First a few disclaimers are in order...it's been awhile since I've read anything and even longer since I've written a review.
That being said, as I beFirst a few disclaimers are in order...it's been awhile since I've read anything and even longer since I've written a review.
That being said, as I began Dead Ever After it occurred to me just how much I loved this series in the beginning. Yes, the plot has gotten stupid and Sookie has gotten judgmental and perhaps Harris should have wrapped this whole thing up years ago. So many of the little details and characters are lost on me, and I considered doing a reread of the entire series before starting this one, but that was sure to leave lots of bad feelings. It seemed best to take this book for whatever she wrote it to be, leave the past in the past and make a clean break from Sookie, Bon Temps and the sup world.
Surprisingly, Dead Ever After isn't that bad. Maybe because my expectations were so low. Or because my memory of the past books is so foggy. Perhaps it really is a step up from the more recent books in this series. Regardless, Harris actually did a decent job of integrating Sookie into a life and a routine without drama. It was a good way to wrap up the series and it is easy to imagine how life will go on for Sookie and the rest. Whether we readers agree with the outcome, isn't solid closure the best thing we can ask for at the end of so many books? Even if it isn't closure I necessarily agree with...it's closure.
Remember way back in Dead Until Dark we met Sookie Stackhouse... and awkward girl with a bizarre gift, few friends and never had a boyfriend? Now, years and books later Sookie has come out of her isolation, made some great friends and has had some sexay adventures. Even if she has grown intolerant, judgmental and is sometimes more than a little stupid...it's fair to say that she has a much more well rounded life than the one she started out with. So, hey... character development and what not. Despite what each of us wanted from these books, Sookie has gotten some life (and lurve) experience, she has gained some friends and has made a place for herself in the world.
I think it's fair to say we all fell a little (lot) in lurve with Eric after Dead to the World. In recent novels a lot of us (myself included) were pretty angry with the turn of events. But...what does Harris owe us fans in regards to her works? While reading this last installment it occurred to me that she may have had other ideas in mind all along. A series this long, sure there is a lot of filler and bs thrown in. But I can't believe that she didn't have a general idea of where the series was headed and what kind of life, and man, she wanted Sookie to end up with in the end. Again, my memory is foggy...so perhaps it's just been so long since I've read about the good Eric or perhaps I've forgotten just how angry I was after the last books.
Am I happy with Sookie's choice?
Let me say that I am unhappy with the way it was presented. The inside cover has a picture of Sookie surrounded by Eric, Sam, Alcide, and Quinn (remember him?) As if all of these guys are vying for Sookie's affections. But they aren't. And they haven't been, not really. Furthermore, after a book filled with so many passionate love interests, we are treated to a pretty boring conversation about relationships and what Sookie and her mystery(?) guy are looking for. Stuff like I was wild in my past and am now ready to settle down. Awesome, settling. That's like, so romantic. There were no speeches about the lurve and the passion. Just statements about wanting a solid and practical relationship. *Yawn* (So not the reason I read these books!) Said relationship talk is followed up a few pages later with a lurve scene in which the guy, "...plunged in." Soon after the plunging (clogged toilet anyone?) "...we slid against each other like seals" When it was over, Sookie remarked, "I feel like I just plowed the back forty with a team of mules" So if your idea of sexay reading involves plunging, fat water animals and hard physical labor then you will be thrilled with the future of Sookie's love life. Hrmm....
But closure. Harris did give up closure, whether we like it or not. Actually the thing which upset me most was Bubba's absence. Despite his affinity for cats, I love me some Bubba and look forward to him in every novel. Sadly, he wasn't here. I guess Elvis has....wait for it....left the building!
Blood Warrior started out promising. Unfortunately, it went the way of most urban fantasy. Alexa is a super special gal who is surrounded by hotties wBlood Warrior started out promising. Unfortunately, it went the way of most urban fantasy. Alexa is a super special gal who is surrounded by hotties who want more than friendship and women who are bitches. *sigh*
What I enjoyed about this self-pub is that H.D.Gordon has created a unique world. In addition to the standard vamps and weres this book includes Warriors, Libras (who provide balance for hot-headed warriors) and half vamp/half demon Lamia's. There is an interesting political and social system in place, in this book we get a glimpse at a city where everything may not be quite as nice as it at first seems, as well as a village of outcasts who apparently serve as blood donors for the vamps.
This being a self-pub, I was able to look past spelling and grammatical errors. What I couldn't look past was the bad writing.
