My first impression, before ever having opened the book, was that it was gonna flop. I just figured that with a plot like that told from the points of view of three different characters...something said it wouldn't work.
Well. That's what I get for losing faith in Australian/New Zealand authors. Because The Shattering was an excellent book with rich characters, an impressive storyline and a haunting setting. Not to mention hilarious humor.
I was in love from the first chapter. Keri's character really set the tone and my interest was piqued from the blunt way she told her story. I knew right away that this wasn't going to be some summer story with crappy romances and cheap inner battles. Karen Healey was not fooling around with this book.
At first, I thought it would be a contemporary, because that's the impression I got from the summary. It's not, however. It's actually an urban fantasy and I think it worked out great. The story fit with the genre, and carried a lot of depth.
I loved the myth and culture involved. By the end of the story, I felt as if I were coming home from vacation--that's how well Karen Healey represented the setting of Summerton. It was creepy, but compelling, which made it even creepier. I was spooked but couldn't get out by that point.
The dynamic between the three main characters--Keri, Janna and Sione--was fascinating. Karen Healey didn't shy away from anything. The three had a lot of complications. They weren't instant buddies, which I thought was fitting. Cookie cutter friendships have been becoming more common lately and their unique natures made me fall in love with them right away.
Karen Healey was a breath of fresh air. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books.(less)
Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. It continues much in the way that Divergent did, following Tris as she battles with her disintegrating world. Just like with Divergent, I enjoyed the world and the symbolism surrounding human nature being forced into five different factions and how the city reacts to those refusing to be molded. However, the polish wore off in the sequel. Tris's character was almost unbearable to me--I could barely keep myself from throwing the book across the room at her constant stupidity. The plot was chaotic. The romance was irritating. The goal was lost on me. Overall, not a promising second installment.
Tris was a total spazz. She would make a decision one chapter then change her mind in the next. She would leap to new stages of development within the space of a paragraph instead of a convincing build up. That was the core problem with her character: lack of conviction. If her motivations had actually been explained, her Messiah complex might have been believable, but she was useless expect for making trouble. Always doing something inevitably stupid before thinking it through...and everyone got it -- even random Erudite kids -- except her.
The plot was all over the place. I couldn't keep track of who was doing what and where the stakes were. The reasons for one faction to do something were almost never explained very well. I felt like the whole thing was just a collection of events strung together in some semblance of order. The ending was a nice save for me since I was barely holding on. Now, because of the way it ended, I'm compelled enough to figure out what happens in the third book, but if there isn't some kind of character improvement, I won't bother anymore.
What I took for simplistic writing in the first book turned out to be too simple the second time around. There was way too much telling and not enough description. I couldn't sympathize with Tris's pain because it was simply put: "It hurt."
The only part I truly enjoyed was the symbolism behind the five factions and how their world is being torn apart by each other, and Tobias. Though he was a complete spazz right alongside Tris for large sections, he had enough wits about him to be able to put his foot down about their relationship. Thank God. I had cheered for their relationship in the first book, but was not a fan by the end of this one.
I was not impressed, overall. The writing had lost its luster and Tris was just too irritating for the story to be enjoyable.(less)
I liked this second installment, even if the writing gave me a little bit of trouble.
Janice Hardy seen through the eyes of her awesome blog, The Other Side of the Story, is a master at her craft. The reason I picked up her series was because I was so impressed with her writing advice. However, when I read Blue Fire, I found myself distracted by her writing. Perhaps my expectations were lifted a little higher in light of her blogging prowess, but the moments I expected the writing to delve into and prolong were short, practically butchered. The times where I expected rushing action came off rather flat.
On the writing style front, I was a tad bit disappointed.
The story, though, completely rocked. I like Nya--she's a great character. She has many personal faults but is a hero for all intents and purposes. I love stories like that: Harry Potter-like stories where the main character doesn't set out to be a hero but is aimed that way because what they're wired to believe in and fight for is, in the eyes of the public, what makes them a hero.
Nya is also one of those character who just cannot catch a break. This kind of story, where the characters are always the underdogs, really gets me to the edge of my seat. I fear for Nya's safety and sanity every step of the way. With every situation, I always ask myself, "What can go wrong? What are the chances that it will go wrong?"
That's a great way to pull a reader in, which is why I am, again, so impressed with Janice Hardy's work.
The story is gritty and intense. I loved the new relationships that were formed in this one, as well as the ones that were deepened. My heart almost broke towards the end.
