The writing did nothing for it. I almost never start on an author's writing style but in this case, iIn a nutshell: Fantastic idea, horribly executed.
The writing did nothing for it. I almost never start on an author's writing style but in this case, it was a significant factor in how I viewed the book. The style described too much in the wrong cases, not enough with the right ones. There was also a lot of telling rather than showing. The short, almost inconsiderate descriptions of the character's feelings made it seem false. I couldn't get a grasp on the characters at all.
This was an absolutely brilliant idea. If it had been executed differently, this could have risen to Harry Potter status--or at least, it would have had the potential to. The idea was fresh, new and incredible. It just...never took off the ground for me. I found myself skipping pages and I would still know exactly what was going on.
Writing aside, nothing anchored me to the characters. Even if you hate a character, that means that there was enough given that you're CAPABLE of hating them. It means that they were put through situations and were complete and total idiots and did a million things wrong and you hate their guts for it. But at least you have the proof. When you can't even cast an opinion on a character...oooh, well, that just goes to show that you weren't shown much. But Dodge and Alyss had such incredible potential! I just wish they were shown better. I could have really come to love them as characters. Same goes for the antagonist. Redd was downright creepy at first, but she quickly lost credibility.
The dialog required much-needed help. It was mostly in the dialog that I lost the characters. Even with the sometimes skimpy writing, dialog can pick up the slack. Not in this case, though.
I wrote a review for this now because I'm 95% certain that I won't be picking it up again. If I ever have children, I would try it out on them because it's more of a read out loud kind of book. But for readers who have a preference for more complex, lyrical writing that must be read inwardly, I don't recommend this book to you.
I gave it a B- because I respect the idea so much. It wouldn't feel right to bring it lower than "B" status. Perhaps if Frank Beddor writes another series, I would take a chance on it. Otherwise, I'm not venturing into Wonderland again....more
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 thWhen 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....more
I read somewhere that Catherine Banner was slated to be the next J.K. Rowling. I’m sure whoever said it had good intentions but I’m left going, Um no. The book was exciting at first because it was different, but soon, the flaws began to stand out. The writing began to show a amateur-istic choppiness. Then, the plot just didn’t make sense and by the end of it, I was left skimming the pages. I wish I had gotten more out of this because I think the idea was clever, but being dragged out over four hundred pages and squandered with raw writing? The idea starts to lose its luster.
The first thing is the writing. It was choppy. But that was all, because even choppiness can be brilliant (look at Maria V. Snyder). It lacked that critical personal element that makes the readers care about the characters. When tragedy hits halfway through the story, I’m left feeling sympathetic because it’s sad by nature, but I had no emotional take in it. And Leo’s reaction…It was stretched over the rest of the book—more than two hundred pages of the exact same thing over and over and over and over again. The repetition was just annoying after a while. Then, when the romance came in, I was just like…”Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.” There was simply no emotional depth. I just didn’t get it.
The characters didn’t make sense, either. I didn’t like any of them. Not Leo, the main character. Not Grandmother. Not Maria. Maria! That girl had no place in this story.
That was my main issue, right there. Nothing really had a set place. I’m expecting everything to be so Its Own that it can’t be left out without the story falling apart. If it isn’t needed, then I don’t want to read about it. Maria didn’t hold a critical part, neither did her story, which took forever to get out and wasn’t that surprising.
When I pick up a book—especially a fantasy—I’m expecting some type of “tightness” about the plot. Consider Cinda Williams Chima. Her fantasy books—The Demon King and The Exiled Queen—are thick. Over five hundred pages each. Over that considerable amount of length, she doesn’t let anything go to waste. She uses everything. Meaning, something she mentions in the beginning of the story becomes significant later on. All her character’s subplots are critical to the main plot. With Eyes of a King, there was no tightness. With the parallel world aspect, the two plots should have been so tightly bound that you shouldn’t have been able to tell them apart. I feel that the separate stories barely affected each other.
Not only was the plot not tight, but it was cliché. The romance with Ryan, the story with Aldebaran…And the dialogue was poor. The lines of one character could come from any other character. There was no differentiating feature between them.
The writing could have stood for some serious polishing. There’s a difference between describing the rain outside to just describe it versus using the rain as a backdrop and tool to get to the bigger picture. And I think putting it in first person was a mistake. The emotional distance between the reader and the characters was simply accentuated by the use of “I”.
However, there were a few diamonds amongst all the roughness. For example:
There was an atmosphere of disquiet in that strange town. Horses shifted and puffed steam in the damp evening air, and the men who walk around did not talk or smile. There were Malonian flags everywhere, grubby and damp, and they flapped like sickening birds against the buildings.
