The writing did nothing for it. I almost never start on an author's writing style but in this case, i...moreIn 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.(less)
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)
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.)(less)
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 with...moreThe 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.(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)
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 a...moreTruly, 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" (less)
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 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)
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.(less)
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.(less)
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 f...moreThis 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.(less)
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 but...moreWhat 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.(less)
I am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally read...moreI am a huge fan of Hilari Bell's Writing Tips and I was dying to see it in action. I bought this book a long time ago and I am so glad I finally read it -- it is a fantastic fantasy, the kind that is sorely lacking from today's YA fantasy scene. I can't wait to continue with the series.(less)
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! (less)
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.)(less)
I liked this second installment, even if the writing gave me a little bit of trouble.
Janice Hardy seen through the eyes of her awesome blog, The Other Side of the Story, is a master at her craft. The reason I picked up her series was because I was so impressed with her writing advice. However, when I read Blue Fire, I found myself distracted by her writing. Perhaps my expectations were lifted a little higher in light of her blogging prowess, but the moments I expected the writing to delve into and prolong were short, practically butchered. The times where I expected rushing action came off rather flat.
On the writing style front, I was a tad bit disappointed.
The story, though, completely rocked. I like Nya--she's a great character. She has many personal faults but is a hero for all intents and purposes. I love stories like that: Harry Potter-like stories where the main character doesn't set out to be a hero but is aimed that way because what they're wired to believe in and fight for is, in the eyes of the public, what makes them a hero.
Nya is also one of those character who just cannot catch a break. This kind of story, where the characters are always the underdogs, really gets me to the edge of my seat. I fear for Nya's safety and sanity every step of the way. With every situation, I always ask myself, "What can go wrong? What are the chances that it will go wrong?"
That's a great way to pull a reader in, which is why I am, again, so impressed with Janice Hardy's work.
The story is gritty and intense. I loved the new relationships that were formed in this one, as well as the ones that were deepened. My heart almost broke towards the end.
The incredible width and breadth of the world makes me think of Tamora Pierce. Great detail and fantastic atmosphere. Two thumbs up for worldbuilding.
A great installment, though lacking in the writing arena. I've got Darkfall all fired up and ready to go.(less)
This is a fascinating mix of elements. This is a book that brought about that rare feeling where you just don’t know what to feel and where there are so many different things going on that you can’t just feel one way about it. The plot is complex and frighteningly realistic. Honestly, the writing gave me goose bumps and the ending gave me chills.
The one thing that really brings so much emotion out of this book, I think, is the world. Philip Pullman takes his time and leisurely describes the different aspects of life, setting up everything right in the very beginning while being careful not to bore the reader. I love that measure of detail. I think what most writers don’t realize is that you can’t rush into the story right away but you also can’t give a soliloquy about how things work. There’s a careful balancing act and Philip Pullman is a master of this craft. I didn’t feel brought down by any of the information and I appreciated it in the long run.
My dad has no imagination. Not in the fantasy-world kind of way, at least. He made a comment to me about armored bears. “Armored bears? Don’t think I see that right there.” And I said, “Yeah, dad, that’s where the imagination part comes in.” And he’ll just shake his head at me. Philip Pullman presents things in such a way that your brain doesn’t go, “Oh, yeah, right.” He presents it as that’s the way of the world and how could you question that? (Unless you’re my father.) Philip Pullman has published, like, a billion books so he obviously knows what he’s doing. And he’s also one of those minds that has me going, “Okay, how did he come up with that of all impossible things?” The simply wild events kept me riveted and the matter-of-fact prose created the prefect formula to keep me reading.
But the ending freaked me out. Really. Maybe it’s because I’d seen the movie first and saw how awesome Daniel Craig was. I don’t want to be spoilerish here, but for those of you who read the book, the ending just…God. Really gave me the willies. And, slightly relevant to that, I can see why some parents wouldn’t want their kids reading this book—at least until they’re older. Philip Pullman pulls from “The Bible” but uses his own verses, adding daemons in there.
I think what really made this book come together was Lyra. She’s an awesome chica. She’s so stubborn and determined. If she goes for something, she gets it and that’s that. Lord help anyone who tries to stop her. She’s such a real character that she provokes so many feelings for her. I was cheering for her all the way and wanted to cry with her, too.
Just a little note about the movie: I think it’s a good adaption. I can see why it was ended the way it was. You just gotta think that this is a kids movie and the way the book ended…well…I can’t see that being fit into a kids movie and going over well. Even being rearranged, I think the movie really captured the voice of the book while keeping it appropriate for kids.
