The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a beautiful, bittersweet, and refreshing fantasy novel. I fThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a beautiful, bittersweet, and refreshing fantasy novel. I found the plot, world, and characters to be far from cliche. The story was bold and I could tell that the author, Rae Carson, didn't shy away from doing what the story needed. I only give five stars to books that keep me guessing and wow me with the ending and Girl of Fire and Thorns definitely did that. It had a great story arc and a nice, satisfying ending. The setting was beautiful. It was like someone put the languages of Spanish and French in a jar and mixed it up for the naming things and then set it all in a beautiful Middle Eastern location.
The plot had lots of intrigue. I had a tons of questions, lots of theories, but no obvious answers. Just the way I like it. As soon as I had a few theories of what I thought was going to happen, the plot would go in a new, interesting direction and I would, of course, be totally wrong. It's just so much fun to read a book like that! More young adult novels should have a love story like this one. I found it to be realistic. There was no obvious love interest or instant chemistry. The pacing of the events in the novel were perfect. It never felt rushed or dragged to me.
Elisa was a unique main character. She deals with sexism, a forced marriage, being judged because she is overweight, and being hunted because she is the "chosen one". She goes through quite the emotional and physical transformation because of the difficult and sad things that she experiences. Elisa was such an appealing main character because I could see her potential and I couldn't wait to see if she ever realized it.
A theme throughout the book was faith and religion. One of Elisa's strengths is her faith in God and in herself. I liked how the author showed that religion can bring strength to people, can be used to manipulate others, and can be twisted to fit people's own ideas of how the world should be. It was thought provoking to me on how religion is viewed and used in our own lives.
I just have to talk to someone about the ending, so if you've read it already click the spoiler link. It's a major spoiler though so don't click if you're going to read it. (view spoiler)[I was quite shocked that both love interests in the love triangle actually died. That's one resolution to a love triangle that I haven't read yet! It was quite heartbreaking, actually and it really affected Elisa. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, it was intriguing, beautiful, unpredictable fantasy novel with a beautiful setting and a main character that I was rooting for.
Content warning: some violence and a few swear words....more
I made it to page 77 which is when the conflict started to show up and it just didn't interest me. Kiss the girl to save the world wasn't enough to puI made it to page 77 which is when the conflict started to show up and it just didn't interest me. Kiss the girl to save the world wasn't enough to pull me in. The role playing game come to life was an interesting idea. I like how it ties in the role playing game to change his real life but...it just wasn't for me. As far as content there were a few f-words and some crude sexual references.
Princess Academy is just plain beautiful writing. The tone was bittersweet and slightly formal, which I loved. At the same time, it felt very much lPrincess Academy is just plain beautiful writing. The tone was bittersweet and slightly formal, which I loved. At the same time, it felt very much like a young girl narrating. I can see why this was a Newbery Honor book. I really don't know how she managed to do that. The descriptions of the characters immediately created an image in my head and aren't just a list of facts about them.
"Enrik!" Miri jogged to the trader she had dealt with for the past two years. He was lank and pale, and the way he looked down his thin nose at her reminded Miri of a bird that had gone too long without a grub.
-Shannon Hale, Princess Academy pg 24.
There are a lot of characters in this book. There were so many that I had to write a list of them to keep track! Each character comes with a distinct and interesting personality. Not all the girls at the Academy are nice. And their teacher, Olana, is like the offspring of Effie Trinket and Severus Snape. She was very entertaining and one of my favorite characters.
There is the barest hint of magic that shows the power of memories. I was not expecting magic in this book, and although there isn't much of it, it is delightful and fascinating.
The ending is quite the intense. I was glued to the book as these young girls showed true bravery.
Shannon Hale continues to amaze me at her ability to have a different style in each of her books. I was pleasantly surprised by this book - it was not the light and fluffy read I thought it would be, but I could still see it appealing to kids.
Overall, it was a beautifully written book about bravery and friendship with the lightest touch of magic that kids will love (and adults probably will, too).
The tone that I adored from the first book is back. The opening line, which I loved, just sets the tone so well.
“It is by going down into the abyss thThe tone that I adored from the first book is back. The opening line, which I loved, just sets the tone so well.
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell
Nikki is going on an adventure to get something back that she lost in the underworld called the Everneath. It took me a minute to get reoriented in the world again, but I slipped back in easily after a few pages even without rereading the first book. I positively flew through this book in one sitting. The journey through the underworld and the task she wanted to complete felt impossible the whole time and kept me just glued to the pages. The layers of the underworld that she travels through were different in a chilling and alien way. This is one of those books where the foreshadowing was spot on. I thought I was all smart and I knew everything that was going to happen. Then the bombshell of an ending hits and I’m still in awe. Brodi even put the clues in there of what was going to happen at the end and I missed them all. It gives me chills just thinking about it. I feel like she deserves a round of applause for that ending.
