Cover: If you know me, you know I hate most YA photograph covers. I don't like the trend. That's one of the reasons I love this cover so much. The raven has a lot of significance to the book (besides being in the title) and the glowing red heart also has significance. The paperback has a slightly different cover, with the four raven boys on it. I actually don't mind it, because it's illustrated and looks very similar to how I imagined them.
Writing: (5/5) Reading the prologue, my first thoughts were: That's some good writing. I wish I could write like that. If you've read any of Stiefvater's other books, you'll know what I mean (especially The Scorpio Races). Stiefvater mixes modern and fantasy so well that the result is something new and enchanting (for lack of a better word). The best I can compare it to is Charles de Lint.
Setting: (5/5) The Raven Boys is set in the town of Henrietta, Virginia. What brought out this town the most was the writing. It gave the town this sleepy, enchanted feel. Despite the tone, the town felt very believable. The addition of Aglionby Academy, a prestigious school for rich boys, added that much more to the setting. The Academy had a big presence in the book and didn't feel like a tack on, like I feel academies in other series do.
Plot: (5/5) From the summary you would think that the plot is some standard YA, where the story is about a girl who meets a boy and they can't be together for whatever reason. That's what I personally thought the story was about, and the reason why I didn't pick it up sooner. Instead, the book is less romance and more fantasy and mystery. It's about Gansey (one of the raven boys) trying to find the burial place of a Welsh king, Glendower. It's said anyone who wakes him is granted a wish. There's also this mystery atmosphere going on and there's seems to be so much behind finding Glendower's resting place. Blue (the main character) gets pulled into this quest with Gansey and his friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah.
Main Character: (2.5/5) Blue Sargent (I like her name. Blue, not Sargent) comes from a family of psychics. She's the only one who's not a psychic though. Because of this, she yearns to feel magic in some way (this is the reason to why she's so attracted to finding Glendower). She comes from a poor family, but I liked how that wasn't such a tragic thing to her. The author also did a good job with her description, so I imagined Blue very well.
Now, the problem with Blue was that she lacked presence and was far less interesting than the boys. I was confused for most of book. I kept thinking to myself: Is Blue the main character? Well, I figured out that yes, she is in fact the main character. The problem was that she just faded away in comparison to the rest of the boys. She didn't drive the plot at all, Gansey did all that, which is why I kept thinking that Gansey was the main character (didn't help that he also had a P.O.V).
Weirdly enough, I don't think I've run into this problem before (unless that was the intention of the author). Yes, there are a lot of main characters who pale in comparison to the rest of the cast (like Harry Potter), but I've never actually felt confused about whether or not they were the main character.
Villain: (4/5) There was more than one villain and I felt they were more antagonists than true villains. I liked this because I hate big overarching villains, evil lords, whatever you want to call them - I've rarely seen them done well and they're a cheap and easy way to move a story. Not to mention a big villain wouldn't have worked in this series. The only problem is that I didn't feel one of the antagonists' motivations were as sound as they could have been.
Other Characters: (5/5) When I read a bit of The Raven Boys, I thought that the four boys were all flat. I give Stiefvater high praise for proving me wrong. I really enjoyed them and I loved how gradually and subtly Stiefvater fleshed them out. I don't really want to say too much because I feel you'll get the best experience if you read it for yourself. If I tell you more about them, I think it will take some enjoyment out of it.
Blue's psychic family (who are all females... not quite sure why, but I think it's because they're somewhat flighty) had a nice strong presence and I liked that (their interactions with the four raven boys were really entertaining), I look forward to seeing more of them in future books.
Romance: (5/5) Don't get me wrong, there is romance, but I was surprised by how subtle it was. That made it that much more appealing (less is more), and I'm excited to see the transition of it in this series.
Other Comments: Judging by the cover of the next book (and the ending of The Raven Boys), I think it will center around Ronan. I'm also guessing he'll have a point of view. I think the books will focus on different boys as the series progresses (The Raven Boys was told from point of views of Blue, Gansey, and Adam).
Also, if you read and enjoyed The Raven Boys, I suggest you give Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races a try. Many of the elements that I loved in The Raven Boys (like the writing, setting, and plot) are similar in The Scorpio Races.
Overall: (31.5/35) The only real problem with The Raven Boys was that I felt that the main character was far less interesting than the other characters and lacked presence in comparison. Otherwise, The Raven Boys had wonderful writing, intriguing characters, an enchanting setting, and a page turning story that definitely made it a favourite for me. I look forward to reading the next book, The Dream Thieves! (less)
Cover: I really love the cover. The red is a startling contrast to the black and white. Just from looking at it, you can easily tell it's a ghost story. I didn't like that they used dark red ink for the writing inside though, it was a little hard on the eyes.
