Really slow in the beginning and extremely whiny and unlikable heroine. The ending, of course, was fast-paced and revived my interest in continuing thReally slow in the beginning and extremely whiny and unlikable heroine. The ending, of course, was fast-paced and revived my interest in continuing the series. Typical Marie Lu. ...more
You know something's gone wrong when your MC is mooning over the roundness of some alien's butt.
Okay, so I wouldn't go that far. But I've been seeingYou know something's gone wrong when your MC is mooning over the roundness of some alien's butt.
Okay, so I wouldn't go that far. But I've been seeing The 5th Wave around for some time now, and the blurb definitely didn't put me off the book. Reading it, however, the only emotion I was overcome with was an overwhelming feeling of MEH.
It's your classic scenario with the aliens taking over the earth and turning humans against each other by possessing their bodies. For some reason, I got an awful flashback to when I was reading The Host. I was pretty bored during this book, too. It was just so... normal. I mean, obviously alien invasions and giant green bombs going off aren't normal, but this book doesn't break any new boundaries. I honestly didn't stop and think any facet was that creative. The notion of the waves seems interesting at first, but once they're explained, they lose their luster. You've got your gun-toting heroine who's on a journey to rescue a family member and just so happens to meet a hot guy along the way. And of course, after about ten minutes of knowing each other, they're making out because they're the only two people approximately the same age and opposite sex left.
Also, I think the blurb is extremely misleading in that it suggests that there's only one POV. I was so confused by the chapter separations, and maybe Yancey intended it that way. But for the longest time, I didn't even know that the POV had changed because the two characters sounded exactly the same. Although Ben kept being referred to as a he, so maybe we can chalk that up to my own ignorance. After all, I did believe that Ben and Evan were the same person for half of the book.
I read somewhere that Yancey's a Printz winner, and I can see the beauty in his writing and in the themes he might possibly want to project. But the story itself just falls flat because it's nothing we haven't heard before. People going crazy and the world being blown up piece by piece. Been there, done that. Perhaps I overlooked something, but ultimately my feeling is that I'll lump this book with all the other sci-fi things I've ever read. I'm not a big fan of aliens and War of the Worlds type scenarios, and I don't think I ever will be. ...more
"I would give up all my powers to have you in my arms. Your love is the only magic I need."
Took me a while to get into this book, but once Alyssa
"I would give up all my powers to have you in my arms. Your love is the only magic I need."
Took me a while to get into this book, but once Alyssa entered Wonderland, I was falling through the trippiness with her.
The cover is a pretty good representation of what this book is about. It's vibrant, dark, and creepy. The main character, Alyssa, isn't your average bubble-headed blonde. Her mother is stuck in a padded room, she hears flowers and bugs speak, she skates, and she wears petticoats and combat boots. What's made very clear in this book is that this isn't an Alice in Wonderland retelling; Alice is Alyssa's ancestor, and the curse she began in Wonderland follows Alyssa's entire family line. It's this curse that she travels to Wonderland to correct.
Alyssa's best friend, Jeb, gets caught up in her adventure to Wonderland. I agree with many fellow reviewers that Jeb isn't that likable of a love interest, especially since there's a much worthier guy competing with him for Alyssa's affections (but more on that later). While he isn't horrible, he doesn't inspire admiration when he continues to protect Alyssa from every insect or mirror that poses a threat. I started liking him more later on, and I especially enjoyed the scene at the tea party (wink wink).
Jeb's rival is Morpheus, otherwise known as the Sexiest Man Alive, otherwise known as the Caterpillar. He says himself that he exudes mystery and sexiness (or something along those lines), and he really does. His peculiar mixture of humanity, love, and self-service makes him a fascinating character to observe. It helps that he's British.
This book is extremely original. The world isn't a carbon copy of Carroll's Wonderland; rather, each facet has been twisted in some dark, extraordinary way. The plot, which began with a simple curse, becomes something else entirely. There are graveyards of stuffed animals loved to death, glazed geese begging to be eaten, happy clams, and neon gardens. A lot of Alyssa's time in the mortal world pales in comparison to what she does in Wonderland, and maybe that was why the beginning of the book was so uninteresting to me. I'm hoping there's more of this toxic beauty in the sequel, Unhinged....more
I know that nobody wants to hear my crappy rendition of Grease, but I just had to. I was in the middle of a nuI got chilllllls, they're multiplyin'...
I know that nobody wants to hear my crappy rendition of Grease, but I just had to. I was in the middle of a nutritional science discussion class and supposed to talk about the benefits of aloe, but I didn't really give a crap because I was thirty pages from finishing this book. And boy, was it sending chills down my spine.
After Just One Day, I was bereft. It left me on such a cliffhanger, and I was dying to know more about Willem and why he acted the way he did. I wanted to know why he ran.
Well, now I know. And I love him even more. While in Just One Year we see Allyson's troubles with her family, the expectations of her, and the way she breaks free of them, in here we see Willem's life. We see just how utterly lost he is, with broken ties to his family and to himself. This isn't the typical story of a broken heart; this is the story of how a heart is fixed. Willem, like Allyson, meets so many people after her, but he never truly stops searching for her in his life. The memory of that one day with her sticks with him and encourages him to go along paths that he shied away from before. His loss is profound and seen in the disconnect between himself and his parents. "Postcard language," as he calls it, is the main language between him and his mother.
After Allyson, Willem continues his random traveling and we get to see snippets of places like India and Amsterdam, and like always, Forman adds her own artistry to the scenes to make them even more symbolic and real. Every trip of his is like a discovery of something he's missed in his past life. I love the way that Yael and Bram's great love story throws a shadow over Willem's life, making him feel insignificant and an outsider to his own family. Yet there is also something so liberating in following him as he realizes that his family is larger than he initially thought, and in realizing that he has found himself.
I won't go into details, but Willem's self-awareness is so striking, and the way he learns about himself and the people around himself is so gradual. Plot-wise, the book doesn't stand out, but it's the way in which Forman writes it that makes it something worth reading.
Also, I like how Forman snuck Adam Wilde into this book. Sneaky, sneaky. ...more
Oh, I feel so satisfied. I was so afraid when I began reading this book. Since the second book, Bardugo hasn't struck me as the type of person who lets you leave a book happy.
By all means, this series isn't perfect; some things come a bit too easy, and some people get a bit too whiny. It's an age-old concept: the struggle between light and dark. Bardugo takes this idea and plops it in the middle of a frightening and exotic landscape of ancient legends and creatures. But it's so much more than that. It's a majestic world built by violence, loyalty, and patriotism that somehow makes its way through the ruins because of some very special people.
For some reason, I've always felt very drawn to the Grisha series because the struggle that takes place within it, while epic and fantastical, is something that I can understand in the deepest part of my being. The conflicts that Alina encounters are difficult, to say the least, and you can clearly feel her inner turmoil. So many times characters are faced with two choices, but one is always the clearest, and there isn't much effort made over choosing it. This story could've gone the route of overdramatic and cheesy, but there is the perfect blend of sacrifice and danger to eliminate any chances of that happening.
I'll be honest, I thought Bardugo sunk a little bit too much into the sarcastic, witty dialogue and didn't explore the depths of her characters (I'm mostly thinking of Zoya), but the funny talk made me laugh when things were getting too dire. She once again doesn't cease to amaze with the sweeping descriptions of the ruined land of Ravka and the dazzling brilliance of the caves that Alina ventures through. And the relationship between Alina and Mal is just so AHHH. It's so understated, told through single sentences and small movements, but I loved every minute.
