**spoiler alert** Originally appeared at http://wp.me/p1hsSF-Fl. And thanks Netgalley for the copy, in exchange for an honest review.
Blest by Blaise L**spoiler alert** Originally appeared at http://wp.me/p1hsSF-Fl. And thanks Netgalley for the copy, in exchange for an honest review.
Blest by Blaise Lucey started off slow, but boy, it is take off in the end. After the first half, I found I had trouble putting it down. I love stories about angels and demons falling in love - and this one was no exception. While I had some little issues with the beginning, specifically pace (insta-love) and world-building (background for it), by the time I was half-way through I was so very sucked-in I was sitting on the edge of my chair while reading because I was desperate to know what happened next.
Since the book begins with the first half, however, let me address a few of the short-comings. First, there was a lot of love between two character who merely spent a few minutes, and one afternoon, together. Even for the PNR stuff that I read, which is usually all about insta-love, that is giving the relationship development shot-shrift. There is no reason why the characters couldn't have developed the feelings over a little bit of time, a month or two for example. Then, frankly, some of the vitriol towards Jim by the demon kids would have been more on display and a deeper connection to Claire and Jim would have been easier to feel. There was no need for their birthdays to be quite so early in the school year - or the story - a little more of the suspense as to why the two characters were this books version of Romeo and Juliet would have only added to the plot. The acceptance of why they were different was also a little quick (and this is the second book I've finished in the last 3 days that treated this the same) - way too quick - like, the Flash might as well be moving in slow motion compared to the speed at which they all accept the supernatural and paranormal and that angels and demons are real. It was just too quick. It didn't give me time as a reader to adjust and again, I think a little more page time spent on that would have added to the overall plot and pace of the story. Once things got going though, there were a bunch of reveals - and that was great as I felt much more involved in the story and it was easier to stay engaged. I am just a little curious - as I don't see this being billed as the start of a series, and lots of loose ends were tied up, but there is still certainly loose ends that aren't tied up, including the events of the epilogue, so I hope there is at least one more coming.
Despite the need to pay attention to some of the terminology, lest you get lost, this reminded me much of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments - and some of the hints that were dropped had me holding my breath that the reveals weren't going to be the same as with City of Bones, and thank goodness, they weren't. But to me, Blest had tones of City of Bones with the love between our main protagonists and the good vs evil nature of things. Unlike Mortal Instruments, however, I have enough details to hold me to book 2 (assuming there is one **fingers crossed**) and enough to make at least another good book or two out of the things that aren't solved and the stuff we don't know. And some of what we don't know has such potential - like the back stories to the parents of all our teenage cast, the mythology of the Tribunal and how the demons were originally banished, exactly what the feathers that each of Claire and Jim have that are "opposite" the rest of their respective wings... there quite a bit of fodder to serve as the basis for some excellent follow-up books.
Even out the pace a little with the second, balance the relationship building and world building to give me more, and we may have a new favorite YA/Angel and demon series! At least, I really hope there will be a second!
RECIPE FOR A WITCHY YA BOOK The Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth was a little atypical for a YA/paranormal. There were lots of things that weRECIPE FOR A WITCHY YA BOOK The Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth was a little atypical for a YA/paranormal. There were lots of things that were typical, but the biggest anomaly here was the lack of a real love interest for the main character. But, I will get back to that. Because there were so many of the typical elements, it was like the author was simply following a recipe. A teaspoon of absentee parents, a tablespoon of being someone different than what you were raised to believe, a cup of an adult figure not telling you everything, 6 cups of taking off and doing all sorts of stuff without bothering to tell your parental figure where you are, a few mysterious dread, a bit of paranormal surprise and a cliffhanger ending. Bake at 350 for a few hours and viola, you have your self the typical paranormal YA. But, most of these that I have read lately all have a romantic element, and here, the closest we get are some weird feelings towards someone Viv (our main protagonist, adopted, witch) sees in her dreams. Although at least she herself is skeptical of these feelings.
Towards the beginning I was feeling a little, “aheh” about the book. I had a bunch of things that were gnawing at me (like the fact that Viv finds a picture, assumes she’s adopted, and accepts it, all in about the span of 30 seconds and has less denial over it than I have guilt that I ate a few extra french fries with lunch). But, after a little while, as the story progressed, I became pretty enamored with the story. The pace picked up and the writing improved over the course of the few hundred pages. My opinion grew enough that I was fairly annoyed to reach the end and have so many loose ends, those both directly placed in front of me and those subtly hinted at (Savannah, where are you?).
I don’t know if the story will turn to some sort of reincarnation story or some other witchy explanation; I don’t know how the traitors will be dealt with; I don’t know what happened to Savannah; but I do know, I am eager to read the next book and find out. Overall, despite a few small points that I would have corrected (like calling the immortal a vampire, because the traditional ideas of vampire aren’t really what is going on here), and having a little more denial/resistance when Viv finds out she’s adopted and a witch (really, even for this genre, she is a little too open and accepting to these elements of her life), I think this was a pretty solid start to a new series. The world building and the characters were intriguing and enough to get us started – and I am expecting more to each. I also love stories set in New Orleans, although here, I would love it if the setting played a bigger part in the story or, at least if it were described a little more to make those mental pictures easier to form since I have never been. But, if I were rating this particular recipe, it would get 4 stars. And, I would be looking forward to seeing what the chef had to offer for the dessert course!...more
Originally appeared on: https://seriestracker.wordpress.com/2... You know all those expressions about one door closing and another one opening, an evenOriginally appeared on: https://seriestracker.wordpress.com/2... You know all those expressions about one door closing and another one opening, an event isn't the end but the beginning of something new? Clearly who ever coined those expressions didn't do it after reading something like Blackmoon Beginnings by Kaitlyn Hoyt. Never mind that this is "book 1" of the "Prophesized Series" (apparently out of 4 - Goodreads states the following about book 4: "Reaching Retribution is the fourth and final novel in the four-part Prophesized Series"), never mind that the cover is pretty cool and enticing, never mind that the story is pretty typical and unoriginal but yet still had some promise if written (and for fuck's sake, edited) better, never mind that this is (at least) intended to only be four installments.
After finishing this book, this is a series where the beginning could have been the end, and that would have been ok with this reader.
I am starting to feel like a broken record. The strikes against: self-published, poorly edited, many grammatical issues, poor word choice, awkward dialogue, too much of the whole lack of self awareness by the main protagonist, everyone around the main protagonist is "hot", what is very clearly a lack of maturity by the author, a number of jumps in the plot and jumps in the story (will explain how I am distinguishing shortly), and instant ability in self defense (and this particularly bugs me and pisses me off since I have nearly 20 years of martial arts training and I know that it takes practice - lots and lots of practice - to learn these things).
