Laurell K. Hamilton meets Charlaine Harris in this paranormal detective tale which combines murder, love triangles, magic, and humour. It is a fast-paLaurell K. Hamilton meets Charlaine Harris in this paranormal detective tale which combines murder, love triangles, magic, and humour. It is a fast-paced, addictive, popcorn read - part horror story, part adventure, part romance, part comedy.
Likes: Marnie's spunk in dangerous situations. The twist on where psychic powers come from. The love triangle isn't good boy vs bad boy; both are bad in their own way. AJ Aalto's turn of phrase when describing things.
I wouldn't go as far as saying that the characters were strong and believable, but their idiosyncrasies were entertaining, and I could see there was potential for more depth in later books.
Dislikes? The villain wasn't planted early enough, so the big reveal felt clumsy. I wasn't sold on how every male in an 100m radius was attracted to Marnie. Marnie's name. Marnie's insecurities, constant swearing and dirty thoughts (occasionally amusing, but overdone). Ditto her continual references to how British her vampire is - particularly when he comes out with something that sounds plain odd!
This is a fast-paced thriller about a secret service agent trying to save the world, in an alternate universe where pretenaturally perceptive geniusesThis is a fast-paced thriller about a secret service agent trying to save the world, in an alternate universe where pretenaturally perceptive geniuses ("brilliants") are frightening all the normal humans.
Contrary to Lee Child's quote on the cover, it is certainly not "the kind of story you've never read before" as it has many classic thriller archetypes - patriotic noble protagonist, action scenes, gung ho female sidekick, more action, snappy dialogue, yet more action, a few plot holes and no character development...
While the brilliants give a slight scifi flavour, the bulk of this story remains a thriller. So if you are hunting for the next X-Men, this isn't it.
However, as far as popcorn thrillers go, I enjoyed reading this. The story progressed quickly, and I liked the characters enough to be interested in what happened to them. Sometimes all you want from a book is for it to take your mind off of things, and in that respect this novel certainly worked....more
A fast, thrilling read. This is an action packed story - and not much more than that.
I like the snappy writing style and was curious to see where theA fast, thrilling read. This is an action packed story - and not much more than that.
I like the snappy writing style and was curious to see where the story would go. However what brings my rating down is that I was left miffed by the "big reveal" - as well as how it was unveiled, and how much was left unexplained.
The protagonist does little to no detective work of his own, running around without stopping to think about what's happening or come up with any theories. There were almost no hints of what was coming; the ending exposition from the man in charge felt more like the author was writing himself out of a corner, than the final piece of the puzzle clicking into place.
Not to mention all the random elements that remain unexplained - eg the telephones ritual.
Interesting concept, good writing, but the execution is more a Liam Neeson film than something with depth....more
Shadow and Bone falls into the "popcorn reading" camp: it's a light, well-written YA fantasy in which the classiI'm struggling between 2 and 3 stars.
Shadow and Bone falls into the "popcorn reading" camp: it's a light, well-written YA fantasy in which the classic plain clumsy Jane becomes kick ass hot magician.
While I'm not adverse to fantasy lite (I read a lot of it), I'm always left wanting something more.
The prose flows smoothly, the plot well-paced. When it comes to the world building, I really like the idea of the Fold as it has a lot of potential. I'm also intrigued to learn more about the Darkling. This alone makes me want to give the book 3 stars.
However... I didn't get to see much of the Fold, and I didn't connect with the characters.
Perhaps the two points are related: it is only through struggle that you get to see someone's true colours and understand them, and a large part of the story is in a bitchy high school. Alina herself the stereotypical "ugly" clumsy loser who blossoms into becoming her true self, while the pretty evil girls suffer.
I'm left with characters who seem to be going through the motions without much motivation. Not to mention, the love triangle felt flat and one dimensional.
A few other reviews have pointed out the cultural inaccuracies in the novel. While I didn't notice these, as I have no knowledge of Russian culture, I must admit that I had hoped for more. The prologue in particular built such a strong sense of the world, that the boarding school / court environment later on struck me as generic.
Ultimately this story isn't that different from a lot of other YA fantasy out there; if that's what you are looking for, give this a read....more
A quick read with a fast paced plot and more tantalising glimpses of Newman's fantasy world.
This is a solid sequel to the first in the series, whichA quick read with a fast paced plot and more tantalising glimpses of Newman's fantasy world.
This is a solid sequel to the first in the series, which offers what I was looking for: more character depth. I particularly like how Sam's storyline has been woven into the story now, and seeing more of William too....more
I doubt I would have finished reading this had I not been on holiday.
My biggest issue with this story is the writing style which falls foul of the telI doubt I would have finished reading this had I not been on holiday.
My biggest issue with this story is the writing style which falls foul of the tell vs show error. Telling me over and over how awesome/beautiful/whatever someone is will not make me believe it. The narrator is distant and occasionally omniscient, and events are described so passively that I developed no pathos for the characters. People die and I don't care. Many are physically described over and over with the same boring phrases without any emotional depth being conveyed.
The plot twists felt forced, as if the author was pantsing the entire way.
SPOILER ALERT! How can a tortured half crazed Prince who kills his father and summons a demon then be a good guy the rest of the time? And the whole Sarax cooconing into trolls was a clumsy tie in to the Goblin King at best - oh the demon was possessing a mutated Sarax body? Pft. how can demons be the baddies in book one and we suddenly switch to aliens as if demons never existed? I could go on.... END OF SPOILERS.
The story's saving grace is the setting - while it's a typical dragon/medieval fantasy, I liked the various factions and island vs mainland politics. However the world building seemed inconsistent and whimsical - and the typos and misspelling of character names was another nail in the coffin.
All in all I'm impressed I managed to get through it. Only recommended for the patient reader or for someone with loads of time to kill....more
I don't understand the hype - this was a cringe-worthy read about three pathetic women inexplicably obsessed with abusive men.
The characters barely eI don't understand the hype - this was a cringe-worthy read about three pathetic women inexplicably obsessed with abusive men.
The characters barely evoke pathos; more than the murder mystery thriller I thought this book would be, it was a snapshot into the lives of twisted, desperate women all of whom are cut from very similar cloth....more
After finding the second book in the series lacking, I picked up the third with some trepidation. To my relief it picked up the story from A DISCOVERYAfter finding the second book in the series lacking, I picked up the third with some trepidation. To my relief it picked up the story from A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and returned to it's (slightly meandering) tale.
The conclusion was a little lacklustre but the series was oddly compulsive, and the third book finally answered some long running questions....more
While the first in the series was a fun popcorn read, the second slipped into being a self-indulgent stroll through history in which the protagonistsWhile the first in the series was a fun popcorn read, the second slipped into being a self-indulgent stroll through history in which the protagonists mooned over the each other amidst lessons of Elizabethan England and conversations with historical figures.
I skimmed through most of it and am not convinced by the author's treatment of time travel.
I have higher hopes for the last in the series which returns to the story at hand - but we shall see....more