CATCHALL Unearthly is probably one of the best, if not the best, angel books I've ever read. It was refreshingly or*****FINAL RATING: 4.80 STARS*****
CATCHALL Unearthly is probably one of the best, if not the best, angel books I've ever read. It was refreshingly original and I really enjoyed reading it. The characters have a sense of realness and emotion behind them, and the plot isn't annoying slow, but still keeps you guessing. And do I even need to mention the gorgeous cover?
THE HEROINE I love Clara. I really do. She's probably one of my favorite YA heroines. She is a strong, confident girl who tries to do her best. She doesn't always succeed, but who does? She genuinely cares about other people. She isn't annoyingly perfect and seems very human, even though she is part angel. Clara is extremely relatable as a heroine and I adore her for it. I cannot wait to read more about her in future installments.
THE LOVE INTERESTS CHRISTIAN I am partial to the name Christian, so I am probably biased. But anyway, I found him extremely interesting. Yep, he kind of acts like a jerk a few times, and I don't like that at all. But he can also be very sweet. I found myself wanting to know more about him. I have a love-hate relationship with him at this moment, but I'm hoping that will change as time goes on. He's a bit clichéd at the moment, but we'll see. I still really, really enjoy reading about him. TUCKER Not gonna lie: Tucker is sexy. Very, very sexy. But kind of annoying at first. I'm not prejudiced or anything, but first impressions mean a lot to me and I hate the one he makes. But, I can forgive him for it. I have a friend who married this guy. The first time she met him, she told him she didn't like him and when he kept asking her out she thought he was weird. And now they're madly in love, so I can see how Clara and Tucker's relationship grows and changes. And I do love Tucker, I just wish he hadn't been quite such a jerk. But, ah, well, not everyone's perfect. And he grew on me fast. I love how he's not stereotypical and seems quite original.
THE OTHER SECONDARY CHARACTERS JEFFREY I found Jeff to be a very interesting character. Of course, it does not help that I am also partial to his name as well. But I believe if he had been named Roger (a name I cannot stand since being forced to read Lord of the Flies *shudder*) I would have loved him just as well. He's so intriguing, what with his wings turning dark and all. That definitely caught my interest, and I was disappointed that that wasn't explored more in this book. At least I will have the pleasure of looking forward to it and more of him. He made me laugh. ANGELA She has a big role as well, though I won't say what it is. But she's a beautifully written, well-thought-put character with an enjoyable personality but is obviously flawed. She seems very human. She's the type of girl you secretly want to be but would never admit it. WENDY She's a sweet, down-to-earth girl who cares about Clara immensely but is only human. She brings Tucker and Clara closer together, which moves the story along quite smoothly. She is not only functional but fun, and she made me giggle quite a few times. MAGGIE I did not like Clara's mother very much. I hate the "I'm keeping secrets from you for your own protection" thing. I'd much rather know the truth than live a lie, and no matter what the consequences, it is almost always safer to know. She rather irritated me, but she was obviously loving and trying her best, she I'm hoping she'll redeem herself. SAM Hmm… interesting. For a character with such a brief but important appearance, he has quite a lot of mystery and drama surrounding him. He seems haunted but also a slave to his nature, and it'll be interesting if we hopefully see more of that. KAY NO. Just, NO. She screams cliché.
THE PLOT I subtracted no stars for the plot from my rating. The plot was well-thought-out, original, and very attention-grabbing. I was never once left bored, and I read with such a fury that I burned through the pages very, very quickly. It does't move to slowly but it also does't go so fast that you're totally confused as to what's going on. The ideas and events happen in an order that makes sense. The story isn't monopolized with pointless chapters where nothing happens; everything is relevant. There's enough information left untold for a sequel but not so much that you get overly frustrated. The plot is unlike that of any other book and for that, I love it. I also read this book out loud to a little girl I was babysitting. Yes, I skipped the somewhat sexy parts. Anyway, she loved it too.
