Armada is, simply put, one of the worst books I've ever encountered. I would have given it a two–star rating for an interesting plot hook except thatArmada is, simply put, one of the worst books I've ever encountered. I would have given it a two–star rating for an interesting plot hook except that the writing itself seems absurdly, even comically, poor. Narrative style––wooden and derivative. Dialogue––forced, cliché, vapid. This novel reads as though composed by one of its remotely operated drones––it bears the shadow of human intellect and creative design but registers, to quote one of its characters, as a "giant ball of fail" (309). Cline's second novel falls so far beneath his first, Ready Player One, that I'd claim Armada was written by someone else entirely, someone (again) of comically lesser talent, if I hadn't been to a promotional event where Cline appeared in the flesh to claim authorship. I found myself disengaged and annoyed at chapter two, still annoyed at chapter twenty–two, and cursing my personal "never leave a book behind" mantra at the Epilogue. That's how many hours of my life I'll never get back? Too many....more
Excellent. Maybe 4.5 stars. I like the new character of Nikolai and the surging pace he brings to the story. He's also the reason for the new bookshelExcellent. Maybe 4.5 stars. I like the new character of Nikolai and the surging pace he brings to the story. He's also the reason for the new bookshelf marking: steampunk. There's an undeniable taint of the tinkerer about him, but I like it.
Mal is heart–breaking but real as the love connection takes a beating. I'm not sure that I buy Alina's refusal to tell him about the Darkling's visitations. Especially the first one on the fold. That didn't make sense to me.
Alina's characterization seemed to slip out of focus for me at times during this installment. I like that Bardugo tempts her with power, real power and its seductive/destructive implications. What I don't like is Alina's basically shallow responses: pretty much the equivalent of "I know I shouldn't tell a lie" when the truth of the evil and the dangers it presents are patently more extreme. Baghra has told her explicitly that she's walking the same road the Darkling walked. I'm waiting, and not very patiently, for a Mirror of Galadriel moment when Alina finally admits that if she seizes this power to destroy the Darkling she will inevitably replace him. When does smart, good, strong Alina who would not take the Stag's life find the strength to confront her own inner demons? Face the part of herself that thrills to the idea of that deadly, all–consuming power or doesn't care what it will make of her or rejects it to preserve her own humanity. All this "I know I shouldn't, but I still want it" rubbish doesn't satisfy. ...more
I'm beginning to think, in these days of YA fan–girl and fan–boy intensity, that anyone with a little imagination who can pen a decent sentence suddenI'm beginning to think, in these days of YA fan–girl and fan–boy intensity, that anyone with a little imagination who can pen a decent sentence suddenly wins a book deal. Pardon me if I retain the notion that good story–telling actually requires more. I'm not sure why I stuck with this one through book two, but I've officially had enough. Poor character development, strained dialogue, jerky and inconsistent pacing... I could go on.
The most serious deficiency for me as a reader lay in my never feeling really connected to the main characters or their "love story"; frankly, halfway through this book I started hoping for a "rendering" sort of connection between Aria and Roar. I don't like love triangles, but I liked the idea that things could get messy, that betrayal and divided loyalties might enter the picture of an otherwise too perfect world that is supposedly terrible and brutal and falling apart. So, that's it. I'm out. The story playing in my head for these characters is so much better that, quite frankly, I'd prefer Rossi didn't spoil it. ...more
So. The truth of this reading experience, plain and simple, is that I read a kick–ass review of the book on GR and decided to give it a shot. The reviSo. The truth of this reading experience, plain and simple, is that I read a kick–ass review of the book on GR and decided to give it a shot. The reviewer is a better writer than Veronica Rossi. Substantially better. Under the Never Sky? YA mediocrity. ...more
I've been thinking a good bit about this series which I rated, initially, rather high. I started by giving 4 stars to all three books because Carson'sI've been thinking a good bit about this series which I rated, initially, rather high. I started by giving 4 stars to all three books because Carson's writing is quite good. Much better in fact than standard YA fare.
