I liked this one a bit less than the first one. Here's why:
1. When someone is an ally, they deserve to be treated as an ally.
The Guard still treats Br...moreI liked this one a bit less than the first one. Here's why:
1. When someone is an ally, they deserve to be treated as an ally.
The Guard still treats Braedyn as a question mark, which is laughable given the events of the first book. She's done everything for them, given up everything for them. For them to ask more is ludicrous. A freaking Angel has given his stamp of approval? What more do you judgmental asshats need?
2. When you don't share info with your team, expect them to make mistakes. See point 1.
The entire sequence of events in this book could have been avoided if they treated her as a respected member of the team. Literally, every single event. If they want her to follow them, they have to give her a reason. "Because I said so" will never be enough. It makes them look like inflexible, douchebag old men.
3. I'm no longer viewing the Guard as the good guys.
This is a big deal. Yes, there are good guys on the Guard. Her dad, Hale (though he really needs to make note of points 1 and 2). But there are also people on the Guard who are literally examples of the very worst humanity has to offer. These people - like Thane - are not good arguments for anyone siding with the Guard to protect humanity. And in fact, given Thane's inexcusable behaviour, if I were Braedyn, I'd probably say "if this is who you are, if this is who you value, then I'm out. Good luck, assholes, but I can't say the world wouldn't be better off without you." This is particularly true when you accept that it is only a matter of time until Amber is on the Guard. She is literally the very worst kind of human being alive. And I'm supposed to root for these guys? Yeah, yeah, they all survived some trauma. Welcome to life. Everyone here has survived their past. Everyone here has shit they are trying to make peace with. That's a fact of life. Having trauma in your past does not give you license to be a horrible human being.
The mythology the author plays on - Adam and Lilith - already makes it a dubious argument. Why do the Sons of Adam deserve to run the world? And they are amazingly cruel. I'm not cheering for them. I'm actually looking for the book to give me a reason to start cheering for the Lilitu, because frankly, Braedyn and Karayan are the two most honestly likable characters in this world. They are caught up as pawns, because both sides want to play them. The Guard is no less guilty of this than the Lilitu... and even worse, the Guard is cruel to them while they do it. They use them, but aside from those moments where they are needed, they are booted from any real discussion about what is happening or the plan.
Same problem as the last - the Guard is filled with some of the most horrible human beings the race has to offer. It only got worse in this one... exp...moreSame problem as the last - the Guard is filled with some of the most horrible human beings the race has to offer. It only got worse in this one... exponentially worse.
There has to be repercussions for the assholes, or the "good guys" don't look like good guys anymore. Which is where I'm at. I'm officially rooting for the Lilitu, and just hoping the couple main characters I like survive.(less)
I usually steer clear of things branded YA, but I have to say, I honestly enjoyed this book. Here's the thing: I find the YA label to be pretty decept...moreI usually steer clear of things branded YA, but I have to say, I honestly enjoyed this book. Here's the thing: I find the YA label to be pretty deceptive. It is just a too-generic umbrella, and it seems to be slapped on anything with a teen-aged protagonist. Which is too bad, because there are some truly excellent, mature books filed under YA that I would say are ageless. The Hunger Games is a great example. I'd say this book is another.
Elisa is a great heroine - she's well-rounded and has a wonderful depth to her character. Watching her grow into her self-confidence and strength, I was truly delighted.
There is also a tremendous depth to the male/female relationships in this book (I put it that way because there is also a lot of depth to several of the female friendships - Elisa and Ximena, Elisa and Cosme). I don't want to give away anything, so I won't really go into a lot of detail. To keep it very simple, there are 3 primary relationships that we watch Elisa navigate, and the author has such a wonderful deft touch as those relationships shape Elisa. (view spoiler)[Though I will say that I was shocked at the abrupt end of her relationship with Humberto... in a "wait, what?" kind of way. I think that needed a little more polish - it threw me out of the narrative and felt like it was a deliberate manipulation to clear the way for her return to Alejandro. I'd say that was the only note in the story that rang poorly to me, though, so I can live with it. (hide spoiler)] But one minor problem I had: are we actually supposed to like Alejandro? As you can tell from my updates, I never did. I don't know that we were supposed to, though, and it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book - as Elisa grew and matured, (view spoiler)[she wasn't "in thrall" to the perfect Alejandro anymore. As long as he didn't have power over her in that way, I didn't mind much that he was a shallow piece of crap. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway. It was a fun, fast read, a great start to a new series, and I will definitely be reading on as the next comes out. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I liked this book, even though there were some problems with it. Primarily, I felt that all the leaping around in time to tell every character's story...moreI liked this book, even though there were some problems with it. Primarily, I felt that all the leaping around in time to tell every character's story in detail was a bit... excessive. It took away from the primary story. I felt that so many pages were spent detailing past events that I only really got to know the main characters half as well as I should have, and in the meantime, I knew about 3 times more than I needed regarding most of the secondary characters. It slowed the book down, significantly. It also made it probably 1/3 longer than it needed to be (total page count). It took away the adrenaline underlying the race to find Jamie's mom - with all the bouncing around, it felt like weeks had passed, instead of what was probably only days in "real time".
