Rio dreams of living in the Above, the unknown above her watery home of Atlantia. Her promise to her sister, Bay, to remain below when Bay decides toRio dreams of living in the Above, the unknown above her watery home of Atlantia. Her promise to her sister, Bay, to remain below when Bay decides to leave Atlantia and live Above. Because of the death of her mother, the powerful former minister, she is left alone and begins to search out the reasons she was left behind. Oh, also, she's a siren, which can be a dangerous prospect in Atlantia, which has a bit of a conflicted relationship with the humans that can control with their voice.
I was a big fan of Condie's first series, Matched, because I appreciated her poetic tone. I feel similarly about this book. The pacing in this book is not for everyone, but it worked for me.
The story and mythology that is woven into the characters and put into a more modern setting is beautiful. Sirens and underwater creatures can be tough to pull off. I liked the humanistic approach to these myths. The sirens aren't mermaids or supernatural. They are people with special abilities that can seem scary.
Here is one of my favorite quotes (from my uncorrected ARC): I remember the day when we were five and I made Bay cry so hard she could barely breathe. I did it on purpose. I liked it when I was doing it—I felt hot and cruel and clever and powerful—but afterward, I broke down in remorse. My mother held me tight. She was crying, too. "You are a good girl, Rio," she said. She sounded relieved.
"I hurt Bay," I said. "And I wanted to."
"But you were sorry after," my mother said, "and you don't want to do it again."
I nodded. She was right.
"That is the difference," my mother said, almost as if she were no longer speaking to me. "That is the difference."
Here's where the novel breaks down a bit for me. There just isn't enough. Rio's penchant for mechanics is discarded partway through the novel, among other things. The construction and elements of the setting needed an extra push. With more development and more information to keep me invested in Atlantia, this would have been phenomenal....more
Linda Wallheim is the bishop's wife. A mother of five boys and the surrogate mother of her ward in Draper, Utah. She's used to late-night phone calls,Linda Wallheim is the bishop's wife. A mother of five boys and the surrogate mother of her ward in Draper, Utah. She's used to late-night phone calls, visits, and responds to the call for help. When her friend, Carrie, disappears, leaving behind her young daughter and husband, Linda fears for the worst. Carrie's husband, Jared, is acting strangely, and Linda is determined to get to the bottom of where Carrie has gone.
I read this book on the plane ride back from BEA (Book Expo America) this year, and I was riveted.
This book is about a Mormon woman, but it's unlike any other book about a Mormon woman that I've ever read before. Long ago I gave up on LDS fiction, and part of me is convinced that it's impossible to write a compelling narrative about a person with intense, pure faith. At least, I haven't found it yet.
What sparkles in this novel is the fact that Linda is unabashedly questioning. This causes tension with her husband, children, and members of her ward. And it's so completely real that I found myself really wanting to be friends with Linda. Mette has moved us past the illusion of a perfect woman and a perfect family to a study on how to be "faithful" and questioning. Linda confronts questions about the LDS church that aren't comfortable. And they don't have easy answers. At times, Linda is judgmental and wrong. But, she's also kind and strong.
I'm not sure how other Mormons will react. It may be difficult to see the culture from an outsider's view. Mette is a practicing Mormon, but this narrative reads more like someone on the outside looking in. However, there will be some translating involved for readers not familiar with the vocabulary of Mormons. It's a difficult balance to work out how much explanation to give non-Mormons while also not bogging down the story with too much detail.
The book isn't perfect. It suffers at times from a cohesive narrative, and it's just not quite as tight in the plot as it could be.
However, on a more personal note, it resonated with me. It was a book that was at once entertaining and thought-provoking. It gave me a little glimmer that perhaps there are some other Mormon women out there like me....more
Insurgent begins right where Divergent leaves off. Tris and the others are headed to Amity headquarters to seek refuge from the crazy Erudite. Tris isInsurgent begins right where Divergent leaves off. Tris and the others are headed to Amity headquarters to seek refuge from the crazy Erudite. Tris is still reeling from watching the murders of half of her family, and from being forced to murder one of her best friends that was under the influence of a simulation. Once at Amity's headquarters, she hopes to regroup and figure out how to restore the balance of the factions.