The incredible width and breadth of the world makes me think of Tamora Pierce. Great detail and fantastic atmosphere. Two thumbs up for worldbuilding.
A great installment, though lacking in the writing arena. I've got Darkfall all fired up and ready to go.(less)
When first discovering A Temptation of Angels, I was engrossed by the storyline (if a bit put off by the prospect of a love triangle) because it appeared to be an action-packed story set in a Victorian-style London full of political intrigue and stunning romance. Well, there was action and there were some nice romantic scenes, but overall, I was disappointed. What the summary promised, the story did not deliver. As this is my first of Michelle Zink's work, I'm not encouraged to pick up another of her stories.
The main character, Helen, was promising...at first. I liked her quick and inquisitive mind in the opening chapters, but as the story began to set in, I was unimpressed. I couldn't exactly place why other than a few cases of horribly chosen arguments. Her tenacity was endearing until it became irritating. I believe having her particular character in the third person wasn't the best for the story. I felt distanced from her; this complete inability to connect to her.
When the romance started, I was torn between being enraptured and frustrated. It, like the beginning of the story, started too quickly and proceeded with frightening predictability. Of course she's going to develop immediate feelings for a man she's living with, who teaches her to use her angelic powers and swears to protect her. And of course she's going to be "torn" between him -- the dedicated protector -- and a man she played with...when she was five. Love triangles are a horrifying creation of torture in young adult literature, truly.
The plot itself was rather weak. It wasn't very tightly wrapped. It seemed to be a story about Helen's emotional journey -- mourning her parents, growing into her role in her new world and trying not to get herself killed -- but with sudden, harsh missteps into this "bigger picture". I got bored with it after a while. I saw there was direction, but I didn't feel the pull to see the characters through. It just got...boring.
Michelle Zink's writing, besides the third person point of view, was good. What drew me to her in the first place was what I read briefly from The Prophecy of the Sisters and how I was impressed with her style. I say "good" because it didn't keep me glued to the pages, but I wasn't repulsed by it either. I did see a lot of telling and not showing, but there were also a lot of great lines.
Overall, not a fan. It just wasn't a book that appealed to me.(less)
Girls Don't Fly was an awesome, short, cute story with an inspiring and heartfelt message. Myra was a relatable teen girl with a lot on her plate, still figuring out who she is and how she fits in. Kristen Chandler has a quick and easy writing style that says volumes. Girls Don't Fly was a great pick me up and a new contemporary favorite.
One preachy passage could have ruined this whole book (this statement still under revision, because this book had too strong a foundation to be rocked by one little paragraph of preachiness). Kristen Chandler, however, told her message (if she wrote with one in mind) through the main character, Myra, and her adventures and misadventures. She didn't sit down and go, "This will happen if you blah, blah, blah."
Myra was an awesome main character. She wasn't completely naive--she had a rough home life and a sucky ex-boyfriend. But she had spunk. She also had a drive. What really drew me to her was her strength. I couldn't understand why she would put up with her family putting her down all the time, but I admired her ability to keep her chin high.
I love how the romance held an unexpected twist and how, when it finally crept up, it was realistic. They weren't perfect. They weren't horribly cliche, either, which was a nice plus. I cheered for them all the way.
From reading her debut, Wolves, Boys, And Other Things That Might Kill Me, spunky but misplaced teenage girls seem to be Kristen Chandler's style. She does it well. I think she still has to grow into her talent, but I can't wait to see what she does next.(less)
Revived was an interesting book for two reasons: (a) the concept was fascinating even though the writing and plot wasn't and (b) somehow I got two hundred pages in on the concept alone before I just couldn't take it anymore. The main character, Daisy, was too generic, the writing weak, the romance lousy and preachy to boot. I finally just gave up on it in sheer agitation and disappointment.
The idea -- the results of a government project designed to bring people back to life told through the eyes of one of the subjects -- was awesome. The plot was awful. Cliche to the point of madness, I knew what was going to happen chapters in advance. There were, I think, maybe two places that took me by surprise, but I was so aloof of the characters that I didn't really care.
The main character, Daisy, had no depth whatsoever. Her fears and cares were too generic; she completely lacked complexity. There was very little dynamic between her and her "parents" (the agents assigned to her, Mason and Cassie). The sub-characters were underdeveloped. The only ones I liked turned out to be letdowns later on.
