the only thing that i would say sets this apart from any other paranormal romance is the fact that it is set in the 1950s, but then again maybe1.75/5
the only thing that i would say sets this apart from any other paranormal romance is the fact that it is set in the 1950s, but then again maybe not as the narrative and diaologue are much too modern to make this believable and thus work in the hands of another author. other than that... the only other positive things i can think of are that there is no love triangle and the hero does not follow the current trend of being a brooding asshat. even the heroine's sister who's painted as vain, useless 'bitch' for most of the book gets some shades of grey fairly at the end of the book - alas, color me surprised by that as i did not really see that coming, thinking the author would let her be a black and white caricature till the last page....more
• tactless & a bit dumb as well as racist heroine • easy to guess mystery • boring romance (d1.75/5
low star rating because of the following aspects:
• tactless & a bit dumb as well as racist heroine • easy to guess mystery • boring romance (dreaded instalove trope)(view spoiler)[to borrow lucy's words: "i'm sickened by this 'love at first sight' nonsense --it's all shine and no substance." [57%] (hide spoiler)] • forbidden teacher-student relationship (sorry but: zzzzZ)
point-of-views switching between two sisters 2 years apart in age in a deaf family. the younger one jade, is the only hearing member in her family. itpoint-of-views switching between two sisters 2 years apart in age in a deaf family. the younger one jade, is the only hearing member in her family. it was heartbreaking seeing her struggle and fail fitting into her family. being excluded. i found it a bold move from the author to attempt to write a pov from a deaf person, which reads the same way they 'speak' through sign language. chopped off, but with a certain kind of beauty, because of its simplicity:
open car door, climb out, stretch. home long time. all summer. no homework. no tests. no dorm inspection.
surprise. feeling same snake touch leg. maybe scream, but no. turn around, beezly greet me. not snake. dog tail. beezly my dog. sister jade think beezly her dog, because jade live home all year. i older.i first daughter. first love of beezly.
beezly now old. gray nose. hug beezly neck, shut eye. beezly lick face. laugh. dog tongue tickle. open eye. [arc, 3%]
wow, i don't think i can name even one family that is this kind of organized (mine included!):
"dad and i made the menu for the next couple of days, then heated up some leftovers for lunch." [arc, 59%]
* * *
"i didn't think it was fair that i should be punished because i could hear" [arc, 14%]
taylor oh is one in a long line of cursed oh descendants. she can see ghosts. if one such ghosts touches her skin, she has to avenge its death by tra
taylor oh is one in a long line of cursed oh descendants. she can see ghosts. if one such ghosts touches her skin, she has to avenge its death by tracking down the killer and transferring the 'mark'. and do it fast. because otherwise the darkness will come for her and take her life instead.
"anubis is meant to be the reason for all this. my ancestor was a member of an expedition of ... i suppose you'd call them tomb robbers. they found nefertiti's tomb but it wasn't empty." [arc, 37%]
besides worrying about bullies like justin, who seems to have a special grudge against her. keeping up her grades and her constantly worrying wheel bound, widowed father. taylor has to be on the lookout for murderers and it's definitely a struggle, because time is running out and she never has a moment for herself.
life isn't easy being a non-caucasian girl, especially not when you are cursed on top of that. when justin, the person she hates most is dead .. she has to find his .. killer? taylor and justin team up and the closer they get to the truth, the closer the killer gets to making her his next victim.
where was justin hargreaves? why would he have run away? had something sinister happened? only i knew that he wouldn't be coming back. and i very much needed to speak to the dead bastard.
first things first. i can't write about the weight of souls without mentioning the fabulous cover. i mean, how many times have we seen a cover where a non-caucasian played the main lead and we actually get to see his/her face, but only parts of it or it's silhouetted?
yes, i thought so.
i love how the cover artist included relevant elements. and you can enjoy and bask in its glory too, because it's not an embarrassment to trot about with the book.
