The Black Jewels Trilogy is an amazingly complex good-versus-evil dark fantasy trilogy which sends you on a highly strung rollercoaster of emotions. TThe Black Jewels Trilogy is an amazingly complex good-versus-evil dark fantasy trilogy which sends you on a highly strung rollercoaster of emotions. The trilogy is made up of the three books: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows and Queen of Darkness.
The world that Anne Bishop creates is a matriarchal society led by queens and based on the caste system of the Blood jewels. There are queens of villages, towns, districts and provinces. The hierarchy dictates that a village queen serves the town queen, the town queen serves the district queen and the district queen serves the province queen. The Blood Jewels caste system relates to the amount of power or magic that a person or animal (Kindred) has. There are landens, those without magic and the Blood those with magic. The Blood are given jewels which represent their power level: birthright jewels and the jewels given after they make their offering to the Darkness – this is usually a darker jewel than their birthright jewel. The darker the jewel the more powerful the person / animal.
Daughter of the Blood charts the emergence of Jaenelle Angelline (‘Witch’, ‘Dreams Made Flesh’) through the viewpoints of Daemon Sadi (‘The Sadist’) and Lucivar Yaslana – half brothers and their estranged father, Saetan Daemon SaDiablo – the High Lord of Hell. Both Saetan and Daemon are the only ones to wear the Black the most powerful jewel before Jaenelle comes into the picture. There are three realms: Terrielle, Kaeleer (‘The Shadow realm’) and Hell. Saetan rules Hell and protects Kaeleer. Daemon and Lucivar are pleasure slaves in the court of Dorothea, the self- appointed high priestess of Hayll. She is not a queen and only queens are supposed to rule. She craves power so much that she corrupts the realm of Terreille by destroying all of the powerful queens and effectively destroying the harmonious relationship which is supposed to exist between the queens and their males, the most powerful of which are called Warlord Princes. The males are supposed to choose whom they serve and serve by their own will. Instead Dorothea rules by fear, the females fear being ‘broken’, losing their magic either through breaking their mental shields with magic or by rape. If broken badly enough they can be lost to the Twisted Kingdom (a place of mental insanity) or even die. The males fear being ‘shaved’ (becoming eunuchs)for Dorothea's entertainment (outside of Terreille this can be a punishment for rape).
As a seven year old child Jaenelle Angelline asks Saetan to be her mentor, to teach her craft, when he sees that her birthright jewels are the Black and that she not only holds one but many he agrees. During the next few years she goes missing and Saetan attempts to find her but there is one place where the dead cannot enter. Jaenelle has protected against him. Dorothea with the help of Hekatah, Saetan's evil ex-wife, she finds out about Saetan's new obsession and sets out to either destroy Jaenelle or lure her to their side.
In Heir to the Darkness, more than two years have passed Jaenelle is still in the abyss that is the Black, she is fearful and will not return to her body. When she finally comes out of her coma she does not remember the trauma that precipitated it. Saetan does his best to help her heal by inviting her old friends to visit her, which helps her find herself again. Meanwhile Daemon is looking for Jaenelle, unable to remember what he has done, only remembering the blood on his hands. He worries he has killed Jaenelle. He goes to break his brother Lucivar out of a prison camp but is met with hostility. Lucivar was told that Daemon raped and killed Jaenelle and says as much to Daemon who runs off and becomes lost to the Twisted Kingdom tormented by what he believes he has done.
When the Dark Council come to believe, through Dorothea's manipulations, that Saetan is harming Jaenelle they attempt to take her away from him, she fights back in the most extraordinary way which leaves the council begging. Lucivar breaks out of the salt mines and makes for his homeland battered and broken. He is found by Jaenelle and Saetan who over the course of many months help him heal. He becomes Jaenelle’s protector, even protecting her from herself. After many attacks on her friends from the Kindred lands Jaenelle is forced to make her Offering to the Darkness and comes out with the unheard of Ebony jewels, she sets up her own court and becomes Queen of Kaeleer, the most powerful Queen there has ever been in order to protect them. Eventually Jaenelle remembers what happened to her and can’t believe that she forgot Daemon. She goes into the Twisted Kingdom and leaves a trail for him to follow with the promise of the Consort’s Ring and that she will be there when he comes out.
In Queen of Darkness, people are pouring into Kaeleer from Terrielle desperately trying to escape a society where rape and torture are apart of everyday life. Jaenelle is reunited with Daemon but Dorothea and Hekatah have found a way to get the power they have always craved, Terreille will go to war with Kaeleer but will Kaeleer go to war with Terreille? No? Then who will go to war with Terreille? Witch. But will she survive? After all, 'Everything has a price'.
This book (or books) may be too macabre for some but it takes the very worst and the very best that humanity has to offer and sends the reader on a fantastic journey. There are manipulations and misunderstandings aplenty with some doing evil because they are evil and some doing evil in order to do good. Your expectations of the characters are twisted especially with Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell and his two sons Daemon Sadi and Lucivar Yaslana being good guys, who would have guessed!
This trilogy is both terrifyingly sadistic and beautifully triumphant. And at times it can be hilariously funny. I would say this trilogy is a cross between Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel trilogies and Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician’s trilogy. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. ...more
It's been a few years since I read this so forgive me if I get something wrong. As a woman I found this terrifying because of the possibility that thiIt's been a few years since I read this so forgive me if I get something wrong. As a woman I found this terrifying because of the possibility that this could happen. I live in an all-female household in the UK, we're independent, I could never see myself ever being able to rely on a man for everything I need. We've fought for the rights to work, spend our own money and enjoy the same freedoms as men.
