With Ascend, the Trylle Trilogy comes to a close. I greatly enjoyed the first two books and did enjoy reading Ascend, but I have to say, out of the three it was my least favourite. There was definitely one thing that Amanda Hocking pulled (something to do with the romance, but I don't want to spoil what it was) that caught me off guard. I thought I knew completely and utterly where it was going, so I'm kind of happy to see Hocking prove me wrong, but at the same time I wish the romance would have ended differently.
There are two main things that I didn't like about Ascend. The first being that Oren was not a great villain. Sure, he wasn't downright horrible, but there was no real depth to him. The other was how fast Loki fell in love with Wendy. I mean, he's only seen her a few moments in Torn and then suddenly she's his whole world. It was hard to believe.
What I did enjoy about Ascend is seeing quality time with all the characters that have grown on me; mainly Tove, Willa and Duncan. We see a great deal of all the supporting cast just as we did in Torn and I'm quite happy with that. I also liked seeing Wendy grow from this brat in the first book to this cool and composed leader by Ascend, there was quite a great deal of character development with her.
The St. Martin's edition also contains a never before published short story titled "Ever After", set a year and a half after the events of Ascend. I really loved seeing what happened to all the characters, although I had already guessed what happened to most of them, especially with who some had ended up with since it was so plainly obvious in Ascend.
I'm quite curious to see how Hocking's later work evolves with her experience as a writer. Although it was my least favourite of the trilogy, I still enjoyed Ascend and definitely the series overall. If you want a story about magical trolls, a kingdom at war, and a girl desperately trying to change her society, then be sure to check out this series! (less)
The authors Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton created the Merry Sisters of Fate site together. I loved this quote from the book about why they named themselves Merry Sisters of Fate:
"One of the reasons we named ourselves the Merry Sisters of Fate was to play up the idea of mutual creation—the three women who spin the same “story” but each have different roles. The spinner, the weaver, the cutter. (We may have spent several hours near the beginning discussing who is who...). But each fate has a different specialty, different preferences, different weaknesses."
They wrote more than 250 works of short fiction to better improve their writing. In this anthology, 30 of their stories are collected and each story has little comments and pictures by the authors which gives us an idea of what was going through their heads as they were writing.
These little comments as well as a lot of helpful advice and insights also make this a helpful writing tips manual of sorts. It shows how the authors developed and what they've learned and discovered.
There are also some pages with just random musing and doodles.
I've never read any anthologies before but I really enjoyed this one. The stories were light and fast reads and it was an overall very fun, helpful, and inspiring book.
The following are all the short stories in the anthology and my thoughts/comments and my rating for them:
The Vampire Box by Tessa Gratton (4/5) This story is about a vampire who's imprisoned in a girl's basement. An intriguing story that makes you wonder what the vampire is up to and an ending that leaves it up to you (I think).
A Murder of Gods by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5) A school full of children of Gods. There were plenty of characters in this short story, which I absolutely enjoyed! I would definitely read this if it was being made to a series about a school with unruly children of gods. Kind of reminds of the Percy Jackson series now when I think about it.
The Power of Intent by Brenna Yovanoff (3/5) This one is a story about the time honored theme of be careful what you wish for.
A History of Love by Maggie Stiefvater (2/5) I found this one boring from beginning to end and was trying a little too hard to be funny.
Girls Raised by Wolves by Brenna Yovanoff (4/5) Goes between the point of views of a popular girl and a-not-so-popular-girl.
Date with a Dragon Slayer by Tessa Gratton (4/5) I'm really interested in the world of this short story and enjoyed the touch of romance that was added.
Scheherazade by Brenna Yovanoff (3/5) A story about murderers (yeah, sorry, not sure what to say exactly) but basically both characters in this short story weren't really good people, which is really different.
The Spiral Table by Tessa Gratton (5/5) This one is my favourite so far! It's about a girl named Morgen the Faerie who makes a table for King Arthur.
The Madness of Lancelot by Brenna Yovanoff (5/5) You know, I'm not quite sure what to say about this one... but I enjoyed how Yovanoff told it and it's thought provoking.
The Wind Takes our Cries by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5) Like the last two stories, this one is based off the Authrian Legends and has an older King Arthur in it. The P.O.V. character really had a voice.
Auburn by Brenna Yovanoff (3/5) Again, I'm not sure how to summarize this but it was a pretty good story and makes me wonder what the girl did in the end.
The Deadlier of the Species by Maggie Stiefvater (3/5) This is about zombies with an interesting idea about how they are made.
Puddles by Tessa Gratton (4/5) This is about puddles (I suppose that was obvious). I was fascinated by puddles when I was a kid so I liked this one.
The Bone-Tender by Brenna Yovanoff (4/5) This story is about a boy who can heal broken bones. I liked the idea of his power.
Death-Ship by Tessa Gratton (5/5) A Norse tale about a woman who recently lost her husband. I loved the rich setting as well as the bond the main character shares with the other major character that appears in the story.
The Last Day of Spring by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5) A bittersweet story about a race of people called Papillions with short life-spans.
Cut by Brenna Yovanoff (5/5) This was an interesting interpretation of Snow White.
Philosopher’s Flight by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5) A bit odd, but I really liked the idea and setting of the story. It's about an assistant to a genius philosopher/mechanist.
Ash-Tree Spell to Break your Heart by Tessa Gratton (5/5) A girl is created to make her master's rival fall in love with her so she can rip his heart out.
Rain Maker by Maggie Stiefvater (4/5) A slightly disturbing story.
Dumb Supper by Tessa Gratton (3/5) A ghost story with no dialogue.
Neighbors by Brenna Yovanoff (4/5) Another ghost story but sadder than the last one.
Council of Youth by Maggie Stiefvater (2/5) A story about a revolution of America.
The Summer Ends in Slaughter by Tessa Gratton (5/5) A sad and slightly creepy love story that was beautifully written.
Blue as God by Brenna Yovanoff (4/5) Serial killer story, I think...
Thomas All by Tessa Gratton (4/5) A changeling story. Gratton has written more Thomas short stories as well if you're interested.
Heart-Shaped Box by Maggie Stiefvater (4.5/5) A post-apocalyptic story
Beserk by Tessa Gratton (5/5) A story about the Norse myth of the Berserks. I especially enjoyed this one because the Berserks have always fascinated me. I'll probably be checking out Gratton's upcoming series about the Berserks - The Weight of Stars. Though the modern mix with the old Norse in this story was odd, once you read the summary of her new series it makes sense.
Lazarus Girl by Brenna Yovanoff (5/5) I liked the heroine in this story. Unlike a lot of the previous short stories, she had a voice and really stood out.
Another Sun by Maggie Stiefvater (4/5) A world where fires don't go out. A pretty good story, though I have to say I'm starting to feel disturbed by Maggie Stiefvater's apparent love of fire.(less)
Setting: As a steampunk, it's set in an alternate Victorian England were vampires and werewolves live alongside humans in society. I loved this setting because I love books and manga set in the Victorian Era. The characters’ habits, gestures and speech is executed extremely well so the setting doesn't seem flimsy but rather is a strong base of the world. The world and the supernaturals weren’t explained much but you had to pick it up which did get a tad bit confusing but since it’s based off the book, I suppose there wasn't much room for that as it was based off an entire novel.
