For Bryn, the non-werewolf alpha of the Cedar Ridge territory, the stakes have never been more high; a rival alpha is coveting her territory and her fFor Bryn, the non-werewolf alpha of the Cedar Ridge territory, the stakes have never been more high; a rival alpha is coveting her territory and her female wolves, and a Rabid wolf has been leaving a trail of bodies on his path. But when all clues point to one of Bryn’s friends as the main suspect, she knows she must do everything she can to find that were and protect it, no matter what.
I was excited last week when I sat down to read the final book of the Raised by Wolves series; I really liked the first two books, and even though the second one wasn’t has good as the first, I had high hopes that Taken by Storm would be better. Thankfully, I was right!
This book was brutal. And I’m not talking about violence here – though there is some; the author doesn’t shy away from it, often using it to create intense moral dilemmas for the characters. But emotionally, Taken by Storm was a roller coaster. I wasn’t sure where the author was leading me, and I was many times surprised, both by the twists and the characters’ decisions. There was also some heartbreaking, and moments filled with so much tension that I couldn’t let the book go.
As a human alpha, Bryn really is in a unique spot. I have loved the progression of her character along the story, and I could see that she matured a lot. There were many difficult decisions to be taken and while she didn’t always liked it, she didn’t shy away from it. She really showed the strength and wits required by an alpha.
As for the author’s writing, I felt it was much better than in the previous two books! I had noted in my previous reviews that I had trouble with the pacing, finding it sometimes uneven and slow. I really can’t say the same thing about Taken by Storm : from the start, we are pulled into the action, and the story quickly takes us all around Bryn’s territory – and even a little further. The book reads like a supernatural YA novel, yes, but also like a mystery. And you know I love a good mystery!
Taken by Storm was a strong conclusion to a very entertaining YA series. If you are looking for romance, this one might disappoint you a little; but if you are looking for a werewolves series with lots of action, suspense and twists, I happily recommend this one....more
It’s not that you were bad; you had, in fact, all the necessary elements to make me fall in love with youOh The Rook, The Rook; what to say about you?
It’s not that you were bad; you had, in fact, all the necessary elements to make me fall in love with you. A great setting (I can’t resist an undercover supernatural governmental organisation!). A intriguing main character. A fantastic cast of secondary characters. A complex mystery with a detailed plot. Really, I should have fallen in love with you. But I didn’t.
I want to believe it is a case of the wrong book at the wrong time. Had we met earlier or later in life, I probably would have enjoyed our time together much more. I won’t lie, there were some great moments there. I thought Myfanwy was clever and fun to be around. I loved how the superpowers worked, and how original they were. It felt fresh and new and very different from all the urban fantasy books I have read in the past. It created great scenes, too, whether it was in a “simple” interrogatory or an action sequence. Also, very, very creepy villains!
Myfanwy was a great character, being herself one of the book’s mysteries. I liked that the Myfanwy from before the incident had left all these instructions to the memory-less Myfanwy. It was a bit like reading the biography of an unknown yet important woman, but the Checquy’s organization is so huge and intricate that it kept me interested.
But there were also moments where I just felt myself struggling through the pages. I would sit down for ten minutes, and not manage to turn a page. I got bored in places, even though the story kept on revealing new details and offering new mysteries. I still can’t pinpoint why, exactly. Maybe the abundance of details was a bit much to take as I was getting ready to get back to university? If I compare you, dear The Rook, to other novels of a similar nature I have had the opportunity to read, I have to admit that you were a bit much to take in.
I really wish I could give you a more positive review. Still, three stars isn’t bad. I can recognize that you had strong qualities, aspects that distinguish you from other books and make you more difficult to categorize. I’m even willing to keep you on my shelf, in case I feel like giving you another try later in life. For now though, I can’t really do much more than say you were okay.
But I swear to you : it’s not you, it’s me. I’m pretty sure of that....more
I had read both Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan only once before reading Team Human, and that was enough for me to know that I had to readI had read both Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan only once before reading Team Human, and that was enough for me to know that I had to read this one, even though the summary made it sound just like any other vampire books. Good on me for following my instincts, as Team Human turned out to be one of the most fun books I read this year!
I’ve always loved vampire stories, and though I prefer them with a little more bite, I am not opposed to having them portrayed as mostly pacific creatures. This is the case here: vampires are out in the open, and you can become one if you find yourself a mentor and go through some governmental procedures. Chances are you’ll be alright, but there is still 10% chances (if I remember correctly) that you’ll either die or become a zombie – which is only another word for death, really.