And I feel like a broken record because these seem to be such frequent observations on these YA books, especially ones that are written by folks that are just too young to have the requisite life experience to write and get spectacular results. I don't mean to say that young authors can't write well. But, like I have said before, most teenagers just don't have the perspective or experience to fill the gaps around the fantasy with the necessary accurate realism to propel the writing from mediocre (or terrible) to wonderful.
The story here is that we have an young woman, who thinks she is ordinary, without a real family. She lives with her guardian who is absentee and she is about to graduate from high school. When all of a sudden, she finds she has magical powers. Said magical powers make her the subject of a prophecy that means she will save the world (or something like that). As a result, she just picks up and moves in with a random magical family. And of course, there is the potential for at least one love triangle. Oh, and there is the group of bad magicians out to get the good ones. There is a jealous ex-girlfriend for the guy our main protagonist is seemingly falling for (and all the teenage melodrama that goes with that). So, I think all the typical YA boxes are checked.
So, now what do I mean by jumps in the story versus jumps in the plot? It's kind of like this: A plot jump would be if in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Harry had never found the mirror of erised but yet knew how it worked when confronted with Quirrell/Voldemort anyway and a jump in the story would have been the way the movie adapted the challenges that the trio went through to get to Quirrell (remember, in the book, they had Fluffy, the winged keys, the sun hating plant, the giant chess board, the sleeping Troll, the potions/logic challenge and the mirror; the movie only had Fluffy, the plant, the keys, the chessboard and the mirror); we still get to the same place without too much stress and while it would have been neat to see Hermoine logic through the potions it wasn't necessary to the movie. But take away the scene where Harry learns how the mirror works, and stuff stops making sense.
Examples of the story jumping and plot jumping here: story jumping = Ryanne never explaining to Jane that she's basically moved out of their house and in with Colton and his family. Plot jumping = Liam, the dreamwalking mage, and everything that goes along with how Ryanne meets him the first time and how he gives her his necklace. Story jumping = Ryanne's instant ability to do all self-defense moves ever needed. Plot jumping = Dravin and the Gadramicks find her and Coltin's family not once but twice and no one knows how. Some of these things can be glossed over and ignored. Others, it wasn't so easy to just accept and ignore. And when you add the terrible dialogue between characters, and the totally unrealistic reactions of folks to each other, well, it was just a relief to get to the end of the book.
Given some time and experience, the author may develop and may end up with some well written stories she can add to her resume. But, in the mean time, I hope the author can invest in a thesaurus (acknowledging that every character is "hot" doesn't solve the fact that describing them all in the exact same one dimensional way, with few words (really, one = "hot"), doesn't make for fascinating reading) and maybe by the end of book four things will have improved enough to make reading this feel less painful and and I will not be so quick to associate words like "amateurish", "undeveloped", "naive" and "unimaginative" with the plot, character development, dialogue and overall story, respectively....more
Wow. What started off a little slow turned into a race to the end. I couldn't read it fast enough. The Liberty Box by C.A. Gray sucked me in, and I coWow. What started off a little slow turned into a race to the end. I couldn't read it fast enough. The Liberty Box by C.A. Gray sucked me in, and I couldn't escape. What a great story. And pretty scary too as in it feels rooted in just enough reality that I felt tempted to pinch myself to make sure that I am really living the life I think I am 27108728living.
The Liberty Box is an expertly crafted, wonderfully written, and a very refreshing take the dystopian genre. All the dystopian stories I have read to date take on the notion of factions, divisions, sectors, camps, [insert any SAT word synonym of your choice here].... They have all started to meld together and I couldn't tell you which story, be it the Divergent Series or Hunger Games, ended which way (without looking it up anyway, or watching the movie). And those that haven't ventured into the land of the factions typically involve some sort of disease (Masque of the Red Death or Legend), "game"/"test" (Maze Runner), or other singular event. Here, Liberty Box isn't wholly different in that there is a single event that caused the US as we know it to change. But, the economic collapse and the idea that it is just here in the US (versus the entire world, or ignoring the fact that the rest of the world, at least at some point existed too) are both unique. And how society is saved is quite frankly, frightening. In part because it totally felt like something that could absolutely happen and we could all be turned into (in the words of the Crone) mindless "sheep" (although that too bears some similarity to the drug induced society of the Giver).
The plot of the story starts out like this: Kate, a young and beautiful reporter who beams into the nation's households every night on the newscast suddenly discovers that an enemy of the state, who has been executed, is someone she knew when she was younger. And when she starts to look into why, her fiance is killed. Now on the run, Kate finds herself "off the grid" and away from the control of society. Jackson, born in the US but raised in Iceland where he learned to control his mind and body from his grandfather, is back in the US for his mother's funeral. But, not all is as it seems in the Republic of the United States. Yes, the former democratic US is now a republic. Kate and Jackson find themselves in a forest with others and what they do about the world they are now faced with is the question.
To me, this seems to have the potential to be the next in the Divergent, Hunger Games movie spree. I can totally picture the great scenery, characters, chases, and action up on the big screen. I know I would pay to see this story brought to life. While decidedly YA, it's also scarier than HG or Divergent - as it seems so much more plausible and it isn't hard to imagine someone with the financial means to create a supercomputer that can separate and segregate society the way the Potentate has done here. It reminded me a little of a number of movies that seemed to have just enough basis in reality to be much more frightening than the blood and gore horror movie. They way Eagle Eye was much scarier (to me anyway) than World War Z or Saw.
Well written and well paced, there were fewer plot holes then I have found with most of the other dystopian stories I have read. And the end was quite a surprise. One that I can say I certainly didn't expect or see coming. My only critique is that the characters, Kate especially, at times felt a little two-dimensional. It shouldn't be that Bruce the Shark (from Finding Nemo for those who aren't huge Disney fans like me) has more depth than some of the main protagonist. There may be a reason for this in Kate's case, maybe Kate is supposed to be that way because of the way she is raised. But some of the others, especially Jackson, didn't feel like they have quite enough personality. Regardless, I think the development for some characters needs a little work. I would love to see the great promise that some of the characters have be fulfilled. However, this was not enough to shape the overall thoughts about the book; I believe Ms. Gray has provided yet another wonderful story and I am eager to see what happens to the characters next....more
Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dark Hope, by Monica McGurk, is the first installment in the Archangel Prophecies series. Like many other reviews for debut novels, I am struggling a little with my thoughts on the book. I enjoyed it enough that I am looking forward to reading the next one (or ones since as per goodreads, there are only two listed at the moment, but I am guessing there are plans for more). But I also would love to see a few things done slightly differently, as I think that would enhance my enjoyment of the books.
