When I first got this book, I wasn't too thrilled. I started reading it but the writing style distracted me. Maria V. Snyder uses shorter sentences th...moreWhen I first got this book, I wasn't too thrilled. I started reading it but the writing style distracted me. Maria V. Snyder uses shorter sentences than I'm used to. Not horribly short but I'm used to, say, J.K. Rowling's good sized sentences. HOWEVER! There is some allure to this book that I can't explain. I kept reading it and finished it within a day. When I finished, I thought to myself, "This series is well on its way to becoming a favorite of mine."
It's just simply amazing; this idea. It's THE most original magic book I've read, with absolutely AMAZING descriptions. It paints the picture without getting to graphic during some scenes and that was totally fine with me. When it comes to sensitive topics, I hate it when authors go into fine detail.
The only thing I have to say, even though it isn't quite negative, is her use of language. Not swearing, even though there are swear words, but some of the "oldness" of it is lost on a few keys quotes, when it sounds more modern than you'd expect. Perhaps this is Maria V. Snyder's style. Perhaps this is what is acceptable in her world. Whatever it is, it doesn't detract from the reading unless you're a dork like me who picks up on that stuff.
I definitely recommend this book to all who are looking for a good romance and who want a fresh, original idea. And, consequently, for anyone who would enjoy a good "spy" novel.(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)
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)
"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)
Wow. The Hunger Games. The first thing that comes to mind is that the main character, Katniss, is the ideal heroine except when it comes to romance of...moreWow. The Hunger Games. The first thing that comes to mind is that the main character, Katniss, is the ideal heroine except when it comes to romance of course. She can fight and she actually has something more than hot air between her ears--both characteristics sadly lacking in many, many urban fantasy novels. The Hunger Games is brilliantly original. It makes me wonder how Suzanne Collins's mind works.
I highly recommend this book for any who enjoyed Graceling by Kristen Cashore. (Anyone notice the slight familiarity between the two main characters names? Katniss and Katsa, Peeta and Po?)
Holy freaking fudge. So I just gotta say it, like I have to say it for every other A and A+ book. THAT WAS SO GOOD! Closing a great book is like stepping onto solid land after being on a roller coaster. You take a deep breath, orient yourself, and the real world comes back into focus slowly. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl would be great roller coaster engineers if they ever decided to steer in that direction. As for literary coasters, they're set for life. :)
Now, another thing I believe. Mystery is hard. Consider Arthur Conan Doyle. Now there's a guy who can write mystery. When you write a mystery, you have to consider every single detail. You have to imagine that your readers aren't just young adults and adults with nothing better to do, you have to make yourself believe you're handing this into the director of the CIA--someone who can pick apart anything you throw out there and predict the outcome miles ahead of the game. That's how awesome the mystery was. I was left going, "Ohhhh snap! That's brilliant!" Needless to say, I'm taking pointers from these lovely ladies. (Actually, I'm planning to get myself a paperback copy as soon as they come out. Ready the highlighters!)
Amateur hour is over, people. I swear these ladies must be fooling people. I think maybe they've published a dozen books apiece under different names 'cause they sure do know how to write. Writers and their work mature over time--I can't imagine what these ladies' work will be like, say, ten books down the line. Both "Beautiful Creatures" and "Beautiful Darkness" offer an inspiring journey full with believable characters that we can not only identify with, but root for. And really! The Southern drawl? Perfection! They do wonderfully with that without being cliche and noisy with it.
Alright, alright, so I had some major issues with Ethan throughout the book. But hey, guys are mostly idiots right? (Don't huff at me like that, boys, ya'll can do really stupid stuff.) But Ethan overall is pretty awesome. A true Southern gentleman--worthy of a country boy. (I'm from Kentucky and that is high praise, ladies and gents.) Still. There had to be a test in the relationship, right? So while I appreciated that, I STILL think Ethan would have done better playing the field a bit. (Ya'll who have read the book, you know what I mean. If you haven't read the book, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!)
I loved the new addition to the crew! Now if only I could pull off sounding like Liv and still be accepted by my friends. XD (Another reason I like both Ethan and Link's characters. Some cool dudes. God, can we get some more of those in the world?)
Overall, a fantastic sequel to a fantastic debut. I loved the continuation of the story and the new development with the characters. As always with debuts, I'm always looking for a rehashing of the previous book. But this was a great exploration into new territories. I loved it.(less)
This was a book that I wasn't supposed to like. Anna Dressed in Blood, from its shadowy cover to its ghost-killing main character, had every possible turn-off possible in my eyes. Fact is, I don't do creepy books. My sensitive but suggestible imagination can't handle it. Anna Dressed in Blood surpassed all expectations and returned me to a state of readership where I read it for the love of the story, and not because five million people were shoving in my face in an attempt to get me to read it. The main character, Cas, was captivating and memorable; his friends, seemingly ordinary people who are forced to do extraordinary things; a plot that kept me glued to the pages, and a romance that I cheered for... All wrapped together in an atmosphere layered with history and topped off with a dash of humor.
I think it was the humor that did it for me. Kendare Blake could've easily turned this story into one that left me unable to close my eyes at night by stripping it of any relief from the suspense. Instead, Cas's narrative is peppered with quips that had me giggling one moment, before the plot turned and I was left with a screwed up expression of disgust. Kendare Blake didn't rely on cheap tricks and overly described gory scenes to mess with the reader. She went past that, into the realm where (we normal people) don't like to go. Described with simple, skin-crawling details, the story made me cringe as easily as it made me laugh.
I loved Cas's narrative for more than just his wicked tendency towards gallows humor. His sense of vulnerability made him appear alive to me; he wasn't this fearless guy who sprinted in to slay mean ghosties. Every move to action was precipitated by a fear of losing something, like his family or his life. I liked that.
