A great new series to add to my favorites. I just gotta say this first: if you loved Mercy Thompson, you’ll love Faythe Sanders. I loved the attitude, humor and adventure in this story. (The fact that it was over 600 pages long didn’t hurt either.) I’ve never read anything about werecats before and it was a refreshing change from werewolves, though they share very similar mentalities. I’m so glad this book came so highly recommended from a trusted source, otherwise I never would have picked it up.
Talk about kickass. How come all the believable, tough heroines are in adult books? Somebody tries to write about a teenager who’s seasoned and tough and it comes off ALL wrong. Still, this was such a relief. Faythe was so cool and I loved reading through her eyes. It was easy for me to connect with her inner struggles since I too squirm under authority. Her external struggles just freaked me out but that was the intent and I commend Rachel Vincent for such incredible writing.
So it’s an adult book. I didn’t even realize that until I was over 200 pages in and slammed into the first sex scene. Still. This can be appropriate for the more “seasoned” young adults. For instance, if you’re a young adult who loves the Mercy Thompson series, you’ll be okay with this series. Seriously. It will be a new favorite.
The writing, the humor. God. I am SUCH a sucker for funny books. Both aspects are tied in with the very first line.
"The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable. Whether I'd be giving it or receiving it was still a bit of a mystery."
The plot was fantastically put together. There were time when my rational brain was going, “Dude, there’s nothing going on,” but my irrational, literary-supported side was so engrossed in the story and the character interactions that I didn’t even care. Everything was funny and interesting, even if it seemed that nothing in particular was going on. As it is a series, I know that a lot of the seemingly pointless character interactions are really the foundations to the rest of the series.
In essence, you really need to read this book if you need a good dose of girl power. But if you’re a little squeamish when it comes to sex scenes (there are also scenes that include rape) then I suggest waiting a few years before picking this up. (Note: Meaning you WILL pick it up eventually…you’re just waiting until your mind is further corrupted by the world first…*wink*)(less)
I was told during a recommendation for this book that, "[I] will hate her in the beginning, but push through it; it's worth it in the end." Me? I'm a skeptic. I thought, "Psh. Translation: I will hate it. Plain and simple."
So not true.
My critique partner (who recommended this so heartily to me) was right 100%. I did hate the main character, Sam, in the beginning. She was shallow, petty, a bully... Her entitlement drove me insane. I wanted to slap her or throw the book across the room or something. But I kept my critique partner's words in mind. I had to push through. So I did. And it was so worth it.
Lauren Oliver did a fantastic job pulling off Sam's character and, specifically, her development throughout the story. To convincingly tell the story of a girl who goes from being the uber-bitch to the complete opposite takes skill. I knew Lauren Oliver had a gift when I read her book Delirium, but this blew me away.
There was a lot of dimension to Before I Fall. Lauren Oliver took her time and built up the world and the characters. She didn't pussyfoot around with the other, uglier, bitter side of the characters. The four of them (Sam, Lindsay, Elody and Ally) really redefined the meaning of bully. But they were 3D and each of them had their own role. All of them came alive to me. I loved watching each of their stories unfold.
I was most impressed by the way Lauren Oliver unfolded each day: if done wrong, it could get ugly real fast. It was masterfully done--very gut wrenching.
But it was such a heartbreaking story. I am not a fan of tragic endings, but you still have to love this book. It was powerfully alluring, almost magnetic.
If you are a fan of Lauren Oliver's Delirium, or if you're new to Lauren Oliver, I highly recommend this. Anyone can get into this story and fall in love with it.(less)
I heard from one of my blogger buddies that there are a lot of varied reviews of this book. (I wouldn't know, as I don't read reviews of books that I'm looking forward to reading—spoilers, you know.) I can see clearly why there would be a lot of variation, but I know that I'm settling into the side of "I-freaking-love-this-series-and-book-so-freaking-much".
I love it because it's written beautifully, the characters stay true to form—not conforming to what the public would want most to read—and the atmosphere is deepened with each chapter.
Maggie Stiefvater has a way with words. There's no other way to say it and no way to explain it so you're just gonna have to go pick up one of her books to see for yourself. She hasn't just written this werewolf series. She's also written a fae series, which is awesome if you're into that kind of thing.
I love characters that are challenged by their own inner demons. In most books I read, internal conflict is something simple and therefore easily resolved. I can always pick out that "resolution" scene where the character comes to terms with what's eating them up inside. Something that sums up to "It wasn't really my fault" etc. Maggie Stiefvater works her characters differently, making their transformation much more believable and easier to swallow. I think the personal battle I enjoyed the most—not exactly the right word, more like appreciated—was Sam's. I cheered for that kid all the way. Cole was also a favorite. But each of them did have something to deal with, and I liked that. Gave them each their own dimension.
I love the setting that Maggie Stiefvater has created. Mercy Falls carries this certain nuance in my head that I can easily identify and pull on when I'm reading.
I'm really sad now that this series is over. (I actually had to walk into my dad's room and lay down on the dog to feel better after I'd finished reading.) I only picked Shiver up last year, but I'm still sad to see it go.
Now us fans get to look forward to watching literary-challenged directors screw up the movie. XD(less)
Ever had that feeling that a book gives you—where you know for sure that you’re totally in love with it, yet your head is so jumbled with its brilliance that even the day after you’ve finished reading it, you still can’t pinpoint the exact thing that made you love it? I feel like I can’t do it justice, even if I tried.
First, the main character. Completely awesome gal. Seriously. Worthy of a country girl. She must be from Kentucky. (Except this is a fantasy book, so she’ll have to settle from being from somewhere like Kentucky.) She’s a fighter and a kick-ass mother figure. She’s not only fiery and fierce, but kind and gentle. The way she worries over North is endearing and I can totally relate to her. She does have a few girly-girl moments, but please, don’t we all? This is a character I can get behind, a girl I can cheer for 100%. Always helps that she’s freaking hilarious.
“Syd, Syd, Syd,” he said, shaking his head.
"What?” I asked flatly. “Can we go up to our rooms yet?”
”Rooms!” He laughed. “What makes you think I got more than one? I’m not a money bag, you know.”
I sucked in a sharp breath. “That is completely inappropriate! It’s—It’s not proper, but apparently you wouldn’t know that. You wouldn’t know a moral if it slapped you in the face.”
You see the perfect blend of smart ass and chaste mother figure? And she carries this same attitude all throughout the book. I love her consistency, her believability, and cleverness. Sydelle has joined the ranks of my favorite heroines.
