Libba Bray is my hero. This book was an amazing conclusion to the trilogy! It was really the perfect ending for the story. I'm not sure how Libba coul...moreLibba Bray is my hero. This book was an amazing conclusion to the trilogy! It was really the perfect ending for the story. I'm not sure how Libba could have worked it out any other way. This does not mean, however, that I wanted it to end! I didn't! My favorite part of reading is becoming so wrapped up in the storyline and characters that you feel actual pain when you reach the end. I cried.
Where to start? I was glad Ann finally seemed to get the importance of keeping the magic and the realms a secret, even though one of my favorite aspects of the first two books was Felicity and Gemma practically falling all over themselves to keep her quiet. Ann also develops amazing strength and confidence throughout the story. Gemma and Felicity did what all good friends do for each other: pushed Ann to step out of her box and start living her life.
The more I learned about Felicity and saw her loyalty to her friends, the more I loved her. That being said, I was suspicious of her through the entire book. There was something about Felicity that I didn't trust from the very beginning. She's very power hungry and used to getting things her way. While Gemma does tend to bend to Felicity and make her happy, there were many moments in TSFT where Gemma put her foot down. Felicity didn't like it, but Gemma didn't care. I think that when it came to Pippa, Felicity was just as easily influenced as Ann. She was enamored with Pip and wanted to do everything she could to please her.
Kartik. Oh Kartik. I fell in love with him. He's in and out of Gemma's life in this one, but truly come through for her in the most imporant ways. What are they? Go read the book!
In TSFT, Gemma had a true struggle happening within herself. The choice between doing what she wanted and doing what was necessary for the realms was a difficult one, and she walked a very fine line for most of the book. Between Miss McCleethy, Felicity and Ann, Pippa, kartik, and Circe, Gemma was no more than a rag doll being fought over by a group of six-year-olds. There comes a time in everyone's life when we have to draw on reserves of strength within ourselves that we don't even know are there. This is exactly what Gemma has to learn to do, no matter how much she wants everything to be perfect.
There were a lot of pleasantly unexpected moments in the book. Libba definitely had some surprises up her sleeve when it came to Gemma's allies and enemies. Sometimes extreme twists in a story *coughdemonbabiescough* can leave you with a bad taste, but Libba makes them work seamlessly. Part of me desperately wants her to return to these characters and write a fourth book. Another part of me, the purist in me, doesn't want her to touch them ever again. As a reader, sometimes the "I wonder what would have happened" is the best part. I like to imagine Gemma's future.
As a femenist, I loved watching the girls break out of the molds that society insisted they stick to. The parallels between Gemma's struggle with wisdom regarding the magic and her struggle with her potential future following her season were great. Both challenges required courage that had laid dormant for years. I think every woman has that courage within them and it appears when we have our own personal struggles.
I loved this series so very much. It's definitely going on the All Time Favorites list. (less)
I'm absolutely adore Gemma Doyle! For me, she's a cross between Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Shirley with a little something extra added in. I love that...moreI'm absolutely adore Gemma Doyle! For me, she's a cross between Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Shirley with a little something extra added in. I love that she's not satisfied sitting back and watching life pass her by. I'm easily frustrated by female characters who don't stand up for themselves. I hope Gemma becomes a classic literary female. She certainly is in my book.
I think every girl has felt like Gemma at one time or another. The new kid on the block, not sure where you fit in. She wants to desperately to fit in with the other girls at Spence without giving up too much of herself in the process. Gemma gets accepted somewhat on her own terms. She shows Felicity exactly what she's made of. It's a tenuous relationship, but it's also what each girl needs. I think Gemma succeeds in being true to herself, also. If anything, she realizes how strong she is and bit by bit, becomes a woman her mother would be so proud of.