So Alina and Mal win Best Couple Award. The Darkling wins Best Villain. As much as this series was about Alina, it was also about him. I could call him a foil to her character, but he's not that. He's something much more. I can't help but compare this series to the one I recently finished, Daughter of Smoke Bone. Where the theme of that one was hope, the theme of this one was faith. At first glance, they seem similar, but faith anchored this book, and it made me believe until the last page was flipped. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was way creepier than I expected. Pardon the pun, but this book absolutely submerged me in Hester's world. From her occupation as someone reenactThis was way creepier than I expected. Pardon the pun, but this book absolutely submerged me in Hester's world. From her occupation as someone reenacting the lives of those who'd died centuries ago to her discoveries of a woman who'd drowned in a sarcophagus and an underwater nursery for dolls, everything was chilling and remarkable. I was questioning what had really happened until the very end when everything was explicitly explained. I do find that Hester pales a bit in comparison with the headstrong beauty that is Syrenka, and she seems more like a tool to finish off the other half of the story which began in the past. However, I wholly enjoyed reading along and being disturbed by the elements of the book. It's not often that one chapter contains the murders of five different people, all in gruesome and different ways, at once. Fama's interpretation of the mermaids and their lives underwater is fascinating, and there is something about her writing that's both haunting and beautiful....more
A general's daughter buying a young slave? Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome waiting to happen. Let's do this!
6/6/14 Review Update: After obsessively waA general's daughter buying a young slave? Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome waiting to happen. Let's do this!
6/6/14 Review Update: After obsessively watching Game of Thrones, I noticed the interesting parallel of this fictional slave-based kingdom of Valoria vs. Valyria and the slave cities that Daenerys conquers. Hmm... Interesting. I wonder if it's just a coincidence that the names are so similar?
4/21/14 Review Update: Going into this book, I expected explosive fights, a magical world, and a sweeping romance. One of the biggest fights ended up being a small spat involving two characters poking each other with swords and ending in a very high school-esque fashion as one declared she had "dirt" on the other guy. Somehow, everyone believes that this is a huge victory.
The magical world turns out to be like something out of my history book, with a couple fashion troubles and a visit to the market that attempt to give the world character. This actually isn't that big of a disaster because I appreciate the details that Rutkoski inserts about the conquest of the Herrians and the way war shapes Valorian life. Still, I had no idea that Kestrel lived in an empire. While reading the book, I could only ever imagine her on some sort of Southern plantation because it doesn't seem like she goes anywhere besides to gossip, flirt, or gamble. There is mention of a god of lies and a god of hospitality, but religion is nothing else but an addendum to add flavor to Rutkoski's metaphors.
The sweeping romance... where do I begin? It turns out to be a baseless love that takes off because the two characters are suffering from Stockholm syndrome. I don't understand it at all... Sure, Arin is good looking and can sing, and Kestrel loves music so obviously they should be together. But all of their interactions were just strange and surprising to me. I didn't have much emotional investment in their relationship. While it's alluring because it's forbidden, and they learn about each other under the constant danger of the tensions between their people, it moved far too fast for me to see any connection. It gets a little better in the second half, but I still think it's kind of dumb, and once again there is the woeful third wheel Roland, who has all the qualities of an amazing man but is sadly used and abused, then tossed aside with a second thought but nothing more.
Also, Kestrel is so useless. She can't fight, and while she gambles and plays piano, are those things really going to be her redeeming factors? As someone who supposedly has a mind for military strategy, she doesn't use it much. A lot of the things that happen in the book: her duel, the deal she strikes with the emperor, her supposed "love" for Arin, made me skeptical. It just doesn't make sense that the social setting responds so slowly, with far less judgment than they should, and how long it takes for breaches to be noticed. The slavery concept, while interesting, doesn't translate to anything except a bunch of glorified servitude. In both Arin's and Kestrel's cases, neither is really under captivity. Throughout the book, Rutkoski takes topics and softens them with flowery language. Heavy topics like rape and slavery are glossed over in favor of bewitching blue eyes and baking parties in the kitchen. While I'm interested in how Kestrel and Arin manage to get out of this little debacle, The Winner's Curse might be more suitable for those who are more oriented towards romance and eBay. ...more
I never really understood what people meant by the John Green formula until I read this book. TheThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader.
I never really understood what people meant by the John Green formula until I read this book. The mysterious, cool, distant girl, the slightly geeky boy, and the journey. It's very reminiscent of Looking for Alaska, which I think is part of the reason I didn't like it as much. Looking for Alaska is my least favorite John Green book, and I think that if I hadn't read that, Paper Towns would've gotten a higher rating from me. As it is, I think it's just a better done regurgitation of LFA.
There are some things about John Green's writing that I really enjoy, despite the repetitive formula. I like how he uses symbolism and how his books usually revolve around one clear concept (in this case, paper towns and facades). Some people might see it as needlessly rehashing something, but his ideas are usually pretty unique and about stuff I've never heard of. Also, his dialogue and characters never fail to make me laugh. The road trip in this book was my favorite part. It was so isolated from everything else and it really brought the friendships among all the characters into perspective. The way they all come together for a 23 hour car ride and the strangeness of the situation highlights John Green's capacity for imagination. Out of all the characters, my favorite character was Radar because he didn't suffer from the melodrama and selfishness that the others had. I didn't have much patience for Q and Margo's dramatics. In fact, I didn't understand how they went from not really talking to each other at all to suddenly in love. For Q, it's understandable. But why would Margo give him the time of day after years of not really interacting with him? Doesn't make sense.
The book is exciting, I'll give it that. I wanted to keep reading. But I got tired of Q's obsession with the projection that Margo was giving off, and I guess that was kind of the point. However, it was too reminiscent of Pudge's angst after Alaska's disappearance. I probably need a break from John Green before I pick up another one of his books. ...more
In the blurb, the book is proclaimed to be a " slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely bIs her nickname Nasty?
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars
In the blurb, the book is proclaimed to be a " slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances." This book doesn't lie about what it is. It says it's a slow-building novel, and so I can't fault it for being exactly that. However, I can have a problem with other parts of it; namely, the characters and the way the plot is structured.
I've seen this book everywhere on GR, and so I went in with high expectations and came back out with this below-average rating. Perhaps if I hadn't gotten caught up in the hype, I would have appreciated the book more. Because there is a lot about Millay's novel that deserves appreciation. The side stories and other characters, for example. I liked the unconventional relationships that Nastya builds with people like Drew, Drew's family, and Clay. And of course, my favorite relationship in the book is the one between Josh and Nastya. One thing The Sea of Tranquility doesn't suffer from is insta-love, though some would argue that it suffers from no-love instead. Josh and Nastya's relationship builds so slowly from being lost to being found that you're surprised when they actually happen. The switch between their POVs, I think, is well-done. Their personalities are easily distinguished, and it's also an interesting way to see how their feelings for each other develop and parallel each other.