The beginning of Insurgent hits the ground running. To say that Tris is upset by the events that took place during her initiation ceremony would be an understatement. She is haunted by them. Particularly her part in murdering Will. Tris's character becomes increasingly complex as she tries to work through her feelings, especially about her own faction and what it means to be Dauntless.
If you thought you knew which faction was good and which was bad, you may change your mind several times throughout the story. There is no clear villain, as each faction, and it's leader, struggles to hold on to their power and their people. Each leader makes some serious mistakes, but also has some redeeming qualities (except Erudite, honestly).
And, all those of you who loved Tris and Four (Tobias, he goes by both depending on the situation), you'll be happy to hear that there is no introduction of a love triangle to add complications. That is not to say that Tris and Tobias don't have their struggles, because they do. However, they don't involve any outside parties, and are about the real-life struggles of a new relationship and finding how much space you need, figuring out trust, and in their case, trying to survive.
But, the real crowning achievement comes in the final 100 pages. Roth pulls no punches and ends with a revelation that will take some time for you to digest. It's one that I certainly didn't see coming. And I can't wait to read the continuation of the final book.
If you haven't started this series, then in my most urgent tone of voice I say, "get thee to the bookstore!"...more
I read the first few pages on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's website back in early February. And when the ARC arrived a few weeks later, I plunked myselfI read the first few pages on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's website back in early February. And when the ARC arrived a few weeks later, I plunked myself down and dropped everything and read it.
Things that told me I knew I'd like Grave Mercy:
Assassin Nuns A very independent and kind of icy main character Courtly intrigue A sisterhood (am I the only one that really likes books with a group of women/girls that all have each others backs?) Poisons and covert methods of killing people.
Grave Mercy begins with our heroine, Ismae, being forced into a marriage with a, shall we say, piggish man. (It's funny because he actually is a pig farmer). She bears a scar across her body from the herbs used as an attempt to abort her in the womb. Those who have seen it, call it the Mark of Death. Ismae is smuggled out of her village and into a convent where the sisters there serve Death as his handmaidens.
To begin, I really think that this book has significant crossover appeal. In fact, I would be more inclined to categorize it as adult fiction, even though Ismae is 17. However, for the time period, and the issues she's dealing with, she's like 30. That's not to say that I don't think teens will like it. Many will, but probably the older crowd more so than the younger.
There were so many things to love about Grave Mercy. I immediately liked Ismae. She's a great example of a non-victim character. Even though she's really dangerous, and you definitely wouldn't want to be around if you bore "the mark," she is loyal to those she trusts. She reminded me a lot of another character I loved; Yelena, from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.
I am such a sucker for politics and courtly drama. And most of this book is just that. There are several high-stakes assassinations and such, but much of it is kind of a whodunnit and figuring out who you can trust. And a lot of talking. I would have liked to see some more assassination, but as it was, I still really enjoyed the story.
And, there's the romance. And I can say with absolute certainty that Grave Mercy contains my favorite romance so far this year. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: I like romances that take it slow. I have a particular affinity for characters being thrown together and going through the process of disdain, respect, trust, and love. Because even though you know that it's GOING to happen, it's how it happens where the magic lies.
