Well. It should be no secret that I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I first read The Name of the Wind back in earlOriginally posted here.
Well. It should be no secret that I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I first read The Name of the Wind back in early 2009. Since then, I've been on a crusade to make as many people read it as possible. I haven't kept up an exact count, but I know the number of people that have picked it up because of me is around 20. When people ask me what my favorite book is, that is the book I tell them. When I re-read it last month, I just loved it more. Now, after finally getting to see the next stage of Kvothe's story, I am glad to say that The Wise Man's Fear is just as good...maybe better!
(Ridiculous amounts of gushing to follow.)
The writing. Oh, the writing. I have had countless conversations about how amazing the writing is in The Name of the Wind. I quote the especially poetic and lyrical parts - or the dialogues that made me laugh. I absolutely believe that Rothfuss is one of the best writers out there. (Click here to check out all the Goodreads quotes from the book so far, you'll see what I mean!) But, other authors can write lyrical passages and make me laugh. I couldn't put into words what it was that made Rothfuss the (in my opinion) undisputed best. Then, I read a scene in this book that made it come together:
The real magic behind the story is the writing. Not just the lyrical and poetic passages, not just the humorous ones - but the parts that cover the everyday, basic interactions. You know how, when you're talking to your friends, you'll laugh (chuckle, if you will) at little things that aren't particularly that funny? Then - you read a passage with dialogue like that in a book - and even though you notice - and appreciate - the (borderline) humor, you don't actually laugh. Well - when you're reading something Patrick Rothfuss has written, you laugh. You do a double-take. You feel a slight awkwardness. You get a chill...you blush. You do all the little things you'd do in your own life and your own conversations that you don't normally react to when you're reading. That is what Rothfuss does like no one else.
One of the best things about Kvothe is that he can really be an irritating SOB. He isn't one of those characters that starts perfect and has absolutely no personal growth. In this book, we see him finally start to mature and understand that, while he might have more life experience then some, he is still ignorant in a lot of ways. We also (finally) see him realize that sometimes it really is better to keep his mouth shut. Of course, on the other hand, sometimes he still can't help himself. He still manages to get into heaps of trouble, most of which is his own fault. The way his character thinks and interacts with others makes it really seem like you're reading about a life and not a character. The realism is why it is so easy to become so deeply involved. Also, sometimes, when he isn't being obnoxious...he can show kindness that will make your heart clench. The man has layers.
I was really nervous about the middle of the book, because I knew that he had to leave the University at some point (based on the synopsis). Actually, I was scared to death he was going to be kicked out for some godawful reason and that it would be a horrible section to read. I was hardcore dreading it. Well, no spoilers, but it didn't unfold like I thought it would and, as you can see, I lived through it. I enjoyed the story just as much away from the University. I shouldn't have doubted it!
Also, we get a lot more of "Kote," Bast and the Chronicler in the present-day with this book. I liked those parts a lot, which was another pleasant surprise, because I didn't so much in NOTW. And if the Kvothe that is unfolding through the story has layers, forget about trying to understand him as he is in the present-day. Although we're closer to seeing what has brought him to an out-of-the-way inn, there are still gaps and mysteries. The third book will have a lot of ground to cover!
One of the best surprises in the book, for me, was Elodin. SO MANY awesome scenes with this guy. Seriously, he is easily one of my favorite characters in the series. I'm definitely avoiding going into specifics in my review, but let me tell you - when you read the book you will love him.
This book ended basically the same as the first - it leaves you definitely wanting more, but not on a cliffhanger that makes you want to choke somebody to death. I am already looking forward to the third book - and whether it takes one year or seven, I can't wait to see what happens next!...more
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelves unread for years. I’m glad I finally picked it up! I always reaCrown Duel by Sherwood Smith is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelves unread for years. I’m glad I finally picked it up! I always really enjoy reading older young adult fantasy, and this one was no exception. While the world building left a lot to be desired, I fell completely in love with the characters. They kept me glued to the pages.
Meliara and her brother Bran promised their father on his deathbed that they would save their kingdom from the evil King currently in power. As they do their best to keep their word, chaos erupts. From enemies to not-so-enemies to hostages to court intrigue – the complications keep the pages turning. The plot is extremely strong and engaging.
Now, besides the god-awful cover, the main issue I have with Crown Duel is the world building. Namely: the lack of. From the first page to the conclusion, there are numerous references to the Hill Folk. Who are they? What are they? Where do their allegiances lie? How do they think? All things we don’t find out (at least not to my satisfaction). They end up being pretty vital to how things turn out, but we never learn anything about them! Not okay, especially when one of the main things that makes or breaks a fantasy novel is the world building.