THE ROMANCE Clara and Tucker developed as a couple in a way that made sense, progressing through natural stages. Definitely no annoying insta-love. They have such a sweet romance once it begins but it doesn't monopolize everything and leaves the plot to continue. Of course, their romance alone is a huge plot point. I love the fact that it never feels thrown in my face. It's definitely there, but I don't have to hear about every single tender moment. Clara's relationship with Christian is interesting to follow as well. As first it seems like they will undoubtedly be together, but as the book progresses this is cast into doubt. Their romance, if you could call it that, fluctuates and changes throughout. Several interesting twists are thrown in as well. Their relationship is developed beautifully as well and is not annoying or overly clichéd.
THE WRITING This novel is written in Clara's voice, which is beautifully written by Hand. Her writing style is pretty but not overly poetic and is easy to understand. There's not too much detail, and no obvious evidence of her having to try too hard. Contemporary language flows across the page and matches the way young people speak today instead of being outdated. The writing is accurate and descriptive. Hand's writing is not immature and it does not sound inexperienced.
THE ENDING The ending will leave you wanting more. Desperately, because I know that's how I felt. It's beautiful, but leaves you hanging. I must admit I really did not see it coming but I wasn't too shocked when I read it. It made sense with the way the story had progressed and felt well-thought-out and not thrown in. I loved the element of surprise.
WRAPUP Of course I will be reading Hallowed! Unearthly left me absolutely dying for it. I will be reading it as soon as is possible with a vengeance.
CATCHALL Falling Kingdoms was, if I has to sum it up in one word, awesome. I tend not to read a lot of high fantasy,****FINAL RATING: 4.05 STARS****
CATCHALL Falling Kingdoms was, if I has to sum it up in one word, awesome. I tend not to read a lot of high fantasy, but it's not because I don't want to. In fact, Tamora Pierce was one of the first authors I fell in love with, so of course fantasy has always had a place in my heart. There was a lot of intrigue, and that was fun. There was also a lot of action, which was even more fun. This book actually touched only lightly and briefly on romance but it's obvious it's a subject that will be returned to. Falling Kingdoms was a glittering gem that stands out from other contemporary YA due not only to its genre, but also due to its sparkling cast of characters.
THE HEROS & HEROINES CLEO Cleo I actually had something of a difficult time connecting to, but this didn't mean I didn't like her. Quite the contrary, actually. Cleo often comes off as a whiny princess, and she's definitely been spoiled by her position in life. She isn't used to roughing it and she certainly doesn't understand the desolation and hopelessness of the peasants. Still, she genuinely has a good heart and she cares for her people. And even though she can be foolish, ridiculously so on occasion, she's also brave and she doesn't consider danger when making choices. Cleo is definitely rash, and she does have to suffer the consequences for some of her choices. JONAS Jonas. I really, absolutely loved Jonas. He's bitter over the murder of his brother and he's bloodthirsty for revenge. Honestly, I think that nearly all of us can understand that kind of pain. So he lashes out. He becomes intent on making Cleo suffer, since she did nothing as the murder happened. But at the same time, while he doesn't always handle his grief well, he's a true patriot who wants the best for his country. He's also clever, but not too clever, and can see what others can't. He's the one who discovers a key betrayal, and once he pushed past his anger and bitterness he honed it into a weapon. LUCIA Lucia is the chosen one, a sorceress. She has magic that's entirely unheard of in a time where witches of lesser magic are prosecuted. She cares deeply and unconditionally for her brother, Magnus, and she'll do absolutely anything for him. That loyalty runs deep. She's struggling to figure out who she is and she also wants to keep her magic a secret. She knows that once it is revealed she'll be in danger. Lucia discovers some truths that shock her and bring her past into question, and she isn't entirely sure how to handle that. I don't feel too connected with her, and although I do like her, she's the character who was the least real for me. MAGNUS I loved Magnus. Like, a lot. He's definitely the darkest of the four characters, and has an immense capacity for cruelty. His father is incredibly cruel, and while he isn't positive he wants to be like that something inside him enjoys other people's pain. He faces harsh rejection of love and he isn't sure how to handle it. After a certain murder that passes as a sacrifice, he grows closer to the father he's never believed loves him, and the results could be disastrous. It's easier for him to not feel than for him to feel hurt, so he lets his feelings melt away and becomes a prince of ice, and his father's greatest weapon. But at the same time, not all of him is cruel, and much of him is good yet buried.
