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
part of me will always be impressed by cassandra rose clarke’s novels and “the mad scientist’s daughter” will forever and ever occupy a part of my he
part of me will always be impressed by cassandra rose clarke’s novels and “the mad scientist’s daughter” will forever and ever occupy a part of my heart.
so, let’s get to the book, now, shall we?
set in the same world as “the assassin’s curse” our heroine hanna, is the daughter of a former pirate and fisherman but with aspirations to be a proper witch. under the tutelage of kolure, one very grouchy fisherman, who is following his own agenda she has to push through all kinds of obstacles including saving herself, help a non-human boy, prevent evil to spread and find a way back.
after the first few chapters you can already see some character similarities between hanna and ananna. a little ignorance, a pinch of anger and the always underlying ambition to make their dreams come true. scrolling through other reviews both the goodreads and non-goodreads variety, makes me realize that most people thought that “the wizard’s promise” lacked a special something and they wanted this hole to be filled. more worldbuilding, a greater level of characterization, tense action or at least less repetitiveness and focus on some daily activities.
in some ways i certainly did too, because as a reader i tend to expect more of an author whose books made it to my all-time-favorite shelf and keep their level of awesomeness to increase with every new book, which is strictly speaking doing both the author and me a disservice.
and you know what?
i’ve read too many bad books and this is definitely not one of them. i have this niggling feeling that after reading the not-yet-released sequel that my mind shall be appeased and that is quite enough for me, till cassandra rose clarke releases her next adult novel.
this e-arc has been kindly proved by strange chemistry through netgalley!
(view spoiler)[these paintings are actually tiny spoilers you will only understand after you read the book (heh). so consider yourself unspoiled3.75/5
(view spoiler)[these paintings are actually tiny spoilers you will only understand after you read the book (heh). so consider yourself unspoiled for now. (hide spoiler)]
every year they come out of the sky at the same day and same time to take people.
this understandably scares the shit out of people. pastor warren takes it upon himself to soothe people and point out that those beings coming to take people away are indeed angels sent from god. and that the town was blessed to be chosen. riley thinks it's all bullshit and shoots the "angel" in the face when it comes to get her. and this, people, is where all the fun begins! (not telling anything more for fear of spoiling the book)
i didn't have any expectations whatsoever concerning this book, which is why i was able to lay back and enjoy the ride all the more (even at scenes that had me scratching my chin). outcast is so much fun to spend time with and really you do NOT want to miss out on reading this! the main lead tends to be a bit mary sue-ish, but it can be forgiven. and all the other characters, take lacy for example, who starts out as the clichéd popular, bitchy cheerleader and gets so much more developed as the story unfolds.
what was crazier was that she seemed to love being this stereotype. even more than that, no one else seemed to notice what a stereotype she was. it was like no one else in my school watched movies. [arc, 15%]
how lacy coped with living her life as a barbie doll i had no idea. then again, maybe she just had no concept of irony. or maybe this was all meant to be ironic? [arc, 20%]
in one short bizarre (view spoiler)[drunken (hide spoiler)] conversation with a cheerleader my entire perspective on life had changed. well, on cheerleaders at any rate. who the heck was lacy green? who the heck were any of them? (..) i'd grown up with them. i knew them as lists of features, but that was it. i didn't know them at all. not really. felt kind of stupid about that. kind of bad. [arc, 26%]
that leads me to the swearing in the book with all its shits, hecks, shut ups. i love it when the author doesn't shy away from language. more please. moar! the ending is obviously (thankfully) a set up for the books to come, as it leaves space for a sequel with unanswered questioned. outcast is a gem among stones. it has some really interesting conversations about bible interpretations and questioning faith in general and i sincerely hope to read more of that in the future. allow me to conclude with a smirk-worthy scene:
"thank you for choosing us, and in your glory we ask that you continue this gift. we thank you for sending us guidance to steer us into your love, and we thank pastor warren for taking this burden unto himself. thank the angels." "thank the angels," repeated the fold. i wondered if pastor warren ever said the thanks, and if he did, if he had to thank himself:"we thank me for taking this burden unto myself .." [arc, 37%]
this copy has been kindly provided by diversion books 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"]>...more
note: besides the female lead, the characters were not that defined or fleshed out. lots of gore and goosebumpey moments which i thought were well done. i liked the overall plot, setting and tone better than the author's writing style. the hallowed ones lacked .. something and yah, i cannot quite pinpoint what it was in particular the book lacked. (view spoiler)[
in the hands of another author it would have been pure magic with its potential realised to its fullest which i know is an unfair thing to say, as that could be applied to any book. *shrug* maybe make the sequel longer?
(hide spoiler)] anyways, even with that complaint of mine, i cannot ignore what a page turner it was, -- hence the rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
4 stars for intent and basic plot 1.75 stars for actual execution
a girl goes to the netherworld to rescue her best friend who committed suicide. it is4 stars for intent and basic plot 1.75 stars for actual execution
a girl goes to the netherworld to rescue her best friend who committed suicide. it is not overly original, nor very complex. but it lured me with its dark undertone and setting while the female lead deals with the fact that she lost a friend and also that forgiving others is hard, but forgiving yourself more so. and that sometimes people do not want to be saved -- how much strength and tears it costs to let go. when done right, those kinds of stories are the best ones with a lot heart and gritty storytelling that lingers long after you have finished them. alas, this was not the case here. regrettably.
when a man calls a woman "baby", i sneer. when it is a woman calling another one that way, i cringe. every time the foster mom (diane or diana?) called lela (female lead) "baby", i was wrenched out of the narrative. i enjoyed the fact that the main lead and a lot of the secondary characters were non-caucasians, but the dialogue was poorly written, lacked the necessary character developement to make me care for them and also suffers from the insta-love trope with lots of melodramatic elements thrown into the mix.