Also, his friends developed in a way that surprised me. For example, he makes friends with the school's queen bee, Carmel, and I thought she'd drop out of the story completely. Instead, she becomes one of the main characters and develops a force of her own. Each character was developed in this way, and it gave the book a unique flavor.
The plot was a straightforward adventure story, and like many of the contemporaries of its kind, it was fast and it was heart-pumping. Kendare Blake handled it well, presenting enough mystery to sustain the reader without riddling the entire story with lose ends to be gathered up within the last fifteen pages. The lack of hardcore mystery made it easier, I think, to slip into the world; my brain didn't have to restart itself and think back to the last thing that had happened. The action scenes were well described, so much so that I could see it projected in my mind like a movie. (This book would make an awesome movie.)
Even though the romance was entirely predictable and in retrospect, Anna came off as rather flat and one dimensional, I cheered for Cas and Anna all the way. Their romance wasn't like all the other supernatural pairings that are now a dime a dozen, where the "we can't be together" speech is worthy of an epic eye roll because it seems so melodramatic. Not here. I understood what stood in Cas and Anna's way. I wanted Cas to be able to make it past the obstacles, I totally cheered for him. Anna came off a bit one dimensional sometimes, but I didn't notice until I thought back on the book. Fact was, they worked for each other and for me.
I loved the atmosphere Kendare Blake created. Settled in its spookiness, it was easy to get lost in the world of Thunder Bay. It was equal parts creepy and intriguing. It makes me want more of the world, just as much as I want more of Cas and Anna's story.
Anna Dressed in Blood is perfect for those who love a thrill, as well as for those who don't. I'm so glad I picked it up -- a hearty "thank you" to those five million people who were dying for me to read it. I loved every page. (less)
This is the first book of Ms. Marchetta's that I've read (she's also written "On Jellicoe Road," "Saving Francesca," and "Looking for Alibrandi") and let me just say that for this being her first fantasy novel, I was extremely impressed. I've never come across a style like hers before where there were many things I thought could be improved upon and yet I really enjoyed it.
It was raw. Raw in both the writing and the story. For example, there were many scenes that I thought could have used some more editing and others that were raw emotionally and it came off brilliantly. Reading Ms. Marchetta's style of writing and the content was inspiring in a way. She didn't hold back on anything and for that, I applaud her.
This was a very dark book. But that just made the light more satisfying and uplifting. I absolutely loved the ending. And the mystery! A mystery wrapped inside a mystery! The beginning was confusing and I was left going, "Ohhkay..." and with any other story I would have given up, but I've been wanting to read this for forever! So there there was no waaaay I was going to give up then! The brilliant part? While confusing at first, it all played out in the end. I loved how Ms. Marchetta just brought everything together and it made perfect sense. The revelations made throughout the story made me go, "Oh snap!"
I just wanted to say this: some of the lines could have gone over poorly because of the cliche-ness of it BUT here's the thing--I never thought it was cliche when I was reading it. The dialogue fit together so wonderfully. Finnikin is such a forceful character. He doesn't feel anything halfway. So everything he says is direct and is believable.
I loved the characters. They were strong, believable and fun to read about. Their pain and triumphs resonated perfectly. I thought it interesting how Ms. Marchetta would sometimes write scenes in Froi's point of view. I thought it was weird at first, but then I kinda got into it and I started to love it. But I really liked Finnikin's character. Like I said, very forceful. Full of emotions and a quick thinker. Most heroes start to blend together after a while--and very few YA fantasy books are written in the hero's point of view anymore--but Finnikin's character was so raw and honest that the impression his character made on me will last for a long time.
I cannot WAIT to get this book! By either Borders or BookDepository or Amazon, it's gonna happen either way. The only question is when. I prefer as soon as possible but the financial problems of a teenager can be rather alarming sometimes. (Translation: I'm pretty much broke. XD)
WARNING! There is a lot of sexual content (more suggestive rather than explicit) and a lot of dark events, so I'd say this is more for older teens (15 and up). But there isn't a lot of swearing.
"Once in Every Lifetime" by Jem goes great with this book. You can find it on the soundtrack to the movie Eragon.
Overall, an inspiring and fantastic read. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read some of Ms. Marchetta's other works. :) (And she's Australian!! AWESOME accent! You can view an "interview" with her here.)
I hope there's a sequel. There's plenty of material to work with, methinks.(less)
A surprisingly fantastic read! Perhaps a little slow at first; it took me a little while to get into it, but once I kept going, I really got into it....moreA surprisingly fantastic read! Perhaps a little slow at first; it took me a little while to get into it, but once I kept going, I really got into it. The descriptions are wonderful and the characters realistic and lifelike. I absolutely love Australian authors. Every book I've read by an author who's Australian turns out to be fantastic!
This is a truly realized world. I greatly admire authors who spend so much time in their stories to have such cultured and realistic worlds. It's not something you can fake. You have to really put time and effort and thought into it. There's so much depth to the dragons and how the Dragoneyes work.
I really liked Eon's--sorry, Eona's--character. She's terrified of being found out because she'll be killed but then again, she's always coming through the rough parts. I could really appreciate the layers of her personality.
An original idea executed beautifully. However, if you want a book full of action, you're not going to find it here. This book is for people who like the ins and outs of court life and the tension of political intrigue. There is plenty of action at the end of the book--the action coalesces beautifully, not too quickly, very smooth in all the right places.
WARNING! There are several scenes in this book that are not appropriate for younger teenagers/children/middle grade. This book is better for older teens.
Also, following that, I should mention that a lot of people think there are "controversial" issues in this book, like the fact that Lady Dela is a "man with a woman's spirit" and the men are castrated. There are also scenes of drug abuse.
If you liked "The Will of the Empress" by Tamora Pierce, "Eon" is a step up on many levels. While Alison Goodman equals Tamora Pierce in writing quality--quality, not style--Alison Goodman's work is definitely for more mature readers.