Something didn't feel right.
The more I've considered, the more I realize that each book satisfied less as I read, but this statement requires some explanation. Elisa's character evolved in a pleasing manner in several key dimensions. I'll confess that I spent the first 100–125 pages of book one wanting to shove my hands through the covers and pummel her if she crammed another pastry into her mouth, but she pressed through all that cloying, self–pity and to discover a flinty, resilient femininity that dazzled Hector and me! Elisa's journey to self–discovery is a bit predictable; still, the transformation from "sausage child bride" as she calls herself in the first book to desert–ruffian/empress in the final book is fun to read. I came to like, even admire, Elisa through those adventures in the desert, magical islands, and Scorpian–infested mine shafts. She proves herself clever and scheming and not afraid to be a queen. To be an empress. A good bit of skilled characterization on Carson's part, I think.
The problem was the Godstone mythology, and to be fair, I think it's impossible to evaluate these books apart from it. The Godstone and all it represents lie at the heart of Elisa's character and Carson's plot development from page one. From the beginning, the idea that God choses or ordains a bearer by placing a priceless jewel in that person's navel struck me as ridiculous. Too much like a belly–button ring. Elisa then defeats the Invierno army and their aminagi with an amulet, filled with dead Godstones, spinning from the Godstone in her navel? Wow. Incredibly...wow. I'm not sure there are words to describe my reaction. I didn't laugh. Torn between utter incredulity and something like distaste. Low point, for sure. Still, that wasn't the real problem.
Elisa seemed to struggle throughout the series with very real, relatable feelings of self–doubt and uncertainty. These feelings Carson linked, quite naturally, to questions of faith and uncertainty in Elisa's relationship to God. This seemed like such rich territory in the first book, especially for YA readers, sensitively explored. I was willing to go with it. By the end, the characters of strongest belief had been discredited as zealots (Ximena & the animagi), and Elisa herself claims to be suddenly "like everyone else," cut off from the Godstone that had given her physical confirmation of faith and a divine purpose for her life. "Like everyone else" appears to indicate something like "Godless" and "on her own" to chose her own path, make the best of things, pray or not to a God who may or may not be there. Once she no longer bears a living Godstone, Elisa no longer appears to bear any true sense of God's reality in the world or her own life. Does Elisa lose or shed her faith with her Godstone? If so, it wasn't faith. Faith is belief in the absence of confirmation. Carson never addresses this. She begs many big, important questions in the end and leaves these threads unraveled and ragged. Perhaps, she'd argue that faith offers no neat or tidy answers. I'd agree with this, but my problem is that Carson does offer a neat, clean answer. One that unsettles me.
So. Elisa carries the Godstone around inside of her body for years not knowing why or what it will compel her to do, only knowing that she is marked to complete some important service for God. She completes her service in the final chapters of book three, uncovering a small oasis in the desert, and the Godstone falls lifeless from her body. Her companions conclude that, this being her service, this small, strange, "uninspiring" deed, all her other comparably grand accomplishments were not her service, not driven by God or the Godstone, but were done by Elisa. All Elisa. I understand the idea that Carson wants to inspire young readers to find strength and competence within themselves not wear themselves out trying to be something for someone else. Meet the expectations of others. That's all well and good, but she's playing with the ideas of God and his expectations and plans for young people. We're talking about the God who made us, made Elisa and gave her not only some rock in her belly button but also that keen intelligence, razor sharp wit, and strategic mind. It's tragic to me that Carson would bring Elisa through so much, allow her to accomplish so much, struggle to comprehend her place in the world both physically and spiritually, only to dump her unceremoniously in the rubble of the cosmos with no hope for a caring, concerned, personal God that created her with purpose apart from some rock in her belly. I reject the idea that Elisa or the reader must make our meaning, our purpose, apart from God or his plans for us. I reject particularly the idea that God's plans for us are inscrutable and "uninspiring." I despise the implication that once Elisa holds that rock cold and lifeless in her hand God is "done" with her. Was this your purpose, Ms. Carson?