As for Mr. North. He could really be a scuzball sometimes but he’s really very sweet and the jerk-factor only makes for a more believable character. And the wizard thing is sexy. ;)
Overall, I loved the romance (even though the love triangle was a little too weakly represented for the impact it had on Sydelle). It wasn’t done too quickly, which is always an important aspect to me. (I really hate it when romances advance too quickly. It makes it harder to believe.) Alexandra Bracken handled it perfectly, not stretching it out too far (almost—the suspense was killing me) and not launching into it too quickly.
But let’s talk about the writing: It was fantastic. Can’t put it any other way. Well, I could go on and on about how awesome it was, how it was so simple and elegant that it painted perfect little scenes in my head. It wasn’t hard to understand and it wasn’t so over saturated with fluffiness that it was distracting.
In combination with the characters, the romance and the writing, it made for an excellent plot. It was engaging and exciting. I was watching for the cliché parts that are pitfalls for authors but I didn’t find any. It wasn’t overly cliché (always a plus) and Alexandra Bracken didn’t spare her characters any of life’s heartaches.
It really sucks that there isn’t a sequel, though. :( I just know that I’m going out to buy this book first chance I get. I need a copy of this stash of awesomeness for my bookshelf.
In conclusion, Alexandra Bracken has not only become one my favorite authors, but her characters have become a favorite as well. If you like authors like Cinda Williams Chima, Maria V. Snyder, or Kristin Cashore, you’ll love to add Alexandra Bracken to your list.(less)
I love that I found this non-werewolf-wolf book. When I first discovered it, I had some reservations: would a book that wasn't about werewolves and only solely about regular wolves, be really that interesting? Was the author only going to spew about science and facts?
Turned out, yes and no, but in the best possible ways.
Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me packed a humorous punch like Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey but luckily lacked the shallow storyline. K.J. in Kristen Chandler's story wasn't just some misunderstood, unpopular high school girl with a great destiny thrust upon her. K.J. had a real life. Real problems. Her boyfriend wasn't a supernatural, god-like creature, either.
I liked K.J.'s relationship with her dad. It wasn't a sob story—I could feel real emotion behind it and it really pulled me into the story even more because her dad wasn't this totally awesome, understanding guy. I liked how Kristen Chandler didn't play up the "he wished he had a son" routine. But I do hope there's a sequel so Kristen Chandler might elaborate and delve deeper into the father-daughter relationship.
I liked Virgil. He didn't carry any of the typical baggage and he didn't bend over backwards to accommodate K.J. I wish I had gotten more depth out of him though. He didn't seem to have much of a backstory, but then again, that scarcity made K.J.'s story take center stage and let it shine. Having more emphasis on the main character's story was much more refreshing.
So was the lack of the supernatural. This story still packed a lot of punch. I loved how Kristen Chandler seemed to capture the small town atmosphere. It was far more expressive and detailed than the usual small town story. K.J. wasn't just abnormal. She was weird.
I loved the hilarious descriptions. They're funny, yet carry a lot of meaning.
The only problem is that most men don't like having a five-foot-four Pop-Tart row like a sailor while they do their manly fishing, so Dad usually saves me for women's groups, who think I'm the best thing since the sports bra.
Hardcover edition, page 42
I absolutely loved this book. I hope to goodness there's a sequel. K.J. was a great character and she had a great story to tell.(less)
Sweetly was a fantastic bundle of sugar-coated, crack-your-jaw goodness. I got Sweetly by default after I read and loved Jackson Pearce's first novel, Sisters Red. But by the prologue, I was a bit skeptical that I was going to like it, but then the first line of chapter one told me different. Sweetly was breathtaking with its well-rounded, pop-off-the-page characters, thrilling and sinister plot, and exquisite writing all brought together to make one sweet story.
The main character, Gretchen, would definitely win a best friend charm bracelet from me. She wasn't some self-pitying teenager with a thimble full of brain cells between her ears; her insecurities -- backed up by her history -- made her endearing. I cheered for her all the way; there was never that point (that's almost inevitable in some stories) where I rolled my eyes because the main character was being such a girl. Her lack of cookie cutter emotional baggage made it easy to slip into her character and see through her eyes.
What makes Sweetly stand out in my mind is its character-driven, not romance-driven appeal. Jackson Pearce beautifully balanced the line between character and romance, and made the romance sweeter for it. I loved the relationship between Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, and how Ansel was fully fleshed out. He wasn't skipped over to lend more spotlight to Gretchen and her problems.
The romance between Gretchen and Samuel was wonderfully original, more on Samuel's part than anything. (That's not to say Gretchen pined after him -- this is not a Twilight rehashing.) Samuel didn't hang off the heroine's arm: he was a character all his own. They weren't lovey-dovey, they were honestly fond of each other in a way that didn't make me shout for a barf bag.
All these different aspects were brought together seamlessly by Jackson Pearce's incredible writing talent. It's one of the few books that I've read that has almost no abstract, artsy-fartsy metaphors for life -- but still works. I think it works all the better because I certainly don't sit and stare out my window thinking about how the wind gusting through the trees relates to life. Gretchen was very centered; everything was compacted down to what you needed to know, and told so effectively that my eyes were flying through the pages. I loved how there weren't pages and pages of description: Jackson Pearce simply picked key details in a setting that would make it pop instantly into a reader's mind.
Sweetly wasn't a regular fairytale -- it wasn't even really a "retelling". It's a story about letting go of your past and finding out who you are, breaking free of what people expect you to be so that you can be who you want to be. It was very much its own story, told with a bright, witty humor that you won't find in any run of the mill fairytale.
This book also spurred the first experience I've had where I was so engrossed in the story and so oblivious to time that I'd sat in my chair without moving for two and a half hours. The moment I deviated from the book, exhaustion hit me. I fought to keep my eyes open and focused on the words. The thought never occurred to me that I could bookmark it at the end of a chapter and pick it up in the morning. Even though I was up way past my self-allotted bedtime, I was not going to sleep until I finished.
Finishing Sweetly makes me appalled at the fact I haven't picked up Jackson Pearce's latest book, Purity. I think I'll get on that. :)(less)
So after having read nine of her previous novels, I may bit a bit biased but I really love Sarah Dessen’s new book. If you haven’t read any Sarah Dessen books before (I pray for your deprived soul), then this review is mostly for you. But if you’re a long time running fan of Sarah Dessen, then all you have to know is that this book doesn’t disappoint. In fact, you should already know that cause you should have already bought and read it by now.
