I JUST finished this book, and I must say, I LOVED it. I bought it on a whim last week (I really liked the cover illustration, and the "complete" titlI JUST finished this book, and I must say, I LOVED it. I bought it on a whim last week (I really liked the cover illustration, and the "complete" title made me grin), and when I started reading it, I nearly groaned. I figured it would just be another one of those books with a unique, witty/strong character who ends up changing/becoming like EVERY other heroine. Fortunately, Flora stays true to her character from start to finish. At the beginning, she's a bit icky, and thankfully, no fairy godmother turns her into a swan. At the end of everything, she's still the same old Flora, just in a dress, with curled hair and a bit more gumption.
Her world and its warlike lifestyle, along with its view on magic is VERY unique. To be honest, I haven't encountered something so bizarre,foreign and immersive since I encountered Rowling's Wizarding World.
I will say my only regret is that I didn't pick up Flora Segunda later....but only because I hate waiting for sequels to come along!!...more
I had high expectations for this book, and I'm sad to say it completely failed to deliver. I found the story disjointed and the characters very unremaI had high expectations for this book, and I'm sad to say it completely failed to deliver. I found the story disjointed and the characters very unremarkable and almost shallow, so I had a hard time getting into it. I felt that the fairytale itself, although included in a very intriguing way, was very poorly explained or expanded.
Although I read the entire book, I was so deeply unsatisfied that I put it away before finishing the last twenty pages. ...more
Although I really enjoyed the other books in the Septimus Heap series, I felt that this book was a bit weak, and rambled a bit.
Like most Septimus HeaAlthough I really enjoyed the other books in the Septimus Heap series, I felt that this book was a bit weak, and rambled a bit.
Like most Septimus Heap books, Queste is filled with the witty comments and beautiful chapter illustrations we've come to expect. The first chapter had me hooked, but I quickly grew restless with the lack of development and action in the book itself. I loved the book's focus on the Ted Tarsel (the otherwise unimportant shoemaker) and Ephinias Grebe. In fact, for awhile, Ephinias, an adorable rat/man who lives in the cellars beneath the manuscriptorium(a la Phantom of the Opera) was the only reason I kept reading the book.
My biggest complaint is, obviously, the lack of action. Although the story builds up to a climax, the characters don't actually encounter the Queste until page 300+. Then, by the time we finally get into the heart of the plot, the entire quest is packed into about a hundred pages and feels really rushed. I felt that the Queste from the title wasn't terribly difficult or important.
I would have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the Queste- I was expecting better. Although it wasn't awful enough to make me swear off of the series, I can promise you I am not anxiously awaiting Book 5. ...more
I've heard of Holly Lisle for awhile, but it was until recently that I picked up one of her novels. The first book I read by her waA Friendly Warning:
I've heard of Holly Lisle for awhile, but it was until recently that I picked up one of her novels. The first book I read by her was called The Ruby Key, and was geared towards a very younger audience, but since I liked it so much, I decided to read more by her, and hearing that Talyn was a favorite, I decided to go with it.
Now, I'm not one to read back covers (they always give away the best parts of the plot, in my opinion), but maybe if I had, I would have expected what happened in this book. To put it bluntly, a lot of this book revolves around sex, really disturbing controlling sex. There are several sex scenes in this book (four that come to mind), and a few almost-sex scenes (2 of those), in addition to several descriptions of previous sexual encounters. None of this really shows up until the first third of the book, but I was a bit shocked when I realized just how much sex was there!
Now don't get me wrong, I'm fine with sex in my books, but I just didn't expect to find it in the science fiction section. I still really liked the book regardless (I rated it a 4!), I just wish I had been warned, and I can imagine that someone who is a bit more conservative would be freaked out by some of the scenes in the book. ...more
Recently I decided to reread all of Tamora Pierce's books, because, well, it's been too long since I read them. For her Lioness Quartet, Circle of MagRecently I decided to reread all of Tamora Pierce's books, because, well, it's been too long since I read them. For her Lioness Quartet, Circle of Magic books, and The Immortals series, I was refreshing my memory, but with the Protector of the Small series, it was almost like reading them for the first time. I read this series only once, when I was a preteen, and I had honestly forgotten just how much I love Kel.
At first glance, the story of Keladry of Mindalen seems like a rewrite of Tamora Pierce's first series, The Lioness Quartet, which features a spunky girl named Alanna who dresses as a boy in order to train as a knight. When I read the books years ago, I loved them, and saw Alanna as a hero, but now, as a college freshman, I see her character a little differently. In my opinion, Alanna chooses to be a knight as an alternative to learning to be a lady. Although she is a tomboy, she does not choose Knighthood because she loves to fight and longs to protect her country- she does it in an attempt to escape. From the start she is helped by the heir to the throne, her manservant (a trained knight in his own right), and the goddess herself. Although she has honor, Alanna is spiteful with a terrible temper, and is able to use her magical gift to help her through the worst of times.