Grave Mercy and His Fair Assassins series is definitely one to watch. And, if you aren't into cliffhangers, you'll be happy to know that this one wraps up nicely, with plenty of suspense for the rest in the series. As I mentioned before, there is some adult content, particularly sexual content. But, personally, I thought it was tastefully handled. Everything else, (drinking, violence, etc) is just typical to the time period....more
A plague has wiped out most of the population, save a few who were lucky (rich) enough to procure masks that can only be used by one person. In the miA plague has wiped out most of the population, save a few who were lucky (rich) enough to procure masks that can only be used by one person. In the midst of all the death and destruction, a culture of debauchery has arisen to indulge in the pleasures that may be very soon in ending. Araby is the daughter of the inventor of the mask, and spends her nights taking away the pain of the loss of her brother at the Debauchery Club. When she meets two men that break through her apathy, she has to choose when and how she will make a stand.
Masque of the Red Death is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a story that I haven't read, though I have read others of Poe's work. And this is perhaps why I just didn't feel engaged in the story.
The atmosphere in Masque of the Red Death is chilling. It seeps through the pages and is very rich. The world that is created is one of total chaos. Death and sickness run rampant through the streets, but the privileged spend their evenings living in pleasure and indulgence. The two world elements play beautifully off each other. The Prince, as he is known, is terrifying in his power and his demeanor. For the rich, the masks become a fashion item, some of them owning several different masks. The poor have to save everything they have for one, and often have to choose between children, since a mask can only be used by one wearer. All of these elements blend together beautifully.
However mesmerizing the world, I did not care for any of the characters. Araby uses drugs to medicate her sorrow, and that's really all I knew about her character. Elliot and Will were unsatisfying as well. Similarly, I found that characters disappeared and reappeared throughout the plot, seemingly at random, and I found myself losing interest at parts. There just wasn't enough in the characters to really hook me and want to see it through to the end. I even admit to skimming a few sections in the last 75 pages.
Do I feel like I really missed something with Masque of the Red Death? Yes. I've read reviews from many people who really loved the book. Perhaps if I didn't put so much stock in a likeable character I would have been able to really embrace it.
There is a fair amount of drug usage and sexual content in Masque of the Red Death, which would probably be suitable for teens 16 or older....more
After completing her time at the Princess Academy and even setting up a school for the childrenReview posted at Emily's Reading Room on August 6, 2012
After completing her time at the Princess Academy and even setting up a school for the children at Mount Eskel, Miri is given the opportunity to attend school off the mountain at the Queen's Castle in Asland. Miri is delighted to be with her friend Britta again, but soon learns that there is serious unrest in the kingdom. Between being faced with the big city, new friends, and challenging new ideas, Miri's loyalties are torn.
Oh yeah, and Peder is there.
Though I trust Shannon Hale implicitly to tell a good story, I was very.... curious to see how she would continue Miri's story when I felt like Princess Academy wrapped up so well. And it went in a direction that I absolutely was not expecting. And I mean that in the best possible way.
For some reason, I read the acknowledgements first. And I immediately knew that this book was going to be something special. Hale mentions that a portion of the proceeds of the book will go to LDS Humanitarian Services to help those who can't meet their most basic needs.
And on that note, I began the book. And I was bowled over by the most expert way that Hale handles complex situations like revolution, poverty, loyalty, and love. I've often felt that the best children's writers are able to take a sensitive issue and pose it in a way that is both thoughtful and respectful. There are so many ways that this book could have become preachy or false. But, it was handled so beautifully that I really think that I loved Palace of Stone more than Princess Academy. Which I didn't think was possible.
Miri is a strong girl. She has a strong, sound mind. Though goodness knows I love a girl that kicks butt ala Katniss, I really loved that Miri is most definitely not violent. But she is equally as strong. She comes off her mountain and out of her comfort zone. And she is stretched and tested in many ways. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but she does a darn good job of using her head and trying her best to help in a situation that is most definitely not black and white.
In regards to Miri and Peder. Peder comes with Miri in order to work as an apprentice to a stone carver in Asland. While Miri immerses herself in her studies, Peder works with equal fervor in his job. In fact, Peder becomes so entrenched (and exhausted!) by his work, Miri starts to wonder if he really does care for her. Which allows the sneaky addition of another character that opens Miri to questions about where she really does belong.