The one thing I really love (among many other things) is how Sarah Dessen uses everything in her books. She’ll mention something in the beginning and tie it back in at the end. It’s done in such a way that you remember what it was and now it’s significant.
Also, she connects her novels, which is so much cooler than I can say. For instance, in What Happened to Goodbye, I’m pretty sure we catch a glimpse of Owen and Annabel from Just Listen (but you kind of have to infer). We also have an appearance (actual speaking lines) from Heidi, who just starred in Along for the Ride. This continuous looping of her character’s lives is so cool and original. So I’m starting to look for the connections every time I pick up a Sarah Dessen book.
Every Sarah Dessen book has a theme—a specific topic that she tackles and introduces a romance to offset. This time around it’s Mclean and her identity issues. This is a theme that I think all teenagers can identify with no matter who you are. (I’ve been told that a major identity crisis should occur at least once during your teenage years—part of “the deal” apparently.) And really, I found a strong connection with this book. Mclean was easy to relate to and she’s got a similar relationship that I have with my parents.
Seeing Mclean’s life though was really akin to a wake up call. I’ve always wanted to start over the way she did. Being molded into Your Place, especially when you’re in high school and unable to break out of it…it’s stressful if you think about it too much. So I can really respect how Dessen put this story together.
Really, though, every girl has to agree that the best thing about picking up a Dessen novel is the dudes. Dave was a beast. I love how he was a child genius but it wasn’t flaunted around—just shown subtly through Dave’s various hobbies and his weird parents.
But anyways, this is how I want a guy to ask me out:
“So,” he said as we turned onto the main road, the muffler rattling, “I’ve been thinking.”
He nodded. “You really need to go out with me.”
I blinked. “I’m sorry?”
”You know. You, me. A restaurant or movie. Together.” He glanced over, shifting gears. “Maybe it’s a new concept for you? If so, I’ll be happy to walk you through it.”
”You want to take me to a movie?” I asked.
”Well, not really,” he said. “What I really want is for you to be my girlfriend. But I thought saying that might scare you off.”
I felt my heart jump in my chest. “Are you always so direct about this kind of thing?”
”No,” he said. We turned right, starting up the hill toward downtown, the tall buildings of the hospital and U bell tower visible at the top. “But I get the feeling you’re in a hurry, leaving and all, so I figured I should cut to the case.”
”I’m only going to be gone a week,” I said softly.
”True,” he said as the engine strained, still climbing. “But I’ve been wanting to do it for a while and didn’t want to wait any longer.”
”Really?” I asked. He nodded. “Like, since when?”
He thought for a second. “The day you hit me with that basketball.”
”That was attractive to you?”
”Not exactly,” he replied. “More like embarrassing and humiliating. But there was something about it as a moment…It was like a clean slate. No posturing or pretending. It was, you know, real.”
Excerpted from the hardcover edition, pgs. 323-324
Now personally, I preferred her original title of Cut and Run. The true title honestly sounds like a bad daytime soap opera, but someone obviously liked it. I think Cut and Run has more edge, has a simpler meaning to it. Ah well.
Overall, Sarah Dessen uses her signature flawless writing style, humor and perfect timing to introduce another great book about figuring out who you are.(less)
I was shocked I loved it so much. Going in, I was hesitant. I thought the idea was so straight forward, I thought there wasn't much that would be able to surprise me with this plot. I thought The main character is going to drive me crazy, and The romance is going to be pathetic.
Wow. Lauren Oliver totally took me by surprise.
First, the main character, Lena, was actually pretty cool. I sometimes I wished she had more of a mind to stand up for herself, though. I thought the relationships with her family members were excellently portrayed, though their reaction towards the end freaked me out. I also liked Lena and Hana's friendship, though the plain-girl-with-a-gorgeous-best-friend complex was annoying at first.
Second, Alex. I wasn't exactly drawn in by him. I thought he was awesome though, and I did respect his character. I think the romance between Lena and Alex worked; it never seemed forced. Though only a seventeen-year-old boy could charm a girl the way Alex did. (Read it to understand, it's pretty good. ^_^)
Once I got into this book, I was hooked. The amount of detail Lauren Oliver put into this was fantastic. I felt completely enveloped by the world. Most of it was horrifying. Most of it I could see running through my head like a movie. The ending almost killed me. Jesus, I was thisclose to crying. (That in itself an incredible feat. Haha.) I can't wait to find out what happens in book two.
For such a straightforward idea, Lauren Oliver really pulled it off. It was original, detailed and heart wrenching. I need this book for my bookshelf.(less)
Not too bad for a short book. I seem to have this misplaced misconception about short books: that somehow, because they lack a significant page count, they aren't as good.
Like I said, misplaced.
The Poison Dairies is a little dynamo. Small, but really packs a punch. The emotional journeys of the characters—especially Weed—were heart wrenching. It is always spine tingling to see the cruelties a person can render.
The main character, Jessamine, starts off interesting and likeable and woefully honest in her view of the world. Towards the end, however, I thought she was weak and pitiful and annoying. I became bitter towards her.
Weed, however, was awesome. He really seemed to me to be a fleshed out and very interesting character—his affiliation for plants is different than "earth magic" in, say, a Tamora Pierce-style world because Weed isn't seen doing any particular magic other than speaking with plants. He evolved as a character, starting off as a weak, seemingly witless fool. At the end, he's strong and pitiful from love.
The atmosphere was the most potent aspect. I gladly entered Jessamine's world in a little corner of Northumberland, filled with friendly flowers and poisonous plants.
Besides being a romance, it is also a heroic tale with deep character arcs and internal struggles. The ending had me glued—Weed's speech was sheer brilliance, if seriously misplaced. Like I said, Jessamine got pathetic towards the end.
I received the sequel The Poison Diaries: Nightshade from NetGalley and I'm really glad I picked up this series. Now I can't wait to start the next book. (less)
I freaking loved reading this book. The main character, Bianca, was fantastically written! This book wouldn't have been half as enjoyable if it were told from the point of view of anyone with less nerve. Her interactions with Wesley, her family and friends really gave her a gold star in my book. The other characters were very well written and the story was told with a unique, character-driven style. Absolutely loved it.
Eight pages in and I was in love. I knew right away that I would really like Bianca's character, so I just listened to her story and it kept me engaged with the other characters. Her cynicism may come off as annoying to some people, but for me it really clicked. I found myself laughing out loud at her narrative, decorated though it was with some colorful language.