In a nutshell, Philip Pullman brought together the complexities of the world and, combining them with a vivid and fresh imagination, created an everlasting story. (less)
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.(less)
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.(less)
This is a book meant for people who can read thick, flourishing descriptions. I say "thick" because details are very, well...thick. Usually it would b...moreThis is a book meant for people who can read thick, flourishing descriptions. I say "thick" because details are very, well...thick. Usually it would bother me (and I have given up on a book or two because the descriptions of the tiniest details put me to sleep) but with this novel, it only required me to have a clear mind while reading. Meaning I couldn't read it in class, but it fit perfectly in my lower backpack pocket, which was a plus.
It took me a long time to read through this. At some times, it was as if the book had no direction and was more of a journal entry rather than a story. Yet the story and plot was original and touching in some sections. The characters were well developed but I was expecting more action from the assassin/spymaster. There wasn't a huge bond there that you usually get. Maybe it was just subtle, but I was hoping for it to be more obvious, if there was a bond at all.
I have not yet picked up the sequel and I'm not quite sure I will. It's one of those novels you read when you wanted to be inspired to write in a lofty, delicate fashion while being hard-core at the same time. Robin Hobb is definitely one to take advice from on writing. Her plot was well paced on average. There's so much detail; it makes me wonder how long it took her to write it, let alone plan it.
There are moments of humor and insight but overall, it's a bit depressing, especially towards the end.
The lasting impression I got was that we didn't get deep enough into Fitz's character. Perhaps I am wrong and it was some months ago that I finished reading this book, but lasting impressions are important.
* Pages - 480 * Some swearing occasionally. * If you manage to get a copy, I doubt it'll be the same cover as the one above. But I like the one above better, to be perfectly honest. * There are sequels. (It's a trilogy.) * Sequels: "Royal Assassin" followed by "Assassin's Quest" (less)
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.(less)
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.(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)
When Vessel first caught my eye some months ago, I dismissed it. What a mistake. Sarah Beth Durst captured what I love most about fantasy with her impressive command of prose, instantly likable main character, and beautifully defined world. I had a hard time tearing myself away to do normal things, like I don't know, eat and sleep and other silly things like that. I was so firmly rooted in the story that my soul wept knowing that there wasn't a sequel. Vessel was just that amazing.
Tamora Pierce called it right when she blurbed, "Unique and breathtaking..." The beauty and simplicity of the opening line caught me right away:
On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family's tent to see the dawn.
Sarah Beth Durst carries the story along with a beautifully exotic, yet easy to understand writing style. It's straightforward and reminds me of Maria V. Snyder's style -- how the sentences are short, but not truncated. It complements the characters and plot well by enhancing the atmosphere rather than getting in the way.
Durst also shows a command of story. When Liyana is abandoned by her tribe, Durst is able to maintain interest even when Liyana isn't interacting with another character. I was expecting a slump, because it's typical to see a character's inner self displayed by how they react to others, but there was plenty of conflict, both internal and external. It was at that point that my interest in Vessel doubled. It only got better the deeper into the story I got. And not only story, but world. The world-building was incredible. Complex, yet easy to understand, the stakes were clearly defined and I felt, right along with the characters, the dread of what could happen if the worst occurred. I loved the extra details: the stories, the gods, the destinies. All these fun things that don't really happen outside of a fantasy novel.
Liyana was a stellar character. (In fact, all the characters were very defined, with character specific dialogue.) I loved Liyana from page one, and felt immense sympathy for her when her tribe left her -- which occurred within the first few chapters, generally too soon for me to form an attachment to a character. Also, I never grew irritated with her because it seemed that all of her actions were well-defined by a clear thought process alongside consistent and believable motivations. She was feisty and a quick thinker. Possibly one of my new favorite characters.
Out of everything that made this novel unique to me, the romance stuck out the most. When Sarah Beth Durst described, in an interview with Simon & Schuster, how the romance in her novel was very natural, I didn't quite believe her. Now, after having experienced Vessel for myself, I realize how right she was. It didn't feel superficial to me; there was no instant gratification. And overall, the romance was intensely bittersweet, but it built and progressed at a natural pace.