THE PLOT Like I said earlier, Falling Kingdoms has a lot of intrigue. Like, a lot of it. There are three kingdoms, and the fate of all of them is tied together. Two of them are planning to overthrow the richer, third kingdom, but the alliance between them is not all that it seems. This is a struggle for absolute control, and it won't end until all three kingdoms lie securely in one man's grasp.
But really, even then, it isn't over. The people aren't simply going to give up. Neither are the rulers, or the four teens who are starring characters in this book. The relationships between them are complicated, but all four of them are still tied together irrevocably. There's a strong connection between them and though they maybe haven't realized it yet, they will.
I was honestly kept interested throughout the entire novel. There were some things I didn't like, sure, and a few too many things that were just a bit too convenient. A lot of it seemed to work out nicely and for some reason even the sadder moment seemed too calculated and perfect. i don't know. It's possible I'm just being weird, but that's still how I felt.
I can say with absolutely certainty that this book is emotional. There are a handful of joyful moments, but a good chunk of this book is full of teary moments. Not everything is happy in the world of Falling Kingdoms. There's a lot of loss, a serious lot of it, and a healthy serving of despair and hopelessness at times. Yet through it all, there is that important ray of hope that keeps the characters moving on. It is different for all of them, but it still exists.
Since it was fantasy, there's also the magical aspect! I wasn't sure how this was going to be handled but I ended up loving the way it was done. The magic in this world is elemental, so fire, water, wind, and earth. It's also very uncommon and largely frowned upon. I thought the way it was done was nice and although elemental magic isn't exactly rare in YA these days, it was still and awesome choice.
Overall, Falling Kingdoms has a plot that was entertaining as well as unique. And seriously, what more can you ask for? I loved it as much as I've loved many other wonderful books, and it definitely is something that thrilled me with its hint of intensity and even mystery.
THE ROMANCE There's actually surprisingly little romance in this book, but I have a strong feeling that it will eventually play an important role. I didn't talk specifically about the love interests in the novel because at this point I feel like there's not a whole lot to say about them. Theon is one of Cleo's love interests, but I jut didn't feel too much between him and Cleo. He's a wonderfully flesh-out character for his brief appearance but he and Cleo have instalove down to an art. Her other love interest, Nic, is a bit underdeveloped and rather dull, but they have something quieter too. Jonas is trapped in a union that he doesn't want to carry through, but he may be freed from it anyway. Lucia and Magnus are a different story. Magnus has a unrequited love, and Lucia's heart is still a mystery.
THE WRITING Morgan Rhodes, who is actually Michelle Rowen, has some really nice writing. She uses first person in her Nightwatchers series. I remember liking it but thinking that her third person would be better. As it turns out, I was right. Michelle's third person writing just blew me away. It practically lifts the story off the page and makes it real. I literally felt like I was there, experiencing everything right along with our heroes and heroines. Her world-building especially is fantastic. There's enough history to make me understand and picture the land but not so much that I start to feel like I'm reading a textbook. She achieves the perfect balance. And getting into the minds of her characters, all so different yet so alike, is unreal in a good way.
THE ENDING Honestly, the ending wasn't my favorite part. It had this whole kind of rushed feeling and felt kind of thrown in. It's not that it was horrible, an it's not that it didn't make sense. Because honestly, while it was kind of odd, it wasn't overly convenient or anything. It just really felt kind of thrown in to me, like it was added at the last minute. It was just kind of weird. While it was intriguing and definitely set up the next book, I think it could really have been better planned out, possibly extended. This is probably my main complaint about the book.