Overall, a very enjoyable read. The ending was exhilarating! I cannot wait for the sequel!
The Cover: I absolutely LOVE the cover! And I love the cover to the sequel, Eona. Great colors and it displays the concept nicely.(less)
Throne of Glass came onto my radar as this incredibly well-written, intoxicating world of romance, trechery, magic and adventure. While there were all these things, they were by no means intoxicating, or well-written. Throne of Glass, with the poorly written main character and plot, was a massive disappointment. Another case of "great idea, poorly executed."
I could have forgiven the shoddy plot and shallow, irritating romance if the main character, Celaena, had somehow possessed any redeeming qualities. In the first few pages, I thought she was pretty legit, but as the story progressed, the cracks in her character split open. She wasn't legit. She was selfish, conceited, unbelievably vain and desperate for attention. Nothing about her made me convinced that she was this "fearsome" assassin. For all her violent thoughts of all the things she could do to people, she came off as childish.
It didn't help that the plot was sloppy. There were several different subplots going on at once, but very little connected them. It was as if it was meant to be a straight-up adventure story but the mystery got thrown in at the last moment. Nothing about it was cohesive, and when scenes were thrown in seemingly haphazardly, I got the impression half of the plot was for the shock value, or drama.
The most dramatic aspect of it, however, was the romance. There was nothing new in the love triangle that sprung up between our main characters. The worst part, though, was Celaena's role. I was disgusted by how she suddenly lusted after one man, only to go for the other, within paragraphs of each other. Not cool.
The writing was second-rate at best. While it's told in third person and we're getting the inside scoop on the character's thoughts, something was off. There were instances where Celaena would refer to herself as "Adarlan's Assassin" and "the assassin," as if it's somehow not told from her point of view. While it fits some writing styles, it didn't with this one because it was inconsistent. Inconsistent also was the sudden and unexpected detours into the philosophical realm that made no sense coming from Celaena. That kind of sloppiness pulled me out of the story more than the lack of world-building and poor character development.
By the three hundred page mark, I called it quits and skipped ahead. I read anything I thought was interesting and skimmed through the rest. Nothing about the ending was a huge shocker. I had it figured out by the middle of the book, anyway.
I feel like Throne of Glass had so much potential but it was squandered by lack of passion. I didn't feel any kind of compassion for Celaena, or her plight, or for the other narrators because it was as if Maas didn't get into their heads enough in order to bring them out to the reader.
If I were to recommend a girl-assassin story, Throne of Glass would not be it. I would try your luck on Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Mistwood by Leah Cypess, and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, but not Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.(less)
So sure, it can be a kid's book, too. But as we all know, Harry Potter was published for children and look how many people love it. (Lifetime lover of the HP series, right here. Read HP1 when I was a wee little girlie at five-years-old. Just in case you were wondering...) So this book doesn't contain all the nitty-gritty, teenage dramatic rabble we get so much in YA fiction today. Instead....
It's a wonderfully refreshing journey. I very much enjoyed how it wasn't centered around a romance or a couple or the "normal" setup. It's set up at the beginning of World War I--1913--and it was rich in detail and atmosphere. For a while, I've felt the beginning signs of a history lover in me. I don't know of many books that are set in the World War time periods and are written specifically for young adults. I consider this a jewel for inspiring children--making them interested in their history.
It was a fascinating mix of future and past. And I do believe that is what Scott Westerfeld describes as the "steampunk" genre. I haven't been very impressed with the few steampunk novels I've read but this one was brilliant. This wasn't something that Mr. Westerfeld came up with on a whim. He put some real effort into this--doing his research and getting it right. I can't even begin to wonder how he came up with half the creatures in this book.
Some say "slow". Of the reviews I've read of "Leviathan," they say that it was slow--not a lot of action. As I read, I couldn't help but think, "Ooooh, they meant that kind of action." Like I said, this was written to be appropriate for middle grade kids while being interesting and complex enough for older teens. So, no. It won't have hot and heavy sex scenes. But there was plenty of action-action. Like the kind you see in war films. Getting chased by a huge metal spider-like thing while on the run for being the son of a murdered archduke? Getting caught in the middle of a storm strapped to the belly of a giant flying jellyfish? Getting stranded on a glacier in the mountains, waiting for your giant, hydrogen-making, living ship to re-inflate itself? And they say "no action"? Oy.
I loved the characters. Deryn was so flipping awesome! Maybe an overuse of the British slang but still, awesome all the same. A very strong heroine. :) And Alek wasn't too bad either. They were both so sharp and both had their own unique voice. (The chapters alternated between the two.) Sometimes I had a hard time keeping Alek's crew straight but it became clearer as I continued to read.
Thrilling plot. Talk about a cliffhanger! Grr! (But I can't say anymore--gotta keep to the Spoiler Free policy, after all.)
Shew! The illustrations? Okay, talk about talented. Personally, I LOVE young adult books that have illustrations in them. (The "Leven Thumps" series by Obert Skye is the only other series I know that is middle grade/young adult that has illustrations in it.) The illustrations provided the perfect visual aid I needed...it gave the extra spunk to the imagination.
Definitely a favorite. I can't wait to head to Scott Westerfeld's appearance in Raleigh on the 22nd. I want to ask him so many questions! And I can't wait to read "Behemoth" (which released on October 5th, by the way.) On the 22nd, I will be the proud owner of a signed copy of "Leviathan" and "Behemoth" by Scott Westerfeld. Oo-rah!(less)
When Legend first popped up on my radar, I was turned away by the amateur-style cover. I was intrigued, however, when the hype drove me to read a sample of it. I was impressed by how there was an immediate sense of character and that allowed the also-immediate conflict to take effect. Paired with Marie Lu's effortless writing style and propelled by a both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking plot, I never wanted the story to end.