One of the best parts about this book is that there's a character everyone can relate to at one time or another. Sadly, I've been the one talking about the girls who weren't as "cool" as my group thought we were. I've also been the Ann, the one on the outside who just couldn't breach the popular boundaries no matter how hard I tried. Gemma not only has the power of the Order, she has the power to bring very different people together and work for a common goal. Whether this will be a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
There are certain characters I'm still not sure I trust. Namely, Felicity and Pippa. Felicity's power hungry nature could get in the way of Gemma's mission big time. She's used to holding the power, not being the one prying the secrets from others. She's not going to put up with this for long. Ann is starved for attention to the point that she could be dangerous. I have no idea what role Pippa will hold in the future.
As far as I'm concerned, Libba Bray is a freaking genius. Her writing is so easy to read, and it flows beautifully. I love Gemma's sassy nature. The internal monologue is one of my favorite parts. I'm already sad that this is only a trilogy. These are characters in a world that I will be very sorry to leave behind. (less)
"Rebel Angel" is a perfect title for Gemma!! I feel like she's about to pop from over-confinement. Safe to say, I never would have survived in Victori...more"Rebel Angel" is a perfect title for Gemma!! I feel like she's about to pop from over-confinement. Safe to say, I never would have survived in Victorian England.
I'm still not sure I trust Felicity. She's still very power hungry in this book, and her jealousy over the status that Gemma holds is very apparent. We do learn more about her past that helps you understand her attitude. You learn more about each girl, actually, and Gemma explains the connections beautifully. For example, Pippa is always pushing to be heard because no one in her life has ever really taken the time to listen to what she's saying. Felicity fights for control in her life because she despises being weak. Ann was put away at Spence without anyone bothering to discover her true talent. Gemmma come to realize the value and need for each girl in the journey they're on.
There was more than one instance while I was reading when I just sat back and thought, "Libba Bray, you are freaking brilliant." My favorite of those moments was chapter 37. Gemma, Tom, and their Grandmamma are in church for the Christmas service and Libba creates a beautiful illustration of the turmoil Gemma was feeling. I know that I can't describe it adequately so I'm going to quote a bit here. Nothing spoilery, I promise!
"A light-dappled stained-glass window shows an angel delivering the annunciation. At his feet, Mary kneels, trembling as she receives this fearful message from her celestial visitor. Her fave shows the awe and fear of that news, of the gift she has not asked for but will carry nonetheless. And I wonder why there is no passage to sedcribe her terrible doubt.
[Skip ahead a paragraph and a half]
Why is there no panel showing women saying, 'No, I'm sorry, I don't want this gift. You may have it back. I've sheep to look after and bread to bake, and I've no desire to be a holy messenger.'
That is the window I long to see." pages 387-88
One of the most wonderful aspects of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy is that it will show a new generation just how far women have come in society. Even I, who spent significant time in college studying feminist theory and the feminist movement, gained a new respect for women's rights.
Gemma's struggle in this book is to come to terms with the task at hand. She has been laden with a burden that no teenager should have to bear: the fate of an entire world. Every person she comes into contact with, and several million she will never meet, will be affected by the decisions she makes regarding the realms and the power of the Order.
I'm going to close with what might be my favorite passage. It's funny and is totally something I would do.
" 'I am quite able to look after myself,' I say. I turn smartly on my heel and smack directly into the wall, raising a bumb upon my forehead that will probably remain forever." page 229
This just goes to remind us all that in those moments when dignity and grace seem most important, we will surely shoot it all to hell. (less)
This is hands down my favorite Jennifer Echols book. Granted, I haven't read them all yet, but I feel like this one will remain my favorite.
Zoey's wo...moreThis is hands down my favorite Jennifer Echols book. Granted, I haven't read them all yet, but I feel like this one will remain my favorite.
Zoey's world is rapidly crumbling. Her parents divorce followed by her mother's suicide attempt are almost more than she can take. Top that with a father who's more concerned about how that will affect his image than his daughter's well-being and it's a wonder Zoey hasn't had a nervous breakdown herself. For comfort she turns to Brandon, who has become one of her best friends, and they begin "dating". One Friday, she goes to a football game with the swim team and is confronted by Doug - and that's the last thing she remembers. The next morning, she wakes up find Doug waiting for her in her living room and being very affectionate. The last memory Zoey has is of Doug calling her a spoiled brat. Why is he acting like they're together?