If you enjoyed Princess Academy, you are going to ADORE Palace of Stone. But, if you haven't read Princess Academy yet, you'll definitely want to get on that....more
The assault by the virus on Kaelyn's neighborhood begins as an itch that you just can't satisfy. Then comes the coughing, the hysteria, and eventuallyThe assault by the virus on Kaelyn's neighborhood begins as an itch that you just can't satisfy. Then comes the coughing, the hysteria, and eventually death. And no one is safe, but as the population and Kaelyn soon learns, there isn't anywhere to run to either. Which results in chaos and havoc that threatens to destroy everything and everyone she knows.
This book greatly reminded me of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Which, if you know me at all, is one of my all-time favorite books. There is something really compelling about being in the thick of a crisis and learning how to survive until either help arrives, or the storm calms. The Way We Fall definitely falls into that category, and even shares the same narrative style (diary format) with the aforementioned Life as We Knew It.
However, unlike Miranda, Kaelyn has a lot more warning, and information, about what is specifically going on. And, as far as she knows, this illness is strictly confined to her small island in Canada. But, that's not to take away from the very scary situation. Initially, it isn't known how the virus spreads or how to prevent it. Even with further research, the hospital is flooded with patients, and there isn't any reliable way to get information out to people.
Kaelyn is a great narrator. She isn't whiny, takes the situation into her own hands, and is a great protector of her family. And with the diary style narrative, you really get a sense of her feelings as some truly horrible things happen to her and her family. There is also a very satisfying romance that ensues.
But, what I loved about this story was that there were so many characters that just did the right thing. Of course, there were plenty that were out to save their own skin and just do whatever they had to survive. But, for every one of those, there was another that was willing to make huge sacrifices and fill a need.
Another fantastic perk is that, from what I can tell, the book is pretty scientifically sound. At least in the capacity that I didn't have to suspend any disbelief about how the virus spread, or how it affected people.
So, there you have it. A satisfying apocalypse book with a plague, romance, and likeable characters. If that isn't enough to get you to pick it up, I don't know what is....more
Mia is addicted to lightning and has been struck numerous times. She loves the thrill of the energy, and her body is coReview Published July 24, 2012.
Mia is addicted to lightning and has been struck numerous times. She loves the thrill of the energy, and her body is covered in scars from the strikes. When an earthquake rocks Los Angeles, Mia is drawn into a war between two cults vying for power in the broken city. She is in a fight to the death to protect herself and her family.
I think the synopsis for Struck made me expect something that I wasn’t ready for. I wasn’t prepared for all the discourse on religion that I found within its pages. I think that if I had a better idea of what the main focus of the book was, I may have skipped this one altogether. Beyond the description and beginning pages, there is little mention of Mia's "addiction" to lightning, and instead focuses on the warring cults. Which is where the book began to go south for me. Although, in some instances, the cult aspect doesn't bother me.
The characters were only so-so. Upon reflection, there really wasn't one that I could connect with, and my like for them was only surface level. Jeremy really wasn't as developed as I would have liked and just served a role as a romantic interest, and a catalyst for Mia's decisions.
I also felt like there were a lot of unexplained things related to the world-building. For instance, the earthquake is localized in Los Angeles, but it seems completely cut off from the rest of the United States. School resumes, and as a way to entice students into attending, they offer rations. It isn't clear where the school gets the rations from, or why the teachers bother showing up. Many of the characters drive cars, but no mention of where they fill up for gas. People attend rave parties, even though they are starving. Some of these elements feel like they would have been better suited for a society that has experienced MANY natural disasters and help will never be on the way.
All in all, Struck had a promising concept that just didn't deliver for me....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
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
Hadley Sullivan missed her flight. Sure, it was the flight to see her father marry another woman. The woman that Hadley blames for breaking apart herHadley Sullivan missed her flight. Sure, it was the flight to see her father marry another woman. The woman that Hadley blames for breaking apart her family. But, by luck (or is it fate?) she meets Oliver, who is flying to London on the next flight. Hadley is assigned seat 18A, and Oliver seat 18C. In a 24-hour time period, chance meetings and twists of fate create a novel about family, love, and destiny.
