This is truly unique and original story that, for me, was the best of Stephanie Meyer: all her talent without the mixed frustrations, cliches, and con...moreThis is truly unique and original story that, for me, was the best of Stephanie Meyer: all her talent without the mixed frustrations, cliches, and controversies of the Twilight series.
The story begins with Wanderer, unique among her alien kind, as she wakes up inside her newest host. Wander has lived a term on almost all the colonies. She's been to the Origin and the fire planet; she's been an ice bear, a flower, a sea-weed, a spider. None of these planets ever felt like home, and unlike most of her fellow souls, Wanderer has yet to settle down. Now she's ready to try Earth.
Melanie was a rebel, one of the last on earth, and deeply in love with another human named Jared. Together with Mel's little brother Jamie, they were a family, they had a life. Then she got caught by a Seeker, and it was too late. Or so everyone thought.
Even though Wanderer was warned about how violent human emotions could be, she can't expect the resistance found in her new host. Wanderer can't seem to take control of the memories that come with her body. And even worse, she's not alone - Melanie is still alive in thought and memory. And despite everything Wanderer tries, Melanie seems to be growing stronger. As an annoying Seeker pushes Wanderer to find out where the other rebels were hiding, Melanie floods Wanderer with memories of Jared and their love together, until Wanderer loves him too. It's the final straw. Wanderer decides to give up on Melanie and earth, and try a new start somewhere else.
But on her way, Wanderer finds herself near the site where so many of Mel's memories lead - into the desert, and the mountains. Mel thinks she can find Jared. It's what they both want. It goes against everything Wanderer believes in, breaks the very principles of being a Soul, but Wanderer can't help how she feels.
Turns out Jared and Jamie are alive, and so are many others—rebels, hiding from the Souls in caves in the desert. And this begins the complicated web of relationships; Jared is embittered, refusing to believe Mel exists, and unsure of what to do with Wanderer; Wanderer is under Mel’s emotions, and finds herself making sacrifices for the humans against her fellow souls; and Mel continues to struggle for a sense of self, identity, and love. As Wanderer gains the understanding of what the Souls have done to the humans, she also finds herself confused by the way they treat her—some with respect, understanding, and even love; others with hate and disgust.
Wanderer knows the secret that could free the humans from the Souls for good, a secret she swore never to let the figure out. But now Wanderer’s questioning everything she believes in. Who deserves to live here, and who are the real monsters?
This story is a huge moral undertaking. Wanderer’s self-evaluations are very stark and painful, and the relationships in this novel is what makes it come to life. Some people will probably find themselves rolling their eyes at the Wanderer’s experiments with Jard to test Mel’s remaining power, and may also find some similarities between Wanderer’s extreme leaps of sacrifice and the Twilight series.
However, I thought The Host was an incredibly good read, and more realistic than any alien-invasion story or movie I have ever seen. Both Wanderer and Mel were strong heroines in their own way, and both were easy to relate to. Jared’s rejection of Wanderer, and Mel, was almost painful at times. So in contrast, Ian’s complete understanding feels undeserving but beautiful. Nothing is easy in this novel and the drama is very convincing. This isn’t like what you’ve read before.
I know that a lot of people got stuck halfway through her time in the caves, but I promise if you push through, it gets better. It really does.
This was a 4.5 for me. IF the series continues (tentatively a trilogy, tentatively two sequels named The Soul and The Seeker) then I plan to read them and hope to death Stephanie continues to grow in talent and doesn’t let this series fall apart like Twilight did.
Everyone keeps keeps saying this is a futuristic/dystopian - which it is, don't get me wrong - but before reading this book, I had no idea what it was...moreEveryone keeps keeps saying this is a futuristic/dystopian - which it is, don't get me wrong - but before reading this book, I had no idea what it was actually about. So here's a summary with plot in mind:
Titus meets Violet on the moon, and finds himself instantly drawn to her. While partying, someone hacks their feed, and they end up in the hospital together. There Titus learns that Violet is somewhat of a nonconformist - she's homeschooled, her father teaches dead languages, and she didn't get her feed until she turned seven. The rest of Titus' friends think that Violet is weird. He thinks she's unique, despite her urgings to "resist the feed" and her regular lamentations about their dying world. But then Violet really does start acting weird. Why does her feed keep malfunctioning? What if it can't be fixed? Titus loves Violet, but her last wishes may be too much, even for him.
