I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The premise of this book was interesting. A race of fish people have cI received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The premise of this book was interesting. A race of fish people have come from the ocean to Coney Island where they're treated harshly by most of the residents because of their differences. While one side tries to assimilate them and allow their children into their schools, another side, led by the state governor, wants them gone and will go to great lengths to bully them out of society. Caught in the middle is Lyric Walker, who's been assigned to partner with the Prince of the Alpha (the fish people race) by the school's principal. Lyric, however, has her own secrets, and with the tensions in her town getting higher and more dangerous, she has to try to figure out how to save her family, her friends, and the Prince to whom she's formed an attachment.
I'm really on the fence about this book. It had some good things going for it. The writing was good. The author didn't shy away from such themes as bullying, death, and racism. There were also political undertones (I'm not sure if the last name of the governor was a purposeful jab at a real-life politician with the same name or not). Parts of the story flowed really well and had a strong fairy-tale aspect that mixed well with the contemporary alternate world. There was also a brutality in the book that I think a lot of YA books shy away from, and there were a couple of scenes that were realistic and terrifying.
The characters were mostly well done and interesting. While the descriptions of the fish people were strange, I thought the race itself and how it was broken down into different ranks was interesting. The dynamic of the race was very obviously meant to cause conflict between them and the humans and act as a personal conflict to Lyric.
However, there were a few things I wasn't so much a fan of. The pacing felt off, but I think that's because for most of the book, I didn't feel there was an actual plot line. It was a lot of narrative about racism and riots and thugs that was eventually given a dose of a strange, forced romance. A plot eventually emerged, but even then, the story still felt off. As I read, I found myself going through periods where I really enjoyed the book and then periods where it seemed to drag.
I also felt that Lyric was very much a "Mary Sue" character. Normally this doesn't bother me. A good protagonist/main character should have something of a Mary Sue about her. It's also possible I missed something in the reading, but there was a part in the plot that randomly boiled down to "Oh, hey, it looks like Lyric might be able to save us." That's not exactly what was happening, but it seemed that Lyric's "specialness" was very much a convenient way to tie things together.
This book was very different from what I normally read. Overall, I think it's an okay read, and I do think that even though it wasn't one of my favorites, I know there are readers who are going to absolutely love this book for the cool fantasy aspect it brings to the genre. ...more
This was another book I received from Netgalley, the second in the His Fair Assassin trilogy.
The book centers around one of the other assassins markeThis was another book I received from Netgalley, the second in the His Fair Assassin trilogy.
The book centers around one of the other assassins marked by Death, Sybella, who's story intertwines with that of Ismae and the political happenings from the first one. When I started this book, I expected it to be much like the first one, fairly darkish with a lot of politics and some action. However, Sybella's story and the feel of her character was very different from Ismae's. In fact, I was surprised at how much darker this one was. While Ismae's story was sad, it was relatively tame compared to Sybella, who experienced even worse abuse at the hands of her family members. I hadn't expected the book to be as blatant about the themes as it was, and Dark Triumph felt like a very different reading experience than the first one.
However, I think the author still kept with the theme, and I think the darkness of Sybella gave her the contrast that was needed to keep the characters apart while still keeping them in the same world and part of the same sisterhood. If anything, the writing may have been stronger for this one. I loved the characters, and Sybella's romantic story was beautifully done. The politics were prevalent, but not overpowering, and the subtleties of the mystery of Mortain's convent were shown throughout the book without yet bringing it to the forefront, leaving the reader wanting more.
One last kudos I'd like to give to this book: the author does the theme of forgiveness in a way that makes one question the concept as a whole. I don't want to give any spoilers, but when Sybella faces one of the tragedies she's had to endure in her life, the way she does it is a little bit unexpected and handled beautifully as part of the narrative.
I'm on hold to rent the last book in the trilogy from the local library, and I hope the people before me read fast, because I'm excited to see what the final book as to offer. ...more
*This was an ARC from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
I hadn't read anything by Ann Aguirre prior to this book, so I didn't have anything to compa*This was an ARC from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
I hadn't read anything by Ann Aguirre prior to this book, so I didn't have anything to compare it to. I wasn't completely sold through the first quarter of the book for various reasons. However, by the end of it, I was hooked, disturbed, and ready for the sequel.
After being bullied by the popular kids at school, Edi decides to commit suicide. Just as she's about to jump, she's stopped by a handsome boy who makes her an offer: she can ask three favors in exchange for three favors from her at a later time. Lured by the thought of revenge against her tormentors, she agrees. With this agreement, she finds herself a pawn in a strange game played by entities that fall somewhere in the realm of myth and magic, a game that affects her and her loved ones.
