This one was a pleasant surprise, though I wish it had been longer. "When My Heart Was Wicked" is a snapshot of what can happen to someone as a causeThis one was a pleasant surprise, though I wish it had been longer. "When My Heart Was Wicked" is a snapshot of what can happen to someone as a cause of an unstable, dangerous childhood trying to become an adult - but through the lens of Francesca Lia Block-esque magical realism. I loved this one, and it makes me feel like Stirling will be one awesome author to watch. If you're looking for a little magical realism in your tough stuff YA issues book, "When My Heart Was Wicked" is definitely the one you want to pick up.
My biggest problem with this book - the lack of development with the antagonist of this book (or well, perhaps the most major one, as there were really two), Cheyenne. While we understand she's a bad mom, kinda a bad person (though redemption seems possible in the end), we don't really understand a lot of her. She feels like a shallower version of the mother in "White Oleander" (in fact, a lot of this book feels like that book, but with more magic and witchery instead) - maybe slightly mad, or a sociopath, but with love for her daughter that's just been twisted up in all sorts of ways that psychologically "normal" people cannot understand. However, she is really pretty abusive, and does cause harm to others - both magically and normally. But I wanted more - we get slight flashes of her motives and her roots in this book, but we don't quite get enough to go on for everything to feel really solid.
So for Cheyenne in general, I think we needed one good last edit.
But for Lacy? Her character development (which, was also used as worldbuilding in one of the most creative ways I've ever seen) was spectacular, and I felt as if I were right there with her. Using her astronomical sign (Gemini) to help develop her character was brilliant move on Sterling's part - the good twin, and the bad twin. Also, the idea of her "bad self" as redeveloping in an egg was a great idea as well, and I felt like it fit very well. She was quite the sympathetic protagonist, with a little bit of unreliable narrator thrown in for good measure. All of the tricks of the trade were used for Lacy, and they all worked. I don't think I've seen that in YA recently from debut authors - or if I have, it's been only a handful. Bravo.
As for the general worldbuilding (outside of Lacy), I felt that Chico was far more developed compared to Sacramento. Or rather, if Chico was the "light", Sacramento was the under-developed "Dark". I feel like we could have had more details there about the neighborhood, about the school, about all the places Lacy was currently in and had been to in the past with her mother, etc. I wanted more details other than the Demeter's Daughter shop and the house. I really wanted more there so that the "outer" world felt more complete.
Otherwise? One of my favorite debuts of 2015 so far. If you like Francesca Lia Block's brand of magical realism (also echoed in Janet Fitch's "White Oleander"), you're going to want to pick up this book. "When My Heart Was Wicked" is out now from Scholastic in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!
(posted to goodreads and other places, including birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)
Okay, so I'm a sucker for anything Anno does, so I went and bought this first-run special edition for this final volume of the manga, too. And I'm glaOkay, so I'm a sucker for anything Anno does, so I went and bought this first-run special edition for this final volume of the manga, too. And I'm glad I did - we get a different cover, a complete-set manga holder you can build (you can check my instagram @thatusagiko for progress), a mini-artbook with new art from the REBUILD series as well as the old series, and a CD that the artist for the manga made (I still need to listen to it) all bundled together. The art is wonderful, and I couldn't be happier.
I'm really sad this run is over, and that the North American edition will NOT be getting this version for release (instead, Viz has been frantically putting together a final 3-in-1 omnibus that has volumes 12-14 in it), and that release has been pushed back until February 2015. I'll still be reading the translation, though.
For those who hated "End of Evangelion", well, I'm trying not to spoil you, but if you've been reading, you'll see where things in the manga have been going. It's had slight (but in some areas, very important) changes compared to the TV show, and this final volume is no exception. There's also a nod to the REBUILD series in the extra little chapter at the end, which made me really happy. All in all? A fantastic ending, and I think EoE haters will be a little happier with this deliciously different canon (since the manga is canon, right, guys? right?) ending. ...more
Guys, I just…I can’t even with this series anymore. But in a good way. So much heartbreak, but it feels so good. This book (which I guess, is kind ofGuys, I just…I can’t even with this series anymore. But in a good way. So much heartbreak, but it feels so good. This book (which I guess, is kind of a middle book? out of four?) just proves Stiefvater’s prowess and her unstoppability in terms of keeping a story going with no loss from when you put down the previous book and start the next. With the plot getting crazier, more puzzle pieces falling together, and more doom and gloom gathering, “Blue Lily” is an AWESOME addition to the series, and it makes me hanker for book four even more. Trust me. You want this book.
Where to start? There’s so much in this book that gets further developed – but I think the universal themes (humanizing the aloof character in the main cast, economic inequality) here get the best treatment aside of Stiefvater blowing my mind with the connections she makes between Blue, her family, the Boys, and Cabeswater. We get even deeper into character development (I didn’t think this was possible, but it happened), as well as a new character that’s not only hilarious, but scary as hell towards the end of this installment.
The relationships. This is also a big one – everyone seems to be losing someone else. Noah is disappearing (even more), Adam and Gansey are at odds, Adam and Ronan are suddenly bffs, and of course, Blue’s missing mother and how Blue is trying to cope with that. Gansey’s kind of the odd man out, and while Blue is trying to swim through her grief to be with him, it just kind of…doesn’t really happen. She tries, I’ll give you that, and the old maxim about killing one’s darlings to get the best possible emotional payoff in your story? Well, Stiefvater MURDERS those darlings repeatedly. And it just hurts so good. The monsters are more humanized, the humans are more monsterized, and it’s all beautifully rendered in a way that makes me really jealous.
There’s also the worldbuilding – it makes me want Cabeswater to be real, for all of the things and places that Ronan dreams up to be real, for me to be able to go to all of these places. Stiefvater seems to only be getting better at her external worldbuilding with each book and that’s something that brings me great joy. She’s always been good at it in her other works, but for some reason, this series really seems to be making her push herself to immerse the reader as much as possible. With the internal worldbuilding going on for pretty much all the characters going on all at once, she also keeps that neat and tidy, and I didn’t once have to re-read to figure out what was going on (see: relationships above). The internal worldbuilding was definitely at its best in this volume, and the tension is building for that last volume to see who goes against each other, and what happens with Cabeswater and our crew at the end.
The new characters? Awesome. I’m glad we finally get to see Gansey’s professor, and a certain new character that I talked about before that I have the feeling will play a significant part in the crescendo of this series. The inclusion of those two characters really helped filled out the world and fill in some answers we’d been searching for since book one. But with that, more questions still arise. Nicely played, Stiefvater.
Final verdict? “Blue Lily” was everything I’d been waiting and hoping for for in a third book for the “Raven Cycle”. For the Raven fans out there, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed in the least. “Blue Lily” is out now from Scholastic in North America, and this is one release you definitely CANNOT miss....more
I honestly don't know what the fuck I just read (I'm reading things out of order, admittedly, so I only vaguely know about the previous "Steel Ball RuI honestly don't know what the fuck I just read (I'm reading things out of order, admittedly, so I only vaguely know about the previous "Steel Ball Run" arc connection to this new addition to the "JoJo" canon), but I know I liked it. A LOT. MORE. NOW.
PS: Also, bless you, Araki, for basing a manga off of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Give this man an award, I'm not even kidding....more