Legend tells the story of two awesome main characters. June, with her Holmesian-like logic but warm heart; and Day, the guy we girls would all like to run into on the streets. I was pleased (and impressed) with how June, the government's prodigy, didn't come off as a cold-hearted anti-hero. She had a heart -- a big heart -- that wasn't impervious to breaks. The criminal Day reminded me a lot of Han from Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series, only Day doesn't have silver cuffs branded to his wrists. Mentally, I connected them because they're passionate, flirty, and street smart, and they always take care of their families.
The world of Legend was magnificently displayed. Lu doesn't fall into the trap of having to explain how everything worlds. By letting the world affect (or not affect) her characters in certain ways, she lets the world build seamlessly. It's this showing and not telling that is so effective in creating the swaths of color into the world around the characters. Sometimes it has a fantasy-like feel to it, and sometimes it feels more sci-fi or dystopian, giving it a well-rounded atmosphere.
What I was most impressed with from Legend was the way Lu built the story. I understood what was at stake, I knew the risks, and I felt each obstacle resonate within the characters. It was a story that built stakes like kindling for a fire -- they pushed the characters; they didn't come at a conveniently inconvenient time. At every turn, I would mutter, "What are they going to do now?" or "How are they going to get out of that?" The plot was tightly compacted: nothing was wasted, but there are threads to be continued in other books.
So while there were predictable places, it was the moments that took me by surprise that defined my liking for Legend. With it's fantasy/sci-fi like world and lovable characters, Legend should be a book to get on your shelf. I'm glad it's on mine.(less)
I suspect that many authors who write series always face the problem of ending their series. It's this whole balancing act between reader's expectations and your own desires--and you cannot make it corny, no matter what. Because there is nothing that turns off a crowd faster than corniness. However, I must say that Suzanne Collins took the typical corny ending and turned it into a fitting, stunning closing. She is just that good.
"Mockingjay" was much, much darker than the rest of the series. You can sense the strain on Katniss's character as she struggles against the odds--she's slammed, over and over again and she falls continuously, but she always gets back up. She definitely made some wrong turns--practically everything that went wrong did, in fact, go wrong. You can see how much she's changed since the first Hunger Games book. In retrospect, she's an entirely different person at the end of Mockingjay.
I have to comment on Suzanne Collins' writing. Because she really is a fabulous story teller. I can only imagine the pressure she must have felt, knowing just how anticipated this book was. How to meet the rising standards and expectations? The twists and turns in "Mockingjay" blew my mind. You were expecting one thing and then boom! She sideswipes you with something completely different--it was a thrill ride. Better than any roller coaster.
I loved seeing the evolution of the characters. That's something that's crucial in a series--any series. If the characters remain the same, the books quickly lose their following. The dimensions of the characters were deepened and I loved reading that.
On the topic of the love triangle. Not having any particular preference, I was weighing each encounter throughout the book, trying to figure out what Katniss was going to do. I liked how it turned out, actually. It made sense to me and it fit well.
Overall, I loved "Mockingjay" and I truly enjoyed the entire series. For those of you who haven't managed to pick it up yet, I urge you to do so. Even if you don't particularly like dystopia novels. Give it a go.
I think the song "Citizen/Soldier" by 3 Doors Down goes PERFECTLY with this book.
This book gave me some serious headaches but not so much that I stopped reading. It's just that it contains the bouts of insecurity often found in tee...moreThis book gave me some serious headaches but not so much that I stopped reading. It's just that it contains the bouts of insecurity often found in teenagers and it nearly killed me! Serena is likable and can be really funny, but she's also an idiot most of the time in her decisions. However, I was rather fascinated by the ending and I absolutely loved the last page. I loved the romance, even though Serena nearly screws that up, too. It's believable and I loved this fresh new twist to stories. It's the first I've seen of a deaf girl who reads lips.
Definitely worth a shot. There's plenty of humor, emotion, and drama. I loved Teri Brown's imagination.
Cover - To me, there's nothing truly interesting about the cover but it's a good concept in relation to the book. It's very literal and I love the font.
First Line - (technically, first two lines) What the heck? I stared at the small person waving her arms like a referee.
A nice opening because it leaves you hanging. You have to keep reading to find out what the heck the author is talking about. There's nothing immediately funny or deeply intriguing but it does meet the requirement of drawing the reader in.
Pages - 238
* there is swearing, but it's not every page and it's what you'd expect from a teenager * the descriptions for the kissing scenes are awesome * keep going, even when Serena is being an idiot. She makes up for it. (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)
This is one heckuva creepy book. It took me some several moments of contemplation to pinpoint just what, exactly, made it so hair-raising. I'll tell you, most books are so straight-forward about what they have to offer. They tell you something is creepy--it's direct and it sucks the fun out of picturing the scene for yourself. Brenna Yovanoff went about it a different way. She just gave you what it was--straight up, without flourishing it around unnecessarily. Then again, it's also what she doesn't say that gave me pause. Reading this book, I felt like I was constantly treading around broken glass--and I was so screwed if I happened to stray. So yeah, really creepy.
I love how the story progresses. Most times, when I can't get a handle on a book within the first few chapters, I reject it out of pure frustration. But there's something about this book...I slowly started to realize what was really going on as I continued to read the book. I knew that there was something dark about the town of Gentry, but what? I was left figuring it out as I read--and it was thrilling.
"The Replacement" is, in my mind, the literary equivalent of film Noir. Or, if you want to get technical, it's very much like Gothic fiction. It's very dark and progresses slowly, not continuing like you expect it to--it goes slow when you expect it to rush. There isn't a lot of humor and you start to expect a sad ending.
The antagonists freaked me out. Seriously, it's hard to write a creepy villain because it's difficult to keep it original--if you try too hard, it flops, but if you don't try at all, it still flops. I think that making a villain creepy is similar to how you make someone funny--you make them surprise you. If they don't follow the script, it switches your mind off and makes you more susceptible to buy in to whatever they're doing. Needless to say, I was getting really creeped out by the antagonists in this book.