Excerpted from the hardcover, US edition, page 251.
Overall however, I was just not impressed. I was so excited to read this book because I’d had the name “Catherine Banner” down on my authors-to-investigate list for months and I finally found her book in the library. She apparently started this book when she was fourteen and she was showcased in a prestigious British gallery for inspiring young Britons. But I don’t see the hype. I might pick up the next book because I know how an author’s writing can change as they mature as a writer. (Again, see Cinda Williams Chima.)...more
The only reason I'm giving this book a "B-" is because I liked the idea. But I can't say much more than that. Needless to say, I had a huge issue withThe only reason I'm giving this book a "B-" is because I liked the idea. But I can't say much more than that. Needless to say, I had a huge issue with this book.
The biggest part was the writing style. It was all telling, not showing. Kay's reactions weren't really described very well. It was written almost like a biography. It gets better at the end of the book, but I had to grit my teeth to get there. There was absolutely no way I could get into Kay's character. She seemed so...shallow. I really hate when shallow characters get to do all the cool stuff and they "miraculously" get all the good ideas. Just irks me.
Another thing was that the stakes were not drawn very clearly. I mean, all that would happen is that she would get thrown in jail? That's it? Oh yes, it's just so incredibly horrible! Is that really the best she could do?
This book just kinda flew over my head. And it's such a shame, too. I really wanted this book to be good because I love the topic of dragons, and after "Eragon," not a lot of people have touched the subject, just like no one has really touched the subject of wizard schools since "Harry Potter".
The ending was very rushed, too. And hokey. It would have worked better with a different writing style, say if Carrie Vaughn wrote with a more magical hand, then the ending would have appeared better. But the last few pages were really rough writing-wise. I couldn't get any sense of realism, of actually being there with the characters. This book could have been so much longer if Carrie Vaughn just put some depth into it.
I loved the cover, though. It was partly why I picked it up.
Teaser: She knew how to talk to at least one of them, if only she dared tell anyone. And if only she could be sure she and Artegal would see each other again.
As always, I still recommend that you give it a try. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean that you won't.
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....more
"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. ...more
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....more
This has to be my favorite out of all the Cassaforte Chronicles. Which is saying something, peeps, ‘cause I absolutely fell in love with V. Briceland’s writing in The Glass Maker’s Daughter. This was just an enjoyable story that set me on my wit’s end when the suspense nearly did me in. And made my ribs hurt with laughter when Petro and Emilia went at each other. Petro’s character was real and it was fun to see the adventure through his eyes.
I like stories where you see the characters through other people’s eyes. We saw Petro when he was a kid in The Glass Maker’s Daughter, as Risa’s annoying but fun-loving little brother. Now we’re reading about his own adventures and learning the tune of his reactions. I love stuff like that.
Everything seemed to come together. I think what made this such an incredible read was the combination of elements that work. Also, the emotions are more raw in this book. Like the edginess between Petro and Adrio—I was constantly getting so angry at Adrio for all the stupid things he’d come up with, calling Petro a snob and all that. But it was so cool how Petro still went after Adrio anyway. So you’ve got those two best friends and then you’ve got Emilia. That whole deal didn’t turn out as I expected it at all—but it was such a lovely ending! V. Briceland was flawless: he somehow didn’t give me the ending I wanted, yet it still satisfied completely.
From the very first page, I could picture it. I didn’t catch on to the significance of this until after I was halfway through the book: when I’d started reading, I’d unconsciously started to film it in my head. I know we all do this (mostly) but there was something about it that flowed. I could pull it all together as I read and it made it all the more exciting when the action began and all of a sudden I was tied to the book. In essence, this reaction is the product of very impressive writing. I cannot believe that he isn’t as popular as authors like Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder, and Cinda Williams Chima.
I’m so attached to this world and the characters. It’s a world I love stepping into. I’d love to spend a day with these characters. (I started to list my favorite characters…but it was one of those times when I kept backspacing to add more and more…) Above all, I really think Petro is my favorite character. There was so much emotional depth in The Nascenza Conspiracy and the outcome from so much inner turmoil really made Petro shine.
Of course, I can’t let you click out thinking that it’s only emotional stuff going down. Oh no! What else could come of swapping identities and a far-off Midsummer High Rites than a breathless adventure? And never forget the surreptitiously left clues that all click together in the end—the brilliant kind of click that makes you go, “Oh snap!” and slap yourself on the forehead for not putting it together earlier.