Offred, stripped of her husband who may have been murdered and separated from her daughter, watching her being raised by strangers was horrible. When she is forced to have sex with the Commander I wondered why she had to, couldn't they do the turkey baster thing instead? Or was this just another way to degrade women and for the men to get their jollies - even if the wives had to be present? If they got pregnant, having your baby taken away from you is even more dehumanising. To be treated as an object and one that is not particularly valued is awful.
But then even the men were emasculated, like Nick, he had very little power and if you stepped out of line your head would end up on a pike on the fences. The Commander himself was a coward, despite his greater freedom he didn't seem to like how things were and taking her out to that secret club was for his benefit not hers - he wanted to alleviate his guilt by trying to keep this handmaid from suicide. His wife didn't approve either, who wants to watch their husband have sex with another woman and have their reproductive rights taken away from them? Though I know fertility problems amongst the people were one of the main issues here.
I think in a post-9/11 world this book is even more terrifying. There seem to be many more extremists (religious and otherwise), gender inequalities in other cultures have been highlighted as have corrupt governments and dictators who run societies where violence and persecution are apart of everyday life. So if this sort of society exists elsewhere, it could happen here too.
When I read this as a teenager this book did more to scare me than any blood and guts horror book ever could. An incredibly disturbing and shocking read....more
A great book but I thought that Katniss got away and won without killing ruthlessly, she only killed in self-defense or indirectly. I was relieved wheA great book but I thought that Katniss got away and won without killing ruthlessly, she only killed in self-defense or indirectly. I was relieved when she told Peeta that the romance wasn't real for her. I want her to be with Gale, her relationship with him has a better chance of lasting....more
**spoiler alert** The TV series Legend of the Seeker introduced me to this book. I was intrigued by the Mord-Sith and Kahlan’s Confessor abilities. I**spoiler alert** The TV series Legend of the Seeker introduced me to this book. I was intrigued by the Mord-Sith and Kahlan’s Confessor abilities. I believed the usual line of ‘the book is better than the movie/TV series’ and sought out the book.
As I started to read this I was surprised by how weak both Kahlan and Richard were, there is a stark contrast between TV-Kahlan and book-Kahlan. TV-Kahlan seemed to have more steel in her backbone angered by what she had endured at the hands of Darken Rahl’s forces but book-Kahlan was down-trodden by it all like she was getting ready to give up and die. I was also surprised by how readily Richard took on his Seeker status and by how quick he was to see Darken Rahl as his father’s murderer and as an enemy of the people. Richard was hypnotised or brainwashed by Kahlan’s mysterious beauty and was taken in by everything she said, he rarely questioned the truth of her words and went by his instincts alone. I think this is why the beginning of the TV series was so different, it tried to cover the holes in the book - not that I’m saying that the TV series was better, it had many weaknesses too.
The only other series that I have read that is similar to Wizard’s First Rule is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series which starts with Kushiel’s Dart. I could not help but compare these two books. Both had a couple, a male and a female travelling together falling in love and unravelling mysteries and plots to gain power over the people but WFR was the weaker and simpler of the two. It’s very detailed, all manner of descriptions are in-depth which I sometimes skipped. I didn’t need to know everything. I don’t want to be bored to tears by unimportant details or by every single thought that pops into Richard’s head that on occasion were repeated sometimes in the same paragraph.
The language used was at times quite juvenile and awkward especially when describing Richard and Kahlan’s attraction to one another. These were some cringe-worthy moments. They fell for each other far too quickly and easily, I can understand Richard was attracted to the mystery and beauty of Kahlan and Kahlan’s attraction to Richard’s lack of fear towards her but to fall for someone you’ve just met and know very little about was unconvincing. Their patience when dealing with each other was also irritating. They rarely disagreed or had an argument. Every decision was Richard’s to make because he was the Seeker but out of the two Kahlan had far more experience to make such decisions. She took the ‘mother’ part of being a Mother Confessor a little too seriously, babying Richard trying to control him - both his actions and his thoughts, she often saw him as a boy, with boyish expressions or mannerisms. Richard himself is too pure, too good. What are his weaknesses? His negative qualities? There has to be something that makes him imperfect.
Darken Rahl, hmm he didn’t really come through as a three-dimensional character did he? At the rate he went at killing and torturing, how many people did he think he would have left to rule? I know there are people out there who have no concept of what “reason” is but it’s fairly obvious that Darken Rahl’s attempts to rule the world would ultimately be self-defeating.
Zedd was my favourite character, though you don’t get to see too much of him. He’s a pivotal character. He’s suffered much loss and yet keeps a sense of humour. It was quite interesting to have his family (the good side) and Darken Rahl’s family (the dark side) intertwined.
Reading other reviews, I have to disagree with those who say this is too violent. I have read much more violent books. For instance, the Kushiel series of books by Jacqueline Carey as I mentioned before contain more violence. I think what people have to remember is that this is set way back in history, in a patriarchal society where women are not valued and laws can be easily broken and the innocent easily punished. I’m not sure if I’m the only one but I cheered when Richard shattered Princess Violet’s jaw and teeth, to take that much pleasure in his torture she didn’t deserve to live to become queen.
There were some original (at least to me) ideas like the Mord-sith and the confessors. I don’t believe it is the masterpiece it could have been but I can see why people like the book. The storyline is good but the way in which the story is told, the language used is what lets it down. There were some unanswered questions like how did Siddin come to be in Queen Milena's dungeon when Darken Rahl stole him for Demmin Nass?