Onto the not-so-great stuff. What is this book about? I can name a couple things off the top of my head: second chances, abuse, sex, drugs, love, reconciling with the past. And there are others. I'm guessing that everything is supposed to contribute to the "second chances" idea, but everything is so scattered that we really don't know what Millay is trying to tell us anymore. The book is too long, and because of that, so many things get lost in translation, with all these events happening in an extremely isolated fashion. Also, what is with the blurb talking about Nastya finding the boy who killed her and making him pay? She doesn't do anything of that sort. Instead, she runs, bitches, and moons after Josh. If you were expecting some epic mystery about how she tracks down and tortures some guy from her past, you're sorely mistaken. I didn't like Nastya's character very much. There wasn't a reason for many of the things she did (dressing like a whore, deciding to speak to Drew and Josh but nobody else, messing around with Drew, getting drunk off of flamethrowers at the first party she goes to). Her silence wasn't serious, not if she could make exceptions. Josh, I could understand. But deciding to tell Drew was something else. I also didn't understand why she didn't do anything further when she was almost raped. Or when she got her finger sliced open by a saw. I know she's not normal, but she still has reflexes like a normal person.
Josh... I liked Josh. I liked his whole thing with furniture and his grandfather, and how he slowly warmed up to Nastya. But when he started getting overly jealous and pissy, I got annoyed. Of course I got caught up on the emotional whirlwind that was Josh and Nastya's relationship, but I thought it didn't have to be as big a deal as it was. Just like I didn't think Nastya's great unveiling of her personal tragedy was that great. We get 500 pages to imagine the worst scenarios ever, and the result is that what actually happened isn't quite as riveting, especially since the problem is solved in the quickest, lamest way ever. And everything after that is too perfect, too easy. I've about had it with all these books where, once the problem is admitted, everything magically gets better and families reunite and lovers are together again. I must say that the last sentence is a nice little surprise, and it ties up what the book actually wanted to say. But other than that, this book isn't spectacular or life-changing; it's just a book about a broken girl, a broken boy, and the strange, sometimes boring way that they fix themselves. ...more
But I don’t have a sword. My shield is broken. I don’t know what is and isn’t honorable anymore. And now I’ve sent my knight away.
It took me a long time to finally get to reading this book, but I guess the wait was worth it. I've hear raving reviews about it for a long time, but when I initially read the blurb, it didn't really appeal to me. After all, we've already seen lots of stories about girls who switch spots in life. True, there's a more supernatural twist added to this premise, but not enough to change the supposed outcome (girl adjusts to new life, finds new boy to love, makes friends that she never would've made otherwise, etc). Really, it should have all the elements of a feel-good chick lit.
But that's not what The Lost Girl is about. It's comprised of three parts. In the first, we learn about Eva's peaceful life in a cottage beside a lake, surrounded by people who love her but always with the looming concern that one day, she will have to serve her purpose. She exists for another person, and it's difficult because she must imitate every facet of her Other's lifestyle. In this part, I really appreciated the kindness that humans are capable of, especially in the way Eva's guardians behave. Although they follow the rules, the small allowances they make are what endeared me to them. Sean, especially, is wonderfully portrayed as logical but sweet. In my opinion, the first part is the best portion of the book: Eva's world and her conflict is beautifully portrayed, and the way it all comes screeching to a halt adds to the drama.
In the second part, Eva adjusts to her new life. What I loved about this was her frequent memories of her old life and the bittersweet nostalgia that those memories are tinged with. I liked her new family, and I thought there was a nice balance between their belief and disbelief that Amarra was still alive. It was relatively normal and typical, until she starts breaking the rules. The third part is when she finally goes on the run.
What stands out about this book is not its idea, but rather the way it's executed. The emotions running through it--desperation, hope, desire--are almost tangible. Each character is well-written, though maybe not as three-dimensional as I'd hoped. I can't say I absolutely loved the book, but I liked the precision that characterized its structure. I couldn't really get sucked in because I was always dubious about the idea of having an echo replace a loved one. What kind of person could convince him/herself that a copy is the same as the original?
At any rate, I enjoyed the book, especially the sweet love story and Eva's struggle for freedom. It's not the most intricate plot I read, but I definitely think this is a worthy debut....more
I like all the different ways you can spin a contemporary novel. You can focus on only charactersThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader.
I like all the different ways you can spin a contemporary novel. You can focus on only characters, and the setting doesn't matter. You can focus on an idea, like a girl pretending to date someone else, and that idea is the overriding aspect of a story. Or you can focus on the way characters travel through a setting. I especially like ones that incorporate something new, be it a traveling circus, a different country, or a high school with strange traditions. The novelty always gives me a rush (haha). And I thought I'd find the same thing with Such a Rush. Sadly, that didn't happen.
I don't have much experience with Jennifer Echols's writing; this is my first glimpse at one of her books. However, I do compartmentalize her with the period of life that I spent reading about melodramatic relationships and sex between teenagers that seemed too fake and too fast. I'm talking books like The Other Boy by Hailey Abbott and The Au Pairs. I didn't read many of those kinds of books, just because I found the material extremely repetitive and shallow. Such a Rush didn't seem like that kind of book, and I found the concept of a girl learning to be a pilot really interesting. It's definitely something you don't regularly see in a book. Also, I can't say no to a sexy bad boy, which is what Grayson is, supposedly.
In the beginning, I got into this book with all the excitement that Leah has on her first flying lesson. I've never read anything that depicted life in a trailer park to the extent that this book did, so it was a harsh glimpse into the way life is for people. However, I did feel that sometimes it was portrayed to the point of overkill because of the number of times Leah mentions the "whores on the beach" or the pitbull. Although Leah says time and time again that she isn't bitter about people having more than she does, the way she flies off the handle every time somebody questions her about her life makes those statements hypocritical. I can't hate her entirely, though; she takes what she has and runs with it. She's exceptionally driven, and I never wanted to strangle her at any time through the book, except maybe when she did that cutting at the throat motion, just because it seemed like a rude and random thing to do.
Now, the other characters. Grayson is a bipolar douchebag. He keeps assuming Leah is a whore, blackmails her into dating his brother for his own purposes, and despite all his sweet words, he still wants her to continue doing what he tells her to do. Alright, he's muscular, has curly blond hair, and always wears aviators and a cowboy hat. That's all really great, but not exactly a good reason for a person to fall in love with him. There is some depth to him, considering how he changes after he almost crashes his plane and after his father's death, but that could have been explored further instead of just being used as an excuse for his assholery. Alec and Molly are equally infuriating. I probably hated Molly most because she dragged Leah to a party even when Leah explicitly did not want to go. Molly is selfish and bitchy, a classic rich girl who puts herself first. Alec is one-dimensional and vindictive. The conflict in the book wasn't much of a conflict, since everybody seemed to already know what the problem was.
My greatest problem with this book is that it seemed supremely unrealistic, both in the way the plot unfolds and in the way the characters treat each other. Sure, Leah might be desperate, but it doesn't make sense that she would befriend people who treat her like trash and rub their richness in her face. There were also periods that Grayson or Leah would say something that was supposedly profound but sounded more like a preachy let-me-rub-a-moral-lesson-in-your-face line. I couldn't connect to any of the characters because I didn't find any of them that likable, and none of them possessed much depth. Also, why is the cover (gorgeous as it is) of a girl with straight hair when Leah harps so much over her curly hair? ...more
I wanted to like this book, mostly because of the blurb that promised a "gThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader
Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars
I wanted to like this book, mostly because of the blurb that promised a "girl-using loner bad boy." And I guess I got that, though not in the way I wanted.
The best way to explain my reactions toward this book would probably be in quotes. So. Let's begin, shall we?
Quote #1:In a lightning-fast move, he placed both of his hands on the brick wall, caging me with his body. He leaned toward me and my heart shifted into a gear I didn't know existed. His warm breath caressed my neck, melting my frozen skin. I tilted my head, waiting for the solid warmth of his body on mine. I could see his eyes again and those dark orbs screamed hunger.