If you add to this a narrator like Mel, who is loyal to her friends and tells her story with great humor, it’s a win! It wasn’t a hysterical, laugh-out-lout kind of funny, but it kept a smile on my face pretty much from start to finish. Mel had just the right witty tone, not trying too hard, not too sarcastic. She was funny, and her humor was an important part of the book in more ways than once.
Not only did I get a fun story about vampires, I also got a very human story about friendship, loyalty and respect. The book is not preachy at all, but the feelings Mel has towards the vampires once they get too close to the ones she loves are extremely realistic and easy to relate too. Her questions are those most of us would have in a similar situation I believe, and the fact that she was so determined to protect her friends was admirable.
With a charming romance, a great cast of characters and an interesting story, Team Human is a satire I absolutely adored. To quote Maureen Johnson’s blurb on the cover :
[...] if you love vampire books, this is the book for you – if you hate vampire books, this is also the book for you.
What a fabulous team these two authors made together! If you are looking for something paranormal and light, with charm and mystery, I can confirm that Team Human has all of that and even a little more!...more
Bryn is barely settling into her new role as pack alpha when an unexpected were visitor steps on her land, close to death. His arrival is a danger inBryn is barely settling into her new role as pack alpha when an unexpected were visitor steps on her land, close to death. His arrival is a danger in itself : Bryn can’t claim someone else’s wolf, yet she feels the need to protect him. Before she can decide whether he should stay or go, Bryn has to discover the true meaning of his presence, and face some new characters with unexpected talents.
In my very humble opinion, Trial by Fire wasn’t as good as Raised by Wolves has been, but it was still a very solid second volume in the series. Unlike so many others, it didn’t feel like a filler between book one and book three, but offered instead an interesting progression in Bryn’s story.
Again, I did feel that the book had a slow start. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it feels as if the author had all the pieces for the first part of the puzzle, but wasn’t sure how to fit them together; so instead of taking the time to fit them properly, she took a stick of glue and just stuck them together. I hope this isn’t too harsh of a comparison, because the author did hook me from the start and I was immediately intrigued by the newcomer, Lucas. Still, some parts of the introduction flow nicely, but some parts are very choppy; it’s a fault I found in the first book that I noticed here again, although not as strongly. Once the story gets going though, the pace is smoother and much more enjoyable.
I like Bryn, I really do. As a new pack alpha, she had a lot of responsibilities and difficult decisions to take, a position I did not envy. But she was strong and knew when to ask for help – and how to do it when laws made it difficult for her to reach out. I have to say I was a lot more interested by this aspect of her life than in her romance with Chase. In some ways, Chase is so disconnected from the pack’s reality that I found it really hard to connect to him. Bryn feels like she knows him in a unique way, because they survived and fought the same things, but for me Chase is still a close book. I don’t get him, and I don’t see how I could.
I really appreciated that the author brought an unexpected cast of new characters to the story, that were not wolves. I won’t say much more about it, because I want to make this as spoiler free as possible, but it opened up a lot of possibilities for future story lines while explaining a lot more about Bryn’s adoptive mother.
Trial by Fire was an entertaining novel filled with action and twists. Barnes delivers not only unexpected visitors but also unexpected turns in a story that kept me guessing. I enjoy to have a paranormal YA series that is focused less on the romance, and I’m hoping Taken by Storm will be available soon!...more
I just received my copy of With All My Soul this week, the last of the Souls Screamers novels (sob), and with it came a terrible realization : I had yI just received my copy of With All My Soul this week, the last of the Souls Screamers novels (sob), and with it came a terrible realization : I had yet to review Before I Wake, the previous novel. Which is pretty much how my review of the previous book started, too. You can therefore call me Kay the Unoriginal Procrastinator. And now, to the review!
It has become incredibly more difficult with each book to review it without spoiling too much about the previous ones, but if I had to make one comment about Before I Wake, it's this : prepare for an incredible ending.
I thought Before I Wake had a bit of a slow beginning. Coming after the surprising ending of If I Die, I had no idea what to expect. And it was good, with still that mix of twists and humor and incredible plotting that Rachel Vincent achieves with excellence. But that ending, oh! It was so cruel not to have the next book waiting for me just as I finished it! I was surprised like I rarely am when reading urban fantasy. And that soul thief story was incredibly riveting.