I liked the romance. Going in, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. What was Mackie going to do? Who was he going to pursue? Alice was the typical queen bee but I thought it interesting how Mackie reacted to her. Tate was totally awesome, though she might come off as a creeper to some people.
Overall, I loved it. It was a refreshing change from the stock cut-out books that flood the shelves nowadays. This is a book full of originality and personality. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a break from the normalcy flood. A stunning debut.
Shew! I LOVE that cover. It's so appropriate for the book and just screams creepy. Love, love, love it.
WARNING! Lots of typical high-school language, so younger readers beware!(less)
Okay. I have to get this out so I can feel better.
Shiver. Best freaking urban fantasy book ever.
Does it top Twilight? Hell yeah.
What truly strikes me...moreOkay. I have to get this out so I can feel better.
Shiver. Best freaking urban fantasy book ever.
Does it top Twilight? Hell yeah.
What truly strikes me about this book is the main character: Grace. She isn't weepy and pathetic or weak like Bella. She's strong and she's FUNNY! This book seems like it truly could be real. The characters are realistic and I can relate to many of Grace's ways of thinking. (How many times that happens? Almost never.)
I recommend this to the many, many fans of Twilight because it's a romance to kill for. It's stronger, in my opinion, than the romance of Twilight between Bella and Edward. The bond between Grace and Sam is deeper and the sparks between them much, MUCH more believable!
I also recommend this to the many, many non-fans of Twilight. Grace is funny and interesting and strong and far from the pathetic, wimpy, predictable Bella. Sam is a typical special teen boy. His story and reactions ring true. He's not the infuriating we-can't-be-together-because-I'm-dangerous type. In fact, he doesn't say anything along those lines. Does he do anything to protect Grace? Of course he does. He's hopelessly in love with her.
Onto more technical praises: I love how this story alternates between Grace and Sam. I simply LOVE that.
I read this book in less than twenty-four hours. I haven't gotten a book this good in a long, long time. It's a fantastic romance. I might even reread this. (Again, that feeling RARELY happens. It's a mark of just how much I like a book that I want to reread it.)
Another thing. I would LOVE to have a fifteen-minute conversation with this author. She appears to be a really fun person.
This is a great break from vampires. GO WEREWOLVES!(less)
Dragonswood is distinguishable to me for being (basically) the first book for me to buy on pure impulse rather than a desire nurtured and built up over several months to read it. My attraction was instantaneous and my instincts won out. Dragonswood had me captivated in the first few pages on Amazon's Quick Look. Elegantly written from the point of view of a tortured soul, I was drawn into the world with dragonlords, stolen treasure, and witch hunters.
Janet Lee Carey's writing style was simple, but elegant. It held the charms of an archaic style, but wasn't riddled with overwhelmingly abstract thoughts about life, and there was just enough detail for me to appreciate the level of research the author did, and also how much she cared about her world.
I think it was the setting that distinguished Dragonswood from all the other fantasy books I've read. I really enjoyed how it was set in history -- there were references to Arthur Pendragon and Merlin and Ireland. It was also rife with detail about how life was back in the 1100's. Dragonswood was so set in its own originality that it was hard looking up to electricity and oreos and clean water and indoor plumbing.
I loved how the entire story was character-driven, centered entirely on Tess. And Tess was a good main character. I loved her for her inability to be perfect: Janet Lee Carey brought out aspects of things that you have to deal with in life that, I think, would really hit home to a reader. Injustice, betrayal, uncertainty, determination. All these things major themes in Dragonswood and apparent in Tess's experiences.
My favorite part though? The legit romance. It's the kind that makes you want to believe in (and yearn for!) a happily ever after. While romances are generally very straight forward (sometimes even in love triangles), I was tiring of the in-your-face method of mainstream YA novels. The romance in Dragonswood was subtle, and built up slowly over the entire book. That was what made it awesome.
Dragonswood was an amazing novel. The writing, the world, the characters, the romance: everything perfectly combined to make one stunning read.(less)
So you can tell by the grade that this wasn't the best novel I've ever read. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I didn't like it. The main character, A...moreSo you can tell by the grade that this wasn't the best novel I've ever read. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I didn't like it. The main character, Aden, was pretty cool. Always cool and confident and all that. But it's almost like the book lacked focus. From the beginning, we should have some idea of the end game. I felt like I was just reading about the characters meandering along, getting attacked by witches and swimming in a pond. The ending didn't fulfill any hopes. It was quick. Too quick.
I did appreciate the little twist the author added about the identity of Mary Ann's mother, but the whole exchange (while it was character appropriate) seemed a little bit too much like "Ghost" to me.
The romances were not my thing, either. I cannot stand romances where one, or both, of the parties lose every sense of survival for themselves. I can understand being willing to die in their lover's place, but to dedicate every molecule of their being to someone else? It was very Twilight in that aspect. (This is relative. If you like romances like that, then this is a good book for ya. -_^)
The book alternates points of view between Aden and Mary Ann, which was interesting and which I enjoyed. There are always subtle misunderstandings represented there and I always found it amusing. And it did reveal the romance that Mary Ann had going for her as well as the background information about Aden.
This book didn't leave me with a good feeling in my stomach like I get when I finish a book I'll always remember. It just...didn't appeal to me. I did manage to finish it, but I'm taking it back to Borders and I most likely won't read the sequel.
I still recommend that you try it, cause despite my review, you could still really like it. So give it a shot, see what happens. :)
Okay, first off, the whole story, with the exception of a SMALL part near the end, is in Ethan's point of view. Weird, no? Usually stories like this a...moreOkay, first off, the whole story, with the exception of a SMALL part near the end, is in Ethan's point of view. Weird, no? Usually stories like this are told in the GIRL'S point of view but the fact that it was in ETHAN'S was...actually sort of fascinating. For two female authors, they portrayed Ethan's character remarkably well.