His grin widened. "Because there is a party tonight over on the south side of the city." Tommy took my hand and kissed it. "Would you like to go?" Jackson tossed his arm over my shoulder, earning a smirk from Tommy. "What kind of party?" he asked. "One for cool people, so obviously you're not invited," replied Tommy. We all laughed, because this was the kind of exchange we had grown used to between these two. I think they had begun to consider each other friends, and even though they would never admit it, they were kind of similar in personality
So, you see rather than show the reader that Tommy and Jackson frequently engage in not so witty banter, we are simply told that this is what they do. Others may be more forgiving, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves. We are also presented with absent adults, teenagers given freedom to do as they desire, a blonde who is a bitch for seemingly no reason (to complete her slut shaming she wears tight, revealing clothes and is fairly unattractive underneath her gobs of makeup) and of course Alexa is super special and gifted. (Even though she doesn’t know it)
What is worse, so much worse than all of the above is Alexa's emotional depth, or rather, lack thereof. Blood Warrior begins with Alexa being a normal loner teenage girl living with her eccentric mother and can-do-no-wrong little sister. Fairly quickly into this story Alexa learns that she is not human, nor is her sister, mother or best friend. People die, Alexa must leave the life she has always known and discovers an entirely new society. She has no thoughts, no emotional reaction or inner monologue to any of this other than to at one point muse to herself, "What have I gotten myself into." The first real angsty, emotional statement we get from Alexa is when she is mulling over her feelings for one of the multiple sexy dudes vying for her attention. Well, let me back up... Alexa instinctively saved the Queen of magical people from a bomb, sexy dude insists that Alexa is actually the one in danger and (despite her protests that she needs to find her little sister) whisks her away to his cabin in the woods. Reading this, my thoughts were: Why the bomb? Was the Queen the target or Alexa? Is this city and society normally so violent? Is Alexa's little sis okay? What happens next? But Alexa is not nearly so inquisitive. She merely swoons over the sexiness of sexy dude and wonders why she has such strong feelings (um, she just met him mere days ago) and whether he will kiss her.
In the end, Alexa's bizarre emotional reactions are what killed this story for me. Cool world ~ plus. Bad writing, standard UF elements ~ negative. But a main character who experiences life changing events and is seemingly unaffected by them? No way. People who enjoy action and adventure may like this story. But anyone looking for character development, growth or a thought-provoking novel should skip this one. ...more
Kelley Armstrong's books are becoming more and more difficult for me to rate and review. On one hand, her characterization and world building are someKelley Armstrong's books are becoming more and more difficult for me to rate and review. On one hand, her characterization and world building are some of the best I've read. But on the other hand, she apparently wants to be a mystery writer, and her plots have become formulaic. Le sigh.
Here is what kicks ass about this book: The Otherworld is amazing. Armstrong's strength as an urban fantasy writer definitely lies her her ability to create a believable, well defined, and engrossing world without ever overwhelming the reader with info dump. In Broken the story revolves around Elena, Clay, Jeremy and the other werewolves. We also are confronted with sorcerers, ghosts, zombies, necromancers and vampires (oh my!) There may be a few others I am missing. But my point is that Armstrong is able to weave so very many beasties and mythologies into an amazingly complex and enjoyable story.
Another strength is Armstrong's characters. Whether I love them or hate them, they are all incredibly well rounded, authentic and have distinct voices. So many urban fantasies rely on secondary characters who are defined by their paranormal type. The people we meet in this series are fairly unique in addition to their Otherworldly persona.
Here is what is not-so-awesome about this book: Speaking of characters, I would love to see them grow and change a little bit. One of the things I loved so much about Bitten is seeing Elena struggle to accept her wolfiness and the pack lifestyle. Since then, Armstrong has written stories with protagonists who face external struggles rather than internal ones. Not really a big deal, but when we are seeing the same characters over and over again (granted, not all books feature the same protagonist) I would love to see… I want to say character development. But that really isn’t the right word because they are already so developed. I just want to see characters change some as a result of their experiences.
Regarding those character experiences… at the beginning of each novel the protagonists and her partner are faced with a mystery. One that seems quite simple and straightforward but becomes more convoluted as the quest to solve it continues. At this point in the series, I know to expect lots of Scooby Doo type chases down different pathways, old fashioned detective work (you know, based on finding the right clue or talking to the right person rather than scientific evidence) and introductions to lots of new and old people, and lots of new and old mythologies.