The romance between Daisy and Matt, aside from being entirely too predictable, was horrifyingly shallow. Daisy acted too much like a "real girl," which felt off to me because she had never had a normal life. She was constantly moving, changing identities: she had no fear of death, for goodness sake, since she could be brought back to life so easily. I expected a different set of insecurities from her. She was too spastic for her character to be believable.
I thought the writing to be very simple and straightforward at first, but after a hundred pages, long after I'd expected some depth to emerge, it just became weak. Far too much telling. Also, it felt as if Cat Patrick was merely skimming the surface of the characters, like she was writing for a show on ABC Family. I could tell that there concepts were there, but she just wasn't delving into them.
This book really had the potential for a stunning, thought-provoking, and heart wrenching theme, but it read more like a rough draft than a polished finished copy.(less)
What I Expected: A sappy tale with gritty undertones and vivid descriptions of "what it's like being a teen girl" all overlaid with gut-wrenching humor. And capped with a even sappier ending.
What I Got: Just about what I expected, except I didn't think I'd really love it. Not the same way I love Sarah Dessen books. I didn't exactly fall in love with this book, but I don't regret spending a weekend reading it, either. The whole thing was well done, except the main character, April, just about made me want to sit in a bathtub and drop the toaster in. I liked the story, though, even if pretty much the whole thing was far-fetched. Like, little green men saying "take me to your leader, earthling" would have been more believable, type of thing.
A little splash of irony? I actually really liked it. God help me if I know why.
April was dumb. Ridiculously so. Maybe this is just country-born-and-raised talking, but who the fudge doesn't know how to change a bulb? Wash the dishes? I mean come. on. And I know the whole book is about making mistakes, but jeepers creepers! Some of the things she did just made me go, "And you weren't expecting that to happen?!"
Ready for the irony? Even though a house plant had a higher IQ than April, she was pretty cool. She was hypocritical, overly intense, sometimes mean, hysterical, incredibly selfish and dumb, but I never once threw the book across the room. Somehow, I really really liked her character. I liked her story. I liked seeing how she changed and how she grew.
Writing-wise, it was alright. I did have an issue with how some authors use multiple question marks (???) and exclamation points (!!!!!) in order to show emotion. But other than my little pet peeve getting a work out, the writing fit the story. Sometimes it was short (it was usually really short, nothing elegant) and sometimes it got profound. I liked how Mlynowski divided everything up. It's a very unique style and I loved it. She really took out the overrated subtly on how to weave in backstory.
I didn't see a lot of humor, though. I would laugh in embarrassment for the characters, but it wasn't as uproariously funny as the blurbs claimed.
Story-wise, it was great. I think the story and the theme were the book's greatest strengths, even if the plot itself wasn't very "tight". You've got a girl who doesn't know much and you throw her out into the "big bad world" and see what happens. Typical things happen (except the hot tub. I don't think that happens a lot): you get suspicious of your boyfriend, a crazy next-door neighbor blackmails you in order to get into your little group, and you have sex for the first time. And your world falls apart, in the end. And thennn, it pieces itself back together.
Overall, I really liked the whole book. Enough to where I want to read more of the author's other works.
If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti, you may not find as much enjoyment in this book, but if you're a fan of Kieran Scott and Elizabeth Scott, you should make time for this one. :)(less)
I wanna say that this is my new favorite book, but it just…isn't. But take note that this wasn't a bad book. It was kind of hard to push myself through the ending, sure, but that was probably due to a sudden influx of typical teenage depression (AKA: mood swing).
There wasn't anything incredibly appealing about the main character, Silla. She was whiny sometimes and other times, she was really cool and I wanted to be her best friend. She appeared to me to be one of those characters who're so deep in their self-pity that they wander around and do stupid things. So I had a hard time really connecting with her. I wanted to slap her more than I wanted to console her.
Nick was the real flavor of the book. He was crass, bold, and atypical. He was cliché at times, but his whole character worked. He wasn't pushing to be the hero, but that's what he turned out to be in several ways. He was like a dark knight—and I totally call dibs. ;)
The plot was a great one. A unique idea—blood magic. I loved the flashbacks to Josephine's time—she was truly a whacky character. Scared the crap out of me. How her story and Silla and Nick's were intertwined was brilliantly done and I nearly jumped out of my seat during the scary scenes.
