I won’t lie, reading this book was exhausting. The moment I was introduced to a new character, Eliza, and her POV, I was peeved. It signified that in...moreI won’t lie, reading this book was exhausting. The moment I was introduced to a new character, Eliza, and her POV, I was peeved. It signified that in order to tie up all the loose threads presented in the first two books, my much loved story was going to become all the more convoluted. There were many times that I would come to this new POV and I would set the book aside. I didn’t like or care for the character and I often found myself wishing her away. There were also numerous times that my desire to read a happy ending for Karou and Akiva was the only thing that kept me reading. Thankfully Ms. Taylor provided one.
Having said that, I did enjoy the journey that Laini Taylor has written.
The world is imaginative, as are the characters with whom I had become deeply invested. How Ms. Taylor was able to fathom such a world blows me away. It’s Cruel, grotesque and wonderous.
The writing is lovely.
“Liraz had heard it said that there was only one emotion which, in recollection, was capable of resurrecting the full immediacy and power of the original - one emotion that time could never fade, and that would drag you back any number of years into the pure, undiluted feeling, as if you were living it anew. It wasn't love - not that she had any experience of that one - and it wasn't hate, or anger, or happiness, or even grief. Memories of those were but echoes of the true feeling. It was shame. Shame never faded, and Liraz realized only now that this was the baseline of her emotions - her bitter, curdled "normal" - and that her soul was poisoned soil in which nothing good could grow.”
And the woman can drag out sexual tension like no one I have ever seen! It’s borderline cruel.
“Akiva felt the tilt of the world trying to tip him forward: to be nearer to her--nearer and touching--as though that were the only state of rest, and every other action and movement were geared to achieving it.”
“But let's not be casual about this body, okay?" She nuzzled him back. "It may be your soul that I love, but I'm pretty keen on its vessel, too." Her voice had dropped lower as she spoke, and his response was low and husky in kind. "I can't say I'm sorry to hear that," he said, and brushed his face past hers to kiss a place beneath her ear, sending instant, electric frissons coursing through her body.”
It’s difficult to delve further into a review as this story is rather complicated, and the task seems daunting, for me at least. It’s clear that while Akiva and Karou’s story has been “wrapped up”, the stories from this world are far from over. I only hope the next adventures are told from Liraz and Ziri’s point of view as I have become firmly invested in them. I’d love to see how their roles within this world progresses, and their relationship unfolds. (less)
The story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concep...moreThe story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concept of living in a realm where you could forever remain a child was not appealing. It is only in adulthood, that I understand. But even still, the story of Peter Pan is not my favorite. I say this so that you understand my love of Tiger Lily was unexpected.
I can't even put my finger on what prompted me to glance at Tiger Lily, but I was a goner within the first few pages. Told from Tinker Bell's point of view, we are enabled to see a broad view of the underbelly of Neverland and the host of characters that reside within the magical realm.
Tiger Lilly's Neverland wasn't what I imagined it would be. It's dark, lonely and dangerous. The woods are only a place to romp and play within for those that are extraordinarily brave or oblivious. The residents themselves live with a constant undercurrent of fear whether it be of their fellow villagers, pirates, wild beasts, Englanders, or most fearsome of all, change.
We are also shown the characters we all recognize, though new, colorful sides of them are presented. Captain Hook, for instance, is a drunken, desolate man, who no longer recognizes himself as he was when he was a young, eager man searching for eternal youth.
On the other hand, Peter Pan, is everything we have known him to be, adventureous, impulsive, and charming. However, we also learn that his playful, seemingly spontaneous actions are driven from fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of growing up and the responsibility that coincides with adulthood.
But the biggest treat of all is a character barely referenced in the tale of Peter Pan, Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is a lonesome character with a fierce will and a deep sense of compassion that she carefully keeps hidden. Adopted at infancy by the village Shaman, she is taunted and teased mercilessly. Many believe she is cursed. Her story is not a happy one. Yet it is evident from the onset that Tiger Lily has a thirst for exploration, and eagerness to discover the world and her place within it.
In spite of my knowing that Peter ultimately winds up with Wendy Darling, I couldn't help but feel the wrongness of such an ending as I became immersed in their story. The characters of Tiger Lily and Peter called to one another, each possessing characteristics the other lacked, delighting in all the traits that made them the same and failing in their ability to express either.