Her story was great. I really liked Wesley, though I didn't get such an engaging, in depth interest in him. I loved the dynamic between Wesley and Bianca. Their drama was nicely balanced with Bianca's issues with friends and family. It was a fascinating idea brilliantly executed.
In retrospect, Wesley and Bianca's relationship is pretty cliché, but I wasn't ever annoyed by it, nor did I ever want to put the book down. Bianca kept everything alive and interesting by shutting down all the cliché pitfalls. I started this book around noon and finished it right after dinner. I wanted to find out what happened with these characters—I wanted to hear their story.
In some ways, Kody Keplinger's presentation of Bianca's story reminded me of Sarah Dessen. The topic was wonderfully handled and I never felt like I was being preached to. This is a book I'll be rereading for a while.(less)
God, I freaking loved this book. Fantastic prose, loved the character development and all the emotional upheaval will make your heart ache. I was afraid at first that I would have to reread Aurelia to get the characters fresh in my head and get the story straight, but I went ahead and read a bit of Exile as soon as I got it and realized it wasn’t necessary. I’ll tell you why…
The characters were more alive than ever. They came back as if I’d just finished reading Aurelia. Aurelia was up and fighting, straining against the unexpected bounds her expedition set on her. Robert, frustrated as ever, trying to tell her not to be so reckless and stupid. The two of them are presented so well. It’s so easy to imagine their relationship and with Anne Osterlund’s expressive writing style, everything comes alive—including the increasing heat between our two MCs.
I said fantastic prose, and I meant it. Right away, I found a passage that I just had to make note of. (I’m serious when I say this. I always keep an index card inside the book I’m reading so I can make note of this stuff for my review.)
“Eyes watched her. From behind pitchfork tines and around morning glory trellises, through the gnarled apple trees, and under the long, crisscrossed shadows of orchards…She tried smiling at the onlookers , but they ducked beneath their leafy screens and sank to darker slate-gray depths.”
Excerpted from ARC paperback edition p. 7
I wish I could share some of my favorite bits of prose, but they’re cliffhangers. Oh boy, can Anne Osterlund leave you a cliffhanger. Usually books don’t take me by surprise but I gasped a few times throughout this book. It might have been due to the slight change in her writing style. She had a tendency to write punchier sentences instead of the longer flowing kind. I think it’s what really made the emotion pop out in this book.
IEU: immense emotional upheaval. Aurelia was struggling with her traumatic memories of court, as was Robert. Aurelia was also challenged during her expedition in more traumatic ways than ever. Reading about her heart-wrenching reactions made me feel like a peeping tom. Like being in the room when someone’s crying. I think this feeling speaks of Anne Osterlund’s ability to bring out the soul of a character.
I love how it all comes together. I was so swept up in the adventure, thinking what the characters thought, that my Reality Button was turned off. It’s what usually clues me in on what’s going on—what the author is trying not to tell you. But as I said, the characters…you think what they think and when they put it together, I was suddenly going, “Ooohhhhh!!!” when it clicked for me too.
This is now the third novel I’ve read of Anne Osterlund’s and personally, I hope I have the money and means the day her tenth bestselling book comes out. I was so honored that she thought of me for a review copy. :) Definitely one of the Cucumber Fairies. XD
If you haven’t picked up any of Anne Osterlund’s work, you need to get on that. Like, right now. As in, this second. In fact, why are you still even bothering reading my review, which doesn’t do her work nearly enough justice? You need to be at the bookstore picking up one of her books. Why are you still here?!(less)
When first hearing about Wither through the grapevine, I was sure I wasn't going to like it -- if I ever got around to picking it up in the first place. So it was with some ironic amusement that I slid a copy off the shelf in Books A Million awhile ago and started reading. When my friend tapped me on the shoulder a little while later, I was a little shocked to find myself riveted. When I got home, with the main character still on my mind, I added Wither to my cart on Amazon.
It was surprisingly personal and in-depth. Though there wasn't much to connect us, I felt a kinship with Rhine. I was never irritated with her for any illogical choices she may have made. I cheered for the success of her plans. I was so into the ending that I didn't even hear my dad knocking on my door. Rhine was effortless to understand and enjoy. She never lost sight of her goal, she was never blindsided by a man, which I loved.
Lauren DeStefano's writing was as fantastic as Rhine; it really brought her character, the atmosphere and the idea to life. There wasn't an overwhelming amount of abstract passages -- DeStefano tended to use sensory details that connected with an aspect of the main character's past experiences. There was also an excellent thrill to the suspense. I was absolutely riveted. In dystopian, anything can happen.
I was also impressed by the idea. On Lauren DeStefano's website, I read about how she came up with the seeds for Wither. I particularly liked how she described herself as being "a weaver of what ifs". Her tale of a world where women only live to twenty and men to twenty-five was extremely creepy and thought provoking and fortified by her subtly edgy writing style. Every sentence embodied the world -- no word was wasted. The layers of the setting (and characters) were numerous. Like many dystopians, it very much felt like a dire prediction, so rich was the world in which Lauren DeStefano painted.
Overall, Wither was a very satisfying read. I think seasoned readers of dystopians will find this one a breath of fresh air and I think I will greatly enjoy the second book, Fever.(less)
I am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally read...moreI am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally read it -- it is a fantastic fantasy, the kind that is sorely lacking from today's YA fantasy scene. I can't wait to continue with the series.(less)
For Darkness Shows the Stars was quite a conundrum. Within the first hundred pages, I was irritated. Within the following two hundred, I was on the fence. By the end of it all, I was quite smitten. Being familiar with Diana Peterfreund's work (and yet still unable to correctly spell and/or pronounce her last name), I sought out her new book because I'd enjoyed her previous ones. For Darkness Shows the Stars was a poignant coming-of-age tale about a hard life, heartbreak, and triumph. I think Jane Austen would cheer from her grave at what I'd just finished reading. I was pleasantly surprised with the rich world and stunning characters and with such a bold opening, I anxiously await the sequel.
The main character, Elliot, came very, very close to being chucked across the room. The first forty pages were fantastic, if a bit confusing, but then Kai arrived in the story. I loved Elliot's passion and her determination that the people under her have the best life they can have. I respected her for her audacity and cleverness when so much was going against her. However, I cannot give her an inch when it comes to how she repeatedly allowed her has-been lover to be outright cruel to her. Despite the inevitability of the romance, if she had merely shown a bit of spine and retained some objectivity when it came to anything involving Kai (which was everything), he would have backed down and probably have been proud of her for standing her ground.