Story: As I mentioned above, a few times I felt that the book was skimming over bits so you have to pay close attention. It was a bit awkward how they transferred the novel into manga form. But besides this (which wasn't enough to ruin it for me) the story was pretty good: there has been cases of rogue starved vampires and supernatural disappearances and Alexi is thrown into this mess and into a conspiracy against supernaturals. The sub plot with Alexi and Lord Maccon's romance was also very amusing mainly because they both were such great characters.
Artwork: The artwork was well-done, very detailed especially the characters and the clothes and not to mention the characters’ gestures and facial expressions. Although made and released in the U.S., you can tell it has was heavily influenced by Japanese manga and it's definitely not what I'd call a graphic novel. Which is why it's refereed to as Soulless: The Manga and not Soulless: The Graphic Novel.
Main Character: Alexi is the only known Preternatural, a person without a soul and the ability to change a vampire or werewolf back to a mortal simply by touching them (though I hope I didn't mislead, she has to be touching them, if she loses contact with them they turn back). Being Soulless, as she's called, doesn't make her evil though. Alexi is a wonderful main character. She's feisty and stubborn but always polite, doesn't let what others think of her get to her and despite breaking the boundaries of the social norm, she still always keeps the appearance and behaviour of a proper lady. With a parasol at hand (awesome weapon right?) she's someone you should not think to anger. I loved Alexi's speech, as I mentioned previously, all the characters’ dialogue coincides with that of the Victorian Era.
Characters: The great characters don't just stop at Alexi. There's Lord Maccon, a werewolf and chief of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), which deals with enforcement of the law concerning supernaturals, who was hotheaded and always spoke his mind. His interactions with Alexi were very humorous and I loved seeing how their dialogue and arguing played out. Professor Lyall (Lord Maccon's second in command) was one of my favourites, he was intelligent yet slightly queer and it was pretty funny seeing him deal with some of Lord Maccon's antics. Lord Akeldama, Alexi's vampire friend was a flamboyant figure who I hope to see more of! Even the characters that didn't have much of an appearance like Alexi's mother (although she was in it a lot now when I think about it) and the Queen were great characters. One thing's for sure; Soulless had a wonderful cast and they were my favourite part of this manga.
Originality: Although vampires and werewolves as well as the Victorian Era weren’t that original it definitely made it more worthwhile when these two elements were mixed together. And the idea of the “Preternatural” was something new, plus that normal people knew of the existence of the Supernaturals (I think they did? Really wasn’t quite sure there, since as I said, they didn’t explain the world much).
Other Comments: This is rated older teens but I thought I should warn you anyway: there was some nudity but definitely nothing too big as it was still strategically censored. I'm surprised they managed to pack the entire first book (as it's the adapted form of a book) so well. If you have not read the novel series (like me) then I'm sure you'll still love this (or I really hope you will) as I did. After reading the manga I know that I NEED to try The Parasol Protectorate novel series very soon. For fans of the novel series WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Get a copy, like now! Can't wait to get my hands on the second volume (comes out in the fall of 2012), which is based off the second book in the novel series, Changeless (although the manga series just calls it: Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2).
Overall: With a cast of quirky, humorous and well-developed characters all set in this alternate Victorian Era full of supernaturals, Soulless is one manga I urge you to pick up as soon as you can.(less)
Cover: This edition is the one I own and definitely my least favourite out of all the covers. I prefer illustrations, especially when it comes to fantasy. Their clothes are very off, especially Alanna's. Her shirt looks beyond modern and the hair colour is horrible. Plus the models look so obviously posed.
Writing: (2.5/5) The writing isn't top-notch and pretty simple. It's Tamora Pierce's first series and written for a younger audience and it didn't really bother me at all when I read the book.
Setting: (3/5) Although I found the setting of Tortall to be pretty unoriginal and bland, I liked the setting of the Bazhir desert. More specifically, I liked the Bloody Hawk tribe that adopts Alanna. The tribe, again, were very unoriginal, but they were different than your standard medieval, plus I liked the close-nit feel of it.
Plot: (5/5) I read the book in one sitting. It helps that the book was on the short side and the simple writing was easy to get into, but the story was really good too. I really enjoyed Alanna being adopted into the Bloody Hawk tribe and the time she spent with them. It was incredibly fun to read and just as enjoyable as the rest of the series so far.
Main Character: (4/5) Although Alanna isn't necessarily the most original character (a stubborn and fiery yet courageous girl), she is very genuine. It probably has something to do with the series being older and seeing Alanna grow up from a 10 year old in the first book. There aren't huge time leaps in this book like the previous ones, but that was just fine. I enjoyed seeing Alanna's character develop: she begins to accept her magic and grows more mature. She takes on a couple of apprentices when she becomes a shaman. We see a different side of Alanna when she acts as a mentor and even though there wasn't huge time leaps, she still did grow up.
Villain: (2/5) The villain was a little irritating. He was a tribesman with a backwards way of thinking. He's very sexist and hates foreigners. He had no logic to speak of and it's impossible to change his opinion. I hated this and I found him stereotypical and even slightly racist, considering he was supposed to be based after Arabs. Plus it's incredibly easy for the main character to look good next to a villain like this, which is incredibly cheap and lazy. I was happy that the matter with him was dealt with pretty quickly though, and the author didn't stick with him for too long.
Other Characters: (4/5) Jonathan: Jonathan changed a lot when Alanna sees him again. I liked that, but at the same time, I didn't. His change made his character more interesting but he became worse. I also didn't like where he and Alanna left off at the end.
Kara and Kourrem: Alanna's two female apprentices. I liked their relationship with Alanna and that Alanna is finally around other females. Actually, she builds a good relationship with quite a few women from the tribe.
Ishak: Alanna's only male apprentice. I didn't like the fate of this character. It felt like the author was trying to say "girls are better than boys". There was constant comparisons between him and the girls and I felt like his flaws all led back to him being a boy.
Myles: I liked his relationship with Alanna and I enjoyed seeing him appear in this book again. I didn't expect to see him again quite so soon.
George: After the ending, I'm curious to see what will happen with George in the last book.
Overall: (20.5/30) The only real flaw was the villain, but the story was a very light and fun read. I finished it in one sitting. I enjoyed seeing Alanna continue to mature as a person and I'm excited to see how this series ends with the final book!(less)
Cover: Not a big fan of this cover, I'd rather see Holly's design without the helmet.
Writing: The writing was quirky and humorous (especially the dialogue) and never once treated the readers like idiots. The narrator had a strong presence in the book and the writing had its own unique style that stood out and brought life and character to the world (I'm basically saying the same thing about the writing as I did with previous books. I'm pretty lazy, but hey, Colfer's writing never loses its touch as the series progresses and is always superb).