Ultimately, it was the choices of each of these characters, and those closest to them that made this book both heartbreaking and joyful. It's truly a beautiful and surprisingly haunting tale.(less)
Oh dear lord, why do I read these books? The fact that I have read three angel books in the last two weeks is going to require me to add an "angel" ca...moreOh dear lord, why do I read these books? The fact that I have read three angel books in the last two weeks is going to require me to add an "angel" category to my shelves, which will throw them all off....all I can say for myself is that this blasted series kind of snuck up on me and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying it.
Before I go further, I should mention that there are several "things" about this series that would make more discerning readers want to toss these books into the recycle bin. The heroine is beyond dense. She has her moments, and sometimes I even like her if for no other reason than for the fact that she tries to do the right thing. However, character motivations remain elusive to her until they smack in the face, often quite literally. The plot points are often entirely too convienient and the world is so ambiguous that it allows for anything and everything, though I kind of admire that last one. Can't call fowl on what is undefined, right? Overall, there isn't much that makes this series any more special than the thousands of other titles within this genre, which may be in part why it appealed to me.
For me, I read books within this genre to be exposed to a new realm, where the comforts of our reality are present, but paired with a fantastical element. I read them to meet characters that I can love, hate, swoon over, laugh with, mourn, cheer for, or all of the above. Lastly, I read these type stories to go on an adventure that allows for youthful characters to save the world, or complete equally heroic tasks. Its oddly empowering. There are dozens of series that achieve these goals, and I enjoy this one because it does as well.
I don't like Violet. I don't feel that she has done anything to earn such devoted adoration from nearly all her fellow characters, and I have already made my thoughts on her intellect clear. I don't swoon over Lincoln because he is entirely too calm and essentially wooden. But I do love these two together. There scenes are tension filled, and sometimes entirely steamy. I'm not angel obsessed, in fact I often shy away from angel lore as it often comes across as preachy and/or hokey. Yet I love the concept of there being no such thing as a good side or bad side, just warring purpose and points of view. And this series possesses my most favorite of elements within this genre...morally ambiguous characters that outshine their alleged hero counterparts. For those of who share my love, you will find your heart's delight in Phoenix, Onyx and Nox.
There is nothing special about this series, but it contains everything I want when hungering for this genre. It may not be the best of the best, but it did make me serial read every book currently available to me and consent to reorganizing my bookshelves. For me, that's something.
P.S. the cliffhanger ending is bullshit. I'm not happy about having to wait to get my ending that I know is coming.(less)
Few words are needed to describe this read. It's in keeping with Grave Mercy, but significantly less ridiculous given that there are no assassin nuns...moreFew words are needed to describe this read. It's in keeping with Grave Mercy, but significantly less ridiculous given that there are no assassin nuns present. The plot kept me prodding along, (curiosity kills time, not cats) but if the main characters has fallen of a bridge to meet their impending doom, I wouldn't have cared. They don't. Apparently they will be back for the sequel, which lets face it, I will probably read, eventually, because that's what I do. Good read for those in need of a "fantasy" fix.(less)
I immediately dived into reading this installment after the cliffhanger ending had me wondering if the heroine would go on to have sex with the sexy v...moreI immediately dived into reading this installment after the cliffhanger ending had me wondering if the heroine would go on to have sex with the sexy vampire. She doesn't, but the book was no less entertaining for that oversight. I'm hoping that the author will rectify the situation in book 3, but only time will tell. (less)
1. I got this one for free on amazon...so don't judge me. 2. It belongs to the new adult genre and it is delicious...the simple fact that I typed that...more1. I got this one for free on amazon...so don't judge me. 2. It belongs to the new adult genre and it is delicious...the simple fact that I typed that statement has me judging myself. 3. It is basically a Mortal Instruments rip off with explicit sex scenes, so if you didn't like one, you may not find joy in the other. 4. For those of you who did enjoy mortal instruments and didn't know about this book until you saw it pop up in your feed, you're welcome :) (less)
Though I had enjoyed Girl of Fire and Thorns a great deal, I had rather forgotten to anticipate this series. No doubt due to the onslaught of releases...moreThough I had enjoyed Girl of Fire and Thorns a great deal, I had rather forgotten to anticipate this series. No doubt due to the onslaught of releases within this genre. But I recently found myself yearning for a fantasy escape to far off fictional lands that promise tales of adventure, love, intrigue and phenomenal characters, when I happened upon Bitter Kingdom. I quickly realized I had neglected to read Crown of Embers and was immediately thrilled with the prospect of reading not one, but two books to slate my lust. Carson did not fail me.