Here is where Armstrong’s books leave me so conflicted. I’ve read through bad urban fantasy plots when I am in love with the characters and want to see where they are headed. *cough* Charlaine Harris *cough* And of course so many urban fantasy books are dependent on awesome plots without a lot of character growth. Unfortunately at this point in the Women of the Otherworld series I know what to expect from the plot. And the characters. The result is a reading experience that doesn’t make me feel nearly as much as I would like to. The twists and turns while mystery solving become annoying and the life-threatening situations are lacking intensity. All in all, I am faced with a skim-worthy, blah book.
If any of my local libraries happens to get the rest of this series on audio, I will continue with it. After all, I love Armstrong’s writing style (mystery stuff and weak plot aside) as well as her Otherworld. This series is great to listen to as I am driving to work or completing errands. But as far as sitting down to read a novel? I’m moving on to books with a little more surprises in store for the reader. ...more
After reading the first in this series, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, I enthusiastically rated it four stars and wished there was a sequAfter reading the first in this series, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, I enthusiastically rated it four stars and wished there was a sequel. While I still stand by the four star rating, the sequel... didn't pan out. I think the problem is that Fantaskey is not a serious issue writer. What made Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side work is that it didn't take itself to seriously. It was light, snarky and fun. Jessica Rules the Dark Side is another matter though.
Here we deal with some heavy situations. Royalty, political intrigue, backstabbing, jealously and murder are only a few of the more serious issues in this book. Note, I didn't say "addressed" because they weren't addressed. They were simply there, as a part of the story. Normally, I read books and lament that a heroine is far to heroic. "No teenage girl would really act that way!" I may have to take back all of my complaints, because in this book Jessica (otherwise known as Princess Anastasia) acts just like an insecure, teenage girl who is in over her head. When the going gets rough, she hides out in her room, sleeps, and lets others take charge. Way to go, Jessica Anastasia!
I remember not caring too much for Jessica in the beginning of the first book, but warming up to her as the book continued. Here, I simply didn't like her at all. As I said, Jessica didn't "rule" the darkside. She imitated a turtle (view spoiler)[ Until a series of events made her realize she needs to get over herself, suck it up and act like a queen. Then we see a rather dramatic character change. Well, we don't see it. But we are told it has happened :P (hide spoiler)] Jessica's bff Mindy Sue is an even worse character. Willfully ignorant, written to have bad diction and grammar... why is the bff always a perky, fashionista who is slightly dumb? Female protagonists never have a bff who is strong, interesting or worth looking up to. Fortunately Lucius saved the day with his awesomely hilarious combination of stoicism and dramaqueen. Raniero, although an implausible combination of vampire badass and hippy surfer, was another welcome character. Without the guys, this novel would have been unbearable.
So why was this novel so bad? It is a 300-plus page who-done-it. I figured out the "who" around page 100, and the "why" somewhere around page "200". A lot of this novel involved me not being intrigued by the plot or the mystery, but by the poorly explained details of royal vampire life in Romania. For example, how does Jessica get cell reception in an isolated castle in the hills of Romania? (I can't even get decent cell reception in rural Ohio!) It is plausible that the Romanian castle kitchen really stocks Häagen-Dazs? Do so many centuries old, out of touch with the modern world Romanian vampires really speak English? If Jessica is royalty shouldn't she have a tutor? Or a maid to help her learn Romanian custom? Granted Lucius is royalty but he is really able to rule over vampires hundreds of years older and wiser?
You see... rather than over think the novel, I was busy over thinking all of the insignificant details. Despite it all, I have to say I am still a fan of Beth Fantaskey. But I will avoid her future work unless it stays firmly in the realm of light and fluffy. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
How is it that by my fifth book in Kelly Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series I am in love with her world building, but still not totally connecHow is it that by my fifth book in Kelly Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series I am in love with her world building, but still not totally connected to her characters? The amazing thing about Armstrong is that she creates such in depth and believable paranormal worlds (in this case an afterlife.)
Haunted follows the story of Eve Levine, by now everyone reading this series knows she is a half-demon black witch, who also happens to have been dead for the past three years. But while reading this novel, I never did get a great feel for her. Yes, she is impulsive, kicks ass and doesn't let fear hold her back. But neither does Paige, Savannah, Elena...After spending two long books with goody-two-shoes Paige, I thought Eve would be a breath of fresh air. In a way she was. However, she really didn't come across as someone even close to deserving the bad rep she had when alive. Kristof Nast (remember him? Savannah's father) also makes quite a few ghostly appearances in this novel. And while I liked him quite a bit, like Eve he isn't really a bad guy. Just a good guy at heart who was caught up in the bad Cabals? Hmmm....