Setting: As opposed to the previous books, we didn't see much of Haven in The Eternity Code. A big chunk of the book was set in the Spiro Needle (a building owned by Jon Spiro, more on him later). I liked the big shift in setting, though to be fair, it seems like the latter books all had pretty different setting as well. Point is, I loved this setting because Artemis and the gang had to make their way out of the Spiro Needle, and the many incidents that occur in the Spiro Needle and Chicago. Not to say the settings in the beginning was boring though.
Plot: Artemis gets his C Cube (something he invented using fairy technology) stolen by an American businessman, and he has to get the cube back before the fairies' existence are revealed. He knows that there is no doubt that Spiro will bring nothing but harm to the fairies. My favourite book in the series so far! Maybe it's because I've finally gotten the hang of the fairy technology, but I think it's also because I really enjoyed the whole idea of Artemis and Co trying to get out of the Spiro Needle. I loved the previous two books, I really did, but The Eternity Code has to be my favourite so far (I hope it gets even better as the series progresses!).
Main Character: With The Eternity Code, we see a big shift in Artemis' personality, he becomes a kinder person, he really does. We see just how all the incidents with the fairies has changed him to a better person, and how along the way he's gained many valuable friends.
Villain: Jon Spiro was a good villain. One of the reasons I liked him was because he was our first human villain (I'm not counting Artemis). Spiro also helped show what was the big difference between him and Artemis, as both are criminals. Spiro was more willing to get his hands dirty and was not opposed to killing people to get what he wanted, a quality that Artemis does not have.
Other Characters: I loved the team Artemis puts together to get the C Cube back. Sadly, Butler was not really part of the team (he was in it in the beginning but something occurs that makes unable to help retrieve the cube). The team is made up of Artemis, Holly, Mulch, and Juliet. And I have to say, I have fallen in love with Mulch! He's a thief that has no qualms about robbing others, has chemistry with all the other characters, and is an overall lovable dwarf (for some reason, now I feel like making a list of my top favourite dwarves from literature and movies, and Mulch is on the top!). Mulch is my second favourite character, right after Artemis! We also saw plenty of Juliet and much of her character. She is a talented fighter but she has too much spunk and heart to be a guard. I really loved Juliet, I have to say that Colfer's female characters are very well done.
Overall: Quirky and humorous writing, a lovable cast, a solid and detailed universe, and a main character that you'll love, definitely a worthwhile series for all ages! My favourite in the series so far!(less)
Cover: I love these covers! I don't know how many times I've said this, but with all the YA books lately, I'm really missing illustrated covers. I think it's a very accurate illustrations of Widdershins, especially the clothes!
Writing: Marmell's writing never ceases to amaze me. From the first pages I'm sucked into the world. His narrative is well-written and detailed, with plenty of humor and wit. What always annoyed me to no end in fantasy series was the many point of views. A lot of times, I really didn't care about all these side and sometimes random characters, and I just felt like skipping them. But I never felt like that when reading False Covenant. I was invested into the story from the major characters like Widdershins, Renard, and Julien's perspectives and even the side and new characters that appear in the book.
Setting: Set in the Galicien city of Davillon, Marmell took a step away from the overused Medieval setting and instead gave us a French Renaissance with the nobles' hoop dresses and wigs, the guards' plumed hats and flintlock pistols, the architecture, and the names. This is my first time reading a book in that setting, which is a real shame, considering how good it is. The people of Davillon worship gods in the 147 Hallowed Pact. It was intertwined with the story so well and I found myself absorbed in it (which is a very good thing considering how central the religion is to the series, if you haven't already figured it out by the title).
Plot: The plot kept me on my toes the entire time, I had no idea what would happen next. I was very tense and anxious with the suspense of it all. I enjoyed the first book but I have to say that the second definitely tops it! But, god, that ending was heartbreaking. I was in shock for a while, I really didn't expect the author to pull that in the end. All I have to say is that, lately, there haven't been a lot of books that moved me like False Covenant did at the end.
Main Character: Widdershins is her usual reckless and sassy self. She can kick butt and is someone to be reckoned with. But kicking butt aside, Widdershins had (gasp) a personality! She had traits and characteristics that made her a loveable character. She had a bad habit, that when she was angry or nervous, she would keep talking and talking until someone snapped her out of it. She had zero conscience when robbing somebody (to be fair, she only robs people who have wealth to spare) but would never hurt anybody (that is, if they didn't deserve it) and had a kind heart. She's confident in her abilities and always has something to say but she can be reckless and can let her emotions get the best off her. It was also funny, how she would insert the word figs, instead of swearing (something she was banned from doing). I could go on and on, but my point is with strong female characters, authors seem to think literally strong characters. Female characters that fight are fine, but honestly, give them a personality. Being good at fighting does NOT = personalty! Nor does making them perfect and untouchable. Sorry about the rant.
Villain: I enjoyed this villain more than the previous one. I don't want to spoil, but with this villain, more myth was brought into the story other than the gods. And I'm kind of wondering what else there is in store in this world.
Other Characters: Widdershins wasn't the only great character. Olgun and Widdershins' relationship is starting to become closer and closer as time passes (although they're already extremely close). Although I didn't have any special feelings for Robin in Thief's Covenant, I found myself enjoying her presence more as she expands her role as Widdersins' friend (sometimes I really miss Genevieve though). Renard was his usual theatrical self. And we saw plenty more of Julien (I think he's my favourite character), he sticks to the rules and is dutiful and loyal to his job as a major and guardsman but is still flexible when he thinks something is wrong. Ancel Sicard, the new bishop, also had a lot of depth to him. I liked the fact that many people of the clergy in this series were pretty honorable instead of the overused deceitful and scumbag ones in usual fantasy.
Romance: Like everything else in this book, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance. It wasn't annoyingly slow and didn't hit us out of nowhere either. It was a rather pleasant surprise as I didn't quite see it coming.
Other Comments: There will apparently be two more books in the series. I feel so sorry for Widdershins and I'm wondering what's in store for her next but I can't wait to read more. This is definitely one of my top favourite fantasy series (and one of my favourite series in general as well).
Overall: With incredible writing, a well-crafted setting, characters that will undoubtedly touch you and a heroine you can't help but love, this is a fantasy series I recommend to not just fantasy lovers but any book lover. Although targeted at young adults, I think this is a series that both teens and adults will enjoy.(less)
Cover: Not really a big fan of the cover. It would have been better if they thought of something else to put on it concerning the book (maybe Helen's pendant, which plays a very important role in A Temptation of Angels) instead of Helen wearing a hood.
Writing: (3/5) The writing flowed very well and was very easy to sink into right from the beginning.