I will start by saying that this isn’t the most original – there are tons of YA stories centered around the love of an angel and a human girl. And most of them involve a plot involving fallen angels and the end of the world (or saving it). The human girl is always important to the saving or not saving. And the love is almost always taboo for some reason. Not being the most original isn’t a bad thing here. It is a tested formula. There are a bunch of great books that follow this same generic formula. Why fix something that isn’t broken. It works. It works when things are done right. And here, the story and the characters are interesting, easy to get to know, and for the most part well written.
A reader does need to just accept a few things though. In this, like many of the YA supernatural persuasion (it isn’t unique to the angel sub-genre, it’s common in the vampire, werewolf, demon sub-genres as well, just to name a few) you have to just let a few things go – take them for what they are and nothing more. For example the age difference. Let’s face it, in almost all of these one half (and it is typically the male half) of the intended couple is much older than the other. Like hundreds or thousands of years older. That, if you think about it too much, yields all sorts of creepy pedophile like comparisons. But its not like the person we are reading about takes on the attributes of a grown man. They have the thinks (and often knowledge) that makes them the supernatural being they are, but in all other ways they are teenagers too. They look like, and behave like, teenage boys. Any real focus on the age difference is really misplaced. Let’s face it, unless the pairing is always of two supernatural beings, who also happen to be about the same age, even a 200 year old supe and a 50 year old lady is cringe worthy when you focus on the age difference – so you have to take it with a grain of salt and just not focus on that.
When a prophecy is involved there will always be interpretation and mystery. There just will be. It’s the only way to keep the plot from being too obvious. The best crafters of prophecy layer it with subtleties (“The one to vanquish the dark lord…”) and the clumsier crafters, well that’s like a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin factory. And with the series being dubbed the “Archangel Prophecies”, you had better expect at least one prophecy and what I ‘ve seen so far places this on the subtle side but for me, it might be because of my complete unfamiliarity with the bible.
The parental units are not really going to be in the picture, or if they are, they aren’t going to be the typical (or real) parental unit. That’s just how it goes. The story can’t progress, the characters can’t disappear for days and do what ever they want, if the parental units are parenting. As in actually there. Staying out all night, leaving town to go to Las Vegas, being 13 and cooking your own dinner, staying out until 2 am, etc. just won’t happen when they are… well… normal. It has something to do with letting the characters come of age in the best way (or so I read in an article about why mothers are so often absent from Disney animated cartoons) or something like that. Although if you ask me, seeing a character punished by parents who are around, once in a while might be interesting!
It is totally a thing to shift perspectives. And, often, without real warning (sometimes the chapters have headers that announce this, sometimes not).
Finally, you just need to accept that it isn’t all going to make sense all the time, and it isn’t always going to be the most original thing you read that day. Especially with so many authors who have stepped from fan-fiction to publication. On the positive side, this is one of the best results of that step that I have seen. And trust me, there are some awful attempts to take that step put there. While there is room for improvement, this doesn’t have the glaringly awful grammatical issues or editing issues that many of my recent reads have. And that was a refreshing thing. Just keep in mind, it is much harder to be really original when things start out as fan fiction.
If you can accept those limitations, and those of this sub-genre in particular, then this should be a rather enjoyable little outing. As I mentioned, the characters were easy to get to know. What you need to know: We have Michael, as in the Archangel, and Hope. Hope was kidnapped as a child and ended up living with her father because he was convinced that Hope was still in danger. Then, as a teenager, she decides she wants to go live with her mother. She goes to school, for the first time, as a normal kid. And there she meets Michael. We don’t see a lot of the time they spend together, getting to know each other, but it is referenced quite a bit. So, even without all the page time, it is implied that they are really getting to know each other. That’s good – since I hate the superficial, based on nothing but looks, kind of love, especially in YA books (in the PNR its not as awful to me since those are more about the steamy scenes than the real relationship already). Then, it turns out that Hope is integral to a prophecy related to fallen angels recapturing heaven. And Michael wants to prevent the fallen from succeeding in the quest to get back into Heaven. The main protagonist’s lack of any real friends is also something different from the typical YA.
There were some unique elements despite the fact that the story is fairly familiar. For example, the thought applied to getting Hope away from her Mom is certainly new – and refreshing. They don’t just up and disappear without her mother calling the authorities. And it was a fairly elaborate way to keep Hope’s Dad out of trouble. The main protagonist’s lack of any real friends is also something different from the typical YA. So it felt like a fair balance between a standard overall story and some interesting details that made it different from the others like this that I have read.
The two things that I would love to have seen better done are the human trafficking sub-plot and Michael’s… mood swings and their implications. It is a shame because I know that the human trafficking plot elements are important to the author. But they felt a little distracting. That is, that sub-lot didn’t feel integral enough to the overall plot. It felt a little forced. In fact, had it not been part of the book I don’t think it would have had any impact. I am reminded of the moment Amy Farrah-Fowler spoils Raiders of the Lost Ark for Sheldon, telling him that it would have ended exactly the same way had Indy not been involved. That’s sort of the same way I eel here – without the human trafficking element, there would have been basically no difference in the overall plot. And it pains me to say this because I know the author is passionate about stopping human trafficking. But, if it is going to follow us through the next book(s), hopefully it will be better integrated and won’t feel so forced.
The other issue relates to the dynamic between Michael and Hope. Hi is totally obsessive and nasty and she plays right into it, letting jealousy impact her actions, and that in turn enrages him. It’s a vicious cycle that the two are stuck in and it is all the more disturbing to see Michael, and archangel for crying out load, be so down right mean and cold to her. I question both Hope and Michael’s actions, thoughts and interactions. It just doesn’t seem healthy. It feels a little like 50 Shades impacted writers – and in a really, really bad way. I don’t ever want to see the abuse (verbal or physical) just accepted, no matter what the reason, justification, or logic that applies because it is never ok. So, to route for Michael and Hope in future books, I for one will need to see this part of the relationship toned down significantly so that tension (which is different) doesn’t cross into abuse territory.
There has been a proliferation of angel stories into the YA genre, and there is a plethora of angel stories. But, that doesn’t change the fact that there was just enough to the story of Hope and Michael that I am looking forward to more of the Archangel Prophecies....more
Originally published at seriestracker.wordpress.com
HOPE FOR HOPE Dark Rising, by Monica McGurk is the second installment in the Archangel Prophecies trOriginally published at seriestracker.wordpress.com
HOPE FOR HOPE Dark Rising, by Monica McGurk is the second installment in the Archangel Prophecies trilogy.
