Well - it's ok, thus the 2-star goodreads rating. It didn't have any of the depth of his other books - and some of that can be written off as it being more geared for kids, I guess, but some of it is just the writing and story were just sort of flat. I can deal with lack of depth as long as there's something of interest about the story... but it just was kinda meh, which is why it took me 3 days to get through a story barely over 100 pages.
Honestly, I'm not even sure I'd recommend it to kids, because it's kind of boring, really. It did get ok at the end, but it was a slog to get there.
One of the things I like the best about the RA series is the relationship and interactions between Halt and Will, and I'm missing that in this series.One of the things I like the best about the RA series is the relationship and interactions between Halt and Will, and I'm missing that in this series.
That said, Halt is, clearly, the best character, and it's nice to see more of him before Will came into the picture. Him and Crowley have a good, bantering relationship which makes up for some of the lack - but it was interesting to see a young Gilan being introduced in this book. (I'm sort of hoping that we get to see some of Gilan's training, and further hoping that Flanagan can make it different enough from Will's to really show the different boys' strengths and weaknesses.)
That said - I just didn't get into this book as much as I have prior installments. Maybe it's just prequel-itis - I know what's going to happen, so it doesn't hold as much tension. (Which is silly, in some ways, because, ultimately, we generally know the good guys are going to win anyway... and I can reread things while still enjoying them... but, for some reason, I have this weird thing about prequels.)
A decent read and it's always nice to spend time in this world, but this series hasn't drawn me in quite as much as the original RA has. I definitely plan to keep reading them, though....more
So, this was cute, but I didn't feel that it was quite as... charming... as I'd hoped it to be. *womp womp*
I did like that the different princes did sSo, this was cute, but I didn't feel that it was quite as... charming... as I'd hoped it to be. *womp womp*
I did like that the different princes did seem to have their own personalities, even if these personalities were somewhat one-note, and I liked some of the girl-power aspects. Ella and Lila were personal faves.
I also liked that it gave Zaubera (sp?) some depth and backstory, but I found Deeb annoying.
Overall, a cute story that I liked well enough that I'd consider continuing the series, but nothing which overly wowed me in any way....more
Ok, so first things first. The blurb of this book made me a bit leery because it just screamed "white savior" to me. When I discussing my qualms wi2.5
Ok, so first things first. The blurb of this book made me a bit leery because it just screamed "white savior" to me. When I discussing my qualms with hubs, he told me that it seems like it's based on an actual Norse myth/story - which mollified me enough to read it. I did think that Flanagan did a decent job of making the peoples seem like real people, and not just raging stereotypes - at least inasmuch as Flanagan ever does because, honestly, even the Skandians are based on silly stereotypes, too.
That said -
The story was decent enough. Sort of a middle adventure of the Brotherband group, and I appreciated that it was a standalone, since many of the books in the series are told in arcs. I can't say that I felt this story was really necessary, but it was just spending some time with the Brotherband.
That said - this series still suffers from comparison, for me. It's just not Ranger's Apprentice, and maybe someday I'll be able to stop comparing them but, for now, that's not the case.
One of the things that I really liked about RA is the relationship between Will and Halt. It was really well developed and felt real and genuine.
The relationships in this just don't feel quite as "there". Flanagan tries, with Hal and Thorn, and Hal and Stig are like Will and Horace - but it just feels more forced somehow. I still think part of the problem is that the Brotherband cast is just too large, and a lot of the rest of the crew feel almost tacked on - mentioned when they're important to the plot or useful for a gag, but kind of forgotten otherwise.
Another reviewer mentioned this was so true for Kloof, the dog, who disappears for chapters at a time - but I kind of feel like it's true for most of the crew, to be honest.
Also, there didn't feel like there was a lot of tension to this book. You know they're going to survive the storm, because that much is in the blurb - but it takes up almost half the book. And you know that the Ghostfaces aren't going to be all that much of a challenge, so it's all kind of ho-hum.
That said, I was going to go solid 3-stars for this book for most of it - but then the ending kind of annoyed me. It just felt kind of cheap and manipulative - like he was going for some kind of tear-jerking thing, but it just wasn't earned.
I think, overall, I just need to lower my expectations for this series, and accept that it's never going to be RA, and try and judge it on its own merits. Not sure I'll be able to do that, though, honestly... because I'm not 100% sure I'd even be continuing this series if Flanagan hadn't already earned my love via RA. So... yeah... ...more
This book does not have an ending. Not really. I mean, it's not a cliffhanger, per se, but it's not a self contained stoFirst and foremost, a warning.