So while a bit depressing at times, funny at others, in summation the whole book rather fell flat for me. I most likely will pick up the sequel, though, because I am intrigued about what happens next. Let's see if our dark knight will turn out to be a total sissy. (less)
The Butterfly Clues was a gripping, intense story with a fascinating, unique main character. I don't know exactly what I was expecting when I first started in: a quick, easy read, I guess. But Kate Ellison pulled me in fast with her addictive main character, Lo, and heart-racing storyline.
Lo, at first, was a bit off-putting with her psychotic tendencies to steal and her must-do-or-the-world-will-fall-apart paranoia of tap, tap, tap, banana-ing before entering and leaving a room. Her obsession with threes, sixes, and nines would make you raise your eyebrows at the page. Still, there's something vulnerable lurking between all that paranoia and obsession, something tender and fragile that really captured me, and made me want to know more about her and her story.
The setting of The Butterfly Clues was creepy, to put it lightly, but alluring in its own way. I don't think having a tour of the interior of a strip club or a place called Neverland could have worked in any other book. Here, it was fitting. Entirely so. Nothing streamline for this book.
There were only a few things I think lacked. For example, though I thought that the romance was well done, a few of the scenes were a bit too cliche, and moments that should have been crucial were understated. Also, Lo's relationship with her parents was not as well-balance throughout the book as I would have preferred. All of the drama with her parents came at the end, as if trying to fit its bigger role in at the end.
The mystery was fantastic, though. I was very impressed with how it was written--how it played out. I love books that surprise you, but I also love it when your suspicions turn out correct. It's a very satisfying moment.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for mystery and chilling stories.(less)
I loved the idea, but I had a hard time getting into the story. I didn't have a lot of sympathy or compassion for the characters. They all seemed a bit shallow to me. The story was interesting, if a bit unorganized, and the writing was not what I was expecting at all.
I didn't feel at all compelled to continue reading Kali's story. I liked Kali's character enough, especially this interesting situation she finds herself in: her powers switching on and off every other day. And the problems she faces with her dad. Kali herself had an interesting dynamic--she has little sense of normality, but I felt as if that wasn't portrayed very well.
The sub-characters Skylar and Bethany were interesting, but their group dynamic was typical: girl that babbles, girl that's popular but not actually the b*tch she appears to be, and the screw up in the middle. Bethany can't stand Skylar, Skylar can't stand Bethany, Kali trying to keep the peace because she needs the friendship. I liked Skylar and Bethany, but not enough to really care about them.
Kali's story was...almost typical and expected. Not as complex as I was hoping for. I had no problem figuring out the mystery. I did like Kali's powers, though. That was cool and different, though maybe not described very well.
The real let down for me, though, was the writing. Very simple, and not elegant. There were spots of humor and brilliance, but they were few and far between. I was expecting more from Jennifer Lynn Barnes because I loved Raised By Wolves.
Straight up: probably one of the best books I've read in a while. Robin LaFevers has constructed a story chockfull of political intrigue, breathtaking romance and exciting adventure. Coupled with her incredible writing ability, this is a book I will put time aside for to reread. It was that good.
The main character, Ismae, was fantastic. She started out with a rough life and was given a second chance. She didn't let the chance go to waste. I cheered for her from page one. She wasn't a perfect character. She made mistakes and misjudgments and let her mouth get away from her. She had a wicked sense of humor. She was flawed. She was awesome. Her emotions were raw; Robin LaFevers didn't sugarcoat anything.
The romance was awesome! I liked how Robin LaFevers held out just long enough to put me on the edge of my seat. It's one of those romances that you know they have to get together--they just have to!--but it takes a ridiculously long amount of time. It was satisfying though. So kudos to Ms. LaFevers.
The eerie setting was the perfect backdrop for the compelling plot. The story was brilliantly told and artfully crafted. It's so rare I see such depth to political intrigue. (MCs are generally on the outskirts or indirectly affected by political dealings, so it was nice to have a MC in the thick of it, actively changing the course of the fate of the world around her.)
Robin LaFevers has an enviable writing skill. She transitioned smoothly, almost seamlessly, between the stages of Ismae's character development. She created a story of a strong, scarred young woman called to the life of an assassin. I loved the uniqueness.
Grave Mercy was a thrilling, very satisfying read. I resolve myself to the life of nagging Robin on twitter until the sequel, Dark Triumph, comes out.(less)
A stunning, breathtaking read that I did not mind taking the time out of my midterm study schedule to read. This came highly recommended from my best friend who "Oh my god, just love it so much!". In retrospect, the shine wore off a bit around the edges, but mostly, I would recommend this book to anyone.