There were two tiny hiccups for me, story-wise. I was completely confused by the first fifty or so pages. Not very cool. I was expecting things to be explained a little bit more in depth by the second chapter. Admittedly, everything worked itself out but those first several chapters had me making a peeved face. Secondly, I thought displaying the letters Elliot and Kai exchanged was rather pointless. While it worked for showing what happened however long before the present time, I didn't think it showed anything else: character development, etc. Despite these little setbacks, I thought the story was wonderful. Almost entirely predictable, but wonderful in its execution.
The world was amazing as well, and though I'd wished while reading it that there was less of the KaiKaiKai aspect and more of the world built in, I see in retrospect that everything balanced itself out nicely by the end of the book. I'm very impressed with Diana Peterfreund's ability to create such depth-defying worlds. Nothing was flat in this book (except for maybe Elliot's judgment sometimes). Everything had some slight detail that made it pop off the page.
The romance was...ah, interesting, but Kai wouldn't catch any friendly looks from me at any dinner parties. I didn't like the way he treated Elliot, and I don't think it's right despite how he truly felt about her. In my opinion, it only made it worse. His bullying and arrogance really put me off. I was more into the romance for Elliot's sake since I'd grown to respect her character by the end of it.
I think the thing I was most impressed with was the writing. Very easy to grasp and quite intoxicating in its execution. I found myself pulling out of the book and imagining how everything went in my head. By the end, I was grinning like a total girl.
For Darkness Shows the Stars was a collection of positives and negatives, but mostly positives. I will definitely be picking up the sequel whenever it comes out, though I don't think I'll have this book for my shelves. Not quite yet. Maybe when it comes out in paperback.(less)
When I picked up Beautiful Creatures however long ago, I was intrigued by the characters and the fresh world. Beautiful Darkness made me love the characters. Beautiful Chaos has me hooked for life. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's dual authorship on this novel has wielded a fantastic result: I fell even harder for the characters, and shivered even more from the spookiness of the world. I cheered for the romances (lamented a few) and bit my nails during the action scenes. In this newest installation in the Caster Chronicles, I feel that Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl managed to capture every element of writing perfectly, from the characters to the plot to the setting, they had it down.
What struck me most about this book was the prose. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl have ironed out all the kinks -- their writing was fantastic. Every line brought new life to the story; it was so easy to disappear from this world and reappear in that one. It makes me want to move down a state and live in South Carolina (even though there is nothing down there, trust me).
Some of my all-time favorite characters are from this series. Though I'm still not a huge fan of Lena, and I can't quite pinpoint why. Honestly, I like Liv more than Lena because Lena seems so dramatic and Debby Downer all the time. She's so...abstract. Still, there was nothing in Beautiful Chaos that made me dislike her horribly, but when I cheer for her, I'm really cheering for her and Ethan. I loved their romance and Ethan's dedication really makes him an endearing character, especially since it isn't all about Lena. A boy with sense is a boy worth cheering for.
Gatlin's cracks really showed in this one, and such is Garcia and Stohl's talent with world-building, I felt devastated right along with the characters when they were forced to face some truly rough times. The evil they'd been trying to fight off for so long really hit home for them, and it popped right off the page.
Garcia and Stohl have greatly stepped up their game with this one; they brought it all to the table. Since it set the bar so high, my anticipation for Beautiful Redemption is mixed with some apprehension. As the last book in the series, they've gotta bring it all and then some. I think they're up for it, though. If the ending of Beautiful Chaos sent a shiver through me, I think Beautiful Redemption will leave me quaking in my chair.(less)
Patricia Briggs has long since been one of my all-time favorite authors, and after having read more than half of her published novels, I've come to know what to expect with her work: pure awesomeness. With a perfect blend of writing talent, engrossing plot, cheer-worthy characters all bundled together with humor, Cry Wolf is a perfect follow up to the short story Alpha and Omega and a brilliant opening to the series.
Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, Cry Wolf is told in third person, and alternates between several points of view, but chiefly, between Anna and Charles. Normally, a constant switch off between characters would open opportunities for a turn off, but Patricia Briggs handles it well, giving each character their own voice and avoiding the pitfall of having them misunderstand each other a bit too easily.
Cry Wolf comes with a whole host of lovable characters -- I couldn't begin to name a favorite. If you're a veteran of the Mercy Thompson novels, you'll probably enjoy the greater insight into Bran's character, as the "home" setting is in Aspen Creek, where Bran lives. Really, Patricia Briggs' finest brush stroke lay in the building of Anna's character. I think, if Patricia Briggs wasn't as good as she is, Anna's character would've been butchered. Without given the proper motivation, I feel readers tend not to be as sympathetic to characters who have suffered from some kind of trauma. Anna really had it rough, but there are moments of incredible strength and character development (and sometimes, setbacks) as she tries to break through the walls she had to put up while under constant torment. Patricia Briggs balanced her character well, so that her being an Omega (and therefore, dead set against violence) is believable, but so is her fight to find her place.
My favorite thing about Cry Wolf is the romance. I think I might like the Alpha and Omega series better than Mercy Thompson, just because of Anna and Charles. Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, where romance slowly blooms over several books (and sometimes impeded by the dual affections of two very dominant werewolves), it's obvious from the get go that Anna and Charles are meant for each other, even though they have a lot of issues to sort out. Their development as a couple was endearing to read and, even on reading it a second time, I still cheered for them.
While my favorite thing might be the romance, I can't deny the brilliance that Patricia Briggs brings to the table in terms of plot. I'd guess that most novels with a premise such as this one would focus mostly on the romance. Well, not so in Cry Wolf. Patricia Briggs is all about putting her characters through hell. So the building of tension towards the end, and then finally hitting the climax -- it left me breathless with the thrill of it. Absolutely brilliant!
And never forget the writing! Oh, it's amazing on its own. I've always admired Patricia Briggs for giving information in a way that weaves in backstory, raw info and action without butchering it with telling and not showing. Add the way she crafts a character's voice and behold my favorite author.
Finally, the humor. It's scary that a book edged in so much darkness and intense plot could be so comedic. It wasn't rib-cracking throughout the entire book, obviously. There's always a time and a place for humor, but Patricia Briggs nailed it. No matter which of her books you pick up, you're bound to get a laugh one way or another. Whether it's because she's captured you with her writing or because you're so in love with her characters that you can't help but giggle at some humiliation or another: Patricia Briggs knows where to make a reader laugh.