My basic impression was, decent enough book, but what's the point? It was a richly drawn universe and kudos to Anderson for giving his teen characters such authentic, futuristic voices; but there wasn't much meat to the plot. **SPOILER** The basic storyline was boy meets girl, boy and girl get to know each other, girl gets sick, boy goes cold, girl dies, boy is regretful." ***End Spoiler*** That's pretty much it.
The characters never address the problems with their current lifestyle or the feed. Their relationship is lukewarm to start with, and ends with a shrug. Nobody changes. Nothing is added to, affected, or made any different. I have no clue why Titus got so frigid about Violet toward the end - it was more than his fear; it was like he simply didn't care. The book spans a few months worth of story time, but not that much happens, and it's only about 230-something pages. Without the futuristic dystopian trappings, it was basically your average story about a teen relationship doomed to fail.
Did I enjoy it while reading? Yes. Would I read it again? No.
Rated 3 stars, for voice, good way with words, and overall authenticity. (less)
Ugh. I hated this book. The only reason I'm giving it three stars is because the prose was written well, and for the most part, tension/suspense was a...moreUgh. I hated this book. The only reason I'm giving it three stars is because the prose was written well, and for the most part, tension/suspense was achieved. The author has some skill and it's not his fault I hate this kind of book. So based on that alone, here are my comments:
One - the beginning was a little repetitive. Three complete strangers have simultaneous experiences of a chill, a storm rolling in off Lake Michigan, see odd colors/shapes inside, and then all suddenly realize this is "no storm," but something else. But the next chapters make up for is, so unless you're really impatient, you should do OK.
Two - I started to get a bit frustrated by all the random events that happening. Characters popped in, characters popped out. You keep learning more and more about the creatures, but barely halfway through the book, you realize that no matter how much is learned, the characters can never change anything. A lot of clues end up being meaningless. What's worse is that I expected them to. This gives an overall effect of boredom and pointlessness. You keep reading because you need answers, but know you aren't going to get them in time.
Three- The thing about the boy? Saw that coming a mile away. Just ticked me off.
Four - Howard. I almost laughed at that. Just too weird, too random, not making sense at all. SPOILER ALERT -- My suspicion is that Howard is the gatekeeper person he claimed to be, not one of the phantoms or Death that he "revealed" himself as at the end. I believe sometimes the phantoms or even Death itself used him or his image as an illusion, and that most of the time he was just the gatekeeper.
Five - The ending. Anyone who has read other Christian fiction would have a good idea of how the story was going to end. There were some surprises; but the explanation, the reason all this was happening, was run of the mill and dissatisfactory. Plus it verified my suspicion that most of the story was more or less pointless. I liked the rest of the ending much better than the actual climatic "ending."
So let me summarize: the story was weak at parts, the prose was good, the ending could have been more inventive. This book was another example of a Christian writer calling his post-apocalyptic/horror novel "Christian Suspense".
This is the third book in the Sean Drummond series. This time, Sean's old girlfriend begs him to represent her husband General Morrison, who is being...moreThis is the third book in the Sean Drummond series. This time, Sean's old girlfriend begs him to represent her husband General Morrison, who is being accused of treason and critical information with the Russians. And it gets worse. Sean Drummond is up against his arch-enemy, Fast Eddie - who's had six months to sort through evidence. Hmm. Not looking good. So Sean snags a sexy Russian-speaking lawyer, Katrina Mazorski, to help him with the case (she wears skintight pants and bellybutton rings. tact required.)
Together they begin pawing through the dirt on Morrison. Turns out there's a lot of dirt. Morrison is, of course, looking guiltier and guiltier. Of course, Morrison claims he was framed. In the face of overwhelming evidence, espionage, super geniuses, and muder-by-Bic-pen, can Drummond prove his client's innocence?
I'd have to say this is one of my favorite of the Sean Drummond novels. It's classic. Everything you want or expect is here - the self-depreciating humor, the attempts on his life, the insurmountable odds, and the two or three twist endings that leave you gape-jawed going "whoah..." I can read pretty much any Sean Drummond novel and now matter how sucky things get, I know Sean will seriously one-up the badguys. That's what makes this series so great.