Writing: (3/5) Nothing particularly special, but I think the narration was conveyed well, mainly when we're hearing Cas' thoughts.
Setting: (4/5) The book is set in Thunder Bay, Ontario and I really liked that setting, mainly because I live in Canada. I just don't see much YA books set in Canada. The idea of the ghosts are honestly nothing new, I'm sure many of you heard it: Ghost can't move on because of something tragic happening to them and are anchored to wherever that tragedy occurred, haunting any poor souls that get close to them. However, the magic practiced by the witches (yes, there are witches) was pretty intriguing, and although the idea of the ghosts wasn't that original, it was still interesting to read about each ghost's back-story. The whole idea of the book is "ghosts" and I believe Kendra made them pretty solid and satisfying.
Plot: (4/5) I was really absorbed with the story and pretty excited to see where it would go next. Personally, I'm not a big fan of ghost stories, but Anna Dressed in Blood had a plot that absorbed me from the beginning. I wasn't quite sure what happened in the end though, and I don't think Cas was either, but I'm sure the sequel will provide answers.
Main Character: (2.5/5) The biggest flaw with the book, I believe, had to be the main character, Theseus Cassio Lowood, or as he's commonly called, Cas. Cas was independent and never leaned on others. He moved from place to place with only hunting ghosts in his mind. As he puts it, his life revolved around: Move, Hunt, Kill and then start the whole process again. This made a big part of Cas' character I admit, as he didn't want to lean on others or make attachments. But besides this, throughout the book I felt that Cas' character was a bit bland. There just weren’t a lot of things that set him apart personality wise. I do, however, appreciate the male lead, as they are very rare in YA.
Villain: (4/5) I'm not going to spoil, but let's just say I did not see what was coming near the end. There's more to the antagonist than what I had first thought in the beginning of the book.
Other Characters: (4/5) The other character were so-so but I did like the chemistry they shared. The main characters were: Cas' mother who gave off a hippie kind of attitude, Thomas was a fairly timid witch and mind reader, Carmel wasn't your typical queen bee as she wasn't the usual mean girl (although she did come off as too prefect), and there's Anna of course. I liked how we got to know Anna, first as a murderous ghost, and then after when we learned of her past. It gave us a nice solid background for her. But I hope in the sequel there will be more to her character and personality, as she's not the same murderous ghost, otherwise her character will end up being pretty bland. Above all, as I said, the characters have chemistry with one another.
Romance: (4/5) I really did like the romance. I knew where it was going, but when we we got there, I was just as surprised as Cas. My only problem is that in the beginning, even before Cas met Anna, he always felt drawn to her. No reason was ever provided for that, but there could possibly be a reason in the sequel. I really hope there is one; otherwise it doesn't really make sense, besides the idea of "soul mates", which I'm not really liking.
Overall: (25.5/35) There are some things that need work, but Anna Dressed in Blood had a solid and believable presence of ghosts with a great plot and romance.(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)
I was actually having a reading slump until I read Grave Mercy; as soon as I started it I was taken away by the story and was thoroughly absorbed into...moreI was actually having a reading slump until I read Grave Mercy; as soon as I started it I was taken away by the story and was thoroughly absorbed into the book. There were so many things that I loved and I give high praise to Robin LaFevers for putting so much depth to her book.
For a fantasy book there are two things, which I believe that if done poorly, can sourly ruin a book and that would be the world and the religion. But Robin LaFevers pulled both off splendidly. Brittany (the country in which Ismae lives in and protects) was the main focus of the book and it's continual struggle with France after it lost the war with them and now it's independence is in jeopardy. The whole book was basically about them trying to crown the young duchess while finding a good suitor for her and avoid another war with France.
Politics are obviously usually boring and not for the reasons you think. In YA fantasy authors feel the need to make the politics so simple it's absolutely unbelievable and boring. But in Grave Mercy it had depth and I actually enjoyed seeing the play of it in court as the balance of who was in the lead kept tipping back and forth. But it was also easy to comprehend and Robin LaFevers never made you feel lost. Well the whole political side of it was the story so if you felt lost well than to stay the least the book would have been horrible.
I also enjoyed the dialogue it fit the time frame of the story yet we easily understood it. I've seen some fantasy series put modern slang like "guys" into a book and that put me off to no end. Another thing that I loved about the world was the mythology and the religion.
We are not given much knowledge about the gods (or saints as some people call them). Though we are given some insight on Mortmain, the god of death. Well I suppose we have to know something of him considering the main character is his daughter! There were supernatural elements in the story like the main character's inability to be poisoned or another's ability to see visions, though they were small gifts and nothing too big and epic, I preferred them better that way instead of an overcrowded magic system.