I didn't like Brandon from the start. He's a complete player and nowhere near good enough for Zoey on his best day. Plus, he's an idiot. I didn't really care for Zoey's father, either. What an egotistical asshat! He does absolutely nothing to support Zoey, even after her accident. I couldn't stand the man. Thankfully, he doesn't make too many personal appearances.
I'm madly, passionately in love with Doug. He's vulnerable when you least expect it, and has much more in common with Zoey than she ever thought. He's so supportive of Zoey without being overbearing. Oh man, Doug is just plain wonderful. I loved the relationship that developed between Doug and Zoey. When she wasn't endlessly repeating "I'm with Brandon" over and over, that is. I wanted to slap Zoey silly half the time for not seeing what a jerk Brandon was being. She sees how wonderful Doug is, but is so stuck on what she thinks is happening with Brandon that she doesn't feel like she can give him a chance.
One thing that mildly confused me about Zoey is how sometimes she's so aware and adamant about not wanting to be controlled by a guy, but other times she's completely willing to be yanked around (mainly by Brandon). I found it refreshing that when it came to Doug, Zoey was very conscious about boundaries. I get tired of the wilting female character who bends to the male's every wish and command. ( I like Twilight, but Bella Swan. Come on, you know it's true.) I will confess, there were a couple times I wanted to tell Zoey to relax and just let Doug be a nice guy. Otherwise, I liked that part of her character.
I will say I don't think this book is one for younger YA readers. Zoey is a young woman coming into her sexuality and learning that it's okay to have sexual feelings. I think it's great that Jennifer Echols addressed this, and she approached it very tastefully. It's just that it's a topic that is appropriate for some ages and not for others.
This has definitely become one of my all time favorite books, and Jennifer Echols one of my favorite authors. This book had me absolutely giddy at times and I loved connecting to these characters. (less)
Ok, so what do I love about this book? Let's make a list! ~This book is so jam-packed with information it completely blew my mind! Deborah Harkness di...moreOk, so what do I love about this book? Let's make a list! ~This book is so jam-packed with information it completely blew my mind! Deborah Harkness did an amazing job of researching for this book, and presents the information in a way that doesn't completely overwhelm you. At no point did I feel I was having too much info pushed on me. I was able to absorb and process it all, and draw connections between things before she brought it up. Total geek fest. I don't know how she did it, but she did. ~I have wide and varied interests. I love art, history, science, physics, literature. As a result, I'm 28 and have yet to pin down what I want to be "when I grow up". A Discovery of Witches fulfilled almost all of these interests. Diana is a historian with a concentration in Alchemy (there's so much more to this than I thought there would be). Matthew is...well, he's a little bit of everything. But currently, he's a geneticist. Reading about Diana examining illustrations in these amazing manuscripts made me wish I had been able to go to grad school for Art History and could spend my time doing similar research. ~Diana and Matthew's relationship. I love the war of wills that takes place between these two. Diana is extremely independent and isn't going to take crap from anyone. She's not content to sit back and let someone else have control of her life, which is what Matthew expects to happen. While their relationship develops over a short period of time, it's didn't feel like an insta-love situation. I've talked more about other aspects of the story here, but trust me, Diana and Matthew's relationship is a HUGE part of what I love about this book! He has this old fashioned attitude that totally clashes with Diana's independence, and yet it works. ~The paranormal side of the story was awesome. I love witches, and really like the way Deborah Harkness presents them. The world of vampires, witches, and daemons that she creates has rules and consequences, some of which are extremely severe. Diana and Matthew's decisions about their relationship don't come easily or lightly. I'm interested to see how this side of the story plays out. The supporting characters in the book are awesome, especially the Bishop House. There's some allusion to roles they will play in the future, and I'm really looking forward to seeing that play out. The one thing that ate at me was the obsessive, controlling aspect of Matthew's personality. From what I've read, this is a general vampire characteristic. Although, if you know of a vamp book where they aren't like that, let me know in comments! It adds fire to the relationship, but there are times when you just want to tell him to give it a rest, Diana's a big girl. I will admit, I'm getting a little tired of the overbearing vampire business. It didn't really keep me from falling for Matthew, though. I love him.