Bad characters who aren't really bad aside, the thing that kept me from enjoying this book was that it was just too many stories tied up into one. Eve is on an afterlife bounty hunter quest to find a murderous Nix. Her task takes her so many places and settings. To name only a few she visits Colonial America (to meet Lizze Borden, no less!) an afterlife pirate island, an afterlife island swarming with a poltergeist and his nymphs, a hell dimension, a mental institution, a prison, a haunted (or not?) castle in Scottland, a couple of visits to Paige and Lucas (oh joy...) and so on and so on. In addition, the reader is privy to multiple flashbacks to some of the Nix's most famous murders. Don't get me wrong, I love Armstrong's writing style. However the constant changing of scenery and story and players left me feeling overwhelmed. In addition it was hard to feel a sense of dread or urgency because I was pretty sure everything was going to be okay in the end. (view spoiler)[ Or was it??? (view spoiler)[ Of course it was! (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]
Bottom line... it was okay. Eve is a million times more likable than Paige and as always the world building was fantastic. I just wish this book was edited down a little. At nearly 500 pages there was too much jumping around without ever evoking a real emotional response from me. But who am I to complain? I already have the next in this series checked out from the library ;)
Secrets indeed! Blergh. Olivia is a (conveniently) self-employed photographer who is a bit of an introvert and a loner until two mysterious guys showSecrets indeed! Blergh. Olivia is a (conveniently) self-employed photographer who is a bit of an introvert and a loner until two mysterious guys show up in her life and make mysterious statements, all the while mysterious things start to happen to and around Oliva. Around page 134 of this 207 page book, we readers are finally clued into the nature of the paranormal activity, but at this point I was pretty much beyond caring.
This book consists of one chapter of events from Olivia's point of view, followed by a chapter of the exact same events from Holden's (aka Mysterious Guy #1) point of view. The exact same events. As in, the same dialogue and action you had previously read. Only from another point of view. Is that irritating here? It is super irritating and beyond boring once you realize that Olivia and Holden have incredibly similar voices. There are a few other characters, Juliet (Olivia's bff), Quintus (Mysterious #2), Olivia's mom, and an ex-boyfriend. We are told about these people's personalities, but never really see them through the dialogue. And there is a ton of dialogue. People in this novel have conversations spanning two or three pages at a time, and while I felt the language to be realistic, it made me realize the beauty of brevity. That is, unless there is flirting, action, danger, intellectual discussion, or something exciting I really don't need nor care to be privy to every word a character utters.
Liz Schulte, like many UF authors, has some interesting ideas. Unfortunately the execution was not captivating enough to inspire me to read this series further. ...more
Industrial Magic is without a doubt the weakest in the series so far. The writing, story telling and world building are excellent. What is not excelleIndustrial Magic is without a doubt the weakest in the series so far. The writing, story telling and world building are excellent. What is not excellent however is Paige Winterbourne. While she wasn't the smartest (despite what she thought) or the most likeable in Dime Store Magic, there was a lot going on to distract the reader from her. Plus Savannah was a welcome break, as was getting to know Lucas Cortez. Unfortunately Savannah is largely absent from this novel. And as for Lucas... I've learned all I need to know about him.
Paige, despite complaining about the Coven witches, is more like them than she knows. Old fashioned, judgmental, and convinced of her own superiority Paige spent much of this novel on her soapbox. Her character would be slightly more likeable if she ever failed, or was seen as an unlikable person through the eyes of another character. But unfortunately, Paige met and succeeded at every challenge. Despite being a mere twenty three years old, she had the knowledge and the wisdom to hunt down a serial killer. Ugh. If this entire series featured Paige or Lucas I would drop it in a hot minute. Since it does not, I am happily going on to the next book and will simply have to bear it when they appear in the future. But any more books with either of them as a main character and I will likely skip them altogether. ...more
Ascension started off promising, but very quickly delved into the land of badly plotted, poorly written and cliched urban fantasy. If you care to hearAscension started off promising, but very quickly delved into the land of badly plotted, poorly written and cliched urban fantasy. If you care to hear all the dirty details, here they are:
World building was scant. There is some Greek mythology and lots of interesting ideas, but the novel presents it to us in the form of info dump. Throughout, I either felt I was in information overload, or I was struggling to keep up because while some aspects of this world were over explained, other aspects weren't explained at all. At no point was the world building simply a natural part of the story telling.