Setting: (3/5) Although set in Victorian England (a setting that I usually enjoy), the book didn't have much detail in the setting besides the barest minimum and I know some have classified it as "steampunk", but I wouldn't really call it that. The only thing that reminds me of steampunk are a couple of gadgets mentioned. I really did enjoy the idea of the Keepers, twenty descendants of angels who are chosen from birth to keep the balance in the world. A lot of mythology was told about them, which surprised me as this is a stand-alone novel. Nonetheless, I really liked learning about the mythology in the book and although angels aren't anything new, Michelle Zink did come up with more of a fresh idea. I only wish we got to learn more about them, especially the Dictata, the organization in charge of the Keepers.
Plot: (4/5) As I mentioned before, the book was very easy to sink into. The plot was also highly enjoyable as I followed Helen's journey in which she loses her parents, discovers what she is, and tries to stop the people responsible for killing the other Keepers as well as her parents. There wasn't a chapter that didn't have my attention and the plot had me up in anticipation.
Main Character: (1/5) Helen was portrayed as a very observant person, but besides this one rather small detail she was pretty flat. She was nothing that stuck out nor a character I particularly liked. I didn't hate or really dislike her either, if that counts for anything.
Villain: (1/5) The villain also needs work. We learn about him unexpectedly and it was wrapped up rather quickly. He was the usual kind of villain, the kind that wants-power-so-he-can-bring-the-world-to-its-knees. Like Helen, there was no real depth to him.
Other Characters: (2/5) By now, you've probably realized that the biggest flaw in the book was the characters. Many were just so stereotypical or not really thought out, all were very 2-dimensional. Griffin was probably my favourite, but his whole personality can be summed up as being the perfect golden boy. His brother Darius was sharp-tongued and very unaccepting of Helen. At times you wonder why he's so hostile. Another character main character was Anna, who was just so perfect. I did like Anna's father Galizur a bit, but again, he was nothing really special. Raum, Helen's childhood friend, had to be my least favourite for two reasons. One, I believe that the story would have been better without him. The other reason I will explain in the next section.
Romance: (4/5) Like the plot, I really enjoyed the romance. It did happen pretty fast, but that didn't annoy me as much as it usually does (probably because it was done well). What did annoy me, however, was the love triangle. From the summary, I thought it would be a love triangle between Helen, Griffin, and Darius (not that I would have necessarily enjoyed that either). It was actually between Helen, Griffin, and Raum. I liked Helen and Griffin together, but not so much Helen and Raum. This is mainly because Helen had her eyes on Griffin and she makes it perfectly clear to Griffin that she doesn't have feelings for Raum (and I had thought to the readers as well), but BAM!!! Near the end, we find out that she has feelings for Raum as well!? I did not see that coming nor did I like it. Plus, Raum had this "I'm a tortured soul that can never be redeemed" vibe going on and that really annoyed me.
Overall: (18/35) I still enjoyed A Temptation of Angels as it was a stand alone that tied the story nicely in the end (as opposed to all these YA series with annoying cliffhangers!!!). Although the characters need a lot of work, A Temptation of Angels was a book with an intriguing mythology, an enjoyable romance (excluding the love triangle with Raum), and a plot that kept me up.(less)
Cover: I adore this cover (truth be told, it's the reason why I picked it up to begin with) and I hate the new cover. This one suits the story so well, while the new cover makes it look like any other paranormal/supernatural YA book.
Writing: (4/5) Brennan's writing really sucked me in right from the beginning. It's pretty well-written compared to your usual YA.
Setting: (5/5) The book was set in the English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Now, I love books set in small towns where everyone knows each other. Sorry-in-the Vale was just that, but with more! The town was full of secrets and all of it was very hush-hush. I knew there was something off about the Town right from the beginning but I didn't know what exactly, except it had something to do with the Lynburns. The setting was done wonderfully, I love the feel it gave off: a sort of gothic-mystery feel (this is why I feel this cover represents the story better than the new one).
Plot: (4.5/5) I really couldn't put this book down, loved the mystery throughout the book. The only small downside was that the pacing was a bit slow about halfway into the book, put it picked up pretty well after a couple of chapters. You might find it slow if you love adventure and a lot of action, but if you love mysteries, then I think you'll love the plot of this book.
Main Character: (3.5/5) Kami Glass was our main character. I liked that she was of Japanese descent (if you don't know, I'm obsessed with Japanese culture), so that was a nice surprise for me. Although I wish her name wasn't Kami and that she had a name that sounded more Japanese (yes, I know it is a Japanese name). What is up with authors and K names: Katniss, Katsa, Kahlan, Karigan...Kami. What's wrong with a name like Haruka, Chika, Izanami, Miyuki, or Yuki?
Well, sorry about the little name rant here, let's continue.
Kami is an aspiring reporter: she's theatrical, snarky, and reckless. She was a pretty fun character and I loved her interactions with others. But after a while, her personality wasn't really consistent. She sort of became like one of those bland heroines but than she reverted back to old Kami.. ? I don't know if this is because of bad editing or the author didn't get a handle on her personality or whatever, but I hope that doesn't happen in the sequel too much.
Despite this flaw, I believe Kami was a pretty overall enjoyable character.
Villain: (3/5) The whole finding out who the villain was was pretty enjoyable. You didn't know who it was, but there were many suspects. When I did find out who it was, I was surprised, although it was probably obvious. Now as for the villain themself, they came off as cliche. I didn't see nearly enough of them to really make much, but I can tell that, mystery aside, they weren't very memorable. I hope the sequel makes this character more interesting.
Other Characters: (4.5/5) I love all the interactions with the other characters, especially Kami's group of the school paper:
Jared Lynburn: Jared was just as important as Kami and I really liked his character. He was just so different than other YA male leads. Shallowly, yes, he did seem like a typical bad boy. But since we knew him so well, or Kami did anyway, you can tell right from the beginning most of it was an act. He was very emotional (or is that not very manly XD), or should I say angry? But not in a bad or an annoying way. It was also really interesting where the author left him and Kami off at the end of the book and I'm really excited to see how that plays in the sequel.
Ash Lynburn: Jared's cousin Ash (why the name Ash, isn't that overused as it is?) was boring...is what I thought for most of the book. He was a nice contrast in comparison to all the other overbearing personalities of the group, but he was still your typical perfect golden boy. Near the end of the book, because of a revelation, you find out more about him. Although it didn't change much of my overall opinion of him, I think (or I really hope) that the sequel will make him more interesting.
Angela Montgomery: I loved that she had a nasty temper, hated people, liked taking naps, boys weren't always on her mind (like every other teenage girl apparently), and she had more of a role to play than be Kami's tack on “best friend” (something I see too much in YA books). A revelation about her near the end was obvious though in my opinion.
Holly Prescott: Holly was a bubbly girl, she got excited very easily, and seemed childish at times. She was a nice contrast to the other characters.
Rusty Montgomery: Angela's equally lazy older brother, but far more cheerful. I liked his cheerfulness in comparison to the other boys. I didn't expect him to be in it much but was happy that he actually was.
Kami's Family: Her family were a pretty big part of the book (which I always love). Her parents seemed not present at first but later on they actually appeared a lot. Kami's mother was especially important. Kami also has two younger brothers Tenri and Tomo (teacup names), who were pretty cute.