It's amazing to me that Durst could tie up an entire story within four hundred pages. It's strange to me to see a stand alone fantasy book, and it made me sad to let go of the story so quickly! While some of the action scenes could've been refined to show more depth and clarity, the plot progressed smoothly and built the stakes higher and higher until my fingers were clenched around the book in anticipation for the conclusion.
Vessel was an amazing story. I must have it for my shelves.(less)
This book holds a powerful thought process. It makes you think about what each object in this book symbolizes in this world. And how exquisite, the en...moreThis book holds a powerful thought process. It makes you think about what each object in this book symbolizes in this world. And how exquisite, the ending, the death, and yet the beginning of the Time of the Eagle. The sacrifice, the love, the charming way this novel weaves the tale of Gabriel. The richness and the quality of the cultures and ways of life; the amazing characters who steal your hearts.
This book is entirely worthy of five stars. It will forever be amongst my list of the Greatest Books Ever.(less)
I felt nothing for the characters. There was no depth. At least if I hate a character, that says something for h...moreSo I'll just jump right into it, yeah?
I felt nothing for the characters. There was no depth. At least if I hate a character, that says something for how they were portrayed. Yet with this...there was nothing given to me. Nothing to round out their characters. Most of the time, I felt disdain for Aislinn's character because when she was supposed to come off as fierce, she just seemed fake. Like a child playing grown-up.
The writing style. Ah. The writing did nothing to credit this story. It felt more like a retelling, giving no credit to these character's personal feelings. There was a lot of telling and not enough showing. Very short, to the point, and shallow. It seems that the popularity for this book runs entirely off of the idea. I could not feel any passion from the writing. None at all.
The end lost me. The climax should be the best part of the story. I was reading and going, "What?" Things were not explained well enough and again, there was no passion. It moved too fast. I felt no shock at the turn of events. I couldn't really bring myself to care what happened to the characters. When Aislinn gripped the staff, the outcome was poorly described. I was thinking, "So what?"
I suppose I will check out the sequel because for better or for worse, I am curious to know what will happen next. Though I am sorely tempted to drop the series. The epilogue really did it in. I was less than ten pages from the end and just wanted it to be over with. How the relationships turned out? Not at all to my liking and I cannot even summon the passion to drive that point home. That's how little I really got from the characters.
The summary really builds this story up and it doesn't deliver. I remember viewing this book as promising when I read the description. I love the cover, though. I love all of the covers. I doubt I'll ever buy this series (if I do, it'll be all in paperback because I am not spending all the money to purchase a hardcover edition). I prefer the Wondrous Strange series by Lesley Livingston or The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones. The writing was much better in those two series--the passion clearly coming through.
WARNING: To younger and/or more sensitive readers--there is mild language in this book, including the F-bomb being dropped a few times. It is not, however, as thick and extensive as Holly Black's "Valiant".
I do have a song that would go well with this book, though: "What Would It Be Like" by Lindsay Aline (she has a BEAUTIFUL voice). In describing Aislinn's despair and all that jazz.
In one word: incredible. While only a single scene of Girl of Fire and Thorns stayed perfectly clear in my memory, I have a feeling that most of Crown of Embers will become ingrained in my mind for years. Rae Carson's quick but thorough writing style brings the romance sparkling to the surface, the world to life, and the action to a heart-racing climax. This was a fantastic second installment in the Fire and Thorns series -- I am completely primed for the third book.
I think my favorite thing about this book was Elisa's character. She's endearing in the way that she knows her weaknesses and she doesn't let them rule her -- she tries to shore up her strengths and, most importantly, tries not to let down the people she cares about. (Though there are some notable exceptions to that generality, of course.) I liked her humor and her will to press on no matter what, even if that tremendous willpower nearly got her killed a time or two (or five). Her stubbornness, rather than being irritating, was something I admired about her, because while she was hard-headed, she wasn't stupid. That, paired with her huge heart, made her a great main character.
Rae Carson crafts not only excellent characters, but a thrilling plot. From page one, I was hooked into a story chockfull of slanderous generals, city riots, assassination attempts, and Godstone mysteries. I read the first three hundred pages in one day; I was so into the story that I couldn't pull myself out of it for long. I liked how the story's plot made sense: I didn't have to take her for her word or give her the benefit of the doubt. I understood the stakes, I understood the goals and complications. By the time I got to the climax, I was buzzing with energy from "what's going to happen next?" Having finished it, I'm sorry I went through it so quickly.
