The intriguing first installment of the Veiled Isles Trilogy gives readers a taste of its rich world and the cataclysm to come. Jianna is the spoiled daughter of Magnifico Aureste Belandor. While on her way to a new land and a future husband, Jianna is kidnapped by an enemy her father discounted long ago. Jianna must overcome her pampered upbringing and naivety of her father's past deeds in order to escape the fate that awaits her.
The whimsy of this book caught me right away with the prologue and the humorous banter between Grix Orlazu and his automaton I never felt forced to read this as the style and quality of writing were wonderful, however I felt like there was a veil between myself and the characters. Although I wanted to get to know them better I could never really connect or relate to any of the character except Jianna. Jianna annoyed me at first with her bratty attitude and complete dependency on her father to rescue her, however as the story progressed and it become more and more clear that her father would not be coming to her rescue, I was pleasantly surprised at Jianna's development. . I especially enjoyed her nursing of the patients with Falaste Rione. Instead of complaining and getting grossed out, she rose to the challenge and helped heal the battle injuries of her patients. I loved her growing sense of responsibility and her eventual willingness to devise her own way of escape. It was nice to read about a heroine who tries to save herself rather than just waits for someone else to do it. I look forward to seeing how much she grows in the next book as well.
There was were very little romance elements in this book. You could tell the author is setting up Jianna to have feelings for Rione, but instead of focusing on a romance, the Paula Brandon focuses on her world building, characters, and story. Although I felt the chapters focusing on Vinz Corvestri slowed down the pace of the novel quite a bit, I still enjoyed getting to know the characters. Rione was my least favorite character in this story, mostly because he was a complete and utter wimp until the last couple chapters. I absolutely hated that he just stood around and let Jianna be hurt and treated as a prisoner. If Jianna does develop feelings for him and he becomes the love interest, I hope the author gives Rione a way to redeem himself because he is still on my shit list.
Readers will find this first installment to be more of a precursor to the main story which seems to be set to unfold in book 2. While reviews I have read complain about this, I was compelled to find out more and actually excited by the way it all ended. The end perfectly sets up book 2 for readers and gives them a pretty good idea of what is happening to the world around its characters. As a zombie fanatic, I am not completely convinced about the zombies of Brandon's world, but am looking forward to finding out more about them. I think Brandon had the right idea when she set up The Traitor's Daughter to mostly set everything up so that she could get into the meat of things in book 2 The Ruined City set to be released February 28th of 2012.
Recommendation: Fantasy fans will recognize the elements of an epic tale, but will want more clarification. Not for readers looking for a romance novel, this is pure fantasy and adventure. (less)
When I first started reading this, I was a bit put off by how rushed it felt. Much of the time the characters spend together is off page leaving weeks unaccounted for. I felt disoriented, almost like there wasn't enough thought put into the actual events of the book, but once I hit about a third of the way through, the story really opened up to me. Details about the world, the catastrophe it has suffered, and its characters are revealed slowly as Avry travels, a bit against her will, to heal a sick prince who could save the fifteen realms, but has left a scar on more than one aspect of Avry's life. Her traveling companions must convince her that Prince Ryne is worth saving, and worth giving up her own life for.
I was intrigued by the magic woven throughout Avry's world and ultimately how the rare healers came to be. The mystery of the Death and Peace Lillies kept me interested, and when I finally found out what they had to do with the overall plot, I was pretty impressed. Some aspects of this book were easy to anticipate, but I seem to get that with almost every book I read.
The thing that really makes or breaks a book for me are its characters and Snyder does not disappoint. Avry's band of misfits were so endearing, especially Poppa Bear. Their interactions with Avry and slow but satisfying development are what really invested me in this story.
What I genuinely appreciated about this book is that it wasn't focused on forcing the romance between Avry and Kerrick. It just fell into place while Snyder focused on the goal of saving the realms, introducing fantastic characters, and offering the reader a genuinely enjoyable experience. Although the book could have stood on it's own, I can say that I am truly looking forward to further installments of this series. (less)
David and Danielle James are your everyday brother and sister; they argue, David bugs the crap out of his big sister, Danielle treats her brother like a nuisance, and underneath it all they really love each other. What these two don't know is that their normal lives are about to be turned upside down as they discover their hidden roots.