Character development was nil. The story focuses on our protag, half Lychen, half Vampyre Kyana and a handful of her friends. Lychen?? Vampyre??? Those spellings are a bit much, IMO. Kyana is a character we have met so many times before; special, one of a kind, super duper powers, frequently follows her heart and bends the rules, impulsive. *yawn* Her friends are fairly bland and have no discernible personality traits. Even then gods and demigods who should have really big personalities don't.
Love interest is a guy who looks like a laid back surfer with messy blonde hair, worn jeans and sandals but is really a bad ass muscular military guy. Sounds great until you realize that he has spent the past ten years not getting with Kyana (like he wants to) because he wants more than just a fuck. He wants to be in her heart, and he wants her to tear down her walls and confide in him. He is disappointed when she doesn't confide her childhood aches, angst and hurts to him. Can you say wish fulfillment to the extreme!
This might, might have been a good book years ago. But the bar for this genre has been raised much higher than this and sadly Ascension is one of a long line of novels which give urban fantasy a bad name. It adds nothing to the genre. My first thoughts were that the book had promise and despite it's flaws I would likely continue on to the second. However, as the book continued it focused more and more on poorly written action scenes that might have me on the edge of my seat if I gave a crap about the characters... but I didn't. ...more
The thing about Kelley Armstrong is that while I didn't love the main characters or even the story line here, her writing is completely addictive andThe thing about Kelley Armstrong is that while I didn't love the main characters or even the story line here, her writing is completely addictive and her world building amazing. I'm enthralled by her Otherwold and in awe of her ability to tell the reader so much about it without ever presenting it in an info dump or mind-numbingly confusing way.
That said, Paige is naive, boring and slightly TSTL. Savannah is interesting. And as for Lucas Cortez... see the description for Paige. The issue I have with Paige is that while she seems like a fantastic person to know in real life, for an urban fantasy heroine… she just doesn’t cut it. And the entire way the villains and mystery played out seemed like an episode of Scooby Doo gone awry. Even with unlikable uninteresting characters, Armstrong had me hooked the entire novel. Perhaps it's the ex-Catholic schoolgirl in me, but I loved all the witchy rituals and candle burning and whatnot.
I am in love with Armstrong’s story telling ability. In fact, Dime Store Magic would have gotten four stars from me if it weren’t for (view spoiler)[ the beyond awkward sex scene between Paige and Lucas. When I heard it, it made me LOL for real ~ although I’m sure that wasn’t Armstrong’s intended reaction to the scene! :) (hide spoiler)]
After a brutally slow beginning, A Perfect Blood may end up to be one of my favorites in this series. One of these days I may even write a proper reviAfter a brutally slow beginning, A Perfect Blood may end up to be one of my favorites in this series. One of these days I may even write a proper review for it! ...more
Mysterious Sexy Boy: “So Gemma, isn’t it exciting to be attending your first Grateful Dead concert?”
Gemma Doyle: “Yes, but… Jerry Garcia has been actuMysterious Sexy Boy: “So Gemma, isn’t it exciting to be attending your first Grateful Dead concert?”
Gemma Doyle: “Yes, but… Jerry Garcia has been actually dead for years..”
MSB: “Not for the purpose of this review, he isn’t. Just go with it”
GD: *sniff* *sniff* “Hmmm… what’s that smell?” *giggle* “And why am I suddenly craving pizza with chocolate??” *giggle*
MSB: “Son of a bitch! Gemma, that is second hand marijuana smoke. If you inhale enough you will get super duper high and will enjoy this concert immensely. For the love of god, do not inhale it!!!”
GD: “How do you expect me to not inhale it when it is all around me? I can’t very well control the air I breathe, can I?” *sniiiifffff*
MSB: “That is your problem to figure out. Just don’t inhale.”
GD: *turns to hippie on her left* “What’s this? Oh, I put it in my mouth and breathe in? Like this?” *cough*
MSB: “Goddammit Gemma! I tell you not to inhale second hand smoke and now you are smoking a joint?!”
GD: “How can weed be so bad if it makes me feel so good, man?”
MSB: “I’m not telling you. Even though you are feeling awesome right now, you are not to smoke any more pot. Ever. I will compel you with my mysterious and sexy ways to do as I say.”
GD: “Suck it mysterious sexy boy. Getting high is fun. I’m gonna go hang with these hippies and you can’t stop me.”
Does trouble ensue? Of course it does. We have read this plot dozens of times in countless paranormal YA books. Oh, not getting high at a Dead concert. Excuse me =) A young girl with newly discovered and tempting powers who is not supposed to fully explore them for no reason other than she is told not to. Even so, A Great and Terrible Beauty was a pleasurable read.