But "The Kingmaker" has a slightly different flavor than the first two books. The ending was interesting, and the romance was refreshingly different than Sean's own little thing. Plus there was a little less talk about how crappy/uptight/hilariously petty Washington can be, and a little more cloak-and-dagger.
Final Opinion: Another fun Sean Drummond novel that rises slightly above it's peers. 4 stars. (less)
A tattooed man is shot in an alley and dies, gasping that he is trying to find his lost son, Elvis Cole. But Elvis is still torn up about Lucy and Ben...moreA tattooed man is shot in an alley and dies, gasping that he is trying to find his lost son, Elvis Cole. But Elvis is still torn up about Lucy and Ben, who left him in The Last Detective. With his emotions on edge, and his confidence at an all time low, Elvis takes the case. Is the man his father? Doubtful. Was he involved in some bad business before he died? Absolutely certain.
Lots of dark secrets come out in this one, lots of wounds are re-opened, and the plot becomes a little bit like a domino line where one thing leads to the next, to the next, to the next after that. But Carol Starkey's frustrated advances with Elvis make up for some of it, as well as Elvis's very real hurt, and the few truly surprising twists. This is not a typical Elvis Cole novel. A lot of people share the stage, and it's a lot darker than normal. There's consequently less of what I've grown to love about Elvis - his yoga, elaborate food descriptions, flippant manner, and outsmarted car-tailers. But it's still good, the ending is mostly satisfying, and we finally get some of Cole's history.
I have been reading a lot of how-to writing books lately, and I have to say this one just stood out. It's the kind of book that you highlight and scri...moreI have been reading a lot of how-to writing books lately, and I have to say this one just stood out. It's the kind of book that you highlight and scribble notes in. His advice was clear, smart, and profound, and he doesn't just try to make you learn a particular method - he teaches you how to develop your own method. Also, when he talks about the rules, it doesn't feel like the same information that everyone else repeats. He quotes thoughts from other authors and then discusses the benefits/drawbacks of following a particular rule. And oh! Koch doesn't tell you it will be hard. He skips right over it and goes on to the encouragement.
Once or twice - particularly in the middle chapters - Koch wanders away from his previous style and begins musing about literary subjects, instead of teaching you something you can use. But otherwise I found this book highly inspirational, very useful, and a great resource.
A year after Stargirl moves away from Mica High, Arizon, she's still heartbroken over Theo--and even worse--fears she's lost something more precious t...moreA year after Stargirl moves away from Mica High, Arizon, she's still heartbroken over Theo--and even worse--fears she's lost something more precious than Theo himself. So she begins writing letters. What starts out as an effort to help her sort out her mixed feelings for Theo becomes a diary-style chronicle of her new life, new friends, and even one (perhaps?) new love.
This book gets a "meh" from me. It was okay, but not special. I personally didn't find the original "Stargirl" novel quite as captivating and unique as many others did, but it did have a quality. "Love, Stargirl" has only echoes of this original quality. Stargirl's voice sounds a lot like Theo's did. Her little friend Dootsie ends up having more of the childish innocence than Stargirl does, although Dootsie is actually pretty bratty and petulant. Not to mention Perry, Stargirl's almost-maybe new crush/boyfriend.
The author did a good job keeping the story going, and I was never really bored - but at the end, this book didn't change much of anything for me. I still wish Spinelli hadn't tied up the end of "Stargirl" the way he did, because it makes the sequel easy to shrug off. What was meant to be inspiring and hopeful didn't quite fly.
Final opinion: This is a sweet little story, by turns amusing and annoying, but overall a decent read. 3.5 stars.
I tried to finish this. I really did. I got to about page 450 and just couldn't take it anymore. The problem with Inkdeath and much of Inkspell is tha...moreI tried to finish this. I really did. I got to about page 450 and just couldn't take it anymore. The problem with Inkdeath and much of Inkspell is that they dead-end themselves...everything that's done is undone, changed, stopped, or reversed. Words are powerful and then powerless. The tables turn so often and so quickly that it's hard to care about anything.