Despite that, it was a fun story (despite the villain being exactly who you suspected it was about 75 pages in). Not really twisty-turny, but then, not every book has to be. It did well in establishing the world of this series, and it should be fun watching it progress.(less)
I have a love / hate relationship with Chloe Neill.
I love her heroines, and the heroine's best friend. In both her series, that core relationship has...moreI have a love / hate relationship with Chloe Neill.
I love her heroines, and the heroine's best friend. In both her series, that core relationship has been fun, funny, and undeniably real - it is well-drawn and compelling.
I love her world, and the systems of magic that she creates. The details are rich and captivating.
But here's what I hate: in both her series (CLV, which I have quit reading, and this one, which I expect I will also quit), the heroine is a fucking doormat. True to form, in this book, Lily is treated like shit by everyone from her parents to her school to the "good guys" (quotes are because I think the "good guys" are sanctimonious and full of crap). She's manipulated by everyone, and in the end, she just shrugs and does what they want her to do. And this is supposed to be a rebellious teenager! Where is the "Fuck you!" Where is the backbone? The independence? When the Enclave dismisses her - for like the THIRD time - when she is trying to save Scout, why doesn't she tell them all to FUCK OFF, and go save Scout herself? And then come back and throw it in their fucking sanctimonious faces? But no. She's utterly dependent on them, and she's still panting over the boy who has frankly treated her like a doormat all the way through this book.
I can't get into yet another Neill series where the heroine is a fucking passive, weak-willed idiot, content to be the tool of whoever feels like using her today. And it's too bad, because like with CLV, I think this is an intriguing world.(less)
This was a fun start to a new series. I loved the details of the world, it felt so rich and realistic. Dystopia is always fascinating to me... I love...moreThis was a fun start to a new series. I loved the details of the world, it felt so rich and realistic. Dystopia is always fascinating to me... I love reading about the kinds of societies that struggle together after the modern world crumbles to dust. Something about modern people being reduced to an almost medieval lifestyle is just really fascinating.
Though I wish Aguirre had been less of a miser with some details. What happened? (view spoiler)[We are given indications of a virus... a generation nearly wiped out, sickness a constant fear, and that brief glimpse of a heading indicating that the CDC has failed to develop a vaccine. But who are the Freaks? They eat the dead. The Topsiders called them Muties. How did the virus cause this? Why do they seem to be evolving? (hide spoiler)] I imagine these details will unfold as the series progresses, but I am greedy, I want to know now!
The one thing I struggled with, which I tend to really struggle with in YA, is the relationship building. The immaturity of the characters tends to be frustrating, as they try and understand the complicated emotions in a budding relationship. That frustration is generally accompanied by a fair bit of angst and melodrama (see: Fade's brooding over Deuce's cluelessness). I really would have liked for them to figure SOMETHING out before the end of the book, make SOME progress there. Also (view spoiler)[the triangle-vibe related to Stalker was mildly nauseating. He's not a good guy. He hunted them. He planned to rape Deuce. He headed up a gang that he allowed to gang-rape Tegan and other girls. I am not saying he can't change - I like complicated characters that evolve in a solid arc. But that kind of change - a change to his entire worldview - doesn't happen over the course of a couple days or weeks. He's dangerous, cold, calculating, and wouldn't risk himself to help them. He shouldn't even be contemplated as a possible pair to Deuce without some serious evolution to his character, and when the book teased that direction, I was irritated. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to reading onward in this series. When is the next one due out? ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Probably 3.5 stars. It was okay. I like Kim Harrison's narrative voice, and so I enjoyed the book. But I was a bit confused by the ending. I am not su...moreProbably 3.5 stars. It was okay. I like Kim Harrison's narrative voice, and so I enjoyed the book. But I was a bit confused by the ending. I am not sure that I entirely understand what happened. Nor do I feel like I have a really good grip on who "the bad guys" are, or what they want.