I am completely confident that readers who enjoyed Kristen Cashore’s Graceling Series, Megan Whelan Turner’s Thief series or Malina Marchetta's Lumitere Chronicles will equally delight and devour this one. The world building is superb and possesses a lore that is unique while possessing traits that are familiar to fantasy readers. Each of these books bursts at the seams with political intrigue, some may even feel daunted by it, but I was not perturbed to read it. For me, these two qualities alone could easily ship a series, but what truly blew me away, more than masterful writing about magical realms and cunningly crafted political land mines were the characters, most importantly our heroine, Elisa.
In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa offers readers the promise of potential. She is rather annoying and useless at the start of the book, but makes a gradual, steady climb into a likeable and even loveable character. She astounds in this one. While I have read several books that possess worthy heroines, I’m going to dare say that none of them have matched this one. And I say that because all of the worthy heroine’s I have read and loved have possessed intelligence (I could not love them otherwise), but they were all also described as physically capable, and most of all, have been described as beautiful (and almost always possessing and naturally lithe figure). Not so for Elisa. Elisa made strides in improving her physical strength and capabilities in book 1 of this series, and that trend certainly continues. But that strength is not beyond the limits of a natural human being who is only just beginning to test the boundaries of her own strength. She often experiences failure in this endeavor and I found this to be refreshing. Even more jarring is the fact that Elisa is described by her kingdom as portly and most of her friends and family acknowledge the fact that she is far from a “looker”. This simply never happens in books. Heroines are always considered beautiful by others, even when the character themselves may not acknowledge the truth behind it. This fact always lends some power to the heroine, and yet Elisa does not possess this trait in her arsenal of attributes. Rather, she has to rely solely on her intelligence and personality to earn the love and respect of her fellow characters and readers. She certainly earned mine. I was elated to read about a heroine that struggled with all forms of limitations including self doubt and insecurity. Yet Elisa insists upon a continued quest to overcome them all. Moreover, she judges the success of this endeavor by finding these traits within herself, and not thru the validation and actions of others. It made me love her all the more.
But wait, it gets better, because Carson gifts us with even more extra ordinarily drawn characters beyond that of her heroine.
We have the repentant assassin turned spy, Belen who I initially liked, then loathed and have slowly grown to trust and count upon. The fierce and scared lady and waiting Mara, who’s quiet devotion and determination for survival inspires Elisa’s desire to find joy for herself in spite of her predestined service of others. We are also introduced to the enigmatic Inveirno, Storm who remains shrouded in mystery even at book’s end and best of all, the loyal, and moral Lord Commander, Hector. Hector is a man of few words, but they are all the right ones.
“I love you the way a dying man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little”
Swoon. Even better, he loved Elisa before anyone, including Elisa herself, saw something in her to love. Gotta give the man credit for that. But even if Hector was not a leading man due to his love of Elisa, I am confident he would have earned a hero status all the same for he is brave, and humble, and quietly intelligent.
So, be prepared, because Crown of Embers does what all great books do…make you yearn for more. Luckily it’s out, so rush off to the store like I did so that you don’t whittle your nails to nubs in anticipation. (less)
I’m often disappointed by series. It doesn’t stop me from reading them, but they often leave me disenchanted. Not so with this sequel.
The ShadowReade...moreI’m often disappointed by series. It doesn’t stop me from reading them, but they often leave me disenchanted. Not so with this sequel.
The ShadowReader was a reading whim. It didn’t blow me away, but it was fun. It had adventure, good premise/world building, and a healthy bit of swoon. All in all, it was a nice waste of an afternoon. But I forgot about it, hence my delay in reading this installment. It wasn’t on my “list”. It will be now.
This installment takes place a few short weeks after The ShadowReader ended. McKenzie is aiding in setting Lena on the throne while trying to piece her human life back together. When her one and only friend, Paige, goes missing, McKenzie & co, set out to find her. Sounds simple enough, right? Probably because it should. But a lot of “stuff” happens, including an infuriating whammy of an ending. I’m really irritated. And schmexy scene frustrated. But overall and very pleased with what this book delivered and is promising for the future. Fans of this series shouldn’t be disappointed. (less)
Like so many recent readers of this series, I came to it by way of the t.v. show. After two episodes, I was hooked, but unlike many, I stopped watchin...moreLike so many recent readers of this series, I came to it by way of the t.v. show. After two episodes, I was hooked, but unlike many, I stopped watching the show, opting to learn about these characters as the author intended before I saw them come to life as HBO would allow. I wasn’t disappointed. Their journeys are and continue to be intriguing to say the least.
