connection to a story universally connects us to everyone else who did too, even if for different reasons. Even still, it is easy to feel alone: we struggle to figure out life while the rest of the world surges ahead seemingly unaffected. Especially in the tween to teen years, we are hyper-aware of how others act and deal, feigning maturity while we frantically try to determine the equilibrium of acceptable social behavior.
Books can seem like a voyeuristic glimpse into how it's supposed to be done-- a veritable play book for normalcy. But just because it's published doesn't mean its a consensus, or even true, for that matter. It's simply whatever experience and imagination the author calls upon, which when read by thousands, is now legitimized by shared acceptence.
Because of this, a popular author can have an astronomical influence on more than just their readers, but ultimately, on the whole of society. It can become more than just pop culture references, though: besides the story, the author permeates and infuses the subconciousness of the collective in the most minute ways. This is precisely why there are college courses on Harry Potter and scholarly books about Twilight.
What's always been ironic to me (or coincidental, if you're a purist), is that I have yet to read a YA book written by an actual young adult. But I'm already way off course so I'll save that argument for another time.
So what this all comes down to is that an author, especially one as seasoned as Armentrout, has to be aware of their influence, and such obvious pandering is pretty much on the same level as anonymously writing fabulous reviews about yourself. In other words: tacky....more
I've really liked the other two Cindy Bennett books I've read, so this one seemed like a no brainer. Not to mention the story takes place in GOSHEN, UI've really liked the other two Cindy Bennett books I've read, so this one seemed like a no brainer. Not to mention the story takes place in GOSHEN, UT of all places! That really solidified it for me.
From the beginning, though, it was apparent that this not like her other books. Obviously the paranormal element was something new, but what really differentiated it was the serious lack of polish. The uber-predictability and schmaltzy cliche romance, along with sporadic pacing, conveniently patched plot holes, and some exceptionally bizarre behavior by the characters, barely elevate Immortal Mine out of fan-ficdom.
Aside from all that, though, the small-town Utah part was pretty classic, and really, the guy in this story is unparalleled in the love department: soooo bad it's hilarious! ...more
This is pretty good for being a second book. Manages to hold it's place in the story arc without sacrificing interesting developments or a steady paceThis is pretty good for being a second book. Manages to hold it's place in the story arc without sacrificing interesting developments or a steady pace. Lots of character growth too.
Getting a little gaggy in the romance though....more
Jerky guy, no chemistry except primal lust, and lots of vital world-building information hastily brushed overYou people are crazy: this book is lame.
Jerky guy, no chemistry except primal lust, and lots of vital world-building information hastily brushed over with an "I don't know why- that's just the way it is," or "it was explained to me before but now I can't remember." What a cop-out!
And though many authors obviously write to their audience by making the heroine an avid reader, Armentrout's efforts are so ridiculously contrived as to feel pandering!
I have no idea what there is to like about this story, except for the novelty of the underused paranormal element of aliens, which it almost doesn't even qualify for.
But hey, if you did happen to like this, you'll undoubtedly love Brigid Kemmerer's Storm (Elemental #1). I hate that book for almost all the same reasons as this one!...more