Set in a Victorian era all girl finishing school, A Great and Terrible Beauty tells the story of Gemma Doyle. Gemma is a teenage girl who has lived her entire life in India and only recently traveled to her home country of England after the unexpected death of her mother. Despite the setting, this story is thankfully fairly modern in its dialogue, plot pacing and many of its ideas. (Victorian novels always sound appealing to me, but frequently bore me to tears when I actually attempt to read them.) This novel explores the constraints of Victorian society, the way teenage girls manage to be constant frenemies, and a pretty cool paranormal world.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a solid three stars. It is not the best this genre has to offer, but it is far from the worst. As the first of a trilogy it contains the inevitable set up and uncompleted threads. However, it does not end on a nasty cliffhanger, so those who just aren’t feeling this after reading it shouldn’t be left wondering too much at the end of the book. ...more
Every single one of my GR friends gave this book four or five stars, and even on the general review page it is hard to find less than a four star reviEvery single one of my GR friends gave this book four or five stars, and even on the general review page it is hard to find less than a four star review for this one. So why do I feel generous giving it three stars? Can't say. Really. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a clever and original YA book.... but somehow young necromancer Sam, his friends and the people he encounters didn't come across as very genuine. This book contains a lot of crazy situations, but throughout the good people are good while the bad people are bad. Lish McBride doesn't feature especially complex characters or much inner turmoil. This is a funny, slightly snarky, quick read. But a little too funny and slightly snarky for my taste.
At this point I feel compelled to plead, "It's not you, it's me!" ;) I'm glad to have finally read this, but it was just "meh" for me. ...more
Hallowed was one of my most anticipated reads this year. Somehow, it didn't live up to my expectations, and I've spend this past week mulling over myHallowed was one of my most anticipated reads this year. Somehow, it didn't live up to my expectations, and I've spend this past week mulling over my conflicted feelings for this novel. Have you ever wanted to break up with someone and not really known why? Just had a nagging feeling that it's not meant to be. When you finally do it, you find yourself using that tired old, "It's not you, it's me" line, meaning it wholeheartedly while hating yourself a little bit because you know how insincere it sounds. Le sigh. Not to imply I am breaking up with this series, because I adore the characters, the world, and Cynthia Hand's writing. But I didn't dig this book nearly as much as I wanted to and still can't decide if it is because of the book or poopy old me?
Let me go back a bit and briefly say what I loved about Unearthly. That book, despite being a fluffy YA paranormal romance posed fantastic questions about fate, free will, and (I believe) the nature of good and evil. There was a genuine romance based on friendship, positive female friends, Clara was a fairly average girl, her mother was present.
What I didn't love about Hallowed was that soo very much of this story was focused on the lurve and the angst and the love triangle. But it's not really a triangle. That is, Christian and Clara are exploring what exactly their purpose means, and what role they play in each others lives. But this causes Tucker to experience quite a bit of jealously, while Clara experiences quite a bit of guilt. Had this been written by a different author, I think I would be okay with it. But after writing such a refreshing first book, I am disappointed that Hand fell victim to the triangle trap. At one point Clara mused to herself,
"Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You now, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there's one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can't see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they must have her. And she's like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck. So unrealistic, I always thought. Joke's on me, I guess."
Yeah, joke is on us readers, too. Brilliant way for Hand to introduce the addictiveness of a lurve based plot while winking at us because she knows we understand how silly it is. Uh huh.
As an adult, who is married and has male friends, it is always painful to watch or read teen romances when both parts of a couple thinks that opposite sex friends are off limits. Although Tucker doesn't forbid Clara from having a friendship with Christian, it is clearly more than a little stressful for him. But Clara, the girl who was so smart and cool and levelheaded in Unearthly actually questions her own motives and friendship with Christian. She limits her time with him because she is conflicted about her feelings. Boo.
Despite the relationship angst, there is actually a lot going on in this novel. We learn more about angel lore and more about Clara's history. But for every bit of background information that is provided, more mysteries are created because we really don't spend much time with the supporting characters (other than Tucker and Christian.) This novel is all about Clara. It's one of those character driven novels which I believe will set the stage for the final installment of this series. My problem is that the sneaky little themes which were introduced in Hallowed aren't at all what I expected. Apparently free choice is crap because fate will catch up with you in the end. Good guys really are all good, while bad guys are pretty much all bad. (view spoiler)[ And Clara really is super-special after all. Not just because she is an angel, either. She is a rare and powerful sort of angel. One of the things I loved so very much about Unearthly is how average Clara is. I mean, we read about ordinary teens in realistic YA fiction. Why is it that teens in paranormal or urban fantasy fiction can't just be an ordinary vamp or werewolf or angel? Why must they be super speshal and like totally awesome on top of their otherworldly abilities??? (hide spoiler)]
Or maybe the issue is that I'm not always a fan of character driven novels? Especially when they occur in the middle of a plot driven series? It seems like nothing but filler material, because while Hand introduced a fuck ton of ideas, nothing really happened to move the plot forward.