Cole is a sexy, modern, teen version of Hades. He’s likeable yet sneaky and dark and I can’t ever totally trust him. My only complaint about the whole book was a few things that were taken too literally. The “kicking” element of the story was just a little to literal and weird for me.
Overall, don’t miss this stunning retelling of Persephone and Hades.
The best thing about The Golden Spiral was that it was realistic. Time travel had huge conseThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The best thing about The Golden Spiral was that it was realistic. Time travel had huge consequences in Abby's (the main character) life. But I think it crossed the line into being way too realistic. I felt like the plot focused on what would really happen to the point that it stopped being interesting to read about. I didn't think the story was bad but it was not riveting, either.
The thing that really slowed this novel down was the villain, Zo. I really just did not get why Zo was that bad guy. He seems to have no motivation whatsoever. He was so cliche. When the world literally starts falling apart and the consequences start having major effects on even the villain's life, the explanation was because he wants to take over the world. Yeah, so did Pinky and the Brain. At least they were funny. The lame villain motivation made for a weak conflict.
Let's talk about what else made this novel slow (I wrote the word "slow" at least five times in my notes while reading this). I mean, a slow plot doesn't always ruin a story for me if the characters are interesting, but all the characters felt very flat to me. We know almost nothing about their past or what makes them tick and it was frustrating to me. It takes forever for things to happen in this novel. There was one major quest that Abby was trying to accomplish and the solution was completely obvious. I hate it when solutions are obvious.
The romance was okay for me. It had some cute moments, but Dante was very cheesy. (I like cheese on my tacos, not in my romance. I like chocolate in my romance). Dante doesn't seem to act like a real guy in my opinion. He seemed more like an unrealistic fantasy. Which isn't bad. It's fun to read about fantasy. But I did roll my eyes at him a couple of times.
Overall, this story felt bland and slow with a villain that had no good reason to try and take over the world....more
Incarnate is about a girl named Ana who lives in a world full of people that always get reincarnated except for her. She’s never been born before andIncarnate is about a girl named Ana who lives in a world full of people that always get reincarnated except for her. She’s never been born before and frankly no one knows where the crap she came from. And no one likes her either. It sounds like an exciting start to a book which is why I was so surprised that I found this book slow and the characters boring. Sam was the most boring character of all. Apparently being 5000 years old makes you dreadfully dull. He seems to have no faults, he never gets surprised or shows emotion to anything until almost the end of the book, but by then it was too late because I could have cared less about him. The plot did not have much going on. A lot of the story focuses on Ana and Sam’s relationship which would have been interesting if I had cared about Sam. There is a very anti-climactic fight scene but in the grand sceme of things, nothing really happens.
This book would have gotten 2 stars if the ending hadn’t been good. We finally get some interesting conflict towards the end. I thought the idea of living walls was very new and creative and also creepy. I was full of questions and theories by the time I closed the book, so I will most likely be picking up the rest of the books in the series eventually. My biggest question that was conveniently never brought up was if animals were reincarnated, too. This led to my theory that I have. I think that Ana used to be a butterfly. Like, literally a butterfly.
Overall, this was one of those books that redeems itself at the end with some interesting conflict and ideas, but I had to plow through 300 pages of boring Sam to get there.
Quite the emotional roller coster. Completely unpredictable and surprising. Pretty violent. Gory and disturbing in some places. So gripping and heart-Quite the emotional roller coster. Completely unpredictable and surprising. Pretty violent. Gory and disturbing in some places. So gripping and heart-pounding that I finished it in almost one sitting. One of the most intense books that I've read. It took me on so many twists and turns. It has quite the epic conclusion that leaves you thinking. It had a nice, satisfying ending that felt like it was the way it's supposed to be. It was so heart-wrenching and sad and even terrifying in some places. Despite that I even found myself laugh out loud a few times. How he manages to be so funny with so much drama going on is beyond me. The whole story reminds me of Gandalf saying that destroying something to learn more about it is leaving the path of wisdom. So many things to think about. Is science really wisdom?
It's like 1984 meets My Side of the Mountain. I took my time reading this book and when I sat back and thought about it, I realized that it was becausIt's like 1984 meets My Side of the Mountain. I took my time reading this book and when I sat back and thought about it, I realized that it was because the writing was just so beautiful. It felt like I was reading poetry. Ally was so good at unfolding the story. Every time I learned something new about the characters or the world, I just ended up with more questions. The biggest question was: "Is everything really what it seems? What's REALLY going on?" One of my favorite things was how much the title had to do with the story. The word "Crossed" weaved itself beautifully in and out of every aspect of the book and I found myself analyzing it and thinking many deep thoughts. It was so much more deep and thought provoking than I thought it would be. The story leaves you hanging and eager to read the next one, but not in a huge cliff-hanger way. I'm going to go think about this story some more....Oh, and the love triangle was one of the best and truly honest ones that I've read.