If you’re a speed reader you’ll get through this fairly quickly despite the page count. If you are a perfectionist or have OCD tendencies you probably don’t want to read this, it will drive you crazy. WFR was in serious need of a proof-reader/editor who probably could have whittled this book down from over 800 pages to 600 or less just by cutting out the laborious descriptions. ...more
This was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of thThis was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of the zombie holocaust. I was envious of their friendship. They came from very different backgrounds, their old lives lost and embark on new ones together and in Jenni’s case with a completely new personality as a crazy risk taker. Their survival was more about luck than skill, it was horrifying to see good people die so quickly and easily.
After reading this, for the first time I wished I lived in a gun-toting country. I want a gun, make that “guns”, plural, and a never-ending supply of bullets. You know, just in case.
My Favourite Bits The zombie old man outside the library clutching “Better Sex After 60″
Juan to Travis about Katie: “Ever see Chasing Amy?” “No.” “Eh, you’re fucked” “Yeah.”
Juan to Jenni: “Dropping from the harness is real loca, Loca. What if you had missed and hit the spikes?” “Um, you would miss me?” “Yeah, right.”
Mike's ominous "...the black man always gets it"
The fact that Jenni's mixed race: her mother was Mexican, dad Irish so she can speak Spanish.
**spoiler alert** On starting Catching Fire my first desire was to find out how Gale’s relationship with Katniss would change upon reuniting. I was ve**spoiler alert** On starting Catching Fire my first desire was to find out how Gale’s relationship with Katniss would change upon reuniting. I was very surprised when the first paragraphs summarised the months following her return with only a few lines about Gale. I had to wait until much later for a face-to-face with him. I was not pleased.
The scene with President Snow dropping by the house to warn Katniss that her actions had consequences was creepy. His breath smelled of blood, ew! By taking away her choices and forcing Katniss to marry Peeta he made things worse by making Katniss more and more likeable to the people even if it made her seem less defiant. Making the Victors of past Hunger Games compete in the Quarter Quell Hunger Games was an unbelievably stupid move, instantly making martyrs of the district champions. History really must have been rewritten if he couldn't see the mistakes he was making.
As for Peeta, I still can't see him with Katniss she belongs with Gale. They were strangers forced together who became allies in order to survive though that is pushing it as Katniss was keeping Peeta alive in both Games. The only things Peeta contributed were the lies to get good sponsors and to keep them both safe, and companionship - and I suppose his self-sacrificing nature when it comes to Katniss. In the real world, Gale is the one for her.
I think Haymitch was stupid to not inform Katniss of what was going on. I can understand not telling Peeta but Katniss could have saved Peeta from the Capitol, no wonder she tried to scratch his eyes out.
If I was President Snow I would torture Peeta for information on the rebellion and then kill him. There isn't a lot Snow could want from Katniss to use him as bait. It's too late to stop the uprisings, her defiance at the first games was the straw that broke the camel's back as it were - they weren't her fault. She may be a symbol for the rebellion but they aren't just fighting for her they're fighting for their right to keep their children safe. Even if Snow managed to lure her into a trap and tortured and killed her in public or private I doubt the uprisings would end, it would only encourage them to keep fighting so why keep Peeta alive? The same goes for Cinna though he may have brought his fate upon himself by being so brazen in his defiance, instantly turning Katniss's wedding dress into a funeral gown on stage in front of everyone.
As for District 12, well Snow can't bomb all of the districts can he? Where will the Capitol get food and clothing and those items necessary for survival? Who would he rule if he kills off all of the people? Some have all ready shown that they are willing to die for the cause. I'm looking forward to seeing District 13, I wonder if Bonnie and Twill made it there.
I may be biased in all of this because I do love Gale. I hope she lets him know she's not pregnant, not even close in fact so they can get closer. She chose him in book one and book two so I hope she chooses him again in book three....more
We will kill each other. We will kill each other. We will kill each other.
If I don’t kill, I will be killed. If I don’t kill, I will be killed. If I don’
We will kill each other. We will kill each other. We will kill each other.
If I don’t kill, I will be killed. If I don’t kill, I will be killed. If I don’t kill, I will be killed.
'From a pool of third-year junior high school students, fifty classes were issued an annual death sentence. That was two thousand students that’s if each class consisted of forty students. No, more accurately, that was 1,950 students killed.Worse Yet,it wasn’t simply a mass execution. The students had to kill each other,competing for the title of survivor. It was the most terrifying version of musical chairs imaginable. But it was impossible to oppose the Program. It was impossible to protest anything the Republic of Greater East Asia did.'
A class of 42 fifteen year old Japanese students (50% male,50% female) are kidnapped from a school bus on a field trip to be taken to an island, fitted with collars containing remote-controlled explosives which will detonate if tampered with, given a pack consisting of bread, water, a compass, a map, a flashlight, a weapon (whether it’s useful or not is down to luck, banjo anyone?) and perhaps the weapon’s manual. As the game went on, every few hours announcements were made of the dead and new forbidden zones were introduced (if you get caught in a forbidden zone the collar explodes, say goodbye to your head) so as the number of pupils decreased so does the area in which they can hide and keeps them moving.
At the beginning of the book there is student list and a map of the island with a list of the forbidden zones so it's easier to follow. I copied the student list, crossed them off when they died, added how they died and what their original weapons were.
I found this really difficult to rate. There were both positives and negatives. Some really awesome chapters were filled with brilliant strategies and characterisation, on the other hand the high level of detail in describing computer hacking and rock music were not to my taste and bored me to tears. I tried to skip these.
The violence wasn’t overly done in my opinion. It was described in a few sentences then moved on. It’s gory but not so much that I was going to have horror-filled nightmares for days after reading it. The macabre humour became progressively better until I was chuckling at the way people were dying which I felt a little guilty about.
The personal stories of the students were intriguing. To see the psychology behind their decisions was incredibly interesting. I had fun totting up the victims of the serial killers, in fact my favourite characters were probably the ones to who “played the game”. Chapter 44 was pure genius.