Also present are references to magic (like communication stones). Yet nothing ever develops about the origins of magic or how things work/how they are made. Huge disappointment there. I think Sherwood Smith is a pretty established fantasy author, so I was really surprised by how lacking I found all this.
The book’s major strength is the characters. Meliara is awesome! She is a stubborn, prickly piece of work, actually – but that is why I loved her. She got on my nerves more than once…the fact that she was imperfect made my day. Of course, she is also strong, intelligent and fiercely loyal. I don’t take my heroines any other way. Her complex personality made me love her very early on, and kept me dying to see how her story would turn out.
Speaking of complex: the Marquis of Shevraeth. The less said about him by me the better (you need to meet him for yourself!), but he can definitely be my (newest) book boyfriend. I absolutely love that man. Seriously – read the book just so we can talk about him.
So, while the book is definitely not perfect, it is absolutely worth reading. I loved the characters and getting to see their story! Also, bonus: since this is actually an omnibus of two shorter books put together, there is also an extra short story at the end after the HEA. I love getting glimpses like that into my characters’ lives!...more
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt has been on my to read list for years. I wish I hadn't waited to long to read it - maybe then my hopes wouldKeturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt has been on my to read list for years. I wish I hadn't waited to long to read it - maybe then my hopes wouldn't have been quite so high. Unfortunately, the book failed to live up to all my expectations.
Keturah lives in a small village that borders a large forest. She ends up getting lost in the forest one day and meets Death. She makes a temporary deal with him to put off her death, determined not to miss out on the possibility of falling in love. She spends days desperately trying to discover who her true love is, only to discover it in a most unexpected place.
So basically, the book confused the heck outta me. At first I assumed she'd be falling in love with Death. Then she makes a connection with someone she knows from the village and I was so mad! Then I was finally getting used to the idea of her with this other guy when things changed around on me again. Totally crazy. I never felt any legit chemistry anywhere, which is a real shame considering the main focus of the book was Keturah wanting to fall in love. Regardless of who she ended up with (and don't worry, I won't spoil it for you) I just couldn't enjoy it since I never felt any connection to any of the characters. Bummer.
I normally love stories like these - fantasy tales that take place in charming little villages with characters that have all grown up together and have formed their own kinds of unique bonds and superstitions. This was, by far, my least favorite of all the stories like that I've read. If you're in the mood for that type of story - let me highly recommend picking up recently released The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab instead!...more
Dang. I was really looking forward to reading Warped when it came out, y'all. I started it almost immediately after it was released, couldn't get intoDang. I was really looking forward to reading Warped when it came out, y'all. I started it almost immediately after it was released, couldn't get into it, and set it aside. Then I saw a few good reviews that prompted me to pick it back up. Well, this time I at least did manage to finish it. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say.
It just wasn't believable. Okay, okay. I know. You're sitting there looking at your computer screen like "uh, brilliant observation Allison. The book about the Fates, unicorns and witches isn't believable." But that isn't what I mean. I mean that the characters acted totally ridiculous in the situations they found themselves in.
Tessa-of-the-16th-Century (I'll call her N(ot) Q(uite) Tessa) is a young lady. The local nobility pays off NQ Tessa's family so that they can use her for unicorn bait. See, they think this wild unicorn killed off one of them. (For the purposes of this scenario, we'll forget about the fact that they're completely wrong.)They need NQ Tessa because she is a virgin, which as we all know, is like a flashing "come and get it" sign to unicorns. So anyway, this maiden is sitting out in the middle of the forest trying to attract a killer unicorn...she is alone, but she knows plenty of big scary men are close by waiting to move in and kill it once it shows up. So then, all of a sudden....wait for it....
NQ Tessa: WTF? A DOG?!? You said you were out to get a killer unicorn! You didn't say anything about bringing dogs! I'm scared of dogs! Does that strike anyone else as ridiculous? The group of big hunters? Fine. Killer unicorns? No biggie. But bring out the trained dogs? Now you've done it.
Tessa, our modern day heroine, pulls a thread out of the unicorn tapestry, which makes 16th Century William appear in her bedroom. She decides to call for back-up.
Tessa: Girl, this guy just fell out of that creepy unicorn tapestry hanging in my room. He is wearing medieval clothes...this is really weird. I bet I sound a little crazy, but I promise I'm not.
Opal: hmm. Well, that does sound rather odd. But, of course I believe you. Be right over! uhh, hold it. I know you only have about 400 pages to tell your story so you don't have time for a lot of theatrics with the whole getting-people-to-believe-you thing, but really. I'm gonna need a little more than that.