What else Carson does well: world building. Similar to that of Tamora Pierce's universes, Rae Carson's world is one that I wouldn't mind getting transported into. (But only if I can get a run at Hector.) I loved the breadth of the geography. The transition from desert to green, rolling hills and sparkling seas gave detail and depth to the world that made it pop off the page for me.
All of this -- the characters, the plot, the world -- its magic was made possible by the simple yet elegant writing style. I loved how Rae Carson made use of every word, how nothing was wasted. Her style phrased things in a way I had never considered. It was straightforward and magical. It fit the story well; it made reading enjoyment that much easier to find.
Rae Carson is what I would call a master of the novel trifecta: she brings together characters, plot and world building to create a wonderful, magical story.(less)
A well crafted and excellently written book, though it's not without its faults.
This is the first thing I've read of Laini Taylor's and it's an impressive first impression. I was completely blown away with the writing. The setting was what really took me away, though. I don't think I've ever read a book where the author painted a foreign setting that clearly. (I mean, thank you Jesus, finally!) This seriously makes me want to visit Prague now or hunt down every movie set in Prague and have a Friday Night Movie Fest.
Karou was an interesting main character whose strength really showed through. I loved her consistent sense of humor and steel-like core. I loved her quirks—artistic ability (MY GOD, SO ENVIOUS!) and language collection (EVEN MORE ENVIOUS). She was never annoying.
Her relationship with the angel, however, was pushing my patience. I kept getting distracted by the whole "love at first sight deal" with undertones of a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance. I want to compare it to Twilight because there wasn't a lot of the stuff that truly makes a stable relationship, just mostly physical attraction. I had a hard time not thinking, "Okay, seen this before. Get. Real."
I was very taken with the set up of the story. The plot was intricate, unique and very well set up. As it got closer and closer to the end, I started figuring things out slowly as each new piece of information was presented. I love that kind of slow-coming realization! I'm glad I found a book where I didn't have the whole plot figured out by chapter three.
Monsters…angels…very cool. Even though I couldn't really get into the romance, I loved the story and the worlds and the characters.
(The ending annoyed me though. Just saying. Makes me hesitate to pick up the next book. o.o)(less)
I had all kinds of wild expectations for The Assassin's Curse: there had to be romance, but not of the sneak-in-through-the-window-and-watch-you-sleep variety; the main character had to be kickass but not untouchable and immovable; the world had to be fully realized and epic; and, the plot had to be exciting and fresh. For a woman with such a sugar-topped name as "Cassandra Rose Clarke," she sure knows how to write a story to surpass all expectations.
The world of The Assassin's Curse makes me want to toss my computer aside and head for a pirate ship. While Clarke's writing style wasn't fantastic, it fit the story. So as I read, I could easily imagine the chatter of the day market, the rush of a hot desert wind, and the crash of waves against a ship on the open sea. I loved the design of the assassins with their desert masks, of how their tattoos and eyes glow like Avatar arrows. But, I feel like Clarke's only scratching the surface in this first installment, like she's just laying the foundation and secretly chuckling, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
Which reminds me of Ananna's character, a girl of many layers. The absolute refusal of an arranged marriage has been around since Romeo & Juliet, but would Romeo's father have sent an assassin after Juliet for marrying his son? Would Juliet have fought back, accidentally saved the assassin's life and end up bound to him? Didn't think so. Ananna's character was on a knife's edge: if she got too cocky, she would risk coming off as fake and irritating, but if she strayed too much to the soft side, she'd appear fluffy and superficial. Ananna was a girl who took a stand, called people's BS (even the dude she took a shining to), and backed up her arguments. I loved how her insecurities were not shrouded by bravado in her narration. She was strong, but not without empathy.
I could totally get into the story. While the writing style could've been a little deeper, could've stood for a little more polish, it had a certain... je ne sais quoi. But what was important was that Clarke knew how to develop the story in a way that heightened the suspense while delving deeper into the characters. The stakes were laid out starkly, so that I understood perfectly why Ananna would quake with fear, or rise to face her attacker.
The Assassin's Curse is what I would shamelessly call "masterful." I was hooked from page one, and had such difficulty putting it down! And when I did manage to yank myself away from the page, the characters would follow me and stalk me while I went about my day. I love books that manage to do that, invade my world so thoroughly. And with the way Assassin's Curse ended, I'm on tenterhooks for the next book, which doesn't come out until June?! If it's one mark against Assassin's Curse, it's how much I fell in love with it and how much it makes me want the sequel, which I'm going to have to wait forever for!(less)