Yummy Noah is yummy. I can totally see the dangerous sexiness he's got about him. However, this would have been a lot hotter if it hadn't happened almost in the exact same way several times throughout my reading of the book.
Quote #2:"No apologies. I could kiss you right now." Judging by the look in his chocolate-brown eyes, he meant it. "Don't. I think I'm gonna puke." I loved the way his lips turned up--part mischievous smile, part man of mystery.
Okay, I get that Noah is dangerous and sexy and mysterious. But I don't need to hear it over and over again. The puking part was funny, can't deny that. But I can't handle the redundancy in this book. Especially the parts with Noah always referring to Echo as "baby" or "my siren" or his "cinnamon oven" or whatever it was that he liked about her smell. It got old. And, as I mentioned in my status update, it reminded me of John Tucker Must Die, where I learned that John actually called his different girlfriends "baby" so he wouldn't mix up their names. Not a good sign.
Quote #3:"Yes, but never love. Just girls who didn't mean anything. You..." His tongue teased my bottom lip, thawing my body. "Are everything. I got tested over winter break and I'm clean and I've got protection." He reached to the side of the bed and magically produced a small orange square.
*Cough* *Snort* I think my coffee came out of my nose at this part. I definitely rolled my eyes. Is Noah a magician?
Quote #4:"I made out with Beth." The two of us leaned against the counter and drank our beers.
Do guys tell each other that they "made out" with a girl? I don't know. I just found this scene extremely feminine, for some reason. Except instead of drinking fruity stuff, they're having beers. I keep getting the feeling that McGarry is trying too hard to make these guys seem bad, and it doesn't come off as natural, just stereotypical.
Quote #5:Like everything else in life, if it contained the word free, it implied slow.
Ha! I like that. It's so true. Now here's a little, unique nugget that McGarry lets us see once in a while.
Quote #6:"I wish I could sleep with you," Echo's sexy-as-hell drowsy voice mumbled through the phone.
"Say the word, baby, and I'll rock your world."
*More coughing, snorting, laughing* Who SAYS that? Honestly, if some guy told me he'd rock my world, I'd laugh in his face. It's so cheesy.
Quote #7:"...I added a fucked up thought to another fucked up thought and I created a pile of shit."
Yet another funny nugget in the forest of badly used cliches and sayings. Wooooo. At this point, I just want everything to be over.
Quote #8:I waited for my pulse to stop beating my veins like a gang initiation, for the blood to leave my face and for my lungs to not burn as I gasped.
Errr. Like a gang initiation? What a strange simile. I had to read that a couple times, and I'm still a bit confused. There also is that strange comparison of her stomach butterflies to mutant pterodactyls? The pterodactyl part I can understand, but why are they mutant? Many times, I get the feeling that McGarry is using all these words but not pausing to really evaluate their meaning and what they contribute to the story.
I liked the way that Echo pieces together what happened, but I had to wonder whether it was strictly necessary to have so many flashbacks and so many meltdowns. It felt repetitive after the first two hundred pages, and the last hundred was just overkill, I think. I thought this story could've been a lot more compressed, which would have made the characters much more likable. I didn't really like Echo or Noah, Echo because she angsts a lot, which is obviously understandable given how much crap she has going on in her life. But there are moments where she seemed to acted in a way that was overly emotional, and it just didn't endear me to her. Likewise, Noah's perspective wasn't all that fun to read, either. He uses curses liberally, and normally I don't mind that, except that I think McGarry overdid it again. Also, he acts irrationally, and at the end when he sneaks into Mrs. Collins's office, I don't even get why he did it. It was just confusing to me.
The characters didn't leave much of an impression on me, despite what happened to them. Noah and Echo both have unenviable pasts, and that aspect drew me the most, though McGarry somehow blew them all out of proportion so the emotion seemed more forced than sincere. I don't think I liked anyone, really. Maybe Mrs. Collins, but I hated how she was likened to a dog. All of the comparisons made in this book are overcooked. If we likened this to a dish, I would say it was a delicious bowl of fried chicken that almost couldn't have gone wrong, except in the end the chef got insecure and dumped a bunch of salt in, which completely overcompensated.
"How could he not see all the beauty that was out there--the starlight leaving stains of brightness in the water, the salt-kissed wind?"
I kept waiting for The Assassin's Curse to get better, but it remained a clusterfuck until the very end. I mean, I can't say there weren't good things about it, because there were. After all, just look the blurb. I like pirates and loot and rum and all that good stuff. I also like assassins, because who doesn't love killing? So I go into this book expecting lots of arrrr matey type things, and adventures swinging on a ship, but I got none of that. Instead I get poor character development and the barest mention of ships and some obscure assassin club (I think that's what it is...).
Clarke promised us a lot of things with this book. With the cover, with the premise, with everything. Unfortunately, she didn't deliver. My biggest problem with this book is that there's way too much stuff integrated for it to make sense. First you've got your pirates, then you've got your wizards and witches, and then you've got assassins who can do magic too, except it's blood magic. It's way too much information to stuff into one book without making things sound ridiculous and random. When Naji and Ananna get stuck on the island, I thought that they were there because the island was supposed to help them. But then Naji mentions this wizard dude, and I'm like "what the hell is going on?" This happened multiple times. Sure, it's easy to get lost in the adventure of Naji and Ananna zipping around from place to place, but if you stop and think about it, why are they going to all these places? It's like a goose chase that they already know is futile, yet they keep doing it anyway. The ending to the book is even more ridiculous, even cheesy. I really expected more than that. It was such a bullshit blowoff so Clarke could write another book.
That's the plot. The characters are just... ugh. Naji sulks, Ananna moons after him, and generally their attitudes put me in a bad mood. Which sucks, since Ananna actually gave me hope. In the beginning, when she knees her fiance in the balls, I was cheering for her. But then she meets Naji and she turns all gloomy and moans over her plainness, and I just knew this wasn't heading for anything good. There wasn't even a damned kiss in this book. Granted, it would've been weird and even more out of place if there had been one, so maybe Clarke used some good judgment there. I found no reason to believe that she'd fallen in love with him, especially since he treats her like crap sometimes and completely shuts her out otherwise. Nothing about him caused me to like him, especially the way he totally fell under Leila's spell in the beginning. Not cool, bro.
In short, I got through this book relatively painlessly, but when I separated myself from the situation, I realized that this book misses so many things. That's why I feel so apathetic towards it. It's a good example of a situation where too many good things mashed up together can make the entire project go sour. ...more
NO KISS? I went through this many pages of what-the-fappery and there was NO KISS? Jane Austen oThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader.
NO KISS? I went through this many pages of what-the-fappery and there was NO KISS? Jane Austen or no, I am angry.
Edit: The blurb proclaims that this book is inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. When I think Austen, I think of witty repartee, handsome gentlemen, and annoying sisters. The third is not necessary, but funnily enough, is the only aspect of this book that comes even close to Austen's writing.
For Darkness Shows the Stars is a dystopian retelling of Austen's Persuasion, but it failed on both parts. I haven't read much Austen, but I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice, and I definitely do not think this book does her any justice at all. It's about a girl, Elliot (had to think for five minutes before I remembered her name), who is left behind taking care of a crumbling estate because her useless father and sister can't do it themselves. While she takes care of the people and dabbles secretly in genetically engineered plants, she also pines after her childhood best friend.