Unfortunately, I got the gut feeling that the series has come full circle. Which makes me want to cry. As I’ve said, I’ve gotten so attached to these characters and I love their stories so much. I feel like breaking down and begging V. Briceland in a hysterical email whether or not he’s going to write a fourth installment. I’d be happy if he was writing another series…(maybe)…but I’d do an ecstatic happy dance if he was planning on writing a fourth book.
If you like the writings of Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder and Cinda Williams Chima, you’ll love adding V. Briceland to your collection....more
Tamora Pierce has always been a favorite author of mine and I definitely see her as a source of inspiration for my own writing. Alanna: The First Adventure is a fantastic story, the first of many. This is my second time reading it and it never disappoints.
The story, in my opinion, is only as good as its main character, and Alanna is fantastic. She's charming with her wit and steel backbone. Sometimes, though, I think her pride results in several bruises and broken bones that otherwise could have been avoided. However, I am a big fan of her stubbornness and determination to stay true to the person she wants to become.
What captures me most, I think, is the world. So expansive and well painted. More than once, I have wished to be transported to Tortall. It is a world that I look to for inspiration when I'm working on my own world-building. It's intriguing and treacherous and beautiful, just like Alanna's story....more
In the second installment of the Song of the Lioness series, I enjoyed the heightened sense of adventure and suspense, as Alanna grows into a new stage of her life.
What I enjoyed most about In the Hand of the Goddess is the excellent maturation of Alanna's character. She deals with things that are new to her, and that are appropriate for her age, like romance and dresses. I love how Alanna struggles with these two identities she has, and my respect for her grew by how she handled this struggle.
The romance is more apparent in this one, because it covers Alanna's life between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, when romance would be on someone's mind. I am a fan of both romantic interests, even if I wince a bit at the love triangle. Still, having already read the book, I know how things turn out, so I'm interested in her thought process as she struggles to remember what kind of life she wants to lead....more
If you like Tamora Pierce, you’ll love V. Briceland. I was completely hooked by this book—by the writing, the characters, the setting, the plot, the romance. I believe it rare to find stories where the world is completely thought-out and isn’t confined to what the character witnesses every day. While perhaps a tad bit difficult to understand at first, the remarkable detail really brings the story to life and keeps you riveted as the story progresses.
The writing—WOW! (with an exclamation point) Very simple, yet elegant. This is definitely a book I’ll turn to when I need to see how writing should really be done. It’s the kind of writing that fades into the background, but not in the nothing-significant kind of way. As in, it flows so smoothly that you’re left to enjoy the story and you aren’t hindered by the writing. Even fantastic, out-of-this-world writing can distract me from the story.
I loved the characters. These are the types of characters that will stay with you for years. All of them were unique and I didn’t get them confused with one another. Even if you didn’t have a written history of the characters, you felt as if you knew them and could easily interact with them. Milo was definitely my favorite character but Risa follows right behind and Camilla, too. Camilla was awesome. So was Ricard—he was hilarious!
The atmosphere was almost alive. You could tell that it was loosely based on Italy, but the world is its own. While the terms mock Italy (like, cazarra, tavernas) it’s magical in its own right. For example, there are many cazas and each represents a different craft. Like Caza Divetri (Risa’s own house), they are famous for their glass making. (Hence the title, The Glass Maker’s Daughter.) Then there are the gods Muro and Lena and the social structure of the Seven and Thirty. The detail is fascinating!
The plot was FANTASTIC! I thought it was going to be a cliché ending, but GOSH! I loved the twist at the end! The whole thing builds up and up and up and then plummets, then goes up again…it was incredible. Risa was the perfect character to tell this story and was smart, too, but not too smart. She was believable—she had her selfish moments, her anxieties, her tantrums, her shining times. All wrapped up in this ugly conspiracy that she’d gotten thrown into head first.
I usually don’t go for the subtle romances, but this was an exception. It was so sweet in how subtle yet completely obvious it was and it created an underlining tension between the characters and me, as the reader. It’s the kind that had me going, “Oh, c’mon, DO something!” But yet I enjoyed the bantering and the build up of trust between them. It really blended in well with the story but didn’t overshadow any important plot points.
It was just a little difficult to follow at first. The first fifty pages or so, I lost track of how things worked and was confused with all the names mentioned, but as I continued, it made sense and gave it a more enriching quality.