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and se1.75/5
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and selected poems as an expensive a folio edition, because i enjoy a good story as much as thoughtfully crafted book design. plus i only understood fractions of it, the writing style is not much to my taste, but that might change if i understand the subtle undertones and messages the author is trying to convey.
this is it, you guys. you cannot get a better designed book if you’re looking for a collection of rossetti’s poems. and … holy shit, it’s just awesome because jillian tamaki illustrated it! [ see more ]
obviously the most famous of her poems is the goblin market. i had my first encounter with her work through laini taylor’s beautiful book lips touch: three times which can be discribed as a nod to rossetti’s poem. here some of my favourite lines:
two thoughts of death.
her heart that loved me once is rottenness now and corruption; and her life is dead [...] foul worms fill up her mouth so sweet and red; foul worms are underneath her graceful head. yet these, being born of her from nothingness these worms are certainly flesh of her flesh.
- p 114
buds and babies
a million buds are born that never blow, that sweet with promise lift a pretty head to blush and wither on a barren bed and leave no fruit to show.
sweet, unfulfilled. yet have i understood one joy, by their fragility made plain: nothing was ever beautiful in vain, or all in vain was good.
- p 100
life and death.
life is not sweet. one day it will be sweet to shut our eyes and die [...]
life is not good. one day it will be good to die, then live again. [...]
- p 72
when i was dead, my spirit turned to seek the much frequented house: i passed the door, and saw my friends feasting beneath green orange boughs [...]
everything is fine and dandy for mel. she has good grades, a supportive family and two best friends to share everything with. that is, until a vampireeverything is fine and dandy for mel. she has good grades, a supportive family and two best friends to share everything with. that is, until a vampire --the first ever-- decides to attend their school. everything changes and there is nothing mel can do about, or is there?
where vampires and mel are, disaster follows and hilarity ensues thereafter. as a rule the sidekick character most commonly fills out the goofy and/or supportive role for the main lead. in team human the american born chinese (!!yay!!) sidekick already is the main lead and oh, what a treat! not only is she witty and loyal, she's sensible to boot too. one of her best friends strongly believes herself to be in love with the aforementioned vampire (francis) after only a few days and is ready to be transitioned into one herself at the age of 17, mel is understandably upset about this revelation and fights tooth and nail to prevent this from happening. because even though as a vampire one is granted immortality and eternal youth, sunlight will be an aspect you will never again be able to enjoy and also .. vampires cannot laugh o.0 (yes, therefore they can only brood and meet the criteria of the "brooding" vampire).
a world were humans and vampires more or less peacefully cohabit a planet, but still prejudiced against another, might as well be a placeholder for lgbt or non-caucasian people. poking fun at familiar ya tropes, team human is a delightful combination with food for thought and a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, keeping the reader entertained from the first to the last page.
p.s. also, am i the only to draw character similarities between pride & prejudice and team human? p.p.s. my first book ever to read on a (sadly only borrowed) kindle touch!
------------------------------------------ team human | pride & prejudice ------------------------------------------ cathy <----> jane francis <----> darcy
****** ******** ********* *********** ******** "look, mel. can you admit that you might be a tiny bit biased against vampires? don't you feel that you might have judged them a little quickly? what if i asked you to learn more about them?" "we could read a book about them together if you wanted," i said, with visions of highlighting all the bits that said POTENTIALLY FATAL. cathy smiled. "you know how i love books. but i was thinking about a more hands-on experience." "you want me to put my hands on francis?" i made a face. "isn't that kind of a best friend no-no, cath?"
****** ******** ********* *********** ********
"no problem," i said, patting him below the knee. he shot me a strange look. "um, no," i told him. "my touching your knee does not mean i want to have sex with you." kit blushed. "i didn't--" "you know, when you're a vampire, you won't be able to blush anymore." he went even redder.
****** ******** ********* *********** ********
"your family's not that into soccer?" "well, no," kit said. "not that we don't do activities together. francis taught me how to waltz." i burst out laughing. "i'm sorry -- what?" his voice warmed. i could imagine him being delighted he'd made someone laugh, even over the phone. maybe not just someone. maybe delighted he'd made me laugh. "yes, well. at first he tried to instruct me and mom together, but mom said she'd never liked waltzing much herself [..] and in the end francis said that we were all impossible and nobody was properly dedicated to the child's education or ever thought about how i would conduct myself in society and how it would reflect on them all. so francis ended up waltzing with me himself." "are you a credit to francis?" i asked, solemnly. "oh, i'm an excellent waltzer. sadly, i don't actually know how to lead ..." i thought of several excellent jokes about kit's first ball gown and also his dance card, but i pulled myself back.
bees. bees, which had been extinct since before the wars. i felt my knees waver and buckle, and kept myself upri2.75/5
book pairing: under the never sky
bees. bees, which had been extinct since before the wars. i felt my knees waver and buckle, and kept myself upright only through sheer force of will. they bobbed and danced, sometimes chasing each other, sometimes skittering away in search of nectar. they didn’t fly like nix or the pixies in the city; there was no purpose or direction to their movements, just a lazy delight in the art of flight that i had never seen....more