So I liked it... but I was let down by it. This is one of those books (like so many middle books of a series) which will be either fantastic or crap depending on the book following it. For all of my wishy-washy conflicted feelings, I still believe that Cynthia Hand is one of the stronger paranormal YA writers right now. This series is still one of my favorites. And I will most certainly purchase book three the moment it becomes available.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
When I first read the synopsis of Unearthly, I had no interest in it whatsoever. A teenage girl with newly discovered special powers, a mysterious andWhen I first read the synopsis of Unearthly, I had no interest in it whatsoever. A teenage girl with newly discovered special powers, a mysterious and sexy boy, and angels? Ugh, no thanks. Furthermore, the cover has glowing recommendations from both Kimberly Derting (whose book The Body Finder I despised) and Richelle Mead (who I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with.) Speaking of the cover, it is beautiful! I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to YA, the more gorgeous the cover, the worse the story hiding behind it. Despite these numerous warning signs, I had faith in my GR friends amazingly positive reviews of Unearthly and read it anyway… and I am so glad that I did!
Cynthia Hand isn’t the world’s most talented writer, nor is Unearthly the most original tale ever told (especially considering the popularity of incredibly formulaic UF and PNR.) But she managed to get so many things right with her story telling that it is hard not to gush about this book.
Clara only recently found out she is an angel, and of course her powers are developing and enhancing daily. What is so refreshing about her is that she isn’t the best at everything she does, yet she doesn’t hate herself. It’s so hard for me to put into words, but Clara is such a normal, positive teenage girl. She has very good self esteem, but not to the point of blindness or cockiness. She is not overflowing with snark or slang. She has moments of self pity and insecurity, but she never truly whines or becomes overwhelmed with introspective “woe is me” angst. Clara has a good relationship with her mother, and when her mom is absent from the story it is not depicted as normal. She has healthy female friendships and knows how to pick the right guy and insist he treat her with respect. Wha-wha-what?! Such an ordinary concept, yet so un-freaking-heard of in YA paranormal books these days. And for all of you fangirls you know who you are, please let me clarify that “the right guy” means the guy she is friends with and forms a mutual respect and attraction to. Not the guy who her hormones dictate is her one and only.
Finally, I surprisingly enjoyed the angel aspect of Unearthly. As a non-believer, I find it hard to appreciate Christian oriented novels, because they always seem to include a bit of morality based preaching. You all may be shaking your heads, but trust me, it’s there. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but as an atheist who lives in a country with a low tolerance for non-believers, I prefer to avoid being preached at while pursuing my hobbies ;) Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised that Unearthly managed to talk of god, the devil, church and angel lore without casting judgment or giving obvious lessons.
I want so badly to give Unearthly five stars. Had it been a standalone novel, it would be a no-brainer. But as book one of a series….I’m gonna be stingy and hold out on that final star. We all know that one horrid book can ruin everything that came before it, so unfortunately this won’t get a perfect rating until it’s all said and done.
Looking back, this review doesn’t really do the book justice. What can I say? A realistic, healthy protagonist to look up to, cute boys and a bit of the requisite love triangle, and a decent coming of age sort of story. Fans of YA should definitely give this one a try! ...more
Shadowfever doesn’t disappoint… too much. Is it perfect? No. Did it keep me enthralled and inspire me to eat, sleep, and breathe the Fever world whileShadowfever doesn’t disappoint… too much. Is it perfect? No. Did it keep me enthralled and inspire me to eat, sleep, and breathe the Fever world while reading it? Yes. While reading Shadowfever, I was at work and saw the initials “LM” of course my first thought was of the Lord Master. One night my husband and I were pooped and didn’t feel up to making dinner. He suggested a frozen pizza and said we had a Red Barron cheese pizza. “Huh? Whatdidya say about Barrons?!?” was my reply. A co-worker mentioned he just moved to Dublin (a suburb of Columbus, OH) but naturally my thoughts went to the Fae ravaged Temple Bar district of Dublin, Ireland. So, really… despite its flaws Shadowfever and its preceding books deserve five stars from me simply because they inspired a devotion and obsession that most books do not. And really, I loved Shadowfever sooooo much while reading it. * * * * * * * * Until I got to the end. Okay…. I loved it, I gushed over it…. But to be honest it is not as good as it could have been, and here is why:
Unresolved story lines! Sheesh… it’s beyond awesome that KMM is continuing to write stories in the Fever world and I am eagerly anticipating them. But she left a lot of storylines unfinished. This is a cheap trick (I’m looking at YOU Richelle Mead!) I wish authors had confidence in their own writing, and didn’t feel the need to resort to gimmicks to keep readers interested. But why am I surprised? Remember the endings of Faefever and Dreamfever? Yeah… I know you do ;) Unfortunately, this appears to be KMM’s MO.