WRAPUP I loved Falling Kingdoms, because it was definitely unlike anything I've read in a while. The characters lit up the pages for me and it was intense enough to hold my interest for long periods of time. I truly think this will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce, like me. And if you're a fantasy lover in general, you'll probably love this. Or if you're just a person who loves their fair share of plot intrigue and such! I fell in love with this book, so of course I'll be reading the future installments. I can't wait to see what's next for Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus!
CATCHALL It must first be said that my review of this book and the following three books of the series are not in a*****FINAL RATING: 4.55 STARS*****
CATCHALL It must first be said that my review of this book and the following three books of the series are not in any way first impressions. I have read these books several times over the years, and only write a review now as I was asked to review these books to celebrate the newest release of the novels. I must admit that I still found this book every bit as magical as I did the very first time I read it.
THE HEROINE VERALIDAINE SARRASRI Daine is an incredibly likable heroine. she’s brave, she’s strong, but she can also be scared and weak, just like anyone else. She’s human, and though there may be more to her than meets the eye, she’s always willing to fight for her friends, yet she struggles with letting others do the same. Daine also has a strong sense of responsibility and knowing the difference between right and wrong, and she’s no coward.
THE TEACHER NUMAIR SALMALÍN Number is a silly, funny man who always brings a smile to my face. He’s a very powerful mage, and he’s maybe a little vain, but overall it doesn’t go to his head. He’s a unique character—I’ve yet to come across his like in anything I’ve read. He’s a caring teacher to Daine, and proves himself to be someone she can trust with the dark secrets she’s hidden away.
THE PLOT There’s an extremely colorful cast of characters in this book. There’s many old favorites, such as Alanna and her husband, the queen, Thayet, even Jonathan. There’s also new faces such as Numair and Onua, and the children. It’s a joy to read about them, these new and old faces in the Tortall series.
The plot seems straightforward at first, but it’s not. There’s Daine and her inner struggles, but then there’s also something wicked looming on the horizon. It’s not as simple as it seems, and though we can tell something bad is going to happen, we’re never quite sure what.
Daine’s inner turmoil is interesting because we know something about it (she repeatedly claims to have been mad) but we don’t know all the details, so we have to keep reading to figure out what it is that could have been so awful. And when we finally learn what it is, it’s not simple to grasp what happened.
THE WRITING Tamora’s writing is like honey. Smooth, sweet, and tasteful. It’s a pleasure to read something so incredible. There’s always humor in her writing, and it’s simple but descriptive. I can visualize the monsters she creates so clearly I shudder while reading them. And, as always, her world building is fantastic. It’s easy to picture to cliffs and the ocean as she writes them because she uses such vivid descriptive words.
THE ENDING I love the way this book ends. There’s Tamora’s signature touch of humor, but it’s also a very sweet ending. The conflict is resolved in a very believable way, and Daine has learned more about herself along the way. It’s the perfect place to end this book, and I wouldn’t change it if I could. She’s surrounded by the friends she’s made, and she’s finally comfortable in her own skin.
WRAPUP Wild Magic is an incredible, gorgeous book, and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s timeless in the way that some books are, enough so that I keep going back to it when I need something dependable to read. There’s nothing I like more than curling up with this series, and this first installment really sets the scene for the series.
I really loved this book! I loved the easygoing romance that didn't dominate too much of the story and there was definitely a happy surprise at the enI really loved this book! I loved the easygoing romance that didn't dominate too much of the story and there was definitely a happy surprise at the ending. The plot is just original enough but still connects enough to the original fairytale. It's a definite worthwhile read!...more
I was simply thrilled when Poppy got her own book! It was fresh and new, and I loved the fairytale take. The plot was amazing, and the characters wereI was simply thrilled when Poppy got her own book! It was fresh and new, and I loved the fairytale take. The plot was amazing, and the characters were developed through different sets of eyes. I would absolutely love it if more books like this were released by Jessica Day George. They're simply brilliant, and I love the plots AND the characters! And the romance is nice, too, because it's understated and subtle....more