My disappointment stems, perhaps, from a misunderstanding of Carson's worldview and agenda with religion. I thought perhaps she was a Christian, and she may be. It's hard to tell. I can tell that in the world of Erilea, faith and belief is more man–centered than God–centered, and that's a bitter pill to swallow, for Elisa and for me. ...more
Two comments: Ximena annoys me. On a scale of one to ten, she's a twelve. Also, Elisa's inability to assert herself with Ximena or to "see" what is abTwo comments: Ximena annoys me. On a scale of one to ten, she's a twelve. Also, Elisa's inability to assert herself with Ximena or to "see" what is absurdly obvious about Hector and his feelings for her annoys me. This plot machination seems to me the equivalent of an author who writes a character as intelligent and wily but keeps him/her inexplicably, maddeningly ignorant of critical plot development because that author can't figure out a way to move the story forward if this same intelligent, savvy character actually figures out what's right in front of her face. Bizarre. ...more
Good world–building (more expansive in this installment) and an impressive cast of new characters nicely woven into the tapestry of narrative. Fun toGood world–building (more expansive in this installment) and an impressive cast of new characters nicely woven into the tapestry of narrative. Fun to read. Also, clearly not the end of Celeana's story. Will happily anticipate the conclusion. ...more
So. Crown of Midnight was a vast improvement on Throne of Glass. I like everything about Maas's world better: her characters, her plot, her world–builSo. Crown of Midnight was a vast improvement on Throne of Glass. I like everything about Maas's world better: her characters, her plot, her world–building, her narrative style. I took exception to a few spectacularly cheesy lines, but given the vast wilderness of difference (for the better) between her first effort and this, I must say I really enjoyed this book in spite of them. I'll probably even recommend it to some other readers. How's that for a change of opinion?
Good idea; poor execution. I'd probably give it 2.5 stars if GR allowed that rating. I'm a sucker for high fantasy.
Still, this story suffers from absGood idea; poor execution. I'd probably give it 2.5 stars if GR allowed that rating. I'm a sucker for high fantasy.
Still, this story suffers from absurdly inconsistent characterization and more than a few laughable plot blunders. How many times does Celaena mention her assassin–trainer–father–figure by name? Still, Maas records that Chaol starts at the name Arobynn Hamel in something like chapter 30.
I've read a number of exasperated comments about Celaena's love of frippery: fine clothing, jewels, parties, and dancing. Honestly, a year in the hell described as the mines of Endovier would more than likely sharpen my appreciation for beauty and elegance, too. What bothered me was the inconsistency of the manner in which she responded to beauty. There's a painful scene in an early chapter when Celaena, "the assassin" as Maas doggedly refers to her, opens her eyes to sunlight for probably the first time in a year and improbably skips to the window, giddy at the sight. That's the kind of moment I just couldn't stomach. That Celaena would be romanced in some secret, guilty way by the feel of silk against her clean skin after what she'd endured? Totally believable. That she'd skip and hop about like a daft teenager as though she'd never endured those horrors? As though she wasn't a trained, skilled killer who'd sooner slit a man's throat as offer "Good morning" to him? (A loose paraphrase of one of Dorian's own thoughts about her.) Give me something authentic, please. A tightened throat, even tears, as sunlight pours across her wasted flesh. A moment of silence, eyes closed, face lifted to the sun. She could even have used it to tease out the first moments of doubt in the stoic Captain's mind: criminal or girl to be pitied? What am I talking about? That would have been much more in keeping with a serious character, and Maas chose to draw Celaena as a bizarre mix of bubble–headed preteen with Byronic heroine. Result: less than successful.