our female lead, taylor oh, is half-chinese. people take notice and there's always someone who has to make some oh-how-original-joke. but the author sadly didn't explore this aspect a bit more. it is mentioned that taylor oh is of chinese descent, but to quote s.e. smith & nijkamp: "it never comes up again, depriving characters of cultural context [..] i’d love to see fully developed characters, whose [ethnicity], while informing who they are, isn’t their only identifying marker but part of a complex set of characteristics."
suggestively he adjusted the crotch of his baggy jeans. "hey, look, it's lucy liu, innit? come for some real man, lucy liu?" [arc, 1%]
the narration is pretty clunky in that it contains a lot of info-dumpy inner monologues and extracts from the 'book of oh-fa' an ancient sort-of memoir of one the ancestors detailing the curse background (snooze). another quibble is the characterization, secondary characters needed more fleshing out, for me to actually believe they were more than cardboard characters:
"oh gawd, look who it is." the familiar drawl penetrated my eardrums like a dental drill. it was tamsin harper, she of the faux us accent, the fake blond hair and the fluffy angora jumpers. [arc, 4%]
i feel that there is just so much unmet potential, because it's not like the author infused the characters with pure evil. there were definitely moments were the characters showed remorse or at least other emotions than glee, hatred and malice. which brings me to the next point. we are told that taylor is sixteen, as we experience the unfolding events from taylor's pov, you can get a taste of how young she sounds and it reads like the account of a thirteen year old girl. and honestly i would've thought it was a middle grade book were it not for the book description that clearly states otherwise.
alas, it's just not a book that sticks and that is ultimately what bothered me the most. because the problem wasn't that it was bad. just mediocre. even for all the bad things i've listed, i can tell you that it has its moments of triumph and merits as well. i don't want to keep anyone from reading this. it has popcorn-entertainment value to be sure(view spoiler)[, though i skimmed a lot of the 'book of oh-fa' extracts because they were just so Zzzzzz (hide spoiler)].
random quotes: on the one hand i didn't know what was waiting for me but on the other, i had nowhere else to go. [87%]
(view spoiler)[i caught my breath. i ... liked justin. i explored the sensation as if i was probing a broken tooth with my tongue. [arc, 72%] (hide spoiler)]
arc was kindly provided by strange chemistry/angry robot through netgalley["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she2.5/5
i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she has a deformity that stamps her an outcast making the people around her sign against the evil eye. mathilda is the princess of alder brook and a half orphan. when the story begins her protective mother is currently abroad. standing or walking for too long shows its effect on her lame foot and she needs to rest and massage it.
this is why she likes to read books and has high aspirations to go down in history as a famous writer if nothing else than to prove the people wrong about being a living curse roaming the earth. tilda is tired of her endless, repetitive duties and responsibilites that comes with being a princess and just wants to leave everything behind and start somewhere afresh.
as chance would have it her handmaiden judith and friend parz decide to slay a dragon. tilda plans to do something no has done before: write a handbook for dragon slayers. of course, things don’t exactly go as planned an she accidentally thwarts the wild hunt by freeing their silver and copper horses, befriending dragons, getting imprisoned by a bluebeard-like character who has his own hidden agenda … all the while saving alder brook from her greedy relatives.
what can i say? i liked tilda well enough, though i have to admit that i probably would not have picked this up if it weren’t for merrie haskell’s wonderful debut the princess curse which won me over with a wonderful heroine. tilda is a bit dull when compared to the princess curse‘s shining heroine reveka. but i have to admit that i am a sucker for dark fairy tales with hades-persephone touch and a dash of twelve dancing princesses. also, the villain in handbook for dragon slayers was not as multilayered as in princess curse and i like my characters grey not black and white.
as it is, the handbook for dragon slayers is a book that does its job by being adventurous and i should think appealing to both genders.