In reading other’s reviews, there appears to a polarization of responses. Readers either love or hate the book with no in between. Those who love it give a multitude of reasons which I happen to share, and those who disliked the series felt as though they were essentially drowned in the detail and didn’t care for the one dimensional characters. Valid reasons. Luckily for me, the detail was the very reason I sought out the book in the first place, so I was pleased by it. And while I can’t discount the one dimensional character commentary, I will say that these one dimensional characters provide a ton of entertainment. I’m enjoying this series not for the characters themselves, but the decisions that they make and the fallout that occurs as a result.
The world Martin has created is intricate and ever evolving. I may get frustrated by this fact eventually, but for the moment, he seems to be replacing characters with equally interesting, complex (yet predictable) characters which I hope will only renew my engagement as opposed to causing me to lose it. I’m all set to read book two! (less)
Oh what a reading experience Froi of the Exiles has been. I loved it, hated it and sometimes loved to hate it. Its books such as these that make me aw...moreOh what a reading experience Froi of the Exiles has been. I loved it, hated it and sometimes loved to hate it. Its books such as these that make me aware of how much I revel in reading the depravity of life with all its desire, love, violence, heartbreak and suffering. This beast of a book took me three days to read, once I finally resigned myself to reading it, and that was with me reading it from the moment I got home on into the wee hours of the night, and okay, maybe I snuck in some reading time at work as well. I couldn’t help myself! This story grabbed me by my hair and wouldn’t let go until I turned the last page and now…now I am left feeling dazed, confused, distraught, angry, you name it, I’m feeling it. And can someone, please punch Isaboe in the face?!
With that out of the way, I’m going use this “review” as a way of hashing out my thoughts, so there will be no summary here. Too many better reviewers have done so already and frankly, there is too much story to recount, I wouldn’t know where to begin or what to include. Therefore, I will forewarn you now, there will be spoilers ahead.
I’ll begin with the plot. I love Froi, Lumatere loves Froi, who doesn’t love Froi? I had high hopes for him. He came from wretchedness and I wanted to see him settle into Lumatere, find redemption for his past deeds as well as a place among the people there. Preferably one that would allow him to shine. He had so much of himself to offer. I’m glad Marchetta knew better. He doesn’t belong in Lumatere, in a land now filling with light. He would always feel separate. And of course he needed to fall in love with a mad princess. He is half out of his mind most of the time as well. Leave it to Froi to show us all the beauty a person can posess, even in wickedness. I was touched by his draw to Quintana and while I was initially saddened that he couldn’t have been loved by a “sane” woman, I quickly changed my mind. The bond he and Quintana share frees them from shame and I don’t think they would have found that with anyone else. And as wrong as this may be, I adored this scene…
“What are you doing?" she asked, trying to raise herself. "First, I thought I'd show you what a pity it would be if they cut off my wicked tongue.”
Personally, I think cunnilingus should be mentioned much more often in literature. Marchetta is a woman after my heart, and Froi is a wise man indeed.
Subplots. One I loved, the other two I could have done without. Its not that I dislike Beatriss, it’s more that I didn’t see how her story enhanced the overall story at hand. Yes, it demonstrates the long road to healing, but everyone else’s story was depressing enough without her drama and frankly, theirs were more interesting and demonstrated the same point. Then there is Isaboe. I couldn’t stand her in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi’s installment didn’t do much to improve my feelings toward her. Just when I found her bearable, I got the end, and now I’m back to loathing her. And while I have no idea why Marchetta chose to discuss breastfeeding, I’m going to chime in on these characters debate of Isaboe insisting that her two year old suckle her breast. If a babe can ask for it, it shouldn’t be getting it. Ahem. Luckily there was a third subplot, one that charmed me from the onset. We knew at the end of Finnikin of the Rock, that Lucien would have much to prove. And while he hasn’t done much yet, I believe he is well on his way. This is in large part due to his new wife, Phaedra. She brought out the worst in him, but also the best. Their story was one i silently adored. I often caught myself smiling during their exchanges.
Overall, there were certainly things that could have been omitted from Froi of the Exiles, there was a lot of traveling, and sitting about waiting for fallout, yet I felt like I was given a treasure. I deeply regret waiting so long to read this installment. It is nothing like the first. It is so much more dark, humorous, wretched, long winded, exciting, sad, sexy, more. In reading Froi of the Exiles, I not only became more enamored with characters we had met in Finnikin of the Rock, I also fell in love with the new additions, namely Quintana, Phaedra and Arjuro. I hope with all my being that they receive a happy ending that would most benefit them. I know Marchetta won’t let us down. If there is an author who can paint a perfect character and display their many facets, it’s her.