There's a lot of setting up for the rest of the series, so a lot happens in a pretty short amount of time. I personally didn't feel like connection to Diana was sacrificed. Maybe in some ways, but overall, I felt a strong connection to Diana and really, really like her character. She's not a "kicking ass and taking names" kind of character, but she does have a mind and will of her own. She was relatable and real.
This is a pretty long post, but I'm going to stop here. If I don't, I'll go on and on. I really hope I've done this books justice. Since I read it, I've been in a total "but it's not Witches" slump. It's starting to pass, but this book left a huge impression on me and influenced my decision to do NaNoWriMo. It's been a very long time since a book affected me like A Discovery of Witches did. I love the power that books hold. It amazes me every time. (less)
In the last book, Alek was out of his element aboard the Leviathan. This time, Deryn finds herself in the world of the Clankers, roaming Istanbul with...moreIn the last book, Alek was out of his element aboard the Leviathan. This time, Deryn finds herself in the world of the Clankers, roaming Istanbul with Alek. The two find allies in a group of Ottoman Revolutionaries and aid in plotting to overthrow the government. As Deryn spends more time with the Clankers, the line dividing the two sides begins to blur a little, just as it started to do for Alek the more time he spent on the Leviathan. More time is spent understanding the Clanker technology and that side of the war. I'm anticipating that the third book will have more about combining the Darwinist and Clanker technologies.
The illustrations continue to add so much to the story! There are so many complicated Clanker machines and contraptions in this one that it helps immensely to be able to have a reference point. Keith Thompson does an amazing job. As an artist, I'm wishing I had even a 10th of his talent in drawing and illustrating.
Westerfeld does not waste time mucking about in the beginning. Since you got most of the back story and build up in Leviathan, he launches right into the action. I really liked watching the development of Deryn and Alek's relationship, especially Deryn's chagrin at the realization that she's falling in love with Alek. It feels "unsoldierly". A wonderful new addition to the story is Bovril, a fabricated beastie called a Perspicacious Loris. I'll leave you to discover all the wonderful details about Bovril. I don't want to spoil you. Just know that 'perspicacious' is now one of my favorite words.
Also, I think I might start incorporating the exclamation "Barking spiders!" into my every day life and conversation. (less)
Leviathan is an alternate history of World War I, blending historical events with fictional ones. Scott Westerfeld begins his history in the summer of...moreLeviathan is an alternate history of World War I, blending historical events with fictional ones. Scott Westerfeld begins his history in the summer of 1914, the actual beginning of the War. I find the world he created absolutely fascinating. It feeds the analytical side of my brain beautifully, and makes me wish I had studied engineering or biology. On one side of the battle are the Darwinists, who have built their society on the scientific discoveries of Charles Darwin. In Leviathan, DNA had been discovered and fabricated "beasties" were the norm. The warships were created from the life threads of several different creatures, and were entire ecosystems in themselves. On the other side of the war were the Clankers, who built their society on engineering and machinery. Their warships were giant walkers that made me think of the Storm Trooper's walkers from Star Wars. The Clankers are taught to fear the fabrications of the Darwinists because they are so unnatural, and Darwinists can't understand why anyone would rely on metal and gears when you could have something living and breathing.
In the midst of politics and battle are Alek and Deryn, two unlikely allies who should be enemies. I love the friendship that forms between these two. They both desperately need someone to lean on and find that support in each other. Throughout the development of their friendship, they are both desperate to hide their true identities. Alek can't let anyone know he's the Austro-Hungarian Prince, and Deryn can't let anyone know she's a girl. That becomes even more complicated when she starts to feel little flutters when she's around Alek (collective Awwww!). I just enjoyed their interaction so much. Deryn is the type to say what she's thinking the moment she thinks it and isn't afraid to tell anyone they're being daft. Alek is all propriety and manners. They both have these amazing reserves of strength, and more in common than you would initially think.