I love Mac. Really, I do. But in real life… ah, not so much. She uses her sex appeal more often than not to accomplish her goals and seeks help, advice, information from all kinds of hawt guys (go Mac!) but has a lack of positive females in her life. Yeah, Alina is dead, Rowena is a crazy be-yotch, Dani is awesome, but young….. but what about Kat of the Sidhe-seers? Or another girl KMM could have written into the story? I would have loved to see Mac develop a positive, female relationship with an equal. But she seems to be interested in forming relationships only with those who want to fuck her or be her.
JZB…I love him, in so many wrong ways, lol! But…. HUGE SPOILER ALERT… a point comes in the story when Barrons quit becoming a constant jackass and, well… was grilling out back. It was disappointing for me to see the power of the pussy… ah, the womanly powers turn him into a, well, much more calm and accepting man than what we had seen previously. Maybe this is just me. But when the sexy times started the tension left, and I was sad to see so much of it go. SPOILER ALERT OVER.
Finally, as many others have stated the resolution of Shadowfever was dependant on information that we were not given in the previous books. Boo. We were led down so many wrong paths and plots that I felt like I was running along Scooby and Shaggy part of the way. I can’t complain too much, because I did love it so much while reading it. But in retrospect…. What makes a great mystery so great is going back and discovering all of the little clues you missed the first time around. In this case, the answer is so crazy and there simply weren’t clues alluding to it in the beginning of the series.
Rant over… let me get back to gushing over this novel. And dreaming lusty dreams of Jericho Z. Barrons! ...more
Meh. This series started with so much potential. Possession had a decent beginning and the writing and characters were consistent with The Turning, unMeh. This series started with so much potential. Possession had a decent beginning and the writing and characters were consistent with The Turning, unfortunately the novel very quickly delved into the realms of paranormal soap opera. In a matter of days, people fall into the sort of lourve that makes them plead, “I’ll kill my own granny to save you! Your hemorrhoid pain is my pain! If you die then I will eat nothing but boogers until I also succumb, because not only can I not live without you, but I must suffer for every second that I am alive and you are dead!!!” Or, something like that. Maybe I’ve just been with my husband too long to remember the intense passion of new love? Nah ;) In addition to the proclamations of undying love between relative strangers, the cast of characters is fairly small. Much like a soap opera, they are so wrapped up in each other’s lives that we never get a chance to become exposed to much else that is occurring in the vampire world. In fact, the story takes a backseat to the drama as well. Unless, the drama was intended to be the story…
Either way, I am finished with this series. It’s a shame, because I do like the writing and the characters, especially Cyrus. But I was a bad, bad girl and peeked ahead at the reviews and recaps for the last two installments of this series and there appears to be nothing but more of the same. Had the drama been scaled back, relationships been allowed to build slowly, and the (apparently secondary) plot of the vamp world, the were world, The Movement and the Soul Eater been further explored; this would have been an awesome series. Unfortunately, as it is, it just isn’t my thing. ...more
Rosemary and Rue really isn't bad. I can't complain about the writing, the action, the mystery or the protagonist, October "Toby" Daye. But somehow,Rosemary and Rue really isn't bad. I can't complain about the writing, the action, the mystery or the protagonist, October "Toby" Daye. But somehow, this book just never got a hold of my interest. I blame the world building ~ there is a lot of background information given. A lot. And frankly Toby Daye isn't all that different from so many other female protagonists found in UF books.
Author Seanan McGuire obviously put quite a bit of thought and time into constructing the world in which Toby lives, and I appreciate that. I just wish the telling and explaining of the world was held back somewhat. Or more scattered throughout the novel. But at this point (page 108 out of 358) I can't help but quote Elvis, "A little less conversation, a little more action please" =) This series may be worth coming back to in the future, but for now I am bored and done with it. ...more