A fascinating Southern mystery. I wouldn't exactly throw it in beside the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl but this is still a book to be reckoned with. It went against my expectations. A snotty New Yorker--a ballerina, no less--getting thrown into the South after her Accident? I mean, you can imagine my reservations. But Sylvie was actually a very fun character. Maybe sometimes a little obtuse and more annoying than anything but she had a great wit and let her instincts guide her sometimes--unlike most of the prima donnas you get that KNOW that maybe you shouldn't go into the creepy looking building but do anyway without probably cause.
A great cast of characters. Ms. Clement-Moore does a good job bringing her characters to life. I never had a case where I was just going, "Oy, kill me now. SO unnatural and out of character." I specifically have Rhys's father in mind. I was inwardly holding my breath, waiting and seeing how she'd present his character and have him interact. Out of all of them, he seemed the one who would act out of character the most.
Maybe a teensy little bit cliche. There were a few lines/scenes that I wanted to wince at (but it wasn't so bad that I did). I felt that there should have been more of a struggle over the really hard topics--like Sylvie's dancing career for example. There was more than I expected, but after getting so far into the book, I wanted a little bit more than that. It was too typical in how all the good guys ended up completely fine (maybe some bumps and bruises). There wasn't any real loss involved and it made the ending kinda blow over rather ungracefully.
A compelling writing style. I was very impressed with Ms. Clement-Moore's writing. It was excellently done to show and not tell. I had a good grasp on the atmosphere. During some of the scenes, I was getting some goose bumps. It killed me not to be able to read it during class unless it was after a test or something. I loved the adventure and the mystery as it unfolded. It was presented wonderfully. :)
So perhaps not the caliber of the Caster Chronicles, but (what is?) I still highly recommend it to anyone who's thriving for a good, thick book. You might be frustrated--at first--with Sylvie's character but if you follow it through, she might surprise you. She's got some wonderful quips. ;) (less)
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)
I was a Non Blonde Cheerleader is the most hilarious book I've ever come in contact with. Kieran Scott takes the classic "new girl and popular hot guy...moreI was a Non Blonde Cheerleader is the most hilarious book I've ever come in contact with. Kieran Scott takes the classic "new girl and popular hot guy" situation and turns it into a hilarious read that will leave your sides aching. It also delves into the "rawer" side of being a teenager: biting romance, testing friendships, and of course, winning cheerleading competitions. (less)
It’s reads true: “…darkly funny story of a teenage outcast.” If this were an upbeat story about something completely different, I would have greatly enjoyed Melinda’s sense of humor and wit and her skill for imagination. But combining it with her ordeal and suddenly, it sings a sinister tune. I think her wit made her real and made us more connected with her character. So, even if we can’t identify with her on a personal level, she has the type of outlook that we can imagine, and sympathize with.
Laurie Halse Anderson writes beautiful, subtle and descriptive prose. I had a thought while reading it. That it had the air of a great speech. It said, “This is important. You should listen.” And it kept me captivated right to the very end. I found myself thinking about it while in class, but not in that “boy, this class is boring, lemme read to escape” type of way. I was actually thinking about Melinda and what she would be like to hang out with and what I would do if something like that happened to me. Basically, it was a though-provoker and an eye-opener.
I can only imagine what the impact of this book had when it was first published in 1999. When it was published in October that year, I was only six, so I don’t know what it was like for teenagers and didn’t know how something like this would impact them. For teenagers now, I think this is something that will stick to them and make them more aware of the people they think are strange simply because they will not talk, or they called the cops on a party, or because they sit alone. It made me think about perception and how it’s different when you’re on the outside looking in. Just because the rooms look designer fresh, doesn’t mean there aren’t shadows in the closets.
I liked the subplot with Melinda’s Art teacher. I thought it really gave him depth and overall, I liked his character and how real he seemed. He didn’t seem flat or false. While the high school social structure was cliché, I found it fitting for the story and I was never bothered by it—except when Heather was being a butthead, and Rachel, too.
Originally, I’d given this book a 4/5 but that was because it was just so darn depressing. I always found myself under a cloud after I put it down. Then, I thought about how depression is basically the point of the book and since it had done its job, I gave it the fully-deserved mark of 5/5.