I finished it over two weeks ago and this is the first moment I am “putting pen to paper” to write the review. There is significance in that. Typically, I have strong feelings one way or another and I just have to get it out. I have to get the review done so I can move on to the next book. Here, I couldn’t even start another book I am so conflicted. I didn’t want another story to muddy the waters that are my thoughts on this book – or at least not muddy them any more than they already are.
Even as I write this, I find myself (already) pausing at my keyboard trying to decide what to say next. Or at this very moment, really, what to say first. The angel story – has potential a-plenty. The characters are developing nicely, for the most part. There’s still too much of the YA bull *$%@ that for some reasons authors think creates great tension or relationship building when all it really does is annoy the reader. There were some great plot twists. But there were some great big grand canyon size plot holes too. There was some really great story telling and yet there was still a fair bit of trouble within the narration when it comes to switching the verb tense used to tell the story. There was much less focus on the human trafficking element and it pains me to say (because I know the author is super passionate about that) that I found that a positive with this installment. There was a slight imbalance in the amount of description given to things – some of the more well done scene building, in terms of imagery, seems to be throw-away (or red herring or maybe set up for the final installment, but too soon to tell that. And because the first book suffered from this a little too, and I didn’t see any pay off, I have to assume that it is just not well enough balanced story telling) while others could have used more of what was well done. Because if that imagery found the right balance, then this would go from a solid 3 stars (note: I am using the descriptors for the goodreads star convention for this statement; if I were using the amazon I would say solid 4 with a potential solid 5) to at least a solid 4 in my opinion. The overall story arc, which seemed to conclude in this installment was interesting and I loved that it was dragged out. The action was paced well and a few of the twists I didn’t see coming – now, part of that is because there were what seemed to be humongous plot holes associated with, or rather that facilitated, the twists. But, none of these issues were insurmountable as I still found the book enjoyable.
The main story here is that Hope and Michael are on their way to prevent the fallen angels from getting the key and opening the gates of heaven. They are traveling around Europe and Asia to find it. And, in the end, the prophecy is dealt with.
One of the elements that was particularly well done is hard for me to talk about in just the review – as it would create a huge spoiler. While spoilers are totally ok in my book on the page for a book I try not to let too big a spoiler out in the review. So… how to say this… often authors create super complicated and contrived sections of the plot so as to avoid a tragedy which impacts to permanently a main protagonist. Here, it seems that the author embraced letting some things happen to each of Hope and Michael and I question the ability to have the happily-ever-after that most YA books see as the absolute requirement for this type of story. At least as it stands at the end of this book. I know there is still a third installment to follow, but the preview that I got at the end of the second leaves me wondering and very curious. So, that’s super good because it means that I am very motivated to read the third – so I can see how it all ends!
I just hope that a couple of books written means that the author is learning a little of the balancing so that the potential for this series can be fully realized. The first two books are good but I really hope the third time we seem Hope will be great!...more
**spoiler alert** Originally published on seriestracker.wordpress.com
Dupped again by the synopsis! When, oh when, will I ever learn? Since I got Salem**spoiler alert** Originally published on seriestracker.wordpress.com
Dupped again by the synopsis! When, oh when, will I ever learn? Since I got Salem's Vengeance by Aaron Galvin from Netgalley, I will post the description that made me do the downloading:
"Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kelly never expected to meet the Devil’s daughter. She only sought innocent dancing in the moonlight, not a coven entranced by their dark priestess. When her friends partake of a powder meant to conjure spirits - and the results go horribly awry - Sarah is forced to make a choice. To keep their secret risks her own damnation, but to condemn them may invoke the accusing remnants of Salem to rise again."
The expectations that I had from reading that - let's just say it didn't match up. This isn't a knock on the book. Because I really liked it. But, boy, I wish I had been better prepared. I expected actual supernatural (you know, the reference to the devil's daughter sort of set that expectation) and found myself facing down another historical.
Well researched, fast paced, and intriguing, Salem's Vengeance is the story of both what really happened during the Salem Witch Trials and the aftermath of all that lunacy. It's not non-fiction but in many ways it feels that way. Upon laying my eyes on the words on the pages of this book, I was transported from my 21st century setting with an e-reader in my lap and a cell phone in my pocket to a time of candles and horse-drawn carriages. Filled with mystery and intrigue, as to who the characters really were, I knew there were surprises coming, and I knew characters weren't who they professed to be but I was surprised at every turn as to the exact identities of almost of them, as they were revealed in time.
Know going into this that the language takes a little getting used to. Written in an old English style, similar I would guess to the writings of the time, I did at first find that the reading was slower. The pace of the story wasn't impacted by it, as that moved fairly quickly. But my ability to read the story was slowed slightly in the beginning by the exact turn of phrase used by the author. Narrated from the perspective of Sarah, out teenage protagonist, her thoughts (and the journal she reads) must have taken considerable time to craft in the language of he 17th century. It was quite impressive.
Maybe I am reading too much in to the story, but it felt a little like a commentary on society and society's ability to work itself into a paranoid frenzy without having all the facts (or perhaps precisely because of that fact). And, I am reminded on a great quote from the ever wonderful Agent Kay: " A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it". And that is what is described here - not once, but twice as we see the events of Sarah's present day and the events of Salem through a journal Sarah is reading. It is well done too. The author gets just the right amount of facts in front of the characters in each parallel event and the mob mentality takes over, without any logic or reasons peeping it head up for even a quick look around. Instead, both have their heads buried firmly and far into the ground and events spiral out of control until lots of people are dead. I would like to say that in the world we live in today that could never happen, but it happens more often today with the ability for anyone to push information, on a mass scale, regardless of the truth of it. So, it was interesting to see the parallels between the Trials and what Sarah faces and what society is facing on a near daily basis, across so many aspects of society. I won't name any so as to keep this review apolitical, but I conjured the analogies in my mind as I read this book. But, there are a number of excellent lessons here in history repeating itself as well as society's inability to think rationally at certain times. Even the title, to me, seems to represent multiple things: Hecate's vengeance, Bishop's vengeance, Sarah's once her father is killed. But... oh well... again, maybe I was just reading too much into things.
The funny thing about my expectations not being met is not that I was disappointed. Far from it, in fact. I truly enjoyed this - from start to finish. Even with the need to chart out a few of the characters (especially those in the journal as we read the events of the Salem Trials unfolding) to keep them all straight, I am hard pressed to point to any criticism. The characters were well thought out and obviously the author did significant research. I am sure that added to the genuine, historical feel to the book.