If you like Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder, or Cinda Williams Chima, definitely track this book down. It’s not well known and you may have to buy it from your independent bookstore or online. (I ended up buying it at Half-Price Books, which is a second-hand bookstore.) You can buy it from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or BookDepository....more
In The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (a wordy title for today's standards), Alanna is eighteen-years-old and has been granted her knight's shield. In this third installment, we follow her adventures in the Great Southern Desert of Tortall.
What strikes me most about The Woman Who Rides Like A Man is the masterful expansion of the world. Tamora Pierce doesn't keep Alanna cooped up in a castle in a city. Alanna, fitting for her character, travels. Of course, she finds trouble along the way, or it finds her, whichever.
Just like in In the Hand of the Goddess, Pierce excellently crafts a new stage in Alanna's life. The struggles that Alanna faces in her romantic life continue in their natural progression and test Alanna's heart. Also, her aptitude for leadership is made more apparent in this one, which I particularly liked seeing because I feel it's something today's fantasy is lacking.
I am also amazed at how much action is packed into so few pages. It keeps me pinned to the pages, captured in the story. I can't help but devour these books in one sitting....more
I'm a big fan of Rae Carson's debut, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. When I saw this one, I immediately rushed to buy it, even though I've never bought anything on my Kindle before. This historic buy was not disappointed. Rae Carson packs a lot of plot and character development into the equivalent of 54 printed pages. This time, we see Elisa through the eyes of her sister, Alodia as they encounter a problem in a remote part of their kingdom.
I was struck by the immediate sense of character. Within the first few pages, I felt well acquainted with Alodia, and because she is so self righteous, it was with a put-upon kind of amusement that I observed her character. She had so little faith in Elisa, it was disheartening, but I liked the transformation that goes down throughout the story.
And the story was a well-rounded one at that. Well-rounded, yet leaving a taste for more. The plot was exciting and coupled with Rae Carson's eloquent writing style, the shock factor of some of the twists actually made me gasp.
A reader doesn't have to have the history of The Girl of Fire and Thorns to get a grip on this novella. For those of you who have read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this novella provides a great insight into Alodia's character, something that isn't really offered in the full-length book. It isn't exactly a refresher course of the book, however, since it takes place when Elisa is younger and her journey hasn't really started.
An amazing story; I don't regret the three bucks I spent on it....more
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....more
Truly, this summary doesn't give the book justice. You read it and it's like, "Oh sure, sounds fine." But the book contains so much more.
This takes aTruly, this summary doesn't give the book justice. You read it and it's like, "Oh sure, sounds fine." But the book contains so much more.
This takes a young boy and after being thrown into jail is transformed into a hardy, cunning young man with a mind for inventions and flying.
Eoin Colfer once more gives us his brilliance for winding a web of the plot, making you think one thing only to discover you were completely wrong; setting you on the edge of your seat when you're practically begging for Conor to bring justice and reestablish the link with his family. It's nerve-wracking, but is one of the best books I've read.
It took me a little while to get into it (mostly due to school issues) but one weekend I managed to score some time and I flew through this book--pardon the pun. The pages were just gone as I read. I couldn't wait to get to the end and discover whether or not Conor gets his revenge, if he meets once again with his family, if he gets the girl.
Signed with his signature humor, "Airman"'s suspense is as light-hearted as it is heavy-hearted.
A thrilling ride. Eoin Colfer does it again.
* 5/5 for Best Books Ever, Best Cast of Characters, Best Original Idea, Best Plot * Pages - Hardcover, 412 * Hardly any swear words, all of them mild. * No sequel reported. :( * Other books by Eoin Colfer: The "Artemis Fowl" series, "Half Moon Investigations", "The Supernaturalist", "The Wish List" ...more
This has got to be one of my all-time favorite books. Will is such a free-spirited boy and Halt is that dominant, silent, intriguing teacher, father fThis has got to be one of my all-time favorite books. Will is such a free-spirited boy and Halt is that dominant, silent, intriguing teacher, father figure. It has amazing actions pieces, believable and appealing characters and brilliant descriptions and not to mention witty dialogue. This book is a perfect pick for any rainy day....more
I am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally readI am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally read it -- it is a fantastic fantasy, the kind that is sorely lacking from today's YA fantasy scene. I can't wait to continue with the series....more
What to say about this book...well. I first must say this about the author: I find myself reluctant to say that she writes as maturely as an adult butWhat to say about this book...well. I first must say this about the author: I find myself reluctant to say that she writes as maturely as an adult but that would be inaccurate, for most adults don't write this well! The most accurate praise I can give is that here, for the first time in years, I have found an author who's literary style comes closest to that of J.K. Rowling's.