What caught me was the writing. Tahereh Mafi busted so many writing rules, man. It was awesome. Word vomit has never been so attractive. The style was a highly effective heartbeat to Juliette's wild and dangerous ability and volatile personality. It was all at once distancing and dude-ever-heard-of-personal-space kind of personal.
Juliette herself was so-so. She was awesome enough to warrant my attention but I was hoping for a bit more character development. She seemed more like a child turned super hero by the end of the book, not scarred teenager running from the Reestablishment. Still, I cheered for her and nearly had a few heart attacks at her near misses.
The romance was...well. This is a two-sided issue. My Amelia-be-reasonable side tells me that it was too fast, too furious, too everything but good. My Amelia-get-a-grip side says that there was plenty of foundation, plenty of heat, plenty of time and it was great. Averaging the sides together, I say that I'm interested to find out where her relationship goes in the second book. I hope it lasts, too (no matter what the Amelia-be-reasonable side thinks).
The world scared the crap out of me, simply reinforcing why I don't read dystopians. It was a bit like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood in that the change between everyday life and Reestablishment was very quick, and very recent. There is still evidence of the world we live in now, which is creepy to the max.
I totally understand the hype around this book. I can't wait for the sequel.(less)
A well crafted and excellently written book, though it's not without its faults.
This is the first thing I've read of Laini Taylor's and it's an impressive first impression. I was completely blown away with the writing. The setting was what really took me away, though. I don't think I've ever read a book where the author painted a foreign setting that clearly. (I mean, thank you Jesus, finally!) This seriously makes me want to visit Prague now or hunt down every movie set in Prague and have a Friday Night Movie Fest.
Karou was an interesting main character whose strength really showed through. I loved her consistent sense of humor and steel-like core. I loved her quirks—artistic ability (MY GOD, SO ENVIOUS!) and language collection (EVEN MORE ENVIOUS). She was never annoying.
Her relationship with the angel, however, was pushing my patience. I kept getting distracted by the whole "love at first sight deal" with undertones of a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance. I want to compare it to Twilight because there wasn't a lot of the stuff that truly makes a stable relationship, just mostly physical attraction. I had a hard time not thinking, "Okay, seen this before. Get. Real."
I was very taken with the set up of the story. The plot was intricate, unique and very well set up. As it got closer and closer to the end, I started figuring things out slowly as each new piece of information was presented. I love that kind of slow-coming realization! I'm glad I found a book where I didn't have the whole plot figured out by chapter three.
Monsters…angels…very cool. Even though I couldn't really get into the romance, I loved the story and the worlds and the characters.
(The ending annoyed me though. Just saying. Makes me hesitate to pick up the next book. o.o)(less)
An interesting story, but not one that struck my fancy.
It was excellently written, though I had a hard time buying into the atmosphere. I usually get a feel for the world within twenty or so pages but this one…I got a hundred pages in and still felt like I was stumbling around in the dark.
I liked the main character, Victor, though mostly for his bad-boy appeal. The emotional journey was incredible, and very real with its switchbacks and unpredictable U-turns. The cousin, Elizabeth…I couldn't decide whether she was cool or just annoying. She was fiery, but she had her moments of eye-rolling girlyness.
It was a great idea. The plot was intriguing, if a bit predictable—except for the end. Boy was that a belly dropper. But I couldn't really get into it because the story of Frankenstein has never interested me. (I picked this book up mostly for its cover. Shh.)
This book makes me have more faith in Kenneth Oppel's work. I had previously attempted to read his popular book Airborn but couldn't manage because it was bogged down by so much detail. This Dark Endeavor was very elegantly written and wasn't swamped with nit-picky details, so maybe I'll grab a copy of Airborn.
Well written, short and torturing, it's worth a gander.(less)
Cover Operations Report On the twenty-fifth of April, Operative Robinson engaged in the review of a top secret document, the fifth installment in a report regarding the progress of Operative Morgan (currently in remission). The review that follows is accurate to the best of Operative Robinson's ability.
Report Summary PRO: Spies. And all that it entails. CON: Middle grade label. PRO: Spy boys. And all that that entails. ;) CON: No movie. For realz!? PRO: Much edgier writing style. CON: Not enough spy boys.
Huzzah for spy books! Ironic thing is, one of my friends got me onto this series by accident, and she hardly ever reads. The first book in the series, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You was shoved underneath her bed and, like any true reader, I fished it out, asked about it, and the rest is history. I love spy books, but Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series is practically one of a kind. There's nothing to compare it to! Not like that's a problem, really. No other spy series could touch this one.