In Inkdeath, a few of the things I hated about Inkheart are reversed, and the book tries to be promising. But the only ending we want is declared by Fenoglio as being rejected by the story itself. Also, and this I really hated, the character interactions fall apart. When Mo takes on the job/character of the Bluebird, his whole interaction with Maggie changes - he lies to her or tells her half truths, and basically shuts everyone else out. Farid fails to prove his love to Maggie. Resa feels unloved and does all sorts of things to hold her family together, even though those things are despised by her family. Fenoglio is pathetic as usual. Orpheus becomes impossibly annoying. Maggie isn't really the main character anymore, and is barely part of the story at all.
As for the world of Inkheart itself, there's still that magic and fascination, but you get sick of trying to figure out "what the story wants" and of watching the world come into worse and worse destruction. Not sure how the series ends, and it's gone so off course, that I don't really care. (less)
Katsa learned she had the Grace of killing when a cousin grabbed at her as a child, and she responded instinctively, hittin...more**spoiler alert** SUMMARY:
Katsa learned she had the Grace of killing when a cousin grabbed at her as a child, and she responded instinctively, hitting him with an upthrust palm and killing him. Now King Randa, her uncle, uses her as his personal Angel of Death, punishing and even killing those who have wronged him. Katsa tolerates this. Barely. She moonlights as the founding member of the Council, a group of vigilantes who enforce justice among the common people; stopping greedy merchants, saving the children of dead men, and so on.
One night doing Council work, Katsa meets Po, a young man Graced with combat skills. Po also happens to be a Leinad prince. Po was trying to find his grandfather, the man Katsa rescued for her Council work. Now Po is trying to figure out who would have wanted to kidnap his grandfather. Katsa isn't sure she trusts Po - his Grace seems to extend farther than combat, and his presence makes her uncertain, leaves her imbalanced. And her doubts are founded. Po's grace helps him in more than combat, and he's hidden the truth from everyone, even his own family. Katsa is furious. How can she trust him anymore?
But it is with Po's help that she finally has the courage to defy King Randa. It is with Po's help that Katsa begins to question her own label as a murderess and a killer. And due to Po's unique Grace, he may be the only person who could ever truly understand Katsa enough to love her - as someone she could love back.
Fleeing her home, Katsa travels with Po to find out why his grandfather was kidnapped. Together they stumble onto the most horrifying secret of all - that the supposedly gentle king of Monsea is actually a horrible threat; to Po, to Katsa, and to all the seven kingdoms.
So you're wondering. Is all the hype about this book true?
Well, it started out pretty darn good, and grew into amazing. I loved it. I was beautiful, layered, and an amazing debut. The whole fantasy world is developed well. The author doesn't try to make a big deal out of the world - it just sort of IS; yet you feel as if you know it, as if you could go there and be a part of it. It's great storytelling, an intriguing plot, but Katsa's character is what pulls it together for me. She's very emotionally tuned but also very savage, and she doesn't know how to handle her emotions. Fighting centers her. It's different, and absorbing.
I did have some minor grievances. To start with, the first chapter was slow. Always a problem. On a larger scale, Katsa is supposedly this efficient killer who goes around snapping people's arms and creating bloodbaths, but the first time we see her, she suddenly "can't do it." I understand that she doesn't like killing. But it's not realistic to say she's a killer, she kills all the time, and then write the book, but keep creating circumstances where she can't/won't kill. A little frustrating.
And at times, the character relationships reminded me of other characters in other stories - Katsa starts to remind me of Tally in Scott Westerfield's "Specials." But only for a moment. In the end, I fell in love with Katsa. She's beautiful and savage and tormented by her own wild nature. The love between her and Po is so unlikely at first, so fraught, but it comes naturally and deepens into something very powerful.
Charlie is being punished. His father says that outside is bad, that outside they can get him. And Charlie can't seem to be quiet enough, to obey the...moreCharlie is being punished. His father says that outside is bad, that outside they can get him. And Charlie can't seem to be quiet enough, to obey the rules right. Someday he wants to run in the rain. But now, he waits locked in the basement, until his father tells him the punishment is over, and he can come back upstairs. Except it's been an awfully long time. And he's afraid the spider will spin a web, and keep him trapped in the basement forever.