I absolutely love good books that are good and LONG. If you're looking for something to hold you over for a few days, Beautiful Creatures is your book of choice. The mystery is well-developed and thorough.
The characters were enjoyable and the whole setup of the Gatlin town was intriguing. As the plot went on and when it came to the part where the story unfolds and you finally find out whodunnit, I was stunned by what was revealed--NOT something that happens very often, mind you. And at the end, I was like, "Oh god!" in anticipation. Also by the events, of which I cannot describe here. *wink*
Beautiful Creatures is now resting on my bookshelf, having bought it without reading it first! But I thought, this looks like a good book. And hey, I didn't bring it back to the bookstore, although two books had that unfortunate fate today.
Don't you just love the cover? I was fascinated with the font and I was constantly following the curves and where they met up.
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)
This book takes on a whole new meaning of "All the world's a stage". Fascinating and creative, I'm shocked this book hasn't garnered more attention. Think of a theater acting like a magical world all its own. Think of just the main character, who dies her hair Cobalt blue, exchanges swears with a pirate, and resists the urges of an air spirit while trying to save the world which she knows.
All enchanting stuff. Yet when I first started out (over a year ago), I wasn't very enchanted. I'd tried a couple times to start it and stopped reading it. This time, however, I wanted to read more. I was suddenly fascinated by what would happen to Bertie and I wanted to know more about the world of the Theatre. So I started where I'd left off before, about seventy pages in, and had a hard time putting it down!
Bertie's character was fantastic. The idea of an orphaned girl living in a magical theatre world could have really come off as childish and very middle grade, but Bertie's smart mouth and her romantic interests kept it on a YA level. Bertie was a classy girl and I loved her character. Though I hardly understand her taste for seductive air spirits. I'm going for Nate all the way.
The one thing I didn't get was the Theatre's place in time. Maybe it was mentioned and it went over my head, but the mention of limousines makes me think very modern. Also, I wasn't quite sure if the outside world knew that the Theatre was magical. Other than those two things, however, the story was wonderful.
It was a very enjoyable story—I can't wait to pick up the sequel, even though love triangles are the bane of my existence! I fell in love with the world, the excellent characters, and Bertie's story.
Just one thing about the covers though: I freaking love them. I want these made into posters so I can hang them on my wall. For real. BUT! They only feature THREE fairies! What the fudge? There are clearly FOUR. And this series oversight continues on EACH FLIPPING COVER. So all of them are fantastic, except for that grievous mistake. Jeepers.(less)
My first experience with Jackson Pearce's work came many, many years ago with her novel, As You Wish. As a know-it-all fourteen-year-old, I wasn't that impressed and I never finished it. It was too short and too kiddy for the likes of me. Now, after having read Sisters Red, Sweetly, and now Fathomless, I'm intensely curious about that first book I picked up. I have had my mind blown -- yet again -- by Jackson Pearce's amazingly creative talent for capturing a breathtaking story within three hundred pages.
Like Sweetly, Fathomless kept me up way past my bedtime. I couldn't let go of Celia and Lo's story, or the world of ocean girls and power triplets. In retrospect, I'm amazed at how much atmosphere was packed in with the plot and character development. Almost as if those aspects were fused together, and not separate things. Short books don't generally appeal to me because they're like a single inch of a foot long idea: they don't reach their full potential. Jackson Pearce defies this idea. She establishes atmosphere, character and plot very compactly -- not "quickly," as if she rushes it, but "compactly." She doesn't waste words.
My sisters love this place.
It smells like sand and cigarettes and cotton candy, like sunscreen and salt. The scent builds up all summer, and now, at the height of tourist season, it's so thick that I think I could wave an empty bottle around and it would fill with liquid perfume.
She also doesn't fall back on the typical, well-worn templates that lazy writers use. Jackson Pearce got deep into the characters' minds and strung out every flaw and imperfection that made them human, or inhuman, as the case may be. I loved the psychological battles that raged between Celia and Lo, as well as Celia and her sisters. Celia and Lo each had their own motivations -- Lo fought with being human, Celia fought with her power; Celia was one of a triplet, but the odd one out -- and their internal battles inherently affected their relationship. Those aspects drew me in the most. They mimicked the same kind of undercurrents that run underneath everyday conversations and interactions. So even though Celia can read someone's past and Lo is a creature of the deep, the relationships they had with their family and friends bore the same complications and intricacies of real-life situations.
I liked how the romance both did and did not take center stage. The romance between Celia and Jude was sweet and well-developed without being the main purpose of the story. The romance, however, was practically the driving force of the plot. Had there been no Jude, the ending would've fallen apart. I liked this duality because it's not something I've seen often, and Jackson Pearce pulled it off extremely well by focusing attention on the ups and downs of the plot.
I loved how Jackson Pearce went in and owned this story. I was pulled in from page one and I couldn't stop thinking about the story until I finally finished it. I think this story would fit anyone's interests, whether you like contemporary fiction or paranormal romances, even if you don't like mermaid stories (because it's just enough of a mermaid story to appeal to those who loved The Little Mermaid and just unique enough to suit those who didn't.)(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)
This book started off wonderfully. My wonder faded quickly, however, when the romance started. I was shocked and taken aback at how much and how quick...moreThis book started off wonderfully. My wonder faded quickly, however, when the romance started. I was shocked and taken aback at how much and how quickly Abbey was affected by Caspian. Without any foundation whatsoever, she was falling in love with him. She knew nothing about him. And this fact frustrated me. I didn't have any expectations for this book but it still came under par.