For (basically) the only one of its kind, I wish it was higher up there in terms of reader level. I'm glad that it doesn't have a bunch of hot and heavy scenes and doesn't have any swearing, but some (just some) of the themes come off as kiddie.
That was certainly true for the first book, at least. Now at the fifth in the series, Cammie is going through much tougher stuff and the writing style and plot got a lot edgier. The older, more mature themes and writing style set a darker backdrop to the plot, showing Cammie's older thought process. I felt on more of a level with her on this book, versus the first four. Still cheered the heck out for her.
Love them spy boys. And there should be more. That is all I shall say on the subject. ;)
I cannot believe this series is not a movie. It would be an awesome movie. Just saying.
The only legit problem I have with this series is that you almost have to read them back to back in order to keep track of who's who and what the heck is going on between books. I completely forgot how the fourth book ended and had to piece it together from the fifth. So I'm rereading the series this summer. Again, just saying. (less)
A cancer story but not a cancer story. A cancer story for those who want a My Sister's Keeper-esque story and something better for those who don't. Finally, I have discovered just why John Green has gathered such a widespread and loyal fan base full of scary nerds. I find myself intrigued by his ability to be so in-your-face about a topic where Death is shown in a very brutal form and I am wary because his lack of subtlety is unnerving, too.
Hazel was an awesome main character. Very set in her own niche. I would never mistake her for any other of the hordes of characters out there. Her resignation to forever be a cancer victim coupled with a streak of rebellion to be outside the stereotype made her narration a roller coaster ride of humor and tragedy.
Augustus Waters. Ah, what a boy. He's accumulated a fan base all his own, and I can see why. He was practically the ultimate guy. The starving artist but not. Funny, charismatic, and just a bit too all-knowing to make a person uncomfortable. Almost too profound to be real. But of course, John Green can't have an Edward Cullen in one of his novels. Augustus wasn't perfect. Thank God.
The summary doesn't do the story enough justice, making it sound like Every Other Book out there populating the young adult shelves. I would never categorize this book in such a prosaic way. I knew going in--keeping in mind the hordes of Nerdfighters out there, ready to fight me to the death should I dare disgrace the cult--that I wouldn't be able to read it without getting emotionally invested. Jeez. I got a little teary-eyed at the end. There, I admit it.
I loved John Green's style. Very open and honest, but cutting it short just enough so as not to scare off all the readers. Oh, and of course I forget the most important thing! The humor--duh.If there is one thing I shall carry on into my Alzheimer's days, it is that John Green can make a person laugh.(less)
A Book Worth Reading This being a book recommended to me by my librarian, I was a wee bit skeptical--the way I always am when someone recommends a book to me. I was pleasantly surprised! I was immediately drawn in by the feisty main character, the simple writing style and the enticing world set in modern-day London. Though the end of the book was chockfull of loose ends, it only makes me hungrier for the sequel, Sapphire Blue.
A Girl Worth Fighting For (Yes, I'm impressed by my Disney references, too.)
The main character, Gwyneth, was awesome. A real keeper. Her light and easy sarcasm made me like her instantly. She has her moments of girliness, as she should. She doesn't fall head over heels in love with the first good looking dude she sees. She fills her best friend in on everything strange and sinister that happens to her. Her best friend, Lesley, is a keeper, too. She keeps a cool head and does research on time traveling devices when Gwyn is in the 1910's having tea with her great great grandmother.
A Romance That Doesn't Overpower Thank God. Finally, a romance that is natural and lightly enchanting, almost sweet with its subtlety. Gideon was a complete prat at times, but he's a good sport when Gwyn doesn't take it lying down. Their easy banter was a thrill.
Time Travel I'm usually turned off by time travel books just because they can get so confusing and I feel as if all the plots have already been done. Ruby Red wasn't bursting with originality, but I did like how time travelling was a gene to be passed down. There's also some type of deal going on around a Circle of Twelve, which of course must be interesting further along the road. The mystery that always surrounds time travel wasn't particularly thick in this book, and I loved how an interesting piece of information is subtly revealed at the end.
PG Writing The writing style had the nuances of a middle grade story. There wasn't a lot of depth to Gwyn's emotional struggle and the sub characters were very 2D, put there for the purpose of having people for Gwyn to interact with, but it wasn't like we had any background on them. Personal tastes and aspirations, etc.