Then one night Charlie gets locked out of the basement and chased away by the spider. He wakes up in a hospital and wonders, is this another part of the punishment? It doesn't seem so. Here people let him eat and don't care if he makes mistakes. Fathers comfort their sons. And a psychologist is telling him that Father was wrong - Charlie doesn't deserve to be punished. But for some reason Charlie still wants to see him. Wants to go home and finish out his punishment, and be part of the family once again.
Haunted by hallucinations of the spider, conflicted about his father, and expecting punishment at every wrong turn, Charlie learns to let go and embrace the truth about his father, the basement, and Charlie himself.
This is a great story. I was very much inside Charlie's head the whole time, experiencing his paranoia and phobias as if they were really happening. Charlie is a surprisingly strong kid. The simple, solemn prose snagged me right away and kept the story moving along at a fast clip. A couple of problems...one, the story was pretty much in "real time" until the end, so you basically followed Charlie through every experience as it happened. It was okay, but not thrilling or engrossing. Second, the story took a long time to develop the other characters. Every couple scenes a new character came in and the old one faded out. Finally, I thought that the climax was a little underdone, like the gravity of the situation was glossed over. Not bad, just not stellar.Very real about the abuse without being graphic or scurrilous.
I gave this book 4 stars because it's a great little story that follows through on all the plots and doesn't skimp on the struggle. However, I couldn't give it 5 stars because it simply didn't give me the "wow" factor.
This story is not a direct sequel to Love Walked in, but takes place somewhere around three years later. Cornelia and Teo are married and have just mo...moreThis story is not a direct sequel to Love Walked in, but takes place somewhere around three years later. Cornelia and Teo are married and have just moved to Cornelia's own torture chamber: Suburbia. *cue scary music.* Because it is scary. The queen bee of the neighborhood, a woman named Piper, is making sure Cornelia knows how out of place she is.
But then Piper's friend Elizabeth decides to give up chemo, and Piper rallies to her side, helping make Elizabeth's last months as easy as possible. As Elizabeth degenerates, and Piper finds herself forging a slender bond with Elizabeth's husband Tom, Piper also discovers that Cornelia and Teo aren't so bad after all. When Elizabeth dies and Piper finds herself slowing growing to love Tom, Cornelia is the only one who understands. Who encourages her to try what she would never have tried before.
Meanwhile, Dev has just been saved from his horrific seventh-grade teacher and is being moved across country by his mom, although she won't tell him why, which drives Dev nuts. He has to know. But once he gets there, he finds it doesn't matter. He's made surprisingly good friendships. He even has the beginnings of a girlfriend: Claire Hobbes, a girl he met via his mother's new friend, Corneila. But Claire ignites his desire to find his father and Dev discovers something horrible, something that could ruin everything between them all: his mother Lake, his father, Claire, Cornelia, Teo, even Cornelia's unborn baby - everyone he has ever wanted to belong to.
If you can't tell from this plot summary, the book is scattered. Too many main characters and storylines. Too many unconnected events. The main plot doesn't really begin until the last quarter of the book. Toby's storyline seems completely random, as does Lyssa's. What really disappointed me is how Cornelia did not seem to have a plotline of her own. Yes, she was part of the story, but she was part of other's stories.
Good things: The ending truly was a twist ending, and was done beautifully, so that it all worked out in a pretty realistic fashion. It left me with the same happy, contemplative feeling that Love Walked In gave me, although maybe a bit muted. The prose was still introspective and poetic.
But to tell the honest truth, the prose felt less true to heart, there were too many anecdotes, not enough real time action, not enough story, and just not enough of the right things to make me glad I spent the time. Some of it was truly deep and beautiful - but that was often buried inside the superfluous, if pretty, parts of the novel.
I'm so glad I picked this up! It's the perfect little book. You have three basic sterotypes - the homeschooler (sweet, naive, nerdy,) the popular girl...moreI'm so glad I picked this up! It's the perfect little book. You have three basic sterotypes - the homeschooler (sweet, naive, nerdy,) the popular girl (superficial, thinks she has it all, determined to stay on top,) and the class looser (overweight, struggles with confidence, failing class, prefers inner world to real world.)