I think I love Tod more and more with each book. He's an incredible, sweet, loving character, with a strong personality, too. I couldn't have guessed he would have taken as much importance at the start of the series. In fact, the cast of characters was all still incredible, the heroes as much as the villains; I thought I couldn't wait to see how the story would end for them all, but after reading Before I Wake, I am actually a little scared for them. Vincent doesn't hesitate to torture/sacrifice/kill her characters, and this is something I am possibly not looking forward to.
Also, mad props to the author for writing some of these scenes with so much emotion. Very few YA paranormal and urban fantasy authors seem to successfully create a world that is both exciting and emotional, but Rachel Vincent absolutely does (the only other author with a similar talent that comes to my mind right now is Cynthia Hand). Kaylee's journey in this book proves that, tenfold.
So, here ends this review that wasn't really a review. Just some thoughts on my reading, as I am getting ready for the final trip. I'll be back to you (soon, I hope!) with thoughts on the series' conclusion!...more
Bryn has been raised by wolves – or more exactly, werewolves. Even though she has a special bond with her pack and their leader, she can’t help questiBryn has been raised by wolves – or more exactly, werewolves. Even though she has a special bond with her pack and their leader, she can’t help questioning her place as a simple human in this group. When she discovers a strange boy locked in her leader’s basement, Bryn’s life is forever changed, pushing her to confront both the people she trusts and memories of her terrifying past.
I’ve been a bit grumpy towards YA fiction in 2011; I kept reading it, but more often then not I felt the same story kept repeating itself with only small variations. Fortunately, sometimes come along books like Unearthly and Raised by Wolves to remember me that not all fiction is created equal and that there are, indeed, YA novels deserving of my love.
To be fair, Raised by Wolves wasn’t without faults (but what book is?). It was slightly less engaging than Unearthly, especially since it was so slow to get going. If I compare the two, it’s only because I read them one after the other; these two share a genre but they are, in fact, two very distinct stories. One of Raised by Wolves surprising aspect for me was the almost lack of romance. It’s there, of course, somewhere between the lines; there are even strong hints, I think, of a possible triangle. The fact is, Bryn is so busy trying to figure out the mysteries of Chase (the boy locked in the basement) and her past, and dealing with the consequences of her actions, that she barely has time to give romance a thought.
And talking of consequences, my oh my! I was kind of surprise how brutal the pack was. Well, it’s nothing more than what you’d see in regular urban fantasy I believe, but most YA tends to soften it up a bit. I think in this case, the author did a great job of illustrating the animal aspect of a werewolves pack with balance, in a realistic manner that didn’t embellish it too much.
There’s a lot happening in this intriguing book but it’s really not full of action. It’s often slow-moving and I didn’t really like how the author chose to tell the story, in a very linear manner, often skipping big chunks of time. It made it difficult to connect with Bryn and getting really into the story, and I’ll admit that when I was finally able to get into it, it was actually the third time I was picking up the book.
The conclusion was strong, I felt, leaving a lot of place to a following book while concluding this chapter of Bryn’s story. I loved the characters surrounding her and I can’t wait to see what Trial by Fire will bring for them!...more
Reading Iron Kissed almost two years after reading the first two books of the series, I will admit I had a bit of difficulty getting into it. It was aReading Iron Kissed almost two years after reading the first two books of the series, I will admit I had a bit of difficulty getting into it. It was a bit of work – from my memory, but also from internet research – to remember important aspects of the setting or secondary characters. Once I was past that though, I was quickly hooked to the story.
Again, I admired Mercy as a character. She is both strong and generous, ready to make sacrifices to help and save the ones close to her. I always enjoy characters who take a bit more time to think about their actions, which doesn’t mean that Mercy isn’t sometimes impulsive, or that her thought process slows the narration’s pace.
As for the plot, it got my interest really quick and I couldn’t predict where it would go. There are so many characters, and so many aspects of Briggs’ world left to discover, that the book very often surprised me with a new element. Not exactly twists, but information or details that opened new possibilities.
I had been warned about the ending by other readers. It was said to be strong and emotional and, indeed, it was. There is no “saved by the bell” for Mercy, and I’m kind of scared of what this means for the following books : how can you drag a character through such terrifying events and have her go on with her life? Not because people don’t do it in real life, but because Mercy’s universe is a romantic, fantastic universe, where the focus has been on romance and danger for 3 novels. She can’t be forced into romance mode or adventure mode too fast. It’s though to handle, but I am confidant in Briggs’ writing.