Most if not all of the strategies possible to win this game were implemented by the students, some with more success than others but there were scenes that just blew me away. There were accidents, misunderstandings, suicides, self-defense and cold-blooded murder. Cause of death was sometimes hard to categorise, it could have been a number of events that led to a death.
However, I had some believability issues. First, the reason behind the game was unclear. At one point this is explained to Shogo as serving as a reminder to the people, that it was no use in going against the government, that there’s no point in gathering together and starting a revolution because the government will just shoot them down. This explanation seemed really flimsy, even though The Hunger Games uses a similar explanation - it uses it to better effect. The only real reason I could see was for the sport of high-ranking officials gambling on who would win.
Second, I had a hard time seeing the main narrator, Shuya live for so long. He wasn’t very practical and kept trying to save everyone at great risk to himself and others, and never learned from his mistakes. By rights he should have died early on but then this game is more about luck rather than brains and skill, which was brilliantly demonstrated by the author.
Third, the way in which the main characters were forced together annoyed me. I couldn’t see it, it was cheesy and predictable and totally not in keeping with the rest of the book.
Fourth, the stereotypical roles of class clown, the gay guy, star athlete and so on were all present but the teen issues had me rolling my eyes a few times but I accepted them because if you’re going to die all of those issues will become a hundred times more important than anything else, like trying to survive.
Fifth, the Terminator visuals I was getting from one individual especially when they were blown up was very unrealistic. This character almost never got injured. Speaking of movies, how come Mr. Tarantino hasn't adapted this yet? It's right up his alley.
Sixth, the ending. Hmm, I was really looking forward to something mind-blowingly (no pun intended) fantastic but I was disappointed with the way things turned out. I wasn’t expecting something that seemed so unachievable, no one should have survived the stunt pulled. The actions of one character completely going against his personality. It was a let down.
This is a Japanese-to-English translation, and a number of times that really showed especially at the beginning and became more polished as it went on. As I’m not Japanese there were some cultural references that were completely lost on me, and despite my problems with this book it still deserves kudos for it’s fairly original plot which no doubt inspired Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy which I absolutely adore, and prompted me to ask myself what I would do in that situation.
What would you do?
ETA: I've now seen the Japanese movie, and they made some positive changes. For instance, they gave a solid reason for the game, one that was very realistic. They also added a memorable scene where one of the girls checks to see if the girl she just killed was menstruating. o_O I still prefer the book though. Oddly, it was easier to follow....more
**spoiler alert** This one, I think, was the most harrowing and painful to read out of all three and I'm so glad it didn't get a happy, happy, happy e**spoiler alert** This one, I think, was the most harrowing and painful to read out of all three and I'm so glad it didn't get a happy, happy, happy ending. It was realistic and I liked it.
Even Katniss's nightmares, confusion and depression contributed to this being real. So many books ignores the repercussions that violence can have on it's characters.
Finnick. I fell hard for him and then...I was so upset. And to a lesser degree, Boggs which happened so fast. In the blink of an eye. Gone. War sucks. An understatement but I can't think of better words right now.
The choice of who Katniss was going to pick wasn't much of a choice in the end was it? And was only given 3 pages at the very end. I wasn't on the team that "won" her eventually but I accepted it. That there wasn't much between her and Gale made this easier even though I was dying for them to be together all the way through.
I thought it was funny that Snow's death happened without anyone watching, giving it less importance. I did want to know a little more about the aftermath of Coin's death and the trial though. I wanted Katniss to explain to them her reason for it and see everyone's reaction. I also needed to know some details of the Games with the Capitol's children and Katniss's views on it.
Had I read The Giver when it first came out in 1993 at a young age when I was still forming ideas about people and the world at large, I have no doubtHad I read The Giver when it first came out in 1993 at a young age when I was still forming ideas about people and the world at large, I have no doubt it would have had a profound affect on me. Since it's first publication the ideas used here have appeared elsewhere, most notably in the movie Equilibrium and the book The Handmaid's Tale. As an adult it has less of an effect but I can appreciate the lessons it tries to teach to the young minds it's aimed at.
I was a little confused at times and there was no real characterisation probably due to the adherence of "sameness" and lack of emotion hindering individuality and depth. However, I would have liked to have been given the history of how the community became what it was and what led to the imposition of the Rules and the Pills. The ending was frustrating as many dystopian novels seem to leave the reader guessing as to what befalls the main character, whether victory or tragedy, it's never clear.
For a young adult book this is very dark but necessarily so. I would recommend this to all children as a necessary rite of passage to learn that life is not a fairy tale, to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and our ability to choose our own fates....more
As a lover of Snyder's Study series I thought I'd instantly take to this one with the same kind of enthusiasm, and although I didn't that's not to sayAs a lover of Snyder's Study series I thought I'd instantly take to this one with the same kind of enthusiasm, and although I didn't that's not to say that I didn't like it.
It's not a wholly original story which it needs to be to really stand out amongst the flooded dystopian genre but it has the standard brave and rebellious protagonist who becomes a symbol of hope for both her fellow Scrubs and the Uppers, who risks her life as well as others' to achieve an almost unattainable goal. She experiences love, loss, pain and joy along the way. I will add here that there is violence -torture though it's not described in too much detail.
There were some truly dull parts which I skimmed and skipped. I grew tired of the way in which time was recorded and eventually gave up on trying to figure how old everyone was and how much time had passed.