If Legacy does not become just as popular as the Harry Potter books, I will be thoroughly shocked.
First of all, here is an author who has created a character that has qualities I despise and yet I do not have any regrets about reading this tale through the Princess's eyes. The Princess Alera seems incredibly real and tangible. The cast of characters are just as diverse as those you'd find in real life. And the language used is flawless! Miss Kluver knows what she's talking about.
It is hard to fix this plot into a formula. It seems so real and alive that it feels more like a mere excerpt of a young woman's life and not a lot of stale words on paper. This alone is very intriguing.
I will say that it was the knowledge of Miss Kluver's youth that made me buy this book. My library did not have it (infuriatingly enough) and so I was forced to buy it before reading it. But I knew that it would be worth the $26 I paid for it. And I was not proven wrong.
Miss Kluver's abilities inspire me as much as they discourage. I find myself feeling that I will never be able to reach the standards that Cayla Kluver has set in her writing, but I am inspired enough to try. Legacy will remain on my desk as my source of inspiration until I have finished my own novel.
Cayla Kluver has now been added to the list of authors I want to meet, that had consisted of a small handful of names before and now hold another. Just to show you the importance of this, my list is now this: J.K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini, Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Maria V. Snyder and now Cayla Kluver. :)
I hope she finds it in her busy schedule to extend a tour date over here to Charlotte!
Just as a side note (because I like to have this information before I read a book): - There was little to no swearing. - There is an elaborate sword fight. - The romantic interest is very appealing and not in the mysterious-Edward Cullen way. - While there are words you might have to look up, they fit the time period and style of this novel and should not be distracting. - Depending on the edition you get, the drop caps at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful....more
The last Artemis Fowl book. What a thrilling end! This book marks the very first to make me, Amelia Robinson, shed a tear. Part of me always worries about what kind of hell the author will put their characters through in the series finale, and with these crazy MG authors anything is possible. In Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, I really enjoyed the maturation of the characters set off by Eoin Colfer's signature humor. Colfer pulls out all the stops to create a fast-paced, intriguing topper to his beloved Artemis Fowl series.
As is the case of book eight of any series, there's some preconceived ideas about how awesome the book is going to be -- and if a reader is eight books into a series, we're gonna assume the series is awesome. So there isn't much to add that hasn't already been said before. It's established that the Artemis Fowl series, which has been in my life since I was ten, is justifiably the definition of awesomeness. Moving on...
This final installation was sheer genius. Colfer opens with a bold and exciting conflict -- I mean, maybe that's a bit of an understatement when the "bold" conflict was the utter destruction of the known world. The stakes were upped like never before, creating a nail-biting ride. I liked that Colfer went into this kind of territory: most books, dystopians especially, take place after the world has been destroyed and been refitted into a semblance of order. The Last Guardian takes place during the destruction. I really appreciated Colfer's imagination.
I liked how there was a definite maturation of the characters. While Artemis Fowl has always been credited for speaking and acting a decade older than he should've been, emotionally there was a step up. There was a wealth of history to draw upon and the characters had (finally) truly accepted each other. I really enjoyed the camaraderie between them -- especially when it's accented with Colfer's signature humor.
The ending...was sheer brilliance. Sheer, utter brilliance. I have never seen a full circle executed so beautifully in the very last paragraph. And the climax made me cry! Me! Cry! Maybe I wasn't sobbing like a baby, but the words did go a little blurry and I had to wipe a tear away. But, of course, what would you expect from the last book in a series?! Ironically enough, the only other book that had me on the verge of tears was The Supernaturalist also by Eoin Colfer.
As sad as I was to see this beloved series come to an end, I really enjoyed it. It was funny, exciting, satisfying... If you haven't ever read the Artemis Fowl series, I'd highly suggest you try it out. It's middle grade, but it's short, enjoyable and terribly clever and imaginative.
My only regret, to those of you who have read the whole series: Seriously? Why was Minerva never brought back in? She was brilliant! ...more
Another inventive and engaging story by Patricia Briggs. I really wish there were more than two books. I think Patricia Briggs could have made a whole short story collection with these characters, as distinctive and loving as they are. A duo, frankly, is just not enough.
With Raven's Strike in particular, however, I must say that I wasn't AS engaged as I was with the first book, Raven's Shadow. The beginning lagged for me, the middle was breathlessly exciting. For the ending, it wasn't that it wasn't thrilling, it's just that it wasn't so compelling as to get me to hurry up and finish it. It did end fantastically though once I read it. I'm really sad to give these characters up.