Rosalind (Jared's mother), Lilian and Rob Lynburn (Ash's parents): Despite being adults (“Oh the horror!” Is what some authors seem to believe teenagers and children think), they played important roles and I liked their characters and especially their Lynburn family history.
One thing I'd like to mention is that, at times, there was too much snark/sass/jokey (Kami, Jared, Angela, Rusty, Kami's Dad) characters and remarks. Although it didn't really annoy me at all; I personally enjoyed it. I noticed it and I know some people didn't like it too much.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that I really liked the family history. Since it's such a small town, we learn about the characters' parents and what they were like when they were younger. I always liked learning about past groups, like in Harry Potter, with Harry's parents in their younger years and Sirius, Remus, and Snape, or like The Circle in The Mortal Instruments.
Romance: (4.5/5) I don't know if you would even call it romance as Jared and Kami's relationship is far more than that. I don't want to spoil, but I will say it was very different than your usual YA. I didn't like the whole thing with Ash and Kami that happened. That was just plain boring, and in my opinion, it would have been better if it was taken out. I understand Jared, but Ash too? When Kami's best friends are Angela and Holly, who are apparently the two prettiest girls in the school? Both boys in the group can only look at Kami? That has wish fulfillment written all over it.
Overall: (29/35) Set in a small English town full of secrets with an extremely fun cast of characters all wrapped in a mystery with a Gothic feel, Unspoken is a book I highly recommend, especially for those that love mystery. I can't wait for the sequel!(less)
Cover: Really like the cover, nothing too fancy. The girl is wearing a flowing dress that gives the illusion she has a fin, or does she really have a fin? Not quite sure there - what do you think?
Writing: The book is narrated by both Emma and Galen. At first I thought it would be hard to distinguish the chapters considering there is no P.O.V. name in the beginning but Emma's point of view is narrated through first person while Galen's is through third person. High points to that since I've seen quite a few YA books lately where it's hard to tell who's narrating which chapter.
Setting: Although I really liked that Emma lives right next to a beach, what was truly intriguing was the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton, as well as the whole idea of the Syrena race (basically mermaids but they hate being called that). Everything about the Syrena was explained so thoroughly that I was left with no questions and I really loved how Banks took the time to develop her world. I'm just so disappointed that we didn't explore much of either kingdom yet, but hey, more to look forward to in the next book, right?
Plot: OK, I know I might say this a lot but with Of Poseidon you have no idea how much I really mean it. I loved LOVED the book right from the beginning, it was so easy to sink too, so easy to get caught up into the story and the characters. I enjoyed both point of views of Emma and Galen so much, really loved how all the pieces came together. I managed to finish this book faster than my usual pace because I couldn't wait or control myself to see what happens next. And although I usually hate cliffhangers, this one was done well and leaves a lot of room and ground for the sequel.
Main Character: Emma was a fun heroine, she was just so feisty that you couldn't help but grin. Her development through the book was pretty noticeable and she herself comments on it. After the loss of someone close to her, she starts changing for the better.
Villain: There isn't a clear idea of who the villain is yet. But the book mainly struggles with the bloodless war between the two kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton as well as Emma and Galen's continual struggle with the Syrena laws. I didn't mind that there wasn't much of a villain, the struggle of the kingdoms and the laws were exciting enough! Though I will comment, that if who I think will be the antagonist in the later books is the antagonist, that he should have more depth in the sequel. I didn't see much of him in the book to make any conclusions but if he stays as he is in the sequel then he'll just be flat.
Other Characters: The characters were just absolutely loveable and they're what drove the story! Galen the prince of the Triton House, Emma's love interest and the secondary point of view character, was pretty fun to read about especially his interactions with Emma. His twin sister Rayna was so sharp-tongued and let's just say tact wasn't in her vocabulary. I especially loved the part were she mistook a deer for a camel. That reminds me that the Syrena in this book: Galen, Rayna and her mate Toraf were not very knowledgeable about humans and that was humorously shown. Rachel, Galen's human "assistant", and Emma's mother were my favorites! Especially Emma's mother, when she thought Emma was dating she just went about integrating her daughter in such a hilarious manner. The book was filled with humor and comedy and I found myself bursting with laughter quite a few times.
Romance: Of Poseidon was steaming with romance. If you love romance then please look no further as it can't get any better than this. Emma and Galen's interactions were believable and well paced but it was clear right from the beginning that they felt something for one another.
Other Comments: This is my favourite 2012 debut! Though I think Grave Mercy is closely tied. Although don't get me wrong it was one of my favorite all time books of this year as well, not just counting debuts. Can't wait to read Lost Legacy (which is a short prequel novella coming around the release time of the book) not to mention the sequel. Why must I be tortured I wanna read it now!
Overall: If you like romance, humor, an exciting plot and a fascinating new take on mermaids then Of Poseidon is the place to go! (less)
Cover: At first I didn't like the cover very much but after reading the book I think it suits it perfectly!
Writing: (5/5) The writing was quirky and humorous (especially the dialogue) and never once treated the readers like idiots. The narrator had a strong presence in the book and the writing had its own unique style that stood out and brought life and character to the world (I'm basically saying the same thing about the writing as I did with previous books. I'm pretty lazy, but hey, Colfer's writing never loses its touch as the series progresses and is always superb).
Setting: (5/5) As with Colfer's previous books, there's a change of setting. With The Lost Colony we were introduced to the eighth fairy family, the demons. When the fairies decided to move underground, the demons were against it and so their warlocks transported their island, Hybras, through time and into Limbo. The demons are a warlike bunch and when they reach maturity they warp (around age 9-13) and change into full grown demons. Their young are called imps. A big chunk of the book is set in Hybras and I really enjoyed that. I always wanted one of the books to discuss any members of the fairy family in depth and I got just that in The Lost Colony with the demons. Like always, Colfer's settings is rich, detailed and never ceases to amaze me, even book after book he still comes up with something fresh.
Plot: (5/5) As with the setting the plot is always fresh. Each book has a completely different story while still being intertwined with the other Artemis Fowl books. So far The Lost Colony is my favourite! The book had me in suspense and I kept bursting with laughter throughout it, I always appreciate Colfer's humor, it never feels forced like I find in other books.
Main Character: (5/5) It was funny to see Artemis going through puberty as he starts noticing the opposite sex, he keeps getting distracted. As he puts it: "It's this blasted puberty, Butler. Every time I see a pretty girl, I waste valuable mind space thinking about her." Artemis really does become kinder as he helps the fairies without wanting anything in return. And when he goes up against the girl genius, Minerva, you see how he's changed as Minerva is very much like his younger self back when he only really cared about money.
Villain: (5/5) After first reading the summary, I thought Minerva would be a boring character. I mean I just felt that Colfer was using the "twelve year old genius" thing again with Minerva and it would be old and boring. But Minerva was a nice addition to the book and a great antagonist. Another antagonist was Abbot, the ego-manic leader of the demons. He was funny and irritating (I really felt for our heroes with this guy) seeing how he's so completely vain, he thinks he's so important. But like all of Colfer's characters, Abbot wasn't 2-dimensional and was another great villain.