However, the thing that kept me reading were Riley's stuffed toy family (I know that sounds weird but you'll understand once you've read it) and how they were referred to in the rest of the book. It added some much needed warmth and light relief to a serious and sometimes boring book. Outside In is the next book and my curiosity will no doubt have me seeking it out upon its release....more
This one covered about 4 months and ends with Christmas, 9 months after the first day. The newly established community begins to organise themselves bThis one covered about 4 months and ends with Christmas, 9 months after the first day. The newly established community begins to organise themselves by electing a mayor, searching for supplies, rescuing survivors giving rise to more POVs, and attempting to expand their living quarters to include the hotel. This is interrupted by a crime, attempted rape, on which everyone has an opinion on how to judge and punish the perpetrator but the decision is taken out of the peoples’ hands when an unknown vigilante takes action. Having to deal with those who completely abandoned their humanity meant more tough decisions had to be made, doing previously unethical and criminal acts in order to do protect the majority. The old adage “the needs of the few outway the needs of the many” came to mind. I loved all of this. They really were “fighting to survive”.
Fertility as a theme makes an appearance in both the lives of our Thelma and Louise as (view spoiler)[Katie tries for a baby and Jenni reveals she can't have any more children due to her husband forcing her get sterilised. Yet another reason to hate the bastard. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
I’ll admit right now: I couldn’t stop myself from reading the ending. I needed reassurance that the people I’d grown to respect and care for would surI’ll admit right now: I couldn’t stop myself from reading the ending. I needed reassurance that the people I’d grown to respect and care for would survive. Of course, not everyone did. In fact, my favourite character had died. I was devastated so I put the book down until recently when I gathered my courage and soldiered through. There are many deaths from differing causes: a common one was suicide (committed for varying reasons) which was sometimes preferable to the alternative.
The diverse nature of the population of survivors created much conflict. They were of differing ethnicities, religions, morals and sexuality. I loved this aspect. Intolerance and political (and social class) aspirations and the resulting manipulations were the source of many problems the survivors had to contend with. The thinning of the veil between the living and the dead was understandable when there were more corpses than living, breathing people.
My Favourite Bits The discussion of whether a zombie was male or female until we see their naked groin. Ick. Ick. Ick. The head in a flower pot. Using toasters to decapitate the dead.
Overall This was a brilliant trilogy showcasing the very best and worst that humanity has to offer. Every character has a unique personality. I cheered when they triumphed, grieved the losses of life and felt frustration at conflicts and failures. I was happy when new loves were found and sad when they felt guilty for surviving and living their lives when their loved ones were dead. However, survival meant that even good people did things that logically may be wrong but in the fight to live and breathe and protect those you love makes these acts were justifiable. Despite emotional breakdowns and moments of weakness I admired the strength and resourcefulness of them all, although a couple of characters had crazy on their side (like Calhoun) and we learn that they weren’t as crazy or as paranoid as we first believed. Even the loonies proved they were useful and needed.
Every aspect of society were represented: the old and the young, the disabled, politicians, the social classes, disaster relief agencies, the criminal justice system, the military as well as personal characteristics: the selfless, the honourable, the brave and the weak, and the list goes on.
All of this makes me I wonder how I would do their situation. Would I commit suicide? Would I seek safety in numbers or be a loner? How selfless would I be? Could I sacrifice myself for others? I don’t know.
I laughed and I cried throughout this trilogy. It all felt so real. I highly recommend everyone with a strong stomach to read these books so they can experience this vivid reality for themselves....more
After a brilliant and very useful recap of Inside Out, this only got better. It found it's footing immediately and ran like the wind to the closing liAfter a brilliant and very useful recap of Inside Out, this only got better. It found it's footing immediately and ran like the wind to the closing lines.
It was so jam-packed with action, betrayals and trickery I was exhausted just reading it. It wasn't simple either. I'm impressed Snyder could fit so much in (including technical detail) and I could still follow her throughout. Something I couldn't do with the first book.
I never knew who to trust. That seems to be a real theme that Snyder just loves to play with. I don't know how Trella managed what with getting injured, drugged or knocked out every five minutes and having to deal with the difficult relationships with her mother and her boyfriend. Time was a real factor, she never had enough of it but she somehow triumphed more often than not.
There was very little skimming this time around. Snyder was economical with words yet she still managed to fill many, many pages, more than I expected and I never got bored. Unusual for me with YA. The only real downside was no sexually explicit content even when it would've made sense with what should've been a very steamy shower scene, dammit! F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G.
Talking of frustration, Trella's stubborn reluctance in taking on the responsibility of leadership and leaving it to others -ugh! I was so desperate to reach into the book and throttle her and take the reins myself. Everything was falling apart and she was doing NOTHING! It was all her fault. Maybe not but she could've prevented some things or at least coordinated responses to them more efficiently. I'm so glad she learned from her mistakes.
Anyway, things were all nicely wrapped up. Perhaps a little too quickly (I wanted to know what crimes the Outsiders committed to be kicked out of Inside) but by then I was tired and just wanted to put the book down to catch my breath so I didn't care too much. I'm guessing this is a duology, I could be wrong but it ended perfectly so I'm not expecting another instalment. Oh, and I'm assuming Trella got the top spot at the end, in more ways than one. Wink, wink....more
I clearly watch too many sci-fi TV shows. Reading Birthmarked was like watching an amalgamation of specific episodes of those shows play out on paper.I clearly watch too many sci-fi TV shows. Reading Birthmarked was like watching an amalgamation of specific episodes of those shows play out on paper. In black and white, not full and vivid HD colour because very little of it felt new and fresh, shocking and memorable. One scene and one scene only (view spoiler)[when Gaia rescues and revives the unborn baby of an executed couple (for mostly unintentional incest) (hide spoiler)], is a time where I could say this book made an impression on me.