Problem #1: The main character's personality (or lack of one). Elliot was pathetic. Completely pathetic. Most of the book, she's miserable but does nothing about it. She takes all the crap that her father and sister put her through and walks away with her tail between her legs whenever she's snubbed by Kai. She grows some balls about 300 pages in and talks back to him, but then she cries. And cries some more. Elizabeth Bennet would have said something smooth and appropriately cunning. Elliot just runs away with her eyes burning.
Of course, things happen in this book, as they happen in any novel. Though in this one, they happen excruciatingly boringly and slowly. Which brings us to
Problem #2: The nonexistent plot. What was it? Actually, scratch that. I hardly care right now. Who was the bad guy? The father and sister? But no, they suddenly stopped posing any threat at all at one point. The Posts and technological advancement? No, Elliot supports them even though they do experiments on children. Even though she is shocked and disgusted by the fact that Kai has, essentially, been injected with chemicals and become a sort of alien, she still goes abroad with him. So...was the enemy the Luddites and their views against advancement? But Elliot mentions that many of them are becoming okay with technology and wearing the garish clothes of the Posts. They rather reminded me of the Amish, though I'm sure the Amish are lovely people. They definitely aren't hypocritical concerning their beliefs. So...I didn't get what the conflict was. If there's any enemy in this book, that enemy would be Kai.
Problem #3: The male lead's completely unsexy personality. Kai, there are so many things I could say about you. But the main point is that you're a total douchebag. If one of my friends ever had the stupidity to fall for someone like you, I would slap her in the face a couple times for being such a blithering moron. Which is what Elliot is, in all matters that relate to Kai. There is absolutely nothing attractive about Kai. He badmouths Elliot to his friends so that everyone he's acquainted with hates her without knowing her, he insults her in public, and he even goes as far to pretend to be courting and even lay his head in her lap. It's only when he realizes his actions could potentially kill someone does he stop. After all the shit he puts Elliot through, all he has to do is write her some disgustingly gushy and cliche letter, and she goes running back to him.
*cue me sticking finger down throat*
The love story in this book is absolutely despicable. The book is basically just Elliot wearing ugly clothes (ignore the irrelevant cover because no pretty dresses ever enter this book), Elliot pining for Kai, Kai being a douchebag, Elliot pining some more, Kai being more of a douchebag, Elliot still pining, then BOOM happily ever after and everything magically becomes better. Also, a bunch of yawn-worthy info-dump letters that I skimmed.
Why did we need 400 pages for this redundant bullshit?!
Also, remember, there wasn't even a damned kiss.
The only consolation (and the only reason i gave this 2 stars) is that Peterfreund had the decency to write this one book and not extend it into a miserable series. Which she should be commended on, because not all authors have that sort of foresight (The Selection, cough.)...more
The Apocalypse is here. Except it's nothing like you could've imagined, with the exception of humansRating: 4.5 Stars
Attention, citizens of the Earth.
The Apocalypse is here. Except it's nothing like you could've imagined, with the exception of humans being generally dumb, pathetic, and running around in circles. Other than that, prepare to be awestruck by the hugeness of the world that Laini Taylor has created. Or should I say, worlds. Before I get into the nitty gritty of why I loved this story so much, I should say that Laini Taylor must be The Queen of Cool-Sounding Names. The Misbegotten, Chavisaery, Zuzana, Liraz, Xathanael. Actually, having an X or Z pretty much establishes a coolness factor. Anyway, in addition to all the complicated/creative names being tossed about, there are lots of longing stares, joyful reunions cut short, and supplications that begin with oh. There's going to be a rollercoaster of a ride where people die, you think they're going to stay dead, and they don't. And there are also lots of betrayals and baiting. What I mean by that is Taylor's completely unnecessary skill of making happily ever after seem imminent before snatching it out from under our noses.
I read this book with bated breath, and with no little confusion. Being that it's been almost a year since I read the sequel, I barely remembered anything besides the fact that lots of people died and Akiva and Karou still weren't together. Because of that, I was struggling with some gaps as I read this book, but nothing major. But Taylor introduces a couple of new perspectives in this book, in addition to unleashing a whole slew of information that changes everything. When I was reading this book, I was impressed by all the small details of these worlds that Taylor carves out and the onslaught of emotions pulsing through the page. If there's one thing that's undeniable, it's Taylor's talent for storytelling. There were times when the prose got a little purply and I wanted her to get on with the plot, but this series would definitely be a shadow of itself if it wasn't told through Taylor's beautiful writing style.
The concepts in this series are so strange and monstrously unique. The twist on angels and demons, reincarnation, war, and all these races of beautiful, singular creatures. If I listed all the weird things in this book, they would make no sense in a list. But in this series, all of these magical ideas are woven together and fit like pieces in a puzzle. That being said, while I'm not entirely happy with some of the things that happened in this book, like the interference of the Stelians, they're still overshadowed by my awe for this universe that has been brought into existence. There were so many lines in here that sent shivers down my spine, and the feeling of everything happening being epic, huge, encompassing the world, is something not many people can achieve. I'm going to miss this series, and I can't wait to see what magic Taylor dreams up next....more
I seem to be saying that a lot lately. But seriously?! I cannot believe the book ended that way. And then when I read Just One Year, I'mNOOOOOOOOOOOO.
I seem to be saying that a lot lately. But seriously?! I cannot believe the book ended that way. And then when I read Just One Year, I'm going to have to start from the beginning again.
I don't know what it is about Forman's writing, but she made all of this so magical. This book really reminded me of Before Sunrise, which is a beautiful movie, if you haven't seen it yet. And Allyson is right: so many things happen in one day. Heartbreak, death, love. All it really takes is one moment for everything to change irrevocably, and Forman shows that through each of Allyson's decisions.
Just One Day is desperately romantic, despite the fact that only the first half is dedicated to Willem and Allyson's relationship. With them, love is stripped to its rawest. They know nothing about each other, not background, names, or interests, yet they're drawn together by fate and coincidence. The way Forman uses understatement in her prose adds to the magic and truth of what they go through. The backdrop of Paris is always a welcome addition. Many books have settings in different countries for the exotic factor, but not all of them truly make their readers breathe the culture. I think Forman does this, however, with the way she brings Willem and Allyson through Paris. Instead of relying on landmarks and tourism hotspots, she lets us feel like Parisians. I've had the experience myself, running through Europe to squeeze in all the landmarks, and that's not fun nor rewarding until you look at the pictures you've taken. But the time when I truly felt like I was experiencing Europe's vibe was when I was just sitting outside a patisserie, eating foods I'd never tried and watching people pass by.
I'll be honest; I could've done without Allyson's depression in the middle of the book. I thought that was a little overboard, but I do concede that it was necessary to show her development as a character and her slow acceptance of other people as she leaves her shell. It makes me a bit scared about going to college, myself, but I think her problems are something that everyone's experienced (without the whole running off to Paris with random Dutch guy part). Willem is ambiguous and a bit weird (with the saliva and licking of blood and, oh yeah, the picking up a random American girl in London), and we don't really get a chance to completely understand him.
With the other characters in this book, Forman puts forward an idea that lots of people have forgotten: kindness. I don't know how realistic it is to receive help from so many utter strangers, but I do know that kindness can come from anyone. Then again, this entire book challenges us to test our beliefs and to ignore for a moment the cold reality that's been instilled in us. I loved this book because of how subtle yet clear it is in its message and its development. For a moment, I thought Willem lost his memory, but I don't think that's what happened anymore... Anyway, the ending of this book sucks. Thank God I only have to wait for... 4 more months for the companion book. I'm dying to know about Willem, yet a bit scared about what'll happen between them.