Perhaps, Maas wanted to emphasize both her youth and the resilience that allowed her to survive the death camp even Chaol admits would have destroyed him in weeks. Again, not a bad idea; ridiculous execution. Her inability to pay billiards seems absurd, too. The reader must believe that, given her other wealth of talents and abilities, the subtleties of a cue stick elude her? Mercifully, there was enough action to distract, albeit of a predictable nature. The character of Nehemia was a nice addition to the ensemble; although, none of Maas's seemed particularly well developed. My favorite character was probably Nox the thief. He seemed more interesting and realistic than most of the lot with the exception of Dorian Havilliard who, although arrogant, shallow, and completely unappealing as a love interest, played reasonably true to character. Pity I never liked him.
I will say that it got better toward the end. Good enough to make me consider reading the second book and good enough to make me revisit my two to three word initial review. I think Celaena surprised me when she blew off the Crown Prince so easily in the end. Perhaps Chaol was right about her all along; she does have a brain. Perhaps even some flickering depth of character. That choice at least makes sense: freedom versus a boy? This should be no contest for a woman in her position. Celaena makes her choice without any visible effort of will or regret and, possibly, shows her true colors. It makes me wonder if she (Celaena or Maas?) wasn't playing the reader as well as the arrogant, preening Prince for a fool with all that talk of pretty dresses and parties... One can hope. ...more
What a fun read! Recommended by my cousin, Ellen, and several friends as a fast and adventurous ride with dragons and a strong, central heroine: DragoWhat a fun read! Recommended by my cousin, Ellen, and several friends as a fast and adventurous ride with dragons and a strong, central heroine: Dragonflight did not disappoint. I read it in two sittings, the first late into the night. I haven't done that in a very long time, and it was half the fun!
I'll soon be searching out the next installment of this long saga. There are apparently some fourteen novels in the Dragonriders of Pern series, so I don't know how far I'll go, but I'm eager for more right now!...more
So. There are a few things I'd like to change about this final installment: scenes I'd like to alter, conversations I'd like to draw out, enhance, thaSo. There are a few things I'd like to change about this final installment: scenes I'd like to alter, conversations I'd like to draw out, enhance, that kind of thing. Overall, however, I give it high marks for a series that thrilled and entertained in epic fashion throughout an ambitious story arc. I liked the ending and feel at ease about Taylor's characters; although, I wonder if she didn't leave things open for another book. A sort of companion novel focused on the war against the nithilam. I suppose we'll see. J.K. Rowling signed on for book eight...Why not?
So. Farewell Karou and Akiva. Zuzana and Mik (glad you stuck around). Liraz and Ziri (I have been cheering for you since chapter 53 of book 2). Farewell Issa and Virko and Stelian magi. Farewell Eretz and stormhunters and the mystical Adelphas Mountains. I imagine I'll visit again. Soon. Dreaming of Loramendi and Brimstone and Hazael and all: reborn. ...more
When I started reading this, I thought it seemed rather original. Now, as I draw closer and closer to the conclusi**spoiler alert** (More like ** 1/2)
When I started reading this, I thought it seemed rather original. Now, as I draw closer and closer to the conclusion, I recognize more and more the marks of Harry Potter fan fiction. Emily, you warned me about this. I think, honestly, my greater concern is the extent to which Clare (like so many YA authors) writes her protagonists into overly adult sexual and emotional situations. Jace troubles me; he's a bizarre mix of adolescent sexual energy and adult repression. Throw Alec into the mix, and... well.
It's all fantasy. Good clean fun, right? Hmm...
I've finished this first installment, and I'll admit––Jace and Clary as brother and sister? Didn't see that coming. I'm not sure I buy it either, given the attraction Clare has so obviously and not-so skillfully labored to write between them. She'll most likely pull a good, old-fashioned Deus ex Machina rabbit out of her hat in the next book or two (I'm told there are six total) to explain it all away again. Unless, of course, the simple, again obvious, explanation is true––Valentine lies. I'm not sure I'll stick with it long enough to find out. I may give the next one a shot, but I'm just not sure how interested I am.