What compelling characters they are! Combined with Patricia Briggs' envious talent for world building makes me fantasize about hanging out with these characters for a day—or tagging along for their adventures. When characters aren't forced onto the reader, I tend to respond better towards them. No one can present characters like Patricia Briggs.
A fantastic fantasy. And if fantasy isn't your thing and you still want a taste of P.B. awesomeness, check out her urban fantasy/paranormal romance books, the Mercy Thompson series. (It's my favorite adult series.)...more
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....more
Being the third and final book in a series, I was going in with mixed feelings. It was nice and long, which of course, I love. But so much happened! I cannot wrap my mind around the skills required to create such a twisted plot--and make it one you can follow. As I read, I kept thinking, "Okay, you know that this is important somehow." But it killed me trying to figure out HOW something, almost completely random, would tie in with the plot.
When you get a really awesome book, it's so hard to write about it without being redundant and without giving anything away. I want to rant about specific parts of the book, just to show you how AWESOME it was, but then hello--total spoiler. So bear with me while I try to water down the awesomeness for the sake of this review. ;)
The characters stayed alive. They're still just as vibrant and alive as they were in book one. I really love Opal's character, though most of the time I was calling her an idiot. I would be reading and I would go, "NO!! What are you doing?!" Multiple times. Out loud. Very loud. XD But Opal's strong and doesn't put up with crap from people, yet she's humble. She's also convinced that everything is her fault, which is like, worthy of a head slap. Still. She's funny and her journey trying to figure herself out is believable...even if it ended up ENTIRELY different than I thought it would.
I love the blending of the two stories. I think it's awesome that Maria V. Snyder has the foundation to bring in characters from her other series. So characters like Ari, Janco, Valek and Yelena make an appearance--many, many appearances. Valek becomes an integral part to the plot, which I liked because Valek is bloody awesome. It's funny though. Having read the Study books through Yelena's eyes, it's so different seeing her through Opal's. Yelena seems so much more intimidating. Like, "Ooooohhh, there's the Soulfinder. The big bad Soulfinder."
The summary hardly does this book justice. The ending was what really killed me. It was SO different than what I was expecting. I dislike love triangles from the start. I was just surprised at how believable I found this particular outcome. I was just like...Oh...okay. And kept going. But seriously--I loved the ending. Sweetness of it aside, it was believable. I cannot say that enough because it's so important.
Normally, I would warn younger teens against reading this book--for now. But if you've followed the Opal Cowan books so far, I'd say you're good to go, content-wise. It really annoys me how these books are listed under adult science fiction. Like, really, really annoys me. They're perfectly suitable for young adults. They're a lot like the Mercy Thompson books in nature. Not a lot of swearing, perhaps mature topics and maybe a few scenes that got a little heated, but overall, not as bad as it could be. I know a lot of young adults books that are worse than some adults books.
The cover: Golly g minor Batman! I love all the covers in the Glass series. Maria V. Snyder has some great graphic designers behind her.
I know that Maria V. Snyder may have plans for another Ixia/Sitia series. Right now, she's got her Outside In stories going. I REALLY want more of Ixia/Sitia. Seeing a Fisk story would be awesome.
So you see, my hands were pretty much tied writing this review. I want say, "Oh, I loved it when Opal did this..." etc. etc., but I do NOT post spoilers. So. For all of you who haven't picked up this series yet (for shame!), you should go find a copy of "Storm Glass" PRONTO!...more
I have always loved dragon stories, and with one notable exception, I have never been disappointed. Rachel Hartman and her work with Seraphina has reminded me in no uncertain terms why I love dragons and dragon stories. She created a world so uniquely her own and wrote a story so full of detail and passion, I would've thought she were recounting something she herself had experienced. From start to finish, this story captured me; I loved every moment of it.
Passion, I think, is something that a lot of writers nowadays lack. Everyone seems to be writing books now, obscuring those few gems who write for the sake of writing and who, even if their stuff won't sell, will be writing because they have to. Rachel Hartman wrote with a passion that makes me infinitely grateful that I didn't pass it by because of the disastrous cover, and gave the story a chance to stand on its own. Seraphina's story connected with me on a personal level, but I think many audiences could see something of themselves in this tale, simply because everyone has something inside of them that they are ashamed of, and that they are afraid to show the world. The fear of rejection is a universal feeling. I loved the way Rachel Hartman captured that.