All other things aside, this is a book that will make you believe in destiny. ...more
"Then I choose to drown," Finnikin said. "In hope. Rather than float into nothing."
A recurring thought while reading this book: I don't know what just happened; all I know is that it was AWESOME.
Melina Marchetta stays true to her title as one of the best YA authors with her spellbinding storytelling and wonderful characters.
I will have to admit that I was bored in the first hundred pages, and that I did get overwhelmed by all the names and titles. Which is why I had trouble keeping up with the plot at times. Although this detracted a bit from my enjoyment of the story, it certainly didn't keep me from becoming engrossed in the plot line.
Things I admired: -The gruesome past that Marchetta creates. It was a lot gorier and sadder than I thought it would be, and the description of it made the hopelessness and sadness in the kingdom more real and cutting. It was amazing because there's one thing I'm afraid of, and that's when authors make a big deal out of nothing. Which Marchetta definitely did not do. -World building. Okay, this one is actually debatable because there were tons of times when I'd get thrown for a loop because of extra details and not enough explanation. However, explanations did make the book slow at times. But you have to respect these high fantasy writers. They don't get to bootleg places from real life; they have to create entire worlds out of their own imagination. And the complex world that Finnikin and his friends live in is one that I could completely believe in. -Theme. Or what I thought was the theme. I thought Finnikin of the Rock spoke miles for the concept of hope, just like I believed Jellicoe Road did when I read it. There was something so uplifting about this destitute kingdom with so many hopeless, memory-burdened people being saved. It made me want to do that fist bump that Judd Nelson does at the end of The Breakfast Club. -Characters!!! I cannot emphasize enough how much I admire Marchetta's skill in creating so many characters that all seem to have outstanding personalities. We have Finnikin, the sword toting badass, and Evanjalin, who is the antithesis of the damsel in distress. Evanjalin, who I did despise a couple of times for the betrayals she seems to make, is one of the strongest female characters I've read because of her unfaltering determination to support the greater cause. But there's also Trevanion and Beatriss, Froi...I love that they all had their own side stories, but none of them overshadowed the story in general. And, of course, the romance was equally sweet and special.
In conclusion, I liked this book, though there were some shaky moments when I thought I wouldn't. Melina Marchetta has a special voice, one equal parts humorous, humbling, and brilliant. Everything is meaningful, all the dreams and actions and words. Nothing happens without a reason in this story. The biggest way I learned that was through Froi. I had no idea that the nameless street urchin would play such a large part in the story, but he did, and now I very much want to learn how his story ends. ...more
You are not the last dream of my soul. You are the first dream, the onlyThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader.
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars
You are not the last dream of my soul. You are the first dream, the only dream I ever was unable to stop myself from dreaming. You are the first dream of my soul, and from that dream I hope will come all other dreams, a lifetime’s worth.
"I had hope enough to take out those old dreams again, to dust them off and give them to you."
"...yours is not the kind of love that can be redeemed only through destruction."
Can I say that after reading A Tale of Two Cities, all of these references suddenly make so much sense to me now? My God, my AP Literature teacher should've just let me read Clockwork Princess instead of harping continuously about how Darnay was the better man (which he was not).
I think this book is the best of Clare's that I've read so far, in that it ends the way the final book of a trilogy should end. Not the way City of Glass did, with more space for more books and unresolved endings. The epilogue has been controversial, and it reminds me a bit of the epilogue forthe Harry Potter series. I recall that when people were messaging Cassandra Clare and wailing about whether the ending would make them cry, she said somewhere that it was a bittersweet one. And that's exactly what it is. Something Cassandra Clare really specializes in is not giving people what they want. Most people wanted that happy ending, that assurance that all Tessa's problems would be solved with some miraculous magic. There is magic, but there's also the reality of Tessa's situation and of her immortality. Unlike with The Mortal Instruments, I didn't get the feeling that Clare was pushing the envelope with her plot or the powers that are unveiled.
People have already said things about the love triangle and how beautiful it is, and I'm inclined to agree. Of course, I was a Will/Tessa shipper all the way through (if you couldn't tell through all the Will quotes that I used), but the way that all three of them love each other equally is something that's powerfully expressed throughout the series. Their love for each other is equal parts burdensome and joyful, and no character was left without honor.
One thing about Clare's books that always gets me is how I never seem to predict what will happen. She throws in a lot of curveballs, some more convincing than others. I'm really sad to see The Infernal Devices trilogy end because I loved everything about it. I loved the characters, their humor, the setting of 19th century London. There is a certain subdued power behind the series that I didn't get with The Mortal Instruments, and I hope that Clare brings it back in her next Shadowhunters series rumored to be set in the 1900s which I just stumbled upon in a review O_O (thank you, Maja)....more
"The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak."
After seeing raving reviews about this book pop up all over GR, I finally felt peer pressured enough to read it. I must say, I was hooked. From the first page, I got sucked into the beautiful world that Bardugo creates, and I think that's what sets this novel apart from many. The world of the Grisha is mysterious and appropriately dark, with exotic tones that come from a lot of thorough research done on Russian customs and culture. It reminded me a bit of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which took place in the magical city of Prague.
Alina's world came alive with me in all the right ways, without the boring info dump that usually accompanies complicatedly woven universes. I found the concept of the Shadow Fold and the volcra interesting, as well as the privileged lives the Grisha lead apart from the rest of society. There are many small details that are included that wowed me. My favorite part in the story was when Alina's Tailor friend, Genya, gives her a makeover using rose petals and gold. I thought it was creative, and the idea very interesting.
While the conflict between light and dark is nothing new, nobody has written about it the way Bardugo does. The skills of the Grisha which set them apart from everyone else yet endanger them, and the threatening extinction of their kind, are fascinating, though not completely original.
One of my favorite aspects was the love interest(s). Usually, I root for the promiscuous bad boy (which is very bad of me, I know), and not the best friend. But this time, I found myself loving Mal for his determination and his obvious concern about Alina despite everything. The Darkling was too dark and edgy for me, I think; towards the end, he did seem truly evil. There's a difference between a sexy bad boy and someone who's an actual threat to my life. However, since 90% of my Goodreads friends are psychos, they'll probably ship him and Alina. Which I totally understand, because I'm a bit of a psycho myself.
My one real problem with this book is the characterization. The world of the Grisha is spellbinding, but the characters are average. Alina is a classic orphan turned savior of the world, Mal is her sweet childhood best friend, and The Darkling...actually, The Darkling's a bit confusing, and I'll see what happens. But the thing is, I never truly felt connected with them in their troubles, and despite the colorful world that Bardugo creates, I couldn't fall in love with the characters too. I've just read too many other characters like them.
That aside, Shadow and Bone is definitely something that should be read! And now I want a kefta. Preferably in black. ...more
"...big, burst droplets of blood the color of poppies. A sea of blood, a red endless sea, crimson waves, carmine froth, splashing color..."
Lately, I've been having this problem. I've been wanting to go to Neverland. I want to experience the worlds of pirates, assassins, princesses, and golden apples again. And I have. But the problem is that I just don't believe anymore.
Somewhere, a fairy is dying...