I liked the main character, Ismae even though she was trained as an assassin and in the politics of Brittany she was still naive yet it didn't come off as annoying. She always followed her betters blindly and through the book we see her develop into a more understanding character as she makes her own conclusions about being a Handmaiden and the sisters of St. Mortian. I enjoyed all the characters as well and I honestly do mean all, especially Gavriel, the Beast and the young twelve-year-old duchess Anne.
The story and plot where well paced and I was jumping up and down to see what happens next. Grave Mercy is a sort of stand-alone with each book being told from a different Handmaiden's point of view. I'm excited to see what happens next in the trilogy. This book definitely had everything I love in a book: a solid fantasy world, a great cast, romance, action and a plot that you can't get enough of.(less)
I was beyond excited when I first heard about this book being released. The summary (four orphans are taken to compete for the role of impersonating t...more I was beyond excited when I first heard about this book being released. The summary (four orphans are taken to compete for the role of impersonating the long lost prince) just caught my attention. I was bouncing up and down waiting for it to be out and was ecstatic when I got an ARC.
What I loved most about the book was our protagonist, Sage. He was such a witty and sarcastic character with a sharp tongue and I enjoyed his dialogue with the other characters as well as following his adventure throughout the book. The antagonist was also done thoroughly well without coming off as cliche. Most of the characters where pretty good though I did feel one or two characters came off as two-dimensional.
This book mostly dealt with the competition of becoming the impersonator of the prince and I'm wondering where the next book will go off, it'll probably center around the world as war is brewing. It's also interesting to note that there is no mention of magic or any supernatural elements in the False Prince which is a rather nice breather as we can focus on the politics of the world.
The writing was rather simple and the world was nothing special for a fantasy. But it was still an easy and enjoyable read that I believe both middle grade and young adult readers will enjoy. The book really reminds me of Tamora Pierce's The Song of Lioness series. So if you loved that series be sure to check this out and if you're just looking for a good middle grade book or an easy enjoyable fantasy then be sure to check out The False Prince!
I am a HUGE Iron King series fan, I totally love the series and it has to be my all time favourite Fey books. While I love other Fey series like the F...moreI am a HUGE Iron King series fan, I totally love the series and it has to be my all time favourite Fey books. While I love other Fey series like the Faeriewalker books by Jenna Black or the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Mar, Iron King series remains my number one favourite. I always loved them because we travel into the fey world and learn and see the many creatures and mythical beings of the Fey . I downloaded the Summer's Crossing ebook today and quickly read it this morning, it's a fast read.
Well on with the review. The book picks up where the Iron Queen left off. Ash must return a favor that forces him to infiltrate the Summer Court, if he's caught than no doubt the Winter Prince will be killed, luckly Puck Goodfellow who can't resist a challenge or a prank is there to help him. Can't say much about the book because as I mentined its a very quick read. This book is from Puck's point of view and it intresting too see how he thinks, he's witty and goofy as usaul but we also learn many new things about Puck. As with the Julie Kagawa's other books her world is very imagantive and as a fantasy lover I can't help but appreciate it. The only things that was disspointing was how short it was, I suppose that's a novella for you.
To say the least I'm even more excited for the Iron Knight to be out(less)
As soon as I read the summary, I was completely caught and knew I had to read the book, and it was everything I expected it to be and so much more:
The...moreAs soon as I read the summary, I was completely caught and knew I had to read the book, and it was everything I expected it to be and so much more:
The whole book really felt like a tale. I mean a fairy tale like tales of the Brothers Grimm or Chris Hans Anderson. Laini Taylor is a brilliant storyteller that's for sure. The opening line really made it that much more like one: Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love.....It did not end well. A bit cliche, I know, but it really made it feel more like one. And the book was not just about romance - it's about war and hope, finding your place, and adventure and magic. Though I'm definitely not saying the romance was bad - like the rest of the story it was well-done.
I loved loved the mythology aspect of this series – the angels and chimaera. You’ve probably read about angels and perhaps even a little on chimaera. But Laini Taylor spins a completely new and original tale on these two. And learning about them – their cities, culture, war and everything else made me feel like I was transported to a different place and time and painted a perfect picture in my head. The setting was also done vividly and I really enjoyed learning about the city of Prague, I kept googling places Karou mentioned!
I fell in love with Karou's adopted family - the chimaera: Issa, Twiga, Yasri, Kishmish, and of course Brimstone - Karou's adopted father. I was so excited to see what happens next in the book - the mystery concerning Brimstone and what he does with the teeth? Who is Karou really? Who these strange angels are? Basically the whole book was a roller coaster that I couldn't stand to get off. I kept wishing there was more pages and that the book would continue on for a long time.
So should you try this? That's a YES. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was more than your usual YA, it really has potential to be a classic. With it's breathing-taking tale, mythology and setting I'm sure anyone who appreciates literature - or just a great story in general - will love it!(less)