The romance was a bit sketchy. As I said, the romance. I mean...I can understand being flattered if a guy compliments you. But going through your wardrobe for half an hour and complaining that your hair wasn't smooth and sexy...all for a guy you BARELY knew? I remember going, "Whoa. What the heck?" The romance throughout the entire book lacked the underlying foundation that makes a romance really good. Abbey was completely obsessed with this guy. And knew zilch, nada, NOTHING about him.
Abbey wasn't exactly the ideal heroine. I liked Abbey at first. And that's not to say that I dislike her now, more or less that I lost respect for her. She was skittish and always flitting around, nervous about how she appeared to people. Also, everything affected her. She didn't roll with the punches very well and she got soggy-eyed very quickly. I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character has cried SO MUCH. Maybe this is just me. I'm so used to speaking my mind and being so blatantly...well, crazy. It annoyed me seeing Abbey cower all the time. She was so dramatic.
The writing was good and bad. What drew me to this book was the writing. It was written with the slight characteristics of a journal, without any flourishes or brassy phrases. So this was both good and bad. It depends on how you like your writing. (Jeez, it sounds like I'm asking, "How do you like your burger?" What is wrong with me?)
The plot was....meh. This is one of those "great idea, poorly executed" stories. A lot of what was written seemed so irrelevant. Like Abbey's job at her uncle's. I read somewhere: if you can take away a subplot and the plot remains intact, chuck it. Abbey's job at her uncle's held no lasting significance to the plot whatsoever. I can see why somebody would think this story boring--because it was in a lot of places. Many scenes could have been ditched and Jessica Verday put time into describing motions that we can already assume that character did.
Also, where was the conclusion to Kristen's story? Her secrets? The summary is a poor indicator to this story. It implies that it's all about discovering the circumstances of her best friend's death, but Abbey doesn't dwell on Kristen too long. She's too caught up in Caspian. I mean, "what the heck!?" When people say, "Don't judge a book by its cover," they should also include, "Don't judge a book by its summary either." What is the world coming to when you can't even get an accurate picture of a book from its summary?
I loved the cemetery. I loved the uniqueness of how Abbey interacted with the gravestones. Just why couldn't she bring that type of openness into her everyday conversations?
I fell in love with the idea. But nothing else. There was nothing else to fall in love with. Caspian's character was pretty bland, not a lot of material to show us there. Nikolas and Katy's characters were very generic. The plot just took...forever to come through. This book should have been so much shorter.
As always, read it for yourself. It's along the lines of "another man's junk is another man's treasure" type of things, though the term "junk" is entirely too strong. I loved Jessica Verday's creativity for Abbey's perfume-making hobby and the interactions in the cemetery. Perhaps you will enjoy the romance more than I did. Or maybe you'll fall in love with the writing. So check it out, see for yourself. :)
Sauce-o-meter: There was very little swearing. A very clean read. I was impressed by the lack of swearing. Way to go, Jessica Verday! :)
The Cover: I was intrigued by the cover, I'll admit. Seeing pictures like that makes me wonder. I mean, the model is half-submerged in water. BUT! If you get the hardcover edition, look at how much the model looks like the author. It really freaked me out at first. I think they did it on purpose. XD(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)
She's is constantly surprising with the depth and charming morbid tone of her books. But this isn't about h...moreMaggie Stiefvater must be one crazy woman.
She's is constantly surprising with the depth and charming morbid tone of her books. But this isn't about her, it's about the book, right?
I've been holding my breath for this book ever since I finished reading "Shiver," and discovered that there was going to be a sequel. Maggie Stiefvater captured me in "Shiver," with her writing style but mostly, the characters that she had created. I'm usually not one for romance-oriented book, because it's difficult to lay hands on one that is as well written as I'd like it. But Sam and Grace have come to life over and over again.
As I was reading, I was trying to discover what it was--exactly--that Maggie Stiefvater did to make it so...good. Just within a few paragraphs, you've got the main foundation of the character and you feel almost like you know them. Something hard-pressed for writers to do, I know. How can you convey your characters, make them seem as real to everyone else as they are to you?
One thing...I would love to spend an hour in Maggie Stiefvater's head. Preferably when she's writing.
In "Linger," you're presented with a new character: Cole. Strange thing is, I never really thought of him as a jerk. Maybe because I was reading from his point of view sometimes? But something about the characters made them seem in harmony. All of them had their distinctive point of view and voice. You could tell the difference between Sam's POV and Grace's POV...Isabel's POV and Cole's.
Another thing I love is the quiet humor. Isabel is, beyond a doubt, my favorite character. She's so open and honest and sarcastic. Grace has her moments, too, but with Isabel, it's all the time. I loved that. She seems like a cool chica. I don't really think of her as a cold or unkind person. Just blunt and with her priorities in order.
Now in "Linger," the characters we've all come to love are deepened. I get the feeling that Maggie Stiefvater was exploring the depths of her character's emotions, reactions, and minds. The slowly building tension started from page one and I nearly felt like crying at the end--not something I feel often, grant you.
Overall, "Linger" joins the ranks of my all-time favorite books. But not something I will reread in full. It's almost as if you've got to take in the first time. I know that this is just me being me, but it feels almost like a topic too delicate to touch again. Eh. Just saying.
If you loved "Shiver," you'll love "Linger".
If you haven't read "Shiver" yet, you should probably give it a shot. But be warned, if you're wanting for action-packed adventure, don't go with "Shiver". This is a romance with a slow, moody tone. Just so you know.
Blood Red Road completely took me by surprise. I was expecting questionable writing, a cookie-cutter main character and a stale story. What I got was a fantastically complex and cheer-worthy main character complemented by an in-your-face writing style that set off both the characters and the world. I was not expecting to fall in love with the world, which is so obviously dystopian, and I certainly didn't expect to be swept up in the plot, buoyed by a writing style so far away from cookie-cutter, it's like a different planet. The journey through Blood Red Road was exciting and belly-dropping and I enjoyed every second of it.