P.S. Anyone dying to discuss spoilers, please do so in the comments, I have so many things I want to jabber about!(less)
I was prepared to like The King of Attolia, even love it. What I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that occurred while reading it. I was constantly dou...moreI was prepared to like The King of Attolia, even love it. What I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that occurred while reading it. I was constantly doused with a sense of anticipation, giddiness and frustration. It made me want to simultaneously devour this book and draw it out.
Having read predecessors The Thief and The Queen of Attolia, it’s safe to say that I was fairly engrossed in the world Megan Whelan Turner has created prior to reading this installment to her series. I have come to know the kingdoms of Sounis, Eddis and been privy to glimpses of Attolia. I’ve learned about their mythology and religion, and remained in awe of Turner’s ability to create such an intricate world filled with multi-dimensional characters. I even came to care and root for a character that I initially found arrogant and a bit annoying (I’m talking about you Eugenides). But even though Turner was able to implement all these success into enjoyable reads, I still doubted her. I doubted her because she included a romance that I couldn’t fully buy into and it wasn’t until I was mid-way through The King of Attolia that I realized that I had been had. I couldn’t believe, that I, a fairly astute reader, had been played, just as many of the characters in this series are played, and you know what? I loved it! I loved that Turner built in a plot point that would allow readers to feel exactly as so many of the characters often feel within this story, not through them, but with them. If that isn’t brilliant writing, I don’t know what is.
I’m not going to summarize the plot, the blurb and several other better reviewers than I have already done so. All I’ll say is this….Megan Whalen Turner is an author to respect, this series is one to read and re-read. These characters will engrain themselves into your heart and you will burst with pride at their successes. Everything about this series is clever, intricate and wholly entertaining. Read it, I promise you won’t be sorry. (less)
Actual rating 4.5 stars It’s been nearly 24 hours since I completed reading The Queen of Attolia. My mind is still in a bit of a fog and my eyes remai...moreActual rating 4.5 stars It’s been nearly 24 hours since I completed reading The Queen of Attolia. My mind is still in a bit of a fog and my eyes remain exhausted. I simply couldn’t bare to part with Gen’s story once it began. And what a story it is!
Told in 3rd person, The Queen of Attolia picks up where The Thief left off, with Gen sneaking about and getting himself into trouble for the sake of Eddis. Yet, the stakes are higher. Gen is no longer seen as a lowly, albeit competent, thief able to steal expensive baubles. He is a political threat and as such, Gen has garnered himself a few powerful enemies. When Gen is caught thieving in Attolia, the Queen exacts her revenge and sets an unexpected chain of events into play.
Though I enjoyed The Thief very much, I feel as though The Queen of Attolia is the better book. With the change in narration, we are treated to so many more points of view, adding many delightful layers and perspectives to this ingeniously crafted world and its perfectly imperfect characters. It truly is a joy to read, although a heavy one, as there really isn’t any “breathing room” built into this installment. I’m sort of wishing I had spread the reading of it out a bit. But I digress. There is a mile long list of this book’s attributes, none of which I will be able to do the least bit of justice. The only reason I didn’t give The Queen of Attolia five stars was the unexpected romance that I’m afraid to say, I felt was too unbelievable to buy into. Regardless, The Queen of Attolia blesses every page it was written upon and I would proudly recommend it to anyone. (less)
After I emerged from the reading fog induced by Angelfall, I was a bit befuddeled. I had hunkered down with my kindle, and my friends and family would...moreAfter I emerged from the reading fog induced by Angelfall, I was a bit befuddeled. I had hunkered down with my kindle, and my friends and family would have had to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers in order to get me to set it aside. The writing and premise were that good. But….
(Don’t you just hate seeing a “but” in a review when you are invested in a great story???)