So anyway, those are the two examples that stuck with me of situations I just couldn't roll with in the story. Obviously I didn't quote from the actual book, I just kinda paraphrased to get my point across. I wasn't at all trying to imply that the author's actual writing style was bad either.
It just seemed like the plot was a little too much...and the characters just didn't fit the story. Obviously this is just my opinion, because a lot of people loved the book! If I wasn't so hung up on the characters, I'm sure I would have gotten caught up in the plot and found it very entertaining. Unfortunately, this just wasn't the book for me....more
I loved this book! I read mixed reviews before picking it up for myself, and I'm happy I ended up in the positive camp.
I'm a huge Gothic fan. The wholI loved this book! I read mixed reviews before picking it up for myself, and I'm happy I ended up in the positive camp.
I'm a huge Gothic fan. The whole squeaky door/creepy character/horror/ romance combination is crazy awesome. This book combines all those characteristics to great effect. The ominous tones in the background of the story are as major a character as the people involved in the plot.
At one point, there was a malevolent force in the room with her that was so threatening that the shadows in the room fled from it. Dude, I thought that was flippin' awesome. What better way to illustrate fear and evil? That there is good writing. Take note.
Let me emphasize again: I love the mixture of horror and mythology. Mythology is the new vampire as far as overused plot devices go, but Gwen Hayes is able to make it all her own by combining it with the horror/gothic genre.
For once, I'm thrilled that this is a series (trilogy I think?). I'm not done with these characters or their story and am already more than ready to return to their world. Despite seeing several negative reviews, I fell in love with this story and highly recommend picking it up! ...more
This is one of my favorite series, so I was definitely anticipating this book. When my UPS man dropped it off, I immediately ripped the package open aThis is one of my favorite series, so I was definitely anticipating this book. When my UPS man dropped it off, I immediately ripped the package open and read it straight through. I think it is impossible, at this point, for an addition to this series not to be addicting.
However, the beginning - for me - was not great. Instead of strong and determined, Cat was coming off as a little spoiled and petulant...like maybe the "tough girl" act was being taken a little too far. I remember thinking "whoa, am I really this annoyed with one of my favorite characters right now?" And I was.
Luckily, that feeling passed. Once the plot developed a little further, the regular Cat that we all know and love kicked back in. She started actually listening and respecting the people around her instead of remaining on the "too far" side of stubborn.
Another thing I felt was missing at first was the snark. One of the best things about this series is that almost every single character is an unrepentant smart-ass. The interaction between them all is fabulous and never fails to crack me up. Luckily, once again, it didn't stay missing for long. Especially once Vlad came on the scene. Love him.
As far as the plot goes: loved it. Lots of suspense, tension and build-up this time around versus non-stop action. I really enjoyed it. I felt things moved slow enough to ratchet up the anticipation, but not so slow that the book dragged. Also looking forward to seeing what is next on the horizon!
And, as always, Bones is awesome. There are some intense sexytimes here y'all. Think back to the second book - you know the scene. Well, you'll find its partner within the pages of this book and it doesn't disappoint. And, beyond that - Bones is amazing all the time. I love every single thing about his character.
So, if you're a fan of the series this is definitely a book not to miss! Even though I think it got off to a slow (dare I even say it? bad) start...it quickly redeemed itself and rose back to the levels we've come to expect from Cat & Bones....more
Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott is one heck of a stellar fantasy novel, y'all. Everything about it is expertly done - from the setting to the cDaughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott is one heck of a stellar fantasy novel, y'all. Everything about it is expertly done - from the setting to the characters to the plot. You better believe after this I'll be rabidly hunting down Zoe Marriott's other books like a dog with a bone.
The food, people and descriptions transport you - everything is so rich and vibrant that it all comes alive like you're experiencing it for yourself. And that, my friends, is writing at its very best. When Zira walks through a marketplace, I can close my eyes and see, smell and hear everything she does. Zoe Marriott also did a fantastic job at making me feel like I was getting to know Zira - her thought processes and feelings quickly became understandable and it was so easy to care about her!
Zira grew up in an ancient temple in the mountains, and when it comes under attack she quickly realizes it is up to her to get her people to safety - when she turns to an enemy that owes her a favor, a lot of the folks following her turn against her. The web of political intrigue is fascinating y'all, and not hard to follow at all. The decisions that Zira has to make only made me love her character more. She is determined to do what is right, no matter what it means for her personally. She is pretty freakin' bad-ass.