I first discovered Blood Red Road while in Borders (which tells you how long ago it was). I slid the book off the shelf, thinking about how much hype it had garnered in the blogosphere, and opened to the first page. I immediately closed it. I was not going to read a book that was written in dialect. I don't go out looking for headaches. So Blood Red Road went back on the shelf, shrinking away from my fierce disapproval.
Right now, I wish I had grabbed a copy when I had the chance. Moira Young's blatant disregard for conventional writing styles was like a getting a sip of clean, cool water after trekking a day through a desert. The dialect forces the characters and the world in your face -- your brain can't compensate to ignore the way the character speaks and narrates. Blood Red Road calls this quote from Robert McKee's book Story, to mind:
A great work is a metaphor that says, "Life is like this." The classics, down through the ages, give us not solutions but lucidity, not answers but poetic candor; they make inescapably clear the problems all generations must solve to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a richly detailed world, Saba's character popped off the page. If I were to pin a label of "most lifelike" on any fictional character, it would go to Saba. Moira Young covered a corner of young adult literature that is not often walked on. She portrayed Saba with imperfections that most authors wouldn't dare give their characters. Her thoughts showed a darkness that made her realistic, because everyone has those small thoughts that creep in without our knowing and take us by surprise at their immorality. Add on top Saba's -- sometimes uncontrollable -- fighting spirit, and she leaves behind a lasting impression.
The plot, as soon as it caught me, swept me along so quickly, I would look up and the afternoon had gone by, along with two hundred pages. My brain had adapted quickly to the narration, allowing the plot to take charge. It wasn't a complex plot, for which I found refreshing. Most dystopians like to throw in all kinds of government conspiracy subplots, but Blood Red Road dealt with the politics behind getting Saba's brother, Lugh, back, and the many obstacles they faced, both externally and internally. I loved the high adventure and the details that made it come to life.
The romance was first class -- Katniss and Peeta don't hold a candle to the romance in Blood Red Road. But the romance doesn't take center stage, which I liked. While it had a big impact on plot and character development, it's not the very first thing that pops to mind when I think back on the book. Saba's character is too dominant to be pushed aside by a moon-eyed couple.
James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner, blurbed Blood Red Road and I thought he nailed it on the head:
Blood Red Road will capture any reader who picks it up. I love everything about Saba -- her language, her intensity, her heart. Everyone should read her story.
Moira Young is off to a shining start, having carved a name for herself in the world of young adult literature. I hope to see more of her in the coming years. I'm thrilled for the next installment in the Dust Lands series.(less)
It's almost unbelievable to try and think about all the awesomeness that Maggie Stiefvater possesses in a singular person. She has established herself so thoroughly and built up such a reputation that, for a moment, I was worried that The Raven Boys might be just a little bit of a letdown. It was not. Maggie Stiefvater delivers, once again, 100%. The crowning factor for me was her stunning writing ability but also how that ability amplifies the motivations and desires of her characters. The Raven Boys was not so much an entertaining paranormal read, but a psychological display of greed, revenge, shame, and a lust for power and importance. Which makes it sound so hardcore and depressing, when really the ugly human stuff allows for the beautiful human stuff to shine brighter. It's Maggie Stiefvater's understanding of what drives human behavior that really made this book so enjoyable for me.
In retrospect, and after much forced consideration, I realized how ironic The Raven Boys turned out to be. In the book, there's a constant reminder from Blue of how impressive they are, but what's truly impressive is how much they actually dominated my view of the book. Looking back on it, I almost completely forgot about Blue. Only when I searched for quotes to use for this review did I realize that I had never -- even once -- mentioned Blue's name. Blue was a major character (and an awesome one), and yet the boys' personalities had totally clouded her out in my mind. I think this happened partially because several parts of the story are told in the boys' point of view. The narration style for The Raven Boys was more omniscient, and though it didn't just go around dropping into people's heads randomly, characters who I would deem "secondary" (like, funnily enough, the antagonist) were given their own voice in the story.
This style gave the story a more rounded feel, like it had matter-of-factly encompassed an entire world in three hundred pages. Right off, I could get a sense of what the rules of the Raven universe were. I didn't have to trawl through the prose to try and figure out if any of the preconceived notions I had were going to hold up. Throughout the entire novel, I was amazed by the details and amount of possibility in the world. And with Maggie Stiefvater's succinct writing style, information was given neatly without having to resort to word vomit.
Maggie Stiefvater's writing skills are wonderful. Ever read a how-to book on fiction writing? Every bit of writing advice boils down to show, don't tell. Don't bother with the how-to section anymore. Just read Maggie Stiefvater. I recall one of the occasions where I was floored by the writing: when, in the space of a few sentences, I had, in my mind, a complete sense of a character. And another time when the atmosphere of a place was brought completely to life in a single paragraph:
Mornings at 300 Fox Way were fearful, jumbled things. Elbows in sides and lines for the bathroom and people snapping over tea bags placed into cups that already had tea bags in them. There was school for Blue and work for some of the more productive (or less intuitive) aunts. Toast got burned, cereal went soggy, the refrigerator door hung open and expectant for minutes at a time. Keys jingled as car pools were hastily decided. (p. 29)
At times, the writing was almost too good. Time and time again I was pulled out of the story to marvel over how well something had been said, which admittedly is most likely a byproduct of a writer's insecurity in the face of a superior being, and also, how can writing be too good?
As a psychology fan, I was extremely impressed by the motivations clearly built into the characters -- motivations more in line with the uglier side of human nature, like greed and shame, and the battles that occur on the outside with friends and family as well as on the inside with morality and choices. Which sounds very grandiose, but it makes me thrilled to see this kind of depth in a young adult novel. Finally, something with actual substance and not mere fluff that smudges the shelves at the bookstore. Here is something worth reading.
A long time fan of Maggie Stiefvater's work, I was happy to know for myself that The Raven Boys did not disappoint.(less)