I have that strange feeling I often get after reading YA. City of Bones called to me, mainly in anticipation of the coming movie which looks dark and thrilling, action-packed. Then, having read the book, my excitement squelched, I feel a bit sheepish, as if I need to start reading a "real" book...quickly...before someone catches me. ...more
Ratings are so difficult for me. I've been toggling back and forth between 3 and 4 stars for minutes, but I'll finally settle on 4. I think. I gave thRatings are so difficult for me. I've been toggling back and forth between 3 and 4 stars for minutes, but I'll finally settle on 4. I think. I gave the first book of this series 3.5, which I now consider may have been overly generous because, although I really do think that Hallowed was a better book, I'm just not confident it was four stars good. 3.75 stars seems to be taking the ratings thing a bit far.
So. What was better? Certainly not the writing which struck me as cloying and ridiculously cliche rather too often for four stars. The element of Hallowed that presses me toward the rating is the degree to which Hand really did flesh out the themes of free will and divine design/sovereignty much more vividly than in Unearthly. These are important themes for me, and I found Hand's tendency to downplay them in Unearthly more than a bit unsettling.
What wasn't necessarily better. Well, I've had a revelation about young adult books. One that probably I should have realized more than a year ago. I teach a course in rhetoric, and in the fall, when we define rhetoric and begin to study the appeals of logos, ethos, and pathos, I warn my students about rhetoric that appeals solely to pathos. It's rarely effective, I say. I've often wondered about the emotional strangle-hold many YA books seem to put me in while I read, a vise grip that loses none of its force for my knowing that these books are often rather poorly written. Hand's writing isn't the worst I've encountered, but it's far from the best. her story offers a fairly strong ethos appeal for me, but it also, like so many of its contemporaries, relies heavily on an ability to evoke a strong emotional response. I'm an emotive person, so I don't mind emoting. I actually rather prefer to be pulled into the world of a book than otherwise, but I don't particularly care for the kind of writing that likes to pluck my heartstrings but largely ignores my brain. I wonder in the end which this series will turn out to be. ...more
9.1.12: Started reading this last night. So far, I'm not sure.
9.3.12: Well, I liked it. Quite a lot. There's a love story that, while central t*** 1/2
9.1.12: Started reading this last night. So far, I'm not sure.
9.3.12: Well, I liked it. Quite a lot. There's a love story that, while central to the plot, manages to serve primarily as character development and thematic exposition rather than steal the focus. This element argues for a skillful treatment by the author. She's writing YA, and she knows how much her readers love a good romance, but she also seems to understand that romance alone does not a satisfying plot create. Her characters, too, seemed to me well-drawn and convincing. I like Clara and Tucker (great name!), and I'm interested to know more about Christian. I'm not sure that I like angela, but she seems very real to me. Wendy is lovely, but I fear expendable.
Now, what I'm not so sure about. The premise. As far as the concept of angelic beings, "angel-bloods" as Hand terms them, living among us each with his or her own unique purpose in human history. I'm totally in. I really like it. What seems to me not-so-likeable or believable is the notion that such beings could exist, claiming a unique, God-ordained purpose yet exist in a condition of near indifference to his person and their relationship to him. Hand offers no very convincing explanation of this; actually, Clara tells us that when she and her brother were younger her mother took them to church every Sunday. They don't attend any more. What changed? Hand doesn't explain.
I wonder if this gap in the narrative structure indicates some type of authorial angst. Having designed her premise around the existence of celestial beings, she runs up against a consciousness that her readers will not universally claim a belief in such beings or their creator. What's an author to do? Hand offers a character who accepts her "unique purpose" while maintaining a carefully neutral position on the theology behind it. I'm wondering how tenable such a position can be, particularly when Hand offers a villain whose villainy subsists in his defiance of the creator and and the purpose for which he has been created: namely to please his creator. Here's the rub. While Clara remains neutral about her own relationship with God, Hand pulls no punches when it comes to the character of the black-wing, Sam. Sam is the villain because he has rejected God, rejected the fundamental purpose for which God created him. So. Where do we go from here?