Don't get me wrong, the world described within these pages is very detailed, I liked the reproductive rights theme vs. the incest dilemma, and I know the codes would've required time and research to create, I appreciate that but it didn't inspire strong and lasting emotions in me or give me something wholly captivating and original to hold up and say to others "You must read this. It's brilliant because..."
I couldn't connect to Gaia. She was a brave, motherly figure much like her mythological namesake but it was difficult to feel her pain when her parents were taken away because we didn't know them or the state of their relationship. Later on, we saw them in her memories but by then it was too little, too late. The characters in general didn't appear to have distinctive personalities, instead they were classified by two characteristics: the brave and the submissive sheep. They could be in either camp, switch between the two or somehow straddle the fence. That's it, that's all there is to them. One exception is Myrna -my favourite character, an imprisoned doctor, locked up for doing her job but unfortunately we don't spend too much time with her.
Supposedly uneducated in almost every way bar midwifery, Gaia was surprisingly intelligent enough to solve a code in hours that top scholars couldn't crack in weeks. I'm not buying that. Neither am I convinced of her developing romance with her jailer. It's very thin and I'm surprised Leon took to her so easily, risking his life for her when they've only had less than a handful of conversations.
Also, all that running for their lives with a newborn baby in her arms -tricky. I kept expecting it to either cry non-stop or for Gaia to look down and find it dead from suffocation because she was clutching it too tightly in the rush.
I didn't hate Birthmarked, the world-building is good and the lesson "the grass is not always greener on the other side" is a classic but I do question the 'baby quota'. It's tough for me to imagine many women, or men for that matter, would give up their children without a fight no matter what the cost. The bond is too strong. I'm also surprised so many are willing to bear children knowing the risk of losing them. There should be good trade in birth control methods.
Perhaps if the characters were more developed and the book was written in first person I would feel more involved and connected to the action. I'm curious about what life has in store for Gaia next but having read the synopsis and a couple of reviews of Prized I'm not overly enthusiastic about finding out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*round of applause* More! More! Where's the sequel? Damn. There isn't one yet. I'm a little disappointed. I was all ready to do business with that hor*round of applause* More! More! Where's the sequel? Damn. There isn't one yet. I'm a little disappointed. I was all ready to do business with that horrible "one-click" button.
We have Carla, a rising musician catapulted 50 years (via a plane crash) into a post-apocalyptic future where women are so scarce they're looked upon with curiosity and lust everywhere they go. Women stealers are everywhere and rape is a near certainty if they walk around unprotected.
In the aftermath of the crash, Carla and Lisa volunteer to find aid for the wounded survivors. They're tricked and sold into a Bride Fight where men fight for the women to become their brides. The women have no say in the matter.
These two get lucky. Their winning males are gentle with them. Carla gets Taye, a hot Native American Alpha werewolf for a mate, who's read many romance novels to ensure he can seduce and please his woman! Lisa, a blond but jealous sex god.
Taye is tender and gentle with Carla, his Lupa. As is his pack. He wants her to be happy so he acquires the most thoughtful presents for her but Carla doesn't give in easily:
"Fire!" She jerked her hand away from him. "Gotta put the fire out...I mean, put wood on the fire!" She squirmed out from under him, fell out of bed in a sprawl of flailing limbs, and scrambled up to lunge for the small woodpile under the window. She blindly tossed some in to the stove and fled to the bathroom.
But when she does. It's not only hot but hilarious. Taye has never seen or touched a naked woman before, and he's mesmerised. He innocently announces the anatomical names of her lady parts as he sees and touches them. Not only that but he insists on a step-by-step seduction process, right out of the romance novels he's studied. A verrry loooong process. He tortures poor Carla. But I can't feel too sorry for her because she gets what she wants in the end. ;)
I'm pleasantly surprised I liked this so much. Usually a short-ish story + debut novel + first in series + paranormal romance = one crappy book. Not so!
I love the premise, the characters have solid personalities and the writing was spot on. The world-building was expertly done. It had a slightly cheesy ending but that's all the bad there is. I enjoyed this immensely.
I'm desperate to find out what happened with the other survivors. How Stag will fare with his mate Sherry who's too scared of his wolf to even begin to consider him as her husband. How Shadow is going to get a very depressed Glory, grieving for the life she's now realised is lost to her, to love him again. And most importantly of all, the outcome of the indication that Quill is interested in Ellie as his mate.
Holy crap! I cannot believe how good that was. And it was a short story too! Is it even possible to write something so...so emotional? So understandabHoly crap! I cannot believe how good that was. And it was a short story too! Is it even possible to write something so...so emotional? So understandable? So relateable? In just a few pages. Even the world-building was superb. It was over in a flash and yet I want more. I'm hungry for it. I felt for the main character, Viola. She was only 12/13. I wanted to cry for her. I'm so happy I all ready have The Knife of Never Letting Go!...more
Lessons learned: Never trust history. Never trust doctors. Never trust scientists. Never trust technology. Never trust blanket medication.
Overall my expeLessons learned: Never trust history. Never trust doctors. Never trust scientists. Never trust technology. Never trust blanket medication.
Overall my experience with this book was like meeting and falling in love, being excited and happy, then slowly finding out that he's not perfect. He drinks out of the milk carton, he ignores you in favour of sports events and when you finally get his clothes off he's as smooth as a Ken doll but insists he can still have children. Then finding out he's right he can make babies, just not the same enjoyable way everyone else does, which is confusing and unsatisfying.
If you're going to write science fiction, could you at least research the science? Please, please get your facts right, if you don't then you must sell this as fantasy not SF.