I love Scott Westerfeld's writing style and the humor that laces through the story. It would catch me off guard and have me laughing out loud! The story flows beautifully and I didn't want to put it down! One of my favorite additions to the novel were the illustrations. The creatures and machines described are extremely complicated and kind of hard to imagine (thus my immediate Star Wars imagery), so having pictures of them was an immense help! Keith Thompson does an amazing job, and it brings such clarity to the story. So often I wonder how the author pictures the characters. Admit it, we've all gone through and cast the characters of a book in our head to invest ourselves even more in the story. I realize that these are Keith Thompson's images, but I'm sure there was some sort of collaboration. The illustrations helped keep my imagination a little more grounded throughout the story. For some reason, I tend to picture some characters being about three times the size of a normal human. So, in Leviathan, it would have been 2 fifteen-year-olds surrounded by giants on a massive airship. Made even more massive by the fact that it's inhabited by giants. Do you see the problem?
Bottom line, this is a fantastic presentation of an alternate history filled with such imagination that I'm blown away. I realize I use that particular phrase a lot in my reviews, but I really was bowled over by this book. You know how sometimes an author's imagination and capacity to create such an intricate world will just overwhelm you? That's how I feel about Leviathan and Scott Westerfeld. I'm so excited to read Behemoth and Goliath.(less)
This may very well be one of the best vampire stories I've ever read. It's certainly one of my favorites!
First, how awesome is that cover? I love it a...moreThis may very well be one of the best vampire stories I've ever read. It's certainly one of my favorites!
First, how awesome is that cover? I love it and it fits the book perfectly.
As the summary says, Pearl is just your average teenage vampire - until she's stabbed by a sparkly were-unicorn. You heard me. A were-unicorn. She's deposited on the porch of her home, safely out of the sunlight. Of course, no one in her Family believes her. But that doesn't stop them from exploiting her new, daywalking abilities.The Fealty Ceremony with the Vampire King of New England is a very prestigious event, where the young vampires are officially declared adults. Pearl's Family is chosen to host the event, which could mean status elevation if they succeed and death if they fail. Pearl enrolls in high school to gain entrance into the homes of enough teenagers to supply the meal for the feast. Surrounded by delicious, young bodies, Pearl should be in vampire feeding heaven. Unfrotunately, she can't bring herself to bite any of her schoolmates and new friends. The one question constantly running through Pearl's mind: What's WRONG with me?
I loved the premise of this story. It's definitely one of the most creative vampire novels I've read in awhile. I love watching characters discover new abilities and adjust to those changes, so Pearl's story was right up my ally. You really start to feel for her and the war within herself over which group to betray (because, really, there is no other way out). The snappy dialogue is fanTAStic! Pearl reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if Buffy were the vampire...I think you know what I mean. The humor and action are similar. There are also snarky allusions to certain sparkly vampires that I quite enjoyed (even as a Twilight fan). Sarah Beth Durst laces the story with great humor, but also brings in the ruthlessness and brutality of the vampire clan. The suspense had me on the edge of my seat.
I'm wild about the supporting characters in the story. There are Evan and Bethanny, who seem to have some unknown insight into Pearl's home "situation" and how much she's changed recently. Matt and Zeke are two would-be vampire hunters who first attempt to kill Pearl, and then become two of her greatest allies. These two are magnificent. Their dialogue reminded me of Breckin Meyer's character from Clueless, although much less stoned. Then there's Pearl's Family: a mafia-like clan of aunts, uncles and cousins who are delightful in their own frightening way. The Vampire King chilled me to the bone. Of the vampires, Cousin Antoinette was one of my favorites. She's obsessed with 80s Brat Pack movies, and dreams of a bright pink prom dress a'la Molly Ringwald.
Overall, this is a fantastic, creative take on a vampire romance. Sarah Beth Durst educates you on Pearl's life and world without overwhelming you with details. I love the idea of the vampire's natural enemy being the were-unicorn, and when you really think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The big horn is perfect for staking. A "sparkling", fun read that will leave you with a smile and desperately wanting more. (less)
This is one of those books where I kicked myself for not having read it sooner. If I'd read it sooner, I could have been pushing it onto other people...moreThis is one of those books where I kicked myself for not having read it sooner. If I'd read it sooner, I could have been pushing it onto other people for at least a couple of years!