One other thing to know - and this is not a criticism either - it is fairly dark. The entire tone of the book (and this too might be in part based on the speech patterns used to tell the story) is dark and creepy. The notion of witches and the devil's daughter, even without any of it working out to be paranormal in any way, is moody and brooding. It is a revenge story after-all; the telling of horrendous crimes against those in Salem and a fitting (from Hecate's point of view) fate for those who inflicted the damage upon Salem. It is also the telling of a vicious and evil plan to hunt down and kill others. Darkness is required to pull that off without it seeming comical or melodramatic. I could picture the creepy woods and the tiny little colonial town. The ability to conjure those images with the right amount of sinister-ness was something the author excelled at. I found it easy to form the mental pictures of the forest and the witches dancing around their priestess. And I didn't feel like the images were from some horror spoof. The author found the perfect balance - I was fearful for the fate of Sarah and her siblings but wasn't creeped out or rolling my eyes that it was overdone. Again, it was near perfect.
This is how a book should read. The plot was more straightforward that it seems at first. And it was clear that the details of the plot were calculated and planned. There weren't the haphazard moments where I had to wonder where did that come from or doesn't that contradict what I read earlier. Instead, it was near perfect. I was engrossed in the story and had to see how it ended. That's the way it should be for me. Those are my favorites. And, it was nice to see that this was merely the first in a trilogy. I can't wait to see what happens to the characters next!
I just wish synopsis writers could have been as close to perfect with what they wrote as Salem's Vengeance is! ...more
And I thought that Bella’s love was superficial and grounded in nothing other than what the boy looks like. This book makes that love story look like the deepest, soul reaching, romantic and well developed love story ever. **Shudder** I know that so many books, Para-YA and PNR especially, don’t exactly do the whole getting-to-know-you thing between the characters before they declare themselves madly in love, but here, it made even the fastest move at a snail’s pace in comparison. And, unfortunately, it’s not smart enough or well enough written to be love-at-first sight. Instead, it’s love at first “OMG isn’t he the most gorgeous person ever”.
I am talking about the first installment in the Guardians series, titled The Girl by Lola St.Vil. It is not all that original a story as we are looking at a good vs evil, balance needs to be kept or the world will end, a human and an angel relationship, and a quest plus a prophecy of some sort. Not that I need it to be that original – look at what I read for goodness sakes, mostly clones of one of a few stories with subtle differences. Here, the difference is the idiocy and angst of some of the characters is off the charts. Also, the inconsistent grammar, character development, and detail vomit that happen from time to time just get to be a little too much.
Believe it or not though, I am reading the next book. Because despite all the issues I had with the first, and there were plenty (I will share just a few), I still thought it was a fun little read. It was a great little distraction and I am interested enough in a few of the collateral characters that I want to see where the overall story takes us. How can I have so many issues with the series after just one book yet keep reading? It’s like watching a soap opera – the terrible acting, terrible scripts and story lines, pregnant pauses for the sake of it taking three weeks to get out a single sentence – and yet you keep watching anyway because it is still fun. So, this is a review after all so I will share a few of the things that were (more than) a little eye roll inducing. eye roll animated GIF Before I do that, though, let me give a 10 second synopsis. We have angels who are trying to prevent the devil (and her minions) from letting evil take over the world. Marcus, the leader of the angels trying to do the saving is dating another angel on his team. His team meets Emmy, who is important because she is a clue that can lead to how to either let evil win or how to stop evil. And Emmy falls for Marcus. Chaos ensues. Fights break out (not just the physical kind either) and characters die and others make-out. And the angels have some cool powers but there are rules to the game that is being played and mostly the good guys have rules while the bad guys have very few. Ok, I think that’s enough for the review.
First, and worst of all, the life-changing insta-love that Marcus and Emmy, the two main protagonists, feel for each other – because the kicker is that even though I see this all the time in the stuff I read (I readily admit that I am not a great literature addict – I love Dumas, Bronte, Shelley, Dickens, Carroll, Tolstoy and more but I am addicted to the… hmmm… crap, for lack of a better word), readers typically at least see that semi-developed over the course of the protagonists encounter – they spend time together, talk to each other, get to know each other (a little)…. The point is, it becomes something that is easier to understand and substantiate. Here, does that happen? Nope. They spend no time together (I am ignoring the one car ride they take, because it is so insignificant) and yet they are turning their lives upside down because of this love that they feel. I will lump in the awful amount of immaturity and jealousy that Emmy displays into this problem as well. It’s almost comical it is so extreme. And since there is no real relationship to back it up, the awfulness is magnified. Honestly, it makes me really dislike Emmy as a character. I know she is merely 15/16, but she is really hard to stomach. Instead, it is all about how drop-dead gorgeous he is and he’s soooo handsome **swoon** so that means I luuuuurve him. Lust at first site is love at first sight for Emmy. And all Emmy really cares about is what everyone else looks like. It’s really pretty pathetic and disgusting. Marcus has the personality of a cardboard box, but he’s pretty, so she’s in love. Ugghhh. You know it’s pathetic when I am comparing this to Twilight and saying that Twilight is so deep in comparison. Because even if you adore Twilight, you have to admit, the relationship wasn’t exactly built on mutual adoration, friendship, trust… you know all those things that make for a good relationship. Instead, it was “he’s smokin’ hot, I am in love.” Again: Ugghhh.
Problem two is the information vomit that the author does. I can’t believe I am saying this – because recently my complaint has been lack of enough to keep me interested. But clearly, I am looking for that perfect balance of enough information to understand what is going on and not too much that I have little desire to read more. Here, we get (what appears to be anyway, although maybe I am wrong and I will have to eat my words after reading the next books) all but one of the mysteries solved in the first book. Too much. There’s no sense of suspense left really, at least not with respect to the world building.
Problem three is the grammar. I am no grammar queen, I admit. I have problems with tense sometimes and pronouns, dangling participles, etc. But, I don’t write novels for a living. If I did, the first thing I would do is get a book or take an English grammar class. Come on people, learn the language you are writing!!!!!! Better yet, HIRE AN EDITOR. Because, you know, the best idea ever it to have your friend who thinks s/he is good at it to do it. Pay a professional, who does it for a living! Because they really are good at it, they don’t just think they are good at it. While the ability to self-publish has lead to some great stories it has also lead to some really terribly written ones. Even worse are the great stories that are written very poorly. Because they are even more of a let down. And don’t even get me started on the typos. They were everywhere. When I realize I have typos on this blog I am embarrassed and pissed off at myself. But I write, then proof-read right away. And it is easy to miss typos and misspellings when that is the process – my brain reads what I knew I wrote (or meant to write). If I were attempting to put a book out in the public or if I made my living writing this little blog (gee, don’t I wish!) I would have someone who is good at proof-reading do just that before publishing. But I guess that makes me crazy and abnormal, for thinking logically like that and thinking that I would care about the quality of my work.