Due to unique circumstances, each of these three kids are drawn together, and find themselves bonding against all odds. SuperHot girl (aka, Bree) is told, out of the blue, that her geeky parents are moving to Middle of Nowhere, USA to take over Moon Shadow Camp. For three years. At the same time, Sweet Homeschooler (Ally) is gearing up for the biggest day in her life - when thousands of people flock to her family's camp, Moon Shadow, to watch a total eclipse. She has no idea that Bree's family is coming to take over. And our Class Loser, a kid named Jack, is asked to help his science teacher bring a group of eclipse-chasers to Moon Shadow. If Jack goes, he gets out of summer school.
The great thing about this book is that NONE of the characters felt like stereotypes. In fact, I felt myself smiling through the story as I related to each of them, and saw them in people I know. The story is very real and honest this way. It's also a bit predictable - pleasantly. But there is so much surprising and original about this novel, that it makes up for all of it. Bree is actually a sweet girl who is willing to make exceptions in her jugmental nature. Jack really isn't such a looser, except nobody ever gives him a chance, and he's afraid to give himself one as well. And Ally is about to loose everything she loves, and yet she just wants to share it with everyone - even if that means it's not personally her own any longer.
This was a great little read that looks deceptively short, will grab your attention, and is 101% appropriate for tweens and middle-graders. WITHOUT being roll-your-eyes cheesy.
I've read Ender's Game, heard about the controversial sequels, and decided they weren't worth bothering reading. But then this came out. Everyone said...moreI've read Ender's Game, heard about the controversial sequels, and decided they weren't worth bothering reading. But then this came out. Everyone said it was different. And I am so, so so happy to say, this book is the sequel that Ender's Game deserves. Let me say as if I feel like I just walked out of Ender's Game into Ender in Exile.
This books is actually what you might call a midquel; it takes place between chapters 14 and 15 of Ender's game. In the months after Ender's victory, with him being kept on Aros, there's been some kind of court marshal going on against Graff--but really, though Ender wasn't told this, he knows it's about the horrible thing he did the the buggers. And he hasn't felt easy about their death since his victory. It seemed to stupid of them to have gathered on their home world. Could it be possible that they let him kill them? If so...why?
On earth, Valentine is beginning to wonder if it would be better if Ender never came home. The world fears what would happen if America had their hands on the war hero, and are preparing to assassinate him before they can be attacked. Also, Valentine fears Peter's plans for Ender. But the only other option is to send Ender out on a colony ship that will take him two years, but because of relativity, will be almost fifty years in earth-time. When Ender agrees to go on the ship, Valentine shuts down Demosthenes (to Peter's rage) and follows Ender onto the colony ship.
Although Ender is supposed to be governor of the colony when he arrives, not everyone thinks he's fit for the job. Specifically Captain Morgan who runs the starship taking Ender to the colony. Ender also has to deal with a teenage colonist named Alexandra, who's mother Dorabella openly, but cunningly, has plans so that either she or her daughter will be married to the new governor--whether that be Captain Morgan or Ender Wiggins himself. Alexandra is only a pawn because of how hard it is to fight her mother and because she is, in fact, falling for Ender. Which pisses Valentine off a bit. But not much Valentine says or does changes Ender's mind. He even admits he's leading Alexandra on a little bit, but what's wrong with being loved for once? He likes it.
When they finally get to the colony, Ender powerfully flips the tables on Morgan and convinces Alexandra to stand up to her mother--not so he can marry her, but so she can be free to be whomever she wants. Alexandra stands up to her mother for the first time and manages to stay on the colony. Here, an incredible development has occurred. The head zenobiologist was exploring some distant regions and discovered a strange, dying breed of beetles and larvae in an underground cave that seem to have been created by the buggers based on their own anatomy. The beetles have been starving to death since the buggers stopped bringing them food, and they attack the scientist, who in his desperation discovers that the worms are telepathic--and semi-sentient. Ender spends much of his time trying to talk with the creatures and learn more about the buggers he destroyed.
Then, one day while he's out searching for the site for a new colony, Ender runs across a concrete ruins that is in the shape of the giant which was in his game at battleschool. Inside the tower, he finds the larvae of a formic queen. After hearing her story he writes it as a book under the pen name Speaker for the Dead. And after this he decides to set out on starships, to let time fall behind him, until he can find a place and an age where the buggers can live again. First, he has a quick encounter with Bean's missing ninth child, the one they never found, who has been raised thinking Ender and Bean were the enemy.