This book was recommended to me on twitter. I got my copy at BEA last May, and as the release date rolled around, I saw lots of good things about it. But, it just didn't seem my style. I mean, come on, instant love? That's a recipe for disaster in my book.
But, don't let the title fool you. Even though this book is set in a 24-hour time period, the relationship that develops between Oliver and Hadley seems just as real as the slow burn relationships that I love so very much. Hadley's circumstances for traveling to London impact her deeply, and it shows. Oliver is similarly dealing with some very heavy issues, though their reasons are not immediately apparent. And, with a story all about these issues, you would expect to have a book full of sadness, but I was blown away by just how CUTE this story was. The happy and the sad balanced each other perfectly.
Some of my favorite passages in the book relate to Hadley's relationship with her father. Hadley reflects on their mutual love for literature, and the special bond that they once shared. Some of her experiences so directly mirrored my own experiences with my father, that I really felt her pain for the strain that their relationship was under.
Simply put, I devoured this book in one evening. It's the kind of book that you should read when you are feeling particularly sappy, because it made my tender heart sing....more
Willa and her mother become a rags to riches story when her mother's art strikes it big. They move to a swanky neighborhood in Arizona, and Willa is eWilla and her mother become a rags to riches story when her mother's art strikes it big. They move to a swanky neighborhood in Arizona, and Willa is enrolled in an ultra-exclusive high school, Valley Prep. Willa immediately sets in with the popular crowd, the glitterati (think Mean Girls here). She soon sets out to solve the ills of the social hierarchy that exists at Valley Prep by stealing from the richer kids to give to the less fortunate ones. And well, you can guess how that goes down.
Ah, Pretty Crooked. I had heard of it as a modern-day Robin Hood, which piqued my interest, of course. Within the first 20 pages, though, I smelled trouble. A seemingly nice, kind-hearted girl falling in with the super popular (and mean) crowd? I felt like I'd heard it all before.
But, to my complete and utter shock, the first 100 pages were utterly delightful. Willa is fun, and her quirky style and attempts to fit in were endearing. I really felt like I owed this book a major apology for judging it based on it's socialite cover.
But, then one of the major plot points sets in, and I was right back to where I started.
(view spoiler)[I was EXTREMELY disappointed that Willa thought that the way to get the school to accept the "scholarship kids," was to buy them new clothes. And I'm even more disappointed that the author felt like it was necessary to make it work for a time! The whole thing was extremely shallow, and Willa's attempts at thievery were most certainly not channeling Robin Hood. Rather than standing up for friends, Willa chose to be just as shallow as every other character in the novel. And thus, she lost redemption for me. (hide spoiler)]
My other major gripe with this book was the end. It seemed like an ill-contrived method to invoke a sequel. It began another story that was hardly eluded to in the rest of the novel. But, even with the semi-cliffhanger ending, I will not be picking up the sequel. However, as I mentioned before, I did love the first half of the novel. And, as far as content, there was no swearing, little violence, and overall pretty safe for younger readers.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Clara faced her purpose and the forest fire. However, she is struggling to reconcile the idea that it was Christian she was supposed to save not her bClara faced her purpose and the forest fire. However, she is struggling to reconcile the idea that it was Christian she was supposed to save not her boyfriend, Tucker. Since she defied her purpose, will she be punished? And with the revelation that Christian is indeed a part-angel as well, how are they connected? When Clara begins having new visions, she learns more about the war between the White Wings and the Black Wings, and that deciding her fate isn't going to be as easy as she thought.