This book does not have an ending. Not really. I mean, it's not a cliffhanger, per se, but it's not a self contained story, either. This is one of those trilogies which is really just one story broken into three parts. If you read this book, and you want actual closure/cconclusion, you will have to read the entire trilogy.
This pisses me off.
I was, at one point in the book, considering bumping this up to 3 stars, but that was entirely contingent on the ending. It looked like it was going to be a whopper of a conclusion - that all the disparate parts and points of view would come together, after the slow, slow set-up, into one hell of a final battle.
But, as I said, there is no final battle... so the ending felt like it sort of limped to the finish, to set up the next book. And I've read reviews of the next book and it sounds like there isn't much forward momentum to that book, either... so it seems to me - albeit judged solely on reading this book and reviews - that it could've been one long book with a lot cut out, or, maybe, a duology at most, and that a lot of it sort of feels like filler.
I honestly don't know that I'll continue. It was a decent enough read, and interesting in its own way - but I never latched on to any of the characters, or felt enough menace from the story, to really feel invested in continuing what seems might be a slow slog to the actual ending of the story, at the tail end of the last book.
Maberry clearly channels King in some ways - in the shifting points of view, and even the way chapters are broken into sub-parts - but he lacks King's turn of phrase and also King's ability to make the character seem real and relatable. I mean, you can see glimmerings of it, but it's not quite there.
Also, I felt jarred by certain parts which were just told badly. Inconsistently plotted, I guess. Things I felt should've been caught in editing, at least.
Such as at the end of one chapter, we're told a character is running towards a house, and then it cuts to different PoVs. When we get back to this character, she is not running towards the house, but instead leaning over a character in the field, and she goes through a bunch of stuff before she then ends up going back to the house. Again.
This sort of thing happens several times, but this was the most egregious example that I can recall. It was just really jarring.
It's not a terrible story, but I feel like it could be a lot tighter, and I'm still pissed off that it's not a stand alone story. I hate starting a trilogy/series only to sort of feel "suckered" into continuing with the whole thing to get any kind of actual ending. I like to read the first book and have it stand on its own merits and then decide, from there, whether to continue or not.
I think this might have been one of my favorite of the rereads so far. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I didn't remember much about it. Maybe becauseI think this might have been one of my favorite of the rereads so far. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I didn't remember much about it. Maybe because it deals with the fae, which is a particular interest of mine. Or maybe because Granny Weatherwax is totes on form, and doesn't have any of the lingering weirdness from some of the other installments.
(Yeah, I said totes. Deal with it.)
I never think of this as being one of my favorites of the series, but the reread was thoroughly enjoyed....more
Jumping back to the future, as it were, we find Sebastian returning to New Amsterdam for the first time since the events of the first book - and afterJumping back to the future, as it were, we find Sebastian returning to New Amsterdam for the first time since the events of the first book - and after the passing of Lady Irene.
He returns to a place where it is no longer just to exist as a wampyr, but which is not entirely accepting of them, either, and a lot of the tension in the story hinges on that.
He also meets a new group of potential friends - all sorcerers and one perhaps immortal - but an encounter with an old friend (from 'Seven for a Secret'), and his recent past, leaves Sebastian uncertain of his future - or if he even wants one...
My biggest issue with this story is that it's another one that ends too quickly, leaving you with a sense of incompleteness... I do hope that there's more eventually. (According to a timeline at the beginning of Garrett Investigates, this is the latest, chronologically, of the stories.)
But I would like to see more of Sebastian and Ruth together, and also more of Damian. And I wonder what it would be like for Sebastian to actually become (view spoiler)[a teacher (hide spoiler)]...
We flit between two time periods in this story, 1897 and 1903, both in Moscow, and both about mur3.5
I think this is my favorite in the series so far.
We flit between two time periods in this story, 1897 and 1903, both in Moscow, and both about murders surrounding a woman named Irina.
My favorite part of this story is that we see more of Jack and his and Sebastian's relationship, which also gives more depth to Sebastian than some of what we've seen before. They definitely have an interesting and complicated relationship.
It was also nice to see more of Abbey Irene still active as a detective, though Phoebe seemed pretty ancillary to the story.
This story has one of the largest senses of closure, as many of the other stories feel a bit too brief and end on notes of wondering what's coming next. While there is still some of that, I appreciated that it felt more contained than some of the other stories....more