The thing about The Storyteller is that it made me believe again. It was spellbinding in all the right ways, and it was the perfect book to urge me back into the world of dark fantasy. Michaelis combines a fairytale and reality, and she does it so well that even Abel's and Anna's story seems like something out of a dream, despite all the mentions of study dates and spilled hot chocolate (by the way, if Micha drinks that much hot chocolate, she must be a very happy--and chubby--little girl indeed). It gives this element of reality, yet when Anna and Abel are together, it seems so much more magical. Which is weird, since they're just being coupley. I'm chalking it up to Michaelis's writing style; the fairytale that Abel tells seems to weave its way into reality.
I'm still pretty awed at the genius of the book, the way the fairytale matches up with everything that's going on in Anna's and Abel's lives. Michaelis is essentially tells two stories at the same time, paralleling them exactly. That takes some serious skill (and probably hardcore outlining).
I was surprised at how dark this book is. I mean, you kind of get that from the blurb, but there's other stuff that's not hinted at in the blurb. It really took me by surprise. I had no idea there'd be so many mentions to problems that afflict children and different castes (Abel hates me for saying that word, but I can't think of something else).
It really reminds me of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma in that there are these momentary gleams of happiness that make the darkness brighter and more real. Because without those moments, can we really count as humans? We need the happiness and the sadness, too. As with Forbidden, this couldn't have had a happy ending. The hope is there, and so is the fairytale, but in the end, reality triumphs. But there is hope that continues in the heart of a little girl.
The mystery added to the darkness, something that always lurked in the background and wouldn't come to light. Michaelis throws out so many different hints, and I totally thought I suspected the right person, but in the end I was still wrong, and I admire her for leading me on such a goose chase. The only thing that's keeping me from the 5 stars is that I didn't like Anna until towards the end. She seemed too fickle and irresponsible, even if she was doing the things she did for Abel. But Michaelis has executed almost every aspect of this story well, from giving all the characters different motives and traits, to making the plot twist and turn but ultimately come to a satisfactory conclusion.
I feel so melancholy now. Going to listen to some Leonard Cohen. ...more
[Ash] glanced over his shoulder. smirking. "Care to join me, Goodfellow?" "Oh, ice-boy. A moonlight stroll with you? Do you even have to ask?"
I missed Ash so much in this book. So much that it hurt.
Come back, Ash. I'll do anything. I'll have your babies. I don't think you understand the sacrifice I'm making here.
And that little snippet of Puck. It made me feel so nostalgic.
I think that was the main problem I had with this book. I didn't really feel anything for the characters. For the first half, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Meghan and Ash to appear again. Then, in the second half, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for them to come back.
Ethan is an ehhh character. I didn't really like reading the book from his perspective, because, let's be honest: he was a bit of a whiny brat for the first part. He does get better, though, in the last hundred pages. That's when he starts kicking some ass instead of just going "dammit, dammit, dammit... ooh, shiny swords" all the time.
Mackenzie... I didn't like her much, just like Ethan. She was too persistent, and it kind of bothered me. Especially when she insisted on sticking her nose into Ethan's business and following him around. Even after the big revelation in the end about her, I couldn't turn my entire attitude towards her around. Also, I have a feeling that Kagawa is going to turn her into a faery or something and make her immortal off the tears and laughter of children.
I'm just hypothesizing here.
Also, the book starts veeery slowly. I had the same problem with The Iron King, when it takes a couple chapters for Meghan to see Ash, and even longer for her to get out of her boring, real world and into the Nevernever. It seems to take Ethan twice as long in this book, and it's not very fun hearing him complain about his life and seeing him be a jerk to everyone who comes across his path.
A lot of people have mentioned how Meghan appears once, and Ash and Puck only come out of their moonlight lovin' twice. Well, it's true. And it makes me sad. But at least they appeared. I'm thankful for that, especially since I was really sick of the new characters. Actually, Ash's and Meghan's child (CHILD. THEY HAVE A CHILD. SQUEE.), Keirran, was intriguing. I think I need to read Iron's Prophecy to understand what's going on with him, but I think he's going to become evil. Which is not very cool because he's too adorable with his silver hair and his crush on the summer nymph and his ice powas. Anyway, I found him a lot more interesting than Ethan. This book might have been more exhilarating if it had been written from his perspective.
However, if we move past the lackluster characters to the plot, we will find a vast improvement. This book centers on the Forgotten fey, and it's pretty creepy. They basically are these fairy-ghost-zombie things that appeared in The Iron Knight, and they're making their dramatic comeback. It's very creative, and of course, Kagawa still possesses her unique flair for making the magical setting of the land of Fey come alive. The ending is actually really disturbing, especially the part where Ethan's stuck at the bottom of a giant hole (talk about hitting rock bottom, eh? punpunpun.) I was a bit disappointed as far as climaxes go, since Keirran sits there and goes "durrr" while Ethan's dying. But he wakes up and uses his ice mojo (oh, Ash, your genes are precious), so that's good.
My feelings are apathetic towards this book, but I can't deny that I like the idea that's forming here. As long as Kagawa keeps her characters developing, writes with that same magical style, and gives me more Ash, I think I'll enjoy this series!
Thank you NetGalley and Harper Teen for giving me a chance to read and review this book.
After the stunning debut that was Angelfall, I know that everyone was expecting big things out of this book. Maybe that's why it seemed so much less sAfter the stunning debut that was Angelfall, I know that everyone was expecting big things out of this book. Maybe that's why it seemed so much less spectacular than I'd initially thought.
The book picks up pretty much exactly where it left off, with Raffe missing in action and Penryn reunited with her mended sister and psycho mother. There's a lot of filler dialogue, and a lot of stalling on the Raffe and Penryn front. I was really frustrated, and it was reminiscent of Days of Blood & Starlight where I waited for pages before Akiva and Karou finally saw each other again. Is this a theme in books about angels? Because it's very annoying.
As before, Ee isn't afraid to delve into the more horrifying and post-apocalyptic aspects of her world. I think Paige brings in a level of depth to the book, especially because Penryn doesn't know how to distinguish between human and monster because of her. The possible themes underlying the book aren't explored enough, though, which leads me to point out the flaws here.
In the end, World After contains nothing new. Many of the old scenes and concepts from the first book are recycled, with a little more blood sprinkled in. A lot of the plot before Raffe came back into the picture was filler, and while the story picked up again when he returned, I don't think anything was truly accomplished. If you think about it, all they really did was land back on square one. Also, I STILL don't quite understand the reason for the post-apocalyptic world. What the hell was Gabriel doing there in the first place?
I know the author has expressed wanting to write five books, but I really don't think that's necessary if the three books in between are going to end up fillers like this one. The conversation is still witty and the reunion between Penryn and Raffe was pretty hot, but there's not enough and it's not fair for it to be spread thinly over three more books when it could be contained in a trilogy. At the end of this book, I saw traces of Angelfall, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as I thought it'd be....more
OH. MY. GOD. I CANNOT. EVEN. FATHOM. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Review to come because I put off about 3 hours of studying for this.
Edit-Rating: 4.5 StarsOH. MY. GOD. I CANNOT. EVEN. FATHOM. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Review to come because I put off about 3 hours of studying for this.
Edit-Rating: 4.5 Stars This book is incredible. The very first sentence just sucks you in, and I swear I tried, but I could not untangle myself from this story. I had to finish it, and finish it I did, at the price of not getting any work done. But it was well worth it. Why?
Because Penryn is a badass, that's why! And because Raffe makes all the girls' hearts flutter.