as far as fairy tales go, this one includes the expected and disappointing flat, 2-dimensional cast of characters. not a whole lot of plot and t2.25/5
as far as fairy tales go, this one includes the expected and disappointing flat, 2-dimensional cast of characters. not a whole lot of plot and thus simultaneously sparse text. and of course the happily-ever after with the prince.
the raven girl is the product of a raven and postman who fell in love. she is born as a raven who cannot speak the human tongue, but neither can she fly like she's always longed to. the raven girl goes to college and there by chance encounters someone who might be able to correct that 'mistake' ...
ah, about the art. well, the illustrations have a horrifyingly, ugly quality (gonna scan a page or two to showcase and emphasize my point soon) which i know is a really weird thing to say, as i love the overall book design of raven girl. ...more
note: plot was mediocre, narrative voice smooth and all. the book itself was too short in order for me to get attached to any of the characters i2.25/5
note: plot was mediocre, narrative voice smooth and all. the book itself was too short in order for me to get attached to any of the characters including the main lead. the love interest was meh, but as mentioned before, i suppose it is due to the book being more a ... novella instead of a full fledged novel. the paranormal aspect was interesting while straddling the fine line between incredulous and interesting. i've read stranger things than that of a teen girl seeing future/past visions through asthma attacks. lisa mcmann's wake trilogy being the exemplary case of paranormal done right (well, except for her last book "gone" which sadly sucked).
geez, what a disappointing read! it started very promising with the female lead applying for the position as a nurse for the prickly male lead wh2.5/5
geez, what a disappointing read! it started very promising with the female lead applying for the position as a nurse for the prickly male lead who lost his sight half a year ago. things start to pick up when he finally agrees to learn "how to be blind" and tries to cope with his abilities and the cards that he has been dealt in life. trial and error. cane and guide dog. and then unfortunately things started turning to mush. the hero who "miraculously" gains his sight again, the heroine who runs away and feels unworthy.
why do authors feels the need to give back what they took? the heroes who lost something, whether it be their voice, sight or something else. of course, it's easy to give them the things they desperately want, but it isn't necessarily what they need to begin with. and i think, gabriel (the male lead) has come to the conclusion as well. he lost something, but he gained something of equal if not higher worth as well.
so why? why? why?
gabriel would have been a much more compelling character if he hadn't regained his eyesight and made (physically) "complete". (view spoiler)[ another thing that irked me is that he didn't recognize her in the end. this dude seriously took some time. and i don't believe that for one second! (hide spoiler)]
family visit / battle of words: (view spoiler)[ "i don't know how he can bear to go on living like this. sometimes i think it would have been a blessing if he'd have just--"
"clarissa!" the marquess [gabriel's father] barked, sitting up and thumping his walking stick on the floor.
lady thornwood whirled around, a hysterical note sharpening her voice. "oh, why not just say it, theodore? we all think it, don't we, every time we look at him."
samantha rose to her feet. "think what?"
gabriel's mother turned to face her, her expression fierce. "that it would have been a blessing if my son had died on the deck of that ship. a blessing for his life to have ended cleanly and quickly. then he wouldn't have to go on living like this -- this miserable half-life as half a man!"
"and how convenient that would have been for you!" a bitter smile touched samantha's lips. "after all, your son would have died a hero. instead of being foreced to confront a surly stranger on this beautiful spring afternoon, you could have driven out here to place flowers on his crypt. you could all weep prettily, mourn his tragic loss, and still have your grieving done in time for the first ball of the season. tell me, lady thornwood -- is it gabriel's suffering you wish to end? or your own?"
the marchioness paled as if samantha had slapped her. "how dare you speak to me so, you presumptuous creature!"
samantha refused to be cowed. "you can barely stand to look him in the face, can you? because he's no longer the golden boy you adored. he can't play the role of the perfect son to your doting mother. so you're ready to bring the curtain down on his head. why do you think he's not here right now?" she swept her accusing gaze around the room before returning it to gabriel's mother. "it's because he knows exactly what you're all thinking every time you look at him. your son may be blind, my lady, but he's not stupid."