I will be going straight to book two, Hallowed, which I checked out from the school library this morning in abject defiance of the book club reading I should have started this weekend. I'm curious to know what happens next and hope that Hand has in mind some idea of how to resolve or at least to explore the theological questions her premise evokes. I think she must, or Clara's characterization must suffer. ...more
**spoiler alert** ***** + Wow. My garden of young adult books has grown to 77 with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and it is most certainly one of the best**spoiler alert** ***** + Wow. My garden of young adult books has grown to 77 with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and it is most certainly one of the best YA novels i've read yet. I don't write this cavalierly; blooming beside this lovely lapis flower are stunners like The Hunger Games & Divergent trilogies. As a writer of fantasy, Laini Taylor dwells apart from Collins & Roth, but the distinction seems to me something more than genre. Elements of Taylor’s world-building (and what a fantastic, magical world it is!) hint at the dystopian themes that run through Katniss’s and Tris’s worlds, too. Taylor deals in the classic themes of dystopian fiction–tyranny and personal autonomy-and the war of Eretz certainly begs the question, “peace, stability, perhaps, but at what cost?” Akiva, I think, would answer this question at the novel’s end as he would have seventeen years before, moved by Madrigal’s compassion to hope for a “world remade” and one in which peace and stability must not come at the price of brutality or treachery.
Taylor’s writing is simply beautiful, lush. She uses language unlike any other young adult writer I’ve read, but perhaps it makes sense that fantasy would be more descriptive than other genres, dystopian in particular. Taylor has built a mythological world with figurative language. She never tells you how a particular creature came into being; she simply paints the picture in words: “as she moved through the trees, [fear] was drowned out by leaf rustle & wind music, & by the hish-hish all around. hish-hish went the evangelines, serpent-birds who drank the night nectar of the requiem trees. In the dark of the grove, their eyes shone silver like the mosaics of the temple roof” (376). I don’t know what the “requiem trees” look like exactly, but I can hear the rustle of the evangelines in their branches, playing the sad, sweet requiem of Madrigal’s love and Akiva’s hope, doomed not because either love or hope is naive but because Madrigal “hadn’t the soul for suspicion” (398).
Taylor writes beautifully around the classical themes of the young adult novel–identity, belonging, first love (with a melancholy, sophisticated twist), loss of innocence, choice and consequence. In the last, again,Ttaylor offers a sophisticated, thoughtful twist that seems to me an excellent example of plot and world-building, uniquely beautiful in themselves, brought perfectly into the service of characterization and theme. Karou’s name, the chimaera word for “hope,” signifies the consummation of many choices and their consequences. Madrigal, Akiva, Brimstone, Thiago, Chiro–the choices of an entire other world, separate from yet overlapping our own, and of a war that frames and dictates their lives, their choices, the limits of love and loyalty, of faith in the mercy and compassion of others. Of happiness. Of hope. Taylor writes what seems to me a type of cross-over fiction; many of her themes are classic YA, but her treatment of them is anything but adolescent. Karou, the novel’s central character, is a seventeen year-old girl, yet she is anything but raw or inexperienced. Reared in Brimstone’s trading post with a serpent woman named Issa for a nursemaid, she encounters the word running his errands through a magical portal to distant and exotic cities in one of which she gets shot three times in the belly. Taylor writes that Karou’s hair grows from her head a brilliant azure, that she collects languages (twenty by her seventeenth birthday), and that she is “impossible to scare.” She is also no stranger to loneliness, to “the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve” (21).
Other themes surface as well, equally adult in nature–prejudice & hypocrisy revealed in Loramendi’s caste society and Thiago’s hypocritical preference for high-human aspect in particular. Taylor's portrait of betrayal and vengeance seems to me also an adult treatment of theme; I can't help thinking again of the requiem trees, how first they sheltered the lovers then became a shroud for the lovers' dream. I imagine their burning, the horrible shrieking of the evangelines, and how that brief moment of disaster parallels the slow, poisonous path of Akiva's vengeance and its disastrous consequence for Loramendi. Chiro’s betrayal sparks a cycle of vengeance and betrayal that unmakes him as Madrigal’s too trusting soul once unmade her, literally. These themes seems ideally suited to the world Taylor creates in Eretz, steeped as it is in centuries of war, bitterness, and hatred. I like this so much about Taylor's writing, that her themes rest with equal comfort in the literary worlds of both young adult & adult fiction.