In contrast, we have Keladry of Mindalen, who is allowed to apply as a page without concealing her gender. But by being honest about her sex, Keladry makes herself vulnerable to all sorts of sexism and abuse. Because she is a girl, Kel is forced to undergo a one year "probationary period" (which is not required of boy pages) so that she may prove herself. During this first year, Kel is constantly bullied and experiences hazing and abuse the likes of which Alanna never saw. However, Kel quickly proves, against all odds, that she is as good, if not better, than the boys.
Unlike Alanna, Kel knows that she wants to fight. She doesn't want glory, thanks or praise, but rather, seeks her shield so that she may protect those who cannot protect themselves. Kel has no real help from her idol, Alanna, no manservant to help her through, and no magical gift to fall back on. Instead, she uses her strength and determination to prove herself to even the most skeptical trainers.
After reading this book I realized, with a start, that I absolutely adore Kel. Although some reviews may disagree, I believe that Tamora Pierce has improved upon her Lioness Quartet with the Protector of the Small Series.
When I picked this up, I expected to really enjoy it. After all, I like Mercedes Lackey's writing, and it had been a long time since I had read any goWhen I picked this up, I expected to really enjoy it. After all, I like Mercedes Lackey's writing, and it had been a long time since I had read any good dragon-focused fiction. Sadly, it seems as if Lackey lifted this story from one of my favorite series of all time- The Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen.
Although I will admit that the whole dragon and his boy theme is old as dirt, reading Joust was more like deja-vu than I ever could have imagined. Both stories take place in dry, arid locations and focus on a serf/slave boy who finds work with dragons and eventually befriends one and raises it and trains it to fight. This story is so similar to Dragon's Blood (which I read more than ten years ago), that I honestly had to keep reminding myself they were different books. I will say that after the first book both stories go off in different directions, but at the beginning they're almost like carbon-copies of each other. It's true that Lackey's book is more political, is meant for an adult audience and is set in a very Egyptian land, but for me, that really wasn't enough of a difference.
If I hadn't read Heart's Blood years ago, I may have rated this book higher than I did, because it's not a bad book, it's just unoriginal. But I really enjoy when authors put a twist on an old story and make it their own, and I really didn't see that happen in Joust. Fact of the matter is, I've heard this story before, and Yolen told it much better. With that in mind, I really can't rate it more than a two, because...well, it comparison, "it was (just) okay".
Although none of the books in the series were AWFUL enough to recieve 0 or 1 star, I would say that this is the best one of the series. Unfortunately, as is typical of Lackey, the further she gets into this series, the less interested I become. I've read the first four, but after reading the last one I don't think I have any intention of reading any more about the dragon jousters....more
I absolutely loved book 1 in the series, ("The Shamer's Daughter"), so I eagerly awaited the release of the second. UnfortDon't Give Up On Dina Yet!!!
I absolutely loved book 1 in the series, ("The Shamer's Daughter"), so I eagerly awaited the release of the second. Unfortunately the book leaves much to be desired. The addition of a new character, Rose, adds a bit of needed comic relief, but all in all, I felt that this book dragged on quite a bit. When all is said and done, I feel that this is the weakest, and least memorable of the series, but it's still not a bad read. Give it a try! ...more
In this third book, Dina and her family are trying, once again, to regain the safety and security they once had. Without her gift, Dina believes she wIn this third book, Dina and her family are trying, once again, to regain the safety and security they once had. Without her gift, Dina believes she will finally have the life she always dreamed of, but when a mysterious and sinister-looking stranger appears, claiming to be Dina's father, the family is divided. When the truth is revealed, Dina must make a choice- either stand against injustice with her family, or join the side of evil.
This book was my favorite out of the quartet because it gave some real background for all of the characters, and provides Dina with some long-overdue answers. The introduction of Sezuan (the mysterious posessor of the Serpent Gift) added some new conflict to Dina's world. I found myself moved to tears near the end of this book. All in all, I felt that this book was a lot slower, and didn't have as much as action as the others in the series. But, by eliminating some (by no means ALL) of the action, Kaaberbol really lets us get to know these characters, which was hard to do with all the non-stop action prior to this point....more
No Question Left Unanswered, No Minor Character Overlooked!
In the fourth, and final book of Lene Kaaberbol's Shamer series, Dina and family must onceNo Question Left Unanswered, No Minor Character Overlooked!
In the fourth, and final book of Lene Kaaberbol's Shamer series, Dina and family must once again face Drakan and his evil forces. As per usual, the family is divided, and Nico and Davan both run off to confront the Dragon Emperor head on. In this book, Kaaberbol ties up every single loose end, and answers every question (no matter how slight). In this book we also meet a stonger, more confident Dina, who has aged considerably since the first book in the series (The Shamer's Daughter). Although it takes her a long time, Dina finally decides how she will deal with what life has given her.
Although I will admit this book was slow going, I believe that is merely because I took so long to GET Book 4. It starts off more or less where the third (Serpent Gift) left off. My advice is to read them all back to back, not in the span of several months like I did. Reading them that far apart, I forgot a lot of minor characters and little conflicts that become crucial later on, so I was unable to TRULY appreciate this last book. I look forward to giving the series a second, much more thorough reading. Although Shamer's War is much heavier in theme than the other three, it ends on a surprisingly happy note....more