Shrouded Secrets reminds me of an old school fantasy book in that McGrath takes his time building up his characters so that you notice the subtle changes they go through that foreshadow the kind of person they will end up being. The world and culture of Eruditus are carefully constructed and introduced to the reader as if they too are a passenger on this fantastical ride. The problem I had was that I felt like this was a draft rather than a final product. Some of the dialogue and description was a bit wordy and could do with an edit. Shrouded Secrets has the potential to stand up there with titles like The Lightning Thief, but lacks a certain sparkly final coat.
This is a book parents will want their pre-teens to read. The situations and characters are very YA, but unlike other YA titles, you can trust that your kids are getting something really good out of their reading experience. The dialogue is relate-able, yet wholesome and the underlying messages of self-awareness and responsibility wrapped in a sci-fi fantasy package will leave them with concepts they can use in everyday life.
Overall, Shrouded Secrets is a heartfelt first installment to a series that has the potential to become a classic. Certain scenes really grabbed me on an emotional level. Without spoiling the main plot points, McGrath creates such a innately evil, totally dislike-able character in Madison that I whooped when she finally got what was coming to her. Also, I cried when I thought my favorite character was going to die. The character really became that real for me that I feared for his/her life. So now Mr. McGrath, you can say you made me cry, which is a difficult thing to do when it comes to books and movies. You see, McGrath's debut novel is no mindless read like most YA books today, which is why I recommend it. However, it may not appeal to more adult minds until it gets that final coat. (less)
I started reading this book because I wanted to have more information on the characters and events of the HBO series, Game of Thrones. I enjoyed the show and felt it stayed pretty true to the book all for a few inconsequential scenes. While reading the book, I got a look into what the characters were thinking and feeling when they made their big decisions and went through their coming of age trials. I really enjoyed that aspect of it.
Now, setting aside the HBO series altogether. This is the start of what I can only refer to as Epic Fantasy. I have many good memories of my childhood days of adventuring in Narnia, accompanying a hobbit to the dragon's lair, and racing across icy battlefields on polar bears with a brave young girl. All these wonderful experiences reading brought me as a child came rushing back as I read through A Game of Thrones. The characters are so real you can't help but love certain ones entirely and hate others bitterly. You can't help but hold your breath in fear at their trials and cry out in victory for their triumphs.
Each chapter is told from a different point of view, focusing on one main character or another, giving us deep insights into their inner workings. This style brings the reader so much closer to the story, connecting them to the characters and making them as real as their loved ones.
This first book can be slow at times, but I believe that is mostly due to the fact that this is the first book, and the author is trying to establish a relationship between reader and character. He is trying to pull us into this lush, wonderful world before he truly shows us the big guns.
The next installment, A Clash of Kings, promises to be insanely epic. This is one girl who has fallen for fantasy all over again. (less)
I actually liked this a lot more than I was expecting.
Dead Witch Walking starts out slow, and I mean very slow. It takes about the first 100 pages for the plot to begin in earnest and another 50 for the action to start. Once the action gains some momentum, it doesn't stop until the end of the book.
There are many negative reviews for this book here on Goodreads, and I have to agree with most of them that it suffers from the "first book in the series" syndrome and has some issues with the character development and relationships. However, even though the story takes a bit to get started, once it does it is hard to put the book down. I had to finish this last night to find out how it ended. Now, the ending is a bit lack luster, but there is a hint of promise for following books to be exciting. I have also heard that the rest of the series is amazing and this is just one of those books you have to get through to get to the good stuff.
Don't let the slow beginning and lack of hottie love interests deter you form giving this series a try. Near the end we get a glimpse of future interests for Rachel so do not fear!
I will definitely be giving the rest of the Hollows series a try. The lush world and engaging companion characters are well worth it. (less)
I adored this book. I understand that this book does not reflect the original Alice stories well, however one has to take into consideration that this...moreI adored this book. I understand that this book does not reflect the original Alice stories well, however one has to take into consideration that this is a tale-retold book. This is meant to be the author's own stylistic interpretation of the amazingly sumptuous world that is Alice in Wonderland. I recommend this book to those interested in Wonderland and finding out the extent this world can be taken to. Please for those of you who are bashing this novel, enjoy the imagery and artistry and stop taking yourselves so seriously.(less)