I had a tough time at the start, because Alyss was pretty unlikable - the worst kind of spoiled princess - but compared to Redd she's a saint, so theI had a tough time at the start, because Alyss was pretty unlikable - the worst kind of spoiled princess - but compared to Redd she's a saint, so the story worked anyway.
It's a fun tweak of Alice in Wonderland, somewhat in the vein of Wicked/Wizard of Oz. I'd like to dig further into the secondary characters (particularly Hatter), though, because I found the main characters (Alyss and Dodge) to be really hard to like....more
I enjoyed this - it was incredibly hard to put down.
But I knocked a star off because I found the ending disappointing.
(view spoiler)[I felt like thatI enjoyed this - it was incredibly hard to put down.
But I knocked a star off because I found the ending disappointing.
(view spoiler)[I felt like that flip to the fairies being something sinister was really out of left field. I understand that the fairies - particularly in Irish folklore - are tricksters, and couldn't properly be called good... but rather, truly neutral folk. But their actions, as laid out in the book as a whole, were never sinister. From the reunion with her childhood friend fairy to the different ways she found incredible joy as she rediscovered that connection in her adult life, there was no reason for her - or us, as readers - to believe there'd be a fairy war.
The only sinister forces in this book were the Hellfire Club, and, honestly, the Church. And so it was, I feel, an unpleasant shock for the Church - who had been so intolerant (the false gods thing - coming from a bishop who HADN'T read the last step - was disgusting, and entirely rooted in the very worst of religion... that ego and greed that demands utter obedience) - to ultimately be proven right... just ugh. (hide spoiler)]
I feel like, until the end, this book was not only a very enjoyable read, but an enlightening look at how modern society considers itself to be above, at best (the enemy of, at worst), the natural world... and how to reconcile our part in balance with that world. The end spoiled that, to me, and so I'm left feeling disappointed.
I loved Linnet. You know, it is funny, usually the really beautiful heroines are a bit off-putting to me. I thought EJ did a greaI am so disappointed.
I loved Linnet. You know, it is funny, usually the really beautiful heroines are a bit off-putting to me. I thought EJ did a great job taking someone I could have easily found tiresome (or been unsympathetic towards) and making her a sharp, quirky character that I really cared for. I thought she was remarkably sweet and kind, compassionate and intelligent.
I loved her burgeoning relationship with Dr. House... er, I mean Piers. I thought their banter was great, and I loved how neither of them backed away an inch. I thought they made a great pairing.
I loved the secondary story of Piers' parents, and was rooting for the duke to find forgiveness.
I was tremendously enjoying the book, until around pg 280, when out of the damn blue, Piers flipped like a switch, rejected Linnet in the most horrible fashion conceivable, and sent her away.
And I was angry that despite that, she still loved him. That she still found understanding and compassion for him in her heart. Forgiveness for him, though he neither asked for nor wanted it. She was such a strong, sweet character that I think what I was feeling was... protectiveness towards her. What Piers had done was unforgivable.
And then, what the book did from there forward was unforgivable. I greatly dislike that Linnet was broken like that. She didn't deserve it. I greatly dislike that Piers got to sweep in heroically and rescue her. He didn't deserve it. And then that he has the gall to complain that she doesn't have faith in him? Didn't talk to him about what she was feeling, what she was going through? Fuck him. He broke her heart. She went through a HORRIBLE, disfiguring illness. And he makes it all about him. Boo-fucking-hoo.
In the end, I was left unsatisfied. Yeah yeah, he was terrified that she almost died. Good for him. I know it is unfair, but I hold him responsible for her being in that situation at all. If he hadn't been so fucking unreasonable in the first place, she would have been somewhere safe. And I don't buy that he was sending her away for her own good. Sorry, but the entire book had made it clear what a medical genius he is. Well Mr Genius, a scarlet fever epidemic just broke out. You know goddamn well that everyone in the castle and village has been exposed. EJ can't suddenly have him be an idiot about medical stuff like that. It isn't a damn revolving door. He knew to put out notices of epidemic in all towns for 5 miles around, but he didn't know she was exposed being right there at the heart of it? Sorry, no. So yeah, I hold him responsible.
And... I also am struck by the way it feels like Linnet is being punished for something. What she goes through in this book is just devastating. From the casting out of society through the heartbreak to the illness, she is stripped of everything in her life. Why is it just her who has to take that journey? In stories, aren't journeys like that about redemption? About transformation? About justice? What has she done that needs redeeming? And what does Piers lose? How does he pay for his redemption? How is he transformed? He is rewarded, with happiness and the love of someone who is quite frankly way too good for him. But unlike the heroine, he doesn't have to go through a trial by fire to get it. Everything he goes through is of his own making - it isn't just shit happening to him, it is shit he is MAKING happen. It is fundamentally unfair. And don't tell me that life isn't fair. This isn't life, it is a fucking historical romance.