The opening threw me with some questionable messages, namely that a person needs beauty to have confidence. While the author tries to throw in other factors that contradict this, I had a difficult time getting over that little hump in some of the earlier chapters. It's hard to take a "beauty doesn't conquer all" message to heart when in fact, beauty is a strong catalyst for the plot.
The beginning also felt a little stilted, but that seems to be common with the first book in a series. It generally improves as the author gets familiar and more in tune with her characters. Another factor that was off-putting at first? There is a lot going on: side stories, strange characters thrown in out of nowhere that don't seem to have a purpose, and scenes that don't seem needed to move the plot along. The story felt like a weird carnival of weirdness.
So what redeemed it? Once I got over the questionable message, I was able to enjoy the story on a surface level. I also stopped thinking of the story as a hodge podge of factors and more as a foundation for where the story is going to go. The key will be if the author can tie everything together cleverly in the next two books. At this point, I'm going to trust that she will.
By the end of this book, the story had taken on a horror vibe that I liked, complete with a crazy torture clown that I hope shows up later. The narrative also starts to find its footing with plot as the twists and turns start driving the story. There are some disturbing scenes (including a Slenderman reference) and some dark themes, not all of them of the paranormal variety. There are also pop culture references all over the place (which I always find fun).
I'm glad I had the chance to read this and I'll be waiting for the next book to publish next year. In the meantime, I believe I'll have to check out some more of Aguirre's books. ...more
Good premise, good writing. For a final copy, there were several grammar mistakes, but that happens, and it wasn't enough to detract from the book. IGood premise, good writing. For a final copy, there were several grammar mistakes, but that happens, and it wasn't enough to detract from the book. I found parts to be repetitive. The characters were okay and I'm interested to read the other ones to see if and how the stories and writing continue to evolve. ...more
The fact that this story takes place twelve years after the last one ended makes me think I need to find and read some of the novellas to this series.The fact that this story takes place twelve years after the last one ended makes me think I need to find and read some of the novellas to this series. I feel like I missed quite a bit. Having said that, I still really enjoyed this book. Throwing Granuaile into the mix changes things a little bit, and the dynamic of their relationship shifts in this one, but there's no "jump the shark" feeling. If anything, I feel like things are going to get even more intense. As always, Oberon is the best dog/character ever. Going to have to do a review of the story thus far after I read the next one in the series (which I think is the last one currently released). ...more
The more I read of this series, the more fangirl I get. I love these books, and this one was a welcome change from the heaviness of the previous bookThe more I read of this series, the more fangirl I get. I love these books, and this one was a welcome change from the heaviness of the previous book I'd finished...or so I thought. Things are starting to get a little heavy in the world of Atticus, and I wasn't prepared for some pretty tough stuff. Having said that, it was still great, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ...more
The writing in this second book of the series flows smoother than the first, and the heroine is much better. There is a bit of soap opera drama, but nThe writing in this second book of the series flows smoother than the first, and the heroine is much better. There is a bit of soap opera drama, but not bad overall. The element of a bromance is fun, and the book ends on a note that makes me want to read the third one....more
Fun and funny, the second book is even better than the first one. The author is definitely finding a comfortable pacing with the characters. This bookFun and funny, the second book is even better than the first one. The author is definitely finding a comfortable pacing with the characters. This book is a lot of set up for later storylines and plots, but it was really enjoyable. ...more
My husband picked this up at the library, and I read it after him on a whim (though by the time I was finished with this one, he'd caught up on the seMy husband picked this up at the library, and I read it after him on a whim (though by the time I was finished with this one, he'd caught up on the series). I have a hard time getting into urban fantasy, but this one was fun and told with a good dose of humor. This is the first book in the series, and the plot takes second place to the introduction of a cast of characters. The characters are interesting, but this device made the first part of the book feel very stilted.
By the end, however, the narrative works through the bumps. While the plot is still a little light, it sets it up for more "meaty" happenings in future books. Best character? Oberon, the Irish Wolf Hound, who can communicate with the main character. I'm looking forward to reading the other ones in the series, and I recommend this to fans of urban fantasy or even just fantasy in general. ...more
I thought this book started out really strong, but it lost steam about halfway through. The pacing was off and I was ready to be done with it. I did eI thought this book started out really strong, but it lost steam about halfway through. The pacing was off and I was ready to be done with it. I did enjoy parts of it, but I probably won't finish the rest of the series. ...more
Though I enjoyed this book, I was kind of disappointed. I loved the first one, and this one just didn't pull me in like the first one did. There wereThough I enjoyed this book, I was kind of disappointed. I loved the first one, and this one just didn't pull me in like the first one did. There were some good moments, and there were times when I lost myself in the story, but then other parts kind of jarred me from it. I was actually bored in some spots.