Other Characters: (5/5) Some new characters were introduced that I'm sure we'll see in later books. The first of course, was Minerva. The second is, N°1, a 14 year old imp who can't seem to warp into a full demon, and is constantly picked on because of this. I loved N°1, he was such an endearing character that you can't help but love! Another character I liked was Doodah Day, a small pixie who can drive anything. His and Mulch's banter was just so hilarious (OK, Mulch's banter with everyone is hilarious)!
Overall: (30/30) Quirky and humorous writing, a lovable cast, a solid and detailed universe, and a main character that you'll love, definitely a worthwhile series for all ages! My favourite so far! (less)
Cover: Every time I look at this cover, I think that the illustration for Artemis Fowl really looks like Harry Potter.... Also Artemis and Holly were not wearing what is pictured per say but I see why they would have not pictured that. But overall I like the cover, as I love illustrations!
Writing: (5/5) The writing was quirky and humorous (especially the dialogue) and never once treated the readers like idiots. The narrator had a strong presence in the book and the writing had its own unique style that stood out and brought life and character to the world (I'm basically saying the same thing about the writing as I did with previous books. I'm pretty lazy, but hey, Colfer's writing never loses its touch as the series progresses and is always superb).
Setting: (5/5) As you have hopefully gotten from the summary, the book is set 8 years in the past. I loved seeing a lot of our characters from 8 years ago. As with all of Colfer's previous books, the setting of the Artemis Fowl series always seems fresh, as the author always uses something different so the book is never boring or tedious.
Plot: (5/5) I loved how the plot went back and forth between the schemes of the current Artemis and the 10-year-old Artemis. It was like watching a ping pong game as it went back and forth with them undermining one another. It might sound confusing that there are two Artemis' but Colfer always makes it clear which one he means so there is never any confusion. All in all another fast paced, mind blowing, doozey of a plot from Colfer.
Main Character: (5/5) When we have two Artemis', you can see firsthand what is the difference between the current one and the old one. Ten year old Artemis was ruthless, belittling and an overall brat. So you can see how our current Artemis had had so much character development through the series. As current Artemis puts it: Had he always been this obnoxious? How tiresome. Little wonder people in general did not like him. It's also interesting to note that there seems to be some romance developing between Artemis and Holly.
Villain: (5/5) 10-year-old Artemis was one of our villains, and as you've probably guessed current Artemis has one heck of a time against him. Another villain was Dr. Damon Kronski, the leader of The Extinctionists (an organization that wipes out species that they believe are of no use to humans). Like all of Colfer's villains, he wasn't just mu ha ha evil and actually had depth to him. There was also another villain, who I'm not going to say anything about as that would be spoiling, but like Dr. Damon Kronski, was another great villain who's shaping up to be one of my favourite all time villains!
Other Characters: (5/5) Jayjay (the lemur Artemis goes back in time to save) was absolutely adorable! The past Mulch also makes an appearance. I just love Mulch - he's one, if not my favourite character in the series! He has chemistry with everyone, has some of the best lines and is an overall great character. I believe we also learned more about Holly in this book, as we learned a bit about her mother.
Overall: (30/30) Quirky and humorous writing, a lovable cast, a solid and detailed universe, and a main character that you'll love, definitely a worthwhile series for all ages!(less)
Cover: I really loved the cover ever since I first saw it. The snake is starting to come alive and is binding her, which fits well into the story. And if you look closely you can see the number 114 on her arm. That, of course, is a reference to the 114 people who disappeared on Roanoke Island.
Writing: (4/5) The writing really had a storytelling feel to it and I like how it added to the sombre feel of the world.
Setting: (5/5) The book is set on Roanoke Island and I don't know about you but I always love tight-nit towns and islands. In Blackwood the setting had a very sleepy and dreary kind of feel to it (I hope I'm getting across what I mean by that) and I really loved that tone.
Miranda really loves the Waterside Theater and The Lost Colony plays they do, I honestly couldn't help but be charmed by this theater (the theater actually does exist, now I wanna see The Lost Colony play!!!). I've also always been fascinated and curious about the Roanoke Colony. Miranda actually perfectly put my thoughts about it into words:
"Disappearing was some trick to pull off, even hundreds of years ago when there were more wild places left. The standard theories involved bad endings and tragedy. Even on such a humid night, not knowing - knowing that no one would ever know the truth - was enough to give her a small shiver."
So I really did enjoy the setting of Roanoke Island with its deep mystery of the disappearance of the colony. Despite my interest, I didn't really read a lot of fictional works about the lost colony (maybe I should try reading actual facts, but where's the fun in that?), though there was the Blue Bloods series and this one episode of Supernatural.
Plot: (4/5) The plot was really engaging in the beginning as you start wondering where the 114 people in present time disappeared to. Around the middle I found the plot got, I don't know, a little odd I guess - the part where we got into the meat of why the people disappeared. The book picked up smoothly after that and the ending was good but the revelation could've been pulled off better.
Main Character: (4/5) The folks of Roanoke Island constantly pick on Miranda Blackwood. Apparently nothing good comes out of the Blackwoods, plus it doesn't help that her father is a drunk. Because of this, Miranda is closed off to others and mostly keeps to herself. She tries to provide for her and her father and was very independent, but you could tell she was also very lonely. I had a grasp of what kind of person Miranda was right from the beginning and I give the author props for that.
Other Characters: (5/5) I'm not sure if Philips should also go under main character (I think he was just as important as Miranda plus their P.O.V. was evenly split). Philips is the Police Chief's son and a well-known troublemaker. Little do people know that his antics were done so he could purposefully be kicked out of the island to escape the voices he hears in his head. Philips was very kind but he was also mischievous. And I really loved his close relationship with his mother, Sara (who was a good character too!). As far as characters go, there weren't really much central ones except for:
Dr. Whitson - dubbed Dr. Rosewell because of his crackpot theories on The Lost Colony
Bone - Dr. Whitson's son who constantly torments Miranda
Sidekick - Miranda's lovable golden retriever
Of course there were a couple of others (like Miranda's dad), but I think these are the most important ones.
Villain: (3/5) We didn't know who the villain was until around the middle, it was pretty surprising for me (either that or I'm just slow). I think the villain over-stepped cliche bad guy territory because they were concerned about something besides their world scheming goal but more could've been done to make them more of an original character. Though I did like how the author tied this character to the The Lost Colony mystery.
Romance: (5/5) Miranda and Philips had so much chemistry. Right from the beginning I was rooting for them, plus their relationship seemed so believable!
Other Comments: I loved all the mentions of The Vampire Diaries TV series (big fan!) in the book.