Seraphina was a fantastic narrator. She's the kind that shouts, "Here, here, look at me!" And then blocks your view when you try to look around her. Her voice was steadily entertaining in a self-deprecating, sarcastic way that made her endearing rather than irritating. Hartman highlighted emotions that are normally butchered or omitted entirely by most authors. For example, Seraphina's reaction to a compliment: while she might feel the compliment is true, her thought process is such that I don't feel she's being falsely modest with herself. Her vulnerability and shame, along with how she dealt with the ground shifting beneath her feet, made her a character that I instantly bonded with.
I also grew deeply rooted in Hartman's world. It's almost as if the descriptions could've only come from someone who had the knowledge of a world that was fully realized, things that I didn't understand and yet the character clearly did. Hartman set up a world that was uniquely her own, adding details to flavor (not bog down) the story in a style similar to that of Tamora Pierce, Christopher Paolini, and Cinda Williams Chima. So when I set the book aside, the world still sat in my head like a memory palace and characters still deigned to play around.
The plot was amazing, though I could see how a reader might think it slow and sometimes aimless. But the way Hartman just dove into it, I couldn't help but try and keep up. I was so engrossed in the story, my mind stopped thinking about, "Is this predictable?" or "Could this have been better?" The inner editor just shut off and I went along for the ride -- and loved every moment of it!
I recommend Seraphina to any fantasy lovers, but specifically to those who love dragon stories. May it take your breath away as it did mine....more
Low-Down Once again Maria V. Snyder brings us a thrilling tale telling of Trella, a head-strong scrub working in the ducts. Indifferent to the uppers living luxuriously above her while she works her tail end off living as a loner with a single friend, Cog. Then she falls--literally--into a change. She befriends Riley, an upper with a matching ignorance about scrubs. She discovers that the uppers aren't all that different. As Riley and Trella begin to become better friends, they uncover a whole network of lies and cover stories, of mysteries about their home.
Best Part What I've always loved about Maria V. Snyder is her writing style. It's straight up, in your face, gets right to the point. Following the style of her other novels ("Study" and "Glass" series), she gets right into the action. No lolly-gagging. Also, her ability to give you the character in a flash moment. It doesn't take her forever to give you an impression about the characters. As soon as you meet them it's BAM! You've got them in your head. This continues throughout the book and it makes it a brilliant, smooth ride.
The Romance Deal Maria V. Snyder's romances are always subtle but passionate. It's never, "They SO should not be together!" Or that you want them with someone else. No love triangles. Romances are never a huge part of the story but they're always there to make it a little sweeter.
The Down-Side Is there a downside? I don't think so. I mean, come on, it's Maria V. Snyder! Maybe the only downside is that it's similar to "City of Ember" but only in the whole "civilization trapped inside a place". M.V.S. gives it her own unique twist. That's what really got me with her first book, "Poison Study," by how unique and fresh the story plot was as well as the style. To some people, Trella's attitude may irritate but she grows and changes during the story. ...more
I love the instances when a book lives up to its hype. I didn't have to read any reviews to know that Shadow and Bone was amazing because of the breadth of its readership. I bought it on a whim, still wary from the last time I'd bought a book before reading it. In retrospect, it was a grand decision, and one that saved a lot of time since I probably would've ended up buying it anyway. I was instantly hooked with Bardugo's masterful hand at atmosphere, the unique world she created, and the characters that populated it. As soon as I began the first page, I was hooked.
Finally, here was something vastly unique -- a bright beacon of originality in this sea of cookie cutter dystopians and high fantasies. I love how Bardugo transported me to a world highly influenced (or possibly, loosely based on) Russia. I have been fascinated by Russia for years now and to see Bardugo's incredibly crafted world based on Russian culture? I was ecstatic.
I was slightly worried, however, that poor character development would make the whole thing crash and burn. Wrong! I was a big fan of Alina's character -- I love how she had the inner conviction and courage to stick up for herself. So when a stranger runs into her, blames the collision on her, she defends herself. Small things like that made me really enjoy her narrative.
I love this world Bardugo created. It was so detailed, I could feel the passion behind it, and the amount of energy and time that must've gone into creating all the different facets of the world. The atmosphere was so unique. This is a world that I would love to live in (but only if I get a cool power).
The plot was exciting with all the twists, turns, and new developments. It was also easy to follow because Bardugo took the time to set up the world without bogging the story down. So by the time the climax rose ahead, I knew what was at stake, and I was as afraid for the outcome as the characters were. The ending left me absolutely buzzing for the sequel!