Problem four is one particular scene. That’s right. One scene is bad enough that it is a significant enough problem to mention it by itself. Marcus meets with the Sage and is told that he needs to use Emmy, he doesn’t need to be nice to her. Then Marcus takes his girlfriend to spend time together and convince her that he loves her. And they do all sorts of angel adrenaline junkie things (their version of sky diving and stuff). Then, he heads off to Emmy. And, given the sequence and what the Sage said, I assume that when in the very next scene Marcus is confessing his undying love, that he is just going to use Emmy. But apparently that wasn’t the case. The melodrama, the unintentional (I assume) sap that virtually flows off the page giving the reader sticky finger, is so overdone, it’s turned a hunk of meat into a lump of charcoal. He really does a 180, and in the most unrealistic so over the top kind of love confession it was stupid. Not romantic but idiotic. Here’s a passage: “Since I met you I have been unable to count in days. I can only count your eyes. How long until I see your eyes again? That’s the only clock I have in my head.” When Emmy calls him on that, he say’s it is all true. So, here I am thinking the whole time that he is going to really turn out to be just using her. But nope. And, not to mention the confession about taking all the invisibility snaps so he can be a peeping tom and not be seen – that’s just creepy. Like EL James, 50 Shades stalker creepy. That whole scene, the dialogue, the way it came about… yikes. Just yikes.
Problem five is that the author completely disregards certain elements of Emmy’s home life. Emmy end up grounded, but goes out anyway and gets beaten up and no mention of the fact that she had been punished. Since a big deal was made about the punishment and Emmy’s not being able to read or listen to music, I thought, great, some realism. Them two months of grounding turns into like one day and then going to West Africa and no repercussions – not even a passing mention of one. It’s a failure to plot out (or outline) the story well enough. It’s an oversight that felt amateur.
Problem six is the cover. So, I got this book because it was a suggested on goodreads in the YA category. But the cover implies something definitely other than YA. And while the writing style and actions of Emmy are juvenile enough to justify the YA category, at least at the moment, that is not the impression I got from the cover. And, ok, there are other version of the cover. But the one I have is the cover shown above. the other two cover options in goodreads are certainly more aligned with the whole YA category.
Is there anything redeeming here? The story is just interesting enough, that despite its lack of originality, it isn’t wholly without value. And Miku, Rio, Reese and Jay are great characters. In fact, in many ways they are the characters that I feel I know better after finishing. Emmy is too superficial and so green with jealousy that it is beyond annoying. Scratching my own eyes out would probably be more pleasant than reading one more word of her jealous inner monologue. Miku, Reese, Rio and Jay? Like the fantastic four though. We learn more about them, including things about some of their lives and deaths, then we do about Marcus or Mimi. And we learn a little about what motivates them, how they think and feel. Where the heck is that character development for Marcus and Emmy? It’s just poorly balanced. But, I want to see more of the wonder twins and if they ever join their powers, I want to know what happens to Jay. So, I am already into book two, and think unless it gets much worse (although not sure how it can) intend on riding this out until the end. Although I do think that is a sad commentary on the series – that I am saying this has to be rock bottom so I will read because it has to get better…....more
Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the "0.5" in the newest series by Garcia and Stohl, Dangerous CreatuDangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the "0.5" in the newest series by Garcia and Stohl, Dangerous Creatures. A spin-off of the Caster Chronicles, this seems to be the start of a series following at least Ridley and probably Link from the Chronicles. I knew it was a short story going in (kind of had to know it by the full title) so at least I wasn't disappointed by a misconception as to the length of the story.
The good news is you didn't need to read the Caster Chronicles to really follow what was going on here. This is clearly the short that sets up a new series and it is a very brief and short set-up. We do get introduced to some new players that I expect we will also see – Lennox and Sampson. It also looks like will be moving to New York City. At least New York City should be more exciting and provide more opportunities for all kinds of craziness and then Gaitlin South Carolina did. We also get to see a few minutes of Lena, Liv, John and Ethan. And we're reminded about the status of things with the rest of the characters we had come to know in the Caster Chronicles.
To be honest though this is another one of those it's so short it's hard to write a review installments. I get that this is designed to drum up or keep excitement up while waiting for the next series, but it's hard for me to be really excited about these little tiny stories that don't really do much and aren't really necessary (although I guess it's better than the tiny little stories between installments that are necessary and never get actually addressed so if you miss them you're screwed). At least this was one of the better written shorts. I can't complain about the same plot issues, lack of character development or anything since it recognizes itself for the purpose it serves - it is really just an into. It doesn't try to solve much and it just reminds us that there are characters we have grown to know and like and we will get to see more of (at least some of) them again soon.
The overall story potential for this new series seems just as interesting as it did in the first place, when I picked up the Caster Chronicles. So it's not like this adds or detracts from my desire to read the first full-size installment when it does come out. But at least it's better as prequels go then something like the Sisters Grimoire which I read not too long ago – if you miss this I doubt it'll make much of a difference, but if you manage to catch it and you enjoy the world that these two have built, then you're likely to enjoy this as a great way to occupy 15-20 minutes before reading Dangerous Creatures....more
Action, adventure, mythology, magic, science, time travel and so much more!! And I have again found an instance of time travel that I can deal with -Action, adventure, mythology, magic, science, time travel and so much more!! And I have again found an instance of time travel that I can deal with - and that is a rarity! Anyone familiar with my reading habits, reviews, and general thoughts about stories knows that I don't do well with time travel. In fact, in the forum I used to be heavily involved in related to another wonderful set of books (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott) it became widely known that reading about time travel risks my head exploding! But here - given the way time traveling occurs, I am not at risk of that. I like this kind of time traveling.
We got more of the same in Invincible. And that is a good thing. The elements of the story worked in the first installment and it was nice to see that continue in the second. While this is really a filler book, the set up for the final act, it was a wonderful set up. We got action, travel to Egypt, more magic and more mystery. Everything seems poised for what will hopefully be an awesome ending. The characters grow and we see more of their relationships. We get more magic in some great big ways. We see more physics and we learn more about King Arthur and the history behind these adventures. We get more of Peter (both as an annoying teenager and as a potential hero), more of Lily (her erratic behavior and her developing feelings for Peter), more Bruce (awesome is the only word I can find to adequately describe him), more Isdemus (more mystery, in my opinion), more Kane (more stupidity and bravery too). And let's not forget about warping - teleportation that comes across to the non-scientifically inclined (yes, I am pointing at myself here) seems to have a total logical and possible explanation.