Cry Wolf was a fantastic opening to the Alpha and Omega series. Despite this being my second time reading it, I enjoyed it just as much (if not more!) than the first time. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the second installment, Hunting Ground.(less)
I will forever be a fan of Patricia Briggs. It’s how she blends together all the critical elements of a story with her flawless writing and loveable characters. Her stories themselves are original and engaging. Her characters come alive and are presented so well that it’s perfect daydreaming material.
When the story first opened, I was confused because Seraph is presented as a child and I was like—Well how are they supposed to get married? But the transition between the years is very well done. I was worried for a moment that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the Before and After but as I said, very well done.
Raven’s Shadow isn’t set in just Seraph’s point of view. It switches between most of the main characters—Teir, Seraph, and Jes mostly. The mix gave me an insight into the characters that reinforced their accessibility. Seraph’s character, for instance, could come off as cold and distant but since a good portion of the book is in her point of view, I was shown her motives and understood her character. I really enjoyed Seraph’s character especially because she has a lot of fire in her and a quick wit.
The characters in general were presented extremely well. Even the Emperor, who is supposed to be this pompous, partying ingrate. His transition between drunkard and commander was believable. I cheered him all the way.
The world of Raven’s Shadow was excellently crafted. It took me half a dozen chapters to figure out what the heck a Sept was but once I settled into the book, it became clear as well as a bunch of other tiny things that readers have to pick up when they delve into a fantasy novel. I would suspect that politics is something difficult to write about without being complicated and boring, but I was engrossed with the uncovered alliances and seeming insignificant things becoming important.
Patricia Briggs has a flawless storytelling style that gives a clear picture of the story without being so in your face about it. She doesn’t coddle, she doesn’t condescend. She effectively shows the reader what she finds so special about these characters and what they’re going through.
An absolutely thrilling read. I devoured it practically in one sitting.(less)
The blurb on the inside flap says, "In the increasingly crowded field of kick-ass supernatural heroines, Mercy stands out as one of the best". BAH! Hard for me to believe, because while they're right—Mercy IS the best—they don't understand that no one can hold a candle to Mercy. Seriously. No one. Not even Faythe Sanders from Rachel Vincent's decidedly awesome Shifters series.
I really wish I could rant about all my favorite scenes—practically ALL OF THEM—but I'm hardcore spoiler free. God. If there's any author that makes me want to go on a squeeing rampage, it's Patricia Briggs.
This latest installment definitely had me loving the series even more. I really enjoyed the depth added to Adam and Mercy's relationship. In my head, it was always something distant—used for drama rather than something solid. So this book kinda made me sigh happily—an incredible occurrence, lemme tell you.
What I love most about Patricia Briggs' abilities (besides writing flipping awesome characters) is how she can surprise readers. Usually, I have an inkling of what's going to happen—and if not exactly what's going to happen, then at least the knowledge that something surprising is going to happen within the next two pages. But Patricia Briggs just blows that all to hell. Her surprises aren't in the typical places, but instead of feeling out of place, they really work in terms of shock value.
Second, her plots. I think it's hard for authors to have hair-raising, nail-biting plots when the readers already correctly assume that the main character is going to live. So having the character in a live-or-die situation at the end and making it good just shows talent. For real.
Another thing that makes this a great series? (It also attributes to why the characters are so great.) The humor. HILARIOUS! Mercy's almost self-deprecating, gently sarcastic humor has me laughing out loud. (And getting checked in on by my dad, who asks, "You okay?") This isn't the funniest of them, but it was the quickest I could find. Just gives you a taste. ;)
"I think I'll pitch it to the Gray Lords as suicide by werewolf," he said after a long moment of silence. "Anyone who hurts you in front of Adam is too stupid to live anyway."
Excerpted from the hardcover edition, p. 316
Even if you're strictly young adult, you need to try this series out. It's appropriate for young adults, and really worth it.(less)
I should have given The Singer of All Songs a chance when I first got it from Half Price Books several years ago; I could've avoided the year of literary deprivation. I had read the first page and tossed it aside because the fancy writing style put me off. But I picked it up out of boredom several nights ago and was instantly captured. I read thirty pages that first night before forcing myself to close it and go to bed. Writing that I had once labeled "fancy" with a negative slant had transformed into smooth and easy prose, enriched with details that portrayed a great story of a heroic cast of characters on a dangerous quest. Once I started, I could hardly get myself to stop, and by the time it ended, I was instantly ready for more.
Kate Constable's epic writing style brought forth everything that makes a story great: world, characters, plot, atmosphere. Once I gave the writing a chance, it was incredibly easy to let myself be transported into the story where singing is the vessel for magic, where a young girl is just trying to find her purpose in a world fracturing from the inside. The characters were amazing and diverse, but worked well as a cohesive unit; the plot was exciting, with constant action; and the world, the atmosphere, was intoxicating.
It was hard to pinpoint my favorite part of Singer of All Songs, because there were so many awesome aspects of the book. Overall, though, I think Calwyn was my favorite character. I really liked her narrative, even though she could stand for a bit more of a confrontational edge -- while her tenderness was endearing, sometimes getting up in someone's face is the thing that works in that moment. But I forgave her for it. I really liked reading about her transformation from timid beekeeper in the ice world of Antaris to confident traveling chanter on the scent of an evil sorcerer. I kept behind her and her friends 100%.
And the way Kate Constable presented the plot made it possible for me to sink into the story 100%. While it was a short book, it seemed to encompass much more time than it should. While I finished it in a few days, the characters had been going for so much longer than that, and the passage of time was presented well. It was easy for me to keep up with the story -- I understood the shift of the stakes and the characters' understanding of them. I liked how their journey was far from swift and easy: they were constantly being detoured by raging storms, getting kidnapped by pirates, exploring unmarked territory. There was always something happening, always something to capture my interest and attention.
The plot also gave a great understanding of the world. The setup was very Tamora Pierce-esque, but fueled by a core that was entirely Kate Constable's. Singing being the vessel for magic? It gave the world a very unique atmosphere, one that was completely effortless to slip into. There was this constant curiosity about how something worked, about how some small thing about the world would affect the characters. I loved that about this book, its richness of detail.