I'm not going to give up though. I'll finish the series, but I think for now I'm going to try for some lighter reads and come back to it in a few weeks. ...more
It's been less than a year since I read this book the first time, and I still love it. I decided to re-read this one and the second book in the seriesIt's been less than a year since I read this book the first time, and I still love it. I decided to re-read this one and the second book in the series, Scarlet, before the third book comes out in February.
The Lunar Chronicles are my fangirl series of choice. I love a good fairy tale retelling, and this one is great, combining fairy tale elements with science fiction and fantasy themes. The second reading did shine some light on a few writing issues that I hadn't noticed before (Cinder is constantly crossing her arms, which got a bit distracting at one point), but I can't complain about the writing overall because the plot propels well and the characters are so great.
I will seriously read anything and everything by Marissa Meyer. ...more
This isn't my normal choice for a book, not because I'm being snobby about it, but because it's rare that I read tie-in type books. But since my husbaThis isn't my normal choice for a book, not because I'm being snobby about it, but because it's rare that I read tie-in type books. But since my husband got me into playing Magic over these last few months, I thought I'd give this one a try.
It wasn't horrible. The writing was solid but not spectacular. It was decently paced. The imagery lacked a bit, though one could still follow the story and know what was going on. I think the fun in reading a book like this, if you're a fan of MTG, is in seeing how the author writes the characters and concepts you know from the game. It's like gamer fan fiction.
It was a quick read, and I'm not sorry I read it. I may even read the next couple books in the series just to see what happens. ...more
It took me a long time to start this series, partially because I'd heard that the books were focused on "politics" and war strategy, things that haveIt took me a long time to start this series, partially because I'd heard that the books were focused on "politics" and war strategy, things that have never interested me, and things that I've tried to read in the past and haven't been able to enjoy. I also avoided it because I'd heard rumors of what George R.R. Martin liked to do to his characters, particularly the characters that the readers really came to like.
But I finally dove in, and I now realize...happily...that politics and strategy are great to read when handled by an author like Martin. He tells a story and he does it well. He makes it seem effortless the way he drew me in and introduced me to the world he's created. The scenery is vivid, the characters are tangible, and the plotting and strategizing is pointed and strong. It doesn't go on and on and become boring, but instead holds the attention for the whole story.
This is a pretty great feat considering that there are several storylines going at once, all of which intertwine at one point or another. The story of Eddard Stark and his family and his role as the Hand of the King; the incestuous union of the Lannister twins and the adventures of their brother, the dwarf Tyrion; the relationship and feud between the Stark sisters; the choice of the bastard son, Jon Snow, to join the Night Guard; and the journey of the last of those descended from dragons. This list doesn't cover the depth with which this whole story is told and only highlights some of the key storylines.
The characters are a mix of horrible and wonderful, oftentimes invoking the same feel in a single character. They're flawed, and some are truly evil, but by the end of the book, I wasn't entirely sure who I was rooting for.
And yes, Martin does like to kill of characters, and yes, it can anger a reader who's not used to having someone they took this journey with suddenly be taken from the story. I believe I had an advantage going into the story knowing this, so I was careful not to get too attached and to expect the worst for each character I liked (while also hoping he'd let the ones I hated die in a horrible manner). After reading the book, though, I don't think the fear of losing a favorite character should deter anyone from reading this series...or at least the first book...because the rest of the journey is well worth it.
I'll be reading the rest of the series, and I just hope the subsequent books are just as good as this one. ...more
It seems as if I'm in the minority here, but I didn't like this book at all. I felt like the late kid to the party since this is branching off of anotIt seems as if I'm in the minority here, but I didn't like this book at all. I felt like the late kid to the party since this is branching off of another Moon series.
Mostly I found it boring. I did enjoy Dorrin's story and the idea of the Verrakai dark magery, but it wasn't enough to keep me invested. This isn't a slight against the author's writing. She writes well. There were just too many militaristic details that didn't excite me, and I felt the story dragged with little to no real excitement.
This was a book club read, so while I'm glad to have tried a new author, I don't see myself reading anymore in the series. ...more