The battle scenes are what need some special kudos in this installment. How often do we read about someone using a pyramid as a weapon to kill someone. And not as in a stage - you know, they were standing on the pyramid using the power from it - no. I mean the pyramid itself being used like a baseball bat - beating down on someone. It was awesome. The notion that Peter can suspend time to imagine the myriad of possibilities to save some made for a quick paced, yet slow enough to digest, battle scene. And the acknowledgement by Peter that he isn't really all that creative was stunning (in a good way). It reminded me of when Ferris Bueller turns to look at the camera to tell the audience to stop and look around or life will pass by. It was a great way to acknowledge the reader (or at least this particular reader) and what I was thinking anyway, yet still play a role in the story. It was also pretty cool to learn some of the limits on the magic and Peter's ability when talking about going back to save Sully. All the individual threads of the story came together, and not in a contrived way. It is such a wonderful treat to have a story come together in a way that feels natural and not one where it feels like the author manipulated or stretched things to get it all to turn out the way they wanted. Here, it really felt like if magic were real, this could have happened in just this way. I think part of this is owed to the tie in of physics. Again, it's a acknowledgment by the author of the real world around us without being patronizing and allows her to build a world that feels like it fits within the one we are actually living in.
The only issue I had, and it is a teensy tiny issue is with a few instances of the British-isms, as the author dubbed them in the acknowledgements in Intangible. There were moments when they felt a little clunky and forced, or rather sort of in-your-face. I am not sure I would have noticed if they were missing. I have read a bit of stuff by Brits, where the story takes place in England and the British-isms are all over the place. I don't know that they added anything and I don't think if they weren't there they would have detracted. Given the clunky nature, I might have skipped them altogether. But - see, that is itty bitty criticism.
I don't have much more to say because all of the wonder and joy that I found in the first book is here too. This was not a let down like so many second installments are. It carried the greatness from the first book right through each page to the end. I am just hopeful that the third, and I believe final, installment in this series lives up to the first two. I know I certainly have great expectations because of the wonderful job the author did with this second book.
P.S. BIG thanks to Dr. Gray - she provided me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. And I am so glad she did - it was a great read!...more
The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin by Jonathan L. Ferrera is the first book where I have received the text from Netgalley, read it, and seriously considered not providing feedback. Sure, there have been a few I have received and not read fast enough that they expired and I couldn't actually read them, but I pretty much read everything I request and provide feedback on everything I read. Part of the reason I always provide feedback is because I feel that if I get a book through that service, it deserves an honest review. But I also feel bad when I review something I got from there and I don't love it (I get them for free after all...). I don't let that color my review, but this is the first time I have had such a negative reaction to something received from Netgalley. I thought about what to do, what to say in the review, and should I spin it so that it's not so negative? But then I remembered, that part of the deal is that I will provide honest feedback, so with that in mind....
I think The Blackwell Family Secret (BFS, for short) is a secret that would've been better had I never learned it. I am not saying the book is a waste of paper (or "ipad memory since I got it on my kindle), but there are far fewer redeeming qualities in this than there are negative ones and if I gave stars, this would be lucky to get 1 star.
I am not a huge fan of the self-publishing trend/industry. I have expressed the limitations with it, despite the fact that there are, from time to time, some hidden gems that are later more broadly distributed/published. But, they are rare. Like finding a raw diamond while digging a hole in your back year. Not totally out of the real of possibility, but odds at winning the $500 million power ball are just as good. Why do I raise this here? Because I went so far as to google the name of the publisher of the BFS to see if it was one of those self-publishing houses (they are self described as "[a]n independent book publisher of speculative fiction" and I didn't see anything indicating that it was a self-publishing company). That's the kind of vibe this left me with. I will go so far as to say that this felt like it was just the first draft - not because of typos or grammatical issues, but because the Grand Canyon size craters in the story and plot could hold NY City (with room to spare), the total lack of character development or relationship foundation between characters is so insubstantial Nearly Headless Nick is as solid as a brick wall in comparison, and the NASCAR-on-steroids speed at which the story is paced (aided significantly by those Grand Canyon gaps in plot) would probably support time-travel or get me to Venus faster than I could fly to London.
Setting the stage is important. The prologue had promise - it wasn't bad. But, it gave me 7 year-old Nicholas and the first chapter gives me 16 year old Nicolas. We need to re adjust. When you serve the first course of a meal on the only plates set on the table and you clear those plates for the main course, you have to set new plates first. Or expect your guests to eat directly off the table cloth - and, well, that's just messy!
We meet our main characters and they spend very little time together before being whisked away to the demon city to start trying to save the world. We are asked to believe that Nicholas and Amy, in the half day they've known each other, have instantly developed some wonderful sort of real relationship. We don't really see any significant... well, anything, of either of them. We meet Theodore, Nicholas's roommate for all of three minutes before things start. There's no background, there's no basis, no time to get used to the characters and feel invested in them to care at all what happens when Nicholas and Amy go to this city of demons. The chapter where Nicholas ends up back at school and the principal decides, all of a sudden, to take the actions he takes was only a surprise because of the abrupt manner in which is was handled (twists like that are a dime-a-dozen in this genre, so that's not what made it a surprise). Crash test dummies come to a stop less abruptly.
The author also hasn't learned the art of subtlety. Is there more to Amy? Of course. But, the hints dropped were so obvious that symbol Trelawney could have predicted exactly what would've happened. She would have been the most successful Seer to grace the pages of literature, ever (total tangent: my years worth of reading and re-reading, not to mention my annual re-listening to the Jim Dale version of the audio books has led me to the conclusion that she really was better at divination than she gets credit for). And anyone who is even remotely familiar with those books or movies could tell you that is saying something as she is portrayed as the largest fraud in the history of fortune telling. She would've had a room in the Department of mysteries dedicated to just her prophecies if they were as obvious as they are here.
I wonder if the author has ever even met a 16-year-old boy. What 16-year-old boy would in one breath ask a question and demand to know more about the girl he's with and then literally the next breath completely ignore it and drop it and totally let it go? Especially with anything that they might even remotely think is important. I have yet to meet a teenager, who when they really want to know something, doesn't make any second follow up attempt. In fact they usually pester and pester and pester in an attempt to get their own way. Kind of like a dog who refuses to let go of that juicy hambone. Even well behaved teenagers do this. Here, Nicholas gets told that there are some great big giant family secret and then he basically just say "yeah, secret, what is it? Okay, don't tell me. Thanks." And he totally moves on. What teenager would really be a that way? Don't even get me started on the fact that Nicholas is supposed to defeat these guardians of sin and a toddler would have a harder time making a mess out of a plate of spaghetti. Take the guardian of envy portion of this story, for example. Nicholas basically just asks the demon to give up the piece the crown and she can't wait to be rid of it. I don't care that later Lucifer tries to justify the easy path by saying Nicholas had some control over the guardians. It was still just way too easy and I started to find it amusing - and not in a good way. Leaving me to conclude that the plot and details of the story really weren't very well thought through. These things made it really hard for me to care.