The ending, I think, may have been cheap. As in garbage cheap. For much of the story, I felt as though I was reading The Walking Dead, only with Angels rather than Zombies and one kick ass heroine that had my fist pumping the air saying “Hell yes!”. I was loving every minute of my reading experience. It had me on the edge of my chair. My palms were clammy, and I’m sure I looked a little pasty, as being un-nerved has a way of making me look like death warmed over. But that ending… I just can’t shake the feeling that Ee lacked enough confidence in her story to omit the Hostel-like elements. And they were Hostel-like. Nothing but gore and shock value. It added nothing to her story. She could have furthered it without the perversity. So…I took away a star. But you better believe that I’m going to be wringing my hands in anticipation for the next installment. Because in spite of the cheaply added element, I still love the adventure Ee has created, and am excited to continue on, I just hope she doesn’t ruin it. (less)
I remember going on a date in college to see Kill Bill Volume 2. I was on said date with a guy that I had been crushing on for a few months and was on...moreI remember going on a date in college to see Kill Bill Volume 2. I was on said date with a guy that I had been crushing on for a few months and was one of those dates that you know you should say no to, being last minute and all, and to partake in viewing something you have no interest in or knowledge of no less. But you say yes because crushes make you stupid, and some idiotic thought inspires you to believe that the glory of some dude you barely know will radiate so much awesomeness that viewing a crap movie for 2 hours won't suck. Anywho, my memories of the date and guy are a bit foggy, but I distinctly remember the awkwardness that bloomed as I tried to hold in my laughter when Keith Carriden played the flute while speaking of death and mayhem. After all, I wasn't sure if I was meant to laugh. That awkward feeling was exactly how I felt while reading Grave Mercy.
I knew, without having ever viewed her author profile, that R.l.Lafevers had to of been a children's author as soon as I began reading Grave Mercy. It has a childish simplicity to it that prevented me from ever fully investing into it as it lacked the necessary detail. This very simplicity often set my teeth on edge as the story was not improved by it's oh so special/perfect/intelligent/ insecure/yet cocky heroine/narrator. It's only saving grace was it's easy readability which only took a few hours to burn through in addition to the fact that I felt bad about giving it a 1 or 2 star rating. It would be like punching a child in the face. And truly, I knew before I began that it was about assassin nuns, what was I expecting?
P.S. I am now enthralled by both volumes of Kill Bill and delight in them whenever I find them on TBS.(less)
Simply put, Zombies vs. Unicorns is made of awesome. Personally, I never gave much thought to who would win such a contest. I have however, spent many...moreSimply put, Zombies vs. Unicorns is made of awesome. Personally, I never gave much thought to who would win such a contest. I have however, spent many hours debating who would win Smurfs vs. Gnomes. For start, Smurfs are blue, 10 pts. right there. But on the other side, Gnomes have that magical cotton ball that cures anything from starvation to maiming by animal trap. I think that earns at least 10 pts. as well. I suppose I could designate a winner based on who was the best dressed, but again, how do you choose? The Smurfs are very aesthetically pleasing; after all, they match their hat to their pants. [image error]
But the Gnomes have those fantastic cone hats… [image error]
But I digress. You want to know about who would win in the show down between Zombies vs. Unicorns. Personally, I’m Team Zombie.
Team Zombie had a weak story or two, but even the weakest of the zombie stories smite Team Unicorn. I guess age is against me, as my “My Little Pony” stages have long since past me by, so I may have begun a wee bit biased. But corniness aside, Team Unicorn simply didn’t bring anything new to the table, bestiality aside, whereas most, if not all, of Team Zombie added a fresh new twist on Zombie lore. Nevertheless the Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier managed a feat I have yet to see in the reading realm…they compiled an anthology that didn’t suck. (less)
I read books for a variety of reasons, to be entertained, find inspiration, expand my world view, have a cathartic cry, etc. I read the works of Lani...moreI read books for a variety of reasons, to be entertained, find inspiration, expand my world view, have a cathartic cry, etc. I read the works of Lani Taylor for her rare ability to string words together in such a lovely way that you feel as though she could write about poo and it would still be one of the most breath-taking pieces written. I simply cannot fathom such a talent. Moreover, I can’t comprehend how one can possess such a vivid imagination and manage to fashion it into a believable reality. Lani Taylor can and does.
Set in modern day Prague, “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” tells us the story of 17 year old Karou. She spends her days attending art classes, drawing and mending her recent disappointment cast by her good for nothing ex-boyfriend. Sounds fairly standard, no? But Karou possesses a secret life. A life she dare not share beyond the fantastical pictures that lie within her notebook. Pictures that are replicas of Karou’s hidden world. A world in which magic exists and enables Karou to traverse the globe through secret portals. Portals that Karou must enter to complete the errands tasked to her by her demonic family. A family which has raised her with care since her infancy.
“The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” tells us the story of what happens when an Angel and a devil fall in love. As Taylor herself says in her opening line, it does not end well.