Will probably check out book 2 down the line...(less)
I was really disappointed with this book. I had a hard time even finishing it. By about 2/3 of the way through, I seriously disliked all the character...moreI was really disappointed with this book. I had a hard time even finishing it. By about 2/3 of the way through, I seriously disliked all the characters. Keenan is... ugh. Donia has always been a jerk, but in this book she really takes it to an extreme. I can tell that the author wants us to feel sympathetic to Don, because of her "tragic circumstances", but every major character in this book is dealing with as much or more than Don, and her judgemental and horrible behavior towards them killed any pity I may have felt for her. She needs to get over herself already. And ditto for Niall, which is sad because I liked him in the first 2 books. I get his dislike for Keenan, but his treatment of Ash is inexcusable. My favorite irony is that he tells Ash that Leslie was hurt because of her stupidity (which is apparently why he hates her... strange because he was in a position to enlighten her about that and didn't, but its still all her fault, right?), and then he tells Seth that Sorcha can make him faery, with no thought as to the consequences. Well, thank you Mr. Genius. The best part is that he is hateful towards Ash because Seth went to Sorcha. Its cool, continue to blame everyone else for your actions, but castigate them for theirs. It doesn't make you hateful or hypocritical at all.
And then there is Ash. Though she is the only one I still had sympathy for, I really struggled to not dislike her. Both because she kept repeating the same mistakes again and again (really, what is it going to take for her to stop blindly trusting Keenan? ), and because she just sat there and took all this shit from Don and Niall. Spit all their mistakes back at them! Or hell, just spit on them! I would have taken ANY display of self-respect by the end of this book. But no. Ash is a dumping ground. She takes it from Don, from Niall, and in the end even from Seth (I wont even get into my opinion of him in this book, except to say that I have a hard time believing that something that "special" comes in a package that stupid - sure, War, lets traipse off together, I trust you implicitly).
**spoiler alert** Three is too few, four is too many. It wasn't a bad book, by any means. But I found it predictable. For example, from the moment Puc...more**spoiler alert** Three is too few, four is too many. It wasn't a bad book, by any means. But I found it predictable. For example, from the moment Puck told Sonny that Titania wasn't Kelley's mother, I figured it would be Mabh. Particularly given how vague the Storm Hag was about the "thing" in this realm that Mabh was seeking (and seriously, wow @ Sonny... dude grew up in the Unseelie Court and he made a deal with Mabh without clarifying what, EXACTLY, Mabh wanted from him? Really? Really??). And imo, the opening chapter, while a fun jumping-in point, gave away that Sonny would be the Rider. It didn't name him specifically, but... I don't honestly feel it was ever in doubt. Nor did I find the "reveal" about Auberon to be unexpected.
Aside from the straightforward (i.e., non-surprising) story, I thought... I don't know. I was interested in the characters, but not emotionally engaged. There was also a vague sense of inconsistency - why did Auberon bring his daughter to court if he didn't want her, and in particular didn't want an heir? What motivation could Mabh have had, given that she had been chained by Auberon, to keep secret the fact that the child was hers? And in terms of Mabh... there were levels there that would have been interesting to explore (the fact that she seemed to truly love Herne and was betrayed by him first, the story behind her daughter, etc), but those were left utterly untold, and instead Mabh was handled in a very one-dimensional fashion. "She's bad and scary. Did we say scary? Scary. You should be scared of her. She's bad. And craaaaaaaaazy." Maybe her story will be told in another book. Its funny, though, that Sonny didn't pick up on the fact that Mabh was concerned that Auberon would hurt Kelley (Chloe said it). For all of the bad stuff said about Mabh, she's the only Fae who actually seemed to give a crap about Kelley (aside from Bob, of course).
Soooooooo, yeah. Its okay. I think I will peek to see if the next book in the series is going to feature Mabh significantly, because she's the only character from the first book that I would be at all interested in pursuing. *shrug*(less)