The relationship that develops between Zira and one of her allies (I'm keeping him nameless to prevent spoilers) isn't exactly the most romantic tale you'll ever be told, but it fits the story - and the characters - so well that it ends up immensely satisfying despite the way it began. At the end of the day, all you really want is to be able to picture your characters happy together. I absolutely loved the way the two interacted, I would kill for a sequel (even though there are no loose ends to tie up).
Basically, if you're a fantasy fan then you have got to read this book. The plot, characters and writing all make it a very memorable one. I loved the setting and world-building and I couldn't get enough of the characters. So...what are you waiting for? Go! Read!...more
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand was a young adult debut last year – which I read and loved. When I picked up the sequel, Hallowed, I realized I’d never gottUnearthly by Cynthia Hand was a young adult debut last year – which I read and loved. When I picked up the sequel, Hallowed, I realized I’d never gotten around to reviewing Unearthly. I decided to correct that immediately!
Basically y’all, Unearthly is like a miracle (I promise to try to keep the angel jokes to a minimum). As a general rule, angel books seriously suck. I’ve read about all sorts of Patches and Bethanys and what have you and thought they were all a complete waste of time and space. So, to say I went into this series hesitantly is a massive understatement. But, let me assure you – Cynthia Hand has succeeded where many others have failed. She has written…not only a good angel book: a great one!
Clara isn’t a whiny princess too afraid to open her mouth or explore her powers. She is very focused on the fact that she has a duty. Her mother (yay for actual parenting in a YA novel) intrigues and frustrates her as she tries to discover the true range of her abilities. Also – she compares her relationship with her mother to Gilmore Girls. An awesome reference to make me immediately like someone. So, basically I really loved the way her character was written – she acts like exactly what she is: a teenager. But she also has a lot of believable depth and maturity that makes her someone you want to be around (or at least read about).
Next up…Tucker Avery. If you want to convince me I’m supposed to like a guy in the fastest way possible – invoke the awesome power of Gilbert Blythe my friends. That is all it will take. He called Clara “Carrots” the first time they initially met. Enough said. (Gilbert Blythe and Gilmore Girls all in one book – excuse me while I explode from the awesome.) Also – DIMPLES.
Christian Prescott. I’m not really his biggest fan y’all. Even though certain events in the book make me have to rethink this – he doesn’t really come off as having much depth. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series might change my mind! Enough said on the men in Clara’s life, I want to avoid spoilers in case anyone hasn’t read it yet.
Same goes with the plot, I don’t really want to spoil anything. Things aren’t really too complicated anyway. Clara is trying to discover what her purpose is as an angel. She keeps getting visions, gradually they have more detail. All she knows is that it involves Christian – and fire. The only thing that bugs me at all is that Clara’s mom has supposedly given her as little angel information as possible because she wants her to be normal, but then when Clara tries to have a life outside of obsessing about Christian and her vision she gets in trouble. Kinda annoying, but it all goes with the plot so it wasn’t a huge deal.
So anyway you guys: this is a paranormal seriously worth reading. Especially if you’re as frustrated with all the other angel novels out there as I am. This one is different. Promise....more
Y'all, this novel stands out. The elegance and subtlety of both the writing and the story are rare enough on their own - forget about finding them togY'all, this novel stands out. The elegance and subtlety of both the writing and the story are rare enough on their own - forget about finding them together.
The plot completely transports you to another world: specifically, the town of Near. Children in Lexi's small town begin disappearing around the same time that she starts seeing a person that seems to be made of smoke floating around outside after dark. When she meets the otherworldly boy, they form an unlikely alliance that plunges them into the thick of a witch's centuries old grudge. The way the story is told is so dream-like that the words practically float above the page.
Fairy tales are meant to be ethereal in this way - but the good ones also capitalize on the evil. The legitimate menacing tone that Victoria Schwab manages to capture in the story while never losing the sense of fanciful innocence is absolutely brilliant. I can't say enough about the beautiful writing and how much I respect how much Victoria was able to accomplish within the story.
As soon as I finished the book, I kept recommending it to people by comparing it to something that would be written by Neil Gaiman. I 100% stand by that. This book belongs on the shelves next to writers just Gaiman or Diana Wynne Jones. High praise that is totally deserved!...more
I didn’t really know much about Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler when I picked it up. I ended up being pleasantly surprised! The characters were all goI didn’t really know much about Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler when I picked it up. I ended up being pleasantly surprised! The characters were all going through various difficult circumstances and I ended up being pretty invested in how their stories would turn out.
I did know that Playing Hurt involved cheating because that had kept other people from picking it up. Considering the fact that the book features teenagers keeps me from being particularly offended. Y’all, kids make mistakes. If they didn’t, every young adult book ever written would be incredibly boring.