As I’m sure none of my words on this unexpected idly gorgeous book will ever aptly speak to the brilliance that lies within its pages, I’ll let the book speak for itself in one of my most favorite passages here:
"this, she thought, isn't just for today. It's for everything. For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn't shake; for the shame of having been so naive. For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve--like the souls version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable."
And another here:
"She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust."
I hope you read this remarkable book and enjoy it as much as I did. (less)
Marchetta’s seqway into the fantasy genre is seamless. Her talent translates. Reiminisent of childhood favorite Robin McKinley and newcomer Kristin Ca...moreMarchetta’s seqway into the fantasy genre is seamless. Her talent translates. Reiminisent of childhood favorite Robin McKinley and newcomer Kristin Cashore, Marchetta reminds me of why I love this genre. I enjoyed my time spent with Finnikin of the Rock. The world was imaginative and complex without being elusive. The characters were multi-deminsional and the magic was present, but didn’t bombard the text. With that said, there were a few flaws that prohibited me from giving it a high rating.
Spoilers ahead…. While I will never say that this book is poorly written, I will say that much of it was unnecessary and defied logic. I know, I know, it’s a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy containing human characters and there were times these characters behaved as something other than human. I’m referring mainly to the characters treatment of Evanjaline and she them. Evanjaline/Isaboe is a detestable character. I just know I’m going to get flack from my fellow readers for saying that, as many people seemed to love her, but, well, I thought she was an arrogant asshole. And yet Finnikin fell in love with her. How? She betrays him, lies to him throughout the story, and yet he pines for her. Bullshit. If someone threw me in prison, regardless of their well intented albeit secret, agenda, and left me to rot, there isn’t a chance in hell I’d like them, much less love them. Finnikin spends the entire book doubting and distrusting Evanjaline, and rightfully so, and yet we are to believe he loves her. Were there is no trust, there can be no love. Its that simple. Lust, sure, but love, I think not. If Evanjaline had simply been crafty, I would have liked her. There is no denying she is the epitome of a strong, resourceful female, and she outbests all the men, I should have loved that. But her character was off putting. You can’t treat people as she did, with so little regard and get pissy when they don’t like or trust you. But I digress, what irked me more than Evanjaline’s deplorable character was the simple fact that I couldn’t fathom why she needed to hide who she was to Finnikin, Sir Topher and Travanion. Why didn’t she tell them? I didn’t make any sense. She made things harder than they needed to be by not telling them who she was, and they would have done exactly what she had wanted if she had trusted them with the truth and yet she lies, repeatidly. Why? The only reason I can think of is that more than half this story wouldn’t have occurred without the lie, and therin lies my issue. While I enjoyed the ride, when I wasn’t gritting my teeth, there really wasn’t nearly 400 pages worth of story here, more like 150.
The words flowed, I even enjoyed a majority of the characters. The world Marchetta built was captivating, but at the end of the day, the plot had a huge gaping hole in Evanjaline, one that I couldn’t look past. (less)
I must live to torment myself. I endured the craziness that was Magic Study, read the reviews for Fire Study, which were much worse than Magic Study,...moreI must live to torment myself. I endured the craziness that was Magic Study, read the reviews for Fire Study, which were much worse than Magic Study, and yet I read Fire Study anyway, which is my way. So, I guess I only have myself to blame, but I’m blaming Snyder too. What in Vati’s name was she thinking writing this sham of a story?! I was hoping that she would redeem herself and Yelena, but the only thing that resulted from this book was an addition to my shite bookshelf.
Having read 448 pages of Yelena’s inability to ask the most mundane questions, face the most blatant truths, fret over the safety of people who were far more capable than she, getting kidnapped, and placing her trust in people who had already proven several times before that they cannot be trusted, I was hoping for something a million times more genius and complex than what was delivered in this book. After all, I had to endure all things Yelena in addition to: Leif copping a tude at the drop of a hat Valek getting his hair burnt off Yelena getting her hair burnt off (I don’t care that anyone who dislikes Yelena is therefore a bad guy/gal of supreme evil, I don’t think Yelena has the personality to sport no hair) People getting accosted and nearly raped by necklace snakes (yes, I’m serious) Cliché stereotypes (Moon Man and all the other Sand Seeds) Clichéd evil masterminds intent on mayhem for no apparent reason 5 pages devoted to blowing glass (I’ve been to Gatlinburg thank you, why was the glassblowing tutorial necessary?) But after reading all the above mentioned drivel all I got was an ending that was so grating that I felt as though I had been slapped. This entire story could have been chucked and should have been as apparently Moon Man holds all the answers to the universe and the only thing needed to defeat the bad guy/gals was for Yelena to ask, which she did not do until page 440. So don’t be like me. Don’t read this book hoping that all the other reviewers were wrong. Sometimes it’s true that majority rules, except in the case of Shiver and Breaking Dawn, but that is a whole other story. (less)
I am at a complete loss. I found Poison Study to be an amazing book, with an engaging plot, real, intriguing characters and excellent writing. Magic S...moreI am at a complete loss. I found Poison Study to be an amazing book, with an engaging plot, real, intriguing characters and excellent writing. Magic Study begins much the same, until around page 240, and then it takes a nose dive through crazy town. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. For a book that began with a five star rating, Snyder had to work to make this book as non-sensual as it ended up being. Here are a few of my qualms.