I assumed, not even 50% in, that I was reading unscientific science fiction i.e. fantasy. As far as I was concerned the author had made little attempt to research certain aspects of her story so why was I wasting my time reading it? I was THIS close to giving up. It was almost as disastrous as my experience with the scientifically unsound I am Number Four. Little did I know that if I had given up, I would've missed out on the explanations which magically fixed many of the obstacles that I'd previously believed were unquestionably insurmountable because science told me so, and therefore the cure-all bandage Revis slaps on the problems didn't sit right with me. They were hard to accept in the face of catastrophically fatal situations. There is a lesson in this: if it reads like unintelligent drivel some readers may give up on your work before you make the big reveal that attempts to explain the drivel.
Amy's character is well-drawn and her memories and emotions are brilliantly portrayed. I had some difficulty with Elder's character but his personality was a result of Eldest's manipulation and his awakening is caused by Amy's inquisitiveness and tenaciousness. I was glad he was finally able to see the truth of things.
Harley and his girlfriend were an excellent examples of people not being able to cope under the pressure of living on the claustrophobic ship surrounded by fakery (there is no substitute for the real thing) because despite his mood swings and obsession problem they were both perfectly sane, despite being labelled crazy.
It was completely understandable the almost absurd lengths Eldest went to to impose and maintain the many methods of manipulation in order for everyone to survive. Survival was imperative. Quality of life means nothing in the face of that. Or does it? And that's what this questions.
This society may not believe in any religion as we know it but they do have religion: hope. Hope is their "opium of the masses" (a Marxist philosophy on the merits of religion) which is a method of control. By giving the people hope that their sacrifices will ensure that their children will be the ones to one day see real sky above their heads and feel earth beneath their feet, keeps them going, keeps them working, living, breathing. Without hope what is there?
There are moments, scenes, words of wisdom -that are pure genius and others where I felt baffled, confused and angry when I think I'm reading utter crap. Ideas have been stolen from movies like Serenity (Phydus is Pax) and the less popular Demolition Man (being conscious in cryo) which makes me wonder how much of this book is original. There is no romance despite the cover (Elder is interested in Amy but not vice versa), and we know who the killer is before the search even begins. Bevis gets the human element right but the science and mystery completely wrong. It's a real mixed bag and it's difficult for me to determine my position on this book, positive or negative. A five star beginning graduating to a one star ending?
Timeline of my reading experience (i.e. like status updates)
~ Hooked by page 10 and in love by page 11. I am in love. And I am not a cheap date. But why don't they knock 'em out before starting the freezing process? Much less painful and traumatising. This is not something I'd want to go through.
~ I'd want my extra year on Earth back too, honey, but life ain't fair. Best you learn that now. You chose this, I wouldn't have. Deal with it.
~ Reminded of the movie Demolition Man (and a little of The Matrix) here. They're both conscious during their cryo state. How does she not go crazy?
~ Jarred by the second POV, Amy is more than enough for me. I like her. I like her a lot. I want her to live. So why does she never get her blood back during reanimation? She's literally blue-blooded now. She IS a freak!
~ Frexing? Brilly? Chutz? Are there only three new words in 250 years? That's unrealistic. Language in the 1760s was different to today. The author probably should've left these out instead of calling attention to it.
~ Why do they repeatedly say the generational Elder between Elder Jnr and Eldest is dead? He's obviously not. And he's probably the killer.
~ I've noticed a small thing and it's got me thinking about the science in this science fiction. The plague killed off many, decreasing the on-board free-range population to the 700s -this is where I couldn't help but question the MVP (minimum viable population). Taking into consideration the 100 frozen battery humans, I do a quick Google search and the result is not good. Extinction, a foregone conclusion. In theory you need more than 3,000 individuals for a species to survive. So why read the rest? Because I'm in lurve and this will be amazing. Nothing will spoil this. Nothing!
~ I like fresh air. *opens window*
~ That old man. He's going to heaven sooner than he thinks, isn't he? I just know it. Well, that solves the pensions crisis.
~ Um, if incest is an issue with such a small population, why is everyone indiscriminately bonking? Be ready for the possibility of birth defects in the next generation. Also, why are those in their twenties the only ones to go through their Season? Shouldn't everyone older as well as the supposed crazies plus Amy, Elder, Eldest, Doc etc. be bonking their brains out?
~ Halfway in and we've turned away from a possible romance as advertised on the cover and we're ignoring Elder's boner around Amy's red hair. No, now we're solving a murder. Whaaaaat? Elder is all talk. I thought he was going to use that boner to show Eldest who's boss. Er, that didn't come out right. I meant, he was going defy Eldest by making love to that (girl with the) beautiful red hair and then usurp/depose Eldest. Oh, and quietly but quickly solve the whodunnit. Elder is a disappointing hero.
~ I liked my priorities. Why aren't my priorities Amy's priorities. Look, love, you've been frozen for centuries, without boys, there's a cute muscley one in front of you, you have hormones, go get 'im!
~ She refuses to listen. We must find clues to who likes to unplug frozen people. Yawn. We, the reader, all ready know who it is, why bother? There is no mystery to solve for us but we have to watch and wait for the characters slowly put things together. Tedious.
~ Let's get rid of the Hitler-worshipping Nazi instead, shall we? Anything but crime-solving. Anything! A threesome with Harley? It promises to be colourful and sticky. Well, more sticky. No? *whines*
~ CSI:Godspeed is on the job!
~ Those fingerprints tell me the Eldest/Elders are (view spoiler)[clones. I wonder how this came to be and how they're brought to term if they have no mothers. (hide spoiler)]
~ Soon there'll be no frozens left to help colonise Centauri. This ship is doomed.
~ Dragggggging. Not much happening.
*flips to the back*
Oh, a map. I didn't know there was one.