Chelsea Keyes got a tough break. She has a really promising basketball career in her future, but she took a bad fall in a big game. Now she has a leg full of metal plates and one heck of a downtrodden/bad attitude. Her dad decides it would be good for her to go through this wilderness boot camp type program – so the family packs up and heads off to the middle of nowhere.
Chelsea leaves behind her super supportive (overly so, really) boyfriend who she has depended on to try and get through the summer alone. She doesn’t expect Clint, the person in charge of her activities. He is hot. He is brooding. He has something about him. That mysterious, unhappy, guilty piece of him calls to Chelsea – just as the unhappy, angry, wounded piece of Chelsea calls to Clint. Hello attraction. And then, later on, hello sexytimes.
I loved Chelsea and Clint together, guys. I admit it. I embraced the cheating in Playing Hurt. Feel free to judge. But come on, they were really great for each other! They were both working to try and get past horrible things in their pasts. I love the way they were able to help each other work things out. Holly Schindler had some definite real chemistry at work here!
By the end of Playing Hurt, I really wasn’t that fond of Chelsea’s original boyfriend anyway. All the characters made mistakes – but they all grew too. That is what makes a good story!
I would love to read a sequel if Holly Schindler wrote one! I don’t think there will be and there doesn’t really need to be one – but still. I’d read it.
So, while Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler does have plot points that won’t appeal to everyone, I enjoyed it! I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Still, if you’re already a fan of contemporary books – it is definitely worth reading....more
Hourglass is an incredibly engrossing novel! I enjoyed every single aspect of it: plot, characters and writing.
Emerson is an awesome female MC: she iHourglass is an incredibly engrossing novel! I enjoyed every single aspect of it: plot, characters and writing.
Emerson is an awesome female MC: she isn't one of the fantasy novel girls that stands back waiting for a hero. She is more than willing to dive headfirst into any situation and fight for herself. I loved her personality and gumption! Not to say, of course, that she isn't willing to accept a partner in crime. Immediately upon meeting Michael Weaver, sparks ensue. Their chemistry and interaction was awesome. I also appreciated that Myra McEntire didn't pull the whole insta-love nonsense. My girl Emerson won't have any of that - it takes her a little time to follow trust with attraction.
The plot was intense...I'm a big fan of time travel/science fiction and I love the way it was handled in this book. The combination of that along with the other abilities (like seeing ghosts) made for a very captivating plot. Emerson lives with her supportive brother, who tries to get her some answers about her ghost-seeing abilities from the mysterious Hourglass organization (that's where Michael comes in). Unfortunately, she ends up getting sucked in to a whole mess of complications - a death from the past that shouldn't have happened, jealousy, and even a traitor amongst the new friends she thought she was making.
The twists and turns in this novel will take you on one heck of a wild ride - one I definitely recommend! This definitely stands apart from most of the other YA debuts. I can't wait for the as yet untitled sequel in 2012!...more
This was a really fun story, and a very quick read. Seeing Corrinne embrace her inner hick was an enjoyable experience. The focus is definitely on CorThis was a really fun story, and a very quick read. Seeing Corrinne embrace her inner hick was an enjoyable experience. The focus is definitely on Corrinne and her learning things about herself and about life in general - I think the cover makes it out to be more of a romance than it is. I'm not saying that as a critique, because it didn't bother me. Just fair warning.
Sometimes I let the stupidest things bother me. When Corrinne is first learning her way around Broken Spoke, they talk about the town having only one sit-down restaurant (Chinese) and a Sonic. Then, the school is described as three stories high with several hundred (400 maybe?) students. Now see, that doesn't work for me. If the town is large enough to have a school with that many students, it is definitely too large to have only one sit-down restaurant.
I mean, I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma - the high school was two small hallways jammed together with a cafeteria in the middle. My graduating class was 40 people. And even my town has a little more going for it than one Chinese place. I mean - at the very least there should be like a burger place and/or a Mexican restaurant. God save me from a small town in this part of the country where you can't sit down somewhere and order a burger (Sonic does NOT count).
So, like I said, I realize it is really silly that I'm so focused on that - but it seriously bothered me to the point that I enjoyed the book less. I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything - but that set-up just totally clashes with what I know about small towns.
Anyway, other than that (which probably doesn't bother anyone else anywhere), the story is awesome. There isn't a lot of deep characterization, but the way everyone interacts with each other is very interesting and entertaining nonetheless.
This is a story of a self-centered, spoiled brat learning about life, family and cow manure in the small town of Broken Spoke, Texas. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy - pick up the book and prepare to enjoy the ride! ...more