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
Well, Heavens to Betsy, but that ending made me tear up a little!
This series ended up so different than I would have guessed in the beginning. And notWell, Heavens to Betsy, but that ending made me tear up a little!
This series ended up so different than I would have guessed in the beginning. And not in a bad way, either.
I did think several times, "They're still all only 16? Yeah, right. So unrealistic!" and that holds true till the end. The only thing that gives away how young they truly are, is how much frustration crying there is going on from both the girls and boys (which I totally appreciated, by the way).
This ridiculous prevalence in YA fiction to over-inflate teens maturity, emotional capacity, physical endurance, dependability, and moral judgement is akin to how teen movies and shows often cast actors in their 20's (or more!) as high schoolers. The truth is, 16 year olds are still babies! And they would definitely fall apart regularly, and cry a lot, and want they're parents, if put in the scenarios in this book. So even though I just can't stomach the idea that a 12 year old Jag took over as the leader of the resistance, I can at least accept that even at the ripe old age of 16, he's fully admitting to being in over his head and completely unsure of what to do, not to mention bearing the emotional burden of it all. So I guess it sort of balances out.
On another note, I have to say, that after Raine's significant role in book 2, her downgrade in this one was rather glaring. And the way certain adults end up is a little too tidy for my taste.
Overall, though, I guess what won me over was that up to the very end, you still don't know where allegiances lie, so tidy? yes. But predictable? Ha! ...more
The thing about this series is that it's not especially polarizing. There aren't issues in the story or characters or writing to make it extremely likThe thing about this series is that it's not especially polarizing. There aren't issues in the story or characters or writing to make it extremely likable or dislikable. It's fluff, but at the same time it's solid fluff.
In a lot of ways it reminds me of the Archers of Avalon series.
I guess the final word is don't expect it to be your favorite series ever, but trust that you will be pleasantly and sufficiently entertained from start to finish. It's a sure thing....more
Update: started to reread before finishing the series and now I'm going to have to downgrade this one.
Maybe it had first time charm, but doesn't holdUpdate: started to reread before finishing the series and now I'm going to have to downgrade this one.
Maybe it had first time charm, but doesn't hold up now that I know what to expect. Maybe I was having an off day. I don't know. But it's definitely embarrassing that I gave it five stars before, because now the story just seems so dumb.
Anyway, here's my old review, too, if you care-
Whoa. Did you see that? I just gave this book 5 stars. I, like, never do that. You know why? Cause for me, 5 stars doesn't just mean a fantastic book, it means a book that has me so enthralled that I don't care about the stupid parts.
A book can be amazingly profound, immaculately written, and perfectly executed and still bug me. At the same time, I have very low tolerance for idiotic books. Editing, plot holes, flawed world-building, and most of all, dippy heroines, are pretty standard these days, and grate my nerves like nothing else.
So, if a story can capture me so completely that I can see past its faults and ignore its weaknesses and still really like it?....
Well, that, my friends, is called love. It's irrational as all get out, but there it is. No one is more surprised than I am....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
How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while othersI've been looking for a book like this for years!
How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while others try their hardest and can't manage to get past awkward and frumpy?
Belonging to the second group, I've always wanted to know what the secret was-- is it an innate sense? is there a scientific formula? do you have to be obsessed with fashion, buy only the most expensive clothes, and have a stylist at your disposal?
That's one way. The other is way is what this book is about: the simple tricks, easy tips, and manageable guidelines that streamline looking good into more than just random chance.
Truly, it's nothing you probably haven't heard, but what makes this particular book work is the backdrop she sets it against- her rise as a Hollywood costume designer. From the start it is engaging and entertaining, mixing her gutsy career gambles with lots of on-the-job disasters, and the back stage workings of major productions with a side of celebrities that is rarely seen.
I got so caught up in it, I read half-way through in one sitting! And if that isn't recommendation for a non-fiction book, then I don't know what is....more
Totally didn't expect to like this, but actually quite enjoyable!
Update: just read this again before I read the sequel, and while I don't find the stoTotally didn't expect to like this, but actually quite enjoyable!
Update: just read this again before I read the sequel, and while I don't find the story nearly as exciting as the first time through, I did mark an insane amount of lines and passages throughout.
Hartman writes beautifully, there's no doubt-- “And that is when I know that I will kiss him, and the very thought of it fills me with … well, it’s as if I have just solved Skivver’s predictive equations or, even better, as if I have intuited the One Equation, seen the numbers behind the moon and stars, behind mountains and history, art and death and yearning, as if my comprehension is large enough that it can encompass universes, from the beginning to the end of time. And I have to laugh a little at this conceit, because I do not even understand the present, and there is nothing in the world beyond this kiss.”
At the same time, her humor is so dry that I know I missed half of it last time. “He had apparently told Basind [a dragon] to flatten himself into the snow, because Basind did a good impression of a lizard run over by a cart—a giant lizard, and an unthinkably enormous cart.”
Hartman's treatment of music and emotion is profound at times, and she is full of witty, wise philosophies.
The interesting thing is that she is able to weave all these elements together, along with a dearth of smarty-pants words ('dearth' being one of them), into a story that has depth and meaning as well as (NOT in spite of) mass appeal. And then ends with a glossary that includes such gems as
“scrawny sackbut player—exactly as you imagine”
It's the best of both worlds.
Finally, I wanted to note something about the characters. Seraphina in no way acts like a 16 year old, though she does, I suppose, bear some resemblance to Jane Eyre. Anyway, it's striking how well she and her friends get along-- hard things happen between them, but it gets handled maturely. There's little pettiness and more forthright 'character' in the characters. There's a clear line between friends and foes and it's all so tidy. I kept waiting for the back-stabbing, treachery, underhanded maliciousness, etc. but these people are seriously invested in doing the right thing. It's quite the novelty....more