Janie is just your average 17-year-old, except for that pesky little ability of being sucked into people's dreams. No biggie, she just blacks out, starts to go a little numb, and looks like she's having a seizure. Lisa McMann takes you through Janie' history with her ability, starting when she's a kid and had her first experience. Over the years, she's learned the warning signs, and has even started to develop the ability to pull out of them. Sometimes. No one else knows of her special talent until she goes on an overnight school trip. On a bus full of sleepy teenagers. Luckily, the handsome and somewhat mysterious Cabel Strumheller is there to help her through, even though it scares him out of his mind to see her like that.
I love the way Lisa McMann takes you back through Janie's life so you can learn about her family, friends, and development of her "ability". You start with a little taste of how it is now, and then travel back to the first time Janie gets sucked into a dream. You watch her make friends, learn to live with an alcoholic mother, and come to grips with this ability that makes her life so much more complicated.
What I love about Janie is that she's not going to take any kind of crap sitting down. She's going to tell it like it is and call you on your bull. She's such a great character to read. I love Lisa McMann's writing style, also. It's simple and direct, getting straight to the point. It reads quickly, but it's so enjoyable!
My favorite parts of the books were Janie's interactions with Cabel. *swoony sigh* It's not an insta-love situation, which made me very happy. it develops slowly over time. You get to watch their relationship from the very first time they meet, and it's not something Janie's expecting. I'm in love with Cabe, even with all his faults, and would really like one of my very own to carry in my pocket.
Whenever a book makes it onto my All Time Favs list (which this one did) I seem to have a hard time putting my thoughts onto the blog. I think my post on Fade will have a little more flesh to it than this one. I'm stuck between wanting to finish the series right now and waiting a little to read Gone so that it will last longer. I do this every time. I've fallen in love with these characters and don't want to let them go, even though I know full well I can re-read the series any time I want. (less)
I'm not sure I'll be able to adequately express how much I loved this book. When I read it, I was having a really tough time and it was the perfect pi...moreI'm not sure I'll be able to adequately express how much I loved this book. When I read it, I was having a really tough time and it was the perfect pick-me-up! Just what I needed.
I love Anna. I want to be like Anna when I grow up. Her character is absolutely delightful. She has this wonderful personality that I was attracted to instantly. I could relate to her from the perspective of being in a new environment where you don't know anyone and have to completely start over. Granted, I was just going to college and not a different country, but I definitely had some similar feelings.I also wasn't forced to move, like Anna is by her jerk of a father. I had such intense feelings of dislike toward him. Still do.
I loved watching the relationship between Etienne and Anna develop! They have a wonderful dynamic that gives you warm fuzzies all over. I have such a major book crush on Etienne now, too. They connect immediately and Etienne becomes the rock that Anna needs when she feels like she's completely adrift in Paris. He introduces her to the magic of Paris and to a strength within herself that Anna never knew was there. In turn, Anna does the same for him. The tension building throughout the book is incredible!! You can feel it with every glance and accidental light touch. I was on the edge of my seat, practically begging for them to just get on with it, but thoroughly enjoying the build up at the same time.
One of my favorite parts was when Anna's Lit professor is explaining difficulties in translation and the communication errors that occur when translating French literature into English. It was a perfect parallel to the communication problems occurring between Anna and Etienne. There were so many times I wanted to shake them, or slap them, or some combination of those.
Stephanie Perkins does such a beautiful job of creating this quirky, realistic story. There was nothing far-fetched about the storyline, which I really appreciated. When I read it, I wasn't in the mood for vampires, werewovles, or anything remotely paranormal. It was an odd phase, but Anna and the French Kiss provided excellent therapy! :) I can't wait to read more from Stephanie Perkins. I love her writing style and humor. It's so easy to read and just plain delightful.(less)