Part magical realism, part romance, and part mystery, The Weight of Feathers has it all.
There is something really special about this book and the way it reads. Each chapter heading has a Spanish quote, and the book is filled with phrases that are both Spanish and Italian. Sometimes the context tells you what the quote means, other times it doesn't. There is a thread of culture and oldness that gives this story such a distinct feel and flavor.
Breaking it down this is what you'll get from this story:
Feuding families divided over years of hatred, misunderstandings and superstitions. It's very Romeo and Juliet without the cringe-worthy romance.
The cultural diversity mentioned above. Lace and her family speak Spanish. Cluck and his family, Italian. Like oil and water.
Both are families of performers, the women in Lace's family are mermaids, Luc's family are birds/faeries. It's seriously so perfect it hurts.
Beautifully written lines. Honestly, the imagery here is incredible and you can feel the magic wafting off each page.
One of my favorite parts:
The sting reminded her she was a body knitting itself back together. It was why she liked his hands on her. His wrecked fingers knew how to handle something ruined.
It isn't just Lace's burns or Luc's ruined hand that's damaged. It's their families, even the town they are both performing in. And somehow the romance that shouldn't be between these two is the thing that cracks it all wide open.
I can't say enough good things about this book. I'd recommend this book for fans of The Bone Gap, The Night Circus, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
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This review was originally posted on Emily's Reading RoomAudio Review: I feel like this is a little redundant from my other reviews, but Elizabeth EvaThis review was originally posted on Emily's Reading RoomAudio Review: I feel like this is a little redundant from my other reviews, but Elizabeth Evans nails the narration in this book. It's a behemoth at 20 hours long, but I was consistently hooked by not only the story, but the lovely dimension that Evans brings to all the characters. This book took me a month to listen to (especially since I had an unfortunate accident where I accidentally lost disk number 14 in the gap between my cd player and the dashboard. I had to go to the place that installed my stereo and they had to take off my dashboard to retrieve it. Oops). Anyway, it's worth listening to on audio, even though it takes forever. I felt like I was immersed in the world and I got a whole month to experience it.
Review: What to say about this book. I feel more sheepish than ever about my initial reluctance to this series. I misjudged this series as candy fantasy and severely underestimated its depth. These books keep getting better and better.
One of the things that I look for in a fantasy series is attention to detail. It means that the writers I like are typically not "pantsers." This means they don't dump a manuscript on the page and fix it later. (There isn't anything wrong with this, don't feel bad if this is your method of writing). I have googled to see if Sarah J. Maas is a plotter or a pantser and I haven't been able to find the answer. Anyway, I suspect she's a plotter. Here's why: everything that happens in this book means something. Conversations or little throwaway actions by minor characters end up coming into play later. There isn't much more as a reader that thrills me than this. (Yes, I'm a nerd). But, to really feel invested in a series, I like knowing that each book builds out the world bigger and bigger and that each character has something to contribute. As an added bonus, this level of detail makes the series EVEN BETTER when you re-read it.
I mentioned this in my review of Crown of Midnight, and it still applies here. I can't believe the limits Maas pushes her characters to. It's clear she knows them, their fears and their weaknesses. And while no death or event feels cheap, this is a book that will pull all kinds of emotional and empathetic strings.
One of the things I was absolutely not expecting, was the addition of Manon and the witches. This is a storyline that I can't wait to follow and explore, because it's incredibly rich. As one of the main points of view in this novel, I was initially puzzled at Manon's presence. She's very unlikeable. But, the relationship and the tiny fissures I'm seeing in that character are exciting. And, it's another hallmark of good, compelling writing. Manon is not the main character, but I feel just as invested in her story arc as Celaena's.
One last thing, Chaol. At the end of Crown of Midnight, I knew pretty firmly where I stood with his relationship to Celaena. Spoiler for Crown of Midnight: (view spoiler)[Once the incident with Nehemia happened, along with Celaena's reaction, I knew their relationship was over. (hide spoiler)] As I went throughout this book, I'm further solidified in my resolve. There are some things that a relationship doesn't recover from. And while I could be dead wrong, I feel like I understand Celaena enough at this point to say I think it's too late. Of course, the series isn't over, and a lot can change, but there you have it.
Essentially, if you love high or epic fantasy, this series is a winner. I'm stamping my seal of approval (Oooh, I should make one of those) on it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Book review: There's no disputing Gregory Maguire is a talented writer. The writing was vivid and interesting. The scenes with Baba Yaga were wonderful. It was such a fun take on this well-known Russian character. The book was a little bit Russian folklore, a little bit Prince and the Pauper and a lot of magical fun.
However, I am a little confused about the target audience. The book seems to be marketed to young adults, but the characters are quite young (or at least they are written young). I'm not sure that middle-grade readers would really get the nuances, and it seems to go on forever. This seems like the kind of children's book that adults would love. It's beautifully written, interesting, and unique. But, it seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis.
This may be a good book for a road trip or a read aloud with a variety of different ages. Because, even though it doesn't seem to be tailor made for any specific audience, it has enough to please anyone....more
I love a good Jane Austen spinoff. I really do. So having an Austen backdrop automatically increases the chances I'm going to like a book by quite a bit.
And I did like this book. It was funny, sweet and satisfying.
But, it falls into the category of safe read. It's the kind of book you pick up on a rainy Saturday and say, hey, I just want to sit down and read something. The plot is smooth; it will take you away very nicely. And before you know it, you'll be finished with it.
That being said, the romance is no Darcy and Elizabeth.