I have to say that the theology was hard to swallow also. There were moments where I'm convinced I read something that contradicted something else I had read previously. Further illustrating my lack of any sort of care how things ended up, I usually make notes of those sorts of things for my reviews. Here, I didn't even bookmark those things. I was just that uninterested because the author didn't give me enough to make me feel invested. Mortimer and Randolph Duke had more skin in the game when they bet a dollar on Billy Ray Valentine and Louis Winthorpe III. A dollar people, a whole whopping dollar, was a greater investment.
And despite all of the issues with this book, the biggest travesty here is that there's a kernel of a good idea at the root of the story. Folks who read my reviews know I'm a fan of serials. And, with a little bit more time, effort and page space, the author could have taken this book and turned it into a series. I hate it when publishers stretch books into series just for the sake of the money grab. But here, some good writing, a little bit more time flushing out the inconsistencies of the theology and plot, some decent character and relationship building, and we could have actually had good battles for the the Devil's crown and some real battles and, most importantly, a decent story – one that needs to be a series. This is one of the other reasons why I checked on whether or not the publisher was a self-publishing service. It's more likely these days to stretch stories beyond their breaking point into multiple installments and way less likely to cram everything into one tiny book.
Finally, this is marketed as a young adult book and I'm not sure that that's appropriate. I mentioned earlier that there is a smattering of some complex or advanced words in the book. They themselves aren't enough to make me feel like this is appropriately aimed at young adults. I have read a number of the installments of the "Heck" series (by Dale E. Basye) and this book felt much more akin to that. That series is aimed at "young readers" - aka children. The simplicity of the writing and similar overall issues plagued that series as well. If I were the author I would probably retool BFS a little bit and adjust the marketing of to squarely make this a children's book. Overall the secret of the Blackwell family wasn't really that big of a twist or reveal. I could have lived without learning it. I hope if the author continues to write he finds a way to address these issues and he doesn't repeat them in future stories. ...more
Filled with wonderful description imagine it to settings and adjectives galore, enough to make you feel like you could reach out and touch the setting and the characters, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs pereguine1conjured extraordinarily detailed images in my mind from start to finish. I will note, that despite my expectations of getting to read a very creepy story (from reviews and descriptions I read on goodreads and amazon), the title says it better – it’s peculiar.
From the start, the set up seemed to indicate that I was going to get some sort of scary experience. We had some sort of monster, more than one mystery and a murder. The photographs even encouraged the notion that I was going to be on the edge of my seat, startled often and gasping for fear. The nail biting suspense never really materialized however.
Instead of suspense, we got peculiarity. And it was a fair trade. The author built a world, quickly set out rules (even if they were a little bit difficult to follow at times) and dropped us into the world with out leaving me feeling like this book was nothing more than a set up for more to come. Instead, there was action and answers and all sorts of information thrown at me in such a way that it didn’t feel like it was the first book in a series. Instead it felt like I was watching a movie – you know how from the start of a film you get lots of senses engaged at one because you can see and hear the world, you don’t need to read pages of words to build it in your mind’s eye – that’s how this felt. I could see everything in front of me; I wasn’t stressed to build the world in my mind because the author did it in such a descriptive it yet subtle manner it was already done for me.
The author also managed to balance the use of a lot of adjectives in the perfect way. I never felt that they were gratuitous or drowning out the story. I only wonder if the photographs which were included help this on such a scale as to make reading the book without them impossible. But that doesn’t really matter since they are included!
Normally time travel books give me migraines. I say this constantly. I often struggle with the paradoxes and many authors’ failure to account for them. I often struggle just as much with stories that do address them as well. But here, the notion of time travel is a great plot device and it is handled in such a unique way so as to make things not confusing and not full of paradox pitfalls and potholes.
I believe one reason for this is the nature of the time loop as an element of the story. I haven’t encountered a time loop like this in my reading before (and I am sure they are out there, I just can’t recall reading a book with that as an integral plot point before). Another reason is likely because the author addresses the time issue head on relatively early on (after we discover about the loops) by having Jacob talk about the future and with the clever device of Milliard’s journal and research on the day the peculiar children live in. It’s also helpful that while we see another time it’s not your traditional time travel. It was like in 1940s version of Groundhog Day billmurray(if you don’t know what I am talking about there – imdb it – and know that in college I wrote an entire 25-page paper on that movie and the nature of time travel). And we all know that no matter how hard Bill Murray’s character, Phil, tried to screw things up when the day reset he was the only one who remembered anything. And no matter how many cars he crashed or what he did, everyone was back to normal and healthy in the morning. (Although I wonder if the author has seen that movie, because it would have been clever and appropriate to have Jacob make some sort of joke/reference to the movie, and that didn’t happen!)
If I had to nitpick a tiny bit, I would find a little bit of fault with the contradiction that the children really were all still children. Don’t get me wrong they behaved mostly like children and their bodies certainly had the outward appearance of children. But there were times it wasn’t really clear how old each one of them was – not in the sense of how old they would be if they left the loop but how old they were as far as Miss Peregrine sees them. In fact, Miss Peregrine at one point reminds Jacob that they are just children, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple. To me any character who lives the same day over and over and over again, even though their bodies may not age and they may still closely resemble children, they would eventually learn things that aren’t usually learned by children. And I do think we see some of this in some of the ways the children act. Additionally, I admit to sometimes losing track of how old Emma is supposed to be. She’s close enough to Jacob’s age to kiss him and have been romantic with his grandfather, but she acts much younger at times and so I had to remind myself that she was supposed to be a teenager, not a 10-year old.
But that is a tiny little criticism because this book really was a joyreturn to sanctuary 2 to read. Normally, this is where I would say that I’m jumping right into the next book (since it is already available) however I see that Sarah Gilman’s next book out and I must turn my attention to that first. I have been checking goodreads to see when the next return to sanctuary book would be published, and it is out!!! I can’t wait to crack open deep in Crimson (the second book) and wings of redemption (one of those half installments)!! I admit that it’s been out for a few months and I missed it at first, but I have a lot of series that I try to keep track of, not always tremendously successfully when it comes to publication dates … (My review – which is a “I love it” – of the first in that series can be found here: http://seriestracker.wordpress.com/20...). Then I’ll turn my attention back to Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children (Hollow City)peregrine2....more