Do I agree? Not really. I did enjoy this story, but I think maybe the plot was too far from my own experience to really get engrossed.
For instance, as noted in the summary, Clare and Aiden have been together for a few years. I didn't have a high school boyfriend. I also didn't go to college too far away from home (though I did move out). I had also ditched the high school scene kind of early to do some early college work.
That being said, there was a lot of tension and emotion that I could relate to. There is something so surreal and unbelievable about graduating high school and leaving for college. Even though you've spent four years with a group of people (provided you attended the same high school for all four years), those last days feel like a rush cramming memories and goodbyes. There is pressure to make it memorable. If you can make it memorable, then maybe it will last. Though, deep down you know things are going to change.
Another thing I love about Smith's books are her flawed characters. Clare is self-absorbed. Not in a mean girls way, but in a "I've got big things going on and I'm failing to recognize other people do too" kind of way. And it was refreshingly normal. There is a lot of hurt and cutting words are exchanged, but it's motivated by fear, change, and loss rather than a desire to wound someone. So, while it would have been easy to be annoyed by Clare or Aiden or any of the rest of the characters, I was just sympathetic.
This review was originally posted on Emily's Reading RoomAudio review:I got this audiobook as a free download from YA Sync either this summer or last,This review was originally posted on Emily's Reading RoomAudio review: I got this audiobook as a free download from YA Sync either this summer or last, I can't remember. I started it on a road trip, and ended up finishing it a bit later. The narrator was tolerable at first. Her British accent was pretty heavy, and since I'm bad with accents, I had moments where it was difficult to understand what was going on. Her voices for other characters were okay as well. However, by the end of the book, I found that listening to the narrator was almost unbearable. Her voice was incredibly quiet and soft, to the point that it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. If I'd had a physical copy of the book, I would have finished it in print.
Book review: I have no idea why I put this book off for so long. I started an eARC of it forever ago, and just never finished. It finally took the steady progress of the audiobook for me to really commit to it.
I love this retelling. It's a dark mixture of Beauty and the Beast as well as some Cupid and Psyche mythology. From the moment Nyx entered the Gentle Lord's house, I was on edge. Nyx is vulnerable, but completely iron-clad as well. She takes ridiculous risks, but when your expectation is that you won't survive anyway, why not?
The bargains struck by the Gentle Lord are the absolute best part. Talk about magic and wishes coming at a price. The thing that kills me is that everyone knows someone who has been cheated by these bargains. And yet, they all think they are different. It's absolutely brilliant and heartbreaking.
I sincerely thought I was going to hate this love interest. I'm not into the bad boy romance, especially when the love interest is intent on killing the heroine. But, this totally worked. Without giving away pretty much the entire plot, I was rooting for Nyx and her happiness from the very beginning, even though it was a completely unlikely match for me. I think what did it was that every scene with Nyx and Ignifex was a perfect fire of banter and tension. Truly, this was some good dialogue.
The story comes to a wonderful climax and ending that I devoured. I appreciated its commentary on forgiveness, loss, pain, and the lengths we will go to in order to set things right. All in all, a very satisfying retelling....more
Peace is teetering on the edge in the kingdom of Carthya. A divided court and rumors that the royal family has been murdered cause Conner, a nobleman,Peace is teetering on the edge in the kingdom of Carthya. A divided court and rumors that the royal family has been murdered cause Conner, a nobleman, to devise a plan to unite the kingdom. He purchases four orphans to train and compete as impersonators of the lost Prince Jaren, including a particularly fiesty one named Sage. With only a few weeks to prepare, and his life on the line, Sage has to learn to play the part and join in on the scheme.
The False Prince is the best middle-grade historical fiction that I have read this year. Period. I loved this book from start to finish, and was captivated. From the very beginning, Sage had my heart. He's such a rascal, but at the same time, he's just a puzzle waiting to be put together. In many ways he reminded me of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series. Like Gen, Sage is a thief. They both have this attitude that they just can't be bothered to care about something, even when they clearly do not have the upper hand. And, like Gen, Sage manages to somehow always seem to have the upper hand. Even when he doesn't. Is that confusing? That's the beauty of both of these characters. I couldn't get enough!
In addition to its dynamic characters, Jennifer Nielsen has created a plot with twists and turns in all the right places. Upon first glance, the plot seems easy to pin down. But where this novel truly shines is by building upon itself with action not immediately shown the readers. This results in a climax that will have readers turning back to previous pages to find all the clues that were there the entire time. The way that the critical plot points unfolded was absolutely brilliant. Like a great writer, Nielsen plants little things earlier in the novel that turn out to mean something later in the book.