The Singer of All Songs surprised me with its exciting plot and cheerworthy characters. And now that I've been captured by the world, I cannot wait to continue with the series.(less)
I wanted to be very careful with this review because of how different and unique it is from all the other YA books I've ever read. I've seen books described as "inspirational" and "it teaches you blahblahblah" and I'd go and read them and…not be inspired. I'd be depressed. I wouldn't feel any victory when the main character finally learned to trust herself, nor when the dirt bag got what he deserved.
I didn't put aside this book for anything less than meals or sleeping. I was attached from page one and I'm still holding onto it. I had a $25 gift card from Amazon and I used some of that to buy myself a copy of The Mockingbirds. This is a book I want on my "favorites" shelf next to my desk.
This isn't a "Last Friday Night", Katy Perry type of story. If it taught me anything, it's the human capacity for hurting others.
The Mockingbirds wasn't a pity-party type of story either. Alex was a fleshed out character. She laughed, cried, raged. Every page wasn't dominated by what had happened, but it was realistically always in her thoughts. I loved reading how she grew as the story progressed. The romance built in was well done because it showed the ability to choose.
Something I noticed right away was how packed with character and atmosphere the first few pages were. I had an instant understanding of Alex's character and how things stood at Themis.
Three things I know this second: I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking up next to a boy I don't know.
And there's a fourth thing now. It's ridiculously bright in my room. I drape my forearm over my eyes, blocking out the morning sun beating in through my windows, when it hits me—the fifth thing.
These are not my windows.
Which means this is not my bed.
My head pounds as I turn to look at this boy whose name I don't remember. He's still asleep, his chest moving up and down in time to an invisible metronome. I scan his features, his nose, his lips, searching for something, anything that rings a bell. A clue to connect me to him. But remembering last night is like looking through frosted glass. I see nothing. But I can hear one word, loud and clear.
Excerpted from hardcover edition, pages 1-2
I loved the whole book. I can only appreciate this book from a creative and literary standpoint—I myself have never been in such a situation as this. For those who have, I can imagine how this must have struck home. Carrie Harris's post speaks very well about how Daisy Whitney has written a fantastic book. This book should be taught at schools and assigned as summer reading instead of the garbage most schools make high school kids read. Teenagers suffering in silence might actually learn to find the courage to speak up by reading The Mockingbirds rather than Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.(less)
Pandemonium was a great follow-up to its prequel, Delirium. If you enjoyed the first book, you'll definitely like the second one. I thought Lauren Oliver did an excellent job continuing with the story, with her signature elegant writing style and thought-provoking themes. Her characters were excellent, the world was fleshed out and realistic. Overall, a great read.
The thing, I think, that makes Lauren Oliver so successful is that she has this ability to suck you in before you realize what's happening. I'm still on the fence about so many things concerning her books and writing, but I can't fault her for her ability to tell a good story.
The main thing that I'm still flitting between is whether or not I like the main character, Lena. There's nothing that I can pinpoint exactly, though maybe it could be the fact she's so driven by romance. She has depth and humor and goals. There's nothing that makes me instantly dislike her.
I thought the plot was excellent. The way Lauren Oliver switched back and forth between Lena in the present and Lena in the past (though after the first book) was brilliantly done. Constantly moving back and forth between two very different stages in a character's development and making it convincing takes skill. Much like her work in Before I Fall, where she took such an unpleasant main character and turned her into a hero, she showed the progression (and sometimes regression) in Lena's character almost flawlessly.
The writing was wonderful, as I've come to expect with Lauren Oliver. I particularly enjoyed the opening segment, where Lena is running through the forest immediately after escaping her home city (picking up right where Delirium left off) and how there is an allusion to a phoenix, and rebirth. These small, compacted themes were littered throughout the story and added great depth and complexity to it. Marvelous.
(For those of you who have read it already, was the ending not CRAZY? In a way, I expected it, just not so suddenly. I cannot believe Lauren Oliver had the nerve to end it like that!)
I can't wait for the sequel, plainly said. This installation was awesome.(less)
A Heart-Wrenching, Incredible Story Lemme just say this right off: I've never had such a visceral response to a book ending before. Yes, it's true. It's no exaggeration when I tell you that I was slack-jawed the last few pages of the book. Lisa McMann's deliberate, to-the-point writing style gave the pages an intimidating aura. Having instant sympathy for the main character only made it worse. I was on the edge of my seat all two hundred some odd pages. I want this book.
"I Am Ethan De Wilde. I am." The main character, Ethan, was not a victim, but a survivor, and his voice resonated. I was surprised to like his character as much as I did, but something just sucked me in. He wasn't perfect--Lisa McMann did not pussyfoot around anything--but he wasn't so aloof that I couldn't relate to him and sympathize with him. He was as tough as nails, but threatening to shatter at any second. He was an volatile character, but I loved his voice and his story. My heart broke for him over and over again.
The Family Picture...of four I liked the family, and I can't decide if it was because they were just original enough to be cool or cliche enough to be familiar territory. Regardless, Gracie--Ethan's six-year-old sister--stole my heart from the beginning. I love how she and Ethan interacted--it made me want a little sibling. (I'm sure that's the worst thing to say ever.)
I also liked how none of the other family members were perfect. Out of all of them, I was expecting the dad to be the most 2D, and he was by comparison to the others, but only just. Blake, the younger brother, in my viewpoint, altered between You're Cool and STFU. I forgave him his attitude because someone had encroached on his territory, so he was pretty cool. Not as cool as Gracie.
The Girl Next Girl: Upgraded I was expecting the whole Cami situation to blow the book into the water, but I liked the way Lisa McMann handled it. I actually liked Cami, and I rooted for her and Ethan. It made the ending all the more tragic.
An Ending Worthy of a Pint of B&Js As I said, visceral. It felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I literally GASPED. I am in equal parts awe, envy and suspicious in Lisa McMann's ability to do that. I've decided I will approach her next book with cautiously restrained enthusiasm. (less)
"Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair..." This line really conveys the tone of the story well, because in that one sentence, we as readers are acknowledging that the romance will not be everlasting, and will inevitably end in heartbreak. When I first discovered Tiger Lily, it was in Barnes & Noble and I'd admired its gorgeous cover. I read the summary and felt a thrill of excitement at the thought of a Peter Pan inspired story, but alongside that excitement was a tinge of hesitation. I have always loved the story of Peter Pan and I didn't want that love for the original story to become tainted by whatever Tiger Lily had in store. After hearing all the cries of "it was the most heartbreaking story I've read this year" and "I needed tissues for it," I was starting to think that maybe I shouldn't get myself involved with that sort of thing. Tiger Lily didn't seem right for me. At first.