Overall: (30/35) I loved the dreary and sombre feel of the book, the plot had me from the beginning and it was a haunting take on the mystery of The Lost Colony. (less)
Cover: The cover gives off a very actiony feel which suits the story very well. I also liked they didn't forget Sara Jane's blue eyes, which are very important to the story. Also her nose is slightly large, something that's mentioned numerous times in the book. I wonder if that was done on purpose or if it was an accident (is it rude if I unintentionally said the model has a large nose if that's not the case?).
Writing: (4/5) I think the writing very well conveyed Sara Jane's personality and outlook of the world. I especially loved how in the beginning Sara Jane tells us that she's writing everything down in a journal and by the end you see that she did, she's written down and documented everything that's happened to her so far.
Setting: (5/5) Set in Chicago, T.M. Goeglein richly describes the city and the Mob and the secret underground world. The book had a firm and very detailed setting that leaves you doubting, after you read the book, if an underground mob world like that doesn't exist. The cold fury really fascinated me, a power that runs in Sara Jane's family with the ability to control others through fear and gives a cold and calm mind set. It really reminds me of Tsuna's Hyper Dying Will Mode in the manga and anime series Reborn! which is also coincidentally about the Mafia (I hope this reference isn't lost to everybody).
Plot: (5/5) The book doesn't start off where Sara Jane's family gets kidnapped as the summary implies. Instead we have the first 100 pages or so just about Sara Jane's family, her life, and all the clues she's gotten over the years about who her family really is. I absolutely loved that the author did that, it gave us so much insight on the strong bond Sara Jane shares with her family and her overall character. Although there was a lot of action and Sara Jane being left on her own, the book was never once boring or tedious. I was a book that was entertaining but at the same time had so much important and thoughtful lessons Sara Jane learned and ones we learn with her.
Main Character: (4/5) Sara Jane was a great character, mainly because we got so much time to learn about her in the beginning. The dearest and closest people to her were her family, as they were very private people (something I share with her). I loved the relationship she shared with her family and can see and feel her continual grief and struggle over their disappearance. Sara Jane took up boxing at a young age, she's learned a lot of self defense and fighting ability through that, but more importantly many life lessons through boxing. She was an observant person who didn't like being in the spotlight and was in her own right pretty intelligent, tough, and strong willed, but still acts silly when it involves her crush like a normal teenage girl.
Villain: (5/5) There are number of villains in the book. To me the most prominent was Uncle Buddy (his real name is Benito but everyone calls him Buddy). Uncle Buddy had so much depth to him, he was such a believable character. Especially near the end, where Uncle Buddy really surprised me, and made me appreciate his character so much.
Other Characters: (4/5) I loved Sara Jane's family, her small grandpa Enzo and little brother Lou: a very intelligent, polite and well spoken boy (probably my favourite out of Sara Jane's family after uncle Buddy). Even her grandmother who didn't appear very much in the book. Sara Jane's parents weren't that great characters but I loved the relationship between them. I also really loved their family dog, Harry. Max, Sara Jane's crush wasn't that great of a character, but he barely appeared so I hope we get more character development and personality with him in the sequel. Doug, Sara Jane's best friend, was a lovable character. He was overweight and constantly picked on but he really pulled through and by the end of book you can see he's really trying to change for the better as a person. He had a love of classic movies (an aspect that was shown greatly in the book as Sara Jane and her family enjoy them as well). Can't forget Willy Williams, Sara Jane's kind and wise boxing teacher. I'm also excited to see more of Tyler, a young member of the Mob, in the sequel.
Romance: (N/A) The romance was very light, more of crush on Sara Jane's part. But it really hints more in the sequel, though I hope that there will be more depth to Max's character.
Other Comments: I'm a huge book names snob, so I really abosutly loved all of Sara Jane's family's names: Sara Jane Rispoli Lou Mitchell Rispoli Benito"Buddy" Rispoli Antonio "Anthony" Rispoli (Sara Jane's father) Teresa Rispoli (Sara Jane's Mother) Grandpa Enzo Grandma Donatella
Overall: (27/30) An action-packed plot surrounding the Mob, a rich setting, characters that you'll love and a main character that you'll cheer for, this is one book you don't want to miss! I need the sequel soon!!(less)
Cover: I'm a bit mixed about the cover. I do the like the green background but I don't like the model and the cover gives you the appearance that it's set in a fantasy world, which it's not.
Writing: The writing was simple and easy to get into, but nothing special or memorable.
Setting: Most of the book is set in Gottfried Academy, a prestigious school that has a peculiar curriculum. I enjoyed this setting, really reminded me of Claudia Gray's Evernight series. The whole history surrounding the Academy, the curriculum with all the Latin and the philosophers was really interesting to read about. The book also had this slightly dark and dreary feel to it. I loved the idea of the paranormals in this book, the "Undead" as they call them. Don't really want to say much about them as that would be spoiling. But I enjoyed how the author tied them with real events and ancient civilizations. Although zombies aren't my thing, I enjoyed Dead Beautiful with its new take.
Plot: The first chapter wasn't that great but after that the book quickly moved on to the plot. It was a fun read and pretty interesting to see what happens next, especially as Renée slowly uncovered more secrets of the Academy and the undead.
Main Character: Renée was curious, reckless and a person who always spoke her mind and judged too quickly. The speaking her mind and judging were the most noticeable but besides these traits she wasn't a memorable heroine or someone that would really stick. It's also notable that Renée would stop at nothing to uncover the truth of her parents' death.
Villain: The villain wasn't that bad but not much of him was shown, so I can't really come to a conclusion. But the real struggle in this book is between the undead and the people who stop them. There were characters on either side who can be considered the antagonists. The antagonists in the book weren't as important as the whole idea of the undead and how they come into being and what it takes for them to live on.
Other Characters: I really liked Dante (especially how he's first introduced). He was very intelligent and knowledgeable although I have to admit that when I try to think of a flaw I come up blank. Eleanor and Nathanial, Renée's friends, were pretty good characters that really spiced up the story. Renée's grandfather was also a great character with many layers. Overall I think the cast was so-so.
Romance: Probably the best part of the book (besides the mythology). It wasn't rushed or droned out, but in between. Although the two lead characters need some work, I'm happy that the romance didn't make me gag or roll my eyes.
Other Comments: It really irritated me how throughout the book there were instances when you can tell that the book was trying to appeal to Twilight fans. It was a decent read on its own, there really was no need for that. Also I really love the classic names of the characters in the book (I'm a big name snob).
Overall: Although lacking in some areas, Dead Beautiful is a book with dark tones, romance and a rich mythology . (less)
Cover: I love the covers for this series with the faction symbols. Though I'm wondering which symbol they'll use for the next cover (I'm guessing Abnegation) in light of what happened in Insurgent. I also love that they printed the symbols on the book under the jacket (I wish more books did that).
Writing: The writing was pretty unique (especially for a YA book) and it felt really personal as if I was truly in Tris's head.