So, let's think about what you get from this book. You get a heroine who can actually kick some serious butt and has undying loyalty that gets her in bad situations but simultaneously makes her endearing and not whiny. In addition, she is not willing to sacrifice her strange family even for some hot stranger with wings (Hush, Hush, anyone?). You get a dreamy guy who is all suaveness and charm but gets some serious hurt throughout the story instead of somehow being untouchable. Also, he doesn't sound like some blathering romantic and actually is not emasculated by his time near possible love interest (*cough* Daniel Grigori *cough*). And you get a plot that leaves you reeling and basically sobbing for the next book.
A bonus? There are flesh eating creatures and some Mengele-esque experiments.
I think I've already given away too much, but it's safe to see here that this story is definitely original. Susan Ee knows what she's talking about, and she's not afraid of writing it. While I recommend this for slightly more mature young adult audiences, I think that everyone would get a kick out of this book. This is the first book in months in which I have actually been emotionally invested in, and that's a bad sign about the publishing industry, if they're publishing books like Fallen over jewels like this one. While I would have liked a bit more world building, like why Gabriel was flying around in the sky in the first place, that definitely didn't affect the pace with which I devoured this book. I seriously devoured it. I put my iPod in my bathroom, and after I finished showering, I stayed in the bathroom for an hour reading.
Engrossing. If you're looking for action, stop here. Right now, I believe this is the best post-apocalyptic book out of 2011 because of the amazing job Susan Ee has done with her characters and her plot. All of her characters have weaknesses and distinguishing points, with the exception of Obi, who I was little iffy about. The love relationship develops slowly and subtly, in a way that's believable. And I loved the voice that Ee gave to Penryn. She doesn't wax poetry or complain shallowly (Juliette from SHATTER ME and almost all other heroines), and her voice comes as painfully sincere. She is still a teenager thrust into the boots of a grown-up who is taking the responsibility but holding on to who she is the way she knows how. The fact is that nobody in this book is perfect, and that's definitely a change from the usual la-la-la the world is blowing up around me but nothing's my fault trend.
This is also the best book about angels I've read so far. Daniel Grigori, Patch Cipriano, and the Churches can all burn in a bloody hellfire as far as I'm concerned. Ee did her research. She definitely didn't mess up with the Grigori and the archangels. Somehow, she has spun it to a darker angle than most would be used to. The end definitely made me clutch my chest. I had no idea what would happen to the characters, and I zoomed through the last 100 pages because I couldn't bear not knowing what would happen to everyone. It threw me for a loop, but the book did end on a hopeful note that closed it off but had me banging my head when I realized that I don't know when the sequel is out. ...more
This book is a revelation. It really is. I'm pretty speechless right now, to be honest. I don't think I can dredge up the corrActual Rating: 4.5 Stars
This book is a revelation. It really is. I'm pretty speechless right now, to be honest. I don't think I can dredge up the correct words to explain how I feel after reading this. I really want to go hug my sister or help an old man cross a road or something.
To be honest, I was pretty bored the first half of this book, with the language and the intolerable attitudes of everybody. I mean, I kept up with the plot, was grossed out by Mr. Daimler, but I didn't get what made this book so special. Sam pissed me off a lot in the beginning, and so did her friends. I thought they were unbearably mean, and I couldn't sympathize because I've never really had that sort of experience with "mean girls" or assholes like Rob. Now, I'm realizing that maybe that was Oliver's intention all along.
We start off with Samantha Kingston, a popular girl with an embarrassing past that she prefers to avoid like the plague. She treats her family members and other not-so-familiars with an air of cool detachment, gets drunk and cuts class with her friends, and basically takes everything for granted. One explosive party later, she finds herself waking up on the same day, over and over again, not quite understanding how to escape. Along the way, she makes many mistakes that stem from her assumptions and ill judgment, but she also finally realizes what it means to treasure life and the things she's given.
Given my previous experience with Delirium, which had mediocre world building but amazing prose, I expected the same style from Oliver in this book. I wasn't disappointed, especially towards the end. Here's an example:
And then, just at that moment, when I'm no longer sure if I'm dreaming or awake or walking some valley in between where everything you wish for comes true, I feel the flutter of his lips on mine, but it's too late, I'm slipping, I'm gone, he's gone, and the moment curls away and back on itself like a flower folding up for the night.
Oliver manages to seamlessly weave beauty and sadness into her novel, and it makes me have a serious case of writer jealousy. But it's not just that. It's the message that Before I Fall gives us, the warning that it seems to proffer. That it's never too late, and it's never too late to start now. I loved each character that Oliver crafted because each one is special, even though they certainly seem to fall into their stereotypical categories in the beginning of the book. As the plot progresses, though, there are so many revelations about who they are and how they each have their own insecurities about the world no matter who they are. Even Lindsay, who seemed like a major bitch, turned out to be likable despite the fact that I was pretty set on not forgiving Sam for being friends with her. And Kent. Oh my sweet. Kent. I felt so guilty for getting excited over him and Sam when a bunch of people had just died (you'll understand when you get to that part in the book), but I couldn't help it. He's so sweet, caring, and lacking in pretense that I couldn't help but fall in love with him.
Something that I learned from this book that applies so much to real life is that not everyone is perfect or imperfect. All people are riddled by flaws, but it's the same pockmarks and regrets that form a person. And there's nowhere better to learn that than through Sam.
A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.
I'm amazed how this book is so much bigger than what it is. ThereActual Rating: 4.5 Stars
A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all.
I'm amazed how this book is so much bigger than what it is. There's something about the world that Laini Taylor has created that is so... universal. It's so difficult to explain, but while I was reading it, I literally felt like I'd entered an alternate universe that was magical but realistic. Unlike its predecessor, Days of Blood & Starlight is not centered around just a group of people or a painfully dramatic love story. It is, at its very heart, a book about war, death, and sacrifice.
At the beginning, I was agitated because Akiva and Karou were leading separate lives. I desperately wanted them to meet up and renew what they'd had, but as the book progressed, I realized that this desire wasn't realistic. The book begins with Karou as the new resurrectionist, making new bodies to resurrect the chimaera soldiers of Eretz. The White Wolf watches her constantly, and she's not happy. It starts off heavy and dark, unlike the last book, which I remember as starting off with her idiotic ex-boyfriend. Instead, there are the deaths of Brimstone and the rest of Karou's chimaera family suffocating her. Many of my fellow reviewers have expressed their surprise and apprehension at the bloodiness, but I welcomed this facet. The title has blood in it; we can't really expect flowers and rainbows.
What I really want to credit Taylor on is her perfect balance of hope and pain. I never knew how things would end, and there were always different conflicts popping up out of unexpected places after a problem was solved. It was really emotionally draining, actually. Karou is suffering at first, under the tyrannical rule of the Wolf, but then Zuzana and Mik find her and they add this beautiful atmosphere of sweet love and loyalty that I found enjoyable. Their relationship is much more fleshed out in this book, and it was realistic and adorable, which grounded the forbidden love part between Akiva and Karou. Their presence made the other chimaera seem more human, and I like that Taylor took the time to explore all these different characters and make them seem real. The book isn't told from just Karou's or Akiva's perspectives, but from the eyes of many different characters. Some of them only live for three pages before they die, but it adds a very holistic view, shedding light on what's happening in every corner of this alternate universe.
Also, like the last book, this one is not lacking in plot, especially since there are multiple plot lines running through the story. In the middle of the book, I think there are like... 10 deaths within 50 pages. Taylor brings her way with words back to this one, and everything is told in such gorgeous style. Her prose is the fairy dust on top of an already magical story. Although I'm a bit upset with how little Akiva/Karou time I got in this one, the ending was the perfect balance of desolation in hope. I am in awe. ...more