On a final note, I am really glad (and frankly, surprised that it arrived this fast!) that Mercy finally picked between Samuel and Adam. I won’t tell you who she chose, but I will say I was happy with her decision. Not only for who she picked, but for how she came to this decision.
All in all, I liked Iron Kissed and I feel like the series is growing stronger with every new book. I am looking forward to reading Bone Crossed - hopefully, not two years from now!...more
You know what happens if you take a big glass of tasty fresh orange juice, and add a glass of water to it? Well you don't get more tasty fresh orangeYou know what happens if you take a big glass of tasty fresh orange juice, and add a glass of water to it? Well you don't get more tasty fresh orange juice : instead, you get an orangy flat water that reminds you of the awesome juice you had some day.
In other words : I still enjoyed the characters, it was a fun ride, but it felt like a tired version of what I had loved so much in the first three books. Not bad, but far from great....more
Die for Me surprised me pleasantly. From the synopsis it sounds like pretty much any other paranormal romance currently on the YA market. And in part,Die for Me surprised me pleasantly. From the synopsis it sounds like pretty much any other paranormal romance currently on the YA market. And in part, it is : there’s a paranormal creature, love at almost first sight, a mystery. But somehow, Amy Plus took the formula and made it a fresh, surprising story.
I have to say, setting the story in beautiful Paris doesn’t hurt; while the author doesn’t drown the reader in details, she gives you just enough to imagine the streets and the buildings, creating a perfect escape through the pages. Also, I loved that she didn’t go for the classic, cliché, touristy French references, but instead described the city more from the point of view of someone living there. It made sense with the story, and was different on that aspect from most books.
I really enjoyed how close Kate was with her sister. They fought like sisters but confided in each other like best friends.They were there for each other when it mattered, too. Their grandparents were lovely, maybe not as present as I would have imagined them to be, but still not totally absent either. It made sense though that they would trust Kate, as she is more of the quiet, lonely kind who prefers to spend her days reading in cafés than party all night in clubs.
On the paranormal side, I loved the idea of “revenants”. They’re kind of a mix between zombie (back from the dead), vampire (coma-like sleep and other things), and guardian angel. The battle between “good and evil” was interesting, and though it wasn’t as nuanced as I would have hoped, it created an interesting setting for the characters. Apart from Kate, her sister and Vincent, there’s a whole group of revenants with distinct personalities and stories. I would have loved to learn more about some of them, but I’m sure the author kept some in store for the next books, which is just perfect!
I think the only thing taking away from my enjoyment a little, was the romance itself. Except from Vincent’s gorgeousness, it was difficult to see what Kate liked so much about him. Their chemistry wasn’t that obvious to me. Plus, Kate-in-love felt a lot more ordinary to me than regular Kate. I’m hoping that, without necessarily setting the romance aside, Kate will have more chances to develop her own individual story in the coming books.
With its French setting and original creature, Die for Me was great entertainment that I read almost in one setting (I blame the cat for picking that day to escape through the back door!)...more
I was about to start reading Before I Wake, the sixth book in the series, when I realized I hadn’t reviewed If I Die. Major oops! If I Die was a favorI was about to start reading Before I Wake, the sixth book in the series, when I realized I hadn’t reviewed If I Die. Major oops! If I Die was a favorite of 2011 and my favorite of the series so far, so I needed to put down a few words about it before continuing my reading.
If I Die was intense, and it is hard to write about my feelings for this book without spoiling it or spoiling the previous books, so I’ll go with generalities.
My experience with series is that often, they get less and less entertaining with time. The more books, the worst. Hey, even trilogies often have a hard time keeping things super interesting after the first book! But, with her Soul Screamers series, Rachel Vincent did the same thing she did with her Shifters series; take a somewhat regular character, an ok setting, and push the limits to create something different, exciting and original.
I love Kaylee. I only liked her in the beginning, but as she grew stronger, more independent and more thoughtful in her decisions, I have grown to really love her. (I had a very similar reaction to Shifters‘ main character, Faythe, although Kaylee is much more sensible than Faythe will ever be.)
Also, Tod. Tod! I’m not sure why I love him so much, but I do, I really do.
The ending was mind blowing and I absolutely loved it. Make sure to have Before I Wake (but do NOT read its summary before you finish reading this one) in proximity for when you finish reading If I Die; I didn’t, and I had to suffer through months before I could finally know what happens next – which I will be doing right away!...more