*reads the last 40 pages*
That's it?! That's how it ends?! But...but that was too easy. No mystery to it, and I was right all along. No surprises, no realisation that they're on a failed mission.
Amy should've stayed on Earth, run the New York marathon and married Jason. That was obviously her heart's desire. Her father knew that, it's a shame she didn't. Mind you, it wasn't fair of him to give her the choice at the last minute. She made a decision under pressure and panic had her following her parents.
*back to reading, well, skimming...*
~ Attempted rape. I thought Elder said there was no crime now. Hormones are no excuse.
'And I know without being told that she killed herself. And I totally understand why.' Me too. I don't envy their lives.
~ Incest and MVP problem solved but not in a way I completely accept although I'm feeling very wary of medicine and scientists right now.
~ (view spoiler)[They’ve been travelling for more than 300 years. The Plague –suicide, murder, riots, chaos. A never-ending journey. 250 years behind schedule. (hide spoiler)]I was right, they are doomed!
”People will survive anything for their children.”
p336 ~ The seasons, the generations and other methods of manipulation all make more sense now.
“We’re just pawns. A means to an end. Toys you manufacture to keep playing your game.”
~ SERENITY! – A big whopping dose of the movie, Serenity. Pax = Phydus. No reavers but the other effect of the Pax in varying doses is exactly the same as Phydus. (view spoiler)[Small doses = calm, large does = death) (hide spoiler)]
~ Recycling. They recycle EVERYTHING. People are treated like things. *gulp*
‘[...] I realize the simple truth is that power isn’t control at all-power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to stand on their own.' p344.
I've read the end so...THE END.
*******I apologise for the extra long review but it was the only way to illustrate my frustrations.*******["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.
Firstly, I owe aHoly fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.
Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey's review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn't matter if you think this sort of thing isn't for you, or if you're disillusioned with the genre.
At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limitations and where it is heading. Think about the pursuit of happiness, our curiosity, our technological advances. If the world ended as we know it tomorrow and we had a chance to start again from scratch, could we truly create a utopian society? Could we succeed in creating something we could be proud of? Or are we a doomed species hopelessly cursed to repeat the same mistakes?
Brain power is needed to read this, especially for the Third Hour chapter because damn if that wasn't a mind-bending philosophical debate regarding what it is to be human. I had to take a break to recharge the old batteries and when I returned to it...the jaw dropped and I had to re-read a paragraph because OH...MY...GOD I did not see That coming, That was a game changer, It brought a whole new meaning to what I had read.
Genesis is a small book, an expensive one, so expensive I decided to borrow it from the library but I must have a copy. It's absolutely worth the money. This book may be less than 200 pages but you could write a dissertation on it. Seriously.
Don't read up on this book, don't research it, just find a copy and read the hell out of it. Go in blind and discover for yourself the reason why I have given this the highest possible rating....more
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesnPlease, Sir. May I have some more?
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’t feel repetitive. This world is far larger and more complex than that of the Study trilogy.
Avry has been in hiding and on the run for 3 years and she's tired of it. After people blamed the spread of the plague on healers, they're captured and executed whenever they're found. However, Avry can't stop herself from healing fatally ill children and each time she does she must move on in case the child's parents turn her in, though this time the sickness she's assumed overcomes her and she's captured. While in prison awaiting execution she's approached by a man called Kerrick who breaks her out so she can heal his "friend".
Unfortunately this friend is hundreds of miles away and with a bounty on her head the journey is dangerous even with Kerrick's men accompanying them. When Avry is informed of who she's to heal, she refuses because it's a prince accused of inhumane crimes. Assuming his illness, the plague, would mean certain death for her. Sacrificing her life for a child is one thing, they're innocent but for a cruel and powerful man -no. Kerrick reacts badly, punishing her until she changes her mind. She's too stubborn so they try to change her mind in other ways while they travel.
On the journey she gets to know each man, saving her hate for the mysterious Kerrick. They teach her survival and fighting skills so she can defend herself. Along the way they begin to understand more about the plague, it's link to the sentient network of huge human-eating venus flytrap flowers and the healer's guild. They also encounter a real madman, Tohon, who can influence and read thoughts and emotions using it to gain more territory and power. His experiments are nightmarish and genocidal. Politics and intrigue ensue. There are many fighting for power in the game of thrones kings in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.
The hundreds of miles Avry & co travel, and on foot, makes my feet ache in sympathy. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and Avry's journey spanning about 6 months. I loved the high level of detail involved and the intricacies of the characters' magical abilities. I laughed at the Men in Black moment when Avry shouts “Eat me!” to the mutant plant. In fact, I did a lot of laughing. Avry and her merry men grow to be a tight-knit family who jump at the chance to tease, compete and help each other. I was sad when a character died but I have a feeling we’ll see them again though I’m worried about how they’ll be changed by the experience. I wish I had a Papa Bear and friends like these who'd die for me if need be, and vice versa.
Kerrick and Avry's relationship develops and evolves slowly as he learns how to handle his emotions. His desperate 2-year search for a healer and Avry's stubborn refusal turns him into an unlikeable man but with the persuasion of his men he pushes back his anger and gets to know Avry and comes to understand what makes her tick. He shares his skills with her and they come to find they can share and enhance each others magic, something they never thought possible. I enjoyed their slow-burning combustible chemistry, Kerrick's jealousy and finally his realisation that not every woman is like his ex Jael.
And can I just say I love these covers! It’s rare when I want both. One shows pure grit, determination and “power” (LEFT). The other, the delicate yet beautiful effect a “touch” can have (RIGHT).
I definitely look forward to the next installment of this series. Bring it on!
***Thank you to Mira Books for the ARC supplied via NetGalley for an honest review***...more