So, comments. The book was wonderful. The ending was a bit weak and a bit sad, and the plotline with Alexandra irrelevant, and the things you wanted to know more about (like the telepathic beetles and the bugger larvae) were a bit glossed over. But this is really where I feel the series should have gone and I was sucked right into Ender's story. There is a lot of random stuff about Bean in here--Ender overdoes how important Bean was to his success and how much smarter Bean was, which I feel contradicts much of the original Ender's game, but probably seems feasible to those who read the Shadow series starring Bean. And I've heard this solves a lot of the unresolved Shadow series plotlines. But as a standalone sequel to Ender's Game, I thought this book was very good, and let me set the series aside with a happy sigh. (less)
When Beira, the fey Winter Queen, murdered the Summer King, she didn't realize she bore his son. So she crafted a curse: her son Keenan must find a hu...more When Beira, the fey Winter Queen, murdered the Summer King, she didn't realize she bore his son. So she crafted a curse: her son Keenan must find a human mortal who can lift Beira's staff and not be filled with winter's cold. If the mortal can do this, she becomes Keenan's Summer Queen, and together they will have the power to defeat Beira. If the mortal fails, she will be cursed with winter's cold until Keenan convinces someone else to lift the staff. For nine centuries Keenan has tried - and failed. His Summer fey are loosing hope, and even Keenan is beginning to wonder if he will ever find his queen.
Enter Aislinn. Aislinn, or Ash, can see fairies. She hates them for their savage cruelty. All her life she has forced herself to ignore them and keep from attracting their attention. But now, a fey named Keenan is taking personal interest in her. First he stalks her, then he approaches her in a human disguise called a glamour, then he enrolls in her school. Aislinn is terrified of him. But she's also sick of hiding what she sees, sick of letting the fairies have their way. Keenan is sure that that Aislinn is his Summer Queen. But Aislinn has her own plans, and there's nothing the fairies can do to stop her.
The first half of this story was great. Melissa Marr did a very good job with the fairy culture and with the curse, which was particularly poignant. You really wonder if Keenan will ever find his queen and if Aislinn is the one. Aislinn is a great protagonist: tough, determined in the face of her fear. And the supporting cast is amazing: Seth is like the world's best boyfriend, and Donia, the girl currently cursed with winter's cold, is so very real in her isolation and bitterness. And the plot just sweeps you away. I was ready to give this book five stars.
Then halfway through, something happened. The focus shifted. The whole plot slowed down, and plot events came in the wrong order, so that the story lost all it's suspense. *** SPOILER*** For one, it's basically agreed that Aislinn is the one, taking away all the great suspense that Marr had built up. ***END SPOILER*** After that we're just waiting around for Aislinn to stop ignoring everything and make her decision.
Seth and Ash's side of the story developed a lot, but Keenan and Ash's relationship remained virtually the same for most of the story. She's in denial: he continues to demand the same thing. There was a lot of awkward running around that didn't accomplish much, and then some rather random crisis. When Aislinn FINALLY stops avoiding the problem and makes her decision, we're rushed through what should be the most important scenes in the story, totally shifting our focus away from the curse. Then there's a couple twist thrown in at the last second during a bloody, slightly cheesy battle. Then there's aftereffects stuff - by this point, you're just waiting for it to end - that is so idealistic, so pat, it's frustrating. The real true ending was so idealistic
It was confusing and disappointing. I'm not sure why the story changed focus so much. There was an amazing setup, but then Marr didn't follow through on it, choosing to take some subplots and focus on them instead. And as if to make up for it, she tied it all up with a bow.
In the end I'd have to say this book was satisfying, but nothing more. It had an immense amount of potential and I hope Marr does better in the rest of her trilogy, but to be frank, I don't know if I'll read the other two books.
three stars for disappointment.
(And on a side note, this book isn't really like Twilight. The over-emphasized relationship between Seth and Aislinn did remind me of Edward&Bella for a little while, but the main feel was very different than the feel you get from reading Twilight.)