Yelena, once resourceful, intelligent, honorable, yet a little self effacing becomes an arrogant Mary Sue cutout, who rushes into trouble even when she knows her actions are idiotic because stupid though she may be, and despite her lack of knowledge about magic, naturally, she knows better than everyone else. Even more ridiculous is her anger towards her brother. I would completely understand her anger if it were due to his treatment of her now that they are both adults, he certainly isn’t kind, or for the fact that he never told their parents that Yelena had been kidnapped, but as it were, she is angry with him because he didn’t try to save her when she was taken, as if an 8 year old boy could pose any type of threat to a master magician and his minions. Give me a break.
Valek. Oh how I loved him, in Poison Study, his and Yelena’s partnership was a delight to read. There were well matched, respectful of one another and had a brilliant chemistry and understanding. I was so excited to see how their relationship would progress. I’m still waiting. Valek, once a cunning advisor/assassin, is now reduced to stud stand in who takes order from Yelena. How this mentor became the one being dictated to is beyond me and completely un-interesting to read. Grating is more like it. He even gets captured a few times, which is very un-Valek like.
Yelena’s family…What exactly is Leif’s, Yelena’s brother, problem? Snyder tries to explain it via Moon Man, the Story Weaver (don’t get me started) but it was ridiculous. Who gets kidnapped on purpose? And what mental disorder does Perl, Yelena’s mother, have? While she is clearly a crafty little tree climber, I have a hard time believing she is “formidable” when all she does is make perfume and cower in plants.
The plot, oh where do I start? I’ve lost track of how many times Yelena gets kidnapped. It was pointless and un-necessary. The characters of Goel and Alea served no purpose other than to act as filler. The rest is too bizarre to comment on.
The bad guy. Last time I checked not all bad guys’ rape and torture, yet every bad guy in Snyder’s books do. Very annoying. However, that perfume pump used to defeat Ferde (bad guy) was amusing, but daft. Why not just use one of those ingenious little darts like everyone else. Instead, Yelena storms in with armed with a squirt bottle, lol.
So these are just a few of my issues, there are plenty more, but I can’t bring myself to mention them. If you are reading Magic Study because you adored Poison Study, please be warned. This book pales in comparison and will ruin your view of the characters you love. (less)
Poison Study is a shinning example of what YA fiction should aspire to be. This book was fantastic all across the board. Great writing, wonderful comp...morePoison Study is a shinning example of what YA fiction should aspire to be. This book was fantastic all across the board. Great writing, wonderful compelling plot, and interesting multifaceted characters. I didn’t want to put it down.
If you’re anything like me, I was reluctant to read a book about a food taster. After all, how interesting could a story about eating potentially deadly food be? That corny cover didn’t help sooth my reluctance either. Luckily, this book is so much more than food tasting. There’s magic, murder, mystery, corruption, secrecy and love interwoven throughout this book and it makes for an excellent adventure.
I am also very pleased to note that this book contains a fantastic and worthy heroine, Yelena. Strong, intelligent and endearing heroines are increasingly rare in a genre filled with silly girls who follow their immortal hunks to crazy pastures. Yelena; however, is no follower. She is a resourceful survivor and never once did she cause me to grit my teeth in frustration. I cannot tell you how elated that made me. Yelena is as close to flawed perfection any character could be. Her handsome counterpart Valek wasn’t too shabby either nor was the secondary characters of Ari or Janco, which were stalwart, loyal and kind.
There are some darker themes in Poison Study. Yelena is a murderer with a tragic and haunting past which is revealed gradually through out the story. I was a bit surprised to see descriptions and allusions to horrific tortures, including rape in a YA story, but I feel as though it belongs there as they are issues that sadly, some young adults are forced to face. All in all, this was a fantastic satisfying read and I will be sure to read the sequels. (less)