Also, the plot bothered me. It's as if the plot would work if all three were read in one sitting: the first book was like the foundation of the story--the introduction and rising action, but a long way from the climax. While I'm now bouncing to read the sequel, I'm afraid that I'll have already forgotten what happened by the time it gets around to the US because Ruby Red didn't have a plot of its own.(less)
The Name of the Star is Maureen Johnson's first paranormal work. I've enjoyed the one or two contemporaries I've read of hers, and I think she's made a promising start crossing over into the paranormal genre. The Name of the Star was enticing and rich with research. Though I only found the main character, Rory, merely agreeable and the romance very "meh," I was impressed with the detail and suspense put into the story.
Rory won't exactly be getting a friendship bracelet from me, but I'm not thinking about throwing her into a pit of crocodiles, either. She was, in a word, agreeable. Her Louisiana background was believable, but not overwhelming in detail. She was very convincingly American amongst a sea of Brits. She lost me at some points, but otherwise, she was a good MC.
The story was fascinating. (I mean, duh, it's about Jack the Ripper.) It was a bit confusing at some points, but in retrospect, that's to be expected. Maureen Johnson did a fabulous job clearing things up at the end, so if you're bogged down by the plot, hold out till the end. Everything sorts itself out. I really appreciated the amount of research Maureen Johnson must've put in -- there were a lot of small, almost inconsequential details that added flavor and intrigue to the plot.
The atmosphere was very eerie -- another thing Maureen Johnson did very well, better than a lot of paranormal authors who have several PNRs under their belts. I wouldn't say I was sitting on the edge of my seat, but I did hold my breath a few times. (And, yes, sadly, I mean that literally.)
The romance, however, stalled for me. Very "meh". I didn't think much of the romantic interest or why Rory was so interested in him, other than the fact that he was simply there.
The humor I'm on the fence about. While I read it, I thought it was funny, but looking back on it, I don't remember it being all that funny. A bit of a letdown coming from Maureen Johnson.
Overall, a brilliant story and definitely worth the time to read.(less)
This was an excellent book, but it's one of those "excellent books" that really shouldn't work, or I feel like it shouldn't work, mostly because of the writing. The story, though, was beautiful. The characters were memorable. The world was fantastic. I am definitely buying this book.
The writing could have been improved in a lot of places, and considering that it was told in two different POVs, the voice should have changed changed accordingly. I couldn't see a distinct difference between Ryder and Falpian except in their outlook on certain "controversial" subjects. A lot of times, Coakley rushed through the action instead of taking her time. I know that action scenes take practice to write well and this is her first book. She has a lot of potential, writing-wise. She paints her atmosphere well. There was one part where I was literally going, "Holy crappp, this is freaking me out!" Which usually doesn't happen when I'm reading.
The characters were so awesome. Ryder was awesome. Falpian was awesome. Pima was awesome. I loved seeing their struggles--I was struggling right along with them. They seemed very real and very set in their own little niche in the world. This is the sign that it was done well.
The world. TALK ABOUT WORLDBUILDING. I was supremely impressed with Coakley's ability to tell you information about the world without spoon-feeding it to you. You just figured things out as you read. I could keep the map of the two countries in my head without a map drawn out for me. That's how well it's explained. And by the time the ending comes around, I'm so engrained with the culture that the full weight of the climax hits me just as much as it hits the characters.
I'm surprised the book turned out to be soflippinggood. Considering that one of the narrators isn't even mentioned in the summary. And there isn't a romance.
I can't wait to get this book, but I'm going to wait until the sequel comes out (because there HAS TO BE a sequel, even though I can't find any information about one). If publishers change covers, it's usually with the publication of the second book and I don't do mixed-edition series.
I highly recommend this book to those of you who love Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder, John Flanagan, or Cinda Williams Chima.(less)
I declare Maggie Stiefvater to be a master of mythology. Not that I know the first thing about horses that are pulled from the sea and raced on land. Merely that Maggie Stiefvater took a piece of mythology, made it entirely her own, and presented it in a dark, twisted, real way that I have never seen another author do before. Her writing was cunning, her characters strong and alive, her atmosphere rich and enticing.
There was a lot of passion in this story. It came through in the characters with their own battles and personal triumphs, and in the writing. I'd read a blog post on Maggie Stiefvater's site where she talked about how this book was the one she's always wanted to write. It was an inspiring post, and this was a very inspiring story. I loved every page.