For those of you who haven’t read it, I urge you to do so. It’s a short book, only a few pages shy of 200. It’s a remarkable story and worth the time.(less)
Sassy and smart, This Lullaby features Remy Starr as a tough as nails girl who is unwilling to love. Of course, most of that goes out the window when...moreSassy and smart, This Lullaby features Remy Starr as a tough as nails girl who is unwilling to love. Of course, most of that goes out the window when she meets Dexter. This book is a true look at a teenager's mind.(less)
The greatest book to read if you're looking to write a book. While most books along these "helping" lines are stiff and mostly remind you of your most...moreThe greatest book to read if you're looking to write a book. While most books along these "helping" lines are stiff and mostly remind you of your most boring college professor, this book gets up close and personal, skipping around the soft edges and going straight for the hard core. You will not be able to hide from your own fears while reading this book. It offers sound advice from my most favored author.(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)
This book really captured me. The way the author presents Miracle (the main character) is so realistic, it's as if the author herself has gone through...moreThis book really captured me. The way the author presents Miracle (the main character) is so realistic, it's as if the author herself has gone through the exact situation. It's so personal, it's like a diary. From a writing standpoint, it's wonderfully written. As for the story, if it were made into a movie and done properly, it would be a hit. I read it off and on when I first checked it out but then all of a sudden I couldn't stop reading it. This character is so painstakingly realistic that it really gets you.
It's certainly a step away from the constant stream of fantasy I'm forever gobbling up. The first few pages confused me but it's all straightened out very quickly and Miracle is a character that you just want to cheer on: you want her to know the facts. For her to finally have rest. I was so drawn in with this character.
The Dead Girls' Dance wasn't a huge step up from Glass Houses in my opinion of it. The characters were good, but not exceptional; the world was expanded well enough; and, luckily, it wasn't a rehashing of the first. It was still very superficial and "bubble gum" like, but what made this installment distinctive for me was how the stakes were high. (No pun intended.) But I'm still not finding it "oh my goodness" amazing.
Like the first book, Dead Girls' Dance lacked a sense of depth. It left me wondering, "Why should I find this important?" I did feel more of a connection with the characters, though, because I'd already read a book about them, but while their quips were hilarious, their dynamics weren't thrilling me. That was my issue with most of the story: I was left utterly un-thrilled.
Claire was my central issue in Glass Houses. Here, she was fine. Still a complete flake, but not wholly useless, either. Although, I certainly raised my eyebrows over her desire to still head to class when she knows full well that leaving the house will get her killed. With Claire, I was always thinking, "If you're going to get threatened, kidnapped and potentially sucked dry by a bunch of creepy vamps, it might as well be for a better reason than wanting to go to class."
I thought the plot for Dead Girls' Dance was much better than Glass Houses. It had a bit more cohesiveness; I understood the stakes better. What I didn't understand was why the title was "The Dead Girls' Dance" when the dance didn't mean a whole lot in terms of how it impacted the story. Besides that, it was exciting and interesting and packed a few twists.
What I loved most, hands down, was the humor. Kudos for books that make me laugh. Glass Houses was excellent in the humor department, and The Dead Girls' Dance continued that excellence nicely. So if I got anything out of it, it was a great laugh.
I'm a bit on the fence about whether or not I'm going to continue with the series. I've been told they get better with time, but after two books that were only "meh," I'm a bit skeptical about putting a lot of time and effort into the series. Still, I'm interested, and that counts for something.(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 will forever be a fan of Patricia Briggs. It’s how she blends together all the critical elements of a story with her flawless writing and loveable characters. Her stories themselves are original and engaging. Her characters come alive and are presented so well that it’s perfect daydreaming material.
When the story first opened, I was confused because Seraph is presented as a child and I was like—Well how are they supposed to get married? But the transition between the years is very well done. I was worried for a moment that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the Before and After but as I said, very well done.
Raven’s Shadow isn’t set in just Seraph’s point of view. It switches between most of the main characters—Teir, Seraph, and Jes mostly. The mix gave me an insight into the characters that reinforced their accessibility. Seraph’s character, for instance, could come off as cold and distant but since a good portion of the book is in her point of view, I was shown her motives and understood her character. I really enjoyed Seraph’s character especially because she has a lot of fire in her and a quick wit.
The characters in general were presented extremely well. Even the Emperor, who is supposed to be this pompous, partying ingrate. His transition between drunkard and commander was believable. I cheered him all the way.
The world of Raven’s Shadow was excellently crafted. It took me half a dozen chapters to figure out what the heck a Sept was but once I settled into the book, it became clear as well as a bunch of other tiny things that readers have to pick up when they delve into a fantasy novel. I would suspect that politics is something difficult to write about without being complicated and boring, but I was engrossed with the uncovered alliances and seeming insignificant things becoming important.
Patricia Briggs has a flawless storytelling style that gives a clear picture of the story without being so in your face about it. She doesn’t coddle, she doesn’t condescend. She effectively shows the reader what she finds so special about these characters and what they’re going through.
An absolutely thrilling read. I devoured it practically in one sitting.(less)