My hesitations over preserving the sanctity of Peter Pan's original story in my mind were wiped away by Jodi Lynn Anderson's easy, in depth writing and deeply realized world. Her characters were well defined, and even peripheral characters were brought to life with Anderson's to-the-point writing without stealing the spotlight. Tiger Lily ended up surpassing my expectations.
There are two things that stand out the most to me whenever I think about Tiger Lily:
One is the fantastic writing. Jodi Lynn Anderson writes as if she'd read Bird and Bird and took this piece of advice from Anne Lamott to heart:
Outside...you don't get to sit next to the reader and explain little things you left out, or fill in details that would have made the action more interesting or believable. The material has got to work on its own, and the dream must be vivid and continuous.
Anderson doesn't overcompensate. She uses details instead of mindless description to bring out characters and setting, creating a clipped but effective pace that allows the hauntingly heartbreaking quality of the story to shine through.
Two is the narration itself: brilliant. I got such a thrill to see something so original done with narration! Instead of switching between Tiger Lily and Tink's points of view, it was told solely in Tink's POV, but since Tink (being a faerie) can read minds, we get a constant stream of inner thoughts from Tiger Lily. While that might be a bit of a turn off for some readers, who might find that they're distanced from Tiger Lily with Tink mediating, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could see how some readers might find it boring, but I found the dual narration a clever and refreshing break from the cookie cutter switching of POVs.
Jodi Lynn Anderson has a fantastic imagination. The world of Neverland was richly detailed, and for once, fully set in a time and place. None of the "second star to the right and straight on till morning". By planting her world solidly in time and space, it made Neverland seem more tangible than ever, like we really could accidentally wash up on its shores if we got turned around at sea. She also didn't bog down the story with unnecessary details. I felt there was just enough to keep the plot on track and just a little bit more to create a three dimensional world.
My informative followers were right: it was a heartbreaking story. Despite being told from the get go that this was not a happy story and there was no happy ending, I still felt that twinge of hope towards the middle that maybe, just maybe, things would be alright. That surge of hope only made it worse during the fall after the climax, when everything is settling horribly into place and there is no going back. Jodi Lynn Anderson has a skill that grasps the tiny details that sends heartstrings twanging.
Tiger Lily was a thrilling, soul-capturing read that really brought a new dimension to the world of Peter Pan. (less)
This book is for "ages 10 and up" and your first thought might be, "Oh, this is a middle grade novel. Psh." Well, if your definition of a middle grade novel means that there is no swearing, no hot and heavy sex scenes, and no vampires lusting after someone's blood, then yes, this is a middle grade novel. But if you're one for quality books with likable characters, a fast-paced and engaging plot set in a fascinating world, then this is the book you want.
Nya is a girl I could steal chicken eggs with, no problem. She's one of those awkward teen girls who can't seem to keep their mouth shut and gets a little shove from fate. Nya's emotional journey was really intense, and I lived it right along with her. I LOVED how Hardy did not go easy on Nya. That girl went through hell and came out by pulling herself up by her own bootstraps (with some help from her friends).
I think readers, and writers alike, should take note of what Janice Hardy has pulled off: Nya was conflicted and complex. She wasn't a saint, nor a heartless scoundrel. She was just a girl who really didn't set out to be the "voice of the voiceless" but that's the direction fate shoved her in, but for a price. She did bad things and I loved that. Finding a main character who didn't make all the right moves was refreshing, and really attached me to this story because this book wasn't depressing—it was heart wrenching and inspiring.
"Punctual as well as smart," Zertanik said as the clock tower chimed midnight. He held the door open for me and I walked past him, leaving my conscience on the porch. It curled up next to my principles.
Excerpted from the hardcover edition, page 190
Nya was also funny and self-deprecating, which is always a bonus. And her friends were awesome ones—they all came with their faults without taking over the spotlight.
The plot was brilliant. Hardy did an excellent job of presenting the information you needed to know, and didn't bog you down with backstory and elaborate description. I had no problem keeping up while still remaining completely engaged. The "bad side of healing" was a fascinating idea—one that Hardy executed magnificently. The world was also excellently portrayed—right up there with Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima.
The second book, Blue Fire, continues Nya's journey as she goes up against the Duke and his best trackers. WOOT. Can't wait to get it. I'm thinking (and hoping) that the series will continue to deepen and mature as Nya experiences more and more and gets a little older.
To writers: Janice Hardy has a GREAT blog for writers—one that I have been cheerfully stalking the past week or so after a friend referred me to it. I think her blog is helping me so much right now, she might end up going in my acknowledgements, even if I never get to actually meet the gal. So go check it out: The Other Side of the Story(less)
Cinda Williams Chima knows how to tell a good story. Let's consider this: this is a five hundred page novel, is set in a fantasy world, and doesn't have "elves," "dwarves," or "dragons" anywhere on the cover. And yet Chima has the outstanding ability to keep you riveted all the way with her fantastically crafted characters, clear and twisted plot and in-depth world. If you haven't picked this series up yet, your life is not complete. I'm just saying.
Now usually a series will start to either decline around book two or pick up the slack from book one. Chima keeps everything consistent—actually, she ups the stakes and makes you pine after the next book before you even finish. Raisa is still one cool chica—for a princess. This book always reminds me of Aladdin but Princess Jasmine is seriously weak compared to Raisa. Sure, Raisa can be a real girl sometimes, but hello, she's a princess. She can face down the High Wizard, man. She's impressive.
But still. Han Alister is more like Han Solo—that selfish and emotionally distant character that is so incredibly sexy you can't stand it and you get instantly jealous of any girl he gets with. Not that I would get jealous, of course. I'm just, you know, saying. (And so what, I've got a thing for knife fighters.)
And as always, Chima has you going along, giving you the benefit of the doubt about how much you really know about what's going to happen and then BAM. Throws you for a loop! A hundred pages in and I'm starting to get smug because hey, my assumptions have been right so far! Well Chima won't have any of that. She completely floored me with that plot twist. And the ending?! Oh snap.
I need that fourth book. As in, right now. As in, today. BUT IT COMES OUT NEXT YEAR. You know how you love an author's work so much you almost hate them because they seem to take forever to get their next book out? For me, Cinda Williams Chima is that author. Hyperion has The Crimson Crown set to come out sometime in 2012. The sadists.(less)