The romance was fantastic. It was just as powerful, if more elusive, than the couple we all know and love—Sam and Grace. Sean Kendrick had that streak of reality to him that made him instantly likeable. Puck Connolly was fiery but very much human with her internal struggles and external battles. They were fantastic characters. I want to reread their story. I want more of their story. Even though I almost cried at the end—a rarity within itself.
The atmosphere was palpable. Talk about disappearing into a story. Small, seemingly meaningless details put breath and life into Thisby. I hate the beach, but the detail here was so vivid and enticing, I wanted to be down on the sand in the chaos leading up to the races.
The writing was just as beautiful as ever. The passion was there—passion that most authors strive for but bury under the pressure of blending into the mainstream YA paranormal romance. Maggie Stiefvater's work stands out, stands in its own category. The minute this book comes out in paperback, I'm getting it. Maggie Stiefvater is a writer I want to mimic. She writes flawlessly. She draws you in, almost tricks you into getting to know the characters. It's natural.
I can't wait to see what she does next.
Oh, did you know that The Scorpio Raceshas been optioned by Warner Bros.? No? Oh, well, now you know. You're welcome.(less)
Incarnate's idea that there are no such thing as "new souls"--there are only the million that have been reincarnated for five thousand years--was a fascinating idea. It held amazing potential, but it just wasn't there yet. The writing needed work. The main character, Ana, needed more development. It was a story held up only by the setting and atmosphere rather than the characters.
Ana was a great character at first. She came from a life of neglect and hardship that gave her a slim core of strength and resilience. It was just, through the progression of the story, her strength dimmed and she became kind of tiresome. I liked the concept of music throughout the story, but I'm on the fence about if I like how it bound Ana and Sam together. Sam was a bit too generic for me. Something about him just didn't work. Ana's obsession with him didn't quite work either, but at least I knew where she was coming from. It was as if Ana went from strong young woman seeking her roots to pitiful child in love.
The romance, for some reason, made me giggle, mostly because it was so fluffy that I had to smile. Not in a bad way, mind you. It was sweet.
Jodi Meadows had an interesting writing style. It held a lot of promise mostly because it read more like a well polished first draft than the work of several years (or however long). Still, there were diamonds hidden amongst the rough.
The idea, however, was brilliant if a bit underdeveloped. I think Jodi Meadows could have taken her time with building up the world a bit more thoroughly. Several of the events just didn't click right. That was the problem I had: there was nothing necessarily "bad" but nothing really hit home. I feel as if the whole point of the book was missed, like Jodi Meadows never really got to the core of her story. There was a lack of suspense and drive. Close, but no cigar.
I'm very hopeful for what will become of Jodi Meadows' skill as a writer. Her ideas were brilliant. I really want to see what she does in the sequel.(less)
I wasn't expecting to enjoy Under the Never Sky period so I was shocked when I LOVED IT as much as I did! The main characters, Aria and Perry, were awesome. Each had their own issues and own distinct voices and concerns--not to mention, worlds. Veronica Rossi has a unique writing style interspersed with light humor and great sense for world-building. I cannot wait to reread Under the Never Sky.
This story was driven by the two main characters, Aria and Perry, and the issues they faced when their worlds were turned upside down. The plot was very simple and straightforward outside of that. So in a way, this story was refreshing in how it stepped back from complex, intricate plots and subplots and dove deep into the characters. Aria and Perry were awesome -- I rooted for them individually before they became a team (though Aria was a bit of a spazz in the beginning -- I forgave her for it).
Veronica Rossi had a wonderfully addictive writing style. It was compact, but expressive. Her clear, concise writing writing put a lot of plot into three hundred and some-odd pages, like it should be longer than it is. I was impressed with that. Most authors take forever to get to what they're trying to say, but Rossi just went for it.
The setting of Under the Never Sky was my second favorite thing about it. I loved the way it switched between the sterile, controlled environment of the Pods and Realms to the wildness of the Outside. Like having sci-fi and fantasy wrapped into one book. Combined with the magic involved -- heightened senses -- I just couldn't get enough of it.
My favorite part though? The romance. I was shocked when I realized how much I liked it. Romance is usually a requirement for me to the like a book (not always) but I usually I don't like romances that dominate the pages. Most of the book was about the blooming relationship between the two MCs but I enjoyed every minute of it. Veronica Rossi can write a fantastic love 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)