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
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.
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
in comparison to eagar's other novels saltwater vampires lies smack in the middle. the author's undisputed #1 being her debut raw blue, saltwater va
in comparison to eagar's other novels saltwater vampires lies smack in the middle. the author's undisputed #1 being her debut raw blue, saltwater vampires is slightly better than eagar's newest work night beach.
what eagar always gets right are the character studies. saltwater vampires' protagonist, jamie mackie struggles with guilt, shame and self-hate over how he left one of his friends alone when he was needed the most. nice also, was the way the author played with various vampire clichès.
the end scene where jamie and his group of friends (view spoiler)[ finish off the vampires and thus enable both jamie and dale to regain their mortality (hide spoiler)] will either lead readers snorting in disbelief or make them succumb to nostalgia with its buffy/charmed-esque scene:
he heard screams that weren't human, noises that sounded like they'd been wrung from hell. then there was a loud whoosing noise and he was pulled forwards (...) high above, the four vampires were trapped in the still centre of a vortex, a tornado of air spinning around them, lifting them up and up, sucking at their hair and clothes, blurring their movements. the pull of the whirlwind was so great it crinkled the air around it, creasing the fabric of the night. (...) the vortex seemed to swell and buckle. then there was a phssst noise (...) the centrifugal force of the vortex was destroying the vampires. (...) the vortex exploded with a deafening cracking noise that had jamie covering his ears. it sounded like the sky had been split apart. then shining specks of gold showered down out of the darkness, extinguishing before they reached the ground.
jamie's eyes snapped open. there was no pain. he felt good, but he felt different too. something had changed in him and he knew what it was even before he placed his hand on his chest. he had no heartbeat. he knew then what a heart really is: the clock that counts away the moments of a life. without a heartbeart, you are dead. or you will never die.
news | jan 17, 2013 ponsoldt who helmed smashed and the spectacular now has been tapped by fox 2000 to write and direct an adaptation of the ya novel pnews | jan 17, 2013 ponsoldt who helmed smashed and the spectacular now has been tapped by fox 2000 to write and direct an adaptation of the ya novel pure. [ full article ]...more
actually it reads as if the author wanted to pay homage to smith and wrote this book, to do so. a mysterious thriller, complete with eerie happenings in this school for 'special' children.
plot: the protagonist, faye is sent to a reform school run by dr. mordoch, because she's different. each morning faye and her group (called "family") wake up with red-stained hands from the night before. wth happened?
the painter w/ visions, the loner dude, the jokers and rebels. we have the hidden pasts and the secrets lurking behind every nook and cranny. dictatorial authorities punishing them for every deed done the wrong way etc etc.
etienne's attempt to convey the message of protecting our earth and the nature was slathered on rather thickly and destroyed the so far created suspense and enjoyment of harbinger.
on a positive note: to celebrate the book's release, 24 artists were commissioned to illustrate some of the scenes from the book. look at these lovelies:
cover the cover sums the story of the book in just one picture up: dark, creepy, terrifying, but also with flashes of beauty. i get goosebumps jus2.5/5
cover the cover sums the story of the book in just one picture up: dark, creepy, terrifying, but also with flashes of beauty. i get goosebumps just by looking at this cover.
story daphne (daughter of lilith and lucifer) and a mortal boy, truman meet in hell, because he tried to kill himself. but circumstances allow truman to return to earth. daphne stays in hell. when her brother goes missing, she leaves her home behind to find truman, the last person to see her brother. one thing leads to another and they find out some surprising things..
the good, the bad & the ugly the story read nicely, although sometimes a little stiff.
angels aren't all downright good or evil, more like somewhere in between, just like the demons who are in hell. that added a nice touch. i like my characters with shades of gray. there are even some horror elements (that's a plus point, btw!) (view spoiler)[a baby who can talk and doesn't need food for a month with pointy metal teeth (flashbacks to angelfall) (hide spoiler)]
there's no love triangle (hooray), there were some nice and touching moments and dialogues between the lead characters, but overall it still wasn't enough. maybe i'll feel differently at some point, but right now? nope. also the secondary characters like lilith or beelzebub (view spoiler)[In later Christian and Biblical sources he appears as a demon and the name of one of the seven princes of Hell. [ article] (hide spoiler)] or obie (her brother) were underdeveloped. i wish the author had polished the characters a little bit more, to give them a little shine.
the showdown wasn't much of a showdown. it was pretty ... anticlimactic to tell the truth.
quotes daphne & truman: "I have a toothbrush,” I tell him, trying to make him feel at home. “You can borrow it, if you like.” He just looks at me. Then he smiles a little, shaking his head. “Toothbrushes aren’t the kind of thing people usually share.” “I know. I haven’t used mine yet though, so it’s new. It could be yours instead.”
beelzebub: “What you have to understand is that this is his life, and he’s the one who has to live it. People make decisions, and maybe you don’t always agree, but those choices are still their own.”
flashbacks to daughter of smoke & bone: All I know is that demons are born from chaos. They’re born from rage or blood or fire, or ruined holy water. They’re born from eggs. They come into the world as wisps of smoke or in grotesque forms that splinter off and multiply. There are all kinds of origins, all different ways to be born [..]
love is a bitch: (view spoiler)[I remember kissing Truman on the balcony, and maybe he never said he loved me, but he meant it anyway. And there’s my mother, shrieking in pain when she thought something had happened to her son, and Myra with her sly smile and her dead eyes, grieving for Deirdre in the only way she knew how. My father, holding the razor to Beelzebub’s throat, telling him that it would all be over in an instant. (hide spoiler)]
moloch & truman: “I’m not a holy man,” Moloch said from behind his hand. “I’m not pious, and I’m not good. But if I were, your penance would be to start reaching for the things you want and giving up the things that will destroy you.”
likeable female protagonist on a quest to save her sister. loved the parts about the family. as an individual pal (you know, drinking beer on th3.75/5
likeable female protagonist on a quest to save her sister. loved the parts about the family. as an individual pal (you know, drinking beer on the porch with), i'd have liked him, but as a serious love interest, he was .. bleh so far.
random notes it's got bits and pieces of different books thrown in like ...
* a soul/totem which manifests itself in an animal form(the golden com2.25/5
random notes it's got bits and pieces of different books thrown in like ...
* a soul/totem which manifests itself in an animal form(the golden compass), * on a mission to find the lost (twin) brother (blood red road) and * a dark tinge not unlike that of the dark angel trilogy(view spoiler)[come to think of it .. the red garden too (hide spoiler)] * various myths, * aborigines culture and * the magical feel (including the relationship between humans between animals and nature) of miyazaki films woven into it (particularly princess mononoke, imo) * and all of that in a post-apocalyptic setting, talk about random. it definitely sets itself apart from other ya-books, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. still, the gorgeous cover begs you to pick up the book and take a peek["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more