I really loved this book. Until the end. And now I am just so disappointed. I am sad to see such a remarkable, strong character broken down like she was. And I resent that a hero that I liked quite a bit ended up disappointing me like that in the end. It's a shame, really....more
Now, I feel I must insert this one note, so that friends can properly interpret my rating and figure out how to apply it**spoiler alert** I loved it!
Now, I feel I must insert this one note, so that friends can properly interpret my rating and figure out how to apply it to themselves: I love fairy tales. I have piles and piles of fairy tale books - I collect them. And for the most part, I really enjoy retellings of classic fairy tales. Everything from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series (which is not a direct retelling, but instead is layered through with so many wonderful mythological elements and symbols), to Robin McKinley's retellings (see Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast for an example), to Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, to Disney movies, ... and on and on. I adore Joseph Campbell's theory of myth, and I eat up these kinds of stories. And I am only saying that here because if you AREN'T that kind of person, take my reviews on these things with a grain of salt. Because though I love them, they appeal to me on an intrinsic level that may not be for you.
I thought this book was wonderful fun. I loved Kate and Gabriel. I loved their loyalty, their sense of responsibility. I loved their relationship, with the spicy insults and the heady lust.
I loved the twists on the classic tale. Cinderella's father wasn't so wonderful (though one could argue that, given the circumstances he left her in, he never was that wonderful in the original), and her stepsister wasn't evil. And speaking about Victoria for a minute, though she was... let's just say not very bright... she loved Kate. And I LOVED that she and Algie conspired to rescue Kate at the end.
I loved that, though Cinderella loved the prince, she would have had a life with or without him - this was no damsel in need of rescue. Kate rescues herself.
I loved her godmother, who was wicked and brilliant.
I loved Wick, the prince's brother (and would love to see him get his own story).
I loved that this retelling of Cinderella had a running nod at Romeo and Juliet, and at classic Roman myth.
I loved the rats... even though in reality I hate those kinds of little rat-dogs.
All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I just can't imagine any of my friends NOT enjoying it. It is so tremendously sweet!...more
I really loved this book. The tenor of it was much different from the first, but still wonderful. I would say the first sort of unwound or unfurled itI really loved this book. The tenor of it was much different from the first, but still wonderful. I would say the first sort of unwound or unfurled itself, like a rosebud opening. It was lovely, almost poetic at points, but still told a gripping story. This second book had a feverish pace. Even in the opening, when there were pauses for our characters to live a few moments of life, those moments felt like borrowed or stolen time. As a reader, you were horribly aware of the terrible force building against them, and of how precious those few moments were.
This one also told a much broader story. Or rather, from a broader perspective. The first book stayed largely focused on Percy and Alexi, but this one gathered threads from many directions and wove all The Guard into the coming war.
I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give it away, but I would just love to impress on my friends how much I loved these two books. And the story really does wrap in this book, for these characters. There are plenty of places the author could go in this world for more stories, but I would be very surprised if these characters are pressed back into the fray again. They have earned their retirement - no more stolen moments, instead they get to enjoy the rest of their lives. It makes me a little melancholy, as is always the case when a story I adore comes to an end, but I am certainly satisfied. And I also have to say: the last 2 lines of this book? Perfect. So incredibly, satisfyingly perfect. *blissful sigh*...more
I am not sure what to say that won't sound trite. I loved this book. Utterly loved it. It was a beautiful, lyrical, haunting tale that was remarkablyI am not sure what to say that won't sound trite. I loved this book. Utterly loved it. It was a beautiful, lyrical, haunting tale that was remarkably well told. I don't think I have ever read anything quite like it. The weaving and layering of mythological elements was done so skillfully... with little things that were just mentioned early on becoming heralds of significant things later.
Parts of it were quite harrowing - about 60 pages or so from the end I was positively drowning with anxiety - but in the end it was just magnificent.
I am so glad that I have the second book sitting right here, because I am diving in immediately. I can't wait to see where the story goes!...more
This book is spectacular. Honestly, its worth the purchase for the artwork alone, which I think is gorgeous (seriously, I think I may be ordering prinThis book is spectacular. Honestly, its worth the purchase for the artwork alone, which I think is gorgeous (seriously, I think I may be ordering prints for my wall), but the story is well-done, and just so much fun.
I can't wait for the hardcover edition of the next installment from this team. ...more
This is a really great series that plays off of the wealth of British mythology, and specifically the myths of the sacrificial king. Mythology and folThis is a really great series that plays off of the wealth of British mythology, and specifically the myths of the sacrificial king. Mythology and folklore are a pet hobby of mine (and I am an avid reader of Joseph Campbell), so this series was right up my alley. I really really enjoyed it....more
This is an end to the opening arc of the Fables series, and it neatly wrapped the tale of the Adversary. I really enjoyed it, and am interested to seeThis is an end to the opening arc of the Fables series, and it neatly wrapped the tale of the Adversary. I really enjoyed it, and am interested to see what Fables gets up to next....more