There is some good banter and some initial bad feelings. But I felt like the stakes just weren't high enough between Devon and Ezra to give that payoff that all P&P fans get when they read the book or watch the movie(s). Also, there isn't the great interaction with the other characters, and it's often not clear who they are supposed to be parallel to. For instance, this retelling doesn't have a Lady Catherine scene, which is just a complete tragedy.
The takeaway is that this is a light Austen spinoff. It's got a few of the same elements and themes, but doesn't have the complexity of or a significant connection to its source material. If you're looking for a fun, easy read on a Saturday afternoon, pick this one up!...more
Telling the story of Germany after WWII is a difficult one. It wasn't all that long ago, really (the wall came down when I was three, so I have no recollection of it, but many people alive today do). But, it's intense and heartbreaking. In many ways, the struggle that people felt when they were separated nearly overnight by a wall going through their series mirrors the experiences of immigrants around the world today. Situations in modern-day Europe and America are not much different. Families still struggle to stay together and it's equally heartbreaking. I thought a lot about them as I read this book.
With that being said, I wished this novel was a little better paced and that the plot was tighter. Jennifer Nielsen's False Prince excelled at this, with some unexpected twists. I found myself baffled by some of the choices the characters made, and even a few at the end felt contrived or a way to increase tension. Once the children started digging, I felt like so much of the action and setting focused on that one thing, when I really wanted more about the wall or life in East Germany.
Is it worth reading? Absolutely. I think this is a very accessible novel for younger teens and a way to shed some light on a piece of history that is often overlooked. The war didn't end with the armistice agreement. And this is a very solid narrative that will help explain some of that terror and distrust....more
Audio Review: This audio was magnificent. It is apparent that Amy Rubinate spent a great deal of time learning the different words and intonations forAudio Review: This audio was magnificent. It is apparent that Amy Rubinate spent a great deal of time learning the different words and intonations for all the vocabulary that was in this book. She also channeled Suzume's (and Otieno's) spirit very well. I love an audio book that makes me want to sit in my car a little longer. This book is definitely going on my list of favorites and most recommended for audio. This is one that I would recommend the audio because of the experience. There were several times that I was moved to tears. It was because of the glorious writing as much as the beautiful narration.
Review: This book will definitely be the most under-rated in 2012. Perhaps because it was originally published in the UK, it hasn't received as much buzz in the US. And that is just a crying shame. And you can bet that I'll be telling every one within shouting distance about this one.
Where to begin? The setting is vivid, rich, and I can smell the cherry blossoms right off the page. The world borrows heavily from Japanese culture, and I just couldn't get enough. There were beautiful descriptions of the clothing, jewelry, and even the furniture and architecture. It's not often I read a book that the setting is also an important character!
The impact of watching her father and beloved cousin's murders sits deep within Suzume. Her pain and anguish are so real that even though she makes some very bad decisions, I couldn't help but love Suzume. Her need for love and tenderness is so real, that I could not abandon her. I triumphed with her when she was saved by Youta, and as things went from bad to worse, I was sad for her. Another amazing thing that Marriott was able to do with this book was make self-harming (cutting) something that I could understand. Those are actions that I have zero experience with and find it hard to connect with characters that engage in them. Not the case with Suzume.
And, possibly my favorite part is the romance with Otieno. It's part love at first sight, and part slow-burn. They hit it off pretty well at first, but Marriott does a great job at separating them early on in their relationship so that it can develop a little without a need for constant contact. Otieno has everything that Suzume does not. Confidence, a family that cares for him, and safety. Suzume pushes very hard against Otieno, for her own reasons. Otieno, the persistent fellow that he is, realizes that she is in a lot of pain and that she really does need the reassurance that he's going to stick around. I think this is why sometimes he acts a little possessive or harsh with her. And truthfully? She can take it. She's a tough cookie.
I mentioned the self-harming aspect. There is also some sexual content. I thought it was pretty tastefully handled, but this is a novel that is probably suitable for older teens. It has an overall darker tone that fits the subject matter. I enjoyed it, but understand that it's very different from most fairy tale retellings.
I can't say enough about Shadows on the Moon. It's earned a spot on my most beloved shelf and will probably be one that I read over and over again. It appears to be a stand-alone novel, and has one of the best endings I've read in a long time. Read this one, I promise you won't be sorry.This review was originally posted on Emily's Reading Room...more
Audio Review: This audio is going on my list of most favorites. Both narrators are superb and bring this story to life in a way that I would not haveAudio Review: This audio is going on my list of most favorites. Both narrators are superb and bring this story to life in a way that I would not have experienced if I hadn't listened to the audio. Their beautiful accents and diversity of voices were such a treat for the ears. There is even a point where one of the narrators, Morven Christie, sings two German songs. It absolutely took my breath away. Not only is her reading voice beautiful, but her singing voice as well. Even without any accompaniment! This is one I definitely recommend for an audiobook.
Review: You may think that you've read all you care to read about World War II. But, like The Book Thief, Code Name Verity gives a whole new perspective on the human condition during this conflict that changed the world. Choosing not to focus on the holocaust, but on the bonds formed by those who would not have ever met in peace-time conditions, Code Name Verity will move you. Both Verity and Maddie are some of the most beautiful characters that I've ever read. Both of them, through stories about their friendship, exhibit pure compassion and caring. Each experience that is told adds another layer to their perseverance to protect each other even in the most dire of circumstances.
In the author's note at the end of the audio, Wein explains some of the research that went into Code Name Verity to make it as realistic as possible. I was astounded at the level of detail, including some very interesting tidbits about the origins of the ballpoint pen. Though not every element of the story is airtight in regards to the historical accuracy, I think it provides a unique perspective on women's roles in the war effort.