Shadow and Bone truly deserves all the hype that is circulating around it. (I am so excited to hear that DreamWorks has optioned it for a movie.) Anyone who loves high fantasy, or wants a step away from dystopian, Shadow and Bone is a good book to pick up next....more
The reason I give it a C+ is because Keelie's attitude started to strain my nerves very quickly. She whined a lot and it started to get redundant. SheThe reason I give it a C+ is because Keelie's attitude started to strain my nerves very quickly. She whined a lot and it started to get redundant. She kept up her plans to leave practically right to the very end. The plot seemed shaky and the romance was very much lacking. So the final scenes flopped.
The great thing about this book though is the humor. I found myself laughing constantly. Keelie may not have a backbone more than half the time, but she sure does have a strong witty side. Her "love" for Knot had me thinking about my own crazy cat.
On the writing standpoint, I did not fail to notice how Gillian Summers did a lot of telling and not showing. The story could have been greatly strengthened if Keelie's emotions reflected on her actions more than simply saying, "She was so mad." Though I did enjoy seeing Keelie's spirit come through in her dialogue. The subplots flopped, too. There seemed to have been so many ideas but none of them appeared to be fully exploited. Perhaps in the sequels.
A fun read that would not be a waste of time. It's a new spin on the fairy folk idea and full of entertaining characters. I did not regret picking up this book and the sequels are being held for me at the library as we speak.
Here I am, eighteen-years-old, and still finding unbelievable enjoyment in Rick Riordan books. While, for me, the writing is the main thing that demotes it down to a "middle grade" level, everything else can be enjoyed by anyone who wants a good story. That's why I love it -- the story. I love the characters and the world and the magic and everything. I love picking up a Percy Jackson and Co. book because I can never know what to expect, except a good time and a lot of laughs. In this latest installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, Rick Riordan brings everything to the table to make it the best yet.
The plot kept me glued to my chair. It's always a good sign when the reader can't figure out how a character is going to wiggle out of their current dilemma. I'm left in awe by Rick Riordan's ability to slam his characters into corners that seem impossible to get out of and then, somehow, miraculously, they get out. Barely. And if something can go wrong, it does. Most of the time I'm left thinking, How does this story even work when everything goes wrong? But that's part of the beauty of it.
Much like Harry Potter, the Heroes of Olympus series has a whole cast of characters to fall in love with. Annabeth had always seemed a bit standoff-ish to me in the previous books (even the Percy Jackson series), but I totally cheered for her in this one. I still absolutely love how all the characters have their own subplots. All of them have something dreadful and wonderful going on in their lives and that makes them all real to me.
The Mark of Athena kept me glued from page one. I think this one might be my favorite, but it's a close tie. All the books are excellent for their own reasons. What makes The Mark of Athena stand out to me is how the climax of the story stayed with me. Even now, after having finished it, that scene haunts me. When a book does that to you, that says the author did something right in more ways than one.
Anyone can love the Heroes of Olympus series. There are characters and stories within the series that anyone can connect with, all connected by a universal humor....more
The False Prince, had, in my mind, many flaws: the writing was simple, but not elegant and there was a complete lack of setting that I couldn't really get past. Despite these flaws, however, The False Prince was a magnificent book. I loved the main character, Sage, with his complete inability to keep his mouth shut but also with his noble heart and courage. The False Prince captured me. Fans of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series will like this trilogy.
The writing lacked elegance of any kind. It was simple -- too simple, all telling, like it was meant to be read out loud. The "all telling, no showing" obliterated a lot of opportunities for me as a reader to attach to Sage's character on an emotional level. Luckily, Jennifer Nielsen has a fantastic grasp on dialogue; I was very impressed with that particular aspect.
chillin with The False Prince If the writing lacked any elegance, the story lacked setting. More specifically, atmosphere. There was little to no description of the world. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it was like. I had no sense of it. It's such a shame, since Jennifer Nielsen had the perfect foundation for it and it was simply never built upon. For example, there was a phrase -- "I don't give an inch what you think" -- that gave an inkling of a deeper world, but that was all.
Another issue I had was the fact that Sage was supposed to be a fourteen-year-old boy, but most of the time, I had in mind a seventeen-year-old. It was a bit disorienting sometimes. Not that I think a fourteen-year-old can't act seventeen, but there was no real basis for that.
The plot was amazing -- I loved it! I commend Jennifer Nielsen for her boldness. I was completely hooked from the opening pages. In particular, I liked how romance was not the order of the day. In that aspect, the fourteen-year-old deal was believable.
Bottom-line is: I want to read on. I can't wait for the sequel, The Runaway King. I don't know if I can wait till next year to read it....more
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....more