Give The False Prince to your reluctant readers, particularly boys. There isn't much romance in The False Prince, which is why I would consider it an upper middle grade or lower young adult. I'm hoping that as the trilogy continues, there will be a little something more there for the girls. But, as it is, I really think that girls will enjoy this book too. “The False Prince” contains very little violence and no heavy language....more
It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic exReview posted July 18 at Emily's Reading Room.
It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic experiment that caused the Reduction. The Luddites, who despise innovation and technology, keep the Reduced on their estates as slaves.
Elliot North is the youngest daughter of the North estate. As a Luddite, she is born to social privilege. But, even so, the estate is near financial ruin. The Luddite's control is slipping as a new generation of children that are innovative and bright are born to the Reduced. Elliot's childhood friend, Kai, is one of these children. When Elliot does not run away with Kai to the Post enclave, she hears nothing from him for four years. And when he re-enters her life, it is obvious that much has changed.
My excitement for this book has been slowly building for months. I have not read Persuasion, the Jane Austen novel that inspired For Darkness Shows the Stars, but am a fan of Austen's other works. My anticipation was further built by the raving reviews that were popping up in my google reader and goodreads page.
I could not imagine a more satisfying story. I was up late into the night on a Friday, and spent a good portion of the day Saturday devouring every single page. Combining the elements of a world torn apart by a disaster that decimated so much of the human race, with the classic story that Austen created, it was a match made in heaven for me. Though the story is not heavy on the elements surrounding the genetic experiment that lead to the ruin of humanity, there is enough to make me suspend disbelief to fill in the holes. And I have to admit that as the daughter of a botanist that works with genetically modified plants, I was very much cheering Elliot on. In fact, through the novel I was firmly in Elliot's court and never wavered in my support of everything that she did, even though at times her reasoning was flawed.
In regards to Kai, I have to say that his coldness to Elliot at times took my breath away. I think that this was very cleverly offset by the letters they secretly wrote to each other as children that were interspersed throughout the novel. It is obvious that both Elliot and Kai were hurt deeply by Kai's departure. And with each cutting remark, I was heartbroken for Elliot. I wanted to protect her and just shake Kai. And yet, I wanted Kai to understand and overcome his disappointment and grief, and just work it out!
This book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The eventual romance is one of the best that I've ever read and ranks right up there with my favorites. I'll happily admit to having a lump form in my throat several times, and even shedding a few tears at the end. A re-read of this story will definitely be in order very soon. If you haven't read For Darkness Shows the Stars, believe me when I tell you that it deserves to be next on your reading list....more
I'm afraid I'm not very objective when it comes to reviewing anything by Shannon Hale. I am definitely a fan girl. Combine that with my guilty love foI'm afraid I'm not very objective when it comes to reviewing anything by Shannon Hale. I am definitely a fan girl. Combine that with my guilty love for Austen-inspired novels, and it's a recipe for my whole-hearted admiration.
Midnight in Austenland is similar to its predecessor in premise. Charlotte, a successful, but kind of beaten-down woman, books herself a vacation to the exclusive and rather secret Austenland. (And seriously, why doesn't this place really exist? You could make a fortune.) Though she doesn't embrace the role-playing so whole-heartedly at first, she soon discovers that there is a very fine line between reality and fantasy.
If you are a fan of the first novel, you'll really enjoy this one. However, I doubt that this companion will persuade any non-believers. Nor do I think it is meant to. The plot is fun, with a little bit of a murder mystery, gossip, and plain Jane Austen fun. (With a healthy dose of Shannon Hale humor). Oh, and a bit of heartbreak and romance. Because, next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then.
Charlotte's story begins sadly, but in a very honest way that I think many women will relate with. And though there is fun and frivolity, I was also pleased that Charlotte grew very significantly as a character throughout the book.
All in all, an excellent addition to Shannon Hale's repertoire, and highly recommended for those who enjoy her work....more
It is an understatement to say that I was looking forward to this book. I have been dying to read the conclusion. And, it is everything I wanted it toIt is an understatement to say that I was looking forward to this book. I have been dying to read the conclusion. And, it is everything I wanted it to be and more. It's over 600 pages long, but I read it in one day. I haven't sat down with a book like that in years. More comprehensive review to come....more
Color me shocked, I loved this book. I don't love paranormal romance. I generally find it shallow and uninteresting and all about the romance. For theColor me shocked, I loved this book. I don't love paranormal romance. I generally find it shallow and uninteresting and all about the romance. For the first few chapters I thought, "Eh, this is the same old thing I've read a hundred times." Then, it all changed.
I don't want to give anything away, but the main character does something in this book around chapter 13 that had me doing some serious celebrating. Clara is a woman after my own heart. She understands her destiny and her purpose, but she doesn't allow herself to be trampled on.