Setting: In Insurgent we saw the Amity, Erudite and Candor compounds and all in all it was nothing special. With Divergent we stayed for most of the book in the Dauntless compound and the people really shaped the setting and it was fun to read about. But in Insurgent we only briefly saw the other places so it wasn't developed and not the highlight of the book that's for sure.
Plot: I was disappointed with Insurgent for the first half of the book. It definitely has nothing on Divergent. As many pointed out, Insurgent just seemed like a gap between the first and the last, where it's the least exciting. Triss and Co. go to Amity after the recent events for safety and them being on the run was boring to read about, it really was. Tris struggles with herself for most of the book and while it was good for character development again it was boring to read about after a while. It was only until the last 200 pages of the book that I finally found myself getting caught up in the story with all the action, suspense and the big secret about the factions.
Main Character: Triss reminds me of Katniss from the Hunger Games series. And before I go any further I would like to say that I didn't like Katniss. She was cruel and harsh and knew that fully well and even accepted it. But she did nothing to fix it, she stayed like that throughout the entire series. NO character development. Tris has that harshness and it's so hard for her to forgive but she tries to fix it. She knew her faults and Insurgent mainly dealt with Triss's character development.
Villain: We are given more light on Jeanine and why she did what she did. We didn't see much of her in Divergent but in Insurgent we get a real good idea of her character and as Triss pointed out everyone has flaws, good points and bad points and I'm happy that we were given more insight on Jeanine and that she wasn't a power hungry villain.
Other Characters: As with Triss, Tobias goes through character development and we have a better idea of the person he is. But what really surprised me was Peter and Caleb, especially Peter. Roth gave her characters flaws and redeeming qualities, she didn't give us cardboard cutout characters and expect us to like them but rather she gave us characters with layers. With Divergent we were introduced to these character but in Insurgent we really got to know some of them a whole lot more. Veronica Roth's Divergent series will always remain foremost about human nature.
Romance: Tris and Tobias' relationship goes through a lot of hurdles and they both try to keep what they have but at the same time keep secrets from one another. I loved how Veronica Roth didn't make them some kind of conjoined couple but rather two people, each with their own goals and personality that fell in love with one another.
Other Comments: I really hope that the last book will be epic in light of this one not being so great and very slow in the beginning. Apparently Veronica Roth asked to have more time to write the last book so she can end it well and that's definitely promising.
Overall: Not memorable or nearly as good as Divergent but it had plenty of character development and like Divergent it dives into the many aspects of human nature.(less)
Cover: The cover isn't bad but it honestly really reminds me of Lauren Kate's Fallen series.
Writing: It tells the story but nothing memorable or noteworthy (I'm really noticing that a lot in YA, I wish there was more noteworthy writing but then again if you're like me, you might only really care about the story).
Setting: The best part of Darkness Before Dawn had to be the setting. It's set in an alternate world where vampires exist and soon after the humans learn of their existence, they launch a war against them and lose. Thanks to the affects of the war, a lot of the landscape and technology has been destroyed and humans live in constant fear of the vampires who hunt in the night. It's a nice blend of paranormal and dystopian. The book really had a nice dark tone to it and you could feel the constant hopelessness and struggle the humans are faced with.
Plot: The plot was pretty good to get into and I really liked all the history they intertwined with the story about the vampires (that probably should have went under Setting). Because of the constant presence of the vampires there was always a sense of suspense in the book though a couple of things were predictable.
Main Character: Dawn is the delegate of Denver, a position she was appointed to after the recent loss of her parents. She also lost her brother when she was nine; vampires killed both her parents and brother. Dawn being a delegate, her hatred for vampires as well as her history all helped the story become more interesting but besides her hate for vampires she was really flat. Try as I might I couldn't see more to her (especially after she stops hating vampires). I didn't hate her but I sure didn't like her either.
Villain: Lord Valentine was the villain as well as his son (not Victor) and although there isn't much in the book about his son being an antagonist (I'm sure we'll see plenty of him in the next book) we did see a lot of Lord Valentine. Lord Valentine was nothing special, a cardboard cutout without any surprises.
Other Characters: By now I'm sure you guessed that I didn't like the characters. Some I disliked and most I tolerated and there were none I really liked. Victor was nice (I'm not hitting on nice people but that can't be the depth of someone!) and maybe noble but he didn't have any real flaws so he was flat. Michael, Dawn's boyfriend, really irritated me; he was so naive and his male pride (pride, ego, arrogance whatever you wanna call it) was really annoying. With zero experience, he thinks he's epic enough to kill vampires who lived centuries. Tegan, Dawn's best friend and her guardian Rachel were okay but nothing noteworthy.
Romance: Victor said in his four centuries (I believe the old family ages slower mentally otherwise that is creepy) he has not seen anyone more passionate in what they believe in than Dawn or any girl like her. And I really didn't see that, besides her hatred of vampires (which she was pretty passionate about in the beginning). If you could look past the characters, their romance wasn't that bad (I wonder if that even made sense?) but when I think of both of them I have no idea why they fell for each other (maybe flat attracts flat?).
Other Comments: It might seem like I hated the book because of the characters but I really didn't. But I didn't love it either that's for sure.
Overall: The characters are definitely lacking but the setting was something with its dark atmosphere and blend of paranormal and dystopian. (less)
Cover: Not really a big fan of the cover and these girls in dresses that don't have much to do with a plot are starting to annoy me.
Writing: Nothing special that sets it apart from the usual YA.
Setting: Set in Paris, I could see that the author really knew her stuff and enjoyed hearing about all the places Kate liked to visit and the ones that held memories of her childhood. The idea of the reveanants was pretty sound but overall nothing that fascinated me or that really held my interest.
Plot: The plot only really got good when the idea of the Revenants was revealed and that's when I finally really started getting into the plot.
Main Character: I liked the fact that Kate loved books and could lose herself in one (a fact that I obviously share). But there was nothing that made her stick out as heroine let alone a character. All there is to say is that she was pretty flat.
Villain: The villain was OK but the whole struggle with him was resolved pretty fast and makes me wonder what's in store in the next book.
Other Characters: Vincent had to be my least favourite character, his whole personality just basically centered around him being gorgeous and a reveanant, it seems the author forgot to give him a personality. The other reveanants were much better, especially Jules, he was a slightly awkward artist (really wish he was Kate's love interest). The twins Charlotte and Charles (gotta love twin teacup names) were OK too. Ambrose was the stereotypical, jolly muscular guy. I did like the relationship between Kate and Georgia though, also the relationship between Kate and her grandparents. It was pretty realistic and I'm kind of curious about her grandfather who seems to know more about the reveanants than he lets on.
Romance: The romance happened way too fast and was horribly rushed. Also I had no idea what Kate and Vincent saw in one another.
Other Comments: I didn't hate the book as much as I'm letting on here, but looking at it critically it seems like a cheap rip off of the Twilight series and a series desperately wanting to attract its fans. It wasn't completely horrible but it sure wasn't something noteworthy.
Overall: Nothing truly noteworthy, original or exceptional but it was a decent read but not something I would recommend if you're looking for a great new YA series. (less)