Taylor plays also with magic in a wondrous way. It inhabits both worlds of human and monster, blurring the lines between humanity and monstrosity, introducing complexity and texture to both character and situation. I love her play with the ideas of magic and hope; “hope can be a powerful force,” madrigal tells akiva, “maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic” (383). Brimstone, too, calls hope the only “real magic” (403). How appropriate for a fantasy world wrought by the magic spell of words–Taylor’s writing seems to weave its own spell at moments, when Madrigal and Akiva stand looking at each other after two years “as if they were both figments conjured out of wishing,” or his belief in their loving, hoping, planning as “blossoms set forth by some great and mysterious intention” (377, 389).
Akiva embodies the potent, magical force of hope; Akiva, the angelic warrior of unearthly beauty, strength, and brutality, explains to Madrigal that “in saving me, you changed me” (389). Their love for each other, seraph for chimaera, is another form of hope’s special magic, a magic that truly might have remade their world, Taylor writes, had they not been betrayed. Taylor’s vision of the angel, bruised & bloodied, broken by grief and the death of his hope, is unspeakably terrible. So, too, is the vengeance he wreaks on those who destroyed Madrigal and their shared dream. How ironic that a creature bearing the name “Akiva”–a Hebrew word meaning “shelter” and “protect”– should be the means of such absolute destruction. I think Taylor has a gift for naming her characters. “Thiago” which sounds so like the thug this character portrays in the smug confidence with which he assumes that what he desires is right and just. “Brimstone” (as in “hellfire &...”) who will not use wishes, bent low in his work, conjuring bodies woven with the magic of pain, burdened by the terrible weight of the magic he uses to stave off destruction against the day when the world can be remade. “Karou” the human revenant–hope reborn.
In the epilogue, Karou flies off to Eretz, through a “slash in the sky,” pleading it seems with that mysterious will or intention that “the name Brimstone had given her was more than just a whim,” that “this was not the end” (418). Indeed not, sweet girl, as Issa would call you. How fortunate that I’ve come upon this first installment of the trilogy in October and have only a month to wait for the second!...more
I finished this morning, and as I write this comment, I feel the familiar sense of loss and regret I always experience at the end of a good st**** 1/2
I finished this morning, and as I write this comment, I feel the familiar sense of loss and regret I always experience at the end of a good story. At least this isn't the end of this particular story as there will be at least one more installment. I put off reading Shadow of Night, only flirting with a chapter here and there, for more than a week after I bought my copy. Once I took the plunge, however, I couldn't put it down.
This second volume in the trilogy was more engaging than the first and not, I think, entirely due to its setting in Elizabethan London. Harkness seemed to address all of my qualms with Discovery of Witches to the letter, and I read with almost complete pleasure. There was one moment in which I really did roll my eyes and curse cheesy, sex-scene jargon; still, that rather harsh invective aside, I count Harkness's sophomore effort a soaring success! I am thoroughly attached to her characters now: not just Matthew and Diana, but Gallowglass, too. I'm rather sorry that I won't be running into Walter Raleigh again. I await her third installment with happy anticipation!...more
delightful! so much so that i wonder if i would have given it 5 stars had i not read it immediately after the invisible bridge, a book whose perfect ldelightful! so much so that i wonder if i would have given it 5 stars had i not read it immediately after the invisible bridge, a book whose perfect language and artistry still haunts my mind. ...more
Neither as entertaining nor engaging as Graceling or Fire. I suspect, also, that this will not be the final installment in the series after all. I wouNeither as entertaining nor engaging as Graceling or Fire. I suspect, also, that this will not be the final installment in the series after all. I would like to see Bitterblue and Giddon together. She's planted seeds for that relationship that, more than anything else, encourage me to think there will be more to the story......more