Unearthly is hands down the best angel book I've read. I loved the romance with Tucker, and the fact that Clara made choices for herself. And I was so disappointed that it seemed like so much was undone in Hallowed. There was an emergence of a love triangle. Despite learning more about Christian, I really feel like I don't know him. He fits the role of the beautiful person that the MC is destined to be with. And really, I just thought that this series was better than that. And, about halfway in, I was ready to throw in the towel. Only my love for Unearthly saw me through, and I pushed on.
I pushed on through the strange evolution of Angela's character. I think I liked her better when I didn't know her as well. Wendy sadly fell pretty far in the shadows and wasn't mentioned nearly as much as I would have liked. Guess it's hard to have a friendship when you have two boys fighting for you. And Tucker's character regressed into the jealous, semi-possessive boyfriend.
Redemption did come for Hallowed. There were some pretty startling revelations. (I thought I had the plot pegged, but was surprised by a few things. This is a harder thing to do now that I've read a lot of books and can guess a lot of plot lines). And, I'll be darned if I didn't get a little misty at the very end.
Ultimately, I'm going to chalk this one up to suffering from a bit of middle-book syndrome. There was plenty of plot to fill out the story, but it was done a little at the expense of a few of the characters. However, the ending was much more satisfying than in Unearthly, with a little less of a cliffhanger.
Where the book really shone (kind of pun intended), was in the angel lore. There are heavy Christian themes in the book. It was actually really nice. I am a little tired of the books that portray religion as cultish or childish, and this was very well laid out. I didn't feel beat over the head with the religion, and liked that it was essential to the story.
Things do heat up a bit more in Hallowed. There are some references to sex, (including an encounter that gets both sets of parents pretty darn upset) but there isn't anything explicit....more
Ever since meeting Michelle Zink at BEA and determining her to be one of the nicest people I've ever had the privilege of meeting, I've been chompingEver since meeting Michelle Zink at BEA and determining her to be one of the nicest people I've ever had the privilege of meeting, I've been chomping at the bit to get a copy of one of her books. So, when I received a copy of this title on Netgalley, I immediately started into it.
Helen and I didn't really connect from the very beginning. I first realized that I was in trouble when Helen shows almost no remorse for the loss of her parents after they are murdered in a house fire. Then, she proceeded to get herself into incredibly dangerous situations, even though she KNEW she couldn't defend herself if she got in trouble. This kind of culminated into a rather funny encounter at the end where she (view spoiler)[ used her super fancy scythe to hack at the backs and shoulders of demons while letting the men do the "real work." (hide spoiler)] It is unclear why Helen's parents didn't tell her who she was or what powers that she had, except for some thing about not yet reaching Enlightenment. But, that seems like a shoddy excuse for not really teaching your child how to defend herself when you know that she's in mortal peril. And, Helen, if you don't know how to use a sword, don't put yourself in a situation where you'll die if you don't have one. That doesn't make you strong, it makes you stupid.
Then there is the issue of Helen and Griffin's relationship. I am definitely a fan of the slow burn relationship. I like my characters to prove that they should be together before they actually get together. The first kiss came way too soon. There seemed to be no other attraction between the two of them except that he has muscular shoulders, and she has violet eyes. And, he calls her pretty. (She's never considered herself to be pretty before, of course). And, then there's a love triangle. Which doesn't work for me, except for a few exceptions.
I also found the world building to be extremely confusing. It's unclear what time period the book takes place in. They have gas lamps, and Helen wears a corset. (The clothing was another really weird thing in the book. Helen takes real pride in designing some weird clothing with short skirts, but ends up wearing a full-length skirt to the final battle?) But, there is also talk of screens, and nobs and other gadgets that seem like they would take electricity. The background of their race and their enemies is also unclear and very confusing. The Dictata knows that the Keepers are being systematically assassinated, and yet they can't get their act together fast enough and allow 4 teenagers to fight a demon?
Anyway, this book left me with feelings very similar to those I had when I read Clockwork Angel. But, it definitely didn't work for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more